Intelligence agencies have been monitoring conversations between lawyers and their clients for past five years, government admits
The regime under which UK intelligence agencies, including MI5 and MI6, have been monitoring conversations between lawyers and their clients for the past five years is unlawful, the British government has admitted.
The admission that the activities of the security services have failed to comply fully with human rights laws in a second major area – this time highly sensitive legally privileged communications – is a severe embarrassment for the government.
It follows hard on the heels of the British court ruling on 6 February declaring that the regime surrounding the sharing of mass personal intelligence data between America’s national security agency and Britain’s GCHQ was unlawful for seven years.
The case is due to be heard before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). It is being brought by lawyers on behalf of two Libyans, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi, who, along with their families, were abducted in a joint MI6-CIA operation and sent back to Tripoli to be tortured by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2004.
A government spokesman said: “The concession the government has made today relates to the agencies’ policies and procedures governing the handling of legally privileged communications and whether they are compatible with the European convention on human rights.
“In view of recent IPT judgments, we acknowledge that the policies adopted since [January] 2010 have not fully met the requirements of the ECHR, specifically article 8 (right to privacy). This includes a requirement that safeguards are made sufficiently public.
“It does not mean that there was any deliberate wrongdoing on their part of the security and intelligence agencies, which have always taken their obligations to protect legally privileged material extremely seriously. Nor does it mean that any of the agencies’ activities have prejudiced or in any way resulted in an abuse of process in any civil or criminal proceedings.”
He said that the intelligence agencies would now work with the interception of communications commissioner to ensure their policies satisfy all of the UK’s human rights obligations.
Cori Crider, a director at Reprieve and one of the Belhaj family’s lawyers said: “By allowing the intelligence agencies free reign to spy on communications between lawyers and their clients, the government has endangered the fundamental British right to a fair trial.
“Reprieve has been warning for months that the security services’ policies on lawyer-client snooping have been shot through with loopholes big enough to drive a bus through.
“For too long, the security services have been allowed to snoop on those bringing cases against them when they speak to their lawyers. In doing so, they have violated a right that is centuries old in British common law. Today they have finally admitted they have been acting unlawfully for years.
“Worryingly, it looks very much like they have collected the private lawyer-client communications of two victims of rendition and torture, and possibly misused them. While the government says there was no ‘deliberate’ collection of material, it’s abundantly clear that private material was collected and may well have been passed on to lawyers or ministers involved in the civil case brought by Abdel hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar, who were ‘rendered’ to Libya in 2004 by British intelligence.
“Only time will tell how badly their case was tainted. But right now, the government needs urgently to investigate how things went wrong and come clean about what it is doing to repair the damage.”
Government sources, in line with all such cases, refuse to confirm or deny whether the two Libyans were the subject of an interception operation. They insist the concession does not concern the allegation that actual interception took place and say it will be for the investigatory powers tribunal hearing to determine the issue.
An updated draft interception code of practicespelling out the the rules for the first time was quietly published at the same time as the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruling against GCHQ earlier this month in the case brought by Privacy International and Liberty.
The government spokesman said the draft code set out enhanced safeguards and provided more detail than previously on the protections that had to be applied in the security agencies handling of legally privileged communications.
The draft code makes clear that warrants for snooping on legally privileged conversations, emails and other communications between suspects and their lawyers can be granted if there are exceptional and compelling circumstances. They have to however ensure that they are not available to lawyers or policy officials who are conducting legal cases against those suspects.
To demonstrate that its policies satisfy legal safeguards, MI6 were required in advance of Wednesday’s concession to disclose internal guidance on how intelligence staff should deal with material protected by legal professional privilege.
The MI6 papers noted: “Undertaking interception in such circumstances would be extremely rare and would require strong justification and robust safeguards. It is essential that such intercepted material is not acquired or used for the purpose of conferring an unfair or improper advantage on SIS or HMG [Her Majesty’s government] in any such litigation, legal proceedings or criminal investigation.”
The internal documents also refer to a visit by the interception commissioner, Sir Anthony May, last summer to examine interception warrants, where it was discovered that regulations were not being observed. “In relation to one of the warrants,” the document explained, “the commissioner identified a number of concerns with regard to the handling of [legal professional privilege] material”.
Amnesty UK’s legal programme director, Rachel Logan, said: “We are talking about nothing less than the violation of a fundamental principle of the rule of law – that communications between a lawyer and their client must be confidential.
“The government has been caught red-handed. The security agencies have been illegally intercepting privileged material and are continuing to do so – this could mean they’ve been spying on the very people challenging them in court.
“This is the second time in as many weeks that government spies have been rumbled breaking the law.”
Like many children, 13-year-old Mohammed Tuaiman suffered from nightmares. In his dreams, he would see flying “death machines” that turned family and friends into burning charcoal. No one could stop them, and they struck any place, at any time.
Unlike most children, Mohammed’s nightmares killed him.
Three weeks ago, a CIA drone operating over Yemen fired a missile at a car carrying the teenager, and two others. They were all incinerated. Nor was Mohammed the first in his family to be targeted: drones had already killed his father and brother.
Since president Barack Obama took office in 2009, the US has killed at least 2,464 people through drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones. The figure is courtesy of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which says that at least 314 of the dead, one in seven, were civilians.
Recall that for Obama, as The New York Times reported in May 2012, “all military-age males in a strike zone” are counted “as combatants” – unless “there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent”.
It sounds like the stuff of nightmares.
The week after Mohammed’s death, on February 5, Mr Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast, and discussed the violence of ISIL.
“Lest we get on our high horses”, said the commander-in-chief, “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
These comments prompted a (brief) media storm, with Mr Obama accused of insulting Christians, pandering to the terrorist enemy, or just bad history.
In fact, the president was simply repeating a point often made by liberals since September 11, namely, that all religions have blots on their copy book through the deeds of their followers.
One of the consequences, however, of this invocation of the Crusades – unintended, and all the more significant for it – is to seal away the West’s “sins”, particularly vis-à-vis its relationship to the Middle East, in events that took place a thousand years ago.
The Crusades were, in one sense, a demonstration of raw military power, and a collective trauma for the peoples of the regions they marched through and invaded.
In the siege of Jerusalem in 1099, a witness described how the Europeans ordered “all the Saracen dead to be cast outside because of the great stench, since the whole city was filled with their corpses”.
He added: “No one ever saw or heard of such slaughter of pagan people, for funeral pyres were formed from them like pyramids.”
Or take the Third Crusade, when, on August 20, 1191, England’s King Richard I oversaw the beheading of 3,000 Muslim prisoners at Acre in full view of Saladin’s army.
Just “ancient history”? In 1920, when the French had besieged and captured Damascus, their commander Henri Gourard reportedly went to the grave of Saladin, kicked it, and uttered: “Awake Saladin, we have returned! My presence here consecrates the victory of the Cross over the Crescent.”
But the US president need not cite the Crusades or even the colonial rule of the early 20th century: more relevant reference points would be Bagram and Fallujah.
Bagram base in Afghanistan is where US soldiers tortured prisoners to death – like 22-year-old taxi driver and farmer Dilawar. Before he was killed in custody, Dilawar was beaten by soldiers just to make him scream “Allah!”
Five months after September 11, The Guardian reported that US missiles had killed anywhere between 1,300 and 8,000 in Afghanistan. Months later, the paper suggested that “as many as 20,000 Afghans may have lost their lives as an indirect consequence of the US intervention”.
When it was Iraq’s turn, the people of Fallujah discovered that US forces gave them funerals, not democracy. On April 28, 2003, US soldiers massacred civilian protesters, shooting to death 17 during a demonstration.
When that city revolted against the occupation, the residents paid a price. As Marines tried to quell resistance in the city, wrote The New York Times on April 14, 2004, they had “orders to shoot any male of military age on the streets after dark, armed or not”.Months later, as the Marines launched their November assault on the city, CNN reported that “the sky…seems to explode”.
In their bombardment and invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US and UK armed forces rained fiery death down on men, women and children. Prisoners were tortured and sexually abused. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died. No one was held to account.
It is one thing to apologise for the brutality of western Crusaders a thousand years ago. It is quite another to look at the corpses of the victims of the imperialist present, or hear the screams of the bereaved.
In his excellent book The Muslims Are Coming, Arun Kundnani analysed the “politics of anti-extremism”, and describes the two approaches developed by policymakers and analysts during the “war on terror”.
The first approach, which he refers to as “culturalism”, emphasises “what adherents regard as inherent features of Islamic culture”. The second approach, “reformism”, is when “extremism is viewed as a perversion of Islam’s message”, rather than “a clash of civilisations between the West’s modern values and Islam’s fanaticism”.
Thus the American Right was angry with Mr Obama, because for them, it is about religion – or specifically, Islam. Liberals, meanwhile, want to locate the problem in terms of culture.
Both want to avoid a discussion about imperialism, massacres, coups, brutalities, disappearances, dictatorships – in other words, politics.
As Kundnani writes: when “the concept of ideology” is made central, whether understood as “Islam itself or as Islamist extremism”, then “the role of western states in co-producing the terror war is obscured”.
The problem with Mr Obama’s comments on the Crusades was not, as hysterical conservatives claimed, that he was making offensive and inaccurate analogies with ISIL; rather, that in the comfort of condemning the past, he could mask the violence of his own government in the present.
The echoes of collective trauma remain for a long time, and especially when new wounds are still being inflicted. Think it is farfetched that Muslims would still care about a 1,000-year-old European invasion? Then try asking them about Guantanamo and Camp Bucca instead.
Ben White is a journalist and author of Israeli Apartheid
No one except John Kiriakou is being held accountable for America’s torture policy. And John Kiriakou didn’t torture anyone, he just blew the whistle on it.
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
The United States sanctioned acts of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency and others. The acts took place in secret prisons (“black sites”) against persons detained indefinitely without trial. They were described in detail and explicitly authorized in a series of secret torture memosdrafted by John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury, senior lawyers in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. (Office of Legal Counsel attorneys technically answer directly to the DOJ, which is supposed to be independent from the White House, but obviously was not in this case.) Not one of those men, or their Justice Department bosses, has been held accountable for their actions.
Some tortured prisoners were killed by the CIA. Attorney General Eric Holder announced recently that no one would be held accountable for those murders either. “Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths,” he said, “the Department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Jose Rodriguez, a senior CIA official, admitted destroying videotapes of potentially admissible evidence, showing the torture of captives by operatives of the U.S. government at a secret prison thought to be located at a Vietnam-War-era airbase in Thailand. He was not held accountable for deep-sixing this evidence, nor for his role in the torture of human beings.
John Kiriakou Alone
The one man in the whole archipelago of America’s secret horrors who went to jail is former CIA officer John Kiriakou. Of the untold numbers of men and women involved in the whole nightmare show of those years, only one.
And of course, he didn’t torture anyone.
The charges against Kiriakou alleged that in answering questions from reporters about suspicions that the CIA tortured detainees in its custody, he violated the Espionage Act, once an obscure World War I-era law that aimed at punishing Americans who gave aid to the enemy. It was passed in 1917 and has been the subject of much judicial and Congressional doubt ever since. Kiriakou is one of six government whistleblowers who have been charged under the Act by the Obama administration. From 1917 until Obama came into office, only three people had ever charged in this way.
The Obama Justice Department claimed the former CIA officer “disclosed classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities.”
