How America armed terrorists in Syria

From Consortium News

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” to curb weapons going to Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, has attracted only 14 co-sponsors pointing to hypocrisy in the “war on terror,” as Gareth Porter explained at The American Conservative.

By Gareth Porter
June 23, 2017

Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.

President Barack Obama walks along the Colonnade at the White House with then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Dec. 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups — meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.

That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history.  The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism” — the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.

The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama administration official involved in Middle East issues.

Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi.

Shipments from Benghazi

CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo.

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Busted: Bulgaria routinely ships weapons to Syrian militants – investigation

April 26th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries have repeatedly been accused of supplying weapons to terrorists. Bulgaria – is no exception. 
According to the news agency “Tass”, another batch of Bulgarian arms to Syria was delivered April 4, 2017 from the port of Burgas (Bulgaria) to the port of “Jeddah” (Saudi Arabia) on the vessel “Marianne Danica”, en route under the flag of Denmark.
It is known that over the last month, the Bulgarian ship has made two trips to Saudi Arabia and returned to Bulgaria for the next “batch”. Saudi Arabia can not realistically be the recipient of the weapons, as the country’s army is equipped with exclusively Western weapons already.
Reporters of the newspaper “Trud”, who published the  original  result of the investigation, also found that the Bulgarian weapons manufacturer “VMZ-Sopot” signed contracts on arms supplies with the US; two companies “Chemring”, in the amount of $47m, (Dec 2016) and Orbital ATK, to the amount of $50m  in January of this year.
VMZ-Sopot, Bulgaria
Payment for orders is made through ‘front companies’ representatives of European command and of the US armed forces.
As a reminder, the previous (and first) noisy case of transportation of Bulgarian arms to Syrian Islamists occurred in December 2016.
Then, journalists visited the city of Aleppo and found 9 Al-Nusra warehouses for heavy machine guns and ammunition, missiles for multiple rocket launchers, all produced in Bulgaria. It turned out that the supplier of ammunition is a Bulgarian privately owned weapons company Arcus from Lyaskovets, and military factory VMZ-Sopot.
The fact that the leadership of the Republic of Bulgaria has repeatedly and convincingly been accused of supplying weapons to Syria, no one, apparently, cares. As a result, Bulgaria, as a member of NATO and the European Union, under the auspices of the United States and through “gray schemes” continues to regularly and illegally redirect weapons to terrorist groups in Syria.

Syrian Army General Command: Turkish government increases arms supplies to terrorists in exchange for oil and antiquities

From Syrian-Arab News Agency — SANA

القيادة العامة

Damascus, SANA- General Command of the Army and Armed Forces stressed that the Turkish government is providing terrorists with arms and ammunition in exchange for oil and artifacts robbed from Syria and Iraq at low prices.

The General Command said in statement: “We have certain information that the Turkish government recently increased support for terrorists and the level of supplying them with arms, ammunition and munitions to continue their criminal acts in exchange for oil and antiquities stolen from Syria and Iraq at low prices, taking advantage of the presence of terrorists whom it enabled to control border areas”.

The General Command of the Army pointed out that information shows that transportation move among areas controlled by terrorists unhindered and pass through border crossings without being subjected to any inspection at all.

The General Command added that what the Turkish government claims about convoys of humanitarian aid is nothing but a myth since these convoys are loads of arms and ammunition for terrorists and they are also used to evacuate the injured terrorists to the Turkish health centers.

The Turkish authorities deliberately fomented a state of chaos on the Syrian-Turkish border which facilitated the movements of terrorists from Syria to Europe to carry out terrorist acts, the statement said.

“The Turkish side went too far in the aggression last night when they fired several mortar shells from al-Aqra’a Mountain towards our positions,” the statement added.
The General Command warned of the threats posed by such actions, calling on the international community to press the Turkish government to force it to stop its overt or covert support for global terrorism.

Qabas/ Manal

http://sana.sy/en/?p=62873

Aaron Klein’s “The Real Benghazi Story”: CIA Ops finally revealed

It seems the world owes the U.S. Republican Party a big “thank you” for keeping this story in the news, so that more details could become public.
Whether any of the Republicans in Congress or on Fox News care about this and other background information is another issue entirely. It will also be interesting if Democrats in Congress and in the public publicly denounce what was done, or continue making excuses or hiding this information.
Stay tuned to see if integrity still exists in the United States.
Global Research, October 23, 2015
World Net Daily 8 September 2015
What the US Ambassador in Benghazi was Really Doing
The U.S. special mission in Benghazi and the nearby CIA annex were utilized in part to coordinate arms shipments to the jihadist rebels fighting the Syrian regime, with Ambassador Christopher Stevens playing a central role, documents an explosive new book released today.

