Special update on violence in Libya by Barry Webb

SPECIAL REPORT: LIBYA
By Barry Webb
Arab news entities are heavily covering the air attack on a migrant camp in Tripoli. The
migrants in this camp were mostly black Africans who had made their way across the
Sahara desert, and survived, and were waiting in the camp until they could find passage
to Europe.
But after surviving the Sahara desert, death came out of the sky. Over 50 were killed,
dozens more were seriously injured.
General Haftar’s spokesperson Gen. al-Mismari announced that their Libyan army had
targeted a “terrorist” facility in the vicinity of the migrant camp, and blamed the Tripoli
government of Fayez Sirraaj for having intentionally placed the migrant camp next to a
legitimate military target–against the migrant’s protests. He then accused the Tripoli
government of using the migrants as “human shields.” He also demanded an impartial
international investigation into the incident.
Al-jazeera and the Sirraaj government quickly picked up on the story portraying it as a
deliberate war crime on the part of General Haftar’s “terrorist” group.
STORY GETS SCRAMBLED BY FACTS
But then, eyewitness reports from survivors began to pour in and the UN actually began
to do something useful. The Libyan army of General Haftar and Gen. al-Mismari also
began to double check the time of their air attack and the time of the destruction of the
migrant camp.
It so turned out that the air raid sponsored by General Haftar’s group was concluded and
withdrawn from the area 17 minutes prior to the time that the migrant camp was hit.
Eyewitnesses accounts began to pour in speaking of a “second air attack.”
What actually happened was that the first attack, sponsored by and claimed by General
Haftar’s group, actually hit not the migrant camp, but the terrorist militia “motor pool”
nearby where the group had been storing weapons.
The second air attack was by a MIG-23 flying out of the city of Masratta, which is
controlled by ISIS and allied to Sirraaj’s “internationally recognized” Tripoli government.
It was this aircraft that intentionally struck the migrant camp so that the attack could be
blamed on the 17-minute earlier attack by forces allied to Gen. Haftar.

MURDER FOR THE MEDIA
Now, here is where things get interesting. When the migrant camp was hit by a missile
fired from the MIG-23, survivors tried to flee the camp–only to be gunned down
intentionally by the “Libyan National Guard” under the command of the Tripoli
government. This, of course, was to increase the body count for propaganda reasons.
Al-jazeera’s rival, the Saudi-owned al-arabiyya, reported that camp survivors and UN
human rights workers have reported that they had begged the Sirraaj government to not
put the camp next to a military target, but their pleas were ignored. Furthermore,
according to al-arabiyya, the terrorist militias in the area had been using these migrants
as “drivers” and as “labor.”
I take that to mean that they had been used as slaves by the militias until they were of
greater use as corpses for propaganda purposes knowing which way al-jazeera would
play the issue, and knowing that most of western media follows the lead of al-jazeera on
all Middle East issues.
PREMEDITATED SLAUGHTER
So, what it looks like, is that the Tripoli government placed the migrants’ camp in one of
the most dangerous areas they could come up with precisely because they wanted to use
these “expendable human beings” for propaganda purposes should the opportunity arise.
The attack by the Masratta-based Mig-23 and the calling up of the Libyan national guard
and posting them where they could fire on migrants fleeing the camp had to have been
coordinated. And, that is the biggest war crime of them all.
It will be interesting to see, that if in the wake of this tragedy the UN has the guts to pull
their recognition of the Tripoli government and/or whether or not any of the big powers
besides France and Russia will shift their support from the Sirraaj government to the
Haftar group.
A couple more of interesting tidbits have come in regarding this tragedy. First of all,
Russian President Putin while lamenting the tragedy said that terrorists were being
transported from Syria’s Idlib province and infiltrated into Libya, though he did not
reveal who was transporting these terrorists. This would seem, though, to be lending
support an earlier claim by Gen. Haftar’s group that Turkey is hiring terrorists from all
over the world, training them, and then inserting them into Libya to fight on behalf of the
Tripoli government.
The Idlib province is key here. Who controls Idlib? Al-Qaeda took over the province a
couple of years ago. Then when the Turkish army moved in a few months ago they were
received warmly by al-Qaeda. So, it would make sense that Turkey is the one funneling
these terrorist into Libya as Gen. al-Mismari said.

