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To adequately address the recent airline "terror attack" in Detroit and the airborne terror attacks in Yemen we must delve into the topsy turvey world of the 'war on terror', where black is white, up is down, and shady Middle Eastern-looking men and your knickers share equal rating on the US DHS threat-o-meter. In short, it's no easy task.
On December 25 US authorities arrested a Nigerian named Abdulmutallab aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on charges of having tried to blow up the plane with smuggled explosives. Since then reports have been broadcast from CNN, the New York Times and other sources that he was "suspected" of having been trained in Yemen for his terror mission. What the world has been subjected to since is the emergence of a new target for the US ‘War on Terror,’ namely a desolate state on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen.
After 9/11 however, every commercial airplane became a potential flying bomb and passengers and their hand luggage had to undergo more extensive searches. In Dec 2001, the theatrics of the clearly brain-washed Richard Reid, aka "the shoe bomber", added the common or garden shoe to the list of potential terrorist weapons. Now, the equally bizarre antics of the young Nigerian Mr Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has thrown our underwear into the mix.
Both shoe and knicker bomber attempted to use PETN (a military explosive) on their respective flights. The problem, however, is this:
PETN, either in shoes or strapped to any part of the body, cannot be detected by airport scanners. A chemical test is needed. Unless authorities plan to drastically reconfigure the number and availability of international flights, there is no chance that chemical tests can be introduced for every passenger. Hence we reach our first tentative conclusion: that the billions of shoes that have been scanned at airports since 2001, and the billions of pairs of underwear that will henceforth become objects of official scrutiny, have and will have had nothing to do with airport security or preventing terrorism.
For some months the world has seen a steady escalation of US military involvement in Yemen, a dismally poor land adjacent to Saudi Arabia on its north, the Red Sea on its west, the Gulf of Aden on its south, opening to the Arabian Sea, overlooking another desolate land that has been in the headlines of late, Somalia. The evidence suggests that the Pentagon and US intelligence are moving to militarize a strategic chokepoint for the world’s oil flows, Bab el-Mandab, and using the Somalia piracy incident, together with claims of a new Al Qaeda threat arising from Yemen, to militarize one of the world’s most important oil transport routes. In addition, undeveloped petroleum reserves in the territory between Yemen and Saudi Arabia are reportedly among the world’s largest.
The 23-year-old Nigerian man charged with the failed bomb attempt, Abdulmutallab, reportedly has been talking, claiming he was sent on his mission by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen. This has conveniently turned the world’s attention on Yemen as a new center of the alleged Al Qaeda terror organization.
"The attempt to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day underscores the growing ambition of Al Qaeda's Yemen franchise, which has grown from a largely Yemeni agenda to become a player in the global Islamic jihad in the last year... The weak Yemeni government of President Ali Abdallah Salih, which has never fully controlled the country and now faces a host of growing problems, will need significant American support to defeat AQAP."
The Christmas knicker bomber was not your usual disgruntled Arab or lowly Muslim acolyte. He was the son of Nigerian banking mogul and former Nigerian government minister Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, one of the richest men in Africa. We're talking one of the African colonial elite here, an African version of the British "old boy's network" While in London, his son, the knicker bomber lived in a ₤4 million apartment in Mansfield Street, in the city's West End.
It is not surprising therefore to learn that the knicker bomber apparently received special treatment at Amsterdam airport before he boarded his flight to Detroit. Eyewitness Kurt Haskell reported that a sharply dressed Indian man escorted him to the gate and told the attendant that the knicker bomber had no passport but needed to get on the flight. The sharply dressed man was told that he would have to speak to the manager, which he apparently did and successfully got the young 'terrorist' on board.
Now this requires some serious string pulling, and all the hoopla in the press about whether or not the security system worked is just hubris, because if the knicker bomber appeared at the gate without a passport, it is unlikely that he went through the normal process up to that point, including check-in which requires passengers to show their passports. In all probability he was escorted as a VIP to the gate by the sharply dressed man. So how do two suspicious looking terrorists, at least one of them without a passport, get to the gate in an airport and then onto the flight? The answer is they don't unless they have some diplomatic credentials or high-level contacts in the airport.
