ONE QUESTION YOU SHOULD ASK

Theme: Shadowboxing

The question everyone should ask about Qatar’s involvement in the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya is: “Why did the Qatari government decided to take such a leading role in the overthrow of Qaddafi? What was in it for them?” It is a question which western political leaders, diplomats and journalists did not seem interested in asking or answering, but a state does not involve itself so deeply in the overthrow of another state unless it is seeking some gain. I will give my own answer at the end of this entry.

Firstly I will highlight the very leading role which the emirate took in this supposed ‘revolution’. In March 2011 Qatar became the first Arab country to fly combat missions over Libya. Qatar was to send six Mirage 2000 jets and two C-17 military transport aircraft in support of the coalition air operations over Libya. This was the bulk of combat power of the country’s small Air Force. The same month Qatar also became the first Arab nation, and the second only country in the world, to recognize the Benghazi-based rebel council as the only ‘legitimate’ representatives of the Libyan people. The day before they had announced a programme to market oil on behalf of the rebels from oil facilities they had captured.

In April 2011 it was reported that Qatar had supplied French made, Milan anti-tank missiles to Libyan rebels in Benghazi. These would have been tactically very important as the rebels had few defences against the regime’s heavy armour.

A good concise summary of Qatar’s role in the overthrow of Qaddafi is given in the book “Qatar & the Arab Spring” (2014) by K. C. Ulrichsen, published by Hurst & Co. London (pp. 122- 131). Ulrichsen writes that the chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC), the body recognized by the western powers as representing Libya, Mahmoud Jabril, was largely based in Doha throughout the civil war, finding it easier to operate from there, than from Benghazi.

He continues to explain that during the conflict non-military aid from Qatar to the rebels included US$ 400 million in finance, water, heating gas, and other essential goods. Qatar set up a TV station in Doha, ‘Libya TV’, to broadcast anti-Qaddafi propaganda in competition with Libyan state TV. Qatar’s own state television ‘Al-Jazeera’ broadcast coverage from a pro-rebel stance. In some cases it seems that false atrocity stories may have been broadcast. An Al-Jazeera story in February 2011 that the Qaddafi regime had used the air force to strafe peaceful civilian protests in Tripoli and other cities could not be substantiated by Hugh Roberts, director of the ‘International Crisis Group’s north Africa project’. This story had been rebroadcast all over the world.

Ulrichsen writes that at the end of the conflict Libyan officials estimated that Qatar had sent some 20,000 tonnes of weapons in some eighteen shipments. Interestingly, of these only five went through the official NTC channels, the rest went via Islamist networks run by Ismael al-Salabi. Al-Salabi and his brother Ali, had been living in exile in Doha before the civil war started in 2011. Ali was to become a very influential cleric in Libya. Ismael was the leader of one of the best equipped and supplied rebel militias, the ‘Rafallah al-Sahati Companies’, apparently nicknamed the ‘Ferrari 17 Brigade’ because they were so flush with supplies. Qatar apparently had links too with Abdelhakim Belhadj a former leader of the ‘Libyan Islamic Fighters Group’, who had been rendered by the CIA back to Libya in 2004.

After the conflict had ended in October 2011 Qatari chief-of-staff, Major-General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiya, told western reporters that hundreds of Qatari troops had fought in Libya, supervising the rebels’ plans and liaising with Nato. British trained Qatari special forces are reported to have provided infantry training to Libyan fighters in the western Nafusa mountains and in eastern Libya. Qatar’s military even brought Libyan rebels back to Doha for exercises. In the final assault on Qaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli in late August 2011, Qatari special forces were seen on the frontline.

A 25 August 2011 report in wired.com wrote:

“The principle source of support for the rebels came from Q-SOC, the Qatari special forces, says this source, who would only be identified as a former U.S. intelligence contractor with direct knowledge of operations in Libya. With the advance on Tripoli impending, the Q-SOC teams went to work getting rebels ready to finish the war, teaching them how to use the shoulder-fired missiles they looted from Gadhafi’s weapons stocks and even the basics of shooting straight.”

“They went west into the Nafusa mountains and provided minimal basic shooting and tactics training to individual rebel brigades. That’s why those rebels are generally in three-color desert uniforms, the source tells Danger Room. The Los Angeles Times described those Nafusa-based rebels as gritty, and gave them a large share of credit for turning the tide of the war. They also selected 100-plus western-region Libyans for small-unit leadership training, and flew them to Qatar and then back to Nafusa for the big push.”

