World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor

ECOTERRA Intl.

SMCM
Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor

ECOTERRA INTERNATIONAL - UPDATES & STATEMENTS, REVIEW & CLEARING-HOUSE 2009-08-10 MON 22h41:53 UTC
Issue No. 227 b

A Voice from the Truth- & Justice-Seekers, who sit between all chairs, because they are not part of organized white-collar or no-collar-crime in Somalia or elsewhere, and who neither benefit from global naval militarization, from the illegal fishing and dumping in Somali waters or the piracy of merchant vessels, nor from the booming insurance business or the exorbitant ransom-, risk-management- or security industry, while neither the protection of the sea, the development of fishing communities or the humanitarian assistance to abducted seafarers and their families is receiving the required adequate attention, care and funding.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." George Orwell

EA ILLEGAL FISHING AND DUMPING HOTLINE: +254-714-747090 (confidentiality guaranteed) - email: somalia[at]ecoterra.net
EA Seafarers Assistance Programme EMERGENCY HELPLINE : SMS to +254-738-497979 or sms/call +254-733-633-733

"The pirates must not be allowed to destroy our dream !"
Cpt. Florent Lemaçon
- F/Y Tanit - killed by French commandos - 10. April 2009 / Ras Hafun
NON A LA GUERRE - YES FOR PEACE
(Inscription on the sail of F/Y TANIT - shot down on day one of the French assault)

"... obligation to fight oppression and cruelty wherever it appears, and that any group of people who are degrading another group of people have to be fought against with whatever tools we have available to us. "
B. H. Obama - US-American President, who said also: The world has changed ! YES, WE CAN !

CLEARING-HOUSE: Cut out the clutter - focus on facts !
(If you find this compilation too large or if you can't grasp the multitude and magnitude of important inter-related complex issues influencing the Horn of Africa - you better do not deal with Somalia or other man-made "conflict zones". We try to make it as condensed as possibly.)

TOP_EXCLUSIVE_BREAKING:

The DNA result of the government approved lab in Canada says that Suad Haji Mohamud, the Canadian citizen of Somali orgin, whose passport had been illegally destroyed by the Canadian High Commission in Kenya is 99.99% positive.The Canadians also write her real name persistently wrong as Suaad Hagi Mohamud. The mother of a twelve year old boy, who cries since two month back in Toronto for his mother, was thrown into a prison in Kenya because ignorant Canadian officials at the High Commission refused to believe her and instructed the Kenyan authorities that she would be an imposter.


BREAKING:


T/B BUCCANEER RELEASED

The 16 crew and Italian-owned T/B BUCCANEER with its two barges were released yesterday, Sunday evening, at around 19h30 local time after a fine was paid and they are now on their way to Djibouti, escorted by an Italian naval vessel. The four month ordeal is finally over for the 10 Italian, 5 Romanian and the one Croation and they might decide in future not to work on vessels which have clandestine work to do.
The vessel was arrested by Somalis from Laskooray for alleged dumping of waste, though the Italian Foreign Minister Frattini had maintained to profile the case as piracy. His special envoy and an Italian delegation were unsuccessful to achieve a release during the first month of the detention, though they tried only through the authorities from Puntland to talk with what they described as pirates.
Though the Italian operating company - Ravenna-based MICOPERI Marine Contractors- as well as the foreign ministry maintain that no ransom was paid, the captors of the vessel and barges stated today that they had received the fine and thereafter released the convoy and crew. The statement by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who said the Buccaneer was freed after "exceptional work" on the part of Somali authorities and the Italian intelligence service, received only loud laughter in Northern Somalia.
The final amount paid is, however, not quiet clear because a 500Tsd US Dollar payment was made earlier in order to secure a kind of "omerta" or silence concerning any information, especially regarding the content of the barges, of which one is still half full. Therefore the reported figures of the payment vary between 3.5 and 4.25 mio US dollars. The difference in reported figures might as well origin from different accountings - with or without the silencing money.
In any case it is a tremendous amount of money, which might very well reflect the still lucrative dumping or oil smuggling business and/or the ongoing upsurge in demands from Somali captors.
"Something still is very fishy with this buccaneer ship", a regional analyst stated "and the Italian government better comes clear after a thorough investigation of the case and the company dealings."
Meanwhile the Italian foreign ministry released a statement expressing "great satisfaction with the positive solution of the hijacking of cargo ship Buccaneer and the freeing of Italians on board"and that release came after a long process of contacts with Somali authorities and collaboration of the Puntland authorities, while not even speaking of the five Romanians and the one Croatian who also had to suffer. ''We knew for some days that something good was about to happen, but before this took place we thought that in this case silence was golden,'' Frattini said on his Facebook page.
So the Foreign Minister of former colonial power Italy Franco Frattini continuously denied any ransom had been paid, saying the Somali prime minister had personally intervened to secure the release of the Buccaneer. "No ransom has been paid, the pressure on the pirates was enough to make them retreat," Frattini told Italian television after praising Somali authorities and the Italian intelligence service for their part in the release and added: "In the last three months we've reminded Somalia of the big help that Italy has given it and above all, the help that we've promised to give."
After the captors had 'retreated' the Italian support ship San Giorgio approached the tug and "rescued" the crew, which was suffering from some malnutrition but was otherwise said to be fine. The manager of the company which owns the Buccaneer repeatedly said the vessel was not freed as a result of military action and no ransom was paid, while nobody seems to question the real owners and dealers: LEADERSHIP MANAGEMENT at 11, Via Giovanni Michelucci, Ravenna - Italy.

.. and while whole Somalia and Italy are laughing upon Minister Frattini's statements, why shouldn't we:

Obama, Bin Laden and Berlusconi are summoned by the Almighty, who challenges them:
"Good day to everybody. Things on Earth are not going well and I am fed up with all of you. You Americans are using up too much energy and are producing too much carbon dioxide; you Islamists are doing far too many terrorist acts; you Italians have obliterated any kind of public ethics… Well, if you do not change your ways, I am going to sentence you to shovel dung for the eternity! Go and
take immediate action!”
Back on Earth, the three leaders address their people.
Obama: "Fellow Americans! I have for you good news and bad news. Good news is that God does exist, indeed! He summoned me and spoke to me. Bad news is that he is fed up with us and plans a terrible punishment if we do not save energy and if we keep on polluting the planet”
Osama bin Laden: “Brother Muslims! I saw Allah and he is very happy with us. But he wants us to increase the rate of our bombing attacks”.
Berlusconi: "Italiani!!!!! I have two wonderful pieces of news for you. The first is that I saw my junior brother, God, of whom I am his Chief adviser. He is very happy with my performances and I managed to convince him to apply a very clever plan of mine that will assure a job to everybody and for ever.”

... now we know why some at the very top in Italy are seen by many Italians to be full of sh$*^

(if you don't understand the joke - ask for advice from the Italian intelligence service!)


---------- news from sea-jackings, abductions, newly attacked ships and vessels in distress --------

TWO SOMALIS ON LONG SEA-SAFARI SURVIVED Two Somali fishermen held for trespassing Indian Karnataka coast The Indian State Coastal Security Police today detained two fishermen from Somalia, about 20 nautical miles from Malpe coast for trespassing on their waters. They had arrived at the Indian subcontinent in their fishing boat named "SAFARI" (Kiswahili for Voyage, Travel). The two Abdi Fatah (19) and Mohamud (33) told the coastal security police (CSP) their boat developed technical problems and lost direction due to rough sea weather resulting in coming near the Malpe coast, CSP sources said.
The sources said the boat was intercepted when it was coming from Gangolli. They were, however, sighted 20 nautical miles away from Gangolli in Kundapur taluk by fishermen from Kanyakumari on Monday and later handed over to the Coastal Security Police. The duo sought the help of the Kochi fishermen. The fishermen, suspicious at first, reluctantly approached them and once they were sure they were not carrying any weapons agreed to help them. The fishermen then informed the Malpe coastal security police who brought them to Malpe from Gangolli.
The Coastal Security Police in Malpe have meanwhile registered two cases against the Somali nationals for illegally straying into the Indian territory and not possessing passports.
Mukund Nayak, Inspector, Coastal Security Police, said that the two Somalis were seeking help as their fibre boat had developed a technical problem.
The fishermen contacted their agent Vikram in Malpe, who in turn alerted the Coastal Security Police.
Some groceries, coal, food items, a few Somalian currency notes, vessels and a mobile phone were recovered from the boat. The duo spoke only Somali, while one could write their names as well as the name of a place in English.
They informed they had left Somalia on June 9. The police interrogated the two with the help of a student from Ethiopia who is pursuing studies in Manipal.
Following the interrogation they revealed that they were fishermen from Somalia, and that they had got separated from the mother boat while fishing in a gulf.
The Indian Ambassador to Somalia has been informed by the Seafarers Assistance Programme in order to secure a swift release of the two men from custody and urged the UNHCR to become active, if the two apply for refugee status.

Fresh captain to face pirates on freed vessel by DPA /Mombasa, Kenya
When German container ship the Hansa Stavanger docked in the Kenyan port of Mombasa on Saturday, it was smiles all round.
The crew, dressed in orange and blue boiler suits, waved to the assembled throng of journalists and port officials, relieved their four-month ordeal in the hands of Somali pirates was over.
But as two puttering tugboats pushed the hulking ship into its berth, one man stood impassively on the dock, smoking a cigarette and looking beyond the Hansa Stavanger to the open ocean.
Bernd Jantzen, 59, is the new captain of the freed vessel. Before too long it will be his job to take her back out into the pirate-infested waters off Somalia.
“My family are not happy about the piracy, but it is my job and I have to deal with it,” he said with a shrug.
But before Jantzen can take his new ship out, the accumulated damage of four months of pirate neglect has to be repaired.
The Hansa Stavanger was seized on April 4, around 400 nautical miles from Somalia. It was finally released on Monday after the pirates said they received $2.7mn from Hamburg-based shipping firm Leonhardt & Blumberg.
Since then, a medical team from the German Navy destroyer Brandenburg, which turned up to escort the Hansa Stavanger after the pirates left, has been treating the German, Filipino, Ukrainian Russian and Tuvalu crew members.
According to Torsten Ites, the captain of the Brandenburg, most of the crew had to sleep on the bridge for four months and had their toothbrushes and toothpaste stolen, meaning their bodies and teeth were in need of attention.
The ship is also in need of care.
“The ship was in the condition you would expect it to be in when it has been captured by pirates,” Ites told journalists in Mombasa. “When pirates capture a ship, it has nothing to do with cleaning.”
Before too long, however, the Hansa Stavanger will once again be a floating target.
Jantzen, whose wrinkled face and greying beard gives him the hint of a salty sea dog, is well acquainted with the sailor’s life. He first took to the sea in 1971, then captained his first vessel in 1989.
He uses his experience to prepare as much as possible for pirate attacks.
“I try to think about what to do in advance if we are attacked, but it is a split-second decision how to react,” he said.
The captain has had to repel boarders before, using the ship’s fire hoses to fend off the heavily armed pirates, who approach in small skiffs and attempt to board with grappling hooks.
Despite the fact the pirates are often bristling with weapons, Jantzen does not support having armed guards on board, one of the ideas being bandied around to help reduce Somali pirate attacks.
Pirate attacks in the busy Asia-Europe shipping lane that runs through the Indian Ocean and up the Gulf of Aden have become a major problem for the industry, pushing up insurance costs and thus the cost of shipping.
The second half of 2008 saw an explosion in piracy, which has continued to pick up pace.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, 42 vessels were seized in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean near Somalia last year. Already this year the tally has reached 31.
In a twist that highlighted the scale of the problem, the Hansa Stavanger docked in a berth vacated hours before by the Maersk Alabama, the ship at the centre of a hostage drama earlier this year.
The Alabama’s crew repelled a pirate attack in April, but their captain was then held on a lifeboat for five days. He was freed when US Navy snipers killed three of his captors.
The Brandenburg, part of the European Union’s anti-piracy force Atlanta, is just one of dozens of international warships patrolling the waters off Somalia.
But the area they cover is vast - 13 times the size of Germany, Ites said - and the pirates are well equipped with GPS technology, heavy weaponry and fast boats.
Piracy has been fuelled by insecurity in Somalia, where the weak central government is under attack by Islamist insurgents. But the insurgency is only the latest problem.
Warlords have reigned supreme and successive governments have failed to govern in the Horn of Africa nation since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
Many analysts say the only way to tackle piracy is to address its root causes - insecurity and the erosion of the local fishing industry due to illegal trawling and toxic-waste dumping by foreign ships among them.
Jantzen also believes this is the only way forward.
“More warships are not the solution,” he said. “The situation in Somalia must be resolved to stop this piracy.”

