29 May 2013

Is MI5 foiling terror plots of its own hatching?

This weekend I had a short, sharp piece published in the Independent on Sunday (in print and online at Indy Voices) which argued that the banned Al Muhajiroun is still incubating terrorism on UK soil - but that the group has had a very murky connection to Britain's security services, and may still do so. Check it out here - 'Britain should prosecute terrorism suspects, not play shady games of geopolitics'.

Today, I'm elaborating on one dimension of that piece here in the wake of the stream of revelations concerning the role of MI5 in allegedly tracking/harassing the Woolwich attackers. This piece has more detail - on the evidence of Al Muhajiroun's unequivocal terror connections, and the credible evidence of its relationship to Britain's security services. It includes little known but credible choice info from an MI5 source and Bakri himself confirming the relationship:

Published in Huffington Post UK

28 May 2013

Exclusive - Woolwich suspect tortured "at behest of British intelligence", Parliamentary Intelligence Committee is told: Police's arrest of witness claiming Woolwich attacker was radicalised by torture, sexual abuse and harassment was "ordered by MI5"

A letter to the UK Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee by a childhood friend of one of the Woolwich attackers claims that the suspect was subjected to "systematic torture and sexual abuse" by Kenyan troops on behalf of Britain's security services. 

The letter - exclusive excerpts of which are quoted below - is authored by Ibrahim Hassan, otherwise known as "Abu Nusaybah", who was interviewed by Richard Watson on BBC Newsnight claiming that MI5 had been harassing Woolwich suspect Michael "Mujahid" Adebolajo to join the agency as an informant six months ago. Hassan was arrested by Metropolitan Police under the Terrorism Act 2000 immediately after his BBC interview, and is currently in custody at Southwark Police Station.

A copy of this letter was obtained by this author today, photographs of which are posted at the end of this report, which also contains an exclusive interview with Ibrahim Hassan's lawyer with previously unknown details of Adebolajo's alleged ordeal.

21 May 2013

Whistleblower: Al Qaeda Chief was US Asset - Sunday Times Exposé of Pentagon Terror Ties "Pulled" After U.S. State Department Interference... and the Mark Grossman Connection

Last Friday, Ceasefire magazine published my exclusive, in-depth investigative report exposing the Pentagon's covert sponsorship of al Qaeda terrorists from the late 1990s through to 9/11 - including sponsoring Ayman al Zawahiri himself. 

My report is based on interviews with FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, whose extraordinary case has been covered by the likes of Vanity Fair and American Conservative, as well as with Sunday Times journalists who corroborated her claims and spoke of an investigative series they were working on in 2008, based on her revelations, which was "pulled" inexplicably after US government pressure.

The report has gone well and truly viral, collecting over 4,000 Facebook shares, 500 Tweets, and being reposted all over the web. The report was also republished by the highly respected US investigative news magazine, Counterpunch

But there's more...

The versions published so far have been edited to avoid naming certain names. Below, exclusively for this blog, I publish the original version identifying the "State Department official" fingered by Sibel in the past - Marc Grossman, a senior government official who has worked for both the Bush and Obama administrations before moving into the private sector/lobbying sector.

And we've just published part 1 of my exclusive conversation with Sibel over at the Crisis Podcast series, courtesy of Dean Puckett, who has spliced together a wonderful and eclectic show with interventions from me, Dean - of course Sibel - interspersed with sound and music.


20 May 2013

Planetary Extinction, Endless War... and Fatherhood

Amidst extended paternity leave, sleepless nights, changing nappies, and school runs, I've only just about managed to sustain my minimal objective of a regular writing output of about an article a week. But this week I had something special in preparation to sink your teeth into.

So I had two hugely important stories out over the weekend about quite different (but always interrelated) issues.

My latest Guardian post, 'Obama's Arctic strategy sets off a climate time bomb' is about the new US National Strategy for the Arctic Region published by the White House just over a week ago.  My piece analyses the strategy document in-depth, and concludes that President Obama's new Arctic strategy, driven by narrow economic and energy interests, would accelerate the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, driving catastrophic climate change, and guaranteeing an uninhabitable planet before the end of the century (and probably far earlier). The implications of this strategy and its implementation, therefore, should not be underestimated. Massive grassroots mobilisation is necessary to somehow bring pressure to bear on the White House to reverse the suicidal trajectory of its Arctic strategy.

I also had an exclusive investigative report that I'd been working on quietly over the last four months or so come out Friday night in the quarterly British magazine, Ceasefire - 'Why was a Sunday Times report on US government ties to al-Qaeda chief spiked?' The latter is an explosive, incendiary in-depth story (if I don't say so myself) based on interviews with FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, interviews with Sunday Times journalists working on a story based on her revelations (that was inexplicably and pre-emptively pulled), and analysis of relevant public record data. The main theme? The notorious terrorist mastermind, Ayman al-Zawahiri - current "emir" of al-Qaeda and deputy/right-hand man to Osama bin Laden while he was alive - was a US intelligence asset in the late 1990s all the way through to 9/11 as part of a Pentagon operation in Central Asia known as "Gladio B". 

