Archive | January 11th, 2017

Illegal Detention of Pakistani Prisoners in Indian Jails

NOVANEWS

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By Sajjad Shaukat

Recently, Indian Supreme Court has taken notice on the writ petition, filed by Prof. Bhim Singh,

senior Advocate against the illegal, improper and unconstitutional detention of nearly 254

Pakistani prisoners and those of Azad Jammu and Kashmir languishing in Indian jails for over a

decade.

Despite the anti-Pakistan pressure of the extremist outfit BJP and other Hindu fundamentalist

groups led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the dilemma of Pakistani prisoners has

attracted the attention of the Indian Supreme Court which has taken notice of this atrocious

conduct of New Delhi.

Indian Supreme Court has asked the central government to provide detailed information about

254 Pakistani prisoners imprisoned in Indian jails either as under-trial prisoners or as convicts.

The apex court has also asked the details of Pakistani prisoners who illegally crossed the border,

the crime record of the prisoners, information about actual number of prisoners under trial, total

number of prisoners who are not under judicial custody and about the number of Pakistani

prisoners who have already completed their punishment. The court has also raised questions

about the identification process of prisoners as well as the management process pertaining to

these prisoners’ repatriation to Pakistan.

Notably, over 50 Pakistani prisoners have completed their sentence in Indian jails and are still

struck up in India, as in the pretext of confirmation their nationality status, Indian authorities did

not release them.

It is mentionable that in 2008, Pakistan and India had signed an agreement to grant consular

access to prisoners in each other’s jails in order to reduce the anguish of the prisoners.

India has arrested hundreds of Pakistan’s nationals, often accusing them of being spies after they

have strayed across the land or maritime border due to unconscious mistake and staying with an

expired passport. It also includes some tourists who went to India. Quite contrary to the well-

treatment of Indian spies in Pakistani jails, Indian secret agency RAW and other security

agencies employ various techniques of torture on the so-called Pakistan’s suspected persons.

Some Pakistani citizens and prisoners have also been killed in Indian jails, while a majority of

them has been killed by Indian security agencies in fake encounters, particularly those persons,

arrested in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

It is notable that government of Pakistan released Indian spy, Surjeet Singh who was handed

over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border crossing. He was given death sentence in

1991.

The then Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari commuted death sentence of another Indian spy of

RAW, Sarabjit Singh into life imprisonment on June 26, 2012, who was set free from Jail in

July, 2012 and was handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border crossing.

Surjeet Singh openly admitted that he was in Pakistan to spy when he was arrested in 1982. In

this respect, Surjeet Singh said, “I was a RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent. No one

bothered about me after I got arrested.” Surjeet told reporters soon after stepping on Indian soil.

While, about Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, Surjeet Singh revealed, “Sarabjit Singh is a terrorist

and terrorists are neither released.”

Besides, Indian spy Surjeet also pointed out, “All Indian prisoners are treated well in Pakistani

jails. Sarabjit Singh is also doing well there…I was treated well by prison officials and I am

thankful to them.”

However, both Surjeet Singh and Sarabjit Singh were responsible for the string of blasts in

Faisalabad, Lahore, and Multan in 1990 in which several innocent people were killed. They were

also behind other terror-activities in Pakistan.

On June 28, 2012, BBC reported, in recent years, “several Indians returning from Pakistani jails

have admitted to spying for Indian intelligence agency RAW” and some have criticised India’s

government for abandoning them.”

It is mentionable that in April 2011, Gopal Das, one of Pakistan’s longest-serving Indian

prisoners, was released after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari intervened in his case.

Upon his release, Das admitted he was an Indian spy. Similarly, Kashmir Singh, sentenced to

death in Pakistan in 1973 for spying, was released in March 2008. Afterwards, he also admitted

that he was spying for RAW.

It is noteworthy that that confession of the crime by the Indian released prisoners showed Indian

government’s involvement in terrorist acts which occurred in Pakistan from time to time.

It notable that litigation over the fate of 189 Pakistani prisoners reportedly languishing in Indian

penitentiaries took a new turn on April 5, 2016 when a human rights activist filed a constitutional

petition in the Sindh High Court about a list of 17 prisoners waiting for their repatriation, some

of them well over 10 years.

And during the previous hearing, the chairman of Ansar Barney Trust International indicated that

189 Pakistani prisoners having gone missing from Indian jails and he was shocked to see the

Pakistan government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s silence regarding them.

Nevertheless, as part of good gesture and to stabilize the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)

with New Delhi, Islamabad set free several Indian prisoners who had completed their sentences.

Pakistan had announced that it would release more that 100 Indian prisoners. In this context,

Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman stated, “since 2003, Pakistan released 2,657 Indian

prisoners, while India has freed 827 Pakistani prisoners.”

But, instead of reciprocating the good gesture of Pakistan, India had sent the dead bodies of two

Pakistani prisoners in 2008, while, two Pakistani prisoners had died in Indian custody in the

same year, including one Pakistani citizen Mehmoud Khalid who had gone to India in 2005 to

watch a cricket test match where he lost his passport. He was subjected to sever torture, resulting

in his death. Another Pakistani prisoner Akram who crossed the border in the Kasur area by

mistake on February 8, 2008, was arrested by the Indian authorities. He was a patient of

schizophrenia. Akram’s brother, Aslam claimed that his brother was tortured to death by the

Indian authorities.

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Stop the War big lie

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Image result for Stop the War Coalition cartoon

A first-hand testimony: the anti-war movement matters

In his farewell press conference, Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry stated that it was Cameron’s defeat in the parliamentary vote in 2013 on whether to militarily intervene in Syria which compelled Obama to seek congressional approval for US military action in Syria, which he failed to obtain. Had the US and the UK been able to pursue their regime change agenda, a direct military confrontation with Russia would have been much more likely. The margin of Cameron’s defeat was small: it was the success of anti-war campaigning which managed to sway enough MPs not to support that military intervention. Our movement changed history, as it surely has in various other incalculable and unidentified ways.

Unfortunately, they still continued their bombing campaigns across the region. According to new figures, the US dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016: nearly three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.

 

Stopping the war machine: anti-war work in Britain

More than a decade of calling on workers to demonstrate and lobby their MPs has signally failed to stop or even slow down a single war. So what is the alternative? How should workers be furthering the anti-imperialist goal of preventing the British ruling class from massacring workers abroad in the pursuit of superprofits? [analysis contributed by Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist)]

Although the leadership of the Stop the War Coalition (StW) was stitched up on day one between the revisionist (CPB) and Trotskyite (SWP) friends of Labour, that should not blind us to the fact that many of the activists who have campaigned and taken part in local StW branch activities over the last decade were and are sincere in their desire to stop imperialist war. The problem is that there is complete confusion in their ranks about what might be the best way to achieve this aim – confusion that is exacerbated by the ineffectual activity organised by the self-appointed leaders of the anti-war movement, and the imperialist prejudices that those leaders are constantly reinforcing.

Anti-imperialism and Stop the War

When the newly-formed CPGB-ML affiliated to the Stop the War Coalition (StW) it immediately made its presence felt by putting forward the slogan ‘Victory to the Iraqi resistance’, and doing what it could to persuade activists of the importance of this stance if we want to build a really effective anti-war movement. The party printed up placards displaying that slogan for the big anti-war demo in March 2005 and put forward resolutions at several StW conferences where it argued for this to be adopted as coalition policy.

Although those resolutions were defeated, what was noticeable was that the margin of defeat got smaller each year, and the arguments used against that call to unite with those fighting against imperialist guns got progressively weaker. In the end, they boiled down to ‘Of course, we agree with you, but we’re a broad movement and can’t go upsetting people. What would the quakers say?’ Interestingly, not a single quaker has ever stood up in the presence of a party member and made this point in person! Meanwhile, the CPGB-ML was busy making itself a pole of attraction for all those who were persuaded of the correctness of its slogan.

The party had always pointed out that there are two vital planks to serious anti-war work, so in April 2009 it put forward a resolution that asked StW’s national conference to adopt a line of active non-cooperation with war crimes as coalition policy. Given the timing (this was soon after the Labour government had been so blatantly complicit in the Gaza massacre), the leadership felt compelled to support that resolution – in words at least. It was adopted with a huge majority … and then quietly shelved.

This was not particularly surprising, but it did give anti-imperialists in StW two very important advantages. First, it was clear that they were winning the argument politically, even if they did not have the organisational muscle to force implementation in practice. Second, they now had a very good weapon for exposing the leadership’s reluctance to engage in really effective anti-war work. StW’s leaders could not claim ignorance that another way was possible; nor could they pretend they were simply ‘carrying out the will of the membership’ in failing to mobilise workers to take direct anti-war action.

At the next StW national conference, the CPGB-ML pushed the point home by proposing another resolution on non-cooperation. This was in October 2010, just five months after the Gaza flotilla massacre, so again, the mood was overwhelmingly in the party’s favour. Real life had been busy proving all its arguments, and the various groups of activists who had been engaged in direct action against illegal wars were greeted as heroes by the assembled delegates.

The new resolution pointed out that non-cooperation was already coalition policy and put forward a list of concrete proposals for putting this policy into practice. The CPGB-ML suggested putting on a fundraising concert to draw attention to the plight of the Gaza protestors (imprisoned for protesting against Israel’s massacre in Gaza in 2008/9); a national speaking tour to promote awareness of conscientious objector Joe Glenton; and full support to all the direct-action activists like the Smash EDO and anti-Raytheon campaigners who were disrupting the war machine.

It also asked StW to step up its campaigning outside army recruitment centres and to oppose army stalls in schools, colleges etc; to draw attention to the media’s role in apologising for, covering up and normalising British, US and Israeli war crimes; to hound the war criminals in order to draw attention to their crimes; and, most importantly, to work inside all the trade unions and the TUC to get non-cooperation motions debated and passed at their conferences.

Only one person voted against the resolution, so clearly this approach was very popular amongst ordinary delegates.

Anti-imperialists in Britain will know from bitter experience that StW’s leaders have no interest in putting these proposals into action, but, having had the principle so soundly confirmed, the next aim of the CPGB-ML was to try to put pressure from local StW branches for implementation, and to expose the leadership’s antipathy to such action in front of those members who genuinely do want to put a stop to Britain’s imperialist wars.

This was all overshadowed in February 2011, however, when US and British imperialism selected Libya as their next victim, and Stop the War called a protest – not in support of the country under attack but in support of the CIA and MI6-backed terrorists in Benghazi!

As the moves toward war accelerated, the CPGB-ML was the only organisation in Britain that came out unequivocally in favour of Colonel Gaddafi and the Libyan masses he represented. Its members did all in their power to expose the lies of the imperialist media, and to show how various Trotskyite, revisionist and left-Labour luminaries in the leadership of StW were contributing to the propaganda offensive that was softening the British people up for a new war.

