Archive | August 20th, 2012

Investigate the case of Ziyad Yaghi who is wrongfully imprisoned

NOVANEWS

Ziyad Yaghi is a 24 year old American citizen, from Jordan originally, residing in North Carolina whom has lived in the United States since the age of two. He has been accused of attempting to commit terrorism abroad by the United States government, in an indictment which appears to be based on an incorrect premise, namely that the US seek to infer that trips abroad were part of a terrorist conspiracy.

Ziyad visited Jordan in 2006, the country of his birth. Unfortunately the US Indictment appears to have misinterpreted this intention, and states instead that he was seeking armed conflict.

In 2007, the indictment alleges that he with others tried to engage in armed conflict in Israel, whereas both Ziyad and his friend Omar instead sought to visit the west bank and Masjid al-aqsa, one of Islams most famous and revered sites and one which holds particular appeal for Ziyad as he is from Palestinian heritage. The United States again seek to set a dangerous precedent in that if a Muslim wishes to visit the land of his ancestry, then this is viewed as suspect.

Now Ziyad has been covicted and is serving  31.5 years in solitary confinement on the basis of two holidays that he undertook a few years ago. The United States seem to draw conclusions and conspiracies when it is clear that this was just a young Muslim man who travelled as millions of young people do, seeking different cultures and experiences. It is discriminatory to assume that if a Muslim man engages in a trip to the Middle East that it is seditious conspiracy, yet if a non Muslim man were to do the same then it is soul-searching and adventure.

We also remind the United States of its obligations under the constitution, which state:-

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

(14th Amendment of the US Constitution, Section One)

We would also remind the United States of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article two, which states :-

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

We finally ask that the United States government cease the incarceration of this young man, and free him so that he may resume his life and be re-united with his family.

As a members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with records of standing up for constitutional rights, Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Al Franken must be made aware of and pressured to look into this case and mention it on the house floor. Please Join us!!

or write to

Senator Dick Durbin

WASHINGTON, D.C.

711 Hart Senate Bldg.

Washington, DC 20510

 

Senator Al Franken

Saint Paul Office 
60 East Plato Blvd
Suite 220
Saint Paul, MN 55107

for more information on this case, start here: http://www.united-humanity.com/free-ziyad-yaghi.html

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America on the road to Ryan and ruin

NOVANEWS

By Lawrence Davidson
Lawrence Davidson argues that a win for Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan in the upcoming US presidential election would most likely destroy what is left of the USA’s social safety nets, devastate the middle class, greatly increase the ranks of the poor and unemployed, do away with union rights and reserve prosperity for the upper class alone.

The good old bad days

In the 132 years between 1797 and 1929, there was no effective regulation of the US economy. No federal agencies existed to control corruption, fraud and exploitation by the business class. Even during the Civil War, economic management on a national level was minimal and war profiteering common. As a result, the country experienced 33 major economic downturns which impacted roughly 60 of the years in question. These included 22 recessions, four depressions and seven economic “panics” (bank runs and failures).

Then came the Great Depression, starting with the crash of the New York stock market in 1929. This soon became a worldwide affair which lasted until the onset of World War II. Millions were thrown out of work, agricultural production partially collapsed, and the fear of rebellion and revolution was palpable both in the US and Europe.

It is to be noted that the way capitalism worked over these 132 years was a function of ideology. This was (and still is) the so-called free market ideology which taught that if the government was kept as small as possible (basically, having responsibility for internal order, external defence and the enforcement of contracts), the citizenry would have to pay very low taxes and be left alone to pursue their own prosperity. Thus, as the ideology goes, everyone would be free to maximize their own wealth and in doing so also maximize the wealth of the community as a whole.

The Great Depression was a real moment of truth for the capitalist West because it suggested to the open-minded that the free market ideology was seriously flawed. Free market practices had brought the economic system to the brink of collapse, and Russia’s newly triumphant communists represented serious competition. So, the question that had to be answered was how best to modify the capitalist system so as to preserve the position of the ruling elite.

It was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who came up with an answer, at least for the United States. Through a series of economic and social experiments he crafted the New Deal and promoted the notion of the welfare state. It should be emphasized that this was not socialism. In essence, the New Deal was capitalism with safety nets and subsidies. It meant that some entrepreneurs in areas such as agriculture, defence actually got money from the government to produce their products. On the other end of the spectrum, government money was made available to keep the really poor people from starving and the unemployed solvent while they sought new employment. A national pension plan was devised in the form of social security, and bank deposits up to a certain amount were insured. In addition, new agencies were created to monitor business activities, particularly the stock market and the banks, to prevent the sort of activities that had brought on many of the economic downturns of the past. This was a major step away from the ideal of a wholly free market but most of the citizenry, with the Great Depression at their backs, understood the necessity of the New Deal. Of course, taxes would eventually have to go up to help pay for it all.

How quickly we forget

Essentially, Roosevelt and the New Deal saved capitalism from itself. Left to those, such as Herbert Hoover, who could not escape the paradigm of free market ideology, capitalism in the US may well have followed much of Europe in succumbing to the revolutionary movements of the right or the left.

Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, “is no less than the reincarnation of a free marketeer who wants to recreate the circumstances that brought us all 33 major economic downturns crowned by the Great Depression. How quickly people forget.”

It has been 67 years since the end of World War II and during that time there have been 11 recessions impacting only 10 years of that timespan. Most of these recessions have been mild affairs compared to the 33 that came before the onset of the Great Depression, and the welfare safety net has helped the hardest hit to survive. However, since the 1980s the US economy has become more unstable and some of the downturns more severe.

What of the steadfast adherents to the free market ideology? It would have been nice for the world if the Great Depression had put an end to them all – but that was not to be. For those who can understand things only with the help of rigid and all inclusive paradigms, ideology is what makes sense of an otherwise chaotic world. Ideology is also what defines good and evil for such minds. So, it stood to reason that many committed free marketeers would retreat into a temporary silence and wait for a time to reassert their beliefs.

It did not take long. In fact, counting from 1939 and the outbreak of the World War II (the event that finally marked the end of the Great Depression), it took only until 1980 or 41 years. That is two generations which is actually just about right. Unless purposefully passed on from one generation to the next, both skills and memories tend to dim and lose their meaning. So it has been with the memories of what unregulated capitalism cost the nation in the years before the New Deal.

Why did things change for the worse in 1980? That was the year Ronald Reagan, a B-grade actor and man of little intelligence, surrounded by neo-conservatives and free market ideologues, was elected president. Working within the context of generational forgetfulness, he set us all on a path toward deregulation and a resurgence of the free market ideology. It is to be noted that the country’s most recent recession (2007-09) has been the worst of the post war era and a direct result of prior deregulation.

We are still on that path and the living proof of this fact is that the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has just selected Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan is the chairman of the Budget Committee in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and author of a proposed federal budget that would slash social spending (and those safety nets) by some 3.3 trillion dollars, ditch Medicare and Medicaid, while simultaneously cutting taxes for the wealthy. Ryan is no less than the reincarnation of a free marketeer who wants to recreate the circumstances that brought us all 33 major economic downturns crowned by the Great Depression. How quickly people forget.

Social Darwinism as well

It was University of California Professor Robert Reich who recently explained what Paul Ryan in a position of real power would mean. “More than any other politician today, Paul Ryan exemplifies the Social Darwinism at the core of the today’s Republican Party.” And what is Social Darwinism? It is a belief in the necessity of a struggle for survival where only the “fittest” survive. Here is how William Graham Sumner, the 19th century’s leading American spokesman for this outlook, put it. “Civilization has a simple choice. It is either liberty, inequality, survival of the fittest or not liberty, equality, survival of the unfittest. The former carries society forward and favours all its best members; the latter carries society downwards and favours all its worst members.” This is may well be Paul Ryan’s version of the struggle between good and evil. By the way, liberty here is defined as the freedom of individuals to pursue wealth in an unfettered way.

Following this ideology, a Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan presidency would most likely increase the pace of deregulation and destroy what is left of the country’s safety nets. It would ultimately devastate the middle class, greatly increase the ranks of the poor and unemployed, do away with union rights, and reserve prosperity for the upper class alone. All of this will be done in the name of liberty. And, it will be guided by an ideological paradigm that has already been historically proven to be disastrous.

We can speculate about popular reaction to these policies as time goes on. There will probably be eventual protest in the streets. Those in power will respond with red-baiting tactics and repression against the protesting victims of their policies. Also, keep in mind that these ideologues will almost certainly bring us a new set of wars. And, as we already know, in wartime repression comes easier. If the electoral system works, those responsible should be cast out of office in four to eight years.

All in all, it is a pretty grim picture. It was George Santayana (1863 to 1952), a philosopher with both Spanish and American roots, who said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. We in the United States, so thoroughly attached to our local here and now, are certainly candidates for this fate.

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Zionist Ayalon Predicts Syria’s Fragmentation and for Lebanon to Suffer Same Fate

NOVANEWS

August 18, 2012 “Naharnet ” — Israeli deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon noted on Friday that the Arab world is passing through a phase that will restore it back to the way it was before World War I, reported Israel Radio.

He also predicted Syria’s fragmentation into provinces, adding that Lebanon will suffer the same fate in the future.

He ruled out the possibility of the emergence of an Arab alliance that would stand in opposition to Israel in the next 10 to 15 years.

After their internal instability, the Arab countries will realize the importance of cooperating with Israel, he added.

Syria has been witnessing anti-regime protests since March 2011.

The regime’s crackdown against protesters has left over 20,000 dead.

