Turkey, Russia strike strategic Turkish Stream gas pipeline deal

Aren't they in a shooting war with each other? They're using proxies, but still.

Sources are biased and there is a lot of disinfo out there during campaign season but it sure looks like the Clinton campaign is hauling out the Orlando shooter's father as a celebrity supporter.

From the Shorenstein Center:

The report shows that during the year 2015, major news outlets covered Donald Trump in a way that was unusual given his low initial polling numbers—a high volume of media coverage preceded Trump’s rise in the polls. Trump’s coverage was positive in tone—he received far more “good press” than “bad press.” The volume and tone of the coverage helped propel Trump to the top of Republican polls.

And with Trump standing in support of the gay community after Orlando while Democrats in Congress protested against a moment of silence for the victims and demanded the disarmament of ISIS's future victims, and with Clinton's creation of ISIS hanging around her neck, Trump probably just won the presidency. Sanders or Warren could beat him if Clinton is indicted, but the Democratic Party is probably too corrupt to allow that to happen.

Wikileaked Hillary Clinton email #12166, dated July 25, 2012, shows Jared Cohen of Google Ideas working with al-Jazeera to develop a list of defecting Syrian officers and to encourage further defections. Quote:

Please keep close hold, but my team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from. Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition. Given how hard it is to get information into Syria right now, we are partnering with Al-Jazeera who will take primary ownership over the tool we have built, track the data, verify it, and broadcast it back into Syria

Cohen's email was sent to William J. Burns, Deputy Secretary of State; Jacob J. Sullivan, national security advisor to Hillary Clinton; and Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation in the State Department. Sullivan forwarded Cohen's email to Clinton, who forwarded it to her aide Monica Hanley.

Previously, al-Jazeera hosted exiled Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders who had given al-Qaeda free rein over Egypt. Also, the US support for extremists in Syria got so bad that a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff defected to Russia to try to stop it.

Jared Cohen has a reputation as a loose cannon, "doing things the CIA cannot do", with White House and State Department support. Interestingly, Hamas allowed him to travel to Gaza for reasons that the people at Stratfor were not aware of.

As an update to the earlier post about a Prince Mohammad al Fatih al Bahraini being killed while commanding al-Qaeda forces in Bosnia in 1992, two pieces of evidence add weight to this story.

During the September 1992, the first Mujahedin offensive operation against the Serbs was carried out, under the leadership of the Bahraini Prince Muhammad Al-Faatih Al Bahraini, with Sheikh Anwar Sha'baan, as second in command. The Bosnian Muslim forces had been formed, and Allah willed for them to join the Mujahedin. A group of them participated in the operation. The Mujahedin moved towards the Serb front line, penetrating and gaining control over these areas, inflicting heavy defeats on the enemies of Allah. At this time the Bosnians did not have a complete understanding of the Islam, of [inaudible], and the understanding of why they were fighting. In addition to this, the limited military capabilities of the front line meant that they were unable to hold their positions due to the heavy Serbian shelling.

(...cutting empty rhetoric...)

THE NARRATOR: [In English] Abu Shareef was from the first people to arrive in the land of Jihad of Bosnia on the same ship that was carrying Al-Faatih, and Allah willed for them both to be killed in the first operation against the Serbs. Abu Shareef had participated in the Afghan Jihad. Then he moved to a European country. Upon hearing of the tragedy that had befallen the Muslims in Bosnia he answered the call of his Lord.

As to the say in which he was killed after the death of Al-Faatih, in the physical operation the brothers decided to take his body away. Abu Shareef had the responsibility of providing cover for the brothers with a PK machine-gun whilst they were removing Al-Faatih's body. Then Abu Shareef was hit by a piece of shrapnel on his arm, and a moment later he was hit by a mortar shell which killed him and Abu Anas Al-Jeddawi so they joined their brother Al-Faatih.

The tape goes on to discuss al-Qaeda's oft-forgotten attacks on Croatian forces, in one case "taking women and children as prisoners, to be handed to the Bosnian army", a probable euphemism for selling them into slavery. A contemporary news report backs up that fighting occurred between the Croats and Muslims, and an AFP report accuses the mujahids of killing 200 civilians. It still amazes me that NATO took the side of these Muslims against Fikret Abdic's forces. Another blogger notes that Kosovo and Bosnia are now the primary recruitment grounds for ISIS.

