Friday, 17 October 2014


Socialist Vietnam and Korean leaders Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il Sung



In 2000, twenty-five years after the Vietnam War ended, both North Korea and Vietnam admitted for the first time that, as had long been rumored but never before officially confirmed, North Korean pilots had flown in combat against U.S. aircraft over North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. No further details of North Korea’s involvement were provided, however, and subsequently very little information has been provided. An official Vietnamese military history published in 2001 contained only the following general statement: “Under the terms of an agreement between Korea and Vietnam, in 1967 a number of pilots from the Korean People’s Liberation Army were sent to Vietnam to provide us training and the benefit of their experience and to participate in combat operations alongside the pilots of the People’s Army of Vietnam. On a number of flights Korean pilots scored victories by shooting down American aircraft.”[1] Vietnamese military histories usually refer only to an unidentified regimental-sized flying unit called “Group Z” [Doan Z]. Except in a few isolated instances, these histories provide no information about the exact size, composition, or activities of the mysterious “Group Z,” except that it was based at Kep Airfield northeast of Hanoi from early 1967 through 1968. An article published in a Vietnamese newspaper in August 2007 reported that in 2002 the bodies of the 14 North Korean Air Force personnel killed during the Vietnam War had been buried in a cemetery in Vietnam’s Bac Giang Province and had been disinterred and repatriated to North Korea. In a letter to the newspaper to correct several mistakes made in the original article, a retired North Vietnamese major general who had worked with the North Koreans revealed that a total of 87 North Korean Air Force personnel had served in North Vietnam between 1967 and early 1969, during which time the North Koreans had lost 14 men and had claimed to have shot down 26 American aircraft.[2]

According to the documents below, taken from an official People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) historical publication, on 21 September 1966 an official North Korean request to be allowed to send a North Korean Air Force regiment to help defend North Vietnam against U.S air attacks was officially reviewed and approved by the Vietnamese Communist Party’s Central Military Party Committee, chaired by General Vo Nguyen Giap. During subsequent discussions held 24-30 September 1966 between a PAVN delegation headed by the Chief of the PAVN General Staff and a North Korean military delegation headed by the Chief of the North Korean General Staff, a detailed agreement was worked out for the dispatch of a North Korean Air Force contingent to fight in North Vietnam. The agreement stipulated that the North Koreans would provide pilots for one North Korean Air Force regiment consisting of two companies (ten aircraft each) of MiG-17s and one company of MiG-21s, while Vietnam would provide the aircraft and all necessary technical equipment, maintenance, and logistics support for the North Korean flyers. The agreement included a timetable for the phased arrival of the individual North Korean flight companies and specified that the North Korean units would operate under the command and control of the North Vietnamese Air Defense Command.

General Vo Nguyen Giap’s Decision On North Korea’s Request to Send a Number of Pilots to Fight in Vietnam

21 September 1966

During a meeting of the Current Affairs Committee of the Central Military Party Committee, Comrade Phung The Tai, the Commander of the Air Defense-Air Force Command, reported that our allies had requested permission to send a volunteer air force unit to fight in Vietnam. The request stated that their personnel would be organized into individual companies that would be integrated into our air force regiments, that they would wear our uniforms, and that they would operate from the same airfields as our air force. Our allies said that they could send a large number of technical [support] personnel but that we would be totally responsible for providing ground technical support and for providing supplies for their unit.

After a discussion by the Current Affairs Committee of the Central Military Party Committee, as the presiding officer Comrade Vo Nguyen Giap reached the following decision: The North Korean air force personnel would be called “specialists” but in reality they would be volunteer soldiers. For that reason, we had to agree to respect our allies but at the same time we had to maintain our own sovereignty. During the course of their training and combat operations, we had to clearly delineate their area of operations and assign them both a primary and an alternate airfield. With regard to command arrangements, we would be their superiors, but within the allied [North Korean] regiment they would directly command their own forces with the assistance of representatives from our side, who would give them their specific operational missions. General Giap demanded that coordination arrangements between the two sides must be very clear and precise to avoid any unfortunate complications in the future.


