Military contractor reportedly proposed "psy-ops" against Mpls Somali's "extremist" website

Categories: Somalis
AbdiwaliWarsame.jpg
somalimidnimo.com
A report written by a defense contractor described Warsame (pictured) as "a young man who lives in Minnesota, is known for his extremist believes [sic] by Minneapolis Somali residents."
A U.S. Defense Department contractor branded a widely read Minneapolis-based Somali news site as "extremist," with its "chief goal" characterized as "to disseminate propaganda supportive" of the al-Shabab Islamist militia, according to a Washington Post report.

SEE ALSO: Cindy Pugh, candidate for state Representative, compares Muslim women to garbage bags

The contractor, the Northern Virginia-based Navanti Group, later proposed waging a psychological operations, or "psy-ops," campaign against the Somali- and English-language site (somalimidnimo.com, or United Somalia), which is run by 30-year-old Minneapolis bus driver Abdiwali Warsame. In a May 2012 report, Navanti suggested it could repeatedly repost reader comments critical of al-Shabab in order to discredit Warsame's viewpoint, the Post reports.

Though the Pentagon is legally prohibited from conducting psy-ops (now officially known as "Military Information Support Operations") within the country, the May 2012 report that was sent to the FBI contained Warsame's Minnesota address and phone number. The Post reports that days later, federal agents were at his door.

Representatives of Navanti, which contracts with the Defense Department to perform "research and analysis" about al-Qaeda and affiliated groups in Africa, claim that the company stopped looking into Warsame and his website as soon as it found out he lived in the United States.

When Navanti discovered Warsame lived in Minnesota, "we immediately turned that information over to the U.S. Government and to relevant law enforcement agencies, as both regulations and our own guidelines dictate," the company told the Post in a statement.

The Post report describes the content on Warsame's site that raised red flags with federal authorities:
It takes only a cursory glance at the Web site to see that Warsame views the world through the lens of a fundamentalist Muslim. He strongly opposes military intervention in Somalia by the United States, Ethiopia, Kenya and other countries. He features material portraying al-Shabab as freedom fighters, not terrorists. He also says that he welcomes dissenting views.

But Warsame said he steers clear of posting anything that could be construed as fundraising or recruiting followers for al-Shabab. Such activities are prohibited by U.S. law and have been under scrutiny by the FBI.

The Justice Department has prosecuted several Somali Americans in Minnesota on charges of providing material support to al-Shabab. Warsame has closely covered their cases on his Web site and advocated for their defense.
But in an interview with the Post, Warsame said the Pentagon -- and, by extension -- Navanti -- had no good reason to be concerned with him.

"I'm an American citizen," he said. "I don't support al-Qaeda. I don't support al- Shabab. I don't send them money. I'm not supporting killing anyone."

"I just want the community to know what's going on," Warsame continued. "My job is to allow people to express their views. It's news. It's public information. People want to know what the professors are saying, students are saying, what the single moms are saying, what al-Shabab are saying."

Warsame refused to talk to FBI agents when they showed up at his house last summer. The feds initially told him he was under criminal investigation, but after he got a lawyer, they stopped calling him, the Post reports.

A different Somali named Abdi Warsame is currently running for Minneapolis City Council against incumbent Robert Lilligren.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

this story is rather boring, especially given the title and its titillating ideas

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

don't underestimate al- Shabab ... i am confident many in MPLS are al- shabab sympathizers. It is already known and documented that nefarious groups are recruiting our somali minnesaotans, mostly for warring back in africa. who knows what else they are up to.


Snowden is irrelevent and a deadman. This has little to do with the NSA and lots to do with our geopolitical position. its all or nothing... i choose all - if you are gonna be a bear, be a grizzly, tear these fuckers apart with your psy-ops and what not

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

What a bunch of bullshit.  Of course the Feds stopped pestering the guy once they found out 1) He was a US citizen, living in Minneapolis, and 2) more importantly, he had an attorney.

The part of these that should really concern us in this story is also the part that should bother us the most about the Edward Snowden revelations.  The government is using private corporations as cat's paws to spy on us for them.  The Constitution exists to define and limit government.  It does not define or limit private corporations.  It defines and limits the ways the government can define and limit corporations, but that's a very different thing.

Snowden wasn't working for the NSA when he was eavesdropping on phone calls, calling up e-mails, looking at people's banking records and so on.  He was working for Booz-Allen-Hamilton.  So it was perfectly Constitutional, and Clapper and Holder are telling the exact truth when they say the NSA and the Justice Department aren't spying on US citizens.  Just as it wasn't the FBI or the Department of Defense spying on and intimidating Mr. Warsame.  It was Navanti Group, who then turned over their information the very moment they realized they shouldn't be spying on a US citizen, and then the FBI just naturally, normally, doing their jobs, needed to circle back and make sure everything was OK with Mr. Warsame.

Bullshit.  Mussolini is the father of modern Fascism.  He didn't like the word "Fascism" so much; he thought it was imprecise.  He preferred "Corporatism," which he defined as the merger of State and Corporate power.  If there is anyone in America, regardless of party affiliation or political point of view, who is OK with government using corporations to do things neither government nor corporations are allowed to do under our system of law and governance, then America is in deep trouble as a worthwhile ongoing concern.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@digitalprotocol  I've had a couple of fantastic conversation with Somalis; one in Mpls in 1991, and another with a cabbie in Toronto around 2007.  Both very educated guys.  Really changed my perspective on everything related.

Long story short; the whole issue revolves around resources.  The sources of the Nile (water), deep-water harbors and pipeline routes (oil), and some other minerals and routes out.  The Fundamentalist Islam issue is, according to the Somalis I know, a Western bogeyman fiction.  The Somalis themselves tend to be less fundamentalist Muslim the higher you go socio-economically.  And they claim that the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim groups are all funded by the CIA; the more violent and incoherent, the more tightly CIA-controlled.  So all the talk about how much we hate and fear Al-Shabab is counteracted by how much US money overtly flows to the Ethiopian military which is illegally invading Somalia, and how much it's speculated that the CIA funds Al-Shabab, or at least looks the other way while Qatar funds them.

I don't know the truth of it all.  I do know that the "Official" stories I've heard don't weigh up.  There's clearly a lot more going on than we are spoon-fed by our corporate media.  I'd hazard a guess it's all to do with the campaign for corporate ownership of all resources worldwide.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Last paragraph: aren't you a strong supporter of Obamacare and anti-gun crusader?

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@swmnguy  AWESOME REPLY


ive met some super smart and nice somalis too-most from africa are very nice and pleasant,


i  enjoyed reading your breakdown. i agree with the bulk of it. 

i know little of Qatar, other than they are sick with wealth. I would highly doubt CIA funds al-shabab but im sure they help sunni's

either way foreign aid money and black money propagate terrorists in developing regions. Corporate america sells THE feAR needed to complete the 2-3 stroke cycle

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@Blueskymgmt  Interesting stuff. Not sure what I make of it first glance.  But I've bookmarked the site, and I'll look at it as a part of my regular route across the interwebs.  Thanks for the tip!

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@mingtran In a word, no.  What do those issues have to do with this case, or my comment, anyway?

My viewpoint on guns is more complex than most people are willing to pay attention to.  I don't own any, don't want any, don't need any.  While I know a number of gun-owners, only one or two of them actually needs the guns they own.  They are poor people who live in the country and use the guns to get meat to eat.  The rest of the gun-owners I know have fallen for a political/corporate marketing campaign.  That's their business I suppose, and they pose little or no threat to me.  I wish they weren't so fearful and alienated in their own community, however.  I also wish the 2nd Amendment fanatic on my block with 4 kids under the age of 8 would have owned a gun safe to keep his 6 pistols and ammo in.  When his house was burgled this spring and criminals got all those guns, and it turned out he had not locked them up and had merely told such little children not to touch Daddy's guns; well, the positive opinions I had of him sure declined.  You have the Constitutional right to do many stupid-ass things.  Doesn't make them (or your) smart.

As for Obamacare, the thing was written by the insurance and medical industries.  It's a life-support device to prop up an industry that has already destroyed itself by its own greed.  "Obamacare" is merely a can-kicking exercise, stalling so the health-care finance elites can stuff their pockets at our expense for as long as possible until the price of coverage hits the tipping point and more individuals and employers simply can't afford it.  At that point, my prediction is that a Republican president will open up Medicare to everyone, at the insistence of the largest corporate employers, and it will be a wildly popular move; hailed as a job-saving miracle.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@digitalprotocol As I say, I don't know the truth of it all.  Somalia is a very different culture.  Not a lot like Minnesota farm country, where I grew up.  Things don't divide out like I'm used to.  

