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Messages - nestopwar

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1
Syria demands immediate international action against US-led coalition
 Syrian Arab News Agency 
September 28, 2017
 

 The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry addressed on Thursday new letters to the chiefs of the UN and the international Security Council over the constantly repeated attacks of the US-led coalition against Syrian territory and civilians.

The recent crime committed by the coalition, within a series of repeated attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Syria for the past several months, took place on Wednesday, as the coalition's warplanes shelled al-Sout town in the countryside of Deir Ezzor with the internationally-banned white phosphorus , claiming the lives of a number of civilians and leaving others injured, the Ministry complained.

A day before, the coalition's air force committed a massacre in Markada town to the south of Hasaka city, killing Syrian civilians, including two women, and 6 members of an Iraqi family that had moved to Hasaka from Mosul, the Ministry added.

While expressing its strong condemnation of the coalition's attacks, "war crimes and crimes against humanity", Syria regrets that some countries that claim to respect human rights and the international law remain acting members of this coalition, the Ministry said in its letters.

Syria "calls on these countries, which we got used to hearing their voices and demands for an end of all forms of aggression and for respect of human rights and the international humanitarian law, to withdraw from this coalition that has marred [these countries'] reputation and shed plenty of the Syrians' blood in their name," the letters read.

In its two letters , the Ministry renewed also its demand that the Security Council take immediate action to stop the "barbarous crimes" and "gross violations" of the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law repeatedly committed by the coalition.

2
Newcastle Stop the War / No War in Korea!
« on: September 16, 2017, 03:35:13 PM »
No War in Korea!

by Theo Russell
 About 90 people attended a meeting at Friends House in central London last Tuesday called by the Stop the War Coalition, with writer and film-maker Tariq Ali, CND General Secretary Kate Hudson, Stop the War convenor Lindsey German, and Owen Miller, a Lecturer in Korean Studies at the School of African and Oriental Studies, on the panel.
All of the speakers condemned the warmongering history and recent actions by the USA and NATO, and recalled in great detail the crimes committed by the US-led forces in the Korean War. The platform also showed how the history of the introduction of nuclear weapons into the Korean peninsula, the failure of attempts to negotiate any agreements because of US sabotage, and the recent history of wars and regime change, all explained why the DPRK had embarked on its nuclear and missile development programmes. The peace and anti-THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defence; an American anti-ballistic missile defence system] movements in south Korea, and solidarity with them and with the DPRK, were also discussed. Tariq Ali summed up the feeling of the meeting when he said that thanks to its strong defences “North Korea is one of very few  genuinely sovereign states left in the world.”

3
Newcastle Stop the War / North Korea an Aggressor? A Reality Check
« on: September 07, 2017, 08:49:30 AM »
North Korea an Aggressor? A Reality Check

by Felicity Arbuthnot  (London Progressive Journal)

Tue 5th Sep 2017


 “ … war in our time is  always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.”  (Howard Zinn, 1922-2010.)
 
 “All war represents a failure of diplomacy.” (Tony Benn, MP. 1925-2014.)
 
 “No country too poor, too small, too far away, not to be threat, a threat to the American way of life.”  (William Blum, “Rogue State.”)
 
 The mention of one tiny country appears to strike at the rationality and sanity of those who should know far better. On Sunday, 6thAugust, for example, The Guardian headed an editorial: “The Guardian view on sanctions: an essential tool.” Clearly the average of five thousands souls a month, the majority children, dying of ”embargo related causes” in Iraq, year after grinding year - genocide in the name of the UN - for over a decade has long been forgotten by the broadsheet of the left.
 
This time of course, the target is North Korea upon whom the United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to freeze, strangulate and deny essentials, normality, humanity. Diplomacy as ever, not even a consideration.

The Guardian, however, incredibly, declared the decimating sanctions: “A rare triumph of diplomacy …” (Guardian 6thAugust 2017.)
 
