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U.S. Shuts Down Somalia Internet Access 799

Posted by michael
from the proud-to-be-an-american dept.
BrianGa writes: "This article reports that Somalia's only internet company and a key telecom company have been forced to close because the United States suspects them of terrorist links."
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U.S. Shuts Down Somalia Internet Access

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  • Suspects?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RedOregon (161027) <redoregon@@@satx...rr...com> on Friday November 23, 2001 @01:56PM (#2603815) Homepage Journal
    Suspects? No proof... we just _think_ this is the case? This bothers me...
    • Re:Suspects?? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:11PM (#2603899)
      The US state dept.,( as reported by CNN), has now admited that they bombed the Red Cross center in Afghanistan, multiple times, * knowing that it wasn't a military target* because Taliban members and troops were *suspected* of pilfering some amount of food from it.

      At the same time, of course, the US was randomly dropping food supplies all over the place, for anyone to pick up, including Taliban troops.

      This bothers me a good deal more. It is not only the targeting of a known civilian humanitarian aid station, but smacks more than just a bit of hypocrisy.

      The shutting down of an ISP hardly compares to killing civilian aid workers on *suspicion* that the opposition might be able to snag some Hershey bars from them.

      The arrogance is the same in both cases though, although, of course, as everyone knows, the Internet "belongs" to the US, so I guess they can just do what they please with it.

      KFG
      • Re:Suspects?? (Score:3, Informative)

        The US state dept.,( as reported by CNN), has now admited that they bombed the Red Cross center in Afghanistan, multiple times...

        They killed four American Red Cross workers in the first couple of days of bombing. I haven't seen that mentioned on any major network though. Granted, I don't watch a lot of TV.

        At the same time, of course, the US was randomly dropping food supplies all over the place...

        Including into known minefields. "Here's some food, just watch your step! You can thank us later... if you have any limbs left." It doesn't seem to matter much though, as long as CNN spins it right.
        • Re:Suspects?? (Score:3, Informative)

          by bleah (533349)
          They killed four American Red Cross workers in the first couple of days of bombing. I haven't seen that mentioned on any major network though. Granted, I don't watch a lot of TV.

          I think you mean four Afghan employees of a UN mine removal program were killed early in the bombing. The building they were in, which was very close to a target, was hit. They had been asked to move to safety, but chose to stay where they were.

      • Re:Suspects?? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by strAtEdgE (151030)
        It's the american way! Mom, apple pie, and killing anyone who stands in the way of 'furthering the cause'.

        Terrorism:
        The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

        It's funny how americans block out the bigger picture, thinking somehow that when they commit terrorist acts, they aren't terrorists.
      • by kypper (446750)
        here. [cnn.com]

        Agreed. Fully.

        Just how in the hell do "1,000-pound precision-guided bombs "inadvertently [strike] one or more warehouses used by the International Committee of the Red Cross."" One or more?? How can you 'inadvertantly' strike 2+ Red Cross stations?

        This newspeak is killing me.
        • No, that is not the article. I'm beginning to doubt there was one.

          The article the previous poster claimed that the US bombed those targets knowing that it wasn't a military target and that the US State Dept. admitted such.

          Whether the US did bomb those intentionally or did not, the article includes no such admission by the State department, and in fact specifically states that the buildings targeted were believed to house Taliban military equipment.

          I quote: Although details are still being investigated, the ICRC warehouses were among a series of warehouses targeted by U.S. forces because the Taliban used them for storage of military equipment. Military vehicles had been seen in the vicinity of these warehouses. U.S. forces did not know that ICRC was using one or more of the warehouses.

          Read the articles being referred to before accusing someone of newspeak.

          The bombings of the Red Cross centers was tragic. The loss of telephone access (even more than net access) in Somalia is tragic. But that's no excuse for misreading "mistakenly" as "intentional".

          • by kypper (446750)
            I read the article.

            I've seen articles change within a matter of hours. CNN does censor and alter its articles without ever mentioning it.

            Sorry, it has happened. I bet it has been censored since this guy read it.
            • Anyone who does not believe that this is true is naive. It happens, I've seen it.

              Within a week after Sep 11, there was an interesting interview the CNN's Wolf Blitzer had with a former CIA director. He said that people are overlooking the possible involvement of Saddam Hussein in the terrorist attacks.

              Within 3 hours, the article was deleted. But the link on cnn.com's front page wasn't. It was a broken link. Even today, the article is nowhere to be found on the site.

              Read cnn.com regularly. Read between the lines. Learn about what they are not saying and what they delete.

              --jeff
          • The article the previous poster claimed that the US bombed those targets knowing that it wasn't a military target and that the US State Dept. admitted such.

            Of course not. If they HAD targetted these on purpose, and I don't imagine that to be the case (even an idiot could see the potential PR implications and State isn't usually full of idiots), they would be very unlikely to say so. Instead, they'd obfuscate the truth, making it sound like an accident. So, in either case (intentional idiocy or accident), the public presentation would be the same.

            Military vehicles had been seen in the vicinity of these warehouses.

            And of course, those anxious to decry US action will fail to consider the potential that the Taliban either A) intentionally tried to provoke targetting errors or B) parked their vehicles in these areas as an attempt to sheild them from bombing by assuming the US knew about the Red Cross site.