As for the prince himself, we do not have enough information to know that he is a prince or his real name. "Mohammed al-Fatih" is the title of the conqueror of Constantinople so it is likely a nom de guerre.

Members of Turkey's opposition Republican People's Party have accused the Turkish state of responsibility for the Ghuta gas attack, claiming to have wiretaps proving that the sarin and its delivery system were produced or acquired by the Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation.

Browsing through the news a little too quickly, I badly misread the headline "Nato warns Russia on Syria strikes" and now I can't stop imagining a certain whiskered ninja bragging about his jitsu skills to a flexing, nonchalant Vladimir Putin.

Link related.

From The Daily Beast:

More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military's Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials ...

... the complaint also goes beyond alleged altering of reports and accuses some senior leaders at CENTCOM of creating an unprofessional work environment. One person who knows the contents of the written complaint sent to the inspector general said it used the word “Stalinist” to describe the tone set by officials overseeing CENTCOM’s analysis. Many described a climate in which analysts felt they could not give a candid assessment of the situation in Iraq and Syria ...

Some of those who complained were urged to retire, one official familiar with the report told The Daily Beast. Some agreed to leave.

[Edit Sep. 11] Spencer Ackerman blames Steven Grove and suggests that Grove is acting under pressure from James Clapper.

al-Monitor, citing emails from Tyler Drumheller to Sidney Blumenthal:

According to one entry from March 22, 2011, “officers” with the General Directorate for External Security — the French intelligence service — “began a series of secret meetings” with Jalil and Gen. Abdul Fatah Younis in Benghazi in late February and gave them “money and guidance” to set up the council ... “In return for their assistance,” the memo states, “the DGSE officers indicated that they expected the new government of Libya to favor French firms and national interests, particularly regarding the oil industry in Libya.” ... Another memo dated May 5 asserts that individuals close to the council stated “in strictest confidence” that as early as mid-April 2011 French humanitarian flights also included “executives from the French company TOTAL, the large construction from VINCI and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS).” Subsequent flights have allegedly carried representatives “from the conglomerate THALYS and other large French firms, all with close ties to [Sarkozy].”

Also blamed is Bernard Henri-Levy.

al-Monitor notes that this information is impossible to verify, and questions Drumheller's honesty due to his involvement in the Nigerian yellowcake hoax.

A former US Army psyops officer named Scott Bennett has published a report titled "Shell Game" alleging that data on al-Qaeda's finances are hidden from US intelligence and military by US government officials at the highest levels. It opens with an executive summary alleging that:

  • unnamed members of the intelligence community are committing treason.
  • unnamed people responsible for "intentional" intelligence failures.
  • Union Bank of Switzerland banker Brad Birkenfeld was jailed for reporting terrorist funding to US intelligence agencies.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton fired Bennett for reporting terrorist finance issues up the chain of command.
  • Edward Snowden turned traitor after seeing what happened to Birkenfeld.
  • Bennett predicted the Benghazi attack.
  • The Department of Justice attempted to assassinate a whistleblower.

Bennett ties together so many big claims that the report is difficult to believe. I almost stopped reading at this point. The report opens like a crime novel, not a report. The facts are buried under layers of rhetoric. Stripping that away, Bennett makes a number of notable specific claims. These claims include:

About Booz:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton ran the terrorist finance investigation unit of the US Central Command. It was called the Optimus Foundation and stationed in Fort MacDill. Bennett worked there.
  • BAH antiterrorist officials include Mike Maravilla, William Lubliner, Troy Hensely, and Bob Thompson.

