From the SMCM (Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor): (and with a view on news with an impact on Somalia)
The continuing plight of the sailors
Efforts must be stepped up to free them (DailyStar)
The state of uncertainty over the fate of the crew of MV Jahan Moni continues. There is little sign of any progress having been made where freeing the crew, now captive at the hands of Somali pirates, is concerned. Since December 5, when the 26 Bangladeshis aboard the vessel were seized off the coast of Somalia, not much headway has been made in the matter of resolving the crisis. It appears that the government has either been playing a rather cautious role or is inclined to think that the problem will somehow sort itself out. To be sure, the authorities have given it out that they are trying out every means possible to free the captives, among whom is the wife of a member of the crew. That has not been enough. And judging by the result as also the feelings of the families of the captive sailors, there is a clear need for the Bangladesh government to go into high gear in the matter of bringing the crew as well as the ship back home in all safety.
The only development in the crisis so far is the demand from the pirates, as the families of the captives tell us, for a ransom of $9 million from the owning company of the vessel. That demand was made on 12 December, after which ten days have gone by. The worry now is whether the captives are in good shape or not. We would not like to speculate on the worst, but we do bear in mind the fact that the Somali pirates told the owners on 12 December that unless the ransom was made over to them within five days, they would take the lives of the crew. That was a dire threat and one hopes the captors of the crew will not carry it out. But beyond that, the danger for the sailors clearly grows with each passing day. The feeling rises among the families of the hostages that the government may not have been active about bringing a speedy end to the crisis. They have now sought the prime minister’s intervention in the matter, for understandable reasons.
The dark nature of the situation cannot be lost on anyone. The Somali pirates have been terrorizing international shipping for long months. With their record for extreme ferocity and inhabiting a country which today is a collapsed state, it is difficult to engage them in direct negotiations. Even so, the government must step up its efforts toward freeing the sailors through making use of every available link. The threat hanging over them is a call for strong, meaningful action on the part of the government.
Meanwhile the government Wednesday asked families of the sailors who were on board the Bangladeshi ship Somali pirates hijacked in the Arabian Sea to have patience, saying such rescue might take a long period of time.
"This kind of rescue takes some time, you understand. We’re trying our best to ensure safe and secured return of all Bangladeshis who were on board the ship," Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni said while talking with distressed families of the sailors.
The owners of the ship are also trying their best to secure the sailors’ safe rescue, she added.
Piracy "Business" is Booming – for insurers and navies as well as missionaries, mercenaries and mischiefs.
Ship underwriters widen Somali piracy threat zone By Jonathan Saul (reuters)
London’s marine insurance market has widened the stretch of waterways deemed at high risk from Somali pirates as the armed gangs strike further out at sea, industry officials say.
The move is expected to raise insurance premiums for ship owners, reflecting the growing pirate threat.
Pirates are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing merchant ships in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, despite the efforts of foreign navies to clamp down on such attacks.
In recent weeks, pirates have struck as far south as Tanzania and Madagascar, with the easternmost attack yet this month close to the coast of India.
"There is no question the pirates have got big mother ships out there," Neil Roberts, a senior technical executive with the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA), told Reuters.
"These are long range vessels which can support operations much further off Somalia," said Roberts, whose association represents all underwriting businesses in the Lloyd’s insurance market.
The Joint War Committee, which groups syndicate members from the LMA and representatives from the London insurance company market, last week added the Gulf of Oman and a wider stretch of the Indian Ocean to a list of areas it considered high risk for merchant vessels and prone to war, strikes, terrorism and related perils.
"We are recognising the developing threat that is out there. Ship owners are on their own to some extent at the further reaches," Roberts said.
"It’s our job to notify when there is a problem and there certainly is," he said.
Analysts said merchant shipping faced mounting costs.
"The number of hijackings is increasing, and insurers will presumably have to charge more in order to be able to financially absorb the greater cost of claims," said John Drake, senior risk consultant with AKE Ltd.
J. Peter Pham, an African security adviser to U.S. and European governments and private companies, said ships transiting the western Indian Ocean were likely to see an increase in insurance premiums.
"I would anticipate that the cost of piracy ‘riders’ on insurance will rise to reflect this real risk over a larger area," he said.
Despite successful efforts to quell attacks in the Gulf of Aden, international naval forces have struggled to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean owing to the vast distances involved.
This has led to mounting worries among ship owners and seafarers who feel their lives are in the firing line as pirates launch increasingly violent attacks.
"The threat to seafarers who have to run a gauntlet of small arms fire and risk of capture and incarceration is unacceptable," said Peter Hinchliffe, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, which represents about 80 percent of the global industry.
Some shipping companies and a growing number of mariners are backing the use of private armed guards on board vessels.
"We are now not opposed to the use of armed guards on ships," said Andrew Linington, with seafarers’ union Nautilus International.
"With this massive expansion of piracy areas, it becomes more essential that seafarers have some form of protection. There is only so much naval forces are able to do."
France passes law beefing up navy’s anti-piracy powers (AFP)
France’s parliament on Wednesday passed a law giving French naval forces sweeping legal powers to detain and send for trial pirates irrespective of their nationality or that of their victims.
The law reintroduces the concept of piracy into French law after it was removed in 2007.
