Blowback? Manchester bomber linked to terrorist group which UK allegedly backed

Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi and his father, Ramadan, had long-standing links to a violent jihadist group which may have had British backing for the 2011 Libyan war and a 1996 attempt to kill then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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The controversy centers on the role of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which was both an anti-Gaddafi and Al-Qaeda subsidiary in the North African state.

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Many of the fighters which formed the group in the mid-90s were veterans of the Afghan-Soviet war from the 1980s. They went on to fight the Gaddafi regime in Libya itself.

The war saw the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime and the eventual murder of the leader himself after he was captured by opposition fighters. Since NATO’s intervention, Libya has been in chaos.

It has descended into a protracted civil war, is a major contributor to the international refugee crisis, has its own branch of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and two opposing governments.

The elder Abedi was reportedly one of the LIFG fighters who fled Gaddafi’s response to the rebels, settling in London and, later, in Manchester.

The area of Manchester in which Salman Abedi grew up was home to a number of other LIFG members, including former senior commanders including Abd al-Baset Azzouz, who left Manchester to go to Libya and run a 200-300-strong militant network for Osama Bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Azzouz is reported to be an expert bomb-maker.

In 2002, former MI6 agent and whistleblower David Shayler accused the British spy agency of colluding with the jihadist group in a failed 1996 effort to kill Gaddafi, an allegation the British government strenuously denies.

Allegations have also emerged that in 2011, the UK may have relaxed restrictions on LIFG fighters based in the UK and helped them return to Libya to fight Gaddafi.

The UK was at that time engaged in fighting Gaddafi as part of a US-led NATO coalition. Former fighters interviewed by the Middle East Eye said that the UK actively supported the return of anti-Gaddafi dissidents, including those with Al-Qaeda links, to the North African state.

One fighter who spoke to the Middle East Eye said he had been interviewed by an MI5 agent who asked if he waswilling to go into battle?

While I took time to find an answer he turned and told me the British government have no problem with people fighting against Gaddafi, the fighter said.

Others reported that when the war in Libya began, they looked into how to get fake documents, because their passports had been removed as part of restrictive control orders placed on them by the UK government.

One said that within days, the authorities had returned their passports, after which they headed straight to Libya to take on Gaddafi.

At the time of the war, current UK Prime Minister Theresa May was Home Secretary, with oversight of MI5 operations. It is not clear if she was aware of the decision to relax restrictions of jihadists and return their travel documents.

State Dept issues Travel Alert amid terrorism threats ‘throughout Europe’

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The US State Department is warning Americans that traveling to Europe risks being caught in a terrorist attack. The ‘Travel Alert’ is set to remain in place for the next four months.

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An official statement referred to recent attacks by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al Qaeda, as well as their affiliates, against France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Further terrorist attacks may be carried out, even as “local governments continue counter-terrorism operations,” the State Department said.

“US citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning, the statement added.

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Terrorists are anticipated to use familiar tactics, including employing firearms, high explosives, knives or sharp objects that evade security, or weaponizing trucks or automobiles by ramming or running over people. US citizens traveling to and throughout Europe are encouraged to check the website of their embassy or consulate as well as the local security information from officials.

Americans are instructed to follow orders of local authorities and monitor media and other information sources. They should expect delays in security screenings, the State Department advised. Americans are also told to have an emergency plan and to register with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP.

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In March, the State Department issued a Worldwide Caution, with a general advisory for Europe and specific Travel Warnings for Turkey and Ukraine.

The alert comes six days before a general election in France.

There was no specific threat or new development mentioned in Monday’s Travel Alert.

Convicted Egyptian terrorist with ties to Osama bin Laden stripped of US citizenship

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The US government has revoked the citizenship of an Egyptian-born man who confessed to recruiting for Al-Qaeda while living in California for 12 years. The former Silicon Valley car salesman is serving a 15-year prison sentence for terrorism in Egypt.

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Khaled Abu al-Dahab, 57, lost his naturalized citizenship and any rights related to it by order of Judge Beryl A. Howell of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the Department of Justice said in a statement on Thursday.

Al-Dahab was arrested and convicted on terrorism charges in Egypt in 1998, and confessed to being a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), an affiliate of Al-Qaeda. He also confessed to running an “Al-Qaeda communications hub” from his apartment in Santa Clara, California and recruiting Americans for the terrorist group, with Osama Bin Laden personally praising his work.

“The Justice Department is committed to protecting our nation’s national security and will aggressively pursue denaturalization of known or suspected terrorists,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in comments about the decision.

“When we identify individuals tied to foreign terrorist organizations who procured their US citizenship by fraud, we will initiate denaturalization proceedings – whether you reside here or abroad – and ensure you are denied entry into the United States,” Sessions added.