Most anti-war activists will be familiar with the political attacks the CPGB-ML made on the blatantly pro-imperialist line that StW’s leaders took at this time, and for which the party was ultimately expelled from the coalition. In fact, however, the whole episode can be seen as a victory for the party and its politics. The leaders of StW had no answer to the criticisms levelled at them, so they did everything in their power to avoid discussion of the subject. Their conduct in expelling those who criticised them only further exposed them in the eyes of honest activists, since there was a blatant lack of any kind of fair or democratic process and the party was given no opportunity to speak in its own defence.

Overall, we must view the CPGB-ML’s anti-war work so far as having been extremely successful. Despite the party’s small size, it has put forward the only correct line – and been the only party doing so. It has popularised two slogans that were previously never heard in the movement, so that others have been forced to take on aspects of its position in order to maintain any shred of credibility. (So, for example, John Rees was forced to claim that he supported the resistance at the national conference in 2010, and Andrew Murray gave a speech that was basically in support of the Syrian government at a recent picket in London.)

Building a united front

When anti-imperialists engage in anti-war work, we have only one aim, which is to create a united front between the workers of Britain and those being attacked by British imperialism abroad. We approach this from two directions:

1. By working to create sympathy for those fighting against British imperialist forces and an awareness of their moral right and duty to do so. Hence the slogan ‘Victory to the resistance’.

2. By working to offer real, material support to those fighting on the front line against our common enemy. This means building a movement of active non-cooperation amongst British workers. If we don’t make the munitions, transport the supplies, broadcast the propaganda or fight in the army, the imperialists can’t prosecute their wars. Hence the slogan ‘No cooperation with war crimes’.

British workers need to understand that these two slogans are indelibly linked with each other – and with their own struggle for emancipation from capitalist exploitation. Imperialist war is not something that happens far away and with no bearing on our lives; it is not merely ‘foreign affairs’.

British imperialism gains the strength it needs to oppress British workers by looting abroad, and it gains more strength both by dividing us from our brothers and sisters overseas (eg, dehumanising the victims of its aggression) and by scapegoating communities at home that have associations with those attacked (eg, by inciting islamophobia in order to justify wars in the Arab world and weaken workers’ opposition to such wars – as well as to encourage white workers to imagine that their enemy is Islam rather than capitalism).

In an ideal world, the CPGB-ML would simply announce the formation of an anti-imperialist anti-war front in Britain, and workers and anti-war activists would flock to its banner. Since the party’s present size and influence means that it is unable to do this in any meaningful way, however, our task is to identify the steps that will take the party in the direction of being able to launch such a front in future – that means building the party and doing everything possible to spread awareness of its analysis.

Impediments to the work of building towards an anti-imperialist front

1. Size.

There is no denying that the CPGB-ML is still a tiny force in British politics and has as yet no influence on the masses. The only solution to this is for comrades in the party to keep doing the work they are doing and training the new cadres that join them. The party’s growth is already accelerating and is bound to become exponential if they get this right.

2. The question of unity.

One of the biggest areas of confusion when carrying out anti-war work is on the subject of unity. But ‘unity’ is not an abstract concept, it can only be understood in context. The question always needs to be asked: ‘Unity with whom and for what purpose?’

While it is true that communists desire to create maximum unity, the purpose of unifying is that we should have maximum strength in the fight to overthrow imperialism. So it goes without saying that those with whom we unify must also be opposed to imperialism.

When we expose the influence of the Labour party and all its apologists in our movement, we are not scuppering the unity of the movement but striving to create the conditions for achieving it. Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn, Lindsay German and co want the anti-war movement to ‘unify’ with forces that represent our enemy. Communists, on the other hand, want to build unity with all those forces that oppose British imperialism, both at home and abroad.

The way forward

1. To continue to use CPGB-ML publications and literature to put forward a correct analysis of the cause of imperialist wars as well as their solution.

This analysis is not available elsewhere, and nor is any other organisation putting forward a coherent programme for effective anti-war work. Therefore, it is vitally important that we should do our utmost to spread the party’s influence by selling its papers, giving out its leaflets and forwarding links to its articles online. These articles should be thoroughly studied and discussed, so that as many activists as possible have a thorough understanding of the issues and are able to spread the ideas further into the movement.

2. To continue to work within Stop the War to influence as many decent activists as possible and expose the bankrupt leadership in their eyes.

Whether in or out of the CPGB-ML, anti-war activists should continue to attend StW branch meetings and national conferences, and to participate in local and national demonstrations. We should always have our own leaflets and papers to put forward at these events, and be prepared to raise the questions that the leadership are trying to avoid (eg, Syria).

By continuing to put pressure on the leadership we will also help to expose and exacerbate the differences between those leaders. It is clear that some of them are feeling quite uncomfortable about their organisation’s complicity in the wars on Libya and Syria – and in all probability some are facing difficult questions from members within their various organisations.

3. To counterpose the false calls for ‘unity’ with the imperialists’ agents in our movement with a call for unity with those fighting British imperialism abroad.

We must never be afraid to defend the right of those attacked to fight back, or to defend the chosen leaders of a people under attack, no matter how demonised and vilified those leaders are in the mainstream capitalist media.

4. To continue to build up contact between all those anti-war activists who are disillusioned with Stop the War’s increasing bankruptcy and irrelevance and to hold independent public meetings against war.

For example, public meetings have already been held in Bristol and Birmingham, where increasing numbers of independent activists are being attracted towards the CPGB-ML’s line.

5. To build on such meetings by organising joint anti-war activities with independent activists and friendly organisations.

For example, Bristol and Birmingham comrades have mobilised sympathetic forces in their areas and organised counter-demonstrations exposing the pro-imperialist complicity of those who claim to ‘support the Syrian people’ by calling for the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad and his government.

6. To identify opportunities for speaking to workers who are involved in the war machine in order to explain to them the necessity of working in their unions for a policy of collective non-cooperation.

This could mean leafleting at a nearby arms factory, or an army recruitment centre, or it could take the form of setting up a stall at the RMT, Unison, Bectu, NUJ etc union conferences. Comrades who are members of relevant unions should propose non-cooperation motions to conference.

Much of the work listed above is already being carried out in some areas. Our task is to systematise it and make it central to the activity of all anti-imperialist activists. Even where no party branch exists, every worker has it within his/her power to carry out one or more of the suggested activities on a regular basis – selling papers and attending local StW branch meetings, for example, is a good way to create the foundations for other work. Where two or more members are active together, they might try and supplement this work with finding some part of the war machine to target in their local area. Its tentacles are everywhere!

What activists can do depends on their availability and their concrete situation – whether they are alone or with others, whether they have contacts with union members or proximity to a recruiting centre or transport depot, for example – but we can all do something to increase the influence of anti-imperialist politics in the anti-war movement. We need to spread awareness of the correct analysis of the CPGB-ML, and we need to promote its concrete programme in order to persuade British workers not only of the need but of their real power to put a stop to imperialist war.

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British collusion with sectarian violence: (Part 1)

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British collusion with sectarian violence: Part one
In the first of a four-part series, Dan Glazebrook and Sukant Chandan look at the recent spate of revelations about the involvement of British security services in facilitating the flow of fighters into Syria.

Over 13 years ago, in March 2003, Britain and the US led an illegal and unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq, a fellow UN member state. Such a war is deemed to be, in the judgment of the Nuremberg trials that followed World War Two, “not only an international crime” but “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

The mainstream narrative surrounding this war, and the endless catastrophes it bequeathed to Iraq, is that it was the result of a series of unfortunate ‘intelligence failures’: the British government had been led to believe that Iraq posed what Tony Blair called a “clear and present danger” to international security by intelligence that subsequently turned out to be false.

© Stringer

Blair told us that the Iraqi government had an active nuclear weapons program, had acquired uranium from Niger, had mobile chemical weapons factories that could evade UN weapons inspectors, and had stocks of chemical weapons able to hit British troops in Cyprus within 45 minutes.

All of these claims were false, and all were blamed on ‘intelligence failings’, creating an image of an intelligence service totally incapable of distinguishing between credible information and the deluding ravings of crackpots and fantasists, such as the notorious Curveball, the source of many of the various made-up claims later repeated in such grave and reverent tones by the likes of Tony Blair and Colin Powell.

In fact, we now know that sources such as Curveball had already been written off as delusional, compulsive liars by multiple intelligence agencies long before Blair and co got their hands on their outpourings – and the British government was fully aware of this.

The truth is, there were no intelligence failings over the Iraq war. In fact, the intelligence services had been carrying out their job perfectly: on the one hand, making correct assessments of unreliable information, and on the other, providing the government with everything necessary to facilitate its war of aggression. The Iraq war, then, represented a supreme example not of intelligence failure, but intelligence success.

Fast forward to today, and we are again hearing talk of ‘intelligence failings’ and the supposed incompetence of the security services to explain a debilitating Western-sponsored war in the Middle East: this time in Syria.

Earlier this year, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond admitted that 800 British citizens had gone to join the anti-government terrorist movement in Syria, with at least 50 known to have been killed fighting for Al-Qaeda or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). The British security and intelligence community, we are to believe, were simply unable to stop them.

Opportunist political opponents blame such shocking statistics on incompetence, while the government and its supporters increasingly weave them into an argument for greater powers and resources for the security services. Both are wrong; and a closer look at some of these so-called ‘intelligence failings’ makes this very clear.

In December 2013, it emerged that MI5 had tried to recruit Michael Adebolajo, one of the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, just a few weeks before Rigby’s murder. Adebalajo had been on the radar of both MI5 and MI6 for over 10 years. He had been under surveillance in no less than five separate MI5 investigations, including one set up specifically to watch him. He was known to have been in contact with the senior leadership of Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, based in Yemen, and he had been arrested in Kenya on a speedboat on the way to Somalia with five other youths, where he was suspected of hoping to join Al Shabaab.

The Kenyans were furious when they handed him over to the Brits only for him to be turned loose, presumably to continue with his recruitment activities.

The following month, 17-year-old Aseel Muthana left his family home in Cardiff to join rebel fighters in Syria. His brother Nasser had left three months earlier, and his family were worried that Aseel would try to join him. So they confiscated his passport, and informed the police of their concerns. The police kept the family under close scrutiny. They even arrived at his house at 5pm the day he left for Syria, to be told he hadn’t been seen since the night before. He boarded a flight at 8.35pm that night, using alternative travel documents issued by the Foreign Office. His family were horrified that he had been allowed to travel, without a passport, despite all their warnings.

A similar case occurred in June 2015, when three sisters from Bradford traveled to Syria – it is thought to join IS – taking their nine young children with them. Again, the family had been under intense scrutiny from the police ever since their brother went to join IS in Syria earlier that year. And far from being unaware of the risk of their being recruited, counter-terrorist police were, it appears, deeply complicit in their recruitment.

letter from the family’s lawyers said they were “alarmed” by the police allegedly having been actively promoting and encouraging contact with the brother believed to be fighting in Syria: “It would appear that there has been a reckless disregard as to the consequences of any such contact [with] the families of those whom we represent,” the lawyers said, and continued: “Plainly, by the NECTU [North East Counter Terrorism Unit] allowing this contact they have been complicit in the grooming and radicalizing of the women.

