Archive | May 20th, 2013

‘Stop and search’ harassment continues in Belfast

NOVANEWS

 

éirígí activists faced yet more harassment by the PSNI as they left a peaceful kerbside protest at the International Wall on the Falls Road in Belfast at the weekend.

Dozens of activists and supporters had gathered at the wall on Saturday (May 18) to show support and solidarity for their imprisoned comrade, Stephen Murney. Stephen has now been “interned by remand” in Maghaberry prison for almost six months at the behest of the PSNI.

Demonstration for Stephen Murney

As some activists left to attend a republican commemoration in the North Belfast area, a PSNI vehicle, part of a wider surveillance operation targeting the picket, followed the activists from the West of the city and on to the Antrim Road where their vehicle was forced to stop and pull over.

There the vehicle’s contents were ‘emptied’ onto the roadside and the occupants were subjected to body searches and questions about their movements and destination. It was clear that the intended stop and search was nothing more than an attempt to harass and delay those present. That fact became quite obvious as the PSNI searched only the boot of the car but nowhere else. They didn’t open a single car door or even look inside – all of which indicates a complete lack of genuine concern regarding the vehicle and its occupants.

At the roadside and in pouring rain, activists were spread-eagled by the PSNI as they were searched under ‘section 21’ and ‘section 24’ of the ‘Justice and Security Act’.

However, the PSNI soon found their ‘security operation’ being subjected to an unexpected intervention.

A legal professional who had been driving past the scene of the ‘stop and search’ stopped his own vehicle and began to question the legality of the PSNI’s actions, thereby forcing the PSNI to bring a swift end to their highly questionable activity on this occasion.

Delivering judgment in a recent court case at the Court of Appeal on Thursday 9th May, British Lord Justice Girvan identified the absence of a code of practice for stop and question operations under Section 21 of the above quoted act. He said the legal framework did not contain the kind of safeguards against potential abuse or arbitrariness envisaged by the European Court in Strasbourg.

In the aftermath of that judgment, such a code of practice was then rushed through Westminster on 15th May. Entitled a “Code of Practice for the Exercise of Powers in the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007”, it is supposed to provide, for PSNI officers exercising these draconian powers, a legal framework for operating and using the powers enclosed in the Justice and Security Act in question.

By completely ignoring this ‘Code of Practice’ on Saturday, the PSNI has signalled its intent to continue abusing ‘stop and search’ powers in the same manner they frequently did in the past.

From the British government’s viewpoint, the hasty introduction of the new ‘Code of Practice’ was not an exercise aimed at ensuring the protection of human rights but was a mere box-ticking exercise designed with the purpose of fore-stalling possible European examination of so-called ‘emergency’ laws in the Six Counties.

That was visibly demonstrated by the PSNI on Saturday.

Undeterred, but later than intended, the éirígí activists then made their way to their intended destination.

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Syria: Turning Point in the Battle of Qusayr

NOVANEWS

 Uprooted Palestinian

Syrian troops take control of the village of Western Dumayna, some seven kilometers north of the rebel-held city of Qusayr, on 13 May 2013. (Photo: AFP – Joseph Eid)
After weeks of reinforcing their positions around Qusayr near the Lebanese border, Syrian government forces stormed the strategic town early on Sunday. Many opposition fighters fled, accusing their commanders of betrayal.

Both opposition and army sources on the ground in Qusayr agree that the town – taken by opposition fighters early on in the Syrian crisis – will be in the hands of the regime in a matter of days.For weeks now, government forces have been conducting military operations around the strategic town, which is located to the southwest of Homs, a few kilometers from the northern tip of Lebanon.
After securing nearly all the villages in the surrounding area, the Syrian army entered Qusayr Sunday morning under heavy fire power, killing 90 opposition fighters and injuring hundreds, according to opposition sources inside the the besieged town.

Many fighters managed to break the government siege and escape through a secret route that led to Josiah and the Qalamoun Mountains to the south. But, according to opposition sources, the regime found out about the escape route nearly a week ago and blocked it, killing and injuring around 30 fighters in the process.

Starting around two years ago, the opposition started to gather a large number of fighters in the town, estimated to range between 6,000 and 10,000. They built a network of bunkers and trenches in some neighborhoods in preparation for any attack by government forces.

But all talk of a Grozny-like scenario if the regime dared enter Qusayr melted away as the Syrian army – assisted by Hezbollah fighters, according to opposition sources – stormed the town and reached the central market within a few hours. It will, however, take a few more days before government troops have full control.

The turning point in the battle of Qusayr came six days earlier, when regime forces managed to take the strategic area of al-Tal, which overlooks the town and much of the surrounding area.

Opposition sources claim that the Tal area “was sold out to Hezbollah by some of our leaders, who then fled the fighting,” adding that this “betrayal” cost the two main opposition groups who control Qusayr – the Salafi Farouk and Wadi Brigades – heavy losses. Some of the fighters on the ground even named several commanders, whom they accused of buying their way out of Qusayr at the last minute.

Regime forces used heavy fire power, including air strikes, in addition to the element of surprise to break through opposition defenses in the city. “We mobilized our forces to the north to repel an expected attack by the Syrian army and Hezbollah,” a local commander told Al-Akhbar, “but we were surprised when they entered from the south, east, and west.”

Opposition sources say that they were expecting the military to attempt to retake those villages that were still not under its control before trying to enter Qusayr. Instead, an opposition fighter explains, they were surprised by an attack “that was launched from the Shia villages to the west of the Assi river…with Hezbollah fighters descending on us from the Tal area.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Guatemala’s Ríos Montt Genocide Conviction: Omen for US Presidents and Their Hired Assassins

NOVANEWS
Global Research

 

Presiding Judge, “he knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out.” US President Ronald Reagan also had the power, greater power, to stop the massacres being perpetrated by dictator General and President Ríos Montt. Instead visited him in Guatemala City and praised Rios Montt as “a man of great personal integrity and commitment. Who was more guilty?

José Efraín Ríos Montt began his political and military career as a young officer taking part in the bloody successful CIA-organized coup against the first democratically elected president in Guatemalan history that was ordered by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. Two years earlier he had attended what peace activists call, the ‘US School for Assassins,’ namely, the long infamous School of the Americas. He ended his career a few days ago, convicted of genocide by the Guatemalan court he once controlled as president and dictator.

