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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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Political Open Mic – 27 April – organising to protest on 7 May

POLITICAL OPEN MIC, DISCUSSION & PLANNING

27 April 2013 @ 2pm

HORN OF AFRICA COMMUNITY CENTRE,
LIME GROVE
SHEPHERDS BUSH MARKET, W12 8EE

Come and voice your political opinions and put them to use by helping with planning, banner making, and with promotion for 7 May protest

Come and organise with Hands off Somalia on 27 April 2013

Come and organise with Hands off Somalia on 27 April 2013

PROXY WAR IN SOMALIA – FUNDED BY BRITAIN

Britain’s support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is funded from various British government bodies, including the Ministry of Defence. In 2011 alone, 48.2% of the total funds contributed to the AMISOM EU trust fund, amounting to £15m, came from Britain. Why is Britain funding a proxy war in Africa?

7 MAY 2013 CONFERENCE – IMPERIALISTS SCRAMBLE FOR SOMALIA

Britain’s conference on Somalia in London on 7 May 2013 is purely to further the interests of British imperialism in the region, such as controlling the shipping lanes and natural resources like oil and gas. Britain, through the UN, is enforcing a new sectarian federal government model on to Somalia, to ensure it can divide and exploit the nation.

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PROTEST

BRITISH CONFERENCE ON SOMALIA

7 MAY 2013

LANCASTER HOUSE,

Cleveland Row, SW1A 1BB

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SOMALIA… LIBYA… MALI… WHERE NEXT?

In February 2013, it was announced British military ‘advisors’ will be sent to Somalia. Under Obama, the US also pledges to send new troops.In March 2013, British troops also entered Mali. The Secretary for Defence Philip Hammond said it was to counter ‘threats’ to British ‘national interests’, just as Cameron said in 2012 that Somalia ‘directly threatens British interests’ and increased AMISOM funding.

British military interventions in Africa since 1945 :

1948 Ghana (Gold Coast): suppression of riots
1948-49 Somalia: preventing re-unification of the country, keeping protectorate
1948-51 Eritrea: suppression of the Shifta revolt
1951-54 Suez: Canal Zone
1952-56 Kenya: suppression of Mau Mau revolt. 11,500 Mau Mau were killed
1954 Egypt: intervention on the Nile
1956 Egypt: Suez crisis and invasion
1958 Malawi (Nyasaland): suppression of riots
1960-61 Cameroon: aid to the government
1961 Tanzania (Zanzibar): suppression of revolt
1963 Swaziland: Reinforcements sent to cover period of strike
1963 Tanzania (Zanzibar): preparations for election
1964 Tanzania (Tanganyika): army mutiny
1964 Uganda: Army mutiny
1964 Kenya: Army mutiny
1965 Mauritius: Suppression of riots
1965 Botswana (Bechuanaland): guarding the BBC’s Francistown radio station
1967 Libya: Guarding oil installations and preventing coup against King Idris
1973 Egypt: RAF moves UN troops after Yom Kippur war
1995 Angola: Operation Chantress with UN after civil war
1997 Congo: Operation Determinate
1998 Congo: Operation Ladbrook
2000 Sierra Leone: Intervention in civil war and attacks on Gambia
2003 Congo: Operation Coral
2003 Sierra Leone: Operation Keeling
2004 Cote D’Ivoire: Operation Phillis
2008-13 Somalia: Funding/training of AMISOM troops
2011 Libya: British backed NATO bombing
2013 Somalia: British military ‘advisors’ enter the country to ‘advise’
2013 Mali: British military troops enter alongside ex-colonisers France

DEMAND SELF-DETERMINATION

Britain has no record of ‘helping’ any country in the world using its military, or its multinational corporations. Britain’s pledge to spend 0.7% of gross-national income on ‘aid’ by 2013 is an insult to African people living in absolute poverty.

British ‘aid’ is largely being used to bribe and buy off regional actors who help imperialism, to rob the continent of its natural resources. Its no coincidence ‘aid’ for Somalia was increased 208% between 2010 and 2015, followed by Nigeria at 116% – these are both oil rich and geopolitically vital nations for imperialist plunder. Additionally, 40 percent of UK’s aid to Somalia will go to Somaliland, where Britain is building an regional enclave to serve its own interests.

We have to tell the British government that Somalia, and Africa, are not ‘for sale’.