The charges resulted from a CIA investigation. That investigation was triggered by a filing in January 2009 on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo that contained classified information the defense had not been given through government channels, and by the discovery in the spring of 2009 of photographs of alleged CIA employees among the legal materials of some detainees at Guantanamo. According to onedescription, Kiriakou gave several interviews about the CIA in 2008. Court documents charge that he provided names of covert Agency officials to a journalist, who allegedly in turn passed them on to a Guantanamo legal team. The team sought to have detainees identify specific CIA officials who participated in their renditions and torture. Kiriakou was accused of providing the identities of CIA officers that may have allowed names to be linked to photographs.
The real “offense” in the eyes of the Obama administration was quite different. In 2007, Kiriakou became a whistleblower. He went on record as the first (albeit by then, former) CIA official to confirm the use of waterboarding of al-Qaeda prisoners as an interrogation technique, and then to condemn it as torture. He specifically mentioned the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah in that secret prison in Thailand. Kiriakou also ran afoul of the CIA over efforts to clear for publication a book he had written about the Agency’s counterterrorism work.
If Kiriakou had actually tortured someone himself, even to death, there is no possibility that he would be in trouble. In the national security state that rules the roost in Washington, talking out of turn about a crime has become the only possible crime.
Facing decades away from his family and young children, Kiriakou agreed to a plea bargain and is still in prison serving a 30-month sentence.
For years it was the policy of the United States of America to torture and abuse its enemies or, in some cases, simply suspected enemies. It has remained a U.S. policy, even under the Obama administration, to employ “extraordinary rendition” — that is, the sending of captured terror suspects to the jails of countries that are known for torture and abuse, an outsourcing of what we no longer want to do.
Techniques that the U.S. hanged men for at Nuremburg and in post-war Japan were employed and declared lawful. To embark on such a program with the oversight of the Bush administration, learned men and women had to have long discussions, with staffers running in and out of rooms with snippets of research to buttress the justifications being so laboriously developed. The CIA undoubtedly used some cumbersome bureaucratic process to hire contractors for its torture staff. The old manuals needed to beupdated, psychiatrists consulted, military survival experts interviewed, training classes set up.
Videotapes were made of the torture sessions and no doubt DVDs full of real horror were reviewed back at headquarters.
Torture techniques were even reportedly demonstrated to top officials inside the White House. Individual torturers who were considered particularly effective were no doubt identified, probably rewarded, and sent on to new secret sites to harm more people.
America just didn’t wake up one day and start slapping around some Islamic punk. These were not the torture equivalents of rogue cops. A system, a mechanism, was created. That we now can only speculate about many of the details involved and the extent of all this is a tribute to the thousands who continue to remain silent about what they did, saw, heard about, or were associated with. Many of them work now at the same organizations, remaining a part of the same contracting firms, the CIA, and the military. Our torturers.
What is it that allows all those people to remain silent? How many are simply scared, watched what happening to John Kiriakou and thought: not me, I’m not sticking my neck out to see it get chopped off.They’re almost pathetically forgivable, even if they are placing their own self-interest above that of their country.
But what about the others, the ones who remain silent about what they did or saw or aided and abetted in some fashion because they still think it was the right thing to do? The ones who will do it again when another frightened president asks them to? Or even the ones who enjoyed doing it?
The same Department of Justice that hunted down the one man who spoke against torture from the inside still maintains a special unit, 60 years after the end of WWII, dedicated to hunting down the last few at-large Nazis. They do that under the rubric of “never again.” The truth is that same team needs to be turned loose on our national security state. Otherwise, until we have a full accounting of what was done in our names by our government, the pieces are all in place for it to happen again. There, if you want to know, is the real horror.
Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book,Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from Amazon.
“This is an organisation that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated,” Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon press conference in August.
Military action is necessary to halt the spread of the ISIS/IS “cancer,” said President Obama. Yesterday, in his much anticipated address, he called for expanded airstrikes across Iraq and Syria, and new measures to arm and train Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces.
“The only way to defeat [IS] is to stand firm and to send a very straightforward message,” declared Prime Minister Cameron. “A country like ours will not be cowed by these barbaric killers.”
Missing from the chorus of outrage, however, has been any acknowledgement of the integral role of covert US and British regional military intelligence strategy in empowering and even directly sponsoring the very same virulent Islamist militants in Iraq, Syria and beyond, that went on to break away from al-Qaeda and form ‘ISIS’, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or now simply, the Islamic State (IS).
Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East.
Now despite Pentagon denials that there will be boots on the ground – and Obama’s insistence that this would not be another “Iraq war” – local Kurdish military and intelligence sources confirm that US and German special operations forces are already “on the ground here. They are helping to support us in the attack.” US airstrikes on ISIS positions and arms supplies to the Kurds have also been accompanied by British RAF reconnaissance flights over the region andUK weapons shipments to Kurdish peshmerga forces.
Divide and rule in Iraq
“It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs,” said one US government defense consultant in 2007. “It’s who they throw them at – Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
Early during the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the US covertly supplied arms to al-Qaeda affiliated insurgents even while ostensibly supporting an emerging Shi’a-dominated administration.
Pakistani defense sources interviewed by Asia Times in February 2005 confirmed that insurgents described as “former Ba’ath party” loyalists – who were being recruited and trainedby “al-Qaeda in Iraq” under the leadership of the late Abu Musab Zarqawi – were being supplied Pakistan-manufactured weapons by the US. The arms shipments included rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, ammunition, rockets and other light weaponry. These arms “could not be destined for the Iraqi security forces because US arms would be given to them”, a source told Syed Saleem Shahzad – the Times’ Pakistan bureau chief who, “known for his exposes of the Pakistani military” according to the New Yorker, was murdered in 2011. Rather, the US is playing a double-game to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement,” said the Pakistani defense source.
This was not the only way US strategy aided the rise of Zarqawi, a bin Laden mentee and brainchild of the extremist ideology that would later spawn ‘ISIS.’
The JSOC insignia
According to a little-known November report for the US Joint Special Operations University(JSOU) and Strategic Studies Department, Dividing Our Enemies, post-invasion Iraq was “an interesting case study of fanning discontent among enemies, leading to ‘red-against-red’ [enemy-against-enemy] firefights.”
While counterinsurgency on the one hand requires US forces to “ameliorate harsh or deprived living conditions of the indigenous populations” to publicly win local hearts and minds:
“… the reverse side of this coin is one less discussed. It involves no effort to win over those caught in the crossfire of insurgent and counterinsurgent warfare, whether by bullet or broadcast. On the contrary, this underside of the counterinsurgency coin is calculated to exploit or create divisions among adversaries for the purpose of fomenting enemy-on-enemy deadly encounters.”
In other words, US forces will pursue public legitimacy through conventional social welfare while simultaneously delegitimising local enemies by escalating intra-insurgent violence, knowing full-well that doing so will in turn escalate the number of innocent civilians “caught in the crossfire.” The idea is that violence covertly calibrated by US special operations will not only weaken enemies through in-fighting but turn the population against them.
In this case, the ‘enemy’ consisted of jihadists, Ba’athists, and peaceful Sufis, who were in a majority but, like the militants, also opposed the US military presence and therefore needed to be influenced. The JSOU report referred to events in late 2004 in Fallujah where “US psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists” undertook to “set insurgents battling insurgents.” This involved actually promoting Zarqawi’s ideology, ironically, to defeat it: “The PSYOP warriors crafted programs to exploit Zarqawi’s murderous activities – and to disseminate them through meetings, radio and television broadcasts, handouts, newspaper stories, political cartoons, and posters – thereby diminishing his folk-hero image,” and encouraging the different factions to pick each other off. “By tapping into the Fallujans’ revulsion and antagonism to the Zarqawi jihadis the Joint PSYOP Task Force did its ‘best to foster a rift between Sunni groups.’”
Yet as noted by Dahr Jamail, one of the few unembedded investigative reporters in Iraq after the war, the proliferation of propaganda linking the acceleration of suicide bombings to the persona of Zarqawi was not matched by meaningful evidence. His own search to substantiate the myriad claims attributing the insurgency to Zarqawi beyond anonymous US intelligence sources encountered only an “eerie blankness”.
US soldiers in Fallujah
The US military operation in Fallujah, largely justified on the claim that Zarqawi’s militant forces had occupied the city, used white phosphorous, cluster bombs, and indiscriminate air strikes to pulverise 36,000 of Fallujah’s 50,000 homes, killing nearly a thousand civilians, terrorising 300,000 inhabitants to flee, and culminating in a disproportionate increase in birth defects, cancer and infant mortality due to the devastating environmental consequences of the war.
To this day, Fallujah has suffered from being largely cut-off from wider Iraq, its infrastructure largely unworkable with water and sewage systems still in disrepair, and its citizens subject to sectarian discrimination and persecution by Iraqi government backed Shi’a militia and police. “Thousands of bereaved and homeless Falluja families have a new reason to hate the US and its allies,” observed The Guardian in 2005. Thus, did the US occupation plant the seeds from which Zarqawi’s legacy would coalesce into the Frankenstein monster that calls itself “the Islamic State.”
Bankrolling al-Qaeda in Syria
According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009: “I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business,” he told French television: “I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.”
Since then, the role of the Gulf states – namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan (as well as NATO member Turkey) – in officially and unofficiallyfinancing and coordinating the most virulent elements amongst Syria’s rebels under the tutelage of US military intelligence is no secret. Yet the conventional wisdom is that the funneling of support to Islamist extremists in the rebel movement affiliated to al-Qaeda has been a colossal and regrettable error.
The reality is very different. The empowerment of the Islamist factions within the ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) was a foregone conclusion of the strategy.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) greets Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L), United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (2nd L) and British Foreign Minister William Hague, in Tunis
In its drive to depose Col. Qaddafi in Libya, NATO had previously allied itself with rebels affiliated to the al-Qaeda faction, the Islamic Fighting Group. The resulting Libyan regime backed by the US was in turn liaising with FSA leaders in Istanbul to provide money and heavy weapons for the anti-Assad insurgency. The State Department even hired an al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan militia group to provide security for the US embassy in Benghazi – although they had links with the very people that attacked the embassy.
Last year, CNN confirmed that CIA officials operating secretly out of the Benghazi embassy were being forced to take extra polygraph tests to keep under wraps what US Congressman suspect was a covert operation “to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.”
With their command and control centre based in Istanbul, Turkey, military supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were transported by Turkish intelligence to the border for rebel acquisition. CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, otherreports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS – last month one ISIS commander, Abu Yusaf, said, “Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.”
The National thus confirmed the existence of another command and control centre in Amman, Jordan, “staffed by western and Arab military officials,” which “channels vehicles, sniper rifles, mortars, heavy machine guns, small arms and ammunition to Free Syrian Army units.” Rebel and opposition sources described the weapons bridge as “a well-run operation staffed by high-ranking military officials from 14 countries, including the US, European nations and Arabian Gulf states, the latter providing the bulk of materiel and financial support to rebel factions.”
The FSA sources interviewed by The National went to pains to deny that any al-Qaeda affiliated factions were involved in the control centre, or would receive any weapons support. But this is difficult to believe given that “Saudi and Qatari-supplied weapons” were being funneled through to the rebels via Amman, to their favoured factions.
