Libyan Security Committee Calls U.S. Muslim Leader a Terrorist

Omeish and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine. Source: Facebook

IPT News, June 12, 2017:

A prominent Muslim American political activist is included on a list of 75 terrorists issued by a Libyan parliamentary committee.

Esam Omeish is a former president of the Muslim American Society and remains a prominent figure at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va. He is among 75 people the Libyan House of Representatives’ Defense and National Security Committee labeled Friday as enemies.

Libya’s government remains fragmented, with the House of Representatives based in a city called Tobruk. It is considered closely aligned with Egypt.

Omeish is the 29th name listed on the terror list and is described as an “international member of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Another American, Aly Abuzaakouk, appears just after Omeish’s, also identified as an international Muslim Brotherhood member.

Omeish blasted the move in a statement on his Facebook page, saying “my name had unjustly and falsely been placed on a so called list of supporters of terrorism.” He protested Saturday to Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, and plans to try meeting more members of Congress today.

Omeish wants the committee’s leader “legally prosecuted for fraud, slander and defamation to obtain a judgement inhibiting their ability to travel to America…” He also wants penalties for committee members who approved the list, accusing them of “randomly charging American citizens who have no offense or crime, or involvement with any of the forms of terrorism, and who are major in the American landscape in the fight against terrorism and working with all security and legal agencies to preserve the country’s security and the safety of the society and communities with transparency and integrity which everyone near and far knows.”

Omeish formerly served as president of the Muslim American Society (MAS), which insiders have acknowledged is the Muslim Brotherhood’s overt arm in the United States. In a December Facebook comment, Omeish wrote  that Muslims “have not known of the people of Islam … those more just in understanding, wider in approach and closer in application than the Muslim Brotherhood. We have not known of humane brotherliness and its people, (and we are affiliated with all men whom Allah has created a propensity for love, mercy, an upright disposition, good morals and honorable character) better in ethics, of gentler parts, deeper in adherence to duty, nobler in morals among all their sons, and every one of their actions than the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Last year, he advocated that the U.S. support for a group known variably as the “Revolutionary Shura Council,” or the “Mujahideen Shura of Derna,” despite ties between its officials and al-Qaida. Egypt’s air force bombed the group last month in retaliation for terror attacks against Coptic Christians in April.

Abuzaakouk also has deep Muslim Brotherhood connections. He has served as executive director of the American Muslim Council (AMC), and publications director for the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). He became foreign minister of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Government of National Salvation based in Tripoli after dictator Muammar Gaddafi fell. That group opposes the internationally recognized government in Tobruk.

The AMC was founded in part by Mahmoud Abu Saud, who helped Hassan al-Banna create the Brotherhood in Egypt, the Washington Post reported in 2004. FBI officials have long suspected that the IIIT housed leading Brotherhood officials in the United States.

Despite his overt support for “the jihad way” and for the Brotherhood, Omeish has been close to Kaine for at least a decade. When Kaine was Virginia’s governor in 2007, Omeish was forced to resign from a state immigration panel after Investigative Project on Terrorism video showed him praising Palestinians during a 2000 rally for knowing that “the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.”

At a separate event two months earlier, Omeish similarly praised Palestinians “for their bravery, for their giving up their lives for the sake of Allah and for the sake of Al-Aqsa [Jerusalem]. They have spearheaded the effort to bring victory upon the believers in [Palestine].”

It was during a 2010 fundraiser for Omeish’s state assembly campaign that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison – now the Democratic National Committee’s vice chair – complained that Israel unduly influence U.S. policy in the Middle East. “A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million,” Ellison said. “Does that make sense?”

Ellison added: “We can’t allow another country to treat us like we’re their ATM. Right? And so we ought to stand up as Americans. Now some of us have affinity for other places around the globe. Some of us are new Americans and adopted America as our home. But whether you’re born here or whether you accepted America as your own voluntarily, this is our home. Right? All of our home equally, and we can’t allow it to be disrespected because some, by a country that we’re paying money to.”

In this case, Kaine serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee for North Africa.

It is unclear what impact the Libyan House committee’s terror list will have, especially among U.S. policy makers. There’s no public information indicating Omeish was directly involved in any terror support. But he has openly advocated for “the jihad way” and lauds the Brotherhood, a movement which articulated a goal of creating a global Islamic state and serves as an inspiration for Sunni jihadist groups including al-Qaida, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad  and Ja’amat Islamiya.

