All Articles Tagged "Somalia"

CIA Accused of Running Secret Terrorist Prison in Somalia

July 18th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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Somalia: CIA's Secret Anti-Terrorist PrisonsBy Alexis Garrett Stodghill

The Nation magazine author Jeremy Scahill has unearthed what many believe is a secret prison for terrorists in Somalia run by the CIA. In his recent article for the political weekly, Scahill details a relationship between the American and Somalian governments in which this Guantanamo Bay-style facility operates without the attendant political backlash. Apparently, these types of underground “black sites” for the detainment and questioning of terror suspects were common before Obama’s presidency, and widely criticized for generating numerous human rights violations through the use of torture.

President Obama signed an order ending the CIA’s black site program on the second day of his term, so the discovery that these prisons appear to remain in operation is causing international outrage. Despite being pressed for answers by news outlets such as CNN and ABC, the CIA remains evasive in discussing its role in Somalia’s secret terrorist prisons, and similar CIA outposts across Africa. Time.com reports:

Whatever the depth of the involvement of the CIA and other intelligence and military agencies in Somalia, the report raises this specter of longstanding and much-loathed U.S. counter-terrorism practices in the Muslim world — policies that many hoped would fade under the Obama Administration and in the wake of the Arab Spring. Before, brutal regimes like those of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and even Muammar Gaddafi in Libya happily collaborated with U.S. agents in the arrest, secret detention and likely torture of Islamists and terror suspects. Scahill’s piece suggests not much has changed, at least in the Horn of Africa, a part of the world that has vexed American policy makers for nearly two decades.

Nations in Africa such as Yemen have become the new focus of America’s war on terror now that the Middle East has been subdued as a source of new threats. The intensifying presence of al-Quaeda in Yemen and Somalia is seen as the grounds for increasing U.S. collusion with oppressive regimes in the region, which lack the resources to mount effective counter-terrorism campaigns. The unfortunate fall out of these relationships is that the CIA must collaborate with draconian rulers such as Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh — a leader on the verge of being ousted by his own people for unconscionable acts.

Somalia, Horn of Africa Coping With Devestating Drought

July 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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Somalia has experienced drought and famine before, but new reports of the current crisis indicate that the famine in the East African country is one of the most severe in its history.

According to UNICEF, one in six children under five years of age are dying in Somalia.

Due to fighting and drought within Somalia, many have migrated to neighboring countries, joining in overcrowded refugee camps. The lack of sanitation and poor conditions have led to an increase in typhoid and cholera.

The largest refugee camp in Kenya has over 400,000 people and is increasing daily.

The strife of Somalia is not only being felt by its citizens obviously but by the neighboring countries including Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya who are under-equipped to deal with the plight. The World Food Program says its working to raise the $477 million in food deliveries needed by the Horn of Africa to care for over 10 million people in dire need. This is the worst regional drought in over 60 years according to the World Health Organization.

Mother Teresa of Somalia Fights Famine With Her Own Means

June 28th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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Dr. Hawa Abdi and DaughtersBy Alexis Garrett Stodghill

Dr. Hawa Abdi began her humanitarian efforts in her native Somalia by opening a one-room hospital for women on her 1,300 acre farm. Twenty years later, her home is now a sprawling camp supporting 100,000 people seeking refuge from the country’s  war-torn, famine-ravaged surroundings. Children are tragically facing the highest risks there, as seven youngsters a day die under Dr. Abdi’s care from starvation. No humanitarian organization will come to her aid, because of the extreme danger of the region.

Despite these challenges, Mama Hawa — as her flock calls her — persists in trying to feed and provide medical care to the families under her protection. She and her two daughters, both medical doctors, administer to these needy by teaching farming and fishing, providing education and day care, and even giving free water and space those near her hospital. Such services are available only at a price in most of Somalia today, as anarchy and conflict have made the preservation of life a luxury most people choose to profit from.