Associate Press reported,

‘The three-judge panel essentially concluded that the massacres followed the same pattern, showing they had been planned, something that would not be possible without the approval of the military command, which Rios Montt headed. In delivering the verdict, Presiding Judge Yassmin Barrios said, “he knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out.” ‘

US President Ronald Reagan also had the power, greater power, to stop the massacres being perpetrated by dictator General and President Ríos Montt. Reagan must have been aware of them, known enough about them, and could have stopped those year-and-half-long massacres with far less effort than President Eisenhower had made in ordering the bloody and merciless overthrowing of a popularly elected president, a democratic president, who in making land reform, had gotten in the way of the massive United Fruit Company that owned more than half of Guatemala.[1] In the case of the President of Guatemala and in President Reagan’s case, there was no room for sentiment. It was just business.

Prosecutors argued that Ríos Montt oversaw the massacres of Mayan Indians when he ruled Guatemala from March 1982 to August 1983. Ríos Montt held his great power as dictator of Guatemala for the financial and political and military backing he was receiving from US President Ronald Reagan’s administration, and the administrations of US presidents before him, all of whom represented the interests of the financial consensus that really rules in America.

Midway through the eighteen months of horrific massacres, December of 1982, President Ronald Reagan visited President-General Ríos Montt in Guatemala City and in a press release, praised the dictator,

“President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment….I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice.”

These were the first years of President Ronald Reagan’s administration during which CIA was organizing, funding and overseeing the sickening terrorist attacks on rural areas of nearby Nicaragua from across the border of US ally Honduras, planning sabotage of industries and mining Nicaragua’s ports (which brought a US conviction by the International Court of Justice when Nicaragua sued in 1984). Reagan had let it be known he didn’t approve of the popular revolution that had overthrown a brutal thieving dictator whose father had been installed by the US Marines as they were ending their twenty-one year old occupation of Nicaragua ordered by President Woodrow Wilson.[2] In El Salvador, despite evidence that by 1984, 65,000 civilians had been murdered by the National Guard and right-wing paramilitary forces, President Reagan’s national Bipartisan Commission on Central America justified massive military support.

As yet, there has never been a trial in the United States of US officials and their financial backers for bribery, for CIA crimes like assassinations, promoting massacres, arranging destabilizing violence, for armed intervention or the treat of armed intervention in a foreign nation in peace time. Investigations, yes, but to this writers knowledge never a prosecution. After a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigated the CIA in the 1974, a bill was passed forbidding (future) assassinations of government officials. (American school books cite Admiral Perry’s 1854 ultimatum to the Japanese government to sign a treaty of commerce or see Yokohama reduces to ashes by his flotilla’s cannons, as Perry’s achievement ‘The Opening up of Japan’ .)

Once the US is no longer omnipotent, and Americans no longer enjoy immunity as an exceptional race, their crimes against humanity will be prosecuted as was the genocide committed by Ríos Montt, a loutish butcher employed by who and what everyone knows. Everyone! If one of Al Capone’s triggermen was on trial for murder, who was more importantly guilty, the triggerman, who was only one of the Mafia Don’s many triggermen convicted, or Mafia don Al Capone himself?

Eventually, if not sooner, given the fact that there is no time limitation on prosecution of genocide, and the coming inevitable restitution of logic and law in public affairs, one can expect prosecution of Americans, and not just Americans in high office serving that “financial element in the circles of power that has owned the government since the days of Andrew Jackson” as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt quipped to his friend Colonel House in 1932. (One might also like to recall that at the time FDR, in confidence, noted his secondary importance to that “financial element,” a tightly inclusive group of his of his friends and acquaintances and captains of industry and banking were, as a block, investing in the cheap labor of a financially prostate Nazi Germany and building its Wehrmacht up to number one military force in the world in full knowledge of Hitler’s plan for the Soviet Union and European Jews.)

If one confines oneself to researching the well published documentation of crimes against humanity during the administrations of the presidents that followed Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the last American president, who, as an aristocrat, had some influence among his wealthy peers, it becomes very clear why eminent historian Prof. Noam Chomsky of M.I.T. can say over and over again, without provoking much negative outcry, “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.” Prof. Chomsky followed this statement with listing the crimes against humanity of each of these presidents he had condemned to the gallows, and has since occasionally updated the list to include subsequent new US presidents. A hard rain is going to fall in America one day.

But the conviction of Ríos Montt portends more immediate future prosecution of similar criminally traitorous servants of the last of the white world colonial powers that have overseen massacres and slower forms of death throughout the Americas and especially in Central America and Mexico. And they are innumerable, so great is the reach of the corporatist government of the US superpower run by automaton legal thieves incapable of factoring death and misery, even deaths of children, into their mindless calculator-machine-like adherence to capital accumulation by the commodification of planet and life on Earth. (Two popular American axioms come to mind: ‘Business is business’ and ‘good guys don’t win ball games.’)

Those known for direct and immediate forms of genocide in the name of maintaining the maximum profitability of US and European predatory investments, are mentioned in encyclopedias and honest history books,

e.g., Fulgencio Batista of Cuba, General Humberto Branco of Brazil, Raoul Cedras, Duvalier, Francois, Duvalier, Jean Claude of Haiti, Vinicio Cerezo and Ríos Montt of Guatemala, Roberto Suazo Cordova of Honduras, Alfredo Christiani of El Salvador, General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, General Manuel Noriega of Panama, General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Anastasio Somoza Sr. and Anastasio Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua, General Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, General Jorge Rafael Videla of Argentina, just to mention those who made themselves notorious by being responsible for mass murder.

The list of thugs inflated in importance to infamous lethal monsters created by the United States and allied colonial powers in Africa and Asia is more than twice as long as the one for Latin America. For every one of these household names of horror from immediate genocide through the use of military or paramilitary, there are dozens of local presidents in the nations that make up the non-white majority mankind, that have arisen from the comprador class or military. They have represented their own people only nominally, while enforcing the infinitely broader in victims slow genocide of starvation and years of life lost from early death through malnutrition, treatable deceases, infant mortality and the mortality within all age groups, that results from populations having lost control natural resources needed to sustain life. The lands, natural resources and human resources of this majority of Mankind have for centuries belonged to the plundering speculating investors of the First World, by internationally recognized ‘colonial law’ enforced by firepower.

Because the convictions of Presidents and Generals Ríos Montt, Pinochet, and Videla impact Latin Americans more, we can focus on how these convictions will spread consciousness of the slow genocide caused by the parasitical economic hegemony of the US over the nearly six hundred million human beings living south of the US-Mexican border. Mexico and Haiti, perhaps for proximity to the Yankee trader in lives of human beings, have suffered far and away the most from a merciless economic subjugation of their populations by the world’s single superpower.

The most recent tragic and enormous loss of life in Haiti, a slow genocide, was recently officiously apologized for by ex-Presidetn Bill Clinton claiming he meant well in turning Haiti over to agro-exploitation by the US business world. As U.N. special envoy to Haiti – he publicly apologized for championing policies that destroyed Haiti’s rice production. Clinton in the mid-1990s had ‘encouraged’ (read ‘forced’) the impoverished country to dramatically cut tariffs on imported U.S. rice. “It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake,” Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10. “I had to live everyday with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did; nobody else.”

