1) Wake up, grab some coffee
2) Start absorbing the usual news sources
3) See reference to many countries having military bases in close proximity in Djibouti [po]
4) Think, “That’s AFRICOM, right?”
5) Open up Google maps
6) Find Camp Lemonier
Camp Lemonier is a typical American base; it gives you a good idea why the US empire is so expensive.
Pizza Hut, 11 Degrees North, Movie Theater, Subway, tennis courts – I’m surprised they haven’t built a golf course yet, but that’s probably on the TODO list. The aircraft upper left look a lot like AC-130s – flying artillery bases. Up at the northeast end of the base (not shown) are helipads – probably where all the “operators” board up to fly … to where?
Well, that certainly didn’t take long to answer, did it.
But let’s keep pretending to believe that the US is just providing logistical support and whatnot for the Saudi invasion of Yemen. Oh, wait, we’re not calling it an “invasion” yet, are we? They’re just bombing the shit out of the place for no purpose at all, we are supposed to believe.
Civilian aircraft don’t park under revetments like that. Makes you wonder if it’s drones or jet fighters? Ha, ha, ha, of course it’s drones.
This is really too easy. All you have to do is wonder, “is that drones or …?” and Google “drone pilots djibouti” and you get back answers.
The Washington Post, characteristically, fellates the permanent war-state: [wp]
DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti — Around the clock, about 16 times a day, drones take off or land at a U.S. military base here, the combat hub for the Obama administration’s counterterrorism wars in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
Some of the unmanned aircraft are bound for Somalia, the collapsed state whose border lies just 10 miles to the southeast. Most of the armed drones, however, veer north across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, another unstable country where they are being used in an increasingly deadly war with an al-Qaeda franchise that has targeted the United States.
Camp Lemonnier, a sun-baked Third World outpost established by the French Foreign Legion, began as a temporary staging ground for U.S. Marines looking for a foothold in the region a decade ago. Over the past two years, the U.S. military has clandestinely transformed it into the busiest Predator drone base outside the Afghan war zone, a model for fighting a new generation of terrorist groups.
Wait, there is an Al Qaeda franchise in Yemen that has targeted the United States? How does that work, exactly. The United States is two days of flights by commercial air from Yemen. I feel utterly un-threatened by anything that happens in Yemen. I don’t want to seem dismissive, but there you have it.
7) The article said there were a lot of other militaries living side-by-side up in Djibouti, let’s scan around with Google maps and see what else is there.
8) Well, looky here: about a half mile from the camp, a short hop, but isolated: [google map link]
Wow, that was a bit too easy. Look the nice cleared perimeter, walls, crash-trenches so nobody can ram a truck-bomb through, complex gate to defeat assaults or truck-bombs. Expensive security. Good security. And the architectural tone looks pretty familiar, too; for one thing, only Americans spend money like that. [stderr]
9) Google “CIA black site djibouti” and you find [alj]
The legal case of a former CIA detainee suing the government of Djibouti for hosting the facility where he says he was detained could be helped by the contents of a still-classified Senate report. Djibouti, a key U.S. ally, has denied for years that its territory has been used to keep suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in secret captivity. But the Senate investigation into the agency’s “detention and interrogation program” concluded that several people had been secretly detained in the tiny Horn of Africa state, two U.S. officials who read an early draft of the report told Al Jazeera.
Official confirmation of Djibouti’s role in hosting “black sites” used in the CIA’s rendition program would be welcomed by Mohammad al-Asad, a Yemeni arrested at his home in Tanzania on Dec. 27, 2003, blindfolded and flown to a location he insists was Djibouti.
Well, you know Trump said he’d re-open the black sites, but that place sure doesn’t look like it’s recent or it’s ever been closed.
I used Google Maps “add place” interface to label that location “CIA Black Facility” – I wonder if it will be approved?
But, the point of the initial story is that there are a variety of bases in Djibouti, by various governments. And, sure enough, there appear to be. Here’s someone’s secret drone base, it’s only about 5 miles from Camp Lemonier. They nicely parked their drones out where whatever satellite took this picture could see them. [google maps link] That’s some pretty sad dick-waving when you compare their base (whoever’s this is) to the US base with its AC-130s.
And there’s a Chinese base, too!
It’s described as being “west of the port of Doraleh” which is on the west side of the capital. This is about 10 miles or so from the US base. [google map link]
It looks like a very fine base indeed. Ooh, and look at the tanks! I believe that large building in the backround is the one slightly upper right of dead center in the satellite map.
I doubt the Chinese government even bothers lying to people, they just do what they want – it’s ever so much more efficient than having to suborn a press establishment and get them to print your lies.
The Washington Post describes the US camp as:
Increasingly, the orders to find, track or kill those people are delivered to Camp Lemonnier. Virtually the entire 500-acre camp is dedicated to counterterrorism, making it the only installation of its kind in the Pentagon’s global network of bases.
Sounds like it’s devoted to terrorism, to me. How is setting up secret camps full of assassination teams and interrogators “counter-terrorism”? There’s no “counter-” at all.
Update: apparently the base I pegged as CIA in Djibouti is Italian. The base in Mogadishu – nobody has said what that is, yet. I think we know.