Attacking British civil liberties is not anti-terrorism


This 2009 video about Britain is called Terrorist Threat Exploited to Curb Civil Liberties.

By Paul Donovan in Britain:

More Orwellian powers are not the answer to terror

Tuesday 2nd September 2014

The latest threats to our liberty in the name of fighting Islamist extremism will fail. A new foreign policy is essential, says PAUL DONOVAN

Recent history teaches that taking away basic liberties will not prevent terrorism.

The government seems once again to be conjuring up the fear of terrorism in order to justify further cuts to the most basic liberties of the population.

On Friday, Home Secretary Theresa May announced in true Orwellian tones that the terror threat level was being raised from “substantial” to “severe” with a terror attack “highly likely” but not “imminent.”

Then the rush to bring in more anti-terror measures, like stopping people who had been involved in foreign conflicts coming home.

The Labour Party, which gave up on civil liberties long ago, appeared to move further to the right of the government calling for the re-imposition of control orders.

Control orders were first introduced by the Blair government when the courts ruled that they could not just lock people up on the basis of untried and untested intelligence information. They amounted though to a form of house arrest that enabled people to still be effectively detained outside of proper judicial oversight.

Control orders were replaced in 2011 by terrorism prevention and investigation measures, which are effectively watered-down control orders with a few more qualifications in place like time limits.

The first question really must be why the sudden panic, other than that the government wants to be seen doing something rather than simply drifting with international events.

The populist mantra appears to go that British citizens have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq, as part of the Islamic State. They have been radicalised, so will come back and seek to commit terror acts in Britain.

The logic here is difficult to fathom. These individuals went to fight President Assad in Syria. The same Assad whom Britain together with other Western governments have been actively opposing over recent years. Indeed, a year ago, it was being suggested that the rebels should be armed and Assad bombed by the West.

In Iraq the conflict has involved the Islamic State and Iraqi government and Kurdish forces. There may of course be some friction here given the recent past in Iraq.

But the basis for thinking that having fought in this Middle East cauldron, individuals will come back here to start trouble seems dubious.

If this assertion is believed then anti-terror laws that take away the liberties of citizens on the basis of security are not the answer. The history of recent anti-terror measures from the conflict in Northern Ireland to the most recent “war on terror” show that denying liberties has done nothing to prevent terrorism.

In the case of the Irish conflict, successive Prevention of Terrorism Acts simply resulted in more innocent people going to prison and the creation of a suspect community out of the whole Irish population of Britain. This in turn probably gave real cover to terrorists.

Lessons were not learned though, with even more draconian anti-terror measures being created in the gap between the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and the September 11 attacks. Post September 11, more liberties were taken away and the Muslim population replaced the Irish as the suspect community. There were similar results.

Anti-terror legislation does not stop terrorism — it simply results in the reduction of the liberties of all and in many cases the incarceration of innocent people. It also increases the powers of the security state over citizens’ lives.

Police, security services and politicians of most political persuasions have increasingly rushed to call for these measures on the basis that they can keep people safe from terrorism.

It is not true. Indeed it is worth recalling here the words of the late chief constable of Devon and Cornwall John Alderson that the call to give up your liberties in return for security has been the call of dictators down the ages.

The only way to stop terrorism at home is to stop interfering abroad. Britain was involved in both US military ventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both have become fulcrums of instability.

Britain sits with the US arming the Israelis and standing by while they slaughter thousands of Palestinians in Gaza.

This is not a way to ensure that people across the world love us.

It is noticeable that over the past decade or so countries like Norway, Italy and Sweden that have not become embroiled in these conflicts have endured no Islamist terrorist threat at home. We suffer terrorist threats because of our international actions usually as a result of playing the role of lapdog to the US.

Instead of seeking to deny liberties to British citizens on the basis of wholly counter-productive anti-terror measures, the government should look at its international role. It should stop interfering in countries in the Middle East, and most importantly stop pouring arms into conflict regions. …

It should stop posturing in a way that is about 200 years out of date — Britain no longer has an empire and needs to adjust to its role as a minor player in world affairs.

It will be these types of moves addressing the causes of conflict that will prevent terrorism on our streets, not taking away every citizen’s most basic liberties.

Read more articles by Paul Donovan at www.paulfdonovan.blogspot.com

Turkish government helped ISIS terrorists


This video is about ISIS killing truck drivers for religious sectarian reasons.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

August 12 2014

REYHANLI, Turkey — Before their blitz into Iraq earned them the title of the Middle East’s most feared insurgency, the jihadists of the Islamic State treated this Turkish town near the Syrian border as their own personal shopping mall.