Guess who runs the security at Amsterdam Schipol airport? ICTS of course! the same Israeli owned security company that somehow managed to let the shoe bomber on his Miami flight in 2001 and several of those mythical hijackers who allegedly flew out of Boston's Logan airport on 9/11. It is also useful to remember that the shoe bomber was cleared through ICTS and El Al security at Amsterdam airport on a flight to Tel Aviv in July 2001 for what was apparently an all-expenses paid week-long trip to the Israeli city. What precisely he did there remains a mystery.
All of which leads us to our second tentative conclusion:
The knicker bomber and his handler were not terrorists. Of course, it all depends on who you think the real terrorists are...
Moving on to the bomb itself; as mentioned it was PETN, or rather Pentaerythritol, which is a building block for PETN. To make PETN, Pentaerythritol must be mixed with concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids. It is assumed that these acids were in the syringe that the knicker bomber was attempting to inject, under the cover of a blanket, into his underpants. He then attempted to ignite the newly prepared PETN with some kind of a fuse. He was apparently unaware that PETN requires a shock wave rather than heat or flame to detonate, and a shock wave is best provided by an initiator explosive. In short, the whole enterprise was doomed to failure from the beginning. Since the bomber and his smartly-dressed handler were able to get to the gate without passports, and are unlikely to have passed through security, we are left to ponder why the bomber didn't carry an explosive that required much less preparation, like a half a stick of dynamite for example. Here's a short video of what a half stick of dynamite does to a file cabinet.
Tentative conclusion number three therefore is that the goal was not to actually 'kill infidels' but rather to reinforce the concept of 'Muslim terrorism'. In fact, it seems clear at this stage that the combining of terrorism and commercial air travel is a specific tactic by the real terror masters to maximise fear. After all, it is difficult to think of a place where the average citizen already feels more vulnerable than on a metal tube hurtling through the air at 35,000 feet. Add in a wild-eyed 'terrorist' and you have the optimal psychological conditions for fear-based programming.
In this particular case however, the knicker bomber was far from wild-eyed. According to the first passenger who attempted to subdue Mutallab on the plane, he offered no resistance and was docile. He was "staring into nothing" according to Dutch 'film maker' Jasper Schuringa. Schuringa also noted that Mutallab was actually on fire but showed no reaction whatsoever. This is suggestive of someone who is in some sort of trance. Indeed, Schuringa stated this explicitly in this interview but immediately followed it with the words,
"I don't want to talk about that."
* as the plane neared its destination of Detroit, Michigan, he heard a pop that sounded like a firecracker going off, and someone started yelling: "Fire! Fire!"
* "Around 30 seconds later the smoke started to fill up on the left side beneath this person," he said.
* "I basically reacted directly. I didn't think."
* He jumped over the passenger next to him and lunged over Abdulmutallab's seat, "Because I was thinking he's trying to blow up the plane, and I was trying to search his body for any explosives."
* "I pulled the object from him and tried to extinguish the fire with my hands and threw it away,"
* "Just to be sure I grabbed him with another attendant and we took him to first class and there we stripped him and contained him with handcuffs and we made sure he had no more weapons, no more bombs on him."
* "The whole plane was screaming. The suspect, he didn't say a word."
* Schuringa said other passengers applauded as he walked back to his seat.
The reactions of the other passengers seems normal. The reactions of Schuringa are reminiscent of someone who has been trained in anti-in-flight-terror tactics.
According to reports Schuringa was on his way to visit an 'Israeli friend', Shai Ben-Ami who owns a restaurant in Miami. The flight landed at around noon on Christmas day, and by that afternoon Ben-Ami had become Schuringa's impromptu PR manager, aggressively negotiating fees for interviews and the couple of cell phone pictures that Schuringa had taken of Mutallab as he was being taken off the plane.
Eyewitnesses on the flight also reported that after Mutallab was taken off the plane the FBI arrested another Indian-looking man in Detroit airport. The FBI has since denied that anyone else was involved.