MV HANSA STAVANGER mopup
'I am a happy captain from an unhappy ship,' the clearly elated captain, Krzysztof Kotiuk, told waiting media in the shadow of the hulking craft. 'We are very tired after four months ... but it is very important that the crew is safe.'
German Navy frigate the Brandenburg escorted the ship and its crew of five Germans, three Russians, two Filipinos, two Ukrainians and 12 Tuvalus from Somalia to Mombasa.
However, the Brandenburg had to provide medical and dental treatment to the seamen after four months of neglect at the hands of the pirates.
'They are slowly getting a smile back on their faces,' Ites said. 'Most of the crew had to sleep on the bridge ... and could not practice dental hygiene for four months.'
'The pirates took away toothpaste and toothbrushes,' he added. 'They stole everything.'
Shortly after the ship docked, German federal police officials boarded to begin investigating what they deemed a 'crime scene.'
The crew was eventually loaded into waiting buses and driven past the media throng, smiling and waving for the cameras.
A German embassy official told the German Press Agency dpa that the crew would be kept in seclusion at a beach front hotel to relax while flights home were organized.
A new crew boarded, but the poor condition of the craft due to neglect meant that it was unclear when it could sail again.
'We have to check the damage and see what condition the ship is in,' the Hansa Stavanger's new captain, Bernd Jantzen, told dpa.
In a twist that highlighted the scale of the problem, the Stavanger docked in a berth vacated only hours before by the Maersk Alabama, the ship at the centre of a dramatic hostage drama earlier this year.
The increase in hijackings has come despite the presence of dozens of international warships in the pirate-infested waters.
Ites, quizzed on why the pirates were not caught once they vacated the ship, defended the EU response.
'Twelve minutes after getting the call from the Hansa Stavanger captain, the EU force had assets in the area...we had helicopters, then 45 minutes later we had ships in close proximity,' he said.
'The Hansa Stavanger was anchored very close to shore,' he added. 'When we arrived we did not see any pirate vessels in the water.'
"All crew are safe and their health is good," Capt. Krzysztof Kotiuk told journalists. "We are exhausted but eager to be reunited with our families."
Meanwhile newly appointed cargo handler INCHCAPE in Mombasa has continued to deny cargo owners access to their goods and it is not known when the containers will be cleared.
'The ship is at anchorage and being checked for live explosives, as one previous ship held by the pirates was found to have had RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) on it,' an official for the local shipping agent, Inchcape, said.
Peter Benn, a spokesman for the European Union's anti-piracy mission Atalanta in Mombasa, told the German Press Agency dpa that German federal police officials would board the ship as soon as it arrives as it is considered a 'crime scene.'
The crew is then expected to be whisked away to an undisclosed location in Mombasa for medical and psychological checks.
'The company has asked that the crew be left alone as they have gone through a traumatic ordeal,' Benn said.
Security was tight at the dockside, with Inchcape bringing in private guards guards.
Security was tight at the dockside, with the local shipping agent Inchcape bringing in private guards guards.
Forklifts erected a makeshift barrier to exclude the media from the berth, sealing off the dockside with empty containers stacked three high.
Forklifts also will be needed to lift the mood of seafarers after four months of failing games to free the ship. After having been whisked away from the vessel, not allowed to talk to the media and a short stay at a hotel at Mombasa's north coast some returned home and some are on their way. How many will speak out or remain mum for fear of their jobs remains to be seen.
~ * ~

With the latest captures and releases now still at least 8 foreign vessels with a total of not less than 163 crew members are accounted for (of which 42 are confirmed to be Filipinos) and are held in Somali waters. They are monitored on our actual case-list, while several other cases of ships, which were observed off the coast of Somalia and have been reported or had reportedly disappeared without trace or information, are still being followed. MV JAIKUR 1 remains in Mogadishu harbor, but is an insurance and not a piracy case - all foreign crew was evacuated. MV INDIAN EXPLORER and S/Y SERENITY are allegedly dead ships. Over 134 incidences (including attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful sea-jackings) had been recorded for 2008 with 49 fully documented, factual sea-jacking cases (for Somalia, incl. presently held ones) and the mistaken sinking of one vessel by a naval force. For 2009 the account stands at 151 attacks (incl. averted or abandoned attacks) with 47 sea-jackings on the Somali/Yemeni pirate side as well as at least three wrongful attacks (incl. one friendly fire incident) on the side of the naval forces. More than 116 Somalis are held in foreign prisons under charges of piracy. Mystery pirate mother-vessels Athena/Arena and Burum Ocean as well as not fully documented cases of absconded vessels are not listed in the sea-jack count until clarification. Several other vessels with unclear fate (also not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail. In the last four years, 22 missing ships have been traced back with different names, flags and superstructures. Piracy incidents usually degrade during the monsoon season in winter and rise gradually by the end of the monsoon season starting from mid February and early April every year. Present multi-factorial risk assessment code: GoA: YELLOW IO: YELLOW (Red = Very much likely, high season; Orange = Reduced risk, but very likely, Yellow = significantly reduced risk, but still likely, Blue = possible, Green = unlikely). Allegedly still/again two groups from Puntland alone are out hunting on the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean, where also groups from Harardheere have set out again, despite the heavy seas and the rough weather.


---------------- directly piracy or naval upsurge related reports -------------------- Emerging Threats Commentary: Al-Qaida's navy? by Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI Editor at Large
Hollywood's glamorization of the Barbary Pirates over the years blurred the horror of a seaborne plague. Between 1530 and 1789, some 1.5 million European Christians and Jews, and American sailors and travelers, were kidnapped and enslaved in Islamic North Africa.
Thomas Jefferson, first U.S. ambassador to France, was shocked by what he heard when he went with John Adams, first U.S. envoy to Great Britain, to see Tripoli's ambassador to London in 1785. By what right did the Barbary States seize American shipping and make slaves of both crews and passengers, they asked. It was written in the Koran, the "Barbarian" replied, that all nations who didn't acknowledge the holy book and its laws were sinners who must be slain in battle; those who surrendered were to become slaves.
"Algerian Corsairs and the Pirates of Tunis and Tripoli" and their rapacious demands compelled the states to unite and build a federal navy and form a Marine Corps. Later, the Barbary Wars made America the global nation it is today. A daring U.S. raid on Tripoli's harbor elicited a rare compliment from Adm. Lord Nelson, who called it "the most bold and daring act of the age." "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli" became the Marine anthem.
Off Somalia's 1,800-mile coastline, the pirates of Mogadishu, in rickety wooden boats with outboard engines, armed with AK-47s and RPGs, have boarded and ransomed some 150 merchant vessels and oil tankers in the past 18 months. Some seajackings occur several hundred miles from the Somali coast.
In the only successful anti-pirate operation, the U.S. Navy ended a standoff last April with a green light from President Obama -- and three well-placed shots from three concealed sharpshooters that killed three pirates and freed the American merchant marine captain -- and escorted the Maersk Alabama to safe harbor in Kenya.
Some 20,000 ships per year pass through the Gulf of Aden. Currently deployed on ship protection in an area one-third the size of the United States are warships from the U.S., Canada, EU, Russia, China, South Korea, India and Australia.
Almost all seajackings end with the shipowners coughing up from $3 million to $5 million on demands that range from $100 million to $150 million. Security companies, lawyers and negotiators collect inordinate fees for their part in getting the pirates to release their catch. An estimated $80 million has been paid by shipping companies since the beginning of 2009. The 2008 take is estimated at $180 million. [N.B. These false figures are repeated continuously - why? The real figure for 2008 concerning what the pirates got is around 35 mio USD - the much larger rest - whatever - must be accounted for by the other side.]
A report released by the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center last month showed a total of 240 incidents (not all successful boardings) since the beginning of the year -- up from 114 over the same period in 2008. Some 300 seafarers are currently being held pending ransom payments. [N.B. Also not correct - see above.]
The chief pirate in each small boat speaks enough English to demand an immediate link to the company or individual that owns the ship. After studying the ship's cargo manifest, the amount of the ransom demand is immediately communicated. Middlemen then enter the negotiations.
Profitable piracy in Somalia, the prototype of a failed state with no central authority, has attracted all manner of transnational criminals, including al-Qaida-affiliated groups from Yemen. Small-boat pirates are the last stage of a long food chain. They are the maritime militia, mostly teenagers, who are well paid but turn over the bulk of ransom payments to clan leaders.
Bags of cash are delivered from a larger cabin cruiser based in Djibouti, an independent city state in the Horn of Africa. More recently, a small plane dropped ransom money by parachute onto the deck of a hijacked freighter.
The gang chiefs use satellite phones that are used for intelligence on ship movements south down the Red Sea and out of the Persian Gulf headed southwest to the Gulf of Aden along the Omani and Yemeni coasts for the shipping lanes parallel with the Somali coastline. Pirates have ventured as far as 600 miles, halfway to the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.
Last April the 20,000-ton German vessel Hansa Stavanger and its 24-strong crew was seized some 400 miles from the Somali coast, between Kenya and the Seychelles, and held for four months. After the ship was brought closer to Somalia, a ransom of $3 million was agreed, then increased to $4 million and paid. An EU warship then escorted the ship back to its original course.
Shipowners hire professionals from private security firms, mostly ex-special forces from the United Kingdom and Australia, including negotiators experienced in seajackings. They are reported to get a flat fee of $1 million per successful negotiation. Most transactions are conducted in London, where the maritime insurance giants are located.
Maritime security experts believe that pirates who operate hundreds of miles offshore are launched from "mother ships" flying Panamanian flags and disguised to look like innocent coastal freighters.
Pirates' land bases are dotted along hundreds of miles of coastline, and thousands of small boats that line the beaches all look the same.
The only real solution to end piracy is a military one, a lesson that was learned in the 18th and 19th centuries, but evidently forgotten in the 21st. America's NATO allies have sent their best troops to Afghanistan, where most of them are only allowed to fire in self-defense. The very idea of attacking pirates on the high seas sends European parliaments into conniption fits.
At the very least, ships plying those waters should have barbed wire fences above the waterline and several crew members trained on night-vision scopes to kill pirates as they come aboard. International law recognizes the right of self-defense. The "universal jurisdiction" gives all nations the right to punish pirates, irrespective of any connection between the pirates and their nation.
Platitudes about shoring up the moderate Somali government with 40 tons of munitions backfired. By the time the shipment arrived, the alleged moderates were out -- and the ammo gratefully received by the Shabab organization in cahoots with terrorists -- on land and at sea.
Take a stand against ransom payments by Justin Stares for LLoydsList
For how long will shipowners be able to maintain their position that there is no proven link between ransom payments and terrorism?
On her recent tour of Africa, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Somalia’s al-Shabab militants could not be allowed to obtain a haven for fear that they would launch attacks on “countries far and near”.
In a worrying escalation of the conflict, the US is set to send a second, 40-tonne consignment of weapons to the United Nations-supported government of Mogadishu.
This transitional government, embattled to say the least, is said to control little more than a few streets around the presidential palace and the port, and only then thanks to African peacekeepers.
If al-Shabab insurgents control great swathes of the country they must have come into contact with pirates and must have commercial links. Maybe these militants and the pirates are in some cases one and the same. If this is true, ransom money is now funding one of the enemies of the US.
Maritime industry figures have never been happy hiding behind their claim that there is no proven link. Some are opposed to ransom payments, though the majority feels they are at present the only way to release kidnapped crews.
But is this tenable? If Somalia becomes the next battleground in the fight against terrorism, it will be difficult for the industry to remain neutral.
[N.B.: The author completely forgot the other side of the coin - the outside individuals and non-Somali networks, who support the piracy of merchant ships and get their share.]