And eager to aid any and all enemies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey rolled out the red carpet.

In dusty market stalls, among the baklava shops and kebab stands, locals talk of Islamist fighters openly stocking up on uniforms and the latest Samsung smartphones. Wounded jihadists from the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front — an al-Qaeda offshoot also fighting the Syrian government — were treated at Turkish hospitals. Most important, the Turks winked as Reyhanli and other Turkish towns became way stations for moving foreign fighters and arms across the border.

“Turkey welcomed anyone against Assad, and now they are killing, spreading their disease, and we are all paying the price,” said Tamer Apis, a politician in Reyhanli, where two massive car bombs killed 52 people last year.

See also here.

Hundreds of thousands on US government’s ‘terrorist’ list


This 2008 video from the USA is called US Has Nelson Mandela On Terrorist List.

By Tom Eley in the USA:

US terror list ensnares hundreds of thousands

6 August 2014

Over 40 percent of the 680,000 people on the US government’s Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) have “no recognized terrorist affiliation,” according to leaked classified documents obtained by journalist Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept.

The government adds names or new pieces of information to existing records at a clip of 900 items per day, according to the leaked document. It is unclear how individuals wind up on the terrorist list. Watch-listing standards published previously by the Intercept reveal that agents only need an undefined “reasonable suspicion” and not “concrete facts,” let alone “irrefutable evidence.”

Names on the TSDB are shared with police agencies across the US, private contractors, and foreign governments. The list is used to enforce no-fly orders and can lead to detention when individuals are stopped for routine traffic violations or asked to submit identification to law enforcement in other circumstances.

At 280,000, “no known terrorist affiliation” is by far the largest category on the terrorist watch list. The slide which presents this figure does not attempt to explain how someone with “no known terrorist affiliation” ends up on a terrorism watch list.

The remaining nearly 400,000 individuals have some alleged connection to terrorist groups, at least as defined by the US government. This includes 73,000 with alleged ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq, and 63,000 allegedly connected to the Taliban in Afghanistan. There are a combined 43,000 with ties to Hamas and Hezbollah on the list, organizations whose primary “terrorist” activity is opposing Israel’s invasions of Gaza and Lebanon. There are 93,000 in another extremely dubious category, “Other recognized terrorist group affiliation,” without further explanation.

While the TSDB has long been held out by the Obama administration as a major weapon in defending the American people against terrorist attacks, it actually appears to be more of an adjunct to the US wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Only 5,000 of the 680,000 named are Americans, so the vast majority of those listed, if they are indeed Islamic terrorists, are unlikely to board an airplane or attack a government building inside the United States. They are far more likely to become the targets of a US air strike or drone missile attack in the countries in which they live.

Given the large number of “no known terrorist affiliation” living outside the United States, the TSDB would seem intended as a database to facilitate political repression by pro-US monarchies and military dictatorships, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, all of which have staged mass arrests and imprisonment of Islamic fundamentalist radicals.

As for the 5,000 on the TSDB list who are American citizens, the Intercept reports that the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the country, has the second highest number of individuals listed, after New York City. Houston, San Diego, and Chicago round out the top five US cities for “known or suspected terrorists.”

The prominence of Dearborn strongly suggests that Muslim Americans are being placed on the watch list simply because of their religion. This is reinforced by the report by Glenn Greenwald last month on the US targeting five prominent Muslim-Americans—including a Republican Party candidate and several former US government officials—for surveillance as terror suspects (see: “Snowden documents show US government spied on prominent Muslim-Americans”).

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) produced the document, which bears stamps reading “SECRET” and “NOFORN,” meaning the statistics on the TSDB were not to be shared with foreign governments, including US allies. Sharing the actual names of “suspects” must certainly have been done, given the preponderance of foreign nationals, more than 99 percent of the total.

A share of the data on the list has been gathered by illegally breaking into databases maintained by foreign governments in what the Intercept describes as a “previously unknown program, code-named Hydra,” operated by the CIA. Pakistan was targeted by Hydra in 2013. “Future initiatives will include additional targeted countries,” the document states.

The Terrorist Screening Database is part of a larger and more secretive terrorist watch list called Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). The document boasts that, as of June 29, 2013 the TIDE list had surpassed the one million name mark, “a testament to DTI’s hard work and dedication.” An unnamed official confirmed the figure to CNN. There are nearly 16,000 Americans on the TIDE list.

