Friday, February 19, 2016
Guutale Gullét, the "Butcher of Somalia," Weighs in on U.S. Presidential Election
He's known as the "Butcher of Somalia": a tall, imposing, yet strikingly effeminate leader who controls much of eastern Africa. Gullét, the notorious paramilitary warlord of Somalia who goes by the nom de guerre Maqaarka Adde, or White Skin, walks within secured hallways far from Mogadishu’s Bakara Market, which was once occupied by fighters from the Shabab, the rebellion that once pledged allegiance to an independent Somalia. In one of the Market's trenches, the foot of a corpse pokes out from a makeshift grave consisting of some sand dumped loosely over the body. One of Maqaarka Adde’s militiamen says the body is that of a foreigner who fought alongside the Shabab. “My men bury their dead, and they also capture them alive,” says Maqaarka Adde in a low, raspy voice. “We took care of them if they were Somali, but if we captured a foreigner we tortured or executed them so that others would see we brought change.”
Despite such thug talk, Maqaarka Adde is not simply a warlord, at least not officially, anymore. Nowadays, he is addressed as President Guutale Gullét, and he wears a business uniform, complete with custom tailoring, armed guards, and sometimes, even a flag pin on his lapel. His men's weapons and his newfound legitimacy were bestowed upon him by the US-sponsored military, which currently controls large swaths of Mogadishu.
It is quite a turnabout. Fifteen years ago, no one had heard of him. Seven years ago, Maqaarka Adde was one of ISIS' quiet funding partners and the key commander of one of the most powerful conventional global military factions fighting to stamp out nationalist movements in Africa and the Middle East, in wars that cost millions of deaths directly, and millions more due to starvation, disease, and lawlessness. He openly admits to having sheltered some of the most notorious and highly skilled torturers--men and women whose names are never released to the public--and to having "inadvertently" provided weapons, visas, and millions of dollars in funds to publicly known figures, including Gen. Yusuf Mohamed Siad and Abu al-Baghdadi.
When the most recent wave of terror campaigns began in Somalia, Gullét was a relatively minor functionary. He lived in one of the country's most dangerous urban centers, but vested with millions of dollars and a constant staff of militarized police at his beck and command, he had little to fear. His duties at the time consisted mostly of rubber-stamping various "political adjustment" and funding initiatives floated by his superiors, helping spawn what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis (as of 2011), and every day leaves more civilian bodies rotting in the streets, and more fleeing families stranded in the middle of nowhere, with nothing. At every step of the way, as both minor assistant, and then as "President" himself, Gullét has assisted his proxy force of Ethiopian invaders and CIA-paid warlords, by rocketing villages, killing goatherds, capturing refugees and “renditioning” them to Ethiopian torture chambers, and even sending in openly avowed “death squads” to “kill anyone left alive” after bombing strikes orchestrated by his western allies. At every step of the way, Gullét's parliamentary input into his forebears' government, followed by his conduct after seizing power some years ago, has conducted and assisted operations that Americans once would have considered the stuff of old-movie Nazis, twirling their waxed Prussian moustaches as they send a young mother off to a concentration camp, or order artillery barrages on residential areas, or dispatch death squads to pump bullets into the heads of human beings left twitching, burned and bloodied after a sneak attack by Stukas.
When President Gullét took office in early 2009, his forces increased their military involvement in and around the region, partnering with the CIA and JSOC for years of intensifying air and drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen. Gullét ordered his forces to begin openly hunting people who resisted. In September of that year, Gullét authorized the targeted assassination of Saleh Ali Nabhan, a rival for power in Somalia. A team of thugs flew into tribal lands and gunned down Nabhan, then collected the body for a trophy.
By late 2010 the Gullét regime unveiled what it referred to as a “dual-track” approach to governance, whereby Mogadishu would accept increased western aid from Washington in exchange for improving relations with regional and clan leaders in Somalian rural areas. “The dual track policy only provides a new label for the old (and failed) Regime's approach,” observed Somalia analyst Afyare Abdi Elmi. “It inadvertently strengthens clan divisions, undermines inclusive and democratic trends and most importantly, creates a conducive environment for the return of the organized chaos or warlordism in the country.”