Classified assessments of the military assistance supplied by US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar obtained by the New York Times showed that “most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups… are going to hardline Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”
Lest there be any doubt as to the extent to which all this covert military assistance coordinated by the US has gone to support al-Qaeda affiliated factions in the FSA, it is worth noting that earlier this year, the Israeli military intelligence website Debkafile – run by two veteran correspondents who covered the Middle East for 23 years for The Economist – reported that: “Turkey is giving Syrian rebel forces, including the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, passage through its territory to attack the northwestern Syrian coastal area around Latakia.”
In August, Debkafile reported that “The US, Jordan and Israel are quietly backing the mixed bag of some 30 Syrian rebel factions”, some of which had just “seized control of the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, the only transit point between Israeli and Syrian Golan.” However, Debkafile noted, “al-Qaeda elements have permeated all those factions.” Israel has provided limited support to these rebels in the form of “medical care,” as well as “arms, intelligence and food…
“Israel acted as a member, along with the US and Jordan, of a support system for rebel groups fighting in southern Syria. Their efforts are coordinated through a war-room which the Pentagon established last year near Amman. The US, Jordanian and Israeli officers manning the facility determine in consultation which rebel factions are provided with reinforcements from the special training camps run for Syrian rebels in Jordan, and which will receive arms. All three governments understand perfectly that, notwithstanding all their precautions, some of their military assistance is bound to percolate to al-Qaeda’s Syrian arm, Jabhat Al-Nusra, which is fighting in rebel ranks. Neither Washington or Jerusalem or Amman would be comfortable in admitting they are arming al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in southern Syria.”
This support also went to ISIS. Although the latter was originally founded in Iraq in October 2006, by 2013 the group had significantly expanded its operations in Syria working alongside al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra until February 2014, when ISIS was formally denounced by al-Qaeda. Even so, experts on the region’s Islamist groups point out that the alleged rift between al-Nusra and ISIS, while real, is not as fraught as one might hope, constituting a mere difference in tactics rather than fundamental ideology.
ISIS fighters pose for the camera
Officially, the US government’s financial support for the FSA goes through the Washington DC entity, the Syrian Support Group (SSG), Syrian Support Group (SSG) which was incorporated in April 2012. The SSG is licensed via the US Treasury Department to “export, re-export, sell, or supply to the Free Syrian Army (‘FSA’) financial, communications, logistical, and other services otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13582 in order to support the FSA.”
In mid-2013, the Obama administration intensified its support to the rebels with a new classified executive order reversing its previous policy limiting US direct support to only nonlethal equipment. As before, the order would aim to supply weapons strictly to “moderate” forces in the FSA.
Except the government’s vetting procedures to block Islamist extremists from receiving US weapons have never worked.
A year later, Mother Jones found that the US government has “little oversight over whether US supplies are falling prey to corruption – or into the hands of extremists,” and relies “on too much good faith.” The US government keeps track of rebels receiving assistance purely through “handwritten receipts provided by rebel commanders in the field,” and the judgement of its allies. Countries supporting the rebels – the very same which have empowered al-Qaeda affiliated Islamists – “are doing audits of the delivery of lethal and nonlethal supplies.”
Thus, with the Gulf states still calling the shots on the ground, it is no surprise that by September last year, eleven prominent rebel groups distanced themselves from the ‘moderate’ opposition leadership and allied themselves with al-Qaeda.
By the SSG’s own conservative estimate, as much as 15% of rebel fighters are Islamists affiliated to al-Qaeda, either through the Jabhut al-Nusra faction, or its breakaway group ISIS. But privately, Pentagon officials estimate that “more than 50%” of the FSA is comprised of Islamist extremists, and according to rebel sources neither FSA chief Gen Salim Idris nor his senior aides engage in much vetting, decisions about which are made typically by local commanders.
Part 2 – THE LONG WAR
Follow the money
Media reports following ISIS’ conquest of much of northern and central Iraq this summer have painted the group as the world’s most super-efficient, self-financed, terrorist organisation that has been able to consolidate itself exclusively through extensive looting of Iraq’s banks and funds from black market oil sales. Much of this narrative, however, has derived from dubious sources, and overlooked disturbing details.
One senior anonymous intelligence source told Guardian correspondent Martin Chulov, for instance, that over 160 computer flash sticks obtained from an ISIS hideout revealed information on ISIS’ finances that was completely new to the intelligence community.
“Before Mosul, their total cash and assets were $875m [£515m],” said the official on the funds obtained largely via “massive cashflows from the oilfields of eastern Syria, which it had commandeered in late 2012.” Afterwards, “with the money they robbed from banks and the value of the military supplies they looted, they could add another $1.5bn to that.” The thrust of the narrative coming from intelligence sources was simple: “They had done this all themselves. There was no state actor at all behind them, which we had long known. They don’t need one.”
“ISIS’ half-a-billion-dollar bank heist makes it world’s richest terror group,” claimed the Telegraph, adding that the figure did not include additional stolen gold bullion, and millions more grabbed from banks “across the region.”
This story of ISIS’ stupendous bank looting spree across Iraq made global headlines but turned out to be disinformation. Senior Iraqi officials and bankers confirmed that banks in Iraq, including Mosul where ISIS supposedly stole $430 million, had faced no assault, remain open, and are guarded by their own private security forces.
How did the story come about? One of its prime sources was Iraqi parliamentarian Ahmed Chalabi – the same man who under the wing of his ‘Iraqi National Congress’ peddled false intelligence about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda.
In June, Chalabi met with the US ambassador to Iraq, Robert Beecroft, and Brett McGurk, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran. According to sources cited by Buzzfeed in June, Beecroft “has been meeting Chalabi for months and has dined at his mansion in Baghdad.”
Follow the oil
But while ISIS has clearly obtained funding from donors in the Gulf states, many of its fighters having broken away from the more traditional al-Qaeda affiliated groups like Jabhut al-Nusra, it has also successfully leveraged its control over Syrian and Iraqi oil fields.
In January, the New York Times reported that “Islamist rebels and extremist groups have seized control of most of Syria’s oil and gas resources”, bolstering “the fortunes of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and the Nusra Front, both of which are offshoots of al-Qaeda.” Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels had “seized control of the oil and gas fields scattered across the country’s north and east,” while more moderate “Western-backed rebel groups do not appear to be involved in the oil trade, in large part because they have not taken over any oil fields.”
Yet the west had directly aided these Islamist groups in their efforts to operationalise Syria’s oil fields. In April 2013, for instance, the Times noted that al-Qaeda rebels had taken over key regions of Syria: “Nusra’s hand is felt most strongly in Aleppo”, where the al-Qaeda affiliate had established in coordination with other rebel groups including ISIS “a Shariah Commission” running “a police force and an Islamic court that hands down sentences that have included lashings.” Al-Qaeda fighters also “control the power plant and distribute flour to keep the city’s bakeries running.” Additionally, they “have seized government oil fields” in provinces of Deir al-Zour and Hasaka, and now make a “profit from the crude they produce.”
Lost in the fog of media hype was the disconcerting fact that these al-Qaeda rebel bread and oil operations in Aleppo, Deir al-Zour and Hasaka were directly and indirectly supported by the US and the European Union (EU). One account by the Washington Post for instance refers to a stealth mission in Aleppo “to deliver food and other aid to needy Syrians – all of it paid for by the US government,” including the supply of flour. “The bakery is fully supplied with flour paid for by the United States,” the Post continues, noting that local consumers, however, “credited Jabhat al-Nusra – a rebel group the United States has designated a terrorist organisation because of its ties to al-Qaeda – with providing flour to the region, though he admitted he wasn’t sure where it comes from.”
And in the same month that al-Qaeda’s control of Syria’s main oil regions in Deir al-Zour and Hasaka was confirmed, the EU voted to ease an oil embargo on Syria to allow oil to be sold on international markets from these very al-Qaeda controlled oil fields. European companies would be permitted to buy crude oil and petroleum products from these areas, although transactions would be approved by the Syrian National Coalition. Due to damaged infrastructure, oil would be trucked by road to Turkey where the nearest refineries are located.
“The logical conclusion from this craziness is that Europe will be funding al-Qaeda,”said Joshua Landis , a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma.
Just two months later, a former senior staffer at the Syria Support Group in DC, David Falt, leaked internal SSG emails confirming that the group was “obsessed” with brokering “jackpot” oil deals on behalf of the FSA for Syria’s rebel-run oil regions.
“The idea they could raise hundreds of millions from the sale of the oil came to dominate the work of the SSG to the point no real attention was paid to the nature of the conflict,” said Falt, referring in particular to SSG’s director Brian Neill Sayers, who before his SSG role worked with NATO’s Operations Division. Their aim was to raise money for the rebels by selling the rights to Syrian oil.
Tacit complicity in IS oil smuggling
Even as al-Qaeda fighters increasingly decide to join up with IS, the ad hoc black market oil production and export infrastructure established by the Islamist groups in Syria has continued to function with, it seems, the tacit support of regional and western powers.
According to Ali Ediboglu, a Turkish MP for the border province of Hatay, IS is selling the bulk of its oil from regions in Syria and Mosul in Iraq through Turkey, with the tacit consent of Turkish authorities: “They have laid pipes from villages near the Turkish border at Hatay. Similar pipes exist also at [the Turkish border regions of] Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep. They transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into cash. They take the oil from the refineries at zero cost. Using primitive means, they refine the oil in areas close to the Turkish border and then sell it via Turkey. This is worth $800 million.” He also noted that the extent of this and related operations indicates official Turkish complicity. “Fighters from Europe, Russia, Asian countries and Chechnya are going in large numbers both to Syria and Iraq, crossing from Turkish territory. There is information that at least 1,000 Turkish nationals are helping those foreign fighters sneak into Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. The National Intelligence Organization (MIT) is allegedly involved. None of this can be happening without MIT’s knowledge.”
Similarly, there is evidence that authorities in the Kurdish region of Iraq are also turning a blind eye to IS oil smuggling. In July, Iraqi officials said that IS had begun selling oil extracted from in the northern province of Salahuddin. One official pointed out that “the Kurdish peshmerga forces stopped the sale of oil at first, but later allowed tankers to transfer and sell oil.”
State of Law coalition MP Alia Nasseef also accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of secretly trading oil with IS: “What is happening shows the extent of the massive conspiracy against Iraq by Kurdish politicians… The [illegal] sale of Iraqi oil to ISIS or anyone else is something that would not surprise us.” Although Kurdish officials have roundly rejected these accusations, informed sources told the Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat that Iraqi crude captured by ISIS was “being sold to Kurdish traders in the border regions straddling Iraq, Iran and Syria, and was being shipped to Pakistan where it was being sold ‘for less than half its original price.’”
An official statement in August from Iraq’s Oil Ministry warned that any oil not sanctioned by Baghdad could include crude smuggled illegally from IS:
“International purchasers [of crude oil] and other market participants should be aware that any oil exports made without the authorisation of the Ministry of Oil may contain crude oil originating from fields under the control of [ISIS].”
“Countries like Turkey have turned a blind eye to the practice” of IS oil smuggling, said Luay al-Khateeb, a fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, “and international pressure should be mounted to close down black markets in its southern region.” So far there has been no such pressure. Meanwhile, IS oil smuggling continues, with observers inside and outside Turkeynoting that the Turkish government is tacitly allowing IS to flourish as it prefers the rebels to the Assad regime.
According to former Iraqi oil minister Isam al-Jalabi, “Turkey is the biggest winner from the Islamic State’s oil smuggling trade.” Both traders and oil firms are involved, he said, with the low prices allowing for “massive” profits for the countries facilitating the smuggling.
