A former State Department foreign service officer’s new book provides a shocking, timely, and credible circumstantial case that ties the U.S. training of Islamic radicals to our nation’s major foreign policy disasters in the Mideast during the past quarter century.
The book is Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World — An Insider's View. Author J. Michael Springmann (shown at right) is the former chief of the visa section at the U.S. consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. He launched the book last week with his first lecture and book-signing, which admirers organized at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“It’s past time to expose murder, war crimes and human rights violations by the United States of American and its ‘intelligence’ services,” Springmann says. He continues:
Using the dubious claim of "national security," the United States, though the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency (NSA), has engaged in and/or organized coups and destabilization efforts around the world, most notably in the Middle East.
From Libya to Iran, governments have been overthrown, politicians assassinated, and everyday citizens murdered — all with the knowledge of not only the president of the United States and the executive branch but with the legislative and judicial ones, as well.
The essence of his first-hand experience is that he was required as chief visa officer in Saudi Arabia to issue what he regarded as illegal visas to large numbers of U.S.-backed Islamic fundamentalists transiting through Jeddah from multiple Islamic nations so they could visit the United States for secret purposes.
Those purposes, Springmann later concluded, involved covert training at such locales as "The Farm," a CIA training facility in Williamsburg, Virginia. The trainees, he alleges, were vagabond Islamic mercenaries, revolutionists and jihadists — an "Arab-Afghan Legion" — who could be unleashed on America’s enemies.
All of this, he argues in Visas for Al Qaeda, was without adequate consideration of the “blowback” to the United States from uncontrollable jihadists sometimes recruited from prisons and with the help of ultra-radical clerics.
Spymasters made the recruitment process so complex, he says, that most of the radical clerics and U.S. government workers involved would not have known the funding and evolving goals of the process. But at the top, he shows, NATO-allied Gulf oil monarchies and their charities often served as intermediaries for the West in joint operations that cannot withstand public exposure.
In his view, the State Department, the CIA, and higher-ups have created an ongoing disaster for the United States, our allies, and the rest of the world.
It began with President Carter's decision via his National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to fight Soviet power in Afghanistan by supporting radicals on the borders of the Soviet Union.
Brzezinski, shown in a file photo, later held the national security advisor post for 2008 Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, thus illustrating a long continuum of policy and personal connections seldom explored by the mainstream media, which includes the advisor's daughter, Mika Brzezinski, co-host of the MSNBC "Morning Joe" show.
Springmann shows U.S. complicity in arming the Mujahideen, Taliban, Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan during the 1980s when both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were United States operatives.
His story draws on his first-hand experience in fighting State Department and CIA higher-ups who enabled this rootless, radical fighting force to evolve into the modern-day Al-Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State.
His book could not be more timely.
Right now, the U.S. Congress is likely to authorize war against ISIS/ISIL (the Islamic State of Syria/Islamic State of Levant).
Few in government or the major media dare voice the hidden history of the nation’s previous wars in those regions, much less discuss current covert operations. These have led to up to six trillion of dollars in U.S. taxpayer expense for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars so far since 2001, according to some estimates. A half million to a million are dead and millions more have become refugees in those broken nations, according to other widely reported estimates.
Without that debate and history, neither Congress nor the public can create logical limits on presidential war-making in terms of an enemy, geography, or a time-frame.
An open-ended authorization could be used, as in past resolutions, to circumvent the U.S. Constitution's clear requirement that Congress must approve a war.
Instead, the president could in effect enact endless war in any part of the world because virtually anyplace that has -- or could have -- Muslims who could be accused of “terrorism” or “conspiracy.” Those are highly fluid terms, as indicated by vast numbers of cases, including many prisoners held for more a decade and sometimes tortured on little more general suspicion based on an informant, who may have been motivated by a U.S. bounty for implicating a "terrorist."
A similar pattern exists in the prosecution of many alleged U.S. terrorists, most of whom have turned out to be low-level operatives encouraged by government informants to take actions that resulted in arrest.
Meanwhile, the average citizen has little idea of the scope of threatening activity since the facts seldom are reported in depth aside from initial statements from prosecutors, as in the March 2 indictment of a former Virginia cab driver on terrorism charges. In the case, headlined by the Washington Post as, Virginia cabbie on FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list detained in Somalia, authorities said the suspect was charged with providing material support and resources to Al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization allied with Al-Qaeda. Another such mystery involves reasons for the murder of an opposition leader in Moscow, with the facts so far summarized by a New York Times report March 8 headlined, Suspect in Russian Politician’s Killing Blows Himself Up, Report Says.
Springmann’s argument and documentation is that the United States government itself has undertaken law-breaking actions also to recruit and otherwise assist members of Al-Qaeda and other "terrorist" organizations for short-term strategies that, from a public interest standpoint, are now back-firing.
His allegations are not restricted to Muslims or the Mideast. Parallel regime change efforts appear to be unfolding in many parts of the world, most especially in the Ukraine and arguably in Russia, Africa and South America, building on U.S. “successes” in using Muslim mercenaries to destabilize Yugoslavia in the 1990s, then Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2010, mostly in the name of human rights.Even more broadly relevant to current debates is the concept that multiple presidents of both parties have circumvented immigration laws to enable prospective terrorists to enter the United States illegally for training. This implicates:
- Immigration “reform;”
- Funding of the Department of Homeland Security;
- U.S. policy towards Iran; and
- CIA suppression of that section of the 9/11 Commission Report disclosing the identities of those who financed the 9/11 terrorists.
Regarding the last matter on the above list:
Any U.S. official who mentions the contents of the suppressed report is subject to imprisonment. In the bizarre world of Washington “national security,” the presumed funders of 9/11 are still being protected by the full force of United States law and policy. And a co-author of the suppressed report, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (R-FL), shown below with Democratic and Republican congressmen currently leading demands for release of the 9/11 report, faces prison if he describes what's in it.
Nonetheless, word has leaked out via investigative reporters that the information sought by 9/11 families pertains to an extensive funding effort by Saudi Arabia, birthplace of 15 of the 19 hijacking suspects. Indeed, they were approved for travel to the United States via the same U.S. consulate in Jeddah where Springmann previously worked.
The Saudis claim that they want the suppressed pages from the 9/11 report released because they have nothing to hide. But that is a transparent platitude because the CIA could easily release the materials if no one important had anything to hide.Washington insiders believe the CIA, currently led by the agency’s former Saudi Arabian station chief John O. Brennan, shown at right, do not want to antagonize such a wealthy, oil-rich kingdom by disclosing its role, much less any cover-up or related embarrassments by U.S. personnel.
The mainstream media largely ignore the issue, for reasons Springmann and others describe.
The incestuous ties between the White House and the media are obvious, as in the White House photo at left taken on Feb. 18, 2015.
It portrays the president working with Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications (shown at far left), and Terry Szuplat, senior director for speech writing, on remarks prior to the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. Rhodes has been a key strategist and speechwriter for the president on national security. His brother, David Rhodes, is the president of CBS News.
Washington insiders know that such situations abound.
Under Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, for example, the president's communications director was Catherine Martin, whose husband was Federal Communication Commission Chairman Keven Martin. Shown at right, he was regarded even by fellow Republicans as using his vast powers in especially ruthless ways to help friends and punish enemies.
Conveniently, her job was to influence the media -- and his was to regulate those companies. That inherent conflict was well-known in Washington but seldom reported -- for obvious reasons.
More on such matters below.
For now, the best we can do is report evidence from courageous and patriotic mid-level experts, who are virtually ignored by Washington’s government, academic, and media establishment except when outspoken experts are fired or prosecuted for saying too much.