October 2014 saw the trial of Moazzam Begg, for various terrorism-related offences. Begg had admitted to training British recruits in Syria – but in his defense, he made the incendiary claim that MI5 had explicitly given him the green light for his frequent visits in a meeting they had arranged with him. MI5 admitted it was true, and the trial collapsed.

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Six months later, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an interview with Aimen Dean, a founding member of Al-Qaeda who was subsequently recruited by MI6 as a spy. Part of his work for MI6, he said, involved encouraging young impressionable Muslims to go and join the ranks of Al-Qaeda.

Then in June 2015, Abu Muntasir, known as the godfather of British jihadists, thought to have recruited “thousands” of British Muslims to fight in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Burma, Bosnia and Chechnya, gave an interview to the Guardian, repenting his actions. He explained that he came back from fighting in Afghanistan to “create the link and clear the paths. I came back [from war] and opened the door and the trickle turned to a flood. I inspired and recruited, I raised funds and bought weapons, not just a one-off but for 15 to 20 years. Why I have never been arrested I don’t know.

That same month, a second trial collapsed, for much the same reasons as Begg’s. Bherlin Gildo was arrested in October 2014 on his way from Copenhagen to Manila. He was accused of attending a terrorist training camp and receiving weapons training as well as possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist. The Guardian reported that the prosecution “collapsed at the Old Bailey after it became clear Britain’s security and intelligence agencies would have been deeply embarrassed had a trial gone ahead.

In January 2016, it was revealed that Siddhartha Dhar traveled to Syria in September 2014 while on police bail for terrorism offences – the sixth time he had been arrested for terror-related offences, and not long after MI5 had reportedly tried to recruit him. Police had demanded he hand in his passport, but did not follow it up; this was despite the fact that he had revealed – live on BBC morning television no less – that he would “love to live in the Islamic State.” He later posted pictures of himself posing with guns in Raqqa, and is suspected of being the so-called ‘new Jihadi John’, appearing in an IS video executing suspected spies. The original ‘Jihadi John’ – British-Kuwaiti Mohammed Emwazi – had also been well known to the British security services, having – just as Adebolajo and Dhar – apparently been offered a job by MI5.

Siddhartha Dhar. © Abu Rumaysah

Is this all just a ‘catalogue of blunders’, more ‘intelligence failings’ on a massive scale?

These cases demonstrate a couple of irrefutable points. Firstly, the claim that the security services would have needed more power and resources to have prevented the absconding is clearly not true.

Since 1995, the Home Office has operated what it calls a ‘Warnings Index’: a list of people ‘of interest’ to any branch of government, who will then be ‘flagged up’ should they attempt to leave the country. Given that every single one of these cases was well known to the authorities, the Home Office had, for whatever reason, decided either not to put them on the Warnings Index, or to ignore their attempts to leave the country when they were duly flagged up. That is, the government decided not to use the powers already at its disposal to prevent those at the most extreme risk of joining the Syrian insurgency from doing so.

Secondly, these cases show that British intelligence and security clearly prioritize recruitment of violent so-called Islamists over disruption of their activities. The question is – what exactly are they recruiting them for?

At his trial, Bherlin Gildo’s lawyers provided detailed evidence that the British government itself had been arming and training the very groups that Gildo was being prosecuted for supporting. Indeed, Britain has been one of the most active and vocal supporters of the anti-government insurgency in Syria since its inception, support which continued undiminished even after the sectarian leadership and direction of the insurgency was privately admitted by Western intelligence agencies in 2012. Even today, with IS clearly the main beneficiaries of the country’s destabilization, and Al-Qaeda increasingly hegemonic over the other anti-government forces, David Cameron continues to openly ally himself with the insurgency.

Is it really such a far-fetched idea that the British state, openly supporting a sectarian war against the Ba’athist government in Syria, might also be willfully facilitating the flow of British fighters to join this war? Britain’s history of collusion with sectarian paramilitaries as a tool of foreign policy certainly suggests this may be so. This history, in Ireland, Afghanistan and the Arab peninsula, and its role in shaping British policy today, will be the subject of the articles to follow.

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British collusion with sectarian violence: (Part 2)

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British collusion with sectarian violence: Part two
The Gulf monarchies are the main facilitators of Britain’s support for sectarian death squads in the Middle East. This should be no surprise because Britain brought them to power precisely because of their sectarianism.

“What we want is not a united Arabia: but a weak and disunited Arabia split up into little principalities so far as possible under our suzerainty, but incapable of coordinated action against us” – so claimed a memorandum written by the Foreign Department of the British Government of India in 1915.

Free Syrian Army fighters © Abdalrhman Ismail
British collusion with sectarian violence: Part one

A more succinct summary of British policy towards the Arab world – both then and now – would be hard to find.

As we outlined in the first piece in this series, Britain’s weapon of choice in its attempt to destroy the independent regional powers of West Asia and North Africa in recent years has been its sponsorship of violent sectarianism. Its support for racist death squads in Libya not only achieved the destruction of the Libyan state, but also brought terrorism to every country in the region from Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria to Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon; whilst its training and equipping of death squads in Syria has been directly responsible for the rise of ISIS.

These forces, by setting Sunni against Shia, Muslim against Christian, and Arab against Black, are helping to bring about precisely that “weak and disunited Arabia” that the British officials in India dreamed of one hundred years ago.

Alongside the direct support and recruitment provided by British intelligence and the British government, one of the main conduits for arms and fighters has been the gulf monarchies: Qatar and Saudi Arabia in particular. That the Gulf States should play this role should, of course, be no surprise – as they were very largely the creations of the same British Government of India that wrote that memo in the first place.

In 1857, British colonial rule of India was challenged as never before, as what started as a mutiny rapidly spread across the country to become a mass insurgency, the first war of Indian independence. One of the reasons it was so potent is that Hindus and Muslims had joined forces – leading to what became the biggest anti-colonial uprising of the nineteenth century. Britain learned the lessons – and began to cultivate sectarian divisions more assiduously than ever before.

As Mark Curtis notes in Secret Affairs: “After 1857 the British promoted communalism, creating separate electorates and job and educational reservations for Muslims. ‘Divide et imperia [divide and rule]’ was the old Roman motto, declared William Elphinstone, the early nineteenth-century governor of Bombay, ‘and it should be ours’. This view pervaded and became a cornerstone of British rule in India”.

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Curtis quotes one document after another to demonstrate just how pervasive this view became: one Secretary of State advising the governor general that “we have maintained our power in India by playing off one part against the other and we must continue to do so. Do all you can, therefore, to prevent all having a common feeling”; another informing the Viceroy that “this division of religious feeling is greatly to our advantage”; a senior civil servant writing that “the truth plainly is that the existence side by side of these hostile creeds is one of the strong points in our political position in India. The better clashes of Mohammedans are already a source to us of strength and not of weakness”, and so on, ad nauseam. Yet, Curtis notes, it was not in India but in the Middle East that this divide and rule strategy “reached its apogee”.

The British Government of India began cultivating alliances with family clans in the Arabian peninsula from around the late eighteenth century, formalizing these relationships through official treaties over the course of the next hundred and fifty years. Even before the discovery of oil, the region was deemed strategically important as part of the land route from India, as well for its surrounding sea routes, and the Indian government took steps to ensure that it be placed firmly under British control.

By the nineteenth century, Britain was already the pre-eminent naval power in the region, and had become powerful enough to make or break the fortunes of those to whom it lent (or withdrew) its ‘protection’. So it is interesting to note that those families which Britain did choose to turn into ruling classes of the new states that were being carved out – the Al Saud, the Al Thani, the Al Khalifa and others – all seemed to have two things in common: a history of regular warring with their neighbours; and an, at best, shaky control of the territories they claimed to rule. These factors were not coincidental – for what they produced was a dependence on British protection that effectively turned them into little more than vassals of Empire.

The al-Khalifa clan, for example, today’s rulers of Bahrain, originally hailed from Umm Qasr in Iraq, from where they were expelled by the Ottomans due to their regular attacks on trade caravans. They first seized control of Bahrain in 1783 after Persian rule began to crumble, but lost control two decades later falling out with the Wahhabis with whom they were briefly allied. It was only after signing a treaty with the British in 1820 that their rule was consolidated. This treaty, and the others that followed, effectively placed foreign policy in the hands of the British in exchange for Britain propping up the al Khalifa’s rule of the country – an arrangement that has continued, to all intents and purposes, right up to the present day.

Being effectively an alien force in the country, the al Khalifa were permanently at risk from the population they sought to rule, especially given their persecution of the Shia majority. This made British protection that much more important, and increased British leverage accordingly; whenever any particular Khalifa emir began to act too independently, the British would simply replace them.

Lieutenant Colonel Trevor, the Deputy Political Agent in Bahrain after the First World War, put it bluntly when, after receiving a series of demands from the new crown prince he noted that “The Shaikh forgets that he and his father were made Shaikhs by the British government.” Shortly afterwards, the British sent warships to the gulf to force the Shaikh to sign an agreement ceding all powers to his other son – a British protégé.

Formal independence was granted in 1971, but given that power was being handed over to the same family that had ruled Bahrain on Britain’s behalf for the past century and a half, this changed little. The most notable difference was perhaps the flags on the foreign warships at the country’s naval base, which changed from British to US.

Fast forward to the present day, and it is clear that the essence of the 1820 treaty – al Khalifa rule propped up by Western armaments, with foreign policy in the hands of the West – is still very much in place. Whilst David Cameron was proclaiming democracy (a euphemism for state collapse) for Libya and Syria, he was in Bahrain selling weapons to the Khalifas to suppress their own ‘Arab Spring’; whilst three years later the US fifth fleet would be firing hellfire missiles into Syria from its Bahraini base.

But British support for the al Khalifas has never been absolute; rather they built up the al-Thani clan as a ‘counterweight’ to the Khalifa in order to guarantee their continued dependence on the British. Up until 1867, Qatar had been essentially a semi-autonomous province of Bahrain, its government effectively ‘sub-contracted’ to the Al Thanis. In that year, however, a war between the Al Thanis and the Al Khalifas broke out; Britain intervened on the side of the Al Thanis, carving out Qatar out as a separate political entity and recognising the Al Thanis as its rulers. The border between the two countries was left devilishly ambiguous, and remained a running sore in Qatari-Bahraini relations right up until 2001; a “weak and disunited Arabia” indeed.

Further agreements were signed with the Al Thanis in 1935, offering them protection against internal and external threats in exchange for oil concessions. Qatar too gained formal independence in 1971, but the deep links forged during the period of the protectorate remain; indeed both the Emirs that have ruled since then were educated at Sandhurst Military Academy, with the current Sheikh educated at elite English private school Sherborne before that.

