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1
For Your Information / Turkey to Deploy Aircraft and Warships in Qatar
« Last post by Roger on June 17, 2017, 10:10:02 AM »
Turkey to Deploy Aircraft and Warships in Qatar
Prensa Latina
June 9

Ankara, June 9 (Prensa Latina) Under the two military agreements approved in the National Assembly, the Turkish authorities will send aircraft and warships to Qatar, according to official sources.

The main objective will be to deploy members of the Turkish gendarmerie in Doha and form an equivalent body in the Arab country, while also deploying navy and air force troops.

The number of fighter jets and warships will be evaluated based on the preliminary examinations and the report to be made later, according to the official information.

So far the joint military base in Doha has 90 Turkish soldiers, which will increase by 200 or 250 in the next two months depending on the evolution of the situation in Qatar.

With the agreement signed in 2014, both governments set the stage for the creation of a joint headquarters with the goal of 'developing Qatar's defensive capability' through the implementation of training programs and joint exercises, as well as 'carrying out other missions in both countries by mutual agreement.'

After the approval of the treaty by the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday, it is expected that in the next months, three thousand soldiers will be deployed in Doha base.

Several states in the Persian Gulf and North Africa broke diplomatic relations with Qatar and closed its airspace on Monday, accusing it of financing terrorist groups.




2

This Is The Real Story Behind The Crisis Unfolding In Qatar
Robert Fisk, The Independent - Information Clearinghouse
June 11

June 11, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - The Qatar crisis proves two things: the continued infantilisation of the Arab states, and the total collapse of the Sunni Muslim unity supposedly created by Donald Trump's preposterous attendance at the Saudi summit two weeks ago.

After promising to fight to the death against Shia Iranian "terror," Saudi Arabia and its closest chums have now ganged up on one of the wealthiest of their neighbours, Qatar, for being a fountainhead of "terror". Only Shakespeare's plays could come close to describing such treachery. Shakespeare's comedies, of course.

For, truly, there is something vastly fantastical about this charade. Qatar's citizens have certainly contributed to Isis. But so have Saudi Arabia's citizens.

No Qataris flew the 9/11 planes into New York and Washington. All but four of the 19 killers were Saudi. Bin Laden was not a Qatari. He was a Saudi.

But Bin Laden favoured Qatar's al-Jazeera channel with his personal broadcasts, and it was al-Jazeera who tried to give spurious morality to the al-Qaeda/Jabhat al-Nusrah desperadoes of Syria by allowing their leader hours of free airtime to explain what a moderate, peace-loving group they all were.

Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Qatar over terror links

First, let's just get rid of the hysterically funny bits of this story. I see that Yemen is breaking air links with Qatar. Quite a shock for the poor Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, since Yemen – under constant bombardment by his former Saudi and Emirati chums – doesn't have a single serviceable airliner left with which to create, let alone break, an air link.

The Maldives have also broken relations with Qatar. To be sure, this has nothing to do with the recent promise of a Saudi five-year loan facility of $300m to the Maldives, the proposal of a Saudi property company to invest $100m in a family resort in the Maldives and a promise by Saudi Islamic scholars to spend $100,000 on 10 "world class" mosques in the Maldives.

And let us not mention the rather large number of Isis and other Islamist cultists who arrived to fight for Isis in Iraq and Syria from – well, the Maldives.

Now the Qatari Emir hasn't enough troops to defend his little country should the Saudis decide to request that he ask their army to enter Qatar to restore stability – as the Saudis persuaded the King of Bahrain to do back in 2011. But Sheikh Tamim no doubt hopes that the massive US military air base in Qatar will deter such Saudi generosity.

When I asked his father, Sheikh Hamad (later uncharitably deposed by Tamim) why he didn't kick the Americans out of Qatar, he replied: "Because if I did, my Arab brothers would invade me."

Like father, like son, I suppose. God Bless America.

All this started – so we are supposed to believe – with an alleged hacking of the Qatar News Agency, which produced some uncomplimentary but distressingly truthful remarks by Qatar's Emir about the need to maintain a relationship with Iran.

Qatar denied the veracity of the story. The Saudis decided it was true and broadcast the contents on their own normally staid (and immensely boring) state television network. The upstart Emir, so went the message, had gone too far this time. The Saudis decided policy in the Gulf, not miniscule Qatar. Wasn't that what Donald Trump's visit proved?

But the Saudis had other problems to worry about. Kuwait, far from cutting relations with Qatar, is now acting as a peacemaker between Qatar and the Saudis and Emiratis. The emirate of Dubai is quite close to Iran, has tens of thousands of Iranian expatriates, and is hardly following Abu Dhabi's example of anti-Qatari wrath.

Oman was even staging joint naval manoeuvres with Iran a couple of months ago. Pakistan long ago declined to send its army to help the Saudis in Yemen, because the Saudis asked for only Sunni and no Shia soldiers; the Pakistani army was understandably outraged to realise that Saudi Arabia was trying to sectarianise its military personnel.

Pakistan's former army commander, General Raheel Sharif, is rumoured to be on the brink of resigning as head of the Saudi-sponsored Muslim alliance to fight "terror".

Five things to know about Qatar's first 2022 World Cup stadium

President-Field Marshal al-Sissi of Egypt has been roaring against Qatar for its support of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood – and Qatar does indeed support the now-banned group which Sissi falsely claims is part of Isis – but significantly Egypt, though the recipient of Saudi millions, also does not intend to supply its own troops to bolster the Saudis in its catastrophic Yemen war.

Besides, Sissi needs his Egyptian soldiers at home to fight off Isis attacks and maintain, along with Israel, the siege of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

But if we look a bit further down the road, it's not difficult to see what really worries the Saudis. Qatar also maintains quiet links with the Assad regime. It helped secure the release of Syrian Christian nuns in Jabhat al-Nusrah hands and has helped release Lebanese soldiers from Isis hands in western Syria. When the nuns emerged from captivity, they thanked both Bashar al-Assad and Qatar.

And there are growing suspicions in the Gulf that Qatar has much larger ambitions: to fund the rebuilding of post-war Syria. Even if Assad remained as president, Syria's debt to Qatar would place the nation under Qatari economic control.

And this would give tiny Qatar two golden rewards. It would give it a land empire to match its al-Jazeera media empire. And it would extend its largesse to the Syrian territories, which many oil companies would like to use as a pipeline route from the Gulf to Europe via Turkey, or via tankers from the Syrian port of Lattakia.

For Europeans, such a route would reduce the chances of Russian oil blackmail, and make sea-going oil routes less vulnerable if vessels did not have to move through the Gulf of Hormuz.

So rich pickings for Qatar – or for Saudi Arabia, of course, if the assumptions about US power of the two emirs, Hamad and Tamim, prove worthless. A Saudi military force in Qatar would allow Riyadh to gobble up all the liquid gas in the emirate.

But surely the peace-loving "anti-terror" Saudis – let's forget the head-chopping for a moment – would never contemplate such a fate for an Arab brother.

So let's hope that for the moment, the routes of Qatar Airways are the only parts of the Qatari body politics to get chopped off.

This article was first published by The Independent
3
For Your Information / NATO Is a Large Chunk of Swiss Cheese
« Last post by Roger on June 17, 2017, 09:44:31 AM »
NATO Is a Large Chunk of Swiss Cheese
Wayne Madsen, Strategic Culture Foundation
June 9


NATO, although bound to expand with the addition of Sweden, Finland, Austria, and Malta as members, is essentially a giant chunk of Swiss cheese. When one considers that NATO membership is not popular with many opposition parties within its member states or with several sub-national regional governments, the Western alliance more resembles the pseudo-secure French Maginot Line.

