The prosecution of a Swedish national accused of terrorist activities in Syria has collapsed at the Old Bailey after it became clear Britain’s security and intelligence agencies would have been deeply embarrassed had a trial gone ahead, the Guardian reported.
Bherlin Gildo was due to stand trial at London’s Old Bailey accused of attending a terrorist training camp between 2012 and 2013 and possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist. But the case against him was dropped and he was cleared of the charges after a wrangle between lawyers and the British and Swedish security services.
On 1st June 2015, writes Seumas Milne the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting.
The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead with the trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition. That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale”.
Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
Interestingly, a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria.
Raising the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality”, the Pentagon report goes on, “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)”.
However this is only the latest in a string of such cases.
Psychological Warfare – How MI6 Controls ISIS
For months it was in the news that 400 Britons had joined the jihadis in Syria. Foreign Secretary William Hague himself said so. However, the number of these British jihadis is much larger and it has been revealed that some of them were trained to be Sunni jihadists by a jihad-seeking Saudi mullah in a British mosque under the watchful eyes of the MI6.
The Independent in June 2014 reported Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood saying at least 1,500 Britons, if not more, have joined the terrorist-led jihad in Syria and Iraq, rejecting the 400 figure handed out by Hague, and 500 such jihadis referred to by U.K.’s anti-terror chief Sir Peter Fahy. “I imagine 1,500 certainly would be the lower end. If you look across the whole of the country, there’s been a number of people going across,” Mahmood said.
What is even more revealing is the report that some of these jihadis were trained by a Saudi preacher operating from within a Cardiff mosque.
The Daily Mail in June 2104 pointed to Mohammed al-Arifi, who has called for holy war to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime, spoke at the Al Manar center in Cardiff, Wales. Although banned from entering Switzerland because of his extremist views, al-Arifi has visited the U.K. several times. A Sunni Muslim, he has been accused of stirring up tensions with Shi’a Muslims, reportedly calling it evil and accusing adherents of kidnapping, cooking and skinning children. A source close to the Yemeni community in Cardiff told Mail Online:
“These boys were groomed [at Al Manar] to fight the Shi’as, fight these people, fight those that’s where it started. The teaching [at Al Manar] helped the people recruiting. If someone tried to recruit me, I wouldn’t go unless I’m convinced. But once they’re groomed, all it takes is someone to say ‘come and I’ll take you.’”
This reminds us of the teenage jihadist schoolboy from Coventry ‘fighting alongside ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria’ dubbed ‘Osama Bin Bieber‘.
Last year German officials in an operation raided two containers passing through Hamburg Port and seized 14,000 documents establishing that Osama bin Laden was funded by UK Queen’s bank Coutts, which is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Following the accusations, Daily Mail in it’s 23 June 2014 report titled Queen’s bank forced to deny that Osama Bin Laden had an account there after 14,000 documents seized from Cayman Islands branch reports that the Queen’s bank has denied claims in European newspapers that Osama Bin Laden ever held an account with the organisation.
In 2012, Coutts was fined £8.75million for ‘serious and systematic’ failings when handling money from suspected criminals or foreign despots.
ISIS Leader a Psychological Operation
Hamid Dawud Mohamed Khalil al Zawi, most commonly known as Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi was the leader of umbrella organizations composed of eight groups and its successor organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq – ISIS. However, in July 2007, the U.S. military reported that al-Baghdadi never actually existed. The detainee identified as Khaled al-Mashhadani, a self-proclaimed intermediary to Osama bin Laden, claimed that al-Baghdadi was a fictional character created to give an Iraqi face to a foreign-run terror group, and that statements attributed to al-Baghdadi were actually read by an Iraqi actor.
According to Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi never existed and was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima as a form of psychological warfare as reported in the New York Times. Brigadier General Kevin Bergner currently serves with the National Security Council staff as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq. Prior to this assignment, he served as the Deputy Commanding General for Multi-National Forces in Mosul, Iraq. He also served as the Director for Political-Military Affairs (Middle East) on the The Joint Staff in the Department of Defense.
What about the ISIS threat to India?
At the Indo-UK Counter Terrorism Joint Working Group meeting held in London on January 15-16 this year the British officials warned their Indian counterparts of a possible terror attack by ISIS on Indian soil.
Then on July 28, USA Today revealed the end-of-days as according to the Islamic State (ISIS). The newspaper sourced a 32-page doomsday document to some “Pakistani citizen with connections inside the Pakistani Taliban.”
An investigative story published by the USA Today and reported by American Media Institute refers to a 32- page Urdu document obtained from a Pakistani citizen with connections inside the Pakistani Taliban.