Buying ISIS oil?
Early last month, a tanker carrying over a million barrels in crude oil from northern Iraq’s Kurdish region arrived at the Texas Gulf of Mexico. The oil had been refined in the Iraqi Kurdish region before being pumped through a new pipeline from the KRG area ending up at Ceyhan, Turkey, where it was then loaded onto the tanker for shipping to the US. Baghdad’s efforts to stop the oil sale on the basis of its having national jurisdiction were rebuffed by American courts.
In early September, the European Union’s ambassador to Iraq, Jana Hybášková, told the EU Foreign Affairs Committee that “several EU member states have bought oil from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist organisation that has been brutally conquering large portions of Iraq and Syria,” according to Israel National News. She however “refused to divulge the names of the countries despite being asked numerous times.”
A third end-point for the KRG’s crude this summer, once again shipped via Turkey’s port of Ceyhan, was Israel’s southwestern port of Ashkelon. This is hardly news though. In May,Reuters revealed that Israeli and US oil refineries had been regularly purchasing and importing KRG’s disputed oil.
Meanwhile, as this triangle of covert oil shipments in which ISIS crude appears to be hopelessly entangled becomes more established, Turkey has increasingly demanded that the US pursue formal measures to lift obstacles to Kurdish oil sales to global markets. The KRG plans to export as much as 1 million barrels of oil a day by next year through its pipeline to Turkey.
The Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline: Iraqi Kurdistan alone could hold up to 45 billion barrels of oil, allowing exports of up to 4 million barrels a day in the next decade if successfully brought to production
Among the many oil and gas firms active in the KRG capital, Erbil, are ExxonMobil and Chevron. They are drilling in the region for oil under KRG contracts, though operations have been halted due to the crisis. No wonder Steve Coll writes in the New Yorker that Obama’s air strikes and arms supplies to the Kurds – notably not to Baghdad – effectively amount to “the defense of an undeclared Kurdish oil state whose sources of geopolitical appeal – as a long-term, non-Russian supplier of oil and gas to Europe, for example – are best not spoken of in polite or naïve company.” The Kurds are now busy working to “quadruple” their export capacity, while US policy has increasingly shifted toward permitting Kurdish exports – a development that would have major ramifications for Iraq’s national territorial integrity.
To be sure, as the offensive against IS ramps up, the Kurds are now selectively cracking down on IS smuggling efforts – but the measures are too little, too late.
A new map
The Third Iraq War has begun. With it, longstanding neocon dreams to partition Iraq into three along ethnic and religious lines have been resurrected.
White House officials now estimate that the fight against the region’s ‘Islamic State’ will lastyears, and may outlive the Obama administration. But this ‘long war’ vision goes back to nebulous ideas formally presented by late RAND Corp analyst Laurent Muraweic before the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board at the invitation of then chairman Richard Perle. That presentation described Iraq as a “tactical pivot” by which to transform the wider Middle East.
Brian Whitaker, former Guardian Middle East editor, rightly noted that the Perle-RAND strategy drew inspiration from a 1996 paper published by the Israeli Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, co-authored by Perle and other neocons who held top positions in the post-9/11 Bush administration.
The policy paper advocated a strategy that bears startling resemblance to the chaos unfolding in the wake of the expansion of the ‘Islamic State’ – Israel would “shape its strategic environment” by first securing the removal of Saddam Hussein. “Jordan and Turkey would form an axis along with Israel to weaken and ‘roll back’ Syria.” This axis would attempt to weaken the influence of Lebanon, Syria and Iran by “weaning” off their Shi’ite populations. To succeed, Israel would need to engender US support, which would be obtained by Benjamin Netanyahu formulating the strategy “in language familiar to the Americans by tapping into themes of American administrations during the cold war.”
The 2002 Perle-RAND plan was active in the Bush administration’s strategic thinking on Iraq shortly before the 2003 war. According to US private intelligence firm Stratfor, in late 2002, then vice-president Dick Cheney and deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz had co-authored a scheme under which central Sunni-majority Iraq would join with Jordan; the northern Kurdish regions would become an autonomous state; all becoming separate from the southern Shi’ite region.
The strategic advantages of an Iraq partition, Stratfor argued, focused on US control of oil:
“After eliminating Iraq as a sovereign state, there would be no fear that one day an anti-American government would come to power in Baghdad, as the capital would be in Amman [Jordan]. Current and potential US geopolitical foes Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria would be isolated from each other, with big chunks of land between them under control of the pro-US forces.Equally important, Washington would be able to justify its long-term and heavy military presence in the region as necessary for the defense of a young new state asking for US protection – and to secure the stability of oil markets and supplies. That in turn would help the United States gain direct control of Iraqi oil and replace Saudi oil in case of conflict with Riyadh.”
The expansion of the ‘Islamic State’ has provided a pretext for the fundamental contours of this scenario to unfold, with the US and British looking to re-establish a long-term military presence in Iraq in the name of the “defense of a young new state.”
In 2006, Cheney’s successor, Joe Biden, also indicated his support for the ‘soft partition’ of Iraq along ethno-religious lines – a position which the co-author of the Biden-Iraq plan, Leslie Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations, now argues is “the only solution” to the current crisis.
Also in 2006, the Armed Forces Journal published a map of the Middle East with its borders thoroughly re-drawn, courtesy of Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters, who had previously been assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence where he was responsible for future warfare. As for the goals of this plan, apart from “security from terrorism” and “the prospect of democracy”, Peters also mentioned “access to oil supplies in a region that is destined to fight itself.”
In 2008, the strategy re-surfaced – once again via RAND Corp – through a report funded by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command on how to prosecute the ‘long war.’ Among its strategies, one scenario advocated by the report was ‘Divide and Rule’ which would involve:
“… exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts.”
Simultaneously, the report suggested that the US could foster conflict between Salafi-jihadists and Shi’ite militants by:
“… shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes… as a way of containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.”
One way or another, some semblance of this plan is in motion. Last week, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Leiberman told US secretary of state John Kerry:
“Iraq is breaking up before our eyes and it would appear that the creation of an independent Kurdish state is a foregone conclusion.”
Nafeez Ahmed is a bestselling author, investigative journalist and international security scholar. He has contributed to two major terrorism investigations in the US and UK, the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest, and has advised the Royal Military Academy Sandhust, British Foreign Office and US State Department, among government agencies.
Nafeez is a regular contributor to The Guardian where he writes about the geopolitics of interconnected environmental, energy and economic crises. He has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, among many others.
Nafeez’s just released new novel, ZERO POINT, predicted a new war in Iraq to put down an al-Qaeda insurgency.
Following nationwide protests across South Africa against the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza (Israel has killed over 400 Palestinians including 100 children in the last 10 days) the ANC in Parliament has called for the Israeli ambassador in South Africa to leave with immediate effect. The ANC must implement this and the decision to recall the South African Ambassador from Tel Aviv with urgency.
The ANC has called for the Israeli ambassador in South Africa to leave the country immediately
The African National Congress in Parliament is extremely outraged by the wanton and unjustifiable bombardment and killings of innocent civilians, including children, in Palestinian territory of Gaza by Israel military forces. We echo the widespread condemnation of these senseless attacks on defenceless Palestinians and call on the government of Israel to immediately cease with this blatant act of criminality.
It is unacceptable that as the Israeli military is flagrantly violating the territorial integrity of Gaza, claiming hundreds of lives and injuring thousands, the United Nations Security Council fails to intervene decisively in line with its powers. The office of the UN Secretary General issues statements which have not effect. The UN Security Council must stand up and act to support vulnerable Palestinian people at the time when they need their protection. The situation involving Palestine and Israel is an undeclared war, in which the aggressor, Israel, has destroyed the Palestinian economy, robbed people of their land, unilaterally changed borders, and unilaterally built a wall of exclusion
to keep Palestinians out of their land. When it feels provoked, it unleashes the most sophisticated military hardware on a defenceless people. Palestinians have been reduced to cheap labour for the Israel economy. This relentless destruction of the Palestinian territory and its people by Israel must be stopped. The international community needs to act in unison on this matter.
As the ANC in Parliament, we stand unapologetically with the people of Palestine and pro-Palestinian campaigners in an endeavour to exert pressure on Israel’s government to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions and stop its killings and gross persecution of Palestinian people. We remain resolute in our view that the only long lasting peaceful solution to the situation in the Middle East is the attainment of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine in which the two states exist side by side independently and peacefully.
Our strong condemnation of Israel’s violent aggression, however, does not in any way mean approval of the continuing firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel, which has put the lives of innocent civilians at risk. We echo the call by the South African government for both parties to end all forms of aggression towards one another.
The ANC in Parliament will mobilise other political formations in this institution to take a principled stand against the criminal acts of Israel and further to ensure that Parliament as an institution formally condemns the deadly violence visited upon the people of Palestine. We will also invite other parties to the lunchtime picketing outside Parliament in support of the people of Palestine and in calling for peace in the Middle East region. As one of the measures to put pressure on Israel, we are of a firm view that our government must recall our ambassador to Israel and also ask the Israel ambassador to South African to leave with immediate effect.
During this International Nelson Mandela Day in which South Africans and the world are called upon to engage in noble acts in emulation of the world icon, we align ourselves with his profound statement that “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.
So Bibi’s got his brand new war. Operation Protective Edge, the current slow motion ethnic cleansing super production conducted in Gaza by the Israeli Attack, sorry, Defense Forces (IDF), is Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s wet dream.
A quick recap is essential. US Secretary of State John “Bullhorn” Kerry was conducting a sham exercise known as “peace talks” between Israel and Palestine. As expected, it failed miserably. Hamas and the PLO in Palestine then formed a technocratic unity government. Bibi was, predictably, furious.
Smoke billowing from buildings following an Israeli air strike as a projectile falls in the background in Gaza City.(AFP Photo / Jack Guez)
Then two Palestinians – not Hamas – kidnapped three Israeli teenager settlers hitchhiking at night near Hebron. One of the hitchhikers somehow managed to call an Israeli police emergency number on his mobile. The kidnappers freaked out and shot the hitchhikers on the spot, dumping their bodies.
Then all of Israel freaked out. For three weeks, tens of thousands of soldiers were involved in search parties. The media went berserk – immolating Palestinians in a racist funeral pyre.
There’s wild speculation all across the Arab street this has been an Israeli false flag. Evidence, though, seems to point to the 10,000-strong Qawasmeh tribe in the Hebron region – which is known historically to openly antagonize Hamas and attack Israeli settlers. There’s also the possibility the kidnappers wanted to use the hitchhikers for an exchange with Palestinian prisoners.
Bibi and Shin Bet military intelligence knew from the start the three settlers were dead – and who was responsible. But Bibi simply could not pass up the opportunity to use the incident – during the frenzied three-week search – as a build-up to go after Hamas in both West Bank and Gaza, an operation planned way in advance.
This past Tuesday, the Israeli military spelled it all out: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.” And in perfect Newspeak, the operation was branded a “just war.” (A detailed background to the conflict can be seen here.)
Palestinians gather around the remains of a house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City July 14, 2014.(Reuters / Mohammed Salem )
Israel wants it all
The numbers don’t do justice to the appalling carnage. By Monday, over northern Gaza, after Israel warned residents to leave the area to avoid airstrikes, at least 167 people were killed – the majority of them women, children and elderly civilians, 30 by Israeli rockets – and over 1,000 injured. Two hundred houses, not military installations, were totally destroyed and over 1,500 houses partially damaged.
