Category: United States


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A 21 year old Bangladeshi man going by the name of Quazi Mohammed Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis has been arrested on terrorism charges after attempting to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank today

At first Nafis drove a van with what he thought was a 1000lb bomb near the building, then walked to a nearby hotel to record a martyrdom video and then phoned a mobile phone designed to detonate the bomb. It failed and Nafis was promptly arrested by the FBI in a sting operation.

Mary Galligan, Acting Assistant Director of the FBI, said “Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure. The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences. It is important to emphasise that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism.”

Although I am happy that this attempt failed and no innocent human being lost their lives, the points emboldened above expose some rather worrying facts.

According to some information released by the FBI Nafis came to the US intending to commit acts of terrorism, attempted to recruit for Al Qaida to assist in carrying out his ambitions in US soil. But one of his recruits tuned out to be a source working for the FBI and it was actually an FBI agent who sold Nafis the material needed to make his fake bomb.

It seems that the FBI, faaar from preventing acts of terror, are actually facilitating acts of terror in order to make arrests. Cases like these should make one question, how many of these ‘Extremist’ Muslims are actually working on behalf of the intelligence services? how many of these intelligence operatives have assisted in radicalising vulnerable Muslims in order to make arrests?

Now as I wrote before, I’m glad this plot failed but let’s not forget reason why the US government is one of the most hated governments in the world. In the past 50 years the US has bombed several countries, invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, governs corrupt institutions like the IMF and World Bank, intervened in many elections throughout the world, supports terrorist states like Israel and also is the #1 arms dealer in the whole world.

If anyone wants to understand why the US is so hated, read William Blum’s Rogue State: A Guide to the Worlds only Superpower

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A Danish ex-biker and Muslim convert claimed he was paid $250,000 (£155,000) by the CIA in exchange for recruiting a European bride as part of an elaborate plot to kill Anwar al-Awlaki.

According to a lengthy report in Denmark, Morten Storm acted as matchmaker for Awlaki, the US-raised al-Qaeda spokesman, and a 32-year-old woman from Zagreb, Croatia, called Aminah, after the latter posted a message on a Facebook page dedicated to the terror leader.

The story is being treated as plausible thanks to video recordings exchanged by Awlaki and his bride-to-be provided by Mr Storm to the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten, along with text messages, travel receipts and a photograph of a suitcase filled with dollar bills.

Regarded as one of al-Qaeda’s most effective propagandists, Yemen-based Awlaki was killed in a CIA drone strike in September last year after Washington accused him of involvement in numerous terror plots.

Mr Storm claims that both the CIA and PET, the Danish intelligence service, were prepared to sacrifice the life of Muslim convert Aminah in pursuit of Awlaki. However the scheme to trap him through his new wife failed and she remains at large in Yemen, reportedly working on Inspire the English-language jihadist magazine her late husband founded.

Already married with two wives, in a 2009 proposal video Mr Storm says he delivered to Aminah, Awlaki was realistic about conditions his third wife would face, if not the risks.

By Alex SpilliusLast Updated: 9:20PM BST 16/10/2012
A Danish ex-biker and Muslim convert claimed he was paid $250,000 (£155,000) by the CIA in exchange for recruiting a European bride as part of an elaborate plot to kill Anwar al-Awlaki.

According to a lengthy report in Denmark, Morten Storm acted as matchmaker for Awlaki, the US-raised al-Qaeda spokesman, and a 32-year-old woman from Zagreb, Croatia, called Aminah, after the latter posted a message on a Facebook page dedicated to the terror leader.

The story is being treated as plausible thanks to video recordings exchanged by Awlaki and his bride-to-be provided by Mr Storm to the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten, along with text messages, travel receipts and a photograph of a suitcase filled with dollar bills.

Regarded as one of al-Qaeda’s most effective propagandists, Yemen-based Awlaki was killed in a CIA drone strike in September last year after Washington accused him of involvement in numerous terror plots.

Mr Storm claims that both the CIA and PET, the Danish intelligence service, were prepared to sacrifice the life of Muslim convert Aminah in pursuit of Awlaki. However the scheme to trap him through his new wife failed and she remains at large in Yemen, reportedly working on Inspire the English-language jihadist magazine her late husband founded.

Already married with two wives, in a 2009 proposal video Mr Storm says he delivered to Aminah, Awlaki was realistic about conditions his third wife would face, if not the risks.