------------------------- ecosystems, marine environment, IUU fishing and dumping, ecology ----------------------------

WHERE THERE IS NO DONOR by Ahmed Ugbaad for Somalilandpress
>From militia disarmament, through reconciliation, building a national army, government institutions, to holding free and fair election for presidency, parliamentarian and local councils, Somaliland did all these in the absence of external donors. One thing that is attributable to this success was, unlike many African countries, the protection of its traditional democratic values and process from the domination of western liberal democracy. During the colonial period, Britain wasn’t only refused to rule directly but British children were not allowed to be born in Somaliland as well.
The principles of democracy and democratic values are neither novel nor alien but rather
Indigenous to the African nations in general and Somaliland in particular. Indeed, the desire for representation, inclusion, and participation in public affairs—essential elements of democracy—are universal to all humans; the difference rests in the methods of attaining these goals. To what extent a society “democratizes” is incontestably dependent on its sociocultural milieu, whether it is African, European, American, Asian, or even Islamic societies.
In Somaliland’s history, no election was more problematic than the upcoming presidential election which, after many delays, is to be held on September this year. This is due to the degree of donor involvement and their mindset. As a precondition for funding, donors demanded certain requirement to be fulfilled. These requirements are based on their definition of democracy and completely ignored the type of democracy already in place. Intentionally or unintentionally, it seems that Western democracy benchmarks are being used to evaluate ours. It is quite auspicious to ask: what do the Donors desire for Somaliland? Democracy! What type of democracy and for whose benefit?
To some extend, Somaliland’s failure for international recognition was a bless in disguise. In its two decades of existence, unknown to the outside world, it prospered economically, politically and socially. I feel that there is a strong link between the involvement of donors in our internal affairs and the wind of political uncertainty blowing. Much of Somalia’s trouble, for instance, is external rather than internal. Should anyone asked me the after-before-donor Somaliland, I’d surely choose before-donor Somaliland where life was easy and simple.
[N.B. The same experiences were made by other Somali regions over the last 20 years: False promises by donors, mislead local NGOs, streamlined international NGOs, cut-off independent groups, bribed officials and apparently only one goal: Keep Somalia in turmoil!]

--------------------------- anti-piracy measures ---------------------------------

Protection from pirates by Elijah E. Cummings (*) in The Baltimore Sun
To stop attacks on U.S.-flagged ships, the Navy must station forces on vessels at risk Piracy in the waters around the Horn of Africa continues to be a vexing problem for international shipping. The ultimate solution to piracy in this region will involve the establishment of an effective government in Somalia that is capable of ensuring the rule of law in that country. However, while initiatives are undertaken to support that crucial objective, American merchant mariners continue to sail in harm's way.
As chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, I have carefully studied the issue of piracy in the waters around the Horn of Africa and the ongoing threat it poses to U.S. merchant mariners and American shipping interests. I have convened two hearings on this issue this year - one in February before U.S.-flagged vessels had been attacked by Somali pirates and one after the April attacks on the Maersk Alabama and the Liberty Sun. There is no doubt that the threat of piracy is growing. In 2008, 111 merchant ships were attacked or hijacked off the Horn of Africa. We exceeded that figure in just the first five months of 2009.
The U.S. Navy, working closely with the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other allies, has done a commendable job in mounting an international anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden. However, there are a number of U.S. merchant ships - most of them carrying American aid - that are required to travel outside the transit lanes patrolled by this international maritime presence to reach destinations along Africa's eastern coast. Their voyages often take them through the heart of pirate-infested waters.
I have no doubt our military would respond immediately if another U.S.-flagged vessel were attacked. However, the timeliness of their response could be hindered if military assets are far from the scene of an attack.
Further, it is surely preferable to prevent an incident from occurring in the first place than it is to respond to a hostage situation, as the U.S. Navy was forced to do following the kidnapping of Capt. Richard Philips of the Maersk Alabama.
It has become clear to me since the Maersk Alabama and the Liberty Sun were attacked that more can and should be done to protect U.S. crews on U.S.-flagged ships carrying U.S. cargo. That is why I authored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Department of Defense to place small teams of armed security aboard those few U.S. flagged ships truly at risk of being boarded when they carry U.S. government cargo through an area where there is a high risk of piracy.
Protecting both American lives and U.S. shipping on the high seas has been a core function of the U.S. Navy since its creation. Inexplicably, however, senior officials at the Department of Defense have repeatedly argued before Congress that the area in which Somali pirates operate is so vast they simply cannot prevent every attack.
This perspective assumes that the only way the military can protect merchant shipping from pirates is to stage vessels across the entire million-square-mile theater of operations.
The United States Maritime Administration estimates that approximately 54 U.S.-flagged vessels transit the Horn of Africa region during the course of a year. Of these, about 40 will carry U.S.-government food aid cargo, and 44 have the ability to carry U.S. military cargo.
Only a handful of these vessels - fewer than 10 in a three-month period - are estimated to be at serious risk of attack due to their operating characteristics.
Providing embedded military security teams on those U.S.-flagged vessels truly at risk of pirate attack would surely require far fewer resources than patrolling a million-square mile area.
Nonetheless, the DOD has responded to this proposal by claiming that deploying such security teams would impair other operational commitments. While our military is obviously fighting multiple combat operations at this time, it is hard to believe that the most powerful military in the world cannot find the relatively few military personnel required to adequately protect a handful of U.S.-flagged ships and their U.S. citizen crews.
My amendment, which has passed the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, enjoys the support of U.S. maritime labor unions and U.S. ship owners. As one union official said before my subcommittee, "When a vessel flies the U.S. flag, it becomes an extension of the United States itself, regardless of where in the world the vessel is operating." Surely, protecting U.S. citizens and property was the purpose for which our military forces were created.
(*) Rep. Elijah E. Cummings represents US-American state Maryland's 7th District

German defense minister says armed forces should handle hostage situations
by Andreas Illmer for dw Police could have their role in hostage situations downgraded Franz Josef Jung has called for a constitutional amendment giving the German armed forces an enhanced role in operations to release hostages. Under existing law, German police are responsible for hostage situations. Jung said in an interview with German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag that under existing law, police were responsible for hostage situations, but that it was not always possible for the police force to arrive quickly enough at a crime scene. The minister cited the recent episode involving German container ship the Hansa Stavanger, which was hijacked with 24 crew on board, including five Germans, off the coast of Somalia four months ago.
He said that in the time it took a German police team to deploy to the Horn of Africa the situation had worsened. Only five pirates had boarded the ship initially, but their numbers eventually swelled to around 35, he noted.
"We should consider a constitutional amendment to allow the armed forces access to situations when the police cannot act, such as when the police are not at the scene of an incident," Jung told the newspaper.
"I want to put this on the agenda again at the latest when the parliamentary elections are over," he added. Germans go to the polls to elect a new parliament in September.
Jung said the amendment should not only apply to international operations but also to certain domestic cases in which the German armed forces were better suited to handle a situation.
The Hansa Stavanger was eventually released four months after being captured when the Hamburg-based shipping company that owns the ship paid a 1.9-million-euro (2.7-million-USD) ransom
-------------- no real peace in sight yet --------------------------

Rebel groups are Al Qaeda proxy, says Somali president
Somalia’s President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed said on Monday that opposition groups were proxy for al Qaeda in Somalia.
President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed held a press conference in Villa Somalia, the Somali presidential palace and called on the opposition groups to lay down their weapons and come to the negotiation table.
He accused al Shabab of being proxy for Al Qaeda in their fight against his government. Sheik Sharif said the meeting he had with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Nairobi was successful.
He added that he met with other foreign diplomats in Nairobi including defence ministers of Burundi and Uganda, the two countries that contributed the AMISOM troops in Mogadishu and the special AU envoy to Somalia, Nicolas Bwakira.
Al Qaida leader called early this year on the Islamist fighters of Al-shabaab to overthrow the internationally recognized government of Somalia, calling its moderate Islamist leader Ahmed "a puppet of foreign countries".
The president stated that the Somali government would defend "the sovereignty and national integrity" of Somalia, accusing the al Qaida network is determined to take over the war-torn country.
Al-Shabaab, along with the other insurgent group of Hizbul Islam, has been fighting Somali government forces and the African Union peacekeepers for the past two years.
Thousands have either been killed or wounded since the start of the violence back in 2007 while more than 1 million civilians have been forced from their homes in the restive Somali capital.

Somali President urges opposition groups to come to negotiation table (Xinhua)
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on Monday accused opposition groups of being proxy for al Qaida, calling on them to lay down their weapons and come to the negotiation table.
"The opposition groups such as Al-Shabaab have heeded to the call by al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, for them to fight the Somali government. That shows us the al Qaida isin Somalia," President Ahmed said in a news conference in Mogadishu.
The al Qaida leader called early this year on the Islamist fighters of Al-shabaab to overthrow the internationally recognized government of Somalia, calling its moderate Islamist leader Ahmed "a puppet of foreign countries".
The president stated that the Somali government would defend "the sovereignty and national integrity" of Somalia, accusing the al Qaida network is determined to take over the war-torn country.
President Ahmed also accused the local Al-Shabaab group of being under the command of al Qaida and wanting to turn Somalia into a safe haven for what he termed "international terrorism".
He called on armed opposition groups to put down their weapons and reiterated his call for a dialogue to solve the conflict in the East African nation.
Al-Shabaab, along with the other insurgent group of Hezbul Islam, has been fighting Somali government forces and the African Union peacekeepers for the past two years.
Thousands have either been killed or wounded since the start of the violence back in 2007 while more than 1 million civilians have been forced from their homes in the restive Somali capital.
The groups, who now control much of southern and central Somalia, want to establish an Islamic state which implements a stricter form of Islamic Sharia law.