So, the publication of Springmann’s book is an important event. He launched his book at the press club’s Sarah McClendon speaker group, which features independent experts who tend to be ignored elsewhere. True to tradition, no mainstream reporters attended or have addressed his book so far, pro or con.
For such reasons, we put forward on the record his arguments, drawn from both his book and his dinner lecture Feb. 23.
As for his background, He holds a J.D. from American University in Washington, DC, as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees in international relations from Georgetown University and the Catholic University of America. Springmann wrote of his foreign policy experience:
I know about unlawful government plots for a fact. As a career official with both the Commerce and State Departments, I saw these plots close up during my nine years as a diplomat. First, I was an economic/commercial officer in Stuttgart (1977-1980), then a commercial attaché in New Delhi (1980-82. Later I was a visa officer in Jeddah (1987-1989) a political/economic officer in Stuttgart (1989-91), and, finally an economic analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1991).
Springmann had studied at Georgetown’s prestigious Foreign Service School, including briefly with political science professor and author Carroll Quigley. Quigley's teachings and books examined the powerful role that elites have held of Anglo-American foreign policy, especially since the founding in the 1890s of a secret, well-funded cabal to dominate foreign policy by hidden alliances between financiers, government officials, and prestigious academics and journalists.
Quigley, shown in a 1970 photo before his death in 1977, argued that the United States has adopted a similar system. Further, Quigley argued that history shows such hidden group-think (to invoke an Orwellian term) among ostensibly independent experts can lead to disastrous foreign policy decisions hurting even the United Kingdom and United States, home to the well-educated and lavishly funded masterminds of the global chessboard. Springmann's book does not mention the iconic professor but the scholarship is implicit in Springmann's call to action.
In 1991, Springmann the State Department fired Springmann without explanation, presumably for his relentless questions in Saudi Arabia and later as a whistleblower to Washington authorities about why his supervisors overrode his objections to granting applicants from Jeddah the right to visit the United States with no valid reason under the law.
Blackballed from his field in effect, Springmann became an attorney while maintaining a research interest in foreign affairs, including his termination. He has filed many Freedom of Information lawsuits for the past two decades, with sparse results on the whole. Authorities have persuaded compliant federal judges that relevant records have been lost or cannot be shared because of largely unspecified "national security" concerns.
The author's failure in that litigation and similar inability to persuade most of his former colleagues to talk are handicaps to his research, but not fatally so. To the contrary, his two decades of effort underscore his courage and tenacity in assembling such a compelling book via other sources.
Several related points should be mentioned among the many important implications of his experience and research.
- Both political parties are implicated. The original U.S. alliance with Islamic radicals began during the Carter Administration, as noted above, and continued through presidents of both parties and their administrations. Brzezinski, head of Obama’s department when the latter studied at Columbia University as an undergraduate (but not so far linked directly with Obama then, with relevant academic records mysteriously suppressed), has boasted that his initiative to foster cooperation with radical Islamists was worth the price to persuade them to fight the Soviets.
- The State Department and non-government organizations (NGOs) are heavily infiltrated with CIA personnel and priorities. Springmann estimates that approximately 30 percent of State Department personnel in overseas postings are typically associated with the CIA and that the figure was at least half in a sensitive post such as Saudi Arabia. Further, he describes such prominent NGOs as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as an intelligence front group that launders federal funds to support human rights organizations that are activated for regime change in nations covertly targeted by the United States. Such assessments, which are widely shared by independent researchers but seldom reported in the Western media, help explain why many embattled governments discourage activities by the NED and allies.
- Obama and all other recent presidents were CIA and FBI assets before they entered politics. My book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters is quoted several times to that effect, as are the works of author, political commentator and former Navy Intelligence officer Wayne Madsen, author of The Manufacturing of a President documenting the intelligence activities of Obama, his parents on both sides, and his white grandparents under front jobs that hid their true functions.The purposes of the front identities (including Obama's as a "community organizer" and "constitutional law professor) was the same as for CIA recruitment of the Bush family, FBI recruitment of the young Ronald Reagan, and CIA/FBI subsidies to political groups ranging from the Ku Klux Klan on the right and the Communist Party's Daily Worker on the left: the ability to influence public opinion and government policy on behalf of hidden leaders in the private sector, no matter what developments arise.
- The mainstream media's reporting, books, and other commentary has been self-censored and otherwise restricted far more than the public can imagine. "The 'mainstream media' will not report on these activities to expose them for what they are," Springmann writes. "In fact, TV, radio, and newspapers flat out support them. Instead of checking power, the media, print or electronic, commonly act as government agents, parroting the 'company line' and attacking (or ignoring) reports and sources that expose injustice or illegal policies."
We illustrate such concepts with a 1950s prediction by futurist and Brave New World author Aldous Huxley, at right.
Approached from a slightly different perspective is a chart recently issued by the establishment Brookings Institution showing the nation's most politically powerful billionaires, half of whom control important media or other communications companies. We have recently cited both charts in previous stories but they are worth republishing, especially in view of suppression of relevant commentary in so many other places.
The president and the nation's foreign policy establishment have many ways to articulate their policy views and alleged successes. For a convenient example, we provide the president's address last September on the threat of ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State: President Obama: “We Will Degrade and Ultimately Destroy ISIL." The link to a 13-minute video is below.
In the speech, Obama used sweeping rhetoric without addressing the kinds of specific historical questions raised by Springmann's courageous book (Daena Publications, 282 pages) and its predecessors.
Similarly, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) has campaigned relentlessly for years to advocate more wars and arms deals to solve global problems. At the same time, he is lionized by the media, as underscored by his track record as by far the current leader in terms of invitations to speak on the influential Sunday network news talk shows.
Yet no one apparently has grilled McCain in-depth to determine the facts behind some of his initiatives, such as his meeting in May 2013 with Islamists who allegedly morphed into Al-Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL leaders in Syria. The matter is worth noting here to illustrate the scope of such controversies and the utter failure of mainstream media or other establishment sources to resolve them.
As for the basics: McCain slipped across the Turkish-Syria border to meet with opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The trip was arranged by Elizabeth O'Bagy, who accompanied him while working for the U.S. Institute for the Study of War, a hawkish NGO led by Kimberly Kagan. The latter is part of the neo-con/neo-lib pundit/scholar family that includes her husband, Frederick Kagan, his brother Robert Kagan, and the latter's wife, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Victoria Nuland.
Like McCain, the photogenic, Georgetown-educated "Dr." O'Bagy, 26, shown at left in a screen shot from Fox News, advocated the vital importance for taxpayers in funding so-called Syrian "moderates" against the Assad government in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that identified her as a Ph.D. expert. McCain, Secretary of State John Kerry, the Wall Street Journal, and many others were eager to advance her career and messaging.
Part of that was that she described McCain as so eager to know his moderate friends that he undertook a "sleepover" with them.
But she was exposed as falsely claiming doctorate status and as being a paid operative of the so-called Free Syrian Army seeking more funding from U.S. taxpayers. She seemed, in other words, to be a phony and a propagandist although perhaps more charitably might be described as yet-another DC-based careerist in over her head.
Whatever the case, McCain promptly hired her as on staff after the Institute for the Study of War fired her.
The situation got even more messy in 2014 when U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) relied on a McCain claim that he had met "with ISIS" to denounce McCain's continuing advocacy for war spending against Syria. Rand also cited reports that McCain and O'Bagy had met on their trip with individuals so radical as to be identified with Al-Qaeda and ISIS, as indicated by the photo collage below.
