UK carnage attempt in Basra
Special Forces Soldiers Planting Bombs in Basra! Caught Red-Handed!arrest by Iraqi police of two British SAS agents at a Basra checkpoint. ... Cressida packed with explosives wired to detonate by remote control...
Were British Special Forces Soldiers Planting Bombs in Basra? Suspicions Strengthened by Earlier Reports
by Michael Keefer
September 25, 2005
Does anyone remember the shock with which the British public greeted the revelation four years ago that one of the members of the Real IRA unit whose bombing attack in Omagh on August 15, 1998 killed twenty-nine civilians had been a double agent, a British army soldier?
That soldier was not Britain’s only terrorist double agent. A second British soldier planted within the IRA claimed he had given forty-eight hours advance notice of the Omagh car-bomb attack to his handlers within the Royal Ulster Constabulary, including "details of one of the bombing team and the man’s car registration." Although the agent had made an audio tape of his tip-off call, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, chief constable of the RUC, declared that "no such information was received" (http://www.sundayherald.com/17827).
This second double agent went public in June 2002 with the claim that from 1981 to 1994, while on full British army pay, he had worked for "the Force Research Unit, an ultra-secret wing of British military intelligence," as an IRA mole. With the full knowledge and consent of his FRU and MI5 handlers, he became a bombing specialist who "mixed explosive and … helped to develop new types of bombs," including "light-sensitive bombs, activated by photographic flashes, to overcome the problem of IRA remote-control devices having their signal jammed by army radio units." He went on to become "a member of the Provisional IRA’s ‘internal security squad’—also known as the ‘torture unit’—which interrogated and executed suspected informers" (http://www.sundayherald.com/print25646).
The much-feared commander of that same "torture unit" was likewise a mole, who had previously served in the Royal Marines’ Special Boat Squadron (an elite special forces unit, the Marines’ equivalent to the better-known SAS). A fourth mole, a soldier code-named "Stakeknife" whose military handlers "allowed him to carry out large numbers of terrorist murders in order to protect his cover within the IRA," was still active in December 2002 as "one of Belfast’s leading Provisionals" (http://www.sundayherald.com/29997).
Reliable evidence also emerged in late 2002 that the British army had been using its double agents in terrorist organizations "to carry out proxy assassinations for the British state"—most notoriously in the case of Belfast solicitor and human rights activist Pat Finucane, who was murdered in 1989 by the Protestant Ulster Defence Association. It appears that the FRU passed on details about Finucane to a British soldier who had infiltrated the UDA; he in turn "supplied UDA murder teams with the information" (http://www.sundayherald.com/29997).
Recent events in Basra have raised suspicions that the British army may have reactivated these same tactics in Iraq.
Articles published by Michel Chossudovsky, Larry Chin and Mike Whitney at the Centre for Research on Globalization’s website on September 20, 2005 have offered preliminary assessments of the claims of Iraqi authorities that two British soldiers in civilian clothes who were arrested by Iraqi police in Basra on September 19—and in short order released by a British tank and helicopter assault on the prison where they were being held—had been engaged in planting bombs in the city
A further article by Kurt Nimmo points to false-flag operations carried out by British special forces troops in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, and to Donald Rumsfeld’s formation of the P2OG, or Proactive Preemptive Operations Group, as directly relevant to Iraqi charges of possible false-flag terror operations by the occupying powers in Iraq (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050924&articleid=992).
These accusations by Iraqi officials echo insistent but unsubstantiated claims, going back at least to the spring of 2004, to the effect that many of the terror bombings carried out against civilian targets in Iraq have actually been perpetrated by U.S. and British forces rather than by Iraqi insurgents.
Some such claims can be briskly dismissed. In mid-May 2005, for example, a group calling itself "Al Qaeda in Iraq" accused U.S. troops "of detonating car bombs and falsely accusing militants" (http://siteinstitute.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=publications45605&Category=publications&Subcategory=0). For even the most credulous, this could at best be a case of the pot calling the kettle soot-stained. But it’s not clear why anyone would want to believe this claim, coming as it does from a group or groupuscule purportedly led by the wholly mythical al-Zarqawi—and one whose very name affiliates it with terror bombers. These people, if they exist, might themselves have good reason to blame their own crimes on others.
Other claims, however, are cumulatively more troubling.
The American journalist Dahr Jamail wrote in April 20, 2004 that the recent spate of car bombings in Baghdad was widely rumoured to have been the work of the CIA:
"The word on the street in Baghdad is that the cessation of suicide car bombings is proof that the CIA was behind them. Why? Because as one man states, ‘[CIA agents are] too busy fighting now, and the unrest they wanted to cause by the bombings is now upon them.’ True or not, it doesn’t bode well for the occupiers’ image in Iraq." (http://www.countercurrents.org/iraq-jamail200404.htm)
Two days later, on April 22, 2004, Agence France-Presse reported that five car-bombings in Basra—three near-simultaneous attacks outside police stations in Basra that killed sixty-eight people, including twenty children, and two follow-up bombings—were being blamed by supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on the British. While eight hundred supporters demonstrated outside Sadr’s offices, a Sadr spokesman claimed to have "evidence that the British were involved in these attacks" (http://www.inq7.net/wnw/2004/apr/23/wnw_3_1.htm).
