Raising Children to be Soldiers of Allah

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“Moreover [the children’s] mindset [in the Islamic Madrasa education] is nurtured with a message of hatred towards all non-Muslim communities… Islam is the only true religion, all other religions are false — this is what they are taught from the beginning by the Madrasa teacher. They also chant nonstop the mantra that all nonbelievers (in Islam) are Kafirs and infidels fit to be destroyed by all true Muslims.” — Shudhansu S. Tunga, author of A 20 Million Billion Trillion Dollar Loss: The Story of India’s Downslide Independence.

In such a small land as Bangladesh, roughly the size of the U.S. state of Iowa, there are 15,000 officially registered madrasas, accompanied by 200,000 teachers “teaching” four million “students.” If one adds to it the number of unregistered madrasas, the number is as high as 64,000.

“Bangladesh is appeasing the most insidious and violent strains of Islam… That appeasement of theocratic demands and naked threats must end, now.” — Bob Churchill, Director of Communications, International Humanist and Ethical Union.

One can imagine from the number of madrasas and mosques — abetted by a government that turns a blind eye to lawlessness — how many people listening to hate preaching are now being raised to be “Soldiers of Allah.”

Dissent is not tolerated in the monolithic Islamic society of Bangladesh. Extremist Islamic forces not only vandalize the idols and temples of the Hindus or Buddhists, they are also kill anyone who speaks out against radicalization or Islamization.

The extremist Islamic forces mostly target university teachers, engineers, writers and bloggers, one after another — whoever is not in total accord with their faith, including anyone secular-minded.

Notably, it was after the founding the International Islamic Front for Jihad in 1998, that Bangladesh experienced the first major attack conducted by Islamists, on March 6, 1999. It killed 10 and critically injured 105 innocent people who were listening to music at a cultural program organized by Udichi, a secular cultural organization.

Since then, many terrorist attacks have taken place in Bangladesh. Nonetheless, the country’s politicians do not take initiatives to prevent Islamic radicalization, presumably in fear of displeasing the country’s huge Muslim populace. Rather, every incoming government not only winks and nods the Islamists, but also provides room to nurture extremism. Bangladesh, a country roughly size of the U.S. state of Iowa, has 15,000 officially registered Madrasas [Islamic religious schools], accompanied by 200,000 teachers “teaching” four million “students.” If one adds to it the number of unregistered madrasas, the number is as high as 64,000.

It is no secret anymore that the madrasa is the main extremist breeding factory. Shudhansu S. Tunga writes,

“Frankly, the Madrasa education instead of uplifting the Muslim boys and girls, is keeping them downgraded on many points, especially to face today’s job market competition. Moreover, their mindset is nurtured with a message of hatred towards all non-Muslim communities. This is the gravest of dangers not only for the future of the Muslims but also for the whole mankind. Islam is the only true religion, all other religions are false─ this is what they are taught from the beginning by the Madrasa teacher. They also chant nonstop the mantra that all non-believers (in Islam) are Kafirs and infidels fit to be destroyed by all true Muslims.”[1]

In such a small land, there are also 250,399 mosques where believers are being summoned to hate non-Muslims. They especially curse the Jews by using the anti-Semitic Koranic verses and the widely read hadiths.

Bangladesh is now one of the most dangerous places for a dissident to live. Murders this year include Samiulla Afridi and Avijit Roy.

Samiulla Afridi, the lawyer who represented Dr. Shakil Afridi (no relation), was shot dead on March 17. Dr. Shakil Afridi had conducted a vaccination program to help the Central Intelligence Agency locate Usama bin Laden. Samiulla Afridi’s murder was presumably retribution for having represented the doctor, whom the US let remain in a Pakistani jail.

Avijit Roy, an American citizen of Bangladeshi origin, who had a PhD in software engineering from Singapore, was hacked to death on March 17 after attending a book fair with his wife, also wounded in the attack. Roy, an engineer, was also the author of several books on science, atheism and freedom of expression. He was the founder of Mukto-Mona [“Free Mind”] blog, and well known for his writings which opposed religious fundamentalism. No one of course has been caught. It is not known if anyone has even looked for the perpetrators of both crimes.