Compare it to zero deaths in Israel. An IDF spokesperson gruesomely boasted that Gaza – a de facto slum/concentration camp – was being bombed every 4 1/2 minutes.
Each homemade rocket fired by the Palestinians cost less than $1,000. Meanwhile, a single Israeli Iron Dome missile supposed to intercept them costs up to $100,000 (without including the launching and control systems). On top of this, since Thursday a ground invasion has been dubbed “imminent.”
That Bibi is able to get away with this is all the Arab street – and most of the Global South – needs to know about America’s battleship/aircraft carrier in the Middle East. What most people don’t know about is those 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, worth at least $4 billion, discovered 14 years ago off the Gaza coast.
It’s easy to forget that at the time of Israel’s previous invasion of Gaza – Operation Cast Lead – gas fields in Palestine were outright confiscated by Israel. This “operation” was already an energy war, as Nafeez Ahmed analyzed here.
Then there is the Bigger Picture – the 122 trillion cubic feet of gas plus the potential 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin spread over the territorial waters of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus and – of course – Gaza. These waters are as incandescently disputed as rocks and shoals in the South China Sea. Needless to say, Tel Aviv wants it all.
And to complement the picture, Israel faces an upcoming energy security nightmare, detailed here.
Even Tony Blair, the Phantom of the Opera, is involved. As the (failed) Quartet Middle East envoy, Blair came up with the brilliant plan of “developing” the Gaza gas fields via an agreement between British Gas and the Palestinian Authority, totally excluding Hamas and the people of Gaza.
The way Gaza is kept as a concentration camp, subjected to non-stop collective punishment, may be revolting enough. But then it must be added the key economic component: by all available means Gazans must be prevented from accessing the Marine-1 and Marine-2 gas fields. These will be gobbled up by Israel. From every angle, and for all practical purposes, Israel lords over all Palestinian natural resources – land, water and energy.
So here’s the “secret” of Operation Protect the Zionists, sorry, Protective Edge: without smashing Hamas, which controls Gaza, Israel cannot drill off the Gaza coast. For Bibi as well as the Knesset, the possibility that the Palestinians could have access to their own gas-generated wealth is an absolute red line.
And the EU may be on it as well. No one in Brussels will admit it, but it’s easy to conceive “strategists”regarding this takeover of Palestinian gas fields opening the door in the future for the EU being less dependent on Gazprom, and a substantial importer of (stolen) Israeli gas.
Israel’s Newspeak is old news; after all they are masters of fooling no one but themselves. Expandingon what Michael Klare has brilliantly detailed, the new, open-ended, collective punishment inflicted on Gaza is most of all a blood-for-gas energy war.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Channel 4 FactCheck goes behind the spin to dig out the truth and separate political fact from fiction.
“We have British citizens going over to fight in the Israeli army. Yesterday we know they are taking part in the collective punishment of a civilian population. That’s a crime.” Farooq Siddiqui, 3 July 2014
An ex-adviser to the government on tackling extremism in Britain’s Muslim communities raised an interesting point on Channel 4 News in relation to Brits who fight in conflicts abroad.
Farooq Siddiqui, formerly of the Prevent programme, is calling for the UK to stop criminalising young Muslims who travel to Syria to fight against Bashar al-Assad.
Security service estimates suggest around 500 Britons have travelled to Syria to take part in the civil war.
Mr Siddiqui asked why the government has threatened to arrest British Muslims who return from Syria while it allows young people to fight for Israel and other countries with impunity.
“If we’re talking about stopping people, Muslims, stopping them from going over to other countries and fighting, why are we not doing that as a blanket for stopping anyone that goes over abroad to fight in other countries?”
Is Mr Siddiqui right to say that young Brits are fighting for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) while the Israelis are engaged in controversial strikes against Palestinian targets following the murder of three Jewish teenagers?
Most Israeli citizens are obliged to do national service of up to two-and-a-half years in the country’s military, and so a significant number of British-born Israelis or immigrants with dual nationality will inevitably join Israel’s armed forces for a spell.
But you don’t have to be a citizen of the Jewish state to fight for the IDF.
The Israeli military runs a programme called “mahal” which allows non-Israeli nationals of Jewish descent to join the ranks of the armed forces for an 18-month tour of duty.
According to the rules, British men under 24 or women under 21 who have one parent or grandparent who is or was Jewish are eligible.
That’s Jewish (you need to prove it by getting a rabbi to sign a confirmation) not Israeli.
Overseas recruits get the same pay and conditions as Israelis and “serve always shoulder to shoulder with regular Israeli soldiers”.
The numbers of volunteers from the UK are small but significant: the IDF told Channel 4 News there are “around one hundred Brits currently serving” in its ranks.
There is a even a support group for British parents of IDF soldiers called Mahal Mums.
We’re not aware of anyone questioning the legality of this arrangement.
Unlike some other countries, Britain does not have an effective law prohibiting its citizens from fighting for foreign armies.
There is an obscure piece of legislation still on the statute books – the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 – which ostensibly makes it illegal for British citizens to join the armed forces of a country fighting a state at peace with Britain.
But this proved to be embarrassingly ineffective when prosecutors attempted to stop British volunteers from fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
The lack of any practical ban on foreign enlistment leads to the slightly odd situation where a teenager can travel to Syria to fight for the brutal Assad regime with impunity, but if he sides with enemies of the regime he could face prosecution as a terrorist back in Britain.
This is because of the broad scope of anti-terror legislation. In the Queen’s Speech last month, the government set out new laws which mean Brits who travel overseas to train for acts of terrorism against any government will be prosecuted as if their actions had taken place in the UK.
In May Mashudur Choudhury, 31, from Portsmouth, became the first Briton to be convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts after attending a training camp in Syria.
Choudhury wasn’t threatening the UK, he was training to fight Assad – who David Cameron also wanted to target with military action before losing a Commons vote last year.
But a supreme court judgement from last year ruled that the legal definition of terrorism can include “any or all military attacks by a non-state armed group against any or all state or inter-governmental organisation armed forces in the context of a non-international armed conflict”.
So if someone fights in a civil a war against a regime the British government hates – even if they fight for a moderate faction not banned as a terror organisation – they can still be prosecuted as a terrorist.
Mr Siddiqui is not the only person to have accused Israel of war crimes over its recent actions in the West Bank and Gaza in the wake of the killings of three Israeli teens.
Amnesty International has echoed his use of the words “collective punishment”, saying: “Justice will not be served by Israel seeking revenge by imposing collective punishment, or committing other violations of Palestinians’ rights.”
Collective punishment against a civilian population is banned under the fourth Geneva Convention.
But in the absence of any legal case brought against the IDF, the suggestion that Israeli air strikes, arrests, shootings and demolition of buildings constitute “collective punishment” of the Palestinians remains an unproven allegation.
How likely is it that Britons have been directly involved in clashes with Palestinians in recent days? Not surprisingly, we don’t have information on the movements of individual IDF soldiers.
But there is no reason why they would not be involved. The rules of mahal state that overseas recruits are liable to be picked for the same frontline combat units as Israeli conscripts, including infantry, tanks and special forces.
It was news to FactCheck, but there are around 100 British nationals serving with the IDF as we speak, apparently with no legal difficulties.
But a Brit who trains or fights with any anti-Assad rebel group runs the risk of being jailed as a terrorist.
If we are worried about young British Muslims heading off to the Middle East to receive military training, should we be equally worried about Jews?
That depends on whether Mr Siddiqui is justified in comparing the experience of serving in a professional army overseas to fighting alongside Islamist militant groups in Syria. Of course this is a politically-charged and highly debatable point.
He insisted in the interview: “It is a fighting force, whether you want to say it’s disciplined or it’s a militia. The effect on the individual, the effect on the combatant is still the same.”
The author found some difficulties in finding a proper title for this post, which is based on a TV interview with the founder of Jihadist movement in Egypt and a former top Al-Qaeda commander. Each line of the interview is a title by itself, each piece of information is more than enough to put tens of western officials and their regional stooges behind bars for long times, those who are acting as the Humanitarian Bastards crying for the suffering of the innocent they only inflicted their suffering.
Finally, I decided to post the text of the interview as it is without my usual adding in noting how the western citizens are played by their governments, so I’ll leave you with the interview conducted by pan Arab Al-Maydeen TV with Sheikh Nabeel Naiem, who was introduced by the TV presenter as: ‘the former founder of Jihad Organization & expert in Islamist groups’, enjoy:
The interview text:
– With us here in the studio Sheikh Nabeel Naim former founder of Jihad Organization & expert in Islamist groups, welcome..
Noting that you were in Afghanistan with Osama Bin Laden & Dr. Ayman Zawahri, in accommodation and also in prison with Dr. Ayman Zawahri, can we say now you retired from Al-Qaeda?
Nabeel Naiem: Not really, they are the ones who deviated, we went there to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and there was almost a unanimous agreement among Islamic clerics that time on that (Jihad against Soviets), and after that they deviated and turned their activities against Islamic and Arabic countries, and they committed the prohibited which is killing Muslims, and at the same time after the death of Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda turned into a mercenary (group)..
– You are one of the founders of Jihad in Egypt, and you were at the beginning times of Al-Qaeda so to speak, can a member of that rank distance himself from Al-Qaeda, leave the organization? Will the organization leave him? Some say it is not accepted in the ideology of the organization..
Nabeel Naiem: No, the organization deviated, they became Takfiris, they are killing Muslims.. Am I fighting Jihad (holy war) to go to hell or seeking heaven?!
What is the cause of Jihad? (whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment) [Quran 4:93]
– Did they call you a Kafir (non-believer) now?
Nabeel Naiem: The high ranks, like Ayman, no they did not, but the small lads they’re the ones who consider me Kafir.
– The natural question one would ask: Why wouldn’t some who consider you Kafir try to assassinate you?
Nabeel Naiem: No, I’m a legend.. I have a history those same boys are astonished with my history, and they wonder why I changed, I was the cloud above those boys..
I was a solid warrior and I fought and have a horrible history whether inside Egypt or outside it, I’m not just a lad, or someone who just joined, I was everything in the organization..
I mean now after the Takfiri ideology (labeling people as Kuffar – non-believers) why nobody tried to liquidate you with this Takfiri ideology?
This is with God’s grace upon me, and then I have a history.. When they get to know my history.. none of them have achieved the history I did.
– Back to the questions I understand you’re telling me the main structure of Al-Qaeda does not exist anymore.. Are we
talking now about schism? Can we say that (Daesh) ISIS is part of Al-Qaeda?
Nabeel Naiem: No, the old commanders have left the whole organization, only Ayman is left and around him a few we call them mentally retarded or crazy, Takfiri people.. But all the founders have left, some died and the others just left..
As for ISIS, it follows the ideology of Al-Qaeda organization, which was found by Sayyed Imam Sherif and put it in his book Al Jamei Fi Talab Al-ilm Al Sharif (Bible of Seeking Honorable Learning), & it’s one of the most dangerous books circulated in the world, and it’s translated to all languages by the way, Kurdish, Urdu, Persian, Turkish.. etc.
– You say that ISIS is a branch of Al-Qaeda?
Nabeel Naiem: It adopts the ideology of Al-Qaeda. ISIS was established in 2006, we created Al-Qaeda since 1989.