An anonymous senior military officer said on April 22, 2004 of these Basra attacks that "It looks like Al-Qaeda. It’s got all the hallmarks: it was suicidal, it was spectacular and it was symbolic." Brigadier General Nick Carter, commander of the British garrison in Basra, stated more ambiguously that Al Qaeda was not necessarily to blame for the five bombings, but that those responsible came from outside Basra and "quite possibly" from outside Iraq: "’All that we can be certain of is that this is something that came from outside,’ Carter said" (http://www.inq7.net/wnw/2004/apr/23/wnw_4_1.htm). Moqtada al-Sadr’s supporters of course believed exactly the same thing—differing only in their identification of the criminal outsiders as British agents rather than as Islamist mujaheddin from other Arab countries.
In May 2005 ‘Riverbend’, the Baghdad author of the widely-read blog Baghdad Burning, reported that what the international press was reporting as suicide bombings were often in fact "car bombs that are either being remotely detonated or maybe time bombs." After one of the larger recent blasts, which occurred in the middle-class Ma’moun area of west Baghdad, a man living in a house in front of the blast site was reportedly arrested for having sniped an Iraqi National Guardsman. But according to ‘Riverbend’, his neighbours had a different story:
"People from the area claim that the man was taken away not because he shot anyone, but because he knew too much about the bomb. Rumor has it that he saw an American patrol passing through the area and pausing at the bomb site minutes before the explosion. Soon after they drove away, the bomb went off and chaos ensued. He ran out of his house screaming to the neighbors and bystanders that the Americans had either planted the bomb or seen the bomb and done nothing about it. He was promptly taken away." (http://riverbendblog.blogspit.com/2005_05_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#111636281930496496)
Also in May 2005, Imad Khadduri, the Iraqi-exile physicist whose writings helped to discredit American and British fabrications about weapons of mass destruction, reported a story that in Baghdad a driver whose license had been confiscated at an American check-point was told "to report to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for interrogation and in order to retrieve his license." After being questioned for half an hour, he was informed that there was nothing against him, but that his license had been forwarded to the Iraqi police at the al-Khadimiya station "for processing"—and that he should get there quickly before the lieutenant whose name he was given went off his shift.
"The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him. He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat and along the two back doors. The only feasible explanation for this incident is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated ‘hideous attack by foreign elements’." (http://www.albasrah.net/maqalat/english/0505/Combat-terrorism_160505.htm)
According to Khadduri, "The same scenario was repeated in Mosul, in the north of Iraq." On this occasion, the driver’s life was saved when his car broke down on the way to the police station where he was supposed to reclaim his license, and when the mechanic to whom he had recourse "discovered that the spare tire was fully laden with explosives."
Khadduri mentions, as deserving of investigation, a "perhaps unrelated incident" in Baghdad on April 28, 2005 in which a Canadian truck-driver with dual Canadian-Iraqi citizenship was killed. He quotes a CBC report according to which "Some media cited unidentified sources who said he may have died after U.S. forces ‘tracked’ a target, using a helicopter gunship, but Foreign Affairs said it’s still investigating conflicting reports of the death. U. S. officials have denied any involvement."
Another incident, also from April 2005, calls more urgently for investigation, since one of its victims remains alive. Abdul Amir Younes, a CBS cameraman, was lightly wounded by U.S. forces on April 5 "while filming the aftermath of a car bombing in Mosul." American military authorities were initially apologetic about his injuries, but three days later arrested him on the grounds that he had been "engaged in anti-coalition activity" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/Kafka-does-iraq-the-dist_b_7796.html).
Arianna Huffington, in her detailed account of this case, quite rightly emphasizes its Kafkaesque qualities: Younes has now been detained, in Abu Graib and elsewhere, for more than five months—without charges, without any hint of what evidence the Pentagon may hold against him, and without any indication that he will ever be permitted to stand trial, challenge that evidence, and disprove the charges that might at some future moment be laid. But in addition to confirming, yet again, the Pentagon’s willingness to violate the most fundamental principles of humane and democratic jurisprudence, this case also raises a further question. Was Younes perhaps arrested, like the Iraqi whose rumoured fate was mentioned by ‘Riverbend’, because he had seen—and in Younes’ case photographed—more than was good for him?
Spokesmen for the American and British occupation of Iraq, together with newspapers like the Daily Telegraph, have of course rejected with indignation any suggestion that their forces could have been involved in false-flag terrorist operations in Iraq.