J”Those who made the most credible threats on Roy’s life have been allowed to do so with impunity, and now he is dead. As Roy himself warned, Bangladesh is appeasing the most insidious and violent strains of Islamism, and he knew his own life was under threat. That appeasement of theocratic demands and naked threats must end, now.”The Director of Communications of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Bob Churchill, said,

In an emotional piece in The Guardian, Alom Shaha writes,

“It is a land of lush green fields nourished by brightly burning sun. This is what is depicted on the nation’s flag, a design that rejects the religious symbolism found in those of India and Pakistan — the latter of which Bangladesh fought a bitter war of independence, partly so it could become a secular state. But that early commitment has been betrayed and instead Bangladesh has become a nation where those promoting secular values can expect to live their lives in fear, be threatened with death, and even brutally killed.”

Avijit Roy was not the first victim targeted by the Islamists in Bangladesh. Last year, Ahmed Rajib Haider, an architect by profession, was also hacked to death by machete-wielding attackers from an Islamist militant group, Ansarullah Bangla Team. It takes its ideology from Yemen, based on statements from the Al-Qaeda ideologue, Anwar Al-Awlaki, and associated with the Jamaat-E-Islami party in Bangladesh.

The same group attacked another blogger, Asif Mohiuddin, who through his writings opposed the Quranic chapter 4, verse 34, which says, “A man can beat his wife, if she does not obey her husband.”

Mohiuddin, also involved with Mukto-Mona blog, was arrested by the Bangladeshi authorities for “hurting religious beliefs.”

Professor Humayun Azad was an esteemed university teacher, and one of the most prominent scholars in the country. On February 27, 2004, Islamists attacked him him with machete; he narrowly escaped death. But on August 11, 2004, he was found dead in his apartment in Munich, Germany, where he had arrived a week earlier to conduct a research on the German poet, Heinrich Heine.

Bangladeshi militants have had longstanding relations with Al-Qaeda and its leaders, including Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri. According to reports, Bangladesh’s first openly-formed Islamist militant outfit, Harkat-ul-Jihad (Huji), is closely linked with Al-Qaeda. Huji emerged from a group of Bangladeshi Afghan war veterans, who had gone to Afghanistan and joined with mujaheedin [“jihad warriors”], addressed the press conference.

There are reports that Bin Laden, in February 1998, came up with a coalition of Islamic militants named “International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders” to fight against the U.S. Among five coalition founders, one of the Bangladeshi militants and Zawahiri were signatories of a statement, issued in February 1998.

Major Gen (Ret). Abdur Rashid, a Bangladeshi security analyst, said, “Many Bangladeshi militants had visited or re-visited Afghanistan through Pakistan and maintained the links established earlier. The communication between them became easier with the availability of internet.”

One can imagine from the number of madrasas and mosques — abetted by a government that turns a blind eye to lawlessness — how many people listening to hate preaching are now being raised to be “Soldiers of Allah.”

Monir Hussain is based in Bangladesh.

GOVERNMENT SECRECY AT ALL-TIME HIGH

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by ZERO HEDGE | MARCH 28, 2015

US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said:

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

But there’s no longer much sunlight to disinfect the corruption of the government or the powers-that-be.

More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

As just one example, government is “laundering” information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will “recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction” … so the original source of the evidence is kept secret from the defendant, defense attorneys and the judge.   A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a “totalitarian process” which shows that we’re in a “police state”.

The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even assassinate people. And see this and this.

Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are being prevented from reading their own briefs.

Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret. And it’s about to get a lot worse.

American citizens are also being detained in Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago … including being held in secret, with the government refusing to tell a suspect’s lawyer whether his client is being held.   And see thisthis and this.

The Department of Defense has also made it a secret – even from Congress – as to the identity of the main enemies of the United States.

Today, Glenn Greenwald adds yet another twist to the trend towards secrecy:

A truly stunning debasement of the U.S. justice system just occurred through the joint efforts of the Obama Justice Department and a meek and frightened Obama-appointed federal judge, Edgardo Ramos, all in order to protect an extremist neocon front group from scrutiny and accountability. The details are crucial for understanding the magnitude of the abuse here.

At the center of it is an anti-Iranian group calling itself “United Against Nuclear Iran” (UANI), which is very likely a front for some combination of the Israeli and U.S. intelligence services. When launched, NBC described its mission as waging “economic and psychological warfare” against Iran. The group was founded and is run and guided by a roster of U.S., Israeli and British neocon extremists such as Joe Lieberman, former Bush Homeland Security adviser (and current CNN “analyst”) Fran Townsend, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and former Mossad Director Meir Dagan. One of its key advisers is Olli Heinonen, who just co-authored a Washington Post Op-Ed with former Bush CIA/NSA Director Michael Hayden arguing that Washington is being too soft on Tehran.

