Tag Archives: US

MAHDI HASHI ON HUNGER STRIKE IN US PRISON

The following is an article just posted on the Channel 4 (UK) website detailing Mahdi’s hunger strike and his now deteriating condition.

We must act now! Protest and take a stand to support this young man’s struggle for freedom!

FREE HASHI NOW! STOP MI5 HARASSMENT! 

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http://www.channel4.com/news/british-somali-terror-suspect-on-hunger-strike-in-us

Channel 4 News has learned a British Somali man imprisoned in the US for alleged terrorism has gone on hunger strike and is now in a “critical condition”, according to his family.

Mahdi Hashi was born in Somalia and grew up in Camden, north London, after his family moved to Britain when he was five, writes Fatima Manji.

The former community worker was controversially stripped of his British citizenship last year after being accused of fighting with al-Shabaab extremists in Somalia.

Mahdi and his father

The 24-year-old now faces the possibility of life in an American jail, without any support from his former home country.

For more than four weeks, Hashi has been on hunger strike, saying his body is all he has left to protest with. In a short phone call to his father on Thursday night he said doctors are now treating him for jaundice, but he remains determined not to eat. Mahdi’s family are growing increasingly fearful over his condition.

The FBI accuses Mahdi of fighting with militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia. It says he took part in weapons training and al-Shabaab’s suicide bombing programme. But Mahdi and his family deny the charges and say he moved to Somalia to start a new life after being harassed by British security services.

I caught up with Mahdi’s father Mohammad Hashi, who still lives here in London.

Trying to recruit

Mohammad Hashi says his son used to work for a community youth group called the Kentish Town Youth Workers, around five years ago. At the time, he says MI5 was constantly trying to recruit him and his friends. Mohammad says at times he was present, when MI5 agents were trying to call his son and that his son “was sick of it”.

In 2009, Mahdi complained to his local MP, Frank Dobson. Mr Dobson confirms he received a complaint from this group and took it to the Home Office, because he was concerned about the methods being employed by the security services against a group he believes were “doing good work to combat extremism and help Somali kids” in the area.

But according to Mahdi’s family the complaints made no difference and as Mahdi kept receiving calls, he decided to leave the UK and begin a new life in Somalia.

Then in summer last year, his family received a letter from the Home Office saying Mahdi was being stripped of his citizenship for being involved in terrorist activity.

The letter came as a shock to the Hashi family. They called Mahdi to tell him the news and urged him to go to the nearest British embassy to appeal.

But shortly afterwards Mahdi vanished. His family were unable to make contact with him and appealed to the Foreign Office to help, but as Mahdi was no longer a British citizen – no help was received.

‘Not involved’

Six months later, the family suddenly found out Mahdi was in prison in New York awaiting trial. The FBI released a statement in December 2012 saying Mahdi was one of three men “apprehended in Africa by local authorities while on their way to Yemen” and had been charged in a “sealed court”.

It alleges Mahdi was “deployed in combat operations to support al-Shabaab action in Somalia”.

Mohammad Hashi says he is confident his son was not involved with al-Shabaab or any other terrorist group while in Somalia. He says Mahdi was staying with his grandmother and he himself visited the house, stayed with him for a month and had not “come across any suspicious things”.

He also believes Mahdi was tortured before being renditioned to the US. The FBI told Channel 4 Newsit has nothing further to add at this stage.

The Hashi family are now appealing against the decision to strip his British citizenship, here in the UK. The Home Office says it can’t comment on the case while this is ongoing.

But as Mahdi remains on hunger strike with little access to his legal team in the UK, his father fears his son stands little chance of being able to make his case.

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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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