Morten Storm

“I will make a few things clear. Firstly, I don’t live in a fixed location, and therefore my living conditions are varied. Sometimes I live in a tent,” he admitted.

“If you can live in these difficult conditions, and do not mind solitude and restrictions in your communication with the outside world, it is excellent.”

Responding in her own recording, Aminah said: “I feel nervous, this is very awkward for me. I just taped this so you can see how I look.”

Text messages from her to Mr Storm provided to Jyllands-Posten said: “I am ready to die for the sake of Allah”.

Mr Storm claims the CIA gave him a tracking device which was planted in Aminah’s suitcase before she travelled to Yemen.

However after attending a language course for a few weeks in the capital Sana’a, she was instructed by a suspicious Awlaki to leave all her belongings there before travelling to meet him, and the scheme failed.

In earlier interviews, Mr Storm claimed to have supplied information to the CIA which led directly to Awlaki’s death, though he admits the intelligence services dispute that. He went public about his double agent role because he was not rewarded for that fatal assistance.

Aged 36 with a criminal record, Mr Storm formerly lived in Luton, where he enlisted at an Islamic centre and attempted to radicalise members of the community. He has reportedly gone into hiding after receiving death threats from old radical contacts.

Neither the CIA, MI6 nor the Danish intelligence agency PET has publicly commented on Mr Storm’s account.

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By Liz Fekete

On 24 September, as part of a forty-strong delegation of observers, I was in Morocco at the appeal hearing in the Rabat-Salé court of the Belgian-Moroccan dual national, Ali Aarrass. Aarrass’ conviction and fifteen-year sentence on terrorism charges rested solely on evidence extracted under torture. No representatives of the Spanish or Belgian governments were in court that day to observe the appeal of a European citizen, despite both governments’ complicity in his subsequent torture. (Spain had extradited Ali, a resident in Melilla, to Morocco, in contravention of a UN request to stay his removal, while Belgium had done nothing to protect the basic human rights of its citizen.) In a statement after the verdict, which merely upheld the conviction (while reducing the sentence to twelve years), Aarrass’ lawyers pointed out that the judges had ‘failed to maintain even the appearance of a fair hearing. Two of the judges were obviously sleeping, while the presiding judge was consulting his mobile phone.’ Furthermore, Ali Aarrass’s evidence was cut short and he was not allowed to describe the torture he had been subjected to.[1]

Collusion with torture

No words can express the powerlessness I felt in that court, knowing that a man sitting in the same room, in a glass cage, had been tortured, brutalised by appalling acts to sign a confession into crimes he had consistently denied, and was locked in an inhumane system I can only describe as a nighmarish hell. I imagine what I felt was something akin to the sense of personal failure that US death penalty campaigners must feel every time they stand outside a prison, knowing that someone inside has been condemned. So that when I woke up on the morning of 6 October, and heard the news that both Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan had been extradited to the United States of America, after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, had refused, once again, to bring a prosecution against them in the UK, my thoughts immediately turned to the families and legal team of these two British citizens and to the defenders of their basic rights. Like them, I was horrified that our government could send its own citizens to a country in the full knowledge of the living hell they would most probably endure, literally entombed in the special solitary confinement regime of a supermax prison. Here, incarceration is within a concrete single cell with remote-control solid-steel doors designed to cut off all sound and visual contact with others. And punishments are meted out via electric shock devices such as stun guns and cattle prods, restraint chairs and the ‘five-point restraint’ which leaves prisoners ‘strapped to a steel bed and lying in their own waste for up to 48 hours’.[2]

Whether Babar Ahmad, or Talha Ahsan (who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome and is gifted with a unique and surreal poetic mindscape – as recognised by, among others, the Koestler Trust) were guilty of providing material support for terrorism from 1997-2004 and other crimes of conspiracy through their website Azaam.com, should have been a matter for a British court to decide. For Britain is a country which, for as its prime minister now assuredly knows, prides itself on Magna Carta.

No Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseized of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land.

The double standard

The sense of injustice grows when the cases of these three Muslim citizens are juxtaposed to cases of non-Muslim men who have not even been charged with providing material support for terrorism, despite compelling evidence. Many of the Muslims who have been rendered to torture states in the name of the war on terror appeared on the radar of the intelligence services because they were believed, prior to September 11, to have raised funds for or actively supported the ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan (during the Soviet Occupation, or subsequently worked alongside the Taliban), Chechnya (remember the devastating Russian offensive and siege of Grozny), or fought in Bosnia, or aided the resistance to Israeli occupation in the Palestinian Territories.