“The common link here is the extremist Muslim Brotherhood – all of these organizations are descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brothers,” former National Security and Counter-terrorism Coordinator Richard Clarke testified in 2004 before a U.S. Senate committee.

There are twin bills pending in Congress that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.  The United Arab Emirates has already done so.

5 Lessons for Us From the Manchester Bombing

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, May 30, 2017:

Suspects continue to be arrested following the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena, with 13 people arrested in the U.K. and Libya at the time of this writing. One person detonated the explosive but the attack was the product of a global Islamist insurgency—and insurgencies can be defeated if we learn from their operations.

Here are 5 lessons from the bombing and follow-up investigation, in no particular order:

  1. Manchester is a hub in the Islamist insurgency network.
    Items left in memorial for the victims of the Manchester attack.
    Items left in memorial for the victims of the Manchester attack. (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    It was a single bomb set off by a single jihadist, but he belonged to a hub in the Islamist insurgency. Apparently, independent Islamists often exist in geographic clusters that are linked together through a multilayered infrastructure. South Manchester is one such cluster.

    Earlier this year, The Guardian found that 16 convicted or killed terrorists lived within a 2.5-mile space in southern Manchester. That was before the bombing and the subsequent arrests in the area.

    Salman Abedi is believed to have links to ISIS recruiter Raphael Hostey, who was killed in Syria. Hostey acted as a “central node” in the Manchester jihadist network; a person whom others gravitate to and are somewhat directed by.

    In 2000, Abedi also lived on the same street as Abd al-Basset Azzouz, a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), explosives expert for al-Qaeda, and al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s leader of Libyan operations. After they separated from the same street in 2000, the two were never more than a mile apart in Manchester.

    Azzouz traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009. Zawahiri then dispatched him to Libya. He is suspected of involvement in the 2012 Benghazi attacks. He was reportedly captured in Turkey in 2014 and then transferred to Jordan.

    The United Nations sanctioned him as a “key al-Qaeda operative” in February 2016. The U.N. says he recruited 200 terrorists in eastern Libya. Some U.S. officials put the number higher, estimating his Libyan network’s strength to be 200-300 as of 2014. It is very possible that Abedi learned how to make the bomb used at the Manchester Arena from this al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya.

    Manchester became a hub for the global Islamist insurgency because Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) members fled there to escape the wrath of then Libyan dictator Qaddafi. The LIFG developed an infrastructure in Manchester and other parts of the UK to continue the jihad away from Qaddafi’s grip.

    One such member was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the Manchester bomber, Salman. Ramadan fled Libya in 1993 to Saudi Arabia and, from there, was granted asylum by the United Kingdom. He moved to London and then southern Manchester.

    In 2011, when Salman Abedi was only 16 years old, he reportedly moved to Libya to fight against Qaddafi’s forces alongside his father. A member of the Didsbury Mosque claims he personally saw Ramadan Abedi fighting as a member of the LIFG. The associate did not say that he saw Salman.

    The mosque attendee, who claims to have known Ramadan since the early 1990s, said the LIFG had so many recruits from Manchester that their unit was known as the “Manchester fighters—we even had our own logo. Three-quarters of the fighters at the beginning of the revolution were from Manchester.”

  2. Islamists who condemn ISIS are still part of the problem—and that includes the Didsbury Mosque in Manchester.
    Didsbury Mosque, Manchester.
    Didsbury Mosque, Manchester. (Photo: OLI SCARFF / AFP / Getty Images)

    Yes, the imam of the Didsbury Mosque, also known as the Manchester Islamic Center, is said to have condemned ISIS and Ansar al-Sharia (the al-Qaeda affiliate linked to the Benghazi attacks), which enraged Salman Abedi. The mosque banned Abedi after he confronted the imam, accusing him of talking “bullocks” [sic] and says it reported him to the proper authorities.

    It’s still not good enough.

    Salman Abedi got his Islamist foundations from some place and there is nowhere more influential in his life than the mosque he and his family attended. The family is “very religious” and a member of the Libyan community in Manchester said the boys “learned the Quran by heart.”

    Salman Abedi’s father, a known member of the al-Qaeda-linked LIFG, was a long-time mosque official who led the call to prayer. Salman’s brother, who has since been arrested, is a teaching assistant for Arabic classes at the mosque’s school.

    The Islamism of the LIFG and the mosque is only a hair’s breadth away from that of the more aggressive Islamism of al-Qaeda and ISIS. They are all acting upon the same fundamental principles, albeit in different ways.