As not uncommon with high-level officials, Paul's language and citations were loose when he told the Daily Beast published Sept. 16, 2014, “Here’s the problem. He [Sen. John McCain] did meet with ISIS, and had his picture taken, and didn’t know it was happening at the time.”
McCain and mainstream media launched into a counter-attack flatly denying Paul's claims about a meeting with extreme radical leaders, although McCain's staff conceded that he had misspoken in stating he had met "with ISIS," instead of more moderate leaders, as intended.
Washington Post columnist and "fact-checker" Glenn Kessler promptly published an all-out defense of McCain and attack on Paul, Four Pinocchios for Rand Paul’s claim that McCain met with the Islamic State. Kessler relied heavily on McCain's invective against Paul, previously reported in McCain's friendly home-state newspaper, the Arizona Republic in, McCain rips claim he posed for photo with ISIS fighters.
As reader comments to both newspapers pointed out, the newspapers' defense of McCain failed to resolve the factual questions.
The most basic omission was their failure to identify all the individuals in the photos with their 2013 and later affiliations.
Critics of McCain allege current ISIS Caliphate leader Abu-Bakr Al Bagdadi (a pseudonym), for example, was in the 2013 photos but was not with ISIS then because the new organization was not announced until 2014. That leads to the second question: Are denials by McCain and the newspapers based on the sophistic argument that McCain could not have been meeting with ISIS in 2013 because it was not created until 2014? Or is his denial more substantive: that none of those now fighting for ISIS and Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups were even in his photos?
Resolution of these two questions is beyond the scope of this article. But the still-murky facts suggest the difficulty of relying on McCain, other congressional leaders, their key staffers like O'Bagy, and supposedly independent and prestigious media such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Arizona Republic to sort it all out for the public. The Post, for example, should run a disclaimer every day reminding readers of one of its conflicts: the CIA is spending $600 million on a contract with Amazon.com, the wealth source for Amazon.com founder and Washington Post owner Jeffrey Bezos.
As an update in 2015, the Washington Times reported on March 3 U.S. backed rebel reportedly leads Islamic State in Libya. The newspaper summarized reporting from conservative U.S. media that senior Al Qaeda leader Abdulhakim Belhaj, a major figure allied with the U.S. in Libya, has thrown his support to ISIS.
In the 2011 photo at left, U.S. Senator John McCain poses with Belhaj after NATO helped empower his leadership in Libya. Assisting McCain (R-AZ) in the awards presentation but not shown in the cropped photo were Senators Dick Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
For such reasons, we should read if not treasure such bold, brave and expert mid-level professionals as Mike Springmann, who courageously bring to the public such important work as Visas for Al Qaeda.
With the stakes so high right now, I would award his book the highest level of in a five-star rating system even though the non-cooperation of government authorities in his FOIA lawsuits and otherwise undermines its comprehensiveness and its small press publication lacks some of the polish and marketing clout of the "prestige" organs that benefit from Washington's money-laundering and other back-scratching relationships.
That said, more power to him that he doesn't have former Secretaries of State blurbing his book and lauding his disclosures, or the Institute for the Study of War throwing a lavish book launch party -- although they all should do these things for the sake of their own consciences, children, and other legacies.
What can anyone else do? That's often the toughest question.
I suggest, as in my most recent lecture and column, 'Presidential Puppetry' Discussion Examined Civic Mysteries, Propaganda, that we all try to educate ourselves with different perspectives and invite to our community groups speakers we find most worthy or challenging, thereby expanding our horizons at least temporarily beyond top-down and often taxpayer funded propaganda efforts on these topics.Visas for Al Qaeda, in the words of Wayne Madsen, the former Navy intelligence officer and author, "is one of those books that, after reading, one can only put it down while shaking their head in disbelief. However, the ramifications of what took place in Jeddah have had a devastating effect on many countries around the world."
Related News Coverage
Visas For Al Qaeda
WMR, Timely book on Saudi/CIA backing of Al Qaeda, Wayne Madsen (shown at left), Feb. 9, 2015. Former U.S. consular officer in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) Mike Springmann could not have been more timely with his new book, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts that Rocked the World. As demands grow for the Obama administration to release the 28 missing pages from the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on 9/11 intelligence failures, Springmann's book serves as a unique preface and epilogue to the Senate report. In fact, Springmann's description of the pipeline that provided U.S. visas to Saudi and other Wahhabist radicals provides for the reader what is, according to intelligence insiders, identified as a key finding in the "missing" 28 pages.
The release of Visas for Al Qaeda also comes after the so-called "20th hijacker," Zacarias Moussaoui (shown at right) has confirmed what many independent observers and researchers of 9/11 have already concluded: that the House of Saudi directly financed the attack and Al Qaeda.
As Springmann succinctly states:
The War on Terror is far more complicated than good versus evil. Al-Qaeda operatives are indeed ruthless and fanatical, but how did they come by their advanced training and international presence? Unfortunately, the answer lies in a secret US training and visa program with roots in the Cold War.
As the U.S.-trained Islamic operatives to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and later allowed those same operatives to move from the Balkans to the Middle East, bumbling CIA strategists unwittingly armed and inspired the men who would become Al-Qaeda’s leadership.
Broadcast interviews of Michael Springmann include:
- Corbett Report, Michael Springmann on Visas for Terrorists, Interview by James Corbett, March 31, 2015 (on-demand radio interview). J. Michael Springmann discusses his new book, Visas for al-Qaeda: CIA Handouts that rocked the world. We discuss Springmann’s experience at the U.S. consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and the ongoing CIA program to illegally provide US visas for their terrorist operatives that he discovered there.
- RT Arabic, Interview with 'Visas for Al Qaeda' author Michael Springmann, Feb. 24, 2015.
- WCEV-FM (Chicago), The Consequences of Islamophobia / U.S’s Role in the Al-Qaeda’s Formation, Host: Salahuddin Khan, Feb. 23, 2015. Guests: Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History, Boston University, J. Michael Springmann, former U.S. Diplomat.
- Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) Radio One, Interview with Michael Springmann, Dispatches Staff, Jan. 16, 2002. In another interview with CBC’s Radio One, he stated that according to confirmation he received from U.S. government officials, the “CIA was recruiting terrorists to fight against the then Soviets.” Osama bin Laden, moreover, “was their asset, and was working with them.” There were “as many as a hundred” recruits, people “with no ties to any place in particular… Afghanistan was the end user of their facilities. They were coming to the U.S. for training as terrorists. The countries that had supplied them did not want them back.” Springmann testified that CIA officials had consistently violated State Department regulations to issue visas to these people.
CBC: Does this demonstrate a relationship between the CIA and Osama Bin Laden dating back as far as 1987?
SPRINGMANN: That’s right, and as you recall, they believe that this fellow Sheikh Abdurrahman who was tied to the first New York World Trade Center bombing had gotten his visa from a CIA case officer in the Sudan. And that the 15 or so people who came from Saudi Arabia to participate in the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon had gotten visas through the American consulate general in Jeddah.
CBC: So what does that suggest, that this pipeline was never rolled up, that it’s still operating?
SPRINGMANN: Exactly. I thought that it had been, because I’d raised sufficient hell that I thought that they’d done it. I had complained to the Embassy in Riyadh, I had complained to diplomatic security in Washington, I had complained to the General Accounting Office, I had complained to the State Department Inspector-General’s Office, I had complained to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department and apparently the reverberations from this were heard all over the State Department.
CBC: If what you say may be true, many of the terrorists who allegedly flew those planes into those targets, got their U.S. visas through the CIA and your U.S. consulate in Jeddah. That suggests a relationship ongoing as recently as obviously September. But what was the CIA presumably recruiting these people for as recently as September 11th?
