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Civil War: Progressive media starting to push back against Democrat … – legal Insurrection (blog)

As Comey prepares to testify, Democrats ignore progressives questions about Russia

Progressive media outlets have been feeding the resist we much mobs since President Trumps election, and one of their favorite lines of attack has been hammering the Russia collusion / hacking non-story. Recently, however, progressive sites have been warning against pursuing it . . . even as Democrat politicians stay focused on it, seemingly to the exclusion of all else. As Comey gets ready to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Among those calling for Democrats to pivot away from the Russia story are the editor and publisher of The Nation, the Daily Kos, the Young Turks. What is not entirely clear is why they are urging this shift after spending so much devoted, almost single-mindedly, to it.

The Nations editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Huevel states that she thinks the focus on Russia may distract from their ability to combat the rest of Trumps agenda. She notes, too, that the left has become too hyperbolic about Trump administration or campaign officials meeting with Russians.

Townhall reports:

The Nations editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Huevel warned that Democrats obsession about Russia was a mistake and could torpedo efforts to effectively combat the Trump agenda. Granted, the latter part is typical run-of-the-mill progressive talk, The Nation is a left wing magazine, but in March, Vanden Huevel ripped into Democrats for the Neo-McCarthyite furor that has engulfed the party over Russia.

She noted that Russian interference during the 2016 election needs to be investigated, but the political Left has devolved into thinking that mere meetings with Russian officials are akin to treason.

Not only is this nonsensical, but it is self-defeating. Not noted by Hueval is that their hand-wringing and clothes-rending over things like Flynn sitting next to Putin at a formal eventa table at which 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was also sittingdoesnt just distract from the resistances anti-Trump agenda, but it also makes them less credible.

The Daily Kos sounded the alarm last month, stating that the focus on Russia was going to hurt Democrat prospects in 2018.

Russia is a critical story. But its notthe story that affects Americas dinner table, health, or financial well-being. Many of us in the liberal intelligentsialove the intricacies of this story. After all, who would believe that the Republican leadership would be so soft on their patriotism that theyrewilling to put their heads in the sand and play dumb?

. . . . The Trump voter knew that Trump had some relationship with the Russians. In fact, Fox News and Republicans were praising Vladimir Putin as a better leader than President Obama. The Trump voter saw a candidate whorefused to criticize Putin, regardlessof whatever vile act he committed.

. . . . In watching the hyperventilation on Russia, it is clear that progressivesare repeating the same mistakes of thelast several elections that have decimated the Democratic bench throughout the states and in the federal government.The peoples party, the Democrats, are out of step with the people.

Theyre not wrong.

The Washington Post notes that reporters such as Max Blumenthal and the Young Turks Michael Tracey are putting pressure on Democrat politicians regarding their fixation on the Russia story.

Blumenthal directly asks Jamie Raskin (D-MD) if hes been feeding lies to progressive journalists and bloggers.

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) strolled offstage and straight into quicksand. Max Blumenthal, a dogged reporter working with the Baltimore-based Real News Network, brought Raskin on camera to ask what, exactly, Democrats wanted to know.

We need an independent commission to get all the facts, Raskin said, offering the litany of possible Trump-Russia ties that hed given to progressive and mainstream media for months.

Blumenthal wasnt sold. You said that Russia attempted to hack [Emmanuel] Macron in the French elections, he said.

Well, we know that! said Raskin.

The Washington Post has reported that the French cyber-intelligence agency has said that its not true, said Blumenthal.

Well, certainly, Macron was convinced of it, said Raskin.

It was reported days ago, said Blumenthal.

For four minutes, until the congressman was pulled away by a staffer, an award-winning journalist with bylines at the Nation and Salon asked whether hed been telling bellicose lies about Russia and the Trump team. Why arent we talking about jobs or racism? Blumenthal asked.

. . . . Michael Tracey, a reporter for the Young Turks news network who had Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) push past him after he asked skeptical Russia questions, asked why Democrats were so satisfied to keep searching for a smoking gun that never appears.

This whole issue has been characterized from this lurching, ramping up of expectations that the smoking gun will be discovered imminently, said Tracey. Thats how this story has played out. Its sort of monomaniacal.

Traceys question regarding the reason Democrat politicians are so intent to keep the Russia story alive may have been answered by Red State.

Right now the Democrats are raising money off this meme. They will continue to raise money off it as the investigation pays out. In the end, when nothing is uncovered, they will raise money off the GOP tools, like Comey, who led the investigation. They will gamble that outrage will generate income and tribalism will prevent any price being extracted at the polls.

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Stop adding fuel to the ‘terrorism’ fire – Jordan Times

Stop adding fuel to the 'terrorism' fire
Jordan Times
The other is a recent Alternet article by American journalist Max Blumenthal. In the The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West's Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars, Blumenthal explains how the US and the UK helped bring Jihadists like Salem …

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Stop adding fuel to the ‘terrorism’ fire – Jordan Times

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UK Polls: Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn Closes in on Right Wing Theresa May – Google (press release)

LONDON: This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Partys establishment wing.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Partys intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His partys leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the countrys tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending.

Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home.

The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq, to Libya, to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and civilian protection.

While many progressives have portrayed the so-called War on Terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil, Corbyn has made a crucial break with the norms of the political establishment, condemning the imperial wars the West has waged and emphasizing that this military intervention has only fueled the violent extremism the British government claims to be combating.

A new series of polls shows Corbyn has slashed Prime Minister Theresa May’s enormous lead to just 3 points, and has surged ahead of her in London.

On May 22, a man detonated a suicide bomb at a concert in Manchester, England, killing two dozen civilians and wounding more than 100, many of them children. The Salafi-jihadist group ISIS took credit for the attack.

Salman Abedi, the attacker, was a British citizen not a refugee from a family that was part of the Western government-backed right-wing Libyan opposition to longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi.

As Max Blumenthal detailed in an article on AlterNet, the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Qaddafi. When NATO escalated 2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber.

During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing MI6 operations. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from the U.K., with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups.

According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in Britain.

With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his children eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies.

In the past, right-wing politicians have successfully exploited terror attacks like the kind carried out in Manchester, stoking fear and anti-Muslim bigotry to shift public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing anti-war stalwart, upended the dynamic by introducing a counter-narrative that challenged violent extremism at its roots.

While many liberals spoke of the bombing as a mere tragedy, whitewashing its politicized nature, Corbyn pointed his finger at interventionism and empire.

In a groundbreaking speech on May 26, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to change what we do abroad. He linked Western wars of aggression to the plague of violent jihadist attacks targeting soft targets in the West.

Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home, Corbyn noted.

Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries & terrorism here at home pic.twitter.com/6nlWf67WsI

Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 26, 2017

The leftist Labour leader forcefully condemned the horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people. But unlike his political peers, Corbyn did not depoliticize the bombing. He explained that in order to prevent future attacks, Britains foreign policy must change. Foreign wars may not be the only thing fueling this violence, he noted, but they are a key factor.

We must be brave enough to admit the War on Terror is simply not working, Corbyn emphasized. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.

That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children, he added. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions.

Ultimately, in order to defeat terrorism, Corbyn stressed, we must understand what fuels it: Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism.

Jeremy Corbyns comments provoked a predictable festival of mock outrage from his Tory opponents, who borrowed a line from their Republican counterparts across the pond and accused him of denigrating the “troops. The attacks were accompanied by a wave of tabloid headlines alleging that Corbyn had fostered deep friendships with terrorist groups from Hamas to the IRA.

The Conservative Party issued a ham-handed attack, claiming the Labour leaders speech has shown today why he is not up to the job of keeping our country safe. The statement continued, Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of siding with our enemies. Britains Conservative security minister smeared Corbyn, claiming his speech justified terrorism.

Centrist Blairites also chimed in. The liberal interventionist and pro-Israel activist Nick Cohen lashed out at Corbyn, writing a hackneyed op-ed that utterly ignored the Western wars he has wholeheartedly supported that have destabilized the Middle East and fueled Salafi-jihadism. Cohen instead framed violent extremism as a matter of values, subtly reinforcing the line of far-right Islamophobes like UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

The corporate media did its part, tarring and feathering the leftist Labour leader. A columnist at the right-wing Telegraph published a hatchet job not so subtly titled Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain.

Analysis from Loughborough Universitys Center for Research in Communication and Culture showed the almost comically ridiculous bias Labour faces in the British media.

Few media outlets, even ostensibly left-leaning newspapers like the Guardian, acknowledged that, in reality, the policies pursued by the U.K.s right-wing government, with the support of Theresa May, have led to the spread of the type of violent extremism that fueled the Manchester attack.

Virtually no one cited the British government reports that corroborate Corbyns argument.

Behind the bluster, multiple reports released by the British government backed up Corbyns remarks.

In 2016, the British House of Commons bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee published a detailed report on the 2011 war in Libya exposing that the NATO military intervention had been sold on lies.

Among the deceptions deployed to justify NATO regime change was the myth that the Libyan opposition was politically moderate. The Foreign Affairs Committee report on the other hand noted that the British government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.

The House of Commons report added, It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards.

Moreover, the U.K. governments enormous, decade-long Iraq Inquiry, popularly known as the Chilcot Report, revealed in 2016 that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, British intelligence officials had repeatedly warned that the joint American-British war would fuel and empower Salafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda.

Despite these reports, centrist former Labour prime minister Tony Blair teamed up with the U.S. in an invasion that the United Nations explicitly said violated international law. Blair admitted in 2015 that the Iraq War, in which he played President George W. Bushs junior partner, gave rise to ISIS.

With mere days before the election, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the once large chasm between his party and the Tories. And he has done this despite enormous odds and tremendous opposition from his partys ossified establishment.

When the snap election was scheduled by Prime Minister May in April, it seemed a Tory victory was all but certain. In the months since, support for Labour has slowly increased. On May 31, leading pollster YouGov put Labour just 3 percent behind the Conservatives, which could lose its parliamentary majority. Corbyn and May are neck and neck.

Corbyn has managed to do this in spite of a level of media bias that is almost unprecedented in British politics. Even the Guardian has treated Corbyn as a pariah.

Yet the British public has rejected the elite medias torrent of attacks, sending a surge of support for Labour. While the political establishment and the corporate media have been unable to explain why the scourge of violent extremism continues, Corbyn has provided the public the answers it has been desperately seeking. His deft response to the Manchester attack appears to be paying dues.

For years, Corbyn has been an outspoken, principled critic of Western wars. He has long been a leader in the Stop the War Coalition. (In a symbolic anecdote, Chelsea Clinton interrupted a Stop the War Coalition event in 2001 that featured Corbyn as a speaker.)

Jeremy Corbyn is trying to mainstream a left-wing alternative to the discredited centrist and the far-right fringe. Rather than running from his political identity, he has put it front and center, reminding British voters after Manchester, I have spent my political life working for peace and human rights and to bring an end to conflict and devastating wars.

Corbyn may not beat the odds and unseat May, but his unexpected surge in the polls has served as a stunning rebuke to the militaristic political elite, and gives a glimmer of hope to those who still imagine an end to the forever war.

(Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project)

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UK Polls: Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn Closes in on Right Wing Theresa May – Google (press release)

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After a Terrorist Attack, Spain Rejected Its Hawks. Will Britain? | The … – The Nation.

Spanish voters turned against the incumbent conservative party after the 2004 Madrid bombings.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street after an attack left seven people dead and dozens injured, June 4, 2017. (Reuters / Hannah McKay)

On March 11, 2004, just a few days before a critical election, a series of nearly simultaneous bombs exploded on four commuter trains in Madrid, killing over 190 people. Before the bombing, the Socialist Party (PSOE) was about five points behind in the polls, but it ended up winning by five points. The party promised that if it won the election, Spain would get out of Iraq in six months. That happened after only five. I can find no evidence of any Middle Eastrelated terrorism in Spain since, though there apparently have been thwarted plots.

This history may offer a critical lesson to Britain now, just days away from an election following a series of attacks near London Bridge. Incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May has backed virtually every war that Britain has participated in. In contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had criticized virtually every war.

The situation in Spain was heightened by the incumbent government of Jos Mara Aznar (now a director at Rupert Murdochs News Corporation), which blamed the Basque group ETA for the attack. This move certainly crystallized public disgust with the government. But why did the government lie about ETAs involvement in the first place? It assessedprobably correctlythat the Spanish people would be furious that so much blood had been shed in Madrid in retaliation for Spains involvement in the invasion of Iraq, which was already deeply unpopular.

THE STAKES ARE HIGHER NOW THAN EVER. GET THE NATION IN YOUR INBOX.

Contrast the path that Spain took with that of France, which had originally criticized the invasion of Iraq. Since then, France has become more interventionist, particularly in Syriaa former French colony. It has also become far more of a target of terrorism in the name of Islam in recent years.

Its noteworthy that the interrelation between the 2004 Madrid attacks and the election has been either ignored or totally misrepresented. Last year, following the massacre in Orlando by Omar Mateen, in a discussion about how that attack might affect the US election, Dina Temple-Raston, NPRs counterterrorism correspondent exactly reversed the apparent lesson of Madrid. She claimed that after the Madrid attack the more conservative party won. NPR refused to offer an on-air correction for this brazen falsehood.

Of course, the election of a Corbyn government doesnt guarantee an end to terrorist attacks in Britain. For one, its not clear that Corbyn will adhere to a pro-peace, non-interventionist stance. Recently, he has seemed to distance himself from prior positions, like withdrawal from NATO. While the Socialist Party in Spain pledged to withdraw from Iraq, the Labor Manifesto contains no such explicit pledge.

Theresa May, however, has supported interventionist policies that helped create the conditions for radicalization. Specifically, while May was home secretary, the UK allowed extremists from the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (of which the Manchester bomber was a member) to freely travel to Libya to take out Muammar Gaddafi (see John Pilger at Consortium News, Paul Mason at The Guardian, and Max Blumenthal at Alternet). This is a point that Corbyn has raised in less specific but notable terms: Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home. Hes also added: We do need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fueled extremist ideology.

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After a Terrorist Attack, Spain Rejected Its Hawks. Will Britain? | The … – The Nation.

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RT America — June 2, 2017 – RT

Published time: 3 Jun, 2017 02:03

Netanyahu willing to overlook Trumps embassy flip-flop journalist

As a candidate, Donald Trump emphatically promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But President Trump has just signed a waiver to keep the embassy at its current location, much to the chagrin of the Israeli right-wing. The reason given for delaying to the move is so that the US can maintain the semblance of neutrality in the Palestinian question. Author and journalist Max Blumenthal joins RT Americas Manila Chan to give his reaction.

Twitter warfare continues over Hillarys blame game

Following Hillary Clinton’s recent claims that DNC data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong and a factor in her failure, Andrew Therriault, a former DNC staffer with her campaign, lashed out on Twitter, pointing out that their models had correctly predicted trouble in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania but that Clintons inner circle thought they knew better. He has since deleted his Twitter comments and apologized for his response. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump blasted Hillary Clinton for her finger-pointing, in turn provoking venom from her. Around and around it goes.

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RT America — June 2, 2017 – RT

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Jeremy Corbyn Dares to Speak Truth About the ‘War on Terror’ – AlterNet

Jeremy Corbyn – Take Back Our World! – Global Justice Now. Cropped. 21 February 2015, 00:00 Photo Credit: By Global Justice Now (Jeremy Corbyn) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Partys establishment wing.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Partys intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His partys leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the countrys tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending. Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home.

The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq to Libya to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and civilian protection. While many progressives have portrayed the so-called war on terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil, Corbyn has made a crucial break with the norms of the political establishment, condemning the imperial wars the West has waged and emphasizing that this military intervention has only fueled the violent extremism the British government claims to be combatting.

Manchester Attack and Government Complicity

On May 22, a man detonated a suicide bomb at a concert in Manchester, killing two dozen and wounding more than 100, many of them children. The jihadist group ISIS took credit for the attack. Salman Abedi, the attacker, was a British citizen, not a refugee, from a family that was part of the Western government-backed right-wing Libyan opposition to longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

As Max Blumenthal detailedin an article on AlterNet,the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Gaddafi. When NATO escalated2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber.

During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing MI6 operations. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from Britain, with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups.

According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in the U.K.

With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his sons eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies.

In the past, right-wing politicians had successfully exploited terror attacks like the kind carried out in Manchester, stoking fear and anti-Muslim bigotry to shift public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing anti-war stalwart, upended the dynamic by introducing a counter-narrative that challenged violent extremism at its roots.

While many liberals spoke of the bombing as a mere tragedy, whitewashing its politicized nature, Corbyn pointed his finger at interventionism and empire.

Groundbreaking Speech

In a groundbreaking speech on May 26, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to change what we do abroad. He linked Western wars of aggression to the plague of violent jihadist attacks targeting soft targets in the West.

Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home, Corbyn noted.

The leftist Labour leader forcefully condemned the horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people. But unlike his political peers, Corbyn did not depoliticize the bombing. He explained that in order to prevent future attacks, Britains foreign policy must change. Foreign wars may not be the only thing fueling this violence, he noted, but they are a key factor.

We must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working, Corbyn emphasized. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.

That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children, he added. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions.

Ultimately, in order to defeat terrorism, Corbyn stressed, we must understand what fuels it: Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism.

The Medias War on Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyns comments provoked a predictable festival of mock outrage from his Tory opponents, who borrowed a line from their Republican counterparts across the pond and accused him of denigrating the “troops. The attacks were accompanied by a wave of tabloid headlines alleging that Corbyn had fostered deep friendships with terrorist groups from Hamas to the IRA.

TheConservative Party issued a ham-handed attack, claiming the Labour leaders speech has shown today why he is not up to the job of keeping our country safe. The statement continued, Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of siding with our enemies. Britains Conservative security minister smeared Corbyn, claiming his speech justified terrorism.

Centrist Blairites also chimed in. The liberal interventionist and pro-Israel activist Nick Cohen lashed out at Corbyn, writing a hackneyed op-ed that utterly ignored the Western wars he has wholeheartedly supported that have destabilized the Middle East and fueled Salafi-jihadism. Cohen instead framed violent extremism as a matter of values, subtly reinforcing the line of far-right Islamophobes like UKIPs Nigel Farage.

The corporate media did its part, tarring and feathering the leftist Labour leader. A columnist at the right-wing Telegraph published a hatchet job not so subtly titled, Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain.

Analysis from Loughborough Universitys Center for Research in Communication and Culture showed the almost comically ridiculous bias Labour faces in the British media.

Few media outlets, even ostensibly left-leaning newspapers like the Guardian, acknowledged that in reality, the policies pursued by the U.K.s right-wing government, with the support of Theresa May, have led to the spread of the type of violent extremism that fueled the Manchester attack.

Virtually no one cited the British government reports that corroborate Corbyns argument.

The Governments Own Findings Back Corbyn Up

Behind the bluster, multiple reports released by the British government backed up Corbyns remarks.

In 2016, the British House of Commons bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee published a detailed report on the 2011 war in Libya exposing that the NATO military intervention had beensold on lies.

Among the deceptions deployed to justify NATO regime change was the myth that the Libyan opposition was politically moderate. The Foreign Affairs Committee report on the other hand noted that the British government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.

The House of Commons report added, It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards.

Moreover, the U.K. governments enormous, decade-long Iraq Inquiry, popularly known as the Chilcot Report,revealed in 2016 that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, British intelligence officials had repeatedly warned that the joint American-British war would fuel and empowerSalafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda.

Despite these reports, centrist former Labour prime minister Tony Blair teamed up with U.S. President George W. Bush, in an invasion that the United Nations explicitly said violated international law. Blair admitted in 2015 that the Iraq war, in which he played Bushs junior partner, gave riseto ISIS.

Closing the Gap

With mere days before the election, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the once large chasm between his party and the Tories. And he has done this despite enormous odds and tremendous opposition from his partys ossified establishment.

When the snap election was scheduled by Prime Minister May in April, it seemed a Tory victory was all but certain. In the months since, support for Labour has slowly increased. On May 31, leading pollster YouGov put Labour just 3 percent behind the Conservatives, which could lose its parliamentary majority. Corbyn and May are neck and neck.

Corbyn has managed to do this in spite of a level of media bias that is almost unprecedented in British politics. Even the Guardian has treated Corbyn as a pariah.

Yet the British public has rejected the elite medias torrent of attacks, sending a surge of support for Labour. While the political establishment and the corporate media have been unable to explain why the scourge of violent extremism continues, Corbyn has provided the public the answers it has been desperately seeking. His deft response to the Manchester attack appears to be paying dues.

For years, Corbyn has been an outspoken, principled critic of Western wars. He has long been a leader in the Stop the War Coalition. (In a symbolic anecdote, Chelsea Clinton interrupted a Stop the War Coalition event in 2003 that featured Corbyn as a speaker.)

Jeremy Corbyn is trying to mainstream a left-wing alternative to the discredited centrist and the far-right fringe. Rather than running from his political identity, he has put it front and center, reminding British voters after Manchester, I have spent my political life working for peace and human rights and to bring an end to conflict and devastating wars.

Corbyn may not beat the odds and unseat May, but his unexpected surge in the polls has served as a stunning rebuke to the militaristic political elite, and gives a glimmer of hope to those who still imagine an end to the forever war.

Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project atAlterNet, and the award-winning author of Goliath andRepublican Gomorrah. His most recent book isThe 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.

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The Manchester Bomber Is The Spawn Of Hillary And Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure – Mintpress News (blog)

Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream.

An armed Libyan rebel shoots an AK-47 at a poster of Muhammar Gaddafi in the captured rebel town of Ras-Lanuf in the east of the country (Photo: Andrey Stenin/Sputnik)

On November 20, 2015, two jihadi militants attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, seizing about 100 hostages and leaving bodies strewed across the building. When it was over, 22 people (including the attackers) had been killed. As the New York Times reported:

Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafis arsenal began advancing through the countrys vast desert in the north and capturing towns.

