Obituary: Libya 1951-2011 - November, 2011

The manner in which Libya was destroyed recently should have reinforced within our awareness several well known traits of the Western alliance. In Libya, we again saw the happy merger of "Al-Qaeda" types with Western forces (but not many people noticed as usual); we again saw a well-to-do nation turned into a failed state (soon to be exploited by Western corporate interests); we again saw the UN being used as a convenient tool by the empire to realize its geopolitical goals around the world; we again saw American and Western trained activists spearheading the disinformation war in tandem with mainstream Western news media outlets; we again saw the notion of democracy and human rights being used as a weapon and an excuse for military intervention; we again saw how a politically vulnerable yet a wealthy nation that stubbornly refused to bow to the empire be conspired against and marked for destruction; we again saw egregious war crimes and grand theft by the "forces of freedom and democracy" and its fanatical Islamist allies.

What the empire did to Libya was criminal, and that is putting it very mildly. Qadaffi was a cruel leader, there is no argument regarding that matter. But Qadaffi was no crueler than his enemies in the West and he was certainly less cruel than his domestic opposition. Nevertheless, Qadaffi and his officials, including some of his family members, did not deserve the kind of treatment they were shown towards the end of their rule. Qadaffi did not deserve the barbaric disrespect he was shown in death.

Even with all his faults, Qadaffi was perhaps the most benevolent leader in the Arab/Islamic world. As a matter of fact,
Muammar Qadaffi and Saddam Husein were the kind of secular leaders that the backward and volatile region in question desperately needed. The West has always feared independent leaders in the oil rich region. This is the reason why Nasser was killed in Egypt, this is why Mossadegh was overthrown in Iran and this is the reason why Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran have been marked with destruction in recent years.

For the past century, the region has systematically become radicalized as a result of Western interventions.
Today, the Middle East stands on the verge of a radical Islamic transformation and this is occurring with the tacit support of the Western alliance. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to realize that Washington and its allies in the Arabian peninsula have helped Islamic forces in the region at every pivotal turn. The Hezbollah, of course, is a notable exception to this. It is also quite obvious now that the Wahhabist terror group popularly known as "Al-Qaeda" is more-or-less the Islamic military wing of Western intelligence agencies. By supporting Sunni Islamist powers in the Gulf region and elsewhere, the West is in fact stunting the growth of secular nationalism in the region, seen as the real threat to Western interests. Thus, the West is deriving near-term benefits by keeping the region free of nationalist leaders seeking to unite the Arab world.
Simply put, disregard what you have been hearing on CNN and BBC and realize that senior Western officials actually prefer dealing with Islamic societies (Islamic societies, not necessarily Islamic leaders) rather than with secular ones in the region.

Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that Washington has been "training" Islamic political parties in Egypt; it should not come as a surprise that Washington has been encouraging/funding Islamic militants in Kurdistan, Iraq and Pakistan to carryout terrorist attacks in Iran; it should not come as a surprise that Western-backed Libyan rebels have had close ties with Al-Qaeda; it should not come as a surprise that Western leaders are overseeing the transfer of Libya's Al-Qaeda connected Islamic terrorists into Syria via Turkey; it should not come as a surprise that Washington teamed up with "Al-Qaeda" to help Albanians and Bosnians defeat Serbians. See last ten articles towards the bottom of this page.

I have said this before and I say it again - "Al-Qaeda" is the covert Islamic military wing of Western and Saudi Arabian intelligence services. I am referring to "Al-Qaeda" leadership and not the organization's limitless supply of illiterate foot-soldiers that work for them thinking they are doing Allah's work on earth. Those Islamists we hear about getting assassinated or blown up by Washington from time-to-time are more-or-less those that refuse to play the game. Of the Islamic groups genuinely targeted by the Western alliance, some may be splinter groups, some may be groups that have sprung up spontaneously and some may be groups supported by rival political interests. I really wish more people understood this.

There is another, perhaps more sinister, aspect to the West's manipulation of the region: By supporting the rise of Sunni Islamists in the region, the West is also planting within the region the very seeds of its eventual destruction. After all, when these socially primitive and politically dysfunctional Islamic powers get out of hand, as they tend to do at times, they will simply bombed into submission. In this day in age, the wholesale killing of Muslims is not a major ethical dilemma for western society. Hollywood and the news press in the western world have been successful in dehumanizing Muslims in the eyes of western populations, at least sub-consciously.
Thus, the very seeds of "democracy" sown within the Middle East by Western powers today contain within them the very elements of the region's destruction at an opportune time in the future.

There is yet another logical if not evil reason why the West has historically preferred dealing with Islamic rulers in the region over secular/nationalistic ones.
Religious fanatics, be they Christian, Jewish or Muslim, tend to have tunnel vision; one track minds. As a result, religious fanatics are easily manipulated by officials. It is also well known that religious societies in general are rather easily governed and that they, as a collective body, suffer from stagnation. Islamic societies in particular tend to be very backward and self-limiting. Thus, such societies pose no long-term military, political or economic challenges to Western powers. Islamic societies led by Western-backed mercenaries are very easily governed and when needed, easily manipulated/exploited towards specific political ends. We are currently seeing this occur in Syria and Iran.

While this total political manipulation of the Islamic sheeple of the region by the West may seem like a superhuman task at first look (and I do admit it is very well carried out by Western leaders), but once you take into consideration just how politically ignorant, culturally primitive and economically backward these societies tend to be, the task at hand then seems much less difficult, if not easy. The fact remains,
Arabs and Sunni Islamists continue to be amongst the world's most easily exploited sheeples. For well over a century, the Arabic world has been co-opted by Western powers. Today, the pathetic gathering of backward Bedouins known as the "Arab League" is nothing but a tacky circus put together by Western powers.

Political figures that can potentially pose a threat or become serious nuisances for the Western alliance are eliminated in one manner or another. Whether it is Abdel Nasser, Rudolph Hess, Slobodan Milosevic, Yesser Arafat, Saddam Husein or Muammar Qadaffi, to name only a few, when an individual is not backed by a major power and he or she is deemed too risky by representatives of the free and democratic world, the individual in question dies.

Which brings me to another point:

The disturbing manner with which they treated Qaddafi's death is further proof for me that Osama Bin Laden
was not killed by "Seal Team 6" in Pakistan last spring. Didn't they refuse to release a dead Osama's picture because it was "too graphic"? Didn't they quickly give Osama's body a midnight burial at sea because they were "respecting Islamic customs"? If Washington was truly concerned about Americans seeing blood or giving Muslims a proper burial, then what's will all the enthusiastic display of Qaddafi's bloody corpse all over the mainstream media in the United States? What's with the disturbing orgy over the man's death in the US press? Trust me, had Bin Laden really been killed, pictures of his bloody corpse would have been "leaked" to the sheeple a long time ago. What they pulled off in Pakistan last spring was for all intents-and-purposes a Hollywood-inspired Washingtonian theatrics, what they have done with Qaddafi and what they hope to do with Assad and Ahmadinejad is a war crime.

In fact, what they have done in Libya can only be considered an armed robbery. An international gang of criminals led-by a ringmaster viciously pouncing on a vulnerable nation full of riches. That is exactly what happened to Libya.

Say what you will, but under their eccentric dictator Libyans had perhaps the highest standard of living in Africa and Libya was one of the most politically stable nations in the region. Libya was a wealthy nation. Libya today is no more. Libya has been the latest nation to fall victim to the forces of "freedom and democracy". As a result, Libyans today have been freed from their stability, they have been freed from their high living standards and they have been provided with a kind of democracy that will enable bloodthirsty Islamists to henceforth run the show in Tripoli. Libyans, including the bloodthirsty Western-backed Sunni Wahhabist filth that destroyed it, will soon find out just how good they had it under the "ruthless dictator".

The following two links are to blog posts from last March and September. They discusses the geopolitical aspect of the turmoil in the region. Please read it for further perspective on the topic:
NATO plans campaigns in Libya and Syria to tighten noose around Iran - September, 2011:

Crisis in Libya - March, 2011:
I don't want to get into praising Muammar Qaddafi now that he is dead. He was no angel and he was also a bit too eccentric for my taste. However, despite how murderous they tell us he was, his detractors, Western leaders, have always been much more murderous. Not only was Qaddafi an amateur compared to his antagonists, in the end he also proved to be quite naive and incompetent as well. The Qadaffi family basically facilitated their demise by lowering their guard and attempting to embrace bloodthirsty vultures in the West. Now, the Qadaffi family will be remembered as the one that was smart enough to rule for forty years but stupid enough to believe Western promises. And all the effort they put into giving their nation's desert dwellers a decent life went for naught. It's sad, but in a certain sense, the region's population deserves its bloody plight.

More on Qadaffi: Soon after his rise to power, Qadaffi's pioneering vision for his nation and the energetic manner in which he perused it eventually became deemed a geopolitical threat by those observing his actions in the West. Moreover, the fact that Qadaffi supported the IRA, the PLO and that he sought to help various African nations did not help endear him to the West either. The conspiracy against him thus began in the early 1980s. They finally succeeded in murdering him and stealing his nation's immense wealth some thirty years later.

What's terribly frightening for me is how easily they managed to utterly destroy a sovereign nation. They managed Libya's destruction by importing into the nation international Islamic terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda, by arming Islamic tribesmen in Libya and by unleashing a massive media propaganda against Qadaffi's regime around the world. Selling the unethical/unnecessary/illegal war to the global sheeple proved very easy, as usual. All they had to do was use their propaganda outlets such as CNN and BBC to tell the sheeple that Qadaffi was arming his troops with Viagra to rape and pillage innocent civilians that his forces were indiscriminately bombing civilian targets.

Qadaffi was doomed from day one. Although his main antagonists were his opponents in the West, various Sunni Arab client states of the Western alliance as well as certain segments of Qadaffi's own citizenry were also enthusiastically partaking in the Western campaign to destroy Libya from within. Even though a majority of Libyans may have remained pro-Qadaffi through it all, the minority that wanted to oust him for Islamic and/or tribal reasons proved much more fanatical and much better armed - thanks to NATO warplanes.
The following is purported to be a comment Qadaffi made last April, from the time when the Western-backed insurgency in Libya was in its initial phase. His words reflect pain and deep rooted disappointments -

"For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union. I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup. No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination."

Despite turning harsh desert land into crop yielding farms, despite securing his people's basic social needs and despite managing to have the highest living standards in that part of the world, Qadaffi could not in the end secure his nation from the oil-thirsty and money-hungry imperialists of the West. In the end, Libya's biggest undoing proved to be its lack of political friends. In its final moment of need, Moscow pulled its hand away and China looked the other way as Libya was killed. Thus, Libya, as well kept as it was, proved alone and vulnerable to the designs of Western imperialists.

Libya's recent historic plight underscores the very crucial importance of having powerful allies on the global stage. Libya also vividly reveals the serious dangers of "democracy", the nonsensical and corrosive notion that the ignorant and often times violent masses can effectively rule themselves. Libya was in fact a victim of democracy. Libya has shown us that the masses, despite how well they are kept by their rulers can always be exploited and manipulated by bigger powers. If there is a will there will always be a way to sucker the sheeple into committing suicide.

The following BBC video report comes to us from a time when the political West was attempting to understand Qadaffi's government.
Was Qadaffi the new Nasser that they had to eliminate as well? Nasser, Saddam, Qadaffi, Assad... the oil rich Arab world would not be allowed to execute politics independently of the West. The oil rich Arab world would not be allowed to unite under pan-Arabism. The century old exploitation of the strategic region in question had to continue at all costs. Please watch the following BBC report from 1979. This is the Libya they deliberately and systematically destroyed in their recent imperialistic power grab -
John Simpson meets Gaddafi for first BBC interview:
Please read article titled "Libya War is CIA Operation 30 Years in the Making" posted towards the bottom of this page. The CIA conspiracy against Qaddafi began merely two years after this BBC interview. In other words, the CIA was conspiring to overthrow the newly installed Libyan government several years before Ronald Regan ordered the bombing of Libya and around seven years before Libya responded to Western provocations by bringing down Pan-Am flight 103 over Scotland.

Watching the manner in which the American empire has been operating, I am once again reminded that we have seen this kind of behavior in history. When a lesser chieftain angered an empire, his mangled body was eventually displayed for all to see. That is how Rome scared its barbarians, that is how Mongols scared civilizations, that is how the Western global empire and friends keep opponents in line. Rule of law and proper conduct on the battlefield no longer seems to exists for the over-confidant and self-righteous elite in Washington.
The political West has become an ugly beast and a source of evil around the world. I have no doubt that all this evil energy (bad karma if you will) will come back to haunt it one day.

