Terror War III: U.S. Forces Capture, Render Refugees From Somali "Regime Change"

Here's how George W. Bush treats refugees fleeing from the carnage wrought by his "War on Terror": he has them captured at gunpoint and "rendered" to torturers in his pay, where they are chained, blindfolded, beaten, stuffed into cages then "disappeared" into secret prisons notorious for their vile abuses. These captures of people trying to escape from the terrors of "regime change," from the ravages of foreign armies invading their homes, include women and children, as attested by the story of 17-year-old Safia Benaouda, a pregnant Swedish woman who was grabbed – by American troops – as she fled from the bloodbath following the Bush-backed Ethiopian assault on Somalia, AP reports.

Benaouda and her fiance, Munir Awad, a Lebanese-born Swedish citizen, were separated as they joined the throngs of Somalis and other nationalities heading for the Kenyan border as the Ethiopian troops, backed by Somali warlords and American bombers, tore into Mogadishu to overthrow the "Islamic Courts" government which had stabilized the country after 15 years of anarchy. Benaouda fell in with a group of women and children who reached Kenya on January 18. There, they were stopped by Kenyan troops -- led by three American soldiers, Benaouda said this week. After weeks of rendered captivity in Ethiopia, she had finally been allowed to return to Sweden in late March.

"After the American soldiers had detained us they kept in the background, but it was very clear that they were the ones in charge," Benaouda, who was finally freed from an Ethiopian prison late last month, was quoted as saying by the Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet.

The Kenyan soldiers shot one of the women, she said. After the American-led capture she and other women:

were brought to Nairobi and then returned to Somalia, blindfolded and handcuffed, before being transferred to a prison in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, she said. There, she said, she saw her fiance for the first time in weeks.

Awad was among eight terror suspects shown on Ethiopia's state-run television Tuesday as the country came under mounting pressure over the detention program. Awad and the others said they were being treated humanely.

But Benaouda said she saw her fiance and two other Swedish citizens confined in what looked like "poultry cages with metal roofs" in Ethiopia, and that she was beaten by a prison guard with a stick at one point during her detention. In March, the guards started treating her better and on March 23, she said, she met an official from the Swedish Embassy. Four days later, Benaouda, who is pregnant, was put on a plane home.

U.S. "special ops" forces "regularly train Kenyan security officers" at a naval base near the Somali border, American officials told AP. That border region -- on the Somali side -- was one of the targets of the American air strikes launched in support of Bush's Ethiopian-warlord proxies. American officials justified the raids by saying they were aimed at a handful of alleged al Qaeda operatives who had allegedly been sheltered by the Islamic Courts government. But somehow, dropping high explosives from several thousand feet in the air failed to pinpoint the individual suspects -- although it has killed dozens, perhaps hundreds of innocent civilians, including 31 people in a single airstrike, as the Guardian reported.

We'v written extensively (see below) on this new "regime change" operation: the third government that Bush has taken down in his"War on Terror" -- and the third such action which has quickly descended into a bloody quagmire of chaos, ruin, terror and death for the innocent people caught in the maw of his brutal geopolitical games. But this fresh eruption of hell has gone almost unnoticed in the Homeland of the Terror War. Much ink has been spilled over the firing of Don Imus -- a witless putz who has been justly served for his racist outburst; but America's role in the slaughter, captivity and torture of thousands of people -- almost all of them non-combatants guilty of nothing but being of the wrong color or the wrong religion -- rates nary a mention by the gatekeepers of our national discourse.

For more on Bush's War in Somalia, see:
Getting Away With It: Rendition and Regime Change in Somalia
Blues for Allah: More Blood in the Wake of the "War on Terror"
US Attacks Somalia, Taking Sides With Former Enemy Warlords