The relationship between Britain and the ruling families of Bahrain and Qatar continues to follow that same basic principle forged centuries ago, and now also extended to the US: whilst the ruling families act as regional agents of Western imperial policy, their rule is maintained by Western weaponry. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the events of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. The protests breaking out across the Arab world in early 2011 soon spread to Bahrain, where angry crowds demanded an end to the monarchy’s policies of discrimination and exclusion against the Shia majority. Cameron’s immediate response was to head to the region to sell the embattled regime the weapons it needed to crush the movement. The following year, the country’s interior minister, Rashid bin Abdulla al-Khalifa, visited the Foreign Office to gather “lessons learnt from our experience in Northern Ireland”, according to a British government statement. This experience was particularly relevant; the problem faced by the British in the North of Ireland was, after all, broadly analogous to that faced by the Bahraini monarchy: how to maintain an oppressive sectarian rule and crush movements calling for equality. The sight of British APCs in the street shooting down demonstrators, now common in the Bahraini capital, will be familiar to Belfast’s nationalist communities; and so too will the latest human rights reports coming out of Bahrain describing “detainees being beaten, deprived of sleep, burned with cigarettes, sexually assaulted, subjected to electric shocks and burnt with an iron”, all common practices in British army barracks in 1970s Ireland. Britain’s Bahraini students are quick learners. The US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain and used to fire missiles into Syria and Libya, is in safe hands.

Qatar, meanwhile, was a lynchpin in not only the militarization of the ‘Arab Spring’ and its capture by violent sectarian forces, but also its ideological whitewashing. The Al Jazeera TV channel was established by the Qatari government in 1996, effecting to what amounted to a ‘brown-facing’ of the BBC Arabic channel, which was closed down the same year before transferring a large chunk of its staff to the ‘new’ station. Al Jazeera built its credibility across the region – and, indeed, the world – with its critical coverage of Western and Israeli attacks on Iraq and Gaza. But in 2011 it would use this credibility to serve as NATO’s propagandist-in-chief, amplifying and disseminating every lie it could get its hands on – from African mercenaries, to mass rape, to ‘bombing his own people’, to ‘impending massacre’ – in order to demonize Gaddafi and sell the case for war. It would be a war in which Qatar would play a major role.

© Welayat Raqa
Border bungle? Islamists linked to ISIS executioner allowed to escape Britain

In the early days of the West’s attack on Libya, anti-Gaddafi rebel forces (led by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise), even with NATO air support, proved spectacularly ineffective at capturing and holding territory from the Libyan government. For the first few months, most of the towns they ‘captured’ thanks to NATO incineration of government soldiers would simply be retaken by the Libyan army days later. But NATO countries were wary of risking a domestic political backlash by openly committing too many of their own troops or resources to tip the balance. The solution found was to let Qatar and the Gulf states carry out its dirty work. They played a leading role in training and equipping rebel fighters, allowing NATO to be pretending to observe the arms embargo to which UN resolutions committed them. As the Royal United Services Institute noted, “the UAE established a Special Forces presences in the Zawiyah district and started to supply rebel forces in that area with equipment and provisions by air. Qatar also assumed a very large role; it established training facilities in both Benghazi, and, particularly the Nafusa Mountains on May 9 and acted as a supply route and conduit for French weapons and ammunition supplies to the rebels (notably in June), including by establishing an airstrip at Zintan.” They added that, “Western special forces could have confidence in the training roles undertaken by Qatar and the UAE, because the special forces in those countries have in turn been trained by the UK and France over many years”.

In addition to this major training and arming role, Qatari jets also joined NATO in pounding Libya, and the country issued $100million of loans to the rebel groups. But most important was the Qatari ground invasion of Tripoli.

As Horace Campbell has documented in his book ‘Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya’, by the summer of 2011, NATO were nearing a crisis-point: the 60-day period in which the US president could engage in hostilities without Congressional support was over, and the UN mandate for military intervention was to expire in September. Calls were growing within the AU and the UN for a negotiated settlement, and rivalry between militias continued to dog the rebels’ progress. NATO needed to take Tripoli quickly if their regime change operation was not to be stalled in its tracks.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair poses with troops in Basra December 17, 2006. © Eddie Keogh

So in mid-August, NATO massively stepped up its bombing of Tripoli. Checkpoints, manned by citizens pledged to defend the capital were repeatedly targeted, and Obama sent the last two training drones left in the US to the Libyan front-line. That paved the way for what Campbell called “NATO’s triple assault – by air, land and sea”; not a ‘people’s uprising’ but rather a ground invasion to crush the people who had risen to defend their city. Troops were shipped in and disguised as ‘rebel fighters’, with, according to Le Figaro, five thousand Qatari troops chief amongst them. It was they who, finally, captured Tripoli for NATO, installing Abdul Hakim Bel Haj, now suspected leader of ISIS in Libya, as the new military chief of the conquered city.

Bahrain and Qatar are just two examples of the enduring alliances that the British government has cultivated over centuries as it groomed handpicked ruling families for their anointed role as agents of imperial policy. In exchange for a British guarantee of their absolute power domestically, they have provided military bases and have acted as willing agents for those tasks their patron was either unwilling or unable to carry out itself. Today, that means acting as an ‘arms-length’ distributor of both BBC propaganda and British violence, in far more ways than have been possible to articulate here (Qatar’s role in managing the various Muslim Brotherhood offshoots that have been destabilizing Syria, Egypt and elsewhere, for example, would need a full article in its own right). But even more significant than the British alliance with the al Khalifas and al Thanis is that that was established with the al-Saud family, the subject of our next piece. For it is this relationship, forged during the slow decline of the Ottoman Empire, that ultimately created a new multinational fighting force of fighters in the 1980s – the ‘database’ – that has been doing Britain’s bidding in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria ever since.

This is Part Two of Sukant Chandan and Dan Glazebrook’s series on British collusion with sectarian violence.

Read Part One here.

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British collusion with sectarian violence: Britain, Saudi Arabia & Afghanistan (Part 3)

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By Dan Glazebrook | RT 

The oppressive, sectarian and violent nature of the Saudi state and its foreign policy is increasingly coming under the spotlight, even in mainstream Western media.

Yet the reality is not, as it is so often portrayed, that ‘civilized’ Britain is somehow sullying itself by ‘supporting’ the Saudi rogues. On the contrary, the Saudis are merely implementing a barbaric policy made in the West.

From Syria to Yemen, wherever there is bloodshed and massacre in the Middle East, Saudi money and guns are never far away. But behind the Saudis lies Anglo-American power. The deal today – as it has been for over a hundred years – is that, in exchange for a Western guarantee of their own security, the Al Sauds effectively cede control of their country’s foreign policy to the West. And the architect of that deal was the British state.

Before their alliance with the British, the Al Sauds were little more than murderous bandits, with little chance of achieving lasting power over any significant portion of the Arab peninsula.

Said Aburish, the biographer of the House of Saud, notes that whilst most Arabian tribes were settling or farming, Ibn Saud “was in the business of raiding other tribes to steal their camels, sheep and grain” – after which he typically “murdered all the men of the raided tribe to prevent future retaliation”.

As a result, the Al Sauds were reviled by most Arabs and Muslims, their leadership not even totally accepted amongst their own tribe, the Ennezza. This hostility between the Al Sauds and the other Arabs was deepened by their adherence to a particularly sectarian interpretation of Islam, Wahhabi’ism, which rejects as apostates pretty much every Muslim who does not subscribe to their medievalist philosophy.

Yet it was precisely this divisive quality which appealed to British imperialism. The British empire of the nineteenth century – guided by the philosophy of ‘divide and rule’ – was always on the lookout for groups lacking ‘native’ support to back, as they would be eternally dependent on British support and therefore could be reliably trusted to act as imperial agents. Furthermore, such groups would be utterly incapable of uniting their people into any kind of independent polity – always Britain’s worst fear within its colonial dominions.

From Syria to Yemen, wherever there is bloodshed and massacre in the Middle East, Saudi money and guns are never far away. But behind the Saudis lies Anglo-American power.

According to the leading historian of the developing Saudi-British relations in this period, Jacob Goldberg, the British elevated Ibn Saud above “people who were religiously, politically and strategically more important”. But this was, of course, the point. For the British, his relative unimportance was his greatest asset, for it left him utterly dependent on the British. Unlike his rivals, such as the Hashemites, he had no other source of power or authority beyond his alliance of convenience with the (Wahabbi’ist) Ikhwan fighters.

Thus, two years after Ibn Saud and his followers conquered Riyadh in 1902 – burning to death 1,200 of its inhabitants, and enslaving many of its women as trophies of their victory – the British began paying a stipend to Ibn Saud. The payment was greatly increased in 1911, with Ibn Saud using the money, says Aburish, to “expand and subsidize the loss-making colonies of soldier-saints of the Ikhwan, or ‘brothers’. [These] were fanatics of the Wahhabi sect to which Ibn Saud belonged, who were to provide the backbone of his conquering forces and whose savagery wreaked havoc across Arabia.”

Aburish noted that, “traditionally committed to individual freedom and achievement, the rest of the Muslims found the idea of the colonies and the fanaticism they produced totally unacceptable”.

Over the next few years – with British aid, arms and advisers – Ibn Saud and his warriors were able to defeat the rival Ibn Rasheeds and capture the Eastern Province of what is now Saudi Arabia. In 1915, Ibn Saud signed a treaty with the British which “elevated him to the role of a British-sponsored ruler of central and eastern Arabia”.

They knighted him the same year.

Ibn Saud’s conquests continued (although, as Aburish put it, “his conquests were no more than raids which, through British support, acquired a permanent nature”), and in 1925 his forces captured the Hijaz, where “as had been feared, Ibn Saud’s Ikhwan followers killed hundreds of males, including children, ransacked an untold number of houses, murdered non-Wahhabi religious leaders who opposed their brutal ways and destroyed whole towns”.

The region’s highly developed legal system was scrapped, and its institutions of representative government – complete with senate, cabinet, and party pluralism – were all abolished.

Instead, Ibn Saud appointed a council of advisers headed by the British Resident Harry St John Philby – and without a single native Saudi. The “feeling” noted by Sir Arthur Hirtel of the British India Office a year earlier – “that it would be good if Ibn Saud established himself in Mecca” – appeared to have been vindicated.

Two years later he had signed a new “friendship and cooperation treaty” with the British which ceded all control of external affairs to them. And he was clearly the right man for implementing ‘divide and rule’, creating border disputes with every one of his neighbors during the 1920s, including Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the Yemen and the Trucial states (today’s UAE).

The depth of Ibn Saud’s loyalty to his imperial masters – and the shallowness of his religiosity – was subsequently revealed when in 1929 he turned on his Ikhwan enforcers. They had wanted to expand into Iraq and Kuwait (as their evangelism demanded), but Ibn Saud knew this would be frowned on by the British.

So, with British support, he attacked their base in the village of Sabila and massacred them. If the Ikhwan had been his SA, this was his ‘Night of the Long Knives’. As Aburish put it, “Ibn Saud set his relationship with his sponsors above his connection with religious zealots for whom he no longer had any use”. By this time, Ibn Saud’s British stipend had reached £60,000 per year – equivalent to two-thirds of the country’s national income. Three years later, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – the only country in the world to be named after its ruling family – was officially founded.