– Explain to me now the position of Dr. Ayman Zawahri from ISIS and Abu Bakr Baghdadi (head of ISIS), what do they consider him?
Nabeel Naiem: He (Zawahri) asked Abu Bakr Baghdadi to pledge allegiance to him (as the Emir..) but Abu Bakr Baghdadi, since he’s basically a U.S. agent, told him: we are the people of cause, the cause of liberating Iraq, Syria and so.. You’re the one who should pledge allegiance to us, Ayman (Zawahri) refused so there was a dispute and a fight between them.
– How he is an American agent? Explain to us how?
Nabeel Naiem: It is known that the USA released him from prison and he spent 20 to 30 million US Dollars to establish these ISIS groups and the first ISIS camps were established in Jordan, and Jordan doesn’t allow camps for charity, when Jordan establish camps to train terrorist groups, it doesn’t do that out of good will and charity, these camps were supervised by the Marines, and the arming of ISIS is all American.. and how do they arrange their expenses? I was in charge of a camp for 120 men, we were spending thousands of thousands (of dollars).. food, drinks, weapons, munition, training..
– Excuse me, you’re talking about ISIS? You were in charge of an ISIS camp?
Nabeel Naiem: No, I am telling you I was once in charge of a camp of 120 men and we were spending that time thousands (of Dollars), imagine how much this ISIS is spending?! Let me tell you something.. The wounded from ISIS during (terrorist) operations, are they being treated here in Lebanon? No, neither in Syria, nor in Saudi nor in Egypt, where do they go? They go to Israel. Now as we speak there are 1,500 of ISIS & Nusra (Front) are in Tel Aviv hospitals.
– From where this information?
Nabeel Naiem: Where are their wounded? Don’t they have wounded? Where are they being treated? This is well known..
– They have field hospitals, and it’s remarkable that they have a number of doctors in their ranks, even doctors from
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, the field doctor would only give first aid until you reach the hospital.
– You mentioned an important point about financing, I read for your a lot actually when at the beginning of Al-Qaeda when talking about Osama Bin Laden you were talking about self-financing..
Nabeel Naiem: Osama was spending by himself, but before Osama there was the International Islamic Relief Organization and the connection between us and them was Dr. Abdulla Azzam, then we had some issues with Adbulla Azzam so he cut off from us the money and expenses so we replaced him with Osama Bin Laden, and the brothers in Al-Qaeda, mainly from the GCC countries called him Emir of Arabs.
– You just mentioned that 120 members required thousands, we are talking about a structure spread worldwide, could this be understood in the context of self-financing reaching ISIS today? I’ll read what the British Independent Newspaper said, it reveals there are a number of donors from Saudi who played an essential role in establishing Jihadist groups since over 30 years, that’s why I ask you about the beginnings as you were there then.. It’s a CIA report and it’s after September 11 attacks and it suggests Al-Qaeda had relied on middlemen who collected money from Saudi & other GCC donors..
Nabeel Naiem: This is ‘crab’ what the Independent says, these are foolish people, a fool journalist who doesn’t know what to say. First of all, the donations of GCC citizens to the Jihadist groups in Afghanistan was known and done publicly and it was advertised in newspapers and on TV, what this Independent guy adding?
I’m one of the people who took more than a thousand free air tickets from the International Islamic Relief Organization
– Please explain what are you aiming at with the International Islamic Relief Org.?
Nabeel Naiem: It was paying our expenses while we were in the Afghani Jihad, bring weapons, ammunition, training, food, drinks.. all of this we were getting from the Islamic Relief Org.. they were spending..
– This is what I meant, Islamic Relief Org. is specialized in collecting Zakat (charity) and it’s in Saudi (Arabia)..
Nabeel Naiem: These are fools.. Prince Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz was in charge of it, it was not running loose you grab what you want and go on.. It was Saudi Intelligence and Prince Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz was in charge of it, it wasn’t a loose charity you fill your pockets and walk, No.
Secondly, there was a hospital called Kuwaiti Crescent Hospital, it had 250 beds, it had all kinds of operations, and it had doctors employed there, money (budget), medicine, used to spend millions, it was under Kuwaiti (Red) Crescent.
So what new this Independent is telling? USA itself was supporting Hikmatyar, Who brought Stinger missiles to the Afghani Mujahideen? The missiles which badly hurt the USSR? It was brought by the USA..
– This is the point you mentioned when talking about Al-Qaeda, USA supported Al-Qaeda because it was fighting Russia, today when we come closer to this region, who supports who in favor of who? ISIS works for who?
Nabeel Naiem: Look, there’s nothing constant in these matters, take for example after Russia was defeated (in Afghanistan) the Americans wanted to get rid of the Arab Afghanis, and in fact the Arab Afghanis were arrested, deported and some like us were jailed, so Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was struck by September 11 attacks and after Osama Bin Laden’s death Al-Qaeda was bought by the Qatari Intelligence, and I tell you during the International Conference of Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) in Istanbul, Qatar decided to create a fund to sponsor Free Egyptian Army and paid 1 billion dollar for it, and the person in charge of this fund is Ali Kurrah Zadah, Muslim Brotherhood official in Turkey, this is the finance, not like someone says 1 sheikh is donating..!
– This is one side, what’s important to know is what ISIS wants from Iraq? Is it the issue of borders? The borders strategy? Borders war? But this ideology is trans-borders it seems, how did ISIS expand from Syria into Iraq? What does it want exactly from Iraq?
Nabeel Naiem: No dear, ISIS started in Iraq, and Ibrahim Abu Bakr Baghdadi is Iraqi (national), and after that they were given camps to train in Jordan and they smuggled into Syria from Jordan and they were defeated in Syria then they moved back into Iraq once again.
As to what’s happening in Iraq, it’s bigger than ISIS, Mosul city has 4 million residents & it’s second largest province, in Iraq there’s a problem between the Arabs in Anbar and (Prime Minister) Maliki, and ‘Maliki Army’ who handed over their weapons had Shiite commanders, so nobody would argue ISIS and Shiites, those commanders handed over their weapons to Arab tribes but ISIS is in the headlines.
ISIS has something called Management of Savagery, a book titled Management of Savagery..
– We have shown some details about this book on our channel..
Nabeel Naiem: Abu Bakr Muhammad Maqdisi in this book has taken the same policy of Genghis Khan, thanks God they didn’t claim they derived their policies from prophet Muhammad, because God said: ‘There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.’ [Quran 33:21].. So their ‘excellent pattern’ was Genghis Khan.
Genghis Khan used to enter a village and annihilates all living in it, even animals he’d slaughter it, and burn down the houses, so the next village hears that Genghis Khan is coming they flee away and this is what ISIS is doing in Iraq, and what’s the goal of ISIS? When ISIS entered Samerra they killed a thousand Sunni, and now killing Shiites, and this is the American policy.
Henry Kissinger wrote a memo in 1982 or 1984, don’t remember exactly, it’s titled The 100 Years War. When asked where this 100 years war will occur? He said in the Middle East when we ignite the war between the Sunnah and the Shiites.
So they’re working on igniting the war between the Sunna and the Shiites, just like what Abu Mussab (Zarqawi) used to blow up Sunnah mosques then blow up Shiite mosques, to start the sectarian war in the region; and this is of course an American plot, and I tell you ISIS didn’t kill a single American.
ISIS didn’t behead a single American and didn’t play football with his head, they beheaded Muslims and ate livers of Muslims and didn’t kill a single American though it’s established since 2006..
– You’re talking about ISIS’s brutality and ideology but it finds popularity among the youth.. and popularity among many sides and it practices the highest level of violence and brutality, can you explain to us what makes all these groups with all its diversities to join this organization?
Nabeel Naiem: It’s the Takfiri ideology, the problem with this Takfiri ideology it’s widely spread among the European Muslims, why?
I sat with them.. The European Muslims denounced everything they saw in Europe..
– But they also come from GCC countries and Islamic countries even..
Nabeel Naiem: I’m with you, it’s spread among the Muslims in Europe and it’s spread in Saudi because Wahhabism is the closest to Takfir than others. And when I sat with them I found out they have a single-sided Takfiri thinking, like when I spoke with Sayyed Imam in the judgment against the ruler’s assistants, where he said there’s no ruler who can rule by himself, he must have the support of the police and army thus the police & army are all also Kuffar (infidels) like him, so I asked what about who goes to the polls to elect the ruler? He replied: He’s a Kafir (infidel).
I told him: you have labeled the Army, police and the people as Kuffar (infidels), you’re a Takfiri..
The religion (Islam) is not so strict, it includes prevention excuses like ignorance, circumstances, causes.. they didn’t study all this, for them the ruler is an infidel that means all of those with him are infidels.. Bashar (Assad) is a Nusairi then all of those with him are Nusairis, although that the Syrian Army 90% of it is Sunni, because that’s the Sunni percentage of Syrians.
But they are one-sided thinking and they’re ignorant..
– Ignorant in what sense?
Nabeel Naiem: Ignorant of the religion (Islam). I was living with Ayman (Zawahri), Ayman is ignorant, he wasn’t saying anything without consulting me first..
– In spite that you mentioned that Ayman Zawahri was refusing at one stage of time to accept the Takfiris (in Al-Qaeda)..
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, we were the ones who didn’t allow them. I told him: If your brother Muhammad joins the organization we will dissolve it because your brother is Takfiri. So he agreed until we entered jail and we’re separated, his brother came in and took over the whole organization, and his brother is retarded actually, he’s Takfiri and retarded, if you talk with him you feel you’re talking with someone who is brainless..
– That’s what’s strange as I mentioned we’re talking about different segments of societies from different countries and even from different education levels, we see PHD holders, how do you call all of these ignorant?
Nabeel Naiem: Ignorance in religion is something and being a doctor is something else.. I’ll give you an example. If I’m a doctor in a clinic, and with me is a nurse, and for 30 years he will be with me, will he become a doctor after 30 years?
Will this nurse become a doctor after 30 years being a nurse?
– This is as a description, right?
Nabeel Naiem: They’re like this, they educate themselves by themselves, they’re like the nurses, they’ll never become doctors. I am specialized in Islamic Sharia, for me he’s ignorant, ignorant in the religion, he doesn’t understand the religion.
– We should explain, you’re talking about Jihad? Salafist Jihad or Takfiris? These are the segments?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, they’re ignorant..
– All of them?
Nabeel Naiem: I argued with their top sheikh (cleric) – Salafists, Salafist Jihadist and Takfiris, these are 3 different samples, all of them are ignorant?
They’re not different they’re all ignorant, I was living with Sayyed Imam Sharif, he’s the international founder of the whole ideology spread in the region from Jakarta to Nouakchott (in Mauritania), he wrote them a book titled ‘Al Jamei Fi Talab Al-ilm Al-Sharif (Bible in Seeking Honorable Learning), this book is the manifest and ideology of all the Takfiri groups like ISIS, Nusra Front, Ansar Bet Maqdas (Jerusalem House Supporters), Salafist Jihadist, and all of those you can imagine, and nobody wrote after the book of Sayyed Imam (Sharif).
I debated with Sayyed Imam and debated with him about a lot of matters, he told me in the next edition of the book he will rectify & mention the comments I said, he didn’t, he re-issued the book as it is.