Another interesting thing to further scramble the picture. The aircraft that launched the
first attack (the one against the legitimate terrorist target) was an F-16. General Haftar’s
group does not own any F-16s. This indicates that a “foreign entity” of some sort
actually carried out the attack on behalf of General Haftar.
Egypt and the UAE have both been known to provide air support for General Haftar, and
both own F-16s.
So, what we have here is a number of outside powers fighting a proxy war on Libyan
soil, much like we saw in Syria. In this case France has joined Egypt and the UAE in
aiding Gen. Haftar’s group, while Turkey, Qatar, and to a lesser extent, Iran, are aiding
the Tripoli government.
The incident against the camp of African migrants also dramatically show where black
Africans stand with the “religion of peace.”
We can only hope that these latest disclosures of the Tripoli government’s complicity in
the massacre of the migrant camp will shift international support and recognition away
from Tripoli and that a concerted effort will be made to clean out the al-Qaeda, ISIS, and
other terror groups operating in Libya.
/////////////////////
Barry Webb has logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, has two MA degrees
in related subject matter, and is currently a Senior Fellow with Americans for Intelligence
Reform. He is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies
are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com

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Article published in the Epoch Times by Brad Johnson, President of AIR

CIA in the spotlight

The New York Times published an article on June 12 titled “Justice Department Seeks to Question C.I.A. in Its Own Russia Investigation.” The article is largely liberal spin with some artistic interpretations of the facts, but there are a few data points worth noting.

The CIA’s problem, and why it is being questioned, is that its intelligence reporting strongly supported the premise that there was collusion between the Russians and now-President Donald Trump’s campaign. Since it turns out to be a false premise, U.S. Attorney General William Barr is asking both the FBI and CIA why they supported the collusion charges when there was zero proof and zero evidence.

Barr was quite clear in interviews that the responses he has received from current FBI leadership haven’t answered this question. Barr can only conclude there’s a strong possibility the motives were political, which means a long list of laws have been broken.

As I have long reported both in interviews and previous opinion pieces, at the very least (and I really mean very least) the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court application for a warrant and the subsequent renewals were in violation of 18 U.S. Code, section 1001, which makes it illegal to attest that false statements are true.

Many media reports have shown that everyone knew the Steele dossier was a political document and had nothing to do with intelligence prior to being used to justify the FISA warrant. This is clearly going to be a problem for the senior FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who signed these documents.

Working his way down the list of those who appear to be involved in what looks in every way to be a criminal conspiracy, Barr now wants to interview the CIA officers who were involved and see if they have any sort of satisfactory answer. This is something the CIA officers are simply not going to be able to answer because we already know there was no Russian collusion. Be prepared to see Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on the list of those to be questioned.

It has been widely reported that current CIA Director Gina Haspel has instructed the senior officials in the spotlight to cooperate but to protect sources and methods. Let me translate this for everyone: Haspel just drew a line in the sand. The questions Barr wants to ask are related to what was supposed to have been intelligence reporting, i.e., the reporting that supported the collusion nonsense. That means it will all be cloaked behind sources and methods, and the CIA officers can therefore decline to answer any significant questions.

The plan here is clear and conclusive: Drag your feet and leak anything that can help stall investigations, and hang on until the 2020 elections, and hope Trump loses. The rallying cry for the Left is going to be, “We must protect secrets,” in order to stop or stall the questioning; and Haspel will have significant support from the mainstream media and Democratic politicians.