Not much has been made in American and Western media of this attack. Most of the dead were Malians, Russians, and Chineseand, hey, it was in Africa; Shit happens. Especially there. How many people reading this even remember that it happened? Follow-up analysis? It was Africa. That kind of coverage. (I did post about it at the time, making many points that unfortunately bear repeating here.)

Last Monday, jihadi suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people. Salman grew up in an anti-Qaddafi Libyan immigrant family. In 2011, his father, Ramadan Abedi, along with other British Libyans (including one who was under house arrest), was allowed to go [to Libya], no questions asked, to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda-affiliate, to help overthrow Qaddafi. In Manchester, as Max Blumenthal puts it, in his excellent Alternet piece, it was all part of the rat line operated by the MI5, which hustled anti-Qaddafi Libyan exiles to the front lines of the war. In Manchester, Salman lived near a number of LIFG militants, including an expert bomb maker. This was a tough bunch, and everybodyincluding the cops and Salmans Muslim neighborsknew they werent the Jets and the Sharks. As Middle East Eye reports, he was known to security services, and some of his acquaintances had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline.

Could it be any clearer? The Abedi family was part of a protected cohort of Salafist proxy soldiers that have been used by the West to destroy the Libyan state. There are a number of such cohorts around the world that have been used for decades to overthrow relatively prosperous and secular, but insufficiently compliant, governments in the Arab and Muslim worldand members of those groups have perpetrated several blowback attacks in Western countries, via various winding roads. In this case, the direct line from Libya to Mali to Manchester is particularly easy to trace.

Too bad more people in Britain and the West hadnt paid attention to what happened in Mali two years ago. Too bad they hadnt thought too much about the chain of jihadi proxy interventions that the United States and its allies, or about the connection with the chain of jihadi attacks in Western countries. Too bad they hadnt recognized the continuing arrogance of the Western (U.S./NATO) and Middle Eastern (Gulf, Israel) powers who think they can unleash and re-leash these jihadi fighters at will. Too bad they dont understand the contradiction between mourning the bombing of Manchester and crying for the bombing of Syria.

Too bad the Western (i.e., American-directed) media dont provide what would be necessary to understand these things: ongoing coverage and analysis of the obvious relation between the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by jihadi militants and the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by Western and allied governments. Its a good bet nobody will have forgotten the Manchester bombing two years from now. It was in merry old England, after all and many of the victims were beautiful British girls. Its also a good bet that the media analysis will continue to have everyone scratching their heads about why these death-loving Muslims hate us so much. That kind of coverage.

The jihadi attackers in Mali and the jihadi bomber in Manchester were direct productsnot accidental by-products, but deliberately incubated protgsof American-British-French-NATO regime change in Libya, a project that was executed by the Obama administration and spearheaded by Hillary Clinton.

Before the glorious revolution, Libya under Ghaddafi had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa, according to the UN Human Development Index. Before the jihadi onslaught backed by NATO bombing campaign, Ghaddafis Libya was an anchor of stability in North Africa, as even the U.S. and British governments knew and acknowledged, per a 2008 cable from American foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by Wikileaks:

Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellentMuammar al-Qadhafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.

The US-British-French-NATO humanitarian intervention put an end to that by overthrowing the Libyan government under entirely phony pretexts, in contravention of fundamental international law, and in violation of the UN resolution, they claimed as a justification. The executioners and beneficiaries of that aggression where the jihadis who have been rampaging from Mali to Manchester. Its a bright, clear line.

Britains Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) shakes hands with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi near Gaddafis home town of Sirte. May 29, 2007. (Leon Neal/Reuters)

Ghaddafi himself warned Tony Blair that an organization [the LIFG].has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organization in North Africa. Ghaddafis son, Saif, warned that overthrowing Libyas would make the country the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean and You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door.

Thanks to Blair and Obama and Clinton and Sarkozy, thats exactly what happened. Libya was destroyed as a functioning state, and the terror is now inside every Western door.

Westerners and Americans transfixed by Ghaddafis garish posturing may have, and may still, find it hard to accept, but it needs to be said aloud: In 2011, Ghaddafi was right about what was going in in Libya, and all best and brightest militaristic conservatives and humanitarian liberals, in and out of government, were wrong. A lot of radical lefties, too, myself included; though I always vehemently opposed the US-NATO intervention, I, too, took Ghaddafis complaints for excuses. But lesson learned (by some): What was going on in Libya was the same thing that went on in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the same thing that is going on in Syria today, supercharged by the intervening war in Iraq

Throughout this nefarious chain of destruction, nobody in the world has committed worse crimes than all the humanitarian liberals in and out of government who have enacted and/or gone along with the imperialist chaos program of destroying relatively prosperous and secular societies in the Arab and Muslim world, and replacing them with sectarian jihadi playgrounds. And no force in the world is more responsible for the rampaging jihadi wolves, lone and in packs, than the United States and its compliant allies, including Great Britain.

Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: Were crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya including the killing of Ghaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomized him with a bayonet: We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laugther] Yes, exactly that.

Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester.

Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things weve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillarys perverse glee in this video? Its an image not to be forgotten.

Im sure that our current president, if hes given the timeand, if hes not, some other Republican or Democratwill meet or exceed the high standards that have been set, but Donald Trump has not yet come near committing the series of crimes for which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (following the precedent of five previous American administrations) are responsible. These crimes produced the twin horrors of imperialist and jihadi chaos, of which the destruction of the Libyan state was one egregious example, and the killing of young concertgoers in Manchester another. This represents a deep, persistent bipartisan policy that is much more important and difficult to confront than the question of which front man or woman will be selling it.

Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream. At the end of my post two years ago, I was urging and hoping that Americans would wake up. But a lot of American liberals and lefties, including Berniebots, still like to imagine theres a political space they can inhabit called Progressive Except Imperialism. There isnt. Imperialism with Social Security and Medicare and Obamacareeven single-payer healthcareis imperialism, and its reactionary and supremacist. Equal-opportunity imperialism is imperialism. African-American, women, Latinx, or LGBTQ presidents, generals, and drone operators do not make it any less criminal, or dangerous, or any less inevitably erosive of all those cherished progressive domestic programs.

Ignoring or putting aside what the U.S. does in Libya, or Iraq, or Syria, or Palestine becauseTrump! The Republicans! is ignoring a fundamental element of a progressive politics as well as an immediate danger to the country. One can do it, but those who do, cant claim to be seriously confronting the horrors of a tragedy like Manchester, no matter how many tears they shed.

Im afraid that is where were stuck. The absurdity of Trump is drawing more well-meaning people into the flames of nostalgia for an imaginary Democratic copasetic state that disappeared on January 20th. The #Resistance cant even get its act together for single-payer healthcarethe easiest sell imaginable; its not only avoiding the more contentious issues regarding American aggression in places like Libya and Syria, its succumbing to the dangerous, war-mongering, Russophobic program of the military-intelligence complex.

Its still dream on, and I fear it will take a shock much greater than Manchester before Americans finally get the news.

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

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The Manchester Bomber Is The Spawn Of Hillary And Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure – Mintpress News (blog)

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June 1, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Legacy of Hillary, Barack’s Libyan adventure – The Herald

Barack Obama

Jim Kavanagh Correspondent On November 20, 2015, two jihadi militants attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, seizing about 100 hostages and leaving bodies strewed across the building.

When it was over, 22 people (including the attackers) had been killed. As the New York Times reported:

Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafis arsenal began advancing through the countrys vast desert in the north and capturing towns.

Not much has been made in American and Western media of this attack.

Most of the dead were Malians, Russians, and Chinese and, hey, it was in Africa; Shit happens. Especially there. How many people reading this even remember that it happened? Follow-up analysis? It was Africa. That kind of coverage.

Last Monday, jihadi suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people.

Salman grew up in an anti-Gaddafi Libyan immigrant family. In 2011, his father, Ramadan Abedi, along with other British Libyans (including one who was under house arrest), was allowed to go [to Libya], no questions asked, to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda-affiliate, to help overthrow Gaddafi.

In Manchester, as Max Blumenthal puts it, in his excellent Alternet piece, it was all part of the rat line operated by the MI5, which hustled anti-Gaddafi Libyan exiles to the front lines of the war.

In Manchester, Salman lived near a number of LIFG militants, including an expert bomb maker. This was a tough bunch, and everybody including the cops and Salmans Muslim neighbours knew they werent the Jets and the Sharks. As Middle East Eye reports, he was known to security services, and some of his acquaintances had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline.

Could it be any clearer? The Abedi family was part of a protected cohort of Salafist proxy soldiers that have been used by the West to destroy the Libyan state. There are a number of such cohorts around the world that have been used for decades to overthrow relatively prosperous and secular, but insufficiently compliant, governments in the Arab and Muslim worldand members of those groups have perpetrated several blowback attacks in Western countries, via various winding roads. In this case, the direct line from Libya to Mali to Manchester is particularly easy to trace.

Too bad more people in Britain and the West hadnt paid attention to what happened in Mali two years ago. Too bad they hadnt thought too much about the chain of jihadi proxy interventions that the United States and its allies, or about the connection with the chain of jihadi attacks in Western countries. Too bad they hadnt recognised the continuing arrogance of the Western (US/Nato) and Middle Eastern (Gulf, Israel) powers who think they can unleash and re-leash these jihadi fighters at will. Too bad they dont understand the contradiction between mourning the bombing of Manchester and crying for the bombing of Syria.

Too bad the Western (i.e., American-directed) media dont provide what would be necessary to understand these things: ongoing coverage and analysis of the obvious relation between the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by jihadi militants and the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by Western and allied governments.

Its a good bet nobody will have forgotten the Manchester bombing two years from now.

It was in merry old England, after all and many of the victims were beautiful British girls.

Its also a good bet that the media analysis will continue to have everyone scratching their heads about why these death-loving Muslims hate us so much.

That kind of coverage.

The jihadi attackers in Mali and the jihadi bomber in Manchester were direct products not accidental by-products, but deliberately incubated protgs of American-British-French-NATO regime change in Libya, a project that was executed by the Obama administration and spearheaded by Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clintion

Before the glorious revolution, Libya under Gaddafi had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa, according to the UN Human Development Index.

Before the jihadi onslaught backed by Nato bombing campaign, Gaddafis Libya was an anchor of stability in North Africa, as even the US and British governments knew and acknowledged, per a 2008 cable from American foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by WikiLeaks:

Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent . . . Muammar Gaddafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilise the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.

The US-British-French-Nato humanitarian intervention put an end to that by overthrowing the Libyan government under entirely phony pretexts, in contravention of fundamental international law, and in violation of the UN resolution they claimed as a justification.

The executioners and beneficiaries of that aggression where the jihadis who have been rampaging from Mali to Manchester.

Its a bright, clear line.

Gaddafi himself warned Tony Blair that an organisation [the LIFG] has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organisation in North Africa.

Gaddafis son, Saif, warned that overthrowing Libyas government would make the country the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean and You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door.