    The Quilliam Foundation, a moderate Muslim organization, says those who originally formed the Libyan community in Manchester attended the Didsbury Mosque because it was Arab and run by the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The top leadership is part of the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas apparatus. Its imam and its supervisor of its Sharia Department are also officials in international Brotherhood/Hamas groups led by Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential extremists in the world. His support for suicide bombing, violent jihad, theocracy, anti-Semitism and other ISIS-like beliefs are well-known.

    According to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Watch, a former trustee is a “known Hamas activist.” He was present during a pivotal secret Brotherhood/Hamas meeting in Philadelphia in 1993 to set up the U.S. branch of the Brotherhood.

    Anti-Semitic tweets from another trustee, Fawzi Haffar, have been discovered. The content is so ferocious that it would lead any Muslim who trusts his word to believe they are obligated to engage in violent jihad.

    The mosque’s imam personally engaged in violent jihad in Libya against Qaddafi’s forces in 2011. There is a video that purportedly shows him in military attire discussing plans for attack, with militants loading bombs and discussing upcoming operations. He previously claimed he was only helping his family members to escape the violence.

    In 2005, a member of the al-Qaeda-linked LIFG was arrested in Libya. He said he was granted asylum by the U.K. and moved to Manchester. He said he then began fundraising for LIFG through the Didsbury Mosque. When asked about it, a mosque spokesperson blatantly lied by saying they hadn’t even heard of the LIFG, much less the arrested individual.

    The mosque also has a history of choosing guest lecturers who spout radicalism of the vilest nature.

    One Muslim says he began attending the mosque in 1994 but left in 1999 after it repeatedly invited Abu Qatada to teach its congregants. Qatada’s extremism was well-known and present in a lecture to an audience of 300 that this Muslim says he attended. The individual confronted Qatada and had repeated arguments with other mosque members which escalated into assaults. The former attendee says his nose was broken in one fight.

    One blogger noticed at least three other extremist speakers who were brought into the Didsbury Mosque as authorities the audience should hear. Their preaching includes ferocious anti-Semitism; advocacy for Sharia-based theocracies; condemnations of secular-democracy; wild conspiracy theories; glorifying of violent jihad and executing adulterers, homosexuals, those who leave Islam and those who commit blasphemy against Islam.

    Other teachings that the preachers are known for include condemning Jewish and Christian influence on Muslims and that Muslims cannot be close friends with non-Muslims. Non-Muslims are not deserving of true respect. Jews are orchestrating the spread of homosexuality, engineering a conspiracy through the media and will be part of the Antichrist’s army.

    One speaker preached that women do not belong in the workplace and should only leave the home when it is unavoidable. Other quotes from the selected speakers include statements that Muslims cannot help those who converted to Christianity to escape from countries like Iran where apostasy is punished with death. One condemned secular and liberal Muslims as the “biggest danger” to the community.

    With this type of preaching, it isn’t hard to see how Abedi could be motivated to take that extra step to join ISIS or al-Qaeda or why at least two other ISIS recruits worshipped at the mosque.

  3. We must dismantle the Islamist ideological infrastructure that produces violent jihad and its prerequisite radicalism.
    British soldiers outside the House of Parliament in London in the wake of the May 2017 Manchester terror attack.
    British soldiers outside the House of Parliament in London in the wake of the May 2017 Manchester terror attack. (Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP / Getty Images)

    Notice the overlaps in membership and brands of Islamism in the above lesson. Because jihadist groups are just a manifestation of the Islamist ideology, group membership is fluid. A recent study found that half of the most prominent violent jihadists came from tamer Islamist movements not directly engaged in violence.

    A mosque operated by the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas was a centerpiece in setting up the LIFG’s network in Manchester, even though LIFG was aligned with al-Qaeda, supposedly a rival of the Brotherhood and Hamas. This same network produces ISIS recruits, even though the mosque imam condemns ISIS, as does the Brotherhood and other parts of the LIFG network.

    One possible associate of Abedi from the Manchester hub joined a Libyan Islamist group called the 17 February Martyrs’ Brigade, which was disastrously chosen to protect Americans in Benghazi. This individual later became an advocate for ISIS after returning to the UK.

    Ramadan Abedi may also have fought for an Islamist group in Libya and been injured in 2014.

    That is why the common thread—the Islamist ideology and the factories producing it—must be the focus of our efforts. As Elliot Friedland wrote about, a Muslim woman called into BBC’s Question Time program and warned that Saudi-trained clerics were coming into her community and promoting Wahhabism to children as young as seven.

