The tragic Westgate Shopping Mall
killings of September 2013: A comparison with Operation Thunderbolt
/”90 minutes at Entebbe” of July 1976, and other areas requiring deeper reflection & deeper introspection
1. Comparisons with Operation Thunderbolt/90 Minutes at Entebbe of 4th July 1976, Entebbe Airport, Uganda;
(i) As mentioned, mission codenamed “Operation Thunderbolt” a split-second operation that was concluded in a brief stunning period of 90 minutes hence “Operation Thunderbolt” also later coming to be referred to as “90 minutes at Entebbe”
(ii) 106 hijack hostages rescued i.e. 94 Jewish passengers and a 12-man Air France crew
(iii) The rescue mission/paratroopers flew 3,800 kilometres from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Entebbe, Uganda, where the 106 hijack hostages were being held, and as they settled down for a seventh night in captivity
(iv) The key players that oversaw “Operation Thunderbolt” were then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, then Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mordechai Gur, the then Israeli army’s Chief of Operations and the then Israeli Air Force commander, operation commander Brig. Gen. Dan Shomron, head of the infantry and elite Paratroop Corps, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak, all of whom had extensive backgrounds in combat & high risk rescue missions e.g. the Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Ehud Barak, later Israeli Defence Minister & Israeli Prime Minister, had even led a crack paratroop unit in rescuing hostages from a Sabena Airlines hijacking in 1972
(v) The fierce battle at Entebbe Airport lasted 45 terrifying seconds. Four hijackers were shot dead. Three hostages who failed to stay on the floor were killed, either in the crossfire, or by Israeli soldiers who mistook them for terrorists
(vi) Within 53 minutes, the hostages were aboard the Israeli planes and on their way home. The corpses of seven guerrillas and 20 Ugandan soldiers lay at Entebbe Airport, Uganda
(vii) An aftermath of the raid was the case of Mrs. Dora Bloch, a 75-year-old hostage left behind in Uganda by the Israeli raiders. Mrs. Bloch was in a hospital when the rescue planes landed. Mrs. Bloch was thereafter murdered in cold blood by the Ugandans
(viii) Another strike force hurled explosives under a squadron of Soviet – supplied Migs of the Ugandan Air Force, crippling about 10 of them, and securing a safe retreat.
(ix) Israelis reached into their pockets to contribute US $ 3 million to a voluntary defense fund within one week after it was set up to handle a sudden flow of donations. Workers offered to do overtime without pay to boost national exports, and the number of labor strikes dropped
Comparisons of Kenya’s Westgate siege of September 2013 with Numbers (i) to (ix) above;
(i) No known codename assigned to operation. 9,000 minutes had however lapsed by Friday evening, 27th September 2013, with no indication that the matter was nearing conclusion of an initial kind. 9,000 minutes and counting at Westgate, and no initial conclusion in sight. Very tragic & very unfortunate indeed
(ii) All hostages and all aggressors not fully & satisfactorily accounted for 9,000 minutes and counting after Saturday, 21st September 2013
(iii) All key Kenyan Security agencies playing a role in the ongoing Westgate saga are based within the vicinity of the Westgate Shopping Mall and none had to be called upon to fly 3,800 kilometres at very short notice and/or first prepare for high risk rescue operation from a location 3,800 kilometres away from the Westagate Shopping Mall
(iv) The current so-called Kenyan Cabinet Secretary incharge of internal security has a background in Hospitality, and his immediate past posting was at the Kenya Utalii Hotel, for many years, the Harvard University of East & Central Africa, when it came to excellence & preeminence in the training of staff of & for elite hotels.
The current so-called Kenyan Secretary for Defence is a former Chairlady of the Law Society of Kenya, and is also a former Kenyan Ambassador to France.
The current US Secretary Of Defence is a veteran of the Vietnam War, while the immediate former US Secretary of Defence, is a former Director of the CIA.
