• Private Military Companies

    Is TopCat really in “mobilization”?

    From Karthryn Cramer comes a tasty bit of news that the BBC wasn’t actually wrong when it said Top Cat Marine Security was in a “mobilisation phase” (UK spelling). From Ms Kathryn Cramer: [a] company that builds boats identical to Top Cat’s seems to have set up shop in Panama Panama is nice place to hide. A commentator on Kathryn’s site says Casini, if it is Top Cat, can’t hide in Panama because ITAR can still reach Pete, he being a US citizen and all. I don’t think that is why he’s hidingout. The US State Department’s "cease & desist" is still a fuzzy red herring to me until I…

  • Private Military Companies

    PMC “Hostages” in Colombia

    Like a VH1 show, we’ve got to ask where are the three PMC hostages, held since Feb 2003, now? These guys — Tom Howes, Marc Gonsalves, and Keith Stansell — have been neglected by the USG under the "theory" they are private citizens. The GWOT in the Colombian sphere falls under the sub-heading "War on Drugs" and is nearly completely outsourced. The financial aid to Colombia to target drug production etc is largely done through private military contracts. Information on these three guys is sparse, to say the least. A Dec 2005 item on CNN disappeared and had to be retrieved via GoogleCache. The State department has not "forgotten" about…

  • Private Military Companies

    Kathryn Cramer: Top Cat Marine Security Has an Executive Level

    In an effort to keep information fresh, from Kathryn Cramer’s blog on TopCat Marine Security: We had our differences and I’m no longer associated with Peter Casini, TCMS, Cobra Boats, Topcat Design or any other Casini enterprise. It seems that "Bacehlor #3" in an earlier post by Kathryn is a man who now is making it clear he has nothing to do with TopCat. TCMS is an interesting org, but still more interesting: Did they hope to get in front of the coming action?

  • Uncategorized

    The Cheetah Cubs

    The Cheetah Cubs According to the Department of State, "U.S. counterterrorism troops, carrying out humanitarian water improvement projects in the Horn of Africa region" found these two cubs and rescued them in Dec 05. It is good and expected our forces are in the region and there are no negatives to that from my perspective. The issue complicates when considering the "armed camps" protecting Chinese oil workers in the region.

  • Africa,  Public Diplomacy

    America’s “quiet diplomacy” in Somalia

    Interesting addition to the Somalia & USG story and at AllAfrica.com: Somalia is a priority for the U.S. State Department, which is engaged in "quiet diplomacy" to help buttress its fragile transitional government, a key state department leader said Wednesday night at the University of Minnesota. Also, Horn of Africa "security briefing" from a regional news source.

  • Private Military Companies

    Update: Has TopCat Marine Security Been Ordered to Cease & Desist? & Other Regional News

    Possibly so, according to Kathryn Cramer’s blog, Top Cat Marine Security Ordered to Cease & Desist. …the US Department of States Bureau of Arms Control has issued a Cease and Desist order to Top Cat Marine Security on their pirate-fighting contract with Somalia…. But so what? From the region are BBC reports of Eritrea ejecting UN peacekeepers monitoring the border with Ethiopia. This comes as a possible reaction to threatened UN sanctions resulting from a lack of compliance with a five year old peace agreement. Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council gave an unusually strong rebuke in response: "The Security Council unequivocally demands that Eritrea immediately reverse its decision…

  • Uncategorized

    Somalia & Uranium?

    Came across this tidbit on Somalia from a 1993 National Review Online article: In 1984, Brazilian mining company Construtora Andrade Gutierrez announced a $300 million investment in a uranium mine in northern Somalia. The deal was to be financed by Banco do Brasil, and the host government agent was the Somali Arab Mining Company (Soarmico). Soarmico was itself a joint venture founded in 1978 between the Somali government, the Arab Mining Company based in Jordan, and Iraq. But according to a dated World Energy Council report, Somalia has only a small reserve that would be (relatively) expensive to extract. :: See the Somalia category for all preceding and future items…

  • Private Military Companies

    More on TopCat associations

    Without getting into details here, but Kathryn Cramer has done some interesting investigative work on those associated with TopCat Marine Security, which makes for an interesting read. Her information paints TopCat more like an Executive Outcomes / Sandline mercenary outfit than a respectable private military firm providing security services, of which there are many. Her research indicates a Fox News link to TopCat. Definitely worth the read.

  • Africa,  Private Military Companies

    TopCat, Somalia, Ethiopia: Ogaden, Gedi, EPRDF/TPLF

    Some excellent questions and conflicts in wording were raised by a reader (see Marathon, PETRONAS, and PexCo Oil and Somalia) that deserve their own post. The additional research was insightful and makes me more confident in my Boots on the Ground post earlier today. To start, Hale pointed out a contradiction found on the Global Exploration and Product News website (aka "Oil and Gas Investor" in my previous post, or E & P) regarding the validity of Range Resource’s agreement with the Transitional Government, of which Prime Minister Gedi (Geedi) is the (nominal?) head. The exact wording of the text I posted contains the contradiction Hale points out: Mixed messages…

  • Private Military Companies

    Boots on the ground?

    Looking back at a previous post, I’m struck by a statement by a minister of the Transitional Government, Abdalla Haji Ali: "Besides donating assorted weapons to favored factions, unfortunately Ethiopian military personnel crossed deep in to Somali regions of Bakol and Bay in the last 48 hours." The timing of Ethiopia’s recent announcement of what may seem like public knowledge — "We have a very active terrorist cell in Mogadishu, which has been involved in terrorist activities in Kenya" — is curious. Both Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s statement and Ali’s statement were reported the same day. Ethiopia’s offer to "help" comes during ongoing African Union peace talks last week.…