Writing this commentary eerily felt like I was writing an obituary. Looking it over again, I guess it was an obituary, Libya's obituary. And I have a sick feeling it's not over. I may be writing another one in the near future, this time for Syria. But I pray to God I'm wrong. If Syria falls, the gates to Iran will essentially be fully open. And a war against Iran will prove catastrophic for the entire region. In closing, I would like to present to you again the words spoken by one of the important gears in the Western war machine. The following words by former presidential candidate general Wesley Clark accurately summarizes what has been happening in the region in recent years:
"We are going to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years. We are going to start with Iraq and then we are going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran... We learned that we can use our militaries in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets wont stop us... and we've got about five to ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes - Syria, Iran, Iraq - before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us"

Wesley Clark

October 3, 2007
November, 2011

Libyan In(ter)vention: False facts fatal for Gaddafi:

'Hezbollah to prevent Western attack on Syria':

Syria Sees Red: Russia, BRICS blast UN sanctions:

William F Engdahl: Arab Spring a western ploy to control Eurasia:

Oil-field fight, tribal power-grab part of post-Gaddafi greed-fest:
U.S General admits to America Foreign Policy Coup:

Corbett: Only Russia able to prevent Libya-style repeat in Syria:

Oil-field fight, tribal power-grab part of post-Gaddafi greed-fest:

Gaddafi gold-for-oil, dollar-doom plans behind Libya 'mission'?
Make No Mistake: NATO committed War Crimes in Libya:


For US, Gadhafi’s Death a Laughing Matter

In the ultimate reflection of the Obama Administration’s carefree attitude toward entering wars, a chuckling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on television today mocking the death of long-time Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi, barely restraining her delight while declaring “we came, we saw, he died.” The remark was a modern take on the Julius Caesar hendiatris “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered), though in Secretary Clinton’s case it would be “Veniimus, Vidimus, Morit.” Since she uses the plural “we came” she could also be referencing the first Ghostbuster movie, however.

President Obama himself termed the slaying of Gadhafi, under what remains mysterious circumstances, a “momentous day,” though he managed to see this without giggling like a gleeful schoolgirl. The focus on the nature of Gadhafi’s death continues to center on various conflicting stories of his death, including how he managed to get shot in the head after his capture and before his arrival at the hospital. But the story in the US is mostly in spinning the administration’s decision to start a war without Congressional approval and continue to resist Congressional calls for explanations as a policy vindicated by the death.

Behind the scenes, however, the joy is not so much about President Obama’s potential poll boost, which is sure to be squandered on some other ill-advised war he’ll start or escalate, but in the fact that Gadhafi’s death spares the administration the embarrassment a trial would have produced. In particular, it means the secrets related to US rendition of dissidents to the Gadhafi regime won’t be coming to light any time soon, though since some of the rendees are now high profile figures in the National Transitional Council (NTC) that issue is unlikely to die completely.


The Return of Barbarism

How imperialism corrupts the soul of America

“We came, we saw, he died,” babbled our notoriously bloodthirsty Secretary of State as news of Moammar Gadhafi’s grisly murder hit the headlines. Throwing her arms up in a gesture of mock-triumph, she averred – perhaps sarcastically – that she was “sure” her recent visit to Tripoli had something to do with the Libyan dictator’s death. It’s hard to imagine a more inappropriate response to the revolting scene of Gadhafi’s last moments, as captured on video: beaten and bloody, propped up on the hood of a jeep and paraded through the streets of Sirte by screeching rampaging savages, these scenes elicited revulsion even from some pro-rebel Libyans. Here’s Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph on how the ghoulish scene went down:

“In Benghazi, on the main square where it all started, they were slaughtering camels in celebration. There they sat, eight of them, feet tied so they could not move, quivering with fear as they were beheaded one by one. As soldiers fired rifles in the air, members of the cheering crowd held up the severed heads as trophies. They daubed their hands in the camel-blood, and gave the V-for-victory sign with dripping fingers.”

This revolting scene illustrates why “democracy” – in any sense of the term that makes sense to Americans – will never come to Libya, not in a million years. In the politically correct world of our policymakers, and the view of the mainstream media, people all over the world are identical in their essence: they have “rights” that are supposedly universal, and first and foremost among these rights is self-rule. To call any of them savages, as I am doing without apology, is considered “racism,” and to even suggest they will soon revert to their historical pattern of saddling themselves with yet another brutal dictator is derided as “cynicism,” not to mention sour grapes in the face yet another “foreign policy success” by the Obama administration.

Let us look at these “triumphs,” which, one and all, are marked by their lawlessness and bloodthirstiness: the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, and now the lynching of Moammar Gadhafi by US-NATO proxies. The distinguishing characteristic of all three acts is barbarism – a studied disregard for the rules of war and the common decencies that define what it means to be civilized. That a US Secretary of State hailed the horrific death of someone – anyone – the way Hillary Clinton did in the case of Gadhafi would have been almost inconceivable in an earlier era: say, the 1950s or 1960s. That today no one so much as blinks tells us everything we need to know about the age in which we are living: to call it barbaric is to slander barbarians.

Insulated by distance, and inured to “old-fashioned” concepts of right and wrong, Americans are largely indifferent to this evidence of advanced moral degeneration: after all, these things are happening in faraway places, not here in the good old US of A. It’s images on a television screen, or a computer screen: perhaps it is not real at all. They look at these images and turn away – not out of revulsion, but out of ennui. It’s just another day in the life of the American Empire.

Yet that empire is now embarking on a dangerous course, one that involves placing every American – and every Westerner – in mortal danger. In rampaging through the world, imposing “order” and “democracy” on nations that have never understood or experienced either concept, we are unleashing what will turn out to be a whirlwind – one that will surely once again visit our shores in the form of a terrorist act, or, more accurately, an act of retribution against the heedlessly arrogant policymakers who made us a target.

We live in a dangerous world, say the interventionists: that’s why we can’t retreat into our castle and imbibe the joys of what they call “isolationism.” We have a responsibility to exert our “leadership” over the rest of the world – and never mind that all our efforts only increase the danger to ourselves and others.

The peculiar blindness that afflicts our elites – epitomized by Hillary’s unashamed variation on Julius Caesar’s famous phrase – is reflected, I fear, in the population at large. How else does one explain the response to the Obama administration’s recent announcement that the President is – finally! – fulfilling his campaign pledge to get all US troops out of Iraq? In counting on the complete ignorance of the general public as to the crucial context of this announcement – the breakdown in negotiations between Washington and Baghdad over the terms of a “residual” force remaining in country – administration strategists were not far off the mark. The supposedly informed professional pundits, whose job it is to know – and report – the facts, glossed over the deceit of the administration’s grandstanding, even as negotiations with the Iraqis for an extension of the deadline continue.

What both the administration and their sock-puppet pundits are counting on is the complete ignorance – and indifference – of the American public. And in that they are not likely to be disappointed.

Which leads me to my point, and it is this: moral degeneracy and stupidity go hand-in-hand. Whether one is the result of the other, or vice-versa, is for students of evil (evil-ologists?) to determine. I can only observe the growing phenomenon of an almost invincible ignorance that characterizes Americans on every level of the social ladder, from our politicians to ordinary people on the street. You can blame the education system, or the dumbing-down effect many claim to see in the new technology – is it an accident that Twitter, which limits the user to a few words, is the preferred mode of communication among tech-savvy albeit dumb-as-a-brick Americans? However, my thesis is quite different.

The evil is the irrational – a desire to defy the laws of nature and get away with it. It is, in short, the idea that one can cut corners on reality and attain some benefit, usually short-term, without having to endure the inevitably unpleasant consequences. Virtue, on the other hand, is a strict adherence to the natural laws of Reason, a relentless realism in the face of endless temptations to evade or somehow mitigate objective reality.

The American republic was birthed by a group of men who epitomized the old-fashioned realist virtues, and who – for that reason – warned their heirs and legatees against the temptations of militarism and imperialism. In this the Founders reflected the tenor of the times, and the revolutionary spirit of the rebellious colonists – who distrusted all government, but especially the sort lorded over by hubris-besotted monarchs, like King George III, who, in their madness and impiety, could imagine no credible challenge to their rule.

The American empire, on the other hand, was birthed by a series of Presidents – Wilson, both Roosevelts, and every modern chief executive – whose sole concern and “achievement” has been the expansion of government power, at home and abroad. Far from avoiding the temptations of militarism and imperialism, they sought to redefine both as virtuous expressions of “humanitarianism” and devotion to “human rights.” After a long and gloriously peaceful era of prolonged distancing from the quarrels and ambitious schemes of the European colonial powers, the Long Peace ended with the ascent of the first “progressive,” the bombastic Teddy Roosevelt, militant imperialist and Morgan tool, who set the US on a course of empire.

In the “progressive” lingo of the times, the advice of the Founders in regard to foreign wars was derided as archaic. The liberal editors of The New Republic, echoing the rhetoric of the Wilson administration, considered World War I to be a progressive crusade on behalf of liberty and the principle of national self-determination. FDR disdained the “horse and buggy” restraints placed on government by the Constitution, and his “progressive” supporters argued for his foreign policy in similar terms: “isolationism,” they declared, was outmoded by the reality of modern warfare. If we didn’t stop Hitler in Europe, his stormtroopers would soon be marching down Fifth Avenue.

Reviled reactionaries such as Col. Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, argued that Hitler and his blood-brother Stalin should be allowed to destroy each other before the US intervened. (This horrified the progressives of that era, who had abandoned their skin-deep anti-war views when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, and were mainly concerned with protecting their precious “workers’ fatherland.” Remember, this was a time when such mainstream liberal voices as The Nation were defending the Moscow Trials.)

Having erased the boundary between republic and empire, the American giant strode into the postwar era intent on expanding its influence throughout the globe. King George III would have understood.

Yet still there had to be an argument for overriding the Founders’ good advice, and neutralizing what our arrogant elites disdainfully refer to as the natural “isolationism” of the American people. There had to be some external threat, as in World War II, to justify the tremendous expense, in treasure and human lives, of building an overseas empire on a global scale. The cause of anti-fascism had sufficed in the 1930s, but the defeat of the Nazi empire and the humbling of Japan made the creation of new threats an immediate task – which the cause of anti-Communism neatly fulfilled.

This gave the War Party a good half century or so of virtually uncontested political supremacy, in this country and in the West more generally: but the free ride came to an end when the Berlin Wall fell, and the Soviet Empire exploded. Suddenly, there was no red Satan with a sword looming over the Kremlin, no great external force that could possibly be construed as a credible challenge to American power.

With this development, the American elites gloried in what Charles Krauthammer declared to be “the unipolar moment.” The French spoke of America the “hyperpower,” and the neoconservative brain-trusters over at The Weekly Standard proposed that we drop the republican (small-‘r’) pretensions and openly proclaim our imperial ambitions. A much-touted “debate” between Niall Ferguson and Robert Kagan, over whether the US is or should call itself an empire saw little disagreement on the first part of that proposition and mere quibbling over the second. To Western elites, the question isn’t whether they should rule the world, but only if they can afford to openly acknowledge their ambitions.

This kind of arrogance leads inevitably to a paralyzing stupidity because hubris induces a kind of blindness. A megalomaniac, who overestimates his own powers, lives amid an elaborate delusion, a self-enclosed and self-justifying belief system that simply excludes contradictory evidence. In the last days of the American empire, our elites live in a similar bubble, an alternate universe whose boundaries are dictated by narcissism.

This accounts for the surrealistic tone of our political discourse, in which all talk of meaningful cuts in the military budget is disdained as unrealistic, while in the next breath we have a debate over what to do about our impending bankruptcy. It explains not only how Obama can brazenly lie via omission in announcing the withdrawal of US “combat troops” from Iraq, without being called on it, but also how Ron Paul can come under fire for pointing out the obvious: that terrorism is a consequence of having abandoned the foreign policy of the Founders, who warned against going abroad “in search of monsters to destroy.” For our megalomaniacal policymakers, the idea that actions have consequences – and that misguided policies have highly unpleasant consequences – is near treasonous. They are above the law of cause and effect.

In seeking to recover and revive the realism of the Founders’ generation, Rep. Paul has certainly taken on a heroic albeit thankless task, and I don’t envy him. Indeed, some very small part of that burden is on my shoulders, and those of my co-workers here at, but there are times when I wonder about the odds of achieving even some small measure of success in my lifetime. Because the corruption of the ruling elite, its blindness and narrow-mindedness, seems to be seeping down into the general population to a degree I never imagined.

The major argument of the first anti-imperialists – the organizers of the Anti-Imperialist League, who opposed Teddy Roosevelt’s expansionist ambitions in Cuba and the Philippines – was that imperialism would corrupt our republic, and change the character of our people forever. They feared an American Empire would fatally subvert the republican mindset, which set limits on political power, and unleash our baser instincts. With the addition of subject peoples, who had no concept of limited constitutional government, the American union would lose its uniqueness: the old republican mindset would give way to a political culture that set no limits on government power. They pointed out that the economic interests who benefited from US intervention – in Hawaii, for example, the sugar tycoons – were corrupting the US government, bending American foreign policy to the requirements of their profit margins.