It is unclear whether the current so-called Kenyan Cabinet Secretaries incharge of internal & Defence are both veterans of the Vietnam War, of if both have ever served in any capacity in the CIA. It is also unclear whether the current so-called Kenyan Cabinet Secretaries incharge of internal security & Defence played any role whatsoever in either the Six Day War of 1967 or the Yom Kippur War of 1973
(v) All hostages and all aggressors not fully & satisfactorily accounted for 9,000 minutes and counting after Saturday, 21st September 2013
(vi) All hostages and all aggressors not fully & satisfactorily accounted for 9,000 minutes and counting after Saturday, 21st September 2013
(vii) All hostages and all aggressors not fully & satisfactorily accounted for 9,000 minutes and counting after Saturday, 21st September 2013
(viii) Other than the tragic loss of lives, the ultra modern Westgate Shopping Mall is now a condemned building
(ix) Kenyans have come forward in big numbers to generously make contributions to the Kenya Red Cross Society for their purported exemplary role in the Westgate Shopping Mall siege, the same Kenya Red Cross Society that has never accounted for the massive funds collected during the so-called “Kenyans for Kenya” campaign. The same Kenya Red Cross Society was thereafter linked to the purchase of aflatoxin contaminated maize that is said to have been consumed by an estimated 400,000 Kenyans. No action whatsoever was taken against the Kenya Red Cross Society for this criminal murderous act, yet here they are being sent more massive funds, and being hailed as “heroes”.
Kenyans are also being encouraged to channel their donations through the MPESA cell-phone money transfer platform administered by communications giant Safaricom, the biggest corporation in East & Central Africa, the same Safaricom that has made four unexplained deductions of one Kenya Shilling from its approximate customer base 20 million since 21st June 2013 i.e. Safaricom made unexplained deductions of one Kenya Shilling from it’s subscribers on 21st June 2013, 21st July 2013, 21st August 2013 & 21st September 2013 which translates to an approximate amount of 80 million Kenya Shillings i.e. an approximate amount of one million US dollars. It is unclear whether the funds deducted on these four occasions, were used to fund the activities of the aggressors of the Westgate Shopping Mall siege of September 2013
2. The Kenya Government & the Kenya Media have gone on these particularly aggressive charm offensive, labeling the aggressors in the Westgate Shopping Mall assault as “terrorists” and “cowards”, yet these individuals, whoever they are, had the boldness, courage, audacity & daring, to stage a brutal assault on a key installation of the metropolis of Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi, a country that has a fully fledged National Police Force (up until recently, known as the Kenya Police Force), a National Intelligence Service, an Army, an Air Force, a Navy, and a paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU).
For instance, within the nearby vicinity of the Westgate Shopping Mall, is the Department of Defence (DOD), where the Kenya Army, Kenya Air Force & Kenya Navy are represented. There are at least four police stations in the nearby vicinity of the Westgate Shopping Mall i.e. Muthangari Police Station, Spring Valley Police Station, Parklands Police Station and Central Police Station. The Kenya Air Force Moi Air Base is also in the vicinity of the Westgate Shopping Mall, and while the Kenya Air Force Nanyuki Air Base is about 300 kilometres from the Westgate Shopping Mall, it would take fighter jets of the Kenya Air Force at the Nanyuki Air Base not more than 15 minutes to get to the Westgate Shopping Mall if called upon. The Kenya Police, the Kenya Army and the Kenya Navy also have airwing units, so if the sizable units of the Kenya Navy would have been needed for one reason or another to counter the aggressors of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault, it would have or should have taken units of the Kenya Navy not more than 40 minutes to get from their base at Mombasa, to the Westgate Shopping Mall, a distance of about 600 kilometres.
The Kahawa Barracks & the Maroon Commandoes Army Barracks (for many years known as the 7th Battalion Army Barracks), are also in nearby proximity to the Westgate Shopping Mall. Finally, the headquarters of the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU), are situated not very far off from the now condemned Westgate Shopping Mall.
That a handful of unknown individuals (some apparently as young as 18 years old & 19 years old), would have been aware of this i.e. the key security installations in and around Westgate, yet still went ahead to stage such an audacious spectacular assault on a key Kenyan installation, can be described as nothing short of the stuff of legend, making it difficult not to view the aggressors in the Westgate Shopping Mall as warriors, as gladiators, as Vikings and as bold, brave, courageous & daring Marxist-Leninist fundamentalists. Whoever they are, they have held an entire Nation ransom & hostage since Saturday, 21st September 2013, and will continue to do so, for as long as any matter or any question regarding the Westgate Shopping Mall assault remains unresolved or unanswered, and as things stand, way too many questions remain unanswered.