It may be remembered that during the 1980s spokesmen for the government of Ronald Reagan likewise heaped ridicule on Nicaraguan accusations that the U.S. was illegally supplying weapons to the ‘Contras’—until, that is, a CIA-operated C-123 cargo aircraft full of weaponry was shot down over Nicaragua, and Eugene Hasenfus, a cargo handler who survived the crash, testified that his supervisors (one of whom was Luis Posada Carriles, the CIA agent responsible for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner) were working for then-Vice-President George H. W. Bush.
The arrest—and the urgent liberation—of the two undercover British soldiers in Iraq might in a similar manner be interpreted as casting a retrospective light on previously unsubstantiated claims about the involvement of members of the occupying armies in terrorist bombing attacks on civilians.
The parallel is far from exact: in this case there has been no dramatic confession like that of Hasenfus, and there are no directly incriminating documents like the pilot’s log of the downed C-123. There is, moreover, a marked lack of consensus as to what actually happened in Basra. Should we therefore, with Juan Cole, dismiss the possibility British soldiers were acting as agents provocateurs as a "theory [that] has almost no facts behind it" (http://www.juancole.com)?
Members of Britain's Elite SAS Forces
It appears that when on September 19 suspicious Iraqi police stopped the Toyota Cressida the undercover British soldiers were driving, the two men opened fire, killing one policeman and wounding another. But the soldiers, identified by the BBC as "members of the SAS elite special forces" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4264614.stm), were subdued by the police and arrested. A report published by The Guardian on September 24 adds the further detail that the SAS men "are thought to have been on a surveillance mission outside a police station in Basra when they were challenged by an Iraqi police patrol" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/iraq/Story/0,2763,1577575,00.html).
As Justin Raimondo has observed in an article published on September 23 at Antiwar.com, nearly every other aspect of this episode is disputed.
The Washington Post dismissively remarked, in the eighteenth paragraph of its report on these events, that "Iraqi security officials variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives" (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/20/MNGSSEQNGN1.DTL). Iraqi officials in fact accused them not of one or the other act, but of both.
Fattah al-Shaykh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly, told Al-Jazeera TV on September 19 that the soldiers opened fire when the police sought to arrest them, and that their car was booby-trapped "and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market" (quoted by Chossudovsky). A deliberately inflammatory press release sent out on the same day by the office of Moqtada al-Sadr (and posted in English translation at Juan Cole’s Informed Comment blog on September 20) states that the soldiers’ arrest was prompted by their having "opened fire on passers-by" near a Basra mosque, and that they were found to have "in their possession explosives and remote-control devices, as well as light and medium weapons and other accessories" (http://www.juancole.com).
What credence can be given to the claim about explosives? Justin Raimondo writes that while initial BBC Radio reports acknowledged that the two men indeed had explosives in their car, subsequent reports from the same source indicated that the Iraqi police found nothing beyond "assault rifles, a light machine gun, an anti-tank weapon, radio gear, and medical kit. This is thought to be standard kit for the SAS operating in such a theater of operations" (http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=7366).
One might well wonder, with Raimondo, whether an anti-tank weapon is "standard operating equipment"—or what use SAS men on "a surveillance mission outside a police station" intended to make of it. But more importantly, a photograph published by the Iraqi police and distributed by Reuters shows that—unless the equipment is a plant—the SAS men were carrying a good deal more than just the items acknowledged by the BBC. (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050923&articleid=989)
I would want the opinion of an arms expert before risking a definitive judgment about the objects shown, which could easily have filled the trunk and much of the back seat of a Cressida. But this photograph makes plausible the statement of Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, a spokesman for Al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia:
"What our police found in their car was very disturbing—weapons, explosives, and a remote control detonator. These are the weapons of terrorists. We believe these soldiers were planning an attack on a market or other civilian targets…" (quoted by Raimondo)
The fierce determination of the British army to remove these men from any danger of interrogation by their own supposed allies in the government the British are propping up—even when their rescue entailed the destruction of an Iraqi prison and the release of a large number of prisoners, gun-battles with Iraqi police and with Al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, a large popular mobilization against the British occupying force, and a subsequent withdrawal of any cooperation on the part of the regional government—tends, if anything, to support the view that this episode involved something much darker and more serious than a mere flare-up of bad tempers at a check-point.
US-UK Sponsored Civil War
There is reason to believe, moreover, that the open civil war which car-bomb attacks on civilians seem intended to produce would not be an unwelcome development in the eyes of the occupation forces.
