Friday, 5 February 2016

Assange - US discussed murder of dying al-Megrahi

Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been pilloried by many as traitorous to Western interests. Yet those who believe in the sanctity of national and international law have cause to be grateful to Assange and those who support and assist him.

In December 2011 Jim Swire secretly travelled to Tripoli for his final meeting with Baset Al-Megrahi, a man shortly to die of cancer.

Unknown to Jim, American intelligence and some within the American administration had three months previously been discussing the illegal rendition and assassination of Baset Al-Megrahi. 

STRATFOR is a Texas headquartered global intelligence supplier to the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The company's Vice President is Fred Burton.

On August 19th 2011, in a classified email, Brian Genchur, an employee of Stratfor wrote: "I would like to kill the terrorist [Al-Megrahi] myself. I'm hunting for him on my own thru a few channels. If he can be found, I'll have him whacked." 

We can be sure that if Genchur and friends had carried out an assassination they would have killed any witnesses including members of the Megrahi family who were continually at Baset’s bedside.

 Five days later on August 24th CEO Fred Burton added a further classified email: “While the world is focusing on the chaos in Libya counterterrorism agents could take advantage of this window of opportunity to capture [Al-Megrahi]. The symbolism of grabbing [him] and bringing him back to stand trial in a U.S. court would resonate around the world.” 

The Genchur and Burton emails were revealed solely through the brave actions of Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Those who believe in the freedoms of an informed democracy should have cause to be grateful.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Libya now 'Like a Mad Max movie'

Justin Raimondo reports on as follows. 

The New York Times reports that the “government” of Libya is hiding in a hotel room in Tunis:

“Officials said there was agreement that the United States and its allies needed to find ways of shoring up Libya’s new government of national accord – established just this week with help from the United Nations but stuck, as of now, in a hotel in Tunis. France, General Dunford said, will work closely with the United States Africa Command on a plan.”

Plan? What plan? Why,the plan to “liberate” Libya for the second time in four years, which is even now in the works:

“Worried about a growing threat from the Islamic State in Libya, the United States and its allies are increasing reconnaissance flights and intelligence collecting there and preparing for possible airstrikes and commando raids, senior American policy makers, commanders and intelligence officials said this week.”
General Dunford
 Having destroyed the country in their 2011 intervention – when the US and its allies bombed the place to smithereens, funded Islamist militias, and had Ghadafi hideously murdered – the regime-changers are returning to the scene of their crime on the theory that repeating the same failed “solution” endlessly will somehow solve the problem they created in the first place.

So what exactly is going on in Libya since we took out Ghadafi? Think Iraq, Syria, Somalia – or, perhaps, a Mad Max movie. The “government” in the East is lorded over by General Khalifa Hifter, a CIA creation, who defected to the West after botching Libya’s invasion of Chad and was domiciled in Falls Church, Virginia, for years – conveniently close to CIA headquarters in Langley – waiting for his Big Comeback. It came when Hillary Clinton’s State Department and Samantha Power teamed up with National Security honcho Susan Rice and the three of them prevailed on President Obama to approve US intervention in Libya. Hifter returned to his homeland, had his chief rival, Abdul Fattah Younis, killed, and – backed by Egypt, the Saudis, and the United Arab Emirates – seized power in the eastern province, what used to be the independent state of Cyrenaica.

The western Tripoli-centered “government,” supported by Turkey and Qatar, consists of a collection of Islamist militias and ostensible “liberals” known as "Libya Dawn.” Their biggest point of unity is opposition to Gen. Hifter, whose brutality under the Ghadafi regime has not been forgotten. They also insist on the imposition of Sharia law, which is  why they’ve attracted support from groups like Ansar al-Sharia, responsible for the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Is it a coincidence that the so-called Islamic State has prospered in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and now Afghanistan? What do all these nations have in common? Yes, that’s right: these are all countries that fell victim to the regime-changers. And then, as night follows day, the dreaded Terrorist Threat arose like the desert sun.

And today, 29th January 2016, it is confirmed that the United Kingdom intends to join in a renewal of the madness.

The full article by Justin Raimondo can be viewed here. 

