Monday, January 12, 2015

"Dirty Wars" author explains truth about France

Jeremy Scahill (, Amy Goodman (; Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
France Deploys 10,000 Troops To Boost Security After Attacks
France has become a POLICE STATE using the pretext of this terrorist attack and the U.S. Global War on [the tactic of] Terror. French troops patrol the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Monday (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images/
The gunmen who attacked Charlie Hebdo staff, allegedly Chérif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, were killed by French police on Friday following a three-day manhunt [and a miraculous finding of an ID in a car that stretches belief]. Shortly before his killing, Chérif Kouachi told a French television station he received financing from the late Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen in 2011. [So does this mean the U.S. is behind a staged attack and confession to further its secret wars in Yemen and on the Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL?]

Both brothers reportedly traveled to Yemen that same year and had weapons training in the deserts of Marib, an al-Qaeda "stronghold." Meanwhile, a video released over the weekend shows Amedy Coulibaly -- the gunman who is said to have killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris -- pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. [Coincidence or the deployment of dual plots to create a sensation without questioning the march to war for the West against Islam in general and the Middle East and Africa in specific?]

In a statement to The Intercept, a source allegedly within al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack, saying: "The leadership of #AQAP directed the operation, and they have chosen their target carefully as a revenge for the honor of Prophet…the target was in France in particular because of its obvious role in the war on Islam and oppressed nations."

Democracy Now! speaks to the reporter who broke this story, The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, about al-Awlaki’s background and the Paris shooters’ claims of militant ties.

HOST AMY GOODMAN: Yes, a massive march across France, close to four million people, took place. That march took place two days after the gunmen who attacked Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine, Chérif and Said Kouachi, were killed by police after a siege at a printing works following a three-day manhunt. Minutes after the print shop assault, police broke a second siege at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris. Four hostages had already died there, and the police killed the gunman, Amedy Coulibaly. France has announced it’s deployed 10,000 soldiers on home soil and posting almost 5,000 extra police officers to protect Jewish sites, some 700 Jewish schools.
On Friday, Chérif Kouachi said he received financing by the Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. He had made the assertion on a television station before his death. Reuters is reporting both brothers who carried out the attack against Charlie Hebdo traveled to Yemen in 2011 and had weapons training in the deserts of Marib, an al-Qaeda stronghold. Meanwhile, a source within al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, has provided the website The Intercept with a full statement claiming responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack. Jeremy Scahill was the source of information in this country about that. Jeremy, talk about what we know about these attacks.
GUEST JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, first of all, there is a built-in motivation for a lot of different groups to try to take responsibility for these kinds of attacks, because there is a turf war going on between
  • ISIS, the Islamic State;
  • AQAP, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula;
  • old-school central al-Qaeda,
which is a very different organization now than it was under bin Laden now that Ayman al-Zawahiri is in charge of it. France has been actually fighting its own war in Mali and elsewhere in Africa, using drone strikes and attacks and supporting the United States battling against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. So we have to take everything that all of these groups say about this, you know, with a great deal of skepticism.
But what is clear to me, both from the reporting that we’ve seen at other news outlets and also from my own sources, is that AQAP, at a minimum, had these brothers in a camp, a training camp in Yemen, provided them with training, discussed with them, I understand from sources inside of Yemen, the idea that they should be attacking media outlets that have published the image of the Prophet Muhammad, particularly those that have published the image of the Prophet Muhammad in a demeaning or what they consider to be a disgraceful manner.

South Park gets involved
You know, the context of this, Amy, is that in June of 2010, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released its first issue of a glossy, very fancy, designed magazine in the English language called Inspire. And in that magazine, they had an image that was centered around the idea of a cartoon crusade.

Satirical "South Park" had to get involved.
And they called on Muslims in the West to avenge the reputation and the sanctity of the Prophet Muhammad by going and killing cartoonists who were participating in a "Draw Muhammad Day" -- and the show South Park on Comedy Central did a whole issue about this, where they mocked the Prophet Muhammad -- and they actually published a list of cartoonists, some of the cartoonists, that had drawn the Prophet Muhammad in this manner, including a woman in Seattle, Washington, named Molly Norris.

And she had to go underground and change her name and received federal protection from the FBI. And I think, to this day, she still is underground, believing that she remains on this hit list. So this was something that was a major campaign initiated by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. And my understanding is that these two brothers were doing this in concert, to some degree, with AQAP.
Now, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula officials have told me that "We directed this attack." [When the CIA stages an operation, it very heavy handedly directs our anger and justification for war on its targets by getting them to claim, usually on clean video, that they did it and are to blame, so come get us. The military-industrial complex then moves in, as planned in advance. Who could take these brags or "confessions" on their face value is beyond us to comprehend. We are being led to war and led to slaughter by the people who want endless war, and that is US, the U.S., not the world we attack and try to rule in imperial ways.] That’s very --
AMY GOODMAN: How did they get in touch with you?