In the four countries where there are current efforts by the current governments to enter NATO, there is immense domestic political opposition. In the lead-up to Malta's general election, NATO member states' psychological operations personnel began floating stories about «Russian interference» in the election on behalf of the anti-NATO opposition Nationalist Party-Democratic Party coalition. In the end, the «fake news» stories circulated by NATO interests appear to have helped incumbent pro-NATO Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his Malta Labor Party hold on to power with a parliamentary majority in the June 3rd election.

During the campaign, Muscat claimed he was warned by the CIA and Britain's MI6 that the Russians were «possibly» targeting Malta's election process. Press reports, likely planted by the CIA, accuse Russia of setting up a front company in Malta called MTACC Ltd. The company was said to be headed by a Russian who lived in Grunwald, Germany and an American who listed his address in California. On April 26 of this year, Muscat reportedly held discussions about NATO membership with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Muscat also agreed to allow the Antonov company of Ukraine to build an aircraft maintenance facility in Malta. Ukraine is also a prospective member of NATO.

According to the «Times of Malta», the opposition Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil called Muscat's charges of Russian interference in Maltese politics «totally ridiculous and absurd». Busuttil also said, «If this was true, the Prime Minister would have called a meeting of the security committee, which I form part of», adding, «I don't think Vladimir Putin cares if it's him [Muscat] or someone else who runs the country». Democratic Party leader Marlene Farrugia said Muscat's charge of Russian interference in Malta's politics «sounded far-fetched» and that she was «not convinced» they were true. The opposition coalition is opposed to NATO membership for Malta, preferring to maintain Malta's traditional neutrality.

Russia was also being accused of being behind the data leak that exposed 70,000 offshore companies in Malta, many used for tax evasion. The data was leaked by an «anonymous» source to a North Rhine-Westphalia tax office in the German town of Wuppertal. Several German firms and up to 2000 German citizens were discovered to maintain tax avoidance corporate contrivances in Malta. The scandal resulted in Malta being called the «Panama of Europe», a reference to the leaked Panama Papers showing massive use of Panama's Mossack-Fonseca law firm to set up dummy corporations in the country.

Muscat's wife Michelle was identified as the sole shareholder of a Panama-based company, Egrant Inc., that was used to launder money for the ruling Aliyev family of Azerbaijan. Money from Al Sahra FZCO, based in Dubai's Jebel Ali free trade zone, was discovered to= have been transferred to Egrant. Al Sahra FZCO is owned by Leyla Aliyev, the daughter of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. As if all of this was not bad enough news for Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, the deputy leader of the Labor Party and the Energy and Health Minister, was discovered to have maintained both an offshore trust in New Zealand and a shell company in Panama called Hearnville Inc. Another political bombshell hit Muscat when it was discovered that his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, also operated a dummy corporation in Panama called Tillgate Inc.

Maltese investigators discovered that Mizzi's and Schembri's financial advisory firm, Nexia BT, was owned by another firm, BT International, which in turn was owned by Brian Tonna, the sole shareholder of Mossack Fonseca & Co. (Malta) Ltd. Schembri's British Virgin Islands-based shell company was found, courtesy of the Panama Papers, to be a co-owner of a Cyprus-based firm called A2Z Consulta.

The investigation of the Muscat government was impeded by two sudden resignations of law enforcement officers: Michael Cassar, the Commissioner of Police, and Manfred Galdes, the Director of Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).

The fact that so many members of Muscat's pro-NATO government possessed secret offshore tax shelters may indicate that NATO and the CIA compensates pro-NATO politicians with bribes paid through secret bank accounts. How else could a corrupt organization like NATO maintain a high level of support, particularly in neutral nations, almost 30 years after the end of the Cold War?

Charges of financial corruption tarnished Muscat's government days before the June 3rd election but the scandal was not enough to unseat the pro-NATO government. Muscat and his NATO and CIA friends had to concoct a story of Russian interference in Malta's election to save both Muscat's NATO agenda and his Panama Papers scandal-ridden government.

There is little wonder why former CIA director John Brennan did not want to publicly discuss details of the CIA's covert election manipulation operations before a recent hearing of the House Intelligence Committee that was examining alleged «Russian interference» in U.S. and foreign elections.

It was perhaps no coincidence that the pro-NATO prime minister of NATO member Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, were also discovered to have an offshore company, Wintris, Inc., based in the British Virgin Islands. If NATO and the CIA are buying off NATO allies like Muscat and Gunnlaugsson, at least they are including the wives in the operation!

After Gunnlaugsson was forced to resign over the Panama Papers scandal, it was discovered that his successor, the conservative pro-NATO Bjarni Benediktsson, maintained an offshore investment firm in Seychelles called Falson & Company.

NATO is also slowly absorbing Europe's other traditionally neutral nations. Finland recently hosted the Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in Helsinki, another step toward full NATO membership. Finland's membership in NATO would give NATO the right to position military forces on 833-mile long Finno-Russian border. A September 2016 report by the Swedish government concluded that there would be «advantages» for Swedish membership in NATO. Based on the examples of Malta and Iceland, perhaps anti-NATO opposition parties in Finland and Sweden should start examining pro-NATO politicians' finances for foreign bank accounts and tax avoidance shell companies.

It has been discovered that Montenegro, NATO's newest member, has also figured prominently in the Panama Papers. Some 13 companies based in Montenegro were discovered in the Panama Papers. Two of them, Wicked Soft SA of Panama and Sunnydale Services of the British Virgin Islands, were linked to officials in the government of Prime Minister Dusko Markovic. The prime minister ignored opposition Democratic Front demands for a popular referendum on NATO membership prior to steering his nation into the military bloc.

A distinct pattern has emerged that links pro-NATO politicians in Europe to offshore contrivances exposed in the Panama Papers. Opposition politicians from both the left and right understand that NATO is a dangerous anachronism. They are joined by regional politicians in Wales, Scotland, the Outer Hebrides, Isle of Man, Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Greenland, Catalonia, Basque Country, Flanders, Wallonia, Aland Islands, Saaremaa, Gotland, Bornholm, Sardinia, Corsica, Azores, and Sicily. From NATO environmental pollution and economy-damaging sanctions on Russia to making their homes targets in a nuclear war and unwanted foreign troops on their soil, the democratic opposition and regional leaders are waking up to the dangers posed by NATO, along with the graft and corruption NATO brings to their ruling elites.
4
US "Jihadi Express": Indonesia – Afghanistan – Syria – Philippines
 Andre Vltchek, Global Research 
June 09, 2017

 It was late at night but the new Terminal 3 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport outside Jakarta was still bustling with families and friends waiting for their loved ones returning from abroad.

My friend Noor Huda Ismail was just arriving from Singapore, and I decided to pick him up and discuss ‘certain issues' with him in the car, on the way to the capital. Lately he and I were busy, awfully busy, and a one-hour journey seemed to be the most appropriate setting for the exchange of at least some essential ideas and information.

Huda could easily pass for the most knowledgeable Indonesian "expert on terrorism"; a Muslim man who grew up and was educated in the madrasahs that have produced some of the most notorious jihadi cadres in the country. Later he became the man who managed to ‘get away' from the extremism, to study, and to finally become a respected filmmaker and a thinker.

For years, both of us have been studying a complex web produced by Western imperialism – a web, which has literally destroyed entire countries, while locking other ones ‘behind bars', in virtual neo-colonialist slavery. All this done in the name of ‘freedom' and democracy, naturally, and often using various religions as tools, even as weapons.

Inside the car we managed to quickly ‘compare notes'. Huda filled me in on his groundbreaking film ‘Jihad Selfie', while I informed him about my political revolutionary novel ‘Aurora', and my big work in progress, a book about Afghanistan. I also mentioned my future ‘Afghan' film, a dark love story, a drama about betrayal, collaboration and the virtual collapse of one family; a film which I'm preparing to produce and direct sometime during the next year.