The Westgate Shopping Mall assault is a debacle & disgrace of monumental proportions on the part of the Government of Kenya and people of Kenya in general. That a “handful of nobodies” a “handful of unknowns” could casually walk into the Republic of Kenya and cause such major carnage, mayhem & anguish in such a brief curtailed period of time, is inexplicable, unforgivable and deeply sorrowful. It is an indication like no other of a deeply incompetent Government i.e. the Kenya Government, and a totally lost people i.e. the Kenyan People
Courtesy of the Kenya Government & we the people of Kenya as a whole, the perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault of September 2013 have been instantly catapulted to the status of legends & icons and now rank at par with global figures of notoriety & semi-endearment such as Carlos the Jackal, Al Capone, Carlo Gambino, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, “Black September” and Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather”/Don Corleone. Instant icons have been created overnight in both the underworld and the mainstream world above, and the underworld in particular, must be currently in a state of measurable jubilation & glee. The likes of “Banyamulenge”, the Basque Separatists, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), “Hezbollah”, M23, “Hamas”, “Mai Mai”, the “Taliban”, “Tupac Amaru”, the FARC rebels, Boko Haram, “Fatah al-Islam”, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and “Abu Sayyaf”, must currently be in celebratory mood, as they deliver coded congratulatory messages to “Al Shabaab”, and in particular, the said perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault of September 2013
And whereas many in the mainstream world would understandably conceal their admiration, if any, of the spectacular bold & pin-point precision with which the assault on the Westgate Shopping Mall was executed, the cruel irony is that the likes of Nelson Mandela/”Umkhonto we Sizwe”/the African National Congress (ANC), Gerry Adams/Sein Fein/the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and Field Marshal Muthoni wa Kirima/Field Marshal Baimungi Marete/Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi/Field Marshal Musa Mwariama/”Mau Mau” were once openly & formally regarded as “terrorists”, precisely because of Westgate Shopping Mall kind of actions/assaults, yet today, the aforementioned are regarded as legends and icons. Nelson Mandela for instance, is today a global darling, while Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi has a statue in his honour on Nairobi’s Kimathi Street, a street also named in his honour.
Other key figures in Kenya’s freedom struggle such as Mary Nyanjiru, Madam Ketilili wa Menza, Otenyo Nyamaterere, James Beauttah, Orkoiyot Koitalel arap Samoei, Harry Thuku, Mwangeka wa Malowa and Waiyaki wa Hinga, must also be following the unfolding events of the Westgate Shopping Mall from their final resting places with curious interest, wondering why they had not staged such bold & daring raids when they lived, and thinking that had they, Kenya may have even become independent politically, economically & socially much earlier than 1963 i.e. & e.g. 1943, 1933, or even 1923
The disgraceful, unreliable & inept Kenya Government and the equally disgraceful, unreliable & inept Kenyan Media, should thus stand advised against using terms like “terrorist” and “cowardly” with the lavishness that they currently are, and take a deeper introspective look at the Westgate Shopping Mall assault
3. The President of the Republic of Kenya and the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, like many other Kenyans, have also now taken the moral high ground regarding the Westgate Shopping Mall assault, and have since 21st September 2013, been also using puritan expressions like “terrorist” and “cowardly”. The President of the Republic of Kenya and the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya are facing charges at the Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly perpetrating and/or orchestrating “acts of terrorism & violence”, not much different from those of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault e.g. the Kiambaa Church incident of early 2008 here in Kenya at the height of the post-election violence of 2007 & 2008, where women and children were locked up in a child building that was set ablaze in cold blood and in which mattresses were thrown in to add ferocity to the blazing inferno.
The President of the Republic of Kenya and the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya stand accused of actions no less heinous than those associated with the Westagate Shopping Mall assault, and until both individuals comprehensively & satisfactorily clear their names of any & all accusations being levelled against them regarding the brutal Kenyan post-election war of 2007 and 2008, they should desist in making statements that portray themselves as being any better than the perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault.
What’s more is that if the perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall are apprehended, they are likely to be held at a facility like Guantanamo Bay until further notice. Should the President of the Republic of Kenya and the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya be also held at a facility like Guantanamo Bay until further notice, because they are also facing charges of terrorism no different from those associated with the Westgate Shopping Mall?
And where does that leave the rest of we Kenyans? Hopefully with our heads bowed down in deep deep anguished shame, hopefully. How is it that this country got to the stage of having a President and a Deputy President who are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC)?
