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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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  • Yeah, right! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tokikenshi ( 537552 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @02:08PM (#2603880) Homepage
    First Echelon, and now this? Gee mom, uncle sam's getting paranoid!
  • 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.
  • 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.


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

    by Joe Decker ( 3806 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:03PM (#2604321) Homepage
    I actually find UBL's admission to be proof enough for me. You might question the fuzziness of the translation of his comments, but a few friends who speak Arabic as a first language tell me that they find the connotation of admission of guilt in UBL's 10/20 statement to be clearer to them in the Arabic than in the current translations in the US press. Your standards of proof may vary, of course.

    I'll note that the UN did not question UBL's guilt in the murder of hundreds in the embassy bombings, that led to their resolution demanding UBL's extradition from the Taliban in 1999. (UN Resolution 1267, if you care to look it up.) Pity that the UN didn't enforce that resolution.

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

    by PD ( 9577 ) <> on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:16PM (#2604368) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Somalia has problems (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zeda ( 415 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:18PM (#2604372)
    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.
  • Hell, I'm mad enough (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aminorex ( 141494 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:23PM (#2604399) Homepage Journal
    : All this does is make more people mad enough at
    : America that they are willing to die for revenge.

    Hell, I'm a midwestern Christian white boy, and
    *I*'m mad enough at American to be willing to die
    for revenge, if I didn't have dependent children.
    In about 8 years that will, however, change.
    If I flee the police state in the meantime, I
    might be more concerned about my new home country,
  • by kypper ( 446750 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @04:27PM (#2604415)
    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.
  • by kaladorn ( 514293 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @05:09PM (#2604587) Homepage Journal
    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....
  • by sheriff_p ( 138609 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @06:41PM (#2604925)
    I think we're (you're) missing a really quite important point here. As the article said, 80% of people in Somalia need money that comes in to buy food. They will starve without it. Now, when they're sitting, starving to death, who're they going to blame? Osama Bin Laden? The Tal[ie]ban? The local warlords? I doubt it.

    They're going to blame the good US of A. The same country that has previous posters saying "We gave them access, now we can take it away". People are going to starve to death. Lots of people. Due to American foreign policy.

    If we throw our minds back a few years, what pissed a rich Saudi kid off about the states so much that he decided to wreak havoc on them? Oh yeah! Far-reaching American foreign policy. So, let's starve Somalia, and create one hundred more little bin Ladens. And let's be arrogant and frivilous about it, as we condemn millions to a lingering starving death.

    Play with fire, get burned.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Friday November 23, 2001 @06:41PM (#2604926) Journal

    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.

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

    by shawnseat ( 453587 ) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @11:15AM (#2606751)

    "All US citizens helped kill over a million iraquis including over 500,000 children."

    I suppose the fact that the Iraqi government has spent most of its money on weapons projects instead of food and agriculture has nothing to do with the problem over there.

    It might also have something to do with the fact that the United States, over the objections of even Great Britain(!), has not permitted chemicals necessary for cleaning municipal water to enter the country. This is a violation of Article 45 of the Geneva Convention, but then the US only uses the UN when it's a convenient scapegoat.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982