The New York Times article can be viewed here.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

What Hillary Clinton knew about Libya

The brutal destruction of the Libyan nation and slaying like an animal of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 was, in the view of many historians, quite predictable.

Former Supreme Commander of NATO, Four-star General Wesley Clark exposed one phase of the anti-Libyan mind-set when he related that within two weeks after the 9/11 attack on New York's Twin Towers, the White House had a plan to "bring down seven governments in five years". One of those nations was Libya.
Clinton: We came, We saw, He died... Laughter.

Here is an extract from a seriously informed account by a US commentator. We recommend that you watch the US mind-set in action during an interview which Hillary Clinton gave to CBS News. (The "new emails" referred to are by Hillary Clinton's unofficial intelligence adviser Sidney Blumenthal).

"As Brad Hoff of the Levant Report wrote, “historians of the 2011 NATO war in Libya will be sure to notice a few of the truly explosive confirmations contained in the new emails: admissions of rebel war crimes, special ops trainers inside Libya from nearly the start of protests, Al Qaeda embedded in the U.S. backed opposition, Western nations jockeying for access to Libyan oil, the nefarious origins of the absurd Viagra mass rape claim, and concern over Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves threatening European currency.”

Reality’s Hard Sell
But it probably would have been a hard sell to the American people if the U.S. government explained the dark side of the “R2P” mission – that it involved systematic executions of blacks and rapacious Western officials grasping for oil and gold – as well as creating a vacuum for jihadists. Instead, it worked much better to promote wild rumors about Gaddafi’s perfidy.

It is in this way that U.S. citizens, the “We the People” who were supposed to be the nation’s sovereigns, are treated more like cattle herded to the slaughterhouse.
Some of us did try to warn the public about these risks. For instance, on March 25, 2011, days before Blumenthal’s emails, I described the hazard from the neocon “regime change” strategies in Libya and Syria, writing:
“In rallying U.S. support for these rebellions, the neocons risked repeating the mistake they made by pushing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They succeeded in ousting Saddam Hussein, who had long been near the top of Israel’s enemies list, but the war also removed him as a bulwark against both Islamic extremists and Iranian influence in the Persian Gulf. …
“By embracing these uprisings, the neocons invited unintended consequences, including further Islamic radicalization of the region and deepening anti-Americanism. Indeed, a rebel victory over Gaddafi risked putting extremists from an al-Qaeda affiliate in a powerful position inside Libya.
“The major U.S. news media aided the neocon cause by focusing on Gaddafi’s historic ties to terrorism, including the dubious charge that he was behind the Pan Am 103 bombing in 1988. There was little attention paid to his more recent role in combating the surge in al-Qaeda activity, especially in eastern Libya, the base of the revolt against him.” 

Though the 2011 concerns about Al Qaeda have since morphed into worries about its spinoff, the Islamic State, the larger point remains valid regarding Libya, which descended into the status of failed state after Gaddafi’s ouster and his brutal torture-murder on Oct. 20, 2011. Secretary Clinton greeted the news of Gaddafi’s demise with glee, exulting: “we came, we saw, he died” and then laughed. 

For the full article containing a great deal more about US actions and intentions now and into the future, please see:

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Petition for Inquiry into Lockerbie to continue

The following has today been posted on the blogsite of Professor Robert Black, Professor Emeritus of Scots Law, University of Edinburgh.

