Saudi Wahhabi Preacher Issues Fatwa Allowing Jihadis to Rape Syrian Women

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A Wahhabi religious cleric in Saudi Arabia, Muhammed al-Arifi, who is very influential in Jihadi circles, has recently issued a fatwa (religious edict) that permits all Jihadist militants in Syria to engage in short-lived marriages with Syrian women that each lasts for a few hours in order to satisfy their sexual desires and boost their determination in killing Syrians. He called the marriage as 'intercourse marriage'. It requires that the Syrian female be at least 14 years old, widowed, or divorced.

Al-Arifi has videos on YouTube of him advocating the killing of infidels or nonbelievers by smashing their skulls and severing their limbs (http://youtu.be/cQvkEzH4SQo) and the beating of women (http://youtu.be/YpJJ31HdB50).

Source: Lebanese al-Jadeed TV

West Pours Arms into Syria as Al Qaeda Mass Slaughters Civilians


West fueling deadly conflict that has allegedly killed 70,000.

February 24, 2013 (LD) - Repeat a lie often enough, and hopefully people will begin to believe it. That is what a concerted effort by Western media houses hopes to achieve as they claim the recent flow of heavy weapons from Western nations and their Arab-Israeli partners is boosting "moderate rebels" and "tilting" the balance of Syria's conflict against the Syrian government.

The Washington Post in particular, sets the tempo for this coordinated propaganda campaign, claiming in their report, "In Syria, new influx of weapons to rebels tilts the battle against Assad," that:

A surge of rebel advances in Syria is being fueled at least in part by an influx of heavy weaponry in a renewed effort by outside powers to arm moderates in the Free Syrian Army, according to Arab and rebel officials.The report also states:

The officials declined to identify the source of the newly provided weapons, but they noted that the countries most closely involved in supporting the rebels’ campaign to oust Assad have grown increasingly alarmed at the soaring influence of Islamists over the fragmented rebel movement. They include the United States and its major European allies, along with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two countries most directly involved in supplying the rebels. The Washington Post refuses to use the term, "Al Qaeda," and instead labels the international, Persian Gulf financed, armed, and harbored terror organization as, "radical Islamists." It quotes an unnamed Arab official as saying,:

"If you want to weaken al-Nusra, you do it not by withholding [weapons] but by boosting the other groups."
Al Qaeda and the "Moderates" are One in the Same

Al-Nusra, of course, is Al Qaeda in Syria and is linked directly to the openly Western-created and backed "moderate" opposition. Moaz al-Khatib, leader of the so-called National Coalition, demanded the US take al-Nusra in particular off their list of sanctioned terrorist organizations. In December of 2012, Reuters quoted al-Khatib as saying:

"The decision to consider a party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be reviewed. We might disagree with some parties and their ideas and their political and ideological vision. But we affirm that all the guns of the rebels are aimed at overthrowing the tyrannical criminal regime." In the same article, Reuters would admit:

The United States designated the Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) as a foreign terrorist organisation and said it was trying to hijack the revolt on behalf of al Qaeda in Iraq. While the Washington Post tries to claim Al Qaeda is somehow a separate entity from the "Syrian opposition," the West's own opposition front openly defends and supports Al Qaeda's ongoing violence, which most recently manifested itself in a car bomb targeting scores of civilians, including school children.

As the West simultaneously accuses Saudi Arabia and Qatar (and here) of being the primary financiers of Al Qaeda, it itself has admitted years before the so-called "Syrian uprising" began that it was itself funding and arming extremist groups with direct ties to Al Qaeda with the goal of fostering the very violence now taking place in Syria and along its peripheries. The purpose of now repeatedly lying about arming only "moderate" militants in Syria, is to cover up both past admissions that the West planned to overthrow both Syria and neighboring Iran by arming and funding Al Qaeda since at least 2007, as well as obvious evidence that they are in fact doing just that in Syria now.


Image: (Left) The US Army West Point Combating Terrorism Center's 2007 report, "Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq" indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into Iraq came from. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr in Syria's southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar'a (Daraa) in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right) A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of so-called "pro-democracy fighters." The Washington Post now claims that arming militants near Dar'a (Daraa) will help keep weapons out of extremists' hands, despite the US Army long-ago identifying it as one of many Al Qaeda hotbeds.

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US Admissions to Arming Al Qaeda in Syria as Early as 2007

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled, "To Check Syria, U.S. Explores Bond With Muslim Brothers" which stated:

On a humid afternoon in late May, about 100 supporters of Syria's largest exile opposition group, the National Salvation Front, gathered outside Damascus's embassy here to protest Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule. The participants shouted anti-Assad slogans and raised banners proclaiming: "Change the Regime Now."Later in the article, it would be revealed that the National Salvation Front (NSF) was in contact with the US State Department and that a Washington-based consulting firm in fact assisted the NSF in organizing the rally:

In the weeks before the presidential election, the State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative, which promotes regional democracy, and NSF members met to talk about publicizing Syria's lack of democracy and low voter turnout, participants say. A Washington-based consulting firm, C&O Resources Inc., assisted the NSF in its planning for the May 26 anti-Assad rally at the Syrian embassy, providing media and political contacts. State Department officials stress they provided no financial or technical support to the protestors.The article then admits:

One of the NSF's most influential members is the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood -- the decades-old political movement active across the Middle East whose leaders have inspired the terrorist groups Hamas and al Qaeda. Its Syrian offshoot says it has renounced armed struggle in favor of democratic reform.