JEREMY SCAHILL: I mean, I don’t want to discuss -- as the CIA says, I don’t want to discuss sources and methods. But I will say this about the source: I’ve spent a lot of time in Yemen, including in areas controlled by al-Qaeda, and I would never just print something that I received from a random person whose identity I couldn’t verify. Also, this isn’t a source that just popped out of thin air for this story.

This is -- this source of this information is someone that in the past has given me information about what al-Qaeda was going to say [secretive "terrorists" announcing their future actions to get drone strikes and U.S. invasions in return as if guerrilla soldiers want to face off massive armies, pricey technology, and bottomless pockets that want to fund endless war? No. This is the CIA setting up pretexts for more and more attacks, for the expansion of war, fanning the fires of racist hatred against boogeyman "enemy" and even the trusted Intercept is being subverted to serve the cause of war] or the fact that al-Qaeda was holding particular hostages before it was made public, as a way of validating that they in fact are -- do have access to the highest levels of debate and discussion within the leadership of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
But I should say, just by way of context, well-placed sources within AQAP saying this is not an official statement from the leadership of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. And before we go sort of all in and say, "Yeah, this is -- this definitely was AQAP that directed this plot or financed this plot" -- the normal way that AQAP would validate this would be to release statements and audio or video recordings through their official media channels. [The CIA and Saudi Arabia backed way of doing things in a modern public relations run world. It is ridiculous to think that an enemy does everything -- print a glossy magazine like Inspire, set up social media sites, open an office, etc. just to get the word out as to whom the United States should attack next. Islamophobia is used against us so that we consent to and condone and overlook war, war, and more war from our military.]

They have their own online television station. [Of course, they do, sure they do, it's not the CIA or Saudi bankrollers, there's no military-industrial complex behind all this war planning, it's just happening organically, it's God's will is what it is, and we all know how the God loves war and how the war-makers love the God. Can't we as Americans think and see how we're being tricked by the mainstream media to march in favor of war even as we say, "Oh, this isn't against Islam, just against Muslims, well, all Muslims because they look alike and I don't know any."]

They have their own way of releasing things on discussion boards. Over the past year, they’ve started to shift more to Twitter [of course, why wouldn't they? they're savvy, Western hipsters, no one's helping them, guiding them to slaughter, setting up those accounts for them, helping them choose the English in their statements, recruiting more targets to shoot at. Come on! This is ridiculous that so many people buy the mainstream media lies, obfuscations, and implicit assumptions that this is all justifiable, just war-and-capitalism-as-usual] in terms of announcing -- making pronouncements or announcing actions that they’ve taken, hostages that they’ve taken, assaults or raids inside of Yemen that they’ve conducted.
So what I’m going to be looking for in the coming weeks is if there’s a martyr video that was filmed in Yemen by either of these brothers [because the CIA and Black Ops love to stage manage such "proof" of responsibility then use it to promote war], or if AQAP is able to produce photographs of them at a training camp [another fingerprint of Western stage managers, like those fantastically impossible angles for the 9/11 footage when a team "just happened to be holding a running camera" to catch an event they had no idea was going to happen. Come on. Think.]

That’s what happened when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up the airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. After that happened, AQAP eventually took responsibility, and then they began to release media showing, "Hey, this guy was with us in Yemen." And they actually released a martyr video where he, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, this young Nigerian man, explained what he was going to do and why he was going to do it.

So until that happens I think that what we have here is a very reliable source, in terms of accuracy within AQAP, saying this, and now the U.S. is saying that they believe that -- that their working assumption is that AQAP was involved.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, that, the underwear -- the so-called underwear bomber, it’s just coming out now, actually shared a room in Beirut, Lebanon, with Coulibaly, the kosher supermarket shooter.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, my understanding is that both Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and at least one of these brothers spent time at Iman University in Sana’a, in Yemen. And that’s a university founded by a cleric named Zindani, who is a very, very famous radical Yemeni preacher. 

He denies that he has any ties to terrorism, but his message is definitely in sync, more or less, with groups like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. And John Walker Lyndh [the "American Taliban"], for instance, studied at that university. It definitely is a place where people go and then somehow find themselves going to training camps inside of Yemen.

The idea that they would have been there at the same time, if in fact everything we understand to be true about these brothers is true, would not be surprising at all.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were in Yemen. You were investigating the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as his son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was 16 years old, born in Denver. Talk about these connections that they’re talking about right now, the actual meeting that Awlaki had with one of the brothers.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Allegedly, yeah, well, and first of all, just to give context on who is Anwar al-Awlaki, you know, The New York Times had a front-page piece on this over the weekend. The Washington Post had a big piece on it. CNN is now running this big profile of Anwar al-Awlaki.