If the current & scheduled Kenya trials taking place at the Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC) had been taking place soon after World War II, they would be being referred to as the “Nuremberg Trials”, meaning that we Kenyans would be being referred to currently as “Nazis”. Former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor has just lost his appeal to have his 50 year jail sentence overturned by the International Criminal Court for amongst other things, supporting a band of savages called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), who chopped-off people’s hands and who forcibly held women & girls as sex slaves in detention camps.
Effectively, the three Kenya cases currently at the Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC), equate all Kenyans to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and to savages who chop off people’s hand, and forcibly confine women & girls as sex slaves, and here we are holding night vigils, and using puritan terms like “terrorist” and “cowardly”. Is it any wonder therefore that US President Obama snubbed his native Kenya for the third time in a row this past July? What would have given President Obama more pride & joy than to make a triumphant pilgrimage to his ancestral Kenya as President Obama? Barack was here twice as Citizen Obama in 1987 & 1991, even bringing Michelle to introduce her to his “K’Obama Clan” in 1991 before they got married one year later in 1992, visited again as Senator Obama in 2006, and must have had every intention of visiting Kenya as President Obama, until we exposed ourselves for who we truly are i.e. the equivalent of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and the equivalent of savages who chop off people’s hands and forcibly confine women & girls as sex slaves.
What’s more is that no notable figure has been prosecuted in connection with the brutal Kenyan post-election war of 2007 & 2008 after six years, and the promulgation of a brand new constitution in between. So just what kind of a people are we? A people any better than the perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault? Certainly not
Kenya has been dead since 30th December 2002, when Mwai Kibaki and the so-called National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), came to power. In five short years after 30th December 2002, the Republic of Kenya went to civil war following the most shameful and disgraceful Kenyan general elections of December 2007. Former UN Secretary General had to be brought in to restore order, not the numerous Kenyans now claiming that the Westgate Shopping Mall assault will not “break us”, and not dampen our spirit as a “united people”. As a result of the disgraceful general elections of December 2007, Kenya & Kenyans are now, as mentioned, at the “Nuremberg Trials” at the Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC)
There have in addition been too many remarkable events between 30th December 2002 and today, that suggest that we Kenyans have no values or meaningful set of beliefs, and that we respect or value no one or nothing, secular or divine. We are a law unto ourselves, gods unto ourselves.
In 2007 two individuals of Armenian nationality with shadowy business dealings, powerful Kenyan connections, and who both held the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police in the Republic of Kenya, staged a dramatic hold-up at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in a bizarre incident that clearly demonstatred that we Kenyans did not manage or control our own country.
Since then, inter alia, it has emerged that there are also fake policemen and policewomen of Kenyan nationality in the Kenya Police Force, also of the rank of Assistant Commissioner Of Police, one of whom is said could have caused the the Baragoi Massacre, where 45 Kenyan Police Officers were shot in cold blood, a contingent of close to 15 Kenyans was held up in Nigeria for close to a month for their role in the bizarre unprocedural deportation of four Nigerians, and the arrivals unit of the 35 year old Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was razed down in a fierce inferno. All these terrible incidents, in addition to numerous others, remain unresolved, and no one has either been prosecuted or held responsible for them, yet here we are as people pointing fingers at the perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall as being the most heinous and callous of criminals. We have been active accessories to numerous heinous crimes in the Republic of Kenya since 30th December 2002 with the active manner in which we have turned a blind eye to numerous atrocities, and here we are using terms like “We are One”.
The people most responsible for the mess that this country is in, is we Kenyans, not the perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault of September 2013. Any meaningful remedial action that we ever hope of bringing to our beloved Kenya will have to be presided over by meaningful sacrifices by and from ourselves, not by empty sloganeering.
The Marxist-Leninist fundamentalists who brutally struck at the Westgate Shopping Mall in September 2013 will stage another similar assault, frightfully so, it is apparent. The perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault have taken a stand i.e. maximum carnage & maximum pain. How about the rest of we puritan Kenyans? What is our stand? To continue on the same pretentious fatalistic path we have been on since 30th December 2002, or to bring real change to our beloved Kenya, real meaningful long-lasting change? At any rate, we should not deceive ourselves that we are any better than the perpetrators of the Westgate Shopping Mall assault of September 2013, and if anything, we are worse.