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UGANDA: Why the U.S. has accurate information on Gen. Kalekyezi (PHOTOS)

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CHANGE OF GUARDS – Following the recent sanctioning of Museveni’s Gen. Kalekyezi over human rights abuses, corruption and trafficking in prohibited drugs and wildlife products, some gullible Ugandans have expressed doubt on the accuracy of the USA’s profiling of Gen. Kalekyezi.  For the doubting Thomases, here is a living brief on how the CIA operates in Uganda.

Retired CIA senior officer, Darrel Blocker took charge of intelligence gathering in Uganda for two years.  In his own words, his job description involved “spotting, assessing, developing and recruiting spies to help keep our nation safe.”

Blocker who arrived in Uganda in 2003 for another overseas tour in the service of the CIA, was to use the cover of being a vocalist with the local Kampala Jazz All-Stars band to carry out his mandate of spying.  Owned by another U.S citizen, Logan, the band started in 2001 and mostly played at the popular night club, Bubbles O’Leary’s.  Blocker used his skills to easily join the band as a vocalist.  Interestingly, of all the places in Uganda outside Kampala,  in 2004 the band performed in Soroti (see pictures)!!!

The entire band was comprised of two Ugandans, two Congolese, the American founder and lead guitarist and then Blocker – the spy.  The band played to top class locals, diplomats and Expatriates.  As a cover, Blocker told his colleagues in the band that he was employed by the State Department and attached to the USA Embassy in Kampala.  Blocker, who stayed with the band for two years, now confesses that it provided him with a suitable cover for his intelligence gathering;
      “…….performing on stage exposed me to a whole lot more people than I would have only met at the diplomatic reception… singing  expanded my circle of political contacts.  My clandestine activities were enhanced by being viewed as a singer, because who would ever think that one could be both?  That is a leap too far for most and I honestly feel that it kept me safer by being in plain sight.  My singing expanded my circle of potential contacts to pursue.”

He remembers spotting some of his assets in the audience during performances;
    “……you just learn not to show any more interest in them as you would anybody else.  They know and you know that you should avoid each other as much as you can.”
Blocker, whose 32 years security services career ended in 2018,  started as an intelligence analyst with the Air force before joining the CIA’s clandestine service as an Operations Officer and Chief of Africa Division.  In August 2019, the CIA honoured Blocker with the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal – one of the highest honours bestowed upon career intelligence officer.  Blocker is now with the ABC News as a News Contributor.  This story was carries by the same media house on September 8, 2019 at [READ THE FULL STORY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS].

Since the Museveni regime has been obsessed with the alleged spying by Rwanda, will it now go after the U.S.A after this self confessed spying by the former senor CIA officer.  A 2011 leaked US Embassy diplomatic cable by Wikleaks revealed that Capt Mike Mukula had secretly met some officials of the US Embassy with whom he shared information pertaining to
Museveni’s dwindling popularity within his party and that he was grooming his son as his successor.  He went ahead to advise that he should not impose his son on the party and the country before warning that such a move would have a backlash.  He went ahead to disclose that he was advocating for the restoration of presidential term limits and that NRM’s support in Buganda was dwindling.  Since then, relations between Museveni and Mukula have never recovered.

Therefore, the State Department has many ways of acquiring accurate information that laid the foundation for sanctioning Gen. Kalekyezi.



‘Singer Tailor Soldier Spy’: A CIA officer’s life as the frontman of one of Uganda’s top bands

By LUCIEN BRUGGEMAN Sep 8, 2019, 11:34 AM ET

Darrell Blocker

The band’s reception in the rural town of Soroti was lukewarm — a departure from their raucous weekly performances back in the capital.

“We were playing our regular stuff and people were kind of into it,” said Jim Logan, the band’s guitarist. “But it just wasn’t hitting.”

This was in 2003. Logan, a Berklee College of Music-trained guitarist, and his band, the Kampala Jazz All-Stars, had trekked nearly six hours through the East African countryside to play the gig. With more than 1,000 people in the audience, the group’s vocalist, Darrell M. Blocker, had an idea.

“Dude, we have got to start singing some stuff,” he shouted between songs. “We’ve got to start doing stuff that they hear and they recognize.”

Blocker cued the band to play “Stir It Up,” Bob Marley’s reggae hit.
Jim LoganDarrell Blocker dancing during a 2004 visit to Soroti, Uganda, with his band, the Kampala Jazz All-Stars.

“Everybody got up and danced,” Logan recalled. “He turned the whole thing around.”

Blocker knew how to connect with the audience in Soroti because that’s how the CIA trains all of its operations officers – clandestine agents who work undercover to gather intelligence. The difference, of course, is that most of those skilled operators work in quiet bars or roadside motel rooms – not singing live before scores of adoring fans.

“My clandestine activities were enhanced by being viewed as a singer, because who would ever think that one could be both?” Blocker said. “That is a leap too far for most and I honestly feel that it kept me safer by being in plain sight.”

As a lifelong vocalist, Blocker always felt comfortable in front of an audience. From his local church choir in Hepzibah, Georgia, to glee club at the University of Georgia, he called singing his first love. But Blocker’s lengthy bout as a spy helped him hone that passion, he said, taking cues from his day job to breathe life into his nighttime performances.