Patricia Keepman was on the flight with her husband, daughter and two new adopted children from Ethiopia. She reported that they were sitting about 20 rows behind Mutallab. Her daughter said that ahead of them was a man who videotaped the entire flight, including the attempted detonation. "He sat up and videotaped the entire thing, very calmly," said Patricia. "We do know that the FBI is looking for him intensely. Since then, we've heard nothing about it."
Passenger Kurt Haskell also reported that a third Indian man was arrested after the plane landed in Detroit airport. Haskell also claims that he has since been visited by the FBI in what appears to be an attempt to silence him and his report of a third man.
According to CNN, the knicker bomber's father contacted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria recently with concerns his son was planning something, that he had become "radicalized". His pleas apparently fell on deaf ears.
Coincidentally, the Orwellian Patriot Act, passed on the back of the 9/11 attacks, is up for either renewal or trash-canning in a couple of weeks. What luck then for Obama, who is secretly very fond of such draconian powers, that the knicker bomber happened along, because there is now a very good chance that the Patriot Act will not only be enthusiastically renewed, but unanimously so.
There is no chance however that any of these troubling details will be discussed by the mainstream media, because none of them are relevant to the story that the US and Israeli governments want us to believe: Yemen is crawling with "al-Qaeda"!!
"We tell the American people that since you support the leaders who kill our women and children ... we have come to slaughter you (and) will strike you with no previous (warning), our vengeance is near," the statement said.
Using a program he wrote (and provided on the conference CD-ROM) Krawetz could print out the quantization tables in a JPEG file (that indicate how the image was compressed) and determine the last tool that created the image - that is, the make and model of the camera if the image is original or the version of Photoshop that was used to alter and re-save the image.
Krawetz took an image (above) from the 2006 video of al-Zawahiri showing the Mr Magoo look-alike sitting in front of a desk and banner with writing on it. After conducting his error analysis Krawetz was able to determine that the writing on the banner behind al-Zawahiri's head was added to the image afterward and at the same time as the logo of IntelCenter, which released the video. In short, it seems very likely that IntelCenter produced the writing on the banner, and probably the entire video, from whole cloth.
Despite this evidence, we are being asked to believe that the latest message and photo from 'al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula' that IntelCenter just happened to find on a "Jihadist internet message board" that links Mutallab with 'al-Qaeda in Yemen' is authentic!
The Yemen government, or rather dictatorship, added its voice to the subterfuge by claiming that Mutallab was in Yemen from August to December 2009. Dodgy internet postings, as usual from unnamed 'jihadist web sites' would have us believe he was putting the final touches to his knicker bomb under the tutelage of "al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula" and specifically Anwar al-Awlaki, the US born Muslim lecturer, spiritual leader, and former imam. The very same al-Awlaki who allegedly corresponded with Fort Hood mind-programmed patsy Nidal Malik Hasan. The very same al-Awlaki who was allegedly the spiritual adviser to two of the 9/11 hijackers. Isn't it just wonderful how it all connects together in one giant web of "Muslim terrorism" that starts with 9/11?
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said the security forces have arrested a group of alleged Islamist militants linked to Israeli intelligence.
Mr Saleh did not say what evidence had been found to show the group's links with Israel, a regional enemy of Yemen. The arrests were connected with an attack on the US embassy in Sanaa last month which killed at least 18 people, official sources were quoted saying.
Israel's foreign ministry has rejected the accusation as "totally ridiculous".
"A terrorist cell was arrested and will be referred to the judicial authorities for its links with the Israeli intelligence services," Mr Saleh told a gathering at al-Mukalla University in Hadramawt province.
"Details of the trial will be announced later. You will hear about what goes on in the proceedings," he added.
The 17 September attack was the second to target the US embassy since April. Militants detonated car bombs before firing rockets at the heavily fortified building.
Mr Saleh did not identify the suspects, but official sources were quoted saying it was the same cell - led by a militant called Abu al-Ghaith al-Yamani - whose arrest was announced a week after the attack.