What of the white/indigenous soldier adventurers of Europe’s far Right, some of whom dabbled in exactly the same asymmetric wars (in their case, on the side of the military powerful), but are not considered pariahs, or extradited to legal black holes as ‘enemy combatants’?

Whilst researching the IRR report Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right I began to see a pattern amongst our intelligence services and police: failure to bring prosecutions against far-right extremists, and even, as is currently being exposed in the ongoing German parliamentary investigation into the National Socialist Underground, collusion with neo-nazis via totally inappropriate informer schemes. I began to ask myself why were there no prosecutions against those fascists who provided material support for Serbian terror in Bosnia or who ‘glorified’ the ethnic cleansing of Muslims at Srebrenica? Nowadays, EU apparatchiks are deeply concerned about the rise of Golden Dawn in Greece, especially now that the level of collusion between the police and the neo-Nazis is becoming so apparent. But where was the EU and intelligence services’ concern when neo-Nazis in Greece and elsewhere were glorifying the massacre of 8,000 men women and children in Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since the second world war? Surely, our politicians and intelligence services were not unaware of claims that a 100-strong unit of Greek volunteers (the Greek Volunteer Guard, some of whom, it is alleged, were supporters of Golden Dawn) fought in Bosnia on the side of the Bosnian Serbs and that some may even have participated in the Srebrenica Massacre, reportedly, on Ratko Mladic’s instigation, hoisting a Greek flag over the town.[3] Today, Golden Dawn has eighteen seats in the Greek parliament; it is not unknown for members to carry out acts of violence, even in front of TV cameras – and yet somehow they avoid arrest and prosecution.[4]

But the story does not end with Golden Dawn. Mass murderer Anders Beiring Brevik declared himself inspired by the Serbian Christian cause, as does Roberto Fiore, another fascist who flies the flag of a ‘Greater Serbia’. He was notorious for fleeing Italy in the 1980s to avoid prosecution following the massacre at Bologna railway station which left eighty-five dead and two hundred wounded. After Fiore, who had fled to London, was convicted in absentia for subversive conspiracy and membership of an armed gang, Her Majesty’s Government repeatedly refused to countenance Italian extradition requests. (It is widely suspected that Fiore was recruited by MI6, and was given full rein to continue his ‘Third Position’ fascist activities, particularly in Libya, in exchange for information.) When in 1998 the Italian appeal court declared that Fiore’s sentence had expired under the statute of limitations, Fiore returned to Italy and resumed his fascist career, even enjoying a stint in the European Parliament as an MEP from 2008-2009 as a representative for the coalition Social Alternative (Alternativa Sociale). Now, he leads Forza Nuova, and hangs out with the Serbian Radical Party which subscribes to the idea of a Greater Serbia and glorifies Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić as ‘Serbian heroes’.[5]

It is hard to know where Europe’s complicity with human rights abuses starts and ends. We extradite one set of citizens to torture states, while we appear to shield another set of citizens from prosecution altogether. ‘After such knowledge, what forgiveness?’

RELATED LINKS

IRR report: Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right

Read an IRR News story: ‘Poetry prize for Talha Ahsan

Free Talha Ahsan

Free Babar Ahmad

[1] Press release, Cabinet D’Avocats Jus Cogens, 3 October 2012. [2] See Frances Webber, ‘The imminent extradiction of Khalid Al-Fawwaz: a lawyers reflections’, Cageprisoners, 2 October 2012; see also, SACC press release, ‘Extradition – Home Secretary must step in to prevent torture’, 4 October 2012 and CagePrisoners press release, ‘CagePrisoners hosts New York press conference in response to extradition cases’, 3 October 2012. [3] Johannes Jakobsson, ‘Valskrällen’, Expo, No. 3, 2012; Helena Smith, ‘Greece faces shame over role in Serb massacre’, Observer, 5 January 2003. [4] In June, Ilias Kasidiaris, who is Golden Dawn’s official spokesman, and a former commando in the Greek army, punched a female Communist MP during a live TV debate. There is speculation that the police protected Kasidiaris by failing to arrest him within the 48-hour time-frame needed to fast-track him through the courts on assault charges. (It is a peculiarity of the Greek system that an arrest warrant expires after 48 hours.) Kasidiaris also faces prosecution for complicity in a 2007 attack when he allegedly drove a car carrying several people who attacked a student. Veteran activist Petros Constantinou told the Guardian on 9 June that the police have facilitated Golden Dawn. ‘Without police cover and protection Golden Dawn would not have survived … And the proof of that is the failure to capture Kasidiaris.’ [5] ‘Roberto Fiore held a meeting with the “Russky Obraz” movement’, Right World. For a description of the Serbian Radical Party, see here.

