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.

Report: Prominent Jewish lawyer threatened by ISIL after falling prey to systemic neo-Nazi plot

It's coming out this morning that all of this was the work of one 20-year-old from Florida named Joshua Ryne Goldberg. He was the fake white supremacist on /pol/. He stole Josh Bornstein's identity. He was the fake ISIS account Australi Witness. The dude was Jewish and rusing everybody.

[Rita] Katz said, in an interview with the Age, that the Twitter user is “part of the hard core of a group of individuals who constantly look for targets for other people to attack,” and recruits for ISIL.

LMAO!

The guy made death threats so he is in trouble.

[Edit Sep. 12] The Sydney Morning Herald has a detailed article on the troll's activities.

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.

Here's the quote:

I believe that the failure to shine a full light on Saudi actions and particularly its involvement in 9/11 has contributed to the Saudi ability to continue to engage in actions that are damaging to the US – and in particular their support for Isis.

Graham was the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the 2000s. He was in a very strong position to know what he is talking about.

Two attendees of the Popular Arab and Islamic Congress were Yasser Arafat and Abdul Majeed al-Zindani. Zindani is the founder of Yemen's al-Islah movement, whose members include Tawakkol Karman. So if one considers the PAIC as an al-Qaeda meeting -- I call it their global launch party -- then al-Qaeda has won two Nobel Peace Prizes.

The Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami (DMI) Trust is one of several suspects whom authors have accused of funding the September 11 attacks of 2001, yet were found innocent in their trials. There have been several cases like this in the US and Europe where either the authors were working from bad information or their good information was inadmissible in court or the defendants had bought really good lawyers or judges. The past leaders of DMI have included al-Qaeda organizer Hassan al-Turabi, and Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusuf Qaradawi was an early advisor. This is enough evidence to bomb them, but not to win a conviction in a court of law.

DMI's lawyers declare the company's complete innocence:

In 2010, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed all claims against the two companies, ruling that the plaintiffs had shown nothing to indicate that they ever did anything more or less than engage in routine banking services ...

On April 16, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the rulings of the Southern District, holding that DMI Trust and DMI S.A. did nothing more than, at most, providing routine banking services to persons later deemed to be suspected of connections to terrorism, and thus that the plaintiffs had failed to state a claim against DMI Trust or to establish jurisdiction over DMI S.A.

Dismissal at district court

I was unable to find the first dismissal on the Southern District web site. Google was unable to find any mention of "Dar" or "Maal" there. I did find the ruling elsewhere. Here is the entirety of the ruling as regards DMI:

Defendant Dar Al?Maal?Al?Islami Trust ("DMI Trust") is alleged to be part of a network of financial institutions that provide money laundering, and financial and banking services on behalf of al Qaeda. Plaintiffs allege that DMI Trust knowingly maintained accounts for al Qaeda front charities, including AHIF thereby facilitating the funding of al Qaeda. Defendant is also alleged to have actively sponsored al Qaeda through the actions undertaken by its purported subsidiaries. Mere allegations that defendant provided routine banking services, and of wrongful conduct committed by independent subsidiaries, are insufficient to subject DMI Trust to liability in this litigation. Its motions to dismiss are, therefore, granted.

This sounds like the plaintiffs failed to show that the subsidiaries were acting under direction from above or that the directors of DMI were part of the same conspiracy. The judge was George B. Daniels and the case In Re Terrorist Attacks.

Appeals court ruling

The appeals court ruling is available and it is an interesting read that explains the difficulties in applying tort laws to those who support terrorists. The judges in the appeals decision were Jose Cabrenes, Reena Raggi, and Jed Rakoff. Cabrenes is also a FISA court judge, and Rakoff is a district court judge from the Southern District of New York sitting by designation.

  • In dismissing O'Neill's claim under the Alien Tort Statute, 28 USC § 1350 which covers any "violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States", the court finds that "plaintiffs’ ATS claims are without merit because no universal norm against 'terrorism' existed under customary international law". In other words, the court ruled that 9/11 was not a war crime.
  • In forbidding torts of aiding and abetting, the court cited Rothstein v. UBS AB, a decision by Jed Rakoff and upheld by Amalya Kearse, which held that UBS bank had no civil liability for violating sanctions against Iran. This appears to be well supported by the lack of the plaintiffs' showing proximate cause, by the federal aiding-and-abetting statute 18 USC §2 referring specifically to crimes against the United States and not to civil torts, and by a Supreme Court finding in Central Bank of Denver v. First Interstate Bank of Denver that "Congress has not enacted a general civil aiding and abetting statute․."
  • O'Neill's claim of extrajudicial killings under the Torture Victims Prevention Act was rejected on finding that the TVPA was written to apply to "individuals" meaning natural persons and not corporations. This is also well supported.

