• 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.…

  • Private Military Companies,  War

    Is war about to break out in the Horn?

    News from the Horn of Africa heats up. "Ethiopia’s prime minister said on Thursday that he believes it iscommon knowledge that an al-Qaeda terror cell is operating in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu…The African Union, also based in Addis Ababa, was meeting late on Thursday to discuss plans to send troops to Somalia to guarantee the safety of the government-in-exile, which was formed after three years of peace talks in Kenya." Back in May 2005, US Marines were reported to have landed in the area, but that’s dated. Currently, the heat is between the Transitional Government and the "other". From today’s news (emphasis added): A group of Somali lawmakers in-exile on Tuesday…

  • Africa,  Private Military Companies

    Updated: TopCat and Marathon Link & Oil Diplomacy

    Back in Aug 2004, TopCat conducted a symposium on "security vulnerability assessment procedures and how to develop a comprehensive security plan for your facility or site." Listed as one of the "Expert Instructors" was a Col Bernard "Bernie" J. McCabe (ret.), manager of Global Security for the Marathon Oil Corporation but a one-time rep for Sandline. More information on McCabe and Marathon oil is found in a lengthy document about "the new world order’s mercenaries" has more food for thought: …old-boy network had put him in touch with oil entrepreneur Anthony Buckingham. Buckingham, also ex-military, has been described in some press accounts as a former member of Britain’s naval special…

  • Africa,  Private Military Companies

    Marathon, PETRONAS, and PexCo Oil and Somalia

    More information on the Somalia, Oil, and possibly TopCat continue. Reporting from Oil and Gas Investor indicates Marathon Oil, of Texas, and possibly other firms have taken over the Conoco claims, or at least is moving in on them, and bumping yet another company to boot. From the Nov 2005 issue, emphasis added: 4. Mixed messages are being sent about licensing in Somalia with a Dutch firm taking acreage but an Australian firm, which thought it had won a block, being told it had negotiated with the wrong people. [Dutch] PexCo exploration has signed up for with the Ministry of Mines and Energy for exploration in the Ogaden area, according…

  • Private Military Companies

    Potential Cost of Private Military Companies

    The recent AEGIS video possibly showing inappropriate behaviour (allegations until proven) is further opening the eyes of the public on private military companies. One proported reason for the expanded use of these companies is  that private enterprise can provide services quicker and at lower costthan public enterprises is rooted in the American corporate experience. However, the “low-cost” advantages of private military forces fail to provide net cost savings when the entire engagement is included in the calculus. Consider the value of military procurement when the two options are private firms or public agencies and the private pitch is high efficiency at a lower face value than public agencies. Not included…

  • Africa,  Private Military Companies

    Puzzle Pieces: HAFZA…Somalia…TopCat….intent? Goal?

    The HAFZA site, available on Google Docs in archive form, has extensive text on being legitimate and extolling the value of its purpose. As part of its financing, HAFZA authorized a "Mid Term Note" (MTN) of $50m, issued one year ago and due 2014. Websites and entities seeking to obfuscate the truth do not tend to go into as much detail as HAFZA has to explain its mission and provide supporting documentation, and above all, reiterate over and over a noble purpose.

  • Peacekeeping,  Private Military Companies

    Accountability of Non-State Force

    The growing use of private military forces has distinctly increased its and breadth since 9/11 with an estimated 20,000 private contractors operating in Iraq alone, more than double the United Kingdom’s 8,500. Often operating without direct military or civilian monitoring or control, questions about their accountability generally focus on their status as private business or "modern" mercenaries.