As Aburish has concluded: “The simple, undeniable fact behind Ibn Saud’s rise to power was Britain’s interest in finding someone to deputize for it on the eve of the First World War… Ibn Saud, homeless and hungry, was there for the asking, cheap and willing to accommodate any sponsor”.

Indeed, Ibn Saud conceived of himself as an agent of the British from the very beginning. Like others before, he sought the sponsorship and protection of an imperial power, any imperial power, and following his rejection by the Ottomans, wrote this to the British resident in the Gulf: “May the eyes of the British government be fixed upon us and may we be considered as your proteges”.

Says Aburish, “Rather than acting as a unifier of the Arabs, Ibn Saud afforded an outside power, Britain, the comfort of keeping the Arabs and Muslims divided and protected its commercial and political interests, which opposed an Arab unifier at the helm.”

In the process, it is estimated that Britain’s protege had publicly executed 40,000 people and had the limbs amputated from another 350,000 during his campaign to subdue the peninsula – that is a total of 8 percent of the population either killed or mutilated in order to realize Britain’s desire that sectarian division should reign.

But for Britain – as, later, for the US – the choice of Ibn Saud as its Middle Eastern deputy has been a shrewd one, with the Saudis being the faithful enforcers of imperial skullduggery ever since.

From the very start, for example, the Saudis have been more than happy to throw the Palestinians under a bus to please the British. Throughout the 1930s, Ibn Saud ignored King Ghazi of Iraq’s call for a common Arab front against the colonization of Palestine, and then in 1936, when a 183 day Palestinian national strike was itself putting the British government under serious pressure, Ibn Saud persuaded the Palestinian Mufti to call the strike off, promising he would intercede with the British on the Palestinians’ behalf. British Foreign Office documents, however, show no record of this ‘intercession’ ever having taken place.

Three years later, in exchange for a £20 million payment, Ibn Saud accepted Britain’s proposal for a Jewish state on colonized Arab land. During the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, Saudi Arabia not only refused to send forces to Palestine, but even tried to prevent fighters from traveling there voluntarily, and ordered its newspapers to tone down their reporting of Palestinian suffering.

Today, of course, whilst publicly opposing Israel, the Saudis are perfectly willing to host the enormous Dhahran airbase of Israeli’s biggest military supplier and ally, the US.

In the 1980s, the Saudis encouraged (and financed) the Iraqi attack on Iran, and then kept oil prices low in order to maximize the war’s destructive effect on both countries. When the Iraqis wanted to sue for peace in the mid-1980s, they asked the Saudis to restrict production in order to prod outside powers into bringing the war to an end. Of course, the Saudis refused.

Saddam Hussein’s adviser Sa’ad Al Bassas commented later that “We knew they wanted the war to continue, but we were too dependent on them for financial support to complain out loud. They were following an American policy which called for weakening both countries”. In fact, this was precisely the British policy formulated in 1915, which called for a “weak and divided” Arabia.

In recent decades, the Saudi state has developed an additional niche role in the implementation of Anglo-American imperialism. As revolutionary liberation movements began to threaten the West’s dominion over the third world, especially from the 1970s and 80s onward, Saudi Arabia became the bankroller and conduit for covert, often illegal, Western policies to terrorize such movements and governments into submission. From the contras in Nicaragua, to the UNITA rebels in Angola, to the fascist Phalangists of Lebanon, to the apartheid regime in South Africa, CIA-backed sectarian terror outfits the world over became the recipients of Saudi largess. But it was in Afghanistan where this policy reached its apogee.

The Afghan revolution of 1978 brought the socialist PDPA movement to power. The new government immediately implemented a series of popular reforms including land reform and the constitutional recognition of women’s rights for the first time. The US and Britain saw such a movement as a threat to their control and exploitation of the third world, and especially feared its alliance with the Soviet bloc as undermining their global hegemony.

Beginning in mid-1979, the CIA began providing weapons to ultra right wing terror groups, who used Islam to justify attacks on the new government, its supporters, and its social infrastructure, including an assassination campaign which killed hundreds of teachers and civil servants. This support was designed, admitted Jimmy Carter’s adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1996, not only to undermine the new government, but also to draw in the Soviet Union and bog them down in a demoralizing and costly conflict – that is, as he put it, to “give the USSR its Vietnam war”.

The US and Britain saw such a movement as a threat to their control and exploitation of the third world, and especially feared its alliance with the Soviet bloc as undermining their global hegemony.

The strategy worked. By 1980, the Soviet Union had sent troops to support the embattled Afghan government, but as the years went by – and US, British and Saudi support to the ‘rebels’ was stepped up – the Soviets were eventually unable to sustain the massive cost in both lives and wealth, and withdrew in 1989.

In just one three-year period during this time – from 1987 to 1989 – Saudi Arabia had provided $1.8 billion in financial support to the anti-government fighters in Afghanistan (around twice the amount it had given to the PLO in the previous 14 years), as well as providing thousands of fighters.

But what is intriguing is that this support was not, as is traditionally believed, premised on religious ideology, but was rather driven, once again, by fidelity to the Saudis’ imperial masters. In “Jihad in Saudi Arabia”, Thomas Hegghammer notes that this financial and military support “Clearly… was not an automatic response to the Soviet invasion, because Arabs had not volunteered for other conflict zones in the past and did not to Afghanistan in significant numbers until the mid-to late 1980s”.

Indeed, says Hegghammer, there were only 16 Saudi fighters in Afghanistan before 1985, whilst “the permanent Saudi contingent would not exceed 50 people until early 1987”. In fact, initial Saudi support for the insurgency was primarily diplomatic, political and humanitarian, rather than military. Indeed, it was only at the request of the US that the Saudis agreed, in 1981, to match US funding for the militia groups themselves – and it was therefore only when the US ramped up financial support to such groups – the so-called ‘mujahedin’ in the mid-1980s that the Saudis were obliged to do the same.

Furthermore, says Hegghammer, the main opposition to the encouragement of young men to fight in Afghanistan came precisely from the “religious establishment”: “A common misperception in the historiography of the period is to present the Wahhabi religious scholars as prime movers behind the mobilization to Afghanistan. In fact very few, if any, of the scholars in the religious establishment actively promoted the Afghan jihad as an individual duty for Saudis”.

Saudi support for the mujahedin, just like Ibn Saud’s violence 60 years earlier, was driven not by religious idealism, but by an undying commitment to facilitating Western foreign policy – regardless of the cost in human lives. The ongoing consequences of this Afghan policy – the creation of the worldwide Al Qaeda terror network and offshoots such as ISIS – are well known. But, as Brzezinski put it: who cares about “some stirred-up Muslims” when the policy helped bring about the destruction of the Soviet Union?

Hegghammer summed up the various parties involved thus: “In Afghanistan… volunteerism [that is, the insertion of foreign fighters] was sanctioned by the USA, welcomed by the Afghans [fighting the government] and facilitated by the presence of a transit territory, namely Pakistan”.

This formula – the foreign fighters, financed by Saudi Arabia, and infiltrated through the willing collaboration of Pakistan – is precisely the one which has been used against Syria in recent years, with Turkey in the Pakistani role. Thus does the British-created Saudi state continue to fulfill the imperial role assigned to it over 100 years ago.

As Aburish put it, “Britain created Ibn Saud to protect its Middle East imperial interests and to eliminate those who threatened them… Without the West there would be no House of Saud. The Saudi people or their neighbors or a combination of both would bring about its end”.

Remember that next time a Boris Johnson or a Joe Biden feigns innocence about the role of the ‘dastardly’ Saudis. Everything they do, Boris, they do it for you.

Part One

Part Two

 

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The Utter Stupidity of the New Cold War

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By Gary Leupp

It seems so strange, twenty-seven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to be living through a new Cold War with (as it happens, capitalist) Russia.

The Russian president is attacked by the U.S. political class and media as they never attacked Soviet leaders; he is personally vilified as a corrupt, venal dictator, who arrests or assassinates political opponents and dissident journalists, and is hell-bent on the restoration of the USSR.

(The latter claim rests largely on Vladimir Putin’s comment that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a “catastrophe” and “tragedy” — which in many respects it was. The press chooses to ignore his comment that “Anyone who does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart, while anyone who wants to restore it has no brain.” It conflicts with the simple talking-point that Putin misses the imperial Russia of the tsars if not the commissars and, burning with resentment over the west’s triumph in the Cold War, plans to exact revenge through wars of aggression and territorial expansion.)

The U.S. media following its State Department script depicts Russia as an expansionist power. That it can do so, so successfully, such that even rather progressive people — such as those appalled by Trump’s victory who feel inclined to blame it on an external force — believe it, is testimony to the lingering power and utility of the Cold War mindset.

The military brass keep reminding us: We are up against an existential threat! One wants to say that this — obviously — makes no sense! Russia is twice the size of the U.S. with half its population. Its foreign bases can be counted on two hands. The U.S. has 800 or so bases abroad.

Russia’s military budget is 14% of the U.S. figure. It does not claim to be the exceptional nation appointed by God to preserve “security” on its terms anywhere on the globe. Since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. has waged war (sometimes creating new client-states) in Bosnia (1994-5),  Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001- ), Iraq (2003- ), Libya (2011), and Syria (2014- ), while raining down drone strikes from Pakistan to Yemen to North Africa. These wars-based-on-lies have produced hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, millions of refugees, and general ongoing catastrophe throughout the “Greater Middle East.” There is no understating their evil.

The U.S. heads an expanding military alliance formed in 1949 to confront the Soviet Union and global communism in general. Its raison d’être has been dead for many years. Yet it has expanded from 16 to 28 members since 1999, and new members Estonia and Latvia share borders with Russia.

(Imagine the Warsaw Pact expanding to include Mexico. But no, the Warsaw Pact of the USSR and six European allies was dissolved 26 years ago in the idealistic expectation that NATO would follow in a new era of cooperation and peace.)

And this NATO alliance, in theory designed to defend the North Atlantic, was only first deployed after the long (and peaceful) first Cold War, in what had been neutral Yugoslavia (never a member of either the Warsaw Pact nor NATO), Afghanistan (over 3000 miles from the North Atlantic), and the North African country of Libya. Last summer NATO held its most massive military drills since the collapse of the Soviet Union, involving 31,000 troops in Poland, rehearsing war with Russia. (The German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier actually criticized this exercise as “warmongering.”)

Alliance officials expressed outrage when Russia responded to the warmongering by placing a new S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander system on its territory of Kaliningrad between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic coast. But Russia has, in fact, been comparatively passive in a military sense during this period.

In 1999, as NATO was about to occupy the Serbian province of Kosovo (soon to be proclaimed an independent country, in violation of international law), nearby Russian peacekeepers raced to the airport in Pristina, Kosovo, to secure it and ensure a Russian role in the Serbian province’s  future. It was a bold move that could have provoked a NATO-Russian clash. But the British officer on the ground wisely refused an order from Gen. Wesley Clark to block the Russian move, declaring he would not start World War III for Gen. Clark.