 "Afghanistan," he says, "that's where the roots of so many things lie You recall that in the 80's, the U.S. was using some local, Indonesian, jihadi cadres, sending them to Afghanistan "

I knew about it; I knew something, but not everything. The fact that both Indonesian and Malaysian citizens went to fight against the Soviet Union, Karmal, and then Mohammad Najibullah's government in Afghanistan, was something that I have never yet addressed in my books or films. Now I suddenly felt that it was important, extremely important, to address this fact.

 "Huda," I asked, as we were slowly progressing through perpetual traffic jam of Jakarta, "how many Indonesian men went to fight in Afghanistan, after the 1979 Soviet intervention?"

Huda didn't hesitate. He always knows the numbers:

"Just from one group, there were 350 fighters. Indonesians fought in Afghanistan, and were based in a camp belonging to Ittehad-al-Islami (Islamic Union). Ustad Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf ran the camp. Of course Rab Rasul Sayyaf is Wahhabi, and the Wahhabis have been fully funded by the U.S. What we are seeing now, all those ‘terrorist threats', is a blowback effect, of what the U.S. has done in the region, specifically in Afghanistan. And even the ISIS now: in 2003 they came to topple Saddam "

Could I meet one of the Afghan ‘alumni' here in Jakarta?

 "Of course you can," he nodded, "I'll arrange it, while you are here."

***

Before an encounter with an "Afghan" jihadi cadre, I traveled to the city of Bandung, where I met Iman Soleh, a professor at the Faculty of Social and Political Science (University of Padjadjaran- UNPAD). He is yet another renowned authority on ‘terrorism'. He came to my hotel, accompanied by his wife, Professor Antik Bintari, a conflict management expert who teaches at the same university.

Professor Iman Soleh and his wife, Professor Antik Bintari

For quite some time, professor Iman Soleh and I discussed the link between the ‘old guard' Southeast Asian (mainly Indonesians and Malaysians) jihadi cadres, so-called ‘Afghan alumni', and the vanguard, a ‘new wave', that which is now trying to destabilize, even destroy both Syria and the Philippines.

While the name ‘jihad' itself has been used habitually and ‘liberally' all over the Western mainstream media, it was clear to all of us at the table that behind the brutal combat as well as most of the horrors unleashed in such places like Syria and Philippines, hidden are the geopolitical interests of the West in general and of the United States in particular.

Professor Soleh has explained the latest ‘dynamics':

 "Since World War Two, the U.S. was afraid of so-called ‘domino effects'. Among other things that are now happening in the Philippines under president Duterte, the government is curbing activities of the multi-national mining conglomerates, and the West cannot accept that. Philippines are putting its environmental concerns above the short-term profits! For the millions of left-wing activists here in Indonesia and all over Southeast Asia, Duterte is a role model."

Therefore, following the imperialist logic, the Philippines have to be attacked and destabilized, as has already been done to Syria. Defiance is punishable by death. And how else other than through the most effective weapons which the West has been utilizing for years and decades: extremist religious terrorist groups. What better assembly of fighters to choose for that difficult task than the jihadists from the groups that had already proven to be so effective and lethal in places such as Afghanistan?

By now, almost nobody who is at least to some extent informed on the subject has any doubts that the West is mainly interested in maintaining ‘perpetual conflict' in several regions of the world. As Professor Soleh observes:

 "I think all this is not just to ‘destabilize' the Philippines, but also because the country has conflict areas that could be ‘nurtured'. The best example is predominantly Muslim island of Mindanao, vs. the rest of the Philippines, which is predominantly a Catholic country. As we know, the Philippines is also involved in the South China Sea dispute with the PRC, and the U.S. is trying to fully dominate the region "

And President Duterte is committing an ‘unpardonable crime' in the eyes of Washington and London, by trying to resolve the territorial conflict with China, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

***

But back to the "Jihadi Express " It is important to understand the background:

The Indonesian jihadi, Salafi group Darul Islam, fought for a caliphate and against the secular and socialist state headed by President Sukarno, in the 1950's and well into the 1960's. "Terror is halal", they used to say.

Professor Saleh further clarifies:

 "Eventually the Indonesian state dismantled ‘Darul Islam', but there was an off-shoot of it created soon, ‘Komando Jihad'."

Komando Jihad later transformed into a transnational Southeast Asian group Jamaah Islamiyah (with its spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir). The group has been maintaining active links and cooperation with al-Qaeda and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, to name just two religious guerrillas.

 "Fighters from Komando Jihad then went to Afghanistan. Ideologically they were hard-core Salafis, but with the Western support. They received Western help to acquire weapons and other basics. According to my contacts in the Indonesian intelligence community, the U.S. was backing this infiltration of Afghanistan by ‘Komando Jihad' and by others. I'm also in possession of a piece of information that the Indonesian army (TNI) commander in the 1980's, General Moerdani, was supporting Indonesian and Afghan jihadists, by supplying them with the weapons (including the AK-47's)."

 "Again, according to my Indonesian intelligence sources, the ‘departure' itself of the Indonesian jihadists for Afghanistan was also directly helped by the U.S., under the cover of ‘Islamic study groups' and other ‘communities', and the route that was utilized was: Indonesia – Malaysia – Philippines – Afghanistan".

These are not well-publicized facts, but they should not surprise anyone familiar with Indonesian history: after the brutal 1965 U.S.-sponsored military/religious coup, Indonesia rapidly transformed itself from an anti-imperialist, internationalist and progressive country into the closest Western ally in the entire Southeast Asia. The main ‘ideology' of the new fascist pro-Western regime of General Suharto became "anti-Communism". For months and years, the Communists as well as alleged ‘Communists'were slaughtered all over the archipelago, while Communist ideology was banned, as were the Chinese language and culture, including dragons and cakes. The anti-Communist propaganda became the main sample of the ‘intellectual' diet. The fourth most populous country on Earth went through a total reset, became one of the most ‘religious' places on Earth, and soon after collapsed both socially and intellectually.

Allegations of "atheism" against the Communists were used in Indonesia in order to stir and radicalize thousands of potential and already existing jihadi cadres. Anti-atheism, even anti-secularism, became the rallying cry of those who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the ultimate goal and dream -a caliphate.

The West in Afghanistan played the same ‘game', during the "Soviet era", as it did in Indonesia after 1965, and elsewhere. It is clear and obvious that the imperialist scheme designed in Washington and London has been interchangeable and successfully applicable in many different geographical locations.

In Kabul, in March 2017, a legendary Afghan intellectual, Dr. Omara Khan Masoudi, explained to me:

 "The biggest mistake the Soviet Union made here was to attack religion outrightly. If they'd first stuck to equal rights, and slowly worked it up towards the contradictions of religion, it could perhaps have worked But they began blaming religion for our backwardness, in fact for everything. Or at least this is how it was interpreted by the coalition of their enemies, and of course by the West.

 Now, why is the present Western invasion so ‘successful'; why is there so little in terms of intellectual opposition? Look at the regime in Kabul During its rule, the US convinced people that Western intervention was ‘positive', ‘respectful of their religion and cultures'. They kept repeating ‘under this and that UN convention', and again ‘as decided by the UN' They used NATO, a huge group of countries, as an umbrella. There was a ‘brilliantly effective' protocol that they developed According to them, they never did anything unilaterally, always by ‘international consensus' and in order to ‘help Afghan people'. On the other hand, the Soviet Union never had the slightest chance to explain itself. It was attacked immediately, and on all fronts."

US Air Force, Bagrani Base, Afghanistan

In reality, the West has always been using(and finally it has managed to divert) Islam. Some great Muslim scholars, including those that I met in Tehran,a ctually believe that Washington, London, Paris and other centers of the Western imperialism and neo-colonialism, actually succeeded, in many parts of the world,to create a totally new and (to many true and intellectual Muslims) unrecognizable religion.