As the Empire enters its second century, this narrative of economic, political, and moral corruption takes on a new dimension: a fresh layer is added to the encrustations left behind by a decadent elite. Arrogance is no longer an upper-class, elite style, and surely you’ve noticed the sense of entitlement that suffuses the Davos crowd has trickled down to the masses, who riot at the very idea that their bankrupt governments can no longer afford to support them cradle-to-grave. Economic and political illiteracy are rife, and as for knowledge of foreign affairs – one might as well be talking about Einstein’s theory of relativity or the latest developments in molecular biology. During the Vietnam war, the details of every development were on every American’s lips: today, I doubt whether one American in five could locate Afghanistan on a map.

Knowledge is disdained, and slogans predominate. Where else but in America could we see the rapid rise of a supposedly conservative anti-tax candidate on the strength of a three-number formula – nine-nine-nine – that actually increases taxes on most ordinary Americans? It’s all about who can come up with the most simplistic phraseology: whether it’s “change,” “nine-nine-nine,” or “a new American century.”

In a republic, citizens take part in the political process out of a sense of duty, and self-protection. They make it a point of honor to understand the issues, and knowledge, for them, is power. In an empire, however, things are quite different: since the citizens can only influence the course of events to a limited degree, if that, little emphasis is put on acquiring knowledge, and more on acquiring power and influence with the powers that be. If one is aligned with a rising faction, as opposed to siding with the losers, then that’s all one needs to know, and no further investigation is required. Politics, then, is reduced to a battle between rival factions over who gets what share of the loot.

This accounts for the increasing emphasis on the “horse-race” aspect of politics in the media, and the lack of any real debate over principles and policies. It accounts, indeed, for the dumbing down of American politics, and the cheapening of the discourse in recent years. Indeed, I would take this analysis of the dumbing down phenomenon much further, and venture to say that the intelligence of American people, in general, has undergone a precipitous decline. I’m not just saying they’re less educated than ever, although one could make that case: I’m saying they have less intellectual capacity than previous generations, and this trend shows no signs of abating. Quite the contrary, it seems to be getting worse.

How did this happen? We return to the link between virtue and rationality – and the nature of evil as inherently irrational. A President who can hail a death as brutal and bloody as Gadhafi’s, a Secretary of State who can shriek her appreciation of such a revolting spectacle – these are not marginal exceptions to the general rule. Instead, these responses are reflective of America’s inner cultural and political rot – an America that long ago betrayed the Founders, ditched realism, and is now the complete captive of a debilitating madness.

As the Obama administration outdoes its predecessor in its relentless pursuit of empire, what we are witnessing is the return of barbarism, open and unashamed. It is the culmination of a trend that has been long in the making, and one that will go unnoticed as long as it continues – because evil, after all, is blind to its own nature.


How the West won Libya

They are fighting over the carcass as vultures. The French Ministry of Defense said they got him with a Rafale fighter jet firing over his convoy. The Pentagon said they got him with a Predator firing a Hellfire missile. After a wounded Colonel Muammar Gaddafi sought refuge in a filthy drain underneath a highway - an eerie echo of Saddam Hussein's "hole" - he was found by Transitional National Council (TNC) "rebels". And then duly executed.

Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, a Libyan doctor who accompanied Gaddafi's body in an ambulance and examined it, said he died from two bullets, one to the chest, one to the head. The TNC - which has peddled lies, lies and more lies for months - swears he died in "crossfire". It may have been a mob. It may have been Mohammad al-Bibi, a 20-year-old sporting a New York Yankees baseball cap who posed to the whole world brandishing Gaddafi's golden pistol; his ticket perhaps to collect the hefty $20 million dangled as the bounty for Gaddafi "dead or alive".

It gets curioser and curioser when one remembers that this is exactly what US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her lightning visit to Tripoli, had announced less than 48 hours before; Gaddafi should be "captured or killed". The Fairy Queenie satisfied Clinton's wishes, who learned about it by watching the screen of a BlackBerry - and reacting with the semantic earthquake "Wow!" To the winners, the spoils. They all did it; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Pentagon and the TNC. From the minute a United Nations resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya became a green card to regime change, plan A was always to capture and kill him. Targeted assassination; that's Barack Obama administration official policy. There was no plan B.

Let me bomb you to protection

As for how R2P ("responsibility to protect" civilians), any doubters should cling to the explanation by NATO's secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen; "NATO and our partners have successfully implemented the historic mandate of the United Nations to protect the people of Libya." Anyone who wants to check NATO's protection of civilians just needs to jump on a pick-up truck and go to Sirte - the new Fallujah. Reactions have been quite instructive. TNC bureaucrat Abdel Ghoga went Colosseum in the Roman Empire, saying, "The revolutionaries have got the head of the tyrant."

United States President Barack Obama said the death of Gaddafi means "we are seeing the strength of American leadership across the world". That's as "we got him" as one can possibly expect, also considering that Washington paid no less than 80% of the operating costs of those dimwits at NATO (over $1 billion - which Occupy Wall Street could well denounce would be more helpful creating jobs in the US). Strange, now, to say "we did it", because the White House always said this was not a war; it was a "kinetic" something. And they were not in charge.

It was up to that majestic foreign policy strategist, US Vice President Joe Biden, to be starkly more enlightening than Obama; "In this case, America spent $2 billion and didn't lose a single life. This is more the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has in the past." World, you have been warned; this is how the empire will deal with you from now on.

Feel my humanitarian love
So congratulations to the "international community" - which as everyone knows is composed of Washington, a few washed-up NATO members, and the democratic Persian Gulf powerhouses of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This community, at least, loved the outcome. The European Union (EU) hailed "the end of an era of despotism" - when up to virtually Thursday they were caressing the helm of Gaddafi's gowns; now they are falling over themselves in editorials about the 42-year reign of a "buffoon".

Gaddafi would have been a most inconvenient guest of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, as he would have relished recalling all the hand-kissing, the warm embraces and the juicy deals the West was begging to clinch after he was promoted from "Mad Dog" (Ronald Reagan) to "our bastard". He would also relish detailing all the shady backgrounds of those opportunists now posing as "revolutionaries" and "democrats".

As for the concept of international law, it lies in a drain as filthy as the one Gaddafi was holed up in. Iraqi dictator Saddam at least got a fake trial in a kangaroo court before meeting the executioner. Osama bin Laden was simply snuffed out, assassination-style, after a territorial invasion of Pakistan. Gaddafi went one up, snuffed out with a mix of air war and assassination.

Power vultures are congesting the skies. London-based Mohammed El Senussi, the heir to the Libyan throne (King Idris was overthrown in 1969) is ready for his close-up, having already established that he "is a servant to Libyan people, and they decide what they want". Translation; I want the throne. He's obviously the favorite candidate of the counter-revolutionary House of Saud.

And what about those Washington think-tank donkeys mumbling that this was the Arab Spring's "Ceausescu moment"? If only the Romanian dictator had improved his country's standard of living - in terms of free healthcare, free education, incentives for the newlywed, etc - by a fraction of what Gaddafi did in Libya. Plus the fact that Nicolae Ceausescu was not deposed by NATO "humanitarian" bombing. v Only the brain dead may have swallowed the propaganda of NATO's "humanitarian" 40,000-plus bombing - which devastated Libya's infrastructure back to the Stone Age (Shock and Awe in slow motion, anyone?). This never had anything to do with R2P - the relentless bombing of civilians in Sirte proves it.

As the top four BRIC members knew it even before the voting of UN Resolution 1973, it was about NATO ruling the Mediterranean as a NATO lake, it was about Africom's war against China and setting up a key strategic base, it was about the French and the Brits getting juicy contracts to exploit Libya's natural resources to their benefit, it was about the West setting the narrative of the Arab Spring after they had been caught napping in Tunisia and Egypt.

Listen to the barbaric whimpers
Welcome to the new Libya. Intolerant Islamist militias will turn the lives of Libyan women into a living hell. Hundreds of thousands of Sub-Saharan Africans - those who could not escape - will be ruthlessly persecuted. Libya's natural wealth will be plundered. That collection of anti-aircraft missiles appropriated by Islamists will be a supremely convincing reason for the "war on terror" in northern Africa to become eternal. There will be blood - civil war blood, because Tripolitania will refuse to be ruled by backward Cyrenaica.

As for remaining dictators everywhere, get a life insurance policy from NATO Inc; Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Tunisia's Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh were clever enough to do it. We all know there will never be R2P to liberate the Tibetans and Uyghurs, or the people in that monster gulag Myanmar, or the people in Uzbekistan, or the Kurds in Turkey, or the Pashtuns on both sides of the imperially drawn Durand Line.

We also know that change the world can believe in will be the day NATO enforces a no-fly one over Saudi Arabia to protect the Shi'ites in the eastern province, with the Pentagon launching a Hellfire carpet over those thousands of medieval, corrupt House of Saud princes. It won't happen. Meanwhile, this is the way the West ends; with a NATO bang, and a thousand barbaric, lawless whimpers. Disgusted? Get a Guy Fawkes mask and raise hell.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).


Gaddafi's death - who pulled the trigger?

Disturbing images of a blood-stained and shaken Muammar Gaddafi being dragged around by angry fighters quickly circulated around the world after the Libyan dictator's dramatic death near his home town of Sirte.The exact circumstances of his demise are still unclear with conflicting accounts of his death emerging. But the footage, possibly of the last chaotic moments of Gaddafi's life, offered some clues into what happened. Gaddafi was still alive when he was captured near Sirte. In the video, filmed by a bystander in the crowd and later aired on television, Gaddafi is shown being dragged off a vehicle's bonnet and pulled to the ground by his hair.

"Keep him alive, keep him alive!" someone shouts. Gunshots then ring out. The camera veers off. "They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him," one senior source in the NTC told Reuters. "He might have been resisting."

In what appeared to contradict the events depicted in the video, Libya's ruling National Transitional Council said Gaddafi was killed when a gunfight broke out after his capture between his supporters and government fighters. He died from a bullet wound to the head, the prime minister said. The NTC said no order had been given to kill him. Gaddafi called the rebels who rose up against his 42 years of one-man rule "rats," but in the end it appeared that it was he who was captured cowering in a drainage pipe full of rubbish and filth. "He called us rats, but look where we found him," said Ahmed Al Sahati, a 27-year-old government fighter, standing next to two stinking drainage pipes under a six-lane highway near Sirte.

On the ground, government fighters described scenes of sheer carnage as they told stories of Gaddafi's final hours. Shortly before dawn prayers, Gaddafi, surrounded by a few dozen loyal bodyguards and accompanied by the head of his now non-existent army Abu Bakr Younis Jabr, broke out of the two-month siege of Sirte and made a break for the west. They did not get far. France said its aircraft struck military vehicles belonging to Gaddafi forces near Sirte at about 8:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. ET), but said it was unsure whether the strikes had killed Gaddafi. A NATO official said the convoy was hit either by a French plane or a U.S. Predator drone. Two miles west of Sirte, 15 pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns lay burned out, smashed and smoldering next to an electricity substation 20 meters from the main road.

They had clearly been hit by a force far beyond anything the motley army the former rebels has assembled during eight months of revolt to overthrow the once feared leader. But there was no bomb crater, indicating the strike may have been carried out by a fighter jet. Inside the trucks still in their seats sat the charred skeletal remains of drivers and passengers killed instantly by the strike. Other bodies lay mutilated and contorted strewn across the grass. Some 50 bodies in all.


Fighters on the ground said Gaddafi and a handful of his men appeared to have run through a stand of trees and taken refuge in the two drainage pipes. "At first we fired at them with anti-aircraft guns, but it was no use," said Salem Bakeer, while being feted by his comrades near the road. "Then we went in on foot. "One of Gaddafi's men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me," he told Reuters. "Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. 'My master is here, my master is here', he said, 'Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded'," said Bakeer. "We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying 'what's wrong? What's wrong? What's going on?'. Then we took him and put him in the car," Bakeer said. At the time of his capture, Gaddafi was already wounded with gunshots to his leg and to his back, Bakeer said.

Other government fighters who said they took part in Gaddafi's capture, separately confirmed Bakeer's version of events, though one said the man who ruled Libya for 42 years was shot and wounded at the last minute by one of his own men. "One of Muammar Gaddafi's guards shot him in the chest," said Omran Jouma Shawan. There were also other versions of events. NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters Gaddafi had been finally cornered in a compound in Sirte after hours of fighting, and wounded in a gun battle with NTC forces. He said Gaddafi kept repeating "What is the matter? What's going on? What do you want?" and resisted as NTC fighters seized him. He added that Gaddafi died of his wounds as he was being transported in an ambulance. "He was bleeding from his stomach. It took a long time to transport him. He bled to death (in the ambulance)," he said.