  4. The anti-Islamists are your allies, not the “moderate” Islamists.
    Police cordon off an area in Moss Side Manchester to carry out investigations.
    Police cordon off an area in Moss Side Manchester to carry out investigations. (Photo: JOHN SUPER/AFP/Getty Images)

     The investigation into the Manchester bombing is resulting in scrutiny of the LIFG network in the U.K. that spawned so many al-Qaeda and ISIS recruits. It’s worth pointing out that our Egyptian and Libyan allies are fighting that same network and have been asking for U.S. help in defeating them since the civil war began in 2011.

     After Libyan dictator Qaddafi fell, a very predictable civil war between “moderate” Islamist militias and secular-democratic forces began. ISIS gained a foothold and fought both. The civil war became a proxy war between the anti-Islamist secularists backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and a coalition of Islamists backed by Qatar, Turkey and Sudan that includes al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia, the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and the successors to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—the group whose network bred the Manchester terror hub.

     The anti-Islamist forces, spearheaded by General Khalifah Haftar’s Libyan National Army, are the most popular and strongest of the approximately 1,700 militias in Libya. It is successful, openly disdains Political Islam, vows to separate mosque and state. Haftar wants to ban the major Islamist forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, as terrorist organizations.

    There are some reports that Salman Abedi himself might have been injured in 2014 fighting as a member of an Islamist militia battling Haftar’s forces.

    “From day one, the Muslim Brotherhood has served as a Trojan horse, bringing foreign combatants into Libya after they had received training in regional and Western capitals and cities…The Muslim Brotherhood provided them with entry visas or Libyan identity papers, furnished them with weapons and offered logistical support,” Haftar says.

    They openly sought an alliance with the U.S. and Europe, only to be disappointed. The Libyan and Egyptian governments viewed the Obama Administration’s neutrality and urging of a unity government as a pro-Muslim Brotherhood position.

    Egypt and its Libyan allies continue to demand a change in policy. We should remember that they are fighting the same Islamist network whose tentacles in Manchester sparked the May 22 bombing.

  5. The Western security agencies are not on the ball.
    Police escort concert goers from the site of the Ariana Grande concert following last nights attack. (Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

    MI5 has 500 active investigations and 3,000 subjects of interest. There are reports that there’s an additional 20,000 considered to pose a “residual risk” because they were previously investigated. It appears that Abedi was considered a “residual risk.”

    Abedi was reported to the government 5 times over 5 years by people who felt he posed a serious terrorist threat. This count presumably includes two friends who separately reported him in 2012 and 2016 after he justified suicide bombings and expressed support for terrorism. Members of his own family warned he was “dangerous.”

    He was still able to travel to Libya and Turkey (where he may have entered Syria) without questioning upon his return. He also visited Germany, and the Germans say he did not appear on any watch lists.

    Now it’s being reported the U.S. government told MI5 in early January that Abedi was part of a North African cell of ISIS members plotting an attack on a political target, which was thought to be an assassination. According to the unconfirmed report, the U.S. put Abedi on a watch list in mid-2016 after intercepting some of his communications.

    In another blunder, the U.K. designated the LIFG as a terrorist group in 2005. Ramadan Abedi, a member of LIFG, didn’t move to Libya until 2008. He was never arrested. Perhaps this is because of the difficulty in proving that someone is a “member” of a terrorist group instead of just a “supporter.”

    Ramadan Abedi denies being a member of the LIFG. He says, “I condemn anyone who says I belong to the LIFG, but I praise them.”

    Terrorists are often recruited by family members or close friends. The Abedi family’s ties to LIFG, involvement with a radical mosque, location near so many other terrorists in Manchester, the father’s move to Libya and involvement in the fighting, and various tips should have put him higher up on the priority list.

    When Salman Abedi spent three weeks in Libya, it should have triggered alarm bells in the intelligence system so he’d at least be questioned upon his return to the UK. That didn’t even happen. He committed a suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena shortly thereafter.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. To invite Ryan to speak, please contact us.

***

Also see:

Senior Lawmakers Urge U.S. Engagement in Libya

Libyans take part in a celebration with fireworks marking the sixth anniversary of the Libyan revolution / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, Natalie Johnson, April 25, 2017:

Senior lawmakers on Tuesday rejected President Donald Trump’s declaration that the United States has “no role” in Libya, citing the threat of regional instability to U.S. national security interests.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and ranking Democrat Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said Libya’s ongoing battle over power and access to natural resources has created a permissive environment for extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda.