Also in 2007, reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, "The Redirection," it was stated (emphasis added):


"To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda." Hersh's report would continue by stating:


"the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations." -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)Further admissions of a joint US-Israeli-Saudi conspiracy against Syria included:

"...[Saudi Arabia's] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s whothey throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007) In regards to sectarian extremism in particular it was forewarned that:

"Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites" -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)

While the Western media now concedes that Al Qaeda is playing a primary role in Syria's violence, it not only is pretending as if open, and repeated admissions by US, Saudi, and Lebanese officials as far back as 2007 to organize and arm Al Qaeda in the first place never happened, it continuously attempts to frame Al Qaeda as being somehow separate, even opposed to "moderate rebels" - despite these "moderates" defending and embracing Al Qaeda's al-Nusra front by name.

However, the West most certainly did organize, arm, and fund Al Qaeda ahead of the so-called "uprising," and for each time the Washington Post, CNN, the BBC, the Guardian, or any other corporate-financier propaganda organization attempts to repeat lies regarding the West's role in fomenting Syria's current crisis, the truth must likewise be repeated.

The West with its Israeli, Saudi, and Qatari partners, created and have since fueled Al Qaeda for over 3 decades using them both as the ultimate casus belli and as an inexhaustible mercenary force from Mali, Algeria, and Libya, to Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. Al Qaeda linked extremists are finding themselves a lynchpin in the West's geopolitical agenda even as far as Southeast Asia where so-called "fundamentalist" groups are linking up with Wall Street's proxy Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia.

Ultimately, the Washington Post concedes that terrorists are failing in Syria, and that even with the influx of heavy weapons, regime change may still be a far fetched goal. By matching the West's repeated lies, with the repeated truth, we can prevent the attempted rewriting of the West's admitted and shameful role in creating this 2-year long bloodbath as far back as 2007. Similarly, we must identify the corporate-financier interests driving this agenda - interests we most likely patronize on a daily basis, and both boycott and permanently replace them to erode the unwarranted influence they have used to both plan and execute this assault on Syria's people.

Syrian rebels use a child to behead a prisoner


Extensive and horrifying footage of an incident in which two men are executed by beheading in which a child participates now comes from two different sources.

Footage posted to YouTube by Voice of America Arabic (Radio Sawa) anchor and journalist Zaid Benjamin, shows a child hacking a prisoner’s neck with a machete. Unsurprisingly, the video is being constantly pulled from YouTube due to its shocking and disgusting content.
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child beheading prisoner

The footage from Zaid Benjamin shows rebels displaying the man’s severed head while chanting “Allahu Akbar.”

The camera then shows two bodies with the heads being placed on them.

Zaid Benjamin says he was given the video by a commander in Homs.

The two victims are allegedly “Alawite Officers in Homs Believed to Be Behind Hola Massacre.” (Highly unlikely of course). It is also claimed that this video dates from 9 December.

In fact, different footage of the same incident was previously shown on 26 November on Sama TV (A Syrian channel) as part of a segment which demonstrated the difference between Turkish propaganda on the Syrian conflict and the actual reality.

The footage shown by Sama was edited to remove the most graphic content, but shows more of the background to the incident. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigade involved is apparently the Khalid ibn al-Waleed brigade.

Here are some stills:

To begin with we see two middle-aged men who are seated between their captors in handcuffs:
prior to execution
However, the prisoners (who are not identified) are then beaten and taken out into the street by a group of men and the boy. Some men start asking to stop filming. One guy even mentions that they have already executed 80 other men. The FSA then asks people who cannot tolerate gruesome acts to back off.

The prisoners are led to their execution
The prisoners are led to their execution
One of the men is forced to the ground and a breeze-block is put under his head.

The man is forced to the ground
The first man is forced to the ground
We see the child getting ready to strike the prisoner. As is often the case in Syria, there is more than one person filming the incident on a mobile.
child execution second camera

It is the child who strikes the first blow with a machete.

The second man is then beheaded by an adult. Another man hacks at the first victim’s head repeatedly as the boy did not cut it off completely. Then the child poses with a gun over the body of one of the victims who has his severed head placed on his torso.
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boy posing by decapitated body


It has long been known that the rebels in Homs have executed large numbers of their prisoners as reported in Spiegel Online in March when one rebel brigade estimated they had killed 200-250.

Yesterday, in our article on the widespread use of child soldiers by Syrian rebels we said,

“From watching footage from rebel media it is clear some rebels are making a special effort to bring very young, impressionable children to their sectarian, jihadi ideology.”

Well, apparently they aren’t content with that, and the use of a child as an executioner marks a new low.

One can only hope that media and public opinion might dissuade the likes of Barack Obama, Recep Erdogen and David Cameron from continuing to support these terrorists.

December 10, 2012
SOURCE | http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2012/12/10/syrian-rebels-use-a-child-to-behead-a-prisoner/

Syrian rebel commander in organ eating video


May 14, 2013
You have to wonder to what levels of depravity Syrian rebels have to descend to in order to fall out of favour with western leaders, and the CIA and other intelligence agencies which have been supplying them large quantities of weapons.