Mexicans suffered the third massive crime of the United States in history: invasion and appropriation of half of its country at the point of guns and cannons. And since then Mexicans have witnessed the remaining half of their country occupied and exploited by the American world of business, with the cooperation of Mexico’s wealthy and managed elections. (The first being the enslavement and murder of Africans, the second, the murderous subjugation and theft of the lands of the Native nations of America.)

Quoting from a study made by a distinguished Mexican writer and journalist, Gustavo Esteva:

“For some time now the social fabric and soul of Mexico has been torn away. One third of Mexicans are actually living outside of the country –one of the greatest migrations in history. Since the signing of the NAFTA agreement, 20 million Mexican citizens have emigrated, the majority of them, to the United States and Canada, but some to countries as distant as Japan. Most of them are trying to escape from unbearable conditions in their place of origin or to support their families and communities from abroad. (The amount of remittances to Mexico, 22 billion dollars per year, is the second most important source of foreign income for Mexico, after oil).

Mexico no longer operates under a state of law. The violation of human rights, especially rights of some fifty ethnic groups, is a constant. There is also continual persecution of human rights activists, environmentalists, journalists, and particularly, those struggling for social change. There is a regression of democracy, a structural “deviation of power,” and the co-optation of the law by distinct corporatist factions. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights defined this as “the use of the powers of the State to persecute and hinder the civil rights of the people.” … According to Amnesty International, the torture practiced by Mexican security forces is a “generalized and systematic” practice that in recent years has “reached scandalous levels.” Impunity for these sadistic acts of violence, or human rights violations is practically absolute.

More than 60 million Mexicans (of 115 million total) are living below the poverty line. 50 million live with food insecurity, 12 million can’t afford basic or essential foods, 28 million are suffering from hunger, and 3 million face famine. [statistics from documentation gathered by the People’s Permanent Tribunal]

Policies that interfere the internal production of corn deteriorate the economy directly in the indigenous communities, and can be seen as one of the main factors determining migration. The attack on ancestral peasant farming systems, introduction of genetically altered variants and privatization of commons so crucial to native seeds devastates rural life and weakens communities. For the invasion of peasant and indigenous territory for mega projects, mining operations, privatization of water, monoculture plantations, deforestation, and the expropriation of territory via programs for the mercantilization of nature, agro-ecological balance is lost;

The government through dispossession is trying to “clear” people off their communal lands, already given in 50-years concessions to private corporations. These lands occupy more than 30% of Mexico. The owners of the lands, mainly indigenous people are resisting. The Zapatistas poetically embody this resistance.

The pace of environmental destruction is unprecedented. Corrupt deregulation initiatives and massive land concessions handed over to private interests have greatly accelerated the environmental devastation, which in some cases, has resulted in irreversible damage. The air, water, soil/sub-soil, forests, beaches, rivers, lakes, and oceans, all have been subject to rape and degradation through the commodification of nature by corporations.

In short, since the 1990’s, Mexico has adopted, in a systemic and institutionalized way, policies and strategies that have produced a progressive decline in the living conditions of the Mexican people and in their possibility to access legal protection when their rights are violated. The government alienates its citizens and marginalizes the rights of the people in the name of macro-economic stability and in order to serve corporate or private interests in larger part those of American speculative investment banking.”

Convictions like that of Ríos Montt will help unmask the Washington-Wall Street domination of elections and hold over unscrupulous politicians not only to the degree of mass homicide, but a slower and greater genocide in Mexico and the many nations to its South.

Good people in general and activists in particular throughout the hemisphere recognize the economic occupation and terrorism by Uncle Sam and are calling for its prosecution as a crime against humanity. Cuba fought for, and got its freedom from economic occupation and slow genocide. Today Cubans enjoy a longevity even a bit higher than that in the US and a lower infant mortality rate than in US.

Americans of good conscience must condemn their nations economic occupation and economic terror in neighboring Mexico and elsewhere.

Forty-seven years ago Martin Luther King Jr. cried out,

“Look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the country. This is a role our nation has taken, … refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that comes from the immense profits of overseas investments. This is not just.” … The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.”

King said “purveyor” not cause, for he held America, Americans, in anguish including himself, responsible, because the American people are capable of making their economic and military criminal aggression no longer acceptable and inoperable through non-participation, non-support, non-acquiescence and conscientious objection.

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Democracy, Terrorism and Uncertainty

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem ,Sr

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Although elections 2013 were free and fair, yet isolated incidents of rigging which are very common in South Asia are creating uncertainty in Pakistan where terrorists continue their subversive activities to further destabilise the country by blocking the way of democracy. Even, observers of the EU remarked that only 10 percent rigging occurred, while on the whole, elections were fair. However, democracy, terrorism and uncertainty are inter-related, which need appropriate analysis.

Taking serious notice of the rigging reports, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which agreed for pre-elections in some constituencies and polling stations said on May 17, this year that the presiding officers would be held accountable for every single ballot paper, emphasising that the system put in place would not spare any faker.

While taking cognisance of the multi-faceted crises including terrorism, Chief of Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan accepted defeat in elections and congratulated President of PML-N, Mian Nawaz Sharif whose party got majority of seats in the National Assembly and Punjab Assembly. He elaborated that pre-poll rigging was recorded in shape of terror-attacks on ANP and from March 30, 2013 to May 11, 31; these attacks killed 61 leaders and workers of his party. But, for the national interest of the country, he even welcomed the prospective government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party also congratulated, Nawaz Sharif and recognised his majority-mandate.

Regrettable, on May 15, Chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain in a telephonic address to activists—staging a sit-in before the Election Office in Karach asked the establishment to separate Karachi from the rest of Pakistan, if they did not like the public mandate of his party. Main aim of such derogatory remarks is to incite the general masses of Karachi against the federation of Pakistan. On May 14, PTI staged a sit-in against rigging of elections in NA-250, and Altaf Hussain stated that he would unleash his party workers on the protesters who would cut them to pieces. Meanwhile, on May 17, MQM rejected the decision of ECP and boycotted re-elections in 43 polling stations of the constituency. Separately, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and some other religious parties also held a protest and boycotted the re-elections, demanding re-polls in Karachi and Hyderabad. Now PTI candidates won the seats from NA-250, PS-112 and PS-113 in Karachi. But, both MQM and PTI are observing strike on May 20 against each other, which could further deteriorate the situation of Karachi.