As US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the US’ top “diplomat” and his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho headed for the annual Ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila on 5thAugust, a State Department spokesperson said of Tillerson: “The Secretary has no plans to meet the North Korean Foreign Minister in Manila, and I don’t expect to see that happen”.
 
 Pathetic. In April, approaching his hundredth day in office, Trump said of North Korea: “We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult.” No it is not. Talk, walk in the other’s psychological shoes. Then, there they were at the same venue but the Trump Administration clearly does not alone live in a land of missed opportunities, but of opportunities deliberately buried in landfill miles deep. This in spite of his having said in the same statement: “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”
 
 A bit of perspective: 27thJuly 2017 marked sixty four years since the armistice agreement that ended the devastating three year Korean war, however there has never been a peace treaty, thus technically the Korean war has never ended. Given that and American’s penchant for wiping out countries with small populations which pose them no threat (think most recently, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) no wonder North Korea wishes to look as if it has some heavy protective gear behind the front door, so to speak.
 
Tiny North Korea has a population of just 25.37 million and landmass of 120,540 km². The US has a population of 323.1 million and a landmass of 9.834 MILLION km². Further, since 1945, the US is believed to have produced some 70,000 nuclear weapons - though now down to a “mere” near 7,000 - but North Korea is a threat?
 
America has fifteen military bases in South Korea - down from a staggering fifty four - bristling with every kind of weapons of mass destruction. Two bases are right on the North Korean border and another nearly as close. See full details of each, with map at (1).
 
North Korea also has the collective memory of the horror wrought by the US in the three year conflict on a country then with a population of just 9.6 million souls. US General Curtis Lemay in the aftermath stated: “After destroying North Korea’s seventy eight cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians … Over a period of three years or so we killed off - what - twenty percent of the population.”
 
 “It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 - 9 million people during the 37-month long ‘hot’ war, 1950 - 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerence of another.”  (2)
 
 In context: “During The Second World War the United Kingdom lost 0.94% of its population, France lost 1.35%, China lost 1.89% and the US lost 0.32%. During the Korean war, North Korea lost close to 30 % of its population.”.
 
 “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, some way or another …”, boasted Lemay.
 
Gen. Douglas MacArthur said during a Congressional hearing in 1951 that he had never seen such devastation.
 
 “I shrink with horror that I cannot express in words … at this continuous slaughter of men in Korea,” MacArthur said. “I have seen, I guess, as much blood and disaster as any living man, and it just curdled my stomach, the last time I was there.” (CNN, 28thJuly 2017.) Horrified as he was, he did not mention the incinerated women, children, infants in the same breath.
 
Moreover, as Robert M. Neer wrote in “Napalm, an American Biography”:
 
 ‘ “Practically every U.S. fighter plane that has flown into Korean air carried at least two napalm bombs,” Chemical Officer Townsend wrote in January 1951. About 21,000 gallons of napalm hit Korea every day in 1950. As combat intensified after China’s intervention, that number more than tripled (...) a total of 32,357 tons of napalm fell on Korea, about double that dropped on Japan in 1945. Not only did the allies drop more bombs on Korea than in the Pacific theater during World War II - 635,000 tons, versus 503,000 tons - more of what fell was napalm … ‘
 
 In the North Korean capitol, Pyongyang, just two buildings were reported as still standing.
 
In the unending history of US warmongering, North Korea is surely the smallest population they had ever attacked until their assault on tiny Grenada in October 1983, population then just 91,000 (compulsory silly name: “Operation Urgent Fury.)
 
North Korea has been taunted by the US since it lay in ruins after the armistice sixty five years ago, yet as ever, the US Administration paints the vast, self appointed “leader of the free world” as the victim.
 
As Fort-Russ pointed out succinctly (7thAugust 2017): “The Korean Peninsula is in a state of crisis not only due to constant US threats towards North Korea, but also due to various provocative actions, such as Washington conducting joint military exercises with Seoul amid tensions, and which Pyongyang considered a threat to its national security.”
 
