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Slide Show: Tracking the CIA in Somalia | The Nation

Slide Show: Tracking the CIA in Somalia

  • Jeremy Scahill in Mogadishu, Somalia

    A report from the front lines in Mogadishu by Jeremy Scahill (1 of 13)

    “In the eighteen years since the infamous ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident in Mogadishu,” The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill writes in an exclusive report in this week’s issue, “US policy on Somalia has been marked by neglect, miscalculation and failed attempts to use warlords to build indigenous counterterrorism capacity, many of which have backfired dramatically.” But now the US is intensifying its military and intelligence efforts in the country.

     

    According to Scahill’s on-the-ground investigation in Mogadishu, conducted with filmmaker Richard Rowley, the CIA has not only opened a new base in the capital city, but also uses a secret prison in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed (2 of 13)

    It is unclear how much, if any, control Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has over the CIA-backed counterterrorism forces in Mogadishu.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films

  • A cathedral in central Mogadishu (3 of 13)

    Livestock eat trash near the ruins of a cathedral in central Mogadishu. The once-beautiful city has been devastated by two decades of war.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • An African Union patrol in Mogadishu (4 of 13)

    African Union forces from Uganda and Burundi navigate the city in heavily armored mine-resistant vehicles.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • On Mogadishu’s front lines (5 of 13)

    Militiamen fighting for the Somali government take up positions on the front lines of the government-controlled zone.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • On Mogadishu’s front lines (6 of 13)

    Fighting between the government's militias and the Shabab, the Islamic militant group that controls much of Mogadishu, has cleared all civilians from the front lines, and whole neighborhoods now stand abandoned.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • A militia in Mogadishu (7 of 13)

    Mogadishu's streets are patrolled by armed men with dozens of different affiliations—some uniformed, some in plain clothes.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • A militia in Mogadishu (8 of 13)

    At times, largely because of abuses committed by Somali militias the CIA has supported, US policy has strengthened the hand of the very groups it purports to oppose and inadvertently aided the rise of militant groups, including the Shabab.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films

  • A militia fighter walks through a former Shabab position (9 of 13)

    The Shabab constructed a honeycomb of underground tunnels in Mogadishu to move from building to building.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • Inside the Shabab tunnels (10 of 13)

    By some accounts, the tunnels stretch continuously for miles.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • Fortified fighting positions in the Shabab tunnels (11 of 13)

    “Pop-up” positions once used by Shabab snipers and guarded by sandbags are all that remain of guerrilla warfare positions.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • Mogadishu’s Al Madina Hospital (12 of 13)

    Doctors at Al Madina Hospital—Mogadishu's only trauma hospital—struggle to save the life of a civilian victim of a bomb attack on an AU convoy. The roadside bomb missed its target and hit a passenger bus full of university students.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

  • Somali militia member on the streets of Mogadishu (13 of 13)

    For more, read Jeremy Scahill’s article in this week’s issue, The CIA's Secret Sites in Somalia.

     

    Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films 

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