Writers in the English-language corporate media have repeatedly noted that recent terror-bomb attacks which have caused massive casualties among civilians appear to be pushing Iraq towards a civil war of Sunnis against Shiites, and of Kurds against both. For example, on September 18, 2005 Peter Beaumont proposed in The Observer that the slaughter of civilians, which he ascribes to Al Qaeda alone, "has one aim: civil war" (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/focus/story/0,6903,1572936,00.html). But H. D. S. Greenway had already suggested on June 17, 2005 in the Boston Globe that "Given the large number of Sunni-led attacks against Shia targets, the emerging Shia-led attacks against Sunnis, and the extralegal abductions of Arabs by Kurdish authorities in Kirkut, one has to wonder whether the long-feared Iraqi civil war hasn’t already begun" (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/06/17/facing_factsin_iraq?mode=PF). And on September 21, 2005 Nancy Youssef and Mohammed al Dulaimy of the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau wrote that the ethnic cleansing of Shiites in predominantly Sunni Baghdad neighbourhoods "is proceeding at an alarming and potentially destabilizing pace," and quoted the despairing view of an Iraqi expert:
"’Civil war today is closer than any time before,’ said Hazim Abdel Hamid al Nuaimi, a professor of politics at al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. ‘All of these explosions, the efforts by police and purging of neighbourhoods is a battle to control Baghdad.’" (http://www.realcities.com/mid/krwashington/12704935.htm)
Whether or not it has already begun or will occur, the eruption of a full-blown civil war, leading to the fragmentation of the country, would clearly be welcomed in some circles. Israeli strategists and journalists proposed as long ago as 1982 that one of their country’s strategic goals should be the partitioning of Iraq into a Shiite state, a Sunni state, and a separate Kurdish part. (See foreign ministry official Oded Yinon’s "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s," Kivunim 14 [February 1982]; a similar proposal put forward by Ze’ev Schiff in Ha’aretz in the same month is noted by Noam Chomsky in Fateful Triangle [2nd ed., Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999], p. 457).
A partitioning of Iraq into sections defined by ethnicity and by Sunni-Shia differences would entail, obviously enough, both civil war and ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. But these considerations did not deter Leslie H. Gelb from advocating in the New York Times, on November 25, 2003, what he called "The Three-State Solution". (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/iraq/three.htm).
Gelb, a former senior State Department and Pentagon official, a former editor and columnist for the New York Times, and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, is an insider’s insider. And if the essays of Yinon and Schiff are nasty stuff, especially in the context of Israel’s 1981 bombing attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, there is still some difference between speculatively proposing the dismemberment of a powerful neighbouring country, and actively advocating the dismemberment of a country that one’s own nation has conquered in a war of unprovoked aggression. The former might be described as a diseased imagining of war and criminality; the latter belongs very clearly to the category of war crimes.
Gelb’s essay proposes punishing the Sunni-led insurgency by separating the largely Sunni centre of present-day Iraq from the oil-rich Kurdish north and the oil-rich Shia south. It holds out the dismembering of the Yugoslav federation in the 1990s (with the appalling slaughters that ensued) as a "hopeful precedent."
Gelb’s essay has been widely interpreted as signaling the intentions of a dominant faction in the U.S. government. It has also, very appropriately, been denounced by Bill Vann as openly promoting "a war crime of world-historic proportions" (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/nov2003/gelb-n26.shtml).
Given the increasing desperation of the American and British governments in the face of an insurgency that their tactics of mass arbitrary arrest and torture, Phoenix-Program or "Salvadoran-option" death squads, unrestrained use of overwhelming military force, and murderous collective punishment have failed to suppress, it comes as no surprise that in recent military actions such as the assault on Tal Afar the U.S. army has been deploying Kurdish peshmerga troops and Shiite militias in a manner that seems designed to inflame ethnic hatreds.
No one, I should hope, is surprised any longer by the fact that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—that fictional construct of the Pentagon’s serried ranks of little Tom Clancies, that one-legged Dalek, that Scarlet Pimpernel of terrorism, who manages to be here, there, and everywhere at once—should be so ferociously devoted to the terrorizing and extermination of his Shiite co-religionists.
Should we be any more surprised, then, to see evidence emerging in Iraq of false-flag terrorist bombings conducted by the major occupying powers? The secret services and special forces of both the U.S. and Britain have, after all, had some experience in these matters.
Global Research Contributing Editor Michael Keefer is Associate Professor of English at the University of Guelph. He is a former President of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. His most recent writings include a series of articles on electoral fraud in the 2004 US presidential election published by the Centre for Research on Globalization
At least half a dozen British tanks sensationally smashed through the walls of the Basra's central jail tonight and freed two UK soldiers arrested earlier in the day after a lethal gunbattle with Iraqi policemen.
The two men, said to be on an undercover intelligence mission,
"A British force of more than 10 tanks backed by helicopters attacked the central jail and destroyed it. Aquil Jabbar, an Iraqi television cameraman who lives across the street from the jail, said about 150 Iraqi prisoners also fled as British commandos stormed inside and rescued their comrades.
An Iraqi official told the Reuters news agency that the two "undercover" British soldiers, who were travelling in a civilian car, were arrested this morning after clashing with Iraqi police. Reports said the soldiers killed one Iraqi policeman and wounded another.
The official said he had been informed by the British military that they were "undercover soldiers". It was not clear what unit the men were from - whether they were regular soldiers or from the special forces.
"They were driving a civilian car and were dressed in civilian clothes when a shooting took place between them and Iraqi patrols," he said. "We are investigating and an Iraqi judge is on the case questioning them."