“They’re both very intimate…” Blocker recently said, referring to performing onstage and “the art of espionage,” as he calls it. “…Intimate in the sense that, if you are truly paying attention and listening to whoever is sitting across from you, they will know it, and they will know that you’re sincere.”
Darrell BlockerDarrell Blocker, a 28-year veteran of the CIA and now and ABC News contributor, photographed in 2019 at his home in Santa Monica, California. In retirement, he has a saying: “Spying is easy, singing is hard.”more +

Blocker, who recently became an ABC News contributor, spent 32 years in the intelligence community, first as an analyst with the Air Force and then in the CIA’s clandestine service as an operations officer, Chief of Station, and Chief of Africa Division, traversing European capitals and African outposts alike. His job, in his words, “was to spot, assess, develop, and recruit spies to help keep our nation safe.” In 1996, during an overseas assignment in Dakar, Senegal, Blocker started playing covers with a pianist from Scotland, a guitarist from Canada, and an American Peace Corps doctor, also on guitar.

“When they played music they were fine, but singing was not their forte,” Blocker said. So he offered up his services. The group had a standing show on Thursday nights at a British club for diplomats, covering anything from Hootie & the Blowfish to Otis Redding. Soon they started playing house parties.

Fast forward to 2003, when Blocker arrived in Uganda for another overseas tour. On Sunday nights in Kampala, the nation’s capital, Blocker visited Bubbles O’Leary’s, a club described by one TripAdvisor commenter as “brilliant for a night out” and “one of the best places to party in Kampala.”

Within weeks, Blocker said he struck up a friendship with Logan, a fellow American and the spouse of a U.S. embassy employee who was the founder and lead guitarist of the Kampala Jazz All-Stars. Logan started the band by happenstance, he said, when he met a bass-wielding Brit on his flight from Heathrow to Uganda in 2001. The two started jamming once they settled in, and found local musicians to join them for gigs.

When Blocker arrived shortly thereafter, Logan noticed him in the audience at Bubbles O’Leary’s mouthing the lyrics to some of their tunes and invited him to jam with them.
Jim LoganDarrell Blocker, seen here wearing a straw hat, performed live with the Kampala Jazz All-Stars in Soroti, Uganda, in 2004. In retirement, he has a saying: “Spying is easy, singing is hard.”more +

Blocker demurred, but over the next few months Logan persisted. Eventually, Logan approached Blocker and told him that Blocker’s then-wife gave the band 15 of his favorite songs, including his “signature song,” as he calls it, Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” – and the band had learned them.

Blocker says he rehearsed with them later that day.

Logan described Blocker’s voice as a tenor, “but it was a little bit of a smoky voice that fit well in a band that did a lot of jazz instrumentals.” The group developed a following, playing to a packed house of locals, diplomats, and ex-pats at Bubbles O’Leary’s week after week, according to Logan and Blocker.

“There were maybe a few pop stars [in Uganda] that definitely had better following than we did,” Logan said. “But for a cover band doing jazz, nobody came close.”

“We just blew up,” Blocker added, “to the point that it was starting to get in the way of the reason I was in Uganda” – there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to both meet with assets and keep pace with his band’s demand.

Meanwhile, the band – made up of Logan, two Ugandans, and two Congolese – had no idea their frontman was living and working undercover as a veteran intelligence officer. His official cover was an employee with the State Department assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kampala. Logan claims to have had “a hunch” Blocker had a secret job in Uganda, but nearly two decades later he was surprised to learn his lead singer was a highly-trained American intelligence official.

“I remember asking him what he did for work, and he had a canned response. Something-something at the embassy. And you just kind of go, come on,” Logan said. “He was super smart, you could tell he was very intelligent.”

Every so often his two worlds would collide. Blocker remembers spotting his assets in the audience during performances.
Jim LoganAfter a 2004 concert in Soroti, Uganda, Darrell Blocker and his then-wife interact with fans. At the time, Blocker’s official cover was as a U.S. State Department official stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda.more +

“You just learn not to show any more interest in them as you would anybody else,” Blocker said. “They know and you know that you avoid each other as much as you can.”

Other times, Blocker claims, his status as a local celebrity served the United States’ national security interests. Blocker said performing on stage “exposed me to a whole lot more people than I would have only met at the diplomatic receptions.”

“So in that sense,” Blocker continued, “my singing expanded my circle of potential contacts to pursue.”

The band got big. So big, in fact, that Blocker started getting recognized. During a rare respite from his busy life in the city, Blocker brought his family to Jinja, a lakeside tourist destination 60 miles west of the Kenyan border. During an ATV tour, Blocker and his family stopped at a mountaintop.

He noticed a young couple eyeing him.

“There was nobody else over near where I was, so I looked at them and said, ‘How are you all?’ They said ‘Are you in a band? In Kampala?’ and I said ‘yes’ – and she hit him like, “I told you that was him!’”

Achieving local fame in Uganda during his two years with the band was never part of Blocker’s plan, and hardly the extent of his vocal career during his decades spent with the agency. By the end of his career at CIA, which ended in 2018, Blocker reckons he performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at no less than eight U.S. embassies around the world – a responsibility he does not carry lightly.

“That’s a song that I love and it’s a hard song,” he said. “I’m always really, really careful with that song … I don’t ever want to be that guy butchering our national song.”

In August 2019, the CIA honored Blocker with the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, one of the highest honors bestowed upon career officers. During his acceptance speech, Blocker named Millicent Mazyck, his high school choral director, as one of the most influential people in his life.

In retirement, Blocker has a saying: “Spying is easy, singing is hard.”

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: September 19, 2019 at 05:30PM

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