2 police officers killed in Mogadishu blast
At least two police officers were killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday after a roadside bomb hit a police vehicle, Radio Garowe reports.
Four other people were wounded in the explosion, witnesses said.
"I saw three dead bodies…two were police officers," said witness Muhubo Nur, who owns a shop near the scene in Mogadishu's Waberi district.
The suspects escaped before Somali government forces sealed off the area.
Mogadishu has witnesses a bloody insurgency since early 2007, when Islamist guerrillas went underground to wage a war against Somalia's UN-recognized interim government.

Rebels vacate front line bases
Islamist rebels fighting against the Somali government has vacated most front line bases in the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses told Mareeg Online on Sunday.
The move came after al Shabaab militants pulled out from the bases they were launching the attacks to the government and the African Union peace keepers. The allied group, Hizbul Islam has also left their defensive positions when al Shabaab militia moved out.
The reason is not known, but there has been reports indicating that African Union troops known as AMISOM and the government soldiers were planning full scale attack against the rebels in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
Burundi had sent reinforcement to the African Union troops in the capital which makes them more than 5000 soldiers.
The allied two groups-al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam- do not have one goal and there has been dispute between the two groups recently since the abduction of the two French security advisors in Mogadishu when al Shabaab forcefully took over the men from Hizbul Islam group.

Puntland declares state of emergency in Galkayo
A state of emergency has been declared in a key trading town in central Somalia, where the Puntland regional autonomy has began enforcing a nighttime curfew, Radio Garowe reports.
The state of emergency was declared in the city of Galkayo, capital of Mudug region, by Puntland's security committee, which is chaired by Vice President Gen. Abdisamad Ali Shire, the government's website reported.
The curfew will go into effect on Saturday, beginning at 8pm local time until 4am local time.
Puntland security forces will be searching for curfew breakers, people carrying weapons or driving cars with tinted windows, and criminals who trade in drugs and alcohol, police officials said.
The curfew comes at a time Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed "Farole," the president of Puntland, has been in Galkayo since the assassination of former Information Minister Warsame Abdi "Sefta Bananka," who was gunned down in Galkayo on Wednesday.
In community meetings, President Farole has asked Galkayo residents to help government forces capture the assassins.
He has asked relatives of the late Information Minister to be patient as the government takes steps to ensure that the killers are brought to justice.
Puntland is a relatively stable region in northeastern Somalia with a functioning government. It is the first time a member of the Puntland Cabinet has been killed since the state's formation in 1998.

Arab News got facts on Somalia Wrong, says Liban Ahmad (*) for GaroweOnline
The Saudi based Arab News has joined the list of newspapers that misreport on or rush to judgment about Somalia. In an editorial on Somalia crisis the newspaper describes Somalia as a country “n a vortex of anarchy" and calls Al Shabab "hard-line..militants..incapable of establishing themselves in power" but successful in eroding "the government’s writ since January this year when Ethiopian military pulled out." Why does a major newspaper fail to distinguish between the 1990s anarchy in Somalia and post 2006 turmoil caused partly by American support for discredited warlords and partly by the rise of ‘Islamist’ movements such as the former Union of Islamic Courts and Al- Shabab.
Al Shabab controls large parts of Southern Somalia and implements Sharia law to deal with theft, rape and murder cases. Anarchy in Somalia was fuelled by, among other things, the absence of authorities that aim to bring criminals to book. Although Al Shabab does not enjoy international legitimacy, it enjoys 'popular' legitimacy in the areas it controls in southern Somalia where marauding warlords made life for unarmed agricultural and rural communities hard 1991-2006. The Ugandan journalist, Charles Onyango-Obbo, had to this on Al Shabab: "Abhorrable as Al Shabab's extreme actions might be, and their alleged links to al-Qaeda notwithstanding, they would probably win elections against many sitting governments in several African countries if the contest was based on the single issue of crime."On the current situation in Somalia, Arab News wrote: “The north runs itself as autonomous region from which pirates freely terrorize the Gulf of Aden and beyond; to its west, the former British colony of Somaliland is effectively an independent state; in the rest — the south — chaos rules." The picture of Somalia the newspaper paints does not reflect the reality on the ground. The part of Somalia Arab News calls the north is Puntland, where the new administration, under Abdirahman Mohamud Farole, has not minced words about the causes of the piracy— civil war and illegal exploitation of Somalia's marine resources— and has called for the use of force to stop piracy. Somaliland is not an independent country but it wants be recognised as an independent country no longer in union with Somalia. The facts that Arab News got wrong on Somalia are news related. "Comment is free, but facts are sacred,"wrote C. P. Scott , the late editor of the Manchester Guardian .
(*) Liban Ahmad is the author of A Map of Confusion: Somaliland, Puntland and People of Sool Region in Somalia.

President Shariff received credentials from Indian ambassador
“I have handed over my legal credentials to the President of the Republic of Somalia his Excellency Sheikh Shariff Sheikh Ahmed, and as from today henceforth I am the new Indian ambassador to Somali, and I pray for Somali to be more stable country soon” said Parampreet Singh Randawa the new Indian ambassador to Somali after handing over his credentials to President Shariff.
The new ambassador also conveyed a message delivered by the Indian Primer Man Mohann Singh, saying that India is always ready to tighten the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
The president of Somali has cordially accepted the credentials of the new Indian ambassador to Somali, and advised the ambassador to put extra efforts on how the two countries can be close amicable.
This new Indian ambassador to Somali will motivate other countries in the world to as well send ambassadors to Somalia.

Al-Shabab martyrs impose new rules in Banadir region
The rules say that during the prayers time every sane, matured person should attend for the prayers and the entire of business centers should be closedown and be opened instantly after prayers.
The chairman Sheikh Hussein has also added in his statement that all female in Banadir region should cover the entire of their bodies, and put on veils.
The movement of Al-Shabab has imposed similar rules in all regions in Somalia, which are under their authority.
Banadir region with the Somali capital Mogadishu, holds currently also a base for the Somali Transitional Federal Government of National Unity, though this feeble Somali government is currently controlling only a small portion of the capital.
The area now experiences this new rule though there were some rules imposed earlier on the public buses, where male and female passengers are not allowed to sit side by side and women should use the back seats while the men are to sit in the front of the bus.


Time to Stop Meddling in Somalia by Natalie Parke (*)
Recently, U.S. policy in Somalia hit a new low, with the shipment of 40 tons of arms to a government on the verge of overthrow, if not nervous collapse. Worse still, last Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the president of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and promised to expand U.S. support. This perpetuates a long history of unsuccessful meddling in the affairs of Somalia, from Black Hawk Down to air strikes against al-Qaida suspects to support for the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006. Somalia would be better off without our spasmodic interference.
That's not to say the U.S. doesn't have national interests at stake in the country and region. A humanitarian crisis demanded our attention in the early 1990s, a crisis that still persists. In addition, there are now al-Qaida connections in Somalia to worry about, as well as piracy in the Gulf of Aden. We've acknowledged that instability and anarchy in Somalia lie at the root of all of these issues. Yet we find ourselves in policy paralysis as the situation in the country exceeds even the worst-case scenarios.
The best we've come up with is to resolutely support Somalia's internationally backed TFG, which has virtually no governance capacity. Clinton claims that this specter of a government is "the best hope we've had in quite some time for a return to stability and the possibility of progress in Somalia" -- a tall order, given the state of things. Forty-three hundred African Union peacekeepers have the unenviable task of providing little more than guard duty for the TFG and the buildings that house it. Increasingly, the TFG is coming up short in its fight against al-Shabaab, the leading rebel movement that controls parts of Mogadishu and most of south and central Somalia.
Al-Shabaab's version of extremist Islamic governance is not popular with many moderate Somalis, even if it does engender a degree of terror-inspired stability. And it's not clear, were al-Shabaab to assume power, that it would be able to maintain consolidated authority. The group has, however, mobilized Somalis and jihadists with the attraction of a nationalist, radical Islamic agenda -- one that feeds on Somalis' resentment of the intrusive actions of outside powers, especially neighboring Ethiopia.
By contrast, the TFG is largely viewed as an extension of the international actors that many Somalis blame for their suffering. Perversely, our dogged support for the TFG probably undermines its domestic legitimacy. Fourteen failed attempts to establish a government in Somalia should teach us that, at long last, it's time that we lay off.
Unpalatable as it seems, the most pragmatic strategy may be to let Somalia undergo the growing pains of a fledgling state, hoping that moderate Somali Muslims will prevail and that power struggles within al-Shabaab will cause the movement to implode. When the dust settles, we should be prepared to define our terms of engagement for whatever government emerges, whether it be the TFG, al-Shabaab, or some other group.
In the meantime, the U.N. and African Union should work with neighboring countries to ensure regional stability by securing borders and building an informal coalition of states that are tolerant of -- if not enthusiastic about -- the evolving Somali state. That involves preventing any renewed Ethiopian invasion, imposing sanctions against Eritrea for its support of Somali militants, and demanding accountability for Kenya's handling of refugees. The U.S. should support a comprehensive international effort and appoint a senior official who is dedicated to guiding it.
Most important, the U.S. should promote multilateral initiatives to address the escalating humanitarian crisis, both inside Somalia and outside, as refugees stream over borders. Given the hostility to any U.S. presence, multilateral efforts are the best means of channeling our aid. Out of all the possible U.S. interventions in the country, multilateral humanitarian aid might be -- and might always have been -- the most valuable allocation of our resources. It's the least we can do, and it's probably the safest way to avoid the costs of meddling, while not relinquishing our involvement in the country.
Eighteen years of meddling in Somalia should be enough to teach us that we have yet to find the solution to the country's problems, and that it just might be too costly, politically and militarily, to come up with one. Of course, there's no guarantee that Somalis, left to themselves, will necessarily achieve sustainable peace. But everyone might be better off if we shifted our time, energy, and resources away from misguided efforts that end up prolonging violence, and directed them instead toward alleviating the suffering of Somalis.
(*) Natalie Parke is a research associate at the Century Foundation.

Two Radio Journalists sentenced to detention and fine in Somaliland
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) denounces today's court decision against two Radio journalists in Hargeisa.
Hargeisa Regional Court has today, Sunday 9 August 2009, sentenced journalists Mohamed Osman Mire, widely known as “Siyad”, and Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul, director and news editor of Horyaal Radio respectively, to prison terms of six months and a fine of 300,000 Somaliland Shillings (Approximately US$45) for each of them.
Judge Faysal Abdullahi Ismail convicted the two journalists for “reporting through a Radio Station, which is unlawfully operating in Somaliland, and disseminating information that resulted loss of life and properties.
The judge also said that journalists defended charges leveled against them by the prosecutor, who said that they were behind murderous attack that took place in the road between Gabiley and Borame."Prosecutor failed to proof this charge", Judge Faysal said in the courtroom.
The journalists subsequently asked in the courtroom to buy the prison term, and according to Somaliland law, which allows convicted people to pay money for prison terms of less than one year.
Judge Faysal Abdullahi Ismail announced that each of the two journalists bought the prison term by paying an amount of 2,500,000 Somaliland Shilling, which is approximately US$373. As a result, Hargeisa Regional Court released today Mohamed Osman Mire and Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul.
Hargeisa Regional Court completed hearing of this case last Thursday, 6 August 2009, and set today to announce its decision.
Somaliland authorities arrested the two Horyaal Radio journalists after the station aired, on the evening of 10 July, a closed doors meeting between Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin and 25 elders from Gabiley town, which reportedly ended in disagreement, according to trustworthy sources in Somaliland.