“That was just one aspect of the Qatari aid to the rebels. The Qataris, however improbably, were the first foreign military on the ground providing military training. “They have been more effective than any other nation,” a rebel military representative told the Washington Post in May. “They just haven’t boasted about it.”

But the rosy picture of western and Gulf nations working together to ‘protect civilians’ and ‘bring democracy’ to Libya as universally presented by governments and the mass media was not the whole picture. On 5 December 2012 a New York Times report by James Risen, Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt reported:

“The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.

… the Obama administration clearly was worried about the consequences of its hidden hand in helping arm Libyan militants, concerns that have not previously been reported. The weapons and money from Qatar strengthened militant groups in Libya, allowing them to become a destabilizing force since the fall of the Qaddafi government.

Within weeks of endorsing Qatar’s plan to send weapons there in spring 2011, the White House began receiving reports that they were going to Islamic militant groups. They were “more antidemocratic, more hard-line, closer to an extreme version of Islam” than the main rebel alliance in Libya, said a former Defense Department official.

Mahmoud Jibril, then the prime minister of the Libyan transitional government, expressed frustration to administration officials that the United States was allowing Qatar to arm extremist groups opposed to the new leadership, according to several American officials.

The administration has never determined where all of the weapons, paid for by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, went inside Libya, officials said. Qatar is believed to have shipped by air and sea small arms, including machine guns, automatic rifles, and ammunition, for which it has demanded reimbursement from Libya’s new government. Some of the arms since have been moved from Libya to militants with ties to Al Qaeda in Mali, where radical jihadi factions have imposed Shariah law in the northern part of the country, the former Defense Department official said. Others have gone to Syria, according to several American and foreign officials and arms traders. ”

So where are we now? After years of chaos and ups and downs, the streets are still under the control of any number of regional and tribal militias. However two competing power centres have emerged vying to become the sole ‘legitimate’ government of Libya. The elected “House of Representatives” (HOR), husbanded by the western powers was kicked out of Tripoli by militias aligned with the (many say) more Islamist GNC, a predecessor of the HOR resurrected by certain factions who did not wish to relinquish power.

The HOR, recognised by the UN and by the US government, relocated to Tobruq, and have been engaged in a war against the GNC, led by General Khalifa Hiftar, a man known to have been a CIA ‘asset’ in the past. Egypt and the UAE have intervened militarily on the side of the HOR.

The GNC for their part, sitting in the national capital Tripoli, are backed by Qatar, Turkey and, ‘enemy of the west’, Sudan. In September 2014 the Libyan PM Abdullah al-Thinni accused Qatar of sending three plane loads of arms in military aircraft to Tripoli in support of the militias which seized Tripoli. The GNC have been accused of aligning themselves with extremist Islamist factions based in the east of the country who are fighting against the HOR.

So we find the west and Qatar backing opposite sides, we see the Qatari backed factions linked to Islamist extremists. The apparent support of Qatar for an Islamist rival government which undermines the UN recognised government of Libya, as ever, has had no obviously detrimental effects on Qatar’s relations with the west. It seems there is nothing that Qatar can possibly do which will wipe the friendly smile off the faces of the west’s leaders when dealing with the Qatari Royal Family.

So why do I think Qatar so deeply involved itself in the overthrow of Qaddafi? My answer, Libya is a long way from Qatar, but Iran is not. Qaddafi’s Libya was one of only two regional powers that supported Iran. In the event of war against Iran Qaddafi could have helped Iran considerably with financial help and other forms of assistance. Taking down Qaddafi reduces Iran to just one regional ally, Syria, and we know what is happening there. Thus it is a step towards isolating Iran. The current Qatari involvement in attempting to overthrow the government of Syria is a matter for some future posts.

For detailed, objective analysis of the recent developments in Libya, I highly recommend Frederic Wehrey of the Carnegie Endowment.

http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/?fa=709

DEATH LIST 2002

While researching the development of the United States’ nuclear strategy, I came across an article which listed the states targeted by US weapons in the 2002 ‘Nuclear Posture Review’:

Russia

China

Iraq

Iran

Syria

Libya

North Korea

Let’s just consider how these nations have fared in the thirteen years succeeding the review:

Russia X (being isolated and attacked by economic warfare)

China 

Iraq X (Neutralised: no longer really exists, broken up and parts occupied by ISIL)

Iran (subject to economic warfare and military threats over its alleged nuclear ambitions)

Syria X  (in the process of being destroyed by an externally supported civil war)

Libya X (already destroyed by an externally supported civil war)

North Korea

Is it any wonder that I expect Iran to get the same treatment as Iraq, once Obama has gone?