A high-ranking Israeli officer supported on Friday Ayalon’s statements, saying that there is a possibility of the formation of a Kurdish province in northern Syria.

There is evidence of this development, he said on condition of anonymity.

He predicted the formation of an Alawite district in the coastal region, which would include the cities of Tartous and Latakia.

Moreover, he said that a Sunni province would also be formed as would a Druze one in Jabal al-Druze.

The Tehran-Damascus-Hizbullah alliance will be affected by the developments in Syria as this is the weapons route and the Iranians are very concerned with the developments in Syria, added the Israeli officer.

He also noted that Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is passing through a tense period as demonstrated by the frequency of his speeches in recent weeks.

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Syria: Zio-NATO Rebels Warn they will turn to Al-Qaeda if West fails them

NOVANEWS

Zio-NATO Rebels in Syria

The US spy chief has admitted Al-Qaeda might be behind recent suicide bombings in Syria. While rebels threaten they will have to make an alliance with jihadists if they don’t see more help from the West.

The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, while testifying before the Senate Armed Services, has acknowledged that blasts in Syrian cities since last December “had all the earmarks of an Al-Qaeda-like attack”.

“We believe Al-Qaeda in Iraq is extending its reach into Syria,” Clapper told the Senate.

The Iraqi government confirmed ealier that Al Qaeda has been crossing from Iraq into Syria to carry out attacks on government forces.

At the beginning of the Syrian internal conflict the rebels relied primarily on small arms but over the months they have become increasingly more sophisticated in bomb-making.

Wednesday’s bombing in Damascus, meters from the UN mission headquarters, put the international jihadists into the media spotlight. Syrian rebels have openly admitted they were behind the attack, but the extensive use of explosives they have been using lately might point at more experienced jihadists from other countries, probably Iraq, where they mastered their terror tactics and bomb-making skills on civilians and US soldiers.

In the Free Syrian Army there are entire brigades that are being armed, paid and commanded by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an organization considered an Al Qaeda affiliate by the UN. The US State Department and the UK Home Office both regard it as a terrorist organization as well.

‘West pushes us to Al-Qaeda’

The Free Syrian Army insurgents stick to the demand that western support for them is insufficient. The rebels point out they have to deal with the regular Syrian army which has anything from mortars and tanks to fighter jets and assault helicopters at its disposal – and does not hesitate to use them.

So the rebels demand more arms and more western support. Theoretically, they might be satisfied with establishing a no-fly zone over Syria. That would enable them to repeat the Libyan scenario, where special forces from various countries were doing the job of ousting Muammar Gaddafi while local rebels were starring on western media as “true victors over an evil regime”.

But since the US leadership remains ponderous over how to introduce a no-fly zone over Syria as America is engrossed in the presidential campaign, the Syrian rebels’ feelings have been seriously hurt.

“We don’t want Al-Qaeda here, but if nobody else helps us, we will make an alliance with them,” suggests Abu Ammar, a rebel commander in the city of Aleppo.

“And you can bet if Al-Qaeda comes here, they will brainwash the people,” Ammar told AFP. “If Al-Qaeda enters Aleppo, the city will become their base within three months.”

While the West pretends to wage war on global terrorism, most politicians would not mind if the Syrian opposition united with al-Qaeda, believes Marcus Papadopoulos, a political analyst from online magazine Britain’s Politics First.

“If you know the history, you will see that the West and Islamic extremism, though they do not get on with each other, they certainly get into bed with each other when there is a common foe,” he told RT. “Though this won’t come as a surprise to Western politicians, as they are quite aware of it, it will of course come as a surprise to domestic audiences in the West who are largely being fed a story that the Assad government is this genocidal mass murdering machine and the opposition are innocent bystanders.”

Despite the obvious signs of international terrorist organizations battling the regime of President Bashar Assad, the Syrian government finds itself further isolated as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has suspended Syria’s membership. The move is supposed to send a ‘strong message’ to Damascus, which the group sees as the only culprit behind hostilities in Syria.

Another international body, the Arab League, expelled Syria from its ranks last year.

The Arab countries are showing a united front in dealing with the “apostate” Alawi regime in Syria, yet the money and arms they pump into Syrian rebels might end up in the hands of radical Islamist movements that appear to be working to steal the thunder in the Syrian conflict.

What many in the west fail to recognize is that Islamic terrorism is not necessarily a derogative term, it is a descriptive term to denote a guerrilla warfare tactic that justifies the use of terror and violence for achieving political goals.

The Syrian rebels are already starting to fear the political agenda of extreme jihadists that flock into their country. The aggressive tactics the intruders effectively use might soon give the Syrian rebels the choice of either joining foreign extremists in ousting the regime and building an Islamists state in Syria, or confronting them to build a “better Syria without Assad”. The example of a “better Libya without Gaddafi”, where tribal wars have become routine amid a drop in living standards, might be standing straight and tall in front of their eyes.

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Russia in the Middle East: Return of a Superpower?

The Bear Cavalry

By Eric Walberg

The world is living through a veritable slow-motion earthquake. If things go according to plan, the US obsession with Afghanistan and Iraq will soon be one of those ugly historical disfigurements that — at least for most Americans — will disappear into the memory hole.

Like Nixon and Vietnam, US President Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who “brought the troops home”. But one cannot help but notice the careful calibration of these moves to fit the US domestic political machine — the Iraqi move to show Americans that things on the international front are improving (just don’t mention Guantanamo), the Afghan move put off conveniently till President Barack Obama’s second term, when he doesn’t need to worry about the fallout electorally if things unravel (which they surely will).

Of course, Russia lost big time geopolitically when the US invaded Afghanistan, and thus gains as regional geopolitical hegemon by the withdrawal of US troops from Central Asia. Just look at any map. But American tentacles will remain: Central Asia has no real alternative economically or politically anymore to the neoliberal global economy, as Russia no longer claims to represent a socialist alternative to imperialism. The departure of US troops and planes from remote Kyrgyzstan will not be missed — except for the hole it leaves in the already penurious Kyrgyz government’s budget and foreign currency reserves. Russia is a far weaker entity than the Soviet Union, both economically and politically. Thus, Russia’s gain from US weakness is not great.

Besides, both Russia and the US support the current Afghan government against the Taliban — as does Iran. In fact, in case US state department and pentagon officials haven’t noticed the obvious, the main beneficiary of the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq has been Iran, again by definition. The invasion brought to power the ethnic Persian Tajiks in Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq set up a Shia-dominated government there.

Similarly, when the US invaded Iraq, Russia lost politically and economically. The US cancelled Saddam Hussein’s state debts, which hurt the Russians and Europeans but not the US. The US just happened to be boycotting Iraq for the previous decade and took pleasure from shafting its sometime allies for ignoring US wishes. However, once Iraqi politicians begin to reassert some control over their foreign policy, Russia will be seen as a much more sympathetic partner internationally.

Ironically, on many fronts, Iran now holds the key to readjusting the political playing field and establishing rules that can lead away from the deadly game being played by the US, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, with broader implications for broader nuclear disarmament, EU-US relations, but above all, for the continued role of the dollar as world reserve currency. This encourages Russia to maintain its alliance with Iran over vague (and empty) promises of US-Russian world hegemony as envisioned by the now-discredited Medvedev Atlantists in Moscow.

Russia’s relations with both Central Asia and the Middle East since the collapse of the Soviet Union have been low key. In the Middle East, it maintains relations with Palestine’s Hamas, and, as a member of the so-called quartet of Middle East negotiators (along with the EU, the US and the UN), insists that Israel freeze expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories as a condition of further talks. It appears to be trying to regain some of the goodwill that existed between the Soviet Union and Arab states, supporting the UN Goldstone Report which accused Israel of war crimes in its 2008 invasion of Gaza.

It embarked on a diplomatic offensive with Arab states in 2008, offering Syria and Egypt nuclear power stations, and is re-establishing a military presence in the Mediterranean at the Syrian port, Tartus, though Syria’s current civil war, with Russia and Iran lined up against the West and the Arab states could leave Russia on the losing side. Western attempts to portray Russia as the power-hungry bad guy in Syria do not hold water. Russia is concerned about heightened civil war in an evenly divided population, with rebel groups openly armed by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s Arab and Western foes. The hypocrisy in the Arab world is appalling: Gulf monarchies and Saudi Arabia loudly demand that Egypt’s new government swear off any attempt to “interfere” in their internal politics, but brazenly arm Syrian rebels.

Russia is still struggling to leave its own tragic civil war in Chechnya behind, and to make sure there’s a place at the table for its Muslims. With its 16 million Muslims (about 12 per cent of the population), it has expressed interest in joining the Organization of Islamic Conference. Its unwillingness to let Syria slide into civil war does not gain it any brownie points among its own separatist Muslims in the Caucasus and elsewhere, but it is not willing to carve up either Syria or the Russian federation in the interests of some fleeting peace.

The importance of Jewish financial and economic interests in post-Soviet Russia — both the banking and industrial oligarchs and the Kosher Nostra mafia — ensures that Israel gets a sympathetic hearing from Russian leaders. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is a Russian Jew who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1978.

Israel is also able to take advantage of the persistence of Muslim unrest and dreams of independence in the Caucasus within Russia to prevent Moscow from taking any strong position to pressure Israel. Russia’s prickly neighbor Georgia harbors Chechen rebels and Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, uses Israeli and US military advisers. Of course, the US benefits from Israeli pressures on Russia. This is a key feature of the current Great Game, where the US and Israel act as the new imperial “centre”.