This, recall, was after Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright (remember, the Hillary shill who said there’s a special place in hell reserved for women who don’t vote for women) presented to the Russian and Serbian negotiators at Rambouillet a plan for NATO occupation of not just Kosovo but all Serbia. It was a ridiculous demand, rejected by the Serbs and Russians, but depicted by unofficial State Department spokesperson and warmonger Christiane Amanpour as the “will of the international community.” As though Russia was not a member of the international community!

This Pristina airport operation was largely a symbolic challenge to U.S. hegemony over the former Yugoslavia, a statement of protest that should have been taken seriously at the time.

In any case, the new Russian leader Putin was gracious after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, even offering NATO a military transport corridor through Russia to Afghanistan (closed in 2015). He was thanked by George W. Bush with the expansion of NATO by seven more members in 2004. (The U.S. press made light of this extraordinary geopolitical development; it saw and continues to see the expansion of NATO as no more problematic than the expansion of the UN or the European Union.) Then in April 2008 NATO announced that Georgia would be among the next members accepted into the alliance.

Soon the crazy Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, emboldened by the promise of near-term membership, provoked a war with the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, which had never accepted inclusion of the new Georgian state established upon the dissolution of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991. The Ossetians, fearing resurgent Georgian nationalism, had sought union with the Russian Federation. So had the people of Abkhazia.

The two “frozen conflicts,” between the Georgian state and these peoples, had been frozen due to the deployment of Russian and Georgian peacekeepers. Russia had not recognized these regions as independent states nor agreed to their inclusion in the Russian Federation. But when Russian soldiers died in the Georgian attack in August, Russia responded with a brief punishing invasion. It then recognized the two new states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia (breakaway states in what had been the Georgian SSR) six months after the U.S. recognized Kosovo.

(Saakashvili, in case you’re interested, was voted out of power, disgraced, accused of economic crimes, and deprived of his Georgian citizenship. After a brief stint at the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University — of which I as a Tufts faculty member feel deeply ashamed — he was appointed as governor of Odessa in Ukraine by the pro-NATO regime empowered by the U.S.-backed coup of February 22, 2014.)

Sen. John McCain proclaimed in 2008: “We are all Georgians now,” and advocated U.S. military aid to the Georgian regime. An advocate of war as a rule, McCain then became a big proponent of regime change in Ukraine to allow for that country’s entry into NATO. Neocons in the State Department including most importantly McCain buddy Victoria Nuland, boasted of spending $5 billion in support of “the Ukrainian people’s European aspirations” (meaning: the desire of many Ukrainians in the western part of the country to join the European Union  — risking, although they perhaps do not realize it, a reduction in their standard of living under a Greek-style austerity program — to be followed by NATO membership, tightening the military noose around Russia).

The Ukrainian president opted out in favor of a generous Russian aid package. That decision — to deny these “European aspirations” — was used to justify the coup.

But look at it from a Russian point of view. Just look at this map, of the expanding NATO alliance, and imagine it spreading to include that vast country (the largest in Europe, actually) between Russia to the east and Poland to the west, bordering the Black Sea to the south. The NATO countries at present are shown in dark blue, Ukraine and Georgia in green. Imagine those countries’ inclusion.

And imagine NATO demanding that Russia vacate its Sevastopol naval facilities, which have been Russian since 1783, turning them over to the (to repeat: anti-Russian) alliance. How can anyone understand the situation in Ukraine without grasping this basic history?

The Russians denounced the coup against President Viktor Yanukovych (democratically elected — if it matters — in 2010), which was abetted by neo-fascists and marked from the outset by an ugly Russophobic character encouraged by the U.S. State Department. The majority population in the east of the country, inhabited by Russian-speaking ethnic Russians and not even part of Ukraine until 1917, also denounced the coup and refused to accept the unconstitutional regime that assumed power after February 22.

When such people rejected the new government, and declared their autonomy, the Ukrainian army was sent in to repress them but failed, embarrassingly, when the troops confronted by angry babushkas turned back. The regime since has relied on the neo-fascist Azov Battalion to harass secessionists in what has become a new “frozen conflict.”

Russia has no doubt assisted the secessionists while refusing to annex Ukrainian territory, urging a federal system for the country to be negotiated by the parties. Russian families straddle the Russian-Ukrainian border. There are many Afghan War veterans in both countries. The Soviet munitions industry integrated Russian and Ukrainian elements. One must assume there are more than enough Russians angry about such atrocities as the May 2014 killing of 42 ethnic Russian government opponents in Odessa to bolster the Donbas volunteers.

But there is little evidence (apart from a handful of reports about convoys of dozens of “unmarked military vehicles” from Russia in late 2014) for a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine. And the annexation of Crimea (meaning, its restoration to its 1954 status as Russian territory) following a credible referendum did not require any “invasion” since there were already 38,000 Russian troops stationed there. All they had to do was to secure government buildings, and give Ukrainian soldiers the option of leaving or joining the Russian military. (A lot of Ukrainian soldiers opted to stay and accept Russian citizenship.)

Still, these two incidents — the brief 2008 war in Georgia, and Moscow’s (measured) response to the Ukrainian coup since 2014 — have been presented as evidence of a general project to disrupt the world order by military expansion, requiring a firm U.S. response. The entirety of the cable news anchor class embraces this narrative.

But they are blind fools. Who has in this young century disrupted world order more than the U.S., wrecking whole countries, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocents, provoking more outrage through grotesquely documented torture, generating new terror groups, and flooding Europe with refugees who include some determined to sow chaos and terror in European cities? How can any rational person with any awareness of history since 1991 conclude that Russia is the aggressive party?

And yet, this is the conventional wisdom. I doubt you can get a TV anchor job if you question it. The teleprompter will refer routinely to Putin’s aggression and Russian expansion and the need for any mature presidential candidate to respect the time-honored tradition of supporting NATO no matter what. And now the anchor is expected to repeat that all 17 U.S. intelligence services have concluded that Vladimir Putin interfered in the U.S. presidential election.

Since there is zero evidence for this, one must conclude that the Democratic losers dipped into the reliable grab bag of scapegoats and posited that Russia and Putin in particular must have hacked the DNC in order to — through the revelation of primary sources of unquestionable validity, revealing the DNC’s determination to make Clinton president, while sabotaging Sanders and promoting (through their media surrogates) Donald Trump as the Republican candidate — undermine Clinton’s legitimacy.

All kinds of liberals, including Sanders’ best surrogates like Nina Turner, are totally on board the Putin vilification campaign. It is sad and disturbing that so many progressive people are so willing to jump on the new Cold War bandwagon. It is as though they have learned nothing from history but are positively eager, in their fear and rage, to relive the McCarthy era.

But the bottom line is: U.S. Russophobia does not rest on reason, judgment, knowledge of recent history and the ability to make rational comparisons. It rests on religious-like assumptions of “American exceptionalism” and in particular the right of the U.S. to expand militarily at Russia’s expense — as an obvious good in itself, rather than a distinct, obvious evil threatening World War III.

The hawks in Congress — bipartisan, amoral, ignorant, knee-jerk Israel apologists, opportunist scum — are determined to dissuade the president-elect (bile rises in my throat as I use that term, but it’s true that he’s that, technically) from any significant rapprochement with Russia. (Heavens, they must be horrified at the possibility that Trump follows Kissinger’s reported advice and recognizes the Russian annexation of Crimea!) They want to so embarrass him with the charge of being (as Hillary accused him of being during the campaign) Putin’s “puppet” that he backs off from his vague promise to “get along” with Russia.

They don’t want to get along with Russia. They want more NATO expansion, more confrontation. They are furious with Russian-Syrian victories over U.S-backed, al-Qaeda-led forces in Syria, especially the liberation of Aleppo that the U.S. media (1) does not cover having no reporters on the ground, and little interest since events in Syria so powerfully challenge the State Department’s talking points that shape U.S. reporting, (2) misreports systematically, as the tragic triumph of the evil, Assad’s victory over an imaginary heroic opposition, and (3) sees the strengthening of the position of the Syrian stats as an indication of Russia’s reemergence as a superpower. (This they they cannot accept, as virtually a matter of religious conviction; the U.S. in official doctrine must maintain “full spectrum dominance” over the world and prohibit the emergence of any possible competitor, forever.)

*****

The first Cold War was based on the western capitalists’ fear of socialist expansion. It was based on the understanding that the USSR had defeated the Nazis, had extraordinary prestige in the world, and was the center for a time of the expanding global communist movement. It was based on the fear that more and more countries would achieve independence from western imperialism, denying investors their rights to dominate world markets. It had an ideological content. This one does not. Russia and the U.S. are equally committed to capitalism and neoliberal ideology. Their conflict is of the same nature as the U.S. conflict with Germany in the early 20th century. The Kaiser’s Germany was at least as “democratic” as the U.S.; the system was not the issue. It was just jockeying for power, and as it happened, the U.S. intervening in World War I belatedly, after everybody else was exhausted, cleaned up. In World War II in Europe, the U.S. having hesitated to invade the continent despite repeated Soviet appeals to do so, responded to the fall of Berlin to Soviet forces by rushing token forces to the city to claim joint credit.

And then it wound up, after the war, establishing its hegemony over most of Europe — much, much more of Europe than became the Soviet-dominated zone, which has since with the Warsaw Pact evaporated. Russia is a truncated, weakened version of its former self. It is not threatening the U.S. in any of the ways the U.S. is threatening itself. It is not expanding a military alliance. It is not holding huge military exercises on the U.S. border. It is not destroying the Middle East through regime-change efforts justified to the American people by sheer misinformation. In September 2015 Putin asked the U.S., at the United Nations: “Do you realize what you’ve done?”

Unfortunately the people of this country are not educated, by their schools, press or even their favorite websites to realize what has been done, how truly horrible it is, and how based it all is on lies. Fake news is the order of the day.

Up is down, black is white, Russia is the aggressor, the U.S. is the victim. The new president must be a team-player, and for God’s sake, understand that Putin is today’s Hitler, and if Trump wants to get along with him, he will have to become a team-player embracing this most basic of political truths in this particular imperialist country: Russia (with its nukes, which are equally matched with the U.S. stockpile) is the enemy, whose every action must be skewed to inflame anti-Russian feeling, as the normative default sentiment towards this NATO-encircled, sanction-ridden, non-threatening nation, under what seems by comparison a cautious, rational leadership?

*****

CNN’s horrible “chief national correspondent” John King (former husband of equally horrid Dana Bash, CNN’s “chief political correspondent”) just posed the question, with an air of aggressive irritation: “Who does Donald Trump respect more, the U.S. intelligence agencies, or the guy who started Wikileaks [Assange]?”