Sectarian insurgents have used the equipment kindly supplied by friendly governments to video themselves murdering prisoners and unarmed civilians, using child soldiers, using a child to behead a prisoner, using massive car bombs in civilian areas, using prisoners as unwitting suicide bombers,declaring their support for Al Qaeda, beheading children, brainwashing children to sing songs in praise of Bin Laden, promising to commit genocide, using chemical weapons (according to a UN spokesperson), and now – cutting out and eating the heart of a dead soldier.

Embedded below is the infamous video, apparently of Khalid al-Hamad aka ‘Abu Sakkar’ of the independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade, cutting out the organs of a slain Syrian Army soldier.

Viewer discretion advised – although the image has been blurred.

It is, of course, a war crime to desecrate a corpse.

The rebel says “I swear to God, soldiers of Bashar, you dogs — we will eat your heart and livers! Takbir! God is Great! Oh my heroes of Baba Amr, you slaughter the Alawites and take their hearts out to eat them!”

The action is clearly motivated by sectarian hatred against the Alawites, which is an aggravating factor.
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Just two days ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking to reporters at the White House, said “We will double non-lethal support to the Syrian opposition in the coming year. Armoured vehicles, body armour and power generators are about to be shipped.”

It is interesting this particular video has gone viral, whereas worse ones, including one of rebels beheading a child, have not. Possibly, the recent attack by the US National Security State onAssociated Press has hit a few raw nerves – and corporate media is giving the White House a little reminder of their power to influence perceptions. Or perhaps, Russia and the USA have finally come to an understanding to bring the Syrian bloodshed to an end.

In any case, the hope is that this video of Abu Sakkar, in all its depravity, will open the eyes of the citizens of the west to the incredible harm that is being done to the people of Syria by western leaders in illegally arming, financing and giving political support to a violent, sectarian, extremist insurgency in that country.

The ‘Halfaya bakery massacre’


The main elements of the Halfaya bakery massacre reported by news agency Reuters, CNN, Al Arabiya and other media channels, are that Syrian MIG jets bombed a bakery in Halfaya killing more than a hundred (CNN) and at least 300 (Al Arabiya) people.

al arabiya
On 23 December, the prime mover of the Halfaya massacre story at CNN was Saudi-born Mohammed Jamjoom who has recently moved to the CNN Beirut bureau:

The evidence for the story are witness statements and video footage provided by ‘activists’ (and in the case of CNN the, probably inadvertent, use of imagery from a terrorist car bombing in Baghdad which happened on the same day).

The story of the Halfaya massacre on the CNN website relies on the account of activist, eye-witness and amateur cameraman, Hassan Al Rajb. As CNN report:
“From 200 metres away I could see corpses as I walked towards the bakery. Bodies piled on top of one another, There are no words to describe it.”
Al-Rajb said the town has three bakeries, and one opened at 1 p.m. Workers began to distribute the bread two hours later. He was on his roof about 200 meters (about 219 yards) from the bakery about 4 p.m. and saw a plane overhead. He scrambled toward the scene when he heard cries of “Emergency! Emergency!” he said.
“The first floor collapsed on the second floor, and four rockets were fired into it,” he said of the attack.
Al Rajb who says he was one of the first on the scene filmed this video.
CNN are showing a cut down version of Al Rajb’s footage. However, the full footage shot by Al Rajb is on YouTube.
If you look at 1:03 on the CNN video and at 0:34 on the video below (CAUTION GRAPHIC CONTENT) you can see that this is the same footage. CNN have edited out the first 32 seconds which show the cameraman Al Rajb’s contention that he walked to the bakery from his home is undermined by the fact the cameraman arrives on the back of a pickup truck with other people shouting Allahu Akbar:

The bombing and coverage of Halfaya coincides with the visit of Lakhdar Brahimi to the Syrian capital on a peace mission. The story has, of course, been reported worldwide and official statements have been made by the French and UK governments, but the official story seems, in part at least, to be based on flawed evidence.
Halfaya is a town in Hama which recently fell after a long battle to a combination of rebel battalions including the al-Farouq Brigades, the Brigade of the Martyr Muhammad Mahdi al-Siyyadi, the Brigade of Ibn al-Khattab and Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front which has recently been declared a terrorist organisation by the US State Department).
The footage uploaded to YouTube shows the results of an explosion outside a two-story building. There are at least five cameramen on the site who are recording the action. The number of bodies shown in the footage at the scene is around a dozen, mainly gathered around the rear of a pick-up truck parked just outside the building. An attempt is made to move this pick-up truck despite the dead and injured lying just behind it, but it looks as if the tyres have burst in the explosion:
pickup by building with bodies
From the footage it is clear a similar number of people are injured, some seriously and some walking wounded. The initial evidence that the building is a bakery rested on the statements of ‘activists’ and photographs of a bloodied loaf of bread. Some of the video footage, which evidence suggests may have been taken by a Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda) cameraman, actually shows someone throwing fresh bread onto a pool of blood on the road:
bread halfaya
bread thrown in floor
The balcony of the building in front of which the bodies lie has collapsed on people below, so that a large amount of rubble and concrete blocks have fallen over the victims. The pickup truck is parked right up against one of the doors of the building. A small crater is a few feet behind the pick-up truck and the explosion looks to have thrown earth and some of the victims inwards towards the building.
pickup rubble building
There are a number of explanations for the explosion – the most likely being a rocket. If this was an airstrike then, given the presence of large numbers of rebels in the area with cameras, it seems likely any plane will have been filmed.
image054
Almost all of the bodies appear to be of men of fighting age, although there is a body in what may be woman’s clothing and at least two of the survivors are women, including one who is carried away from the scene and another who is helped away. Some of the casualties are wearing military attire. It takes about 8 minutes to clear the site of the bodies and the wounded and the widespread reports of a hundred or more casualties are not backed up by the video footage available.
Photos released onto Facebook (without EXIF data) show queues of people, segregated by sex, outside this same building on a rainy day, which lends support to the contention this was a bakery. However, photographs of the inside of the building have not yet been produced nor have photos of the scene (on a dry day) before the explosion happened. If this building is a bakery then it should be pointed out to the rebel brigades responsible that, if protecting civilians is the aim, flying what looks like the Jabat al Nusrah/Al Qaeda flag from its rooftop is not a good idea.
The use of the word “activist” in describing propagandists working for the various brigades is widespread and may give unwarranted credence to their propaganda. Any serious journalist should be well aware of the fact that these ‘activists’ using advanced communications equipment, provided by the US and UK, are producing rebel propaganda which needs to be very carefully examined as to its factual content.
Update 22/01/2013: Intrepid freelance war reporter Kurt Pelda managed to reach Halfaya and reportfrom the scene. His report adds some interesting elements to the story
1) According to Pelda’s report the building is in fact the Halfaya town hall (‘rathaus’), albeit he says there was a bakery on the ground floor.
2) Pelda confirms the presence of black flags with the shahada on them on the roof and claims the rebels hold some responsibility for what happened by putting their military symbols on a civilian building.
3) The report shows damage to the roof of the town hall (damage which can be seen on footage at the scene) and a witness claims four rockets were fired from a plane ‘hitting in a line.’
4) A map showing the apparent hits does not support the contention the hits are in line.
5) A man described as a ‘Sanitäter’ (paramedic/medical orderly) claims there were 115 dead, 100 of whom were identified and 70 seriously wounded.
6) Pelda reports ‘about 100′ fresh graves in the town’s cemetary.
So who are these people and under what circumstances were they killed? Undoubtedly, some of them (almost all men) were killed outside the town hall. But the video evidence, the presence of the deeply sectarian, Jabhat al-Nusrah in Halfiya at this time, the record of the rebels with regard to civilians believed to belong to the Alawi sect and the presence on the scene of a rebel brigade leader who is on video aiming unguided rockets in the general direction of a nearby majority-Christian town all raise serious questions and demand further investigation.
It is, of course, be a crime to affix military insignia to a civilian building such as a bakery: as theRules of War state:
Rule 24. Each party to the conflict must, to the extent feasible, remove civilian persons and objects under its control from the vicinity of military objectives.
Update 27/01 According to reports on Syrian TV, the rebels have left Halfaya due to the efforts of the SAA, and residents who fled have returned to their homes.
Text updated 03/01 and 27/01 due to information received
December 25, 2012 

Excuse Me, But Israel Has No Right To Exist


By Sharmine Narwani  |  17-05-2012 | English Al-Akhbar

The phrase “right to exist” entered my consciousness in the 1990s just as the concept of the two-state solution became part of our collective lexicon. In any debate at university, when a Zionist was out of arguments, those three magic words were invoked to shut down the conversation with an outraged, “are you saying Israel doesn’t have the right to exist??”

Of course you couldn’t challenge Israel’s right to exist – that was like saying you were negating a fundamental Jewish right to have…rights, with all manner of Holocaust guilt thrown in for effect.

Except of course the Holocaust is not my fault – or that of Palestinians. The cold-blooded program of ethnically cleansing Europe of its Jewish population has been so callously and opportunistically utilized to justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arab nation, that it leaves me utterly unmoved. I have even caught myself – shock - rolling my eyes when I hear Holocaust and Israel in the same sentence.

What moves me instead in this post-two-state era, is the sheer audacity of Israel even existing.

What a fantastical idea, this notion that a bunch of rank outsiders from another continent could appropriate an existing, populated nation for themselves – and convince the “global community” that it was the moral thing to do. I’d laugh at the chutzpah if this wasn’t so serious.

Even more brazen is the mass ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population by persecuted Jews, newly arrived from their own experience of being ethnically cleansed.

But what is truly frightening is the psychological manipulation of the masses into believing that Palestinians are somehow dangerous – “terrorists” intent on “driving Jews into the sea.” As someone who makes a living through words, I find the use of language in creating perceptions to be intriguing. This practice – often termed “public diplomacy” has become an essential tool in the world of geopolitics. Words, after all, are the building blocks of our psychology.

Take, for example, the way we have come to view the Palestinian-Israeli “dispute” and any resolution of this enduring conflict. And here I borrow liberally from a previous article of mine…

The United States and Israel have created the global discourse on this issue, setting stringent parameters that grow increasingly narrow regarding the content and direction of this debate. Anything discussed outside the set parameters has, until recently, widely been viewed as unrealistic, unproductive and even subversive.

Participation in the debate is limited only to those who prescribe to its main tenets: the acceptance of Israel, its regional hegemony and its qualitative military edge; acceptance of the shaky logic upon which the Jewish state's claim to Palestine is based; and acceptance of the inclusion and exclusion of certain regional parties, movements and governments in any solution to the conflict.

Words like dove, hawk, militant, extremist, moderates, terrorists, Islamo-fascists, rejectionists, existential threat, holocaust-denier, mad mullah determine the participation of solution partners -- and are capable of instantly excluding others.

