Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|US tightens noose round Somalia|
|11/23/01 at 10:27:50|
|assalaamu alaikum, i wonder what the proof for the link to terrorism is?!|
US shuts down Somalia internet
Somalia's only internet company and a key telecoms company have been forced to close because the United States suspects them of terrorist links.
The two firms, Somalia Internet Company and al-Barakaat, both appear on a US list of organisations accused of funnelling money to the al-Qaeda network.
Both companies have stated categorically they they are not linked to terrorists.
Along with denying all internet access to Somalis, the closures have severely restricted international telephone lines and shut down vitally needed money transfer facilities.
Correspondents say the closure of the companies will have a devastating effect on the country, which desperately needs the services they provide.
The BBC's Hassan Barise in Mogadishu said more than 80% of Somalis depend on money they receive from relatives outside the country.
He said all internet cafes have now shut down and international phone lines run by two other companies are failing to cope with the extra pressure of calls.
He also pointed out that the United Nations, local and international aid agencies, as well as the government itself all relied heavily on internet access, now denied.
"I would say it is very depressing and if I could find any stronger word than that I would say it," he said.
He added the impact would be felt even more strongly because the cuts have come during the holy month of Ramadan.
On 7 November, the Bush administration released the list of 62 organisations and individuals accused of financial links with Osama Bin Laden.
Reports say the Somali Internet Company was forced to close when it realised that its international gateway had been cut off.
Al-Barakaat, Somalia's largest company with interests in telecommunications, banking and postal services, closed its financial businesses after its assets were frozen.
Its international telephone service was then shut down when its international gateway - run jointly by AT&T and British Telecom - was also cut off.
The company, which has 600 shareholders, is the largest employer in Somalia.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Somalis depend on it to transfer money throughout the world.
Somalis living abroad use it to send money to their relatives back home as there are no other banking systems in Somalia since the downfall of the Siad Barre regime in 1991.
Somalia's prime minister has issued a decree appointing a special committee to investigate al-Barakaat, as well as all other remittance companies.
|US plans TV station to rival al- Jazeera|
|11/23/01 at 19:48:19|
|Operation "enduring freedom" eh? I am sure that we would all like to suffer this type of freedom |
US plans TV station to rival al- Jazeera
Satellite channel would be aimed at anti-American Muslim youngsters, while
allies release details of regime's alleged brutality
Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles
Friday November 23, 2001
An Arabic-language satellite television station financed by the US and aimed
at winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world could shortly become a
reality. President George Bush has been told of Initiative 911, which would
put half a billion dollars into a channel that would compete in the region
with al-Jazeera and would be aimed specifically at younger Muslims who are
seen as anti-American.
Senator Joe Biden, the Democrat chairman of the Senate foreign relations
committee, is the driving force behind the scheme, which goes beyond the
current radio broadcasting initiatives. It represents a new phase of the
propaganda war and would be a third prong for the US in the media battle
along with a beefed-up Voice of America and a new Radio Free Afghanistan.
The US administration has been looking at new ways of combating
anti-Americanism and of deflating claims by Bin Laden and al-Qaida spokesmen
Plans for such a network, albeit on a much smaller level, were under
discussion before September 11, according to a foreign relations committee
aide yesterday, but the events of September 11 gave them new urgency.
Following the attacks in New York and Washington, Norman Pattiz, the
chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors' (BBG) Middle Eastern
sub-committee, put the idea of the station to Mr Biden who was "intrigued by
it and said in the current context we need to think bigger," according to
The $500m (£350m) price tag was described as "eye-popping" but is being seen
as a worthwhile investment if it lessens the possibility of further attacks
by starting to dry up the pool of recruits to al-Qaida and by convincing
young Muslims that the US is not anti-Islam.
Mr Biden has already discussed the issue with Mr Bush and received his
approval. The next phase will be a legislative move to turn Initiative 911
into a reality.
The move also chimes with the stated aims of Charlotte Beers, who was
appointed as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs
last month. She said at the time: "If I have to buy time on al-Jazeera, I
would certainly consider it."
A spokesman for the BBG said they were aware of the initiative "and we think
bullets". It would broadcast in 26 languages and would be aimed at around
40 Muslim countries around the world.
The broadcasting strategy is currently limited to the radio in the form of
Voice of America and the launch of a Radio Free Afghanistan at a cost of
around $25m. Voice of America, which has been in existence since 1941, came
under attack from conservative politicians after September 11 for
interviewing people not sympathetic to the US. RFA is modelled on the Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty which was launched in the cold war era and which
still exists in a different form in Prague.
One of the main tensions of such operations is between the journalists
employed and those politicians who believe that, because the US is paying
the bills, the journalists should not report anything that could be deemed
harmful to the US. The BBG was created in 1994 to try to deal with that
The BBG chairman, Marc Nathanson, said: "It is our responsibility to serve
as a firewall between the international broadcasters and the policy-making
institutions in the foreign affairs community, both in Washington and
"At the end of the day, it is precisely by providing accurate news and
information that we earn and keep our credibility."
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