From NATO’s Libya child soldier to Manchester terrorist

This video from London, England says about itself:

Instead of bombing Libya, we need to end British support for despots says Jeremy Corbyn MP

Speech given by Jeremy Corbyn MP in the House of Commons on 18 March 2011 when MPs debated western intervention in Libya.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Did Bomber Learn to Kill in War for ‘Regime Change’?

Friday 26th May 2017

His highly religious family fled Gadaffi, but Salman Abedi returned in 2011 during the Libya conflict

THE Manchester Arena bomber may have been a jihadist radicalised fighting Colonel Gadaffi in Libya — with Britain’s help, new evidence suggests.

Former Libyan rebel fighters told news site Middle East Eye that Britain had allowed Libyan exiles to travel to the country to join the Western-backed uprising against the dictator, which was dominated by radical Islamist terror groups.

A mural in Tripoli paying tribute to fighters from Manchester who joined the 17 February Martyrs' Brigade during the war in Libya against Gaddafi (AFP photo)

Salman Abedi, whose terrorist attack on Monday night killed 22 people, is believed to have spent time in Libya during the 2011 uprising and was the child of an exiled Libyan couple who returned to fight.

It is understood that Abedi’s name was given to police several years ago because of his extreme views. He was also banned from his local mosque for the same reason.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted Abedi, 22, was known to the security services “up to a point.”

Abedi is now thought by police to have been part of a network and a 23-year-old believed to be his elder brother was arrested in Chorlton, south Manchester, on Tuesday.

His younger brother and father resettled in Libya following the war and were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of links to the Islamic State (Isis) terror group, authorities there say.

Nato entered Libya’s civil war after UN resolution 1973 authorised the imposition of a no-fly zone, ostensibly to protect civilians, but from the beginning actively fought for the rebels by bombing Gadaffi’s forces, resulting in the fall of the regime and a civil war which has lasted ever since.

Only 13 MPs — including Labour’s current leader Jeremy Corbyn — stood up to the war fever and opposed Britain’s entry into the bloody conflict.

Russia and China protested at the time that the resolution, which they abstained on, had not authorised an armed intervention against the government.

Testimony from rebels who have returned to Britain now suggests that even known terrorists were cleared to go and fight.

One who had been under a control order on suspicion of planning to join terrorist groups in Iraq said he was “shocked” to be allowed to travel to Libya “no questions asked.”

He also alleged British authorities had returned passports to members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a radical anti-Gadaffi outfit funded in the 1990s by MI6, knowing they wanted to return home to wage war.

Another, named as Belal Younis, says he was asked by an MI5 officer if he was willing to fight the government — which overruled police when they tried to stop him from travelling.

The former fighters say they didn’t know Abedi and doubted someone who was 16 at the time would have been allowed to fight, but terror groups in Syria and Iraq frequently field child soldiers.

NHS England said yesterday that 116 people were treated after the bombing and 75 are still in hospital, including 23 who are “critical.”

In 2011, Channel4 News uncritically portrayed a ‘teenage Libyan rebel from Manchester’ as a hero: here.

This video says about itself:

Ariana Grande Concert & PTSD | Dissociation, Depression and Anxiety

25 May 2017

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester: I am getting a lot of messages from you about dissociation, stress, anxiety, and signs of PTSD in the aftermath of what has happened. So today’s video is about what PTSD signs to watch out for, what to do if you are experiencing it, how & who to reach out to for help. You are not alone. Your feelings are valid.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

A history of fuelling terror

Friday 26th May 2017

THERESA MAY has told her Nato allies that the lesson of the Manchester bomb attack is that the alliance must spend more on arms to raise its game against “terrorism.”

Her comment exposes the Prime Minister’s inability to examine the causes of jihadist extremism or to critically assess imperialism’s record of collaboration with it.

Allowing home-grown jihadists to go to Libya to overthrow the Muammar Gadaffi regime while providing them with air support, as Britain and France did, might have seemed clever at the time.

It secured the removal of an inconvenient leader who had metamorphosed from terrorism sponsor to valuable trading partner — remember Tony Blair’s “tent-in-the-desert” reconciliation with Gadaffi — and back to outcast status.

But Gadaffi’s removal had unforeseen consequences — not least fragmentation of the Libyan state, its supplanting by clan-based regional warlords and an opportunity for Islamic State (Isis) to fish in troubled waters.