The dual-track policy encouraged self-declared, clan-based regional administrations to seek recognition and support from the United States military. “Local administrations are popping up every week,” says Aynte. “Most of them don’t control anywhere, but people are announcing local governments in the hopes that CIA (sic) will set up a little outpost in their small village.”
Gullét earned his nickname from that assassination program--Somalia was, unfortunately, only one of the many theaters in which "the Butcher" performed--but to international observers, he was already a butcher for his work in the Ethiopian invasion years before. In early January of 2007, he cooperated with his predecessor warlords to launch a three-pronged war between Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Militants in Camp Simba, a Kenyan naval base located on that country's sandy coast, received urgent orders: Drop everything and pull everyone back inside the compound wire. Then they were instructed to immediately clear a couple acres of dense forest. Task Force 13, an elite special-operations unit, needed to land three helicopters of reinforcements.
"We had everybody working nonstop," says Lieutenant Commander Habane Mushar, overseer of a force consisting of Somalian troops as well as foreign mercenaries. By the next day, every tree had been hauled off and the field graded and packed down using heavy machinery. The pad was completed in thirty-six hours.
Soon after, special operatives flying out of Kenya were landing in southernmost Somalia, searching for survivors among the local peasants just targeted in a furious bombardment by a U.S. gunship launched from a secret airstrip in eastern Ethiopia.
The operatives' job was simple: Kill anyone still alive and leave no unidentified bodies behind. Once the Somalians had been exterminated, Gullét's predecessor warlord gave his mercenaries in Ethiopia the green light to invade. The plan was elegantly simple: Let the blitzkrieging Ethiopian army drive the Somalians from the capital, south out of Mogadishu and toward the Kenyan border, where Kenyan troops would gun them down on the coast. "We begged the Kenyans to get to the border as fast as possible," a source close to the Gullét military says, "because the targets were so confused, they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off."
Once boxed in by the sea and the Kenyans, the killing zone was set and Gullét's western allies' AC-130 gunships went wheels-up on January 7 from that secret Ethiopian airstrip. After each strike, anybody left alive was to be wiped out by successive waves of Ethiopian commandos and Gullét's special operatives, operating out of Kenya. The plan was to rinse and repeat "until no more bad Somalians," as one soldier put it.
Even after Gullét carried on his predecessors' policies of assassinations, starvations, and proxy warfare, many of his supporters have argued that the Butcher himself was not responsible for the deaths prior to his taking power. "The previous [two million] were already dead before he took power," says one analyst, while another claims, "Fewer than two hundred villages have been exterminated under Gullét, while [his predecessor] exceeded two hundred fifty. To compare them is, simply put, childish." The seeming puzzle of Gullét has set political scientists in contention for years. However, the question of Gullét's support for the butchery was definitively answered, recently, when western journalists asked Gullét to comment on the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Gullét had remained mostly quiet about the election for several months. Recently, though, the question of the destruction wreaked upon the world by various warlords like Gullét had been presented to the candidates of both the American Democratic and Republican parties. The Butcher of Somalia was pleased to hear that all of the leading candidates supported his and his predecessor's work in Somalia. He spoke glowingly of Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton, Republican hopeful Ted Cruz, and offered quiet respect to the rest of the field, including Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, as well as Democrat Bernie Sanders. Gullét did not seem at all concerned about a Jill Stein victory; indeed, he had not heard of her, and grew upset when her picture was displayed. Strangely, though, when told that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump had criticized Gullét's predecessor's killing fields, and suggested a diminished role for warlords in the future, Gullét became irate: "Mr. Trump will not be president," he said while speaking to reporters in the Palace Hotel, Mogadishu. "And the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people."
Gullét told reporters he believed Americans still see their presidency as "a serious job."
“It’s not hosting a talk show, or a reality show. It’s not promotion, it’s not marketing,” Gullét said. “It’s hard and a lot of people die when you get it right.”