In Defence of Russell Brand

Theme: Shadowboxing

Comedian, actor and political activists Russell Brand has come in for a lot of flak because of his criticism of the British prime minister’s decision to call for ‘one minute of silence’ to commemorate the victims of the Tunisian gun rampage at the beach resort of Port El-Kantaoui on 26 June. Of the 38 victims killed, 30 were British. The incident has had a great impact on the nation’s consciousness. His position may seem tactless and insensitive, and is bound to be misunderstood, but I understand his anger with David Cameron. For the PM to call for this commemoration is for the government to position itself with the victims when the UK government itself was largely to blame for what happened in more than one way.

Firstly I was horrified to hear the UK tourists were still travelling to Tunisia on holiday given the growing level of terror threats in the area. It transpires that there was a previous suicide bomb attack at the same beach in October 2013. Only in March this year some 21 people, mostly European tourists were murdered at the Bardo National Museum by terrorists belonging to a group identified by Tunisian authorities as a splinter group of ‘Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’. The failure of the UK government to warn its citizens against travel to Tunisia shows that relations with Tunisia were considered more important than the lives of UK citizens. Needless to say a belated travel warning has now been issued. This is rather a case of ‘shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted!’

The attackers at the Bardo National Museum are known to have trained with Islamist groups in Libya. While it was reported that a senior Tunisian Interior Ministry official stated that the main attacker at the beach at Port El-Kantaoui had also been to Libya. It is increasingly clear that Tunisia is becoming the target of Islamist groups based in lawless Libya who are seeking to export their Islamic revolution in the ‘IS domino effect’. I can’t help feeling that the refusal of the British government to face up to the dangers to tourists in Tunisia was partly motivated by embarrassment over the role the UK government played in creating this danger in the first place.

For it was David Cameron himself, together with his cabinet who decided that the British Royal Air Force should act as the air force of Islamic extremists and help to bomb them into to power on the streets of Libya. Of course they will posture that they were trying to help other so-called ‘moderate’ factions, or protect civilians, blah, blah, blah. This is disingenuous because what they were doing was transparent to me at the time, and the outcome exactly as could be expected. Whatever words they use, actions speak louder, and the RAF acted as Al-Qaeda’s air force, eagerly assisted by practically the entire Qatari air force.

The result of Britain’s destabilisation and destruction of the Libyan state, is that is has now become the base for a domino effect of Islamist terrorism across North Africa. Can anyone really believe that everyone in the Cabinet, the MoD and the Foreign Office are so stupid they did not realise what the results of their actions would be, when it was transparently obvious to thousands of people in the region, and at home, like me.

The very active involvement of Qatar in the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime and the establishment of an Islamist base in the chaos of what is left of Libya is a topic I will return to in depth in some later post. Interestingly the Qataris were able to summon much less enthusiasm for the bombing of IS in Syria and Iraq, they only sent a couple of aircraft. I also heard an unconfirmed report that the Qatari government was not allowing their own pilots to fly these missions.

The War on Terror – a Progress Report

             War-Against-IS-CIA-Report

Theme: Shadowboxing

We are now in the fourteenth year of the ‘War on Terror’ in which the world’s only superpower, supported by the majority of governments in the world has set about hunting to the ends of the Earth the Islamist terrorists and eliminating them. Drones hover in the sky bringing instant death. The most massive electronic surveillance effort tracks and intercepts the communications of the enemy. So how well has it gone?

Well, back in 2001 Al-Qaeda largely consisted of a few thousand hard core jihadists training in bases in the remote valleys of Afghanistan. Now these same political forces hold large swaths of territory across the heart of the Middle East and North Africa.

The enemy has succeeded in igniting a region wide sectarian war stretching from Lebanon in the Mediterranean across Syria and deep into the centre of Iraq. Young radicalised Muslims imbued with zeal for the big idea that IS offers of a Muslim Califate as a new global power defy parents and authorities to flock to the aid of the Sunni revolution from all over the world.

Perhaps they have already succeeded in creating self-sustaining states in the Middle East and North Africa. Arms, money and men pour across borders and across the Mediterranean spreading the revolution in a modern ‘Domino Effect’.

So the result could be that these Islamist terror groups are a thousand times bigger, a thousand times stronger and a thousand times richer. It would seem the war has backfired.

But wait! What other fall out has there been from the war on terror?

Progressive Regimes that opposed Western policies and influence, and which were once much stronger than the small conservative Gulf monarchies have been eliminated, neutralised, or isolated.

  • Saddam Hussein – GONE
  • Muammar Qaddafi – GONE
  • Bashar Al-Assad – NEUTRALISED, struggling to hold on
  • Iran – Increasingly ISOLATED as its allies are picked off and Shia are coming under region wide attack.