SPRINGMANN: That I don’t know. And that’s one of the things that I tried to find out through a series of Freedom of Information Act requests starting ten years ago. At the time the State Department and the CIA stonewalled my requests. They’re still doing so.
CBC: If the CIA had a relationship with the people responsible for September 11th, are you suggesting therein that they are somehow complicit?
SPRINGMANN: Yes, either through omission or through failure to act…By the attempts to cover me up and shut me down, this convinced me more and more that this was not a pipe dream, this was not imagination...
CBC: But when you take the events of '87, when visas were being issued to people unqualified for them, it suggests that happened again to the same people responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington, that’s a quantum leap. How do you justify that?
SPRINGMANN: For all I know, for all we know, this may have not been the intended consequence. It could’ve been a mistake. It could’ve been a misjudgement. Or for all we know, it could’ve been an effort to get the U.S. directly involved in some fashion. I mean it’s only a few thousand dead and what’s this against the greater gain for the United States in the Middle East?
U.S. Recent Announcements on ISIS/ISIL & Other Terrorists
White House Blog, President Obama: “We Will Degrade and Ultimately Destroy ISIL," David Hudson, Sept. 10, 2014 (video 13:56 min.). In an address from the State Floor of the White House, President Obama spoke to the nation tonight about ISIL -- and our comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group. The President reiterated that as Commander-in-Chief, his “highest priority is the security of the American people,” and noted that we have “consistently taken the fight to terrorists” that threaten the United States: "We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer."
Washington Post, Virginia cabbie on FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list detained in Somalia, Adam Goldman and Matt Zapotosky, March 2, 2015. A Northern Virginia man who fled the United States more than two years ago and was recently placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list is in the custody of the Somali government, U.S. officials said. Liban Haji Mohamed, 29, was detained shortly after prosecutors unsealed a warrant for his arrest and the FBI added him to the wanted list in late January. It is unclear how he was taken into custody or how soon he could be brought back to the United States. The former cabdriver is charged with providing material support and resources to al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization allied with al-Qaeda. He is suspected of having an operational role in al-Shabab and of trying to recruit people to join the group.
News Coverage of ISIS-ISIL
Levant Report, 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime,” Brad Hoff, May 19, 2015. On Monday, May 18, the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch published a selection of formerly classified documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department through a federal lawsuit. While initial mainstream media reporting is focused on the White House’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attack, a much “bigger picture” admission and confirmation is contained in one of the Defense Intelligence Agency documents circulated in 2012: that an ‘Islamic State’ is desired in Eastern Syria to effect the West’s policies in the region.
The DIA report, formerly classified “SECRET//NOFORN” and dated August 12, 2012, was circulated widely among various government agencies, including CENTCOM, the CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA, State Dept., and many others. The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset. While a number of analysts and journalists have documented long ago the role of western intelligence agencies in the formation and training of the armed opposition in Syria, this is the highest level internal U.S. intelligence confirmation of the theory that western governments fundamentally see ISIS as their own tool for regime change in Syria. The document matter-of-factly states just that scenario.
Forensic evidence, video evidence, as well as recent admissions of high-level officials involved (see former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford’s admissions here and here), have since proven the State Department and CIA’s material support of ISIS terrorists on the Syrian battlefield going back to at least 2012 and 2013 (for a clear example of “forensic evidence”: see UK-based Conflict Armament Research’s report which traced the origins of Croatian anti-tank rockets recovered from ISIS fighters back to a Saudi/CIA joint program via identifiable serial numbers). The newly released DIA report makes the following summary points concerning “ISI” (in 2012 “Islamic State in Iraq,”) and the soon to emerge ISIS:
◾ Al-Qaeda drives the opposition in Syria
◾ The West identifies with the opposition
◾ The establishment of a nascent Islamic State became a reality only with the rise of the Syrian insurgency (there is no mention of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst for Islamic State’s rise, which is the contention of innumerable politicians and pundits; see section 4.D. below)
◾ The establishment of a “Salafist Principality” in Eastern Syria is “exactly” what the external powers supporting the opposition want (identified as “the West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey”) in order to weaken the Assad government
◾ “Safe havens” are suggested in areas conquered by Islamic insurgents along the lines of the Libyan model (which translates to so-called no-fly zones as a first act of ‘humanitarian war'; see 7.B.)
◾ Iraq is identified with “Shia expansion” (8.C)
◾ A Sunni “Islamic State” could be devastating to “unifying Iraq” and could lead to “the renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.” (see last non-redacted line in full PDF view.)
Middle East Eye, Obama’s fail on Saudi-Qatari aid to al-Qaeda affiliate, Gareth Porter, May 23, 2015. A source in the Saudi royal family has told Middle East Eye that Riyadh and Doha are funding an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria.
News media coverage of the Camp David summit between President Barack Obama and Gulf Cooperation Council members has focused largely on Obama’s success in getting the GCC States to go along with the negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran. But the much more consequential story of the summit is Obama’s decision not to confront Saudi Arabia and Qatar about their financing of an al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria that has made the most dramatic gains in the jihadist war against the Assad regime.
Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in 2014 in speech at mosque, distributed by AP from screen shot
Reuters via Huffington Post, ISIS Leader Accepts Allegiance Of Nigeria's Boko Haram, Staff report, March 12, 2015. The leader of the Islamic State militant group that controls tracts of Syria and Iraq has accepted a pledge of allegiance from Nigerian Islamists Boko Haram, his spokesman said, calling on supporters to fight in Africa. Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds during a six-year campaign to carve out an Islamist state in northern Nigeria, pledged its allegiance last week, highlighting increased coordination between jihadi movements across north Africa and the Middle East. "Our caliph, God save him, has accepted the pledge of loyalty of our brothers of Boko Haram so we congratulate Muslims and our jihadi brothers in West Africa," Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani said in an audio message, referring to his group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Islamic State, an ultra-hardline offshoot of al Qaeda, has declared a caliphate in captured territory in Iraq and Syria and has gained global notoriety for killing or kidnapping members of ethnic and religious minorities and posting videos of its members killing Arab and Western hostages.
DebbieSchlussel.com, 6,000 Foreign Students “Of Heightened Concern” Missing in US: How Many From ISIS, Qaeda? Debbie Schlussel, Sept. 2, 2014. There are 58,000 foreign student visa holders who’ve violated their visas, and of those at least 6,000 foreign students are missing in the United States and have been determined by Homeland Security to be “of heightened concern.” That’s at least 6,000 potential terrorists in our midst. How many of them are from ISIS or Al-Qaeda?
World Beyond War, ISIS Derangement Syndrome, David Swanson, March 1, 2015. Here's Time Magazine's David von Drehle: "The greatest threat that ISIS poses -- even to the poor souls living under ISIS rule -- is the unintended damage that might follow from the effort to eradicate the group." His article is followed by Max Boot arguing for U.S. ground troops and Karl Vick arguing for U.S. bombing with local ground troops. All three can't help but be aware that terrorist kingdoms like Saudi Arabia already exist in the region with the blessing of the U.S. government (and of magazine writers who seek to please the U.S. government). None of the three have one word to say about the great many innocents already killed in the latest U.S. bombings, but all three strive to place the need to attack ISIS beyond the range of any debate.
Daily Beast, Boko Haram Swears Loyalty to ISIS. But Will ISIS Swear Back? Nancy A. Youssef Philip Obaji Jr., March 7, 2015. In an online audio message reportedly from its leader, the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram on Saturday apparently pledged formal allegiance to the Islamic State, but it’s unclear if this marks the beginning of an actual, operational alliance or if it is instead an attempt by the African group to push back against an increasingly robust regional military response. The leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has recently adopted the tactics, practices and even the dress of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL. These include producing gruesome beheading videos and a social media strategy.