Yemen's Ministry for Oil and Mineral Resources has received eight oil investment bids from international companies, pan-Arab daily al-Hayat quoted Aidarous as saying, four of which were from oil majors seeking direct negotiations with Yemen.
The companies include Exxon Mobil, Total, and BP, the minister said, but did not elaborate on the nature of the investments.
Yemen also has significant natural gas reserves that are in the process of being explored and extracted by French Multi-national Total. But perhaps Yemen's most strategically important asset is its location. Sitting on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula, the Yemeni sea port of Aden and the gulf of Aden in general is ideally located for the transport of the two aforementioned crucially important commodities. Over 30% of all crude oil and over 10% of global trade pass through the Gulf of Aden and control of it gives control over shipping in the region (think piracy) and access to the coasts of oil-rich East African nations like Somalia and Sudan.
With climate change, in the form of a glacial rebound or a new 'ice age', and the massive world-wide social unrest it would cause, looking increasingly likely in the near future, the psychopathic elite are undoubtedly eager to ensure their own comfortable survival at our expense.
Tariq al-Fadhli, a former jihadist leader originally from South Yemen, broke a 15 year alliance with the Yemeni government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and announced he was joining the broad-based opposition coalition known as the Southern Movement (SM). Al-Fadhli had been a member of the Mujahideen movement in Afghanistan in the late 1980’s. His break with the government was reported in Arab and Yemeni media in April 2009. Al-Fadhli’s break with the Yemen dictatorship gave new power to the Southern Movement (SM). He has since become a leading figure in the alliance.
Yemen itself is a synthetic amalgam created after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, when the southern Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) lost its main foreign sponsor. Unification of the northern Yemen Arab Republic and the southern PDRY state led to a short-lived optimism that ended in a brief civil war in 1994, as southern army factions organized a revolt against what they saw as the corrupt crony state rule of northern President Ali Abdullah Saleh. President Saleh has held a one-man rule since 1978, first as President of North Yemen (the Yemen Arab Republic) and since 1990 as President of the unified new Yemen. The southern army revolt failed as Saleh enlisted al-Fadhli and other Yemeni Salafists, followers of a conservative interpretation of Islam, and jihadists to fight the formerly Marxist forces of the Yemen Socialist Party in the south.
Before 1990, Washington and the Saudi Kingdom backed and supported Saleh and his policy of Islamization as a bid to contain the communist south.(Source:2. Stratfor, Yemen: Intensifying Problems for the Government, May 7, 2009.) Since then Saleh has relied on a strong Salafist-jihadi movement to retain a one-man dictatorial rule. The break with Saleh by al-Fadhli and his joining the southern opposition group with his former socialist foes marked a major setback for Saleh.
Soon after al-Fadhli joined the Southern Movement coalition, on April 28, 2009 protests in the southern Yemeni provinces of Lahj, Dalea and Hadramout intensified. There were demonstrations by tens of thousands of dismissed military personnel and civil servants demanding better pay and benefits, demonstrations that had been taking place in growing numbers since 2006. The April demonstrations included for the first time a public appearance by al-Fadhli. His appearance served to change a long moribund southern socialist movement into a broader nationalist campaign. It also galvanized President Saleh, who then called on Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council states for help, warning that the entire Arabian Peninsula would suffer the consequences.
"We cannot accuse the Iranian official side, but the Iranians are contacting us, saying that they are prepared for a mediation. This means that the Iranians have contacts with them [the Houthists], given that they want to mediate between the Yemeni government and them. Also, Muqtada al-Sadr in al-Najaf in Iraq is asking that he be accepted as a mediator. This means they have a link."
The picture that emerges is one of a desperate US-backed dictator, Yemen’s President Saleh, increasingly losing control after two decades as despotic ruler of the unified Yemen. Economic conditions in the country took a drastic downward slide in 2008 when world oil prices collapsed. Some 70% of the state revenues derive from Yemen’s oil sales. The central government of Saleh sits in former North Yemen in Sana’a, while the oil is in former South Yemen. Yet Saleh controls the oil revenue flows. Lack of oil revenue has made Saleh’s usual option of buying off opposition groups all but impossible.