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.

I sent out a few more FOIA requests to different government agencies because email makes it easy. They sent back paper, even when I requested an electronic response, because they suck. The papers were all form-letter rejections because they suck. That's bureaucracy, wasting paper since we moved from vellum to paper. I have a proposal for them that can save a few trees. Whenever someone requests information, they can just send back an email containing this photo:

Baby: Middle Finger

This would be functionally no different from the current FOIA process.

The Bird and the Bin Laden Brother

One of my requests was about a Col. William Shimonkevitz who once sold a house in Virginia to a Mr. Bin Laden in the mid-1990s. When a colonel with roots in Colorado and Pennsylvania has a business in DC for twenty years after his offical retirement, that suggests to me that he might be be a talented individual, perhaps quite intelligent. When such an individual sells a house to a guy that was already under investigation for funding terrorism through the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, that tells me the house should have had more bugs than contemporary Microsoft products. Even if that was not the case, an officer from the WWII generation is going to inform somebody that he's doing business with a foreigner. So we've got an alleged major terrorist fundraiser sitting pretty in Virginia, "alleged" because we did jack shit about it for years and never tried to get a conviction, and this happy situation lasted until the bin Ladens were honored with the special privilege of flying back to Arabia in the week after the first September 11 attacks when Americans were still grounded. Here are some possible scenarios that could lead to this situation:

  1. Somebody fucked up in authorizing a bug-free home deal
  2. Somebody fucked up in failing to get the intel to the FBI
  3. Somebody fucked up in failing to get the intel in the first place
  4. Somebody else fucked up too, but it's pretty damn clear that somebody fucked up

I sent letters to a few different agencies to see if Col. Shimonkevitz gave them any usable intel on the bin Ladens. I got a ping back in the form of a Fuck Off letter from the the Drug Escorting Agency telling me that they're not convinced the late Colonel is really dead and they're not allowed to check their own fucking service records. I don't feel like bothering the guy's family, so that's the end of that.

I earlier received the same kind of Fuck Off response from the FBI for asking about Shamil Basaev. We can't say he's dead and we're not allowed to use Google, so please provide a Russian autopsy report which will not be able to read because it's in Russian or get this al-Qaeda warlord to sign off on this waiver form and we're not going to ask any questions if you manage to get an al-Qaeda warlord's personal signature because we're not that bright. At the time I had daydreams of talking the Washington Post's editors into running a front-page headline "FBI Not Convinced of Chechen Warlord's Death" and then grabbing some popcorn and sitting back to see how the Russians react to that, but I managed to escape the conundrum by finding a human being to push the request forward to the next step of no, seriously, Fuck Off. So in summary, He Might Be A Vampire is a standard way to get out of responding to a FOIA request.

Al-Qaeda's Global Launch Party

Various unverifiable sources tell that al-Qaeda became a global network in April 1991 when the Sudanese government invited all of the world's Muslim terrorist organizations to a big pow-wow called the Popular Arab and Islamic Congress. The evidence is thin on this ever having happened and the US intelligence community seems intent on wishing everyone would forget it happened, but it is better established that they all got together again for the Second conference two years later and were all kicked out of the country after five years, and the US refused to accept Sudan's offer of all of the intelligence the Sudanese had collected about this group.

The Israelis tell the most interesting stories about the conference. The PLO were running the show, the Iranians were the main financiers and trainers, and doesn't it make you want to bomb Israel's enemies? I'd like to see a second source, myself; the Egyptians probably had the best intel, but it probably all burned in the Arab Spring. But, I am digressing, so let us return to speculating about this conference. The stories go that it included every notable terrorist of the time: Yasser Arafat, Carlos the Jackal, Abu Nidal, and a bunch of guys you've never heard of like this dude named Osama bin Laden. And you'd think someone would have noticed. Seriously, you'd think someone would have noticed all those people coming together. It's like TMZ ignoring a hotel-destroying bender involving Justin Bieber, Lindsey Lohan, the Kardashians, and all the other famous celebrities I care so little about that my pop culture references are five years old. Or if MH370 lands in CNN's parking lot and they don't report it. The silence is so unusual as to raise questions.

The CIA is holding on tightly to whatever information they have about the conference. In a 2009 response to a lawsuit brought by a lawyer named Kenneth Trentadue, they gave him a blank page and called that a release. So I decided to ask elsewhere. Who would have information about this? Who would have been watching? The people attending the conference would have produced a lot of chatter. They would have been talking on the phone to their friends and exchanging letters about this new organization. Half of them were probably under permanent surveillance already with multiple agencies of multiple states keeping an eye on them, which makes it really surprising that this conference has been kept under wraps for so long. In considering who might have collected information about this group, I wondered who would have had the means to listening in to these phone calls and had the desire to tap the phones whoever these people may have been in contact with. My answers were 1) the NSA, and 2) an Iraq working group within the NSA.