Thanks to Blair and Obama and Clinton and Sarkozy, thats exactly what happened.

Libya was destroyed as a functioning state, and the terror is now inside every Western door.

Westerners and Americans transfixed by Gaddafis garish posturing may have, and may still, find it hard to accept, but it needs to be said aloud: In 2011, Gaddafi was right about what was going on in Libya, and all best and brightest militaristic conservatives and humanitarian liberals, in and out of government, were wrong.

A lot of radical lefties, too, myself included; though I always vehemently opposed the US-Nato intervention, I, too, took Gaddafis complaints for excuses.

But lesson learned (by some): What was going on in Libya was the same thing that went on in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the same thing that is going on in Syria today, supercharged by the intervening war in Iraq

Throughout this nefarious chain of destruction, nobody in the world has committed worse crimes than all the humanitarian liberals in and out of government who have enacted and/or gone along with the imperialist chaos program of destroying relatively prosperous and secular societies in the Arab and Muslim world, and replacing them with sectarian jihadi playgrounds.

And no force in the world is more responsible for the rampaging jihadi wolves, lone and in packs, than the United States and its compliant allies, including Great Britain.

Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: Were crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya including the killing of Gaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomised him with a bayonet: We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laughter] Yes, exactly that.

Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester.

Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things weve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillarys perverse glee in this video? Its an image not to be forgotten.

Im sure that our current president, if hes given the timeand, if hes not, some other Republican or Democratwill meet or exceed the high standards that have been set, but Donald Trump has not yet come near committing the series of crimes for which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (following the precedent of five previous American administrations) are responsible. These crimes produced the twin horrors of imperialist and jihadi chaos, of which the destruction of the Libyan state was one egregious example, and the killing of young concertgoers in Manchester another. This represents a deep, persistent bipartisan policy that is much more important and difficult to confront than the question of which front man or woman will be selling it.

Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream

Its still dream on, and I fear it will take a shock much greater than Manchester before Americans finally get the news. Counterpunch

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Legacy of Hillary, Barack’s Libyan adventure – The Herald

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West’s Disastrous Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars – Bulatlat

How the US and UK helped bring jihadists like Salem Abedi to Libya and Syria

By MAX BLUMENTHAL AlterNet

The heinous suicide bombing by British-born Salman Abedi of an Arianna Grande concert in Manchester was not merely the work of an evil loser, as Donald Trump called it. It was blowback from interventionist policies carried out in the name of human rights and civilian protection. Through wars of regime change and the arming and training of Islamist proxy groups, the US, UK and France played out imperial delusions across the Middle East. In Syria and Libya, they cultivated the perfect petri dish for jihadist insurgency, helping to spawn weaponized nihilists like Abedi intent on bringing the Wests wars back home.

The son of anti-Qaddafi immigrants to the UK, Abedi grew up in Manchesters community of Libyan exiles. A report in the London Telegraph indicated that he had traveled just weeks before his attack to Libya, where Salafi-jihadi militias are competing for control of the destabilized country. Abedi had also reportedly traveled to Syria to join up with the extremist rebels that have waged a six-year-long insurgency against the countrys government, with billions of dollars in assistance from the West and its Gulf allies. According to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, it was in these conflict zones where Abedi was radicalized. Sens John McCain and Lindsey Graham with Libyan Islamic Fighting Group leader Abdelhakim Belhaj The impressionable 22-year-old returned to the UK with enough training to make a fairly sophisticated bomb that massacred 22 concert goers, many of them children. It seems likely possible that he wasnt doing this on his own, Britains home secretary, Amber Rudd, told the BBC. She described the bomb as more sophisticated than some of the attacks weve seen before.

According to the Telegraph, A group of Gaddafi dissidents, who were members of the outlawed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), lived within close proximity to Abedi in Whalley Range. They included Abd al-Baset Azzouz, an expert bomb maker who controls an Al Qaeda-affiliated militia in eastern Libya.

When the uprising against Gaddafi began in 2011, Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salem, returned to his home country to fight with the LIFG.

While it is not known if Salman Abedi himself was involved with the LIFG, the groups links to British and American intelligence are well established, and go back decades.

The Wests favorite Al Qaeda affiliate?

David Shayler, a maverick officer of Britains MI5 intelligence services, alleged that his government had covertly funded the LIFG to carry out the failed 1996 assassination attempt on Qaddafi.. Two years later, Libyan state television produced footage of a failed grenade attack on Qaddafi that it alleged was carried out by a British agent. At the time, the LIFG was an affiliate of Al Qaeda whose members included Anas al-Libi, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden.

In March 1998, Qaddafis Libya became the first country to issue an Interpol arrest warrant for bin Laden. The warrant was studiously ignored by American and British intelligence, according to French journalist Guillaume Dasqui and Jean-Charles Brisard, an adviser to French President Jacques Chirac. Five months later, Al Qaeda struck the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. (Among the participants in the attack were al-Libi and Ali Abdelsoud Mohammed, a spy for Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri who had entered the US on a CIA-approved visa and managed to rise to the rank of corporal at the John F. Kennedy School of Special Warfare at Ft. Bragg, where he smuggled special forces training manuals out to Al Qaeda cadres.)

An MI6 document leaked online in 2000 appeared to confirm Shaylers account, asserting that British intelligence was aware of a plot in 1995 to kill Qaddafi that included Libya veterans who served in Afghanistan. LIFGs leader, Abdelhakim Belhaj, had been among those veterans, fighting against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan in the 1980s alongside local mujahedin armed and trained by the CIA. He moved his operations to Sudan in 1991, the same year that bin Laden set up camp outside the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

It took the attacks of 9/11 and the inauguration of the so-called war on terror to make Belhaj a target of the West. He was captured in 2001 by the CIA in Pakistan, where he had fled after fighting alongside the Afghan Taliban, and was rendered to Libya two months later. Six years later, he was released from prison thanks to a de-radicalization program overseen by Saif Qaddafi and facilitated through negotiations with the Qatari government.

A secret 2008 US Embassy cable described Qaddafis government as a bulwark against the spread of Islamist militancy. Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent, the cable read. Muammar al-Qadhafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.

The author of that cable was the late foreign service officer, J. Christopher Stevens.

Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation

When the Libyan uprising broke out in March 2011, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates immediately pumped arms and logistical support into the armed opposition. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saw the insurgency as an opportunity for America to assert its influence amidst the tumult of the Arab Spring. She advocated arming the rebels on the grounds that Washington could get skin in the game, according to her Middle East advisor, Dennis Ross.

Ignoring warnings from NATOs supreme allied commander Adm. James Stavridis about the presence of Al Qaeda in the opposition, President Barack Obama approved shipments of TOW missiles, armored Humvees, and advanced radar systems to the Libyan insurgents.

When she learned of the newly up-armed rebels rapid advances, Clinton reportedly exclaimed, Good! This is the only language that Qaddafi is understanding.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a subject of Qatari political influence and alleged bribery over the 2022 FIFA World Cup vote, urged his Western allies to ask our Arab friends to distribute weapons to the National Transitional Council, the official body of the Libyan opposition. When a French shipment of missiles and machine guns arrived through the port of Benghazi, the NTCs acting defense minister handed them over to Belhaj and the LIFG.

As the insurgency gathered steam, Belhaj found a powerful ally in John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. After a friendly meeting with Belhaj and his militiamen in Benghazi on April 22, 2011, McCain called on responsible nations to provide the Libyan rebels with battlefield intelligence, training, and weapons.

McCain emerged from the meeting stirred with inspiration. I met these courageous fighters, and they are not al-Qaeda, the senator proclaimed. To the contrary: they are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We need to help them do that.

They want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe

In the early days of the insurgency, on February 25, Qaddafi reached out to Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister who had cut the deal in the desert that brought Qaddafi out of the political wilderness in 2004.

In a series of panicked phone calls that day, Qaddafi warned Blair that his removal would open the floodgates for a jihadist takeover. I want to tell you the truth, he said to Blair. It is not a difficult situation at all. The story is simply this: an organization has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organization in North Africa. They dont use Arabic words, they use Islamic [ones]. The sleeper cells in Libya are similar to the ones in America before 9/11.

Qaddafi then mentioned rebels who had spent time in Guantanamo detainee who had joined Al Qaeda and trained at a camp run by bin Laden in Afghanistan. He was referring to Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu, a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who was captured by the US in Pakistan thanks to a tip from Qaddafis own intelligence services. Qaddafi complained that Qumu was now leading the forces seeking his ouster, a claim confirmed by the New York Times two months later when it described the rebel leader as a US ally of sorts.

The Libyan strongman predicted that if the rebels overthrew him, they would set up an Islamic state in the country, or what he called an Al Qaeda Emirate.

He concluded: They want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe.

Blair brushed Qaddafis ominous warnings aside and calmly urged him to relinquish power through a peaceful transition. A week later, Obama declared, Moammar Qaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave.

Qaddafis son, Saif, warned at the time that the removal of Libyas government by force would lead to a refugee crisis of titanic proportions. Libya may become the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean, the younger Qaddafi declared in 2011. You will see the pirates in Sicily, in Crete, in Lampedusa [the Italian island home of migrant detention facilities]. You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door.

A failed state, courtesy of NATO

Almost six years after Moamar Qaddafi was sodomized to death with a bayonet in the streets of his hometown of Sirte by Western-backed rebels operating under NATO air cover, then left to rot in a butcher shop in Misrata, his most dire warnings have come true.

Libya today is a failed state, its public coffers and oil reserves looted by the foreign powers that oversaw the war of regime change in 2011. Its shores are a main disembarkation point for migrants, where women fleeing conflict and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa are beaten, raped and starved in living hellholes, according to UNICEF. The United Nations International Organization for Migration has recorded testimony of open air slave markets in Libya where migrants from West Africa are bought and sold. The refugee crisis has propelled the rise of the far-right in Europe, fueling the demagogic politics of figures from Nigel Farage to Marine Le Pen that blame the victims of the Wests catastrophic interventions.

While Belhaj has emerged as a powerbroker of the free Libya, leading the Islamist al-Watan Party and operating his own private media empire with backing from Qatar, Libya has been overrun by warlords affiliated with jihadist groups like the Islamic State and Ansar al-Sharia, the Al Qaeda affiliate that participated in the notorious 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. Salem Abedis younger brother, Hashem, is a member of the Islamic State, according to a rival militia, and helped plan the Manchester attack from inside Libya.

The British Foreign Affairs Committee report released in September 2016 on the Libyan intervention concluded that, Intelligence on the extent to which extremist militant Islamist elements were involved in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion was inadequate.

Its authors added, The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Libyan connections with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda.

Lingering questions

In the wake of the Manchester bombing, British citizens deserve a new public inquiry. Acquaintances of the Abedi family said that neighbors in Manchester had notified an anti-terrorism hotline several years ago when Salman Abedi expressed public support for suicide bombing. But British authorities took no action.

Was British intelligence attempting to groom Abedi as an informant, as it had tried with Mohammed Emwazi, the wayward London youth who somehow wound up in ISIS-controlled territory in Syria as the fearsome decapitator known as Jihadi John? What did the British government know about Abedi and when did it know it?