Besides, Sindh Vice President Zarah Shahid Hussain of PTI was murdered on May 18 in Karachi and Imran Khan directly held Altaf Hussain responsible for his assassination, saying that the MQM chief had open threatened the PTI leaders and workers.

However, at this critical juncture, Pakistan is facing worst crises like unemployment, poverty, corruption, ill-planned policies and energy problem in wake of perennial wave of terror-assaults—internal and external threats. In this respect, the militants of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated groups who had accelerated their terror-activities to sabotage the elections failed in their nefarious designs as they did not want to see democracy to be flourished in the country. Despite their subversive activities and threats, a majority of people cast their vote, and turn over was more than 60 percent.

While accepting responsibility, TTP had not only felt pride for latest terror-activities which killed several innocent people and candidates, but had also threatened to continue such attacks in future. For the aims, in the recent past, the TTP militants had distributed pamphlets in Buner, Peshawar and different areas of Karachi, warning citizens against attending political rallies and casting their votes at polling stations. While rejecting the elections, TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said that democracy was un-Islamic and western system of government.

It is mentionable that addressing the Constituent Assembly on August, 11 1947, Quaid-i-Azam who wanted Pakistan as a democratic state, said that he did not want Pakistan to be a theocratic state. He wanted Pakistan to be a liberal, secular and progressive state.

Notably, even the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind. The sermon became a charter of democracy which was included in the constitutions of the western elected governments in one way or the other.

Pakistan has to move along with the demands of modern time. Therefore, periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings is essential. Such movement is called Ijtihad, which could provide new perceptions to Islam in accordance with the changed world vision.

Besides, Islamic laws can be implemented through a system of governance, hence, elections are essential for placing the elected representatives to make rules and govern in any part of the country. Laws of Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence) can best be put to practice through democratic system which does not make us un-Islamic or anti-Sharia. In fact, it is a representative system which is based upon equality of all the people, ensuring enforcement of rule of law through an independent justice. Nothing is forcibly imposed on the political will of the people who fully enjoy the freedom of thought and action.

In this regard, by condemning the TTP insurgents’ inhuman activities, more than 60 Islamic scholars recently clarified in their joint fatwa (edict) that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are nor Jihad”, and “are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion.” Unlike the Taliban, they elaborated; “Islam does not forbid women’s education.” No doubt, these Taliban and their linked groups are defaming Islam and are weakening Pakistan.

While, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which have already been arranging acts of sabotage on the places of worships, security forces, sectarian violence etc. through TTP, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other similar militant groups have left no stone unturned to thwart the democratic system and to create chaotic situation in Pakistan so as to complete the secret strategic designs of their countries. Especially, RAW has hired the services of Indian Muslims who have well-penetrated in the BLA, TTP, Jundollah, (God’s soldiers) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which have been conducting subversive acts in various regions of the country.

In this context, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly disclosed that militants along with huge cache of arms are being sent to Pakistan from Afghanistan.

It is notable that a terror-attempt was also made on Ansar Burney, Pakistan’s former Federal Minister for Human Rights, an eminent human rights activist, founder and chairman of the Ansar Burney Trust International. For this purpose, on January 18, 2013, two unknown persons came on their motor bike and tried to attach a time bomb device under Ansar Burney’s car parked outside his office in Karachi. It shows that those foreign-backed internal elements who are not well-wishers of human rights in Pakistan are involved in such criminal acts. Their ulterior motives seem to cause terror and panic in the country, and thus to tarnish Pakistan’s image abroad.

Now, question does not arise that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is going to be the prime minister of Pakistan, as the real question is that both the newly elected governments at centre and provinces must cooperate to pull the country out of multiple crises. While survival of country is at stake, PTI, JI, MQM and other political and religious parties should display a strong sense of unity with PML-N.

Particularly, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani met Nawaz Sharif on May 18 and assured Army’s cooperation in resolving various issues, especially terrorism. According to media reports Nawaz and Gen. Kayani talked about democracy’s success in the country, as the first time, a government completed its five-year tenure.
The meeting ended up with a positive note, as they hoped that the democratic process should continue in the same manner which would help strengthening the institutions in the country. Earlier, Gen. Kayani had also talked to Imran Khan through telephone, congratulating him and his party over the victory in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

As regards the recent elections, participation of the people in elections from all segments of life and politicians has proved that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to dictate their agenda and to impose their self-perceived ideology on the majority of Pakistanis through their undemocratic and un-Islamic practices.

The right hour has come that by castigating the conspiracy against Pakistan and democracy, our media, politicians and leaders of religious parties including security forces must fully cooperate with each other to cope with terrorists who intended to accomplish their self-motivated designs at the cost of Pakistan.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs

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Jabhat Al-Nusra Shows Its Cracks

NOVANEWS
Fighters from the Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra take their position on the front line during a clash with Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad in Aleppo, Dec. 24, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)

Every yesterday in Syria is better than today, and each today will remain less bad than tomorrow. It is only hope — a hopeless hope — that gives Syrians a reason to live, just in case they were not killed in the regional war fought by them on their land.

It is getting more complicated. The political and military wings of the opposition are disengaged, those on the ground each think one way, and the ones in hotels and behind desks think in another way — and often not at all alike.

Politicians can negotiate as much as they want, they can issue statements, give orders, but nothing is going to be implemented — the real decision-makers are in Syria, raising their guns and fighting different wars between Aleppo and Daraa.

The opposition’s military wings, though united by blood, are also divided because of differing agendas. It is a game of survival. Most of the opposition’s fighting brigades are losing ground across the country either to government forces and its allies, or to what used to be the strongest, most organized and most controversial faction in the opposition, Jabhat al-Nusra.

Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliated faction, has a strong presence around Syria. They have been a nightmare to government forces in several areas around the war-torn country. A group of Syrian jihadists, backed by brigades of foreign fighters, some Arabs and others from around the globe, Jabhat al-Nusra’s emergence was a turning point in the Syrian revolution’s path.

But Jabhat al-Nusra’s yesterday seems to be much better than today. A serious split is threatening the group’s unity at a very crucial and sensitive time, given the preparations and negotiations for a US-Russia sponsored conference on Syria — in which Jabhat al-Nusra will have no part and will want to spoil.

Why are brothers in arms, ideology and blood fighting? Weeks ago, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic state of Iraq (al-Qaeda in Iraq), called on Abu Mohammad al-Golani, Jabhat al-Nusra’s leader, to merge under one name, the answer came back negative.

Golani instead linked his group directly to al-Qaeda’s general leader Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri. He clearly wanted to say that Jabhat al-Nusra is just another direct branch from al-Qaeda, not a franchise.