Then there is the language that preserves "Israel's Right To Exist" unquestioningly: anything that invokes the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the myths about historic Jewish rights to the land bequeathed to them by the Almighty – as though God was in the real-estate business. This language seeks not only to ensure that a Jewish connection to Palestine remains unquestioned, but importantly, seeks to punish and marginalize those who tackle the legitimacy of this modern colonial-settler experiment.

But this group-think has led us nowhere. It has obfuscated, distracted, deflected, ducked, and diminished, and we are no closer to a satisfactory conclusion…because the premise is wrong.

There is no fixing this problem. This is the kind of crisis in which you cut your losses, realize the error of your ways and reverse course. Israel is the problem. It is the last modern-day colonial-settler experiment, conducted at a time when these projects were being unraveled globally.

There is no “Palestinian-Israeli conflict” – that suggests some sort of equality in power, suffering, and negotiable tangibles, and there is no symmetry whatsoever in this equation. Israel is the Occupier and Oppressor; Palestinians are the Occupied and Oppressed. What is there to negotiate? Israel holds all the chips. They can give back some land, property, rights, but even that is an absurdity – what about everything else? What about ALL the land, property and rights? Why do they get to keep anything – how is the appropriation of land and property prior to 1948 fundamentally different from the appropriation of land and property on this arbitrary 1967 date?

Why are the colonial-settlers prior to 1948 any different from those who colonized and settled after 1967?

Let me correct myself. Palestinians do hold one chip that Israel salivates over – the one big demand at the negotiating table that seems to hold up everything else. Israel craves recognition of its “right to exist.”

But you do exist - don’t you, Israel?

Israel fears “delegitimization” more than anything else. Behind the velvet curtain lies a state built on myths and narratives, protected only by a military behemoth, billions of dollars in US assistance and a lone UN Security Council veto. Nothing else stands between the state and its dismantlement. Without these three things, Israelis would not live in an entity that has come to be known as the “least safe place for Jews in the world.”

Strip away the spin and the gloss, and you quickly realize that Israel doesn’t even have the basics of a normal state. After 64 years, it doesn’t have borders. After six decades, it has never been more isolated. Over half a century later, and it needs a gargantuan military just to stop Palestinians from walking home.

Israel is a failed experiment. It is on life-support – pull those three plugs and it is a cadaver, living only in the minds of some seriously deluded foreigners who thought they could pull off the heist of the century.

The most important thing we can do as we hover on the horizon of One State is to shed the old language rapidly. None of it was real anyway – it was just the parlance of that particular “game.” Grow a new vocabulary of possibilities – the new state will be the dawn of humanity’s great reconciliation. Muslims, Christians and Jews living together in Palestine as they once did.

Naysayers can take a hike. Our patience is wearing thinner than the walls of the hovels that Palestinian refugees have called “home” for three generations in their purgatory camps.

These universally exploited refugees are entitled to the nice apartments – the ones that have pools downstairs and a grove of palm trees outside the lobby. Because the kind of compensation owed for this failed western experiment will never be enough.

And no, nobody hates Jews. That is the fallback argument screeched in our ears – the one “firewall” remaining to protect this Israeli Frankenstein. I don’t even care enough to insert the caveats that are supposed to prove I don’t hate Jews. It is not a provable point, and frankly, it is a straw man of an argument. If Jews who didn’t live through the Holocaust still feel the pain of it, then take that up with the Germans. Demand a sizeable plot of land in Germany – and good luck to you.

For anti-Semites salivating over an article that slams Israel, ply your trade elsewhere – you are part of the reason this problem exists.

Israelis who don’t want to share Palestine as equal citizens with the indigenous Palestinian population – the ones who don’t want to relinquish that which they demanded Palestinians relinquish 64 years ago - can take their second passports and go back home. Those remaining had better find a positive attitude – Palestinians have shown themselves to be a forgiving lot. The amount of carnage they have experienced at the hands of their oppressors – without proportional response – shows remarkable restraint and faith.

This is less the death of a Jewish state than it is the demise of the last remnants of modern-day colonialism. It is a rite of passage – we will get through it just fine. At this particular precipice in the 21st century, we are all, universally, Palestinian – undoing this wrong is a test of our collective humanity, and nobody has the right to sit this one out.

Israel has no right to exist. Break that mental barrier and just say it: “Israel has no right to exist.” Roll it around your tongue, tweet it, post it as your Facebook status update – do it before you think twice. Delegitimization is here – have no fear. Palestine will be less painful than Israel ever was.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter@snarwani.

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Why was a Sunday Times report on US government ties to al-Qaeda chief spiked?

FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds was described as "the most gagged person in the history of the United States" by the American Civil Liberties Union. Was the Sunday Times pressured to drop its investigation into her revelations?

Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2013 

By 
Sibel Edmonds - Ceasefire Magazine
A whistleblower has revealed extraordinary information on the U.S. government’s support for international terrorist networks and organised crime. The government has denied the allegations yet gone to extraordinary lengths to silence her. Her critics have derided her as a fabulist and fabricator. But now comes word that some of her most serious allegations were confirmed by a major European newspaper only to be squashed at the request of the U.S. government.
In a recent  book Classified Woman, Sibel Edmonds, a former translator for the FBI, describes how the Pentagon, CIA and State Department maintained intimate ties to al-Qaeda militants as late as 2001. Her memoir, Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, published last year, charged senior government officials with negligence, corruption and collaboration with al Qaeda in illegal arms smuggling and drugs trafficking in Central Asia.
In interviews with this author in early March, Edmonds claimed that Ayman al-Zawahiri, current head of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s deputy at the time, had innumerable, regular meetings at the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, with U.S. military and intelligence officials between 1997 and 2001, as part of an operation known as ‘Gladio B’. Al-Zawahiri, she charged, as well as various members of the bin Laden family and other mujahideen, were transported on NATO planes to various parts of Central Asia and the Balkans to participate in Pentagon-backed destabilisation operations.
According to two Sunday Times journalists speaking on condition of anonymity, this and related revelations had been confirmed by senior Pentagon and MI6 officials as part of a four-part investigative series that were supposed to run in 2008. The Sunday Times journalists described how the story was inexplicably dropped under the pressure of undisclosed “interest groups”, which, they suggest, were associated with the U.S. State Department.
Shooting the Messenger
Described by the American Civil Liberties Union as the “most gagged person in the history of the United States of America,” Edmonds studied criminal justice, psychology and public policy at  George Washington and George Mason universities. Two weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, her fluency in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani earned her an FBI contract at the Washington DC field office. She was tasked with translating highly classified intelligence from operations against terrorism suspects in and outside the U.S..
In the course of her work, Edmonds became privy to evidence that U.S. military and intelligence agencies were collaborating with Islamist militants affiliated with al-Qaeda, the very forces blamed for the 9/11 attacks – and that officials in the FBI were covering up the evidence. When Edmonds complained to her superiors, her family was threatened by one of the subjects of her complaint, and she was fired. Her accusations of espionage against her FBI colleagues were eventually investigated by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, which did not give details about the allegations as they remained classified.
Although no final conclusions about the espionage allegations were reached, the Justice Departmentconcluded that many of Edmonds’ accusations “were supported, that the FBI did not take them seriously enough and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI’s decision to terminate her services.”
When she attempted to go public with her story in 2002, and again in 2004, the U.S. government silenced Edmonds by invoking a legal precedent known as “state secrets privilege” – a near limitless power to quash a lawsuit based solely on the government’s claim that evidence or testimony could divulge information that might undermine “national security.” Under this doctrine, the government sought to retroactively classify basic information concerning Edmonds’s case already in the public record, including, according to the New York Times, “what languages Ms. Edmonds translated, what types of cases she handled, and what employees she worked with, officials said. Even routine and widely disseminated information — like where she worked — is now classified.”
Although certainly not the first invocation of “state secrets privilege”, since the Edmonds case the precedent has been used repeatedly in the post-9/11 era under both the Bush and Obama administrations to shield the U.S. government from court scrutiny of rendition, torture, warrantless wiretapping, as well as the President’s claimed war powers.
Other intelligence experts agree that Edmonds had stumbled upon a criminal conspiracy at the heart of the American judicial system. In her memoirs, she recounts that FBI Special Agent Gilbert Graham, who also worked in the Washington field office on counter-intelligence operations, told her over a coffee how he “ran background checks on federal judges” in the “early nineties for the bureau… If we came up with shit – skeletons in their closets – the Justice Department kept it in their pantry to be used against them in the future or to get them to do what they want in certain cases – cases like yours.”A redacted version of Graham’s classified protected disclosure to the Justice Department regarding these allegations, released in 2007, refers to the FBI’s “abuse of authority” by conducting illegal wiretapping to obtain information on U.S. public officials.
Incubating Terror
Five years ago, Edmonds revealed to the Sunday Times that an unidentified senior U.S. State Department official was on the payroll of Turkish agents in Washington, passing on nuclear and military secrets. “He was aiding foreign operatives against U.S. interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives”, Edmonds told the paper. She reported coming across this information when listening to suppressed phone calls recorded by FBI surveillance, marked by her colleague Melek Can Dickerson as “not pertinent”.
In the Sunday Times exposé, Edmonds described a parallel organisation in Israel cooperating with the Turks on illegal weapons sales and technology transfers. Between them, Israel and Turkey operated a range of front companies incorporated in the U.S. with active “moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions”, supported by U.S. officials, in order to sell secrets to the highest bidder. One of the  buyers was Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) – which often used its Turkish allies, according to the Times, “as a conduit… because they were less likely to attract suspicion.”
The Pakistani operation was, the paper reported,  “led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief” from 1999 to 2001, when the agency helped train, supply and coordinate the Afghan Taliban and gave sanctuary to their Arab allies brought together in the coalition named al-Qaeda. Ahmad, as theTimes noted, “was accused [by the FBI] of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.”