It is popular to call this era a new Cold War. However, history never repeats itself. There certainly is a new tension in world politics following 9/11, and the failure of the newly aggressive US to successfully assert its hegemony around the world, including Russia, keeps the fires of chauvinism hot in the US. On the US right, Russia is seen merely as the Soviet Union reborn, a ruse to hide the KGB’s agenda of world communist control. For the saner Obamites, it is a more diffused Cold War, dominated by a new US-Israeli imperial centre, the “empire-and-a-half”, with shifting alliances of convenience, though with a strong, new opposition player on the horizon — a savvier, more articulate Islamic world, with Iran, Turkey and Egypt in the first rank.

The desire by both the US and Israel to overthrow the Iranian government is now the only common goal left in this “empire-and-a-half”, but it is a common goal only because Israel is in the driver’s seat. Israel resents Iran as an existential threat not to Israel itself, but to Greater Israel and regional domination. Iran serves as a powerful example, a third way for Muslim countries, and is most definitely a rival to Israel as Middle East hegemon.

Among the new Arab Spring governments, it is only Egypt’s that worries Israel. Just imagine if Egypt and Iran start to cooperate. Add in Shia-dominated Iraq, Turkey and Russia, as Russia has good relations with all four, and common objects on the international scene. Suddenly the Middle East playing field takes on a totally different appearance.

A rational US policy to join with Russia and China to accommodate Iran could save the teetering dollar, or at least give the US a chance to prepare for an orderly transition to a new international currency. If Russia, China and Iran defuse the current nuclear crisis between the US and Iran peacefully, with a nod to Turkey and a resolve to make Israel join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, this could pave the way for a new Eurasian playing field. If, and when, the US withdraws from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will be drawn in as well.

This would set off a chain of events that could change the whole nature of the current Great Game leading to a Russia-India-Iran-China axis (Russia-India-China summits have already been held yearly since 2001), leaving Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Israel to sort out their regional conflicts outside of a new, very different great game. US interests would be considered but without US diktat, forcing, or rather allowing the US to put its own house in order. Iran would finally be accepted as the legitimate regional player that it is. If the US cannot bring itself to make a graceful exit from its self-imposed crisis in the region, this will only accelerate its decline.

Russia inherits fond memories across the Middle East region as the anti-Zionist Soviet Union’s successor. It now has the chance to gain long term credibility as a principled partner not only in the Middle East but to non-aligned countries everywhere, and should hold the fort, the anti-imperial one, against what’s left of empire.

Eric Walberg is a journalist who worked in Uzbekistan and is now writing for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo.

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The Politics of Three – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, IsraHell

NOVANEWS

By: Paul W. Rasche

The Politics of Three – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel 

The Bush Administration is engaged in one of the most delicate political balancing acts of any American Administration in history, in assembling the coalition against terrorism. In particular, three vital members of their coalition—Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Israel—each are simultaneously pursuing their own political agendas, agendas which have the potential to not only shatter the anti-terror effort, but to detonate a larger international series of conflicts and chaos.

Here we examine the nature of these three political agendas, in each case, through looking at the specific money flows in each country which tie into Al Qaida’s agenda. Among other things, it involves control over 70% of world heroin supply, a major share of world illegal diamond traffic, as well as billions of dollars in illegal Hawala banking flows from wealthy Gulf Arabs.

In the case of Pakistan, the principal problem confronting the government of General Pervez Musharraf is not so much the Taliban, or even the domestic threat from pro-Taliban Islamic extremists in Pakistan. This threat to date, Musharraf has rather successfully contained, as it represents at best perhaps only a 10-15% minority of Pakistan’s population. Far the larger threat facing Musharraf is that coming from his own military and military intelligence services, specifically from the elite layers of the Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI military intelligence. The nature of this threat, however, is poorly understood outside Pakistan.

The narco-dollar flows

A significant shift in the politics of Central Asian drug flows took place in the early 1980’s when the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran banned the cultivation of poppy and the production of drugs. This coincided in the beginning of the 1980’s with the Soviet troop entry into Afghanistan. The combined effect was to force the Iranian drug barons to shift their capital and infrastructure to the Helmand Province in southwest Afghanistan between Kandahar and Nimruz provinces. At the same time, with a blind eye from US intelligence, the “anti-Soviet” Mujahideen was permitted to traffic in drugs to raise cash to buy more arms. The Pakistani ISI played the lead role in this aspect at the time. Pushtu-speaking tribes on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan were encouraged in this heroin and opium traffic to supply the Mujahideen “freedom fighters.”

The Soviet troop presence in Afghanistan closed the traditional export route through the USSR into Europe for the heroin. Iran as well was closed. This left South Asian routes to be developed from the Afghan-Pakistan border region, south, through India, Nepal and Sri Lanka and out to Western markets.

Inside Pakistan, the vast bulk of illegal opium is cultivated in the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan near Quetta, bordering Afghanistan’s Pushtun-inhabited southern border. Together, Afghanistan and Pakistan today are responsible for an estimated 70% of world illicit opium production. The border between the two opium regions is more or less trans-national or non-existant, as the drug traffic defines political boundaries since the advent of Taliban control in 1997.

Not coincidentally, this is precisely the area which is the base of Taliban strength as well as the location of the many radical Islamist madrassas or seminaries, along the Pakistani border, supplying young fanatics to the Taliban. The heroin goes from Quetta or Hyderabad to Lahore and either directly on to the West or to Bombay or Delhi. India serves only as a major transit state for far more lucrative markets in Europe and especially in the United States for processed heroin.

In effect, over the past years, even before the takeover of large parts of Afghanistan by Taliban forces, a Pakistan-Afghan borderless drug state, a narco-state, was coming into being. Notable in this regard is a statement by former Pakistani Army Chief, General Aslam Beg, in 1989 in a Pakistani newspaper, that “Afghanistan and Pakistan were two countries but one people, and any future war will be our war, which gives the Pakistani Army added capability.” At the time he referred to the Pakistani-trained Mujahideen forces, which later surfaced as the Pakistani-trained Taliban.

The same General Aslam Beg, together with ISI Chief, General Asad Durrani, sought approval in 1991, from then-new Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, for their “detailed blue-print to sell heroin to pay for covert military operations.” In a 1994 interview, Sharif told the Washington Post, “Both General Beg and General Durrani insisted that Pakistani’s name would not be cited because the whole operation would be arrived at by trustworthy third parties.”

The veracity of Sharif is not the highest, as he had cultivated his own specific ties to drug clans. However, evidence suggests his implication of the Chief of Staff, General Beg, and Durrani of the ISI was accurate. Notably, it was Nawaz Sharif who in 1998 greatly expanded the role of illegal Hawala money operations in the Pakistani economy. Sharif had earlier been a key figure in the now-defunct Pakistani-Gulf “Islamic bank,” BCCI. BCCI was set up in the 1970’s by ISI, in order to launder the heroin proceeds to finance Pakistan foreign military ventures. It used the growing network of Pakistanis which were, as a matter of state policy, being sent by the thoudands to oil-rich Gulf states as guest workers, as civil servants, as economists, as police, and as military. Through such links, BCCI was able to enlist the Emir of Abu Dhabi and top Saudis to the board of BCCI.

Once the Bank of England blew the whistle on BCCI money laundering fraud in 1989, Pakistan faced a significant money laundering problem. In 1998, Sharif, on the pretext of stabilizing the currency, froze all Pakistan bank foreign currency accounts. This stopped the huge volumes of money transfers through normal banks from Pakistanis in the Gulf to Pakistan. Curiously, Sharif conspicuously omitted the role of Hawala cash exchanges. Before the May 1998 freeze of bank transfer accounts, Hawala accounted for some 60% of Gulf foreign transfers back to Pakistan. After the freeze on bank transfers by Sharif’s government, Hawala rose to an estimated 95% of all foreign transfers. This in large part more than made up for the loss of BCCI and made the drug capital flows impossible to monitor. Interestingly, in 1975 Indira Ghandi’s government imposed a state of emergency and jailed major Hawala money changers and froze their accounts, all but shutting Hawala out of the Indian economy. This Pakistani Hawala infrastructure is not only vital to the laundering of the huge Pakistan-Afghan heroin profits overseen by ISI. It is as well, the major source of finance for the Al Qaeda and other Jihad organizations.

A Pakistani journalist reports that in 1994 General Zia al-Haq ordered heroin be sold by representatives of the Army, and that a share of the proceeds go to the government “for security purposes.” General Aslan Beg, by then retired, gave an interview in 1998 in the journal, Muslim of Islamabad, in which he urged the Sharif government to use the Islamist “Jihad groups” to regain Kashmir, and to reject American proposals for status quo on Kashmir. He declared, “What is vital is that war be made too expensive for India…The Pakistani armed forces, if given the mission, are in a position to create such an impact.” As recently as October, 2001, General Aslam Beg went on record warning President Musharraf against allowing US forces to use bases in Pakistan to wage action against Afghanistan.

In June, 2000, under a mandate from the Musharraf government, the Pakistani National Accountability Bureau, headed by General Husain Syed, issued a report on very wealthy Pakistanis. It listed General (ret) Aslam Beg as a “dollar billionaire,” impressive for a career military man. The General has had more than his share from the lucrative ISI heroin trade by all indications.