Document 2

Source: Vietnam Ministry of Defense Central Archives, Central Military Party Committee Collection, File No. 433. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Merle Pribbenow.

Signing of a Protocol Agreement for North Korea to Send a Number of Pilots to Fight the American Imperialists during the War of Destruction against North Vietnam
30 September 1966

Following the agreement in principle between the Labor Party of Vietnam and the Korean Workers’ Party, to implement the guidance issued by the Current Affairs Committee of the Central Military Party Committee on 21 September, from 24 to 30 September 1966 Vietnamese military representatives led by Chief of the General Staff Van Tien Dung and North Korean military representatives led by Chief of the General Staff Choi Kwang held talks in an atmosphere of honesty and sincerity and then signed a protocol agreement covering the following six concrete points:

1. - In late October or during November 1966 North Korea would send Vietnam enough specialists to man a Vietnamese MiG-17 company (a company consisted of ten aircraft). In late 1966 or early 1967, after Vietnam had prepared sufficient aircraft, North Korea would send enough specialists to Vietnam to man a second Vietnamese MiG-17 company. During 1967, after North Korea finished preparing specialists and after Vietnam was able to prepare sufficient aircraft, North Korea would send to Vietnam sufficient specialists to man one Vietnamese MiG-21 company.

2. - To facilitate internal administration and combat command, the North Korean specialists would be organized into individual companies, and eventually into a regiment. Prior to the formation of the regiment, the North Korean specialist companies would be assigned to a Vietnamese air force regiment and would be deployed to that regiment’s airfields.When the Korean side had its full complement of three flying companies, a North Korean regiment would be organized and the regiment would be assigned its own separate airfield.

3. - The specialist companies assigned to the Vietnamese air force regiment would be subordinate to the regiment headquarters and would be under the guidance and direction of Vietnam’s Air Defense-Air Force Command.

4. - Coordination between air force units and between the air force and anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile units would be carried out under the guidance and direction of Vietnam’s Air Defense-Air Force Command.

5. - All command and technical support, such as communications and technical support and maintenance of the aircraft would be provided by the Vietnamese side.

6. - North Korea would provide the basic technical and tactical training to the specialists in North Korea. After their arrival in Vietnam, Vietnam would only provide them with the on-the-job training necessary to adapt to the battlefield conditions, weather conditions, and their battle opponents.

In addition, the protocol also laid out the agreement on providing housing, living supplies, transportation equipment, medical support, policy regulations [death, injury, sickness, discipline], and commendations and awards.


US was prepared 'to use nuclear weapons against North Korea' if troops crossed border


"“It also doesn't really scare the North Koreans, who think they have been under a nuclear threat for decades – which is why they developed their own nuclear program," the expert added."

The US was prepared to use nuclear weapons if North Korean forces crossed the border into South Korea, the former CIA Director and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has claimed in his memoir.

In a passage published in Newsweek from his autobiographical book Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace, Mr Panetta recalled a briefing in 2010 by the commander of US forces in South Korea.

During this briefing in Seoul, he said General Walter L. “Skip” Sharp suggested the US would use nuclear weapons if necessary in the event that North Korea moved across the demilitarised zone.

“If North Korea moved across the border, our war plans called for the senior American general on the peninsula to take command of all US and South Korea forces and defend South Korea— including by the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary,” Mr Panetta wrote.

“I left our meeting with the powerful sense that war in that region was neither hypothetical nor remote, but ever-present and imminent.”

Mr Panetta served as Defence Secretary under President Barack Obama between 2011 and 2013. He was the head of the CIA for four years before this.

His recollections from that particular meeting have proved divisive, with a former top CIA expert on Korea dismissing them as “typical wooden-headedness on the part of a US official”.

Responding to the excerpt, the former CIA expert said such a revelation could lead South Korea to believe “having the US bull in their china shop is maybe not such a good idea”.