I have a question: Since we know there was no collusion and the reporting used was therefore false, what secrets exactly are we protecting that are so important? If there was indeed a source that provided this sort of false information, the source lied to us and isn’t worth protecting. If it was all made up for political motives, well, that has to be protected by the Left at all costs—and that seems to be what fits the circumstances.

Here’s what everyone has missed: Haspel drew her line in the sand and Trump responded in kind. On June 14, the president signed a “Memorandum on Providing an Order of Succession Within the Central Intelligence Agency,” which was immediately made public. This is not unheard of, but still not something very commonly done for the CIA, and the timing here is pretty clearly a message that the White House is perfectly willing to replace Haspel and likely many of the others named in the list of succession.

I won’t go through the publicly available list in detail, but everyone should be aware that the names that are highest on the list of succession were also in senior positions under former CIA Director John Brennan. Most were, in fact, handpicked by Brennan, and a couple were even brought out of retirement to serve in those senior positions.

Here is an interesting point: Some of those same individuals were brought out of retirement a second time by current CIA Director Haspel to once again serve in the most senior positions at the CIA. Make no mistake, it means exactly what it appears to mean.

When Trump settled on Haspel to replace Mike Pompeo as director of the CIA, I publicly pointed out why this was a mistake and asked Trump to select someone else more appropriate. Naturally, the president didn’t listen to my advice, since he has no idea who I am, but, boy, did I call that one.

My message to Trump this time around is to find a career CIA intelligence officer who is a patriot to be CIA director. This is exactly what Barr is for the DOJ; he wants to be absolutely sure DOJ and FBI officials didn’t have their thumb on the scale of justice and undermine their credibility, and it can be done for the CIA.

There’s nothing more important than reestablishing the credibility and effectiveness of the DOJ and FBI first and foremost, but closely after that, the same thing needs to be done for the CIA.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/cia-in-the-spotlight_2974813.html

Brad Johnson is a retired CIA senior operations officer and a former chief of station. He is president of Americans for Intelligence Reform.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

 

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This piece featured on the Epoch Times homepage and in the national print edition on the front page of the opinion section.

Commentary

In a surprise move not recognized by many, President Donald Trump has turned a corner in his presidency.

This latest confrontation with Iran has slowly been building with the United States over the past few weeks, culminating in the shooting down of a U.S. drone over international waters.

According to all reports, the United States was within minutes of striking back at a handful of Iranian military targets when the president made the decision not to give the final order of approval.

The president said there were two factors in his decision not to move forward. First, since no one was killed in the attack on the U.S. drone, the president thought a counterattack in which around 150 Iranians would be killed wasn’t a balanced response. The president also noted that he believed the decision to attack the U.S. drone wasn’t made by the central Iranian government. This has been confirmed in separate news reports.

Interestingly, there are also many reports that the president was receiving advice to approve the attack from the military and from national security adviser John Bolton, and perhaps others. Bolton has often publicly urged stronger pushback against Iran, with a goal of regime change; and everybody knows the military doesn’t like its aircraft shot out of the sky.

Instead, the president chose to increase sanctions against Iran. Iran destroyed U.S. property worth a great deal of money but didn’t kill any Americans. The sanctions are going to end up costing Iran a lot of money and not take any lives along the way. A perfectly balanced response, but one with teeth.

The president used the opportunity to draw a red line. He was perfectly clear that this carefully controlled response by the United States was predicated on the fact that no Americans were hurt. The president was most specific that his response would have been much different if an American had been killed. We all know he means it, and let’s face it—he looks very presidential, and the U.S. public is going to agree.

A Cool Head
When Trump made the decision not to make the military strike, he accomplished a combination of other important things. He has been relentlessly criticized by the left for being a loose cannon and always needing the supervision of advisers with cooler heads. In this case, the president has shown himself to be the cooler head and fully capable of calm consideration of the right way to respond to a difficult situation and act appropriately.

The left will find a reason to criticize this turn of events, but they are just simply incapable of judging the president fairly, so their opinion is really of no importance or much interest.