 This month “massive land, sea and air exercises” involving “tens of thousands of troops” from the US and South Korea began on 21st of August and continue until 31st. ‘In the past, the practices are believed to have included “decapitation strikes” - trial operations for an attempt to kill Kim Jong-un and his top Generals …’, according to the Guardian (11thAugust 2017.) The obligatory stupid name chosen for this dangerous, belligerent, money burning, sabre rattling nonsense is Ulchi-Freedom Guardian.

It is an annual occurrence since first initiated back in 1976.
 
US B-1B bombers flying from Guam recently carried out exercises in South Korea and “practiced attack capabilities by releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.” In a further provocative (and illegal) move, US bombers were again reported to overfly North Korea, another of many such bullying, threatening actions, reportedly eleven just since May this year.
 
Yet in spite of all, North Korea is the “aggressor.”
 
“The nuclear warheads of United States of America are stored in some twenty one locations, which include thirteen U.S. states and five European countries … some are on board U.S. submarines. There are some "zombie" nuclear warheads as well, and they are kept in reserve, and as many as 3,000 of these are still awaiting their dismantlement. (The US) also extends its “nuclear umbrella” to such other countries as South Korea, Japan, and Australia.” ( worldatlas.com )
 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who also attended the ASEAN meeting in Manila did, of course, do what proper diplomats do and talked with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho. Minister Lavrov’s opinion was summed up by a Fort Russ News observer as:
 
 “The Korean Peninsula is in a state of crisis not only due to constant US threats towards North Korea, but also due to various provocative actions, such as Washington conducting joint military exercises with Seoul amid tensions, and which Pyongyang considered a threat to its national security.”
 
 The “provocative actions” also include the threatening over-flights by US ‘planes flying from Guam. However when North Korea said if this continued they would consider firing missiles into the ocean near Guam - not as was reported by some hystericals as threatening to bomb Guam - Agent Orange who occasionally pops in to the White House between golf rounds and eating chocolate cake whilst muddling up which country he has dropped fifty nine Tomahawk Cruise missiles on, responded that tiny North Korea will again be: “… met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
 
 It was barely noticed that North Korea qualified the threat of a shot across the bows by stating pretty reasonably:
 
(The US) “should immediately stop its reckless military provocation against the State of the DPRK so that the latter would not be forced to make an unavoidable military choice.” (3)
 
As Cheryl Rofer (see 3) continued, instead of endless threats, US diplomacy could have many routes:
 
 “We could have sent a message to North Korea via the recent Canadian visit to free one of their citizens. We could send a message through the Swedish embassy to North Korea, which often represents US interests. We could arrange some diplomatic action on which China might take the lead. There are many possibilities, any of which might show North Korea that we are willing to back off from practices that scare them if they will consider backing off on some of their actions. That would not include their nuclear program explicitly at this time, but it would leave the way open for later.”
 
 There are in fact twenty four diplomatic missions in all in North Korea through which the US could request to communicate - or Trump could even behave like a grown up and pick up the telephone.
 
Siegfried Hecker is the last known American official to inspect North Korea's nuclear facilities. He says that treating Kim Jong-un as though he is on the verge of attacking the U.S. is both inaccurate and dangerous.
 
 “Some like to depict Kim as being crazy - a madman - and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He's not crazy and he's not suicidal. And he's not even unpredictable. The real threat is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.” (4)
 
Trump made his crass “fire and fury” threat on the eve of the sixty second commemoration of the US nuclear attack on Nagasaki, the nauseating irony seemingly un-noticed by him.
 
Will some adults pitch up on Capitol Hill before it is too late?
 
1. https://militarybases.com/south-korea/

2. http://www.globalresearch.ca/know-the-facts-north-korea-lost-close-to-30-of-its-population-as-a-result-of-us-bombings-in-the-1950s/22131

3. https://nucleardiner.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/north-korea-reaches-out/

4. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/08/08/sane-voices-urge-diplomacy-after-lunatic-trump-threatens-fire-and-fury

4
South Tyneside Stop the War / Korea Crisis Exposes Orwellian West
« on: September 05, 2017, 08:49:57 AM »
Korea Crisis Exposes Orwellian West
 Finian Cunningham, Sputnik News - Information Clearing House 
Sept 2

September 02, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - The Western media would have us believe that North Korea and its nuclear arsenal is the world's number one threat. The continual depiction of a "rogue" state in the Western media plays into the US agenda of a pre-emptive attack on North Korea.