Another NTC official, speaking to Reuters anonymously, gave a violent account of Gaddafi's death: "They (NTC fighters) beat him very harshly and then they killed him. This is a war." Video footage showed Gaddafi, dazed and wounded, but still clearly alive and as he was dragged from the front of a pick-up truck by a crowd of angry jostling government soldiers who hit him and pulled his hair to drag him to the ground. He then appeared to fall to the ground and was enveloped by the crowd. NTC officials later announced Gaddafi had died of his wounds after capture. Someone in the crowd shouted "keep him alive, keep him alive," but another fighter cried out in a high pitched crazed scream. Gaddafi then goes out of view and gunshots are heard.

Further footage showed what appeared to be Gaddafi's lifeless body being loaded into an ambulance in Sirte. ne of the fighters who said he took part in the capture brandished a heavily engraved golden pistol he said he had taken from Gaddafi. Fallen electricity cables partially covered the entrance to the pipes and the bodies of three men, apparently Gaddafi bodyguards lay at the entrance to one end, one in shorts probably due to a bandaged wound on his leg. Four more bodies lay at the other end of the pipes. All black men, one had his brains blown out, another man had been decapitated, his dreadlocked head lying beside his torso. Army chief Jabr was also captured alive, Bakeer said. NTC officials later announced he was dead. Joyous government fighters fired their weapons in the air, shouted "Allahu Akbar" and posed for pictures. Others wrote graffiti on the concrete parapets of the highway. One said simply: "Gaddafi was captured here."


After Making Capture in Pipe, Displaying the Trophies of War

They had the ultimate trophies of the revolution: the colonel’s golden gun, his satellite phone, his brown scarf and one black boot. A small group of fighters from Misurata, the vanguard of the force attacking Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s former hometown and final hide-out, Surt, said they had stumbled upon him hiding in a drainage pipe. He was bleeding from his head and chest, but he was well enough to speak, with his trademark indignation. “When he saw us, he said, ‘What’s happening?’ Those were the words that he spoke,” said Omran Shaaban, a 21-year-old Misurata fighter who said he and a friend were the first men in their unit to find the colonel.

On Thursday night, Mr. Shaaban, a student wearing a brown leather jacket, and his colleagues celebrated their victory in the local council meeting room here, hugging one another and passing around the colonel’s prized last possessions. It was a windfall of spoils for the young men, who have lived only half as long as Colonel Qaddafi ruled Libya, and for Misurata, the Mediterranean port city that is their hometown.

Misurata suffered grievously under a long siege by Colonel Qaddafi’s troops in the spring. It responded with rage, sending out its battle-hardened fighters, first to capture Tripoli and, on Thursday, Surt. As the bodies of the colonel and his son Muatassim were displayed for onlookers here in private homes on Thursday night, it struck many Misuratans as a fitting end, providing a measure of comfort to a brutalized city — and a bargaining chip for its place in a post-Qaddafi Libyan government. “Misurata will sleep very happily tonight,” said Dr. Suleiman Fortia, a member of the Transitional National Council from the city.

At the house where Muatassim Qaddafi’s body was being displayed, a man who had come to see put it more simply. “Thank God that we caught him,” he said. It remained to be seen whether Misurata’s achievement would soothe resentments against the city that are lingering from the war. Its fighters threw their weight around in Tripoli and were enthusiastic looters of vanquished loyalist cities. Traveling to Misurata in recent weeks practically required a visa. Their neighbors in the city of Tawerga, accused of fighting in support of Colonel Qaddafi, fled their city in August having been told by the Misuratans that they should not return.

The early battles of the uprising forged a formidable fighting force. Misurata’s rebels became known for their relative skill in urban combat and their convoys of black pickup trucks with heavy weapons mounted in the back. When Tripoli fell, it was the Misurata fighters who led the storming of Bab al-Aziziya, the colonel’s fortified compound and a symbol of the regime’s power. Misurata’s leaders have pushed for a leading role in the constellation of former rebel forces that have made rival claims to control Libya’s armed forces, and they insisted at one time that the prime minister be from Misurata. Dr. Fortia tried on Thursday to be conciliatory. “It was teamwork,” he said. “But we deserve the cup.”

The Misurata fighters who caught Colonel Qaddafi set out at about 10 a.m. on Thursday to support the final assault on Surt, according to Munir Senussi, 21, one of the fighters. “We used the coast road,” he said. “We were told it was empty.” But instead, they found the remains of a convoy that had been hit by a NATO airstrike. “We started to hit them with heavy weapons,” he said. “We had no idea Qaddafi was there.” Mr. Shaaban, the soldier who said he had found the colonel, said that he and the other fighters jumped on him, but he insisted that Colonel Qaddafi’s mortal wounds were already visible. The bodies of other men were near the drainage pipe, he said, but none of them were the colonel’s sons.

Colonel Qaddafi was carrying what Mr. Shaaban described as a sack of magic charms. He had a silver pistol in his hand, and in a bag, the fighters found the golden gun. On Thursday night, Mr. Shaaban looked around at his friends, young men caked in dirt or blood but smiling, congratulating one another on a job well done. “Bring the gun!” Mr. Shaaban said. Amid the other souvenirs of war, the big prize was Colonel Qaddafi’s body, shuttled around Misurata on Thursday, moved at least once when the crowds gathering to see it grew too large. By the late evening, the body had come to rest in the reception room of a pink villa. Scuffles broke out at the door as local military leaders came to take a look and snap pictures.

He had what appeared to be a small wound just below his chest and what looked like a gunshot wound to his left temple. His face was clean, but his arms were caked with blood. Several visitors tugged at his signature locks. The exact circumstances of Colonel Qaddafi’s death were not known. But the fighters toyed with his body, banging the head up and down, flashing the victory sign. “This was the opportunity of my life,” said the owner of one house to which the bodies were taken, who refused to give his name. “If I die tomorrow, I’m happy.”

Ali Tarhouni, the interim government’s finance and oil minister, came to Misurata to confirm the colonel’s death on behalf of the cabinet. Mr. Tarhouni had met Colonel Qaddafi when he was a student. “He didn’t look very powerful,” he said, after seeing the body. “I was looking at the corpse,” Mr. Tarhouni said, “and thinking of all the comrades and friends who spent decades fighting him, that didn’t live to see this day.”


Gadhafi’s Death Prompts Pro-Arab Spring Lie

Remarking on Muammar Gadhafi’s death on Thursday, President Barack Obama hailed it as a warning to Middle Eastern dictatorships “the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end.” But he obscured his administration’s own commitment to authoritarianism in the region. Without mentioning either, his warning is thought to have been directed at Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, two autocrats who have been brutally cracking down on peaceful antigovernment protests. “Across the Arab world,” he said, “citizens have stood up to claim their rights. Youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and those leaders that try to deny their dignity will not succeed.”

In Yemen though, Washington’s demonstrated preference has been for Saleh since the beginning. Obama continued his predecessor’s ramped up support of the dictator, aiding the regime with money and weapons while he implemented an intensified covert war in Yemen, using unmanned drone attacks as their primary weapon.

Blatant, horrendous atrocities against peaceful Yemeni protesters pushed the administration to call for Saleh to step down, adopting a Gulf state plan to give him immunity for his war crimes and form an opposition cabinet. Those calls were tempered ever since the successful assassination of US citizen Anwar al Awlaki by US-operated Predator drones. Obama administration officials heaped praise on the Yemeni government immediately following the Awlaki killing, knowing full well that a democratic change in Yemen’s leadership is likely to put checks on US domination of the Gulf country and restrictions on breaches of sovereignty like drone attacks.

Yemen is still set to receive $120.2 million in US aid in fiscal year 2012, the largest slice of which is in security and military assistance. In Bahrain, Obama has been similarly on the side of the sort of “iron fist” he railed against on Thursday. In June, the Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa visited the White House to have Obama “reaffirm the strong US commitment to Bahrain,” even as the regime had been gunning down unarmed activists with live ammunition, unleashing “live rounds, metallic pellets, rubber bullets, and teargas” at protestors for months, and violently suppressing pro-democracy demonstrations at every turn.

The Bahrain dictatorship has long been an ally of Washington. The Pentagon recently sent dozens of American tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopter gunships, thousands of .38 caliber pistols and millions of rounds of ammunition, from .50 caliber rounds used in sniper rifles and machine guns to bullets for handguns.

International pressure and criticism of Obama’s partnership in suppressing democracy in Bahrain forced them this week to place a hold on an additional order of $53 million in arms and military equipment. Bahrain, too, is set to receive tens of millions of dollars in US aid and security assistance next year.

In Egypt, the Obama administration actively supported the long-time US ally and barbaric dictator Hosni Mubarak until the very end of his rule, which was brought about by embattled Egyptian protesters despite US backing of their dictator. Since Mubarak’s ouster, the Obama administration has been working hard to solidify the autocratic power structure and prevent authentic democracy.

The Obama administration’s support for the government of Iraq is also difficult to square with his professions of commitment to democracy. The leader of the puppet government we’ve set up there, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has circumvented Parliament, consolidated illegitimate power in a long trend of quasi-dictatorial behavior, harshly cracked down on peaceful activism, harassed and even attacked journalists that were critical of his regime, and has been accused of torturing prisoners in secret Iraqi jails.

In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, US envoy Ryan Crocker noted in 2009 that Maliki’s turn towards more centralized rule is “in US interest.” A deal is being finalized to send Iraq $82 million worth of military arms and equipment and it is set to receive $2.3 billion in US aid for 2012. In Libya, Obama circumvented legal obligations to get Congressional approval for war in order to oust Gadhafi, who was indeed a dictator. But the US had supported Gadhafi up until the beginning of this year with both economic and military aid. In his place, Obama has helped put a questionable guild of tribal factions in power, whose commitment to democracy is nebulous at best and who committed serious crimes throughout their NATO-supported coup.

Syria’s Bashar al’ Assad, committing serious atrocities on activists for months, is perhaps the only dictatorship facing Arab Spring protests that Obama has not had a hand in supporting. Obama’s rhetorical pledges to support pro-democracy protests and be on the side of the people instead of the dictators are not enough to eclipse his administration’s enthusiastic commitment to tyranny throughout the region.


Was Muammar Gaddafi executed?

As Libya celebrates the beginning of a new era, and begins to look toward the future, the eyes of the world have instead turned toward the past, focusing in on the circumstances of Col. Muammar Gaddafi's initial capture and his subsequent death. The official line on the day the dictator died was that he suffered fatal wounds during a gun battle in Sirte, his hometown. He died in a crossfire, the National Transitional Council, or NTC, announced. But as cell phone videos quickly began to emerge, so did questions. Now, a rebel soldier who was at the scene, says that he witnessed Gaddafi's execution.

"When we arrived there we saw Gaddafi,” said Adam Abu Zaid, referring to the drain pipe where the rebel soldiers first found Gaddafi taking cover. “They caught him and they put him in the road and we just kicked him and kicked him and after that a guy with a gun killed him with one shot to his head. After that they took the body and we put it in an ambulance."

Abu Zaid, who lost three cousins during the war, said that kicking Gaddafi was cathartic for him and that he was happy the authoritarian leader of more than four decades was finally gone. Video footage taken on mobile phones immediately after Gaddafi's capture appears to lend credence to the Abu Zaid's story. In the video Gaddafi can be seen being dragged, beaten and kicked. In one scene, in an exclusive video obtained by GlobalPost, a man appears to stab him in the thigh just moments after he was dragged from the hole. As he was pulled from his hiding place, there are clear signs he was heavily injured before capture. But whether those injuries were fatal remains under debate.

Videos and photos taken later, however, appear to show Gaddafi's body riddled with several bullet wounds, including one to the temple. Shortly after his capture, one young fighter waved a gun around in front of a GlobalPost camera saying, “I would like to tell Gaddafi that this gun, your own gun, was what shot you in the leg.” Gaddafi’s body is now on display in a freezer in Misrata alongside his son Muttasim. Crowds have been flocking to see this grisly attraction as a debate continues over where the former ruler should be buried. Misrata's chief forensic doctor told Al Arabiya TV on Saturday that autopsies would be conducted on both Gaddafi and his son.

A look at the body seems to confirm that Gaddafi was shot in the temple. Although most of his body remains covered, several photos taken show that he was also injured in the torso. In an interview with GlobalPost on Friday, Ibrahim Betamal, a spokesman for the NTC, gave a whole other version of events. “He was in a hole. There was fighting all around. He was alive at that time when they found him,” Betamal said. “When they took him to the car he was shot by one of his own snipers. He died from these wounds. They killed him to protect secrets.” Betamal said that although Gaddafi may have been the highest authority among his people, he had information about several, major international crimes — including the Lockerbie bombing and the conflict in Chad. “There are many things no one knows — only Gaddafi. I believe this sniper was placed with Gaddafi to kill him if he was captured,” he said.