The Pakistani clans who run the heroin traffic, using the trucking mafia as transport, include the Jaduns, Yusufzais, Khattaks and Afridis. Each clan in turn have intimate links to key generals in the ISI, and the Pakistani Army. Army trucks are used to transport the heroin across borders where they are not checked. Pakistan Air Force planes smuggle the heroin outside the country. In 1997 the US DEA arrested a Pakistani Air Force Squadron leader carrying 2 kg of heroin on a flight to pick up F-16 spare parts. The Army in short, insures safe passage for the drug clans. In fact, while it is denied, the ISI is an integral part of the Pakistani Ministry of Defense, not a separate fly-alone entity. It is always headed by an Army Lt. General and is controlled de facto, by the Army Chief of Staff.

Already in 1974, Pakistan’s effort to get a nuclear bomb capability was entrusted to the ISI, in a clandestine division for technology procurement, funded then by Saudi and Libyan funds and in part by heroin proceeds. According to a detailed study of the organization and history of ISI prepared by the Indian think-tank, South Asia Analysis Group, within the ISI, the Joint Intelligence North (JIN) is responsible for the proxy war in Kashmir and Jammu, as well as control of Afghanistan through Taliban. JIN controls the Army of Islam which consists of Al Qaeda, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and others. This division of ISI also controls all opium cultivation and heroin refining and smuggling from Pakistani and Afghanistani territory on behalf of the Army according to the institute.

The difficulty at this point, even assuming the strongest will and honest intent on the part of General Musharraf to extricate Pakistan from the grip of its own drug-terror or narco-terror corruption of state institutions over the past 20 or so years, is the pervasive extent of drug cash flows in dominating a de facto bankrupt Pakistani economy. The tribal drug warlords have used heroin cash to purchase arms themselves, such that the tribes in the heroin region of the Northwest have stated, “The government cannot stop us growing poppy. We are one force, and united, and if they come with their planes, we will shoot them down.”

In this context, the swift move by General Musharraf in early October to remove three top Army commanders tied to the Taliban indicates the fragility of Musharraf’s position. He removed General Mehmood Ahmad as head of ISI and replaced him with Lt. General Ehsanul Haq, who since May had been commander of the critical Peshawar 11 Corps. Peshawar is the primary support and logistic base for Taliban, and assuming Haq shares Musharraf’s decision to dismantle the Taliban project, could play a decisive role in assisting the US-led alliance. This is not yet clear. He also replaced Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. General Usmani, an Islamist fanatic, and “kicked upstairs” General Aziz Kahn, known as “the Islamic soldier” to a ceremonial post. General Aziz is a protege of General Zia ul-Haq and shares Zia’s vision of a pan-Islamic state including Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics.

The Pakistani Army, using the ISI as the interface, has built a structure of Islamist terrorism, weapons and drugs traffic to further their geopolitical goals. The prime initial focus was India. To weaken India’s potential strength and national will, so argued the Pakistani Army faction behind the heroin and irregular warfare strategy, the ISI would covertly promote illegal arms traffic into target areas such as Jammu, Kashmir, Punjab, Assam. It would patronize the drug syndicates to insure a flow of heroin into the target areas created further social disruption, and ISI would develop hard links to the underworld mafias, push counterfeit currency and finance all secretly and untraceably via Hawala informal banking. Since, it has expanded to creation of a Pakistan-centered Central Asian sphere of Islamist influence which in many respects has already gotten well beyond the ability of the ISI to control.

The situation remains extremely precarious in terms of the US-led coalition’s ability to depend on Musharraf for the reasons indicated above.

The Saudi succession fight

Just across the Gulf of Oman from Pakistan lie the oil-rich Gulf Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The links between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia go back to the early 1970’s when Ali Bhutto’s government encouraged major migration of Pakistani labor and bureaucrats to the Saudi Kingdom. The aim was to cement ties between the oil-rich Saudis and the populous, but dirt poor Pakistan. This Saudi link, as well as between Pakistan and Abu Dhabi and other Gulf oil Emirates, assumes new interest in the context of September 11 and after.

The modern-day form of Hawala banking emerged during the 1970’s between especially Pakistan and the Gulf oil countries, especially Saudi Arabia, as noted elsewhere. The German Finance Ministry estimates that the global annual volume of Hawala cash transfers today is some $200 billions.

The role of Saudi Arabian wealthy families in secret funding of Al Qaida and other Islamist terror organizations has to date been kept deliberately in the background by Washington, largely out of sensitivity to the precarious internal situation in Saudi Arabia itself. King Fahd is near death, and his designated successor, Crown Prince Abdullah, is known to be more actively hostile to American foreign policy, and more sympathetic to militant Wahabite clerical Sunni currents in the Islamic world. In the succession process now underway, the crucial question is whether moderate voices within the Royal family will be given significant policy posts or not. Washington knows well that a head-on clash with the Saudi Royal House at present would serve the interests only of the radical faction inside the Royal family.

A major strategic goal of the Al Qaida terror attacks including inside Saudi Arabia itself in recent years has been to escalate the pressure on the “Western corrupt” elements of the Saudi Royal house, with the aim of replacing them with fanatical feudalist Wahabite elements, a kind of Talibanization of the Saudi Kingdom.

The internal Saudi situation is complicated by the fact that many very wealthy Saudi families financially support the Al Qaida effort, as part of a strategy of purging the Saudi Kingdom of infidelism and Western corruption. In many cases these influential Saudis reach into the extended Royal family, including the murky figure of recently-fired Saudi intelligence chief, Turki al-Faisal, son of the late King Faisal.

In this regard, an extremely important step in the international effort to cut off the financial tentacles of the Islamist terror apparatus took place on November 7. That day a coordinated governmental shutdown of Hawala operations from Boston to Lugano Switzerland to Vaduz Lichtenstein to Bahamas took place, led by the US Treasury and FBI. The targets were two groups of international Hawala banks—Al-Barakaat of Mogadishu Somalia and Dubai; and Al Taqwa Trade, Property and Industry of Vaduz, and its Bank Al Taqwa Ltd. of the Bahamas, and Al Taqwa Bank of Lugano Switzerland. Significant to note, in the days immediately after September 11, when investigation focussed on a series of suspicious short trades in the stocks of key airlines and insurance companies such as Swiss Re, certain to be negatively impacted by the World Trade Center attack, Swiss prosecutors investigated the likely role of the Lugano Al Taqwa Bank, using a stock brokerage in Milan.

The president of the Al Taqwa Bank Group is Youssef Mustapha Nada, naturalized Italian, and a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaa al-Islamiya, which is directly allied with Al Qaeda through Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, said by some intelligence sources to be the brains behind bin Laden. When the Bahamas closed Al Taqwa Bank Ltd. early this year, Swiss authorities required a name change in Al Taqwa Bank, which then became registered in Switzerland as Nada Management Organization SA. It is the same Al Taqwa Bank.

In 1970, Youssef Nada moved to Saudi Arabia and, with help from the Muslim Brotherhood, established contact with members of the Saudi Royal family, and founded a construction company in Riyadh, much the same as the bin Laden family. He remained active in Riyadh, and soon founded the first Islamic bank in Egypt, the Faisal Bank.

The Faisal Islamic Bank of Saudi Arabia is the head bank of a number of affiliated Islamic banks under the name across the Islamic world from Egypt to Pakistan to the Emirates and Malaysia. The head of Faisal Islamic Bank of Saudi Arabia is former Saudi intelligence chief, Turki al-Faisal. Faisal Islamic Bank is directly involved in running accounts for bin Laden and his associates, and has been named by Luxembourg banking authorities in this regard.

In Sudan, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida have been named as principals in the Shamal Islamic Bank of Khartoum, which has been used to funnel large sums to Al Qaida operatives. The Sudan National Islamic Front of Hassan al-Turabi founded the al Shamal Bank in the 1990’s. The bank transferred the funds for the US Embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998 according to trial testimony in New York. A 15% share in al Shamal is held by wealthy Saudi financier, Saleh Abdullah Kamel of the Dallah al Baraka Group, which owns the Jeddah al Baraka Bank. The other non-Sudanese shareholder of the Khartoum al Shamal Bank is Faisal Islamic Bank. Russian FSB intelligence has charged that al Baraka Bank was used by a Saudi religious charity, Al-Haramain, to funnel funds to Islamic terrorists tied to Al Qaida in Chechnya.

Turki al-Faisal himself maintained ongoing ties with bin Laden even after the latter fled Saudi Arabia in the mid-1990’s after imprisonment by order of the King. It was Turki al-Faisal also who persuaded King Fahd to grant diplomatic recognition to the Taliban.

The role of Saudi Islamic charities in funneling funds, usually via Hawala transfers, is also significant. In 1992 the International Islamic Relief Organization was created under the Muslim World League in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, an organization officially backed by the Saudi government. The head of International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) is Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden. IIRO has been documented financing Islamist terror insurgencies from the Philippines to South Asia. Funds are collected from wealthy Saudi families seeking to promote the “cleansing” of Islam through Wahabite fundamentalist upheavals.

The presence of significant Saudi financial support for the campaign of Osama bin Laden is a major complication for the United States anti-terror effort, given Saudi Arabia’s strategic importance as the world’s largest oil reserve nation and its major producer. The Saudi government is walking a fine tightrope as is Washington on this.

Israel, diamonds and Al Qaida

Washington’s third complicating ally in the fragile anti-terror coalition, even if they have been bluntly told to take a back seat by Washington, is Sharon’s Israel. Immediately after September 11, Israeli intelligence began furiously lobbying Washington to convince her that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had perpretrated the attacks. Later when anthrax began appearing in US mails, Israel renewed efforts to convince Washington Iraq was behind that. Sharon’s provocative military aggression into Palestinian territory since September 11 have only reinforced the private view within the Washington Administration that Sharon’s Israel is an “unreliable ally.” Publicly, of course, this will not be said. Pro-Israel voices in the Administration, most notably Paul Wolfowitz at Defense, have been bluntly told by Vice President Cheney to “shut up” about Iraq, and cease making other provocative statements which threaten to break apart the fragile Arab side of the coalition.

