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[Photos] Protest against British conference on Somalia – 7 May 2013

Hundreds gathered near Lancaster House on Tuesday to protest the second British conference held by David Cameron on Somalia.
Hands off Somalia, Fight Racism Fight Imperialism and a wide range of Somali groups based in Britain attended to make their voices heard about the pillaging of Somalia through proxy wars and exacerbation of tribal differences, the criminalisation of Somalis in Britain and the ever-growing hiest to snatch natural resources from across the region.
Hands off Somalia banner: NO TO BRITISH INTERVENTION IN AFRICA

Hands off Somalia banner alongside other protesting groups: NO TO BRITISH INTERVENTION IN AFRICA

Chants, music, dancing and contributions from protesters on Hands off Somalia’s open-mic made the protest lively and colourful.

People spoke about disgusting UKBA, the plight of Mahdi Hashi, the true agenda behind ‘aid’, the theft of Somalia’s resources by outside forces, and the need for self-determination without interference.

The message was clear- that imperialist hands should be kept off Somalia!

Other groups and speakers used the Hands off Somalia sound system

Other groups and speakers used the Hands off Somalia sound system

Hands off Somalia speakers

Hands off Somalia speakers

Hands off Somalia displayed Mahdi Hashi posters and told people about his struggle - I AM MAHDI HASHI!

Hands off Somalia displayed Mahdi Hashi posters and told people about his struggle – I AM MAHDI HASHI!

The protest had 2 sides but they were supportive of each other and called for unity between all Somali people

The protest had 2 sides but they were supportive of each other and called for unity between all Somali people

Loud music and dancing in the streets - always a good thing!

Loud music and dancing in the streets – always a good thing!

More dancing and songs

More dancing and songs from a group attending the protest

Supporter makes very good points that Britain is part of the robbery of Somalia's resources

Supporter makes very good points that Britain is part of the robbery of Somalia’s resources

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British conference to cement carve-up of Somalia

Britain’s announcement in December 2011 of its intention to secure ‘British interests’ in the oil-rich and strategically important Horn of Africa, intensified the scramble by the imperialists and local powers to secure their own regional interests. Now another conference is to be held in London on 7 May 2013.

Ugandan, Burundian, Kenyan, Ethiopian, US, British and latterly French troops have entered Somalia. Britain, Japan and Turkey have given ‘aid’. Britain’s High Commissioner to Kenya admitted in February 2013 that Britain was part of Operation Linda Nchi, the Kenyan incursion into Somalia in October 2011. This operation was launched after the kidnapping of two female Spanish Médecins Sans Frontières aid-workers from Dadaab refugee camp, allegedly by Al Shabaab. However, WikiLeaks, The Guardian and SomaliaReport.com (14 November 2011) have revealed that Linda Nchi was planned in January 2010 (21 months earlier) at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, as a plot to annex Jubaland, a semi-autonomous region in southern Somalia.

It was finalised with the US, with Kenya using the kidnappings of foreign nationals as a pretext to launch a pre-planned operation. When US officials said ‘Kenyan officers had given their American counterparts “zero” information before the offensive started’, it was a barefaced lie, as usual (New York Times, 20 October 2011).

Somalia has been balkanised into south central Somalia, Jubaland, Galmudug, Mogadishu, Puntland and Somaliland, which Britain wants to control. Kenya has carved out Jubaland, to be run by a Kenyan-appointed puppet government and containing the lucrative port of Kismayo.

Kenya is a British military client. The British Army Training Unit in Kenya has undertaken ‘training’ in Kenya for decades and has a strong partnership with the Kenyan Defence Forces. Britain sent military advisers to Somalia in February 2013 and opened a ‘new defence section’ at its embassy in Mogadishu. In 2012, the first UK-Somaliland investment conference was held.

The corrupt Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was disbanded and a Somali Federal Government (SFG) created for the renamed Federal Republic of Somalia in August 2012.

Somalia’s carve-up is driven by imperialism’s need to exploit East Africa’s energy resources where the decade’s biggest natural gas discoveries have been made – off the coasts of Mozambique and Tanzania. British company Tullow has discovered oil in Kenya and Uganda. ‘Somalia, including Somaliland, can potentially be the Saudi Arabia of East Africa’, according to Osman Salad Hersi, associate geology professor at the University of Regina in Canada.

Chinese, Canadian, Australian, US, Anglo-Turkish and British oil companies have signed oil deals with the various Somali ‘governments’. Al Shabaab or any other effective opposition hinder oil or gas exploration and have to be removed.