A Basra police source said the two men, who he said were wearing Arab costume,
had opened fired at a police patrol when they were asked to stop. Photographs of the British soldiers showed them with light beards. One of them was wearing bandage around his head.
Mohammed al-Abadi, an official at the Basra governorate, said the two men looked suspicious to the police.
"A policeman approached them and then one of these guys fired at him. Then the police managed to capture them," Mr Abadi told reporters. "They refused to say what their mission was. They said they were British soldiers and to ask their commander about their mission."
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman, said from the party conference in Blackpool: "It is hard to see how relations between the British military and the civilian Iraqi authorities in Basra will ever be the same again.
"This is bound to be seen as a humiliation by many Iraqis - something the insurgents will use to their advantage. An operation of this kind must have gone to the highest level - "I would be surprised if the Prime Minister had not been consulted."
The car they were travelling in was loaded with weapons including allegedly, assault rifles, a light machine gun, an anti-tank weapon, radio gear and a medical kit (’standard’ SAS issue according to the BBC). According to at least two reports, the car they were traveling in (A Toyota Cressida) was “booby-trapped”.
Subsequent accounts vary according to the source but according to the initial story broadcast on the BBC (19/9/05), the two men wore traditional Arab dress but then this changed to “civilian dress” (BBC TV News).
As more information trickled out, a BBC story reported that the men were freed after the police station had been attacked by British tanks, a report that the British government initially denied saying that “the release of the soldiers had been negotiated” (BBC Website 20/0/05).
Britain’s Ministry of Defence says the release of the two soldiers had been negotiated and it did not believe the prison had been stormed.
Then the story changed yet again, only now the ‘official’ story, dutifully reported by the British State Broadcasting Company (BSBC), was that “negotiations broke down” and that the two men were in the hands of the Mehdi Army in another building, in which case, why was the police station stormed?
Then yet another version was issued by the British government only now the police station was indeed attacked but only after “negotiations broke down”. So were the two SAS men in the police station or not?
According to yet another BSBC report, after breaking into the police station, the Brits discovered that they had been moved to a Mehdi Army house for “interrogation”. Yet subsequent accounts revealed that they had in fact, been in the police station all along and, according to a CNN report, were being questioned by an Iraqi judge, not, as the British government alleged, by the ‘insurgents’.
By now, in a classic disinformation campaign, so many stories were being circulated that sorting out the truth from fiction was virtually impossible unless one is prepared to dig and dig deep.
What is clear is that the two SAS “undercover operatives” had been caught red-handed by the British government’s alleged allies, the Iraqi police, dressed as Arabs, replete with wigs and armed to the teeth and in a car which according to one report, was packed with explosives (the car by the way, has been taken away by the British occupation forces).
The question the BSBC was not and still is not asking, is what were they up to, creeping around dressed up as Iraqis in what is meant to be a relatively peaceful Basra?
Once more the BSBC answered the question, sort of, courtesy yet another ‘official’ story, one that was to emerge only after a very angry crowd attacked two British armoured vehicles, setting at least one on fire. The “mob”, as the BSBC described them, were according to the report, angry over the arrest of two Mehdi Army members, also on 19 September, and that it had nothing to with the freeing of the two SAS. In reality of course, the ‘mob’ had already been informed about the two SAS undercover guys and were understandably upset.
So now, the two undercover SAS men were, it is imputed, searching for ‘insurgents’ as part of a counter-insurgency operation, which if true, what were they doing dressed as Iraqis?
Were they on some kind of provocative operation? According to one report, this is exactly what they were up to. Fattah al-Shaykh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly told this account to al-Jazeera
And in yet another report from Syrian TV we read
When viewed in the context of all the stories that have been circulating about the mythical ‘al-Zarqawi’ and the alleged role of al-Queda, the events in Basra are the first real evidence that we have of the role of occupation forces in destabilising Iraq through the use of agents provocateurs masquerading as ‘insurgents’.
And, as I have long alleged here, it is now almost certain that ‘al-Zarqawi’ is probably long dead. An AFP story tells us
And indeed, last year, in a piece I wrote about ‘al-Zarqawi’, I referred to a report about ‘al-Zarqawi’ being killed when the US flattened the ‘base’ of his group Ansar al-Islam in northern Iraq in early 2003, a report that actually originated with the US government.
Yet the BSBC, along with the rest of the Western media continues to put out endless reams of disinformation about ‘al-Zarqawi’ and his connection to the fictitious ‘al-Queda in Iraq’. Given the long-held assertion by the West that goes back to 2003, that Iraq was on the verge of ‘civil war’, it’s instructive to note that as the military situation of the occupation forces has deteriorated, so too has the level of so-called al-Queda operations increased, in a transparent attempt to divide the Iraqi national resistance, thus the increasing stories about impending civil war and the wave of ‘suicide’ bombings.
The exposure of the undercover SAS operations will only add to the resolve of Iraqi resistance forces to step up their campaign to expel the occupiers regardless of what kind of blatant propaganda line the UK government puts out.