But let's get this straight. North Korea has an estimated 10-20 total number of nuclear warheads, according to the latest annual report from the respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). That represents a minuscule fraction – some 0.1 per cent – of the world's total stockpile of nuclear weapons.

The United States has a nuclear arsenal of some 5,000 weapons – more than 300 times the size of North Korea's. The US along with Russia (also 5,000 warheads) account for 93 per cent of the world's total inventory of nuclear weapons.

What distinguishes the US are the following pertinent facts. (Yet these facts are rarely if ever considered in Western media news coverage.)

It was the first country to develop such weapons of mass destruction, in 1945. Russia, the second country, developed its first atomic bomb four years later in 1949.

The US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, when it dropped two atomic bombs on Japan – just three weeks after it successfully tested the weapon in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945. The attacks on Japan killed at least 200,000 civilians. Official US justifications about swiftly ending the Pacific War with Japan are dubious and arguably irrelevant to the immoral barbarity.

Since the end of the Second World War, the US has engaged in dozens of wars in dozens of countries, according to respected historians such as William Blum, with an estimated death toll of 20 million. Since the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the US has been in a state of permanent war over the past two decades, carrying out aerial bombardments in up to seven countries simultaneously. Official US justifications for these wars are dubious if not contemptible.

The incontestable fact is that the US is the biggest serial violator of international law with the blood of millions of civilians on its hands. It is arguable that Nazi Germany's Third Reich was succeeded by a Fourth Reich in the US.

The US may not have used nuclear bombs since the mass destruction carried out in Japan in 1945. But in spite of the heinous shame of its unique criminality, American leaders continually reserve the right to threaten other nations with nuclear annihilation. The oft-repeated phrase "all options on the table" is the Orwellian language used by the US to refer to its self-ordained prerogative to use nuclear weapons, codified in its "first-strike doctrine."

US President Donald Trump routinely invokes the veiled threat of nuclear annihilation against North Korea. His warning of "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" is a chilling reference. While Trump's senior administration have sought to temper his comments with vaguely worded possible diplomacy, they too at other times openly use the "all options on the table" nuclear threat.

North Korea's defiant testing of ballistic missiles is wrongly presented by Western media in complete isolation from the crucial context of the United States habitually threatening Pyongyang with pre-emptive war.

Both Russia and China have rebuked the US for its current display of military force during its annual "war games" on the Korean Peninsula as being destabilizing. But with incorrigible arrogance, Washington insists on its right to conduct such "defensive" maneuvers, and the Western media dutifully indulge this irrational distortion.

North Korea has not been at war with any country since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War when it fought against the US-backed South. By contrast, the US has gone on to launch wars against dozens of countries under various pretexts, as well as retain a war-footing against North Korea by refusing to sign a peace treaty. If that's because Kim Jong-un is a "dictator," then what about Saudi Arabia?

Nearly 50 years after signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which mandates nuclear weapons states to disarm, the US is the process of upgrading its nuclear arsenal at a cost of $400 billion over the next 10 years, or at least $1,000 billion over the next 30 years, according to SIPRI. (That financial outlay will no doubt bring cheer to the millions of survivors of Hurricane Harvey.) Out of the 193 member states of the United Nations, only nine are believed to possess nuclear weapons. The US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. All of them are in the process of upgrading their nuclear stockpiles, not disarming.

Russia, being a top nuclear power along with the US, has an onerous responsibility to lead the world towards nuclear disarmament.

But there is a huge difference between Russia and the US. The record shows that Russia is not a warmongering state, nor a systematic violator of international law from waging wars of aggression on other nations. Unlike Washington, Moscow has never verbally threatened anyone with a nuclear first strike.