Atlantic Council, The Future of the Fight against ISIL: A Discussion with General John Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, March 2, 2015. The Atlantic Council hosts General John Allen, USMC (Ret.), the special Presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL to discuss what may lie ahead in the US-led fight against the Islamist group that straddles Iraqi and Syrian territory. Ever since General Allen’s appointment in September, he has sought to “help build and sustain the coalition so it can operate across multiple lines of effort in order to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.” The coalition of over sixty countries currently contributes in “various capacities...in Iraq, the region, and beyond,” to achieve the stated strategy. How will the coalition sustain the fight against the terrorist group? What role will the United States play as the coalition broadens and deepens its efforts? Can the fight be ultimately won? And if so, how does the coalition define success? To answer these and other questions, General Allen will join Atlantic Council President and CEO Fred Kempe on stage. This event will be on the record and open to press. General John Allen was appointed Sept. 16, 2014 by President Obama. Allen is a retired US Marine four-star General and former Commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and US Forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013.
Foreign Policy In Focus via Common Dreams, Why ISIS Exists, Adil E. Shamoo, Bonnie Bricker, March 6, 2015. The Middle East is suffering the blowback from rotten U.S. policies, disastrous wars, and cultural turmoil. ISIS and its ilk are one result. ISIS — or the so-called “Islamic State” — is the latest and most horrifying iteration of the modern terror groups that have plagued the region in recent years. With 20,000 to 30,000 combatants and recruits streaming in from all over the globe, the group is unlikely to be significantly degraded by U.S. air strikes — not when political conditions in the Middle East continue to favor it. The media often depicts ISIS recruits as lost souls in search of a cause or suffering from mental illness. That may be true in some cases. But these explanations are not sufficient to explain ISIS’s resilience and recruitment capabilities. No organization, especially a terrorist one, can survive without support. Yes, ISIS has committed unspeakable atrocities. But it’s too easy to forget that the U.S. invasion of Iraq killed some half a million Iraqis by one estimate — most of them civilians — and wounded another million. Looking at the numbers, we can only imagine the thousands of Iraqi children killed by bombs who may have actually been burned alive or smashed by rubble. They died the sort of deaths that inflame Arabs and Muslims around the world. As a nation, the United States likes to tout its moral superiority. Yet the bleak contrast between what Iraqis experienced and America’s self-proclaimed exceptionalism led many Iraqis to join a group that made its own set of promises — ISIS — and the results have been terrifying. Meanwhile, America’s allies in the Middle East aren’t much better.
John McCain Controversy Over 2013 Secret Trip To Syria
P.J. Tatler, U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, Patrick Poole, Sept. 3, 2014. As the Obama administration struggles to address the threat from ISIS and plans to go to Congress in the coming weeks to up its commitment against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, multiple media reports indicate that the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) is operating openly with ISIS and other designated terrorist groups. And yet financial and military support for the FSA is the keystone to the administration’s policy in Syria. Some background is essential. It was just over a year ago that the Institute for the Study of War’s Liz O’Bagy was opining in the Wall Street Journal about her travels to Syria and purported discovery that the Syrian “rebels” really weren’t bloodthirsty jihadists, but moderates worthy of U.S. financial and military support — in particular, heavy weapons. Her claims about the Syrian rebels, particularly the FSA, were cited and praised by Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain. That view, of course, quickly came crashing down as O’Bagy came under fire for failing to disclose that she was also a paid agent of a Syrian rebel front. (She had also lied about her academic credentials.) Within two weeks of her op-ed appearing, she was fired from the Institute for the Study of War, though she was hired two weeks later by Senator McCain as a Senate staffer. Northern Storm front, allied with Al Nusra, merged with ISIL. Those people pictured with McCain and his fake Ph.D. gal pal Liz O'Bagy were either ISIL then or are now. But Glenn Kessler can always be relied upon as a loyal advocacy journalist for Langley, the neocon policy boiler shops in DC, and the Israeli PM's office and embassy in DC. There are no moderate Syrian rebels! Get it? Got it? Good!
Washington Post, Four Pinocchios for Rand Paul’s claim that McCain met with the Islamic State, Glenn Kessler, Sept. 18, 2014. Just because it’s on the Internet, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Yet here’s a U.S. senator, repeating a rumor about one of his GOP colleagues, as if it were an actual fact. Paul cited it as part of his argument that U.S. funding of attacks against the terrorist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, will be problematic because it “really shows you the quandary of determining who are the moderates and who aren’t.” The Fact Checker takes no position on whether it is necessary to fund the Syrian rebels. But for the benefit of Paul, and others who may have heard this rumor, here’s what didn’t happen. On May 27, 2013, McCain slipped across the Turkish border to spend a few hours in Syria with members of the Free Syrian Army. Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, who helped arrange the visit and was with McCain, said many soldiers were members or commanders of the Northern Storm brigade, which serves under the army’s Supreme Military Council. One man was Gen. Salim Idriss, who at the time was chief of staff of the Supreme Military Council. “These guys, the Northern Storm brigade, are bitter enemies of ISIS,” Moustafa said, in part because they were so effective.
Arizona Republic, McCain rips claim he posed for photo with ISIS fighters, Dan Nowicki, Aug. 23, 2014. U.S. Sen. John McCain is one of the most vocal proponents of attacking the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and has increased the urgency since last week's beheading murder of kidnapped journalist James Foley. But McCain, R-Ariz., has come under fire from the left-leaning organization VoteVets.org for allegedly posing for a photo in 2013 with "ISIS fighters," a charge the group has been unable to back up and that McCain calls a fabrication. The photo was taken during a surprise May 2013 trip McCain took to Syria to meet with rebel leaders in the civil war against President Bashar Assad's regime. Then and now, McCain is a passionate advocate for helping the moderate Free Syrian Army, which has been battling both Assad's forces and the extremists. In June, President Barack Obama's administration proposed a $500 million plan to arm and train the moderate Syrian opposition. McCain's photo with the Syrian rebels misidentified as ISIS fighters has caught fire on social-media platforms such as Twitter. It was distributed in a VoteVets fundraising e-mail dated Tuesday, the same day that ISIS released a grisly video documenting Foley's murder. "While he was there (in Syria), he paused for some photos — including some with ISIS militants," VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran, wrote in the e-mail that featured the photo. "Today, just over a year later, he wants to fight ISIS in Iraq — ostensibly against the weapons he wants to provide them in Syria." McCain's camp pushed back hard, characterizing the VoteVets charge as a lie. And ISIS recently singled out McCain as "the enemy" and a "crusader" in a propaganda magazine. "It is shameful that the liberal group VoteVets would completely fabricate this obviously false smear, but it just shows how far some of President Obama's defenders will go to attack anyone who criticizes his failed foreign policy," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. One of the men with McCain is Gen. Salim Idris, who at the time chief of staff of the Free Syrian Army's Supreme Military Council. He was removed from the post in February. Another is Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a Washington, D.C.-based group that encourages U.S. intervention on behalf of the moderate opposition and organized McCain's visit. A third man who had been disputed in the past has since been identified "as one of the brigade commanders for the Free Syrian Army," McCain said. He was with the Northern Storm Brigade, a force affiliated with the Free Syrian Army that has battled ISIS, McCain's office clarified. "It's foolishness," but the false charge "just bangs around the Internet," McCain said. Asked by The Republic for documentation or a source for its claim that the McCain photo included ISIS militants, VoteVets could not provide any evidence, but did pass along an Aug. 18 Washington Post column by Souad Mekhennet that makes the point that some "factions" of the Free Syrian Army have joined ISIS. The column didn't relate to anyone in the McCain photo. "For years, Senator McCain couldn't stop talking about the need to arm Syrian rebels, like the Free Syrian Army, which splintered with many ending up under ISIS," Soltz told The Republic in an e-mailed statement. "When we say he took photos with ISIS fighters, we mean that he took photos with representatives of forces that he supported, many of which later became ISIS. It's frightening to think what ISIS would be today, if John McCain had his way, and if we had sent even more weaponry their way."