The right-wing demagogues pouring out their wrath on Muslim immigrants and rallying for more restrictionist policies are diverting blame from where it should ultimately lie. In their pursuit of imperial delusions in Libya and beyond, Western leaders cynically sacrificed the security of their own citizens, setting the stage for the massacre in Manchester. The interventionists should be held accountable before they can strike again. Reposted by

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The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West’s Disastrous Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars – Bulatlat

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Civil War: Progressive media starting to push back against Democrat … – legal Insurrection (blog)

As Comey prepares to testify, Democrats ignore progressives questions about Russia Progressive media outlets have been feeding the resist we much mobs since President Trumps election, and one of their favorite lines of attack has been hammering the Russia collusion / hacking non-story. Recently, however, progressive sites have been warning against pursuing it . . . even as Democrat politicians stay focused on it, seemingly to the exclusion of all else. As Comey gets ready to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Among those calling for Democrats to pivot away from the Russia story are the editor and publisher of The Nation, the Daily Kos, the Young Turks. What is not entirely clear is why they are urging this shift after spending so much devoted, almost single-mindedly, to it. The Nations editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Huevel states that she thinks the focus on Russia may distract from their ability to combat the rest of Trumps agenda. She notes, too, that the left has become too hyperbolic about Trump administration or campaign officials meeting with Russians. Townhall reports: The Nations editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Huevel warned that Democrats obsession about Russia was a mistake and could torpedo efforts to effectively combat the Trump agenda. Granted, the latter part is typical run-of-the-mill progressive talk, The Nation is a left wing magazine, but in March, Vanden Huevel ripped into Democrats for the Neo-McCarthyite furor that has engulfed the party over Russia. She noted that Russian interference during the 2016 election needs to be investigated, but the political Left has devolved into thinking that mere meetings with Russian officials are akin to treason. Not only is this nonsensical, but it is self-defeating. Not noted by Hueval is that their hand-wringing and clothes-rending over things like Flynn sitting next to Putin at a formal eventa table at which 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was also sittingdoesnt just distract from the resistances anti-Trump agenda, but it also makes them less credible. The Daily Kos sounded the alarm last month, stating that the focus on Russia was going to hurt Democrat prospects in 2018. Russia is a critical story. But its notthe story that affects Americas dinner table, health, or financial well-being. Many of us in the liberal intelligentsialove the intricacies of this story. After all, who would believe that the Republican leadership would be so soft on their patriotism that theyrewilling to put their heads in the sand and play dumb? . . . . The Trump voter knew that Trump had some relationship with the Russians. In fact, Fox News and Republicans were praising Vladimir Putin as a better leader than President Obama. The Trump voter saw a candidate whorefused to criticize Putin, regardlessof whatever vile act he committed. . . . . In watching the hyperventilation on Russia, it is clear that progressivesare repeating the same mistakes of thelast several elections that have decimated the Democratic bench throughout the states and in the federal government.The peoples party, the Democrats, are out of step with the people. Theyre not wrong. The Washington Post notes that reporters such as Max Blumenthal and the Young Turks Michael Tracey are putting pressure on Democrat politicians regarding their fixation on the Russia story. Blumenthal directly asks Jamie Raskin (D-MD) if hes been feeding lies to progressive journalists and bloggers. Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) strolled offstage and straight into quicksand. Max Blumenthal, a dogged reporter working with the Baltimore-based Real News Network, brought Raskin on camera to ask what, exactly, Democrats wanted to know. We need an independent commission to get all the facts, Raskin said, offering the litany of possible Trump-Russia ties that hed given to progressive and mainstream media for months. Blumenthal wasnt sold. You said that Russia attempted to hack [Emmanuel] Macron in the French elections, he said. Well, we know that! said Raskin. The Washington Post has reported that the French cyber-intelligence agency has said that its not true, said Blumenthal. Well, certainly, Macron was convinced of it, said Raskin. It was reported days ago, said Blumenthal. For four minutes, until the congressman was pulled away by a staffer, an award-winning journalist with bylines at the Nation and Salon asked whether hed been telling bellicose lies about Russia and the Trump team. Why arent we talking about jobs or racism? Blumenthal asked. . . . . Michael Tracey, a reporter for the Young Turks news network who had Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) push past him after he asked skeptical Russia questions, asked why Democrats were so satisfied to keep searching for a smoking gun that never appears. This whole issue has been characterized from this lurching, ramping up of expectations that the smoking gun will be discovered imminently, said Tracey. Thats how this story has played out. Its sort of monomaniacal. Traceys question regarding the reason Democrat politicians are so intent to keep the Russia story alive may have been answered by Red State. Right now the Democrats are raising money off this meme. They will continue to raise money off it as the investigation pays out. In the end, when nothing is uncovered, they will raise money off the GOP tools, like Comey, who led the investigation. They will gamble that outrage will generate income and tribalism will prevent any price being extracted at the polls.

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Stop adding fuel to the ‘terrorism’ fire – Jordan Times

Stop adding fuel to the 'terrorism' fire Jordan Times The other is a recent Alternet article by American journalist Max Blumenthal . In the The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West's Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars, Blumenthal explains how the US and the UK helped bring Jihadists like Salem … and more »

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UK Polls: Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn Closes in on Right Wing Theresa May – Google (press release)

LONDON: This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Partys establishment wing. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Partys intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His partys leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the countrys tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending. Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home. The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq, to Libya, to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and civilian protection. While many progressives have portrayed the so-called War on Terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil, Corbyn has made a crucial break with the norms of the political establishment, condemning the imperial wars the West has waged and emphasizing that this military intervention has only fueled the violent extremism the British government claims to be combating. A new series of polls shows Corbyn has slashed Prime Minister Theresa May’s enormous lead to just 3 points, and has surged ahead of her in London. On May 22, a man detonated a suicide bomb at a concert in Manchester, England, killing two dozen civilians and wounding more than 100, many of them children. The Salafi-jihadist group ISIS took credit for the attack. Salman Abedi, the attacker, was a British citizen not a refugee from a family that was part of the Western government-backed right-wing Libyan opposition to longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi. As Max Blumenthal detailed in an article on AlterNet, the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Qaddafi. When NATO escalated 2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber. During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing MI6 operations. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from the U.K., with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups. According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in Britain. With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his children eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies. In the past, right-wing politicians have successfully exploited terror attacks like the kind carried out in Manchester, stoking fear and anti-Muslim bigotry to shift public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing anti-war stalwart, upended the dynamic by introducing a counter-narrative that challenged violent extremism at its roots. While many liberals spoke of the bombing as a mere tragedy, whitewashing its politicized nature, Corbyn pointed his finger at interventionism and empire. In a groundbreaking speech on May 26, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to change what we do abroad. He linked Western wars of aggression to the plague of violent jihadist attacks targeting soft targets in the West. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home, Corbyn noted. Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries & terrorism here at home pic.twitter.com/6nlWf67WsI Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 26, 2017 The leftist Labour leader forcefully condemned the horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people. But unlike his political peers, Corbyn did not depoliticize the bombing. He explained that in order to prevent future attacks, Britains foreign policy must change. Foreign wars may not be the only thing fueling this violence, he noted, but they are a key factor. We must be brave enough to admit the War on Terror is simply not working, Corbyn emphasized. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism. That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children, he added. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions. Ultimately, in order to defeat terrorism, Corbyn stressed, we must understand what fuels it: Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism. Jeremy Corbyns comments provoked a predictable festival of mock outrage from his Tory opponents, who borrowed a line from their Republican counterparts across the pond and accused him of denigrating the “troops. The attacks were accompanied by a wave of tabloid headlines alleging that Corbyn had fostered deep friendships with terrorist groups from Hamas to the IRA. The Conservative Party issued a ham-handed attack, claiming the Labour leaders speech has shown today why he is not up to the job of keeping our country safe. The statement continued, Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of siding with our enemies. Britains Conservative security minister smeared Corbyn, claiming his speech justified terrorism. Centrist Blairites also chimed in. The liberal interventionist and pro-Israel activist Nick Cohen lashed out at Corbyn, writing a hackneyed op-ed that utterly ignored the Western wars he has wholeheartedly supported that have destabilized the Middle East and fueled Salafi-jihadism. Cohen instead framed violent extremism as a matter of values, subtly reinforcing the line of far-right Islamophobes like UKIP leader Nigel Farage. The corporate media did its part, tarring and feathering the leftist Labour leader. A columnist at the right-wing Telegraph published a hatchet job not so subtly titled Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain. Analysis from Loughborough Universitys Center for Research in Communication and Culture showed the almost comically ridiculous bias Labour faces in the British media. Few media outlets, even ostensibly left-leaning newspapers like the Guardian, acknowledged that, in reality, the policies pursued by the U.K.s right-wing government, with the support of Theresa May, have led to the spread of the type of violent extremism that fueled the Manchester attack. Virtually no one cited the British government reports that corroborate Corbyns argument. Behind the bluster, multiple reports released by the British government backed up Corbyns remarks. In 2016, the British House of Commons bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee published a detailed report on the 2011 war in Libya exposing that the NATO military intervention had been sold on lies. Among the deceptions deployed to justify NATO regime change was the myth that the Libyan opposition was politically moderate. The Foreign Affairs Committee report on the other hand noted that the British government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. The House of Commons report added, It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards. Moreover, the U.K. governments enormous, decade-long Iraq Inquiry, popularly known as the Chilcot Report, revealed in 2016 that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, British intelligence officials had repeatedly warned that the joint American-British war would fuel and empower Salafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. Despite these reports, centrist former Labour prime minister Tony Blair teamed up with the U.S. in an invasion that the United Nations explicitly said violated international law. Blair admitted in 2015 that the Iraq War, in which he played President George W. Bushs junior partner, gave rise to ISIS. With mere days before the election, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the once large chasm between his party and the Tories. And he has done this despite enormous odds and tremendous opposition from his partys ossified establishment. When the snap election was scheduled by Prime Minister May in April, it seemed a Tory victory was all but certain. In the months since, support for Labour has slowly increased. On May 31, leading pollster YouGov put Labour just 3 percent behind the Conservatives, which could lose its parliamentary majority. Corbyn and May are neck and neck. Corbyn has managed to do this in spite of a level of media bias that is almost unprecedented in British politics. Even the Guardian has treated Corbyn as a pariah. Yet the British public has rejected the elite medias torrent of attacks, sending a surge of support for Labour. While the political establishment and the corporate media have been unable to explain why the scourge of violent extremism continues, Corbyn has provided the public the answers it has been desperately seeking. His deft response to the Manchester attack appears to be paying dues. For years, Corbyn has been an outspoken, principled critic of Western wars. He has long been a leader in the Stop the War Coalition. (In a symbolic anecdote, Chelsea Clinton interrupted a Stop the War Coalition event in 2001 that featured Corbyn as a speaker.) Jeremy Corbyn is trying to mainstream a left-wing alternative to the discredited centrist and the far-right fringe. Rather than running from his political identity, he has put it front and center, reminding British voters after Manchester, I have spent my political life working for peace and human rights and to bring an end to conflict and devastating wars. Corbyn may not beat the odds and unseat May, but his unexpected surge in the polls has served as a stunning rebuke to the militaristic political elite, and gives a glimmer of hope to those who still imagine an end to the forever war. (Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project)

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After a Terrorist Attack, Spain Rejected Its Hawks. Will Britain? | The … – The Nation.