            Read the articles being referred to before accusing someone of newspeak.

            Yeah, for the home of open source, free speech, etc., sometimes critical consideration is absent in favor of vitriolic polemic in support of some pre-decided world view.

            But that's no excuse for misreading "mistakenly" as "intentional".

            That's a generous way of putting it. Misreading indeed.

            I see plenty of people decrying the civilian casualties in this conflict. It's terrible to kill 4 aid workers... but I guess perhaps it is okay to kill 4K innocent unsuspecting people? (Or course not!). Anyone getting killed when they are innocent of wrongdoing is a tragedy for all of us.

            But so is sitting on your ass and letting murderers continue their foul plots. Osama and his buddies more or less declared open season on the civilized world and called upon every Muslim to take up arms. Them's fighting words, even where I come from North of the 49th.

            Now, we don't have the evidence on hand that prompted the decisions to ax Somalia's access. What we hear reported as "suspected" may translate as "evidence available but not to be revealed".

            Jumping to conclusions is a popular slashdot pastime. You'd think we'd all be in better shape....
      • I do remember this story. I also remember a Pentagon press briefing in November where Rumsfeld made a statement to the effect of: Upon further investigation, we have determined that these warehouses were correctly identified as legitimate military targets, despite being nominally controlled by the International Red Cross.

        No elaboration was given as to what made them legitimate targets. Of course from previous reports we know that these were warehouses in a district with a number of other warehouses which were also bombed and not owned by the Red Cross. If the Taliban were moving things from their warehouses into Red Cross buildings, then they would certainly seem fair targets, though I have no evidence that such was happening.

        For the record I did a search with several news agencies, and could find no record of the statement I'm citing. In fact I can find no record that the US admitted intentionally bombing the site (which I remember as well). Don't know what's going on, but interpret as you will.
    • And what's proof?
      If I witnessed a terrorist act first hand and witnessed the terrorists put up a website and told someone about it, is that "proof"? What if I witnessed no such thing and lied?
    • Re:Suspects?? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fobbman (131816)
      Lest we forget, the United States has yet to deliver proof to it's own citizens that bin Laden even masterminded the attacks on the World Trade Center.

      Color me flamebait, but right now us US citizens have only been told "We have proof he did it, and that's all you need to know".

      I'm sorry, but there are large groups of people (many Muslims, in fact) who don't accept this as enough proof. He's widely considered to be not sophisticated enough to come up with such an attack on his own.

      Do I know who did it? Of course I do. I have proof, but I won't tell you what that proof is. Just trust me.

      • Re:Suspects?? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by PD (9577)
        You forget that Osama has been already found guilty of other terrorist acts, specifically the attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa.

        So, we don't need the smoking gun for Sept. 11th. He's already known to be guilty of other terrorist attacks, and he will serve his sentence, one way or another.
      • Re:Suspects?? (Score:3, Flamebait)

        by Performer Guy (69820)
        We've all seen the interview where bin Laden called for the murder of all Americans reguardless of whether they were in the armed forces. We've SEEN this, and the US should have acted before we had 5000 dead as a pretext to defend itself. Too bad for you that bin Laden as good as admitted his guilt since the attacks in his video to his followers. All you idiots now have to go find another anti-American cause.

        I want to make this point clear, it is idiots like you who contributed to the attack on Sept 11th. Your moral ambivilence is abhorrant. The USA should have acted more forcefully before the 11th to get bin Laden but couldn't because you the willfull confusion and deliberate obfuscation of the facts by fools like you. Now even after that attack you don't crawl back under your rock, instead you're out in full force accusing the USA of the very thing that has been inflicted upon it. The case has never been clearer, there is more than enough evidence to go after bin Laden and his supporters (and there was even before Sept 11th), and the Taliban had their chance to turn them over and didn't. Of course they were never going to because they are complicit in his irrational Islamicist expansionist designs.
  • Evidence? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by czth (454384) on Friday November 23, 2001 @01:58PM (#2603821) Homepage

    A little evidence would be nice before one goes and cuts off a whole country from the 'net. The fact that they denied it is irrelevant; anyone would deny it, especially knowing that the US is on the warpath. But it's pretty hard to see the US having an ulterior motive for shutting them down; Somalia isn't exactly a force to be reckoned with. Unless the motive is to use Somalia as a "test case" to see how the world reacts to US/Europe flexing its muscles a little....

    OTOH, this doesn't affect me personally at all... no servers I use are in Somalia, I don't even know any sites there.

    But it's a disturbing precedent.

    • Re:Evidence? (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Cally (10873)


      A little evidence would be nice before one goes and cuts off a whole country from the 'net.


      ...but it's not just the net; it's also taken out most of the country's telephone network. This means people working abroad can't send money back to their families back home.

      This is a direct attack on the civilian infrastructure of a neutral, non-combatant country. When is the U.N. going to stand up and say that this has GOT to STOP? Oh wait, the U.N., the US doesn't even pay their subscriptions to the UN.

    • by totenkopf (215542)
      I think more than a few people here are having trouble distinguishing between "rights" and "privileges".