Other McCain Foreign Affairs Controversies/Scandals
Global Research, “Al Qaeda R Us”: John McCain’s “Moderate Rebels” in Syria are ISIS, Patrick Henningsen, Jan. 24, 2015. Poor John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Washington’s original first couple. They only want to arm the ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria. Three years on, how come their master plan isn’t working, while ISIS has grown so strong? This brings us to the issue of who ISIS really is, and how did ISIS build up to the level they are at today. So, what happened to all of McCain’s “moderate opposition”? You know, the ones which President Obama, John Kerry, David Cameron and the rest of the ‘liberate Syria’ gang insist need our help with more weapons and cash? New Eastern Outlook geopolitical analysis and writer Tony Cartalucci explains. This means there’s no “moderate rebels” to speak of, so therefore ISIS is McCain’s Army. Washington’s nation-builders are banking on the fact that Americans are not smart enough, or too brain-dead to work this one out:
It was reported recently that some 3,000 so-called “moderate rebels” of the “Free Syrian Army” had defected to the “Islamic State” (ISIS). While not the first time so-called “moderates” have crossed over openly to Al Qaeda or ISIS, it is one of the largest crossovers that has occurred. With them, these 3,000 fighters will bring weapons, cash, equipment, and training provided to them by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, the UK, and perhaps most ironic of all in the wake of the recent terror attack in Paris, France. Indeed, ISIS and Al Qaeda’s ranks continue to swell amid this insidious network of “terror laundering” that is only set to grow.
InfoWars, McCain Backed Libyan Terrorist Abdulhakim Belhaj, Paul J. Watson, 2011 (video: 3:52 min.). "All because our governments supported these inhuman scumbags from the beginning."
The Unz Review, American Pravda: When Tokyo Rose Ran for President, Ron Unz (software developer and former publisher of The American Conservative Magazine), March 9, 2015. What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam? During much of the second half of the twentieth century the name “Tokyo Rose” ranked very high in our popular consciousness, probably second only to “Benedict Arnold” as a byword for American treachery during wartime. The political rise of Sen. John McCain (shown in photo) leads me to suspect that in the 1970s some cruel enemy had spiked our national water supply with LSD.
Although in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, I turned sharply against McCain due to his support for an extremely bellicose foreign policy, I never had any reason to question his background or his integrity, and my strong opposition to his 2008 presidential run was entirely on policy grounds: I feared his notoriously hot temper might easily get us into additional disastrous wars. Everything suddenly changed in June 2008 when I read a long article by an unfamiliar writer on the leftist CounterPunch website. Shocking claims were made that McCain may never have been tortured and that he instead spent his wartime captivity collaborating with his captors and broadcasting Communist propaganda, a possibility that seemed almost incomprehensible to me given all the thousands of contrary articles that I had absorbed over the decades from the mainstream media. [See CounterPunch, “From Glory Boy to PW Songbird: McNasty,” Douglas Valentine, June 13, 2008.]
The realization that many of our political leaders may be harboring such terrible personal secrets, secrets that our media outlets regularly conceal, raises an important policy implication independent of the particular secrets themselves. In recent years I have increasingly begun to suspect that some or even many of our national leaders may occasionally make their seemingly inexplicable policy decisions under the looming threat of personal blackmail, and that this may have also been true in the past.
InfoWars via Global Research, CIA Asset Joins Islamic State in Libya – Abdelhakim Belhadj Worked with U.S. and NATO to Overthrow Gaddafi, Kurt Nimmo, March 5, 2015. Abdelhakim Belhadj has reportedly joined forces with the Islamic State, according to the journalist Sara Carter. Belhadj is a former al-Qaeda operative who was a key player in the overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi. He worked directly with the U.S. and NATO. If Belhadj has gone over to Islamic State, it will represent a major boost to Islamic State’s efforts to co-opt and bring in Libya’s existing jihadist forces under their banner, which now reportedly includes as many as 3,000 fighters. Belhadj’s forces play a significant role in the Islamist “Libyan Dawn” coalition (which includes the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda’s Ansar al-Sharia), which currently holds Tripoli, and which claims to be the rightful government in opposition to the U.N. recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni.
Washington Times, Gaffney: The real reason behind Benghazigate, Frank J. Gaffney Jr. (President of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times, and host of Secure Freedom Radio on WRC-AM), Oct. 22, 2012. Was Obama gun-walking arms to jihadists? President Obama’s once seemingly unstoppable march toward re-election hit what he might call “bumps in the road” in Benghazi, Libya, late on Sept. 11, 2012. It might be more accurate to describe the effect of the well-planned and executed, military-style attack on a diplomatic facility there as the political equivalent of a devastating improvised explosive device on the myth of the unassailability of the Obama record as commander in chief. Thanks to intrepid investigative reporting — notably by Bret Baier and Catherine Herridge at Fox News, Aaron Klein at WND.com and Clare Lopez at RadicalIslam.org — and information developed by congressional investigators, the mystery is beginning to unravel with regard to what happened that night and the reason for the subsequent, clumsy official cover-up now known as Benghazigate. The evidence suggests that the Obama administration has not simply been engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East. Starting in March 2011, when American diplomat J. Christopher Stevens was designated the liaison to the “opposition” in Libya, the Obama administration has been arming them, including jihadists like Abdelhakim Belhadj, leader of the al Qaeda franchise known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
Not surprisingly, one of the most important priorities for someone in that position would be to try to find and secure the immense amount of armaments that had been cached by the dictator around the country and systematically looted during and after the revolution. One of the places in Libya most awash with such weapons in the most dangerous of hands is Benghazi. It now appears that Stevens was there — on a particularly risky day, with no security to speak of and despite now copiously documented concerns about his own safety and that of his subordinates — for another priority mission: sending arms recovered from the former regime’s stocks to the “opposition” in Syria. As in Libya, the insurgents are known to include al Qaeda and other Shariah-supremacist groups, including none other than Abdelhakim Belhadj.
Fox News has chronicled how the Al Entisar, a Libyan-flagged vessel carrying 400 tons of cargo, docked on Sept. 6 in the Turkish port of Iskenderun. It reportedly supplied both humanitarian assistance and arms — including deadly SA-7 man-portable surface-to-air missiles — apparently destined for Islamists, again including al Qaeda elements, in Syria. What cries out for further investigation — and debate in the remaining days of this presidential election — is whether this shipment was part of a larger covert Obama effort to transfer weapons to our enemies that could make the Iran-Contra scandal, to say nothing of Operation Fast and Furious, pale by comparison.