Al-Dahab became a US citizen in February 1997. The following year, he was arrested in Egypt and tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for terrorism.

During the period when he was supposed to establish good moral character to qualify for citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Al-Dahab operated a terrorist hub out of his home and helped the group obtain and transfer money as well as fraudulent passports and other documents. His communications hub also “materially assisted” the commission of terrorist attacks in Egypt and Pakistan, the US government said.

Osama bin Laden was eager to recruit American citizens of Middle Eastern origin, Al-Dahab told the FBI, adding that the Al-Qaeda leader personally congratulated him on his efforts in pursuit of that goal.

The US government initiated proceedings against Al-Dahab in April 2015, seeking to revoke his citizenship because he made false statements in his naturalization documents, and “procured his citizenship by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.” He was served the complaint via Facebook and email, the DOJ said.

‘Top secret CIA virus control system’: WikiLeaks releases ‘Hive’ from #Vault7 series

Hive, the latest batch of WikiLeaks documents exposing alleged CIA hacking techniques from ‘Vault 7’, details how the agency can monitor its targets through the use of malware and carry out specific tasks on targeted machines.

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Described as a multi-platform malware suite, Hive provides “customisable implants” for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in Internet routers), Linux platforms, and AVTech Network Video Recorders, used for CCTV recording. Such implants allow the CIA to communicate specific commands.

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A 2015 User Guide reveals the initial release of Hive came in 2010, and describes the software implant as having two primary functions – a beacon and interactive shell. Both are designed to provide an initial foothold to deploy other “full featured tools.”

The implants communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain. Each cover domain is connected to an IP address at a commercial Virtual Private Server (VPS) provider. This forwards all incoming traffic to what’s called a ‘Blot’ server.

The redirected traffic is examined to see if it contains a valid beacon. If it does, it’s sent to a tool handler, known as Honeycomb, where the CIA can initiate other actions on the target computer.

The user guide details the commands that are available, including uploading and deleting files and executing applications on the computer.

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To hide the presence of such malware, WikiLeaks notes that the public HTTPS interface (a protocol for secure communication over a computer network within an encrypted connection) “utilizes unsuspicious-looking cover domains,” meaning those targeted would be unaware of the CIA’s interference.

A ‘self-delete’ function is described in documentation accompanying Hive, revealing that the implant destroys itself if it’s not signalled for a predetermined amount of time. Binary information regarding Hive is deleted from the host, leaving a log and configuration file containing only a timestamp.

The self-delete was known to cause issues for the developers after running into complications caused by disparities in system clocks.

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WikiLeaks says anti-virus companies and forensic experts have noticed “possible state-actor” malware using similar back-end infrastructure, but were unable to connect the back-end to CIA operations.

The Hive documents released Friday may allow experts to examine this kind of communication between malware implants and backend servers, WikiLeaks says.

The CIA’s Hive project was created by its Embedded Development Branch (EDB). This branch was also responsible for projects detailed in WikiLeaks’ ‘Dark Matter’ leak, revealing the CIA’s attacks on Apple firmware.

READ MORE: #Vault7: WikiLeaks releases ‘Dark Matter’ batch of CIA hacking tactics for Apple products

Trump Hostage In WH To Neocon, Liberal Establishment – In Need Of America’s Help?

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By Rick Wells

If you’re one of the many Americans who are not happy with the idea of President Trump turning his back on the promises of his campaign about interventionism and the weak premise for the hurried missile strikes into Syria before the evidence could be inspected and guilt determined, you’re not alone. According to Alex Jones, 80% of his listeners are also similarly asking questions. 

Jones mentions reports that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump “have basically had a Democrat coup at the White House,” but has something else more pressing to discuss, the preparation for a massive US military invasion of Syria. It’s something that Mike Cernovich reported yesterday, which was covered in our pages.

Jones, who has been known on rare occasions to exaggerate slightly, claims to have made some calls to the Pentagon and personally confirmed that an invasion plan is set for Syria. He says regular Army is being positioned in the country as well as a Marine Expeditionary Force “ready to pound Damascus if need be or even to go to war with the Russians.” One has to wonder how many babies that type of shock and awe would kill.

According to Jones, the hawkish National Security Adviser and Petraeus prodigy, HR McMaster, has stated that he wants to take out ISIS and Assad simultaneously. That’s the same thing that John McCain has been saying for the last few days, indicating some type of coordination.

Jones reaffirms, as we all must do when questioning events to avoid being mistaken for having given up on President Trump, that the problem is not with the President but with the prospect of him being co-opted by the globalists. Everything he ran on, the national security, border security, Constitutional issues still remain, but the alliance with the neocon colonialists has to stop.

Jones says there are three things that have given him concerns about President Trump, which are concerns this writer shares, the bad health bill, his attacking of the Freedom Caucus members, his base, as if they are the enemy, and now this alliance with the neocons in military adventurism. I would add the ostracizing of Steve Bannon to that list as well.