A campaign group calling for an independent inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing has welcomed a decision by MSPs to keep its petition “open” and maintain a watching brief on a police inquiry into the case.
Justice for Megrahi (JfM) had claimed the findings of the Police Scotland investigation into allegations surrounding the disaster might “never see the light of day”, because the Crown Office and Lord Advocate had “already come to a view” on allegations it had made casting doubt on the conviction.
[Our note: Those allegations include alleged perjury by a key forensic witness, and deliberate mis-representations by the Scottish Lord Advocate during the Lockerbie trial concerning secret CIA documents discussing the CIA's chief identification witness Majid Giaka]
Al-Megrahi died in May 2012, three years after the Scottish Government released him from a life sentence on compassionate grounds.
JfM had written to the Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC early in November, asking a series of questions about his intentions regarding the report of the investigation – named Operation Sandwood – and the appointment of an independent counsel to consider it.
Mulholland had named the Crown Office point of contact as crown agent and chief executive Catherine Dyer, who, he said, had “no involvement whatsoever” in the investigation into the bombing.
Retired police officer Iain McKie, a member of JfM, said yesterday: “We had sent eight questions to the Lord Advocate about how they would deal with the police report, which he failed to answer.
“The committee have now decided to ask these questions on our behalf and that’s a significant step forward.”
The group’s questions focused on the status of the “independent counsel”, their association with the Crown Office and whether they would receive the Operation Sandwood report directly from Police Scotland without any intervention from the Lord Advocate or the Crown Office.
Independent MSP John Finnie told the committee the issue was “all about process” and not personalities.
He said: “We do have the suggestion that the Crown agent is an independent person in this process, or will play a role in this process and, as we’ve seen from the letters, I think any reasonable judgment would say that that’s not necessarily the case, given that the crown agent defended the Crown Office’s position on this in a letter of 2012.”
Finnie added: “I would like the clerk to write to the Lord Advocate with the particular questions.
“Hopefully we’ll get some response to them that would advise what further action, if any, we would need to take.”
A Crown Office spokesman told The National: “Further to the Lord Advocate’s letter of 8 May 2015 to the Justice Committee, and his letter of 24 December 2015 to Justice For Megrahi, the Lord Advocate can confirm that he has had no involvement in the appointment of Counsel undertaking this work other than to identify their criteria of independence and no previous involvement with the Lockerbie investigation.
“The counsel undertaking this work is not under the direction of the Lord Advocate.
“The Lord Advocate considers it important that any criminal allegations against persons who were representing the Crown are dealt with independently of the Crown.
“As indicated above steps have been taken to ensure this is the case.”

Please click here for Professor Black's blogsite.

Friday, 25 December 2015

How MI6 uses the media to deceive the world

On this day when the world celebrates the birth of the Prince of Peace, we might reflect on one of his maxims. Thou shalt not bear false witness - i.e. you shall not lie. It is a commandment, not a statement of advice.

Two days ago David Cameron described Britain as a haven of justice, honesty, charity and peace.  Here is just one example of how British and American governments hide inconvenient truths. 

We are grateful to Professor Robert Black who has re-published this on his blogsite 

What follows is an article by Dr Ludwig de Braeckeleer published by OhmyNews on Christmas Day 2007:]

British journalists -- and British journals -- are being manipulated by the secret intelligence agencies, and I think we ought to try and put a stop to it.  --David Leigh[1]

Intelligence agencies can manipulate journalists and their newspapers in various ways. Firstly, spies may recruit journalists or even impersonate them. It goes without saying that these long and broadly practiced activities are unhealthy as they put the life of every single journalist in danger, and particularly those who work as foreign correspondents.
David Leigh

Secondly, intelligence agencies can plant disinformation in mainstream media under false identity. In the months preceding the 1953 overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, intelligence agencies used this technique abundantly and without any difficulty, according to a copy of the CIA's secret history of the coup, which surfaced in 2000.

"The Iran desk of the [US] State Department was able to place a CIA study in Newsweek, using the normal channel of desk officer to journalist. The article was one of several planted press reports that, when reprinted in Tehran, fed the war of nerves against Iran's prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh," the document said.
Cannistraro - Destroy Libya

[Our comment: over the next three decades the CIA's techniques were improved. In the case of Libya, the man in charge of the CIA's Lockerbie investigation team - Vincent Cannistraro - came fresh from a job handed to him directly by President George Bush Sr: In Cannistraro's own words in a filmed interview: "A program to destabilise and eventually destroy the Libyan government and regime" and replace it with amenable men.]

The third way for the spook to gain access to the media is rather subtle and particularly insidious. It consists of exploiting the vanity of journalists to impress on them to hide or lie about the real identity of their sources. Spies are said to have used this technique -- known as "I/Ops" for Information Operation -- heavily in the British press. Yet, it can rarely be documented. But once in a while, an I/Op gets out of control, giving the public a rare opportunity to take a peek inside the world of disinformation.