Investigative journalist Aaron Klein has reported that the “consulate in Benghazi” actually was no such thing. He observes that although administration officials have done nothing to correct that oft-repeated characterization of the facility where the murderous attack on Stevens and his colleagues was launched, they call it a “mission.” What Mr. Klein describes as a “shabby, nondescript building” that lacked any “major public security presence” was, according to an unnamed Middle Eastern security official, “routinely used by Stevens and others to coordinate with the Turkish, Saudi and Qatari governments on supporting the insurgencies in the Middle East, most prominently the rebels opposing Assad’s regime in Syria.” We know that Stevens‘ last official act was to hold such a meeting with an unidentified “Turkish diplomat.” Presumably, the conversation involved additional arms shipments to al Qaeda and its allies in Syria. It also may have involved getting more jihadi fighters there. After all, Mr. Klein reported last month that, according to sources in Egyptian security, our ambassador was playing a “central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.”
It gets worse. What we do know is that the New York Times — one of the most slavishly pro-Obama publications in the country — reported in an Oct. 14 article, “Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.” In short, it seems President Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale. The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies as well. That would explain his administration’s desperate and now failing bid to mislead the voters through the serial deflections of Benghazigate.
In the photo, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) presents an award to senior Al Qaeda leader Abdulhakim Belhaj after NATO delivered the nation of Libya to him and his terrorist organization in 2011. Belhaj is now reportedly
operating under the banner of ISIS. Present also in the award ceremony but cropped from the photo were Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Independent, Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty, Chris Green, March 1, 2015. Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment of 1,000 lashes has prompted international condemnation, may now face the death penalty. Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told the Independent in a series of messages that judges in Saudi Arabia’s criminal court want him to undergo a re-trial for apostasy. If found guilty, he would face a death sentence. She said the “dangerous information” had come from “official sources” inside the conservative kingdom, where Badawi has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes – administered at a rate of 50 per week – for criticizng the country’s clerics through his liberal blog.
Russia/Murder of Opposition Leader Boris Nemtsov
WMR (Wayne Madsen Report), Assassination of Nemtsov a classic CIA tactic, Wayne Madsen, March 2, 2015 (subscription required). The recent gangland-style assassination of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov (shown at right), in the very shadow of the Kremlin, is a classic Central Intelligence Agency frame up operation designed to further pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin.
New York Times, Suspect in Russian Politician’s Killing Blows Himself Up, Report Says, Neil MacFarquhar, March 8, 2015. A suspect in the murder of the opposition politician Boris Y. Nemtsov blew himself up as the police closed in on him overnight, Russian news reports said on Sunday, while new disclosures indicated that one of the men already detained in the killing had served as a police officer in the fight against Islamic insurgents. Five suspects were due to be arraigned at Basmanny District Court in Moscow, Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, said in a statement. The two prime suspects, whose names have been officially confirmed, are Zaur Dadayev and Anzar Kubashev, whose arrest was announced on Saturday. The arrests and the police activity were centered in the Northern Caucasus, long a trouble spot for Russia. Mr. Nemtsov was killed while walking across a bridge over the Moscow River with his girlfriend, who was not injured. He was shot in the back four times by a gunman who then escaped in a car driven by an accomplice. All the men detained so far were Chechens, the reports said. In Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, which borders Ingushetia, one suspect blew himself up with a grenade after tossing another one at law enforcement officials outside his apartment who were demanding that he surrender.
Washington Post, Russians rally for slain Putin critic, Michael Birnbaum, March 1, 2015. Boris Nemtsov (shown in a file photo via Creative Commons) was fatally shot late Friday on a bridge in the heart of Moscow. Russians turned out by the tens of thousands Sunday to mourn an opposition leader who was murdered only a few steps from the Kremlin, amid fears that his death was just the beginning of a new wave of violence. Defiant crowds waving Russia’s tricolor flag and carrying signs reading “Propaganda Kills” filed through Moscow’s heart on a grim, drizzly afternoon, making a pilgrimage to the spot where Boris Nemtsov was gunned down under the Kremlin’s watchful towers. The killing was the highest-profile political assassination in Russia during the 15-year rule of President Vladimir Putin.
OpEd News, Putin Predicted Washington Would Employ Assassination Tactic Against Russia, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), March 1, 2015. In Nemtsov murder: Putin warned about exactly this type of “false flag” two years ago, Putin explained two years ago the Russian government's concern that an overseas entity would use a false flag assassination within Russia in order to create an "involuntary martyr" that the Western media would use to demonize Russia. According to another report, Good news out of Russia – even the “non-system” opposition refuses to blame the Kremlin, the Washington-financed Russian opposition has not, as Washington hoped it would, joined the Western anti-Putin media campaign. Possibly the Washington-financed Russian NGOs have wised up from observing events in Ukraine. In place of "more democracy," they got a Washington stooge government squandering Ukraine's last cent on a losing war. The most likely explanation of Boris Nemtsov's murder is that the CIA decided, as Nemtsov was completely marginalized as an opposition politician with 5% as against Putin's 85%, that Nemtsov was worth more dead than alive. But the ploy, if that is what it is, has not worked inside Russia. Stephen Lendman has done a good job tracking the US media's unquestioning adherence to Washington's propaganda line.
International Observer, Slain Russian’s Complicated Romantic Life May Be Key to the Case, Boris Nemtsov's tangled love life is revealed as model Anna Duritskaya helps police piece puzzle together, Mikhail Klikushin March 1, 2015. Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya, 23 (shown in a file photo), had a four-year romance with slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, 55, and was with him when he was assassinated.
Saker, Good news out of Russia – even the “non-system” opposition refuses to blame the Kremlin, Feb. 28, 2015. All the leaders of this opposition have so far made very moderate and reasonable statement and all those which I have heard have apparently dismissed the notion that the Kremlin was behind the murder. Many have even said that this murder was a “provocation” (which in this context means “false flag”!) to destabilize Russia and create a crisis.
Saker, Nemtsov murder: Putin warned about exactly this type of “false flag” two years ago, The Saker, Feb. 28, 2015. Already in February 2012 (two years ago!) Putin was warning Russians about exactly the kind of false flag which we just saw happening with the murder of Nemtsov.
Signs of the Times, Insignificant 'Putin critic' gunned down by someone who hates Putin, Joe Quinn, Feb. 28, 2015. Boris Nemtsov was shot in the back last night as he walked with his Ukrainian girlfriend near the Kremlin in Moscow. Nemtsov ran unsuccessfully for office in 1989 before eventually being elected to Russia's parliament in 1990. As deputy minister for economic reform under Yeltsin, he failed to actually deliver economic reform amid the August 1998 economic crisis and it cost him his job. In 1999, he founded the Union of Right Forces (SPS), along with fellow liberals Anatoly Chubais and Yegor Gaidar. The SPS was directly sponsored by the US government (via USAID) in 2002, after which it became openly critical of Russia's new President Putin (surprise!). This fact alone establishes Nemtsov and SPS as agents of Western efforts to destabilize Russia and therefore not representative of any significant section of the Russian people. Indeed, in the 2003 election, the SPS failed to reach even the 5% threshold needed to enter parliament. Realizing real politics wasn't for him, Nemtsov decided to try his hand at legalized money laundering banking, joining Neftyanoi Bank which, with Nemtsov as director, was investigated and shut down in 2005 for money laundering and fraud. In 2004, he joined the Ukrainian government of Mister-US-backed-Orange-Revolution Victor Yushenko, as an 'economic adviser'. He was kicked out of the job in 2006 because of complaints from cabinet members that he was criticizing their decisions. Nemtsov formed the political opposition movement Solidarnost (Solidarity) in December 2008. Solidarnost attempted to unite the disparate and, frankly, pathetic opposition groups in Russia. Without US-government funding to Solidarnost this time via NED etc. (USAID was finally kicked out of Russia in 2012), it's unlikely that it would still be operating. Nemtsov became a prominent face of the 'opposition' from 2011 to early 2012 when he and his 'uncivil society' friends attended a super-covert meeting at the US embassy in Moscow shortly after Michael McFaul had been appointed US ambassador. Unfortunately for the erstwhile 'oppositionists,' several TV crews were waiting for them and asked them the obvious question: "Why are you visiting the new US ambassador?" In 2011, the real US government Brookings Institution published a report that called on the US Senate to confirm McFaul as ambassador, and extolled McFaul's merits in 'democracy promotion' (i.e. plotting coups) and meeting with 'civil society' representatives in Russia (i.e. paying coup plotters).