“It also doesn't really scare the North Koreans, who think they have been under a nuclear threat for decades – which is why they developed their own nuclear program," the expert added.

However, Terence Roehrig, a Korea expert at the Naval War College, told Newsweek the briefing was not surprising.

“In many respects, the information is not new,” he said. “The United States has long had a position that South Korea was under the US nuclear umbrella.”


The myth of Assad, ISIL and extremism

Sharmine Narwani, RT

Who is to blame for the proliferation of extremist groups in Syria? The West often points a finger at Assad and his allies, but two secret US documents tell a different story.

It is difficult to find US officials directly claiming that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in league with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but you will find plenty who will allude to it using specious reasoning:

US Secretary of State John Kerry is one of many who have sought to encourage this narrative:

“There is evidence that Assad has played footsie with them (ISIL), and he has used them as a tool of weakening the opposition. He never took on their headquarters, which were there and obvious, and other assets that they have. So we have no confidence that Assad is either capable of or willing to take on ISIL.”
That logic forms the basis of several key arguments used by Syria’s opponents to suggest a covert and symbiotic relationship between the Syrian government and Islamist extremists. They go something like this:

• Assad encouraged the growth of militants to create an either-or dilemma for Syrians who want him deposed, but who fear “what comes next.”

• Assad released militants from prison in 2011 so that they would overwhelm secular moderates.

• Proof of this is that the Syrian Army does not attack ISIL targets.

• Assad has a close history with militants – he sent hundreds over the border into Iraq to join the insurgency against US forces and is now suffering blowback.

But as a global confrontation with ISIL mounts, an entirely different picture has begun to emerge. The US-led coalition's five Arab Sunni partners are providing little less than fig-leaf cover for airstrike operations. NATO has been unable to wrest - to date - a commitment from Turkey to enforce serious border security to stop militants from crossing over into Iraq and Syria. In recent weeks, Western media has unleashed a flurry of articles pointing to Qatar's role in funding extremists.

Clearly, America's Sunni Arab and Turkish allies are approaching the “ISIL Project”' with something less than enthusiasm.

On Thursday, US Vice President Joe Biden let the cat out of the bag. During a speech at Harvard University, Biden told his audience:

"Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks...the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world….we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them."

He, of course, failed to mention Washington's own arming, training and funding activities coordinated with these very same allies. Predictably, Biden was forced to “apologize” for his undiplomatic comments over the weekend.

But just last month, during a hearing in the US Senate for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, Senator Lindsey Graham asked: “Do you know of any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL?”

To the surprise of many, Dempsey countered: “I know of major Arab allies who fund them.”

The revelations keep flowing from once tight-lipped Western sources. According to US news reports, current and former officials now say wealthy Gulf donors are the source of early funding:

“These rich individuals have long served as ‘angel investors’ for the most violent militants in the region, providing the ‘seed money’ that helped launch ISIS and other jihadi groups…Former U.S. Navy Admiral and NATO Supreme Commander James Stavridis says the cash flow from private donors is significant now and was even more significant in the early fund-raising done by ISIS and al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front,” NBC’s Robert Windrem wrote in an article.

And on Saturday, the UK's former Assistant Chief of the Defense Staff General Jonathan Shaw, who specialized in counter-terrorism and security policy and retired in 2012, told The Telegraph:
"This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education, Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop."

The ‘Assad-has-encouraged-extremism’ argument

Has the Syrian government exploited extremism while at the same time fighting a three-year nationwide military campaign to thwart it? Perhaps. Politics are opportunistic by nature.

But the narrative about Assad encouraging Islamist militancy has always failed to note the historic role of armed Islamists in Syrian “rebellions.”

A US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document that was declassified in 2012 provides a starkly different reading of events leading up to the controversial “Hama massacre” of 1982. It tells a story remarkably similar to events in Syria beginning in early 2011. Here is a montage of quotes from the document:

“In early 1979, encouraged by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood developed a plan to trigger a similar popular revolution in Syria to oust (Hafez) Assad. The massacre of 50 Alawite cadets, on 16 June 1979 at the Artillery School in Aleppo, signaled the start of the MB offensive.”