Cardin, during opening remarks for a hearing assessing U.S. policy options in the war-torn nation, said it is vital to U.S. security interests that the Trump administration work with the international community and local forces to craft a political solution that creates a representative government.

“The United States must be engaged,” Cardin said. “When we don’t have representative governments … it creates a void and that void is filled by ISIS, as we’ve seen in northern Africa, and it’s filled by Russia, which we’re seeing Russia’s engagement now in Libya.”

“I think this hearing is an important indication by Congress that we do expect a role to be played,” he added.

Trump raised concerns Thursday when he rejected calls from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni to maintain America’s “very critical” role in Libya. The United States currently is working to build political consensus around the fragile United Nations-backed government in Tripoli. Trump said during the joint press conference with Gentiloni that the U.S. priority in Libya is counterterrorism efforts to degrade ISIS.

Moscow in recent months has ramped up support for Libyan military commander Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who controls large swaths of eastern Libya, including Benghazi. Haftar’s forces do not recognize the UN-backed Government of National Accord, posing a significant challenge to international efforts to unify the country.

Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told lawmakers Tuesday that U.S. disengagement from the embattled nation would widen the opening for Russian involvement and create conditions likely to perpetuate the spread of ISIS.

U.S. Africa Command released its 2017 posture statement in March, declaring instability in Libya and North Africa the “most significant near-term threat” to the United States and its allies in the region. The command warned that Libya’s precarious security situation has created spillover effects in Tunisia, Egypt, and most of western North Africa, enabling the flow of foreign fighters and migrants to Europe.

“The notion of the problems of Libya spilling over is really profound—we’re talking about a number of U.S. interests in the region. [It’s] really this epicenter that effects the surrounding region.” Wehrey testified.

Arms dealer says administration made him scapegoat on Libya operation to ‘protect’ Clinton

hqdefault-2

Fox News, by Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, October 12, 2016:

EXCLUSIVE: American arms dealer Marc Turi, in his first television interview since criminal charges against him were dropped, told Fox News that the Obama administration — with the cooperation of Hillary Clinton’s State Department — tried and failed to make him the scapegoat for a 2011 covert weapons program to arm Libyan rebels that spun out of control.

“I would say, 100 percent, I was victimized…to somehow discredit me, to throw me under the bus, to do whatever it took to protect their next presidential candidate,” he told Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge.

The 48-year-old Arizona resident has been at the epicenter of a failed federal investigation led by the Justice Department spanning five years and costing the government an estimated $10 million or more, Turi says.

Turi says the Justice Department abruptly dropped the case to avoid public disclosure of the weapons program, that was designed to force the ouster of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi during the 2011 Arab Spring.

“Those transcripts from current as well as former CIA officers were classified,” Turi said of the evidence. “If any of these relationships [had] been revealed it would have opened up a can of worms. There wouldn’t have been any good answer for the U.S. government especially in this election year.” The Justice Department faced a deadline last week to produce records to the defense.

Turi says he was specifically “targeted by the Obama administration “and “lost everything–my family, my friends, my business, my reputation.”

As Fox News has reported extensively, in 2011, the Obama administration with support from some Republican and Democratic lawmakers explored options to arm the so-called “Libyan rebels” during the chaotic Arab Spring but United Nations sanctions prohibited direct sales.

Turi’s plan was to have the U.S. government supply conventional weapons to the Gulf nations Qatar and UAE, which would then in turn supply them to Libya. But Turi says he never sold any weapons, and he was cut out of the plan.  Working with CIA, Turi said Clinton’s State Department had the lead and used its own people, with weapons flowing to Libya and Syria.

“Some (weapons) may have went out under control that we had with our personnel over there and the others went to these militia. That’s how they lost control over it,” Turi said. “I can assure you that these operations did take place and those weapons did go in different directions.”

Asked by Fox News who got the weapons — Al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia, or ISIS — Turi said: “All of them, all of them, all of them.”

Turi exchanged emails in 2011 with then U.S. envoy to the Libyan opposition Chris Stevens. A day after the exchange about Turi’s State Department application to sell weapons, Clinton wrote on April 8, 2011 to aide Jake Sullivan, “fyi. the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered.”

Asked if the email exchanges are connected or a coincidence, Turi said, “When you look at this timeline, none of it was a coincidence. It was all strategically managed and it had to come from her own internal circle.”

Turi also told Fox News that he believes emails sent about the weapons programs were deleted by Hillary Clinton and her team because that “it would have gone to an organization within the Bureau of Political Military affairs within the State Department known as PM/RSAT (Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers.)  That’s where you would find Jake Sullivan, Andrew Shapiro and a number of political operatives that would have been intimately involved with this foreign policy.”