TIDE is managed by a virtually unknown government agency called the Directorate of Terrorist Identities, which operates within the NCTC, which in turn operates under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The NCTC was created to break down the constitutional wall separating the military and foreign intelligence from domestic policing functions. It draws from the FBI, the CIA, and the military’s Defense Intelligence Agency. Demonstrating the practical implications of this, the leaked document reveals that the Directorate of Terrorist Identities was “deeply involved with all aspects of the response” to the Boston Marathon bombing.

Since its formation in December, 2010, the Directorate of Terrorist Identities has added 430,000 names to TIDE, and deleted only 50,000. According to the Intercept, names on TIDE are shared “across the US intelligence community, as well as with commando units from the Special Operations Command and with domestic agencies such as the New York City Police Department.”

The list now includes 730,000 “biometric files,” the leaked document reveals, including facial images, fingerprints, and iris scans. The Directorate’s Biometric Analysis Branch (BAB) is obtaining facial images from driver’s license bureaus in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The report also discusses the expansion of what it calls “Non-Traditional Biometric Data.” Included in this surveillance category are “scars/marks/tattoos,” signatures and handwriting, and “DNA strands.” The TIDE list adds more than 200 “encounter reports” per day, of which an unquantified share are visa applications. A program called “Kingfisher Expansion” has screened over 4.6 million visa applications in since it “went live” in June 2013.

The White House declined to publicly comment on the leaked document, though unnamed Obama administration officials told CNN they have “concluded there’s a new leaker exposing national security documents in the aftermath of surveillance secrets disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.”

This seems virtually certain, given that the document obtained by the Intercept is dated August 2013, at which point Edward Snowden was in exile in Russia, without access to any US government secret files. This suggests that at least one individual in the US intelligence apparatus, and possibly many more, has been inspired by Snowden’s courageous example to share information on what the US government is doing behind the backs of the American people.

The overriding concern of the White House and the intelligence agencies will be to find and punish the official who turned the documents over to Greenwald. The Obama administration has prosecuted more government whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined. Intelligence officials and politicians have called for the killing of Snowden and Greenwald.

The administration has previously claimed that the growth of TIDE—and the so-called “no fly list” which has been increased by a factor of ten since the Bush administration—is in response to Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the so-called “underwear bomber.” Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab was allowed to board a plane in Amsterdam for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, despite being on the TIDE list and identified as a fanatical Islamist by his own father, who went to the US embassy in Nigeria to report him.

This follows the pattern set by the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11, when repeated warnings by FBI agents and foreign intelligence agencies were ignored, setting the stage for the deadliest terrorist attacks in US history. While no one was ever punished, or even reprimanded, for opening the door to the 9/11 attacks, the tragic loss of life at the World Trade Center and Pentagon became the pretext for the massive attack on democratic rights which followed, in the name of the “war on terror.”

The Intercept revelation is the latest confirmation that the “war on terror” has nothing to do with terrorism. Its purpose is to create a massive surveillance apparatus that will be deployed against the working masses the world over.

The Australian government yesterday announced far-reaching new “anti-terrorism” measures, and, appealed for “national unity” to fight an alleged threat of terrorist atrocities: here.

German neo-nazi terrorism trial continues


This video says about itself:

Neo-Nazi murder trial begins in Germany

6 May 2013

Members of an alleged neo-Nazi cell in Germany have gone on trial for the murder of 10 people, mostly immigrants. The main defendant is 38-year-old Beate Zschaepe. She is accused of helping establish the National Socialist Underground. The group is allegedly responsible for a decade-long string of racially motivated murders and bombings, as well as at least 15 armed bank raids. Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull reports from Munich.

By Dietmar Henning in Germany:

German neo-Nazi trial: Why is Zschäpe silent?

28 July 2014

The judge in the trial of members of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) last week rejected a request by the main defendant, Beate Zschäpe, to dismiss her public defenders.

On July 16, Zschäpe told a police officer in the Munich Higher Regional Court that she had lost confidence in her three lawyers. She confirmed this with a nod when asked by the court’s presiding judge, Manfred Götzl.

Since the three, Wolfgang Heer, Wolfgang Stahl and Anja Sturm, are court-appointed public defenders, Zschäpe cannot fire them herself. That decision rests with the court.

Judge Götzl called on Zschäpe to give a written explanation of the circumstances pertaining to the loss of confidence, which Zschäpe then did with the help of a fourth lawyer. Last week, the judge denied her request and ordered the trial to continue.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Zschäpe had especially criticised the fact her attorneys had not directed all the questions to witnesses that appeared to her to be important. “Her discontent had apparently been aroused by the questioning of the witness Tino Brandt the previous week,” the newspaper wrote.