Enmeshed in this terror nexus was a vast underground criminal network subsidised by the highest echelons of the US national security apparatus, and linked with illegal arms and drug trafficking networks, working inexorably to undermine and render inoperative security for American citizens - all in the name of the power and profit of a corrupt minority.

The story is huge because it flies in the face of conventional wisdom and points to serious questions about the failures and policies that may have facilitated not just the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but subsequent terrorist attacks around the world, including the Boston bombings. 

The piece was a long time coming - Ceasefire was not the first place I pitched to. I'd done the rounds of a whole range of mainstream and alternative news outlets and each one, for one reason or another, ultimately opted out of running the piece. 

But it is testament to the courage and credibility of Ceasefire that they took the piece on without blinking an eye. Please do congratulate them if you get a chance for doing so.  

We've already had massive success, despite no support from mainstream outlets. The story is currently going viral - it has racked up over 3,500 Facebook shares and 420 Tweets in a matter of 48 hours. It's even been retweeted to over 1 million Twitter accounts by Anonymous through their @YourAnonNews handle. 

In the coming weeks, we'll be following up with more multimedia materials exploring elements of the story. Sibel Edmonds herself is posting updates and explanatory thoughts via her website, and plans to produce a video report or few on the story. I've also got my creative director at IPRD, Dean Puckett, working on the audio files of my interviews with Sibel Edmonds to splice together a podcast or two. 

We need all your support to get the word out about this story. Because people have a right to know what our governments are doing in our names.

The one thing that keeps me going as I write on these issues which are in many ways so deeply shocking and worrying is... well, three things. My two little girls, and the latest addition to my family, my baby boy, born last month. Being a father and a husband has taught me, really taught me, what life's about, at its core. When I hold my son, so fragile, so tiny and utterly dependent, and indeed completely trusting - even while I myself am physically exhausted - I realise that at the core of what makes human life special is love, compassion, self-sacrifice; realising that the source of one's happiness is nothing less than love for the Other. And then you realise, that the separation between your self and the Other is, itself, merely an ideological artifact, that in fact we are all, truly, in this together, parts of a whole, one family.

So I stare into the face of the Abyss with eyes wide open, my heart free from fear, bearing a grin that some might mistake for madness, fists emboldened by the love that flows through veins wrought from the struggle, because what else is there to do?

15 May 2013

Peak oil, climate change and pipeline geopolitics driving Syria conflict

There's much confusion about what's going on Syria. Debates continue to rage about whether to be pro-intervention, or anti-intervention, whether to support the rebels, or be against the rebels, with some even suggesting that Assad is not really committing terrible crimes.

I've written at length about the deep politics of the Syria conflict for Prospect magazine in the UK and the Institute for Policy Studies' Foreign Policy In Focus in the US. 

My latest Guardian piece goes deeper - to look at how the convergence of energy, environmental and economic crises combined with political repression and sectarianism have exploded, culminating in the outbreak of a civil war that is, in fact, a war by proxy for control of the region's strategic energy corridors.

Peak oil, climate change and pipeline geopolitics driving Syria conflict

Root-cause environmental and energy factors sparking violence will continue to destabilise Arab world without urgent reforms
The civil war in Syria has been devastating, generating a death toll fast approaching 100,000, while uprooting millions of civilians from their homes.
But as the US and Russia signed an unprecedented accord on Wednesday in search of a political solution to an increasingly intractable conflict, its underlying causes in a fatal convergence of energy, climate and economic factors remain little understood.

7 May 2013

White House warned on imminent Arctic death spiral

My latest Guardian piece went up last week. The article reports on a little-known White House meeting with leading Arctic scientists on the rapid loss of summer sea ice, including the prospect that the ice might disappear within 2 years. Organisers of the meeting included US Pentagon and Homeland Security Department officials - strange huh?

Indeed. To get some context on what might be bugging the White House, I dig out some recent planning documents from the US Department of Defense and Homeland Security.

The article has been a big hit. It's triggered reports on HuffPost Live, Deutsche Welle, Vice Magazine, the Center for Climate & Security, The Atlantic, among many others, and was the number one most popular environment article over the long weekend.

UPDATE 15th May 2013: 

After some back and forth contact with meeting attendee and Arctic scientist Prof Duarte, as well as the White House, we amended the article to ensure accuracy.

There is a meme being promoted in some circles to the effect that the White House meeting never happened. However, we've had on the record, written confirmations from the White House and from one of the participants of the meeting, Prof Duarte. Essentially, the main problem was that the organisers and attendees of the meeting had been described incorrectly. The latest version of the article is below:

White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral

National security officials worried by rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice overlook threat of permanent global food shortages
Senior US government officials are to be briefed at the White House this week on the danger of an ice-free Arctic in the summer within two years.

The meeting, hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President at the White House, is being organised by the Joint Office for Science Support (JOSS) of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) on behalf of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC). The IARPC, charged with coordinating federal research on the Arctic Ocean, is chaired by the National Science Foundation, and includes among its members Nasa, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.
This is the latest indication that US officials are increasingly concerned about the international and domestic security implications of climate change.
Senior scientists advising the US government at the meeting include 10 Arctic specialists, including marine scientist Prof Carlos Duarte, director of the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia.

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