That chaotic outcome was foreseen by Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and just 11 other MPs in the House of Commons.

The rest were carried along by the “we’ve got to do something” brigade, which translates almost always into military meddling, supplying arms or unleashing the RAF to bomb one side or the other.

How short politicians’ memories are. Assisting regime change in Libya followed just eight years after Blair’s dodgy dossier and a media tsunami of pro-war propaganda convinced gullible MPs and those desperate to be persuaded that invading Iraq was a sound idea.

The result: a dysfunctional state, sectarian government, political priorities guided by national or religious affiliation and the birth of Islamic State powered by the arms and demobilised troops of the defeated Iraqi army.

Corbyn called this one right too, unlike those Labour backbenchers who deride his leadership qualities and, of course, our “strong and stable” Prime Minister.

Before Iraq was Afghanistan when Ronald Reagan’s US administration authorised supplies of sophisticated weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles, to the so-called mojahedin, including one Osama bin Laden, who had risen up against a progressive government backed by the Soviet Union.

Their seizure of power was succeeded by a carnival of corruption and chaos, following which the Taliban, armed and trained by Pakistani intelligence services, drove out the warlords only for the US and Britain to return them to power in 2001 after the Twin Towers atrocity carried out by a largely Saudi Arabian conspiracy.

When campaigning for the US presidency, Donald Trump said: “Who blew up the World Trade Centre? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi — take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents.”

Last week, he signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Riyadh autocracy, backing its horrific slaughter of civilians in Yemen.

Neither he nor May, who also sells arms to the House of Saud, is unaware that this is the source of Wahhabism, the extreme interpretation of Islam adopted by jihadists who have declared war on the 21st century and been armed by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Yet the US and Britain choose to ride the Saudi tiger, supporting its bloody rampage in Syria while being shocked by outrages such as Manchester when European targets are hit.

Ramping up an arms race in response to Manchester is both wrong and futile.

It makes more sense to rethink foreign policy, help to end wars in the Middle East and work through the United Nations to help the millions of civilians ravaged by wars.

This video from England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn – Emergency Protest – Stop the Bombing of Libya Now! – Stop the War Coalition 20.03.2011

By Robert Stevens in Britain:

Manchester’s dead: Victims of British regime-change operations in the Middle East

26 May 2017

More details have emerged about the prior familiarity of British intelligence agencies with the Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, whose murderous assault Monday evening left 22 people dead.

Given Abedi’s connections and his travel movements leading up to the attack, the only explanation for him being able to remain at large for so long is that he was a protected asset—part of a broad network of operatives utilised by Britain and the US to conduct their nefarious operations in the Middle East.

It is the exposure of these operations which accounts for the fury of Prime Minister Theresa May over the US leaking of intelligence information about the UK’s investigation into the bombing. Whatever the specific reasons for these leaks, they have completely undermined the British authorities’ original claims that Abedi was an unknown, “lone wolf”.

These claims are also undermined by this New York Times article: Manchester Bomber Met With ISIS Unit in Libya, Officials Say.

Rather, it is now clear that those killed and maimed while enjoying a pop concert are the victims of British regime-change policy in the Middle East and North Africa.

We know now that British intelligence had received warnings, on at least five separate occasions in the last five years, that Abedi presented a danger, including that he had discussed committing a suicide bombing.

According to new leaks Thursday, Abedi had travelled extensively in the run-up to the attack, including flying from Istanbul to the UK via Germany’s Dusseldorf airport. For years, Turkey has been used as a transit point into Syria by European jihadists, joining Western-led efforts to topple the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

Several sources, including French intelligence, have made public their conclusions that Abedi had been to Syria and received training there. The Financial Times also reported that a “Turkish official” said that Abedi had travelled through Istanbul on at least two other occasions over the past year. The newspaper reported, “In mid-April he flew from Amsterdam to Libya, while in late May 2016 he flew from Manchester to Libya, transiting through Istanbul Ataturk airport both times.”

Abedi may have travelled through at least two European Union countries on his way from Turkey to Manchester. Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that Abedi flew from Dusseldorf to Manchester on May 18—four days before the attack. The newspaper cited German intelligence sources who said that he arrived in Germany from Libya via Prague.

The Guardian reported, “It is known that the 22-year-old travelled to Germany at least twice, including a visit to the financial city of Frankfurt.” It added, “Düsseldorf is in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Anis Amri, the Berlin Christmas market attacker, spent time.”