Where this is going to have an important effect is with the people of the United States. They have heard the steady drumbeat from the mainstream media about how the president is guilty of collusion with the Russians and obstruction of justice, which both turned out to be false. In fact, the whole collusion stunt is probably going to end up putting some senior left-wing government officials in jail. Under the current circumstances, the public sees Trump being cool, calm, and collected when they have been told for years that it’s not possible.

Trump is going to get a solid positive bump in the polls that come out over the next few weeks and will, for the first time, move into higher positive numbers than negative numbers. I think he will never look back, particularly with the strong economy. He has turned the corner from Trump, the man, to Trump, the president of the United States. It will take a minor miracle for the Democrats to stop him in 2020 now.

The Real Problem
That’s only the surface story, though. There is more going on here than meets the eye, and more important than what we have discussed so far. It’s clear that the president gets it. Iran is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. The real problem is the power behind Iran, which is China.

All the talking heads on the news programs wonder why Iran is acting up so much. The answer is China. They are looking for ways to pressure the United States because the tariffs are working and they are running out of options.

An intelligent foreign policy strategy is taking place behind the scenes, and we are catching a glimpse of it here.

The administration’s focus is on the real problem, China, and not the surrogates in Iran. The limited response against Iran, which includes a red line that will be enforced if broken, has checked Iran at least for the moment. Iran is already on the ropes from the sanctions imposed on it, so hitting them with more sanctions is masterful.

Trump understands the situation and is winning on the world stage, and I, for one, am not getting tired of it yet.

Brad Johnson is a retired CIA senior operations officer and a former chief of station. He is president of Americans for Intelligence Reform.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/trump-the-big-winner-in-iran_2974820.html

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25 JUNE Arab language weekly news update By Barry Webb

EGYPT

The host of the sin’at al-mawt (Industry of Death) program on the Saudi-owned
al-arabiyya TV channel interviewed an Egyptian Counter Terrorism expert on 21 June. The Egyptian guest claimed that ISIS leader al-Baghdadi has recently urged his supporters and cells to escalate their attacks.

In this context, the Egyptian CT expert, in answer to a question as why it is taking so long for Egypt to quell the terrorist uprising in the northern Sinai, also claimed that ISIS is inserting “highly trained operatives” into the Sinai. These operatives are then supplemented and supported by the local terrorist infrastructures already in place.

COMMENT:

That answer still leaves me unsatisfied. The population of the Sinai is not that great that they could continually replace the terrorists being killed by the Egyptian military with an endless supply of new terrorists–even if ISIS is infiltrating a few “highly trained” operatives into the Sinai now and then. My guess is that pro ISIS and Muslim Brotherhood types from among Egypt’s general population are travelling to the Sinai, and then slipping away to join these active terror cells.

ALGERIA

A new development in the Arab Spring 2.0 movement taking place in Algeria is the Berber Amazigh people beginning to raise their voices anew. The Berbers, or Amazigh who speak an Hamitic language they call Tamazigh, are distantly related to the Ancient Egyptians, who also spoke an Hamitic language. The Berber, or Amazigh, people live throughout all of North Africa, in Libya, Algeria, Mali, Niger, Morocco, and Mauritania, with their largest concentration being in Algeria. And, they are the area’s original pre-Islamic inhabitants going back even before Phoenician and Carthaginian times in the 2nd millennium B.C.

Over the years since the Islamic conquests of the 7th century they have all converted to Islam and have been subsumed politically by Arab-Islamic rulers, first by the Caliphate, and more recently by the Arab dictatorships that have gained power in North Africa with the withdrawal of European Colonialism.

During the Algerian war for independence from France, the Amazigh began to dream of a governing system allowing them parity with Arabic-speaking Algerians, only to be squelched once again by Arab overlords. But now, with the Arab Spring 2.0 in full swing, and the days of the Arab military dictatorship numbered, the Amazigh are once again raising their voices not just for language parity, but for a more decentralized state allowing them more autonomy.