It’s a demand for the Trump camp to buy the Russian blame game, or get smeared as a fellow-traveler with international whistle-blowers keen on exposing the multiple crimes of U.S. imperialism.

So the real question is: Will Trump play ball, and credit the “intelligence community” that generates “intelligence products” on demand, or brush aside the war hawks’ drive for a showdown with Putin’s Russia? Will the second Cold War peter out coolly, or culminate in the conflagration that “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) was supposed to render impossible?

The latter would be utterly stupid. But stupid people — or wise people, cynically exploiting others’ stupidity — are shaping opinion every day, and have been since the first Cold War, based like this one on innumerable lies.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on The Utter Stupidity of the New Cold War

Germans protest NATO troop deployment

NOVANEWS

Image result for NATO CARTOON

Press TV 

Scores of people have staged a protest in a northern German port city against the deployment and transport of NATO troops and weapons through the city.

The protest was held in the port city of Bremerhaven on Saturday.

US military hardware, including 87 tanks and 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, were docked in the port city a day earlier for eventual transfer to NATO member countries in Eastern Europe to enhance what was described as “deterrence against possible Russian aggression.”

The protesters marched through the city, holding signs and banners that read, “No NATO deployments! End the militaristic march against Russia!” and “Out of NATO.”

“I am here to explain peace to Russians, because I am afraid of new wars… and this big maneuver is one that quite scares me, and I am here to speak against this,” a protester said.

The deployment by the US military, which also includes the mobilization of 4,000 troops, is aimed at shoring up NATO’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve,” which entails military buildup in Poland and the Baltic countries to counter perceived Russian aggression. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the move last year, declaring that the force would take part in regular military drills across the region with NATO allies.

Russia has repeatedly voiced concern about the US-led alliance’s military build-up near its borders. In response to NATO’s aggressive moves, Russia has beefed up its southwestern military capacity.

NATO has suspended all practical cooperation with Russia as part of efforts by the US, Europe, and their allies to exert pressure on the Kremlin following the Crimean Peninsula’s separation from Ukraine and adhesion to Russia. In 2014, the majority ethnic Russians in Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation in a referendum not sanctioned by the Ukrainian authorities.

Western countries have been fearful of a repeat of that scenario in other countries, and have sought to boost their defenses under NATO’s umbrella.

Posted in GermanyComments Off on Germans protest NATO troop deployment

Neo-Liberal paranoia is extreme, and it is everywhere

NOVANEWS
Image result for Nick Cohen CARTOON
By Kit | OffGuardian 

I consider Nick Cohen an unpleasant man. His columns are smug, rude, ill-informed, intellectually dishonest, hypocritical and self-righteous. A perfect example of the modern journalist, in his natural habitat. However, before today, I never considered him to be truly, literally insane.

Russian Treachery is extreme and it is everywhere!

This startlingly subtle sentiment is the headline to Cohen’s latest… offering. I haven’t changed it or exaggerated it, with the exception of adding an exclamation point that is, in the original, only heavily implied.

In the past I have written detailed, point by point refutations of pieces from the Guardian – similarly bizarre ramblings from Cohen and Natalie Nougayrede – but when the message is so rampantly hysterical… what is there to say? There’s nothing to refute here but the loud and incoherent repetitions of made up facts and establishment lies, already disproven a million different times by a thousand dedicated and honest alt-news sites. The work has been done. The truth is out there. To not see it, at this point, is an act of willful blindness.

There’s no evidence any of the European “far right” are funded by the Russian government, there’s no evidence the FSB (or whoever) hacked the US presidential election, there’s no evidence the Syrian or Russian military deliberately targeted hospitals. Corbynistas aren’t anti-semites. Brexiters aren’t neo-Nazis. Hashtag fakenews.

A year of Brexit and Corbyn and Syria and Trump seems to have pushed the whole world of establishment journalism right up to the ragged edge, and recent frothing op-eds from the WaPo to the NYT to the Guardian suggest they are due a big fall and a hard landing.

This isn’t journalism, true mainstream journalism died generations ago… if it ever truly existed. This isn’t even propaganda, the coherent and dishonest distortion of reality to suit an agenda. This is rudderless, leaderless, meaningless. It is the dying breath of a flabby king. The wild-eyed, claw-handed, scrabbling desperation of brittle delusions impacting a hard truth.

It’s a drunk muttering threats in a doorway, an old man shaking his fist at the sky. A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. It’s almost sad.

Almost.

Posted in MediaComments Off on Neo-Liberal paranoia is extreme, and it is everywhere

Why Has Nazi Spy Shai Masot Not Been Expelled?

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Why Has Israeli Spy Shai Masot Not Been Expelled?
By Craig Murray 

There is no starker proof of the golden chains in which Israel has entangled the British political class, than the incredible fact that “diplomat” Shai Masot has not been expelled for secretly conspiring to influence British politics by attacking Britain’s Deputy Foreign Minister, suggesting that he might be brought down by “a little scandal”. It is incredible by any normal standards of diplomatic behaviour that immediate action was not taken against Masot for actions which when revealed any professional diplomat would normally expect to result in being “PNG’d” – declared persona non grata.

Obama has just expelled 35 Russian diplomats for precisely the same offence, with the exception that in the Russian case there is absolutely zero hard evidence, whereas in the Masot case there is irrefutable evidence on which to act.

To compare the two cases is telling. Al Jazeera should be congratulated on their investigation, which shames the British corporate and state media who would never have carried out such actual journalism. By contrast, the British media has parroted without the slightest scrutiny the truly pathetic Obama camp claims of Russian interference, evidently without reading them. When I was sent the latestintelligence report on Russian hacking a couple of evenings ago, I quite genuinely for several minutes thought it was a spoof by the Daily Mash or similar, parodying the kind of ludicrous claims that kept being advanced with zero evidence. I do implore you to read it, as when you realise it is supposed to be serious it becomes still more hilarious.

The existence of a natural preference in Russia to see a US President who does not want to start World War III is quoted as itself evidence that Russia interfered, just as the fact that I could do with some more money is evidence I robbed a bank. The fact that Russia did not criticise the electoral process after the result is somehow evidence that Putin personally ordered electoral hacking. Oh, and the fact that Russia Today once hosted a programme critical of fracking is evidence of a Russian plot to destroy the US economy. Please do read it, I promise you will be laughing for weeks.

In passing, allow me to destroy quickly the “we have smoking gun evidence but it’s too secret to show you” argument. Given the Snowden revelations and the whistleblowing of the former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, for the US government to claim to be hiding the fact that it can tack all electronic traffic in the USA is risible. This is like saying we can’t give you the evidence in case the Russians find out the sky is blue. If there were hacks, the NSA could identify the precise hack transmitting the precise information out of Washington. Everybody knows that. There were no hacks so there is no evidence. End of argument. They are internal leaks.

The two stories – Russian interference in US politics, Israeli interference in UK politics – also link because the New York Times claims that it was the British that first suggested to the Obama administration that Russian cyber activity was targeting Clinton. Director of Cyber Security and Information Assurance in the British Cabinet Office is Matthew Gould, the UK’s former openly and strongly pro-Zionist Ambassador to Israel and friend of the current Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev. While Private Secretary to David Miliband and William Hague, and then while Ambassador to Israel, Regev held eight secret meetings with Adam Werritty, on at least one occasion with Mossad present and on most occasions also with now minister Liam Fox. My Freedom of Information requests for minutes of these meetings brought the reply that they were not minuted, and my Freedom of Information request for the diary entries for these meetings brought me three pages each containing only the date, with everything else redacted.

I managed to get the information about the Gould/Werritty meetings as a result of relentless questioning, where I was kindly assisted by MPs including Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and Paul Flynn. The woman with whom Shai Masot was conniving to undermine Alan Duncan, was Maria Strizzolo, who works for Tory Minister Robert Halfon. It was Halfon who repeatedly tried to obstruct Paul Flynn MP from asking questions of Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell that threatened to get to the heart of the real Adam Werritty scandal.

Both Robert Halfon and Adam Werrity received funding from precisely the same Israeli sources, and in particular from Mr Poju Zabludowicz. Halfon also formerly had a full time paid job as Political Director of the Conservative Friends of Israel. Halfon’s assistant is now caught conspiring with the Israeli Embassy to attack another Tory minister.

House of Commons Publc Admininstration Committee 24/11/2011

Q Paul Flynn: Okay. Matthew Gould has been the subject of a very serious complaint from two of my constituents, Pippa Bartolotti and Joyce Giblin. When they were briefly imprisoned in Israel, they met the ambassador, and they strongly believe—it is nothing to do with this case at all—that he was serving the interest of the Israeli Government, and not the interests of two British citizens. This has been the subject of correspondence.

In your report, you suggest that there were two meetings between the ambassador and Werritty and Liam Fox. Questions and letters have proved that, in fact, six such meetings took place. There are a number of issues around this. I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories, but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist and he has previously served in Iran, in the service. Werritty is a self-proclaimed—

Robert Halfon: Point of order, Chairman. What is the point of this?

Paul Flynn:> Let me get to it. Werritty is a self-proclaimed expert on Iran.

Chair:> I have to take a point of order.

Robert Halfon:> Mr Flynn is implying that the British ambassador to Israel is working for a foreign power, which is out of order.

Paul Flynn:> I quote the Daily Mail: “Mr Werritty is a self-proclaimed expert on Iran and has made several visits. He has also met senior Israeli officials, leading to accusations”—not from me, from the Daily Mail—“that he was close to the country’s secret service, Mossad.” There may be nothing in that, but that appeared in a national newspaper.

Chair:> I am going to rule on a point of order. Mr Flynn has made it clear that there may be nothing in these allegations, but it is important to have put it on the record. Be careful how you phrase questions.

Paul Flynn:> Indeed. The two worst decisions taken by Parliament in my 25 years were the invasion of Iraq—joining Bush’s war in Iraq—and the invasion of Helmand province. We know now that there were things going on in the background while that built up to these mistakes. The charge in this case is that Werritty was the servant of neo-con people in America, who take an aggressive view on Iran. They want to foment a war in Iran in the same way as in the early years, there was another—

Chair:> Order. I must ask you to move to a question that is relevant to the inquiry.

Q Paul Flynn:> Okay. The question is, are you satisfied that you missed out on the extra four meetings that took place, and does this not mean that those meetings should have been investigated because of the nature of Mr Werritty’s interests?

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> I think if you look at some of those meetings, some people are referring to meetings that took place before the election.

Q Paul Flynn:> Indeed, which is even more worrying.

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> I am afraid they were not the subject—what members of the Opposition do is not something that the Cabinet Secretary should look into. It is not relevant.

But these meetings were held—

Chair:> Mr Flynn, would you let him answer please?

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> I really do not think that was within my context, because they were not Ministers of the Government and what they were up to was not something I should get into at all.

Chair:> Final question, Mr Flynn.

Q Paul Flynn:> No, it is not a final question. I am not going to be silenced by you, Chairman; I have important things to raise. I have stayed silent throughout this meeting so far.