The men who found Gaddafi tell how it happened

Investigative Director for Human Rights Watch Peter Bouckaert, who went to the scene of Gaddafi's capture on Friday, said the evidence seemed to indicate that Gaddafi was alive when he was taken away from the scene of the battle, and later killed. "Certainly he was beaten, there was a mob scene, but he was not mortally wounded when he left the city of Sirte,” he said. “Something happened between his capture in the city of Sirte and his arrival in the city of Misrata dead. It appeared he received a fatal gunshot wound to the head somewhere along the way."

A fighter from Benghazi, Ead Alwaz, said when he arrived there were more than 95 bodies on the scene from this final battle and many showed clear signs of execution. “I think it’s a dark stain on the future of Libya on the first day of its freedom,” Bouckaert said. “Muammar Gaddafi had a lot of charges to answer but he should have answered them in a court room and not by execution. It’s also about armed groups operating with impunity. It’s important that these militias are brought under control of a central government."

Betamal said Gaddafi’s death was a positive end for the Libyan people. He said he believed the conflict would have continued as long as Gaddafi lived. “What happened was better,” he said. “If he was captured alive, the U.S. would talk, France would talk, Europe would have an opinion. The international discussions could stretch on and on and finally he would die — justice might never be done.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch is also concerned about the fate of others captured on Thursday. In video footage obtained by GlobalPost, a man with a cast on his leg sits on the ground next to the hole where Gaddafi was found. He appears to have only minor injuries. By the time GlobalPost reached the scene, he was dead, lying face down in the same location. Human Rights Watch is now investigating these deaths and the treatment of hundreds of prisoners captured during the Sirte conflict.


Moammar Gadhafi, R.I.P.

The grisly scenes of Gadhafi’s body being dragged through the streets of Sirte, and the unseemly celebrations of the Libyan dictator’s death in the Western media, are enough to make any decent person wince. Yes, he was a brutal dictator, and I hold no brief for him or his works, but is this kind of savagery really what we want to see in the “new” Libya?

Whether or not we want it, it is coming: the crew in charge of that unfortunate nation is no better, and perhaps worse, than Gadhafi. The fate of the rebels’ former commander-in-chief, Abdul Fatah Younis, prefigures a revolution that eats its own, and the ferocity of that revolutionary fervor is hardly abated.

Gadhafi loyalists include the largest tribe in the country, and after the smoke clears and the new regime extends its grip over dissident pockets of resistance, nostalgia for the relatively peaceful days of Gadhafi’s reign is more than likely to set in. Worse, the arsenals of the Libyan military have been systematically looted, with missiles and other sophisticated weaponry falling into the hands of radical Islamist militias. These militias are not fringe elements in the Libyan revolution, but rather they are in charge, with one of their number taking the place of the slain Younis as head of the rebel “armed forces.”

Indeed, the rebels’ military leadership consists largely of members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is still prominently featured on our official list of designated terrorist organizations. Now we are allied with them — under a new name, the “National Transitional Council” – and US taxpayer dollars are pouring into their coffers. That money will be used to consolidate the rebels’ rule, a regime that promises to be every bit as repressive as the one that preceded it – albeit friendly, at least at first, to its Western sponsors.

There are several lessons to be learned from this episode. The first is directed at those anti-American despots still left standing in the region, and it is this: make no concessions. Gadhafi, it will be recalled, had his Great Reconciliation with the Western powers, earning Tony Blair’s and Gordon Brown’s imprimatur in the process – and look where it landed him. This lesson is not lost on Bashar al-Assad, the beleaguered Syrian dictator, nor is it lost on pro-American despots, like the King of Bahrain, the Saudis, and any of the other pro-Western crowned thugs who lord it over their long-oppressed peoples. What these royals have learned from the example of Gadhafi’s – and Mubarak’s – fall is not to expect any help from Washington if they suddenly find themselves hiding in a drain pipe. Quite the contrary: they can fully expect to feel the wrath of the West, as it sides with the rebels and calls in its drones to rain death from the skies.

As the rulers of Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the sheikdoms of the Gulf contemplate the full meaning of the events in Libya and Egypt, one can easily imagine them making arrangements for a quick escape. To our cynical and ruthless policymakers, however, such considerations are merely a side issue. The real significance of our foray into Libya is that it signals the advent of a new African initiative, the thrusting of American power into the heart of the dark continent. With military bases in Djibouti, and now Ethiopia, Africa is the latest addition to several new fronts in our endless “war on terrorism.”

Ambition, ideology, and opportunity are taking us ever-deeper into a region that has been inexplicably neglected by US policy planners: the Obama administration apparently seeks to rectify that, and rather quickly, with a contingent of US special forces being sent to Uganda, purportedly in order to rescue the country from the grip of a crazed “Christian” guerrilla army. It’s just a coincidence that this intervention – and the subsequent flow of “foreign aid” dollars – will prop up the increasingly unpopular rule of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, in power since 1986.

Museveni is a “former” Marxist revolutionary, who received military training from the Soviet-backed Frelimo guerrilla army: he wrote his student thesis on Franz Fanon’s theory of revolutionary violence. A political survivor, he rose to the top of the anti-Amin “liberation” front, and after a series of coups and counter-coups, became president in 1986. In the 2006 elections, Museveni’s main opponent was arrested and charged with treason and rape. The brazen manner in which Museveni routinely steals elections has come under heavy criticism from the European Union, as well as from those members of the Ugandan opposition not sitting in jail. His rule has been pockmarked by various regional insurgencies, with the “Lord’s Resistance Army” the least of them. Under the pretext of fighting these "Christian" cultists, Museveni’s security forces will be strengthened and aid money will pour in.

Somalia has long been a focus of US “anti-terrorism” efforts, and the latest development on that front is the establishment of several military bases in the region, including in Ethiopia, where our ally is yet another “former” Marxist-Leninist despot and election thief who rules the country with an iron fist. Like Museveni’s Uganda, President Meles Zenawi‘s Ethiopia is riven with dozens of regional insurgencies, as religious and tribal minorities try to assert some measure of independence against a distant and tyrannical central government in Addis Ababa. US aid and political support is essential to maintaining Zenawi’s power, which has faced several serious challenges. Ominously, Zenawi’s expansionist dreams of a “Greater Ethiopia” extend into Somalia, where the regional Ethiopian-supported “government” of Puntland provides a base for further military incursions.

The historic rivalry between Ethiopia and Eritrea – a dirt-poor desolate strip of land between Ethiopia and the Red Sea – will come into play as the US military is thrust into Africa, and “Africom” – the US military’s African command – assumes an increasingly important role in the Empire’s war plans. Eritrea occupies a strategically important location: across the narrowest part of the Red Sea lies Yemen, the latest target of our stepped-up drone war.

America’s renewed interest in the region bodes ill for the Eritreans. Eritrea fought a long war series of wars against Ethiopian invaders, and in spite of support for the Ethiopians from both the US and the Soviet Union, the feisty Eritreans beat back every attempt by Addis Ababa to absorb the region. They finally won their independence in the 1980s, when a UN plebiscite installed the present government – a neo-Marxist one-party dictatorship. If Africom isn’t already looking at Eritrea the way a vulture looks down on a lion stalking a gazelle, then somebody isn’t doing their job.

Gadhafi comes from the same generation of “Third World” despots who came to power in the post-colonial period and played footsie with the Soviet Union in part to offset a long history of Western domination. Most of these were military men, and avowed “socialists,” although their versions of Marxist theology often differed from orthodoxy the way Mormonism deviates from Protestantism. These bonapartist regimes eventually entered a period of sclerosis, and reified into tools of tribal dominance and outright kleptocracy, with some monarchist flourishes thrown in for good measure. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, those who survived made their peace with the West, as did Gadhafi. Spoon fed by Western “aid” and “development” programs, the corrupto-crats grew fat while the people starved – and seethed.

You could almost hear the sigh of relief coming from Western capitals as news of Gadhafi’s unceremonious death spread around the world. Apparently captured alive, as this video shows, he was almost immediately killed by his captors, who then dragged his body through the streets of Sirte, which had been the last loyalist holdout. That a US drone first attacked Gadhafi’s convoy, and so gave the rebels the opportunity to make short work of him, is a telling detail. Odds are that NATO was tracking him, and in communication with rebels on the ground: whether they gave the direct order to off the Libyan leader matters little. What matters is that only God will judge him, and the trial will be private. The idea of Gadhafi in the dock at the International Tribunal in the Hague, testifying to his dealings with Western bigwigs over the years, is not something our leaders looked forward to.

Now the NATO-crats can turn their attention to the problem of how to hold the country together in the post-Gadhafi era, while maintaining tight control over whatever gang rises to the top. Libya, like the “countries” in the rest of Africa, is an artificial construct, the creation of Western colonial powers as they carved up the continent. It actually consists of at least three separate entities — Tripolitania to the west, Cyrenaica to the east, and an interior province peopled by nomads and black Tuaregs – each with its own distinct history and character. Uniting these regions by fiat ensures the future of Libya under the heel of yet another strongman, albeit one less eccentric and more reliably pro-Western than his predecessor. It seems a near certainty Libya will be deemed as yet unready for national elections, and one should expect the National Transitional Council will drop the “transitional” and simply declare itself to be the one and only legitimate government.

That this proclamation will be met with widespread resistance is also a near certainty, because Libya is afflicted with the same problem that besets the entire African continent – the illegitimacy of present-day national borders.

These borders are the outcome of decades of intra-mural battles between the European colonial powers, and bear little relationship to tribal and ethnic realities on the ground. As such, Africa is a tinderbox of inter-state rivalries and political and cultural tensions, which the spark of US intervention could very well set aflame.

As we wade into the Africa savannahs, and inject Special Forces into the Ugandan jungles, we will seek allies where we can find them – and create them where none exist. Like our British forebears, we’ll “take up the White man’s burden,” and fool ourselves into believing it’s all in the name of a vague “humanitarianism.” How long before the arbiters of Political Correctness deem opposition to US imperialism in Africa to be “racist”? Not long, I assure you.

As this administration tries to pick winners and losers in a place we know nothing about – and cannot know enough to do anything but harm – they’re bound to wind up with the African equivalent of Solyndra. From Libya to Uganda, the story is sure to be the same: all our efforts will amount to creating more chaos than order, fostering dependency instead of development. In short, like all government programs, the Obama administration’s plans for Africa are inevitably doomed to achieve the exact opposite of their intended result.

In Libya, where we are supporting and succoring an Islamist gang, we are seeing the first fruits of this seriously misguided policy. Gadhafi himself warned against the Islamist element in the rebel hierarchy: as we barbarically “celebrate” the bloody death of a ruthless and slightly wacky dictator, we would do well to wonder if he might one day have the last laugh.


Gaddafi Unplugged and Uncensored

Translated by Professor Sam Hamod, Ph.D.

Recollections of My Life: Col. Mu’ummar Qaddafi, The Leader of the Revolution. April 5, 2011.

In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful…

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can’t remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa
with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people’s committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed “democracy” and “freedom” never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we’ve had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination – from thieves who would steal from us. Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called “capitalism,” but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer.

So, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following His path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya. I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it. Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself…

In the West, some have called me “mad”, “crazy”, but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.


Libya War is CIA Operation 30 Years in the Making

Alternative media activist David Icke, who has been warning about the false nature of the “Arab Spring” since it began over six months ago, has pointed out an astounding “flashback” regarding an August 3, 1981 Newsweek article titled, “A Plan to Overthrow Kaddafi.”
‘The details of the plan were sketchy, but it seemed to be a classic CIA destabilization campaign. One element was a “disinformation” program designed to embarrass Kaddafi and his government. Another was the creation of a “counter government” to challenge his claim to national leadership. A third — potentially the most risky — was an escalating paramilitary campaign, probably by disaffected Libyan nationals, to blow up bridges, conduct small-scale guerrilla operations and demonstrate that Kaddafi was opposed by an indigenous political force.”

Quite obviously this plan has been executed verbatim with the necessary addition of a NATO intervention to rescue the above stated “paramilitary” campaign from Libyan security forces – a contigency plan explicitly spelled out in another Wall Street-London subsidized, signed confession, Brookings Institution’s “Which Path to Persia?”