While she has maintained the camp successfully until now, Dr. Hawa Abdi’s challenges might become insurmountable if financial aid is not forthcoming soon. A worsening drought in East Africa has killed all the animals on the farm, and it is feared that the people are next. The Daily Beast reports:

Right now, however, the camp, and the country, have reached a new level of crisis. Hawa needs help—a lot of it. She is receiving no food help—none—from any international organization. In the past, the International Red Cross and World Food Program have helped supply food when things get bad. Doctors Without Borders, and others, have run a clinic and supplied basic medicine.

Every international aid organization has now abandoned her, in part because of the political challenges of reaching the camp, which is located in an area under the control of the militant forces of the al-Qaeda inspired group, al-Shabaab. However, for the most part, since Hawa successfully defended the camp from their attack in May 2010,  the militants have left her largely alone.

Hawa’s work is not political. It’s entirely humanitarian, and even the militants seem to get that. Or perhaps they’re a bit scared of this 64-year-old lawyer, doctor, survivor of brain cancer: a force of nature who buried more than 10,000 people during the famine of the 1990s.

Back then, she says, they had international help. Now, she’s on her own.

According to Democracyinaction.org, a group called Vital Voices has joined with “Glamour magazine to help support Dr. Hawa Abdi’s cause through their Women of the Year Fund initiative.” Through their web site, you can make a contribution that will help Dr. Hawa Abdi prevent 49 children a week from dying of malnutrition, while granting countless life-affirming opportunities to others. She and her daughters have remained in their struggling land to assist those who cannot fend for themselves, risking their lives in the process. If the international aid community will not contribute to their cause, citizens of the world who care can and should.

Somalia Welcomes U.S. Military Action

May 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Wall Street) — Somalia would welcome a U.S. special-forces attack on al Qaeda-affiliated militants on Somali soil, similar to the strike that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, said Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Wednesday.  “I would prefer training so we can do it ourselves,” Mr. Mohamed said in an interview. “But in the absence of that, if there is a target or a threat to dismantle, I would welcome it.” U.S. officials declined to comment.  The remarks from Mr. Mohamed, a U.S. citizen who heads a weak interim government, stand in contrast to Pakistan, which blasted Washington over a breach of its sovereignty after the U.S. didn’t inform Islamabad in advance of its raid to kill bin Laden.  A U.S. strike in Somalia wouldn’t be without precedent. In 2008, a U.S. military airstrike killed a man believed to be al Qaeda’s top commander in the country.

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19-Year-Old Somali Man Arrested in Terrorist Bomb Plot

November 29th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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Children Carry Guns for a U.S. Ally, Somalia

June 14th, 2010 - By China Okasi
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“According to Somali human rights groups and United Nations officials, the Somali government, which relies on assistance from the West to survive, is fielding hundreds of children or more on the front lines, some as young as 9.” The New York Times reports.

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A Guiding Voice Amid the Ruins of a Capital City (Mogadishu)

March 30th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(NY Times) — A veiled female journalist (who also happens to be wearing a snug denim skirt) sits in a soundproof studio with a fuzzy microphone in front of her face.

This is a typical day at Radio Mogadishu, the one and only relatively free radio station in south central Somalia where journalists can broadcast what they like — without worrying about being beheaded. The station’s 90-foot antennas, which rise above the rubble of the neighborhood, have literally become a beacon of freedom for reporters, editors, technicians and disc jockeys all across Somalia who have been chased away from their jobs by radical Islamist insurgents.

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A Guiding Voice Amid the Ruins of a Capital City (Mogadishu)

March 30th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(NY Times) — A veiled female journalist (who also happens to be wearing a snug denim skirt) sits in a soundproof studio with a fuzzy microphone in front of her face.

This is a typical day at Radio Mogadishu, the one and only relatively free radio station in south central Somalia where journalists can broadcast what they like — without worrying about being beheaded. The station’s 90-foot antennas, which rise above the rubble of the neighborhood, have literally become a beacon of freedom for reporters, editors, technicians and disc jockeys all across Somalia who have been chased away from their jobs by radical Islamist insurgents.

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Justices Weigh Claims Over Torture in Somalia

March 4th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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