Why Iraq? Consider what was happening at the time. The US had recently led an invasion of Iraq to remove Iraq from Kuwait following a six-month period of threats and preparation. During that six-month period, Iraq received and cultivated support from fundamentalist preachers opposed to the presence of infidels on Muslim land. The preachers were effective enough to threaten the Saudis' continued participation in the coalition and had an effect on Western analysis as well. One of the memes to have come out of the Iraqi-fundamentalist alliance is "The Arab Street", meaning this network of preachers and their ability to form large crowds of protesters and threaten to turn to violence whenever they want to pressure anyone for concessions. Another is "Linkage", the idea that Israel is at fault for everything that goes wrong in the Middle East and we should pressure Israel for concessions whenever Iran and Iraq are shooting at each other again or when there's a street fight between Saudi and Iranian proxy forces in Bahrain. One of the leaders of the fundamentalist preachers who allied with Iraq was a Sudanese named Hassan Turabi. Anybody who was focusing on the activities of Iraqi intelligence and their new friends would have been keeping tabs on this guy. Word is that Turabi was also the man who put out the invite for the Popular Arab and Islamic Congress, so anyone focusing on him and his friends would have found him and his friends. Hence my suspicion that someone in the NSA's Iraq group picked up on this big meeting and wrote a report on it because you'd have to be a complete idiot not to.

So to finally get to the point, I asked the NSA if they had any summary reports on whatever went down there. The NSA's response, as a matter of course, was a Fuck Off letter. The existence or nonexistence of the US having had any intelligence on al-Qaeda in 1991 is "currently and properly classified". Like, I heard there was this guy named Osama bin Laden and he was a total asshole... oh shit, that's a state secret! And everything is classified. The technology known as the "Black Marker" is so secret and restricted that even the NSA does not have access to it. The justification for this derpination is Executive Order 13526 Section 1.4(c) which has jack shit to do with what I asked for, and the letter also cites a few laws which are also irrelevant non sequitors. The Fuck Off letter is attributed to Pamela N. Phillips, chief of the Public Affairs office, and was probably copied and pasted by someone from a temp agency.

So that's the world we live in where we are not allowed to know who we are at war with and the stupidity community places the highest priority on protecting our enemies' secrets. It's like they're run by a cargo cult with a vague idea that the job involves secrecy but no real understanding of how and why things are supposed to work.

[Edit May 15] I mailed out my response to the NSA today. I expect them to bin it and pretend they never got it. [Edit June 6] They sent back a response, dated May 30, telling me not to expect an answer any time soon.

Please be advised that appeals are processed in the order in which they are received, on a first-in, first-out basis. At this time, there are a large number of appeals ahead of yours in our queue.

If things are that slow, they need to ask Congress for a budget to hire more people. Also, the NSA is under the Department of Defense which should have a large number of people sitting around waiting for orders. One would imagine this to be a solveable problem.

For another solveable problem, their mail room is too damn slow. They say it took until the 28th to get my appeal. That's nine business days, and the USPS certainly got it to them within four. The response, dated May 30, is postmarked as mailed on the 3rd (the Tuesday after the weekend) and appeared in my mailbox on the 6th.

The letter is signed by a Brian C., FOIA/PA Appeals Program Manager, Office of Associate General Counsel (Litigation). Again I wonder if I am really getting the attention of chiefs and managers or if they just stamp the manager's name and sig on everything. My request is case number 77703 and appeal number 3991.


There is a chart of alleged PAIC attendees on page 88 of The Terrorists' Internationale by J. Millard Burr, co-author of the banned Alms for Jihad and the highly recommended Revolutionary Sudan. According to this list, the co-founders of the global al-Qaeda network include a son of the head of Iraqi intelligence, the "moderate" Rashid Ghannouchi whose "moderate" Ennahda moderately moderated Tunisia, numerous Muslim Brotherhood chapters from around the world, Hezbollah, and the PLO. Unfortunately, Burr does not cite his sources.

Newspeak

May. 10th, 2014 03:20 pm

George W. Bush invested the phrase "enemy combatants" to deny that captured al-Qaeda soldiers are prisoners of war, and to prefatorily convict certain captured persons as combatants when the evidence may have been thin on that point.

The New York Times and Washington Post have invented the phrase "armed civilians" to prefatorialy deny that persons are either al-Qaeda or soldiers regardless of whatever later evidence may come in.

Boko Haram has a lobby. Back in June 2012, William Minter of the Africa Focus Bulletin (allafrica.com) created a petition to not declare Boko Haram a terrorist organization. This raises the question: Who is this idiot?