Into this chaotic domestic picture comes the January 2009 announcement, prominently featured in select Internet websites, that Al Qaeda, the alleged global terrorist organization created by the late CIA-trained Saudi, Osama bin Laden, has opened a major new branch in Yemen for both Yemen and Saudi operations.
Al Qaeda in Yemen released a statement through online jihadist forums Jan. 20, 2009 from the group’s leader Nasir al-Wahayshi, announcing formation of a single al Qaeda group for the Arabian Peninsula under his command. According to al-Wahayshi, the new group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, would consist of his former Al Qaeda in Yemen, as well as members of the defunct Saudi Al Qaeda group. The press release claimed, interestingly enough, that a Saudi national, a former Guantanamo detainee (Number 372), Abu-Sayyaf al-Shihri, would serve as al-Wahayshi’s deputy.
"We Start from Here and We Will Meet at al-Aqsa." Al-Aqsa refers to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that Jews know as Temple Mount, the site of the destroyed Temple of Solomon, which Muslims call Al Haram Al Sharif. The video threatens Muslim leaders -- including Yemeni’s President Saleh, the Saudi royal family, and Egyptian President Mubarak -- and promises to take the jihad from Yemen to Israel to "liberate" Muslim holy sites and Gaza, something that would likely detonate World War III if anyone were mad enough to do it.
"I have strong relations with all of the jihadists in the north and the south and everywhere, but not with al-Qaeda."
"We [in South Yemen] have been invaded 15 years ago and we are under a vicious occupation. So we are busy with our cause and we do not look at any other cause in the world. We want our independence and to put an end to this occupation."
"What is happening in Lahaj, Dhali, Abyan and Hadramaut and the other southern provinces cannot be approved. We have to support and help [the southerners]." He promised retaliation: "The oppression against you will not pass without punishment... the killing of Muslims in the streets is an unjustified major crime."
Yemen has only existed as an independent country for less than 50 years. During and after the Second World War, Aden was regarded as the key to the defense of British imperial interests in the Middle East, the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. As late as May 1956 a British junior minister, Lord Lloyd, stated that "for the foreseeable future it would not be reasonable or sensible or in the interests of the colony's inhabitants to aspire to any aim beyond that of a considerable degree of internal self-government."1 Naturally enough, Yenemis were less than enthusiastic about being indefinitely subservient to the British.
Historically, Yemen had been split into two governates, North and South Yemen. In 1956, as long as its then ruler Imam Ahmed did not interfere, the British were willing to allow North Yemen relative independence. South Yemen however was to remain fully British, at least economically. In response to an increasingly powerful trade union movement made up of the Arab working class who demanded better wages, living standards and infrastructure, the British attempted to consolidate their control in the South by establishing the Federation of South Arabia in 1959, a ramshackle affair made up of the various emirs, sheiks and sultans who were willing to side with the British against Yemeni nationalist aspirations in exchange for position and wealth.
British Petroleum had established an oil refinery in 1954 and the wealth that this resource could and should have provided for the Yemeni people was instead shipped out to further British strategic interests elsewhere in the world, leaving much of Yemen's population impoverished. While the British governing elite have always (and still do) view all (or rather most) non-Western peoples as little more than howling savages, like so many other colonized nations, the Yemeni people had no trouble recognizing the injustice of the situation. Faced with an increasingly militant nationalist movement within both South and North Yemen, the British reacted to the justified grievances of a mobilized civilian population in the only way they know how - subterfuge and force.