There were no direct comments from Zawahri’s side and neither from Baghdadi. Later on, there were conflicting reports on Golani’s well-being.  First, he was reported killed amid a fierce battle in the countryside just outside Damascus, then it was announced that he sustained injuries. Less than a week after Golani’s injury, news of Baghdadi’s arrival in Syria circulated. He came to Aleppo along with hundreds of Arab and foreign fighters. Syria is now an international land of jihad, a scene similar to the one in Iraq when Abu Mosab Zarqawi arrived. According to an al-Qaeda affiliated Lebanese cleric, the enemy this time is not the United States but the “Persian occupation by Alawite, Hezbollah and Iranian forces,” and if there was a Western invasion, “the mujahedeen [holy warriors] are there to defend the ummah [nation].”

In the wake of the new givens, Golani’s role is expected to diminish and Jabhat al-Nusra’s main brigades will join the new “Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant,” the new state Baghdadi announced on April 8, 2013. Baghdadi’s speech then included many points that were to be understood as warnings to Golani. He said, “It is time to declare to the Levant and to the world that Jabhat al-Nusra is simply a branch of the Islamic state of Iraq,” and that Golani was dispatched from Iraq to Syria to help raise the basis of the new branch there.

The most important thing here is that Baghdadi’s speech came only two days after al-Qaeda leader Zawahri released an audio message calling for unification of the jihad in Syria, another indication the move was already planned and the announcement by Baghdadi was only to give Golani a wake-up call. As already known, Golani refused the alliance by pledging loyalty to Zawahri directly. The latter did not respond because Golani practically did not obey his orders — orders that are not casual orders but part of a new vision Zawahri presented in his last audio message.

On that occasion, Zawahri spoke about the new document issued by “Qaedat al-Jihad” — al-Qaeda’s official name — under the title “Nusrat al-Islam” — or supporting Islam — which seem to be presenting a new approach by al-Qaeda. Zawahri practically announced the end of the “al-Qaeda franchise” by saying: “The first matter is that all parties should focus on combining their forces and unity. The second matter is that all parties should be aware of the objectives of this unity and accord.”

Golani failed to understand the headquarters’ message and he had to pay the price. The opposition now has to understand the new status of Jabhat al-Nusra, or whatever name it will be given. It is no longer part of any revolutionary struggle for Syria — it is now part of the global jihad.

This is a mixed message for the more moderate opposition forces backed by the United States and its allies. On the one hand, it helps somewhat to draw a clearer line between them and al-Qaeda affiliates.  But even that is hard to say. More problematic, the Western-backed opposition will have to fight another battle — this time a fiercer battle — with even more divided radical forces. Once again, a new saving stick for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime, and another sign that a military solution is a fantasy.

 

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Julian Assange: UK Spy Messages Suggest He is Being Framed

NOVANEWS

‘I am fine, I am doing the work of my life’

– Craig Brown, staff writer

Screenshot from Spanish TV’s Salados, May 19, 2013.

Speaking during an interview with Spanish television program Salvados, which aired on Sunday, WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange said that he has received a series of unclassified instant message exchanges from UK intelligence officials suggesting that he is being framed.

Assange filed a ‘Special Access Request’ under the UK’s Data Protection Act asking the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) for copies of all unclassified documents referencing Assange.

“They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ, it’s definitely a fit-up though. Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate.”Assange has spent the past 11 months in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid arrest and extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual assault charges.

Assange told the interviewer: “If I walked out the front door immediately I would be arrested that would either be an arrest for a sealed indictment from the United States for the investigation that is occurring there or it would be an arrest for an extradition to Sweden followed by an extradition from Sweden to the United States.”

“And just recently we used this from GCHQ. We have just received this. It is not public yet. GCHQ which the electonic spying agency in Britain equivalent of the United States National Security Agency. It of course won’t hand over any of the classified information,” he told interviewer Jordi Évole. “But, much to its surprise, it has some unclassified information on us. It had some instant messaging between its spies,” he said.

The first instant message conversation from August 31, 2012 reads:

“You’ve seen Assange’s prediction?”
“No”
“He reckons he will stay in the Ecuadorian embassy for six to 12 months then the charges against him will be dropped, but that is not really how it works now is it?
“He’s a fool”
“Yeah”
“A highly optimistic fool”

“Another one here from September last year:”

“They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ, it’s definitely a fit-up though. Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate.”

“This is what their spies are discussing among themselves,” Assange added.

(CD Editors note: UsingEnglish.com defines “fit-up” as meaning: “To frame someone – make them look guilty of something they haven’t done.”

“We made a request to the police here, the government has already admitted it cost £4.5m to surround this embassy with police, but they won’t hand over any documents under the Freedom of information Act because it “concerns an investigation.” We know there is no investigation,” he told the interviewer Jordi Évole.

“Everything I say in email or SMS can be used in espionage prosecution. The US is finding ways to make everything classified.”

“Journalists want to hear that I am suffering, but I am fine, I am doing the work of my life so even in quite difficult circumstances it is satisfying,” he said.

“Sometimes I wonder if I have overstepped the mark, but the work I am doing is so satisfying to my principles that I am firm in my convictions that it was worth it.”

The interview with Salvados below. (Questions are in Spanish; Assange answers in English)

 

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Two FBI Agents Killed in Virginia

NOVANEWS

 

During an apparently training mission in the Virginia area 2 FBI agents were killed, at this point the government is refusing to release any details about the drill that they were involved in.

 

By Andrew Freeman

Two FBI agents were mysteriously killed during some sort of training exercise near Quantico military base in Virginia.  Unsurprisingly, the specific details of this drill, or how the deaths occurred has remained secret.

Press TV reported that:

FBI’s national press office issued a statement on Sunday, saying the two agents, who were members of Hostage Rescue Team, died in the accident which took place off the coast of Virginia Beach on Friday.

The two agents were identified as 41-year-old Christopher Lorek, and 40-year-old Stephen Shaw.  No further details of the accident were available immediately, but an FBI spokesman in Norfolk, Virginia said the deaths did not involve gunfire.

Other reports said the incident may have involved a helicopter. The Hostage Rescue Team, which is based at Quantico in northern Virginia, is part of the Critical Incident Response Group.

In a statement, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said, “We mourn the loss of two brave and courageous men. Like all who serve on the Hostage Rescue Team, they accept the highest risk each and every day, when training and on operational missions, to keep our nation safe. Our hearts are with their wives, children, and other loved ones who feel their loss most deeply. And they will always be part of the FBI Family.”

“Special Agent Lorek, age 41, joined the FBI in 1996. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 11 and 8. Special Agent Shaw, 40, joined the FBI in 2005 and is survived by his wife; a daughter, age 3; and a son, age 1,” the FBI said in a release

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Zio-Nazi Drones to Help Make 2014 World Cup in Brazil ‘One of Safest Sporting Events Ever’

NOVANEWS 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

 

Brazil has added 30 US military robots to the Israeli drones and ‘Robocop-style’ glasses with face recognition cameras to its arsenal after the country allocated $900 million to make 2014 World Cup “one of the most protected sports events in history.”