Interesting in this context is evidence of direct collusion between Al Qaida networks and Israeli intelligence in, of all places, West Africa.

Since at least 1998, Al Qaida operatives have made millions of dollars in buying and reselling “blood diamonds” from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) Islamist terror organization in Sierra Leone, through the agency of the brutal Charles Taylor dictatorship in neighboring Liberia. The FBI has identified Ibrahim Bah, former Senegalese rebel, as the RUF’s principal diamond dealer with Al Qaida, as well as Hezbollah. Bah spent several years with bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980’s Mujahideen fight, later joining the Hezbollah. Bah trained Charles Taylor of Liberia and RUF head, Foday Sankoh, in the 1980’s.

The UN estimates annually some $75 million of Sierra Leone blood diamonds are illegally sold to the world market. Today it is likely in excess of $100 million. RUF gets about 10% of the market value of the diamonds in return for arms, food and medicine. Liberia’s Taylor gets a hefty commission.

In 1998 Al Qaida’s Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah went to Liberia to set up the arrangement with Bah and the RUF, for Al Qaida to buy the illegal Sierra Leone diamonds on a regular basis. The Bah network goes directly to Antwerp Belgium, the world’s largest diamond center.

The entire diamond operation depends on the complicity of Israeli diamond interests and of the Israeli intelligence and mafia organizations, which dominate world diamond trade.

The key figure in the entire operation interfacing Al Qaida, Sierra Leone’s RUF and Taylor’s Libya is retired Israeli army Lt. Colonel, Yair Klein. According to a report in the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth, in 1996, Klein began a contract to provide weapons and training in Taylor’s Liberia and to the RUF in Sierra Leone which controls the wealthy diamond district. Klein, ostensibly retired and a so-called rogue intelligence free agent, enjoys highest-level protection from Israeli authorities. In the early 1990’s, he trained the paramilitary forces of the Colombian drug cartels in assassination, bombings and other covert operations. Israeli intelligence uses drugs to finance illegal operations around the world, much as does the Pakistani ISI.

Since at least 1987 Israeli interests have sought to take control over the rich Sierre Leone diamonds, and link to organized crime families in Antwerp, as well as Russia, and the New York diamond mafia.

Antwerp Belgium, where most of the rough Sierra Leone diamonds are sent, is notorious in recent years as a cesspool of international organized crime. A recent UN report criticizes Antwerp’s Diamond High Council for corruption and failure to monitor diamond sources. Sierra Leone and other “blood diamonds” from civil war regions are officially banned by UN resolution.

Over the past decade, Israel has set out to dominate world diamond trade, and to displace the more moderate De Beers CSO diamond monopoly of London and South Africa. As the bloody war in Sierra Leone, Congo and other African hot spots escalated in recent years, De Beers pulled out, leaving a vacuum which Israeli diamond operators have largely filled. The most aggressive is Lev Leviev, a Uzbeki-born Israeli billionaire who owns Africa-Israel Investments, one of Israel’s largest companies. Africa-Israel owns diamond concessions in Namibia, Sierra Leone, Congo and other key African sites. Another major Israeli player in the West African diamond trade is Israel Diamond Industries of Dan Gertler, nephew of Shmuel Schnitzer, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange. In 1999 diamonds were Israel’s second largest export earner, at $5.3 billion.

Strategically, Al Qaida diamond trade would be impossible without Israeli intelligence complicity, therefore. For the Sharon government, the de facto financial support of Al Qaida terror around the world, as well as Hezbollah serves Sharon’s long-term strategy of detonating a clash of civilizations between the West and all Islam, in which Israel would be able to launch all-out war against key Arab targets with impunity. A moderate, peace-seeking PLO is an obstacle to such a radical strategy as Sharon backs. Only a shift in favor of Hamas/Hezbollah/Al Qaida terror forces could justify the kind of aggression Sharon envisions. The diamonds are a contrete part of this high-danger strategy from Israel. Who was it who said, ‘politics makes strange bedfellows’?

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Mossad Linked To WTC Bomb Suspect

NOVANEWS

by Robert I. Friedman
The Village Voice

Ahmad Ajaj, a 27-year-old West Bank Palestinian being held in federal custody for conspiring to bomb the World Trade Center, may have been a Mossad mole, according to Israeli intelligence sources.

Ajaj was arrested at Kennedy Airport on September 1, 1992, after he arrived on a Pakistani International flight from Peshawar carrying a forged Swedish passport and bomb-making manuals. He was taken into custody, and subsequently pleaded guilty to entering the country illegally. Ajaj’s traveling companion was Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, an Iraqi who law enforcement sources say is a “key player” in the World Trade Center bombing. Yousef, currently a fugitive, is believed to be in Iraq. The State Department last week offered a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture.

The FBI has identified Ajaj as a senior intifada activist in the occupied territories, having close ties to both El Fatah, a constituent group of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization. According to federal sources and the Israeli National Police, the Israeli military expelled Ajaj to Jordan in April 1991 for conspiring to smuggle weapons to El Fatah on the West Bank. Ajaj claims in court papers that after his arrest he was tortured by Israeli soldiers who burned his body with lit cigarette butts.

But according to Kol Ha’ir, a highly regarded Hebrew-language weekly in Jerusalem, Ajaj was never involved in intifada activities, or with the PLO, or Hamas. Citing court papers and other sources, Kol Ha’ir says that far from being a political activist, Ajaj was actually a small-time crook who was arrested in 1988 for counterfeiting U.S. dollars. Ajaj and two other members of his counterfeiting ring ran a printing press in an Arab cemetery outside East Jerusalem, housing their equipment in the same building where religious Muslims wash corpses before burial. When Israeli police raided the cemetery, they arrested Ajaj, who was holding some $100,000 of bogus U.S. currency. Another gang member was carrying an antiquated pistol.

Ajaj was convicted for counterfeiting and sentenced to two-and-one-half years. It was during his prison stay that Mossad, Israeli’s CIA, apparently recruited him, say Israeli intelligence sources. By the time he was released after having served just one year, he had seemingly undergone a radical transformation. The common crook had become a devout Muslim and hard-line nationalist. Soon after, he was arrested for smuggling weapons into the West Bank, allegedly for El Fatah.

But Israeli intelligence sources say that the arrest for weapons smuggling, and Ajaj’s subsequent torture and deportation, were staged by Mossad to establish his credentials as an intifada activist. Mossad allegedly “tasked” Ajaj to infiltrate radical Palestinian groups operating outside Israel and to report back to Tel Aviv. Israeli intelligence sources say that it is not unusual for Mossad to recruit from the ranks of common criminals.

Although Israel says Ajaj was expelled to Jordan in April 1991 as a security risk, Peter Lems, an official for the Palestine Human Rights Center, based in East Jerusalem, told the Voice that Ajaj’s name does not appear on any known list of Palestinian deportees. Whatever the case, soon after Ajaj left Israel, he traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he reportedly fought with the mujahedin, the Muslim fundamentalist rebels in Afghanistan. He later showed up in New York, where he allegedly befriended members of the radical Muslim clique surrounding Sheikh Abdel-Rahman.

On February 26, the day the World Trade Center was bombed, Ajaj was in a federal prison in upstate New York serving a six-month sentence for having entered the country on a forged passport. The following month, he was indicted for conspiring to bomb the World Trade Center.

Ajaj’s court-appointed attorney, Austin Campriello, says his client “has nothing to do with any of the [suspects] in this case.” Responding to allegations that Ajaj is linked to Israeli intelligence, Campriello told the Voice, “I have absolutely no reason to believe it’s true.” FBI spokesperson Joe Valiquette says, “I have no idea if it’s true. I’ve never heard it.”

If Ajaj was recruited by Mossad, it is not known whether he continued to work for the Israeli spy agency after he was deported. One possibility, of course, is that upon leaving Israel and meeting radical Muslims close to the blind Egyptian sheikh, his loyalties shifted.

Another scenario is that he had advance knowledge of the World Trade Center bombing, which he shared with Mossad, and that Mossad, for whatever reason, kept the secret to itself. If true, U.S. intelligence sources speculate that Mossad might have decided to keep the information closely guarded so as not to compromise its undercover agent.

© Copyright 2001 Village Voice

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By Way of Deception?

NOVANEWS

[“By way of deception shall you Conquer.” — Mossad’s motto

Victor Ostrovsky was a career Mossad agent. He left Israel’s secret police agency and returned to his native Canada, where he wrote his best-selling book _By Way of Deception_. He is the only Mossad agent to leave the agency, discuss its covert activities, and survive for more than one year.

“Mossad” means “by way of deception” in Hebrew. – C.M.]

 

[From _The Village Voice_, April 6, 1993]

BY WAY OF DECEPTION?

By Robert I. Friedman
Renegade Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky told the Voice that Israeli intelligence may have been behind the World Trade Center bombing. Mossad had motive and opportunity, says Ostrovsky, whose book about his spy days caused a furor in Israel as it climbed the best-seller charts in Europe and America. Ostrovsky admits he doesn’t have “a shred of evidence” to support his theory, which in my view is extremely dubious.

But consider: Prime Minister Yizthak Rabin summarily expels to a snow- covered mountain in Lebanon some 400 Palestinians suspected of aiding and abetting Hamas, a fundamentalist group in the occupied territories that killed six Israeli soldiers in November. The expulsion was “a big PR mistake,” says Ostrovsky, noting that the international media and most foreign governments severely criticized Israel.