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Court documents unearthed in the US reveal how senior detectives regularly carried out searches and enquiries on behalf of the FBI.

Metropolitan Police detectives agreed to nine separate requests from FBI agents to provide information on Babar Ahmad at a time when the case against the long-imprisoned terror suspect was collapsing because of a lack of evidence, The Independent can reveal.

Court documents unearthed in the United States reveal how senior detectives involved in the initial investigation of Mr Ahmad regularly carried out searches and enquiries on behalf of the FBI and even sent American agents two encrypted floppy disks that were found at the south Londoner’s home.

The data set, including the disks, forms part of a dossier of evidence that was sent across the Atlantic but was never seen by the Crown Prosecution Service which dropped the initial charges against Ahmad paving the way for is long battle against extradition to the United States.

Critics of Ahmad’s extradition say not enough was done to make sure that the 58-year-old was tried in a British court and that his prosecution has been effectively outsourced to the United States.

Both the Metropolitan Police and the Government have refused to be drawn on the exact nature of the cooperation between British and American detectives following Ahmad’s arrest in December 2003.

But documents filed in a Connecticut court reveal how multiple requests were made by an FBI agent under mutual legal assistance laws which allow foreign governments to ask British police to conduct investigations on their behalf.

The papers come from a trial four years ago in the city of New Haven in which Hassan Abu-Jihaad, a US navy sailor, was convicted of espionage charges. Abu-Jihaad, a convert to Islam, was found guilty of leaking classified ship movements to Azzam Publications – a series of pro-jihadi websites that American prosecutors allege was run by Babar Ahmad and another British man facing imminent extradition Syed Talha Ahsan. The alleged offences took place from late 2000 to late 2001.

At the trial Detective Sergeant Ian Vickers and Detective Sergeant Ian Elgeti, two Met Police officers involved in the original British investigation into Babar Ahmad, gave evidence. During his testimony DS Vickers stated that he was first alerted to the FBI’s interest in Ahmad in late December 2003, a few weeks after his arrest on 2 December. His first point of contact was special agent Craig Bowling, who spoke to him via teleconference and later made a trip to the UK around February 2004.

Asked to describe how the mutual legal assistance treaty system worked he explained that the United States needed to contact to Home Office and request help. “As a result of that,” he added, “If everything is correct and it’s being applied and asked for in the correct manner, then a letter of request goes through to a case officer, normally a detective, to make inquiries, seize exhibits on behalf of the United States.”

Asked how many times such requests were made he replied: “I think there were a total of nine”. He added: “I coordinated that and organized that myself.”

In the same testimony DS Vickers also confirmed that he personally oversaw the transfer of multiple exhibits to the United States including the floppy disks found on Babar Ahmad’s desk.

The decision by the Met Police to send evidence to detectives in the States has been both controversial and shrouded in secrecy. The Attorney General has refused to “confirm or deny” whether dossiers were passed abroad whilst the Metropolitan Police have declined to comment while Mr Ahmad is continuing to fight his extradition to the United States in the UK courts. Neither the Met Police nor the CPS were willing to comment on the new details uncovered in the American court documents when contacted by The Independent.

Mr Ahmad’s legal team had long argued that the CPS should have seen all the evidence against their client before deciding to drop the case. That decision not to press charges against Mr Ahmad was further complicated by the fact that he was viciously beaten by his arresting officers – an incident which the Metropolitan Police later admitted during civil proceedings.

It was only in November 2011 that the CPS admitted to Mr Ahmad’s legal team that they were never shown the entirely of all the evidence seized in the raid on their client’s house. After sending a team to the United States, Mr Ahmad’s lawyers forwarded a new dossier of evidence to the CPS in the spring of this year in the hopes that they might initiate a new prosecution that would keep him in Britain. At the same time a businessman from Newcastle who campaigns against Britain’s extradition laws tried to launch his own private prosecution of Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan. However the Director of Public Prosecutions has rejected both attempts citing a lack of evidence as the reason for his decision.