-------------- impacting reports from the global village -------------------

Somalia:Libyan soldiers allegedly kill 20 Somali prisoners

Libyan soldiers have reportedly killed 20 Somali prisoners and injured 50 others in Libyan jails, witnesses said on Monday.
Abdinasir Mowliid, one of the Somali prisoners in Libya told local Shabelle Radio in Mogadishu on the phone that the Libyan soldiers opened fire on the Somali prisoners.
It is not known why they have killed the Somalis, but some reports suggest that the Libyan prison guards opened fire at the Somalis jailed in Banghazi prison in Banghazi town in Libya after they had tried to escape from the jail.
At least twenty Somalis have been confirmed dead and fifty wounded in Bangazi.
The Libyan soldiers reportedly also use knives and electric units for torturing their Somali prisoners.

Conference with Former Senior Somali Military and Police Officers
Communiqué by the United Nations Political Office for Somalia The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) convened a conference of former senior military and police officers of the Somali National security forces in Washington DC from 1st to 5th August 2009.
The conference was co-chaired by the Minister of Defence, Professor Ghandi and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. The African Union was also represented.
Drawing extensively on their experience, the former senior military and police officers assessed the strengths and limitations of the former Somali National security forces. They outlined the key factors behind the collapse of the country’s security institutions and proposed security stabilisation mechanisms and options. The former senior military and police officers also explored options for restructuring the Somali security forces in accordance with stipulations in the Agreement on Cessation of Armed Confrontation signed within the framework of the Djibouti peace process.
The conference recommended policy and practical measures geared towards:
(1) Establishing appropriate security architecture and a National Somali force.
(2) Addressing the challenges of extremism and piracy.
(3) Modalities for disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation.
The participants thanked the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia for reaching out to all Somalis who can contribute to the Government’s efforts to restore peace and security in Somalia. The participants expressed their readiness and willingness to serve the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, if requested.
The participants called on the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to consider measures aiming at engaging and involving the former senior military, police, as well as non-commissioned officers in the country’s security sector development and encouraged the United Nations and the entire international community to support the Government’s efforts in this endeavour.
The former senior military and police officers expressed gratitude to the United Nations and SRSG Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, for forging a common front towards stabilising Somalia and harnessing the financial and political support of the international community. The participants commended the relentless efforts of the African Union and the League of Arab States (LAS) in supporting the restoration of peace and security in Somalia.
The conference agreed to reconvene within six months to take stock of its deliberations and recommendations.
[COMMENT: Another UN-necessary exercise in futility.]

West's conflict with Islam coming to a head? by D.M. Murdock for Freethought Examiner
Recent incidents in France, Germany, the U.S. and Great Britain serve to highlight an ongoing problem with the rampantly open-ended immigration of the past few decades into these countries, especially from Islamic nations. Since the early 1970s, more than a few commentators have noted the potentially explosive situation when the two seemingly irreconcilable cultures of (Middle) East and West meet—and we now appear to be watching the outcome of that raised specter. While the immigration of people from Muslim nations has been taking place in dribs and drabs over the centuries, it is only in relatively recent times that an unprecedented amount of adherents to Islam have become occupants and citizens of the Lands of the Infidels or "Dar al-Harb," which literally translates as "place of war."
In previous times, the immigration of Muslims into non-Muslim lands has often been for purposes of amnesty from oppressive Islamic regimes, as in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and elsewhere. More recently, however, the West has been flooded with Islamic fundamentalists or "Islamists" from Pakistan, Algeria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and other nations who bring with them the very same repressive regimes—based on Islamic or sharia law—that previous Muslims seekers of refuge have been trying to escape.
Although it has been boiling under the surface for many years, this unrestrained immigration into Western countries, including North America, is now evidently coming to a head. In France, the government has been moving towards banning the burqa, which, although worn by few in that nation, is widely viewed as a symbol of female oppression. In Germany, a Russian immigrant murdered a pregnant Muslim woman while in court after having been arrested for calling her a "terrorist." As in Europe, in Canada and the U.S. Islamic fundamentalism has been expressed in a number of "honor killings" and confrontations, while in Great Britain this past weekend, a violent clash occurred between groups of native "patriots" and immigrant "Asians" over the growing presence of Islamic fundamentalism there.
These clashes and confrontations are the direct result of the open-door immigration policies of the West, evidently established for a number of reasons, including labor needs as well as the world's addiction to oil. While many Muslims are very willing to live in harmony with the laws and freedoms of the West, not a few have expressed that "freedom is against Islam," and these individuals and groups are actively working against the governments of the countries in which they have taken residence, both legally and illegally.
There are few signs that this dire conflict between two entirely different perspectives of reality will be mitigated any time soon, especially in consideration of the level of fanaticism involved. There seem to be few solutions, since these ideologies are so contradictory, one valuing personal freedom and pursuits based on interests and aptitude, while the other insists that a tyrannical God has pre-ordained humanity's roles based largely upon gender. The only viable solution appears to be education as to the world's numerous cultures dating back many thousands of years. Yet, this knowledge is being suppressed by almost all sides of the various debates, largely based on religious dogma of all manner, including and especially the Abrahamic faiths. In the coming decades, humankind may find that it will need to move quickly beyond these archaic belief systems in order to survive.
US-American approach to Somalia wrong, say analysts by Kevin Kelly in New York and Gitau Warigi in Nairobi US misguided in moving to arm Somalia
Some analysts are warning that the Obama administration is taking the wrong approach in moving to increase US military support for the nascent Somalia’s government. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Nairobi on Thursday following a meeting with TFG leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed that she and President Obama “want to expand and extend our support”. Other officials indicate that the US plans to double the 40 tonnes of weaponry it has been supplying to TFG forces via other African states, mainly Uganda. “US support for the TFG is nothing short of disastrous, so we’ve just doubled disaster,” says Prof Peter Pham, an Africa specialist who has testified in the US Senate on Somalia policy. Pham charges that some of the small arms intended for the TFG have ended up in markets in Mogadishu – and ultimately in the hands of Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia – due to corruption along the supply chain. “We’ve saved the Shabaab the trouble of having to run past the UN arms embargo,” Pham says. The biggest concern that Mrs Clinton raised with the Kenyan team was about Somalia and the threat of extremism posed by Al Shabab. Though she brought no firm proposals, Mrs Clinton wanted assurances that the Kenya government will continue to remain vigilant against the Islamists. Already, there have been reports of the US facilitating some arms shipments to the weak interim government in Somalia. America is also a key funder of the Africa Union peacekeeping contingent in Mogadishu; in the last two years the Americans have spent $150 million to support the peacekeeping force. There was no overt suggestion on Mrs Clinton’s part that Kenya takes a military role. The subsequent meeting with Somali interim President Sheikh Shariff Ahmed was deliberately arranged as a demonstration of US support. A senior State Department official told reporters in Washington in June that the US has so far spent something less than $10 million on arms and training for the TFG. Weapons and ammunition are given to the TFG by the Ugandan forces stationed in Somalia as part of a UN-African Union deployment, with the US then reimbursing Uganda for the cost of the arms, the official explained. Ugandans and Burundians, who together account for the 4300 UN-AU troops in Somalia, have also been training TFG troops, with Washington again paying the cost of those operations. Some training is apparently taking place at the US military base in Djibouti. “The Kenyans are also prepared to provide training,” the State Department official said in a June 25 briefing. The Obama administration is acting wisely in relying on third parties to assist the TFG, says Daniel Volman, director of the US-based African Security Research Project. Key State Department officials “understand that any kind of direct linkage with the US will stigmatise the TFG as an agent of US policy.” But Volman expresses scepticism about the move to increase even indirect US military support for the TFG. Training efforts, for example, will yield no short-term benefits for the embattled Somalia government, he notes “It takes months for troops to get prepared,” Volman says. President Ahmed’s forces may no longer be on the verge of defeat, however. Volman characterises the TFG’s face-off with Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu as currently a stalemate. And an unnamed US government analyst is quoted in Friday’s Washington Post as suggesting that Al-Shabaab is losing public support in other parts of Somalia.
“What we have seen over the last few months is that many things have weakened them significantly,” the official told the Post. “There are splits in their organization. The level of support they had among Somalis is no longer there. More and more, they are on their own.”
Prof Pham, however, says the TFG “enjoys no legitimacy” among Somalis. And he argues that Al-Shabaab does not need to rout the TFG from its bastion in the capital in order to remain the dominant force inside Somalia. “There’s nothing Shabaab would gain from taking Mogadishu that it doesn’t already have,” Pham says. “It would be a propaganda victory but not a strategic victory.”
Volman, on the other hand, suggests that preserving a TFG presence in Mogadishu would be a positive outcome because “it creates a political space for an alternative to Shabaab for Somalis themselves.”The other variety of travel warnings which irritates Kenya are the periodic ones issued for the average US traveller whenever Washington feels something is amiss, like with a terrorist threat. The local tourist industry in particular has come to dread these travel warnings.
This particular matter was raised at the bilateral meetings, according to Mr Wetang’ula. Ahead of the symbolic meeting in Nairobi on Thursday between Mrs Clinton and Somali interim President Ahmed, an incongruous angle was being peddled by his Al Shabab enemies regarding whether he would shake hands with the American, a gesture the hardline Islamists prefer to frown upon as “impure”.
The Al Shabab have imposed a strict version of Sharia law in the areas they control but President Ahmed has been subtly working to undercut them by likewise adopting Islamic law in government-run areas, though in practice the government version is far more relaxed.
Prior to the meeting with President Ahmed, Mrs Clinton had publicly threatened sanctions against Eritrea if the latter continued to support Al Shabab.
The Sunday Nation found in interviews with government officials that what struck Kenya’s top officials on meeting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was her total lack of condescension and her genuine interest to know more about Kenya.
This could partly be because of the country’s connection to President Barack Obama but also because of her husband’s involvement with charitable projects in Kenya, especially on anti-HIV projects, through the Clinton Foundation.
Some of the Kenyan officials who were part of the bilateral talks held with the American team could not help contrasting her demeanour to the hectoring, accusatory character of the local ambassador, Mr Michael Ranneberger, who is a Bush administration appointee.
“She is firm but very polite. She has her way of doing business. But it was clear she was very well briefed,” said Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua. The Secretary of State first had a private one-to-one session with President Kibaki at the VIP room at the KICC just before both of them entered the conference hall to give their speeches.
That meeting went largely unreported unlike the follow-up one at the same venue where Mrs Clinton and the President were joined by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, and several ministers.
Those present included Foreign Minister Moses Wetang’ula, Prof George Saitoti (Security), Mr Mutula Kilonzo (Justice), Mr Uhuru Kenyatta (Finance), and Kenya’s Ambassador in Washington, DC Peter Ogego.
Aside from the formal business of Somalia and American investment locally, there was plenty of light-hearted banter and laughter in the room. President Obama’s name featured a lot in the discussion, with President Kibaki recalling when he worked with Obama’s father at the Treasury.
Mrs Clinton reportedly expressed delight at the architecture and facilities at KICC and inquired who built the structure and when. In her public speeches throughout her stay, one of the issues she showed closest affinity to was women empowerment.
And she made it clear that one of the Kenyans she considered to be heroes was Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai. Judging from the screaming headlines that suggested the American had come laden with harsh warnings for this country, people privy to what transpired at the private meetings say the reality of the discussions she held with Kenyan leaders was quite different.
It was not so much the message of reforms she delivered – which Kenyan officialdom knew would be inevitable – but rather the tone with which she delivered this message. She was nonetheless firm on a number of issues.
One, she made it known her government was not enthusiastic about the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission as an alternative to a special tribunal to prosecute post-election violence suspects. Given the option of The Hague or a special tribunal, she left no doubt she was for the latter.
Could be her toned-down approach was dictated by the frayed reaction to a fierce statement the US embassy released to coincide with her visit. The statement complained of “lack of seriousness” by the Kenyan authorities toward tackling the culture of impunity.
“Failure by Kenya to take ownership of the process of accountability at all levels will call into serious question whether the political will exists to carry out fundamental reforms,” said Mr Ranneberger.