The strong stable regimes which opposed western influence and policies in the region have been greatly weakened or eliminated. While the balance of power in the region between the large militarised states and the small oil rich Sunni conservative monarchies has decisively shifted in favour of the monarchs. So it seems “it’s an ill wind which blows no-body any good”.

My (SPOOF!) Manifesto for the May 2015 UK General Election

I wrote this manifesto as a joke, but ironically it was exactly what the public voted for in the end.

Manifesto Cover JPG Bitmap

Education

We will starve Local Education Authority Schools of cash, as only scum go to them, and use the money to build huge brand new ‘Academies’. This will create lots of opportunities for our friends who own construction firms to get lucrative contracts.

Academies will be managed by a private company that runs sausage factories to achieve economies of scale reducing costs. Hundreds of students will stream anonymously through newly carpeted glass-walled atria with tubular chrome steel furniture and banks of computers to arrive at high technology classrooms where a series of unrecognisable supply teachers hired by the day will facilitate the learning experience.

We will supply millions of pounds in tax payers money to any chancer who wants to set up a ‘free school’ so that their children no longer have to mix with the riff raff, or have their minds poisoned by the left-wing ideology of the LEAs with notions such as equality, fairness and sharing. If they stick their hands in the till and use the money to build a conservatory or go on a cruise we’ll look the other way.

Housing

We will restrict the building of new homes while offering generous grants to thousands of first time buyers. This will massively boost the value of all the properties we own, creating an asset price bubble and let us borrow even more massive amounts of cash against them. We’ll be spectacularly rich!

Transport

We aim to invest enough money to put a man on Mars in a single high tech, high speed railway from London to Edinburgh, while starving of all investment the deteriorating commuter services which are failing to get millions of people into the nation’s cities to work on time every morning. This will enable our friend who goes around the world bribing corrupt governments to let him build high speed railways to get very rich! Upper Volta’s already getting a high speed railway, so why should Britain be left behind?

Labour

We will continue to promote the further tertiarization of the economy, as we transform from a ‘productive’, inflexible, high cost structure economy, to a leaner, flexible, service economy based on ‘knowledge’ and ‘creativity’. We will create thousands of ‘creative’, ‘knowledge-based’ jobs for warehouse workers, fast food makers, men with one day hire vans delivering internet shopping, pole dancers, and escort services. Britain will be a truly dynamic nation, the envy of the world.

Taxation

We will continue to wag our finger disapprovingly at giant corporations that pay practically no tax, whilst studiously avoiding reforming the tax regulations to close the massive loopholes that were deliberately put there in the first place. In this way we will get political credit from the public whilst protecting the interests of the big businesses that will reward us with massively overpaid and ridiculously under-worked directorships when we are no longer in office.

The Economy

We will continue to get the Bank of England to print huge amounts of money so we can keep claiming the deficit is improving whilst also cutting taxes and boosting spending when an election is near.

Britain has to learn to compete with China and India. So we calculate we will have to cut average wages to about £7000 per year.

Small Business

We really, really care about small business, but they don’t offer us any massively overpaid and under-worked directorships when we leave politics so what incentive do we have to help them? Really, some people have no idea. They just want something for nothing!

Immigration

We will boost labour market flexibility by flooding the country with unrestricted numbers of impoverished, desperate workers from former communist countries where the economy is dead. This will drive down the pay and conditions of British workers, with lots of zero hours contracts, unpaid training places, and other innovations, so business owners can cut themselves an even bigger slice of the profits cake than ever before.

At the same time we will respond to public concerns by denying these immigrants access to all welfare benefits so they immediately become a massive social problem of rough sleeping, begging and crime.

 

 Entertainment

We will use massive saturation advertising to force online gambling down the throats of some of the nation’s poorest people to get as many of them addicted as possible. This will make all our friends who own these companies very rich! Those facing difficulties paying their debts will be able to get help from our friends’ online pay day loan companies at interest rates of 1200% APR Just think at two o’clock on a Monday morning before you go to work, you can gamble away hundreds of pounds and then borrow it all back in the comfort of your own bedroom, still wearing your pyjamas! Isn’t technology wonderful!

We will get rid of the BBC licence fee so that no one notices what crap, cheap and nasty formats all the programmes on commercial television channels are. We will add five hundred more television channels so that advertising revenues are spread so thinly none of them can afford to make any programmes or hire many staff. Then all you will see are imports from US networks, and box sets of programmes the BBC made twenty years ago, endlessly repeated.