      Somalia does NOT have a "right" to a damn thing outside what they are capable of generating for themselves (which, aside from kat and drive by shootings from "technicals", isn't much of anything).

      The fact that they were given access to the international communications infrastructure by the United States is a privilege.

      Remember what happened when the United States went in to feed the Somalis? It ended with 17 dead Rangers and Delta team members, after we went after Adid. And to short circuit the leftist Chomsky idiots, we went after Adid because his forces massacred 24 Pakistani peacekeepers.

      The fact that Somalis were starving because of a 4% growth rate and systemic civil warfare does not give them the "right" to U.S. food aid, especially when they turn around and start shoot the people giving out the food.

      In places like this and Afghanistan, a shallow grave is the place where leftist idealism meets the real world. For you American leftists, you need to get a grip and realize that your ideas are killing people every day. Your intentions may be pure, but your effects are disasterous.

      Give me greedy ambition, evil intentions, and a good result any day over the gift you guys have given the world during the 20th century, and continuing on today.
  • by Joey7F (307495) on Friday November 23, 2001 @01:58PM (#2603826) Homepage Journal
    The US and the UK gave them access. They (we) can take it away.

    --Joey
    • by Anonymous DWord (466154) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:38PM (#2604052) Homepage
      The US also provides worldwide GPS access, which they can take away at any time. That doesn't make it right. God forbid you're trying to do a job in any region even remotely close to terrorism. Basically what US foreign policy is saying is:
      • Don't be a terrorist
      • Don't harbour terrorists
      • Don't live in a country that harbours terrorists
      • Don't live NEAR a country that harbours terrorists
      • Don't try and contact anybody who lives in a country that harbours terrorists


      This is getting silly. The US harboured terrorists for 4 years before said terrorists blew up the WTC. What now, tanks in the streets?
      • The US harboured terrorists for 4 years before said terrorists blew up the WTC.'

        You're using two different meanings of the word harboring. The terrorists lived in the US for four years, without US knowledge.

        Usama Bin Laden lives or lived in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, with the understanding and support of the Taliban, and rejected the (powerless) United Nations attempt to extradite him from Afghanistan under United Nations Resolution 1267 (1999) [un.org] for the murder of hundreds of individuals in embassy bombings.

        It's one thing to have a murderer hiding without your knowledge in your basement. It's quite another thing to hide the murderer in your basement with intent.

      • The US taking away GPS access is perfectly right if terrorists were using it in missile targeting systems. And your foreign policy explanation means jack without any support. Using support from the article you're posting about, you can say that it's US foreign policy to stop companies that finance terrorism, which makes perfect sense to me.
  • AOL should go into that market. There will be 0 competion and should be easy to buy off the government to keep it that way.
  • We have to trust the intellegence community has solid evidence against these companies. It would be political sucide if they didn't.

    It's horrible that the Somalians have essentially been shut off from the outside world but while such an action may have negative short term effects, it will benefit the Somalians in the long run.

    If these companies are washing money for terrorist groups they are obviously corrupt. The next question is what other bad things have these companies done.

    Hopefully, this will open up the market to another honest company that will in the long run benefit the Somalians.
    • by kfg (145172) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:23PM (#2603964)
      Historically it has only rarely been proven wise to simply trust the intelligence community. I'll bet on the swift and strong, thank you.

      I might also add that it is the first responsibility of every US citizen, indeed the *primary* responsibility, to trust nothing.

      Only the cynic is the "true" American and patriot. It is a structure of political *equals.* Indeed, in many repects the simple citizen is politically superior to the president himself. It is the citizens who chose him and the citizens who may dismiss him.

      He will be president for a maximum of 8 years. A citizen is a citizen for life. He must then protect his political interests for *life,* and the life of his decendents, not meerly a few years.

      The intelligence community is the place where the greatest *ememies* of the state reside.

      KFG

      KFG
      • Only the cynic is the "true" American and patriot.
        Amen! I was watching the call-in portion of CSPAN, and a lady caller literally said "We shouldn't be questioning the president now, we should be standing behind him." I couldn't beleive what I was hearing. this is exactly the time when we SHOULD be questioning the actions of our leaders. remember the Bill of Rights, the most important document in the last 400 years, a document way more important than the Declaration and the rest of Constitution itself? it was put in there by sceptics of the government!

        sadly our media is driven by popularity, and since dissenting opinions are not popular they are not heard. dead afgans are not a popular image, so we better not show that. wake up people!

    • There's no such thing as political suicide through incompotence in the US. As long as you can spin it as being good, no matter how unbelievable the explaination, you'll have the sheep believing you, and the minority who understands the world will be told that "they are in bed with the terrorists".

      "sure, we nuked the entire middle east, but we're airlifting supplies to the mutated survivors! It's their fault for resisting our invasion in the first place! We've made our point that terrorism will not be tollerated."

      too far from what would happen? Likely not. I have no respect for the US government, or the American people, who allow themselves to be manipulated.

    • We have to trust the intellegence community has solid evidence against these companies. It would be political sucide if they didn't.


      Since when were the FBI and CIA elected? Wake up and smell the coffee!
    • "If these companies are washing money for terrorist groups they are obviously corrupt."