The British government hosted a London conference on Somalia in February 2012 which terminated the TFG and expanded the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) occupation from 12,000 to 17,000 troops. Istanbul hosted a follow-up conference, which Turkey used to further its East African interests.

Britain and Somalia ‘will co-host an international conference on Somalia on 7 May [2013] in the UK’, to ‘help Somalia to reverse the underlying state failure… help to improve the security of the country, reduce the levels of piracy and terrorism, enable refugees to return home, and improve the lives of millions of Somalis.’ Oil is not mentioned as a possible motive. Britain wants to ‘rebuild [Somalia’s] armed forces, police, coastguard, justice and public financial management systems’ – not schools, hospitals or homes for refugees. Britain wants to wrest the initiative from Turkey and shape events to its benefit.

The British government states: ‘Somalia now has a new parliament…a new president elected by the parliament. As a result, Somalia has a more legitimate government than it has seen in many decades. In addition, the proscribed terrorist organisation Al Shabaab has been expelled from many of Somalia’s major towns and cities. Confidence is increasing and the diaspora is returning.’ The Conference will ‘engage with the diaspora around the conference’ – but they won’t be invited.

Al Shabaab has simply melted away to fight a guerrilla war and defend their 2006 and 2009-era strongholds; they still control Jubaland, despite Kenyan forces entering Kismayo in September 2012, almost a year after their invasion. Al Shabaab would not have grown if Ethiopia, with US and British support, had not invaded Somalia in 2006 and provoked the people’s anger. The SFG still has no control over districts of Mogadishu, let alone areas beyond the capital.

SFG soldiers have gang-raped women inside and outside refugee camps, and rape victims and journalists reporting this brutality have been gaoled. An estimated 1.5 million people remain displaced, with a further one million having fled the conflict and famine. The SFG has a deficit of political power and legitimacy and a surplus of international donor, mainly US, support.

Turkey and the EU compete for influence. The meddling in Somali internal affairs by Kenya and Ethiopia in particular, and the imperialist carve-up to grab Somali oil is fomenting future conflict – the SFG is backing former warlords against Kenyan-backed factions trying to form the Jubaland state, while Puntland supports those factions.

The TFG was an eight-year failure; it’s not rocket science to see what the SFG will be – another failure.

Imperialism out of Somalia!

by Charles Chinweizu

Originally printed in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 232 April/May 2013

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Said Kasim – FREE! A victory for all against racist UKBA

Said Kasim Mohamed has been freed after a prolonged 23 day hunger strike inside Colnbrook IRC and a battle with UKBA and SERCO.

Campaigners hailed this not only a massive victory for Said, but the campaign, and all those both inside and outside immigration detention who have supported Said and his fight for justice.

Once Said finally left Colnbrook IRC, he was incredibly happy and thanked all his supporters for their courage and efforts against his oppressors in UKBA and SERCO. Said was also temporarily released with Selim, an Algerian man also on hunger strike for over 15 days.

Colnbrook IRC is a high level security prison used to detain immigrants, constructed under the previous Labour government.

Said was freed on Friday under temporary measures set out by UKBA, after  doctors inside the centre became outraged and disgusted at his ongoing treatment in the immigration prison. Said will have to sign on at a reporting centre on 22 March, another chance for UKBA to snatch him as he still does not have proper bail or any temporary citizenship whilst he seeks justice.

UKBA retreated and signed Said out after tens of supporters continuously rang and faxed Colnbrook IRC and UKBA to complain about Said’s treatment,

Many campaigners from groups including Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, No Borders, Prisoners Advice Service, Medical Justice, and BID mobilised to help Said as well as countless individuals from Britain and abroad who heard about his case via mailing lists and online tools like Twitter. John Mcdonnell MP also contacted the immigration minister about Said’s case.

Said was then sent to local Hillingdon Hospital for a check up, the hospital which has a history with below par treatment for immigrant prisoners from the local Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres.

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Doctors at Hillingdon put Said on a drip but offered him no advice on how to begin eating again after a hunger strike.

Instead the hospital gave Said a sandwich to eat, a dangerous move as eating the wrong things could be deadly for the body after such a prolonged period without eating. Guides recommend hunger strikers eat liquid foods and juice in small portions until 2 weeks or so have elapsed. This is not the first time Said has been neglected by doctors and medical staff in and surrounding Colnbrook IRC.

Hands off Somalia supporters went to the hospital to help Said with his bags and to move out of the area.