African people demand self determination and development, not exploitation, poverty, war, racism, manipulation and plunder.

WHAT CAMERON WON’T BE TALKING ABOUT

The illegal abduction and torture of British Somali Mahdi Hashi. Racist UKBA deportation and detention of Somalis and Africans. The criminalisation of Somali people. Racist British media campaigns against Somali people. British terror and wars across the middle east and north Africa. Poverty in Britain and the cuts, forcing many Somali people into deep poverty

Come and support Hands off Somalia!

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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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Imperialist Hands off Africa! Meeting: Sat 16 June @ 2pm

A conference to discuss the new imperialist scramble for African oil and resources by the British government and its allies

 Join us at 2pm on Saturday 16 June at the Horn of Africa Community Group centre to listen to speakers discuss the recent new scramble for African resources by Britain and its imperialist allies in Europe and around the world.

The same multi-national companies, run by billionaires, pop up in Africa; Shell, BP, Africa Oil, Tullow Oil, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and the list goes on.

Now Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and now Somalia, to name a few, are all oil producing countries, so then why do the people still remain impoverished and denied basic living standards? Where is all the money really going?

Speakers from Fight Racism Fight Imperialism, Hands off Somalia, AAPRP and Uhuru will talk on the main angles British imperialism is pursuing to exploit Africa, including the never ending search for profit from oil and natural resources, the true causes behind underdevelopment and what is being done to oppose the western firms looting Africa.

Imperialist Hands Off Africa! conference, 16 June, 2pm

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New videos from HOS Conference in April 2012

We finally have a couple of videos filmed by HOS at their recent successful conference in April.

The video we have posted at the top is a must watch - a deep inspiring poem by Farah Gabdon that touches on the effects of imperialism accross the oppressed nations and the nature of true resistance.

It is not an overstatement to say that this poem nearly bought many people in the room to tears. The power of poetry and music when used in a revolutionary way should never be underestimated!

Farah Gabdon performs powerful poem about imperialism and resistance

4 more videos after the break, including a performance and speech from Awoowe Hamza…

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More photos from Hands off Somalia conference!

More photos from the Hands off Somalia conference on 28 April. Videos of the speakers are being worked on right this moment and will be online as soon as possible.

Thanks to all those who attended and made this event possible.

Hands off Somalia! No to imperialist intervention!

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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London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab

Originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 226 April/May 2012 (see: London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab)

Photo by Aimee Valinski

The London Conference on Somalia on 23 February, convened and hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron, was the 15th attempt since 1993 to solve the ‘Somalia problem’, all of which have ended in failure. The Conference was a grubby cover to enable Britain and the US to bargain over Somalia’s oil resources. Its final communiqué stated that ‘decisions on Somalia’s future rest with the Somali people’, but like the final statement read by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, it was written before the Conference. They agreed to ‘inject momentum into the political process, strengthen AMISOM [the African Union mission] and help Somalia develop security forces, build stability, and tackle pirates and terrorists’.

The presidents of autonomous Puntland, Somaliland and Galmudug and Islamist militia ASWJ attended the Conference along with three members of the TFG. Britain promised ‘humanitarian and security assistance’ to the respective autonomous regions in the country. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 was passed before the Conference to avoid it ‘dominating the agenda’: AMISOM will be increased from 12,000 to 17,731 police and troops, and equipment support increased, doubling the required UN budget to $500m annually. 4,600 Kenyan troops make up the bulk of the increase.

The London Communiqué proposes the TFG be dissolved, that elections take place when its mandate runs out in August 2012 and that a ‘representative government’ replace it. The TFG’s mandate actually ran out in 2011 but it was undemocratically extended by 12 months following pressure from Uganda, then the main contributor to AMISOM. Following a brawl in parliament in January, where the Speaker had to be removed, the TFG has been in paralysis. Gelled by personal greed, it has been characterised since 2004 by a power struggle between the President and the Speaker of the parliament, who both try to use the Prime Minister as their dummy. The TFG has no legitimacy or support amongst Somali people, no money (97% of its funds are from international donors), no civil service, no troops and no sense of shame. It has been a monumental and expensive eight-year failure imposed on Somalia by US and British imperialism. There is no evidence that a new technocratic government will be any different.