National Security

We will continue to develop the capability to monitor and record for posterity every single electronic communication by every single citizen in the country at all times. We will try to force everyone to connect to the internet and encourage them to use social media to plaster it with all their most sensitive private information, all of which we can see if we want to. Who’s having an affair? Who’s using illegal drugs? Who’s a sex pest? We will see all, collect all and keep all forever just in case we ever need to know about you. Even better we might make loads of money selling the information under the counter. You can sleep safely with us.

International Security

We will continue to work with our Nato partners to start wars, destabilise and overthrow any jumped up little pricks who don’t do what they’re told. We will work towards starting wars with Russia and China to cut these bastards down to size and get them out of our faces.

On the issue of terrorism we will continue to work closely with conservative Sunni Gulf autocracies to boost the region wide blossoming of islamist extremism and the overthrow of progressive nationalist regimes that oppose our foreign policy interests. Our success in destroying a large chunk of North Africa and the Middle East is an encouraging sign, we might be able to invade Iran soon and do the same to it, if you vote for us.

KHALED SHEIKH MOHAMMED ON TRIAL? ARE YOU KIDDING!

Theme: Shadowboxing

Khaled Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the self-confessed mastermind and organiser of the 9/11 attacks was arrested in Rawalpindi in 2003. He has still not stood trial. Originally he was to be tried by a military commission, then a civilian court, and now a military commission again. There have been three different judges in charge at my last count. His defence lawyer commented that he did not now expect KSM to go on trial until 2017 at the earliest.

The proceedings have been shrouded in intense secrecy. Even those journalists sitting in the Guantanamo Bay courtroom are separated from the legal teams, defendants and judge by a soundproof glass screen. In one bizarre incident the judge, Col. James Pohl, who had agreed to a forty second delay in the audio playback enabling these observers to hear what is being said, was surprised when the censor button was activated. It seems he did not know who was in control of this censor button, or why they had pressed it!

By the time his trial actually comes around maybe he’ll have died of old age! It is difficult not to feel that there are some powerful interests who would rather he never came to trial. Perhaps someone is afraid he has a tale to tell which they would rather as few people as possible get to hear. There was plenty in the original 9/11 Commission Report to raise suspicions about the terrorism career of KSM and who his true sponsors were. Below I have listed some early evidence linking KSM and Al-Qaida to the Qatari Royal family, the close strategic allies of the west.

Much shocking & startling evidence against Qatar was seen by the 9/11 commission. Much of this evidence is summarised in a remarkable Congressional Research Service report entitled “Qatar: Background & US RelationsRL31718, written by Middle East analyst Christopher M. Blanchard for the Library of Congress. This report was updated in December 2005.

  • Former Qatari Interior minister Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Thani “provided safe harbor and assistance to Al-Qaeda leaders during the mid-1990s, including the suspected mastermind of the September 11 hijacking plot, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.Source: 9/11 Commission Report & former US government officials (see Blanchard p.9)
  • Note the 9/11 Commission report identified KSM as the main source of the at least US$ 400,000 in finance for the 9/11 attacks, but failed to discover the source of his funds. Source: 9/11 Commission Report, p. 172.
  • KSM moved to Qatar at the suggestion of Qatari minister Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Thani in the early 1990s and was given a job as an engineer in the Qatari Ministry of Electricity & Water until he fled the country in 1996. During this time he travelled abroad much in connection with terrorist activity. Source: 9/11 Commission Report, p. 147.
  • Former U.S. officials and leaked U.S.government reports state that Osama Bin Laden also visited Doha twice during the mid-1990s as a guest of Shaikh Abdullah bin Khalid…”           “During a January 1996 visit to Doha, Bin Laden reportedly ‘discussed the movement of explosives into Saudi Arabia, and operations targeted against U.S. and U.K. interests in Dammam, Dharan, and Khobar, using clandestine al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia’” Apparently these were preparations for the attack on the Khobar Towers military barracks which killed 19 US servicemen. Source: “Case Closed” by Steven F. Hayes in the Weekly Standard, 24 Nov. 2003. (The article was based on a memo from the US Department of Defence to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee.).
  • In January 1996 FBI officials narrowly failed to arrest Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, then an employee of the Qatari government in the Ministry of Electricity & Water. He was to be arrested in connection with an investigation of his nephew Ramzi Yousef, thought to be the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. He had fled the country. “Some former U.S. officials have since stated their belief that a high ranking member of the Qatari government alerted Mohammed to the impending raid.”   Source: 9/11 Commission Report p.73
  • One news report quotes Jack Cloonan the lead FBI agent on the case against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as claiming someone tipped off Mohammed shortly after Qatari officials were told of the plan to arrest him.       The article also quotes a former CIA official who wanted to remain anonymous, that there were others in the Qatari royal family who provided safe haven for Al-Qaida, not just Abdallah Khalid Al-Thani.   Source: “Al Qaeda Ally?” by Brian Ross & David Scott of ABC News 7/2/04