A month before creating the MoveOn petition, Minter circulated a petition opposing sanctions on Boko Haram on the grounds that:

  1. it would "internationalize" a group that was already part of international al-Qaeda and getting support from all over the place
  2. it would show that some attention is being paid to counter-terrorism
  3. defeating Boko Haram would "undermine Nigeria's progress on the rule of law" because only the Nigerian state is responsible for human rights abuses, and only a Muslim may be the legitimate ruler of Nigeria
  4. it would impede "humanitarian" and "academic" financial support for Boko Haram

Minter's May letter is signed by these idiots: long list cut )


What's sad is that many of the people who signed on to this have spent time in Nigeria and ought to know better. I am reminded of an old quote about an idea being so stupid that only an educated man could support it.


I will propose a very, very low bar for analysing a strategic policy proposal. I don't care how long you've studied the region or how many letters you have after your name, but if your proposal would have a measurably worse outcome in terms of human rights and human suffering than Ann Coulter's proposal to invade and torture and kill everything that moves and convert any survivors to Christianity at gunpoint, you suck at peace studies and conflict resolution.


The expertise of some signatories dates back to the '70s, which means they have completely missed the rise of the new fundamentalists over the past 30 years, which means they are not experts at all. To anyone still under the impression that Boko Haram is an African problem arising from local conditions, I prescribe a reading of Revolutionary Sudan, particularly the parts about how the RCC managed conflict with Sudanese traditions.


There is a disconnect between the public and the education system. When close to 100 people who are specialists in their field take a position like this, it should cause a bigger dent in the public consciousness even if they are wrong.


Potentially related: see earlier.


Sourcewatch associates William Minter with Walter Turner, "President of the Board of Directors for several San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits, including Sound Vision, Global Exchange, and the Institute for a New South Africa" and producer/host of Africa Today on Pacifica Radio. About those groups:

  • The Sound Vision Foundation is run by Abdul Malik Mujahid who was a member of the Shura council of the ICNA in 1999 and won the American Library Association's Outstanding Academic Book of the Year Award in 1990 for a book saying that all of the "Untouchables" of India should convert to Islam.
  • Global Exchange is alleged, always by the far right and never convincingly, to be a front for Cuban intelligence. Then you look at the stuff they do and it's hard not to call them a front for Cuban intelligence.
  • The Institute for a New South Africa, in Turner's words, "began in the 1980s and continued in the 1990s to build links between communities and city officials in the United States and South Africa" and "did not survive the 1990s", probably because the apartheid government fell.

I found nothing else to link Minter to Turner other than a few appearances of Minter on Turner's radio program.


The Union for a Better Nigeria, which is apparently one guy with a Facebook page, created a competing MoveOn petition to call for President Obama to publicly oppose Boko Haram. I can't tell you the specifics because the page says "Petition Not Available: This petition has been taken down." It is not clear whether it was taken down by the submitter or by MoveOn.


[Edit May 9] Someone at MoveOn took down the Minter petition. "The content of this petition is under review." Down the memory hole and pretend it never happened. Someone must have been embarrassed.


[Edit May 11] Examples of ongoing propaganda on behalf of Boko Haram:

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.

FOIA Off

Apr. 14th, 2014 10:58 pm

Good news: You can now send FOIA requests over email.

Bad news: You need a password.

Your request for a copy of fax sent into the FBI on 12/30/2000 is not searchable in our indices. For your information, the FBI Central Records System is not arranged in a manner that allows for the retrieval of information in the form for which you have requested. Items are indexed according to individual investigatory interests.

I gave them the date, a time range, the FBI recipient city, two names used by the sender, the name of the sender's employer, and the name of the subject of the report. That was not enough.

[EDIT Apr 15] correcting my account of how much information I gave them. I did not have the fax number.

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".

Malik Obama is a big-time terrorist financier. Obama as in that Obama; he is the US President's brother. This confirms earlier rumours emanating from the Egyptian Supreme Court. As an interesting side note, the tax-exempt status for Malik's terrorist-funding "charity" was rushed by IRS agent Lois Lerner, who Republicans have accused of blocking tax-exempt status for their organizations.

Mohamed Morsi immediately allied with al-Qaeda upon taking power in Egypt. His own aides appear to have bugged him for the Mukhabarat. Remember everyone saying he was a moderate? Remember everyone saying that his liberal and secular Egyptian opponents were misinformed tools of the American right wing? That was al-Qaeda propaganda to support their conquest of Egypt. The question arises of how it was able to spread so well.

Here's a third big story: Have you seen either of these items in your newspaper or on TV? Try looking. I see one article in the Jerusalem Post, and everything else is a Republican or Christian blog.

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tangaroa

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