US Administration Declares No More War on Terror by Pravda.Ru
President Obama’s assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan, delivered a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on August 6. In the course of his speech the official outlined the long-term strategy of the United States to defeat Al-Qaeda. Washington intends to resort to “soft power.” The Obama administration hinted that his speech should be perceived as the fullest presentation of Washington’s long-term strategy of the struggle against terrorists.
The Washington Post quoted Brennan as saying that the U.S. government must fundamentally redefine the struggle against terrorism, replacing the "war on terror".
The present U.S. administration decided to forgo the “global war” policy initiated by George Bush administration after the Sept. 11 attacks. The United States will maintain "unrelenting" pressure on terrorist havens, including those near the Afghan-Pakistani border, in Yemen and in Somalia, Brennan underlined.
However, Washington is intended to diminish Islamist radicalization with more sustained use of economic, diplomatic and cultural levers.
In other words, the White House is going to exercise “soft power”, including economic, politic leverage and intelligence.
“This is not a 'war on terror.' . . . We cannot let the terror prism guide how we're going to interact and be involved in different parts of the world,” Brennan noted.
Many experts took a favourable view of the strategy, outlined by Obama’s Assistant. According to the opinion of David Livingstone, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, terrorism has changed and globalized for the past 20 years, therefore military forces and physical protection are not enough to provide safety.
The expert characterized Brennan’s statement as a good sign indicating that materialistic approach affects the idealized concept of the “war on terror.”
Analysts say that Washington aspires to moderate its public rhetoric in the extended confrontation with terrorism. Some experts even interpret this statement as acknowledgment of the defeat in the information war with terrorists. Obama is likely intended to move from words to action. Analysts suppose that Barack Obama may achieve more success than Bush, if he manages to realize his strategy.

The Rights of Children
All across the United States of America, folks are rejoicing over the latest decision coming from ICE, of the Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of the Obama administration, to begin a transformation of immigrant detention policies.
When it comes to the end of children being imprisoned on American soil, this is a victory.
After the suffering of thousands of children and their families, this decision to quit imprisoning innocent children in a privately run "for profit" prison, is a victory, for not only the children, but, for the small group of "we the people" who engaged in the confrontation of human dignity over human cruelty, a group that grew to thousands around that country.
It is also a victory for the hundreds of thousands of other innocent immigrant children in US-America that would have been victims of ICE fulfilling the blueprint of Operation Endgame.
Under President Bill Clinton, the Rights of the Child was never important enough to get it ratified. Under George W. Bush, thousands of immigrant children all across this country were victims of some of the harshest treatment, imprisoned "for profit" by the Bush cronies, and deported by the hundreds of thousands.
Untold hundreds have died under the policies of Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, DHS and ICE.
But more is to be done in the United States and elsewhere.
November 20, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet, with the exception of Somalia, the United States is the only country in the world that has refused to ratify the Rights of the Child.
While in Somalia the parliament has difficulties to gather but soon will ratify that convention, in the US much work needs to be done to get the bill even on the agenda.

Analysis: Eritrea confounds US in Somalia by Matthew Lee (AP) As it boosts aid to Somalia's weak interim government to fight an al-Qaida-linked Islamist militia, the Obama administration is grasping for ways to cut off what it says is one of the militant group's main supply lines: the tiny Red Sea state of Eritrea.
The enigmatic and authorization nation has emerged as a principle player in the conflict in lawless Somalia, where the enfeebled government is struggling for survival against the extremist al-Shabab faction.
U.S., U.N. and other investigators say the Eritrean government is funneling money, weapons and other supplies to al-Shabab, which Western intelligence agencies regard as a growing regional and international threat bent on using Somalia as a base to export terrorism abroad. Eritrea emerged out of internicine conflict, seceding from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war.
Eritrea, a Somalia neighbor about the size of Pennsylvania with a population of only 3.6 million, has consistently denied the charges. Its accusers are equally adamant. The United States, in particular, has been warning the country that it will face sanctions if it doesn't stop supporting the extremists. The African Union has also called for sanctions to be imposed.
After pledging last week to expand U.S. support, including military aid, to the beleaguered Somali government and an undermanned and underequipped African peacekeeping force protecting it, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a stern new warning to Eritrea.
"It is long past time for Eritrea to cease and desist its support for al-Shabab," she said at a news conference with Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed. "We are making it very clear that their actions are unacceptable. We intend to take action if they do not cease."
Yet despite similar tough talk dating back to the administration of President George W. Bush, the U.S. has rarely followed up on its warnings to Eritrea. In 2008, the Bush administration found that Eritrea was not fully cooperating in the war on terrorism and slapped an arms embargo on Eritrea.
But the United States has stopped short of more punitive steps, including designating Eritrea a "state sponsor of terrorism," a move that would impose a wide range of additional sanctions.
A senior U.S. official said an Obama administration review of whether Eritrea's activities in Somalia meet the legal requirements for such a designation is still underway and could be completed soon.
Washington's seeming reluctance thus far to take more than token measures against Eritrea is unclear but appears partly rooted in a desire to woo the country away from supporting al-Shabab.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told Congress last month that Eritrea's backing for al-Shabab is "unacceptable and we will not tolerate it." At the same time, she said the United States wants to engage Eritrea and was hopeful the isolated African nation would respond to American entreaties.
But so far, Eritrea has flatly rejected U.S. allegations of support for extremists and has ignored the administration's offers of better relations.
"That's totally untrue, baseless," Eritrea's information minister, Ali Abdu, said when asked about Clinton's assertion that his country is arming al-Shabab. Abdu also denounced the U.S. involvement with the Somali government and said Somalis should "decide their own destiny and future."
Although it denies helping the extremists, Eritrea sheltered one hardline Somali Islamist leader, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, for months in self-exile before he returned to Mogadishu in April. Aweys is on U.S. and U.N. lists of individuals with links to al-Qaida.
Aweys denies ties with al-Qaida but said in June he is working to unite his Islamic Party with al-Shabab, which the U.S. says is harboring at least two al-Qaida operatives involved in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
In her comments in Kenya, Clinton maintained that al-Shabab wants to expand and sees "Somalia as a future haven for global terrorism." She noted the recent arrests of four men allegedly linked to the group who are suspected of plotting attacks in Australia.
While it refutes allegations of supporting the militia, Eritrea ridiculed the arrests in Australia, calling them an invention of the CIA intended to confuse "the gullible and naive."
"The objective: to justify the prevailing acts of intervention and domination in the Horn of Africa as well as link the Somali people's popular resistance with 'global terrorism'," ahead of Clinton's visit, Eritrea's foreign ministry said in a commentary posted to its Web site on Aug 5.
Eritrea has also made clear its disdain for the Somali government, which is not only backed by the United Nations, the United States and the African Union but by Eritrea's longtime enemy — Ethiopia.
Many believe that Eritrea and Ethiopia — who have been feuding over their border since Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia — are fighting a proxy war in Somalia. Ethiopia invaded Eritrea in 2005 to dislodge al-Shabab's predecessor, the Islamic Courts Union, from power.
"We think that solving a problem with another problem is not right, and this is what Eritrea is doing," Ahmed, the Somali president, said in Nairobi with Clinton. "Because Eritrea is having problems with one of its neighbors, it is not right to solve this problem through Somalia."

The Arab negativity toward Yemen and Somalia by Mutlaq Musa’ed Al-Ajmi
Secessionists, Houthis and Houthi supporters and Al-Qaeda followers are destroying Yemen. They are exploiting the fragility of the security situation which resulted from the weak economic situation in the country. They aim to split Yemen through provoking sedition, wars, terrorism and acts of sabotage. They further aim to threaten the security and stability of the state and society of Yemen that was happy but has since moved far away from happiness due to these destroyers.
The Arab leaders, their tremendous armies, the intelligence apparatuses, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are largely ignoring what is going on in Yemen as if it doesn’t concern them. It is as if there are no mid-term or long-term negative reflections on their own domestic situations, which incidentally are not free from weaknesses themselves. Who is the Arab official who can take the initiative to move quickly? Who will be able to reach out to Yemen to follow up the situation there closely and offer the required and urgent support and assistance?
None of the Arabs have taken up this critical position. Only General David Petraeus, commander of the US Central Command, reached out to Yemen during the apex of the recent and ongoing incidents. He met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and announced Washington’s support – not Arab support – to Yemen’s unity and stability, further announcing cooperation with Yemen to combat terrorism!
Even Amr Moussa, the Arab League Secretary-General, and Abdul Rahamal Attiyah, the GCC Secretary-General, didn’t tire themselves out going to Yemen. They didn’t bother to scrutinize the serious level of the risks that are threatening the unity and security of Yemen and the stability of its people. They didn’t go there to discover the substantial reasons behind these incidents and report to the Arab leaders to bring them into the picture of the situation in Yemen!
Additionally, Arab leaders are completely ignoring what is going on in Somalia every day. Tens of thousands of children, women and innocent people are fleeing their ruined houses to face the unknown due to criminal gangs that have no mercy. These gangs are committing their criminal and forbidden acts to assume power, not for the sake of legitimate objectives as they pretend to do through their false slogans.
Apart from the problems on the land, gangs of piracy in the seas surrounding Somalia are seizing trade ships to extort people and obtain high ransoms in return for releasing these ships and their crews. If it weren’t for the international efforts that are currently being exerted, piracy wouldn’t have decreased. Arabs are still just ignoring what is going on both on land and sea of Somalia, but they do nothing!
The Arab comprehensive negativity, retraction and deliberate inactivation of Arab supportive institutions and joint conventions invite the enemies inside and outside the Arab world to act against the security and stability of Arab countries and societies. This hostile movement that expresses illegitimate greed and aspiration harms countries that suffer from fragile economic and security conditions. Will Arabs move to prevent these risks? We hope so, but we are not waiting!