In November 1995, The Sunday Telegraph published a sensational story about one of our then favorite villains: Libya.

The paper accused Col Muammar Qaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, of running a major money laundering operation in Europe intended to fund weapons of mass destruction: Saif al-Islam is a "thoroughly dishonest, unscrupulous and untrustworthy maverick against whom the international banking community has been warned to be on its guard."
Saif al_Islam Qaddafi - Accused by Sunday Telegraph

The article had been written by then-senior correspondent Con Coughlin. Coughlin's source was described as a "British banking official."
Coughlin - Serious mistakes.

When The Sunday Telegraph was served with a libel writ by Qaddafi's son, the paper was unable to back up its allegation. The paper lodged three defenses. First, the lawyers argued that the newspaper had not injured Gaddafi's reputation. Second, they argued that the article about him was true.

Finally, claiming the defense of qualified privilege, the lawyers argued that it was in the public interest to publish the articles even if they turned out to be untrue.

For those who follow the Lockerbie farce -- the Megrahi second appeal over the Lockerbie judgment -- it is hard not to notice the irony of the last argument. Indeed, it seems that in the UK it is good for the public to be told lies while at the same time it is good for the same public not to be shown secret documents believed to be vital to unearthing the truth about the largest crime ever committed on UK soil.

"Is it in truth a classic muddle? A story of security service incompetence, a story of black propaganda, a story The Sunday Telegraph did not take that much care with because it never thought the matter would come to court?" asked James Price, QC, for Saif al-Islam.

During the trial in April 2002, bits of the true story began to emerge. On Oct 19, 1995, the Conservative foreign secretary Malcom Rifkind had arranged a lunch that Coughlin attended. During that meeting, Coughlin was told by Rifkind that Iran was trying to get hold of hard currency to fund its WMD program in spite of UN sanctions. Rifkind encouraged Coughlin to follow this story.
Malcolm Rifkind

The dispute was settled in less than two days of trial.[2] "There was no truth in the allegation that Gaddafi participated in any currency sting," said Geoffrey Robertson, QC, representing Telegraph Group Ltd.

"The Sunday Telegraph has accepted not only that there is no truth in these allegations, but that there is no evidence to suggest that there is any truth in them, and they have agreed to apologize to the claimant [Saif al-Islam] in this court and in the newspaper," Price told journalists.

One had to wait for the publication of David Hooper's book Reputations Under Fire to learn that the source of the article was not a "British banking official." Actually, they were intelligence officers working for MI6. It is now understood what really occurred.

On Oct 25 and 31, 1995, Coughlin was briefed by a MI6 man (source A) who appeared to be his regular contact with the agency. Source A gave Coughlin an overview of the plan. Through an Austrian Company, Iran was selling oil on the black market to fund its secret military nuclear program.

Moreover, on Nov 21, 1995, source A introduced Coughlin to a second MI6 person (source B) who described the involvement of Saif al-Islam in the counterfeiting scam.[3] Source B requested strict confidentiality.

The next day, the two MI6 officers described the money laundering deal in great detail during a four-hour meeting. Eight billion dollars would be transferred out of banks in Egypt and replaced by Libyans dinars, minus a substantial commission. The Libyans would hide their involvement through a Swiss branch of an international finance company. Meanwhile, an Iranian middleman would provide a large amount of fake currency.

On Nov 23, Coughlin met once more the two intelligence officers who showed him copies of the banking records.

There is just one problem with the story. The intelligence officers made it up. It was pure fabrication and Coughlin bought it while hiding the true identity of his source.

"I believe he [Coughlin] made a serious mistake in falsely attributing his story to a British banking official. His readers ought to know where his material is coming from. When The Sunday Telegraph got into trouble with the libel case, it seems, after all, to have suddenly found it possible to become a lot more specific about its sources," wrote David Leigh. "Our first task as practitioners is to document what goes on in this very furtive field. Our second task ought to be to hold an open debate on what the proper relations between the intelligence agencies and the media ought to be. And our final task must then be to find ways of actually behaving more sensibly."