As an undercover agent of the Thüringia state Office for Protection of the Constitution (the state Secret Service), Brandt established the Thüringia Homeland Security (THS), using money provided by the authorities. The THS was the precursor to the far-right NSU, which went on to kill nine people in racist-motivated crimes. It also killed a female police officer and carried out bomb attacks on immigrants.

The Leipziger Volkszeitung reported on Brandt’s testimony under the headline, “NSU Trio Received Money from the Secret Service.”

Brandt testified that as a result of a phone call from someone in the far-right milieu, he found out that the NSU trio of Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt had gone to ground. He began to raise money for the three, initially among neo-Nazi regulars in bars and at a concert. However, the donations dried up, and Brandt turned to the authorities. He said “the state of Saxony had donated—six, seven times.”

The Leipziger Volkszeitung made clear that Brandt was referring to payments given him by the Secret Service that were meant for the NSU. The newspaper reported that the presiding judge asked whether the money was expressly meant to be passed on to the trio, and Brandt replied, “As far as I can recall, it was directly meant to be handed on.”

The undercover agent testified that he could not remember clearly the exact amount that was disbursed or the identity of the contact person to whom he passed on the funds. However, he had earlier boasted that he had received some 200,000 German marks from the Secret Service and used it to build up right-wing organisations.

The trial has been ongoing for 130 days, but the main accused, Zschäpe, has refused to testify, on advice from her lawyers exercising her right to silence. It is significant that her petition to sack her lawyers was made directly after the questioning of Brandt.

It is quite possible that Zschäpe either would like to testify or wants her attorneys to press more aggressively on the question of Secret Service collaboration with the NSU and the far-right milieu more generally. On this issue, she likely would have much to say.

It is now a matter of record that the far-right element, including the THS and the NSU, would not have been able to develop in the way that it did without the support of various branches of the secret services. The findings of three judges of the Supreme Court more than 11 years ago, which led to the termination of proceedings to ban the neo-Nazi German National Party (NPD), apply no less to the THS, NSU and the entire far-right milieu. The three judges found that the influence of state bodies on the NPD was so great that that its actions had to be “spoken of as an affair of state.”

It is now well known that the federal and state organs of the Secret Service (BfV and LvF), the Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD), and the Berlin State Criminal Police (LKA) had infiltrated at least 24 people into the immediate periphery of the NSU.

In April 2006, when the 21-year-old Halit Yozgat was shot in an Internet café in Kassel, Andreas Temme was present, the leader of Hesse state’s Secret Service undercover operations. A few hours earlier, he had met with one of his undercover agents, who was in the city and in contact with Thüringia.

Temme himself is no stranger to far-right views. In his home town, he was called “Little Adolf.” In searches of his house, passages from Hitler’s Mein Kampf were found.

The two NSU members Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were known to the police and the secret services since the mid-1990s. In 1995, the Military Counter-Intelligence Service spoke to Mundlos to win him as an employee and informer.

In November 1997, the Thüringia state Secret Service observed Mundlos and Böhnhardt purchasing possible bomb components. Two months later, the police searched a garage rented by Zschäpe and found a functioning bomb workshop. Böhnhardt was present and was able to drive away in his car unhindered.

Subsequently, the three terrorists allegedly went to ground. The same year, the Gera state prosecutor allowed telephone recordings that Böhnhardt had made in the four weeks following the search of the bomb-making garage to be erased.

The leader of the far-right music label “Blood & Honour” in Saxony, Jan Werner, was, as early as 1998, in close contact with the three fugitives. Carsten Szczepanski, an undercover agent of the Brandenburg state Secret Service, code-named “Piato,” was active in the NPD and had been sentenced for the murder of an asylum seeker. He reported that Werner had personal contact with Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe. Werner had the job of “supplying the three fugitives with weapons,” he said.

Werner, in turn, was in telephone contact with a mobile phone registered to the Saxony state Interior Ministry, according to the Thüringia investigation report. On August 25, 1998, about seven months after the trio had gone to ground, Werner sent his contact person in the Interior Ministry a text message asking, “Hallo, what’s happening with the bums?” He inquired whether the Secret Service had procured weapons for him.

In the underground, the three fugitive terrorists were helped by the neo-Nazis André Eminger and Holger Gerlach, who are presently in the dock alongside Zschäpe, as well as the former NPD functionary Ralf Wohlleben and Carsten S.

It is on record that countless clues pointing to the whereabouts of the three terrorists were never followed up.

It is unclear to what extent other Secret Service operatives and undercover agents were in contact with the NSU terrorists between 1998 and 2011. Important undercover agents were prevented from giving evidence, and many files were withheld, redacted or shredded.