In the current crisis between the US and North Korea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated again this week that diplomacy and dialogue was the only permissible option. Lavrov said that the day after US President Trump made the sinister comment that "talking was not a solution."

It is the function of Western news media to present the world in a form that is favorable to Western governments. Put less delicately, the Western media's function is to distort the world in a way that justifies conduct by Western governments which would otherwise cause outrage due to flagrant violation of international law. Two instances of that can be seen from the way the US and its NATO partners invaded and destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan under bogus pretexts. Another instance is the way the US and its NATO allies sought to destroy Syria with a covert war of regime change involving the sponsorship of terrorist proxies.

In every case, the Western media distort and sanitize the criminal conduct of their governments.

The crisis with North Korea is another classic case of Western media distorting reality and audaciously inverting the problem.

The objective facts clearly show that, by far, the biggest threat to world security – perhaps even world survival – is the United States with its track record of war-making and systematic decimation of international law. For every nuclear warhead suspected to be in North Korea's possession, the United States has nearly 333 weapons, each one manifold more destructive than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The US, uniquely, continues to arrogate the right to drop nuclear bombs on civilians. The US is holding massive military maneuvers on North Korea's border, not the other way around. It refuses to hold talks for mutual disarmament.

Only in a thoroughly Orwellian brainwashed world, as presented by the Western media, could North Korea be viewed as "the threat."

Infernally, not only is such a warped view of the world making a catastrophic war more likely, it is also precluding the morally rational option of a diplomatic, peaceful solution.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

5
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
 

6
For Your Information / Confrontation at Bilderberg 2017
« 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

7
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.
 

8

 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




 

9
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.


 

10
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?

11
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."

12
Prior Knowledge of Attack: Truth Revealed: British Intelligence Received Warnings of Manchester Bomber Attack from US
  Laura Tiernan, Tru Publica 
May 30

 True Publica Editor's note: There appears now to be a reason why officials in the USA were able to name the Manchester Arena suicide bomber within four hours of the event. The FBI knew exactly who the perpetrator was and were able to leak huge amounts of data to the American press, much to the vocal frustration of British intelligence. Here's why:

Explosive allegations have emerged that the UK's MI5 intelligence agency had prior warning of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi planning a terrorist atrocity.

On May 22, Abedi detonated a shrapnel-laden improvised explosive device outside a performance in Manchester by American singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people, many of whom were children, and wounding 116.

According to the Mail on Sunday,

 "the FBI told MI5 that Abedi was part of a North African Islamic State cell plotting to strike a political target in the UK."

The FBI passed these warnings to MI5 in January, after placing Abedi on their terrorist watch list in 2016. An unnamed "security source" told the Daily Mail that the FBI informed MI5 that Abedi "belonged to a North African terror gang based in Manchester, which was looking for a political target in this country."

He continued:

 "Following this US tip-off, Abedi and other members of the gang were scrutinised by MI5. It was thought at the time that Abedi was planning to assassinate a political figure. But nothing came of this investigation and, tragically, he slipped down the pecking order of targets."

The claims by Prime Minister Theresa May that Abedi acted as a "lone wolf" and was known by Britain's security services only "to a degree" lie in shreds. It is simply not credible that an individual planning to assassinate a British "political figure"—that could conceivably include the prime minister, foreign secretary or the queen—would be allowed to "slip" under the radar.

Abedi was effectively given a free hand by MI5 to launch a terrorist attack. The Daily Mail' s revelations add to mounting evidence of the role of British intelligence services and successive governments in cultivating Islamist terror networks, and protecting these "assets" as part of their regime change operations in Libya and Syria.

On Thursday, a report by Middle East Eye (MEE) exposed what it described as an "open door" policy by the previous Conservative government of David Cameron, allowing members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) to travel to Libya in 2011 as part of military operations to overthrow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. May was home secretary in that government. Abedi's parents were both members of the LIFG. These individuals were able to travel freely between the UK, Libya, Syria and other locations.