It effectively gives French naval commanders, who are taking part in the European Union’s anti-piracy force in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, the same powers as French police heading criminal investigations.
Many pirates are released after being captured because of the lack of a legal framework to arrest them and bring them to trial.
Kenya’s high seas declared war zone as pirate attacks rise By Seve Mbogo (December 22 2010 Nation/BusinessDaily)
Kenya’s piracy prone high seas have been declared a war zone by an association of global insurers, who underwrite war risks, in a move that has led to the doubling of freight and marine insurance costs.
The declaration was made by what is known as the Joint War Committee, which is made up of leading insurers such as Chartis, Munich Re and Swiss Re, and was prompted by rising incidents of piracy in Kenya’s waters.
Official data shows that this year alone, nine pirate attacks have occurred within Kenya’s exclusive economic zone, which is 360km from the coastline compared to zero incidents last year.
In one case on October 29, pirates attacked and seized the MV Ayala about 30km from the Kenyan coastline.
This has seen the cost of freight increase from $15 a tonne (Sh1,200) to $30 (Sh2,400).
Insurers have also introduced a piracy surcharge of 0.05 per cent of the value of the cargo.
The surge in freight costs is expected to pile inflationary pressure on the consumer goods market as importers pass on additional costs to consumers at a time when commodity prices are also rising.
Petroleum products, industrial machinery, second-hand motor vehicles, metal products and raw materials are some of the key items whose prices are expected to come under pressure.
“The declaration means that the cost of shipping all goods, including petroleum products, across the Indian Ocean will increase,” said oil marketer KenolKobil in a statement.
The company said that additional shipping costs have been brought about by hiring private armed escorts, ships using longer routes to avoid hot stops and insurance costs.
A report from Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s office says there is evidence that the pirates have in recent months concentrated their activities close to or within the Kenyan territory away from the Gulf of Aden transport corridor that is now closely monitored by the European Union, Nato, the US and Chinese war ships.
A statement signed by the JWC secretary Neil Roberts noted that “Somalia, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, and Southern Red Sea” waters as war zones.
This means that vessel owners will pay an additional insurance premium to cover the war risks.
The committee is influential as it brings together most of the companies that underwrite war risks.
Mr Odinga warned earlier that concentration of pirates close to the Kenyan coast could force the country to use the more expensive air transport to import raw materials and finished goods – with serious consequences on consumer prices and ultimately the inflation rate.
“This will increase costs and reduce our competitive edge at a time when the Kenyan economy is showing significant growth potential,” said Mr Odinga.
Kenyan industrialists said increased risk of piracy attacks has pushed up freight and insurance costs of shipping raw materials, which must be ultimately passed on to the consumer in the form of higher retail prices.
“Consumers throughout East Africa are paying a piracy premium on every good that is manufactured using imported materials,” said Vimal Shah, the managing director of Bidco Oils Limited, a consumer goods manufacturer. “It can only be expected that price inflation will continue so long as the risk of attacks persist.”
Kenya imports large amounts of finished or semi-processed consumer goods including crude oil, maize, wheat, motor vehicle parts, iron and steel, according to Economic Survey of 2010.
Andrew Mwangura, the head of Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP), said in the past three months most vessels have been attacked while heading to the port of Mombasa or leaving for Dar es Salaam and Maputo.
“Such attacks are sending the wrong signal to sea carriers with serious implications on freight charges,” he said.
Data released by SAP in November shows that shippers are paying an additional of Sh7,600 for every 20-foot container and an extra Sh1,200 for every tonne of oil and bulk grain cargo imported through the port of Mombasa.
Cargo owners are also required to pay additional fuel charges incurred when the vessels take longer routes to avoid the pirates.
Vessels headed for Mumbai from Mombasa are now taking 18 days up from an average of 12 days it took to make the same journey three years ago, while those coming from Dubai are taking 12 days up from seven, sailing away from pirate infested waters.
Ashok Shah, the chief executive officer of APA Insurance company said the industry has introduced a piracy surcharge on top of the normal premium charged on cargo.
The piracy surcharge now stands at an average rate of 0.05 per cent of the value of the cargo.
Marine insurance rates without piracy surcharge range from 0.4 per cent of the value of the cargo to five per cent, depending on the nature of the cargo and its packaging.
N.B.: And surely enough oil-companies like Israeli-owned Kenol/Kobil – unimpressed by the usual drum-beating of the energy minister – will further raise their pump-rises together with others in the Kenyan oil-cartel and base their line of argument again on the pirates, though worldwide the oil-prices and shipping costs decline and the storage shortage at the terminal in Mombasa is caused by a tussle with National Oil. Piracy is bad not so much for its direct impact – except for those who really suffer, which are the often totally neglected seafarers, but in the way it is misused by everybody to make money instead of solving the real problems.
A mercenary solution to Somali piracy by A.J. (The Econimist)
COULD 2011 see the return of the days when seaborne piracy was a very risky profession? The failure of various navies to restrict the flourishing business of Somali buccaneers is forcing the maritime community to try a new approach. Mercenaries—or as they prefer to be called, “private security organisations”—may finally play a helping role.
The hottest initiative comes from an alliance of insurance companies, led by Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT), who are apparently proposing the creation of a “private navy” under a scheme called the Convoy Escort Programme (CEP). A heavily armed, 150-strong security team on patrol boats would escort merchant vessels through the dangerous waters off Somalia and far out into the Indian Ocean.