Racism and media hysteria — ‘Terror’ laws won’t make us safer
by Tony Iltis
On August 4, theatrical pre-dawn raids in Melbourne by more than 400 Victorian, NSW and federal police and ASIO agents — including paramilitary units armed with sub-machineguns — launched Australia’s latest terrorism scare. “The threat of terrorism is alive and well and this requires continued vigilance”, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced later that day.
Five people have been charged since the raids under draconian “anti-terror” laws introduced by the former Howard government and still enforced under Labor.
A coordinated campaign by police, politicians and the media has claimed that the raids thwarted an imminent attack against the Holsworthy army base in western Sydney by terrorists linked with the al-Shabaab group in Somalia.
“One of the things we are concerned with is the sophisticated and calculated [attempt] to pollute public perception by deliberately leaking material through the media”, lawyer Rob Stary, who is acting for one of the accused, told Green Left Weekly.
Despite the extensive secrecy provisions in the “anti-terror” laws, which reduce the standard of evidence needed to obtain convictions and can prevent defendants and their lawyers from knowing what they are accused of, the media presence when raids are carried out is routine.
Some of the mechanics of this co-operation were revealed after Victorian police commissioner Simon Overland accused the Australian of reporting on the raids three hours before they took place.
Denying this, Australian editor Paul Whittaker told media on August 6: “Under a deal struck with the lead agency in the investigation — the Australian Federal Police — The Australian agreed to sit on the story and not publish a single word about the imminent raids, despite knowing of them a week earlier, until the morning they were to be carried out.”
Stary told GLW“All the newspapers have an arrangement with the Australian Federal Police.” This was evident in the trial of 12 Muslim men arrested in Melbourne in 2005, seven of whom were convicted in September 2008. Stary was also involved in the defence in that case.
Dramatically staged arrests were carried out in the presence of the media, which uncritically repeated allegations of a plot to bomb the AFL grand final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
These allegations continue to be repeated. In an August 5 rant that used the latest arrests as a pretext to attack immigration, multiculturalism and opposition to imperialist wars, Melbourne Herald Sun right-wing columnist Andrew Bolt said: “Only six months ago Algerian-born preacher Abdul Nacer Benbrika was jailed in Melbourne, along with six followers, for planning terrorist attacks on Australians at the football.”
However, Stary explained, the allegation “referring to an alleged attack on the MCG was dismissed [by the trial judge] … When the Senate was recalled in 2005, changes to the legislation meant that there was no need for charges to refer to specific acts.” The seven were convicted under these general provisions, “not for planning specific terrorist acts”.
At an August 4 press conference in Melbourne, Australian Federal Police acting chief commissioner Tony Negus said: “Police will allege that the men were planning to carry out a suicide terrorist attack on a defence establishment within Australia involving an armed assault with automatic weapons.
“The men's intention was to actually go into the army barracks and to kill as many soldiers as they could before themselves, they were killed. Potentially this would have been, if it had been able to be carried out, the most serious terrorist attack on Australian soil.”
NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione told the media that the timing of the raids was determined by the attack on Holsworthy being “imminent”. However, on August 5, the head of NSW Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit, Peter Dein, told ABC radio that “there was no evidence … at this stage that they had access to automatic weapons but it will be alleged they were planning to get access somehow”.
According to the August 6 Sydney Morning Herald, to obtain five automatic rifles would cost more than $100,000 and require contacts in the organised criminal underworld “but law enforcement sources said the men had no established links to organised crime and no external funding”.
Negus has also alleged that the five (who are all Australian citizens, three from Somali backgrounds, and two Lebanese) had links to the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab.
However, al-Shabaab is not a global terrorist network. It emerged in the late 1990s out of the anarchy and multi-sided armed conflict that has beset Somalia since its last central government collapsed in 1991.
Initially a youth militia that took on armed gangs engaged in highway robbery and kidnapping, in 2006 it allied with the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) led by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who brought Somalia closer to the rule of law than at any other time in the past two decades.
The pragmatic UIC was, at this time, a restraining influence on the fundamentalist tendencies of al-Shabaab.
The December 2006 US-instigated Ethiopian invasion of Somalia shattered the UIC-led peace process, cost 10,000 lives and led to al-Shabaab radicalising. Ethiopian forces withdrew in January after reaching an agreement with Sheikh Ahmed, who the West now recognises as heading Somalia’s government.
In reality, Somalia has no central government, with al-Shabaab controlling much of the south and some of the capital Mogadishu, rival warlords and clan-based militias (some of whom are now allied with Sheikh Ahmed) remaining active and the northern regions of Somaliland and Puntland remaining de facto independent states.
Al-Shabaab’s aspirations are to rid Somalia of foreign (particularly Ethiopian) influence, reunite the country and impose its puritanical and misogynistic interpretation of Sharia law. It does not have aspirations beyond Somalia and the idea that it is planning terrorist attacks in Australia is fanciful.
Significantly, ABC radio reported on August 7 that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Nairobi to meet with Sheikh Ahmed, cited the August 4 arrests in Melbourne as evidence that al-Shabaab was a global threat, justifying Western interference in Somalia.
ABC radio also reported that an al-Shabaab spokesperson in Somalia denied any connection with the men arrested or with anything happening in Australia.
No evidence has been provided to back up assertions by police and the media that some Somali-Australians have returned to Somalia and fought in al-Shabaab, but even if this were the case it is unclear whether it would be illegal.
Al-Shabaab is not listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia and accusations that it is engaged in a struggle to overthrow the sovereign Somali state ignore the fact that there is no Somali state.
However, Radio Australia reported on August 8 that federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland has foreshadowed tougher “anti-terror” laws to make it easier for the government to ban groups.
Stary pointed out the inconsistencies in the way Australia deals with its nationals who get involved in conflicts overseas. “Why aren't Australian nationals who were involved in the [2006] Israeli incursion into Lebanon charged with terrorist offences for their use of military force against the sovereign government of Lebanon?”, he asked.
Under Israel’s racist citizenship laws, Australian Jews with no previous connection to Israel can become citizens and do military service. The Australian government has never questioned this.
Stary condemned the “selective application” of Australia’s “anti-terror” laws as “farcical. It depends on foreign policy priorities”.
He pointed out that Eelam Tamils have been arrested under the laws for supporting their homeland’s right to self-determination, but Tibetans have not.
He added that support given in the past by Australians for national liberation movements in Ireland and East Timor would be “absolutely not possible under [the anti-terror] laws”.
He also said Scandinavian countries with fewew laws criminalising support for struggles overseas were able to play a positive role in peace processes, citing Norway’s attempts to negotiate peace in Sri Lanka.
Australia’s domestic “anti-terror” laws reflected a foreign policy that emphasised military responses.
Stary suggested that the timing of the arrests was part of a “deliberate strategy” related to foreign policy. “The government wants to commit further troops to Afghanistan,” he said. The public is opposed. The example of home grown terrorists is used to frighten people into supporting war. I’m confident that an announcement of further troops will follow.”
He said that they were also motivated by “self-justification by national security agencies that are underemployed and over-resourced. They’ll always be looking for an issue … of course our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan will increase risk of terrorism.”
The August 5 Daily Telegraph said when one of the accused, Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court he commented that while he was being accused of being a terrorist, despite not having killed, or planned to kill, anyone, Australian troops were killing innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Addressing a foreign affairs forum for high school students in Melbourne on August 7, Labor MP Kelvin Thomson used the arrests to make racist comments against the Somali community and called for cuts to immigration.
He also cited the refusal, on religious grounds, of Fattal and co-accused Nayef El Sayed to stand in court as evidence that some Muslim migrants do “not respect Australia’s laws or legal system”.
Thomson was demoted from the Labor front bench in 2007 after it was revealed he had given a character reference to notorious gangster and drug lord Tony Mokbel.
Meanwhile, Somali community leaders in Melbourne reported an increase in racism against Somalis since the raids, the August 6 Australian said.
Uganda triumphs at the UN Security Council by Benjamin Rukwengye and Phionah Kesaasi
Uganda has registered massive contribution towards the maintenance of international peace and security as a member of the United Nations Security Council. This was revealed by Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the UNSC, Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda in his address at the Media Centre.
While summarizing Uganda’s input, Rugunda cited the presence of UN Logistical Base at Entebbe Airport that serves various peace keeping missions in DRC, Somalia and Darfur, and the ever increasing number of troops and civilians involved in peace keeping missions in Sudan, Liberia, Congo and Ivory Coast, in varying numbers.
He outlined the activities of Uganda’s presidency of the SC in July; a record 21 open formal meetings had been held, 2 private sessions and 2 consultations all of which resulted in the adoption of various resolutions on several world issues like further regional cooperation, in particular between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda in dealing with the negative forces. “The Council expressed grave concern over the renewed activity of illegal armed groups and condemned the targeted attacks against the civilian population by the FDLR and the LRA” he revealed
Rugunda also said that negotiations with Kony had been concluded and that President Chissano had handed over his duties and it is now up to Kony to append his signature to the agreement.
He admitted to the differing positions of countries on the SC on the issue of President Bashir’s indictment since African countries argue that his case be differed till the Mbeki Commission’s report is done but other members want the case to proceed, “the good relationship between the ICC and the AU will continue because they both concur on fighting impunity and that consultations on what to do are going on”.
He refuted claims that the UN is dragging its feet on the situation in Somalia like on all other African issues. “Consultations are in progress on whether to change the mandate and use force seeing that conflict has escalated”; the failure by other countries to contribute troops to AMISOM as a probably a result of the volatile situation or the low remuneration but that problem has been sorted out by the UN which has taken over the maintenance of the troops”.
He did not rebut media reports that the USA is arming the Federal transitional government of Somalia and argued that every country needs all the help it can get, in any form and called on all countries to continue aiding the Somali government. We Need To Support Gaddafi On United State Of Africa by Dominic Owuor Otiang'a After seeing a toothless organisation that stomached several military coups and civil wars, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had a dream to have the organisation changed to a more serious one, the AU. Many can confirm from deeds that the AU is far much better than its predecessor OAU. It is from a spirit of togetherness that Tripoli aided the burial of OAU and the birth of a little stronger AU and is still active in nursing the AU to make it strong enough to compete with the likes of EU and The United States of America. Since this has not yet been achieved, the dream from Tripoli, in my view, is still valid.
Our very own scholars have argued out that we are far from getting there, citing strong and genuine reasons like the difficulties that we face in our countries and regional blocks such as EAC, SADC and ECOWAS.
Africa has lots of scholars scattered in every corner of the world who can help her succeed in achieving the Kwame Nkurumah Dream of the US of Africa. It pains when most of this scholars say no to the idea of a true union when in fact they are enjoying life under unions such as EU and USA; flying from Washington DC to Alaska without visas or from Paris to Berlin without the same while they deny a common African citizen in Africa a chance to move freely from Mogadishu to Lagos or Cairo to Pretoria.
Our very own leaders, those who go to Addis Ababa to vote against the idea of a strong Union, have got resources, if not powers, to move them freely to any corner of the world, even without Africa having to unite. They have powers and opportunity to create strong cohesions among the citizens in their own countries and regional blocks in preparation for a continental union. They also have powers to divide their citizens on tribal, religious or ethnic lines and make the Nkurumah dream an impossible one. Should they choose the latter, it will be a common African who will be disadvantaged.
In 2010, some of our politicians will be flying to South Africa for the FIFA world cup, while the youthful and more energetic Africans are planning to make it by road. The weak union in Africa simply means not everyone willing and able to move to the South for the FIFA world cup will make it, especially those common citizens planning to go by road.
Our leaders and scholars have on several occasions talked of sovereignty as a scapegoat thus denying us this wonderful idea of a United States Of Africa.
Well, with the exception of Ethiopia, didn't we lose our sovereignty after the Berlin treaty of 1885? When the existing forms of African anatomy and self-governance was eliminated and the continent was divided between the European powers, division that still exist.
When our micro-nations were reduced to tribes and our mother tongues and fully fledged lingua- francas baptised as dialects? Isn't this the reason why it is almost illegal to speak African languages in our public institutions in some African countries?
Apart from mighty powers of some African despots, is there any sovereignty to lose? If there's any, do we need it? Allowing genocides, religious/ethnic violence, xenophobia, shocking police brutality and unjustifiable military coups to go on without outside interference just because we are a sovereign state?
If we sincerely have something to call sovereignty then, of course, we can still unite and make our union as strong as the European Union, at least.
When Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie won a literature prize in 2003, the news in the Nigerian Guardian was "Nigerian wins literature Prize in the USA" she was a Nigerian not Igbo, Yoruba, Christian or Muslim. Similarly, when Justice Joyce Aluoch from Kenya was elected to the benches of the ICC in the Hague, the headline news posted online was "Kenya judge joins ICC"
Kenyans of all ethnic groups, religion and colour were seen tossing champagne, singing and dancing at a Nairobi Hotel. They had united to celebrate the appointment of one of their own, not one of their tribe. Moreover, Africa as a continent- from Egypt to South Africa and from Somalia to Senegal united in celebrating the victory of President Barack Obama- Yes! The most famous African in the Diaspora.
The point here is that we tend to unite on matters international and divide on internal issues. It simply means that the US of Africa will help us achieve unity in our countries especially those countries with ethnic tensions. We will be competing against another country or state rather than another tribe, clan or religion. To prove this right, you will need to wait until the Kenyan parliament amends their constitution to provide for a devolved government or federal government. Should a Federal government be allowed in Kenya, tribal politics will also descend to clan level in each federal state.
This could explain why, in the African Diaspora, there are several organisations for citizens from every African country; The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) or Ghana Union in Southern Germany and several others. However, from a country like Nigeria with federal system of government, there are unions such as Igbo union as it is in Freiburg Germany or Kwara State Association, KSANG in North America. It tells something here, but we should be proud of our own ethnic groups or our own culture, to be precise.
This is why we may disagree with Libya's strong man, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on issues such as Somali piracy, but on matters of US of Africa, we should give him the thumbs.
Regional leaders meet in Lusaka
by Vision Reporter
Presidents Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Yoweri Museveni, Rupiah Banda of Zambia and Mwai Kibaki of Kenya after opening the 3rd international conference on the Great Lakes region in Zambia yesterday
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni joined his counterparts in the Great Lakes region yesterday to discuss security threats and joint responses. The one-day conference, held in the Zambian capital Lusaka, was also attended by the presidents of Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania.
Other member states, Burundi, Sudan, Angola, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, sent delegations. The outgoing chairperson, Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, noted that during his tenure many peace initiatives had been undertaken.
He reported that peace in Burundi had been consolidated. "The Paribahutu party joined the peace process, transformed itself into a political party and was integrated into the government."
Kibaki was optimistic that the elections in Burundi, scheduled for next year, will be a success.
He also applauded the joint operation in eastern Congo between the Rwandan and Congolese armies to disarm the negative forces.
He hailed what he called "ground breaking talks" between presidents Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame. Kibaki told the conference that Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan carried out a joint operation against the Lord's Resistance Army and hailed a recent agreement between the government of Sudan and the main rebel group in Darfur.
He urged the international community to assume greater responsibilities in Somalia.
"The region has witnessed dramatic and milestone achievements in the determination to end the conflicts that have bedevilled the region, tackled the problem of armed groups and negative forces through joint operations," said the organisation's director, ambassador Liberata Mulamula.
He disclosed that a special fund for reconstruction and development was created. It is managed by the African Development Bank. She also announced the establishment of the Centre for Good Governance, Democracy and Human Rights, to be named after the late Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa and to be hosted by Zambia.