      So if the dry cleaner down the street cleans a shirt for a terrorist, then the dry cleaner is obviously corrupt as well, right? If not, why not?

      In both cases, the company might be involved and complicit, or they might not be. This is a dicision for a court system. That is what court systems are for. Snap judgements by concerned parties with an emotional attachment to the issues are often wrong.

      The damage to society caused by ignoring the legal systems will be larger than the damage inflicted by the terrorists.

  • Great Firewall in China and Saudi Arabia

    US shuts down Somalian ISP

    ....

    What next ?

    France DOS-ing sites that trade Nazi memorabilia

    Muslim countries attacking sites that advocate women's rights

    ...

    Eventually, each and every country will attack the sites that it considers offensive ...

    The Raven.

  • My thoughts... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eadyb (211458) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:03PM (#2603861)
    I think Somalia has more presseing problems to worry about than worring about the few hundred lucky Somalians who have internet access.

    IMHO feeding starving people is more important than checking email, reading /. etc...

    IMHO

    • Hmm... doesn't fly. I understand what you're *trying* to say, but I think you fall short on the overall consequences of this action.

      Here in the U.S. (and most other Western nations), everybody seems to be making a huge deal out of how "if you can't compete in the electrontic marketplace, you're out of business". Now, whether this is truly a fact or not remains to be seen, but it's almost certainly becoming more true every day.

      Think about it. From that standpoint, a single company lacking the resources to compete in the digital marketplace, or even to leverage technology to compete in pure "meatspace", risks losing big-time. Now, extend that concept to the economy of an entire nation. Pretty ugly, eh? Yep, it sure is... I for one feel bad for the doubtless *many* legitimate businesses in Somalia that will suffer from this.

      What's the end consequence? You can't really say "oh, they'll just get their access elsewhere", because any nation that reconnects them is begging for U.S. backlash. As a nation (and yes, I am an American citizen), we have a disturbing habit of not only "taking our ball and going home", but dropping bombs on anyone else who wants to let others use *their* ball to play. This tendency is only becoming more pronounced. I don't know how much longer the rest of the world will tolerate the cry-baby tactics of this nation, but hopefully it won't be too much longer.

      Just my thoughts, eh?

      Web hosting by geeks, for geeks. Now starting at $4/month (USD)! [trilucid.com]

      Yes, this is my protest to the sig char limit :).
  • Not good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by exceed (518714)
    Imagine what the Somalians think now to hear that the United States has shut down their two major communication companies? This will just create more anti-American tension within the world of Islam.
  • Yeah, right! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tokikenshi (537552)
    First Echelon, and now this? Gee mom, uncle sam's getting paranoid!
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:12PM (#2603905) Homepage

    So it's come to this again. Because we need or want to get rid of some controlling individuals, but won't go in and do it directly, we apply larger scale sanctions that mostly hurt the people that rely on them. Although this is really small scale stuff compared to Iraq and, what's that other place... oh yeah, Cuba.

    I know, I know, it's up to the the locals to clean their own house, but I have to question our record on applying and lifting sanctions. Here we are cosying up with communist China, and one faction in Afghanistan, and yet we still sanction communist Cuba and Iraq and are bombing the crap out of our ex best buddies in Afghanistan, racking up civilian casualties among the populations we profess to want to liberate, while not being willing to take the media hit of spending the life of one US serviceman (volunteers all) to get the guy we originally went in after.

    It would be nice if just for once, we could say "Here is a list of the bad guys. We are going to get them, but we will go after them, and only them, and will lose US servicemen in preference to killing civilians and discounting their lives as 'collateral damage'" Then without any ceremony or fanfare or spin doctoring, we sit and wait for six weeks until they've got complacent and cocky, then quietly blow the fuckers' brains out in dark alleyways.

    This is tough on Somalia, but Somalians can at least count themselves lucky that they're not Iraqis or Cubas. God damn, I hate the hypocrisy of politicians.

    • by swilcox (171376)
      I love it when flaming liberals bring up Cuba. We are the ONLY nation on this planet that doesn't trade with Cuba and yet the US gets blamed for the sad state Cuba is in. Ever thought it might be the fact that the government is COMMUNIST! Sheesh. Every other nation is free to trade (and alot do, France, China, Canada) with Cuba but the US continually gets blamed for Cuba's state of affairs by the more ignorant among us. As far as Somalia goes, what are we suppose to do? If there is a company that is aiding a terrorist organization you shut it down if possible. Hmmmm, lets see. Internet access for a third world nation or less resources for terrorist organizations. I know what I choose.
      • Ok, considering the amount of funds channelled into the organisation by US agencies to support them while Russia was in Afghanistan, I take it you also advocate shutting down the US security agencies?

        There's a little quote I seem to remember somewhere, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..".
        If people actually listened, the only people eligible to throw stones wouldn't want to. And the ones with the least right to throw stones usually lob the largest.
      • Every other nation is free to trade

        Or maybe you forgot about the US attempt to prevent other nations to trade with Cuba with the (now dead I think) Helms-Burton (sp?) bill.