According to Indian intelligence officials, they had assisted the FBI in “tracing and establishing” the financial trail between the General and the chief hijacker. The discovery was, they allege, the real reason behind the General’s sudden retirement in October 2001. The Pakistani daily, The News, reported on 10th September 2001 that the ISI chief held several “mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council” that week, including with CIA director George Tenet.
In an interview with this author in March, Edmonds raised the question of whether U.S. officials’ liaisons with an espionage network overseen by Ahmad, and the FBI’s suppression of related intelligence, played a role in facilitating the attacks.
“Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks”, reported the Sunday Times. The paper related that according to Edmonds, the senior State Department official received a call from a foreign agent under FBI surveillance asking for help to “get them out of the U.S. because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans.” The official promised “he would ‘take care of it’.”
Edmonds told this author that high-level corruption compromised the ability of the U.S. intelligence community to pursue ongoing investigations of those planning the 9/11 attacks. “It was precisely those militants that were incubated by some of America’s key allies”, she said. Corruption helped  guarantee Congressional silence when that incubation strategy backfired in the form of 9/11. “Both Republican and Democratic representatives in the House and Senate came up in FBI counterintelligence investigations for taking bribes from foreign agents”, she said.
Al-Qaeda: Enemy or Asset?
In her interview, Edmonds  insisted that after its initial exposé, the Times‘ investigation had gone beyond such previous revelations, and was preparing to disclose her most startling accusations. Among these, Edmonds described how the CIA and the Pentagon had been running a series of covert operations supporting Islamist militant networks linked to Osama bin Laden right up to 9/11, in Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus.
While it is widely recognised that the CIA sponsored bin Laden’s networks in Afghanistan during the Cold War, U.S. government officials deny any such ties existed. Others claim these ties were real, but were severed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989.
But according to Edmonds, this narrative is false. “Not just bin Laden, but several senior ‘bin Ladens’ were transported by U.S. intelligence back and forth to the region in the late 1990s through to 2001″, she told this author, “including Ayman al-Zawahiri” – Osama bin Laden’s right-hand-man who has taken over as al-Qaeda’s top leader.
“In the late 1990s, all the way up to 9/11, al-Zawahiri and other mujahideen operatives were meeting regularly with senior U.S. officials in the U.S. embassy in Baku to plan the Pentagon’s Balkan operations with the mujahideen,” said Edmonds. “We had support for these operations from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. oversaw and directed them. They were being run from a secret section of the Pentagon with its own office”.
American-Conservative-Nov-2009-Sibel-Edmonds-Ceasefire-MagazineEdmonds clarified, “the FBI counterintelligence investigation which was tracking these targets, along with their links to U.S. officials, was known as ‘Gladio B’, and was kickstarted in 1997. It so happens that Major Douglas Dickerson” – the husband of her FBI co-worker Melek whom she accused of espionage – “specifically directed the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio’ operations in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan at this time.”
In testimony under oath, Edmonds has previously confirmed that Major Doug Dickerson worked for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the weapons procurement logistics division on Turkey and Central Asia, and with the Office of Special Plans (OSP) overseeing policy in Central Asia.
Gladio B
Edmonds said that the Pentagon operations with Islamists were an “extension” of an original ‘Gladio’ programme uncovered in the 1970s in Italy, part of an EU-wide NATO covert operation that began as early as the 1940s. As Swiss historian Dr. Daniele Ganser records in his seminal book, NATO’s Secret Armies, an official Italian parliamentary inquiry confirmed that British MI6 and the CIA had established a network of secret “stay-behind” paramilitary armies, staffed by fascist and Nazi collaborators. The covert armies carried out terrorist attacks throughout Western Europe, officially blamed on Communists in what Italian military intelligence called the ‘strategy of tension’.
“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game” explained Gladio operative Vincenzo Vinciguerra during his  trial in 1984. “The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people… to turn to the State to ask for greater security.”
While the reality of Gladio’s existence in Europe is a matter of historical record, Edmonds contended the same strategy was adopted by the Pentagon in the 1990s in a new theatre of operations, namely, Asia. “Instead of using neo-Nazis, they used mujahideen working under various bin Ladens, as well as al-Zawahiri”, she said.
The last publicly known Gladio meeting occurred in NATO’s Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) in Brussels in 1990. While Italy was a focal point for the older European operations, Edmonds said that Turkey and Azerbaijan served as the main conduits for a completely new, different set of operations in Asia using veterans of the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, the so-called “Afghan Arabs” that had been trained by al-Qaeda.
These new Pentagon-led operations were codenamed ‘Gladio B’ by FBI counterintelligence: “In 1997, NATO asked [Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak to release from prison Islamist militants affiliated to Ayman al-Zawahiri [whose role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat led to Mubarak’s ascension]. They were flown under U.S. orders to Turkey for [training and use in] operations by the Pentagon”, she said.
Edmonds’ allegations find some independent corroboration in the public record. The Wall Street Journal refers to a nebulous agreement between Mubarak and “the operational wing of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was then headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri…  Many of that group’s fighters embraced a cease-fire with the government of former President Hosni Mubarak in 1997.”
Youssef Bodansky, former Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, cited U.S. intelligence sources in an article for Defense and Foreign Affairs: Strategic Policy, confirming “discussions between the Egyptian terrorist leader Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and an Arab-American known to have been both an emissary of the CIA and the U.S. Government.” He referred to an “offer” made to al-Zawahiri in November 1997 on behalf of U.S. intelligence, granting his Islamists a free hand in Egypt as long as they lent support to U.S. forces in the Balkans. In 1998, Al Zawahiri’s brother, Muhammed, led an elite unit of the Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbs during the Kosovo conflict – he reportedly had direct contact with NATO leadership.