This group of neocon extremists was literally just immunized by a federal court from the rule of law. That was based on the claim — advocated by the Obama DOJ and accepted by Judge Ramos — that subjecting them to litigation for their actions would risk disclosure of vital “state secrets.” The court’s ruling was based on assertions made through completely secret proceedings between the court and the U.S. government, with everyone else — including the lawyers for the parties — kept in the dark.

In May 2013, UANI launched a “name and shame” campaign designed to publicly identify — and malign — any individuals or entities enabling trade with Iran. One of the accused was the shipping company of Greek billionaire Victor Restis, who vehemently denies the accusation. He hired an American law firm and sued UANI for defamation in a New York federal court, claiming the “name and shame” campaign destroyed his reputation.

Up until that point, there was nothing unusual about any of this: just a garden-variety defamation case brought in court by someone who claims that public statements made about him are damaging and false. That happens every day. But then something quite extraordinary happened: In September of last year, the U.S. government, which was not a party, formally intervened in the lawsuit, and demanded that the court refuse to hear Restis’s claims and instead dismiss the lawsuit against UANI before it could even start, on the ground that allowing the case to proceed would damage national security.

When the DOJ intervened in this case and asserted the “state secrets privilege,” it confounded almost everyone. The New York Times’s Matt Apuzzo noted at the time that “the group is not affiliated with the government, and lists no government contracts on its tax forms. The government has cited no precedent for using the so­-called state­ secrets privilege to quash a private lawsuit that does not focus on government activity.” He quoted the ACLU’s Ben Wizner as saying: “I have never seen anything like this.” Reuters’s Allison Frankel labeled the DOJ’s involvement a “mystery” and said “the government’s brief is maddeningly opaque about its interest in a private libel case.”

Usually, when the U.S. government asserts the “state secrets privilege,” it is because they are a party to the lawsuit, being sued for their own allegedly illegal acts (such as torture or warrantless surveillance), and they claim that national security would be harmed if they are forced to defend themselves. In rare cases, they do intervene and assert the privilege in lawsuits between private parties, but only where the subject of the litigation is a government program and one of the parties is a government contractor involved in that program — such as when torture victims sued a Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen, for its role in providing airplanes for the rendition program and the Obama DOJ insisted (successfully) that the case not go forward, and the victim of U.S. torture was thus told that he could not even have a day in court.

But in this case, there is no apparent U.S. government conduct at issue in the lawsuit. At least based on what they claim about themselves, UANI is just “a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group” that seeks to “educate” the public about the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program. Why would such a group like this even possess “state secrets”? It would be illegal to give them such material. Or could it be that the CIA or some other U.S. government agency has created and controls the group, which would be a form of government-disseminated propaganda, which happens to be illegal?

What else could explain the basis for the U.S. government’s argument that allowing UANI to be sued would risk the disclosure of vital “state secrets” besides a desire to cover up something quite untoward if not illegal? What “state secrets” could possibly be disclosed by suing a nice, little “not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group”?

We don’t know the answers to those questions, nor do the lawyers for the plaintiffs whose lawsuit the DOJ wants dismissed. That’s because, beyond the bizarre DOJ intervention itself, the extreme secrecy that shaped the judicial proceedings is hard to overstate. Usually, when the U.S. government asserts the “state secrets privilege,” at least some information is made public about what they are claiming: which official or department is invoking the privilege, the general nature of the secrets allegedly at risk, the reasons why allowing the claims to be adjudicated would risk disclosure, etc. Some redacted version of the affidavit from the government official making the secrecy claim is made part of the case.

Here, virtually everything has been hidden, even from the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Not only did the U.S. government provide no clue as to what the supposedly endangered “state secrets” are, but they concealed even the identity of the agency making the claim: was it the CIA, the Treasury Department, the State Department, some combination? Nothing is known about any of this, not even who is making the secrecy claim.

Instead, the DOJ’s arguments about why “secrecy” compels dismissal of the entire lawsuit were made in a brief that only Judge Ramos (and not even the parties) gets to read, but even more amazingly, were elaborated on in secret meetings by DOJ lawyers in the judge’s chambers with nobody else present. Were recordings or transcripts of these meetings made? Is there any record of what the U.S. government whispered in the ear of the judge to scare him into believing that National Security Would Be Harmed™ if he allowed the case to proceed? Nobody knows. The whole process is veiled in total secrecy, labeled a “judicial proceeding” but containing none of the transparency, safeguards or adversarial process that characterizes minimally fair courts.