The activities, which included a separate, unprecedented multi-million-dollar weapons collection effort from Libyan militias who did not want to give up their weapons, may have prompted the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, charges the new book.

The findings and more are revealed in the new work by radio host and WND reporter Aaron Klein, “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know.”

Klein asserts the arms-to-rebels scheme that ran through Benghazi “might amount to the Fast and Furious of the Middle East, the Iran-Contra of the Obama administration.”

real-beghaziA key issue is that until the end of April 2013, the White House had repeatedly denied it was involved in helping to arm the Syrian rebels. However, “The REAL Benghazi Story” cites evidence of arms transfers throughout the summer of 2012, escalating with a major shipment from Libya to Turkey just days prior to the Sept. 11 attack.

It’s finally here: “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know.” Get it now at the WND Superstore!

(image: http://mobile.wnd.com/files/2014/09/real-beghazi.jpg)

The book finds members of the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade, a militia linked to the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist organization, may have been used as cut outs to aid in the weapons transfers to Syrian rebels.

Perplexingly, armed members of the Martyrs Brigade were hired by the State Department to provide internal “security” at the U.S. special mission.

Stevens an ‘arms dealer’?

According to information cited by Klein, Stevens served less as a diplomat and more as an arms dealer and intelligence coordinator for assistance to the so-called Arab Spring, with particular emphasis on the Syrian rebels.

As was widely reported, Stevens originally arrived in Libya during the revolution aboard a Greek cargo ship carrying equipment and vehicles. His original task in Libya was to serve as the main interlocutor between the Obama administration and the rebels based in Benghazi. Stevens never abandoned that role, even after becoming ambassador, according to Klein.

Indeed, the New York Times reported in December 2012 that Stevens himself facilitated an application to the State Department for the sale of weapons filed by one Marc Turi, whom the Times’ describes as an “American arms merchant who had sought to provide weapons to Libya.”

The Times reported Turi’s first application was rejected in March 2011 but was approved two months later after he stated “only that he planned to ship arms worth more than $200 million to Qatar.” Qatar was Turkey’s partner in aiding the Syrian rebels.

Klein notes the Times did not question why a U.S. ambassador would help facilitate government applications for arms dealers. Nor did the Times bother to investigate the possible connection of those activities to the Benghazi attack.

Continued Klein: “After all, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to divine a possible link to the Benghazi assaults amid reports of Stevens supporting a weapons dealer’s application while American intelligence officers hiding in ‘secret locations’ were helping Arab governments shop for weapons to be sent to Mideast rebels, including some of the same groups linked to the September 11, 2012 attacks.”

Klein points out Stevens held his final meeting with a diplomat from Turkey, which was one of the main backers of the Syrian rebels.

What do YOU think? Has the Obama administration covered up the Benghazi truth? Sound off in today’s WND poll!

Arms to jihadists

Klein’s statement about U.S. intelligence officers aiding weapons shipments from “secret locations” is a reference to the larger arms-to-rebels pipeline that is thoroughly documented in the book.

The story began prior to the establishment of the U.S. mission in Benghazi, when the United States and NATO supported Arab airlifts of aid to the rebels who eventually toppled Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.

The Obama administration’s “Arab Spring” adventures pivoted westward, reports Klein, when the CIA started helping Arab governments and Turkey obtain and ship weapons to the rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

The New York Times reported March 25, 2013, that the covert aid to the Syrian rebels started on a small scale and continued intermittently through the fall of 2012, expanding into a steady and much heavier flow later that year, including a large procurement from Croatia.

However, Klein cites sources saying the airlifts actually began several months before the fall of 2012, including a massive arm shipment from Benghazi to the Syrian rebels in August 2012 days before the Benghazi attack. That massive weapons shipment departed the port in Benghazi and arrived in early September at the Turkish port of Iskenderun, 35 miles from the Syrian border, purportedly to deliver humanitarian aid.

