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U.S. Shuts Down Somalia Internet Access 799

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

    by Anonymous DWord ( 466154 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:30PM (#2604009) Homepage
    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.
  • Minor Correction (Score:3, Informative)

    by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:36PM (#2604036) Homepage Journal
    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 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.
  • Re:Suspects?? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:41PM (#2604075)
    What you weren't told (or choose to ignore) is that the Taliban regularly parked military vehicles right next to the Red Cross center thinking that the US wouldn't attack them.
  • Re:Evidence? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Joe Decker ( 3806 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:44PM (#2604093) Homepage
  • by ZPO ( 465615 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:53PM (#2604128)
    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


    - 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?
  • 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.
  • Re:Suspects?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bleah ( 533349 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @03:00PM (#2604164)
    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.

  • by kypper ( 446750 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @03:45PM (#2604261)
    here. []

    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:03PM (#2604322)
    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.
    Because of EO12333, the US cannot conduct those kind of operations (basically what amounts to assassination). Until that portion of the executive order is changed, the US has not choice but to resort to dropping bombs and hope they get lucky. It's hard to drop something that can take out a city block or destroy a building without having 'collateral damage'.
  • by rm3friskerFTN ( 34339 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:20PM (#2604386) Journal
    The UN Security Council Resolution 1373 [] 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 []

  • Misleading Reports (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2001 @05:26PM (#2604646)
    The reports of this that I've seen, while technically accurate, are rather misleading. The truth is that the US did NOT shut down these companies. AT&T and British Telecom have shut them down. There is a big difference.

    While British Telecom is largely tied to the government there, and thus the British government may have some questions to answer, AT&T is a private company, not part of the US government. They didn't have to shut the gateway down just because the company was on a list that the government put together, but they chose to do so, and AT&T (not the government) is also responsible for the ramifications of these actions.

    Let's state this correctly, shall we?:

    AT&T and BRITISH TELECOM Shut Down Somalia Internet Access

    That's better.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @06:50PM (#2604950)
    That is not the article I was refering to. As I stated in a reply above I saw it reported live on CNN as it was handed to the reporter off the wire.

    It was reported as an admission that the article you link to was not true.

    I have no way of proving I ever actually saw what I claim short of a brain scan.

  • Re:Food "bombs" (Score:2, Informative)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @07:02PM (#2604996)
    Afghanis cannot immediately recognize freeze dried food that's shaped like a brick wrapped in dayglo yellow mylar if they are not culturally aclimated to recogzine that such even *could* be food. Nor is it immediately recognizable as food when it is *unwrapped* unless you already know that it is.

    I have actually lived in such areas where I have had to give lessons to locals that such is food, and how to convert it to such in an edible form.

    Your criticism of my post is in itself confirmation of the increadable cultural divide between "us" and "them."

    To YOU it is obviously food, and you obviously find it ridiculous to belive that thay wouldn't.

    There's a pretty good chance that THEY know a few things are food that you would be hard pressed to believe is even edible.

    A single mature cedar tree can support a man for a year. I'd hazard a guess you would starve to death sitting underneath one, totally unaware of the edible wealth available within your reach.

    How on earth could you not recognize *food*!

    Food, sir, is cultural.


A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson