Britain deports Iraqi asylum seekers

Update October 18th:   More details on this story at the New York Times, here.

Update October 17th:  This is very confusing.  It seems that when the plane landed in Baghdad some of the returned asylum seekers got off the plane and others were told they must return to Great Britain, here.

Just as we in the US are getting ready to resettle possibly tens of thousands of additional Iraqi refugees (more on that in the morning), Britain joins Denmark now in loading them up and sending them back because violence is down.

From Al Jazeera:

Britain has forcibly sent 39 Iraqi asylum seekers back to Baghdad, a refugee group has said.

The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (Ifir) has raised concern over the welfare of the asylum seekers once they arrive in Iraq, which has seen a continuation of deadly suicide bombings in recent months.

The Ifir said 39 people had been deported on a specially chartered Air Italy flight that left London’s Stansted airport early on Thursday.

The group said people on the flight were told it was going to Baghdad, making it the first deportation flight into south or central Iraq from the UK.

And, these 39 are not the first.

According to Britain’s interior ministry, 632 people were deported to northern Iraq between 2005 and 2008.

Somalia: Jihadist bra ban update!

Yes, you read that right.  Back in August we first heard about the ISLAMIC hardline terrorist group, Al Shabaab, banning women in Somalia from wearing bras, here.   Now comes word that the punishments have begun and women caught firming themselves up by wearing bras are being whipped and forced to publically “shake” their breasts.  I kid you not!  

From The Mail:

A hardline Islamist group in Somalia has begun publicly whipping women for wearing bras that they claim violate Islam as they are ‘deceptive’.

The insurgent group Al Shabaab has sent gunmen into the streets of Mogadishu to round up any women who appear to have a firm bust, residents claimed yesterday.

The women are then inspected to see if the firmness is natural, or if it is the result of wearing a bra.

If they are found wearing a bra, they are ordered to remove it and shake their breasts, residents said.

Al Shabaab, which seeks to impose a strict interpretation of Sharia law over all Somalia, also amputated a foot and a hand each from two young men accused of robbery earlier this month.

They have also banned movies, musical ringtones, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer.

‘Al Shabaab forced us to wear their type of full veil and now they order us to shake our breasts,’ a resident, Halima, told Reuters, adding that her daughters had been whipped on Thursday.

‘They are now saying that breasts should be firm naturally, or just flat.’

Read on, there is more.

Isn’t Shariah Law great?

Mapendo International: Extracurricular refugee resettlement, a good idea?

This is a story from early last summer that I only recently discovered.  I was reminded of it this morning when I wrote about the Somalis being stopped in Nevada and  it was discovered later that one of them was on the Terrorist Watchlist.   Also, this morning I told you about the Nepalese caught forging documents, here.   Both cases reminded me that we are continually assured that refugees are completely and thoroughly screened by Homeland Security before they are granted refugee status and resettled in the US.

So this story from the Boston Globe got my attention.  The group Mapendo International sounds like a bunch of good-hearted people, but is it a good idea to have groups like this scooping up refugees in Africa and bringing them to the US apparently outside of normal channels?  How do they know they aren’t picking up a wayward Jihadist?

Call it Sasha’s list.

When Sasha Chanoff made it into the crowded refugee center near the Congolese capital in February 2000, the young rescue team leader carried with him a list of 113 names – the fortunate Tutsi refugees he was authorized to take from the slaughter of Congo’s civil war to a new life in the West.

Inside a steamy tent, Chanoff met Rose Mapendo, a widow, huddled with seven of her children and gripping tiny swathed bundles in each arm – her emaciated baby twins. She had given birth in a prison camp, cutting the umbilical cords with a piece of bamboo and tying the cords with her hair. She had made it to the Kinshasa center five days before the rescue team arrived.

Her name wasn’t on Chanoff’s list.

After several nights of agonizing, he and his two rescue team partners decided to defy orders. They squeezed Rose and her children onto the last rescue flight, and onward to a new home in Phoenix, where they are thriving.

It sounds like Mrs. Mapendo is a very good lady, but I would like to know more about how these refugees Mapendo picks up ‘off the list’ are screened before arriving in New England or elsewhere.  Can anyone tell me?

Chanoff, a Marlborough native, and Mapendo have since become a powerful team – helping more than 4,600 other forgotten and threatened refugees to travel to freedom in America – and today, their efforts will be recognized.