        I wonder why the US is still trading with China, they too are COMMUNISTS! It's funny how you don't even need to say how someone (or some country) is bad, you can just say COMMUNIST... or ARABS, or TERRORISTS (which is probably the same as the previous in the american dictionary). These are just buzzwords, the same as in the McCarty/Nazi/whatever era.
  • by zulux (112259) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:13PM (#2603910) Homepage Journal

    Al-barakatt is the Somali version of Western Union - they take money and 'wire' it over to Somalia for delivery. Unfortunatly, the terrorists are taking a cut of all transfers:

    US Government View
    [state.gov]
    http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/01110 71 1.htm

    Al-barakatt is an ISP, kind of like how the mafia is a security firm.

    I imagine the "Blame America First" crowd it running around gleeful: Look America is crushing open communication in Somalia.
      • Al Barakaat's founder, Shaykh Ahme Nur Jimale, is closely linked to Usama bin Laden.

      If we believe this, we're right to take action. But direct action. Punishing the company and the country for the actions of one man is rank hypocrisy. For all our vaunted military might and intelligence, we do seem to have a real problem when it comes to putting a bullet in the brain of the real bad guys.


      • It's even muckerier than that: Al Barakaats services are really needed - a lot of Somali immigrents here in Seattle need the service to wire money to their *starving* families at home. Western Union charges too much and requires ID to hand over the money - ID is something that most Somalis don't have. It's a difficult situation, with no easy answers. Hopefully, andother comapny will fill the void.

        Personally - I think that killing Al-Barakatt as a company is ligitimate. The world would be a better place if we had a corporate death penelty for companies that are guilty of murder. Al-Barakaat should be joind with RJR Tabacco and BMW Jewish-Slave-Labor-Vehicles.
      • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:53PM (#2604133)
        Al Barakaat's founder, Shaykh Ahme Nur Jimale, is closely linked to Usama bin Laden.

        If we believe this, we're right to take action. But direct action.


        Which we undoubtably will. But lets finish with Afghanistan first. Folks, get over yourself. America is at war, really at war, not just scratching an itch. For the first time since 1945. Bitch and moan all you like, but places like Afghanistan and Somalia, which btw is also know for having numerous Al Qaida camps, will be taken down and the terrorists killed. Wail and moan all you like, it will change nothing. We're through kowtowing to every wannabe critic for being the sole superpower and not magically creating the perfect world according to 6 billion different definitions of the above. We were attacked, and we will exterminate our attackers, wherever they hide, wherever they are given sanctuary. And if you are giving them sanctuary, then you too shall suffer. Get over it, and be glad that, for now, all we've stopped are wire transfers.

        And I say this as a liberal, generally very harsh critic of our government. Imagine how the moderates and the conservatives feel, right now. We are relentless, and when angered we are ruthless in ferretting out and killing the enemy. Since the events on 9/11 we are very, very angry, and countries like Somalia and Afghanistan, that harbor terrorists, are going down. One after another, like dominos, until we have accomplished our task.

        We now return you to your regularly scheduled, anti-American bashing, bitching, and moaning, brought to you by the First Amendment coupled with a large dose of absolute cluelessness and knee-jerk "I'm politically informed yes I am" wannabe parrots.
        • "Folks, get over yourself. America is at war, really at war, not just scratching an itch. For the first time since 1945."

          No, we aren't at war. That's part of the problem.

          In order to be 'really at war' congress must declare war. This is a really important point. One of the reasons this is important is so that everyone know who we are war with, who we intend to kill, and when the killing will stop.

          We have placed to restrictions on the killing, but somehow we expect to make things better, to recude the number of deaths.

          Instead of formally declaring war we are killing people in foriegn countries, and claiming it is justified because we suspect that someone else killed some of our people.

          Don't you see the flaw in Bush's logic? He is effectively saying 'If someone from country A kills people in country B, that is terrorism.', then proceeding to have people killed in another country and claiming it is justice.

          When our citizens are killed in our country (elligedly by someone who doesn't live here) we call it terrorism. When we kill Afgans in Afganistan without declaring war it is also terrorism.

          The difference is only that we've managed to kill more people, and we are broadcasting reports of how well we are doing the job. We are responding to terrorism with more terrorism, but trying to hide that fact behind some hand wringing and tears.

          Bush promised us justice. What is being done is not just.

          The United States is engaged in terrorism. Bush is the leader of the United States. Bush is a terrorist leader. Bush is telling us that he will hunt down and kill terrorist leaders. Doesn't it bother you that our president has a death wish? We need a suicide watch for Bush. He is insane.

        • by mickwd (196449) on Friday November 23, 2001 @05:17PM (#2604617)
          "...countries like Somalia and Afghanistan, that harbor terrorists, and going down. One after another, like dominos, until we have accomplished our task"

          I shouldn't really rise to this, but here goes....

          Taking down whole countries now are we ? How many innocent people will this kill ? How many people will become sworn enemies of the USA as a result ? How many of these will want to take direct action to avenge the deaths of their innocent loved ones ? How many more innocent Americans will die as a result ?

          Just getting angry and shouting your mouth off might make you feel good, but it isn't going to help anyone.