 

  • Another news report quotes Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism director for the White House, as accusing Abdallah Khalid Al-Thani of channelling both personal & Qatari state monies into al-Qaida front organisations disguised as charities.   Source: “Qatar security chief has alleged ties to al-Qaida” by Josh Meyer & John Goetz in the Los Angeles Times, 28/3/03. (These journalists wrote to the pentagon alerting them to concerns that US military forces were based in a state whose head of internal security is linked to al-Qaida, the reply they received simply professed ignorance of the situation, but no further investigations or actions are known to have followed from their warnings.)

 

  • The CRS report continues that more recent terrorism concerns centre on claims that the late Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi may have transited Qatar after September 11th. 2001 and benefited from a safehouse and financial support of a member of the ruling Al-Thani family. Source: “Intelligence Break Let Powell Link Iraq & Al-Qaeda”, Patrick E. Tyler in the New York Times, 3 Feb. 2003.

 

ADDITIONAL CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE LINKING QATAR & AL-QAIDA

  • Qatar was been singularly free of terrorist attacks in spite of the large concentrations of US military personnel & security considered by some to be relatively relaxed.
  • Exceptionally on the 19 March 2005 a theatre in Doha was attacked by a car bomb during the performance of a Shakespeare play. Western expatriates were the apparent target, a British teacher was killed. It was a suicide attack by an Egyptian called Omar Ahmad Abdullah Ali, an employee of the Qatari state petroleum company with no known links to any terrorist organisation, and no history of militancy. The attack has not been firmly attributed to any known terrorist group.
  • Some attributed the attack to al-Qaida, but this was rejected by the then Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani on 28 March 2005. He did not explain why. S. Ulph in ‘Terrorism Focus’, Jamestown Volume 2, Issue 7, 31/3/05.

 

  • His rejection of a link with al-Qaida may have followed from a denial by an un-named al-Qaida spokesman reported in the Arabic newspaper Elaph on 20 March 2005.       The spokesman stated that Qatar was not on a list of al-Qaeda targets and that the attack was made by a lone individual acting on his own account.

 

  • The spokesman continued that bin Laden had not authorised the attack, and that he had called a meeting of the al-Qaida leadership to condemn the attack. The reason for bin Laden’s friendliness towards Qatar was explained by the role Al-Jazeera had played in calling for the release of Tayseer Alouni, a leading member in Spain.

 

  • The report continued with an affirmation that al-Qaida would continue to observe an agreement with Qatar not to undertake any attacks on Americans inside Qatari territory. The Qatari foreign minister is also reported to have been enraged by the “act of unpardonable treachery by bin Laden”.

 

  • These reports were followed by attempts to “explain” the peculiar agreement between Qatar & al-Qaida in the Western media. Official Qatari sources claimed the state was paying protection money to al-Qaida. The money is reported to be funnelled via spiritual leaders sympathetic to al-Qaida & is thought to fund its terrorist activities in Iraq. It is claimed the agreement only dates back to 2003, just before Qatar played an important role in the US invasion of Iraq. The agreement is reported to have been renewed following the Doha car bomb attack in March 2005. The report also observes that Qatar has “offered a haven for a number of extremists”, citing the example of Kifah Jayyousi. “Qatar buys off Al-Qaeda attacks with oil millions” by U. Mahnaimi, Sunday Times, 1/5/05.

 

  • In addition Qatar has also hosted a number of politically active muslim militant leaders, for example leading to an assassination by Russian agents in Doha of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, a former Chechen president and rebel leader.
  • For some years many of Usama bin Laden’s and Zawahiri’s audio & video messages have been exclusively provided for broadcast to the Qatari TV station Al-Jazeera. This suggests the Al-Qaida leaders had safe lines of communication with Al-Jazeera.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DEFENCE SECRETARY ON THE ERUPTION OF THE UKRAINE CRISIS (NEVER SENT)

June 2014

Dear Mr. Hammond,

I hope you will agree that those who make foreign policy or defence policy are in the business of strategy. I hope you will also agree that the very essence of strategy is to be able to ‘put yourself in the shoes’ of an opponent to consider how they see things and how they might react to your own actions.