Green MP Caroline Lucas, who has campaigned for Babar Ahmad, called on the CPS and Met Police to provide a full account of the cooperation between American and British law enforcement following his arrest.

“Last year I exposed the fact that the CPS hadn’t even seen, let alone investigated properly, evidence against Babar Ahmad,” she said. “Now we have this extraordinary confirmation that, at a time when the CPS was arguing he couldn’t face trial in the UK because of an “absence of evidence”, British police were in thrall to the FBI and handing over that very evidence without even looking at it themselves. We urgently need to know who directed and authorised this scandalous circumvention of the CPS – and I reiterate my call for a full public inquiry into what has occurred.”

My thoughts on the hypocrisy of Babar Ahmads Case

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Private memo threatens ‘significant negative consequences’ if Palestinian Authority succeeds in obtaining enhanced status

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The United States has warned European governments against supporting a Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations, saying such a move “would be extremely counterproductive” and threatening “significant negative consequences” for the Palestinian Authority, including financial sanctions.

A US memorandum, seen by the Guardian, said Palestinian statehood “can only be achieved via direct negotiations with the Israelis” and urged European governments “to support [American] efforts” to block the bid. The message was communicated by officials to representatives of European governments at the UN general assembly (UNGA) in New York last week.

Palestinian officials accused the US of exerting “tremendous pressure” on European governments to oppose their bid for upgraded “non-member state” status at the UNGA. Announced by president Mahmoud Abbas last week (video), the move is a significant diminution of Palestinian ambitions after its application for full statehood failed last year when it was blocked by the US in the security council.

The Palestinians will wait until after the US presidential election in early November before proceeding with their bid for upgraded status. However, they insist they will press for a vote by the end of the year and are confident of winning a comfortable majority among the UN’s 193 countries. The US has no veto at the general assembly.

The memorandum – described by one diplomatic source as “private correspondence” – said the US was continuing to work for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and urged both parties “to avoid provocative one-sided actions that could undermine trust or otherwise distract from the pursuit of peace”.

A Palestinian resolution on non-member state status “would have significant negative consequences, for the peace process itself, for the UN system, as well as our ability to maintain our significant financial support for the Palestinian Authority”.
It added that a successful resolution could lead to Palestinian participation as a state in international bodies such as the international criminal court. Israel is concerned that Palestinian recourse to the ICC could have repercussions for its policies on settlements, the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza.

“We believe your government understands what is at stake here, and – like us – wants to avoid a collision at the coming UNGA session,” said the text. “We hope you are willing to support our efforts … We would appreciate knowing where your government stands on this issue. We would also be interested in knowing whether you have been approached on this matter by Palestinian representatives.”

Hanan Ashwari, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation executive committee, described the memorandum as “typical American behaviour but also overkill”.

“It is ridiculous and unconscionable the way they put themselves at the service of Israel in such a blatant way. This is tremendous American pressure and bias.”

She said most European countries had already decided their position on the issue: “I don’t think [the US] will make countries change their minds.”

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said the memorandum reflected the US position but he hoped that “the Europeans will follow their interests and choose peace over settlements”.

One European diplomat said that, until recently, US officials believed a “diplomatic ceasefire” was in force and that the Palestinians would not pursue the statehood issue at the general assembly. But pressure from street protests in the West Bank in recent weeks had stiffened Abbas’s resolve, and the current consensus among diplomats was that the Palestinians were determined to press ahead.

There were differing views among European countries on the wisdom of the Palestinians’ move, the diplomat added. “The closer we get to the prospect of a vote in the UN general assembly, the more concerned the US administration is likely to be. This letter is an expression of their well-known position against such a vote. But if we are to persuade Abbas not to pull the trigger, a serious alternative needs to be put on the table, and fast.”

A second European diplomat said the US had “made it very clear to all of us that they’re opposed to any [Palestinian] move at the UN”. He also criticised the Palestinians for not engaging in “serious, high-level diplomacy” on the issue.

Some European countries are alarmed at the prospect of the US withdrawing financial support for the Palestinian Authority in the wake of a bid for upgraded status, fearing that the EU would have to fill the funding gap.

Following the Palestinians’ acceptance as a state by the United Nations cultural and heritage body, Unesco, the US cut off funding as a punitive measure. The US had contributed 22% of Unesco’s annual budget.