***

Indonesian jihadi cadres hardened in Afghanistan and trained by the Pakistanis eventually returned to their country. There, they went to "work", participating in such bloodlettings and killings as those in Ambon (Maluku) and Poso (Sulawesi). In Ambon the conflict continued from 1999 to 2002, and while it lasted, allegedly 8,000 people died, while thousands belonging to both sexes were involuntarily and brutally circumcised and genitally mutilated. In Ambon, I saw the jihadi cadres in action, hacking to death a young innocent boy, right in front of the eyes of a cheering crowd of onlookers. I later described the horror of this incident in my novel "Point of No Return".

Little did I know, then, what I was really witnessing and trying to document. Only much later, in Bandung, in May 2017, a couple of professors, Iman Soleh and Antik Bintari, explained to me:

 "Poso and Ambon, that's the "Afghani Link". During those massacres, there were still some ‘old jihadists' from the Afghan days, participating in the actual fighting. However, there were also some ‘fresh' fighters there, many of them undergoing exercises with the Indonesian ‘Afghans'. Poso and Ambon conflicts were in fact serving as two training grounds. After that, a new generation of combatants had risen".

***

Mr. Farihin, Jamaah Islamiyah Fighter

That same night – very late at night – after driving for hours on hopelessly congested highway that connects the cities of Bandung and Jakarta, I met Mr. Farihin, an active member of the outlawed "JI" (Jamaah Islamiyah), a man who personally met Osama bin Laden, a warrior who fought in Paktia and other provinces in Afghanistan, a former Mujahideen, an unapologetic jihadist.

I was longing to know, to understand, how the old ‘Afghan alumni' were thinking, how they saw the world, and what their goals were.

Mr. Farihin was actually an impressive human being: upright, strong, manly, proud, extremely polite, and totally brainwashed

His hatred for Communism knew no boundaries; it was epic. He dreamed, he ‘saw' Communists everywhere, all over the world: in Syria, in the present-day Russia, even in Karzai's and Ghani's Afghanistan. Anything remotely secular, anything that was not a caliphate, was "Communist" in his simple but determined mind of a combatant.

We began with Osama bin Laden:

 "I met Osama fleetingly, in 1987 and 1988, but in those days he was not an ‘ulama'. He was funding Mujahideen. He was a contractor in Paktia Province and he was based in the north of that province, in an Arab camp, helping Mujahideen and also building the roads. After Soviets entered Afghanistan, Osama's people made a ‘council'; it was like a shadow Mujahideen government."

Mr. Farihin came to Afghanistan in 1987. After his group NII (Negara Islam Indonesia – Islamic State of Indonesia) received ‘an invitation' from Mujahedeen.

What prompted him to go to Afghanistan?

 "There was news all over Indonesia, that a Muslim country was attacked by the Soviet Union. My initial desire was to fight the USSR. At the beginning I was not allowed to fight, and it was not Afghanistan where I was sent; it was Pakistan. I was ordered to study at Etihad Islami Military Academy there. At some point, all foreign jihadis had to leave Pakistan, so we were moved directly to Afghanistan. In Paktia Province they built an entire camp for us. We were attacked by the Soviets there, on several occasions; us, as well as the ‘Arab Camp'. MIG-21 jet fighters were used. But by then, Russians were already beginning their withdrawal. After the Soviets left, Afghanistan was still governed by a Communist government, so we fought it, too. I was ready to fight: first the Soviets, than that Communist Afghan governments. I saw Russian prisoners, pilots, shackled, in Pakistan. I was not afraid of them."

I quickly noticed that Mr. Farihin was not proud of the support his group and Mujahideen in general were receiving from the United States and the rest of the West. He kept repeating that he did not "see" any direct U.S. support, that supplies just kept coming from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Muslim countries. For him, it was essential that his fight in Afghanistan would be seen as a ‘pure', pan-Islamic struggle.

I was not there to contradict him, I was there to listen.

He spoke about the fronts on which he had fought: Nangarhar, Jalalabad among others:

 "I was rotating between the fronts. The war, the battles were ‘orderly'".

"But what was the goal?" I asked.

He didn't hesitate one single moment.

 "The goal was simple: in Afghanistan we wanted to prevent the Communist ideology from being accepted."

How much did he know about the Communism?

 "Actually, my knowledge about it was very shallow. That's fine: we were war machines for Mujahideen. What we were told was that the Communists don't believe in God, and that they are professing secularism."

I wondered whether they knew anything about the improving medical system, about the all of a sudden decent education, about public housing, transportation, and culture?

 "Almost everything done by the Communists was good, I know But because they believed in Communism and socialism, it was not right, it was ‘haram'. Our pledge to God was what really mattered. In terms of importance, God was Number 1, and only then came the world of humans."

I asked him how he sees Afghanistan now.

 "As long as their government is Communist, we'll fight it And I pray that Taliban wins."

For a moment I thought that I had misunderstood: the Afghanistan government is Communist? Doesn't he know anything about the U.S., about the Western occupation?

 "Yes but the U.S. went to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, not Communism. The government is still Communist; a puppet regime of Russia."

I quickly changed the subject, but things did not improve. I asked him about Syria, about Iraq. He replied politely:

 "I train, we train volunteers who are ready to go and fight in Syria. It is because Syria is not only Communist, you know – Assad and Russians – but also it is Shi'a."

Being Shi'a is an arch crime in today's Indonesia. People are getting killed, ostracized, and intimidated for being Shi'a. I witnessed it once, on the island of Madura.

 "'Aghan alumni' are training fighters that are ready to go abroad, both ideologically and militarily. Whether the government knows, I'm not sure. Perhaps intelligence knows. During Suharto era, the fight against Communism was supported. I saw Indonesian intelligence operating in the Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan. We were told by the Pakistani intelligence that the Indonesian intelligence was deployed in the region. Indonesia was then supporting Mujahideen, and we were receiving some Indonesian supplies, including food. Indonesia and Pakistan were then very good friends; Pakistani intelligence made our life very easy: we were going back and forth, freely, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, across the border, while civilians were not allowed "

And what was their fee? Certainly jihad is not fought for free?

The lowest pay was then US$150 per month, a lot of money in poor Indonesia, in the late 1980's. Between US$300 and US$400 for the officers.

Islamic Defender's Front (FPI) goodies on display in Jakarta

Before we parted, we talked about Afghanistan, the country. He remembered it fondly:

 "I like the country, it is beautiful. I liked religious life there. Afghans were very kind to us, treated us like guests We were offered their women, too, to marry, but the dowry was too high. Some had blue eyes, and we wanted to marry them, badly, but really: we couldn't afford their women with our modest ‘salaries'."

Does he miss Afghanistan?

 "Yes."

"Me, too," I nodded. "But I'm going back, soon."

We didn't embrace. By then he sensed that we belonged to the opposite sides of the barricade, and that most likely we were arch enemies. But until we parted, both of us remained polite, excessively polite: the Afghan way.

***

Dina Y. Sulaeman

"Jihad in Indonesia – against the Western imperialism? Oh no, no way " smiles Dina Y. Sulaeman, an Indonesian political analyst, an author of the book "Salju Di Aleppo" (Snow of Aleppo):

 "Jihad in which Indonesians want to participate is based on hate In my book, I explain that the Indonesian fighters in Syria are mainly affiliated with several groups: ‘Ikhwanul Muslimin', ‘Hizbut Tahrir' and Al Qaeda/ISIS. Unfortunately these groups have supporters in Indonesia. They keep spreading fake photos and videos about Syria, to ignite sympathy, even anger of Indonesian people, so they give donations or even join jihad. It's a good deal for them. They are waging ‘holy war', they'll go to heaven, and plus they get paid. They accuse president Assad of being ‘infidel'. That's their rallying cry."