The idea itself is not fresh. However, previous attempts to market private maritime security have not been successful. Shipping companies were reluctant to pay mercenary fees on top of already expensive insurance expenses. For that reason, the notorious private military contractor Blackwater Worldwide had to drop a similar project back in 2008. The legal issues that could follow pirate deaths were the second reason why shipping companies were not attracted to the idea. Although there are still a few private maritime security firms that employ Blackwater’s techniques, none of those operate on a large scale.
Why may CEP succeed where others have failed? One reason is that the insurance powerhouses like JLT, Ascot Underwriting and Chartis behind CEP have enough clout and expertise to pull it off. CEP offers shipowners something long desired—armed protection as a free perk to seven days’ war-risks cover. This would be an attractive alternative to steep insurance premiums on transiting pirate-infested waters. In addition, since the main role of CEP security personnel will not be to hunt down pirates, but to deter them from attacking the protected vessels, the potential for legal issues will be smaller. On the other hand, armed mercenaries are not scarecrows and will use force if necessary, so providing a good chance for “unfortunate accidents” in high seas.
If so, the pirates had it coming. It is easy to understand the rage of ship owners as each successful seizure of a vessel costs an average of $9m in ransom payments and lost earnings.
An even higher price is paid by the the crews of hijacked ships in terms of their physical and emotional stress.
Of course, it is doubtful that a “private navy” will instantly change everything. Piracy will only end once Somalia itself becomes a stable nation—and that goal lies far beyond 2011.
Two South-Africans released by Somaliland (et)
Military Cargo, Plane and Russian Crew Still Held
Somaliland authorities searched a fortnight ago a Russian Antonov plane, which had arrived from Uganda and was destined for Puntland, finding 583kg of military style uniforms from Cape Town.
Since there is a UN embargo on taking military equipment to Somalia and this includes military uniforms, all eight passengers were detained in remand for further investigations.
After holding them for 10 days in detention at a hotel and after intense haggling behind the curtains involving the UN, other middlemen and the South African Government, the Somaliland authorities then decided to release the two South Africans Christopher Everson and Anton van der Merwe, who claimed they were journalists. The last word was that only the six Russians would face charges of importing non-lethal military contraband, which had first been delivered on board of an SAA plane to Entebbe in Uganda and was then loaded onto the Russian Antonov, which landed in Hargeisa in Somaliland instead of following the original plan top refuel in Addis and fly to Bosasso.
The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela confirmed the release of the two South African Nationals on Tuesday.
However, since their return to South Africa still serious questions concerning the "journalistic work" of the duo have arisen. It was said that they had been assigned by a South African company Moonlighting Films to the U.S.-American TV station SPA.
Asked by the Cape Times, Everson’s wife Su denied the pair had been working for Moonlighting Films, but could not say who they had been working for. According to Reuters, Theresa Ryan van Graan, of Moonlighting Films, refused to comment about Everson and Van der Merwe and did not confirm whether they had been working for the company either.
In Puntland recently mercenary company Saracen International with offices in Uganda and South-Africa had started operating, which triggered an international uproar. Saracen is run by Lafras Luitingh, a former senior executive of the now-defunct South African mercenary company Executive Outcomes. The freed duo denied knowing any of this but also could not really say what they actually were supposed to "film".
The story behind the story has it that the Saracen Puntland operations are financed by U.S.-American money channeled through a not specified "Muslim country" and are executed with the support of high Ugandan officials.
Discussions among professional journalist organizations are circling around the question how to achieve that in furture genuine journalists will not be seen as spies or mercenaries. This questions already had risen when two French governmental agents assigned to conduct trainings for special units of the embattled TFG government in Mogadishu had registered themselves as journalists in the Hotel they were staying in. After weeks both were then abducted from that Hotel, one later escaped and one is said to be still held by a fundamentalist group in Southern Somalia.
‘Black Water wants to go into Somalia’
Press TV interviews Thomas Mountain regarding the US support of conflicts in Africa and how the US is funding the Ethiopian President to invade Somalia.
Press TV: Welcome to On the Edge coming from sunny downtown Tehran, Iran. Let’s talk with Thomas C. Mountain. Thomas is an independent journalist living in Eritrea and writes often on the Horn of Africa. Thomas, welcome to the Edge.
Mountain: Thanks Max, it’s nice to be back.
Keiser: Thomas C. Mountain, you are an expert on the Horn of Africa. So what are your thoughts on the recent WikiLeaks cable gate revelations that the US essentially hired Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi to invade Somalia in 2006.
Mountain: Well, I haven’t really had a chance to review all 1300 some documents. But it’s pretty much common knowledge that Meles was sent in. And I don’t think he was too happy about it because in history no Ethiopian regime has ever picked a fight with the Somalis. There was a war between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1977, but that was started by the Somalis so I don’t think any Ethiopian President in his right mind would volunteer to start a war with Somalia. I think he was pretty much pressured by his masters who pay his salary and military budget in the United States.
Press TV: Right, well this is what we are seeing with these WikiLeaks revelations is the US just basically interfering all over the world extra legally with no due process, no consideration for the law, and no consideration for human rights or civil rights, and they are just making a mess wherever they go. The cables also show Black Water pitching in to get involved in Somalia. What’s the empire’s interest in Somalia? Do they have any oil?