About Bennett

  • Bennett worked counterterrorism and psyops at the State Department before he joined the Army, and was given a "VIP" flight to Florida on the executive jet of Eric Olson, head of US Special Operations Command.
  • Shortly after arriving in Florida, Bennett was arrested off-base by MPs, interrogated for 12 hours, and beaten by Detective Edward Garcia and Lt. Col. Martin Mitchell. The supposed justification for the arrest was a failure to properly register privately owned firearms that he had declared.
  • Mitchell distributed "BOLO" wanted posters of Bennett to every US military post showing his picture and describing him as an Army intelligence officer investigating al-Qaeda's money supply. Bennett describes this as an attempt to have him killed by supposing that the information would reach al-Qaeda through a spy.
  • The Army made some kind of policy change "due to negative stigma given to Psychological Operations by another defense contractor named Mike Furlong", a former coworker of Bennet.
  • Bennett forecasted the Benghazi attack in report written two years before the incident on the subject of the Furlong-inspired psych policy change and a prediction of its strategic impact.
  • After writing the psych report, Bennett was prosecuted by the Department of Justice for the earlier gun incident. Bennett claims that this is the first time in US history that the military has surrendered its jurisdiction to civilian authorities.
  • Assistant US Attorney Sara Sweeney "invented all kinds of exaggerations, had me followed by Secret Service, and engaged in the same illegal harassment which the Justice Dept. had employed against Senator Ted Stevens", and Special Assistant US Attorney Timothy Goins dressed in a US Air Force uniform to give the jury the impression that the military supported the prosecution.
  • Bennett is selling a book titled Conspiracy, Torture, and Betrayal at US Central Command. It is self-published on Lulu and the single review is not good.

About the DoJ:

  • Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant AG Lanny Breuer formerly worked for UBS and suppressed attempts to prosecute the company.
  • The DoJ "assassination attempt" against Birkenfeld was in the form of writing a letter to UBS claiming that Birkenfeld was giving away proprietary banking information. The letter was forged in the name of an Islamic "international banking friend" in London. The letter came from the CIA substation in Bern.
  • Bennett suspects DoJ attorneys Kevin O'Connor and Kevin Downing of being behind the forgery against Birkenfeld, and alleges that the two have connections to Rudy Giuliani and an Abdullah Azziz named as an al-Qaeda financier in Matt Taibbi's article Too Big To Jail. There is no one by that name in Taibbi's article, but it does mention Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi of the SAAR Foundation. Bennett also calls the Golden Chain the "Golden Triangle".

Others:

  • Edward Snowden personally observed CIA communications regarding the operation against Birkenfeld and turned traitor because of it.
  • In 2009, Hillary Clinton agreed to jail Birkenfeld and release two Uighur terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for "the US being given preferential status on a Swiss financial treaty." This treaty is likely the US-Switzerland tax information exchange treaty of 2009 The detainees are likely Arkin Mahmud and Bahtiyar Mahnut who were transferred to Switzerland in February 2010 (according to Wikipedia).
  • Birkenfeld's information was not known to the Optimus Foundation, the National Counterterrorism Center, Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Operations Coordination Center, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, SOCOM, JSOC, CENTCOM, CAPOC, or EUCOM.
  • Senator Carl Levin personally suppressed Birkenfeld's report on al-Qaeda's finances from reaching Army intelligence. The evidence is that Birkenfeld claims to have given Levin this information, and it did not spread any further.
  • President Obama personally suppressed Birkenfeld's information as repayment for campaign contributions from Robert Wolf. No evidence is presented.

Overall conclusions:

Bennett does not seem like a reliable source. The report is written like a work of fiction. The most sweeping stuff is most likely bullshit.

The most serious allegations, in the sense of being able to take them seriously, hinge on the presumption of Birkenfeld having this information about al-Qaeda financing.

[Edit Feb 11] Regarding the naming of "Fort MacDill", from a comment to WaPo in 2009:

FYI, yello, if you Google "Fort MacDill" with quotes around it, you get 160 hits, the gist of which are that Fort MacDill is the informal nickname of the two Army headquarters based inside the larger MacDill AFB complex. One is CENTCOM, Central Command, Gen. Petraus's outfit, the unit with jurisdiction over the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters. The other is SOCOM, Special Operations Command, one of Clancy's great loves. ... It would appear that Clancy did his homework so well he knew the special "insider" nickname of CENTCOM and SOCOM. Posted by: Curmudgeon- | May 29, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