“The document warns that ‘preparations’ for an attack in India are underway and predicts that an attack will provoke an apocalyptic confrontation with America,” the report said. The document, according to the report, was independently translated into English by a Harvard scholar and verified by several serving and retired intelligence official.
The document was reviewed by three US intelligence officials, who said they believe the document is authentic based on its unique markings and the fact that language used to describe leaders, the writing style and religious wording match other documents from the ISIS, USA Today added.
However, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs termed “rubbish” the alleged ISIS document which hinted that the terror group was preparing to attack India to provoke confrontation with the US. “It’s rubbish,” Joint Secretary, Internal Security-I, MA Ganapathy told reporters said.
If indeed the document was a fraud it raises serious questions given the MI6 and CIA links to ISIS; considering that the doomsday threat and the attack plan both emanated from the same source that is alleged to have created the threat in the first place. However, no explanation was provided by the Home Ministry as to why they chose to term it ‘rubbish’ nor an explanation sought from the western governments, intelligence agencies or the media for publishing such a sensitive and false report that took the entire global media in a whirl.
On the other hand last month, India’s Home Ministry announced it was working on a national anti-ISIS strategy. Many intelligence inputs followed after the publication of those reports and arrests made all across India. Reportedly, the appeal of ISIS radicalism had ramped up in ten Indian states.
Last month a British doctor was arrested in Jammu & Kashmir for planting IEDs. Police said Baba who is a physiotherapist has lived in London since 2006. He returned to the valley three months ago.
Why is it that from Al Qaeda to ISIS to terrorists in J&K, all links end up in Britain? More importantly, why such leads are not pursued by Indian Intelligence Agencies? Surprisingly enough even the intelligence inputs we so actively act upon are also provided by the same countries. How could we formulate a strategy to orient our security agencies to counter a threat that we choose to ignore or do not even attempt to understand?
As is the case with any of the terrorist group many of these groups are controlled not only by the states that sponsor terrorism but by the nations that sponsor the states that sponsor terrorism too. So though all evidence eventually leads to North Western frontier of India, we do not attempt to learn about who instigates these groups, their actions, their mode of acting and the previous track record that should guide us in doing what we as third neutral sovereign country should do. We totally ignored this angle and even the most rudimentary of forensic investigation in our approach to the Mumbai Train Blasts (a sequel to Spanish Train Bombings and the beginning of the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks). We hope we do a beginning in this new direction.
By the later years of the Reagan regime, a preferred nomenclature suited to U.S. interests became standardized for the Third World. In the case of nations to be rolled back (e.g., Nicaragua), governments were called terrorist and the insurgents were labeled democratic. In the case of countries to be supported against “communist” insurgencies (e.g., El Salvador and the Philippines), the governments were called democratic and the insurgents were labeled terrorists. “
– from the book Rollback by Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould
One recent phenomenon emerging since dissolution of soviet era is, if there is more than one geo-political player involved in any target nation say Nigeria or Indonesia or India; then the turf war between the geo-political players is spilling in to the target countries. Just like in case of East India Companies whenever their parent countries (England, France, Holland etc) went to war in Europe, their representatives in African and Indian colonies also went to war. So whenever one geo-political player feels their turf is violated in any target countries then they do not hesitate to eliminate the others or their supporters in the target countries.
Depending on the theatre of concern these sabotage operations are called by various names and many governments in order to prevent them do various preventive actions. Unfortunately in India there is no comprehensive study of terrorism keeping the above perspective. Our excessive determination and focus on Islamic or Jihad terrorism though suits our emotional need it only comprises of less than one fourth of terrorist acts perpetuated on the soil of India since more than three decades. Subversion, sabotage, assassinations, abductions, facility bombings, symbolic target bombings though done by all terrorist groups we are confined and concerned only about Jihadi terrorism which is making our response to over all terrorism and its prevalence in India ineffective.
Seumas Milne writes this western habit of playing with jihadi groups, which then come back to bite them, goes back at least to the 1980s war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which fostered the original al-Qaida under CIA tutelage. Infact, it’s not just a western habit and it dates far back than 1980s since before World War I where the roots to using modern fundamentalism as a tool of warfare lay. We will be divulging deep on this subject in further reports.
In the above wake Great Game India(GGI) will be publishing a series of articles with various case studies to throw a comprehensive light on the issue of terrorism India is facing and will face along with a broad citizen based response to the emerging issues of global terror.
The first article of the series published in the Jul-Sept issue of GreatGameIndia could be read here: Globalized Terror In A Liberalized World – Need for new orientation in National Security
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