Using Military Force to Assist Popular Revolutions, page 109-110 (page 122-123 of the PDF): “Consequently, if the United States ever succeeds in sparking a revolt against the clerical regime, Washington may have to consider whether to provide it with some form of military support to prevent Tehran from crushing it.” “This requirement means that a popular revolution in Iran does not seem to fit the model of the “velvet revolutions” that occurred elsewhere. The point is that the Iranian regime may not be willing to go gently into that good night; instead, and unlike so many Eastern European regimes, it may choose to fight to the death. In those circumstances, if there is not external military assistance to the revolutionaries, they might not just fail but be massacred.

Consequently, if the United States is to pursue this policy, Washington must take this possibility into consideration. It adds some very important requirements to the list: either the policy must include ways to weaken the Iranian military or weaken the willingness of the regime’s leaders to call on the military, or else the United States must be ready to intervene to defeat it.”

The disinformation campaign began in February as overt, now verified lies were told to the publicregarding both the nature of the uprising and the Libyan government’s reaction to it. As tank driving, jet flying battle hardened LIFG Al Qaeda mercenaries waged war against the Libyan army, the corporate media in tandem with NATO member states preparing to intervene, portrayed the uprising as peaceful placard waving activists being mowed down by machine gun fire and strafed by Libyan warplanes. Evidence now confirms no such atrocties took place, however the UN citing this intentional disinformation authroized NATO intervention.The very nature of the Benghazi rebels has been deceptively presented to the public. In fact, they are a collection of extremists and mercenaries, many of whom had been fighting recently in Iraq and Afghanistan against US forces. These mercenaries, who have been backed by the CIA and MI6 for the last 30 years (see time line), are being portrayed as an “an indigenous political force” opposing Libya’s government.

It has just been recently revealed that the rebel commander attempting to seize Tripoli is none other than Abdelhakim Belhadj, an Al Qaeda asset who was previously captured by in Malaysia, tortured by the CIA in Bangkok, Thailand in 2003, before being release back in Libya where he is now fighting on behalf of NATO.Additional disinformation comes in the form of media attempts to portray Qaddafi as a rambling madman who despite the disparagement, has turned out to be one of the few heads of state speaking any truth at all regarding the conflict besieging his nation. From his earlier claims that the uprising was foreign backed Al Qaeda, to now verified claims that the rebellion was nothing more than a means to usher in a foreign occupation and the despoiling of Libya’s resources, he has been spot on.

As rebels loot his home and his compound in central Tripoli, he is now being disingenuously portrayed as an opulent tyrant who hoarded state resources at the cost of his population. Betraying the duplicity of this lie is the UN’s own Human Development Index which lists Libya as one of the most developed nations in Africa and is ranked higher than many other nations including Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia. Quite obviously Libya’s oil wealth was put to good use, and as Libya has ensured the West’s nefarious corporate-funded NGOs were excluded from Libyan society, no other explanation for Libya’s development exists beyond the government’s own initiatives.

What we are witnessing in Libya is a concerted, admitted war of aggression by corporate-financier interests who have openly conspired to carry out a campaign of military and economic conquest throughout the Middle East (and beyond), including Northern Africa and specifically including Libya.

From Wesley Clark’s 2007 speech, to Newsweeks’ 1981 article, we have been handed a signed confession that “our” governments are the true enemies of free humanity, masking their agenda with the thinnest veneer of moral justification, almost as if to insult the intelligence of so many who eagerly continue to empower them as they maliciously move forward. Once again, we must commit ourselves to identifying the corporate-financier interests truly driving this agenda, lurking behind the military and political leaders paraded before us as the executors of “international policy.” We must also commit to boycotting and replacing these corporate-financier interests as well as ending the recognition of any of the legitimacy they endlessly heap upon themselves.



ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran

A Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News. The group, called Jundullah, is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran. It has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials. U.S. officials say the U.S. relationship with Jundullah is arranged so that the U.S. provides no funding to the group, which would require an official presidential order or "finding" as well as congressional oversight.

Tribal sources tell ABC News that money for Jundullah is funneled to its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states. Jundullah has produced its own videos showing Iranian soldiers and border guards it says it has captured and brought back to Pakistan. The leader, Regi, claims to have personally executed some of the Iranians. "He used to fight with the Taliban. He's part drug smuggler, part Taliban, part Sunni activist," said Alexis Debat, a senior fellow on counterterrorism at the Nixon Center and an ABC News consultant who recently met with Pakistani officials and tribal members.

"Regi is essentially commanding a force of several hundred guerrilla fighters that stage attacks across the border into Iran on Iranian military officers, Iranian intelligence officers, kidnapping them, executing them on camera," Debat said.

Most recently, Jundullah took credit for an attack in February that killed at least 11 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard riding on a bus in the Iranian city of Zahedan. Last month, Iranian state television broadcast what it said were confessions by those responsible for the bus attack. They reportedly admitted to being members of Jundullah and said they had been trained for the mission at a secret location in Pakistan.

The Iranian TV broadcast is interspersed with the logo of the CIA, which the broadcast blamed for the plot. A CIA spokesperson said "the account of alleged CIA action is false" and reiterated that the U.S. provides no funding of the Jundullah group. Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.

A senior U.S. government official said groups such as Jundullah have been helpful in tracking al Qaeda figures and that it was appropriate for the U.S. to deal with such groups in that context. Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s.


State Department training Islamic political parties in Egypt

U.S. assistance to Egypt is helping political parties of all ideologies prepare for the upcoming elections -- even Islamic parties that may have anti-Western agendas. "We don't do party support. What we do is party training.... And we do it to whoever comes," William Taylor, the State Department's director of its new office for Middle East Transitions, said in a briefing with reporters today. "Sometimes, Islamist parties show up, sometimes they don't. But it has been provided on a nonpartisan basis, not to individual parties."

The programs, contracted through the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), include helping political parties in Egypt conduct polling, provide constituent services, and prepare for election season. NDI's chairwoman is former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. IRI's chairman is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

Taylor said that none of the U.S. funding that has gone to election preparation is coordinated or vetted through the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which assumed power after the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak. "It absolutely does not go to the SCAF," he said, noting that the Egyptian military still receives billions in military aid from the United States.

Taylor, who just got back from a trip to Egypt and Tunisia, said that he left Egypt unworried about the SCAF holding on to power after the coming elections. "They wanted to make it very clear to this American sitting on the other side of the table that they didn't like the governing business," he said. "I do believe that they are uncomfortable governing. Some would say they're not doing a great job of it. "

Taylor led a similar office in the 1990s that coordinated policy in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. He is pressing for $2 billion in new aid to Egypt, half in loans and half in debt forgiveness, but acknowledged that the U.S. fiscal situation is not nearly as good now as it was then.

"This is a tight time on budgets here, as we all know. And when [State Department spokeswoman] Toria [Nuland] and I worked together earlier, we had a lot more money to put in to the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe," he said. "Now, that having been said, we recognize that there are other countries that are eager to provide support, and we support that."

But Taylor also said that promises of financial assistance to Egypt from other countries in the region have not materialized, leaving Egypt's government with little choice but to accept billions of dollar in loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank -- loans that come with strings attached.

"The IMF was in Egypt, and they put an offer of about $3 billion on the table for the finance minister. The finance minister was interested. He went to the SCAF. The SCAF said, ‘No, thank you.' The finance minister told the IMF, ‘No, thank you.' But just last week when I was there, he told me that he's likely to be able to accept an IMF offer this time," Taylor said.

Egypt owes the United States about $1 billion over the next three years from previous loans, but if Congress agrees, the State Department wants to let Egypt keep that money and spend it on its political transition, with U.S. consultation. "We, the United States government, will agree with you, the Egyptian government, on how to spend that billion dollars in Egypt," Taylor said. "But it won't come here. It won't come back to the Treasury. It'll stay there and do projects that we are working on right now."

Taylor said the money would be spent on an "identifiable" joint project that would show Egyptians that "yes, we do care if your transition works."


Iraq-Based Kurdish Rebels to Unite Against Iran

The separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has battled Turkey for years, said on Saturday it will aid another north Iraq-based Kurdish rebel group in fighting against Iranian forces. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said earlier they had resumed operations against Kurdish rebels in northwestern Iran along the Iraqi border, inflicting "heavy blows."

"From now on we will fight on the side of the fighters of PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) against the Iranian attacks, that are trying to enter the Kurdistan region of Iraq, especially in the Qandil area," PKK spokesman Dozdar Hammo told AFP. "We are a force to protect the people of Kurdistan. We see it is our duty to protect the achievements of the people of Kurdistan in any part," Hammo said.

"There have been clashes that are continuing until now, and we see that the goal of Iran is eliminating the Kurdish people, and not the PJAK party, and these are the reasons that led us to take this decision," he said.

A local official from a Kurdistan border area said on condition of anonymity that Iranian forces attempted to take control of a mountain near Sardasht in Iran, which was held by PJAK forces, on Friday. They were not able to do so, and then began shelling several areas of Iraq Kurdistan, he said, adding the shelling was still ongoing Saturday afternoon. Fighters of the PJAK, which has ties with the PKK that has been battling Turkish forces since 1984, have clashed repeatedly with Iranian forces in the mountainous border region in recent years.

Meanwhile, Maqdid Aref Ahmed, mayor of the Haj Omran district of Arbil province, said a shepherd was killed by Iranian shelling earlier on Saturday. "A Kurdish shepherd, Bassem Farman Mohammed, was killed by Iranian shelling of the border area that began at about 8:30 am (0530 GMT)," said Ahmed. The health director in the town of Choman, Ahmed Hassan, confirmed the shepherd's death.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday they had resumed operations against Kurdish rebels. "This operation is aimed at clearing the infected northwestern border area and started from the Sardasht heights," the Guards' ground forces said in a statement carried by Iranian state media. "Heavy blows have been inflicted."

The Guards said they had resumed their operations "after the terrorist PJAK group failed to take advantage of a month's grace period given to them during the holy month of Ramadan to retreat from the border area." They said operations would "continue until the border areas are completely cleared and sustainable security has been established."

Iranian state television website reported two Guards were killed during the operation on Friday with the PJAK. "In continuation the series of operations... Revolutionary Guards killed and wounded 30 of the members of the PJAK terrorist group," a Guards operation officer, Colonel Hamid Ahmadi, was quoted as telling the official IRNA news agency without clarifying the toll. In July, Iran launched a major offensive against rebels of the PJAK, targeting their bases in Iraqi Kurdistan along the Iran-Iraq border, and shelling the area for weeks.

Human Rights Watch has charged Iran may be deliberately targeting civilians in its campaign against the rebels. "The evidence suggests that Turkey and Iran are not doing what they need to do to make sure their attacks have a minimum impact on civilians, and in the case of Iran, it is at least quite possibly deliberately targeting civilians," the New York-based watchdog's deputy Middle East director, Joe Stork, said on Friday.

In mid-August, Turkey resumed its own campaign of shelling and air raids against suspected rear-bases in northern Iraq of the PKK.


For Obscure Iranian Exile Group, Broad Support in U.S.

At a time of partisan gridlock in the capital, one obscure cause has drawn a stellar list of supporters from both parties and the last two administrations, including a dozen former top national security officials. That alone would be unusual. What makes it astonishing is the object of their attention: a fringe Iranian opposition group, long an ally of Saddam Hussein, that is designated as a terrorist organization under United States law and described by State Department officials as a repressive cult despised by most Iranians and Iraqis.

The extraordinary lobbying effort to reverse the terrorist designation of the group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People’s Mujahedeen, has won the support of two former C.I.A. directors, R. James Woolsey and Porter J. Goss; a former F.B.I. director, Louis J. Freeh; a former attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey; President George W. Bush’s first homeland security chief, Tom Ridge; President Obama’s first national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones; big-name Republicans like the former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Democrats like the former Vermont governor Howard Dean; and even the former top counterterrorism official of the State Department, Dell L. Dailey, who argued unsuccessfully for ending the terrorist label while in office.

The American advocates have been well paid, hired through their speaking agencies and collecting fees of $10,000 to $50,000 for speeches on behalf of the Iranian group. Some have been flown to Paris, Berlin and Brussels for appearances. But they insist that their motive is humanitarian — to protect and resettle about 3,400 members of the group, known as the M.E.K., now confined in a camp in Iraq. They say the terrorist label, which dates to 1997 and then reflected decades of violence that included the killing of some Americans in the 1970s, is now outdated, unjustified and dangerous.

Emotions are running high as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton completes a review of the terrorist designation. The government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq has said it plans to close the camp, Camp Ashraf, by Dec. 31 and move the people elsewhere in Iraq in order to reassert Iraqi sovereignty over the land where it is located, 40 miles north of Baghdad. Two earlier incursions by Iraqi troops into Camp Ashraf led to bloody confrontations, with 11 residents killed in July 2009 and at least 34 in April of this year. The M.E.K. and its American supporters say that they believe the Maliki government, with close ties to Iran, may soon carry out a mass slaughter on the pretext of regaining control of the camp.