Meanwhile, the intifada had taken a new deadly turn. Spurred by the expulsion, Palestinian fundamentalists killed 12 Israelis this month, the highest single-month casualty figure since December 1987, when the intifada started. Desperate to crack down on the Palestinians in the territories, and draw media attention away from 400 freezing Palestinian deportees, Rabin needed a plan to discredit Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular so that Israel would emerge in the media as a hero.

Mossad, says Ostrovsky, then concocted a devious scheme. First Israeli intelligence leaks to Judy Miller of The New York Times that Hamas is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, and is sending instructions to the territories via fax and courier. The Times publishes the account on the front page, using as a news hook the fact that Israel had just arrested three Arab Americans from Chicago who were in the territories organizing Hamas terror cells. Following the Times story, the ADL and other Jewish institutions start carping about Palestinian Islamic terror cells operating in America.

Having prepared public opinion and having already infiltrated the radical mosques in New Jersey and Brooklyn where Abdel Rahman preached and disciples like El Sayyid Nosair prayed, Mossad, says Ostrovsky, almost certainly recruited a close associate of the rabble-rousing Egyptian blind man. The insider is recruited In what Ostrovsky calls a “false flag operation.” The Arab “thinks he is being recruited by an Iranian agent or a Libyan,” says Ostrovsky. He never suspects he is actually being “run” by Mossad.

The Mossad “handler” then masterminds the world Trade Center bombing. But the bomb, says Ostrovsky, is never meant to detonate. Mossad is supposed to call the CIA in the nick of time, becoming instant heroes. “I can just see the experts sitting on television saying the tower would not sustain the brunt of this one-ton truck bomb.” The bomb may have exploded prematurely, Ostrovsky explains.

Ostrovsky points out correctly that in the past the Mossad has effectively used this modus operandi. In the early 1950s, Mossad recruited agents to bomb American buildings in Cairo, hoping to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Gamel Abdul Nasser. When the facts became known in Israel, the scandal brought down the government. According to Ostrovsky, in 1984 Mossad detonated bombs outside of the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city, claiming credit in the name of an unknown radical Saudi resistance group. Ostrovsky, a member of Mossad at the time, says the purpose was to weaken U.S./Saudi relations by showing’ the U.S. that the regime was fragile and about to fall.

But none of this explains why Mossad would put tens of thousands of Americans — presumably many of them Jews — at risk.

– R.I.F.

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The CIA and The Muslim Brotherhood: How the CIA Set The Stage for September 11

NOVANEWS

Martin A.Lee

RAZOR Magazine

The CIA and The Muslim Brotherhood: How the CIA Set The Stage for September 11

Reverend Franklin Graham, the pugnacious preacher who delivered the prayer at President George W. Bush’s 2001 inauguration, might have a bone to pick with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). When Franklin branded Islam “a very evil and wicked religion” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he had no idea that American spies were once eager to promote a Muslim leader in the Middle East modeled after his own father, the famous evangelist Billy Graham.

The CIA often works in mysterious ways – and so it was with this little-known cloak-and-dagger caper that set the stage for extensive collaboration between US intelligence and Islamic extremists. The genesis of this ill-starred alliance dates back to Egypt in the mid-1950s, when the CIA made discrete overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, the influential Sunni fundamentalist movement that fostered Islamic militancy throughout the Middle East. What started as a quiet American flirtation with political Islam became a Cold War love affair on the sly – an affair that would turn out disastrously for the United States. Nearly all of today’s radical Islamic groups, including al-Qaeda, trace their lineage to the Brotherhood.

“The Muslim Brothers are at the root of a lot of our troubles,” says Col. W. Patrick Lang, one of several US intelligence veterans interviewed for this article . Formerly a high-ranking Middle East expert at the Defense Intelligence Agency Lang considers al-Qaeda to be “a descendent of the Brotherhood.

For many years, the American espionage establishment had operated on the assumption that Islam was inherently anti-communist and there fore could be harnessed to facilitate US objectives. American officials viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as “a secret weapon” in the shadow war against the Soviet Union and it’s Arab allies, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA case officer who was right in the thick of things in the Middle East and Central Asia during his 21 year career as a spy. In Sleeping with the Devil, a book he wrote after quitting the CIA Baer explains how the United States “made common cause with the Brothers” and used them “to do our dirty work in Yemen, Afghanistan and plenty of other places”. This covert relationship; unraveled when the Cold War ended, whereupon an Islamic Frankenstein named Osama bin Laden lurched into existence.

Described by ex-CIA analyst Graham Fuller as “the preeminent international Islamist organization,” the Muslim Brotherhood currently has a huge following with autonomous branches, all in close contact, spread across the Arab world.

But it is banned in several countries, including Egypt, it’s birthplace, for being an alleged front for terrorists – a claim its supporters adamantly deny even though bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders had close personal ties to the Brotherhood prior to September 11, 2001

To understand what happened on that fateful day when terrorist strikes leveled the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, one must revisit the turbulent changes that took place a half century earlier in the land of the sphinx. After seizing power in a 1952 military coup Egyptian Col. Gamal Abdul Nasser quickly threw prominent Communists in jail. This raised eyebrows among US cloak-and-dagger operatives who were eager to oblige when Nasser requested help in upgrading Egypt’s ineffectual secret service. But the US government “found it highly impolitic to help him directly,” the late CIA agent Miles Copeland acknowledged in his memoirs, The Game of Nations , so the CIA subcontracted more than a hundred German Third Reich vets, who specialized in Nazi security and interrogation techniques, to do the job.

Before long, however, US officials grew wary of Nasser, who seemed like a loose cannon on the deck of Middle Eastern politics. A fervent pan-Arab nationalist, he rebuffed American appeals to join a neutralist coalition of Third World nations that favored an independent stance during the Cold War. Non-alignment in the East-West conflict was an abomination to CIA director Allen Dulles and he bristled at Nasser’s growing stature as a charismatic leader who could galvanize Arabs and Muslims far beyond Egypt, “If that colonel of yours pushes us too far, we will break him in half,” Dulles admonished Copeland, the CIA’s man-on-the-spot in Cairo.

Copeland pondered ways to knock the pesky Nasser off his pedestal. One scheme called for slipping the Egyptian president a surreptitious dose of LSD to induce bizarre public behavior that would discredit him and tarnish his heroic image. But this wasn’t feasible. Instead of an acid hit, American spies opted for pushing “the opiate of the masses,” as Karl Marx sp famously described religion.

There were notable precedents for marshaling religious sentiment to advance America” Cold War agenda . In 1948, the fledging CIA enlisted the cooperation of the Vatican and Catholic Action, the largest Catholic lay organization in Italy, in a successful campaign to deliver the vote and vanquish left-wing parties in a hotly contested Italian election. Although Muslims have no pope or authoritative religious hierarchy, CIA strategists figured they could win over Arab hearts and minds by manipulating Islamic piety. Copeland recounts in The Game of Nations how the CIA engaged in black propaganda operations in Egypt that sought to demonstrate “Soviet ungodliness” by circulating anti-Islamic literature – including books with titles like Against the Veil and Mohammed Never Existed – while attributing its distribution to the Soviet embassy.

But cutting Nasser down to size was a much taller order than making the Soviets look like atheists. What the CIA really needed, according to Copeland was a “religious spellbinder” to alter Arab opinion and “divert the growing stream of anti-American hostility” . As Copeland recalled, “I wanted to find and groom a messiah who would start out in Egypt, and then spread his word to Africans and perhaps other Third World peoples. Our Chosen One would immunize them against false prophets,” I.e., Nasser and other non-aligned nationalist leaders.

Miles knew “from what was happening in America that a religious movement didn’t have to make sense in order to attract adherents,” as he put it. He was referring to Billy Graham’s sick gospel and salvation road show, which drew huge crowds across the USA in the early 1950’s. The meteoric transformation of this dime-a-dozen, Protestant Bible-thumper into a big time celebrity evangelist evidently made quite an impression on Copeland, who came up with the bright idea to sponsor “a Moslem Billy Graham.

Copeland was off and running. He visited several Egyptian mosques in search of an Islamic preacher who could sway the Arab masses in a manner most congenial to US interests. Although Copeland never found the CIA’s messiah, his furtive machinations were not without impact. While on the prowl for a Muslim Billy Graham, Copeland reached out to leaders of the religious revival movement known as the Ikhwan, or Muslim Brotherhood, which sought to build an Islamic society from the bottom up. The seeds of a clandestine relationship between the CIA and the Ikhwan were planted by Copeland, who surmised that the Muslim Brothers, by virtue of their strong antipathy to Arab nationalism as well as Communism, might be a viable counterweight to Nasser in the years ahead, US intelligence would become a defacto partner of the Brotherhood as it evolved from a mass-based social reform organization into the wellspring of Islamic terrorism.

“Any contact Miles had with the Muslim Brotherhood was not official policy,” insists retired CIA officer Raymond Close, a colleague of Copeland in the Middle East. “It was strictly solo work on his part. There were an awful lot of things that Miles did that were totally off the board.”

Whether Copeland’s efforts were “off the board” or otherwise, the Muslim Brotherhood was certainly a force to be reckoned with. Since its inception in 1928, the Society of the Muslim Brothers sought to restore Islamic law and values in the face of growing Western influence. Launched as a social welfare association, it became a focal point of resistance to British colonial rule. The Special Order Group, a secret paramilitary wing set up by the Brotherhood, carried out guerrilla raids in Egypt during the 1940′s, bombing British installations and killing British soldiers and civilians. By the time Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was assassinated in 1949, the fast-growing Ikhwan, with its distinctive green flag crossed with white swords and a red Koran, had a half million Egyptian members and affiliates in several other countries.