 "Indonesian mass media ‘coverage' is only directly translating what is said by the Western media: the CNN, the BBC and others . If not those, then at least Al-Jazeera which is often even worse As a result, Indonesians are ‘very concerned' about Syria.' Of course, in my books I'm trying to correct the misconceptions, but the propaganda apparatus is so powerful."

"Like in Afghanistan," I add.

Earlier I asked Noor Huda Ismail:

 "But the Afghan ‘alumni' and the ISIS do not necessarily like each other, do they?"

Huda nods, but then he adds:

 "Al-Qaeda and ISIS do not get along well. In the context, most of the fighters, those who support ISIS, they have been gathering in the same mosque. They are using social media. Maybe the Afghan ‘alumni' and the ISIS supporters do not like each other, but they share the same ideology; the root, the matter is the same, which is toppling and challenging the secular systems."

"Including the one in Indonesia."

 "Yes, including the one here."

Jihadi Express is now rolling, gaining speed. One country after another is being shred to pieces under its merciless wheels.

Destroyed Aleppo

Those who think that it is "all about oil" are mistaken. The West is of course trying to control, fully and brutally, all that moves in the Middle East, North Africa and as far as Iran and Afghanistan. But that's definitely not all: jihadi groups, created by the West and its allies in the Gulf, have been used to destabilize the two greatest adversaries of the West: Russia and China.

Soviet Union was tricked into Afghanistan in 1979, and then brutally destroyed. Afghanistan itself was ‘sacrificed' in the process, its social structures broken, and all hope its people were enjoying, choked. China is now also greatly suffering from the operations of several Muslim terrorist groups, as well as from other religious implants, which are without exception supported by the West.

The Philippines is most likely the next ‘front'. It has been for years and decades, in Sulu and elsewhere, but as this report goes to print, things are deteriorating, getting more and more desperate there.

To fight terrorism in such places like Syria and Afghanistan, has been and will be increasingly, one of the main foreign policy goals of both Moscow and Beijing; in order to help those countries under siege, but also in order to prevent them from becoming the training grounds of the ‘anti-Communist' and anti-secularist terrorist armies.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel "Aurora" and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: "Exposing Lies Of The Empire" and "Fighting Against Western Imperialism". View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

Copyright © Andre Vltchek, Global Research, 2017
 
5
For Your Information / Confrontation at Bilderberg 2017
« Last post by nestopwar on June 12, 2017, 01:28:07 PM »
Confrontation at Bilderberg 2017
 Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network 
June 6


 While President Trump seems to have sorted out his problems of interior authority - more or less - the conflict has now moved on to concern NATO. Washington is currently speaking against the manipulation of terrorism, while London has no intention of giving up such a useful tool for the extension of its influence. The Bilderberg Group, initially organised as a sounding board for the Alliance, has just been the stage for a difficult debate between the partisans and the adversaries of imperialism in the Middle East.

There exist no photographs of the meeting of the Bilderberg Group, whose work is confidential. Security for the meeting is not handled by the FBI, nor the Virginia police force, but by a private militia organised by NATO.

The Bilderberg Group was created in 1954 by the CIA and MI6 in order to support the Atlantic Alliance. It was intended to gather personalities from the economic and media sectors with political and military leaders in order to sensitize civil society to the « Red peril ». Far from being a place for decision-making, this very exclusive club has historically been a forum where the elders had to juggle with their fidelity to London and Washington, and the younger members were expected to show that they could be trusted with the opposition to the Soviets [1].

It was during the annual reunion of 1979 that Bernard Lewis revealed to those present the rôle of the Muslim Brotherhood in the resistance to the Afghani Communist government. This Israëli-British-US Islamologist then proposed that the « War for Freedom » (sic) should be extended to all of Central Asia.

It was in 2008, in other words two and a half years in advance, that Basma Kodmani (future spokewoman for the Syrian opposition) and Volker Perthes (future advisor to Jeffrey Feltman for the total and unconditional capitulation of Syria [2]) explained the interest of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in order to dominate the Middle East. They stressed the « moderation » of the Brotherhood faced with the West, and the contrast offered by the « extremist sovereignty » of Iran and Syria [3].

And it was in 2013 that the chairman of the German executive board, Ulrich Grillo, made a case for the organisation of a massive migration of 800,000 Syrian workers to German factories [4]. Bilderberg 2017

The Bilderberg Group has just held its 2017 meeting, from 1 to 4 June, in the United States. Contrary to habit, the 130 participants were not all defending the same project. Quite the opposite - following the speeches by Donald Trump at the Arabo-Islamic-US summit, and at NATO [5], the CIA and MI6 organised a first-day debate which opposed those who are partisans of the fight against Islamism and those who support it. The point was, obviously enough, either to find a compromise between the two camps, or to acknowledge the dissension without allowing it to destroy the initial objective of the Alliance – the fight against Russia [6].

On the anti-Islamism side (that is opposed not to the Muslim religion, but to political Islam as formulated by Sayyid Qutb), we noted the presence of General H. R. McMaster (President Trump's National Security Advisor) and his expert Nadia Schadlow. McMaster is a recognised strategist whose theories have been verified on the battle-field. Above all, Schadlow has worked on the ways of transforming military victories into political successes. She is particularly interested in the restructuration of poltical movements in conquered countries. She should soon be publishing a new book about the struggle against Islamic radicalism.

On the pro-Islamism side, we note the presence, for the United States, of John Brennan (ex-Director of the CIA) and his ex-subordinates Avril Haines and David Cohen (financing of terrorism). For the United Kingdom, Sir John Sawers (ex-Director of MI6 and a long-time protector of the Brotherhood) and General Nicholas Houghton (ex-Chief of Staff, who prepared the land invasion of Syria). For France, General Benoît Puga (ex-Chief of Staff for the Elysée and commander of the Special Forces in Syria) and Bruno Tertrais (neo-conservative strategist for the Ministry of Defence). Finally, for the private sector, Henry Kravis (Director of the investment fund KKR, and unofficial treasurer for Daesh) and General David Petraeus (co-founder of Daesh).

And if this imbalance were not enough, the organisers had planned for the presence of experts capable of justifying the unjustifiable, like Professor Niell Fergusson (historian of British colonialism). The possible reversal of alliances

It will take a little time before we know what was said during this meeting, and to understand the conclusions that were reached by the various attendees. However, we already know that London is pushing for a change of paradigm in the Middlde East. If the model of the « Arab Spring » (reproduction of the « Arab Revolt of 1916 » organised by Lawrence of Arabia in order to replace the Ottoman Empire by the British Empire) is abandoned, MI6 hopes to create a new agreement on the basis of political Islamism.

As a result, while Washington has renewed its alliance with Saudi Arabia, and has convinced it to break with the Brotherhood in exchange for 110 billion dollars worth of armament [7], London is pushing for an agreement between Iran, Qatar, Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood. If this project were to be realised, we would experience the abandon of the Sunni/Chiite conflict and the creation of a « croissant of political Islam » encompassing Teheran, Doha, Ankara, Idleb, Beyrouth and Gaza. This new distribution would enable the United Kingdom to maintain its influence in the region.

The only thing upon which the Allies seem to agree is the necessity of abandoning the principle of a jihadist state. Everyone admits that the devil has to be put back in his box. Which means getting rid of Daesh, even if some people keep working with Al-Qaïda. This is why, worried about its survival, the self-proclaimed Caliph has secretly transmitted an ultimatum to Downing Street and the Elysée. Choosing sides

We shall see within the next few months if Saudi Arabia's about-face is genuine. It would be good news for the Syrians, but bad news for the Yemenites (whom the Western world would then ignore). It would offer King Salman the possibility of stimulating the evolution of Wahhabism from a fanatical cult to a normal religion. Already, the sudden conflict which opposes Riyadh to Doha on the question of Iran is doubled by an argument about the possible kinship between the founder of the cult, Mohammed ben Abdelwahhab, and the Qatari Al-Thani dynasty – a claim which has enraged the Saudi's.