If that happens, the supporters say, the United States — which disarmed the M.E.K. and guaranteed the security of the camp after the invasion of Iraq — will bear responsibility.

“We made a promise,” said Mr. Ridge, a former congressman and governor of Pennsylvania. “Our credibility is on the line. They’ve been attacked twice. How can we possibly accept assurances from the Maliki government?” Mr. Ridge suggested that the M.E.K.’s implacable hostility to the rulers of Iran should be a point in their favor. “In my view, if you’re a threat to Ahmadinejad,” — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president — “well, the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Mr. Ridge said. He noted that the M.E.K. had provided information on Iran’s nuclear program during the Bush administration.

The M.E.K. advocacy campaign has included full-page newspaper advertisements identifying the group as “Iran’s Main Opposition” — an absurd distortion in the view of most Iran specialists; leaders of Iran’s broad opposition, known as the Green Movement, have denounced the group. The M.E.K. has hired high-priced lobbyists like the Washington firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Its lawyers in Europe won a long fight to persuade the European Union to drop its own listing of the M.E.K. as a terrorist group in 2009.

The group’s spending, certainly in the millions of dollars, has inevitably raised questions about funding sources. Ali Safavi, who runs a pro-M.E.K. group in Washington called Near East Policy Research, says the money comes from wealthy Iranian expatriates in the United States and Europe. Because “material support” to a designated terrorist group is a crime, advocates insist that the money goes only to sympathizers and not to the M.E.K. itself. Congress has taken note of the campaign. A House resolution for dropping the terrorist listing has 97 co-sponsors, including the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan.

At a hearing this month, senators pressed the defense secretary, Leon E. Panetta, about the threat to Camp Ashraf. A State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said officials there were “working as quickly as possible” to complete a review of the M.E.K.’s terrorist designation. American officials are supporting an effort by the United Nations to resettle Camp Ashraf residents voluntarily to other countries, a process that is making slow progress.

Other State Department officials, addressing the issue on the condition of anonymity because it is still under deliberation, said that they did believe the 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf were in danger as the Dec. 31 deadline approaches. “We’re in constant talks with the Iraqis and the Ashraf leadership to show maximum flexibility on the closure of the camp,” one official said.

But the officials expressed frustration at what they described as the American supporters’ credulous acceptance of the M.E.K.’s claims of representing the Iranian opposition and of embracing democratic values. In years of observation, the official said, Americans have seen that the camp’s leaders “exert total control over the lives of Ashraf’s residents, much like we would see in a totalitarian cult,” requiring fawning devotion to the M.E.K.’s leaders, Maryam Rajavi, who lives in France, and her husband, Massoud, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Moreover, the official said, the group is “hated almost universally by the Iranian population,” in part for siding with Mr. Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. A State Department cable this year concluded that any indication of United States support for the M.E.K. “would fuel anti-American sentiment” in Iran and would “likely empower Iranian hardliners.”

In Iraq, the M.E.K. is also widely despised, especially by the country’s Shiite majority, because it is accused of helping the Iraqi dictator crush a Shiite revolt in 1991 — a charge the group denies. Because of deep Iraqi hostility, American officials argue that merely dropping the terrorist designation would not end the danger of attacks on the group.

While the M.E.K. carried out a campaign of attacks from the 1970s to the 1990s, mostly targeting Iranian officials, supporters say it has renounced violence and has not engaged in terrorist acts for a decade. The designation law, however, allows Mrs. Clinton to keep the label for a group that “retains the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism.” Such a decision would outrage the American advocates of reversing the terrorist label.

Mr. Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, said the administration’s failure to act decisively threatened a “humanitarian catastrophe.” Mr. Mukasey said he did not believe the claim that the M.E.K. was a cult, but even if true, it was no reason to keep the terrorist listing. “These people are sitting in the camp, completely harmless,” he said.

Like other advocates, Mr. Mukasey said he had been paid his standard speaking fee — $15,000 to $20,000, according to the Web site of his speakers’ agency — to talk at M.E.K.-related events. But he insisted that the money was not a factor for him or other former officials who had taken up the cause. “There’s no way I would compromise my standing by expressing views I don’t believe in,” he said.


Libyan, Once a Detainee, Is Now a U.S. Ally of Sorts

For more than five years, Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu was a prisoner at the Guantánamo Bay prison, judged “a probable member of Al Qaeda” by the analysts there. They concluded in a newly disclosed 2005 assessment that his release would represent a “medium to high risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies.” Today, Mr. Qumu, 51, is a notable figure in the Libyan rebels’ fight to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, reportedly a leader of a ragtag band of fighters known as the Darnah Brigade for his birthplace, this shabby port town of 100,000 people in northeast Libya. The former enemy and prisoner of the United States is now an ally of sorts, a remarkable turnabout resulting from shifting American policies rather than any obvious change in Mr. Qumu.

He was a tank driver in the Libyan Army in the 1980s, when the Central Intelligence Agency was spending billions to support religious militants trying to drive Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. Mr. Qumu moved to Afghanistan in the early 1990s, just as Osama bin Laden and other former mujahedeen were violently turning against their former benefactor, the United States. He was captured in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a member of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and sent to Guantánamo — in part because of information provided by Colonel Qaddafi’s government.

“The Libyan Government considers detainee a ‘dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts,’ ” says the classified 2005 assessment, evidently quoting Libyan intelligence findings, which was obtained by The New York Times. “ ‘He was known as one of the extremist commanders of the Afghan Arabs,’ ” the Libyan information continues, referring to Arab fighters who remained in Afghanistan after the anti-Soviet jihad.

When that Guantánamo assessment was written, the United States was working closely with Colonel Qaddafi’s intelligence service against terrorism. Now, the United States is a leader of the international coalition trying to oust Colonel Qaddafi — and is backing with air power the rebels, including Mr. Qumu. The classified Guantánamo assessment of Mr. Qumu claims that he suffered from “a non-specific personality disorder” and recounted — again citing the Libyan government as its source — a history of drug addiction and drug dealing and accusations of murder and armed assault.

In 1993, the document asserts, Mr. Qumu escaped from a Libyan prison, fled to Egypt and went on to Afghanistan, training at a camp run by Mr. bin Laden. At Guantánamo, Mr. Qumu denied knowledge of terrorist activities. He said he feared being returned to Libya, where he faced criminal charges, and asked to go to some other country where “You (the United States) can watch me,” according to a hearing summary. Nonetheless, in 2007, he was sent from Guantánamo to Libya and released the next year in an amnesty for militants.

Colonel Qaddafi has cited claims about Mr. Qumu’s past in statements blaming Al Qaeda for the entire Libyan uprising. American officials have nervously noted the presence of at least a few former militants in the rebels’ ranks. The walls of buildings along the road into Darnah are decorated with the usual anti-Qaddafi and pro-Western slogans, in English and Arabic, found all over eastern Libya. But there are notable additions: “No Qaeda” and “No to Extremism.”

Darnah has reason to be touchy. The town has a long history of Islamic militancy, including a revolt against Colonel Qaddafi’s rule led by Islamists in the mid-1990s that resulted in a vicious crackdown. Activists from here are credited with starting the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which later announced that it was affiliating with Al Qaeda, and which sent militants like Mr. Qumu to fight in Afghanistan.

Most famously, though, Darnah has a claim to being the world’s most productive recruiting ground for suicide bombers. An analysis of 600 suicide bombers in Iraq by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point found that of 440 who listed their hometowns in a recruiting roster, 52 were from Darnah, the most of any city, with Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 40 times as populous, as the next biggest source, sending 51.

In addition to Mr. Qumu, local residents say the Darnah Brigade is led by Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, another Libyan thought to be a militant who was in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule, when Al Qaeda had training camps there. Mr. Qumu did not turn up for a promised interview last week, but Mr. Hasadi did, in crumpled fatigues with a light beard and a lazy left eye, perpetually half-closed. He denied that Mr. Qumu was in his group, recently renamed the Martyrs of Abu Salim Brigade, after a prison in Tripoli where 1,200 inmates were slaughtered in 1996. Two of Mr. Qumu’s sons are in his brigade, he said.

“I don’t know how to convince everyone that we are not Al Qaeda here,” Mr. Hasadi said. “Our aim is to topple Qaddafi,” he added. “I know that you will never believe me, but it is true.”

For now, Western observers in Benghazi, the temporary rebel capital 180 miles from here, seem content to accept those assurances. “We’re more worried about Al Qaeda infiltration from outside than the indigenous ones” one said. “Most of them have a local agenda so they don’t present as much as a threat to the West.” Rod Nordland reported from Darnah, and Scott Shane from Washington. Kareem Fahim contributed reporting from Benghazi, Libya.


Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels

At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested "assistance" from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers. "There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria," said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see."

The Telegraph has also learned that preliminary discussions about arms supplies took place when members of the Syrian National Council [SNC] – the country's main opposition movement – visited Libya earlier this month. "The Libyans are offering money, training and weapons to the Syrian National Council," added Wisam Taris, a human rights campaigner with links to the SNC.

The disclosure came as rebels raided an air force base outside the city of Homs and killed six pilots, according to a statement by the country's military. Rebel attacks have become daily occurrences since the onset of the insurrection. The conflict has claimed at least 3,500 lives, mainly as part of a crackdown by the government.

Syria's regime has continued to defy pressure from the Arab League, ignoring yesterday's deadline to accept the deployment of 500 human rights observers, raising the possibility that economic sanctions may be agreed this weekend. Last month, Libya's interim government became the first in the world to recognise Syria's opposition movement as the country's "legitimate authority".

Large shipments of weapons have not yet been sent, said activists, mainly because of logistical difficulties. But proposals for a "buffer zone" inside Syria, monitored by the Arab League, or the likely emergence of an area inside the country controlled entirely by rebels could solve this problem. "The [Libyan] council's offer is serious," said Mr Taris. Turkey, which has denounced President Assad's regime, is already sheltering about 7,000 Syrian opposition activists, including the leader of the Free Syrian Army, the nascent rebel movement, in a "safe zone" along Turkey's border with Syria.

Sources in the Libyan town of Misurata suggested that some weapons may already have been sent. Some smugglers were caught selling small arms to Syrian buyers in Misurata, said a man who trafficked guns to Libya's rebels during the country's civil war. Post-conflict Libya is awash with arms, many of them taken from the vast military stores maintained by Col Mummar Gaddafi's regime. Kalashnikov assault rifles, modern missiles and even tanks found their way into Libya.

Libyans feel closely aligned to the Syrian cause, said Hameda al-Mageri, from the Tripoli Military Council. "Bashar sent Gaddafi weapons when he was fighting us. There are hundreds of people who want to go to fight in Syria, or help in other ways if they can." But Libyan officials deny the claims. "This is what you hear in the street," said Ramadan Zarmoh, the leader of the Misurata military council. "Officially there is none of this. I would never send any fighters to fight outside the country."

Ministers from the Arab League are expected to meet in Cairo over the weekend to consider sanctions on Syria. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, on Friday pledged to keep up talks with Syrian opposition groups in an attempt to support a transition to a stable democracy.

"They were clear on the importance of the Syrian regime accepting the Arab League's initiative to end the violence and they agreed on the need to continue talking to the Syrian opposition movements to support the transition to an inclusive and stable democracy," a Downing Street spokesman said.

Measures under consideration are believed to include suspending all flights to Syrian airports, halting any transactions with the country's central bank and freezing any Syrian government bank accounts. However, it remains unclear whether there is sufficient support to introduce them. Lebanon has publicly opposed sanctions.


Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya". Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists," but added that the "members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader".

His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad's president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, "including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries".

Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against "the foreign invasion" in Afghanistan, before being "captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan". He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008. US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.

Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military's West Point academy has said the two share an "increasingly co-operative relationship". In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG emmbers made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of "the stage of Islam" in the country. British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for "Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya" had "shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese"


600 Libyan mercenaries enter Syria via Turkey to fight jihad against Assad

The Arabic website "Al-Rai Al-Arabi" has reported that some 600 Libyan "volunteers", who want to participate in the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, came to Syria through Turkey. The site indicated a representative of the current leadership of Libya as its source. This is not too surprising; the current Transitional National Council (TNC) was the first to recognize the Syrian National Council as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Syrian people. The "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) in part of a group affiliated with the Libyan rebel movement, which have been linked in the past to Islamic extremist’s organizations and al-Qaida of the Islamic Mahgred (AQIM). See story: "Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links"


Guantánamo Bay files: Al-Qaida assassin 'worked for MI6'

Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili

An al-Qaida operative accused of bombing two Christian churches and a luxury hotel in Pakistan in 2002 was at the same time working for British intelligence, according to secret files on detainees who were shipped to the US military's Guantánamo Bay prison camp. Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili, an Algerian citizen described as a "facilitator, courier, kidnapper, and assassin for al-Qaida", was detained in Pakistan in 2003 and later sent to Guantánamo Bay. But according to Hamlili's Guantánamo "assessment" file, one of 759 individual dossiers obtained by the Guardian, US interrogators were convinced that he was simultaneously acting as an informer for British and Canadian intelligence.