This sham worked. This week, Judge Ramos issued his ruling dismissing the entire lawsuit (see below). As a result of the DOJ’s protection, UANI cannot be sued. Among other things, it means this group of neocon extremists now has a license to defame anyone they want. They can destroy your reputation with false accusations in a highly public campaign, and when you sue them for it, the DOJ will come in and whisper in the judge’s ear that national security will be damaged if — like everyone else in the world — UANI must answer in a court of law for their conduct. And subservient judicial officials like Judge Ramos will obey the U.S. government’s dictates and dismiss your lawsuit before it begins, without your having any idea why that even happened.

Worse, in his written ruling, the judge expressly acknowledges that dismissal of the entire lawsuit at the start on secrecy grounds is what he calls a “harsh sanction,” and also acknowledges that “it is particularly so in this case because Plaintiffs not only do not get their day in court, but cannot be told why” (emphasis added). But he does it anyway, in a perfunctory 18-page opinion that does little other than re-state some basic legal principles, and then just concludes that everything the government whispered in his ear should be accepted. Just read for yourself what Judge Ramos said in defending his dismissal to see how wildly disparate it is from everything we’re propagandized to believe about the U.S. justice system:

What kind of “justice system” allows a neocon “advocacy” group to be immunized from the law, because the U.S. government waltzed into court, met privately with the judge, and whispered in secret that he had better dismiss all claims against that group lest he harm national security? To describe what happened here is to illustrate what a perverse travesty it is. Restis’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement this week:

We are disappointed that some secret relationship between UANI and the government allows UANI to hide from disclosing that association or to defend what has now been proven to be its false and defamatory allegations directed at Mr. Restis and his company. We are mystified that the U.S. government has such a stake in this case that it would take such extraordinary steps to prevent full disclosure of the secret interest it has with UANI or others. And, we are concerned that, in our court system, such a result could occur on the basis of sealed, one-sided filings and meetings in which we were not allowed to participate.

Indeed, the government is going to incredible lengths to keep secrets, including:

  • Treating reporters like terrorists. Andsee this
  • Prosecuting and demanding draconian jail sentences for whistleblowers
  • Framing whistleblowers with false evidence

Sadly, the sunlight is fading … and America is falling into darkness.

Postscript: On “Freedom of Information Day” – in the middle of “Sunshine Week” – the Obama administration announced that White House emails are not subject to freedom of information requests, and urged that a whole new category of information be kept secret from the American people.

Orwell would be proud.

National Investigation Reveals Alarming Number of Attacks on the U.S. Power Grid

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BY GREG CAMPBELL

What was once the realm of the tinfoil-hat-adorned, prepping has become relatively mainstream as Americans realize just how vulnerable our nation’s infrastructure can be. A new report by the Blaze discusses a startling amount of attacks on the U.S. power grid and what that might mean for Americans.

When it comes to the nation’s power grid, there’s a lot at stake, and enemies know it because they’ve attacked electric utilities hundreds of times within the past several years.

An investigation by USAToday and more than 10 of its community newspapers and television stations across the country found that between 2011 and 2014 alone, there were 362 reported physical and cyberattacks by electric utilities that resulted in partial power outages or disturbances.

Most of the attacks were physical; 14 of them were cyberattacks. But according to the Department of Homeland Security, the number of “cyber incidents” on the nation’s power infrastructure has been on the rise recently.

In 2013, it received 151 reports of “cyber incidents,” compared to 2012 when it received 111. In 2011, that number was considerably smaller at just 31. It’s unclear, however, whether the rise is due to more cyber activity or merely the result of the industry actually reporting those incidents.

Whatever the reason may be, however, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Cheryl LaFleur suggested that more must be done to protect the massive interconnected grid because even one localized disruption could result in a much bigger, potentially nationwide, crisis.

“It’s one of those things: One is too many, so that’s why we have to pay attention,” LaFleur said.  ”The threats continue to evolve, and we have to continue to evolve as well.”

While cybersecurity has been at the forefront of many national security conversations in the wake of recent events, former energy security regulator Josh Axelrod acknowledged the physical risks are just as significant, and perhaps easier to carry out than the cyber-related risks.