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UKBA told Said he would get a train ticket to his friends house out of London, but UKBA never produced the ticket. Said had to rush to the train station to buy his own ticket before the last trains at midnight.

Going forward the campaigns and supporters involved are re-energised to support Said, fight deportations and stop the criminalisation of immigrants in Britain.

Together we are stronger and a victory for one is a victory for all.

Shut down Colnbrook IRC!

Hands off Somalia! Hands off immigrants!

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Britain’s quest to divide and rule Somalia

[Originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 231 February-March 2013]

On 7 May 2013 the British government will host another conference in London to discuss the future of Somalia. Undoubtedly the new Somali Federal Republic model, chosen by the UN, will be hailed a ‘success’. The reality is it is fast becoming a sectarian nightmare for the Somali people who are forced to divide into smaller and smaller clan-based enclaves and ‘buffer-zones’, like the latest breakaway Jubaland, where foreign authorities, including Kenya and Ethiopia, seek proxies to control.

Britain holds its former protectorate Somaliland, in northern Somalia, as its big ‘success story’, keeping quiet about the brutal behaviour of President Ahmed Silanyo towards protests following municipal elections in November 2012. Ten people are said to have been murdered after protests spread across the region. On 6 December the Somaliland Police Special Protection Unit, an anti-terror unit trained and funded by the British MOD, is thought to have been involved in four murders in Hargeisa. At least nine other people were injured, some of them seriously, including a ten-year-old girl who was shot in the stomach. The government also attacked protesters in Zeila, Saylac (western Somaliland); videos posted online show government troops deliberately shooting and killing teenagers on a demonstration against the fraudulent election results.

Wikileaks confirmed to the public that Britain was funding and training Somaliland Special Police

Wikileaks confirmed to the public that Britain was funding and training Somaliland Special Police

On 10 January Somali President Hassan Mohamud met high-ranking World Bank officials, telling them: ‘Somalia needs to reinstate operations with the World Bank family…We believe the World Bank can play an important role in the reconstruction of Somalia.’ It was the World Bank and IMF that destroyed Somalia’s economy in the 1980s, leading up to the crumbling of the state and civil war.

Hassan Mohamud, a little too eager to meet Somalia's imperialist oppressor?

Hassan Mohamud, a little too eager to meet Somalia’s imperialist oppressor?

A week later, on 17 January, the US ‘recognised’ Somalia, after Mohamud met Hillary Clinton and promised that ‘Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States government in the last 22 years…and I say in front of you today, thank you, America.’ He did not question the many Somalis killed by US drones or demand the removal of US-backed AMISOM troops and military bases from the country.

The British government has funnelled £2.2m into the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s counter-piracy programme, to run prisons in Puntland and reinforce its police and maritime forces which will defend British interests in the region. On 6 January the first private British navy for the last 200 years was set up off Somali waters to defend private British interests and rake in massive shipping insurance contracts with Lloyds of London.

Glencore's Simon Murray

Glencore’s Simon Murray

The chairman of mining giant Glencore Simon Murray backs the company behind the venture, Typhon. The firm’s personnel include ex-Royal Marines, Legionnaires, NATO commanders, and a former chief of HSBC’s marine and insurance business. Typhon owner Anthony Sharp told the Daily Telegraph, ‘I had the idea for Typhon playing polo one afternoon, thinking about what my next business might be’. Britain is responsible for naval operations and judicial programmes for the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

Anthony Rupert

Originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 231 February-March 2013

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HOS speaking this Saturday @ AGAINST RACISM [[Newcastle]]

AGAINST RACISM

26 JANUARY 2013

@ St Johns the Baptist Church Hall,

Grainger Street,

Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5JG (map)

Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/466933896701976/

[[AN EVENT BY TYNESIDE COMMUNITY ACTION AGAINST RACISM]]

The global economic crisis has led to the working class in this country—and internationally—facing intensified reaction at the hands of the British state. The increasing levels of austerity at home, and military interventions abroad, are all part of this offensive.

Black and Asian people continue to be hit hardest; they make up a super-exploited section of the working class who are forced into the worst jobs and housing, have—in the case of many immigrants—restricted access to public services and welfare provision, and are detained in immigration prisons; to be deported at the whim of the government.

In order to divide and more easily oppress the entire working class, racism is used to justify the oppression of black people both in Britain and abroad and to scapegoat migrant workers and asylum seekers for the lack of jobs, housing, and services that result from the government’s attacks on all of us.

In this context, it’s more important than ever that we come together to discuss and educate ourselves about these issues and to organise against racism. Together we are stronger!

With plenty of time for discussion.