When a group of young Egyptian army officers led by Col. Nasser toppled the pro-British monarchy, the Muslim Brotherhood gave them full support. But the Brothers soon had a falling out with Nasser when it became apparent that he did not intend to establish an Islamic state. Egypt’s secular strongman cracked down hard on the Muslim Brethren, which comprised the largest organized popular force in the country and the last obstacle to his autocratic leadership. Nasser’s aim was not to banish religious expression from the political domain, but to prohibit any religious expression that was not government controlled.

In the wake of failed assassination attempt against Nasser in October 1954, Egyptian authorities outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, jailed and tortured thousands of its members and killed several of its leaders. Some went underground or fled the country to escape successive waves of brutal repression aimed at smashing the Brethren.

Saudi Arabia became a magnet for many persecuted Islamist refugees not only from Egypt but also from Syria, Iraq, Libya and other Arab states where the Muslim Brothers were perceived as a threat to the secular, nationalist order. Ikgwani expatriates were welcomed by the oil-rich Saudi monarchy, which became the principal patron of the Brotherhood on the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere. A strategic US ally, the Saudi royal family was so hostile to godless Communism that it did not even maintain diplomatic relations with Moscow.

American intelligence formed a three-way tryst with the Saudis and the Muslim Brothers, according to Robert Baer, the former case officer in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, With the CIA’s implicit approval, the Saudi royals channeled funds to the Brothers, who joined a US-backed anti-Nasser insurgency in Yemen in 1962. “Like any other truly effective covert action, this one was strictly off the books,” explains Baer “There was no CIA finding, no memorandum of notification to Congress. Not a penny came out of the Treasury to fund it. All the White House had to do was give a wink and a nod to countries harboring the Brothers”

Yemen was just a warm up. To give a boost to Islamic proselytizing the Saudis with CIA encouragement, founded the Muslim World League in 1962. Underwritten initially by several donors including the Saudi-based Aramco oil consortium (then a CIA collaboration, the League established a formidable international presence with representatives in 120 countries. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood occupied key staff positions at the League while it disseminated anti-communist religious propaganda and sponsored the construction of mosques and Islamic center’s around the world.

Exiled Ikhwani were also employed as teachers and imams in Saudi mosques, schools and government agencies, where they promoted the extremist doctrine of Sayyid Qutb, the Brotherhood’s leading scribe and theorist. Executed in 1966 after 10 years of confinement in Egyptian torture chambers, Qutb is arguably the most influential religious scholar in modern Islam. He fashioned a lethal variant of political Islam that provided a Koranic justification for violence as the only way to rid the Muslim world of corrupting Western influences. Qutb’s hostility toward the West, in general, and the United States, in particular, was born during two years of study at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in the late 1940′s. He returned to Egypt mortified by decadent, sex-crazed America, which he likened to a brothel.

The Muslim Brotherhood underwent a significant shift with the radicalization of Qutb in prison. What had been essentially a reformist organization in its formative phase veered off in a dangerous new direction. In addition to intro ducting a harsh anti-American perspective to the Brethren, Qutb called for the formation of a revolutionary Islamic vanguard to spearhead the violent overthrow of secular Arab regimes. Qutb’s martyrdom bestowed instant credibility upon his message, which posthumously filled the ideological void left by the huge Arab defeat in the 1967 Six Day War with Israel, a defeat that shamed Nasser and discredited the Arab nationalist cause.

Qutb’s inflammatory writings would decisively influence a generation of young militants, including the future spear-carriers of al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden, the tall, handsome scion of a wealthy Persian Gulf family, was first exposed to Qutb’s nostrums while attending King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah. One of bin Laden’s instructors in religious studies was Egyptian Professor Muhammed Qutb, the exiled brother of Sayyid Qutb, who taught classes on the imperatives and nuances of Islamic jhad.

After Nasser died in 1970, the Muslim Brethren, buoyed by Saudi petrodollars, resurfaced in Egypt. The newly emboldened Ikhwani were wooed by President Anwaar Sadat, Nasser’s successor, who freed Islamic activists from jail, lifted some restrictions on the Brothers, and turned them loose against the Nasserite die-hards and leftist student groups who disapproved of Sadat’s decision to make amends with the United States. Sadat’s courtship of the Brotherhood elicited more winks and nods from US intelligence. Right under the CIA’s nose, the officially-banned by semi-tolerated Muslim Brotherhood was going through a momentous transformation in its country of origin.

French scholar Gilles Kepel, the author of Jhad: The Trail of Political Islam, describes how Qutb’s theories found a receptive audience at Egyptian university campuses, giving rise to a potent radical wing with in the Islamist movement. When the older leaders of the Ikhwan, chastened by years of repression, repudiated armed confrontation in favor of gradual efforts to reform the system, renegade Brothers created several violent splinter groups and vowed to wage holy war against an authoritarian Egyptian regime, which they saw as corrupt, anti-Islamic, and a US puppet. The heads of two Brotherhood breakaway factions – the Egyptian Islamic Jhad of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and the Islamic Group of Sheik Omar Abdei Rahman – were among those implicated in the 1981 assassination of President Sadat.

Today Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric, is serving a life sentence in the United States for plotting to blow up the United Nations, Manhattan’s FBI building, the George Washington Bridge and other New York City landmarks, while Dr. al-Zawahiri, a squat, bespectacled zealot with a round head and owlish face, appears in post-9/11 video footage sitting on the right-hand side of Osama bin Laden. Dubbed “the brains behind al-Qaeda,” al-Zawahiri became bin Laden’s top deputy after the Egyptian physician had matriculated through the ranks of the Muslim Brothers.

Muslim Brotherhood veterans have played a prominent role during every phase of bin Laden’s terrorist odyssey. As a college student he was mentored by Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian Brother, who convinced the young Saudi to join the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, a cause embraced by Islamists worldwide, moderates and radicals alike, after the Red Army invaded in 1979. That same year, Islamists Shiite revolutionaries led by the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew America’s longtime partner, the Shah of Iran. These tumultuous events underscored the geopolitical importance of the Saudi connection to unnerved US officials. Henceforth, Saudi Arabia would serve as a Sunni Muslim bulwark against Shiite extremism, while also matching the United States dollar for dollar in support of the Afghan mujahedin guerillas who were fighting against the Soviets.

In 1984, Azzam and bin Laden jointly set up the Service Bureay, based in Peshawar, which played a pivotal role in organizing Islamic militants from 43 countries, including the United States, who flocked to Pakistan’s North-West Frontier territory to join the anti-communist jihad. With contacts spread across North Africa and the Middle East the Muslim Brotherhood was instrumental in recruiting many of these foreign Islamic volunteers. Jane’s Defence Weekly estimates that 14,000 of the so-called “Afghan Arabs” (though none were Afghans and many were not Arabs) trained in guerrilla camps, where paramilitary drills were infused with radical Islamic teachings. Some of these outside agitators fought along side CIA-backed mujahedin units during clashes with the Red Army.

Once again, an off-the-shelf approach to nation-tampering was deemed preferable by US intelligence as the Afghanistan operation grew by leaps and bounds during the 1980’s. It became the largest covert intervention in the CIA’s history, with Washington’s funneling more than $3 billion worth of aid and military equipment to the mujahedin through Pakistan military intelligence, which served as a conduit for American and Saudi largesse. In Ghost Wars, a compelling narrative history of the CIA’s Afghan imbroglio Steve Coll discusses how this cut-out arrangement provided US intelligence with a layer of deniability while its Pakistan proxy pushed aside traditional Afghan mujahedin organizations lacking the requitsite fundamentalist ardor and boosted the four mujahedin groups led by militants aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. The CIA, according to Cole, never pressed Pakistan to back the more moderate, nationalist-oriented mujahedin rebels instead of the radical Islamic Afghan leaders who touted the writings of Sayyid Qutb, which were translated into local Afghan dialects.

A well-known figure among the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Afghan factions, bin Laden also collaborated with top Saudi and Pakistani espionage officers. Although bin Laden had no official contact with the CIA, his efforts to create an Islamic foreign legion were generally looked upon with favor by US intelligence. The more anti-communist forces in the fray the better, they figured. The going assumption was that these bearded extremists could be revved up and covertly deployed when Washington needed “a cheap no-American-casualties way to fight the Soviet Union,” as Baer put it.

Some of Baer’s colleagues at the CIA thought the foreign legion contingent should be formally endorsed and expanded. “The CIA examined ways to increase their participation… but nothing came of it,” then-CIA deputy director Robert Gates said of the Islamic volunteers, who, if nothing else, were useful from a public relations perspective. The burgeoning international brigade was touted as proof that the entire Muslim world stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Afghan mujahedin against the Evil Empire. No one at the CIA reckoned that the foreign legionnaires had their own agenda.

Even before the Red Army withdrew the last of its regiments from Afghanistan in 1989, bin Laden was already hatching ambitious plans to wage a worldwide jihad. The Soviet pull out prompted a wholesale scattering of foreign volunteers, who retruned to their respective countries imbued witht eh spirit of Islamic revolution and ready to carry on the struggle. About 1000 militants remained in Afghanistan, many of these men could not go home because they were wanted for crimes against the state. This self-selecting stay-behind network formed the core of al-Qaeda, which became even leaner and meaner when bin Laden transferred his base of operations to the Sudan in 1991.