 

RT

The 30 PackBot 510 units, which usually cost between $100,000 and $200,000 apiece, will arrive in Brazil as part of the $7.2 million deal the country signed with American iRobot advanced technology company. The contracts include services, spare parts and associated equipment.

“IRobot continues its international expansion, and Brazil represents an important market for the company’s unmanned ground vehicles,”Frank Wilson, iRobot’s senior vice president, said in a statement.“IRobot is excited to be providing the company’s state-of-the-art robotic technologies to Brazil as the country prepares for several high profile international events, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”

The first real test for the PackBots will be the visit of Pope Franics to Brazil this July, with the country also looking to use the robots during the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The PackBots are equipped with cameras and are operated remotely in order to detect and examine suspicious objects or explore dangerous environments, while keeping their operators safe from harm.

The devices weigh about 27 kilogram and rely on caterpillar treads to move around, using videogame-style hand controllers to make it more familiar to the users.

More than 2000 of those military robots are currently stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, with PackBots being the first to enter the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Brazil is spending $900 million to bolster its security forces, including high-tech surveillance equipment and helicopters, as the country is hoping to make the 2014 World Cup “one of the most protected sports events in history.”

The country’s police will be equipped with facial-recognition camera glasses that can capture 400 facial images per second to store them in a central database of up to 13 million faces.

Brazil is also reported to have spent $25 million on four Israeli-made drones, which are expected to make their debut at the FIFA Confederations Cup in June.

There’ll also be plenty of manpower involved in the security operation as the World Cup organizers plan have 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers from the Brazilian Armed Forces at each of the 12 host cities during the event.

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Alabama University to Use Spy Drones Over Campus

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

 

Officials at the University of Alabama in Huntsville unveil a new plan to use remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles to provide an “eye in the sky” for police to monitor students on campus.

 

Press TV

The plan was divulged at a press conference at the university on May 8. Gary Maddux, the lead research director of Systems Management and Productions Center, said the aircraft could help stop a mass murder on campus.

He cited the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school as the catalyst pushing the research into overdrive.

On December 14, 2012, twenty children and six adults were fatally shot by a gunman – who later killed himself – at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in the US state of Connecticut. Earlier in the day, the assailant had killed his mother in another location.

Maddux said the technology used in the remote-controlled surveillance devices is not as advanced as controversial military drones, and they fly at a lower altitude.

He added the UAVs would be capable of using small spotlights, or infrared cameras in addition to video cameras.

Maddux did not explain how the surveillance aircraft will prevent criminal activity or improve campus police response time.

Thousands of unmanned aerial vehicles could be buzzing US airspace by 2015 because of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Modernization and Reform Act passed last year. The law requires the FAA to fully integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System by September 2015.

Additionally, it allows law enforcement agencies, including local police forces, to buy and use unmanned aircraft for evidence gathering and surveillance.
The law has however raised safety and privacy concerns among some lawmakers and advocacy groups.

Moreover, Washington uses assassination drones in several countries, claiming that they target “terrorists.” According to witnesses, however, the attacks have mostly led to massive civilian casualties.

US officials refuse to publicly discuss any details of the covert program and the death toll from drone strikes remains a mystery.

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Why Was A Sunday Times Report On US Government Ties To Al-Qaeda Chief Spiked?

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

A whistleblower has revealed extraordinary information on the U.S. government’s support for international terrorist networks and organized crime.

 

Whistleblower Sibel EdmondsWhistleblower Sibel Edmonds

By Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

The government has denied the allegations yet gone to extraordinary lengths to silence her. Her critics have derided her as a fabulist and fabricator. But now comes word that some of her most serious allegations were confirmed by a major European newspaper only to be squashed at the request of the U.S. government.

In a recent book Classified Woman, Sibel Edmonds, a former translator for the FBI, describes how the Pentagon, CIA and State Department maintained intimate ties to al-Qaeda militants as late as 2001. Her memoir, Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, published last year, charged senior government officials with negligence, corruption and collaboration with al Qaeda in illegal arms smuggling and drugs trafficking in Central Asia.

In interviews with this author in early March, Edmonds claimed that Ayman al-Zawahiri, current head of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s deputy at the time, had innumerable, regular meetings at the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, with U.S. military and intelligence officials between 1997 and 2001, as part of an operation known as ‘Gladio B’. Al-Zawahiri, she charged, as well as various members of the bin Laden family and other mujahideen, were transported on NATO planes to various parts of Central Asia and the Balkans to participate in Pentagon-backed destabilisation operations.

According to two Sunday Times journalists speaking on condition of anonymity, this and related revelations had been confirmed by senior Pentagon and MI6 officials as part of a four-part investigative series that were supposed to run in 2008. The Sunday Times journalists described how the story was inexplicably dropped under the pressure of undisclosed “interest groups”, which, they suggest, were associated with the U.S. State Department.

Shooting the Messenger
Described by the American Civil Liberties Union as the “most gagged person in the history of the United States of America,” Edmonds studied criminal justice, psychology and public policy at George Washington and George Mason universities. Two weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, her fluency in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani earned her an FBI contract at the Washington DC field office. She was tasked with translating highly classified intelligence from operations against terrorism suspects in and outside the U.S..

In the course of her work, Edmonds became privy to evidence that U.S. military and intelligence agencies were collaborating with Islamist militants affiliated with al-Qaeda, the very forces blamed for the 9/11 attacks – and that officials in the FBI were covering up the evidence. When Edmonds complained to her superiors, her family was threatened by one of the subjects of her complaint, and she was fired. Her accusations of espionage against her FBI colleagues were eventually investigated by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, which did not give details about the allegations as they remained classified.

Although no final conclusions about the espionage allegations were reached, the Justice Department concluded that many of Edmonds’ accusations “were supported, that the FBI did not take them seriously enough and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI’s decision to terminate her services.”

When she attempted to go public with her story in 2002, and again in 2004, the U.S. government silenced Edmonds by invoking a legal precedent known as “state secrets privilege” – a near limitless power to quash a lawsuit based solely on the government’s claim that evidence or testimony could divulge information that might undermine “national security.” Under this doctrine, the government sought to retroactively classify basic information concerning Edmonds’s case already in the public record, including, according to the New York Times, “what languages Ms. Edmonds translated, what types of cases she handled, and what employees she worked with, officials said. Even routine and widely disseminated information — like where she worked — is now classified.”