Mountain: Well, yes there is suppose to be a lot of oil and gas. But I think it’s more of a… just in general Americans’ foreign policy particularly in regards to Africa, is what we call “crisis management.” They want to instigate a crisis and then manage the crisis. Thus they can basically prevent in strong nationalist government from coming to power that would protect the people’s interest and force the Western governments to pay a fair share in their natural resources. Basically they just want to be able to come in and pay off some war lords and rape and loot the resources of a country whenever possible. I think that is pretty much US policy in Somalia. They know that if a genuine nationalist government comes to power in Somalia, they are going to be pretty hostile to Western interests and especially the United States, because the US has committed a long list of very nasty crimes in Somalia. So they just want to see the war lords in power and when the Union of Islamic Courts came to power, it brought peace to Mogadishu for the first time and in 2006 Americans sent the Ethiopian gendarmes in to destroy that peace. So I don’t think the US has any good intentions toward Somalia at all.
Press TV: Tell me something about Somalia. You can help me pick through this whether it’s non-sense or not. I heard in Somalia Coca-Cola has these huge tankers parked outside that are filled with coke syrup. It’s the largest distribution point for coke syrup and effectively coke syrup is the currency of Somalia. Is that crazy or somewhere near accurate?
Mountain: That’s the first time I’ve heard of that. The Somali pirates have of coursed collected about 500 million dollars or more hijacking ships. There has been a lot of talk about them trying to defend their fishing rights and other things. But the bottom line is you have a lot of ships presently hijacked in Somalia, and the pirates there are basically working for the war lords. When the pirates capture a ship they have to pay off the local war lord, and they have to pay off the district war lord. They have to pay off the presidential war lord. They have to pay off the Ethiopian military and of course they have to pay off Meles Zenawi in Addis Ababa. In exchange for that they get protection. The Ethiopian regime is the US policeman. They pretty much told the United States and all the Western countries to lay off the Somalia pirates because they are paying protection money and that explains why there hasn’t been a single cruise missile come whistling to the doors of any of these pirates’ lairs after they have collected their loot. That is something nobody in the Western media wants to talk about. How come there has been zero retaliation against these pirates. The Americans have bombed…
Press TV: How much did you say? 500mn you say?
Mountain: Over 500mn yes.
Press TV: So essentially the American pirates, the Wall Street Banks are somehow involved in taking a cut of that and it’s easy money for them. And of course you would never go in and disrupt easy money. There is stock exchange that has sprung up around the piracy that’s going on. Real estate prices are exploding. So it’s like the Hamptons. You’ve got the crooks and the pirates on Wall Street and the real estate market in the Hamptons goes up. Here in Somalia you have pirates out there 500mn or so looting and the real estate market around that area goes up. You’ve got the same crooks, the same financial terrorists, the overlords: J.P Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Warren Buffett etc.. in their taking a cut. Now what is the mechanism for them to take the cut? I mean it’s not the IMF. They are not the intermediary disruptive terrorist force. It’s not the World Bank. What is the intermediary force that holds the bag; the bag man for the Wall Street Banks in Somalia?
Mountain: Well, the American foreign policy is based on using a local policeman. Most of the money ends up in Meles Zenawi’s pocket. He has his warlords in Puntland where most of the pirates come from. Puntland is located right on the very tip of the horn of Africa. So there is a payoff that starts out with some desperados going off in small boats by snatching these ships and collecting cash. They land on the beach and often they head right for the nearest Ethiopian military base. They make their payoff and make sure that no one comes in and bombs them in their homes. So in any case Meles Zenawi is the bag man.
Press TV: Who is the banking facility here? Is it the Swiss Banks? I heard that have a huge money laundering operation in Tel Aviv now picking up the slack from Switzerland. Where is the main money laundering going on for this particular global scam?
Mountain: You know Ethiopia is in the center of a major aid-to-arms diversion scandal. It’s something like 6 billion dollars a year according to the latest reports I’ve seen is funneled to the Meles Zenawi regime to keep him in power there and enforce the interest of the IMF and the World Bank in that part of the world. So I think it’s pretty much they pay off Meles Zenawi, and then he does what they want him to like invade Somalia. Right now Meles Zenawi is carrying out genocide in the Ogaden and its escalating into a full blown genocide where he is rounding up tens of thousands of ethnic Somalis in Ethiopian Ogaden and putting them into basically starvation camps. The expression is if you can’t catch the fish (meaning the Ogaden rebels) you drain the lake. That is what he’s doing. He is accelerating the Ogaden genocide and the purpose of all that is to just basically keep Meles Zenawi in power. So he can protect imperial American interests in the Horn of Africa, which is one of the most strategic areas in the world. All the trade between Asia and Europe passes through the Horn of Africa every day. So the Americans have gotten Meles Zenawi there protecting the banks’ interests, and protecting the financial terrorists, and he’s the guy that has the huge bank accounts in London with hundreds of millions of dollars. This has been going on for decades now.