Spanish voters turned against the incumbent conservative party after the 2004 Madrid bombings. Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street after an attack left seven people dead and dozens injured, June 4, 2017. (Reuters / Hannah McKay) On March 11, 2004, just a few days before a critical election, a series of nearly simultaneous bombs exploded on four commuter trains in Madrid, killing over 190 people. Before the bombing, the Socialist Party (PSOE) was about five points behind in the polls, but it ended up winning by five points. The party promised that if it won the election, Spain would get out of Iraq in six months. That happened after only five. I can find no evidence of any Middle Eastrelated terrorism in Spain since, though there apparently have been thwarted plots. This history may offer a critical lesson to Britain now, just days away from an election following a series of attacks near London Bridge. Incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May has backed virtually every war that Britain has participated in. In contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had criticized virtually every war. The situation in Spain was heightened by the incumbent government of Jos Mara Aznar (now a director at Rupert Murdochs News Corporation), which blamed the Basque group ETA for the attack. This move certainly crystallized public disgust with the government. But why did the government lie about ETAs involvement in the first place? It assessedprobably correctlythat the Spanish people would be furious that so much blood had been shed in Madrid in retaliation for Spains involvement in the invasion of Iraq, which was already deeply unpopular. THE STAKES ARE HIGHER NOW THAN EVER. GET THE NATION IN YOUR INBOX. Contrast the path that Spain took with that of France, which had originally criticized the invasion of Iraq. Since then, France has become more interventionist, particularly in Syriaa former French colony. It has also become far more of a target of terrorism in the name of Islam in recent years. Its noteworthy that the interrelation between the 2004 Madrid attacks and the election has been either ignored or totally misrepresented. Last year, following the massacre in Orlando by Omar Mateen, in a discussion about how that attack might affect the US election, Dina Temple-Raston, NPRs counterterrorism correspondent exactly reversed the apparent lesson of Madrid. She claimed that after the Madrid attack the more conservative party won. NPR refused to offer an on-air correction for this brazen falsehood. Of course, the election of a Corbyn government doesnt guarantee an end to terrorist attacks in Britain. For one, its not clear that Corbyn will adhere to a pro-peace, non-interventionist stance. Recently, he has seemed to distance himself from prior positions, like withdrawal from NATO. While the Socialist Party in Spain pledged to withdraw from Iraq, the Labor Manifesto contains no such explicit pledge. Theresa May, however, has supported interventionist policies that helped create the conditions for radicalization. Specifically, while May was home secretary, the UK allowed extremists from the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (of which the Manchester bomber was a member) to freely travel to Libya to take out Muammar Gaddafi (see John Pilger at Consortium News, Paul Mason at The Guardian, and Max Blumenthal at Alternet). This is a point that Corbyn has raised in less specific but notable terms: Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home. Hes also added: We do need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fueled extremist ideology.

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RT America — June 2, 2017 – RT

Published time: 3 Jun, 2017 02:03 Netanyahu willing to overlook Trumps embassy flip-flop journalist As a candidate, Donald Trump emphatically promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But President Trump has just signed a waiver to keep the embassy at its current location, much to the chagrin of the Israeli right-wing. The reason given for delaying to the move is so that the US can maintain the semblance of neutrality in the Palestinian question. Author and journalist Max Blumenthal joins RT Americas Manila Chan to give his reaction. Twitter warfare continues over Hillarys blame game Following Hillary Clinton’s recent claims that DNC data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong and a factor in her failure, Andrew Therriault, a former DNC staffer with her campaign, lashed out on Twitter, pointing out that their models had correctly predicted trouble in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania but that Clintons inner circle thought they knew better. He has since deleted his Twitter comments and apologized for his response. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump blasted Hillary Clinton for her finger-pointing, in turn provoking venom from her. Around and around it goes.

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Jeremy Corbyn Dares to Speak Truth About the ‘War on Terror’ – AlterNet

Jeremy Corbyn – Take Back Our World! – Global Justice Now. Cropped. 21 February 2015, 00:00 Photo Credit: By Global Justice Now (Jeremy Corbyn) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Partys establishment wing. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Partys intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His partys leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the countrys tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending. Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home. The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq to Libya to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and civilian protection. While many progressives have portrayed the so-called war on terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil, Corbyn has made a crucial break with the norms of the political establishment, condemning the imperial wars the West has waged and emphasizing that this military intervention has only fueled the violent extremism the British government claims to be combatting. Manchester Attack and Government Complicity On May 22, a man detonated a suicide bomb at a concert in Manchester, killing two dozen and wounding more than 100, many of them children. The jihadist group ISIS took credit for the attack. Salman Abedi, the attacker, was a British citizen, not a refugee, from a family that was part of the Western government-backed right-wing Libyan opposition to longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. As Max Blumenthal detailedin an article on AlterNet,the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Gaddafi. When NATO escalated2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber. During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing MI6 operations. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from Britain, with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups. According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in the U.K. With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his sons eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies. In the past, right-wing politicians had successfully exploited terror attacks like the kind carried out in Manchester, stoking fear and anti-Muslim bigotry to shift public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing anti-war stalwart, upended the dynamic by introducing a counter-narrative that challenged violent extremism at its roots. While many liberals spoke of the bombing as a mere tragedy, whitewashing its politicized nature, Corbyn pointed his finger at interventionism and empire. Groundbreaking Speech In a groundbreaking speech on May 26, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to change what we do abroad. He linked Western wars of aggression to the plague of violent jihadist attacks targeting soft targets in the West. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home, Corbyn noted. The leftist Labour leader forcefully condemned the horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people. But unlike his political peers, Corbyn did not depoliticize the bombing. He explained that in order to prevent future attacks, Britains foreign policy must change. Foreign wars may not be the only thing fueling this violence, he noted, but they are a key factor. We must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working, Corbyn emphasized. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism. That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children, he added. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions. Ultimately, in order to defeat terrorism, Corbyn stressed, we must understand what fuels it: Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism. The Medias War on Corbyn Jeremy Corbyns comments provoked a predictable festival of mock outrage from his Tory opponents, who borrowed a line from their Republican counterparts across the pond and accused him of denigrating the “troops. The attacks were accompanied by a wave of tabloid headlines alleging that Corbyn had fostered deep friendships with terrorist groups from Hamas to the IRA. TheConservative Party issued a ham-handed attack, claiming the Labour leaders speech has shown today why he is not up to the job of keeping our country safe. The statement continued, Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of siding with our enemies. Britains Conservative security minister smeared Corbyn, claiming his speech justified terrorism. Centrist Blairites also chimed in. The liberal interventionist and pro-Israel activist Nick Cohen lashed out at Corbyn, writing a hackneyed op-ed that utterly ignored the Western wars he has wholeheartedly supported that have destabilized the Middle East and fueled Salafi-jihadism. Cohen instead framed violent extremism as a matter of values, subtly reinforcing the line of far-right Islamophobes like UKIPs Nigel Farage. The corporate media did its part, tarring and feathering the leftist Labour leader. A columnist at the right-wing Telegraph published a hatchet job not so subtly titled, Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain. Analysis from Loughborough Universitys Center for Research in Communication and Culture showed the almost comically ridiculous bias Labour faces in the British media. Few media outlets, even ostensibly left-leaning newspapers like the Guardian, acknowledged that in reality, the policies pursued by the U.K.s right-wing government, with the support of Theresa May, have led to the spread of the type of violent extremism that fueled the Manchester attack. Virtually no one cited the British government reports that corroborate Corbyns argument. The Governments Own Findings Back Corbyn Up Behind the bluster, multiple reports released by the British government backed up Corbyns remarks. In 2016, the British House of Commons bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee published a detailed report on the 2011 war in Libya exposing that the NATO military intervention had beensold on lies. Among the deceptions deployed to justify NATO regime change was the myth that the Libyan opposition was politically moderate. The Foreign Affairs Committee report on the other hand noted that the British government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. The House of Commons report added, It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards. Moreover, the U.K. governments enormous, decade-long Iraq Inquiry, popularly known as the Chilcot Report,revealed in 2016 that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, British intelligence officials had repeatedly warned that the joint American-British war would fuel and empowerSalafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. Despite these reports, centrist former Labour prime minister Tony Blair teamed up with U.S. President George W. Bush, in an invasion that the United Nations explicitly said violated international law. Blair admitted in 2015 that the Iraq war, in which he played Bushs junior partner, gave riseto ISIS. Closing the Gap With mere days before the election, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the once large chasm between his party and the Tories. And he has done this despite enormous odds and tremendous opposition from his partys ossified establishment. When the snap election was scheduled by Prime Minister May in April, it seemed a Tory victory was all but certain. In the months since, support for Labour has slowly increased. On May 31, leading pollster YouGov put Labour just 3 percent behind the Conservatives, which could lose its parliamentary majority. Corbyn and May are neck and neck. Corbyn has managed to do this in spite of a level of media bias that is almost unprecedented in British politics. Even the Guardian has treated Corbyn as a pariah. Yet the British public has rejected the elite medias torrent of attacks, sending a surge of support for Labour. While the political establishment and the corporate media have been unable to explain why the scourge of violent extremism continues, Corbyn has provided the public the answers it has been desperately seeking. His deft response to the Manchester attack appears to be paying dues. For years, Corbyn has been an outspoken, principled critic of Western wars. He has long been a leader in the Stop the War Coalition. (In a symbolic anecdote, Chelsea Clinton interrupted a Stop the War Coalition event in 2003 that featured Corbyn as a speaker.) Jeremy Corbyn is trying to mainstream a left-wing alternative to the discredited centrist and the far-right fringe. Rather than running from his political identity, he has put it front and center, reminding British voters after Manchester, I have spent my political life working for peace and human rights and to bring an end to conflict and devastating wars. Corbyn may not beat the odds and unseat May, but his unexpected surge in the polls has served as a stunning rebuke to the militaristic political elite, and gives a glimmer of hope to those who still imagine an end to the forever war. Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project atAlterNet, and the award-winning author of Goliath andRepublican Gomorrah. His most recent book isThe 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.