“If you know where to disable certain transformers, you can cause enough frequency and voltage fluctuation in order to disable the grid and cause cascading outages,” Axelrod said. “You can pick up a hunting rifle at your local sporting goods store and go do what you need to do.”

“Without electricity we aren’t a civilization, and this is a major societal vulnerability,” former CIA Directer James Woolsey told TheBlaze last year, specifically commenting on a 2013 power station attack in California. That attack was characterized by one official as a “dress rehearsal.”

As the USAToday investigation that surveyed 50 electrical utilities found, critical energy equipment such as power transformers aren’t as secure as they could be. They’re often in plain sight of any person who happens to walk by, protected mostly by chain-linked fences and in some cases security cameras. In addition, law enforcement officers still have not identified suspects involved in “many” of the hundreds of attacks that have occurred since 2011.

To complicate matters further, the organization that oversees energy security guidelines is funded by the power industry itself, which could raise potential conflict of interest concerns, especially given that 30 percent fewer security penalties were issues from 2013-2014, despite the fact that more disruptions were reported during that same time period.

Those who prep are not necessarily doing so out of fear of a zombie apocalypse; a 72-hour period without power can have devastating effects on a community’s safety and preparing for the worst is a prudent steps in these uncertain times.

CIA mastermind behind bin Laden killing, aka ‘Captain Ahab’, to be removed from post *(HE HAD TO BE REMOVED, HE KILLED OBAMA’S MUSLIM BROTHER.)*

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The head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC), who masterminded the killing of Osama bin Laden and the drone campaign, is being removed from his post at a time when the agency is focusing on a new generation of extremist threats.

The CTC chief, whose real name is Mike but who took on the pseudonym ‘Roger’ with the CIA, was revered as a Captain Ahab-like figure from Moby Dick, the Washington Post reported.

His efforts to help hunt down and kill bin Laden culminated on May 2, 2011, during an operation by SEAL Team Six. The event was the basis for the film ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ which was nominated for five Academy Awards. The character known as ‘The Wolf’ was based on Roger.

He was merciless to his colleagues but was also renowned as one of the best intelligence officers of his generation. He had an excellent knowledge of terrorist networks, and even converted to Islam – although his approach to counterterrorism was killing-centric and enraged many Muslims.

He was described by a CIA spokesman to the Washington Post as one of the “true heroes of the agency.”

“After nearly a decade of outstanding work in this post, including the takedown of countless terrorists and many other successes in protecting the country, he will be moving on in connection with the CIA modernization plan announced last month,” said CIA spokesman Dean Boyd.

Michael Morrel, former deputy director of the CIA, went further in his praise.

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“[Roger was] one of the finest intelligence officers of his generation. I don’t think there has been a more successful unit in the history of the agency than the CTC during this individual’s tenure,” he said.

US officials have said he will remain within the CIA and will be given a new assignment which is yet to be decided.

Read more

CIA reshuffle features ‘mission centers’, cyber-warfare to ‘cover the entire universe’

Roger’s removal from the role will not signal any shift in policy of the CTC.

“The new individual is just as aggressive with counterterrorism operations as the guy leaving,” a former intelligence official, who knows both Roger and his replacement Chris, told the Washington Post.

The CIA is currently going through a transition as its director John Brennan creates new hybrid units that combine analysts and operatives more like the CTC.

Chris will be under pressure to develop a strategy against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). More brutal than Al-Qaeda, IS is drawing thousands of recruits from Europe and the US, as well as Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

Roger’s removal may have been part of plans by Brennan and Obama to diminish the importance of the CTC, according to one former intelligence official.

“I think President Obama and Brennan have wanted to clip the CTC’s wings. But at a time when the enemy is getting stronger and stronger, how can you pull back?” said the official who worked in the CTC.

But Roger had a dark side. His authority meant that he often had to approve drone strikes, sometimes when the true identity of suspected militants was not even known.

Read more

CIA director blames social media for strength of ISIS

He was quoted by the Washington Post as saying “we’re killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them,” when asked about drone strikes.

His gung-ho approach has been criticized by some in the State Department and the Pentagon, who have argued that his focus on killing didn’t deal with the underlying causes of terrorism, and the emergence of the Islamic State appears to back this view up.

Roger was also said to be damaged by his running of secret CIA prisons and the use of torture on terrorism suspects, meaning he was ineligible for more senior CIA positions.

Brennan is believed to want to refocus the agency’s work on traditional intelligence gathering.