Press TV: So, Meles Zenawi is going through London not Switzerland and Tel Aviv. Six billion dollars a year in arms deals, as off course arms dealing are America’s huge money laundering operation globally. That is a trillion dollars of tax money collected from those poor smocks in America every year that goes to the IRS and ends up in the Pentagon, and goes for buying guns for terrorists around the world like this fellow Meles Zenawi who is using billions of dollars in arms deals to launder the money he is stealing via the Somali pirates. I tell you he should just go public on the New York Stock Exchange and would get a better evaluation. He could be like the Google of piracy. He could be worth 200bn than just 20bn dollars. Anyway let’s move on. Black Water now known as Z, let’s talk about their involvement a little bit more. Are they visible? Do they wear big branded uniforms like Black Water Z mercenaries for hire or are they more underground?
Mountain: Well, I don’t think even Black Water wants to go into Somalia. They have been using Ugandan proxies and other proxies in Mogadishu to try and pop up this puppet regime that they claim is the government of Somalia. What they have been doing, these that got the blessing of the United Nations under the African Union, is every time the gorilla fighters attack them successfully in frustration they fire artillery rounds into the surrounding civilian neighborhoods. Most people don’t realize when you hear of death reports in Mogadishu almost all of that is caused by mortar and artillery rounds fired by the United Nation blessed African Union troops. So there’s probably been tens of thousands of Somalia’s killed by the United Nations and African Union troops in Somalia who they have the gall to call peace keepers.
Press TV: Alright, Thomas Mountain you live in Africa where missionaries and charities have operated for centuries as the unarmed wing of the empire. Tell us about the Human Rights mob. Who are they? What do they call themselves a mob?
Mountain: Well, I have labeled them the Human Rights mob because George Soros is the financial hit man. He has just given 1bn dollars over the next ten years in a matching grant to Human Rights Watch. Now this is a matching grant meaning through other foundations and trusts, which George Soros has laundered donations through the likes of human rights watch and Amnesty International for years now. He will give them another billion dollars. So Human Rights Watch is about to collect 2bn dollars in the next ten years from George the hit man Soros. Now what’s Human Rights Watch going to do with this? George Soros got on national public radio in the United States and said we are going to expand Human Rights watch into the developing world. We are going to have offices of Human Rights Watch basically gathering intelligence and influencing American government policy in the developing world as much as possible towards policies that favor George Soros. Now why do we call George Soros the hit man?
Well, a good example was the Rose Revolution in Georgia when George Soros put over 42mn dollars in through his NGO funds into supporting the Saakashvili regime. Now 42mn dollars is almost ten dollars per person in Georgia. That would be like if in the United States George Soros spent 3bn dollars on the American election putting Barack Obama into power. And what did he do? As soon as Saakashvili came to power, he started arresting the opposition, starting torturing opposition members, and opposition members starting disappearing and on top of that Saakashvili had his military attack the South Ossetians who he claims are his own people opening artillery fire on civilian communities. What can of massacre would have happened if the Russians hadn’t counter attacked and driven him out? All this was paid for by George Soros putting Saakashvili in power. This is blood money now. These NGOS that put Saakashvili into power with 42mn dollars have got blood stains on their hands. The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International kept their mouths shut when all this happened. They are quick to jump out and condemn Eretria for alleged human rights abuses, which are pretty much non-existent. Yet they are very quiet when it comes to a program that George Soros is funding.
So I call them the Human Rights Mob. They are taken the hit man’s money, and they are attacking countries like Eretria which are doing a lot of things to promote human rights like provide clean drinking water for the people, make sure everybody is fed and they have a roof over their head, and people have decent medical care. These are really the basic human rights. Not freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of elections, which is what Human Rights Watch and Amnesty claim so loudly about. You know the fact is the Human Rights movement has been bought off by a financial terrorist like George Soros to the tune of 2bn dollars. It’s an incredible amount of money in ten years. What are they going to do with it? We know what they are going to do with it. They are going to go and be a front for Soros in the 3rd world and developing world.
Press TV: Thomas Mountain, did you read the alchemy of finance, George Soros’ masterpiece where he explains reflexivity, which basically says if you manipulate the price of a market enough it will become the new normal, and then you can cash in on your manipulation, and so oh it was the market and not me.
Mountain: I’ll have to read that Max. Thanks for the tip.
Press TV: Yes, it’s a how to guide on how to manipulate markets. Just to be clear, the Human Rights Mob is a label you have given these groups. You are saying they are basically taking the money from Soros who has vested interest in manipulating these markets, and claiming to be somehow a man interested in furthering human rights when in fact he is only interested in furthering his network. He is not really doing well on either side as a hedge fund manager or as a human rights philanthropist….
Anyway, let’s move on to another one of these global, globe-trotting good-doers that seems to do bad more than good such as Bill Gates, multi-billionaire, founder of Microsoft. You write, “Bill Gates, 10bn dollar vaccine scam.” I take it you don’t find his charitable work in Africa very charitable Thomas Mountain.
Mountain: I’ll give you an example. I live in Eritrea, which has reduced malaria mortality in the last eight years by almost 85%. Malaria is the number one killer in Africa and this has been the biggest breakthrough in history in fighting malaria mortality. And it’s not a medicine-based program, it’s a public health-based program providing insect treated mosquito nets and making sure they get retreated, making sure that their clinics are within a couple of hours walk from all the villages in the malaria belt, and through this basic public health Eritrea has made the biggest breakthrough in malaria treatment in history.