The project of « political Islam » consists of uniting the Muslim Brotherhood and the Khomeinists. It would mean that Iran, and even Hezbollah, would have to substitute this problem for the fight against anti-imperialism. If this were come to pass, it would most certainly lead to the withdrawal of Iran from Syria. The White House is taking this very seriously and is frantically preparing for it. In his speech in Riyadh, Donald Trump already designated Teheran as his new enemy, and has just nominated Michaël D'Andrea (who organised the assassination of Imad Mougniyeh in Damascus in 2008) as the representative for the Iranian section of the CIA [8].

Russia had already prepared for a potential new deal in the Middle East. Consequently, by supporting Syria, it pursued its ambition of gaining access to « warm waters », and by seeking rapprochement with its hereditary adversary, Turkey, of being able to navigate freely via the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus (indispensible for entering the Mediterranean). However, in the long term, political Islam could only cause it problems in the Caucasus.

As always when the players sort their cards, they all have to define their positions. The United Kingdom defends its Empire, France defends its ruling class, and the United States defends its people. In the Middle East, some people will fight for their community, others for their ideas. But things are not always so simple. Thus, Iran might follow the ideal of Imam Khomeiny, confusing the end and the means. What was in the beginning an anti-imperialist revolution led by the power of Islam could evolve into a simple affirmation of the political use of this religion. The consequences for the rest of the world

MI6 and the CIA took a huge risk by inviting a non-Atlantist to the meeting of Bilderberg 2017. The Chinese ambassador, Cui Tiankai, who was scheduled to speak only on the fourth day of the seminar, was thus able to evaluate the positions of each member of NATO as from the first day.

On one hand, Beijing is counting on the collaboration of Donald Trump, the opening to the United States of its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the development of all its commercial routes. On the other, it is hoping that the Brexit will lead to an economic and financial alliance with London [9].

Ambassador Cui, who was the Director of the Centre of Political Research for the Chinese Ministry for Foreign Affairs, might possibly be satisfied with the simple destruction of Daesh. But he is not unaware that the people who organised the Caliphate in order to cut the « Silk Road » in Iraq and Syria, and then the war in Ukraine in order to cut the « new Silk Road », are preparing, preventatively, to open a third front in the Philippines and a fourth in Venezuela in order to cut off other communiction projects.

From this point of view, China, which, like Russia, has an interest in supporting Donald Trump, if only to prevent terrorism in its own country, will be asking itself about the possible long-term consequences of British hegemony in the « croissant of political Islam ». Thierry Meyssan

Translation Pete Kimberley

[1] "What you don't know about the Bilderberg-Group", by Thierry Meyssan, Komsomolskaïa Pravda (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 9 May 2011.

[2] "Germany and the UNO against Syria", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 28 January 2016.

[3] Sous nos yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump, Thierry Meyssan, Editions Demi-lune, 2017.

[4] "How the European Union is manipulating the Syrian refugees", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 2 May 2016.

[5] "Trump advances his pawns", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 30 May 2017.

[6] « La réunion 2017 du Groupe de Bilderberg », Réseau Voltaire, 1er juin 2017.

[7] "Donald Trump against jihadism", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 23 May 2017.

[8] "The CIA is preparing to take rather harsh measures against Iran", Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 5 June 2017.

[9] "The Brexit reshuffles world geopolitics", by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 28 June 2016. Thierry Meyssan
6
Father of Omran Daqneesh exposes the charade fabricated by terrorists and hostile media about his child
 Shaza, Hazem Sabbagh, SANA 
7 June? 2017

Damascus, SANA – Once again a new episode in the long-running series of lies promoted by terrorist groups and the hostile media outlets is revealed, as the issue of Omran Daqneesh, the child from Aleppo whose photos went viral last year, is back under the spotlight, with his family coming out to expose the charade that Western and Gulf countries had exploited during the later parts of 2016 in an attempt to slander the Syrian Arab army and to take an international resolution against Syria.

Today, Omran's father comes out to reveal to SANA the details of the lies made by the so-called "White Helmets," with the father affirming that a terrorist group snatched his child Omran from his hands after he was injured in Karm al-Qaterji neighborhood in Aleppo, and they took photos of the child with the sole aim of exploiting them via hostile media outlets.

"I was with my family in al-Qaterji neighborhood when our house damaged due to an explosion whose source we didn't know, and although I was wounded I carried my child Omran who was unharmed and rushed out for fear of a new explosion, the father said.

He went on that a number of terrorists came and snatched Omran from his hands and put him inside an ambulance and took photos which they published later in a way that suits their propaganda and lies, confirming again that Omran has not injured and all the photos of him were staged by the terrorists.

"The terrorists asked me to accompany them outside the city to record false statements about what happened to my son in exchange for large sums of money, but I refused and stayed in Aleppo and didn't submit to their demands despite the massive pressure and threats they used against me," he confirmed.
 
7

 A London attacker and UK covert operations in Syria and Libya
 Mark Curtis British foreign policy declassified 
June 7, 2017
 

 The Telegraph reports that London attacker Rachid Redouane fought in the 2011 British/NATO war against Qadafi – as did Salman Abedi, the Manchester bomber – and joined a militia which went on to send jihadist fighters to Syria. In Libya, he is believed to have fought with the Liwa al Ummah unit.[1]

The Liwa al Ummah was formed by a deputy of Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the former emir of the al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. In 2012, the Liwa al Ummah in Syria merged with the Free Syrian Army (FSA)[2], which was formed in August 2011 by army deserters based in Turkey[3] whose aim was to bring down Assad.

In Syria, the Liwa al Ummah was often referred to as an ‘FSA unit'[4] and sometimes teamed up with al-Nusra, al Qaeda's official branch in Syria. [5]

The UK has been reported as covertly supporting al-Nusra in Syria.[6] Moreover, the UK backed and supplied the FSA. In February 2012 Britain pledged to send advanced communications equipment to the FSA to help coordinate its forces.[7] In August 2012, it was reported that British authorities "know about and approve 100%" intelligence from their Cyprus military bases being passed through Turkey to the rebel troops of the FSA.[8] In August 2013, the UK announced £1m support to the FSA in form of communication and other equipment.[9]

The FSA has been covertly armed by the US and Gulf states[10] and trained by Turkey[11] – all as part of the UK-backed covert operation to oust Assad which began in 2011.

There is evidence to suggest that the anti-Qadafi fighters who fought on Britain's side to oust Qadafi in 2011 – for which the British authorities allowed an ‘open door' for them to travel from the UK to Libya – then simply moved on to Syria. In December 2011, it was reported that "with explicit consent from Transitional National Council (TNC) chairman" (supported by the UK and NATO) "600 highly motivated troops fresh from toppling the Gaddafi regime" were shipped to Syria to fight alongside the FSA. "The trigger-happy Libyans have access to a wealth of weapons plundered from the Gaddafi's regimes military depots or gently ‘donated' by NATO and Qatar".[12]

REFERENCES [1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/06/london-attacker-rachid-redouane-refused-uk-asylum-2009/ [2] http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/03/al_nusrah_front_free_1.php [3] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-24403003 [4] http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/03/al_nusrah_front_free_1.php [5] http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/03/al_nusrah_front_free_1.php [6] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/01/trial-swedish-man-accused-terrorism-offences-collapse-bherlin-gildo [7] http://syrianfreedomls.tumblr.com/post/17225970100/well-help-rebels-overthrow-syrian-murderers [8] https://uk.news.yahoo.com/syria-rebels-aided-british-intelligence-041638306.html [9] https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/141127w0001.htm#14112778000328 [10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Syrian_Army#Arms_deliveries_from_U.S..2C_Turkey.2C_Qatar.2C_Saudi_Arabia.2C_others [11] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-19124810 [12] http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ML02Ak01.html




 
8
Syria condemns US-led coalition's strikes targeting civilians and infrastructure 
Syrian Arab News Agency 
June 4, 2017

 Foreign and Expatriates Ministry condemned on Sunday the repeated air strikes of the illegal US-led coalition in Syria that cause human and material losses.