Although certainly not the first invocation of “state secrets privilege”, since the Edmonds case the precedent has been used repeatedly in the post-9/11 era under both the Bush and Obama administrations to shield the U.S. government from court scrutiny of rendition, torture, warrantless wiretapping, as well as the President’s claimed war powers.

Other intelligence experts agree that Edmonds had stumbled upon a criminal conspiracy at the heart of the American judicial system. In her memoirs, she recounts that FBI Special Agent Gilbert Graham, who also worked in the Washington field office on counter-intelligence operations, told her over a coffee how he “ran background checks on federal judges” in the “early nineties for the bureau… If we came up with shit – skeletons in their closets – the Justice Department kept it in their pantry to be used against them in the future or to get them to do what they want in certain cases – cases like yours.”A redacted version of Graham’s classified protected disclosure to the Justice Department regarding these allegations, released in 2007, refers to the FBI’s “abuse of authority” by conducting illegal wiretapping to obtain information on U.S. public officials.

Incubating Terror
Five years ago, Edmonds revealed to the Sunday Times that an unidentified senior U.S. State Department official was on the payroll of Turkish agents in Washington, passing on nuclear and military secrets. “He was aiding foreign operatives against U.S. interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives”, Edmonds told the paper. She reported coming across this information when listening to suppressed phone calls recorded by FBI surveillance, marked by her colleague Melek Can Dickerson as “not pertinent”.

In the Sunday Times exposé, Edmonds described a parallel organization in Israel cooperating with the Turks on illegal weapons sales and technology transfers. Between them, Israel and Turkey operated a range of front companies incorporated in the U.S. with active “moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions”, supported by U.S. officials, in order to sell secrets to the highest bidder. One of the buyers was Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) – which often used its Turkish allies, according to the Times, “as a conduit… because they were less likely to attract suspicion.”

The Pakistani operation was, the paper reported, “led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief” from 1999 to 2001, when the agency helped train, supply and coordinate the Afghan Taliban and gave sanctuary to their Arab allies brought together in the coalition named al-Qaeda. Ahmad, as the Times noted, “was accused [by the FBI] of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.”

According to Indian intelligence officials, they had assisted the FBI in “tracing and establishing” the financial trail between the General and the chief hijacker. The discovery was, they allege, the real reason behind the General’s sudden retirement in October 2001. The Pakistani daily, The News, reported on 10th September 2001 that the ISI chief held several “mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council” that week, including with CIA director George Tenet.

In an interview with this author in March, Edmonds raised the question of whether U.S. officials’ liaisons with an espionage network overseen by Ahmad, and the FBI’s suppression of related intelligence, played a role in facilitating the attacks.

“Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks”, reported the Sunday Times. The paper related that according to Edmonds, the senior State Department official received a call from a foreign agent under FBI surveillance asking for help to “get them out of the U.S. because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans.” The official promised “he would ‘take care of it’.”

Edmonds told this author that high-level corruption compromised the ability of the U.S. intelligence community to pursue ongoing investigations of those planning the 9/11 attacks. “It was precisely those militants that were incubated by some of America’s key allies”, she said. Corruption helped guarantee Congressional silence when that incubation strategy backfired in the form of 9/11. “Both Republican and Democratic representatives in the House and Senate came up in FBI counterintelligence investigations for taking bribes from foreign agents”, she said.

Al-Qaeda: Enemy or Asset?
In her interview, Edmonds insisted that after its initial exposé, the Times‘ investigation had gone beyond such previous revelations, and was preparing to disclose her most startling accusations. Among these, Edmonds described how the CIA and the Pentagon had been running a series of covert operations supporting Islamist militant networks linked to Osama bin Laden right up to 9/11, in Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

While it is widely recognised that the CIA sponsored bin Laden’s networks in Afghanistan during the Cold War, U.S. government officials deny any such ties existed. Others claim these ties were real, but were severed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989.

But according to Edmonds, this narrative is false. “Not just bin Laden, but several senior ‘bin Ladens’ were transported by U.S. intelligence back and forth to the region in the late 1990s through to 2001″, she told this author, “including Ayman al-Zawahiri” – Osama bin Laden’s right-hand-man who has taken over as al-Qaeda’s top leader.

“In the late 1990s, all the way up to 9/11, al-Zawahiri and other mujahideen operatives were meeting regularly with senior U.S. officials in the U.S. embassy in Baku to plan the Pentagon’s Balkan operations with the mujahideen,” said Edmonds. “We had support for these operations from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. oversaw and directed them. They were being run from a secret section of the Pentagon with its own office”.

American-Conservative-Nov-2009-Sibel-Edmonds-Ceasefire-MagazineEdmonds clarified, “the FBI counterintelligence investigation which was tracking these targets, along with their links to U.S. officials, was known as ‘Gladio B’, and was kickstarted in 1997. It so happens that Major Douglas Dickerson” – the husband of her FBI co-worker Melek whom she accused of espionage – “specifically directed the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio’ operations in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan at this time.”

In testimony under oath, Edmonds has previously confirmed that Major Doug Dickerson worked for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the weapons procurement logistics division on Turkey and Central Asia, and with the Office of Special Plans (OSP) overseeing policy in Central Asia.

Gladio B
Edmonds said that the Pentagon operations with Islamists were an “extension” of an original ‘Gladio’ programme uncovered in the 1970s in Italy, part of an EU-wide NATO covert operation that began as early as the 1940s. As Swiss historian Dr. Daniele Ganser records in his seminal book, NATO’s Secret Armies, an official Italian parliamentary inquiry confirmed that British MI6 and the CIA had established a network of secret “stay-behind” paramilitary armies, staffed by fascist and Nazi collaborators. The covert armies carried out terrorist attacks throughout Western Europe, officially blamed on Communists in what Italian military intelligence called the ‘strategy of tension’.

“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game” explained Gladio operative Vincenzo Vinciguerra during his trial in 1984. “The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people… to turn to the State to ask for greater security.”

While the reality of Gladio’s existence in Europe is a matter of historical record, Edmonds contended the same strategy was adopted by the Pentagon in the 1990s in a new theatre of operations, namely, Asia. “Instead of using neo-Nazis, they used mujahideen working under various bin Ladens, as well as al-Zawahiri”, she said.

The last publicly known Gladio meeting occurred in NATO’s Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) in Brussels in 1990. While Italy was a focal point for the older European operations, Edmonds said that Turkey and Azerbaijan served as the main conduits for a completely new, different set of operations in Asia using veterans of the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, the so-called “Afghan Arabs” that had been trained by al-Qaeda.