It furthermore exposes the untenable position of the Iraqi ‘government’ which is now being squeezed by both sides, thus we get contradictory positions from the Iraqi ‘government’, with one denying that the SAS operatives had been handed over to ‘Shiite militia’ and the other trying desperately to tread an almost invisible line between condemning the actions of the British government whilst blaming the actions of the Iraqi police in Basra on ‘insurgents’ who have ‘infiltrated’ the police force. Yet it is a fact that at best, perhaps only 25% of the Iraqi military can be relied upon to serve their colonial masters.
Continuing to call them insurgents is itself an admission that the majority of Iraqis are opposed to the occupation and indeed, the bulk of the fighting is being carried out by the Kurdish Peshmerga as Iraqi forces simply cannot be relied on. It’s a classic situation that the US and UK military top brass know only too well having ‘been there and done that’ before.
Thus the occupiers become more desperate to destabilise the situation and no doubt we’ll see more SAS and US provocations revealed over the coming weeks as the situation continues to deteriorate.
BRITISH UNDERCOVER OPERATIVES IN IRAQ
Zarqawi Eat Your Heart Out
Basra is relatively stable compared to central Iraq where violence involving insurgents, civilians and coalition forces is a daily routine. The city has rarely been a site of clashes between insurgents and coalition troops, nor is it a victim of regular terrorist attacks. This week, however, things changed, but not thanks to Zarqawi and his al-Qaeda ilk.
On Monday, two British soldiers were arrested and detained by Iraqi police in Basra. Within a matter of hours, the British military responded with overwhelming force, despite subsequent denials by the Ministry of Defence, which insisted that the two men had been retrieved solely through "negotiations."
British military officials, including Brigadier John Lorimer, told BBC News (9/20/05) that the British Army had stormed an Iraqi police station to locate the detainees. Ministry of Defence sources confirmed that "British vehicles" had attempted to "maintain a cordon" outside the police station.
After British Army tanks "flattened the wall" of the station, UK troops "broke into the police station to confirm the men were not there" and then "staged a rescue from a house in Basra", according a commanding officer familiar with the operation. Both men, British defence sources told the BBC's Richard Galpin in Baghdad, were "members of the SAS elite special forces." After their arrest, the soldiers were over to the local militia.
What had prompted this bizarre turn of events? Why had the Iraqi police forces, which normally work in close cooperation with coalition military forces, arrested two British SAS soldiers, and then handed them over to the local militia? A review of the initial on-the-ground reports leads to a clearer picture.
Fancy Dress and Big Guns Don't Mix
According to the BBC's Galpin, reporting for BBC Radio 4 (9/20/05, 18 hrs news script), Iraqi police sources in Basra told the BBC the "two British men were arrested after failing to stop at a checkpoint. There was an exchange of gunfire. The men were wearing traditional Arab clothing, and when the police eventually stopped them, they said they found explosives and weapons in their car…It's widely believed the two British servicemen were operating undercover."
Undercover? Dressed as Arabs? What were they trying to do that had caught the attention of their colleagues, the Iraqi police?
According to the Washington Post (9/20/05), "Iraqi security officials on Monday variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives." Reuters (9/19/05) cited police, local officials and other witnesses who confirmed that "the two undercover soldiers were arrested after opening fire on Iraqi police who approached them." Officials said that "the men were wearing traditional Arab headscarves and sitting in an unmarked car."
According to Mohammed al-Abadi, an official in the Basra governorate, “A policeman approached them and then one of these guys fired at him. Then the police managed to capture them.”
In an interview with Al Jazeerah TV, the popular Iraqi leader Fattah al-Sheikh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly and deputy official in the Basra governorate, said that police had "caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and were in a car of the Cressida type. It was a booby-trapped car laden with ammunition and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market." Contrary to British authorities' claims that the soldiers had been immediately handed to local militia, al-Sheikh confirmed that they were "at the Intelligence Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force, but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department in an attempt to absolve them of the crime."
The Special Reconnaissance Regiment and British Covert Operations
British defence sources told the Scotsman (9/20/05) that the soldiers were part of an "undercover special forces detachment" set up this year to "bridge the intelligence void” in Basra, drawing on 'special forces' experience in Northern Ireland and Aden, where British troops went 'deep' undercover in local communities to try to break the code of silence against foreign forces."
These elite forces operate under the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and were formed last year by then defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, "to gather human intelligence during counter-terrorist missions."
The question, of course, is how does firing at Iraqi police while dressed as Arabs and carrying explosives constitute "countering terrorism" or even gathering "intelligence"?
The admission by British defence officials is revealing. A glance at the Special Reconnaissance Regiment gives a more concrete idea of the sort of operations these two British soldiers were involved in.
The Regiment, formed recently, is "modelled on an undercover unit that operated in Northern Ireland" according to Whitehall sources. The Regiment had "absorbed the 14th Intelligence Company, known as '14 Int,' a plainclothes unit set up to gather intelligence covertly on suspect terrorists in Northern Ireland. Its recruits are trained by the SAS."