As well as piously ‘condemn[ing] terrorism and violent extremism’ the London Communiqué proposed a Joint Financial Management Board (JFMB) ‘to increase transparency and accountability in the…use of public revenues, [and] international development aid.’ Essentially, this will be an international committee to oversee the Somali ‘government’ and contain its crude corruption. Just days before the Conference, the sacked head of the Public Finance Management Unit of the TFG, Abdirazak Fartaag, revealed that TFG top executives use the Somali Central Bank, the repository of all TFG revenues and ‘aid’, as personal bank accounts.

Al Shabaab, the Islamic militant organisation which was formed in response to the Ethiopian invasion of 2006, promised to ‘confront and counter, by any means possible, all the outcomes of the London Conference.’ Britain appointed itself (in the form of William Hague) to monitor implementation of the Conference dictats.

However, away from the fanfare of the London Conference on Somalia, secret talks were going on ‘between British officials and Somali counterparts over exploiting oil reserves that have been explored’ in Somalia (Observer, 25 February 2012). The Puntland minister for international cooperation admitted: ‘We have spoken to a number of UK officials; some have offered to help us with the future management of oil revenues.’ Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Ali said a share of natural resources would be offered in return for help with ‘reconstruction’: ‘What we need is capital from countries like the UK to invest.’ BP and Shell promised to support ‘job-creation projects’ in the coastal regions.

The potential for oil and natural gas off Somalia in the Indian Ocean is the big prize for imperialism. The entire East African coastline is teeming with international oil company exploration teams on land and offshore, and is expected to rival the massive oil fields of West Africa. Fields containing reserves estimated at 110 trillion cubic feet of gas have been found off Mozambique and Tanzania in recent months. Britain’s top priority in Africa is to secure access to its natural resources and it has rushed to get first dibs on Somali oil ahead of US and Chinese rivals. Al Shabaab has refused to recognise exploration licences issued by the regional authorities, and is apparently heading for Puntland to attack oil drilling there. It is unlikely that 17,700 AMISOM troops will succeed in defeating a more organised Al Shabaab, when 30,000 international UNOSOM troops failed to secure Somalia in the 1990s.

Charles Chinweizu

Originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 226 April/May 2012 (see: London Conference on Somalia cover for oil grab and www.revolutionarycommunist.org)

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PUBLIC MEETING – 28 April 2012 @ 1pm

Hands off Somalia! Public Meeting

It’s about time we had OUR conference!

28th April 2012 @1pm

Somerstown Community Centre
150 Ossulston Street
London NW1 1EE
(Nearest tubes Kings Cross, Euston, Mornington Crescent. Map below)

Speakers include:

  • Voice 4 Somalia
  • Hands Off Somalia!
  • Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
  • Global Somali Response
  • Plus more… to be confirmed

Speakers will be followed by an open discussion. With live performances and refreshments served.

FREE and all welcome. Donations to support the campaign welcome on the day.

JOIN US to discuss the real politics of the oppressive relationship imposed on Somalia by the British government and its allies. Speakers on the day will cover and discuss Somali history in a revolutionary context, paralleled with exposing the barbaric plans of the British government to impose its imperialist conditions on Somali a through military, political and financial intervention.

Learn how we can organise and mobilise against the upcoming attack on Somalia and how solidarity from Britain to stop any imperialist intervention from happening – either direct or through proxy forces – in Somalia.

We should learn our lessons from Britain’s attacks on the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It’s time to act now and organise – before it’s too late.


Hands off Somalia! aims to stop any imperialist intervention in Somalia through helping to build and mobilise mass support for the right of Somalia’s self-determination on the streets of Britain. We also oppose all criminalisation of the Somali community in Britain.

Hands off Somalia! is a non-sectarian, anti-imperialist and anti-racist campaign which aims to offer organisation and education, through public actions and independent media, to all people in Britain who oppose outside intervention, and believe Somalia should be able to determine its own future free from the chains of imperialism.

Stop the imperialist intervention.

Hands off Somalia!

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Map and directions:

Somerstown Community Centre
150 Ossulston Street
London NW1 1EE
(Nearest tubes Kings Cross, Euston, Mornington Crescent. Map below)

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Speech at a Stop the War Coalition conference

On 3 March, Hands Off Somalia campaign gave a speech at a Stop the War Coalition conference highlighting the issues in Somalia. Here’s the video of the full speech.

Here are some other videos taken on the day of the protest on 23 February

Interview with campaigner by Redefining Freedom:

Speech by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism- Let the women lead!

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