Has Coughlin learned anything from the affair? It seems that the answer to this question is definitely no. He went on writing about the false link between Saddam and al-Qaida and the false allegations concerning the Iraqi WMDs. He wrote that the Iraqis could access their WMDs within 45 minutes.

Coughlin has written numerous articles about the alleged Iranian military program such as "Meanwhile, Iran Gets On With Its Bomb," "Israeli Crisis Is a Smoke Screen for Iran's Nuclear Ambitions," "Iran Accused of Hiding Secret Nuclear Weapons Site," "Iran Has Missiles to Carry Nuclear Warheads," "UN Officials Find Evidence of Secret Uranium Enrichment Plant," "Iran Plant Has Restarted Its Nuclear Bomb-Making Equipment," and "Iran Could Go Nuclear Within Three Years." Not a single one of these articles quotes a named source.

1. "Britain's Security Services and Journalists: The Secret Story," British Journalism Review, Vol 11, No 2, 2000, pages 21-26. David Leigh is assistant editor of The Guardian. He is former editor of The Guardian's comment page and former assistant editor at The Observer. He is a distinguished investigative reporter and formerly a producer for Granada Television's World in Action program. In 2007, he was awarded the Paul Foot prize, with his colleague Rob Evans, for the BAE bribery exposures.

2. Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C., and a nephew of King Fahd, is understood to have brokered the settlement at the request of The Sunday Telegraph.

3. The reader should keep in mind that in late November 1995, MI6 was approached by Libyan dissidents concerning their plan to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi in February 1996. MI6 met with one member of the group, code name Tunworth, in late November 1995. BBC reporting of this event was seriously hampered by government censorship.

Monday, 30 November 2015

ISIS taking firm hold of central Libya

The New York Times is reporting that only four years after the NATO destruction of the state of Libya, ISIS has enforced its grip over the city of Sirte and a 150 mile strip of coastline.  Strict Sharia law is in force, and beheadings have commenced.
ISIS in Sirte

Today Sirte is an actively managed colony of ISIS, crowded with foreign fighters from around the region, according to residents, local militia leaders and hostages recently released from the city's main prison.

"The entire Islamic State government there is from abroad — they are the ones who are calling the shots," said Nuri al-Mangoush, the head of a trucking company based here in Misrata, about 65 miles west of the ISIS's territory around Sirte. Many of its employees live in Sirte, and five were jailed there recently.

As ISIS has come under growing military and economic pressure in Syria and Iraq, its leaders have looked outward.

One manifestation of the shift is a turn toward large-scale terrorist attacks against distant targets, including the massacre in Paris and the bombing of a Russian charter jet over Egypt, Western intelligence officials say. But the group's leaders are also devoting resources and attention to far-flung affiliate groups that pledged their loyalty from places like Egypt, Afghanistan, Nigeria and elsewhere. There are at least eight in all, according to Western officials, who spoke to the New York Times on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

Of those, by far the most important is based in Sirte, a Libyan port city on the Mediterranean about 400 miles southeast of Sicily. Western officials familiar with intelligence reports say it is the only affiliate now operating under the direct control of ISIS leaders. In Libya, residents of Sirte and local militia leaders say the transformation of ISIS here has been evident for months.

"Libya is the affiliate that we're most worried about," Patrick Prior, the Defense Intelligence Agency's top counterterrorism analyst, said at a recent security conference in Washington. "It's the hub from which they project across all of North Africa."

The leadership of ISIS is now clenching its grip on Sirte so tightly that Western intelligence agencies say they fear the core group may be preparing to fall back to Libya as an alternative base if necessary, a haven where its jihadis could continue to fight even if it was ousted from its original territories.

Western officials involved in Libya policy say that the United States and Britain have each sent commandos to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on the ground. Washington has stepped up airstrikes against ISIS leaders. But military strategists are exasperated by the lack of near-term options to contain the group here.

In Libya, where a NATO bombing campaign helped overthrow Col. Moammar Gadhafi four years ago, there is no functional government. Warring factions are far more focused on fighting one another than on taking on ISIS, and Libya's neighbors are all too weak or unstable to lead or even host a military intervention.