The Syrian MB regroups for a “new round of fighting” in late 1980, announces the formation of an “Islamic Front”’ and increases cooperation with the Sunni (Baathist) government of Iraq which had helped the MB covertly in 1979-80 to oust Assad.

“The plan, apparently developed by the leadership of the Syrian MB and probably coordinated with Iraq, centered on two complementary actions. The first was a full-scale revolt by the city of Hama, a traditional Brotherhood stronghold and the location of its covert headquarters in Syria. Once this rebellion was unleashed, similar uprisings were to take place in Aleppo, Damascus and other major cities, accompanied by a general strike designed to paralyze Syria...”

“Simultaneously, a sophisticated worldwide propaganda campaign was to be launched supporting the rebellion and emphasizing its victories and the wholesale desertion of Army units to the rebel side. Press releases were to be made in Europe and the US, while propaganda broadcasts against Syria were to be carried by the Phalange-controlled Voice of Lebanon and the Iraqi-controlled Voice of Arab Syria.”

“At least 100 militants were transported from Jordan, where they had taken refuge, into Iraq where they probably received training prior to their movement into Syria... Sometime after this, the infiltration of ‘Secret Apparatus’ militants began from staging areas in Iraq, and to a lesser degree from Turkey, where others had fled. During the interim period, a number of terrorist bombings and shootings took place in Syria to demonstrate the Brotherhood/dissident Alawites ability to strike at the government.”

“As a result of Syrian security actions, the MB was forced to prematurely unleash the Hama rebellion with the hope that it might spark widespread fighting in other cities…The rebellion would also force the Damascus government to become even more oppressive. The Brotherhood leadership believed this would, in turn, cause greater alienation of the Assad government from the Sunni Muslim majority and within the Alawite community.”

“On February 2, following a clash between the MB and Syrian security forces, the loudspeakers atop the mosque minarets in Hama called on the people to begin a Jihad (Holy Struggle) against the government. The appeal also told the people that arms were available at specified mosques. At about the same time, teams of the MB’s ‘Secret Apparatus,’ some in army uniforms, moved to attack preselected government targets in the city.”

“Despite the propaganda reporting, the uprising in Syria had never spread outside of Hama, although some limited bombings had taken place in Damascus and elsewhere… The total casualties for the Hama incident probably number about 2,000. This includes an estimated 300-400 of the Muslim Brotherhood’s elite ‘Secret Apparatus’… The Syrian dissidents’ modus operandi will continue to be terrorism, particularly bombings and assassinations.”

WikiLeaks: Syria’s government and terrorism

On February 24, 2010, a Cable classified as ‘Secret’ was dispatched from the US Embassy in Damascus to the CIA, DIA, National Security Council, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of Homeland Security and a smattering of key US embassies in the Middle East and Europe.

It details the communications between Syria’s General Intelligence Director (GID) Ali Mamlouk who dropped in on a meeting between Syria’s Vice Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad and a US delegation, headed by State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin.

The participants discuss possible future security and intelligence cooperation on issues related to terrorism, particularly on the Syria-Iraq border.

What is notable about this US-framed communiqué is that the American delegation does not take any of the Syrian officials in the room to task for “encouraging and coordinating” the passage of extremist fighters from Syria into Iraq to participate in an insurgency against US forces. This accusation has become a key narrative advanced by Washington in recent years, so why not challenge the Syrians face-to-face when the opportunity is there?

According to the Cable, Benjamin says “the two countries should still work to cooperate on immediate threats facing both the U.S. and Syria, including the proliferation of takfiri groups in the region, such as al-Qaeda, and stopping the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq.”