IRAN/AFRICA

According to the Saudi-owned al-arabiyya TV, Iran’s IRGC al-quds force is currently training “sleeper cells” in Africa in order to attack Western targets in response to the U.S. boycott. Some of the countries mentioned include Sudan, Chad, and Niger.

COMMENT: This would be in line with Iran’s current policies of:

One, to push the envelope vis-à-vis the U.S. as far as they can, to create as much confrontation as they can without causing a full-scale U.S. military attack. This is supposedly to shore up “patriotism” at home in light of the Mullah’s sagging popularity.

Two: Iran believes that it can avoid a direct attack by the U.S. by using “proxies” to do its dirty work: The Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Hashd (Shi’a militia in Iraq that lobbed missiles near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad), and now “sleeper cells” in Africa are examples of these proxies.

TURKEY

On 21 June al-arabiyya TV reported that Turkey has sent warships into the Aegean Sea “to protect” the two Oil/Gas drilling ships they have operating in waters the economic exploitation of which Cyprus claims was allotted to it by International agreement.

Egyptian media has reported that Egypt is considering boycotting Turkish goods. Popular Egyptian TV talk show host Amru Adeeb has called on Egypt and all of its Gulf allies to boycott Turkey over this and other issues.

Meanwhile, there are indications that the Trump administration may side with the planet’s number one state sponsor of terrorism. The U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, in a 15 May 2019 speech at the 7th annual Hellenic Air Force Academy Air Power Conference, made comments that sent shivers up and down all Greek spines. This speech made the Greeks fear that the Trump administration will force Greece and Cyprus to accommodate Turkish drilling in Greek and Cypriot waters.

ANALYSIS:

Mr. Pyatt is an Obama appointee, so there is the possibility that he was exceeding his authority in this speech. However, I personally fear that siding with Turkey against the Greeks would be of a piece not only with the Trump administration’s recent behavior, but with the entire West’s behavior vis-à-vis Turkey over the last several hundred years.

It was Trump, who last December invited Turkey to invade Northern Syria so it could rape, rob, and exterminate all Kurds, Christians, and Yazidis who didn’t want to be ethnic cleansed. It was Trump who tried so hard to sell F-35s and other weaponry to the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism. So, why not let the Turks also abuse the Greeks?

The excuse, of course, is to keep Turkey in NATO, which is, of course, the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Instead of being afraid that Russia might lure Turkey out of NATO, we should be encouraging, and celebrating the Russians pulling Turkey out of NATO. Heck, we should even pay the Russians to pull Turkey out of NATO–since we don’t seem to have either the guts or the brains sufficient to push them out ourselves.

As long as Turkey is a member of NATO Russia is helpless to attack its 800-year worst enemy. A Russian dismemberment of this terrorist-supporting state would be a huge gift not only to the Greeks, but to the world as a whole. But, as long as Turkey is a member of NATO, any Russian attack against it would force the United States and the rest of NATO to come to the aid of this terror state.

There is a misguided view in Washington (on the part of both Republicans and Democrats) that Turkey’s current “rogue” behavior is entirely the fault of its current leader Erdogan, and that once Erdogan is out of the picture, Turkey will return to its “normal” self as a loyal, peace-loving, member of NATO. I hate to disillusion all the inside-the-beltway experts, but Turkey’s current behavior is its normal self. With the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in all of the surrounding countries (as well as within Turkey itself) turkey can’t help but return to its normal self as a vile, arrogant, expansionist, jihadi state.

For example, in 1974 when the pre-Erdogan Turkey was a “good” NATO member, they invaded Greek inhabited Cyprus which wanted to re-unite with fellow NATO member Greece. The U.S. and the rest of NATO all looked the other way as Turkey raped, murdered, and ethnic cleansed its way across northern Cyprus–irrespective of the fact that the Greeks had been living there for 3,000 years, 2,000 years before the Turks left their yurts in east central Asia.