What worries me today is that our leaders, absorbing the current cultural fashion which rejects all attempts at objective or systemic thinking, no longer analyse situations in this strategic way, preferring the lazy option of viewing everything from a totally subjective, self-centred and self-serving perspective. The consequences of this are potentially disastrous.

Please consider for just one moment the possibility that the actions of Russia in Ukraine are defensive, and not as the media would universally have it, part of a grand plan to expand aggressively. Whether you favour this view or not you must consider it. If Russia is acting in this way because it feels threatened by Nato, then the unthinking, stereotyped response of ‘deterring further expansion’ by ‘standing up to an aggressive expansionist Russia’ will actually backfire, escalate the conflict and eventually pave the road to full scale war. The dangerously unfortunate ‘coincidence’ of collapsing oil prices also increases Russia’s sense of threat and risks accelerating the process of military escalation.

What Russia wants in Ukraine becomes transparent if we consider this view. Russia wants the ‘neutralisation’ of Ukraine, meaning an undertaking from the Nato powers that Ukraine will not become a base for Western military operations. You will ask why should the West want the neutralisation of Ukraine? I will answer to prevent a full scale war with Russia, the costs of which are unconscionable. You need to consider realistically that the Russians may now view Nato as a threat to their existence.

The practical details of neutralising Ukraine may be difficult and subject to complex negotiations, the aim must be for Ukraine to have as much freedom from internal interference by Russia in return for security guarantees to Russia. The principle however, is not problematic as membership of any alliance or union requires the agreement of those admitting the new member, not just the wishes of that ‘would be’ member. Part of this problem is membership of the EU which becomes problematic because of the ‘common defence and security policy’, for example Article V of the Lisbon treaty which is modelled on Article V of the Nato treaty. (For those who don’t know, it commits all members of the EU to come to the military defence of an EU member attacked by an outside state. Most EU members are also Nato members, so it is effectively an extension of Nato.) Future EU membership of a neutral Ukraine could be achieved by selective signing of treaties so as not to compromise the country’s neutrality.

Today our leaders seek to posture that our policy in Ukraine must be based solely on Ukraine’s sovereign rights and that issues such as Russia’s national security interests are not even admissible for consideration. Apart from the fact that this is disingenuous, because it is applied selectively in a politically motivated way, this is not the way things have been done for centuries. Realpolitik has generally been a feature of international relations. There has been a good reason for this, because in the past people thought peace was important. You can adopt this ‘holier than thou’ posture but the outcome is a major European war. The ugly truth is that in the post Cold War world there are those in high places for who peace is not important, only winning.

For twenty years now I have been trying to warn anyone who would listen that the US and Nato policies followed since the end of the Cold War are leading inevitably to war in Europe. Needless to say no one was interested and nobody cared. It started for me with watching film of military exercises between Nato and Poland in the early nineteen nineties under the Orwellian title ‘Partnership for Peace’. I immediately dubbed it ‘Partnership for War’. There was clearly only one country such exercises could be aimed at. It was clear we were putting in place piece by piece everything needed to go to war with Russia. The US National Security Revitalisation Act of 1995 was nothing less than a transparent declaration of intent to go to war with Russia should it ever recover from its desperate state of collapse at that time.

The massive eastward expansion of Nato finally reaching Russia’s borders could only have one realistic interpretation. It was the determination of Nato to improve its ability to exert military threats against Russia, or even to effect regime change. Simultaneously the US was trying its best to develop new technologies which would deprive Russia of its nuclear deterrent and give the USA a nuclear monopoly. “Prompt Global Strike” might one day enable Nato to destroy most of Russia’s nuclear weapons on the ground in a surprise first strike within one hour. Meanwhile a missile defence shield would pick off those remaining weapons missed by PGS. Denuded of a nuclear deterrent Russia becomes a target for conventional warfare.

Far and away the issue which has made the world infinitely more dangerous since the end of the Cold War, and which is contributing most to tension with Russia and China, has been the West’s enthusiasm for using war as a tool of foreign policy. War making has been rehabilitated from the status of ‘ghastly last resort’ to a routine tool, just another little tool in the tool box. We get to destroy your country because we’re the ‘goodies’. Whether the West likes it or not Russia and China just see themselves as another future victim on the list and that an attack on their national security is just a matter of time. This is the extremely dangerous world your aggressive war addicted foreign policy has made, a self-fulfilling prophecy of ever more war.