Now, Bill Gates has turned around and donated, well it’s actually a tax-write off; my sources say over a billion dollars to develop a “vaccine for malaria.” People that know malaria know that it’s a very resistant, very quickly developed resistance to drugs and that in five years after the latest vaccine comes out it won’t work anymore, but by then its patent will have expired and Africa will have to buy a new vaccine. And every five years, a new vaccine and tens of billions of dollars of African blood money will get sucked out of Africa to pay for these latest vaccines and the fact is that Bill gates has got tens of billions of dollars invested in the major pharmaceutical companies. So this donation, which is actually a tax-write off, is going to end up bring back tens of billions of dollars, if Bill Gates has his way, back into the pockets of the major international pharmaceutical companies and it will pay off ten times or more on what Bill Gates has donated to this fight.
Now, the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently has been exposed for being a front for the major pharmaceuticals when it raised a big hysteria about the swine flu. For example, France had to destroy 350 million Euros of vaccine, which the WHO said they had to buy and what they’ve done basically is come in and suppress news about this big breakthrough in malaria mortality in Eritrea because it’s public health based, not pharmaceutical-based.
So tens of millions of lives could be saved if the rest of Africa and the rest of the world will emulate and copy and use Eritrea’s role model to prevent malaria deaths, instead they’re suppressing knowledge of this.
Press TV: Well, Bill Gates is a twice convicted predatory monopolist in the area of intellectual property so it makes sense that his solution to a problem would be to increase and expand more intellectual property that comes under the rubric of those laws that is a known economic fallacy and drainer of economies not a value added to economies.
Let’s move on to ‘land grab’ that is going on in many nations such as Saudi Arabia and China and many hedge funds including George Soros is buying lands in Africa – I take it this is just more of the same?
Mountain: Well there is some international companies and governments coming into Ethiopia and buying up some of the prime agricultural land. Of course, tens of millions of people in Ethiopia are literally starving or on the verge of starvation and yet some of the prime agricultural land is being sold or leased for 99 years to countries like Saudi Arabia, which exported something like 10,000 tons of rice from Ethiopia last year while millions of Ethiopians are literally starving to death.
Of course, several million of dollars of everyone of these deals gets put into Mili Sonali’s London bank accounts, but that’s a pretty good example of how when you get a gangster like Mili Sonali in power, he doesn’t care what happened to his own people.
Press TV: Let’s talk about China, is it a positive or a negative, their influence going on there?
Mountain: I think China overall has been quite positive. I’ll give you an example in Sudan – Sudan is the largest and potentially richest country in Africa and the west, the US in particular, wants to see Sudan divided because law in Sudan is under the leadership of Bashir (President Omar al-Bashir) who they claim is a genocidal killer when the facts on the ground is that Darfur relief effort is one of the largest best run relief efforts in history and that without the support and leadership of Bashir, it would not have been successful. So actually there never was genocide in Sudan.
Press TV: There was never genocide in Sudan? Explain that to me a little more, this could be news to George Clooney and some celebrities in LA – What do you mean by that?
Mountain: I was one of the first westerners to write about the problems in Sudan in 2003. The problems in Darfur were mainly a civil war that took place in 2004 and some part of 2005 and maybe 30,000 people died. Now that ‘s a big tragedy, but the relief effort started then and international forces along with Sudan security forces came in and pretty much stopped all the violence by 2006; so maybe 30,000 people died in Sudan – that was way back in 2004/2005. And since then, the people of Darfur, the victims of this violence have been the recipients of one of the largest best run relief efforts in history. The UN people, the Aid people on the ground in Sudan will tell you that this very successful relief effort would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of president Bashir and his government. So there hasn’t been genocide in Sudan, instead the genocide, which you Max were the first international news program to cover is the genocide in the Ogaden, which by the way Max puts you on the edge because the real genocide is being funded by the west in the Ogaden in Ethiopia. It never happened in Sudan that was all a big scam to brainwash everybody and say hey, we need to send troops in to protect the genocide victims, so the west can come in and take over the largest and potentially wealthiest country in Africa.
Press TV: Following up on this note that we broke the story on The Edge – Is there one thing that the mainstream media is not covering right now that we can break for our global audience today?
Mountain: Well I was just talking about this breakthrough in malaria and malaria mortality prevention in Eritrea – that’s a big story, but the Ogaden genocide is starting to accelerate. When you broke the story earlier this year it was a low level genocide. Now it’s accelerating with the development where they’re starting to put together these starvation camps – rounding up the Ogaden people into these camps. They’ve kicked all the western aid agencies out of the Ogaden; Mili Sonali has, including Doctors without Borders and the Red Cross. And now they’re rounding the people up and they’re basically going to starve them to death in these camps and we’re talking about 10, 12, 15 million potential victims and this is all being paid for by western tax dollars.
So I think this Ogden genocide is probably the biggest news story that’s starting to accelerate and that the west is not talking about and it was first broken here on your program, Max.
THEY ARE THERE ALREADY – AND IT IS A FREE FOR ALL
What some authors seem not to have realized is that the mercenaries are already there !!!
Trying to hide behind newly created camouflage-firms of Xe! Services (Blackwater goons) that outfit and others are already in action.
Five naval vessels are associated with the most notorious clandestine outfit, and in addition one with a Greek firm and two with a British company, while Bancroft (a merchenary outfit covered as a tax-deductible NGO !!!) Saracen, ACE and others are playing the shooters on land.