I also argued with someone a Takfiri just for sins, a sin is infidelity, like the one committing adultery doesn’t do so and he’s a believer thus he’s a Kafir (infidel), so I argued with him: the punishment for the believer who becomes a disbeliever (leaves Islam) is death, and the adulterer’s punishment is flogging, how does the punishment differ (when committing a sin only)?
The differ in ideology and thinking is long since the beginnings, after Osama Bin Laden (era) between (Ayman) Zawahri & (Abu Bakr) Maqdisi, which resulted in the schism among other organizations, but when we talk now about ISIS, if we compare them with Al-Qaeda, there’s an essential difference between them..
There’s no difference in ideology, only organizational difference..
– Then what is the future of ISIS based on?
Nabeel Naiem: As long as the youth are convinced with the Takfir ideology, ISIS will continue.
Secondly, ISIS is playing on 2 levels: Bashar Assad (Syrian president) is a Nusairi infidel & should be fought, and they use the Fatwas (religious judicial opinion) of Ibn Taymiyyah in regards with the Nusairi sect..
– Depending on feeding these thoughts will ensure its continuity, and maybe other interests..
Nabeel Naiem: And oil.. All sorts of feeding: intellectual, money, gears, munition, all of that.. As long as there are sources feeding this ideology ISIS will continue..
Bernard Lewis founder of Fourth-Generation Warfare said so, he said: we do not need trans-continent armies that would awake nationalism and they return to us as bodies like what happened in Afghanistan & Vietnam, but we should find agents inside the (targeted) country who will carry out the task of the soldiers, and we need a media tool to falsify truths for the people, and money to spend on them..
This is the Fourth-Generation Warfare, agents instead of soldiers..
– This is an alternative army, a war by proxy?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes of course.
– Between who (this war)? We are talking about armies on the ground, Al Qaeda and all what branches out of it, these armies work for the account of which battle and between who?
Nabeel Naiem: It works for the US Intelligence (CIA).
– Who it fights?
Nabeel Naiem: The regimes, they put a plan in 1998 called Clean Break (PNAC)..
– In Iraq, who is it fighting? Is it fighting Nouri Maliki (Iraqi PM)?
Nabeel Naiem: It fights both Sunnah and Shiites, when they entered Sammerra, Sheikh Ali Hatimi, head of Anbar Tribes said: ISIS entered Sammerra and killed a thousand Sunni in cold blood.. and it kills Shiites and kills Christians and kills whoever it faces, ISIS considers all people infidels and their bloods are free.
Who killed Imam Ali appropriated his blood, who slaughtered Hussein wasn’t he a Muslim and from a sect claims they’re Islamist?
All these have a shameless historic extension, the prophet PBuH called them Dogs of Hell, the prophet said: ‘if I meet them I will kill them the same killing of ‘Aad and Iram of the Pillars’, those are the ones behind these ideologies, the ideologies of Khawarij (outlaws in Islam) who the prophet warned of them, and these will continue, as for ISIS, ISIS did not kill a single American. The opposition fighting Bashar Al-Assad fiercefully for 3 years did not shoot a single bullet against Israel..
– What makes the close enemy, so to speak, in the ideology of these groups, the close enemy is these countries and its leaders, geographically speaking, this term as close enemy and far enemy exists in Al-Qaeda, you mentioned Israel which is not far geographically, what makes it far for them?
Nabeel Naiem: No, they don’t say this, they say: fighting an apostate is a more priority than fighting the original infidel, close and far that’s an old saying.. The apostate is us now..
– As per their understanding?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, we are apostate, the Arab rulers are apostate, the Arab armies are apostate, thus fighting the apostate is a priority over fighting the original infidel, the Jew.
For instance, Issam Hattito, head of Muslim Brotherhood responsible for leading the battles against Bashar Assad, where does he reside? Is he in Beirut? Riyadh or Cairo? He’s residing in Tel Aviv.
Ahmad Jarba, does he stay in Riyadh, Cairo or Tehran? He’s moving between New York, Paris and London, his employers, who pay his expenses..
When Obama was exposed and it was learned that he’s arming ISIS and Nusra Front with American and Turkish weapons said: ‘We will stop the arming because the American weaposn were leaked to Nusra..’ Didn’t Obama say that?
Leaked?! You discovered it was leaked after 2 years war?!
Nusra Front fighters are 10,000 and ISIS fighters are another 10,000, all 20,000 fighters using American weapons, and Obama claims after 2 years he discovers his (American) weapons are leaked to them?! Are you thinking we are fools?
This is a conspiracy against the region, and I told you Netenyahu & Dick Chenney put the Clean Break plan in the year 1998, and it’s destroying 4 countries, they start with Iraq, then Syria then Egypt then Saudi Arabia. It’s called Clean Break plan (PNAC), well known.. Using radical groups in the region.
The legal case (former Egyptian president) Mohammad Morsi is being tried for, the case of communicating (with the enemy) and contacting Ayman Zawahri was an assignment of Issam Haddad by Obama in person on 28 December 2012, he was at the White House in a meeting with the CIA, he says in his confessions when interrogated by the public prosecution in the case..
– How did you get it?
Nabeel Naiem: These public prosecution confessions are published and are available.. Obama entered (the meeting room) and gave the CIA team a paper and left, they read it and told him: it’s required by the Muslim Brotherhood to contain the radical groups in the region starting with Hamas & Al-Qaeda, so he called Ayman Zawahri through Rifa’a Tahtawi, head of presidential court, who happens to be Ayman’s cousin from Rifa’a Tahtawi’s phone.
Ayman (Zawahri) talking to Mohammad Morsi and Morsi says to him: Peace be Upon You Emir (Prince) of Believers, we need your people here in Sinai, and I will provide them with expenses, food and water and prevent security from pursuing them..
This was recorded and sent to the public prosecutor and this is what Mohammad Morsi is being tried for.
If you ask how I got to know this? I was in Channel 2 of Egyptian TV, and with me was General Gamal, 1st secretary of Egyptian Intelligence, who recorded the call and written it down and based on it the memo was written and handed to the Public Prosecutor.
The TV presenter asked him: Is it allowed for the Intelligence Services to tap the telephone of the president of the republic?
He replied: I’m not tapping the president’s phone, I was tapping Ayman’s (Zawahri) phone and found the president talking to him, telling him Peace be Upon You Emir of Believers, so I wrote down the tape, wrote a report and submitted to the head of intelligence..
She asked him: Did you inform the president? He replied: It’s not my job, I do not deal with the president (directly), I deal with the head of intelligence and that’s my limits.
She asked him: What did you write in your investigations and your own report, what did you write after you wrote down the tape (contents)?
I swear to God he told her, & I was in the same studio,: I wrote that Mr. Mohammad Morsi Ayyat president of the republic is a danger for Egypt’s National Security.
So the ignorant should know why the army stood by the side of the people on 30 June, because the president is dealing with Al-Qaeda organization, and it’s recorded, and he’s being on trial for it now, and head of intelligence wrote that the president of the republic is a danger on Egypt’s National Security.
This is the task of these groups in the region. When Obama said he supported Morsi’s campaign with 50 million (Dollars), and when (Yousuf) Qaradawi said: Obama sent us 60 million Dollars for the Syrian ‘Resistance’, God bless you Obama, and we need more..
Did Obama convert to Islam or America became a Hijabi (wore a burqa, veil)?
I ask Qaradawi: When Obama supports the Syrian opposition, is it to establish the Caliphate? And return the days of the Rashideen Caliphates? Or Obama converted to Islam or America became a Hijabi to support the Syrian opposition?
This is the work of agents (spies), exposed and debunked, and we don’t want to fool ourselves and hide our heads in the sand, the region is under a conspiracy and it’s to drag Iran to a war of attrition..
The first statement ISIS announced after the fight with Maliki it said: ‘We will head to Najaf & Karballa and destroy the sacred shrines’, they dragged the legs of Iran (into Iraq).
Iran said they’ll defend the sacred shrines, it has to, it cannot (not defend them), this is what’s required,
It’s required to clash Saudi and Iran in the 100 years war, an endless war, it exhausts Saudi resources and its monies, and it exhausts Iran resources and its monies, like what they did during the days of Saddam in Iraq (with Iran). This is what we should understand, fight and stand against..
– You mentioned Egypt, Syria and Iraq, we see in all of it similar activities, and you also mentioned Saudi, is it in a coming phase Saudi will be targeted?
Nabeel Naiem: It was meant when Muslim Brotherhood lay their ground in ruling Egypt, problems would start in Saudi in 2016 and in the whole Gulf (GCC), this is not my words, this what the head of national security in United Arab Emirates Dhahi Khalfan said, he arrested those who confessed.
From where did Dhahi Khalfan get this? They arrested cells which confessed in details: If Muslim Brotherhood settles in Egypt, they’ll start exporting problems to the Gulf (GCC) through their existing cells, and destabilize the security of the Gulf, and this is what Dhahi Khalfan, head of national security in UAE said, not what I say.
– The circumstances and factors we saw in Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad, in the countries: Syria, Egypt and Iraq, there was a security vacuum and repercussions of so called Arab Spring, what vacuum we are talking about in Saudi Arabia? Where to find the circumstances and factors that would allow these organizations to enter the (Saudi) kingdom? Opening gaps? Where?
Nabeel Naiem: Look, they have a book being circulated in London titled The Rule of Al Saud, in this book they called the Saudi family as Kuffar (infidels), and that it is unjust, and it steals the monies of the Saudis, and it’s an infidel doesn’t rule by God’s commands, and only applies Sharia law on the weak while the strong and the princess no law being applied on them, a book to educate the Saudi youths abroad to fight a war against the Saudi government, they also say: we call on the kingdom to become a constitutional monarchy, ie. the king doesn’t rule, like the British queen, and this trend is being supported by America and Britain and the people working on this are residing in London, the nest of spies, all the spies of the world reside in London..
Their goal is to divide the region in order to achieve Israel’s security.
Israel is a weak and despicable state, by the way, geopolitical, Israel is not a state, like Qatar, is Qatar a state? Qatar is only a tent and a man sitting it with his money and that’s it..
There are countries like Iran, Saudi and Egypt, in geography it exists until the end of times, and there are countries called the Satanic Shrubs, it’s just found you don’t know how, like Israel and Qatar, it can vanish in one day and you won’t find it..
So for Israel to guarantee its existence, all the surrounding entities around it should be shredded.. Kurds to take one piece, Sunnah take one piece, Maliki takes one piece.. each sect has their own piece just like Lebanon they keep fighting between each other, once they finish beating each other they drink tea then go for a second round beating each other..
– I want to get back to the factors in regards with the Saudi Kingdom, you mentioned what is planned for based on this ideology, and you know better, you have experience and you talk about examples and evidences, but how they will enter?
True there was a statement by the Saudi ministry of interior in last May claiming they dismantled a cell that follows ISIS of 62 members, as they stated, but how they’ll enter (Saudi), what are the factors they’ll be depending on to enter?
Nabeel Naiem: I’m telling you they are preparing for the revolution against the ruling family, that it’s a corrupt family, this family steals the money of the Saudis, talks about the roots of the family..
– From inside the kingdom?
Nabeel Naiem: From inside the kingdom, and there are strong Takfiri members inside the kingdom, because as you know the difference beteween Wahhabi and Takfiri ideologies is as thin as a single hair, thus there are a lot of youths who follow this (Takfiri) ideology, add to it the feeding against the kingdom and its government and against the ruling family, it’s very easy for him to blow himself up with anything..