Discussions among European governments on whether to support the Palestinians’ bid are due to be held this week. However the 27 member states are unlikely to forge a common line.
The US state department declined to comment on the memorandum.

Below is a video of an egyptian activist Mona Eltahawy arrested for defacing a ‘savage’ anti-Jihad ad and therefore protesting against its racism connotations

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On the 24th September 2012 the European Court of Human Rights gave its final approval to legalise the extradition of Babar Ahmad and 4 others, under charges of terrorism, to the United States.

According to the BBC

“The US says that mr Ahmad and co-accused, Syed Talha Ahsan, ran a jihadist website in London that provided material support for terrorism”

The website in question, closed since 2002, was called Azzam.com which supported Chechen and Taliban fighters.

But when it comes to supporting groups like the Taliban, Azzam.com weren’t the only ones supporting the Taliban, The US has a history of supporting them too.

It is a known fact that during the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, The CIA were training the very fighters that would go on to form the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. In fact, some reports suggest that the CIA was in direct contact with Bin Laden. Mark Custis states in his book Secret Affairs: Britains Collusion with Radical Islam

“There is no evidence of direct British or US support to Bin Laden, but one CIA source has claimed that US emissaries met directly with Bin Laden and it was he who first suggested that the Mujahideen be supplied with Stinger Anti-Aircraft Missiles” pg 138

The United States continued its relationship with the Taliban after the soviets were defeated.

In 1997, according to the BBC News, a senior delegation from the Taliban were in Texas for talks with Unocal, an international energy company that wanted to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.

In 2001 the Bush regime resumed the talks with the Taliban, arguing the Taliban to widen their government and include members of the Northern Alliance and look more favourably at the US company’s attempts to install the gas pipeline.

The Talibans refusal to work with the Northern Alliance stalled the talks which forced a response from a bush representative to the Taliban in the form of a military reprisal

This represents the hypocrisy of it all. That Babar Ahmad is being extradited to the US for administering a site that was supporting the very same group of people that the US were trying to do business deals with.

Currently Babar Ahmad is being extradited to the US, The Home Secretary Theresa May has stated that the Home Office is working diligently to extradite him and the rest as fast as possible.

For more information on the case of Babar Ahmad and to find out how to help, please click here

If you want to find out more about western connections to extremist Muslim groups please read Mark Curtis’s Secret Affairs: Britains Collusion with Radical Islam

20120924-113106.jpg[Source]The New York transport authority said its “hands are tied” after a court ruled in favour of a conservative blogger who sued for the right to display a pro-Israel ad campaign calling Islamic radicals “savage”. The signs go on display starting Monday.

Poster advertisements likening Muslim radicals to savages are set to appear on the New York subway system on Monday after a conservative blogger won a court order allowing them to be displayed.

The provocative ad reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Rightwing writer Pamela Geller, who once led a campaign against an Islamic centre near the site of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, won the court order in August.
The posters will appear in 10 city subway stations from Monday.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) had initially refused to allow Geller’s advertisements to be displayed, calling the message “demeaning”.
But a US District Court Judge ruled last month that she was protected under the First Amendment, which provides freedom of religion and of expression.
“Our hands are tied,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donavan told the Associated Press. “Under our existing ad standards as modified by the injunction, the MTA is required to run the ad.”
The poster campaign will run for one month, at a cost of 6,000 dollars. The same posters have also appeared in recent weeks on buses in San Francisco, where many were defaced with words such as “Defeat Racism” plastered over the word “Jihad”, which means Muslim Holy War.
Geller’s group Stop Islamization of America, has also run ad campaigns in New York with the words: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”
Geller said she was due to file a suit against transport authorities in the US capital Washington, which has said it will not put the posters up because of the uproar in the Middle East over the amateur US film “Innocence of the Muslims” which insulted the Prophet Mohammed.
Geller, who is head of the ultra-conservative American Freedom Defense Initiative, said she was not worried that her advertisements might cause a repeat of the violence that has killed some 30 people, including the US Ambassador to Libya.
“I will not sacrifice my freedom so as not to offend savages,” she said.

[Source]

By Max Blumenthal

The US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three US diplomats were killed in attacks and rioting provoked by an obscure, low-budget anti-Muslim film called “The Innocence of Muslims.” The producer of the film is a real estate developer supposedly named “Sam Bacile” who claims to be an Israeli Jew. Bacile told the AP the film was made with $5 million raised from “100 Jewish donors.” He said he was motivated to help his native country, Israel, by exposing the evils of Islam.