The four felony counts — which included two of arms dealing in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and two of lying on his State Department weapons application — were dismissed last week against Turi “with prejudice,” meaning the government cannot come after him again on this matter.

The Justice Department decision, weeks before the election, coupled with the now public emails, cast a new light on Clinton’s 2013 Benghazi testimony where she was asked about the movement of weapons by Sen. Rand Paul.

Paul: Were any of these weapons transferred to other countries. Any countries. Turkey included?

Clinton: Well, senator you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex and I will see what information is available.

Paul: You’re saying you don’t know?

Clinton: I don’t know.

Turi first told his story to Fox News senior executive producer Pamela Browne in 2014, and since, Turi says he’s lost everything to fight the Justice Department, which had no further comment beyond the publicly available court records.

“With all the resources that they were throwing at me, I knew there would have to be some type of explanation of the operation that was going terribly wrong in Libya,” Turi said. “It is completely un-American…I was a contractor for the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Turi said he is grateful the case is over. “It really is ungodly, and unjust and unconscionable, that the entire force of the United States government came after me for a simple application. I was working for the U.S. government.”

Turi added, “I never shipped anything. I never even received the contract. So all I received was an approval for $534 million to support our interests overseas. And it would have been the United States government that facilitated that operation from Qatar and UAE by way of allowing those countries to land their planes and land their ships in Libya.”

Close friend and Turi adviser Robert Stryk described Turi this way to Fox News in a statement:

“Marc Turi is a true patriot who served his country in the fight against Islamofascist terrorists in the Middle East. His fraudulent prosecution by Hillary Clinton’s associates in the Justice Department is deplorable as is the fate of the American heroes murdered in Benghazi. Our most loyal citizens deserve better.”

And Turi hinted there is more to emerge on the 2012 Benghazi attacks which killed four Americans including Stevens.

“Now there’s a flip side to this. Some of the operations that I was involved in, in another country for the agency has a linkage and there’s a backstory to the actual buy-back program of the surface to air missiles that were shipped and mysteriously disappeared out of Benghazi,” Turi said. “So we can save that for another time, but the reality is a lot of this could have exposed a number of covert operations that I don’t think the American public would really want to know at this point in time.”

Fox News asked the State Department about Turi’s allegations, and whether no weapons reached extremists groups on Clinton’s watch.  A spokesperson said they would check.

See Hillary’s Libyan jihadi atrocities

A rebel fighter shouts "Allahu Akbar!" (God is the greatest!) in front of a burning vehicle belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

A rebel fighter shouts “Allahu Akbar!” (God is the greatest!) in front of a burning vehicle belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (LIBYA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

WND, by Jerome R. Corsi, October5, 2016:

NEW YORK – The extreme brutality unleashed by the mercenaries and Islamic fighters who joined Libyan-based jihadists to oust leader Moammar Gadhafi with the backing of Hillary Clinton’s State Department and NATO is demonstrated in three videos released to WND.

The videos, obtained through a trusted source, were vetted by Libyan tribal parliamentary leaders who spoke to WND. The Libyans verified the videos were taken in Libya in the weeks after the U.S.-backed NATO bombing that began in 2011.

As WND has reported, Clinton’s State Department had decided to rebuff offers Gadhafi had made to abdicate peacefully and avoid a war. And, meanwhile, Politico reported Tuesday the Obama administration is moving to drop charges against an arms dealer who had threatened to expose Hillary Clinton’s determination to arm anti-Gadhafi rebels.

The Libyan tribal parliamentary leaders, in an exclusive Skype interview published by WND on Sept. 21, characterized Clinton as the “Butcher of Libya.” They contended her State Department was “behind the terrorist groups controlling Libya, Ansar al-Sharia, behind the militia in Misurata who destroyed a great part of Libya and displaced 2 million people from their lands because they were accused of being loyal to Gadhafi.”

Readers are cautioned that the three videos published here are shockingly graphic.

The first video shows a group of unidentified foreign mercenaries and terrorists interrogating a half-naked soldier from Gadhafi’s army, who is lying prone on his stomach, with his arms and legs spread, while his interrogators simulate sodomy with a weapon and a boot.

Read more

Obama DOJ drops charges against alleged provider of Libyan weapons

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks with President Barack Obama on Sept. 12, 2012, where he spoke about the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. | AP Photo

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks with President Barack Obama on Sept. 12, 2012, where he spoke about the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. | AP Photo

Arms dealer had threatened to expose Hillary Clinton’s talks about arming anti-Qadhafi rebels.