In two letters addressed to the Secretary General of the UN and the Head of the Security Council, the Ministry said the US-led coalition committed a new heinous crime in Raqqa city on Friday which claimed the lives of over 43 civilians, asserting that the crimes committed by the alliance are in no way less than that caused by the crimes committed by the ISIS terrorist organization against Syrian civilians, adding that the coalition's strikes target the Syrian infrastructure, including bridges, oil and gas wells, dams, electricity and water plants, and public and private buildings.

The letters said that these strikes reveal the real aims of this coalition that are totally in contradiction with its claims of fighting ISIS and other terror groups, asserting that those who want to fight ISIS wouldn't target civilians and infrastructure or the Syrian Arab Army like what happened when the coalition attacked the Syrian Arab Army in al-Tharda mountain in Deir Ezzor and in al-Tanf area near the Syrian-Iraqi borders.

The Foreign Ministry reiterated its condemnation of this illegal coalition's murder of civilians and destroying of infrastructure, demanding its member states to stop violating international law and to cease breaching Syria's sovereignty and independence.

The letters demanded a condemnation by the Security Council of the breaches committed by the illegal coalition that targets the Syrian civilians' lives in violation of the international humanitarian law, human rights laws, and the goals and principles of the UN Charter, urging UN member states to stop listening to the coalition's representatives who are proficient at twisting facts in Security Council sessions to cover up their heinous crimes.


 
9
TERROR IN BRITAIN: WHAT DID THE PRIME MINISTER KNOW?
 JohnPilger.com - the films and journalism of John Pilger 
31 May 2017


 The unsayable in Britain's general election campaign is this. The causes of the Manchester atrocity, in which 22 mostly young people were murdered by a jihadist, are being suppressed to protect the secrets of British foreign policy.

Critical questions - such as why the security service MI5 maintained terrorist "assets" in Manchester and why the government did not warn the public of the threat in their midst - remain unanswered, deflected by the promise of an internal "review".

The alleged suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was part of an extremist group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, that thrived in Manchester and was cultivated and used by MI5 for more than 20 years.

The LIFG is proscribed by Britain as a terrorist organisation which seeks a "hardline Islamic state" in Libya and "is part of the wider global Islamist extremist movement, as inspired by al-Qaida".

The "smoking gun" is that when Theresa May was Home Secretary, LIFG jihadists were allowed to travel unhindered across Europe and encouraged to engage in "battle": first to remove Mu'ammar Gadaffi in Libya, then to join al-Qaida affiliated groups in Syria.

Last year, the FBI reportedly placed Abedi on a "terrorist watch list" and warned MI5 that his group was looking for a "political target" in Britain. Why wasn't he apprehended and the network around him prevented from planning and executing the atrocity on 22 May?

These questions arise because of an FBI leak that demolished the "lone wolf" spin in the wake of the 22 May attack - thus, the panicky, uncharacteristic outrage directed at Washington from London and Donald Trump's apology.

The Manchester atrocity lifts the rock of British foreign policy to reveal its Faustian alliance with extreme Islam, especially the sect known as Wahhabism or Salafism, whose principal custodian and banker is the oil kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Britain's biggest weapons customer.

This imperial marriage reaches back to the Second World War and the early days of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The aim of British policy was to stop pan-Arabism: Arab states developing a modern secularism, asserting their independence from the imperial west and controlling their resources. The creation of a rapacious Israel was meant to expedite this. Pan-Arabism has since been crushed; the goal now is division and conquest.

In 2011, according to Middle East Eye, the LIFG in Manchester were known as the "Manchester boys". Implacably opposed to Mu'ammar Gadaffi, they were considered high risk and a number were under Home Office control orders - house arrest - when anti-Gadaffi demonstrations broke out in Libya, a country forged from myriad tribal enmities.

Suddenly the control orders were lifted. "I was allowed to go, no questions asked," said one LIFG member. MI5 returned their passports and counter-terrorism police at Heathrow airport were told to let them board their flights.

The overthrow of Gaddafi, who controlled Africa's largest oil reserves, had been long been planned in Washington and London. According to French intelligence, the LIFG made several assassination attempts on Gadaffi in the 1990s - bank-rolled by British intelligence. In March 2011, France, Britain and the US seized the opportunity of a "humanitarian intervention" and attacked Libya. They were joined by Nato under cover of a UN resolution to "protect civilians".

Last September, a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee inquiry concluded that then Prime Minister David Cameron had taken the country to war against Gaddafi on a series of "erroneous assumptions" and that the attack "had led to the rise of Islamic State in North Africa". The Commons committee quoted what it called Barack Obama's "pithy" description of Cameron's role in Libya as a "shit show".

In fact, Obama was a leading actor in the "shit show", urged on by his warmongering Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and a media accusing Gaddafi of planning "genocide" against his own people. "We knew... that if we waited one more day," said Obama, "Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."

The massacre story was fabricated by Salafist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be "a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda". The Commons committee reported, "The proposition that Mu'ammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence".

Britain, France and the United States effectively destroyed Libya as a modern state. According to its own records, Nato launched 9,700 "strike sorties", of which more than a third hit civilian targets. They included fragmentation bombs and missiles with uranium warheads. The cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. Unicef, the UN children's organisation, reported a high proportion of the children killed "were under the age of ten".

More than "giving rise" to Islamic State - ISIS had already taken root in the ruins of Iraq following the Blair and Bush invasion in 2003 - these ultimate medievalists now had all of north Africa as a base. The attack also triggered a stampede of refugees fleeing to Europe.

Cameron was celebrated in Tripoli as a "liberator", or imagined he was. The crowds cheering him included those secretly supplied and trained by Britain's SAS and inspired by Islamic State, such as the "Manchester boys".

To the Americans and British, Gadaffi's true crime was his iconoclastic independence and his plan to abandon the petrodollar, a pillar of American imperial power. He had audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would have happened, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to "enter" Africa and bribe African governments with military "partnerships".

The fallen dictator fled for his life. A Royal Air Force plane spotted his convoy, and in the rubble of Sirte, he was sodomised with a knife by a fanatic described in the news as "a rebel".

Having plundered Libya's $30 billion arsenal, the "rebels" advanced south, terrorising towns and villages. Crossing into sub-Saharan Mali, they destroyed that country's fragile stability. The ever-eager French sent planes and troops to their former colony "to fight al-Qaida", or the menace they had helped create.

On 14 October, 2011, President Obama announced he was sending special forces troops to Uganda to join the civil war there. In the next few months, US combat troops were sent to South Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic. With Libya secured, an American invasion of the African continent was under way, largely unreported.

In London, one of the world's biggest arms fairs was staged by the British government. The buzz in the stands was the "demonstration effect in Libya". The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry held a preview entitled "Middle East: A vast market for UK defence and security companies". The host was the Royal Bank of Scotland, a major investor in cluster bombs, which were used extensively against civilian targets in Libya. The blurb for the bank's arms party lauded the "unprecedented opportunities for UK defence and security companies."

Last month, Prime Minister Theresa May was in Saudi Arabia, selling more of the £3 billion worth of British arms which the Saudis have used against Yemen. Based in control rooms in Riyadh, British military advisers assist the Saudi bombing raids, which have killed more than 10,000 civilians. There are now clear signs of famine. A Yemeni child dies every 10 minutes from preventable disease, says Unicef.