The Syrian response? According to the US Cable:

“Mamlouk said the foreign fighters come from a large number of Arab and Muslim countries and that the Syrians detain ‘large numbers plus their local facilitators.’ As an example, Mamlouk said he handed over 23 Saudis detained in Syria to Saudi Prince Muqrin last year.”

The US delegation even acknowledges the fact that the Syrians have been helpful:

“Benjamin commended Mamlouk on reducing the flow of foreign fighters, while encouraging further progress.”

And the Syrians offer additional cooperation, provided that Damascus takes the lead in these efforts:

“Miqdad interjected that the issue of foreign fighters using Syrian soil is a matter of national security for Syria. ‘We have zero tolerance,’ he said. Miqdad said Syria needs the cooperation of other countries, namely those from which the terrorists are coming. ‘If we can close this circle - with us, you, and other countries - we will succeed,’ he concluded.”

The Cable does reveal some interesting information about Syrian strategies in dealing with terrorism, which Mamlouk says differs considerably from the American approach:

"The GID Director said Syria had been more successful than the U.S. and other countries in the region in fighting terrorist groups because ‘we are practical and not theoretical.’ He stated Syria's success is due to its penetration of terrorist groups. ‘In principle, we don't attack or kill them immediately. Instead, we embed ourselves in them and only at the opportune moment do we move.’ Describing the process of planting embeds in terrorist organizations as ‘complex,’ Mamlouk said the result had yielded been the detention of scores of terrorists, stamping out terror cells, and stopping hundreds of terrorists from entering Iraq.

Mamlouk acknowledged some terrorists were still slipping into Iraq from Syria. ‘By all means we will continue to do all this, but if we start cooperation with you it will lead to better results and we can better protect our interests,’ he concluded.”

War of words

The tactics described by Mamlouk explain, in part, why Syrian forces today do not typically launch assaults on terrorist groups unless there is an immediate and direct threat to its military strategy of maintaining control over key areas and disrupting rebel supply lines.

While groups like ISIL are viewed as a security threat, they have not always posed an imminent one.

For the better part of the Syrian conflict, ISIL has not controlled the “priority zones” of the Syrian Army.

Those areas have always been Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama and their surrounding countryside (Rif), with Quseir and Qalamoun, Daraa, Tal Kalakh and other border towns playing an important role. When ISIL fighters have been present in those areas, the Syrian Army has fought them - as in Qalamoun and the Damascus suburbs.

In early 2014, pro-opposition writer and researcher A.J. Tamimi questioned in detail accusations of collaboration between the Syrian government and ISIL/al Nusra. Among his many points, Tamimi notes:

“One must ask what the regime would gain strategically by constantly bombing ISIS strongholds in Raqqa province, or ISIS strongholds elsewhere, for that matter, located far beyond the frontlines. As in the wider east of Syria, the regime lacks ground forces to launch an offensive to retake any territory in Raqqa province, and must depend on airlifts from elsewhere to maintain its remaining airbases. Hence, the regime is focusing its airstrikes where it has some real expectations of advancing: most notably in Aleppo city.”

Nevertheless, the Syrian air force did take immediate action when ISIL escalated in Mosul in June, which changed the geopolitical dynamic well beyond the Syrian-Iraqi border. Kerry is misleading when he suggests that Assad will not strike ISIL headquarters: this is about timing and gains from both a military and political perspective – not necessarily a response that trigger-happy Americans can understand.

As for accusations that the Syrians have released militants from their prisons to “populate” ideologically extremist rebel groups that will make Assad look like an angel… You can’t have it both ways – political prisoner releases were initiated to defuse conflict and demonstrate leniency. Were some of these prisoners “extremists” of the variety that man Islamist rebel groups? Almost certainly. But that was the Sunni constituency that the Syrian government was also trying to placate in the early days.

Even today, after grueling “reconciliation” negotiations, the Syrian government is allowing these very rebels to “go free” after they lay down their arms – this, according to volunteers involved in negotiations from Homs to Rif Damascus. What is to stop these same “reformed rebels” from hopping over to al-Raqqa and taking up bigger arms? Should the Syrian government kill them instead? How does one win in a situation like this?