“This is why”, Edmonds continued in her interview, “even though the FBI routinely monitored the communications of the diplomatic arms of all countries, only four countries were exempt from this protocol – the UK, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Belgium – the seat of NATO. No other country – not even allies like Israel or Saudi Arabia, were exempt. This is because these four countries were integral to the Pentagon’s so-called Gladio B operations.”
Edmonds did not speculate on the objectives of the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio B’ operations, but highlighted the following possibilities: projecting U.S. power in the former Soviet sphere of influence to access previously untapped strategic energy and mineral reserves for U.S. and European companies; pushing back Russian and Chinese power; and expanding the scope of lucrative criminal activities, particularly illegal arms and drugs trafficking.
Terrorism finance expert Loretta Napoleoni estimates the total value of this criminal economy to be about $1.5 trillion annually, the bulk of which “flows into Western economies, where it gets recycled in the U.S. and in Europe” as a “vital element of the cash flow of these economies.”
It is no coincidence then that the opium trade, Edmonds told this author, has grown rapidly under the tutelage of NATO in Afghanistan: “I know for a fact that NATO planes routinely shipped heroin to Belgium, where they then made their way into Europe and to the UK. They also shipped heroin to distribution centres in Chicago and New Jersey. FBI counterintelligence and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) operations had acquired evidence of this drug trafficking in its surveillance of a wide range of targets, including senior officials in the Pentagon, CIA and State Department. As part of this surveillance, the role of the Dickersons – with the support of these senior U.S. officials – in facilitating drug-trafficking, came up. It was clear from this evidence that the whole funnel of drugs, money and terror in Central Asia was directed by these officials.”
The evidence for this funnel, according to Edmonds, remains classified in the form of FBI counterintelligence surveillance records she was asked to translate. Although this alleged evidence has never made it to court due to the U.S. government’s exertion of ‘state secret privilege’, she was able to testify in detail concerning her allegations, including naming names, in 2009.
Censorship
In recent interviews, two Sunday Times journalists confirmed to this author that the newspaper’s investigation based on Sibel Edmonds’ revelations was to break much of the details into the open.
“We’d spoken to several current and active Pentagon officials confirming the existence of U.S. operations sponsoring mujahideen networks in Central Asia from the 1990s to 2001,” said oneSunday Times source. “Those mujahideen networks were intertwined with a whole range of criminal enterprises, including drugs and guns. The Pentagon officials corroborated Edmonds’ allegations against specific U.S. officials, and I’d also interviewed an MI6 officer who confirmed that the U.S. was running these operations sponsoring mujahideen in that period.”
But according to Edmonds, citing the investigative team at the paper, the last two articles in the series were spiked under U.S. State Department pressure. She recalled being told at the time by journalists leading the Sunday Times investigation that the newspaper’s editor had decided to squash the story after receiving calls from officials at the U.S. embassy in London.
A journalist with the Sunday Times‘ investigative unit told this author he had interviewed former Special Agent in Charge, Dennis Saccher, who had moved to the FBI’s Colorado office. Saccher reportedly confirmed the veracity of Edmonds’ allegations of espionage, telling him that Edmonds’ story “should have been front page news” because it was “a scandal bigger than Watergate.” The same journalist confirmed that after interviewing Saccher at his home, the newspaper was contacted by the U.S. State Department. “The U.S. embassy in London called the editor and tried to ward him off. We were told that we weren’t permitted to approach Saccher or any other active FBI agents directly, but could only go through the FBI’s press office – that if we tried to speak to Saccher or anyone else employed by the FBI directly, that would be illegal. Of course, it isn’t, but that’s what we were told. I think this was a veiled threat.”
Saccher’s comments to the journalist never made it to press.
A lead reporter on the series at the Sunday Times told this author that the investigation based on Edmonds’ information was supposed to have four parts, but was inexplicably dropped. “The story was pulled half-way, suddenly, without any warning”, the journalist said. “I wasn’t party to the editorial decision to drop the story, but there was a belief in the office amongst several journalists who were part of the Insight investigative unit that the decision was made under pressure from the U.S. State Department, because the story might cause a diplomatic incident.”
Although the journalist was unaware of where this belief came from – and was not informed of the U.S. embassy’s contact with the paper’s editor which the other journalist was privy to – he acknowledged that self-censorship influenced by unspecified “interest groups” was a possible explanation. “The way the story was dropped was unusual, but the belief amongst my colleagues this happened under political pressure is plausible.” He cryptically described an “editorial mechanism, linked to the paper but not formally part of it, which could however exert control on stories when necessary, linked to certain interests.” When asked which interests, the journalist said, “I can’t say. I can’t talk about that.”
Edmonds described how, due to the U.S. government’s efforts to silence her, she had no option left except to write her story down. The resultant book, Classified Woman, had to be submitted to an FBI panel for review. By law, the bureau was required to make a decision on what could be disclosed  or redacted within 30 days.
Instead, about a year later, Edmonds’ lawyer received a letter from the FBI informing them that the agency was still reviewing the book, and prohibiting her from publishing it: “The matters Ms. Edmonds writes about involve many equities, some of which may implicate information that is classified… Approval of the manuscripts by the FBI will include incorporation of all changes required by the FBI. Until then, Ms. Edmonds does not have approval to publish her manuscripts which includes showing them to editors, literary agents, publishers, reviewers, or anyone else. At this point, Ms. Edmonds remains obligated not to disclose or publish the manuscript in any manner.”
Classified Woman - The Sibel Edmonds Story - Ceasefire MagazineThe block was another example, Edmonds said, “of the abuse of ‘national security’ to conceal evidence of criminality.” She said that this forced her to release the book herself in March 2012, as no publisher would risk taking it on.
Sibel Edmonds memoirs, Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, is available from all good online booksellers.
Dr Nafeez Ahmed writes for The Guardian on the geopolitics of environmental, energy and economic crises at his Earth Insight blog. His personal website is www.nafeezahmed.com.
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