This is the same Regiment that was involved in the unlawful July 22 execution - multiple head-shots - of the innocent Brazilian, Mr. Jean Charles de Menezes, after he boarded a tube train in Stockwell Underground station.
According to Detective Sergeant Nicholas Benwell, member of the Scotland Yard team that had been investigating the activities of an ultra-secret wing of British military intelligence, the Force Research Unit (FRU), the team found that "military intelligence was colluding with terrorists to help them kill so-called 'legitimate targets' such as active republicans... many of the victims of these government-backed hit squads were innocent civilians."
Benwell's revelations were corroborated in detail by British double agent Kevin Fulton, who was recruited to the FRU in 1981, when he began to infiltrate the ranks of IRA. In his role as a British FRU agent inside the IRA, he was told by his military intelligence handlers to "do anything" to win the confidence of the terrorist group.
"I mixed explosive and I helped develop new types of bombs," he told Scotland's Sunday Herald (6/23/02). "I moved weapons… if you ask me if the materials I handled killed anyone, then I will have to say that some of the things I helped develop did kill… my handlers knew everything I did. I was never told not to do something that was discussed. How can you pretend to be a terrorist and not act like one? You can't. You’ve got to do what they do… They did a lot of murders… I broke the law seven days a week and my handlers knew that. They knew that I was making bombs and giving them to other members of the IRA and they did nothing about it… The idea was that the only way to beat the enemy was to penetrate the enemy and be the enemy."
Most startlingly, Fulton said that his handlers told him his operations were "sanctioned right at the top… this goes the whole way to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister knows what you are doing."
Zarqawi, Ba'athists and the Seeds of Discord
So, based on the methodology of their Regiment, the two British SAS operatives were in Iraq to "penetrate the enemy and be the enemy," in order of course to "beat the enemy." Instead of beating the enemy, however, they ended up fomenting massive chaos and killing innocent people, a familiar pattern for critical students of the British role in the Northern Ireland conflict.
In November 2004, a joint statement was released on several Islamist websites on behalf of al-Qaeda's man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Saddam Hussein's old Ba'ath Party loyalists. Zarqawi’s network had "joined other extremist Islamists and Saddam Hussein's old Baath party to threaten increased attacks on US-led forces." Zarqawi's group said they signed "the statement written by the Iraqi Baath party, not because we support the party or Saddam, but because it expresses the demands of resistance groups in Iraq."
The statement formalized what had been known for a year already – that, as post-Saddam Iraqi intelligence and US military officials told the London Times (8/9/2003), "Al Qaeda terrorists who have infiltrated Iraq from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have formed an alliance with former intelligence agents of Saddam Hussein to fight their common enemy, the American forces." Al Qaeda leaders "recruit from the pool" of Saddam's former "security and intelligence officers who are unemployed and embittered by their loss of status." After vetting, "they begin Al-Qaeda-style training, such as how to make remote-controlled bombs."
Yet Pakistani military sources revealed in February 2005 that the US has "resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population," consisting of "former members of the Ba'ath Party" – the same people already teamed up with Zarqawi's al-Qaeda network.
In a highly clandestine operation, the US procured “Pakistan-manufactured weapons, including rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, ammunition, rockets and other light weaponry.” A Pakistani military analyst noted that the “arms could not be destined for the Iraqi security forces because US arms would be given to them.” Rather, the US is playing a double-game to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement” – in other words, to exacerbate the deterioration of security by penetrating, manipulating and arming the terrorist insurgency.
What could be the end-game of such a covert strategy? The view on-the-ground in Iraq, among both Sunnis and Shi'ites, is worth noting. Sheikh Jawad al-Kalesi, the Shi'ite Imam of the al-Kadhimiyah mosque in Baghdad, told Le Monde: "I don’t think that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi exists as such. He’s simply an invention by the occupiers to divide the people."
Iraq’s most powerful Sunni Arab religious authority, the Association of Muslim Scholars, concurs, condemning the call to arms against Shi’ites as a “very dangerous” phenomenon that “plays into the hands of the occupier who wants to split up the country and spark a sectarian war.” In colonial terms, the strategy is known as “divide and rule.”
Whether or not Zarqawi can be said to exist, it is indeed difficult to avoid the conclusion that this interpretation is plausible. It seems the only ones who don’t understand the clandestine dynamics of Anglo-American covert strategy in Iraq are we, the people, in the west. It’s high time we got informed.
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, London. He teaches courses in political theory, international relations and contemporary history at the School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton.
His latest book is The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism.