Sessions and speakers on:

12-1.30PM: RACISM IN WELFARE & HOUSING:

John Grayson will speak on the experience of asylum seekers in G4S housing. Tom Vickers will speak on how British welfare has reinforced racist immigration controls.

1.30-2.45PM: RACISM IN THE BRITISH IMMIGRATION SYSTEM:

Frances Webber will speak on the battle for migrant rights inside ‑and outside- of the courtroom. Raul Ally will speak on his personal experience of immigration detention.

2.45-4.30PM: RACISM & IMPERIALISM:

Hands Off Somalia will speak on British imperialist interests in Somalia and the consequences for both its population and for Somalia migrants in Britain. Toby Harbertson will speak on British support for Israel and Israeli state racism.

Our Speakers:

FRANCES WEBBER
Immigration barrister for 30 years, campaigner with the Institute of Race Relations and author of Borderline Justice: The Fight for Refugee and Migrant Rights (2012, Pluto)

JOHN GRAYSON
Researcher and member of South Yorkshire Migrant and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG), expert on the consequences of the transfer of asylum housing to British security multinational G4S

RAUL ALLY
A leading member of TCAR who is seeking asylum from Somalia and has been living in the North East since he was 12 years old, and spent the summer of 2012 imprisoned in Morton Hall immigration prison in Lincolnshire

TOM VICKERS
Supporter of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, researcher, and author of Refugees, Capitalism and the British State: Implications for social workers, volunteers and activists (2012, Ashgate)

TOBY HARBERTSON
Middle East and North Africa correspondent for Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! who, in the summer of 2011, volunteered with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (which resists Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes)

HANDS OFF SOMALIA

An anti-racist, anti-imperialist organisation dedicated to opposing any corporate, political, or military intervention in Somalia by the British state and challenging the criminalisation of Somali migrants in Britain.

WWW.TCARBLOG.BLOGSPOT.CO.UK

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We want justice for Said – a letter to UKBA from HOS

Below is a copy of the letter Hands off Somalia, FRFI and No Borders in London sent to UKBA to demand justice for Somali man Said Kasim Mohamed, unlawfully held in Colnbrook IRC and threatened with deportation to Tanzania, a country he has no connection with.

We are continuing to support Said inside Colnbrook IRC who has commented that he feels uplifted and energised by the support and solidarity from HOS and others supporting groups. A number of other Somali and African people threatened by UKBA have come forward and are now working with HOS to stengthen the message that we will not back down against racist immigration laws and the detention of immigrants in this country.

Said got a copy of the below photo, taken outside York House (a court specifically used to deport and criminalise  immigrants) and has been distributing it inside Colnbrook prison. It goes to show that campaigning work can go a long way and that when we unite across the borders, despite our ethnic or national background, against imperialism and racism – we are stronger and we will win!

FREE SAID!

HOS and supporters and Said's recent bail hearing

HOS and supporters and Said’s recent bail hearing

UK Border Agency
Waterside Court
Kirstall Road
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS4 2QB

04/01/12


FAO: Hannan Nichols – Sarrah Russell

We are writing on behalf of Said Kassim Mohamed (HO ref: M1382343 and Port ref: ASL/2554282) currently held at Colnbrook IRC. We are a group working within the Somali community to highlight Said’s case and others like him.

Said has repeatedly requested since March 2012 for UKBA to take him to the Tanzanian High Commission to verify to the authorities that he is not a Tanzanian national. Said has been willing to comply with the authorities in order to get the assessment required to establish his identity.

UKBA seems unwilling to do this and Said has reiterated multiple times that he is a Somali national and has people in the Somali community in Britain who can vouch for him. It is not clear why UKBA refuse to offer Said a chance to have his identity verified by the Tanzanian authorities as is normal procedure.

Said wishes for this matter to come to an amicable solution as soon as possible. He has been detained for a considerable amount of time and requests that UKBA respond regarding this matter immediately.

We would also like to highlight for your record the attached letter we have sent to Hugh Logan at the PSU in regards to Said’s treatment at the hands of Reliance Security Group and UKBA on his attempted removal on 30 September 2012.

We are an active campaign that spreads information about Said’s case and others like him to press and media outlets. We are 100% certain that Said is Somali and UKBA has no right to unlawfully detain Said or to deport him to Tanzania.