Obama-backed rebels in Yemen loot secret U.S. files about spy operations

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Why is the Obama administration deliberately leaking our most sensitive documents to our worst enemies? Where were the burn bags, etc.? This isn’t incompetence. It’s treason. How many spies and key people will be targeted for assassination with this treasure trove of US intel in the hands of the enemy?

The only safe secrets are Benghazi, his treacherous nuke deal, his perfidy in the Israeli elections, the IRS scandals, spying on Americans  ….

Over the weekend, US Special Forces, “the world’s most talented, capable and toughest special operations forces got the heck out of Dodge” — on orders from above, of course.

According to WaPo, the Pentagon is unable to account for more than $500 million in U.S. military aid given to Yemen. It’s in the hands of the enemy

Not a few months ago, Obama touted Yemen as his “success story.”

“Iran-backed rebels in Yemen loot secret U.S. files about spy operations,” The LA Times,  March 25, 2015 (thanks to Todd)

Houthis in Sana, Yemen

Houthi fighters chant slogans during the funeral procession for people killed last week in suicide bombings in Sana, Yemen. (Hani Mohammed / Associated Press)

By Brian Bennett and Zaid al-Alayaa contact the reporter

Iran-backed rebels seize secret files about U.S. counter-terrorism operations in Yemen

An intelligence loss hampers U.S. efforts to target Al Qaeda’s most powerful franchise in Yemen

Secret files held by Yemeni security forces that contain details of American intelligence operations in the country have been looted by Iran-backed militia leaders, exposing names of confidential informants and plans for U.S.-backed counter-terrorism strikes, U.S. officials say.

U.S. intelligence officials believe additional files were handed directly to Iranian advisors by Yemeni officials who have sided with the Houthi militias that seized control of Sana, the capital, in September, which led the U.S.-backed president to flee to Aden.

For American intelligence networks in Yemen, the damage has been severe. Until recently, U.S. forces deployed in Yemen had worked closely with President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s government to track and kill Al Qaeda operatives, and President Obama had hailed Yemen last fall as a model for counter-terrorism operations elsewhere.

But the identities of local agents were considered compromised after Houthi leaders in Sana took over the offices of Yemen’s National Security Bureau, which had worked closely with the CIA and other intelligence agencies, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive operations.

Yemeni intelligence officers still loyal to Hadi’s besieged government burned some secret files, one official said. But they couldn’t destroy all of them before the Houthi fighters, whose leaders have received some weapons and training from Iran, moved in.

The loss of the intelligence networks, in addition to the escalating conflict, contributed to the Obama administration’s decision to halt drone strikes in Yemen for two months, to vacate the U.S. Embassy in Sana last month and to evacuate U.S. special operations and intelligence teams from a Yemeni air base over the weekend.

The Houthis claimed Wednesday that they had captured that air base, Al Anad, as new fighting broke out in and around the southern seaport of Aden, the country’s financial hub, where Hadi had taken refuge. Over the weekend, the Houthis seized the central city of Taizz.

A Houthi-controlled TV channel announced a $20-million bounty for Hadi’s capture, and his Aden compound was hit by airstrikes.

Foreign Minister Riad Yassin said Hadi was overseeing the city’s defense from an undisclosed safe location. The Associated Press reported that he had fled the country on a boat.

Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said that U.S. diplomats “were in touch” with Hadi early Wednesday and that he later “voluntarily” left his residence. She said she could not confirm whether he was still in the country, calling conditions there “incredibly volatile.”

As the turmoil deepened, Yemen appeared to be descending into a civil war that could ignite a wider regional struggle.

Yemen port city of Aden seethes with separatist fervor

Yemen port city of Aden seethes with separatist fervor

Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Yemen to bolster the positions of the Yemeni government against the rapid advance of the Shiite militias, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. said Wednesday.

The objective of the airstrikes is to “defend the legitimate government” of Yemen and prevent the takeover of Yemen by Houthi militias, Ambassador Adel al Jubeir told reporters at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

Saudi Arabia reportedly moved troops, armored vehicles and artillery to secure its border with Yemen, which sits alongside key shipping routes.

After suicide bombers killed 137 worshipers at two Shiite mosques in Sana on Friday, a previously unknown group that said it was allied with Islamic State claimed responsibility. That stirred fear that the extremist group had expanded to Yemen, adding a new threat to the quickly fragmenting country.

- See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/03/backed-rebels-in-yemen-loot-secret-u-s-files-about-spy-operations.html/#sthash.KRt0Md6p.dpuf