Critics of Syria's prisoner releases should be reminded of the “Big One” carried out by the Americans in 2009 when they allegedly freed future ISIL ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from an Iraqi prison.

Does anyone have the right to point fingers after that monumental gaff? The fact is – from Saudi Arabia to Qatar, from Turkey to the United States, from Iraq to France – there appears to be plenty of complicity in fueling ISIL and the jihadi phenomenon. Is Syria complicit too? It depends who is asking - and why.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


In watching this laudatory VICE documentary on Jabhat Thuwwar Souria (Syrian Revolutionaries' Front), the re-formulated FSA, and the openunabashed US/NATO contras in this conflict (as you see quite clearly in the documentary) from early this year, several things stand out:

1 - These are the guys that the pro-Syrian "revolution" leftists in the West never have any qualms about supporting.

2 - The fact that they're based out of so many depopulated "formerly Christian" and "formerly Alawite" towns and villages... how do you suppose those towns and villages got that way?

3 - Listen to the way they describe themselves and talk about themselves. Listen to what they have to say about the Shia.

4 - Remember, these are the 'good', non-takfiri "revolutionaries."

- Navid Nasr


Islamic State: Taking women as sex slaves ‘firmly established’ Islamic law


Islamic State terrorists explained in a new publication their justification for taking women and using them as sex slaves, saying simply that it’s a practice that’s as old as Sharia law — and allowed by Islamic beliefs.

“One should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffar — the infidels — and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah, or Islamic law,” the group said in an online magazine cited by CNN.

Others in the Muslim world have called that practice a perversion of Islam.

Islamic State terrorists wrote about the practice in an article titled “The revival [of] slavery before the Hour,” in reference to Judgment Day, CNN reported. The article was published in the English-language online magazine, “Dabiq,” and specifically referred to the lawful right of jihadists to kidnap females from the Yazidi sect, a Kurdish minority living in Iraq, and use them for concubines or sex slaves.

Human Rights Watch has just reported that Islamic State has committed terrible crimes against the Yazidis in Iraq, citing interviews with 76 displaced people in Dohuk.

“The Islamic State’s litany of horrific crimes against the Yazidis in Iraq only keeps growing,” said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch, CNN reported. “We heard shocking stories of forced religious conversions, force marriage, and even sexual assault and slavery — and some of the victims were children.”


More than jihadism or Iran, China's role in Africa is Obama's obsession
Where America brings drones, the Chinese build roads. Al-Shabaab and co march in lockstep with this new imperialism


Countries are "pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world", wrote Lord Curzon, the viceroy of India, in 1898. Nothing has changed. The shopping mall massacre in Nairobi was a bloody facade behind which a full-scale invasion of Africa and a war in Asia are the great game.

The al-Shabaab shopping mall killers came from Somalia. If any country is an imperial metaphor, it is Somalia. Sharing a language and religion, Somalis have been divided between the British, French, Italians and Ethiopians. Tens of thousands of people have been handed from one power to another. "When they are made to hate each other," wrote a British colonial official, "good governance is assured."

Today Somalia is a theme park of brutal, artificial divisions, long impoverished by World Bank and IMF "structural adjustment" programmes, and saturated with modern weapons – notably President Obama's personal favourite, the drone. The one stable Somali government, the Islamic Courts, was "well received by the people in the areas it controlled", reported the US Congressional Research Service, "[but] received negative press coverage, especially in the west". Obama crushed it; and last January Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, presented her man to the world. "Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States government," effused President Hassan Mohamud. "Thank you, America."

The shopping mall atrocity was a response to this – just as the Twin Towers attack and the London bombings were explicit reactions to invasion and injustice. Once of little consequence, jihadism now marches in lockstep with the return of unfettered imperialism.