Washington Post, Syrian fighter group that got U.S. missiles dissolves after major defeat, Liz Sly, March 1, 2015. The first Syrian rebel group to be given U.S. weapons collapsed Sunday after losing control of its headquarters to Syria’s main al-Qaeda affiliate, further complicating American-led efforts to counter the rise of extremism in Syria. The rout of Harakat Hazm, whose name means Steadfastness Movement, culminated months of clashes with the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra in which the moderate group first was pushed from its main headquarters in the northern Syrian province of Idlib and then was ousted Sunday from its new base in the province of Aleppo. After losing this latest battle, Hazm said in a statement circulated on social media that the movement had been dissolved “in an effort to halt the bloodshed” and that surviving members would be absorbed into a new rebel coalition called the Shamiyah Front. Nusra fighters boasted on Twitter that they had seized control of U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles and other American aid provided to Hazm when they overran the rebels’ headquarters in the town of Atarib in the province of Aleppo. The claims could not be verified, and American supplies of weaponry to moderate rebels in northern Syria had in any case been scaled back in recent months since the battles with Nusra began. The collapse comes as the Pentagon embarks on a new effort to train moderate rebels to fight the Islamic State, a different extremist group that is at odds with Jabhat al-Nusra and has severed ties with al-Qaeda. Hazm, which once claimed to have 5,000 fighters, had received U.S. weapons under a separate covert program launched last year by the CIA that was intended to bolster moderate rebels and put pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to compromise with the opposition.
Zero Hedge, The Stage Is Set For The Syrian Invasion, Tyler Durden, Feb. 26, 2015. One week ago, when reporting on the latest bizarre plan presented by the Pentagon, namely providing Syrian rebels (but only the moderate ones, not the jihadists like al Nusra, or, well, ISIS) with B-1B Bomber air support in their attacks on ISIS, when we wrote that this "means in the coming weeks and months look forward to a surge in false flag "attacks" blamed on the Assad regime, aiming to give Obama validation to expand the "War against ISIS" to include Syria's regime as well." We didn't have long to wait: in an entirely unsourced Time article written today by Aryn Baker, the Middle East Bureau Chief, the stage for the second attempt at invading Assad regime is finally set. The article, titled "Why Bashar Assad Won’t Fight ISIS" is essentially an essay that, as the title suggests "proves" that the Syrian leader is, in fact, quite close with ISIS and derives strategic benefits from his relationship, which is why he won't attack them, and thus by implication is just as bad as ISIS and worthy of America's wrath. Actually, the "Americans" see ISIS as the perfect false flag placeholder to build up yet another case about invading Damascus, after the humiliation of the bumbled attempt to use a doctored YouTube clip showing paid actors following what the CIA guaranteed was an Assad "chemical weapon" attack as a pretext to launch an invasion on Syria in the first attempt to topple Assad. It took an escalation that involved numerous Russian ships side by side with US cruisers in the Mediterranean before John Kerry realized that building Qatar's natural gas pipeline to Europe is not worth rising World War III over, and promptly backed off. This time, ISIS is the bait.
BBC, Syria conflict: BBC exclusive interview with President Bashar al-Assad, Feb. 10, 2015. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has defended his government's actions in the region since the uprising against his rule, which erupted in 2011. In an exclusive interview with the BBC's Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen, Mr Assad denied that his forces had dropped barrel bombs indiscriminately on rebel-held areas, killing thousands of civilians, and dismissed as propaganda a statement by the UN that his government often blocks access to besieged areas for relief organisations. The Syrian leader also denied that there was a direct dialogue with the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State but confirmed that "general messages" were sometimes passed via third parties.
AFP via Yahoo! News, Rebel deminers comb Ukraine battleground town, Stéphane Jourdain, March 1, 2015. A week since pro-Russian rebels forced Ukrainian soldiers from the key transport hub of Debaltseve, the sound of explosions still reverberates around the eastern town. This, however, is not the boom of artillery fire and combat -- it is teams of Cossack deminers [sappers] from the separatist side blowing up mines and unexploded ordnance littering this war-scarred railway junction.
Justice Integrity Project, 'Presidential Puppetry' Discussion Examined Civic Mysteries, Propaganda, Andrew Kreig, March 2, 2015. The NoVa (Northern Virginia) Writers Group hosted me Feb. 28 for a lively public discussion of Presidential Puppetry at the Lorton Library near Washington, DC. The hour-long discussion addressed the mysteries unraveled by the research, their relevance to top news stories today -- and how authors in the audience can beat the odds to bring their own books to public attention.
Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues
Washington Post, Petraeus admits giving documents to mistress, Adam Goldman and Sari Horwitz, March 3, 2015. The former CIA director will plead guilty to a misdemeanor and will likely not face prison time. The deal, if approved by a judge, will spare Petraeus a prison sentence and allow him to avoid a trial that probably would have revealed details of his relationship with his former mistress and biographer, who had been provided the highly sensitive documents. As part of the agreement, Petraeus admitted improperly retaining a number of bound notebooks that contained classified information and giving them to the biographer, Paula Broadwell, according to documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte, N.C.
For more on the Petraeus story, see also Intercept, Dianne Feinstein, Strong Advocate Of Leak Prosecutions, Demands Immunity For David Petraeus by Glenn Greenwald; Attorney General Eric Holder to Decide Whether to Charge David Petraeus with Violating Espionage Act by Kevin Gosztola; and Prosecutors Said To Recommend Charges Against Former Gen. David Petraeus by Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo.
FireDogLake, More on Hillary Clinton’s Use of Personal Email Account at State Department, Peter Van Buren, March 3, 2015. The 2016 presidential race just got a lot more interesting with the revelation that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton conducted all official business using a personal email account on her own web domain. Here’s what happened, and why it matters. A lot. Hillary Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, violating federal regulations that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record and thus subject to Freedom of Information Act and Congressional requests. The most basic reason this all matters is because it is the law. As Secretary of State, Clinton was required to maintain her emails as official records. She did not. It also matters because Clinton’s email actions were deliberate, and included an effort to hide what she was doing.
WWL (New Orleans) via LewRockwell.com, Video Exonerates Man Set Up By Louisiana Cops And Prosecutors, Chuck Ross, March 3, 2015. If not for cell phone video, 47-year-old disabled veteran Douglas Dendinger could be going to prison — because of an apparent coordinated effort by Washington Parish, La. cops and prosecutors who falsely accused him of battery and witness intimidation. As New Orleans’ WWL reports, Dendinger’s two-year nightmare began on Aug. 20, 2012, when he was paid $50 to serve a court summons on behalf of his nephew against Bogalusa police officer Chad Cassard in a police brutality lawsuit. Dendinger handed Cassard a white envelope containing the documents and says he went on his way. But 20 minutes later, police showed up to Dendinger’s house and arrested him. He was put in jail on charges of simple battery, obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness. Two of those charges are felonies, and a prior cocaine conviction on Dendinger’s record threatened to land him in jail for a long time as a repeat offender. But Dendinger was confident that a mistake had been made and that he would be released without cause since two prosecutors and several police officers had seen him hand over the summons peacefully. But that’s not what happened.