ISIS has already established exclusive control of more than 150 miles of Mediterranean coastline near Sirte, from the town of Abugrein in the west to Nawfaliya in the east. The militias from the nearby city of Misrata that once vowed to expel the group completely have all retreated.

Militia leaders and Western officials estimate that the group's forces in Libya now include as many as 2,000 fighters, with a few hundred in Sirte and many clustered to the east, around Nawfaliya. A flurry of recent bombings, assassinations and other attacks has raised fears that the city of Ajdabiya, farther to the east, is the group's next target. Its conquest could give ISIS control of a strategic crossroads, vital oil terminals and oil fields south of the city.

The group in Sirte has begun imposing the parent organization's harsh version of Islamic law on the city, enforcing veils for all women, banning music and cigarettes, and closing shops during prayers, residents and recent visitors said. The group carried out at least four crucifixions in August.

Last month it held its first two public beheadings, killing two men accused of sorcery, according to prison inmates who knew the men and a Sirte resident who said he witnessed the killings.

ISIS once called on Muslims everywhere to come to Syria and Iraq to join its self-declared caliphate. Its propaganda portrayed migration as all but a religious duty.

But the messages began to change as the state-building project came under increased military pressure in Syria. Increasingly, ISIS leaders began to focus more of their attention on the battle abroad, including in Libya.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Private Eye and Scottish confusion over Lockerbie

[What follows is the text of an article in the current issue of Private Eye, as reproduced today on John Ashton’s Megrahi: You are my Jury website:]
The recent decision of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) by the Scottish body that it would not be reviewing the case of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, has been met with dismay and incredulity by those who want to get to the truth behind the Lockerbie bombing.

Pan Am 103 cockpit, bodies of crew still strapped to their seats.

The SCCRC said its decision that it a further investigation was “not in the interests of justice” was made with “some regret”. It blamed an inability to gain access to defence appeal papers and other materials – which has outraged those who say they could have been supplied.

Eye readers will remember that back in 2007, the SCCRC identified no less than six grounds for a possible miscarriage of justice, paving the way for Megrahi’s appeal in 2009. After endless delay by the Crown, the appeal was abandoned when the ailing Libyan returned to his country to die with his family. Since then other material has come to light, including new scientific evidence which shows – contrary to assertions made at Megahi’s trial – that a bomb timer fragment found at the crash site was no match for those known to have been supplied to Libya. 

Innocent : Megrahi

It was this evidence which raised more serious questions not only about Megrahi’s guilt but also over any part played by Libya, which last year prompted a number of the relatives of the 270 who perished in the 1988 blast – supported by members of Megrahi’s family – to launch a new SCCRC application. It was, they claimed, the “worst miscarriage of justice in British legal history”.

But this month commissioners said “a great deal of public money and time” was expended on its original review of Megrahi’s case only for the apeal to be abandoned and it was not convinced of the family’s willingness to co-operate with the new review or take the matter to appeal.

John Ashton
John Ashton, Megrahi’s biographer, who worked with the defence team, regreted the confusion: “For access to the appeal papers, the SCCRC only needed to ask. Mr Megrahi had allowed me to keep a set of papers, which I was happy to share with the commission.”

Tony Kelly, Megrahi’s former solicitor, had also made it clear he was anxious to assist, and had requested the SCCRC set out the legal basis for the request, so he could meet his duties of confidentiality to a former client. That was not forthcoming.

The SCCRC decision was the second blow to the victims’ relatives. In summer the appeal court ruled that they did not have a “legitimate interest” in pursuing an appeal on Megrahi’s behalf.

Nevertheless Jim Swire, father of Flora who died in the terrorist atrocity, told the Eye they were still hopeful the demands for documentation would be met. They are also awaiting the findings of a police investigation into nine allegations of criminal conduct against the Scottish Crown Office and named individuals over the conduct of the Lockerbie investigation and the 2001 trial. Now aged 79, he remains as determined as ever expose the cover-ups and deceit (Eyes passim ad nauseam) which have denied everyone justice.