The point is that seven decades of pretending to be a “good” NATO member cannot erase the seven centuries of Islamist Jihadi expansionism exhibited by Turkey’s Ottoman empire–and the lust to return to those glory days. Furthermore, Turkey has something “going for it” other than Islamofascism, and this is an ideology of Turkish racism that makes Hitler’s Nazism look like boy scout stuff.

Yet, the West has always kowtowed to Turkey. Trump’s predecessor, Obama, openly sought to aide Turkey in reconstituting the Ottoman Empire. During the 19th century Russia tried twice to dismember the Ottoman Empire so as to give the Christians of the Middle East some breathing room, and to give Constantinople back to the Greeks–as well as to eliminate the constant threats to its own southern border. But in each case Britain and other Western powers came to the aide of the “sick man of Europe.”

In the 16th century when the Turks were raping, murdering, and ethnic cleansing their way across Catholic and Eastern Orthodox central Europe (even besieging Vienna in 1529), the protestant states of Western Europe sided with the Turks with no less a person than Martin Luther saying that “the Sultan is far preferable to the Pope.”

The result of European inaction against Turkish aggression, and pro-Turkish bias, is the checkerboard nature of the Balkans which led to the disastrous WWI (which in turn led to WWII), as well as the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

A SAUDI VIEW

Writing in the London-based, and Saudi-owned ash-sharq al-awsat newspaper, the Saudi journalist Mashari azh-Zhaayidi expressed a more optimistic view in his 24 June essay: bi-itijaah seqout mihwar turkiyya w-iiraan w-qatr (towards the fall of the Turkey, Iran, Qatar axis). In this regard he pointed to symbolic “defeats” by each of these terrorism supporting states.

Qatar’s alleged “defeat” came with the victory of General Muhammad wold
al-Qhazawaani in the Mauritanian elections to succeed the previous president Muhammad wold ‘Abd al-‘Aziz. He also pointed to the fact that a couple members of the U.S. Congress have questioned Qatar’s influence in the United States.

Iran’s alleged “defeat” comes at the hand of the U.S. embargo and other pressures being placed on the Iranian regime.

Turkey’s alleged defeat, according to azh-Zhaayidi, came with Erdogan’s AKP candidate losing the recent election for mayor of Istanbul.

ANALYSIS

We would be wise to not breakout the Champaign bottles just yet. While the Mullahs in Iran are losing popular support and are sitting on a deteriorating economy, they are still very capable of causing mayhem around the world with their support of terrorism, and the use of proxies to do their dirty work.

As for Qatar’s “defeat,” the Qatar-supported opposition in Mauritania is threatening an Arab Spring type of resistance. And, while a couple members of the U.S. Congress may have recently been made aware of Qatar’s shady influence on our media and politics, most of their colleagues in both parties actually applaud Qatar’s influence. So, don’t hold your breath over the possibility that anything might be done about it.

Finally, Erdogan’s defeat in the local Istanbul elections do not constitute a rejection of Erdogan’s aggressive foreign policy. These results do not reflect the feeling of the majority of Turks nationwide, nor do they even reflect the feelings of Istanbul voters on anything other than the deteriorating economy in Turkey. Turkey’s Islamofascism and overt racism are still intact, in Istanbul as well as in the countryside.

TURKEY’S DEAD BODY PROBLEM

For most of the past year all we’ve heard from Turkey and their al-jazeera cheerleader is how Saudi Arabia should be severely punished for having killed one of their own (Saudi) citizens (Jamal Khashoqji) on Saudi territory (the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul). Well, now, it so seems that Turkey has killed a Palestinian they had thrown into a Turkish jail in Istanbul.

The Turks claim that he was arrested for spying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, and that he committed suicide. The story out of Istanbul is that Zaki Mubarak was found hanging from the bathroom door in his one-person cell in Silivri prison when guards arrived to give him food. The Turks said that Zaki Mubarak was a 55-year old retired major general and a “senior intelligence official.” But the dead man’s brother asked how can anyone who doesn’t speak Turkish be a spy in Turkey? The family also soundly rejected the idea that Zaki would commit suicide. This view is supported by Turkey’s refusal to let them see the autopsy report.