Reuters photos of weapons found by Iraqi police on the arrested operatives are viewable here.http://rawstory.com/news/2005/CAUGHT_RED__0923.html
============================Wednesday, September 21, 2005
British bombs in Basra
I find myself increasingly becoming the old fogey of the conspiracy field. While the youngsters continue to come up with new and exciting conspiracies, xymphora slowly deteriorates into a lousy debunking blog. Witness the latest revelations from Basra. To summarize, two British soldiers, disguised as Arabs and with a car full of explosives, somehow find themselves in a contretemps with an Iraqi policeman, shoot him dead, are arrested by local authorities, refuse to explain what they were doing, end up in detention, and finally become the subject of negotiations between the British and Iraqis concerning their release, 'negotiations' apparently meaning to the British driving up to the prison with tanks and knocking the walls down (a fact which the British finally, but grudgingly, admitted), causing a riot which results in civilian deaths and the escape of other prisoners (and the soldiers weren't even in the prison!). Everybody has come to the obvious conclusion that this is the first documented proof of the fact that much of the sectarian violence in Iraq is the work of coalition agents provocateurs, attempting to cause a civil war in Iraq. While I have no doubt that this intentional process is going on elsewhere in Iraq (and largely to fit the Israeli agenda, described here many times before, of breaking the country up into small, unthreatening statelets, with the additional motive of leading to the new Israeli ally, the Shi'ite Empire, to counter the largely Sunni opposition to Israeli imperial plans), I doubt that the Basra case is an example of it. There seems to be another conspiracy afoot.
The British have made a big deal of how much better they are than the Americans at shouldering the 'white man's burden' of policing their portion of Iraq. Of course, the Americans are so arrogant, culturally insensitive, and generally stupid, it is not difficult to do a better job. As well, the South is easier to police just because it is majority Shi'ite, and not interested in causing trouble for the central government. Nevertheless, it is true that the British have done a much better job than the Americans, and have some right to feel superior. And yet, just recently, everything has gone sideways. Here is the timeline:
- In the early Spring, British officials anticipated that British troops would soon be withdrawing from Iraq.
- In July, plans are leaked of a British plan to withdraw almost all British troops from Iraq (sending some of them to Afghanistan). This withdrawal would have started next month. Almost immediately, the deaths of British contractors is said to 'threaten' these plans.
- In early August, journalist Steven Vincent, who worked for the New York Times, is found murdered outside of Basra. He had been shot and was found with his hands bound. Days before his death, he "had written an Op-Ed piece for The Times in which he criticized British security forces for failing to act against the Shiite militias' growing power in the local police force." It's unlikely, even given the ubiquity of the internet, that local militias would be on top of very recently published New York Times Op-Eds (although Vincent had written previously on the matter).
- Normally quiescent Basra starts to become dangerous for British troops, and three are actually killed. While there has been a constant series of British deaths in Iraq, these most recent deaths seem to cause a new type of overreaction. On Sunday, September 18, the British arrest local leaders Sheik Ahmed Majid Farttusi and Sayyid Sajjad, arrests that almost certainly will lead to more trouble (Juan Cole has the timeline).
- The British plans to withdraw are indefinitely cancelled, as conditions have worsened.
- The two British soldiers are arrested near a protest arranged against the arrest of Sheik Ahmed Majid Farttusi, and rescued with a completely unnecessary, show of lethal violence.
- Journalist Fakher Haider, who also worked for the New York Times, is found murdered on the same day as the British soldiers were arrested. He also had his hands bound and was shot. He had been taken away for 'questioning' by people claiming to be Iraqi police, a claim backed up by the fact they arrived in a police car (!). He "had recently reported on the growing friction and violence among Basra's rival Shiite militias, which are widely believed to have infiltrated the police." Now there are two murdered journalists in Basra, each of whom wrote about the growing power of Shi'ite militias in Basra (scuttlebutt that Steven Vincent's murder was related to his relationship with his Iraqi female translator seems to be disproved by the nature of the second murder). Local militia leaders would almost certainly have been unaware of the writings of these journalists (and you have to wonder why they would care if they did know). Somebody wants to remove Western journalists with good local contacts from Basra.
What I see here is an attempt to sabotage the British withdrawal, and the murders of both journalists may well be associated with this.
Creating sectarian violence doesn't really make sense in Basra, as the Zionist planners intend to keep the South whole, and part of the Shi'ite Empire. Causing trouble in Basra will only mess up those plans. On the other hand, setting a bomb off in Basra would have continued the campaign, started right after the announcement of withdrawal was made, to ensure that the British troops cannot be withdrawn from the South. Who benefits from non-withdrawal?:
- the Americans, who would have been all alone in their battle against Islam once the British left;
- elements in the British military, who so rarely get to be in a real war these days, are probably loathe having to go back to more endless marching drills in the rain (or, at best, in Afghanistan);
- the international cadre of war financiers, who still derive considerable income from the British presence in Iraq; and
- Tony Blair, who works for the financiers and has this extremely weird relationship with the United States (he seems to be under the misapprehension that he is Prime Minister of the United States).
I think there is a conspiracy here, but not necessarily the obvious one.
Strategy of Tension Gladio false flag state terrorism cia dia oni bnd mi5 mi6 mossad for good measure.