Politico, by  Kenneth P. Vogel and Josh Gerstein, October 4, 2016:

The Obama administration is moving to dismiss charges against an arms dealer it had accused of selling weapons that were destined for Libyan rebels.

Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion.

The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State, and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.

Government lawyers were facing a Wednesday deadline to produce documents to Turi’s legal team, and the trial was officially set to begin on Election Day, although it likely would have been delayed by protracted disputes about classified information in the case.

A Turi associate asserted that the government dropped the case because the proceedings could have embarrassed Clinton and President Barack Obama by calling attention to the reported role of their administration in supplying weapons that fell into the hands of Islamic extremist militants.

“They don’t want this stuff to come out because it will look really bad for Obama and Clinton just before the election,” said the associate.

In the dismissal motion, prosecutors say “discovery rulings” from U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell contributed to the decision to drop the case. The joint motion asks the judge to accept a confidential agreement to resolve the case through a civil settlement between the State Department and the arms broker.

“Our position from the outset has been that this case never should have been brought and we’re glad it’s over,” said Jean-Jacques Cabou, a Perkins Coie partner serving as court-appointed defense counsel in the case. “Mr Turi didn’t break the law….We’re very glad the charges are being dismissed.”

Under the deal, Turi admits no guilt in the transactions he participated in, but he agreed to refrain from U.S.-regulated arms dealing for four years. A $200,000 civil penalty will be waived if Turi abides by the agreement.

A State Department official confirmed the outlines of the agreement.

“Mr. Turi cooperated with the Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls in its review and proposed administrative settlement of the alleged violations,” said the official, who asked not be named. “Based on a compliance review, DDTC alleged that Mr. Turi…engaged in brokering activities for the proposed transfer of defense articles to Libya, a proscribed destination under [arms trade regulations,] despite the Department’s denial of…requests for the required prior approval of such activities.”

Turi adviser Robert Stryk of the government relations and consulting firm SPG accused the government of trying to scapegoat Turi to cover up Clinton’s mishandling of Libya.

“The U.S. government spent millions of dollars, went all over the world to bankrupt him, and destroyed his life — all to protect Hillary Clinton’s crimes,” he said, alluding to the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Republicans hold Clinton responsible for mishandling the circumstances around that attack. And Stryk said that Turi was now weighing book and movie deals to tell his story, and to weigh in on the Benghazi attack.

Representatives of the Justice Department, the White House and Clinton’s presidential campaign either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment on the case or the settlement.

Turi was indicted in 2014 on four felony counts: two of arms dealing in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and two of lying to the State Department in official applications. The charges accused Turi of claiming that the weapons involved were destined for Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, when the arms were actually intended to reach Libya.

Turi’s lawyers argued that the shipments were part of a U.S. government-authorized effort to arm Libyan rebels.

It’s unclear if any of the weapons made it to Libya, and there’s no evidence linking weapons provided by the U.S. government to the Benghazi attacks.

“The proposal did not result in an actual transfer of defense articles to Libya,” the State Department official told POLITICO on Tuesday.

But questions about U.S. efforts to arm Libyan rebels have been mounting, since weapons have reportedly made their way from Libya to Syria, where a civil war is raging between the Syrian Government and ISIL-aligned fighters.

During 2013 Senate hearings on the 2012 Benghazi attack, Clinton, under questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), said she had no knowledge of weapons moving from Libya into Turkey.

Wikileaks head Julian Assange in July suggested that he had emails proving that Clinton “pushed” the “flows” of weapons “going over to Syria.”

Additionally, Turi’s case had delved into emails sent to and from the controversial private account that Clinton used as Secretary of State, which the defense planned to harness at any trial.

At a court hearing in 2015, Cabou said emails between Clinton and her top aides indicated that efforts to arm the rebels were — at a minimum — under discussion at the highest levels of the government.

“We’re entitled to tell the jury, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the Secretary of State and her highest staff members were actively contemplating providing exactly the type of military assistance that Mr. Turi is here to answer for,” the defense attorney said, according to a transcript.

Turi’s defense was pressing for more documents about the alleged rebel-arming effort and for testimony from officials who worked on the issue the State Department and the CIA. The defense said it planned to argue that Turi believed he had official permission to work on arms transfers to Libya

“If we armed the rebels, as publicly reported in many, many sources and as we strongly believe happened and as we believe at least one witness told the grand jury, then documents about that process relate to that effort,” Cabou told Campbell at the same hearing last year.