Former rebel fighters interviewed by the MEE explained how British security services assisted their movements, providing them with passports and clearing them for departure. Belal Younis, who traveled to Libya in 2011, said he was asked by an MI5 officer, who had detained him for questioning after a trip to Libya in early 2011, "Are you willing to go into battle?"

 "While I took time to find an answer," Younis told MEE, "he turned and told me the British government have no problem with people fighting against Gaddafi."

During a subsequent trip to Libya in May 2011, he was questioned by counter-terrorism police in a British airport lounge, but an MI5 officer interceded and he was "waved through." The MI5 officer later called Younis to say that he had "sorted it out."

Many of those who traveled to Libya had previously been under counter-terrorism control orders, with tight restrictions on their movement and internet activity. However, the control orders were lifted in 2011 as Britain joined US and French efforts to topple Gaddafi.

Unknown to the British people, including the families who lost loved ones last Monday night, Manchester was at the centre of operations that funnelled rebel fighters into Libya. Younis told the MEE's reporters,

 "The majority who went from here were from Manchester."

Another interviewee said of the young recruits he encountered during a visit to a rebel camp in Misrata that same year,

 "They had proper Manchester accents."

Another British-born fighter told the MEE they were also allowed to travel to Syria, where Islamist groups, offshoots of Al-Qaeda and backed by the US and Britain, have been fighting to overthrow the government of Bashar Al-Assad. Abedi himself was allowed to travel to Syria. "No questions were asked," Younis said. Another British-Libyan said he had worked for the British SAS in Benghazi to edit slick video recruitment and marketing packages, showing fighters being trained by both the SAS and Irish Special Forces.

In Saturday's Daily Mail, Peter Oborne alleged direct collusion by MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence service, with terrorist organisations in Libya and Syria. Oborne, associate editor of the Spectator and former chief political commentator at the Daily Telegraph, wrote, "MI6 officers were complicit in creating a generation of British-born jihadis who are prepared to do anything, and kill anyone—even young children—in their efforts to destroy this country.

 "There is every reason to speculate that Salman Abedi's evil handiwork at the Manchester Arena on Monday night was in part a direct consequence of MI6's meddling in Middle Eastern and North African affairs."

Oborne singled out MI6's role under the Labour government of Tony Blair, when its former chiefs, Sir Richard Dearlove and Sir John Scarlett, "allowed [MI6] to become a propaganda tool for the Labour PM's clique of war-mongers."

Scarlett drafted the infamous dossier on Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, used by Blair to stampede Britain into war.

"MI6 has failed to learn the lessons from this debacle," Oborne wrote, pointing to the "hundreds" of British citizens who "were allowed to travel abroad to join jihadist organisations."

Britain's sordid dealings with the LIFG and other Al-Qaeda-linked groups stretch back to the 1990s. The LIFG was spawned from the mujahedeen and built up by the US in Afghanistan, as part of its destabilisation of the Soviet Union. Since then, the fate of the LIFG has directly tracked shifts in British and American foreign policy.

In 1996, British intelligence agencies paid LIFG leaders huge sums to attempt to assassinate Gaddafi, according to leaks from senior French intelligence officials and former MI5 officer David Shayler. In 2004, after the Blair government's rapprochement with the Libyan regime, MI6 helped seize LIFG leader Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and his deputy Sami al-Saadi. According to British historian and author Mark Curtis, Belhaj was handed over to the CIA, tortured, and then sent back to Tripoli to spend six years in solitary confinement where MI6 agents reportedly questioned him.

In 2011, in response to the Arab Spring, the US and Britain set in motion long-standing plans for regime change operations in the Middle East. Anti-terrorism control orders against LIFG leaders were lifted because, according to Curtis, the British government "once again found that its interests—mainly concerning oil—coincided with those of Islamist forces in Libya."

The 22 dead and scores injured in Manchester, no less than the people of Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and countless other countries invaded and occupied, are the victims of British imperialist intrigue and are regarded as "collateral damage."