At the same time while Russia has been recovering internally, the West has deliberately sought to drive a wedge between Russia and its neighbours by supporting any political elements, it doesn’t matter who, hostile to Russians. In some states ‘Colour Revolutions’ have removed those who are happy to coexist peacefully with Russia and replaced them with those who wish to start conflict and hostility with Russia. I first became aware of this when listening to BBC coverage of elections in Georgia. Eduard Shevednadze being attacked because he won an internationally monitored election which was criticised as flawed, was then over thrown by a clearly Western backed Shakashvilli who seized power in a mob coup, no democratic process. The real eye opener was when the BBC journalist commented on his winning 98 percent in a subsequent unmonitored election, gushing with enthusiasm saying “This shows how much the Georgian people love him!”. The next day he was warmly congratulated on the phone by President George W. Bush. Objective reporting? I’ve never seen it in this country.

Social Engineering?

Theme: Consumerism, the Terminal Stage of Capitalism

“We don’t do social engineering!” We’ll I‘ve got news for you, if you are a human being you do do ‘social engineering’. You do it all the time, whether you like it or not. Call it ‘brining up your children’, call it ‘education’, call it ‘entertaining people’ or call it the ‘mass media’. It’s all social engineering. Everything you say and do is sending out messages to other people, and everything you don’t say, and don’t do is also sending out messages about attitudes, values, what you think is important, what’s ‘right or wrong’.

Children learn by imitation. Human beings are social animals, adults learn by imitation just as much as children do. Humans have a desire to conform and fit in. They feel the need to adopt the attitudes and values of those around them to be accepted and to bond.

The mutation of all channels of mass communication into a means of business only is derailing the very foundations of the culture without which a civilisation cannot exist stably. First we were told, “Oh it must be entertaining, if you want to get your message across” (Of course, so we can get our message across! We really want that!). How quickly and easily this transforms into “It must only be entertaining, nothing more can be tolerated!”

When all mass communication has simply become a means of making profits for business owners, and all mass communication must only be allowed to entertain, the content of the social engineering it actively carries out is beyond scrutiny, it is unguided. Thus it accidentally or otherwise engineers an amoral, vacuous, inward looking, self-obsessed, ultra-materialistic culture with no values.

  Just remember when you are old you will be at the mercy of these little people whose minds you have connected to the open sewer pipe of the mass media from the day they were born. Happy retirement!

Cutting your Staff Down to Size

Somewhere along the way, no doubt trying to be ‘up to date’ with their methods, British employers all began to change the name of their Personnel departments to ‘Human Resources’. The change in name feels like an Orwellian use of language. It is pregnant with messages to the employees.

The message is before we were all people working together on an enterprise, now only the owners and senior managers are people, you all are just disposable bits of equipment, like an office chair or a desk, we hire you, fire you, you’re all replaceable and have no intrinsic value of your own. You are less than human.

Humiliating staff, trying to degrade them to continuously varying quantities of labour which are all interchangeable. We don’t want you, we just want your units of labour. Measured as a real number at that!

It is another way in which the culture surrounding modern capitalism seeks to make people unhappy and dissatisfied, offering the false road to happiness. The only way you can live without being kicked around like a dog is to get your hands on more wealth than most people by any means necessary, not necessarily legally either, so you can kick everyone else around. It is a programme for a violent, unstable and anti-social society. The majority must always suffer so a tiny minority can swagger around vacuously.

The naïve and stupid idea that all people doing the same job do it in the same way, so they are all interchangeable, and there are no qualitative differences seems to have taken over management thinking. Expert advice on the leadership of people now comes from those who are practically autistic, or at least anti-social.

The way someone does a job is very much a reflection of their own character, and their personal values. Unfortunately the Anglo-American culture is not one in which people take pride in, or get status and recognition for how well they do their job. This differs from cultures like Japan and Korea. So the Anglo-American culture seeks to bribe its staff with offers of more money if they are obedient, but the staff just see the chance to rob their employers as a way to scratch back some human dignity. Take but don’t give back. It’s a ‘them and us’ culture and attitudes such as viewing staff as ‘Human Resources’ simply reinforce this set of values. Lack of values is a better description. The end result is to create a hostile demoralised workforce which feels it has no stake in the organisation except to rob it of whatever they can get away with.

If you don’t invest in your staff, as people, not just with money and training, then they won’t invest in your goals for the organisation. The message is it’s all clearly NOT for their benefit so why should they care, we all just become flotsam in a flexible labour market where we move jobs as quickly as possible because we hate the organisation that employs us.

Capitalism as ever destroys itself if left to its own devices. It’s not left wing people the capitalists have to fear, we will seek to do many things that rescue the system from itself, rather it’s the freedom to abuse power and for those with power to immerse themselves in unbridled greed that destroys capitalism.

Uncontrolled capitalism eats itself through sheer greed.