Libya’s Terrorist Descent: Causes and Solutions

Fighters from al Qaeda-backed Ansar al Sharia Libya operate a training camp in Benghazi.

Fighters from al Qaeda-backed Ansar al Sharia Libya operate a training camp in Benghazi.

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, Sept. 27, 2016:

Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade on jihadist groups operating inside Libya, including the Islamic State and al Qaeda. If you wish to view the testimony with footnotes included,download the PDF by clicking here.

Chairman Poe, Ranking Member Keating and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the turmoil in Libya. Obviously, the multi-sided conflict in Libya is complex, with various forces pulling the country in multiple directions. My testimony today focuses on the jihadist groups operating inside Libya, especially the Islamic State’s arm and groups belonging to al Qaeda’s network. I am going to emphasize five key points:

1. The Islamic State is on the verge of losing its safe haven in Sirte, Libya. The loss of Sirte would be a major blow to the so-called caliphate, as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization has invested significant resources in this state-building project. From the Islamic State’s perspective, Sirte was one of the most important cities under its control. This was true even though most of the city’s citizens had fled the jihadists’ occupation. By controlling Sirte, the Islamic State was able to portray its “caliphate” as having significant territory outside of Iraq and Syria. If Baghdadi’s loyalists are cleared from Sirte in the coming weeks, then the U.S. and its allies should trumpet the group’s loss. During its rise to power, the Islamic State’s motto was “remaining and expanding.” This was a key part of the organization’s marketing message. But in Libya, as in Iraq and Syria, it is no longer true.

2. Despite losing its grip on Sirte and the surrounding towns and villages, however, the Islamic State will retain a presence inside Libya. The group has cadres in Benghazi and elsewhere. The Islamic State’s leaders likely evacuated some of their men from Sirte as the offensive on the city progressed. It is important to note that even though the Islamic State is on the verge of a significant defeat, the effort required a robust commitment by local Libyan ground forces, as well as more than 170 “precision” American airstrikes to date. As the Islamic State’s men have been cleared block by block from Sirte, they have demonstrated that they continue to maintain a strong operational capacity, launching suicide bombings in neighborhoods they’ve lost and killing dozens of their Libyan enemies. The U.S. and its partners will have to make sure that they hold Sirte once it is cleared, as well as prevent the Islamic State from seizing significant terrain elsewhere. 

3. The Islamic State’s loss of Sirte will be viewed in jihadist circles as a vindication of al Qaeda’s strategy. Al Qaeda’s senior leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, repeatedly warned that the premature declaration of an Islamic state harms the jihadists’ cause. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) emir, Abdulmalek Droukdel, has made the same argument. Al Qaeda has consistently argued that a jihadist state cannot survive if the U.S. and its allies decide to intervene. This is exactly what happened in Sirte.

4. Some assume that, unlike the Islamic State, al Qaeda does not seek to control territory and build Islamic emirates (states). But this is an erroneous assumption. A wealth of evidence shows that this is, in fact, al Qaeda’s primary goal. However, al Qaeda and the Islamic State have very different strategies for achieving this same end. AQIM and its allies briefly controlled much of Mali beginning in 2012. Documents recovered in Mali show that AQIM was laying the groundwork for an Islamic state. But Droukdel and his advisors concluded that their effort needed to be firmly rooted in the host society, so AQIM was willing to partner with tribes and organizations that did not share its ideology. AQIM is following a version of this same strategy inside Libya today and has been working to embed itself in various local groups and communities. The Islamic State’s model for state-building is top-down authoritarian. In the view of Baghdadi and his key advisors, all Muslims must submit to the so-called caliphate’s authority. Al Qaeda’s follows a bottom-up plan, which means that the organization is seeking to spread the jihadist ideology, win popular support and embed itself within local societies. Al Qaeda and AQIM, which is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri, are not close to achieving their goals in many areas. But the al Qaeda network remains deeper than many assume.

5. In addition to the assistance the U.S. military provides local forces, the U.S. government should work to expose al Qaeda’s network inside Libya. Sun light is a key part of any plan to combat al Qaeda’s clandestine strategy. Al Qaeda’s senior leadership has dispatched operatives to Libya in the past. AQIM doesn’t typically advertise its presence in Libya, but has clearly backed groups such as Ansar al Sharia in Libya and the Mujahideen Shura Council in Derna. Indeed, al Qaeda has worked under multiple brand names in Libya.

Read more