CIA’s Collaboration with Al Qaeda Sympathizers in Somalia Exposed

Nowadays the CIA doesn't even hide the fact that the Somali government is completely under agency’s control, as few months ago CIA director William Burns visited Somalia

5 mins read
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This investigation into what is often portrayed as the world’s foremost spy agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), reveals its persistent covert activities through back channels and its alleged sponsorship of terrorism in targeted nations. We are republishing this in collaboration with CIAgate, a volunteer group of investigative journalists and analysts, to shed light on these concerning revelations and their implications on global security and geopolitics.- Editors

Just over a year ago we told you about Chanda Creasy, a courageous yoga coach, who had previously managed to work with militants in Africa, making her way up to the position of special assistant to CIA director on global operations.

Recently we found new details of Chanda’s trip to Somalia in 2009, corroborating our assumptions about her role as a case officer who maintained arms/money supplies to local warlords. We strongly recommend you to read our previous articles for a refresher.

First of all, it is worth saying that the CIA began its expansion in Somalia around 1960s, using an extensive set of tools of political influence, such as kidnapping, operating black sites, promoting Somali politicians and funding warlords. Specifically, the last point was seen as a way to avoid re-sending American troops after the Black Hawk Down incident.

The CIA’s first attempts to form a combat-capable unit in Somalia were recorded back in the 2000s. The agency’s efforts led to the creation of the so-called Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter Terrorism (ARPCT) in 2006 to fight Islamic militant groups. According to the International Crisis Group, the CIA funneled from $100,000 to $150,000 a month to the ARPCT leadership.

Despite decent funding and supplies, however, the ARPCT was crushed by the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), another militant group in Somalia, whose leadership had previously been found to have ties to al Qaeda. It also should be noted, that right after the defeat most ARPCT warlords immediately swore allegiance to their opponent.

Given that the ICU’s goal to build a Sharia-law state resonated strongly with the local population, such a scenario was totally expected. But not for the CIA leadership, who apparently still believed that money alone could ensure victory on the battlefield: after it became clear that the ARPCT project was a complete failure, the CIA switched to financing another militant group in Somalia – Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jamma (ASWJ).

What is known about this paramilitary group?

A cursory study shows that ASWJ was formed in 1991 as an opposition to Salafists in Somalia, such as al Shabaab (al Qaeda branch). The group opposed hardline capital punishment, stonings, limb amputation, as well as banning music.

One might get the impression of these militants as moderate Muslims. However, if you read local media, which is almost non-existent there, the situation appears much different. For example, Somali Hiiraan claimed that ASWJ killed many young people under the pretext that they were al Shabaab’s sympathizers. The media also stated that ASWJ militants didn’t observe neither the Islamic ethics of war, nor any other convention such as Geneva Convention.

«I was shocked to see ASWJ’s fighters dragging many corpses of al Shabaab fighters in the dusty streets … These dead bodies were left at the city center to rot…ASWJ do not observe neither the Islamic ethics of war nor any other convention».

In 2011, the U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General reported that there have been numerous cases of using child soldiers by ASWJ and the TFG in their fight against terrorists.

So, it appears that ASWJ militants were not inherently different from Al Shabaab terrorists after all; both groups used Islam as a bargaining chip to expand their political influence in Somalia.

According to our source, it was also common for these two groups’ members to switch sides from time to time. There was also nothing wrong for ASWJ commanders to cooperate with the ICU. Having previously been recruited by the CIA, one of ASWJ leaders Mohamed Dheere worked closely and, according to Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology, was on good terms with the ICU leader Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Later Mohamed Dheere joined the ARPCT and waged war against his friend. However, after the defeat the CIA sent his spy back to the ASWJ.

The agency also did not hesitate in thoughtless waste of money on ASWJ, completely forgetting the lesson learned from confronting the ICU. That’s why almost similar story happened with ASWJ: by June 2009 al Shabaab nearly captured the capital, and millions of dollars in ASWJ training and equipment seemed to vanish in the haze. In this regard, the CIA has requested emergency assistance from the Pentagon to equip ASWJ with U.S. guns.

But how could this be done, given that Congress would never have authorized arms shipments to such dubious militants as the ASWJ? It was necessary for the CIA to find a reasonable argument for such step. And it was found.

On June 21, 2009, the TFG and ASWJ leaders signed an agreement on mutually beneficial cooperation, under which ASWJ will fight against Al Shabaab if they’re given certain ministerial posts in the cabinet and a number of MPs in the federal parliament.

Five days later, on June 26, 2009, Reuters reported that the Pentagon had delivered 40 tons of weapons and ammunition to the TFG army, the whole size of which was equal to two U.S. battalions.

Eventually, after three years of confrontation and with the support of the U.S. military, al Shabaab’s influence in the region was significantly diminished, finally allowing the CIA to install a “legitimate” Federal Government. The official ceremony included Somali President’s visit to his patrons at the State Department, where he was warmly welcomed by then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And now for the most interesting part: Chanda’s role in this whole story

We’ve obtained a DipTel from the CIA station in Kenya, dated July 17, 2009. The cable was a vetting request for specific ASWJ field commanders. According to the message, these warlords were supposed to “facilitate the Somali Transitional Federal Government possible future provision of U.S.-origin security assistance to ASWJ.”

The cable provided last name, first name, date of birth and job title of field commanders. Among them we found Mohamed Dheere, CIA-backed ARPCT commander and close friend of ICU bosses. That time the agency put him to the second most important position in the entire ASWJ structure.

The funny thing is that the Post “has found no derogatory information” on these individuals. True professionals indeed.

And who do you think was the contact person in Somalia, who oversaw the whole thing? It was already familiar to us Chanda Creasy, a yoga master from Washington, D.C. What a coincidence!

So, as you can see, the war on terrorism declared in 2000 is not always aimed at destroying these same terrorists. In many cases this is a simple and convenient pretext to invade a third world country and install a puppet government there. And Somalia is the best example of this.

Nowadays the CIA doesn’t even hide the fact that the Somali government is completely under agency’s control, as few months ago CIA director William Burns visited Somalia, where he discussed with the same president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud “regional issues of mutual interest and enhancing Somalia-U.S. strategic partnership in critical areas, including the fight against international terrorism.”

Their joint photo clearly shows what they think of constant civilian casualties and millions of dollars wasted.

Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and CIA chief William Burns, 2024

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