Kenyan Police Says Tanzanian behind City Blast By Zheng (Xinhua)
Kenyan authorities confirmed on Tuesday a Tanzanian who was headed to the Ugandan capital Kampala on a terrorism mission was behind the grenade attack which ripped through a Kampala-bound bus, killing at least three people.
But police chief Mathew Iteere said Albert John Olando Mulando, the suspect who carried luggage that had the exploded Russian-made grenade was the only person who died in the Monday night blast. "Preliminary investigations have established that the devise that exploded was an F1 Russian made Grenade similar to the one that exploded in a police Landrover within Eastleigh on Dec. 3," Iteere told journalists in Nairobi.
The blast smashed the windows of the Kampala Coach vehicle, and left blood stains and scattered bags on the ground nearby. The blast occurred as passengers were lining up to board the bus.
Iteere said the device exploded before Mulando, who was the owner of the bag and who was to occupy seat no. F4, could undergo a mandatory security check in order to board the bus, which was parked on River Road.
The police chief said the suspect was carrying a luggage wrapped in a plastic bag and as he was about to be screened at the entrance of the bus, he reportedly became nervous and dropped it, causing an explosion. "After the investigations, we are over 90 percent sure that the man was transporting the grenade to Uganda. It is only that he became nervous and dropped it down during the security check before he could enter the bus," Iteere told journalists in Nairobi.
He said the man did not have any identification documents with him apart from a pass issued on Oct. 23 when he entered the country through Loitoktok. "He is a Tanzanian born in Mwanza, and he has been staying in the country since he was issued with the pass," Iteere said. "So far, what we can say is that the man was acting alone and he did not have accomplices. He had with him a small notebook which had some mobile phone contacts which we are trying to scrutinise," he added. "In the process the said passenger dropped the paper bag and immediately the explosion occurred. The explosion injured the said passenger, other passengers and passers by," he said.
During the confusion, the police chief said, some of the passengers who were lining up to undergo a security check were wounded as well as others who were already in the bus.
According to Iteere, initial investigations have established that Mulando was the only casualty from the incident which also saw 22 Kenyans, 5 Ugandans, 4 Sudanese, and 6 Burundians, a Tanzanian and unknown person injured in the incident. "I am urging all Kenyans to be on high alert and always be wary of suspicious characters around them. Any such incidents or suspicious characters should be reported to the police," Iteere warned.
The police chief said they had all the reasons to link it with the terror warning issued in Kampala, Uganda on Sunday.
He said they have not yet establish the motive behind the attack but linked it to Somalia militant group, Al-Shabaab which waging nearly daily attacks on the transitional government of Somalia. "We do not know the motive yet but we are linking it with the Al shabaab and the threats they have been issuing," he said "We would like to assure the public that we are working with stakeholders to make our entire traveling hubs safe this festive season. We wish to commend Kampala Coach Bus Company for the security measures they have put in place to complement our efforts, " Iteere said.
Ugandan authorities had earlier warned that Al-Qaeda-linked militants planned to attack during the festive period of December.
Ugandan police said threats reportedly came from Islamist groups including the Al-Shabaab and Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Muslim rebel group that claimed to fight for equal rights for Muslims in Uganda.
In the previous most deadly attacks, more than 200 people were killed in August 1998 when Al-Qaeda operatives bombarded American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Somalia’s Al Shabab Islamist movement — which controls most of the country’s south and boasts of links to Al Qaeda — claimed it carried out the deadly attacks in Kampala in July, which killed 76 people, including an American aid worker.
The Kampala attacks were the first attacks that the group has launched outside of the Horn of Africa nation which has been without effective central government for more than two decades.
Al-Shabab has in the past threatened to attack Kenya because of its support for Somalia’s Western-backed government.
Despite running one of the most over-zealous counter-terrorism agencies in the Horn of Africa region, the Kenyan anti-terror agents have consistently arrested dozens of terror suspects but failed to secure a single conviction in a court of law on a terrorism charge.
Efforts to enact an anti-terrorism bill have failed to push through in Parliament as lobby groups ganged up with members of parliament to defeat a proposed law claiming it was inconsistent with the constitution forcing the government to withdraw it for re- drafting.
As a result of its failure to try terror suspects under the current laws, the authorities in Nairobi have resorted to rendition of terrorism suspects to countries where the government are under no particular pressure to produce the suspects in court and eventually freeing them.
Recent cases involving the Kenyan and Uganda authorities have highlighted the extent of this legal crisis.
N.B.: When does the world finally understand and realize that it is the "War on Terror" who brought terror to East Africa.
America’s New Mercenaries by Tim Shorrock Info (*)
As American commanders met for the Afghanistan review, Obama is hiring military contractors at a rate that would make Bush blush. Tim Shorrock on the Blackwater heirs.
Top U.S. commanders are meeting this week to plan for the next phase of the Afghanistan war. In Iraq, meanwhile, gains are tentative and in danger of unraveling.
Both wars have been fought with the help of private military and intelligence contractors. But despite the troubles of Blackwater in particular – charges of corruption and killing of civilians—and continuing controversy over military outsourcing in general, private sector armies are as involved as ever.