These explosive revelations raise a number of questions that must be answered:

 Why did MI5 drop its investigation into Salman Abedi, and who authorised this? Why was he able to travel freely throughout the European Union and Middle East, including to known terror hubs? Did MI5 inform Theresa May's government of the threats to strike a political target in Britain? How was he able to receive thousands of pounds in student loans to finance his activities, including travel and the renting of multiple residencies in the lead-up to last Monday's attack, despite not attending university?



13
US, UK, Jordan deploy troops, tanks in southern Syria: Reports
 PressTV 
May 9, 2017


 Reports coming out of Syria suggest that a joint military force of US, British, and Jordanian troops, equipped with tanks and helicopters, have reportedly been deployed in the war-torn country's southern border areas from Jordan's northern region.

The troops are now reportedly positioned in a long strip region across the border zones of Syria's southern provinces of Dara'a and Suwayda, from Tel Shahab rural area, just a few hundred meters from the Jordanian border, to al-Nasib Border Crossing and Khirbet Awad village.

The forces have also been seen near Ramtha, a Jordanian city, located in the far northwest of the Arab country close to the Syrian border.

The media bureau of Syria's Joint Operation Command also released a number of aerial photos (shown below), taken by drones, which purportedly showed the presence of a large number of British Challenger tanks, UK's main battle tank (MBT), and American Cobra and Black Hawk helicopters.

The exact number of the ground troops is not known, but according to local reports, some 2,000 soldiers have been deployed along the border between Syria and Jordan.

Other reports said some 4,000 troops, trained in Jordan, are positioned in al-Tanf border area.

Syrian and Jordanian officials have not yet commented on the alleged deployment of the multinational military force.

Hussain Mortaza, the head of al-Alam bureau in Syria, said on Monday that Damascus and its allies were closely monitoring military activities of the US, UK and Jordan in the southern regions of Syria. He described the move as a multinational military exercise allegedly held to eliminate threats posed by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. He said, however, that the move was meant to prepare for attacks against the Syrian capital.

Mortaza said Daesh terrorists were not present in the area and the real mission of the multinational force, reportedly commanded from Jordan's Al Zarqa military base, was actually hidden under the cover of the so-called Daesh threat.

Back in March, an AP report revealed that Washington had spent to date more than $11.5 billion on its intervention in Syria, including the training and advising of local militants and foreign mercenaries, aimed at overthrowing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in alliance with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the Israeli regime.

It added that the White House was even considering expansion of its military presence in the Arab country.

The military action, coupled with American officials' change of tone over Assad's future, stirred speculation that the United States and its Western allies were ready to put boots on the ground in Syria.

The US has already sent several hundreds of its special operation forces to Syria under what it claims to be a training mission with Kurdish fighters. The US and its allies have also been carrying out airstrikes against purported Daesh positions in Syria since 2014, without permission from Damascus.

On April 12, US President Donald Trump, however, ruled out the possibility of deploying American troops to Syria to fight Assad, saying that curbing Daesh remained Washington's first priority.

On April 28, Kurdish activists reported that they had spotted a convoy of armored vehicles with US flags on a rural road in the village of Darbasiyah, a few hundred meters from the Turkish border in Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah.

The deployment pitches relatively inexperienced American soldiers into the middle of a highly toxic, multi-fronted battlefield that includes several foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists who are supported by allies of the US.

The West has also been pressuring Russia to withdraw its support for Syria. Both the UK and the US have proposed more sanctions against the Russian government in case the support continues.

Moscow launched its campaign against Daesh and other terror outfits in Syria upon the Damascus government's request. Russia's strikes have helped Syrian forces advance against foreign-backed militants operating in the Arab country since 2011, and played a deceive role in weakening ISIL terrorists.

The latest reports came three days after a deal on forming four de-escalation zones across eight of Syria's 14 provinces came into force.

The four zones are only safe for the so-called armed opposition factions and exclude the Takfiri terrorist groups of Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

The deal took effect at the stroke of midnight local time on Saturday. It came two days after Iran, Russia and Turkey signed an agreement during the fourth round of Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana. The co-sponsors have until June 4 to finalize the zones' exact borders.
 