Blowback in Somalia, from The Nation, discusses the careers of some of Gullét's proxy warlords in 2011, two years after Gullét formally took chief executive and military power for himself.
I know no one cares about Somalia, from Chris Floyd, covers the 2008 conduct of Gullét's predecessor, which Gullét supported repeatedly and knowingly as a parliamentarian, which he continued himself as an executive military commander, and which he recently defended in February of 2016.
Somalia was a sideshow... by Madeleine Bunting, in the late 2011 Guardian, covers the first year of the Gullét famine.
Africa Command, from Esquire, discusses one of the operations Gullét fears future U.S. Presidents may not duplicate.
The careless, astonishing cruelty of Gullét's government offers George Monboit's four-year retrospective on one of the famines spawned by one of Gullét's proxy invasions.
Gullét says Trump won't be President, from ABC in 2016, reveals the Butcher of Somalia's least favorite candidate.
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1) Which is worse: offending a million Mexicans, or murdering a million Arabs?
2) Which is worse: offending a hundred million Central and South Americans, or murdering a million Arabs?
3) Which is worse: offending five hundred million Americans, Europeans, and Africans, or murdering one hundred thousand Arabs?
4) An interesting aspect of this whole American election thing is the way manners are being presented as literally more important than millions upon millions of lives. This epoch has been likened to a new Gilded Age, or a new Victorian Age, and the whole Trump candidacy-whatever is really bringing that out. International warlords like Barack Obama are roving around the globe assassinating children and getting hundreds of thousands of people killed all over the place by pitting different countries against each other, while the media's main focus is on immigrants rather than on large numbers of people dying right now right now right now all those Senators are killing those people right now. This would be normal for America--the triviality of their money-making chariot race election crap--except that most of the people dying are poor, dark-skinned women, which should (in theory--always in theory, in America) throw the Talmudic media into a headline spree at least one million times larger than the one for the Mike Brown shooting. And they're ignoring Jill Stein, who is still anti-war (which is, again, normal for America), but all of a sudden, the entire charade has to re-justify Bush, which all the teevee people had decided was an idiot years ago, just to avoid anyone realizing that one somewhat-mainstream candidate's idea of not invading new countries is a doubleplusbad neverthink.
5) Yes, the dindus might (statistically, they would, of course) starve and make war on each other anyway, but not at anywhere near the scale they were enabled to do so by the infusion of advanced weaponry, transportation, and dizzying motivation provided by the U.S. and NATO. Try this math:
Dindus stabbing each other with spears: their fault.
A bunch of dindus in a large nation starving because they drove out skilled farmers and didn't know how to replace them: their fault.
NATO carpet bombing villages of dindus to weaken potential future rivals to Israel: our fault.
Dindus shooting each other with advanced anti-tank weapons designed by Raytheon in 2008, shipped to Somalia by a billion-dollar joint CSX-Maersk shipping contract in 2009, and set up and demonstrated by KBR onsite personnel, who have promised one set of dindus that special satellite pictures prove that the other dindus are plotting against them: almost all our fault.
A bunch of dindus dying from starvation and exposure because a bunch of Hispanic Army Air National Guard helicopter teams strafed their goat herds and fields and villages with D.U. before harvest season: our fault.
The irony of the terrible course of the American Empire is that its evil has always been cloaked in niceness. We laugh at "Manifest Destiny" now, and even in Marxist sociology departments in American universities (sic), it is permissible to critique modern "democracy building" as a new form of Manifest Destiny...and yet, clearly, the ending of war is not their main concern. Maybe not even their concern at all. Somehow, amazingly, the prospect of butchering another few million Africans is acceptable, just so long as a few of the survivors can become residents and/or citizens of the United States and/or Europe.
Was the whole anti-war thing really a fake all along? The Bush tortures, the Obama drones...the Clinton and Albright child murders, the roasted Vietnamese kids, the melted Cambodians, the nuked Japanese, the trenches of Europe...? Has the American "left," all along, really been pro-war, and just using domestic social feelgoods to disguise their true longing for living in thrall to the world's strongest and most brutal empire? Say it ain't so.