After his capture in June 2003 Hamlili was transferred to Bagram detention centre, north of Kabul, where he underwent numerous "custodial interviews" with CIA personnel. They found him "to have withheld important information from the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service and British Secret Intelligence Service … and to be a threat to US and allied personnel in Afghanistan and Pakistan". The Guardian and the New York Times published a series of reports based on the leaked cache of documents which exposed the flimsy grounds on which many detainees were transferred to the camp and portrayed a system focused overwhelmingly on extracting intelligence from prisoners.

A further series of reports based on the files reveal:

• A single star informer at the base won his freedom by incriminating at least 123 other prisoners there. The US military source described Mohammed Basardah as an "invaluable" source who had shown "exceptional co-operation", but lawyers for other inmates claim his evidence is unreliable. • US interrogators frequently clashed over the handling of detainees, with members of the Joint Task Force Guantánamo (JTF GTMO) in several cases overruling recommendations by the Criminal Investigative Task Force (CITF) that prisoners should be released. CITF investigators also disapproved of methods adopted by the JTF's military interrogators.

• New light on how Osama bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora as American and British special forces closed in on his mountain refuge in December 2001, including intelligence claiming that a local Pakistani warlord provided fighters to guide him to safety in the north-east of Afghanistan.

The Obama administration on Monday condemned the release of documents which it claimed had been "obtained illegally by WikiLeaks". The Pentagon's press secretary, Geoff Morrell, said in many cases the documents, so-called Detainee Assessment Briefs, had been superseded by the decisions of a taskforce established by President Barack Obama in 2009. "Any given DAB illegally obtained and released by WikiLeaks may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee," he said.

According to the files, Hamlili told his American interrogators at Bagram that he had been running a carpet business from Peshawar, exporting as far afield as Dubai following the 9/11 attacks. But his CIA captors knew the Algerian had been an informant for MI6 and Canada's Secret Intelligence Service for over three years – and suspected he had been double-crossing handlers. According to US intelligence the two spy agencies recruited Hamlili as a "humint" – human intelligence – source in December 2000 "because of his connections to members of various al-Qaida linked terrorist groups that operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan".

The files do not specify what information Hamlili withheld. But they do contain intelligence reports, albeit flawed ones, that link the Algerian to three major terrorist attacks in Pakistan during this time. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed architect of the 9/11 attacks, told interrogators an "Abu Adil" – an alias allegedly used by Hamlili – had orchestrated the March 2002 grenade attack on a Protestant church in Islamabad's diplomatic enclave that killed five people, including a US diplomat and his daughter.

He said Abu Adil was also responsible for an attack that killed three girls in a rural Punjabi church the following December, and that he had given him 300,000 rupees (about $3,540) to fund the attacks. The church attacks have previously been blamed on Lashkar I Jhangvi, a Pakistani sectarian outfit that has developed ties with al-Qaida in recent years. Separately, US intelligence reports said that Hamlili was "possibly involved" in a bombing outside Karachi's Sheraton hotel in May 2002 that killed 11 French submarine engineers and two Pakistanis.

But the intelligence against the 35-year-old Algerian, who was sent home last January, appears deeply flawed, like many of the accusations in the Guantánamo files. Some of the information may have been obtained through torture. US officials waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times at a CIA "black site" in Thailand during his first month of captivity. And little evidence is presented to link Hamlili to the Karachi hotel bombing, other than that he ran a carpet business – the same cover that was used by the alleged assassins to escape.

What is clear, however, is that Hamlili was a decades-long veteran of the violent jihadi underground that extends from northern Pakistan and Afghanistan into north Africa. From the Algerian town of Oran, he left with his father in 1986, at the age of 11, to join the fight against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Later he fell into extremist "takfir" groups, recruited militants to fight in the Algerian civil war, and gained a reputation for violence. Under the Taliban the Algerian worked as a translator for the foreign ministry and later for the Taliban intelligence services, shuttling between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the runup to 9/11.

Last January Hamlili and another inmate, Hasan Zemiri, were transferred to Algerian government custody. It was not clear whether they would be freed or made to stand trial. Clive Stafford Smith, whose legal charity, Reprieve, represents many current and former inmates, said the files revealed the "sheer bureaucratic incompetence" of the US military's intelligence gathering. "When you gather intelligence in such an unintelligent way; if for example you sweep people up who you know are innocent, and it is in these documents; and then mistreat them horribly, you are not going to get reliable intelligence. You are going to make yourself a lot of enemies."

The Guantánamo files are one of a series of secret US government databases allegedly leaked by US intelligence analyst Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks. The New York Times, which shared the files with the Guardian and US National Public Radio, said it did not obtain them from WikiLeaks. A number of other news organisations yesterday published reports based on files they had received from WikiLeaks.


Ossama Bin Laden Role in Bosnia: “Guidebook” for Al-Qaeda

Bosnian Muslim Army troops of the Al-Qaeda linked El Mujahedeen Unit parade in downtown Zenica in central Bosnia in 1995, carrying the black flag of Islamic jihad. Ossama Bin Laden played a key role in the 1992-1995 Bosnian civil war. Alija Izetbegovic not only issued him a Bosnian passport through the Bosnian Embassy in Vienna in 1993, but met with him at least on one occasion in Sarajevo in November, 1994. Bin Laden came to Bosnia at least two times. Bin Laden organized the recruitment of Arab-Afghan mujadeheen “volunteers” for Bosnia. He also used Islamic front organizations and charities to funnel money to the Bosnian Muslim regime and army.

More importantly, according to many prominent anti-terror experts, Bosnia was the “guidebook” for Al-Qaeda. Bosnia was where Al-Qaeda was forged in the fires of Islamic jihad. In Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror (NY: Free Press, 2004), Richard A. Clarke, who was the anti-terror czar in the George W. Bush Administration, a security and counter-terrorism advisor to three U.S. Presidents, wrote:

“What we saw unfold in Bosnia was a guidebook to the Bin Laden network, though we didn’t recognize it as such at the time. Beginning in 1992, Arabs who had been former Afghan mujahedeen began to arrive. With them came the arrangers, the money men, logisticians, and ‘charities.’ They arranged front companies and banking networks. As they had done in Afghanistan, the Arabs created their own brigade, allegedly part of the Bosnian army but operating on its own. The muj, as they came to be known, were fierce fighters against the better-armed Serbs. They engaged in ghastly torture, murder, and mutilation that seemed excessive even by Balkan standards.”

The funding and recruitment of the mujahedeen to Bosnia was organized by Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network: “Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic decided to take aid where he could… Better yet, al Qaeda sent men, trained, tough fighters. European and U.S. intelligence services began to trace the funding and support of the muj to bin Laden in Sudan, and to facilities that had already been established by the muj in Western Europe itself.”

The Afghan-Arab mujahedeen force in Bosnia was engaged in an “al Qaeda jihad”: “Although Western intelligence agencies never labeled the muj activity in Bosnia an al Qaeda jihad, it is now clear that is exactly what it was.” Clarke noted that “[m]any of the names that we first encountered in Bosnia showed up later in other roles, working for al Qaeda.” These included:

1) Abu al-Makki, who was seen in the December, 2001 video standing next to bin Laden “as al Qaeda’s leader extolled the September 11 attacks”;

2) Abu al-Haili, who was arrested in Morocco in 2002 for planning to attack U.S. ships;

3) Ali al-Shamrani, who was arrested by Saudi police for attacking the U.S. military aid mission in 1995;

4) Khalil Deek, arrested in 1999 for planning attacks against U.S. installations in Jordan;

5) Fateh Kamel, part of the Millennium Plot cell in Canada;

6) Khalid Almihdhar, 9/11 hijacker fought in Bosnia; and,

7) Nawaf Alhazmi, 9/11 hijacker fought in the Bosnian civil war.

Bosnian Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic, lower right, meeting with Al-Qaeda linked Arab-Afghan mujahedeen in Bosnia. One of the hijackers of the second attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, possessed a Bosnian passport. Senior Al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was granted Bosnian citizenship in November, 1995. He is allegedly the mastermind and planner of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the U.S. Mohammed was born in Kuwait to a family from the Baluchi region of Pakistan. He went to Bosnia in September, 1995. He went in the guise of a Muslim “humanitarian aid worker” for an Islamic charity front organization called Egyptian Relief, a front for the radical Muslim Brotherhood of Cairo.

The Bosnian government also issued a passport to Mahrez Amduni, a senior aide to Ossama Bin Laden, in 1997. In an Agence France Presse news report from September 24, 1999, “Bin Laden Was Granted Bosnian Passport”, it was reported: “Earlier this week the Bosnian government confirmed it had granted citizenship and passport to a Tunisian-born senior aide of bin-Laden in 1997. The government said citizenship was given to Mahrez Amduni, known in Sarajevo as Mehrez Amdouni.” The same report noted that the Bosnian government destroyed all the documents and files relating to Ossama Bin Laden: “’The Bosnian embassy in Vienna granted a passport to bin Laden in 1993,’ Dani magazine said, quoting anonymous sources, emphasizing that files and traces linked to his case have recently been destroyed by the government.

“‘High Muslim officials of the Bosnian foreign ministry agreed that it was the top priority. It was even more important than investigating a person responsible for granting a passport to the most wanted terrorist in the world,’ Dani reported.”

Marko Attila Hoare conceded that “Osama bin Lade himself … plays very much an off-stage role” in Bosnia “although he apparently hoped to use the mujahedeen presence in Bosnia to create a base for operations against the US and its allies in Europe.” Ossama Bin Laden was part of “How Bosnia Armed”, by violating the UN arms embargo against Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia. Renate Flottau, an award-winning German journalist, reported seeing Ossama Bin Laden meeting with Bosnian Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic in 1994. Born in Munich, she began her career working for newspapers and magazines in Germany. She worked in television as well in 1976.

In the 1980s she settled in Belgrade with her husband Heiko Flottau. She worked initially for the German television network Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF, Second German Television) and then became the Balkan correspondent for Der Spiegel in 1986. Flottau was one of the few Western journalists to meet Osama Bin Laden in Sarajevo when Bin Laden met with Izetbegovic. Flottau was waiting to interview Izetbegovic in his office when she met Ossama Bin Lade in Sarajevo in November, 1994. Bin Laden gave her his business card and informed her that he was planning to bring Afghan-Arab mujahedeen fighters to Bosnia. He was given VIP treatment and rushed in to meet with Izetbegovic.

Bin Laden spoke to Flottau for ten minutes in fluent English. Moreover, he told her that he had a Bosnian passport issued by the Izetbegovic government. Staff for Izetbegovic told her that Bin Laden is “here every day”. Flottau maintained that she again saw Bin Laden meeting at Izetbegovic’s office one week later. In addition, she witnessed Bin Laden in the company of senior members of Izetbegovic’s ultranationalist Muslim party, the SDA, Stranka Demokratske Akcije, Party of Democratic Action. She recognized members of the Bosnian Muslim secret police in an meeting that she later characterized as “incredibly bizarre”. Bosnian Muslim Sejfudin Tokic, who was the speaker of the upper house of the Bosnian parliament, confirmed these meetings between Ossama Bin Laden and Alija Izetbegovic. There is also purportedly a photograph of the meeting.

Flottau’s account was corroborated by veteran British London Times journalist Eve-Ann Prentice on February 6, 2006 when she testified under oath at the ICTY. Prentice stated that she witnessed Ossama Bin Laden “being escorted” into the office of Alija Izetbegovic in November, 1994. Ossama Bin Laden “was shown straight through to Mr. Izetbegovic’s office.”

Bosnian Muslim Army members of the Al-Qaeda linked El Mujahedeen Unit in downtown Zenica wearing green headbands with Arabic script to signify Islamic jihad, 1995. Ossama Bin Laden was able to effectively finance and organize Al Qaeda and mujahedeen recruits for the Bosnian Muslim Army. In the Los Angeles Times article “Terrorists Use Bosnia as Base and Sanctuary” from October 7, 2001, the report noted that there was a connection between Al-Qaeda and Ossama Bin Laden and the El Mujahedeen Battalion in the Bosnian Muslim Army:

“Bin Laden financed small convoys of recruits from the Arab world through his businesses in Sudan.”

Ossama Bin Laden relied on his experiences in Bosnia in the creation, development, and expansion of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. Bin Laden also relied on his Bosnian experience in planning and organizing the 9/11 attacks.