A bunch of financial data from HSBC was leaked to a consortium of journalists. What they have released so far includes this scrap of information about Abdul-Karim Dan Azoumi which is small enough that I will copy it in full:

Abdoul-Karim Dan-Azoumi is the owner of Badica, the largest diamond exporter in the Central African Republic (CAR). An October 2014 United Nations report by a panel of experts branded Dan-Azoumi’s company a key financial backer of the rebel Seleka group which has been fighting government forces in the CAR conflict that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians. The United Nations alleged that fees paid by Dan-Azoumi’s companies to Séléka rebels in order to illegally export diamonds allowed the rebels to remain armed. Dan-Azoumi lives in Antwerp, Belgium’s diamond capital.

Dan-Azoumi became an HSBC client in 2000. He was linked to five bank accounts. Two of them were associated with a client account under the name of “Kampala Holdings S.A.,” which lists Dan-Azoumi as beneficial owner. The maximum amount in the account in 2006/2007 was $467,592. The other three bank accounts belonged to a numbered client account, which was closed in 2006. He was linked to “32618 BG” alongside another individual. HSBC bank communications explain that the bank closed the account for the benefit of an offshore account that was going to have Dan-Azoumi as beneficial owner.

So according to this report, this guy was a key financier of al-Qaeda's invasion of the Central African Republic (mentioned earlier and earlier). Neither this guy or his company appear in a web search, and I cannot find this supposed United Nations report. Al-Qaeda had been involved in the West African diamond trade in the 1990s, as described in Douglas Farah's book Blood From Stones.

From J.M. Berger:

ISIS has released a video that appears to show Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kassasbeh being burned alive.

Quick thoughts:

  • 1. Jordan is where much of ISIS was trained. By the USA. Expect this to end if it hasn't already. They might spread around some incriminating information about this training.
  • 2. Retaliation is the default reaction, but Jordan is on leashes by the USA and its own public which is far more pro-terrorist than the leadership. The fact that a Jordanian was killed is going to anger and split the public unless they fall for ISIS propaganda that it was his fault for opposing Islam.
  • 3. If Jordan wanted to invade Syria to rout ISIS, there is nothing to stop them. There is no border anymore.

Predictions:

  • Limited retaliatory airstrikes
  • Civil disturbances in Jordan if the retaliation goes beyond limited airstrikes
  • Increased Jordanian cooperation with Iraq, and possibly Iran
  • Drop in Jordanian respect for US
  • Increased distance from Israel (afraid of Iran, wants Assad gone) and the Gulf Arab states (funding ISIS)
  • Weaker Jordanian pro-Western monarchy. It has already lost the public and is losing allies.

Addendum: The news says Jordan killed an ISIS prisoner in retaliation. Unconfirmed reports have that Jordan was already attacking ISIS (which would explain why their pilot was shot down) and that the prisoner was killed a month ago and everyone knew it, both of which suggest that this measured response may be as much as Jordan will openly do at this time.


[Edit Feb 7] There are reports of limited airstrikes as originally predicted, so I was wrong about being wrong.

Succession

Jan. 23rd, 2015 03:04 am

Saudi Arabia's new king funded al-Qaeda in the 1990s and has told us all the problems in the Middle East would go away if we'd kill all the Jews. Expect less cooperation.

Edit: this may become a moot issue since the guy is 79 years old.

Here's a big long blog post about Benghazi. The theory goes that Qatar was arming ISIS with US/NATO weaponry, UAE and Saudi families put up the money, US managed the logistics, and it was run under NATO's authority to get around the DoD. Take it with all the grains of salt in the Morton packaging plant, but at least somebody's looking into it. This excerpt is interesting:

2002 through 2010 saw zero occurrences of SAMS, Stingers, or MANPADS in general. Within months after delivering weapons to the Benghazi and Darnah rebels (May, June and July 2011) we began facing MANPADS in Afghanistan.

Here's someone saying the "Innocence of Muslims" film was produced by John Brennan's Analysis Corporation. That's John Brennan as in head-of-the-CIA John Brennan. They also say the filmmaker was a meth dealer who had been recruited as a DoJ asset in 2010, and that the film was shown as "The Innocence of Bin Laden" and marketed to the local Arab community of Los Angeles in mid-2012. This reminds me of Walid Shoebat's claims, mentioned earlier.