Since Nato reduced modern Libya to a Hobbesian state in 2011, the last obstacles to Africa have fallen. "Scrambles for energy, minerals and fertile land are likely to occur with increasingly intensity," report Ministry of Defence planners. As "high numbers of civilian casualties" are predicted, "perceptions of moral legitimacy will be important for success". Sensitive to the PR problem of invading a continent, the arms mammoth BAE Systems, together with Barclays Capital and BP, warns that "the government should define its international mission as managing risks on behalf of British citizens". The cynicism is lethal. British governments are repeatedly warned, not least by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, that foreign adventures beckon retaliation at home.

With minimal media interest, the US African Command (Africom) has deployed troops to 35 African countries, establishing a familiar network of authoritarian supplicants eager for bribes and armaments. In war games a "soldier to soldier" doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. The British did this in India. It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black colonial elite – whose "historic mission", warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the subjugation of their own people in the cause of "a capitalism rampant though camouflaged". The reference also fits the son of Africa in the White House.

For Obama, there is a more pressing cause – China. Africa is China's success story. Where the Americans bring drones, the Chinese build roads, bridges and dams. What the Chinese want is resources, especially fossil fuels. Nato's bombing of Libya drove out 30,000 Chinese oil industry workers. More than jihadism or Iran, China is Washington's obsession in Africa and beyond. This is a "policy" known as the "pivot to Asia", whose threat of world war may be as great as any in the modern era.

This week's meeting in Tokyo between John Kerry, the US secretary of state, Chuck Hagel, the defence secretary, and their Japanese counterparts accelerated the prospect of war. Sixty per cent of US naval forces are to be based in Asia by 2020, aimed at China. Japan is re-arming rapidly under the rightwing government of Shinzo Abe, who came to power in December with a pledge to build a "new, strong military" and circumvent the "peace constitution".

A US-Japanese anti-ballistic-missile system near Kyoto is directed at China. Using long-range Global Hawk drones the US has sharply increased its provocations in the East China and South China seas, where Japan and China dispute the ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Both countries now deploy advanced vertical take-off aircraft in Japan in preparation for a blitzkrieg.

On the Pacific island of Guam, from where B-52s attacked Vietnam, the biggest military buildup since the Indochina wars includes 9,000 US marines. In Australia this week an arms fair and military jamboree that diverted much of Sydney is in keeping with a government propaganda campaign to justify an unprecedented US military build-up from Perth to Darwin, aimed at China. The vast US base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs is, as Edward Snowden disclosed, a hub of US spying in the region and beyond; it is also critical to Obama's worldwide assassinations by drone.

'We have to inform the British to keep them on side," McGeorge Bundy, an assistant US secretary of state, once said. "You in Australia are with us, come what may." Australian forces have long played a mercenary role for Washington. However, China is Australia's biggest trading partner and largely responsible for its evasion of the 2008 recession. Without China, there would be no minerals boom: no weekly mining return of up to a billion dollars.

The dangers this presents are rarely debated publicly in Australia, where Rupert Murdoch, the patron of the prime minister, Tony Abbott, controls 70% of the press. Occasionally, anxiety is expressed over the "choice" that the US wants Australia to make. A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute warns that any US plan to strike at China would involve "blinding" Chinese surveillance, intelligence and command systems. This would "consequently increase the chances of Chinese nuclear pre-emption … and a series of miscalculations on both sides if Beijing perceives conventional attacks on its homeland as an attempt to disarm its nuclear capability". In his address to the nation last month, Obama said: "What makes America different, what makes us exceptional, is that we are dedicated to act."


Good article by brother Nu'man here. I don't quite agree with the terminology of 'Islamist extremism', as I don't think these death squads have anything to do with or have any right to use and abuse Islam. At the same time, while it is right to problematise this language, one must also put more blame on the very death squad types and their supporters who are allowing this use and abuse to take place.  - Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcom

Does Great Britain Really Oppose Islamist Extremism?