ECOTERRA Intl. congratulates Mary Robinson on being named as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to be awarded by President Obama next week, after her long career championing the rights of marginalized peoples around the world.
Mary Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and founder and president of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, is among the distinguished recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to be awarded by US-American President Obama on 12 August 2009.

-----------

We do not send pictures with these reports, because of the volume, but picture this emetic scene with your inner eye:
A dying Somali child in the macerated arms of her mother besides their bombed shelter with Islamic graffiti looks at a fat trader, who discusses with a local militia chief and a UN representative at a harbour while USAID provided GM food from subsidised production is off-loaded by WFP into the hands of local "distributors" and dealers - and in the background a western warship and a foreign fishing trawler ply the waters of a once sovereign, prosper and proud nation, which was a role model for honesty and development in the Horn of Africa. (If you feel that this is overdrawn - come with us into Somalia and see the even more cruel reality yourself!)

-----------

There is no limit to what a person can do or how far one can go to help - if one doesn't mind who gets the credit !

-------------

ECOTERRA Intl. maintains a register for persons missing or abducted in the Somali seas (Foreign seafarers as well as Somalis). Inquiries by family member can be sent by e-mail to office[at]ecoterra-international.org

For families of presently captive seafarers - in order to advise and console their worries - ECOTERRA Intl. can establish contacts with professional seafarers, who had been abducted in Somalia, and their wives as well as of a Captain of a sea-jacked and released ship, who agreed to be addressed "with questions, and we will answer truthfully".

-----------

ECOTERRA - ALERTS and pending issues:

PIRATE ATTACK GULF OF ADEN: Advice on Who to Contact and What to Do http://www.noonsite.com/Members/sue/R2008-09-08-2

NATURAL RESOURCES & ARMED FISH POACHERS: Foreign navies entering the 200nm EEZ of Somalia and foreign helicopters and troops must respect the fact that especially all wildlife is protected by Somali national as well as by international laws and that the protection of the marine resources of Somalia from illegally fishing foreign vessels should be an integral part of the anti-piracy operations. Likewise the navies must adhere to international standards and not pollute the coastal waters with oil, ballast water or waste from their own ships but help Somalia to fight against any dumping of any waste (incl. diluted, toxic or nuclear waste). So far and though the AU as well as the UN has called since long on other nations to respect the 200 nm EEZ, only now the two countries (Spain and France) to which the most notorious vessels and fleets are linked have come up with a declaration that they will respect the 200 nm EEZ of Somalia but so far not any of the navies operating in the area pledged to stand against illegal fishing. So far not a single illegal fishing vessel has been detained by the naval forces, though they had been even informed about several actual cases, where an intervention would have been possible. Illegally operating Tuna fishing vessels (many from South Korea, some from Greece and China) carry now armed personnel and force their way into the Somali fishing grounds - uncontrolled or even protected by the naval forces mandated to guard the Somali waters against any criminal activity, which included arms carried by foreign fishing vessels in Somali waters.

LLWs / NLWs: According to recently leaked information the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden are also used as a cover-up for the live testing of recently developed arsenals of so called non-lethal as well as sub-lethal weapons systems. (Pls request details) Neither the Navies nor the UN has come up with any code of conduct in this respect, while the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP) is sponsoring several service-led acquisition programs, including the VLAD, Joint Integration Program, and Improved Flash Bang Grenade. Alredy in use in Somalia are so called Non-lethal optical distractors, which are visible laser devices that have reversible optical effects. These types of non-blinding laser devices use highly directional optical energy. Somalia is also a testing ground for the further developments of the Active Denial System (ADS) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). If new developments using millimeter wave sources that will help minimize the size, weight, and system cost of an effective Active Denial System which provides "ADS-ACTD-like" repel effects, are used has not yet been revealed. Obviously not only the US is developing and using these kind of weapons as the case of MV MARATHON showed, where a Spanish naval vessel was using optical lasers - the stand-off was then broken by the killing of one of the hostage seafarers. Local observers also claim that HEMI devices, producing Human Electro-Muscular Incapacitation (HEMI) Bioeffects, have been used in the Gulf of Aden against Somalis. Exposure to HEMI devices, which can be understood as a stun-gun shot at an individual over a larger distance, causes muscle contractions that temporarily disable an individual. Research efforts are underway to develop a longer-duration of this effect than is currently available. The live tests are apparently done without that science understands yet the effects of HEMI electrical waveforms on a human body.

------------

ECOTERRA Intl., whose work does focus on nature- and human-rights-protection and - as the last international environmental organization still working in Somalia - had alerted ship-owners since 1992, many of whom were fishing illegally in the 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone, to stay away from Somali waters. The non-governmental organization had requested the international community many times for help to protect the coastal waters of the war-torn state, but now lawlessness has seriously increased and gone out of hand.

ECOTERRA members with marine and maritime expertise, joined by it's ECOP-marine group, are closely and continuously monitoring and advising on the Somali situation. (for previous information concerning the topics please google keywords ECOTERRA (and) SOMALIA)

----------------

The network of the SEAFARERS ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME helped significantly in most sea-jack cases. ECOTERRA Intl. is working in Somalia since 1986 on human-rights and nature protection, while ECOP-marine concentrates on illegal fishing and the protection of the marine ecosystems. Your support counts too.

Please consider to contribute to the work of SAP, ECOP-marine and ECOTERRA Intl. Please donate to the defence fund.
Contact us for details concerning project-sponsorship or donations via e-mail: ecotrust[at]ecoterra.net

Kindly note that all the information above is distributed under and is subject to a license under the Creative Commons Attribution.
To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/uk/

Send your genuine articles or networked information please to: mailhub[at]ecoterra.net

Pls cite ECOTERRA Intl. - www.ecoterra-international.org as source for onward publications, where no other source is quoted.

Press Contacts:

ECOP-marine
East-Africa
+254-714-747090
marine[at]ecop.info
www.ecop.info

ECOTERRA Intl.
Nairobi Node
africanode[at]ecoterra.net
+254-733-633-733

EA Seafarers Assistance Programme
SAP Media Officers
+254-722-613858
+254-733-385868
sap[at]ecoterra.net

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


UN: Bachelet Alarmed By Number Of Palestinian Children Killed In Latest Escalation

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet today expressed alarm at the high number of Palestinians, including children, killed and injured in the occupied Palestinian territory this year, including in intense hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza last weekend... More>>

Save The Children: One Year Under Taliban Rule, Girls Are More Isolated, Hungry, Sad: New Report
One year since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, an economic crisis, crippling drought and new restrictions have shattered girls’ lives, excluding them from society and leaving them hungry...
More>>

Palestinian Ministry of Health: Developments In The Health Situation During The Israeli Aggression On The Cities & Governorates Of The Gaza Strip
For the second day in a row, the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip continues by targeting overcrowded residential areas and neighborhoods, as the death toll rose to 13 citizens, including a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman... More>>


Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>



Singapore: UN Experts Call For Immediate Moratorium On Executions For Drug Offences

UN experts* today condemned the execution of Nazeri Bin Lajim, a 64-year-old Malay Singaporean national convicted of drug offenses and urged the Government of Singapore to halt plans to execute individuals on death row for drug related charges... More>>