Yours sincerely,

Hands off Somalia

Co-signed
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! newspaper
No Borders London 

 

Said Kasim Mohamed

Said Kasim Mohamed

Please contact the Home Office and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre to demand Said’s release:

Home Office
Telephone:  020 7035 4848
Fax: 020 7035 4745
Email: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre
Telephone:  020 8607 5200
Fax: 020 8759 7996

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Rage against the BBC! Report from Saturday

To say that our demonstration on June 30th at the BBC Portland Place HQ was overdue is an understatement. The BBC has been the unofficial mouthpiece of the British establishment for as long as it has existed. The BBC has most certainly failed as a terrestrial channel that is supposed to be impartial and its journalists neutral on all subjects.

This demo was organised by Hands Off Somalia (HOS) to protest against the inaccuracies and fabrications of the BBC. The day was full of anti-imperialist sentiment as HOS has agreed from its formation; that Britain has no right to condemn any states as ‘failures’, let alone any right to invade them. And the BBC has been doing plenty of condemning.

Brother from Uhuru speaks at the protest to the crowd outside the BBC. Photo by Aimee Valinski

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Photos from yesterday’s meeting – Hands off Africa!

Uhuru, Pan Afrikan Women’s Association (Moyo-Wa-Taifa), Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and members of Hands off Somalia spoke today at the public conference, Imperialist Hands off Africa in Shepherds Bush.

Marcel Cartier @ Hands Off Africa – Photo by Aimee Valinski

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HOS April Conference speaks out- smash imperialism, defend Somalia

On Saturday 28 April, Hands Off Somalia (HOS), held their first conference and second public meeting to discuss the British government’s threat of military intervention in Somalia, and to raise awareness about the campaign.

HOS conference April 2012

HOS was initiated in January 2012, to mobilise opposition to an international conference hosted by David Cameron in London on 23 February, which was convened to deal with what he terms ‘a failed state’.

The campaign was formed by people from the Somali community in London, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) and other anti-imperialists, and held a big demonstration outside the venue of the British government conference.

Saturday’s meeting was held at Somerstown Community Centre in Camden, in a large hall that was filled with people who had come to hear the speakers and to contribute to the building of the campaign.

HOS organised for a number of people from the Somali community to speak on the panel, including Deeq Afrika from Global Somalia Response and criminal lawyer Elmi from Stop Watch who spoke about the racism and criminalisation faced by Somali youth in Britain.

Also discussed was the looting and hidden wars conducted in Somalia by external forces, the resulting displacement of huge numbers of Somalis and the fact that the imperialists are orchestrating and benefiting from the chaos in Somalia.

Awoowe Hamza, radical poet, spoke on the panel and pointed out that although Somalia is no longer officially colonised, it is being politically colonised through both direct and indirect means. Awoowe also made the connection between Britain’s oppression of Ireland and its current agenda in Somalia (for more information about Britain’s interests in Somalia see http://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/index.php/international/2492-london-conference).

Ithisham ul-Huq, who spoke on the panel for FRFI, gave a long list of the British government’s interventions in the African continent, showing that Britain only interferes in foreign countries to divide and rule;  suppressing any uprising or national liberation struggle in order to plunder and extract wealth.

After the panel spoke, the floor was opened for discussion, and HOS invited contributions from John  Rees on behalf of the Stop the War Coalition, Dennis from Occupy London, others from the Somali community, plus Ali from the Revolutionary Communist Group who talked about Turkey’s role as a false friend to the Middle East and African countries. Lorenzo from HOS spoke about DR Congo and its history of underdevelopment from imperialist countries.

Audience members also gave messages of solidarity to the campaign and pointed out how important it is not to be seduced by illusions that any imperialist politician, be it from the Tories, Labour or the Liberal Democrats, can do anything to support HOS whilst they still are a member of those parties. Such involvement would lead the campaign down the road of impotence.

The meeting closed with two radical poems, one from Awoowe Hamza and another powerful and uplifting piece written and performed by Farah Gabdon from Hands Off Somalia. Farah’s words were truly touching and motivating, leaving the room politically inspired (video coming soon people!)

The overwhelming message was clear from all contributors: British intervention in Somalia must be opposed, because the British government can never play a progressive role in Somalia or any other oppressed nation, and in order to oppose it, we must be strong and principled.

Now the campaign moves forward, and we urge everyone to get involved; get in touch, come along to the organising meetings and help us build for the next action to expose this barbaric act of imperialism planned by the British government and its allies against our fellow brothers and sisters in Somalia.

Contact us at handsoffsomalia (at) gmail (dot) com for information on how to join our work.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook at the bottom of the page to get the latest updates.

Thank you to all the speakers, organisations and guests who attended and helped to make this event happen.

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