He draws a distinction between honoring our commitments and the real threats of China in the South China Sea or of North Korea to South Korea and Japan versus the fabricated situation in Syria in which the globalists inserted the terrorist agitators in a failed attempt to overthrow the sovereign nation’s government, and open it up for profiteering.

Jones warns that President Trump is surrounded, the government is in rebellion and ignoring his orders. We need to stand by him but he needs to come to the people, break free of his neocon handlers and let us know he’s still the same guy. Something isn’t right. The questions are what, why and by whom.

Would anyone want to hazard a guess that it is the illegal foreign squatter and his loyalists, in conjunction with the deep state establishment and the Soros agitator, “Masters of the Universe” types of the shadow government who are at the root of all of this?

LINDSEY GRAHAM: ‘ISIS AND ASSAD SYMBOLIZE GERMANY AND JAPAN’

Warhawks demand ground invasion, provocation of Russians

| Infowars.com – APRIL 10, 2017

Lindsey Graham appeared on Meet the Press and wasted no time calling for a new world war in Syria, saying, “I think ISIS should be Germany, and Assad should be Japan – like World War II analogies.”

The failed presidential candidate and warmongering senator from South Carolina gushed his support for sending more American troops into Syria to topple President Bashar al-Assad and force regime change, and even called for an expansion of programs to ‘train moderate rebels’ to attack the Syrian government – a policy that has proven totally ineffective at best, and a direct empowerment and arming of barbaric jihadists at worst.

Additionally, he asserted that the US should threaten to shoot down Russian jets if they intervene on behalf of their ally.

“You need more American troops to accelerate the demise of ISILwe’re relying too much on the Kurds,” Graham said. “More American forces – five or six thousand – would attract more regional fighters to destroy ISIL… then you train the opposition to go after Assad.”

“That’s how he’s taken out by his own people, with our efforts, and you tell the Russians, ‘If you continue to bomb the people we trained, we’ll shoot you down.’

“Here’s what I think Assad is telling Trump by flying from this base: ‘F you.’ he said.

Clearly delighted with Graham’s crass bravado, a laughing Todd replied, “I have to say – you used the initials, but I think that’s a first for Meet the Press… We had a few people watching, and that raised a lot of eyebrows.”

“I’m glad Trump did this,” Graham said. “But he needs to do more to close the deal – there’s a new sheriff in town.”

Graham was on the verge of hyperventilating as he proclaimed that President Trump has the moral obligation and legal authority to carry out an unbridled ground war in Syria, declaring that the Russian government are “war criminals” and that Assad is a direct threat to the United States.

“War criminals don’t police each other very well,” Graham said, without a hint of irony. “The Putin regime is a bunch of war criminals.”

“I don’t intend to vote for anything that limits our ability to win the war against ISIL, or replace Assad.”

Dan Lyman: Facebook | Twitter

 

REPORT: ISIS ATTACKS US-LED COALITION BASE IN SYRIA

Conflict in Syria escalating on the ground

Zero HedgeAPRIL 10, 2017

With the US now engaged in military conflict with, and targeting Syrian army forces, what the Trump administration has (un)wittingly done is provide support to Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and al-Nusra and other terrorist forces, all of which have been engaging with the Assad regime in a fight in which the Syrian president has gradually seen the tide of war turn in his favor – at least until last Friday’s US cruise missile attack that is. 

Which is why it should probably come as no surprise that, emboldened by US actions, moments ago the WSJ reported that Islamic State militants attacked a US-led coalition base (at least we now have official confirmation that there are US military bases in Syria) in southern Syria on Saturday, “triggering a fierce fight that required coalition airstrikes to repel, U.S. military officials said Sunday.”

The complex attack began on Saturday when Islamic State fighters detonated a vehicle bomb at a base in al-Tanf, a town in southern Syria along the Jordan border used by American special operation forces and Syrian rebels working with the U.S. coalition, the officials said.

Between 20 and 30 Islamic State fighters, including some with suicide vests, then attacked the base, which is a staging ground and training facility for the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels.

As the WSJ adds, Coalition forces and Syrian rebels engaged in firefights with the attackers and then called in airstrikes to repel the attack, officials said.

Luckily, there was no word of any American fatalities in the attack, although next time the US forces on the ground may not be so lucky, and the resulting media storm would prompt a full reappraisal of Trump’s action which by weakening Assad implicitly and directly is boosting the relative strength of the Islamic State.

The Islamic State attack comes as the U.S. military is deepening its presence in Syria as part of an intensifying campaign to drive the extremist group from its de facto capital in Raqqa. For weeks, the U.S. military has been strengthening its presence along the Jordan-Syria border, according to U.S. and Jordanian officials.