14

 U.S. New "Plan B" for Syria: Military Escalation
 Anna Jaunger, Global Research 
May 11, 2017
 

 During the six-year Syrian conflict, the U.S. has repeatedly proved it will stop at nothing to achieve desired goals. Having realized the failure of its chemical weapons provocations, the current administration US began to develop and execute a new escalation plan for Syria.

According to the Pentagon, it isn't necessary to tarnish Syrian President, Bashar Assad, for the U.S.-led coalition's large-scale invasion to Syria. It is enough to make ISIS cross the Jordanian border. Such a scenario was discussed by Assad at the end of April this year.

This time Washington decided to rely on the Free Syrian Army (FSA), that began an offensive against ISIS in Syria's Daraa, located about 13 kilometers north of the border with Jordan, on May 9, 2017. Apparently, according to the coalition command, the FSA will force the Islamists to leave their positions and cross the Jordanian border.

In its turn, this could be an ideal pretext for the coalition's immediate ‘defense' of its ally. So, according to our sources, more than 400 units of US military equipment and more than 4,000 soldiers have already been deployed along the border between Syria and Jordan. This fact indicates the ongoing preparation for the operation.

In addition, Washington's intentions are also confirmed by annual military exercises known as Eager Lion that took place in Jordan, on May 7. According to Al-Jazeera, 20 countries, including the USA and Jordan, participated in the exercises. It should be mentioned that the organizers paid special attention to maneuvers which include border security, cyber-defense, and "command and control" exercises to bolster coordination in response to threats including "terrorism".

If the US-led international coalition's command manages to realize its plan, the numbers of the U.S. contingent in Syria will increase significantly.

Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, this will allow the international coalition to continue to violate justice and spread chaos across Syria in the future.

Official Damascus simply can't stand aside and must prevent the realization of the White House's aggressive plans.

Anna Jaunger is a freelance journalist at Inside Syria Media Center.

15

 Theresa May 'planning snap Commons vote' to bomb Assad forces in Syria 
 
 Emilio Casalicchio, PoliticsHome 
4th May 2017

 Theresa May is reportedly plotting to hold a Commons vote on expanding military action in Syria if she increases herámajority at the upcoming general election.

The Prime Minister wants MPs to give the go-ahead for bombing president Bashar al-AssadÆs forces alongside the US if Donald Trump decides to strike the dictator again.

According to reports she wants to be ready to join the fight if Assad launches another gas attack against his own people û something the Government is ô99.9%ö certain he did last month.

A Whitehall source told the Sun: ôAfter the election, we will have a clear majority and we will push it through.ö

The RAF is currently only bombing Islamic State targets in Syria. MPs voted in 2013 against taking military action against Assad.

President Trump launched a surprise strike on a Syrian airbase after the gas attack last month which killed more than 70 people and injured more than 500.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said it would be ôdifficult to say noö to Mr Trump if he called on Britain to take further action against AssadÆs forces.

Reports that Mrs May will seek a fresh Commons vote come after new military research found the gas used in the attack in Khan Shaykhunáin April was similar to the deadly nerve agent Sarin.

Meanwhile surveillance planes of remaining craters have concluded the attack was launched by air and only Syrian planes were airborne at the time.

And according to intelligence, two generals with links to previous attacks visited the airbase thought to have been used for the attack shortly before it was launched.

The Whitehall source added to the Sun: ôThe US attack destroyed 20 per cent of AssadÆs air force.

"It makes sense to destroy all of the aircraft. If you want to stop the use of chemical weapons you have to take out the aircraft.

"We are willing to join if asked but we would need a vote in parliament.ö

Last week Mr Johnson signalled that military action could be launched on AssadÆs forces without a vote in the Commons û but todayÆs reports appear to roll back from that stance.

Currently UK forces are only bombing Islamic State in Syria, after MPs voted to expand the action against the terror group at the end of 2015.

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