These new Pentagon-led operations were codenamed ‘Gladio B’ by FBI counterintelligence: “In 1997, NATO asked [Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak to release from prison Islamist militants affiliated to Ayman al-Zawahiri [whose role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat led to Mubarak’s ascension]. They were flown under U.S. orders to Turkey for [training and use in] operations by the Pentagon”, she said.

Edmonds’ allegations find some independent corroboration in the public record. The Wall Street Journal refers to a nebulous agreement between Mubarak and “the operational wing of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was then headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri… Many of that group’s fighters embraced a cease-fire with the government of former President Hosni Mubarak in 1997.”

Youssef Bodansky, former Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, cited U.S. intelligence sources in an article for Defense and Foreign Affairs: Strategic Policy, confirming “discussions between the Egyptian terrorist leader Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and an Arab-American known to have been both an emissary of the CIA and the U.S. Government.” He referred to an “offer” made to al-Zawahiri in November 1997 on behalf of U.S. intelligence, granting his Islamists a free hand in Egypt as long as they lent support to U.S. forces in the Balkans. In 1998, Al Zawahiri’s brother, Muhammed, led an elite unit of the Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbs during the Kosovo conflict – he reportedly had direct contact with NATO leadership.

“This is why”, Edmonds continued in her interview, “even though the FBI routinely monitored the communications of the diplomatic arms of all countries, only four countries were exempt from this protocol – the UK, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Belgium – the seat of NATO. No other country – not even allies like Israel or Saudi Arabia, were exempt. This is because these four countries were integral to the Pentagon’s so-called Gladio B operations.”

Edmonds did not speculate on the objectives of the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio B’ operations, but highlighted the following possibilities: projecting U.S. power in the former Soviet sphere of influence to access previously untapped strategic energy and mineral reserves for U.S. and European companies; pushing back Russian and Chinese power; and expanding the scope of lucrative criminal activities, particularly illegal arms and drugs trafficking.

Terrorism finance expert Loretta Napoleoni estimates the total value of this criminal economy to be about $1.5 trillion annually, the bulk of which “flows into Western economies, where it gets recycled in the U.S. and in Europe” as a “vital element of the cash flow of these economies.”

It is no coincidence then that the opium trade, Edmonds told this author, has grown rapidly under the tutelage of NATO in Afghanistan: “I know for a fact that NATO planes routinely shipped heroin to Belgium, where they then made their way into Europe and to the UK. They also shipped heroin to distribution centres in Chicago and New Jersey. FBI counterintelligence and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) operations had acquired evidence of this drug trafficking in its surveillance of a wide range of targets, including senior officials in the Pentagon, CIA and State Department. As part of this surveillance, the role of the Dickersons – with the support of these senior U.S. officials – in facilitating drug-trafficking, came up. It was clear from this evidence that the whole funnel of drugs, money and terror in Central Asia was directed by these officials.”

The evidence for this funnel, according to Edmonds, remains classified in the form of FBI counterintelligence surveillance records she was asked to translate. Although this alleged evidence has never made it to court due to the U.S. government’s exertion of ‘state secret privilege’, she was able to testify in detail concerning her allegations, including naming names, in 2009.

Censorship
In recent interviews, two Sunday Times journalists confirmed to this author that the newspaper’s investigation based on Sibel Edmonds’ revelations was to break much of the details into the open.

“We’d spoken to several current and active Pentagon officials confirming the existence of U.S. operations sponsoring mujahideen networks in Central Asia from the 1990s to 2001,” said one Sunday Times source. “Those mujahideen networks were intertwined with a whole range of criminal enterprises, including drugs and guns. The Pentagon officials corroborated Edmonds’ allegations against specific U.S. officials, and I’d also interviewed an MI6 officer who confirmed that the U.S. was running these operations sponsoring mujahideen in that period.”

But according to Edmonds, citing the investigative team at the paper, the last two articles in the series were spiked under U.S. State Department pressure. She recalled being told at the time by journalists leading the Sunday Times investigation that the newspaper’s editor had decided to squash the story after receiving calls from officials at the U.S. embassy in London.

A journalist with the Sunday Times‘ investigative unit told this author he had interviewed former Special Agent in Charge, Dennis Saccher, who had moved to the FBI’s Colorado office. Saccher reportedly confirmed the veracity of Edmonds’ allegations of espionage, telling him that Edmonds’ story “should have been front page news” because it was “a scandal bigger than Watergate.” The same journalist confirmed that after interviewing Saccher at his home, the newspaper was contacted by the U.S. State Department. “The U.S. embassy in London called the editor and tried to ward him off. We were told that we weren’t permitted to approach Saccher or any other active FBI agents directly, but could only go through the FBI’s press office – that if we tried to speak to Saccher or anyone else employed by the FBI directly, that would be illegal. Of course, it isn’t, but that’s what we were told. I think this was a veiled threat.”

Saccher’s comments to the journalist never made it to press.

A lead reporter on the series at the Sunday Times told this author that the investigation based on Edmonds’ information was supposed to have four parts, but was inexplicably dropped. “The story was pulled half-way, suddenly, without any warning”, the journalist said. “I wasn’t party to the editorial decision to drop the story, but there was a belief in the office amongst several journalists who were part of the Insight investigative unit that the decision was made under pressure from the U.S. State Department, because the story might cause a diplomatic incident.”

Although the journalist was unaware of where this belief came from – and was not informed of the U.S. embassy’s contact with the paper’s editor which the other journalist was privy to – he acknowledged that self-censorship influenced by unspecified “interest groups” was a possible explanation. “The way the story was dropped was unusual, but the belief amongst my colleagues this happened under political pressure is plausible.” He cryptically described an “editorial mechanism, linked to the paper but not formally part of it, which could however exert control on stories when necessary, linked to certain interests.” When asked which interests, the journalist said, “I can’t say. I can’t talk about that.”

Edmonds described how, due to the U.S. government’s efforts to silence her, she had no option left except to write her story down. The resultant book, Classified Woman, had to be submitted to an FBI panel for review. By law, the bureau was required to make a decision on what could be disclosed or redacted within 30 days.

Instead, about a year later, Edmonds’ lawyer received a letter from the FBI informing them that the agency was still reviewing the book, and prohibiting her from publishing it: “The matters Ms. Edmonds writes about involve many equities, some of which may implicate information that is classified… Approval of the manuscripts by the FBI will include incorporation of all changes required by the FBI. Until then, Ms. Edmonds does not have approval to publish her manuscripts which includes showing them to editors, literary agents, publishers, reviewers, or anyone else. At this point, Ms. Edmonds remains obligated not to disclose or publish the manuscript in any manner.”

The block was another example, Edmonds said, “of the abuse of ‘national security’ to conceal evidence of criminality.” She said that this forced her to release the book herself in March 2012, as no publisher would risk taking it on.

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