The Times, meanwhile, reported that from offices at “secret locations,” American intelligence officers “helped the Arab governments shop for weapons … and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”

Jihadist cut outs

The exact nature of the U.S. involvement with the February 17 Brigade that guarded the U.S. special mission might have been unintentionally exposed when a Libyan weapons dealer formerly with the Brigade told Reuters in an in-person interview he had helped ship weapons from Benghazi to the rebels fighting in Syria.

Klein noted that no one seems to have connected the dots from what the weapons dealer said to the activities taking place inside the Benghazi compound and whether the Brigade serves as a cut out to ship weapons.

In the Reuters interview published June 18, 2013, Libyan warlord Abdul Basit Haroun declared he is behind some of the biggest shipments of weapons from Libya to Syria. Most of the weapons were sent to Turkey, he said, where they were, in turn, smuggled into neighboring Syria.

Ismail Salabi, a commander of the February 17 Brigade, told Reuters Haroun was a member of the brigade until he quit to form a group of his own.

Haroun told Reuters his weapons-smuggling operation was run with an associate, who helped him coordinate about a dozen people in Libyan cities collecting weapons for Syria.

Collecting weapons

Besides arming the Syrian rebels, Klein documents that from the U.S. mission and CIA annex, American agents ran an unprecedented multi-million-dollar U.S. effort to secure anti-aircraft weapons in Libya after the fall of Gadhafi’s regime.

This weapons-collection effort may go a long way to explain the motive behind the Benghazi attack. The various jihadist organizations that looted Gaddafi’s MANPAD reserves and the rebel groups that received weapons during the NATO campaign in Libya obviously would feel threatened by an American effort to try to retrieve the weapons.

In March 2013, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., connected Stevens to that effort. He told Fox News that Stevens was in the Libyan city to keep weapons caches from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Previously, one source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi the very night of the attack “to negotiate a weapons transfer in an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”

In August 2013, CNN reported there is “speculation” on Capitol Hill that U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi “were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.”

In “The REAL Benghazi Story,” Klein fully exposes the extent of the weapons-collection effort, which took place in Benghazi, where a leading U.S. expert was deployed.

Klein relates then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton committed to providing $40 million to assist Libya’s efforts to secure and recover its weapons stockpiles. Of that funding, $3 million went to unspecified nongovernmental organizations that specialize in conventional weapons destruction and stockpile security.

The NGOs and a U.S. team coordinated all efforts with Libya’s Transitional National Council, or TNC. The U.S. team was led by Mark Adams, a State Department expert from the MANPADS Task Force.

Klein cites Andrew J. Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, who conceded that the Western-backed rebels did not want to give up the weapons, particularly Man-Portable-Air-Defense-Systems, or MANPADS, which were the focus of the weapons collection efforts.

Breaks new ground on Benghazi

Klein’s extensively sourced book breaks news on significant issues related to the Benghazi attack.

A sampling of what the publisher says is contained in the book:

  • Everything is covered from the secretive activities transpiring inside the doomed facility to shocking new details about the withholding of critical protection at the U.S. special mission.
  • Hillary Clinton’s personal role in the Benghazi scandal.
  • Information that raises new questions about what really happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens that night.
  • Answered for the first time is why the State Department hired armed members of the al-Qaida-linked February 17 Martyrs Brigade to “protect” the facility.
  • New reasons are revealed for not sending air support or Special Forces during the assault, while extensively probing jihadist groups behind the attack.
  • How Benghazi has implications that go beyond the Sept. 11, 2012, attack and may have created major national security threats we now face, fueling conflicts from Mali to Syria to Gaza and beyond.

Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2014/09/finally-revealed-what-ambassador-in-benghazi-was-really-doing/#XFc1gPY2m6cy2rLX.99

German military association demands massive armaments increase

Welt.de reports that Lieutenant Colonel André Wüstner, President of the Armed Forces Association, said, “Whoever wants peace must prepare for war.” [1]
——————————————————————————

From World Socialist Web Site, February 14, 2015
By Johannes Stern

Against the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis, leading German politicians and military leaders are demanding a massive rearmament of the army.

On Sunday, the president of the armed forces association [Bundeswehrverband], André Wüstner, attending the Munich Security Conference, declared: “Whoever wants freedom must be ready for war.” He has precisely the same view as the German government, namely that the conflict in Ukraine cannot be solved militarily, but that the army must prepare itself for any emergency.