While Bacile claims to be in hiding, and his identity remains murky, another character who has been publicly listed as a consultant on the film is a known anti-Muslim activist with ties to the extreme Christian right and the militia movement. He is Steve Klein, a Hemet, California based insurance salesman who claims to have led a “hunter-killer team” in Vietnam.”

Klein is a right-wing extremist who emerged from the same axis of Islamophobia that produced Anders Behring Breivik and which takes inspiration from the writings of Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes.

It appears Klein (or someone who shares his name and views) is an enthusiastic commenter on Geller’s website, Atlas Shrugged, where he recently complained about Mitt Romney’s “support for a Muslim state in Israel’s Heartland.” In July 2011, Spencer’s website, Jihad Watch, promoted a rally Klein organized alongside the anti-Muslim Coptic extremist Joseph Nasrallah to demand the firing of LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, whom they painted as a dupe for Hamas.

Klein is also closely affiliated with the Christian right in California, organizing resentment against all the usual targets — Muslims, homosexuals, feminists, and even Mormons. He is a board member and founder of a group called Courageous Christians United, which promotes anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim literature (including the work of Robert Spencer) on its website. In 2002, Klein ran for the California Insurance Commissioner under the American Independent Party, an extremist fringe party linked to the militia movement, garnering a piddling 2 percent of the vote.

Klein has been closely affiliated with the Church at Kaweah, an extreme evangelical church located 70 miles southeast of Fresno that serves as a nexus of neo-Confederate, Christian Reconstructionist, and militia movement elements. The Southern Poverty Law Center produced a report on Kaweah this spring that noted Klein’s long record of activist against Muslims:

Over the past year, Johnson and the church militia have developed a relationship with Steve Klein, a longtime religious-right activist who brags about having led a “hunter killer” team as a Marine in Vietnam. Klein, who calls Islam a “penis-driven religion” and thinks Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca is a Muslim Brotherhood patsy, is allied with Christian activist groups across California. In 2011, as head of the Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, he worked with the Vista, Calif.-based Christian Anti-Defamation Commission on a campaign to “arm” students with the “truth about Islam and Muhammad” — mainly by leafleting high schools with literature depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a sex-crazed pedophile.

Klein, based in Hemet, Calif., has been active in extremist movements for decades. In 1977, he founded Courageous Christians United, which now conducts “respectful confrontations” outside of abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques. Klein also has ties to the Minuteman movement. In 2007, he sued the city of San Clemente for ordering him to stop leafleting cars with pamphlets opposing illegal immigration.

Like many other activists who fashion themselves as “counter-Jihadists,” Klein has organized against the construction of mosques in his area. While leafleting against a planned mosque in Temecula, California, which he claimed would herald the introduction of Shariah law to the quiet suburb, Klein remarked, “It all comes down to the first amendment. I don’t care if you disagree with me. Just don’t cut off my head.”

Klein appears to be allied with the National American Coptic Assembly, a radical Islamophobic group headed by Morris Sadik. Sadik claims to have discovered the film and began promoting it online. Once it went viral, the trailer was translated into Arabic, sparking outrage in the Middle East, and ultimately, to the deadly attacks carried out by Muslim extremists today.

Klein claims credit for inspiring “Sam Bacile” to produce “The Innocence of Muslims,” promising him he would be “the next Theo Van Gogh,” referring to the Dutch columnist who was murdered by a Muslim extremist. Of the attacks in Libya, Klein said, “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.”

Source

A federal investigation alleged Enrique Prado’s involvement in seven murders, yet he was in charge when America outsourced covert killing to a private company.

CIA

It was one of the biggest secrets of the post-9/11 era: soon after the attacks, President Bush gave the CIA permission to create a top secret assassination unit to find and kill Al Qaeda operatives. The program was kept from Congress for seven years. And when Leon Panetta told legislators about it in 2009, he revealed that the CIA had hired the private security firm Blackwater to help run it. “The move was historic,” says Evan Wright, the two-time National Magazine Award-winning journalist who wrote Generation Kill. “It seems to have marked the first time the U.S. government outsourced a covert assassination service to private enterprise.”