And there are cultural things about some Somalis that I don't like at all.  In fact, the cabbie in Toronto (I got stuck in his cab for 2 hours due to an accident between the airport and downtown, so we improved the time) made clear that most people who left Somalia after 1990 or so were lower-class, not very well-educated, not very sophisticated, and prone to fundamentalism.  He claimed most Somalis who left prior to 1990 or so were upper- and middle-class, and educated, and didn't have much in common with the lower class Somalis.  Kind of like if chaos devolved on the US and everyone with education, money and savvy got out first, and later on the Americans who got out tended to be rednecks or those with fewer resources and skills.  Those would tend to be the fundamentalist Protestants in America, too, and they wouldn't assimilate well wherever they went to.  Not enough education, and their culture is chauvinistic and self-gratifying, so they would regard assimilation as some sort of sin.


The interesting thing this guy told me about Al-Shabab was that he claimed most Somalis don't care about Al-Shabab or fundamentalist Islam at all.  They'll make common cause with Al-Shabab to oppose Kenyan and Ethiopian invasions into their territory, though.  And there are absolutely US Special Forces troops with Kenyan and Ethiopian occupying troops; that's even been printed in US papers.

So again, I don't know the truth of it.  But when a guy driving cab, who has an engineering degree but can't use it because the college that granted it was burned down, lays it out in terms that make sense to a hoser from rural MN; well, I'm not going to buy it at face value, but I'll weigh it against the story I'm being fed.  And frankly, the story I'm being fed doesn't make much sense unless everybody over there is nuts.  But the story the cabbie told me jibes with the way people I know operate.


mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Damn are you warped! "A" can be and "A" and not "A" at certain times, but this is not one of them. You can't be against government surveilance of innocent citizens because the constitution protects us from it, while not supporting gun

rights and not supporting free markets, things the

constitution does guarantee. You are not a supporter of freedom like you claim. That's why you're a fake, fraud and a phoney. That's not disrespectful, it's truth. Why is that so hard to understand? If you focused less on accumulating information and more on accumulating reality (how the world ACTUALLY works) you'd be easier to take seriously. That way you could use the info you accumulate effectively.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@mingtran That's a pathetic response.  Gives me absolutely nothing to respect, much less respond to.  Keny1/KennyX/whatever he calls himself does better than that.  The other day "Cinblueland" basically told me he doesn't care what anybody thinks if they weren't in the US Marine Corps and agree with him, and I can have a smidgen of respect for that in an odd way.  If you had just said, "Hey, swmnguy, go fuck yourself," I could have some respect for that.

But no.  You say I "paint myself as a constitutionalist" and then bring up unrelated issues to claim they make me a "fake, fraud, phoney?" 

Not just a dishonest and incoherent approach, but profoundly lazy.  You should be ashamed of yourself.   

For one thing, I would never "paint myself as a constitutionalist."  I have only met one self-proclaimed "Constitutionalist" who wasn't a total hypocrite, and he was clinically insane.  

The fact that I have a high-school-freshman level of understanding of the Constitution and how it fits into the overall American concept does not make me a "Constitutionalist."  The fact that I can describe a mendacious legalistic argument does not mean I support it.  The fact that I have opinions that do not conform to one of two artificial definitions of a false duopoly does not mean I am false in my ideals.  

The very fact, which you have no doubt pointed out in ignorance many times before, that the Democratic Party used to oppose Civil Rights for non-white/male people while nowadays it is the Republicans who favor such positions, makes your entire argument the one which is fake, fraud and phoney.

You disappoint me profoundly, "mingtran."  I don't care if I agree with you or not, but you now show me I can't respect you.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@digitalprotocol  Thanks, Dig.  Not everybody agrees with me or appreciates my take on it; nor do they have to.  But I'll put a beer on it coming more or less like that.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Cop out. You and MB are both fakes, frauds, and phoneys.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@mingtran I'm not going to fit into the parameters into which you force issues.  I have the same issue with "Michele Bachmann" on a number of issues.  Although on most issues MB and I tend to agree, we do so for very different reasons at times.  Makes for some interesting conversations.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

It has everything to do with your comment. In it, you paint yourself as a constitutionalist. Nowhere in the constitution does it mention the legality of a forced program like Obamacare or outlawing guns. Basically, you only follow the constitution when it favors your belief system.

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...