After a wave of strikes called by the Aden Trades Union Congress (how dare they!) which were followed by mass arrests, beatings and torture by the British military, a number of activists and organizations from Aden and outlying areas came together to establish the National Liberation Front for Occupied South Yemen or the NLF for short. The leaders were middle class... clerks, teachers, officers.2 To deal with the insurgents ('terrorists' in modern parlance), the British decided on the tried and trusted method of terrorizing the local population. They proclaimed the insurgent areas 'proscribed areas' and dropped leaflets telling the inhabitants to leave (does this remind you of the tactics of a certain Middle Eastern country in January 2009?). With that formality completed the Royal Air Force freely rocketed and bombed the areas, strafing any sign of human activity. Crops were destroyed, livestock seized and houses blown up, (again, does this remind you of anything?) When Yemeni farmers began to work their fields at night, the British military added night-time bombing.3
Search operations were carried out on a large scale in an attempt to restrict movement of men and weapons by the NLF. Inevitably, these searches accompanied by racists abuse and physical manhandling further alienated the population. Stephen Harper, the Daily Express correspondent in Aden, wrote fondly of the troops that "there's a lot of boot, gun-butt and fist thumping" but that this wasn't brutality but rather "righteous anger". An officer recalled how, when troops were banned from calling the Arabs 'wog', they wittily responded by calling them 'gollies' instead14 (see here for the origin and usage of the world golliwog). The counter-productivity of such abuse always was (and still is) lost on the British political elite and military and obviously did nothing to win the 'hearts and minds' of the Yemeni people in their rebelling against foreign domination.
Another tactic used by the British military (you may recognize this one) was the deployment of 'Special Branch Sections'. These were eight to ten man mobile patrols with an officer in command. Dressed up as Arabs they carried out raids, searches and attacks against British and Yemeni civilian and military targets that could then be blamed on the insurgents in an effort to justify the British oppression. The SAS in its first official deployment against urban guerillas was also deployed in 'Keeni Meeni' squads (a Swahili term appropriately meaning 'slithering snakes'). 'Keeni Meeni' members were SAS men thought most likely to be able to pass for Arabs...5
Without intelligence sources within the local Arab population, British military leaders settled on the inspired idea that torture of prisoners was the next best thing. This mainly involved beatings of one form or another but also sensory deprivation techniques that would later be used in the 30 years dirty war in Northern Ireland and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
conducted a careful and comprehensive investigation including the sworn statements of a dozen soldiers and officers detailing murder and robbery of local Arabs. A single soldier admitted shooting dead five unarmed Arab civilians in different incidents. Several others said they used morphine injections to kill captives. Others claimed to be witnesses to the bayonetting to death of a Arab teenager whose only crime was to be found in a cafe after curfew.6
Eventually, the British were forced out of Yemen (at least physically) and the two kingdoms of North and South Yemen were formally united as the Republic of Yemen on May 22, 1990. Yemen's complicated history since British withdrawal and the unification of the North and South is beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, even a brief analysis of the social and political history of Yemen over the past 50 years is enough to show that the vast majority of internal conflicts have been over one single issue - civil rights and the desire of normal people to live a dignified existence free from oppression and inequality. When such aspirations conflict (as they invariably do) with the 'geo-strategic' interests of world powers like the US, Britain, or the megalomaniacal pseudo-religious and racist ideals of the state of Israel, normal people lose. 100 years ago, the British elite could simply crush such popular uprisings and explain it away as just the fall-out from their munificent efforts to civilize a 'backward people'. Today however, it is not so easy to fool a somewhat more enlightened world public and a more convincing argument must be made. That argument is today called "the world-wide terrorist threat".
Bab el-Mandab, between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Oil and other exports from the Persian Gulf must pass through Bab el-Mandab before entering the Suez Canal. In 2006, the Energy Department in Washington reported that an estimated 3.3 million barrels a day of oil flowed through this narrow waterway to Europe, the United States, and Asia. Most oil, or some 2.1 million barrels a day, goes north through the Bab el-Mandab to the Suez/Sumed complex into the Mediterranean.
An excuse for a US or NATO militarization of the waters around Bab el-Mandab would give Washington another major link in its pursuit of control of the seven most critical oil chokepoints around the world, a major part of any future US strategy aimed at denying oil flows to China, the EU or any region or country that opposes US policy. Given that significant flows of Saudi oil pass through Bab el-Mandab, a US military control there would serve to deter the Saudi Kingdom from becoming serious about transacting future oil sales with China or others no longer in dollars, as was recently reported by UK Independent journalist Robert Fisk.