The quote is from his e-book How to Get Away With Murder in America, which goes on to note that “in the past, the CIA was subject to oversight, however tenuous, from the president and Congress,” but that “President Bush’s 2001 executive order severed this line by transferring to the CIA his unique authority to approve assassinations. By removing himself from the decision-making cycle, the president shielded himself — and all elected authority — from responsibility should a mission go wrong or be found illegal. When the CIA transferred the assassination unit to Blackwater, it continued the trend. CIA officers would no longer participate in the agency’s most violent operations, or witness them. If it practiced any oversight at all, the CIA would rely on Blackwater’s self-reporting about missions it conducted. Running operations through Blackwater gave the CIA the power to have people abducted, or killed, with no one in the government being exactly responsible.” None of this is new information, though I imagine that many people reading this item are hearing about it for the first time.

Isn’t that bizarre?

The bulk of Wright’s e-book (full disclosure: I help edit the website of Byliner, publisher of the e-book) tells the story of Enrique Prado, a high-ranking CIA-officer-turned-Blackwater-employee who oversaw assassination units for both the CIA and the contractor. To whom was this awesome responsibility entrusted? According to Wright’s investigation, a federal organized crime squad run out of the Miami-Dade Police Department produced an investigation allegedly tying Prado to seven murders carried out while he worked as a bodyguard for a narco crime boss. At the time, the CIA declared him unavailable for questioning; the investigation was shut down before he was arrested or tried.

There’s a lot more to the story — Wright’s e-book is almost 50 pages long — but this bit is of particular note:
The reporting on Prado’s activities at Blackwater produced no evidence that the firm’s employees had ever killed anyone on behalf of the CIA. But I spoke to Blackwater employees who insisted that they had. Two Blackwater contractors told me that their firm began conducting assassinations in Afghanistan as early as 2008. They claimed to have participated in such operations — one in a support role, the other as a “trigger puller.” The contractors, to whom I spoke in 2009 and 2010, were both ex-Special Forces soldiers who were not particularly bothered by assassination work, although they did question the legality of Blackwater’s involvement in it.

According to the “trigger puller,” he and a partner were selected for one such operation because they were Mexican Americans, whose darker skin enabled them to blend in as Afghan civilians. The first mission he described took place in 2008. He and his partner spent three weeks training outside Kabul, becoming accustomed to walking barefoot like Afghans while toting weapons underneath their jackets. Their mission centered on walking into a market and killing the occupant of a pickup truck, whose identity a CIA case worker had provided to them. They succeeded in their mission, he told me, and moved on to another. This contractor’s story didn’t completely fit with other accounts about Prado’s unit at Blackwater. The e-mail written by Prado and later obtained by the Times seemed to indicate that the unit wouldn’t use Americans to carry out actual assassinations. Moreover, two CIA sources insisted that the contractors I spoke to were lying. As one put it, “These guys are security guards who want to look like Rambo.”

When I asked Ed O’Connell, a former Air Force colonel and RAND analyst with robust intelligence experience in Afghanistan, to evaluate these contractors’ claims, he first told me they were almost certainly a “fantastical crock of shit.” But a year later, in 2011, after a research trip in Afghanistan for his firm Alternative Strategies Institute, O’Connell had changed his assessment. He told me, “Your sources seem to have been correct. Private contractors are whacking people like crazy over in Afghanistan for the CIA.”
So there you have it: A former Air Force lieutenant colonel, speaking on the record and using the present tense, said in 2011 that “private contractors are whacking people like crazy over in Afghanistan for the CIA.”

Says Wright:

While Blackwater’s covert unit began as a Bush administration story, President Obama now owns it. In 2010, his administration intervened on behalf of the Blackwater executives indicted for weapons trafficking, filing motions to suppress evidence on the grounds that it could compromise national security. The administration then awarded Blackwater (which is now called Academi) a $250 million contract to perform unspecified services for the CIA. At the same time, Obama has publicly taken responsibility for some lethal operations — the Navy SEALs’ sniper attack on Somali pirates, the raid on bin Laden. His aides have also said that he reviews target lists for drone strikes. The president’s actions give him the appearance of a man who wants the best of both worlds. He appears as a tough, resolute leader when he announces his role in killings that will likely be popular — a pirate, a terrorist. But the apparatus for less accountable killings grinds on.
Needless to say, this ought to spark an investigation, but more than that, it should cause Americans to step back and reflect on how vulnerable we’ve made ourselves to bad actors in the post-9/11 era. We’re giving C.I.A. agents and even private security contractors the sort of power no individual should wield. And apparently our screening apparatus turns out to be lacking.