The past year has shown “how quickly risks can turn into dangers,” said Wüstner. The situation in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq is dramatic, he said.

“For us, that means insisting that the army should be fully equipped—equipment caps passed by the previous legislature must be abolished! That begins with the weapons system and goes all the way to the personal equipment of the individual soldier.”

“To achieve complete preparation of the army for deployment”, he added, “we must raise the defense budget step by step in the next few years. Otherwise, we risk losing the trust of our allies that we have only just won back.”

Wüstner was referring to “global challenges” and the German role in NATO. Germany has a “payback responsibility” with regard to the army and NATO.

The lieutenant colonel complained, “Since 1990, the budget was restructured to save money at the expense of the army,” and demanded: “It is time for that to end—there have to be credible assurances of funding for deterrence and security!”

This year’s defense report raises similar demands and read like a blueprint for the rearmament of the army. In the forward, the parliamentary defense commissioner Hellmut Königshaus (Free Democratic Party, FDP) describes the year 2014 as “the year of truth” for the army. It is being rebuilt into an army capable of intervening worldwide, but is “stretched to the limit of its capacity.”

The first part of the report creates the impression that the German armed forces are a chronically underfinanced scrapheap in need of redevelopment and in urgent need of a massive increase in budgetary allotments.

In nearly all units, there are personnel problems: the anti-aircraft missile unit stationed in Turkish territory, the speedboat squadron, the U-boat squadron, the tactical air force squadron, the marine planes and the signals division.

With regard to large military equipment, the report says there are massive “inadequacies and deficits.” It mentions, for instance, the Eurofighter, the transport helicopter NH 90, the transport airplane Transall and the marine mine warfare systems. There are not enough armored personnel carriers, and barracks are dilapidated. Replacement parts for military equipment and adequate ammunition are also lacking. And the main gun used by the army, the G36, does not shoot accurately.

Wüstner and the defense report demand what the German government and NATO have wanted for a long time but have previously only formulated cautiously because of widespread popular opposition.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) said in her opening speech to the Munich Security Conference last weekend that Germany is working “very hard to bring the army’s weaponry and equipment into a condition that will allow us to maintain our role as enduring alliance partners.” NATO wants this to take place immediately. The military alliance has long demanded of its members that they raise their defense budgets to at least two percent of GDP. Recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that Germany set a good example.

Stoltenberg held talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defense Minister von der Leyen about increasing military funding during his inaugural visit to Berlin in January. He also presented his plans to the parliamentary committees for defense and foreign policy.

Germany is a “key country” on the continent and has an important leadership role to play, said Stoltenberg. Therefore it must set an example for other NATO countries with its military. The security situation is changing “and we must adjust ourselves to that,” the NATO secretary general said.

Like Wüstner and von der Leyen, Stoltenberg directly related his plans for armaments with Russia’s “confrontation course”. NATO must stock up its arsenal, because only on the basis of a “position of strength” is a dialog with Moscow possible.

However, the most important reason for the demand to build up the army is not the NATO insistence, but the end of German restraint in matters of foreign policy announced by President Gauck and the German government a year ago. In order to be able to intervene worldwide to defend German economic, geopolitical and security interests, they need an army that is well equipped and prepared.

The complaints of the defense report about the bad condition of the army evoke historical parallels. In 1933, minister of the army of the Reich, Werner von Blomberg, prepared a memorandum in which he called the state of the German army “hopeless.” Like the current defense report, Blomberg’s memorandum complained that there were inadequate personnel reserves, military equipment and ammunition. Not even the equipment guaranteed by the Versailles treaty was available to the marines. Armoured ships were not delivered and the air force was almost nonexistent.

The dramatic development that then followed is well known. At the end of the same year, the Nazi regime began a rapid rearmament of the army. Within a short time, the German weapons industry, which had shrunk dramatically in accordance with the Versailles peace treaty, became a powerful fighting force that began the Second World War in 1939, left large parts of Europe in ruins and led a brutal war of destruction against the Soviet Union.

 

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/14/bund-f14.html

http://www.globalresearch.ca/german-army-association-demands-massive-armaments-increase/5431282

[1] http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article137224332/Deutschland-muss-auf-Krieg-vorbereitet-sein.html