          Yes, the US should go after Bin Laden and co (if they're sure they were responsible for Sept11), but going after people who just happen to live in the same country as terrorists is not sensible.

          After all, you might be living in the same country as someone who's causing terrorism with Anthrax.

          I do hope this doesn't appear "clueless" or "knee-jerk" in response to your reasoned post.

  • This won't prevent satellite internet access, and I though that Bin Laden had access to this? Also, some of the international lines are up, so they could get through.
    • This won't prevent satellite internet access

      Good. Most people now use the Iridium satellite service, of wich the US State Department has a $70,000,000 contract with. I imagine our govenrment gets to listen on any conversation they want to. I don't know about Imarsat though - lugging around a suitcase dosent seem portable anymore.
      • You have a point, but if they're passing an encrypted message allong, then it's pointless. The feds still haven't cracked Mitnicks hard drive... I can see it now, a new Dnet project to crack terrorist encryption...
        • You have a point, but if they're passing an encrypted message allong, then it's pointless.

          The could tell where the things are used though:

          I took delivery of my Motoroal 9505 Iridium phone a few months ago and went to southern France, made a call and poped ofer the border into Spain and made a call. I was only 500 meteres into Spain. Imagine my supprise when I came home and the bill was neatly catagorised by country of origin. Kinda creapy that they are that accurate.

          I wish I could by the 9505 voice-encryption module for the back of the phone, but then I'm not a spook ;)
  • by melquiades (314628) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:20PM (#2603942) Homepage
    I saw a long article on the cover of one of the news rags (Time or Newsweek; can't remember) asking "Why do they hate us?" They had a long, fairly historically informed argument about the breakup of the Ottoman empire, the controversy of the Israeli state, and the rise of fundamentalism. It was a pretty good analysis, but its basic undertone was "the Muslim world is angry and backward".

    There's a shorter answer to "Why do they hate us?" in this article about Somalia. I don't care how much our intelligence services swear that the ISP was run by terrorists -- it's just impossible not to read this as, "You primitive black people don't need the internet, and now we're smacking you down to size." When the US has "severely restricted international telephone lines and shut down vitally needed money transfer facilities", that sure sounds like an act of economic terrorism to me -- justified or not.

    Remember that when the US bombed that "nerve gas factory" in Somalia, we were never able to present any hard post-hoc evidence that it was not, as the Somalis claim, a medicine factory. Eventually, the Pentagon mostly kind of sort of admitted it was full of shit. "Oops, sorry! We'll be more careful next time!"

    "Why do they hate us?" Because we're a bunch of self-righteous bastards who think we can do whatever we want to the rest of the world.

    When we cut off the Somalis' access to medicine, phones, internet, and money transfer because of suspected terrorism, we have a responsibility to step in and make sure that those services get provided somehow -- otherwise we are not punishing terrorists, but creating them.
    • Minor Correction (Score:3, Informative)

      by Carnage4Life (106069)
      Remember that when the US bombed that "nerve gas factory" in Somalia, we were never able to present any hard post-hoc evidence that it was not, as the Somalis claim, a medicine factory. Eventually, the Pentagon mostly kind of sort of admitted it was full of shit. "Oops, sorry! We'll be more careful next time!"

      Actually it was a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan not Somalia. Interestingly enough the fact that the US bombed a factory that was producing medicine for in a poor country that is torn apart by famine, disease and strife is one of the rallying cries that Bin Laden used to recruit and swell the ranks of Al-Qaeda.
    • by ZPO (465615)
      Quick Review of the facts;

      1 - The executive order was signed on 23SEP2001

      2 - AlBarakaat (sp?) may fall under the label of a "telecom" company, but is really just a money-wire service.

      3 - AlBarakaat doesn't require such formalities as proper ID to wire money

      4 - AlBarakaat actually operated in several (100+) countries, Somalia is just the one someone chose to write about since it has an inflamatory angle.

      5 - Both organizations had their assets frozen

      Conclusions:

      - This is being reported 60 days after a freeze of the assets. Somalia Internet Company most likely got cut off after not paying their bills. The BBC article doesn mention the little detail of *why* their international gateway got cut off. AlBarakaat simply doesn't have any float funds to wire around and pay out.

      - Gee, a money transfer company that doesn't require ID, etc being used to launder/distribute funds to terrorists? What a novel idea!

      - If Somali's *WORKING* in the US don't have proper ID then they aren't here legally are they! If they aren't here legally then what the hell are they doing working?

      - We don't have access to intelligence sources and methods do we? Perhaps if we did we might know much more about how these conclusions were reached. Do I advocate blind trust in the government and/or intelligence community? No, I don't.

      - Was the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and accident - probably not. Just a little message the China needed to get.

      - What was the pharmacuetical company in Sudan really producing? Where did the funds to build it come from. What was it's chain of ownership? What other possible uses did it have? Were other operations being conducted (or preparation being made for) at the site? If you don't know all the answers to these questions then perhaps you shouldn't be deciding whether it was a valid target or not.

      - Since when is it a US responsiblity to make sure a country has multiple forms of money wire-transfer services and internet access before they take action to freeze assets?
      • "If Somali's *WORKING* in the US don't have proper ID then they aren't here legally are they! If they aren't here legally then what the hell are they doing working?"