Further leaks were reported by the German magazine Focus. Citing German intelligence sources, it said Abedi flew to Frankfurt from Britain in 2015. Focus said that Germany’s intelligence agency BKA had been told by police in the UK that this visit took place before Abedi undertook paramilitary training in Syria. It reported that he had not been apprehended in Germany, as he was not on any watch list.

There is no innocent explanation for the fact that Abedi was able to travel to Libya, Syria, Turkey and the UK unhindered. It has nothing to do with the spurious claims about the UK having “leaky borders”, or too few border guards. Abedi’s ability to pass through customs without interference can only mean that he had been given the all clear.

For decades, successive British governments have worked with jihadi groups, prepared to use atrocities to achieve their objectives. This has meant that, behind the “war on terror” and the relentless assault on democratic rights that it has entailed, UK authorities have been harbouring Islamist extremist operatives and groups who can be set into motion at the required time, in line with British imperialist foreign policy objectives.

Groups such as Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda all had bases in London. Al-Qaeda considered London the nerve centre of its operations in Europe, with the security services collaborating with some of these organisations and their leaders, the most well known being Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada.

Likewise, British imperialism worked closely with Libyan Islamists, supporting them in their opposition to then Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. As former MI5 agent David Shayler revealed, MI6 collaborated with one such organisation, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, in the attempted assassination of Gaddafi in 1996.

For years, a group of LIFG members were active in the Whalley Range district of Manchester, close to Salman Abedi’s home. Salman Abedi’s father, Ramadan Abedi, an airport security officer, was an LIFG member. He and his wife, Samia Tabbal, a nuclear scientist, fled Tripoli in 1991 after he was arrested by the Gaddafi regime. He had been employed in the regime’s internal security service and was reportedly suspected of tipping off members of anti-Gaddafi Islamist groups about pending police raids. The Daily Mail reported, “It appears that Ramadan’s life revolved at several points around toppling Gaddafi…”

After fleeing Libya, Ramadan and his wife lived in Saudi Arabia for a period. They both then went to the UK and applied for and were granted political asylum. They lived first in London and then moved to the south Manchester area, which had become a centre for many anti-Gaddafi elements with which British intelligence maintained the closest links.

Ramadan returned to Libya some time in 2011 in order to fight in the imperialist proxy war that resulted in the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi in October of that year by US/UK-backed “rebels”. This took place after a NATO bombing campaign in which untold numbers were killed nationwide over the preceding eight months. Ramadan went on to become an administrative manager of the Central Security Force in Tripoli, one of the many militias vying for control of the country.

Samia, Abedi’s mother, is a close friend of Umm Abdul Rahman, the widow of a former Al Qaeda commander, Abu Anas al-Libi. Accused of involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings, the Daily Mail reported that al-Libi “spent five years in Manchester—having won political asylum in Britain in 1995.” The Mail said that “Abdul Rahman went to college in the Libyan capital with Abedi’s mother, who was studying nuclear engineering. She [Rahman] said the two women also lived together in Manchester for a number of years.”

Al-Libi was seized by US forces in Tripoli in October 2013 and died in 2015 of liver cancer before coming to trial. Following the Manchester bombing, Ramadan Abedi and his youngest son, Hashem, were arrested in Tripoli Tuesday night.

Salman Abedi was also known to have been a close associate of one of the main Islamic State recruiters in the UK, Raphael Hostey, who was killed in a drone strike in Syria in 2016. Hostey grew up in Moss Side, just a mile away from Abedi’s home in the Fallowfield district of the city.

In a statement on the bombing, the government of Abdullah Thinni in Bayda, Libya said it had warned the British government it was harbouring terrorists. Thinni’s government was driven out of Tripoli in 2013 by Islamic extremists, including UK-based Libyan exiles. It accused May’s predecessor David Cameron of backing terrorist groups who “have been destroying our cities and towns in an attempt to shape Libya into an exporter of terror to the whole planet.”

MORE money will be put into the government’s controversial Prevent “anti-extremism strategy” in the wake of the Manchester bombing, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced yesterday: here.

THESE MILITARY VETS HAVE A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO FIGHTING EXTREMISM “We just can’t keep killing our way out of this problem.” [HuffPost]

HOLLYWOOD actor Tom Hardy launched an appeal to raise funds for the victims of the Manchester bombing yesterday as workers across Britain paused in their duties to remember those who lost their lives: here.

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