And a lot of what is being said about Anwar al-Awlaki in the media is sort of what Stephen Colbert called "truthiness," you know, where like it’s sort of true, they’re kind of getting it right, but there are tremendous factual inaccuracies that actually are very relevant to understanding any potential role played by Anwar al-Awlaki here.
First of all, Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen who was born in the United States. His father was a very well-respected -- is still alive -- very well-respected Yemeni diplomat and scholar, who got his Master’s degree in the United States and had intended to live in the U.S. And then the family went back.
AMY GOODMAN: He was a Fulbright scholar.

JEREMY SCAHILL: He was a Fulbright scholar. And he also, he had multiple Master’s degrees in the United States and remains a very dignified, respected member of Yemeni society. And...

AMY GOODMAN: Anwar al-Awlaki’s father.
JEREMY SCAHILL: This is his father, Dr. Nasser al-Awlaki. And so the family is here for some years. Then Nasser al-Awlaki goes back to Yemen, because he was a water specialist, an engineer, and tried to help deal with the crisis of water shortage in Yemen, which is perhaps the greatest threat facing Yemeni society right now, not terrorism, but its lack of actual potable water.

So the family moved back there. Anwar al-Awlaki was young. He goes to school there at a bilingual school with the elite of the elite in Yemen. In fact, he went to school with the future head of Yemen’s intelligence agency, who would be one of the main collaborators with the United States in trying to hunt down and kill Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone strike.
Awlaki then returns to the United States, goes to university in Colorado, was not a particularly religious guy, becomes sort of radicalized by the Gulf War in 1991, when [Pres.] George H.W. Bush ordered the invasion and bombing of Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein’s incursion into Kuwait. And al-Awlaki starts to become involved with antiwar activities, ends up going to a local mosque on an invitation to speak there and becomes interested in the idea of actually becoming a religious scholar and studying to be an imam. And so his life takes a dramatic shift, and he ends up becoming an imam.
He and his family -- at this point, he gets married. He’s in San Diego. Two of the 9/11 hijackers were people that had been at his mosque. The 9/11 Commission determined that Awlaki didn’t have any sort of conversations with them beyond clerical conversations that like a priest would have with a parishioner somewhere in the Catholic Church. But, nonetheless, that’s something that keeps being brought up, that Awlaki had connections to the 9/11 attackers.

If we want to talk about that and say that that’s evidence of something, we should also mention that at a time when 9/11 attackers were going to mosques where Awlaki was the imam, Awlaki was also invited by the Pentagon, shortly after 9/11, to give a lecture at a luncheon at the Pentagon. And he in fact went to the Pentagon, at the invitation of a senior Pentagon official, and gave a lecture about the state of Islam in the world today.
Awlaki was clearly angered by the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He defended the right of the United States to go into Afghanistan to destroy al-Qaeda and denounced al-Qaeda as fake Muslims. This was all in the aftermath of 9/11. He was on NPR. He was profiled in The Washington Post. He was considered a legitimate part of the commentariat in the United States post-9/11, as a person who was brought on TV shows to make sense of the position of Muslims in the world post-9/11.

And part of the reason he was invited on these media outlets is because he was condemning al-Qaeda. He was condemning the invasion of -- or, excuse me, he was condemning the use of Afghanistan as a base to plot the 9/11 attacks.
Then Iraq gets invaded. Then Abu Ghraib happens. Then we start to learn about CIA torture sites around the world. We start to see Muslim prisoners in orange jumpsuits with hoods being brought. Then there’s desecration of the Qur’an that happens.

And you could see Awlaki becoming radicalized by these policies. And he goes back to Yemen, and basically didn’t know what he was doing with his life. He got involved with some real estate and other things. Then he starts -- he basically starts using YouTube and the Internet as his online mosque. He already was known around the world for sermons he had recorded on CDs.
And part of the reason he became so popular in the Western world is because not only was he fluent in both English and Arabic, but he spoke in the language of the street. He would make pop cultural references. He would sort of mimic the way that Malcolm X spoke, in terms of his riffs and other things. He would make references to international football teams and matches, and make comparisons with -- you know, when you’re trying to spread the religion, you don’t wait to show up like the post office, you want to go at it like FedEx. And he would sort of -- you know, he was a guy who, I think, has an appeal to particularly younger Western Muslims.

And, you know, I listened to many, many, many, many days’ worth of Anwar al-Awlaki’s preaching. And up until the invasion of Iraq, there was very little that you could look at and say, "Oh, here’s a guy who is going to be very anti-American."

In fact, Awlaki supported the war in Yugoslavia. He was on the same side as the United States in Bosnia. And, in fact, you know, Awlaki was calling for Muslims in the United States to fight the jihad against the Catholic forces of Croatia and the Orthodox Christian forces of Serbia, and he was on the same side as the United States. More

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