Rose Mapendo will be honored in Washington by the United Nations refugee agency’s US office as the “humanitarian of the year,’’ and feted by an audience including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and refugee activist Angelina Jolie.

It is a tribute to Mapendo, certainly, but also to Chanoff, whose Cambridge-based nonprofit, Mapendo International, has engineered relocations from Sudan, Kenya, Burundi, and, recently, helped resettle more than 100 survivors of a massacre in Congo to New England.

If you are interested, they incorporated in 2004, here.  With a budget of over a million dollars they are doing fairly well, here.   Note that it’s a father/son team, David and Alexander Chanoff, that pretty much run the show.  They get grants from foundations like the Draper Richards Foundation, but it’s unclear whether they receive any federal grants or contracts.   I thought it was interesting to note that Mapendo International gave a $75,000 grant to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, an organizational giant compared to Mapendo, in that Form 990 linked above.

More details emerging about Somalis trip to the Mexican border

Update October 21st:  MPR has an update here with a bit more information.

This article headlined at Fox News late Wednesday, “Man on Terror Watch List Stopped and Then Let Go,” adds more information to the story we posted two days ago about a new arrest in the Somali missing youth case.

It seems that 5 Somali men were traveling through Nevada headed to Southern California when they were stopped for speeding.  Here is the story:

A Somali man on the U.S. government’s terrorist watchlist was stopped last week by a police officer outside Las Vegas, but the officer had no legal authority to detain the man so he was sent on his way, multiple law enforcement sources told FOX News.

On Oct. 6, about 10 miles north of Las Vegas, a Nevada Highway Patrol officer pulled over a rental car that was speeding, according to court records and one of the sources. The gray Chevrolet was occupied by five men of Somali descent, including Cabdulaahi Faarax of Minneapolis and Abdow M. Abdow of Chanhassen, Minn., according to the court records and sources.

The five men offered conflicting accounts of their travel. All five told the officer they were on their way to San Diego to attend a friend’s wedding, but they “gave inconsistent explanations regarding where they were staying in San Diego, how the occupants knew one another, and who was getting married at the wedding in San Diego,” according to court documents.

When asked for their dates of birth, they all gave “January 1” as their birthday, but each offered a different year of birth. Faarax said he was born Jan. 1, 1977, making him 32 years old, one source said.

When the officer ran Faarax’s information through a law enforcement database, it came back as “a hit on the terrorist watchlist,” a law enforcement source said.

It’s unclear why Faarax’s name would be on the terrorist watchlist. But unless there’s a warrant for the person’s arrest or a “red notice” from the global police force Interpol, there is no reason or ability to detain someone on the list, sources said.

“There are people on the list that are just being monitored,” one law enforcement source said.

It seems they were involved in the Somali pipeline that flows with former Somali refugees going back to the Horn of Africa for terrorist training.  The big question is does the pipeline flow back as well!

So what good is the Terrorist Watchlist?  Obviously it did nothing to stop these guys, only Abdow was ultimately arrested.  How does one get on the List?  Ponder this:

One source said Faarax had certain associations with al-Shabaab, but how deep those associations run is unclear.

For example, voicing support online for al-Shabaab, which was labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government last year, could warrant placement on the terrorist watchlist, one source said.

Training with al-Shabaab in Somalia could also warrant placement on the terrorist watchlist. None of the sources would say whether Faarax had trained with al-Shabaab or traveled to Somalia recently.

Think about that, one could go and train with Jihadists in Africa, return to the US and get placed on the terrorist watchlist—big deal!  It apparently means nothing!   No one is watching the list!

For new readers:

The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.

“Refugees” caught faking documents to get in line for resettlement

Not surprising to anyone, here is a little report from Nepal (Jhapa region where the Beldangi refugee camp is located) that tells us the police have arrested five for preparing fake documents to help non-Bhutanese get in line for resettlement—likely to the US since we take the largest numbers of Bhutanese refugees.

Five people including a former camp secretary have been arrested for attempting to process non Bhutanese for the resettlement.

The Police raided a hotel at Damak 11 and rounded up two refugees and three Nepali nationals yesterday night. Those arrested refugees include Deo Raj Pradhan,the former secretary of Beldangi II and Makar Bahadur Gurung of the same camp.

For all the talk about how Homeland Security thoroughly screens refugees, we really don’t know who is getting into the US.  Which reminds me!  I forgot to post on something a while back.   Here it is now.