Petraeus's mistress Paula Broadwell leaked that the CIA was holding prisoners at the Benghazi annex during the fight. In possibly related news, The DoJ is currently pressing felony charges against Petraeus.

A rumour on Reddit is that ISIS just took Taji north of Baghdad. That would put them a straight 15 miles down the highway from the palace district where the seat of government and the US embassy are.

[Edit] No verification after several hours, so this rumour may have been nothing more. It was easy to believe given that ISIS took over Mosul and Tikrit with no opposition in a couple of days, there were other rumours they had taken Samarra, and they seemed to be heading south towards the capitol.

The CIA delivered anti-tank TOW missiles to the "moderate" group Harakat Hazm in Syria. That's a group I've never heard of and I can't find anything else about them on the web except for this anonymous letter to Daniel Pipes.

I wanted to bring to your attention a new terrorist and criminal salafist movment and it is called harakat hazimuun...

They are the personal army of Egyptian sheikh Hazim Abu Ismail. A supposed Libyan intelligence document names Abu Ismail as among the leaders of the September 11 attack on Benghazi.

Seymour Hersh has a new article on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Summary of key points:

  • The Muslim Brotherhood's Al-Nusra group has had a sarin production program supported by Saudi and Turkish suppliers.
    • By the spring of 2013, Turkey's military intelligence and state police were directly involved in the Muslim Brotherhood's sarin production program.
    • The US Defense Intelligence Agency produced a report on al-Nusra's sarin production on June 20, 2013. An earlier Hersh report names DIA deputy director David R. Shedd as a recipient of the report.
      • The DIA firmly and clearly denies that this report exists.
        • Hersh quotes from the report.
    • The DIA produced a daily situational report on Syria titled "SYRUP" that used to include information on activities related to chemical weapons production.
      • According to "a former senior Defense Department official" White House chief of staff Denis McDonough "severely curtailed" the distribution of information on chemical warfare after reading a SYRUP report on the use of chemical weapons in March and April 2013.
  • A "person with knowledge of the UN’s activities" reported that United Nations investigators found that Muslim Brotherhood forces were responsible for the the March 19 sarin attack near Aleppo (mentioned earlier), but were under a mandate not to assign blame and the news did not get out because it was not what their sponsors wanted to hear.
    • Two sources report that by the time of a May 2013 meeting with President Erdogan and Hakim Fidan, President Obama knew that a chemical weapons attack was a false flag and that Turkish intelligence was involved.
  • British analysts at Porton Down found that the sarin used in the August 21 attack on al-Ghutah (mentioned earlier and earlier) did not match any sarin in Syrian stores.
    • President Obama had ordered a large-scale airstrike on Syria in retaliation for the attack, and he cancelled the order when the information came in from Porton Down. Britain and France had planned to participate in the airstrike.
    • "a former senior US intelligence official" claims to "know" that "some in the Turkish government" called for a false flag chemical weapons attack to push the US further into war against Syria.
    • A US intelligence report in late July or early August predicted that Turkey was likely to do something to instigate a US attack on Syria.
    • According to "the former intelligence official", "intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks" confirmed that Turkey was responsible for the attack.
      • These intercepts were blocked from reaching the White House.
  • The US funneled arms to Muslim Brotherhood / al-Qaeda forces through Libya.
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi includes a "highly classified" annex mentioning an agreement between Presidents Obama and Erdogan to arm MB/AQ forces in Syria.
    • Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provided the funding.
    • "The operation was run by David Petraeus."
    • "The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation."
    • "The [Benghazi] consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms".
    • The same "former intelligence official" is the source of all of this information.

In my opinion, there is way too much reliance on one anonymous "former senior US intelligence official" but it all has an air of believability. There are also signs of counterintelligence problems with apparently multiple people shutting off the flow of information about Muslim Brotherhood sarin production.

I wonder if this guy from a few days ago got an advance copy of the Hersh report.

Edit: The National Security Council denies the story, calling the former intelligence official's claims "completely fabricated".

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