For the next five years, bin Laden and his inner circle were holed up in Khartoum courtesy of Sheikh Hassan al-Turabi, the Sorbonne-educated head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sudanese branch. Dubbed the “black pope”, Turabi came to power on the heels of a military coup and immediately announced that Islamic law would be strictly enforced in his country. He was hin Laden’s protector during this crucial period of exile, together they hosted strategic powwow’s with representatives from several Islamic terrorist organizations, including Hamas, a Palestinian offshoot of the Brotherhood. There was considerable debate among jihadists over whether to target the “near enemy” (apostate regimes in the Muslim world or the “far enemy ,” (the Western powers thwarting the implementation of Islamic rule.) More militants parted ways with al-Qaeda when it’s leadership dominated by Egyptian veterans of the Muslim Brotherhood , decided to go after “the head of the snake, “ which is how they described the United States.

By a process of elimination, only the hardest of the hardcore stayed with bin Laden when he and 150 border-hopping Islamic radicals and their families moved back to Afghanistan in 1996. Shortly thereafter, according to the official September 11 Commission, Khalid Shekh Mohammed, a tubby young engineer, approached bin Laden and pitched an outlandish idea to hijack jets and fly them into buildings in New York and Washington. This was the origin of the collective muder-suicide assaults that killed nearly 3000 people on September 11, 2001. Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the 9/11 operation who had cut his teeth with the Kuwaiti chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood, is now in US custody.

The emergence of anti-American terrorist cadres from the bowels of the CIA’s proxy war in Afghanistan took US spymasters by surprise. It was blunder as colossal as the CIA’s inability to predict the collapse of Soviet Bloc Communism. ”Conceptually we failed,” admits Baer, “ We didn’t consider Sunni Islam to be a threat to the West…We didn’t want to see it.” While CIA operatives fixated on Shiite Iran as the fount of religiously motivated terrorism, a stateless network of Muslim Brotherhood-inspired zealots morphed into a worldwide insurgency. “The militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood is essentially what we’re facing today.” asserts Baer.

Perhaps Col. W. Patrick Lang, formerly with the Defense Intelligence Agency, summed it up best by nothing the similarities between the Brotherhood and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). “There is the main IRA, whick=h eschews violence, and the “Provisional IRA, the armed wing. And there’s also the ‘Real IRA’, a more extreme spin-off from the Provisionals …These groups tend to fracture as they develop almost theological – and in the xcase of the Muslim Brothers actual theological – differences. They find each other’s projected courses of action to be insufficiently zealous or earnest or pure enough. And in Islam, of course, there’s no hierarchy to settle ideological disputes.

And so it continues as al-Qaeda chieftains criticize the Muslim Brotherhood for its accommodating stance toward secular rulers in Egypt and Jordan, where several Ikhwani sit in parliament. At the same time, moderate Brotherhood leaders – the Islamist movement’s elder establishment – have condemned terrorist attacks by bin Laden as “a grave sin,” Pursuant to their long-term strategy of using peaceful means to turn Egypt into an Islamic republic, the Muslim Brotherhood have taken over numerous trade unions and professional associations, while operating banks, businesses, health clinics, schools, and legal services that often outperform shabby government institutions. With more than two million members divided into several thousand semi-clandestine cells throughout the country, the Brothers are still subjected to episodic police raids, incarceration and torture. But these measures have failed to stifle popular support for a mainstream movement that, for a better or worse, expresses the concerns, aspirations and legitimate grievances of Muslims from all social strata.

America’s invasion of Iraq – “an avaricious, premeditated unprovoked was against a foe who posed no immediate threat,” as one CIA agent scathingly put it – has energized the entire spectrum of Islamist groups. While they give voice to anti-US passions and pervasive feelings of the injustice in Muslim communities, moderate Islamist also risk losing followers to fanatical jihad cults spawned by the Brotherhood. (The opiate of the masses turns out to be a gateway drug, as well.) According to a recent report by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, Iraq is now a fertile breeding ground for new recruits that have swelled al-Qaeda’s ranks to more than 18,000 potential terrorists.

In response to a plethora of social and economic ills that bedevil the Muslim world, the answer from every Brotherhood chapter and affiliate has always been the same: Islam is the solution,” Ironically, US spymasters also once saw Islam as the solution to America’s problems in the Middle East. Fifty years ago, a CIA cad dreamed of an Arab messiah, “a Moslem Billy Graham,” who would plunk for US priorities in Egypt and beyond. That’s how it all began. And now, ironically, it’s onward Christian soldiers with Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy’s prodigal son, denigrating Islam and trumpeting the clash of civilizations as he dispatches American missionaries to save souls in US-occupied Iraq. Aself-fulfilling prophet, Franklin carries on like God’s gift to bin Laden, who must be laughing somewhere in his cave or his grave.

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FREEMASONRY IN EGYPT Is it still around?

NOVANEWS

WATCH OUT ZIONIST FREEMASON DICK ATKINSON IN UK

Samir Raafat Insight Magazine

A Cairo loge meets in the 1940s under portrait of King Farouk
below: freemason certificate (courtesy Omar Hamed Zaki)

Last month in Jordan a prestigious lineup of Western leaders led by incumbent President Clinton and three former US presidents paid their last respects to King Hussein. While all kinds of deductions as to why they had all turned up were disputed live on national TV from Bangkok to Cape Town, one inference was passed by. The wily king may have also been a Prince of Jerusalem, one of the highest titles conferred by Freemasons.

Whether or not Hussein visited Masonic lodges and took part in their rituals is unknown, yet there are persistent claims in certain circles that he was an honorary Grand Master. Not peculiar for a monarch who spent most of his reign juggling alliances, some more treacherous than others.

As a Freemason King Hussein would have kept excellent company for, besides the Mozarts, Goethes and Garibaldis, most of Europe’s royals and several former American presidents including its sitting vice-president, are professedly on the Masonic roster.

But wait a minute. Hussein Ibn Talal far from being a Westerner was a descendant of the Prophet. How then could a Moslem notable of his standing become an alleged member of a secret society with origins in the heartland of a 17th century Judeo-Christian Europe?

Adapting the Big Bang theory to Freemasonry, we discover how the French Revolution and subsequent Napoleonic Wars accounted for the dissemination of the ‘Society’ outside its known borders. Which is why, by the late 19th century, Masonic lodges were scattered across the Ottoman Empire, from Constantinople where Young Turks were beguiled by the secretive brotherhood, to Greater Syria and Egypt where emerging nationalists aped their European assailant in their inherent opposition to autocratic authority.

In Egypt, Freemasonry imploded into feuding camps: Anglo-Saxon and French, ostensibly reflecting the dual imperialistic control–military and cultural– which had entrenched itself along the Nile Valley.

A favorite Masonic hall south of the Levant was Kawkab al-Shark–Star of the East. Somehow, its propinquity to after-life symbolism conjured up echoes of the cult of Isis and Osiris giving it a distinct character and flavor.

Lodges evidencing Ancient Egyptian names included Sphinx, New-Memphis, Pyramids, Cheops and Le Nil. Founded by Jules Cesar Zivy the latter loge was dependent on the Grand Orient of France.

The distinction of first modern Freemason in Egypt goes to General Kleber, the luckless man left behind by Napoleon to govern the “Oriental Empire.

From the time of unlucky Kleber up until April 1964, Freemasonry continued uninterruptedly in Egypt. What had started as a secret movement eventually came out in the open as evidenced by notices in newspapers, the social pages and other forms of printed media.

Historians may assent however Freemasonry in Egypt came out of the closet during the Orabi Revolt of 1882. That Ahmed Orabi Pasha was himself a member of the Order was never proven, we know however that several of his supporters were.

In his book How We Defended Orabi A.M. Broadley declares that Egypt’s most liberal cleric, Sheik Mohammed Abdou, was himself an avowed Mason. “Sheikh Abdu was no dangerous fanatic or religious enthusiast, for he belonged to the broadest school of Moslem thought, held a political creed akin to pure republicanism, and was a zealous Master of a Masonic Lodge.”

Later in the same paragraph Broadbent states how many of the Deputies in the Egyptian Chamber had hastened to join the craft.

Broadbent gives us an insight on Freemasonry in Egypt during the 1880s when he differentiates between the principles and practice of Freemasonry in England and on the continent in Europe. While the British system embraced nothing more exciting than charity and good-fellow-ship, “foreign Masonry is almost avowedly an appropriate and convenient arena for political discussion, and both political and religious agitation.”

Thus, according to Broadbent, “in Egypt the tenets of continental Masonry, with its Republican watchwords of Fraternité, Liberté, Egalité had evidently overshadowed the strong British elements which once prevailed in our numerous lodges.”

Although none of the leaders of Egypt’s National party belonged to the brotherhood, a large number of their subordinates were among its most active and zealous members, according to Broaddent.

Part of a budding middle-class, Egyptian nationalists had joined the Society in an attempt to penetrate an impregnable ruling class guarded jealously by Mohammed Ali’s descendants and their Circassian entourage.

Consequently, when the Khedive’s men arrested the sir-tujar (provost of the traders guild) of Sharkia charging him with conspiring against the state and supporting Ahmed Orabi Pasha’s “insurgency” with money and the like, it was a Freemason barrister from London who took up his defense.

Nevertheless, the British-led kangaroo court in Cairo declared Orabi and his Freemason supporters guilty as charged–they had dared ask for the substitution of khedivial absolutism with a more representative government.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on FREEMASONRY IN EGYPT Is it still around?

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