On November 4, 2011, when Mundlos and Böhnhardt supposedly committed suicide, Zschäpe disappeared for four days. On November 8, she presented herself to the Jena police. Just two hours later, the leader of the “procurement” section in the department for right-wing extremism at the federal Secret Service, Lothar Lingen, began looking through the files. (The term “procurement” refers to the gathering of information—i.e., the recruitment of undercover operatives in the far right.)

The very next day, Lingen ordered the destruction of the first file. As of July 4, 2012, the federal Secret Service alone had destroyed a total of 310 files containing thousands of documents.

It is impossible to draw a line separating the actions of the right-wing radicals and neo-Nazis, on the one hand, and the role of the state on the other.

This in no way diminishes the crimes of Böhnhardt and Mundlos, who most probably committed the murders. Zschäpe is also culpable. But there is truth in what the father of Mundlos said in court, when he asserted that without the Secret Service and its informers, his son would not have “slid into the right-wing scene.”

The role and responsibility of the state and its intelligence agencies in the crimes of the NSU are clearly not to be addressed in the Munich proceedings. “No state secrets can be made known that would undermine government activities,” Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, deputy leader of the Secret Service from 1996 and later a state secretary at the Interior Ministry, told a parliamentary committee of inquiry in 2012. Fritsche has since been promoted to Secret Service adviser in the Chancellery.

Of what state secrets was he speaking? Which fascists worked and continue to work for the Secret Service? Possibly Beate Zschäpe?

In November 2011, the Leipziger Volkszeitung wrote that Zschäpe had worked for the Secret Service in Thüringia. The indication had come from the Thüringia state Criminal Police. She had supposedly obtained information for the authorities about the right-wing scene—i.e., she worked as an undercover informant.

For this reason, she was protected by the Thüringia state Secret Service. During this time, Zschäpe had used five different aliases.

The Thüringia state Secret Service, which had generously financed Tino Brandt, disputed this presentation. It claimed that although there had been contact with Zschäpe, and her recruitment as an informant had been considered, this had not been done because of her instability and drug use. (In April of this year, a witness before the Munich court who knew Zschäpe since 1992, and who had had an affair with her for a short time, testified that alcohol and drugs had been “a red rag” for the defendant).

The fact is that in several interrogations in the summer of 1996, Zschäpe had already passed on information to the authorities about the right-wing milieu. “I want to work with the police,” she told officials in Jena on August 5, 1996. Jena was where she turned herself in 15 years later.

It is also a fact that on November 4, 2011, just one-and-a-half hours after she had blown up the flat she shared with her two accomplices, Zschäpe received a call from a mobile phone belonging to the Saxony state Interior Ministry. The ministry evidently had her number on speed dial.

If Zschäpe was an undercover informant, she cannot break her silence without putting herself in mortal danger. She would not be the first person to die under mysterious circumstances since the beginning of the trial.

See also here.

Racist Breivik’s mass murder remembered in Norway


This video from Britain is called Breivik & The EDL Leadership – Tommy Robinson & Alan Lake.

From The Local in Norway:

3 years on: Norway remembers Utøya

Published: 22 Jul 2014 09:47 GMT+02:00

Updated: 22 Jul 2014 09:47 GMT+02:00

Many people across Norway will honour the victims of the July 22nd 2011 attack on Oslo and the island of Utøya.

77 people were killed and around 90 wounded in the terror attacks carried out by Anders Behring Breivik.

On Tuesday, Oslo marks the third anniversary of the massacre with a public forum at government headquarters, at the water mirror towards Akersgata. It will be opened by John Hestnes, assistant leader of the National Support Group, formed after the killings.

Following this, the AUF (Workers’ Youth League) chairman, Eskil Pedersen, and prime minister Erna Solberg will make speeches. The prime minister will lay down a wreath, and there will be a minute’s silence to remember the victims. Representatives from the Norwegian government and parliament will be present.

There will be a performance by Norwegian pianist and singer Maria Mohn.

At 12am there will be a service of hope in Oslo cathedral. Crown Prince Haakon will be present among others.

The full Oslo event will be broadcast directly across Norwegian media.

Across Norway’s municipalities, wreaths will be laid down at memorial stones for the 77 people killed in the attacks on the government quarters and on Utøya island.

In Trondheim, there will be a memorial ceremony in the city hall park at 2pm.

The Norwegian prime minister will take part in a special memorial ceremony on Utøya at 4pm on Tuesday. The National Support Group and AUF will join Labour Party chairman Jonas Gahr Støre, AUF chairman Eskil Pedersen and leader of the support group, Trond Henry Blattmann. All will make speeches.