Without much notice or debate, the Obama administration has greatly expanded the outsourcing of key parts of the U.S.-led counterinsurgency wars in the Middle East and Africa, and as a result, for its secretive air war and special operations missions around the world, the U.S. has become increasingly reliant on a new breed of specialized companies that are virtually unknown to the American public, yet carry out vital U.S. missions abroad.
Companies such as Blackbird Technologies, Glevum Associates, K2 Solutions, and others have won hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military and intelligence contracts in recent years to provide technology, information on insurgents, Special Forces training, and personnel rescue. They win their work through the large, established prime contractors, but are tasked with missions only companies with specific skills and background in covert and counterinsurgency can accomplish.
Some observers fear that the widespread use of contractors for U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Horn of Africa could deepen the secrecy surrounding the American presence in those regions, making it harder for Congress to provide proper oversight.
Even in Iraq, where the U.S. has ended combat operations, the government is "greatly expanding" its use of private security companies, creating "an entirely new role for contractors on the battlefield," Michael Thibault, the co-chairman of the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting, recently warned Congress.
Among the companies getting contracts is Blackbird, which is staffed by former CIA operatives, and is a key contractor in a highly classified program that sends secret teams into enemy territory to rescue downed or captured U.S. soldiers.
Glevum, meanwhile, fields a small army of analysts in Iraq and Afghanistan who provide the U.S. military with what the company opaquely describes as "information operations and influence activities."
And K2 is a highly sought-after subcontractor and trainer for the most secretive units of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, including the SEAL team that rescued the crew of the Maersk Alabama from a gang of pirates last year. It is based near the Army’s Special Forces headquarters in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and was founded by Lane Kjellsen, a former Special Forces soldier.
Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander of conventional and special forces in the war zones, is using contractors because "he wants an organization that reports directly to him," said a former top aide to the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, the umbrella organization for all Special Forces.
"Everyone knows Petraeus can’t execute his strategy without the private sector."
The former aide spoke on the condition that he not be identified, saying his career could be jeopardized if he went public. The International Security Assistance Force, the general’s home command, did not respond to a request for comment.
The use of contractors could become a serious problem if controversies about them are not addressed, a senior British official warned during a recent visit to Washington. Pauline Neville-Jones, the U.K.’s minister of state for security and counterterrorism (and a former executive with QinetiQ PLC, a major intelligence contractor), told an audience at the Brookings Institution that "we have something of a crisis in Afghanistan" partly because of the "largely unregulated private sector security companies performing important roles" there.
The Pentagon’s Central Command had nearly 225,000 contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas at last count, doing tasks ranging from providing security to base support. Intelligence agencies such as the CIA and the National Security Agency field thousands more under classified contracts that are not publicly disclosed, but extend into every U.S. military command around the world. (According to reports in The Nation and elsewhere, Blackwater, which is now known as Xe, has contracted to send personnel into Pakistan to fight with the Joint Special Operations Command, although a command spokesman said the reports were "totally wrong.")
In response to a question from The Daily Beast, Neville-Jones said that American and British forces must work out "the operational rules and roles that they have when they are in the frontline." Unless that happens, "We are in danger of getting up against Geneva Convention problems and failure to observe fundamental rules of war."
A spokesman for SOCOM would not say exactly how many people work on its contracts, but did say that between 2001 and 2009, SOCOM’s budget has grown from about $3 billion to about $10 billion. Neither SOCOM nor Special Operations forces outsource combat operations, the spokesman said. "About the only contractors Special Operations forces might have with them on operations are interpreters," he said.
However, private contractors are now fulfilling vital functions previously done by the military itself.
Blackbird is a case in point. Based in Herndon, Virginia, a stone’s throw from the CIA, Blackbird deploys dozens of former CIA operatives and provides "technology solutions" to military and intelligence agencies. Much of the company’s revenue—including a $450 million contract awarded last year by the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command—comes from the deployment of special teams and equipment into enemy territory to rescue American soldiers who have been captured by Taliban or al Qaeda units or have stranded after losing their helicopters in battle.
Until recently, the task of rescuing American soldiers was largely carried out by the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recommended that the agency’s parent command in Virginia be closed. If the recovery agency is shut down, Blackbird would likely pick up the rescue business as it is outsourced. In that case, recovery of captured or stranded American soldiers "won’t be a military command anymore; it will be a business," said the former Special Operations command aide (an agency spokesman said, "It’s too early to say what will happen.")
Blackbird is run by CEO Peggy Styer, an investor once labeled a "serial defense entrepreneur" by CNN. Last year, she hired Cofer Black, the former head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, to a senior position. (Black hired and managed some of the first private operatives to enter Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and later joined Blackwater.) Perhaps anticipating a pickup in future business, a venture-capital fund launched by Styer and two other Blackbird founders recently raised $21 million on Wall Street. Blackbird did not return phone calls or emails.
Glevum Associates, for its part, has won contracts for controversial intelligence-gathering work.
The Boston-based company was founded in 2006 by Andrew Garfield, a former British intelligence officer with counterinsurgency experience in Northern Ireland. Garfield first gained public notice in 2004, when he was a key player in the Lincoln Group, a defense contractor that became notorious for engaging in a covert psychological operation to plant stories in the Iraqi press that put a positive spin on America and the U.S. war effort in Iraq. (Covert psychological operations are known in the trade as psy-ops.)