By Nu'man Abd Al Wahid

Much fanfare has been made out of the life-saving treatment Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Malala Yousafzai received at a Birmingham hospital after she was shot by the Taliban — and rightly so. Birmingham is England’s second city and last year it ceremonially opened a new public state-of-the- art library with a lecture from Yousafzai.

But as the Library of Birmingham recently celebrated its first anniversary by hosting another talk by Yousafzai, it must be asked does Great Britain really oppose Islamist extremism and other assorted jihadis?

The ostentatious good will shown by the British government towards Yousafzai should not deter us from asking salient and important questions about the actual nature of Great Britain’s indirect and direct relationship with extreme Islamism and/or jihadism. For example, it is a historical fact that during the Cold War the ‘West’ and Islamic extremists were on the same side in their opposition to the Russian led Soviet Union.

Indeed, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a leading advocate in using Islamists and jihadis against the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. For Thatcher, the Afghan jihadis (i.e. mujahideen as they were lovingly referred to back then) were engaged in “one of the most heroic struggles known in history” as they blew up schools, hospitals and medical centers.

In this video, Thatcher while on the Afghan-Pakistani border, proudly informs the mujahideen the “hearts of the free world are with you” to appreciative chants of “Allah-o-Akbar” (God is Great) or as the commentator interprets the chants, “ringing shouts of support.”

Historically, Britain has been one of the main supporters and purveyors of fanatical Islamism. The theology of Salafism and/or Wahabism which is the wellspring of Jihadism and violent Islamist extremism, has been vigorously promoted by the Saudi royal family for the last 40 years. But in 1902, the Saudi-Wahhabi clan was exiled and forlorn. It was British imperialism, for its own reasons, that enabled the clan to recapture their ancestral home in the central east of the Arabian peninsula.

Then in 1924-25, British imperialism gave the Saudi clan the green light to further expand into the Hijaz, the western part of the peninsula where Mecca and Madina are, because the then ruler (Sharif Hussein bin Ali) of that area refused to accept Great Britain’s Zionist project in Palestine, that is to populate Palestine with European Zionist settlers over the heads of the indigenous Arab population.

Recently, in 2011, Great Britain led a NATO campaign and joined up with desperate groups of armed militias and many assorted jihadis in Libya to overthrow the government of Colonel Ghadhaffi. This was not the first time that the British state colluded with Islamists in Libya.

According to the whistle blowers and former MI5 agents David Shayler and Annie Machon the British state used the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in an assassination attempt on Colonel Ghadhaffi in 1996. The individual MI5/6 approach to coordinate the deed was Abu Abdullah Sadiq (real name Abdel Hakim Belhadj). The latter now serves in the Libyan government or whatever is left of Libya and its supposed government. Actually, the Libyan government is currently moored on a ship in a Libyan harbour after the jihadis overran the capital.

This support for the Islamists comes on top of the clandestine associations that elements within the domestic intelligence community had developed with British based Islamist fanatics.

The pantomimic character that is Abu Hamza (aka ‘The Hook’) actually confessed during his American trial that he had contacts with MI5 in order to keep the “streets of London safe.” In a book published by two London Times journalists (O’Neill and McGrory) he is said to have been given the alias ‘damson berry’ in their correspondence with him. Another former London based comical jihadi, Omar Bakri Muhammad admitted to Pulitzer Prize winning author, Ron Suskind, he had back channels to his intelligence handlers with a view to “control the Muslim youth.” Khalid al-Fawwaz, another ex-London based Islamists, who the Americans have put on trial for his alleged role in the 1998 African embassy bombings, wants his MI5 handler to testify on his behalf.

It is quite easy to conclude, regardless of the goodwill shown to Yousafzai, that the actual relationship between Great Britain and extreme Islamist/jihadis is that the former wants them on tap. Great Britain utilises jihadis when it is compatible with its interests (Afghanistan in the 1980’s, Saudi Arabia and Libya) and then wants to switch off the tap when it isn’t. The problem is some of these liver eating, head chopping jihadis don’t read this script and have shown quite conclusively they have a macabre mind of their own.