        You misunderstood. This company was prefered because the recipients of the wire transfers don't have IDs. People who want to receive a wire transfer will now need an ID, but if they can't get one, they will not be able to receive a wire transfer. Apparently it is quite common to not have an ID.

  • by Cally (10873) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:20PM (#2603943) Homepage
    With the over-reliance on technological solutions pedalled by pork-barrel defence contractors over good-old-fashioned human intelligence already acknowledged as a factor contributing to 9/11, and the long-awaited acceptance that the "terrorist facility" in Somalia that was attacked with cruise missiles in 1996 was a perfectly legal pharmaceutical factory making (mainly) antibiotics - one of the few in the country, or indeed region - they carry on making the same mistakes. This will just alienate even more people who were previously neutral in "The War Against Terrorism". As the BBC correspondent says: very, very depressing, and hif (he) had a stronger word he could use, he'd use it.

    Please don't mod this as a troll; I really do think this is a straightforward tactical mistake.

    Off-topic: there seem to be very few posts today, anything to do with Quest's DSL network going down? in the same week as BT's national network went down? I don't believe in coincidences like this. Someone has a zero--day sploit against the network hardware - something from Cisco is my bet...

  • Everybody who have once played AD&D for sometime have ever headr about the Dark Palladin.

    Once upon a time, a long long time ago, a woman (I don't remember her name), a palladin (lawful good) that have promissed to fight against all evil in the world if her child survives the terrible plague.

    Once her son has survived she went to the holy fight against the evil, killing with no mercy all evil she could encounter, and destroying all the evil in the region.

    Once she had destroyed all the evil (chaotic evil, neutral evil and lawful evil) she decided to destroy every soul that is not good. Many was killed, even innocents and children was killed.

    She generated horror all around the reign destroying every soul not good, and now she started to kill non-lawful (chaotic good and neutral good). It was horrible, the fear was everywhere, nobody could ever know when the palladin could appear.

    One day, after killing dozens of non-lawful-good she was praying when a strange mist came all around her beloved church. Her shining armor became dark and a voice told her: "You have done a wonderful job, but now I have something even bigger for you."

    Now she has a whole realm for her in Ravenloft.

  • by No-op (19111) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:36PM (#2604040)
    Just recently several money transfer services in my hometown of Minneapolis were shut down. these were services used by our large Somali population to wire money back home to family members- they are a form of money tranfer based on trust called "hawalla". rather than paperwork etc it all is based on money transfers happening because people can be held to their word.

    these organisations (that were shut down) were purportedly having money skimmed off the top of each transfer by members of the Al-Qu'eda network. whether or not this was happening, and whether or not the proprietors were aware of it, it has had a large negative impact on the US Somali community.

    The Somali companies shut down that this article references were conduits for these money transfers, and I personally expect to see dire consequences come from this. as it states, 80% of the money coming in to somalia is from foreign workers sending money home. Do the math on that, and you come up with a large number of hardworking US residents having no way to support starving family members back home! this isn't a good thing.

    I fully support shutting down organizations and companies that are funding terrorist activities- but how hard would it be for Bush to help out these hawallas and open up alternate methods of transfer? I'm sure that some of them would be willing to some oversight into their financial transactions as well, vs. being put out of business permanently.

    I'd like to see a little more of that "compassionate conservatism" and a little less of Bush's ethnocentric reactionism. let's pray that he comes to his senses and stops harming innocent civilians in this crisis.
    • In the short run the Somali immigrants will be hurt, but in the long run they are better off getting rid of Hawallas and getting a real banking system. If this encourages them to do that, it will, in the long run, be seen as one of the best things we could do for them. Why? Because the Hawalla charges ridiculous cuts just for transferring the money. It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 to as much as 15% according to an article I read in the Washington Post.

      This is really ironic when you consider that they are always getting on the case of the "Jewish conspirators" for charging "usery".

      These hawallas are "check cashing" fronts that bilk their own people, and they get what they deserve.

  • I guess that's a thing of the past?
  • Plenty of techs in the US passed through the stage in the early 90s where folks who'd been running BBS systems (for instace, FidoNet) transitioned to starting local ISPs.

    If you were advising someone in a minor 3rd-World town about a minimal working setup to provide local ISP service, what would they need? Sure, a line in. Power. A couple cheap clone PCs with Linux. Modems. More phone lines - or are there places where wireless or even local ether would make more sense?

    Are there Net resources - or books - that provide basic instructions for the would-be local startup 3rd-World ISP? Because Somalia's problem is it only had two, and their lines were to companies under US sway. If they had 20 ISPs - or 100 - linked out through many other nations, this wouldn't be trouble. If new ISPs came up faster than old ones could be shut down, also just a nuisance.

    Once the kit is designed, what would be required for it to enable stealth ISPs, say in China, Tibet....
  • by CleverNickName (129189) <wil@wi[ ]eaton.net ['lwh' in gap]> on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:44PM (#2604087) Homepage Journal
    If I can't access the internet while I'm in Somalia, then the terrorists have won.