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The Manchester Bomber Is The Spawn Of Hillary And Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure – Mintpress News (blog)

Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream. An armed Libyan rebel shoots an AK-47 at a poster of Muhammar Gaddafi in the captured rebel town of Ras-Lanuf in the east of the country (Photo: Andrey Stenin/Sputnik) On November 20, 2015, two jihadi militants attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, seizing about 100 hostages and leaving bodies strewed across the building. When it was over, 22 people (including the attackers) had been killed. As the New York Times reported: Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafis arsenal began advancing through the countrys vast desert in the north and capturing towns. Not much has been made in American and Western media of this attack. Most of the dead were Malians, Russians, and Chineseand, hey, it was in Africa; Shit happens. Especially there. How many people reading this even remember that it happened? Follow-up analysis? It was Africa. That kind of coverage. (I did post about it at the time, making many points that unfortunately bear repeating here.) Last Monday, jihadi suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people. Salman grew up in an anti-Qaddafi Libyan immigrant family. In 2011, his father, Ramadan Abedi, along with other British Libyans (including one who was under house arrest), was allowed to go [to Libya], no questions asked, to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda-affiliate, to help overthrow Qaddafi. In Manchester, as Max Blumenthal puts it, in his excellent Alternet piece, it was all part of the rat line operated by the MI5, which hustled anti-Qaddafi Libyan exiles to the front lines of the war. In Manchester, Salman lived near a number of LIFG militants, including an expert bomb maker. This was a tough bunch, and everybodyincluding the cops and Salmans Muslim neighborsknew they werent the Jets and the Sharks. As Middle East Eye reports, he was known to security services, and some of his acquaintances had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline. Could it be any clearer? The Abedi family was part of a protected cohort of Salafist proxy soldiers that have been used by the West to destroy the Libyan state. There are a number of such cohorts around the world that have been used for decades to overthrow relatively prosperous and secular, but insufficiently compliant, governments in the Arab and Muslim worldand members of those groups have perpetrated several blowback attacks in Western countries, via various winding roads. In this case, the direct line from Libya to Mali to Manchester is particularly easy to trace. Too bad more people in Britain and the West hadnt paid attention to what happened in Mali two years ago. Too bad they hadnt thought too much about the chain of jihadi proxy interventions that the United States and its allies, or about the connection with the chain of jihadi attacks in Western countries. Too bad they hadnt recognized the continuing arrogance of the Western (U.S./NATO) and Middle Eastern (Gulf, Israel) powers who think they can unleash and re-leash these jihadi fighters at will. Too bad they dont understand the contradiction between mourning the bombing of Manchester and crying for the bombing of Syria. Too bad the Western (i.e., American-directed) media dont provide what would be necessary to understand these things: ongoing coverage and analysis of the obvious relation between the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by jihadi militants and the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by Western and allied governments. Its a good bet nobody will have forgotten the Manchester bombing two years from now. It was in merry old England, after all and many of the victims were beautiful British girls. Its also a good bet that the media analysis will continue to have everyone scratching their heads about why these death-loving Muslims hate us so much. That kind of coverage. The jihadi attackers in Mali and the jihadi bomber in Manchester were direct productsnot accidental by-products, but deliberately incubated protgsof American-British-French-NATO regime change in Libya, a project that was executed by the Obama administration and spearheaded by Hillary Clinton. Before the glorious revolution, Libya under Ghaddafi had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa, according to the UN Human Development Index. Before the jihadi onslaught backed by NATO bombing campaign, Ghaddafis Libya was an anchor of stability in North Africa, as even the U.S. and British governments knew and acknowledged, per a 2008 cable from American foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by Wikileaks: Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellentMuammar al-Qadhafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam. The US-British-French-NATO humanitarian intervention put an end to that by overthrowing the Libyan government under entirely phony pretexts, in contravention of fundamental international law, and in violation of the UN resolution, they claimed as a justification. The executioners and beneficiaries of that aggression where the jihadis who have been rampaging from Mali to Manchester. Its a bright, clear line. Britains Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) shakes hands with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi near Gaddafis home town of Sirte. May 29, 2007. (Leon Neal/Reuters) Ghaddafi himself warned Tony Blair that an organization [the LIFG].has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organization in North Africa. Ghaddafis son, Saif, warned that overthrowing Libyas would make the country the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean and You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door. Thanks to Blair and Obama and Clinton and Sarkozy, thats exactly what happened. Libya was destroyed as a functioning state, and the terror is now inside every Western door. Westerners and Americans transfixed by Ghaddafis garish posturing may have, and may still, find it hard to accept, but it needs to be said aloud: In 2011, Ghaddafi was right about what was going in in Libya, and all best and brightest militaristic conservatives and humanitarian liberals, in and out of government, were wrong. A lot of radical lefties, too, myself included; though I always vehemently opposed the US-NATO intervention, I, too, took Ghaddafis complaints for excuses. But lesson learned (by some): What was going on in Libya was the same thing that went on in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the same thing that is going on in Syria today, supercharged by the intervening war in Iraq Throughout this nefarious chain of destruction, nobody in the world has committed worse crimes than all the humanitarian liberals in and out of government who have enacted and/or gone along with the imperialist chaos program of destroying relatively prosperous and secular societies in the Arab and Muslim world, and replacing them with sectarian jihadi playgrounds. And no force in the world is more responsible for the rampaging jihadi wolves, lone and in packs, than the United States and its compliant allies, including Great Britain. Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: Were crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya including the killing of Ghaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomized him with a bayonet: We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laugther] Yes, exactly that. Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester. Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things weve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillarys perverse glee in this video? Its an image not to be forgotten. Im sure that our current president, if hes given the timeand, if hes not, some other Republican or Democratwill meet or exceed the high standards that have been set, but Donald Trump has not yet come near committing the series of crimes for which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (following the precedent of five previous American administrations) are responsible. These crimes produced the twin horrors of imperialist and jihadi chaos, of which the destruction of the Libyan state was one egregious example, and the killing of young concertgoers in Manchester another. This represents a deep, persistent bipartisan policy that is much more important and difficult to confront than the question of which front man or woman will be selling it. Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream. At the end of my post two years ago, I was urging and hoping that Americans would wake up. But a lot of American liberals and lefties, including Berniebots, still like to imagine theres a political space they can inhabit called Progressive Except Imperialism. There isnt. Imperialism with Social Security and Medicare and Obamacareeven single-payer healthcareis imperialism, and its reactionary and supremacist. Equal-opportunity imperialism is imperialism. African-American, women, Latinx, or LGBTQ presidents, generals, and drone operators do not make it any less criminal, or dangerous, or any less inevitably erosive of all those cherished progressive domestic programs. Ignoring or putting aside what the U.S. does in Libya, or Iraq, or Syria, or Palestine becauseTrump! The Republicans! is ignoring a fundamental element of a progressive politics as well as an immediate danger to the country. One can do it, but those who do, cant claim to be seriously confronting the horrors of a tragedy like Manchester, no matter how many tears they shed. Im afraid that is where were stuck. The absurdity of Trump is drawing more well-meaning people into the flames of nostalgia for an imaginary Democratic copasetic state that disappeared on January 20th. The #Resistance cant even get its act together for single-payer healthcarethe easiest sell imaginable; its not only avoiding the more contentious issues regarding American aggression in places like Libya and Syria, its succumbing to the dangerous, war-mongering, Russophobic program of the military-intelligence complex. Its still dream on, and I fear it will take a shock much greater than Manchester before Americans finally get the news. The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

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June 1, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Legacy of Hillary, Barack’s Libyan adventure – The Herald

Barack Obama Jim Kavanagh Correspondent On November 20, 2015, two jihadi militants attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, seizing about 100 hostages and leaving bodies strewed across the building. When it was over, 22 people (including the attackers) had been killed. As the New York Times reported: Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafis arsenal began advancing through the countrys vast desert in the north and capturing towns. Not much has been made in American and Western media of this attack. Most of the dead were Malians, Russians, and Chinese and, hey, it was in Africa; Shit happens. Especially there. How many people reading this even remember that it happened? Follow-up analysis? It was Africa. That kind of coverage. Last Monday, jihadi suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people. Salman grew up in an anti-Gaddafi Libyan immigrant family. In 2011, his father, Ramadan Abedi, along with other British Libyans (including one who was under house arrest), was allowed to go [to Libya], no questions asked, to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda-affiliate, to help overthrow Gaddafi. In Manchester, as Max Blumenthal puts it, in his excellent Alternet piece, it was all part of the rat line operated by the MI5, which hustled anti-Gaddafi Libyan exiles to the front lines of the war. In Manchester, Salman lived near a number of LIFG militants, including an expert bomb maker. This was a tough bunch, and everybody including the cops and Salmans Muslim neighbours knew they werent the Jets and the Sharks. As Middle East Eye reports, he was known to security services, and some of his acquaintances had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline. Could it be any clearer? The Abedi family was part of a protected cohort of Salafist proxy soldiers that have been used by the West to destroy the Libyan state. There are a number of such cohorts around the world that have been used for decades to overthrow relatively prosperous and secular, but insufficiently compliant, governments in the Arab and Muslim worldand members of those groups have perpetrated several blowback attacks in Western countries, via various winding roads. In this case, the direct line from Libya to Mali to Manchester is particularly easy to trace. Too bad more people in Britain and the West hadnt paid attention to what happened in Mali two years ago. Too bad they hadnt thought too much about the chain of jihadi proxy interventions that the United States and its allies, or about the connection with the chain of jihadi attacks in Western countries. Too bad they hadnt recognised the continuing arrogance of the Western (US/Nato) and Middle Eastern (Gulf, Israel) powers who think they can unleash and re-leash these jihadi fighters at will. Too bad they dont understand the contradiction between mourning the bombing of Manchester and crying for the bombing of Syria. Too bad the Western (i.e., American-directed) media dont provide what would be necessary to understand these things: ongoing coverage and analysis of the obvious relation between the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by jihadi militants and the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by Western and allied governments. Its a good bet nobody will have forgotten the Manchester bombing two years from now. It was in merry old England, after all and many of the victims were beautiful British girls. Its also a good bet that the media analysis will continue to have everyone scratching their heads about why these death-loving Muslims hate us so much. That kind of coverage. The jihadi attackers in Mali and the jihadi bomber in Manchester were direct products not accidental by-products, but deliberately incubated protgs of American-British-French-NATO regime change in Libya, a project that was executed by the Obama administration and spearheaded by Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clintion Before the glorious revolution, Libya under Gaddafi had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa, according to the UN Human Development Index. Before the jihadi onslaught backed by Nato bombing campaign, Gaddafis Libya was an anchor of stability in North Africa, as even the US and British governments knew and acknowledged, per a 2008 cable from American foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by WikiLeaks: Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent . . . Muammar Gaddafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilise the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam. The US-British-French-Nato humanitarian intervention put an end to that by overthrowing the Libyan government under entirely phony pretexts, in contravention of fundamental international law, and in violation of the UN resolution they claimed as a justification. The executioners and beneficiaries of that aggression where the jihadis who have been rampaging from Mali to Manchester. Its a bright, clear line. Gaddafi himself warned Tony Blair that an organisation [the LIFG] has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organisation in North Africa. Gaddafis son, Saif, warned that overthrowing Libyas government would make the country the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean and You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door. Thanks to Blair and Obama and Clinton and Sarkozy, thats exactly what happened. Libya was destroyed as a functioning state, and the terror is now inside every Western door. Westerners and Americans transfixed by Gaddafis garish posturing may have, and may still, find it hard to accept, but it needs to be said aloud: In 2011, Gaddafi was right about what was going on in Libya, and all best and brightest militaristic conservatives and humanitarian liberals, in and out of government, were wrong. A lot of radical lefties, too, myself included; though I always vehemently opposed the US-Nato intervention, I, too, took Gaddafis complaints for excuses. But lesson learned (by some): What was going on in Libya was the same thing that went on in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the same thing that is going on in Syria today, supercharged by the intervening war in Iraq Throughout this nefarious chain of destruction, nobody in the world has committed worse crimes than all the humanitarian liberals in and out of government who have enacted and/or gone along with the imperialist chaos program of destroying relatively prosperous and secular societies in the Arab and Muslim world, and replacing them with sectarian jihadi playgrounds. And no force in the world is more responsible for the rampaging jihadi wolves, lone and in packs, than the United States and its compliant allies, including Great Britain. Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: Were crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya including the killing of Gaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomised him with a bayonet: We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laughter] Yes, exactly that. Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester. Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things weve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillarys perverse glee in this video? Its an image not to be forgotten. Im sure that our current president, if hes given the timeand, if hes not, some other Republican or Democratwill meet or exceed the high standards that have been set, but Donald Trump has not yet come near committing the series of crimes for which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (following the precedent of five previous American administrations) are responsible. These crimes produced the twin horrors of imperialist and jihadi chaos, of which the destruction of the Libyan state was one egregious example, and the killing of young concertgoers in Manchester another. This represents a deep, persistent bipartisan policy that is much more important and difficult to confront than the question of which front man or woman will be selling it. Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream Its still dream on, and I fear it will take a shock much greater than Manchester before Americans finally get the news. Counterpunch