– So it will be only based on these factors, we don’t want to disregard an important point that groups of the ISIS are from the Gulf countries, and there are reports that the (governments of GCC) are turning a blind eye away from recruiting a number of them and sending them to fight in Syria and in a number of other countries including Iraq, as per these reports, could there be recruiting to use inside the kingdom? To move inside the kingdom?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, yes, most are Saudis & the move will be like that but they were hoping for the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt to settle in power, that’s why when (Saudi) king Abdallah supported the 30 June revolution (in Egypt), he did so based on the information he has of what will happen in the region
Why did he stand against the Muslim Brotherhood? Saudi was always containing the MBs, and if the MBs (Muslim Brotherhood) ever made money, it was from Saudi, and Mohammad Qotb, the father of all Takfir in the world, spent 40 years of his life in Saudi, he wrote a book called The Ignorance in the Twentieth Century, and he claims we’re living in an ignorance more than the one in the days of the prophet PBuH, and Saudi hosted him and he was teaching in the university.. What made them go against them (MBs)?
Because the Muslim Brotherhood have no religion, no nation, not safe to be with them, they’ll betray anyone.
– On the other hand, how to deal with such an organization and such an ideology?
Nabeel Naiem: The voices of the Islamic moderation very low, throaty, so to speak..
– We do not hear that loud voice who would stand against them, is it not convincing? Or need mediums?
Nabeel Naiem: No, the sapien voice doesn’t have a vim, they’re employees, they’d say let ISIS burn out with who brought it..
It doesn’t have the vim to respond, doesn’t feel the danger, secondly, Azhar in Egypt, which was leading the movement of religious enlightenment, is absented for the past 40 years, the reason for its absent for 40 years is the oil boom, and the voices of the Saudi clergy becoming higher than the Azhar clergy. Salafism was found in Egypt just to fight Azhar (Islamic University), then, the scholars duty is to respond to the ideology of ISIS, detail it and respond to it, scholars should come and say this is what ISIS is saying and the right respond is this.. and I sat with people who came from London to fight in Syria, they sat with me and thanks to God they went from Egypt back to London.
They came to ask me, and I told them, let’s assume that Bashar (Assad) died in the morning, would I be saying: Why God did you take Bashar while the war is not over yet? Who will replace Bashar?
They replied: (Ahmad) Jarba..
I said: Jarba is worth of Bashar shoes only.. They said: true. And they went back.
I told them you are going to fight in favor of America and Israel, will you be the one to rule Syria?
If you were the one who will rule Syria I will come and fight on your side, I swear by God I’ll come and fight on your side..
But are you going to rule Syria after Bashar? He said no, I told him you are being used to remove Bashar and then Jarba, Salim Idress, Issam Hattito will come, all of those are being raised in the spy nest in London, it’s not you who will rule.
– How can we differentiate between religious commitment and the national responsibility? Is there a problem in combining both?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, yes, of course, there is a strong fault between the national responsibility and the religious commitment. I’ll tell you what the General Guide (leader) of (Muslim) Brotherhood said? He said Toz (B.S.) with Egypt. This is their vision of the national responsibility.
And when the MBs ruled Egypt.. I’ll give you one evidence for their despise to the nation (Egypt), in the last interview done by the Consular Adli Mansour, the interim president of Egypt with Mrs. Lamis Hadidi, the last question she asked him was about the background picture of the map of Egypt behind him, she asked him to tell her the story about this picture behind him..
He said: this picture was done by King Fouad a 100 years ago, we know that first was King Fouad, then King Farouq then Abdul Nasser, Sadat then Mubarak. He told her since King Fouad did this photo a 100 years ago and it’s hanged there, it was removed for 1 year only, when the Muslim Brotherhood ruled Egypt. They removed it and put in the stores..
And they were working on a plot to concede 600 square kilometers to Hamas to resolve the Palestinian cause..
There is a link between the national responsibility and the religious commitment, and this contradicts with the understanding of the Salafists clerics, and I’ll tell you the political theory of imam Ibn Taymiyyah, who people consider him the most strict imam, Ibn Taymiyyah was asked: if the nation’s interest conflicts with applying Sharia, if we apply Sharia will lose the country, what to do?
He said: Maintaining the homeland is a priority over applying Sharia, because if you lose the country, where will you apply Sharia?
I’ll give you an example to make it clearer, if someone is naked and will fall from the 10th floor, will you rescue him or get him something to wear?
Thus, to preserve the country is more important than to apply Sharia if there’s interest conflict.
– And the interest now?
Nabeel Naiem: To preserve the nation.
– And in fact this is the most absented side between the politics, we called the national responsibility and..
Nabeel Naiem: This is because of ignorance, not knowing what’s the national responsibility, there’s no conflict between national responsibility and religious commitment, it’s because those are ignorants the conflict is happening between the nation and the belief.
– This topic needs more discussing, especially in regards with the relations with regional countries, western countries, in regards with the nature of these countries, its backgrounds and its beliefs, we see relations are allowed with India and China, and when we talk about countries like Iran then the religious backgrounds are mentioned and this also might require further research if possible we can get a comment from you on it?
Nabeel Naiem: What I want to tell you, the efforts of all Islamic countries, Sunnah and Shiites, must combine, to eradicate these groups, because these groups are the claws of colonialism in the region, it’s not on religious bases, there are members of ISIS who do not pray, so in Al-Qaeda, there are members who didn’t pray a single kneeling, there must be a combination of the countries efforts to organically eliminate these groups by security and by intellect, disprove their ideology..
There must be a response to these groups and explaining its ideology is a stray ideology, contrary to the Islamic Sharia, and this is the ideology that the prophet warned from when he said about Khawarij (Outlaws in Islam):
‘Newly in the religion, ribald in their aims, they go through the religion like how an arrow goes through the bow, if I meet them I will kill them the way Iram and A’ad were killed, they’re the worse killers under the skies, blessed who they kill or who kills of them..’ and he called them: ‘the dogs of hell.’
– Thank you a lot sheikh Nabil Naiem, our guest here in the studio, founder of Jihad Organization formerly, and expert in the Islamist groups. – end of interview.
Yours truly kept saying: ‘They fool you, they keep fooling you and they enjoy fooling you, not because they’re smart, but because you’re foolable‘, so I repeat it once again.
Israeli deaths matter much more than Palestinian deaths. This has long been a distinguishing featureof Western news media reporting on the Middle East. The recent blanket coverage afforded to the brutal killing of three Israeli teenagers highlights this immutable fact.
Channel 4’s Alex Thomson offered a rare glimmer of dissent:
‘Curious to watch UK media living down to the Palestinian claim that 1 Israeli life is worth 1000 Palestinian lives.’
Major broadcasters, such as BBC News, devoted headlines and extended reports to the deaths, and included heart-rending interviews with grieving relatives in Israel. The Guardian ran live coverage of the funerals for more than nine hours. But when has this ever happened for Palestinian victims of Israeli terror?
A reader challenged the Guardian journalist leading the live coverage:
‘@Haroon_Siddique Did I somehow miss @guardian’s live-tweeting of Palestinian victims’ funerals & eulogies?’
Several nudges elicited the standard display of hand-washing:
‘I’m not an editor so don’t take decisions on future coverage.’
These all strongly, and rightly, expressed the broadcaster’s empathy with the fact that something terrible had happened. But when has the BBC ever expressed this level of concern for the deaths of Palestinian teenagers? The question matters because consistent empathic bias has the effect of humanising Israelis for the public and dehumanising Palestinians. This is an extremely lethal form of media propaganda with real consequences for human suffering.
A Guardian editorial noted that the killings ‘had shocked [Israel] to the core’. Western leaders had also expressed solidarity – an outpouring of concern that contrasted with the reaction to Palestinian deaths, which ‘so often pass with barely a murmur’. But that was all the Guardian editors had to say.
The missing, ugly reality is that over the last 13 years, on average, one Palestinian child has been killed by Israel every 3 days. Since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, 1,523 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel’s occupation forces. Over the same time period, 129 Israeli children have been killed. Thus, the ratio of Palestinian children to Israeli children killed is more than ten to one. You would be forgiven for not having the slightest inkling of this from Western media coverage. Even in the past few days, in reporting the massive Israeli operation to find the teenagers, only the briefest of nods has been given to the ‘five Palestinians, including a number of minors, [who were] killed’ in the process.
Following the tragic discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers, corporate journalism gave headline attention to President Obama’s condemnation of ‘this senseless act of terror against innocent youth’. Significant coverage was given to the shocked reaction of prime minister David Cameron whosaid:
‘This was an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers. Britain will stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those responsible.’
But when have Obama or Cameron ever condemned the killing of Palestinian youths or children by Israelis in this vehement way?
We can easily see the contrast in media treatment of Israeli and Palestinian deaths by observing the lack of coverage, and the silence of Western leaders, about two young Palestinians, Nadim Nuwara, 17, and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, 16, who were shot dead by Israeli security forces in May. The BBC did not entirely ignore the killings. But the deaths were presented as a murky event in which the truth was strongly disputed:
‘A human rights group has released a video it says shows two teenage Palestinians being shot dead by Israeli security forces at a protest last week.’ (Our emphasis.)
The BBC report was quick to present the Israeli viewpoint upfront:
‘But the Israeli military said the video had been edited and did not document the “violent nature” of the incident.
‘It also questioned a claim that live ammunition had been fired at the boys.’
A few days later, the Israeli military ordered the removal of the CCTV cameras that had captured the killings. The security cameras belonged to Fakher Sayed who ran a nearby carpentry shop. And the interest in this from BBC News and the rest of the corporate media? Zero, as far as we can tell.
Every violent death is a tragedy. But the disproportionate coverage given to Israeli and Palestinian deaths is symptomatic of a deep-rooted, pro-Israel bias. Why is it so extreme? Because of the intense pressure brought to bear on the media by the powerful Israeli lobby, and by allied US-UK interests strongly favouring Israel. As one senior anonymous BBC editor once put it:
‘We wait in fear for the phone call from the Israelis.’
DC & DE
The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. If you do write to journalists, we strongly urge you to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.
Please consider signing this petition set up at Change.org by activist Mark Nadim:
On June 12, 2014, it was announced that three Jewish teens who had been hitchhiking in the West Bank were missing. The government of Israel immediately accused Hamas of abducting them. What actually happened to the teens is unknown; Hamas has denied involvement in their disappearance, and no demands or credible claims of responsibility have been made by any party. The Israeli government has yet to offer any concrete evidence that Hamas is linked, yet its response against Hamas as well as ordinary Palestinians has been extremely violent and repressive.
Human rights organizations in Israel-Palestine (Amnesty International, B’Tselem, Gisha, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, Yesh Din, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights, and Breaking the Silence) signed a letter urging that Israel stop imposing “collective punishment” on the Palestinian people.
If Hamas is behind the disappearance of the 3 teens, that would indeed constitute a violation of their basic human rights. However, to put the situation in context, there are at currently least 5,271 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, 196 of them under the age of 18. These prisoners are not afforded a number of fundamental legal rights.
According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, “Since the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in 1967, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been detained under Israeli military orders in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). This number constitutes approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population in the oPt and as much as 40 percent of the total male Palestinian population… 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested since 2000.”
Alison Weir’s new book Against Our Better Judgement: How the U.S. was used to create Israel brings together meticulously sourced evidence to outline the largely unknown history of U.S.-Israel relations.