    ...oh.
  • I for one would far rather that innocent people continue to die than for email and internet access to infringed upon.

    This war, people. This is not an intellectual excercise. This is not a point-counterpoint trial where each person has time to prove their allegations in an organized manner. This is a war. We are the targets. Without quick thinking and quick action, we will all be dead. We are under a very real threat at this very moment.

    I would like for you to have the continued freedom to question our capable military advisors, even though you don't know half of what they do. If you would like to have that continued freedom, then you better hope they do a good job beating the enemy. Winning a war somtimes takes drastic action.

    I am in full support of this war effort, even if it means some internet access is taken down for a while.
    • I am in full support of this war effort, even if it means some internet access is taken down for a while.

      Yeah, its easy to volunteer someone to lose their freedom(s), but, how about your own?

      Give up your Internet access the duration of the "war". How about it? I mean, you are in full support of the war, right?
    • "This war, people. This is not an intellectual excercise. This is not a point-counterpoint trial where each person has time to prove their allegations in an organized manner. This is a war. We are the targets. Without quick thinking and quick action, we will all be dead. We are under a very real threat at this very moment."

      We are not at war. We are killing people in random locations around the world, which is wrong.

      I feel less safe now than I did the day before we started bombing. I feel I am more likely to be targeted by some future terrorist act than I was before we started bombing. We are creating more enemies than we are killing.

      I look forward to the war crimes trails after which the former leaders of the United States are hunted down and brought to justice.

      The United States is actively engaged in terrorism. I am embarrased to be a citizen.

  • Somalia has problems (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zeda (415)
    Just saw on CNN last night that in 1997 Ethopia actually INVADED parts of Somalia to attack terrorist training camps there, and they found and killed Arabs terrorists.

    Ethopia now claims that members of Somalia's parliaments are allied with or controlled by the same terrorist groups that got their asses kicked back in 1997.
  • by rm3friskerFTN (34339) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:20PM (#2604386) Journal
    The UN Security Council Resolution 1373 [un.org] appears to authorize cutting Somailia off from the net.

    Some key paragraphs from the UN Security Council Resolution:

    all States shall: ... suppress the financing of terrorist acts;

    all States shall: Prohibit ... making any funds, financial assets or economic resources or financial or other related services available, directly or indirectly, for the benefit of persons who commit or attempt to commit or facilitate or participate in the commission of terrorist acts, of entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by such persons and of persons and entities acting on behalf of or at the direction of such persons;

    Decides also that all States shall: Prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes against other States or their citizens;

    other paragraphs here [un.org]

    • "The UN Security Council Resolution 1373 [un.org] appears to authorize cutting Somailia off from the net.
      Some key paragraphs from the UN Security Council Resolution:
      "

      The UN Security Council is composed of representatives from four Christian countries and one Confusion country. It is imposing sanctions on mostly muslum countries at the moment. Any one of these five countries can veto whatever another country attempts to propose or pass in the UN.

      The structure of the UN, particularly the Security Council, leave a lot to be desired. Suppose the five Security Council seats were randomly reassigned. Do you suppose this might completely change the sort of motions the UN passes? If so, that the Security Council is really in charge.

      At the moment, the United Satets can veto whatever UN motion they please. Do you suppose the United Nations would pay attention to anything the UN passes if they no longer had the ability to veto anything they choose?

  • by Tom (822) on Friday November 23, 2001 @05:56PM (#2604761) Homepage Journal
    if al qaida shut down all US international internet connections, most telephone lines and destroyed the main money transfer institutes - how long would it take until bush is on the air talking about a terrorist attack?
  • The U.S. has become what its founding fathers fought against. Read the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence and see how many the U.S. has promoted in foreign countries, particularly Palestine and other Muslim countries. Sept 11 may have been the latest "shot heard round the world". One wonders if Bush and company would have rounded up George Washington et. al. on secret evidence without writ of habious corpus like they are doing with Muslims in the U.S. How long till we have to call him King George W?
  • by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday November 23, 2001 @07:33PM (#2605078) Homepage Journal
    I read that the terrorsts sometime use cars to drive to their meetings. We should stop all oil shipments to the country.

    One could presume that terrorists get sick. Stop any medical shipments, less we want to allow those terrorists to remain healthy.

    And, when you think about it, those terrorists are crafty devils. They breathe oxygen, a gas created often by plants, just like us. Plants can't grow without sunlight, so lets block all the sunshine allowed into the country.

    These may seem harsh to you, but think for a moment, who's side are you on?
  • utterly wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samantha (68231) on Friday November 23, 2001 @08:20PM (#2605201) Homepage
    If we are ever to spread democracy and more opportunity and well-being throughout the world modern communications is utterly essential. If we can't talk to them, they can't learn of anything from outside and they can't even talk to one another in any modern way, then there is no way their situation can ever improve. Cutting off money coming in is also especially damaging.

    In the rush to "do something" about terrorism we are stomping on a lot of rights and a lot of peoples lives. It is not money that makes terror. It is oppression, hatred, hoplessness, and rage. If we really want to cut "funding" to terror we must clean up its true funds by doing what we can to end oppression and to give hope.

    We are headed in precisely the wrong direction.

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue

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