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West’s Disastrous Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars – Bulatlat

How the US and UK helped bring jihadists like Salem Abedi to Libya and Syria By MAX BLUMENTHAL AlterNet The heinous suicide bombing by British-born Salman Abedi of an Arianna Grande concert in Manchester was not merely the work of an evil loser, as Donald Trump called it. It was blowback from interventionist policies carried out in the name of human rights and civilian protection. Through wars of regime change and the arming and training of Islamist proxy groups, the US, UK and France played out imperial delusions across the Middle East. In Syria and Libya, they cultivated the perfect petri dish for jihadist insurgency, helping to spawn weaponized nihilists like Abedi intent on bringing the Wests wars back home. The son of anti-Qaddafi immigrants to the UK, Abedi grew up in Manchesters community of Libyan exiles. A report in the London Telegraph indicated that he had traveled just weeks before his attack to Libya, where Salafi-jihadi militias are competing for control of the destabilized country. Abedi had also reportedly traveled to Syria to join up with the extremist rebels that have waged a six-year-long insurgency against the countrys government, with billions of dollars in assistance from the West and its Gulf allies. According to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, it was in these conflict zones where Abedi was radicalized. Sens John McCain and Lindsey Graham with Libyan Islamic Fighting Group leader Abdelhakim Belhaj The impressionable 22-year-old returned to the UK with enough training to make a fairly sophisticated bomb that massacred 22 concert goers, many of them children. It seems likely possible that he wasnt doing this on his own, Britains home secretary, Amber Rudd, told the BBC. She described the bomb as more sophisticated than some of the attacks weve seen before. According to the Telegraph, A group of Gaddafi dissidents, who were members of the outlawed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), lived within close proximity to Abedi in Whalley Range. They included Abd al-Baset Azzouz, an expert bomb maker who controls an Al Qaeda-affiliated militia in eastern Libya. When the uprising against Gaddafi began in 2011, Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salem, returned to his home country to fight with the LIFG. While it is not known if Salman Abedi himself was involved with the LIFG, the groups links to British and American intelligence are well established, and go back decades. The Wests favorite Al Qaeda affiliate? David Shayler, a maverick officer of Britains MI5 intelligence services, alleged that his government had covertly funded the LIFG to carry out the failed 1996 assassination attempt on Qaddafi.. Two years later, Libyan state television produced footage of a failed grenade attack on Qaddafi that it alleged was carried out by a British agent. At the time, the LIFG was an affiliate of Al Qaeda whose members included Anas al-Libi, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. In March 1998, Qaddafis Libya became the first country to issue an Interpol arrest warrant for bin Laden. The warrant was studiously ignored by American and British intelligence, according to French journalist Guillaume Dasqui and Jean-Charles Brisard, an adviser to French President Jacques Chirac. Five months later, Al Qaeda struck the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. (Among the participants in the attack were al-Libi and Ali Abdelsoud Mohammed, a spy for Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri who had entered the US on a CIA-approved visa and managed to rise to the rank of corporal at the John F. Kennedy School of Special Warfare at Ft. Bragg, where he smuggled special forces training manuals out to Al Qaeda cadres.) An MI6 document leaked online in 2000 appeared to confirm Shaylers account, asserting that British intelligence was aware of a plot in 1995 to kill Qaddafi that included Libya veterans who served in Afghanistan. LIFGs leader, Abdelhakim Belhaj, had been among those veterans, fighting against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan in the 1980s alongside local mujahedin armed and trained by the CIA. He moved his operations to Sudan in 1991, the same year that bin Laden set up camp outside the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. It took the attacks of 9/11 and the inauguration of the so-called war on terror to make Belhaj a target of the West. He was captured in 2001 by the CIA in Pakistan, where he had fled after fighting alongside the Afghan Taliban, and was rendered to Libya two months later. Six years later, he was released from prison thanks to a de-radicalization program overseen by Saif Qaddafi and facilitated through negotiations with the Qatari government. A secret 2008 US Embassy cable described Qaddafis government as a bulwark against the spread of Islamist militancy. Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent, the cable read. Muammar al-Qadhafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam. The author of that cable was the late foreign service officer, J. Christopher Stevens. Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation When the Libyan uprising broke out in March 2011, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates immediately pumped arms and logistical support into the armed opposition. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saw the insurgency as an opportunity for America to assert its influence amidst the tumult of the Arab Spring. She advocated arming the rebels on the grounds that Washington could get skin in the game, according to her Middle East advisor, Dennis Ross. Ignoring warnings from NATOs supreme allied commander Adm. James Stavridis about the presence of Al Qaeda in the opposition, President Barack Obama approved shipments of TOW missiles, armored Humvees, and advanced radar systems to the Libyan insurgents. When she learned of the newly up-armed rebels rapid advances, Clinton reportedly exclaimed, Good! This is the only language that Qaddafi is understanding. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a subject of Qatari political influence and alleged bribery over the 2022 FIFA World Cup vote, urged his Western allies to ask our Arab friends to distribute weapons to the National Transitional Council, the official body of the Libyan opposition. When a French shipment of missiles and machine guns arrived through the port of Benghazi, the NTCs acting defense minister handed them over to Belhaj and the LIFG. As the insurgency gathered steam, Belhaj found a powerful ally in John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. After a friendly meeting with Belhaj and his militiamen in Benghazi on April 22, 2011, McCain called on responsible nations to provide the Libyan rebels with battlefield intelligence, training, and weapons. McCain emerged from the meeting stirred with inspiration. I met these courageous fighters, and they are not al-Qaeda, the senator proclaimed. To the contrary: they are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We need to help them do that. They want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe In the early days of the insurgency, on February 25, Qaddafi reached out to Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister who had cut the deal in the desert that brought Qaddafi out of the political wilderness in 2004. In a series of panicked phone calls that day, Qaddafi warned Blair that his removal would open the floodgates for a jihadist takeover. I want to tell you the truth, he said to Blair. It is not a difficult situation at all. The story is simply this: an organization has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organization in North Africa. They dont use Arabic words, they use Islamic [ones]. The sleeper cells in Libya are similar to the ones in America before 9/11. Qaddafi then mentioned rebels who had spent time in Guantanamo detainee who had joined Al Qaeda and trained at a camp run by bin Laden in Afghanistan. He was referring to Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu, a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who was captured by the US in Pakistan thanks to a tip from Qaddafis own intelligence services. Qaddafi complained that Qumu was now leading the forces seeking his ouster, a claim confirmed by the New York Times two months later when it described the rebel leader as a US ally of sorts. The Libyan strongman predicted that if the rebels overthrew him, they would set up an Islamic state in the country, or what he called an Al Qaeda Emirate. He concluded: They want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe. Blair brushed Qaddafis ominous warnings aside and calmly urged him to relinquish power through a peaceful transition. A week later, Obama declared, Moammar Qaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave. Qaddafis son, Saif, warned at the time that the removal of Libyas government by force would lead to a refugee crisis of titanic proportions. Libya may become the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean, the younger Qaddafi declared in 2011. You will see the pirates in Sicily, in Crete, in Lampedusa [the Italian island home of migrant detention facilities]. You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door. A failed state, courtesy of NATO Almost six years after Moamar Qaddafi was sodomized to death with a bayonet in the streets of his hometown of Sirte by Western-backed rebels operating under NATO air cover, then left to rot in a butcher shop in Misrata, his most dire warnings have come true. Libya today is a failed state, its public coffers and oil reserves looted by the foreign powers that oversaw the war of regime change in 2011. Its shores are a main disembarkation point for migrants, where women fleeing conflict and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa are beaten, raped and starved in living hellholes, according to UNICEF. The United Nations International Organization for Migration has recorded testimony of open air slave markets in Libya where migrants from West Africa are bought and sold. The refugee crisis has propelled the rise of the far-right in Europe, fueling the demagogic politics of figures from Nigel Farage to Marine Le Pen that blame the victims of the Wests catastrophic interventions. While Belhaj has emerged as a powerbroker of the free Libya, leading the Islamist al-Watan Party and operating his own private media empire with backing from Qatar, Libya has been overrun by warlords affiliated with jihadist groups like the Islamic State and Ansar al-Sharia, the Al Qaeda affiliate that participated in the notorious 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. Salem Abedis younger brother, Hashem, is a member of the Islamic State, according to a rival militia, and helped plan the Manchester attack from inside Libya. The British Foreign Affairs Committee report released in September 2016 on the Libyan intervention concluded that, Intelligence on the extent to which extremist militant Islamist elements were involved in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion was inadequate. Its authors added, The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Libyan connections with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda. Lingering questions In the wake of the Manchester bombing, British citizens deserve a new public inquiry. Acquaintances of the Abedi family said that neighbors in Manchester had notified an anti-terrorism hotline several years ago when Salman Abedi expressed public support for suicide bombing. But British authorities took no action. Was British intelligence attempting to groom Abedi as an informant, as it had tried with Mohammed Emwazi, the wayward London youth who somehow wound up in ISIS-controlled territory in Syria as the fearsome decapitator known as Jihadi John? What did the British government know about Abedi and when did it know it? The right-wing demagogues pouring out their wrath on Muslim immigrants and rallying for more restrictionist policies are diverting blame from where it should ultimately lie. In their pursuit of imperial delusions in Libya and beyond, Western leaders cynically sacrificed the security of their own citizens, setting the stage for the massacre in Manchester. The interventionists should be held accountable before they can strike again. Reposted by

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed


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