The Manchester atrocity on 22 May was the product of such unrelenting state violence in faraway places, much of it British sponsored. The lives and names of the victims are almost never known to us.

This truth struggles to be heard, just as it struggled to be heard when the London Underground was bombed on July 7, 2005. Occasionally, a member of the public would break the silence, such as the east Londoner who walked in front of a CNN camera crew and reporter in mid-platitude. "Iraq!" he said. "We invaded Iraq. What did we expect? Go on, say it."

At a large media gathering I attended, many of the important guests uttered "Iraq" and "Blair" as a kind of catharsis for that which they dared not say professionally and publicly.

Yet, before he invaded Iraq, Blair was warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee that "the threat from al-Qaida will increase at the onset of any military action against Iraq... The worldwide threat from other Islamist terrorist groups and individuals will increase significantly".

Just as Blair brought home to Britain the violence of his and George W Bush's blood-soaked "shit show", so David Cameron, supported by Theresa May, compounded his crime in Libya and its horrific aftermath, including those killed and maimed in Manchester Arena on 22 May.

The spin is back, not surprisingly. Salman Abedi acted alone. He was a petty criminal, no more. The extensive network revealed last week by the American leak has vanished. But the questions have not.

Why was Abedi able to travel freely through Europe to Libya and back to Manchester only days before he committed his terrible crime? Was Theresa May told by MI5 that the FBI had tracked him as part of an Islamic cell planning to attack a "political target" in Britain?

In the current election campaign, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has made a guarded reference to a "war on terror that has failed". As he knows, it was never a war on terror but a war of conquest and subjugation. Palestine. Afghanistan. Iraq. Libya. Syria. Iran is said to be next. Before there is another Manchester, who will have the courage to say that?
10
Manchester's Dead: Victims of British "Regime Change" Operations in the Middle East | Global Research
 Robert Stevens, WSWS
 Mah 26
 

 More details have emerged about the prior familiarity of British intelligence agencies with the [alleged] Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, whose murderous assault Monday evening left 22 people dead.

Given Abedi's connections and his travel movements leading up to the attack, the only explanation for him being able to remain at large for so long is that he was a protected asset—part of a broad network of operatives utilised by Britain and the US to conduct their nefarious operations in the Middle East.

It is the exposure of these operations which accounts for the fury of Prime Minister Theresa May over the US leaking of intelligence information about the UK's investigation into the bombing. Whatever the specific reasons for these leaks, they have completely undermined the British authority's original claims that Abedi was an unknown, "lone wolf". Rather, it is now clear that those killed and maimed while enjoying a pop concert are the victims of British regime-change policy in the Middle East and North Africa.

We know now that British intelligence had received warnings, on at least five separate occasions in the last five years, that Abedi presented a danger, including that he had discussed committing a suicide bombing.

According to new leaks Thursday, Abedi had travelled extensively in the run-up to the attack, including flying from Istanbul to the UK via Germany's Dusseldorf airport. For years, Turkey has been used as a transit point into Syria by European jihadists, joining Western-led efforts to topple the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

Several sources, including French intelligence, have made public their conclusions that Abedi had been to Syria and received training there. The Financial Times also reported that a "Turkish official" said that Abedi had traveled through Istanbul on at least two other occasions over the past year. The newspaper reported,

 "In mid-April he flew from Amsterdam to Libya, while in late May 2016 he flew from Manchester to Libya, transiting through Istanbul Ataturk airport both times."

Abedi may have traveled through at least two European Union countries on his way from Turkey to Manchester. Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that Abedi flew from Dusseldorf to Manchester on May 18—four days before the attack. The newspaper cited German intelligence sources who said that he arrived in Germany from Libya via Prague.

The Guardian reported,

 "It is known that the 22-year-old traveled to Germany at least twice, including a visit to the financial city of Frankfurt." It added, "Düsseldorf is in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Anis Amri, the Berlin Christmas market attacker, spent time."

Further leaks were reported by the German magazine, Focus. Citing German intelligence sources, it said Abedi flew to Frankfurt from Britain in 2015. Focus said that Germany's intelligence agency BKA had been told by police in the UK that this visit took place before Abedi undertook paramilitary training in Syria. It reported that he had not been apprehended in Germany, as he was not on any watch list.

There is no innocent explanation for the fact that Abedi was able to travel to Libya, Syria, Turkey and the UK unhindered. It has nothing to do with the spurious claims about the UK having "leaky borders", or too few border guards. Abedi's ability to pass through customs without interference can only mean that he had been given the all clear.

For decades, successive British governments have worked with jihadi groups, prepared to use atrocities to achieve their objectives. This has meant that, behind the "war on terror" and the relentless assault on democratic rights that it has entailed, UK authorities have been harbouring Islamist extremist operatives and groups who can be set into motion at the required time, in line with British imperialist foreign policy objectives.

Groups such as Algeria's Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda all had bases in London. Al-Qaeda considered London the nerve centre of its operations in Europe, with the security services collaborating with some of these organisations and their leaders, the most well known being Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada.

Image result for LIFG

Likewise, British imperialism worked closely with Libyan Islamists, supporting them in their opposition to then Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. As former MI5 agent David Shayler revealed, MI6 collaborated with one such organisation, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, in the attempted assassination of Gaddafi in 1996.

For years, a group of LIFG members were active in the Whalley Range district of Manchester, close to Salman Abedi's home. Salman Abedi's father, Ramadan Abedi, an airport security officer, was an LIFG member. He and his wife, Samia Tabbal, a nuclear scientist, fled Tripoli in 1991 after he was arrested by the Gaddafi regime. He had been employed in the regime's internal security service and was reportedly suspected of tipping off members of anti-Gaddafi Islamist groups about pending police raids. The Daily Mail reported,

 "It appears that Ramadan's life revolved at several points around toppling Gaddafi "

After fleeing Libya, Ramadan and his wife lived in Saudi Arabia for a period. They both then went to the UK and applied for and were granted political asylum. They lived first in London and then moved to the south Manchester area, which had become a centre for many anti-Gaddafi elements with which British intelligence maintained the closest links.

Ramadan returned to Libya some time in 2011 in order to fight in the imperialist proxy war that resulted in the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi in October of that year by US/UK-backed "rebels". This took place after a NATO bombing campaign in which untold numbers were killed nationwide over the preceding eight months. Ramadan went on to become an administrative manager of the Central Security Force in Tripoli, one of the many militias vying for control of the country.

Samia, Abedi's mother, is a close friend of Umm Abdul Rahman, the widow of a former Al Qaeda commander, Abu Anas al-Libi. Accused of involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings, the Daily Mail reported that al-Libi "spent five years in Manchester—having won political asylum in Britain in 1995." The Mail said that

 "Abdul Rahman went to college in the Libyan capital with Abedi's mother, who was studying nuclear engineering. She [Rahman] said the two women also lived together in Manchester for a number of years."

Al-Libi was seized by US forces in Tripoli in October 2013 and died in 2015 of liver cancer before coming to trial. Following the Manchester bombing, Ramadan Abedi and his youngest son, Hashem, were arrested in Tripoli Tuesday night.

Salman Abedi was also known to have been a close associate of one of the main Islamic State recruiters in the UK, Raphael Hostey, who was killed in a drone strike in Syria in 2016. Hostey grew up in Moss Side, just a mile away from Abedi's home in the Fallowfield district of the city.

In a statement on the bombing, the government of Abdullah Thinni in Bayda, Libya said it had warned the British government it was harbouring terrorists. Thinni's government was driven out of Tripoli in 2013 by Islamic extremists, including UK-based Libyan exiles. It accused May's predecessor David Cameron of backing terrorist groups who

 "have been destroying our cities and towns in an attempt to shape Libya into an exporter of terror to the whole planet."
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