You state in the report—on the meeting held between Gould, Fox and Werritty, on 6 February, in Tel Aviv—that there was a general discussion of international affairs over a private dinner with senior Israelis. The UK ambassador was present. Are you following the line taken by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who says that he can eat with lobbyists or people applying to his Department because, on occasions, he eats privately, and on other occasions he eats ministerially? Are you accepting the idea? It is possibly a source of great national interest—the eating habits of their Secretary of State. It appears that he might well have a number of stomachs, it has been suggested, if he can divide his time this way. It does seem to be a way of getting round the ministerial code, if people can announce that what they are doing is private rather than ministerial.

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> The important point here was that, when the Secretary of State had that meeting, he had an official with him—namely, in this case, the ambassador. That is very important, and I should stress that I would expect our ambassador in Israel to have contact with Mossad. That will be part of his job. It is totally natural, and I do not think that you should infer anything from that about the individual’s biases. That is what ambassadors do. Our ambassador in Pakistan will have exactly the same set of wide contacts.

Q Paul Flynn:> I have good reason, as I said, from constituency matters, to be unhappy about the ambassador. Other criticisms have been made about the ambassador; he is unique in some ways in the role he is performing. There have been suggestions that he is too close to a foreign power.

Robert Halfon:> On a point of order, Chair, this is not about the ambassador to Israel. This is supposed to be about the Werritty affair.

Paul Flynn:> It is absolutely crucial to this report. If neo-cons such as yourself, Robert, are plotting a war in Iran, we should know about it.

Chair:> Order. I think the line of questioning is very involved. I have given you quite a lot of time, Mr Flynn. If you have further inquiries to make of this, they could be pursued in correspondence. May I ask you to ask one final question before we move on?

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> One thing I would stress: we are talking about the ambassador and I think he has a right of reply. Mr Chairman, I know there is an interesting question of words regarding Head of the Civil Service versus Head of the Home Civil Service, but this is the Diplomatic Service, not the Civil Service.

Q Chair:> So he is not in your jurisdiction at all.

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> No.

Q Paul Flynn:> But you are happy that your report is final; it does not need to go the manager it would have gone to originally, and that is the end of the affair. Is that your view?

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> As I said, some issues arose where I wanted to be sure that what the Secretary of State was doing had been discussed with the Foreign Secretary. I felt reassured by what the Foreign Secretary told me.

Q Chair:> I think what Mr Flynn is asking is that your report and the affair raise other issues, but you are saying that that does not fall within the remit of your report and that, indeed, the conduct of an ambassador does not fall within your remit at all.

Sir Gus O’Donnell:> That is absolutely correct.

Paul Flynn:> The charge laid by Lord Turnbull in his evidence with regard to Dr Fox and the ministerial code was his failure to observe collective responsibility, in that case about Sri Lanka. Isn’t the same charge there about our policies to Iran and Israel?

Chair:> We have dealt with that, Mr Flynn.

Paul Flynn:> We haven’t dealt with it as far as it applies—

Chair:> Mr Flynn, we are moving on.

Paul Flynn:> You may well move on, but I remain very unhappy about the fact that you will not allow me to finish the questioning I wanted to give on a matter of great importance.

It is shocking but true that Robert Halfon MP, who disrupted Flynn with repeated points of order, receives funding from precisely the same Israeli sources as Werritty, and in particular from Mr Poju Zabludowicz. He also formerly had a full time paid job as Political Director of the Conservative Friends of Israel. It is not surprising that Shai Masot evidently views Halfon as a useful tool for attacking senior pro-Palestinian members of his own party.

But despite the evasiveness of O’Donnell and the obstruction of paid Zionist puppet Halfon, O’Donnell confirmed vital parts of my investigation. In particular he agreed that the Fox-Werritty-Gould “private dinner” in Tel Aviv was with Mossad, and that Gould met Werritty many times more than the twice that O’Donnell listed in his “investigation” into the Werritty affair. The truth of the Werritty scandal, hidden comprehensively by the mainstream media, was that Werritty was inside the UK Ministry of Defence working for Israel. That is why it was so serious that Defence Minister Liam Fox had to resign

Of the eight meetings of Fox-Gould-Werritty together which I discovered, seven were while Fox was Secretary of State for Defence. Only one was while Fox was in opposition. But O’Donnell let the cat much further out of the bag, with the astonishing admission to Paul Flynn’s above questioning that Gould, Fox and Werritty held “meetings that took place before the election.” He also referred to “some of those meetings” as being before the election. Both are plainly in the plural.

It is evident from the information gained by Paul Flynn that not only did Fox, Gould and Werritty have at least seven meetings while Fox was in power – with no minutes and never another British official present – they had several meetings while Fox was shadow Foreign Secretary. O’Donnell was right that what Fox and Werritty were up to in opposition was not his concern. But what Gould was doing with them – a senior official – most definitely was his concern. A senior British diplomat cannot just hold a series of meetings with the opposition shadow Defence Secretary and a paid Israeli lobbyist.

All of this underlined the pernicious influence that Israel has in the political class, which is founded on the Israeli lobby’s shameless use of cash for influence – as witnessed in the discussion between Shai Masot and Labour Firends of Israel and his flaunting of a million. Attitudes towards the plight of the Palestinians are an extreme example of the disconnect between public opinion and the views of the political class, and Al Jazeera should be congratulated heartily on giving us a peek into that.

No further evidence is required. There could be no more conclusive evidence of Israel’s undue and pernicious influence than the astonishing fact that Shai Masot has not yet been expelled.

Israeli Embassy employee discussed ‘taking down’ MPs & state foreign minister with Tory staffer

RT | January 8, 2017

A senior official at the Israeli Embassy in London was secretly filmed discussing with a Conservative staffer how British officials with a pro-Palestinian stance could be “taken down.”

The footage of the controversial conversation was released on Sunday by Al Jazeera, which said it was a preview for a larger four-part expose on Israeli influence on British politics, which would be aired starting next Sunday.

The footage showed a lunchtime discussion between Israeli Embassy official Shai Masot and Maria Strizzolo, who was chief of staff to MP Robert Halfon, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party at the time the recording happened. The filming was done by an Al Jazeera reporter, who was posing as a pro-Israeli activist, Al Jazeera said.

On the record, Masot is heard asking Halfon whether he could give her the names of some MPs to “take down.” Strizzolo is heard laughing and saying: “Well you know, if you look hard enough I’m sure that there is something that they’re trying to hide.”

They then move on to the topic of “taking down… the deputy foreign minister” or, according to Al Jazeera, Sir Alan Duncan, a state minister under UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Duncan has been publicly critical of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Strizzolo asked: “You still want to go for it?” Masot ambiguously replied that the British official was still causing problems. Strizzolo then said: “I thought we had, you know, neutralized him just a little bit, no?” to which Masot said: “No.”

The two also discussed Secretary Johnson, who the Israeli official described as “basically good,” but also “an idiot” who became Britain’s top diplomat “without any kind of responsibilities.”

“So technically if something real happened, it won’t be his fault,” he added.

Responding to the report, the Israeli Embassy released a statement in which Ambassador Mark Regev apologized to Duncan and called Masot’s remarks “completely unacceptable.”

The embassy called its staffer a junior employee rather than a diplomat, and said he “will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly.”

During the conversation with Strizzolo, Masot described his ambition to become head of the Foreign Affairs department and “the Intelligence Department in Israel.” His business card calls him “a senior political officer,” according to the Guardian.

Strizzolo told the newspaper the quotes were used out of context, and that the conversation was “light, tongue-in-cheek and gossipy.”

“Any suggestion that I, as a civil servant working in education, could ever exert the type of influence you are suggesting is risible,” she said.

The British Foreign Office expressed satisfaction with the apology, saying that it was “clear these comments do not reflect the views of the Embassy or the Government of Israel. The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on Why Has Nazi Spy Shai Masot Not Been Expelled?

US withdrawal, the only hope for peace in Afghanistan

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Press TV 

The best case scenario for peace in Afghanistan is US withdrawal of forces from the country and multilateral negotiations between main stakeholders to establish a national unity government, according to Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday while commenting on a US military announcement which says the Pentagon will deploy a new task force of approximately 300 Marines to Afghanistan’s restive Helmand Province, marking the return to a region where hundreds of troops were killed in fierce combat.

The forces with a unit called Task Force Southwest will deploy this spring to advise the Afghan army and police, senior Marine officers said Friday. The deployment will last nine months and is expected to evolve into a series of similar rotations for the Marines, officials said.

us-military-bases-surround-iranThere are approximately 8,500 US troops in Afghanistan, with most being located at major installations in the capital, Kabul, and at the US airfield in Bagram.

Professor Etler said, “With the lame duck Obama administration quickly coming to an end the question of the US/NATO presence in Afghanistan comes to the fore.”

“The Afghan war which began in 2001 has been the longest that the US has fought. After thousands of casualties and billions of dollars Afghanistan is less secure than any time since the US invasion with one third of the country under Taliban control and a plethora of Takfiri terrorist groups infiltrating the territory,” he stated.

“As things now stand the interminable US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan appears to be headed for another round of escalation,” the analyst noted.

Will Trump follow through on his vow to leave Afghanistan?

Professor Etler said that “there is a new administration set to be installed in Washington.”

“Trump has vociferously stated time and time again that Afghanistan is a rat hole into which the US has heedlessly sent thousands of US soldiers and spent billions of dollars to little if any effect. Trump in a tweet from 2013 succinctly said, ‘Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA,’” he stated.

“The question is will Trump once he’s in the White House live up to his words? And if he does what will happen to Afghanistan? Will it become a hot bed of Takfiri terrorism like Iraq and Syria? The Taliban are an indigenous force motivated by nationalist fervor to expel foreign occupiers of whatever sort. They have demonstrated that they will unrelentingly persist in their resistance no matter how long it takes,” he said.

“The only way out is multinational negotiations in which the Taliban participate as fully vested members. Russia and China, hoping to stem the tide of Takfiri terrorism gaining a foothold on their borders, have already stepped into the breach,” he said.

“Late in 2016, Russian, Chinese and Pakistani officials met in Moscow calling for a flexible approach towards working with the Taliban to foster a peaceful dialogue,” the researched argued.

“The Taliban have also maintained strong links to China, having sent a delegation to discuss the situation in Afghanistan in July 2016 and declaring that they will protect Chinese interests in a $3 billion copper mining project in the northern part of the country,” he stated.

“The best case scenario for peace in Afghanistan is multilateral negotiations between the Afghan government, the Taliban, Pakistan, Russia and China to establish a government of national unity in which the Taliban are full participants,” the analyst noted.

“As with the recently brokered ceasefire in Syria there is no need for US/NATO involvement. In fact, as Trump has previously stated, it’s time for the US to get out and go home. Let the adults resolve the issues that the US and its NATO allies have only exacerbated,” he advised.

“But will Trump do as he says? Will he let others succeed where the US has failed? Only time will tell,” he concluded.

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on US withdrawal, the only hope for peace in Afghanistan

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