COMMENT: I think that Zaki Mubarak really was a spy, and here is why:

Zaki Mubarak’s family has given numerous conflicting accounts as to exactly what Zaki Mubarak did, and why he was in Turkey. His son said he had gone to Turkey to look for a job. A brother, named Zain ad-Din, said that Zaki had gone to Turkey to open up a restaurant. Zain ad-Din, on another occasion said that Zaki was a “respected lecturer.” Another family member said he had a PhD in political science, but his daughter said he told her to “study Chemistry and become a doctor like him.”

ANALYSIS:

The fact that Zaki Mubarak’s family had so many conflicting accounts of what it was that he did is a sure marker that he was in intelligence and wanted his family to be kept in ignorance of that fact . . . for their own safety.

I have pieced together the following from the family’s scattered accounts, and from other sources:

Zaki Mubarak, a resident of Gaza (where his family still lives), was an intelligence agent for the Ramallah-based Palestinian authority until 2007. In 2007 Hamas won the elections in Gaza and brutally cracked down on PA employees and supporters.

So, Zaki Mubarak (an outspoken critic of Hamas) then “escaped” to the UAE. Once in the UAE, rumors have it that he hooked up with one Muhammad Dahlan, a Palestinian who now resides in the UAE.

The Muhammad Dahlan story is a fascinating one that deserves to be summed up here. He started out as a Fatah activist in his youth. As such he was arrested by the Israelis no less than 11 times. During his multiple stays in Israeli prisons he became fluent in Hebrew, and also grew into a more “mature” world view, one that had no room for the radicalism of Hamas.

Resuming his Fatah connections, he became a security wonk and at one time had 20,000 men under his command in Gaza. In 2003, he was appointed as the Palestinian Minister of State for Security, though he was replaced the following year due to PA political infighting.

With the Hamas take-over in 2007-08, Dahlan relocated to the west bank. For the next several years, Dahlan was in and out of PA politics, and in and out of the PA security apparatus.

Throughout his early career in Fatah politics and security matters, he was the darling of the Arab media. He was young, vigorous, handsome, and articulate, in contrast to the gerontocracy that dominates Palestinian politics. Everyone saw him as the leader of the future for the Palestinians. The Bush administration, and the Europeans, applied pressure to have him appointed as the successor to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

That may have been too much for Abbas to handle. To make a long story short, Dahlan soon fell out of favor in PA politics. His Palestinian enemies accused him of aiding the Israeli Mossad in taking out a couple of Hamas operatives. He was expelled from Fatah in 2011 when Abbas accused him of murdering former PA leader Yasser Arafat. So, Dahlan hightailed it to the UAE where he became employed as a security and intelligence advisor.

Throughout his career he had been a vitriolic critic of Hamas, calling them nothing but a bunch of “murderers and theives.” He had also shown a willingness to work with Israelis and Americans. He is said to also be close to Egypt’s President as-Sisi, and I suspect that Dahlan may have played a key role in brining the UAE and Israel closer together (even if only under the table).

Which brings us back to Zaki Mubarak. Like Muhammad Dahlan, Zaki Mubarak was an outspoken critic of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. As a PA intelligence operative in Gaza (pre-Hamas days), he would have known Muhammad Dahlan very well, in fact probably worked for him and/or with him.

Thus, it should not be surprising that two former PA intelligence and security types, who share a hatred of Hamas, and hold the same “moderate” political views, and who both found exile in the UAE . . . I mean, it would be bizarre if they didn’t hook up in their new digs. I think it safe to say, then, that Zaki Muhammad was a spy, and that he was working for and with Muhammad Dahlan on behalf of the UAE.

Therefore, the Turkish accusation that Zaki Muhammad was in Turkey to spy on Arab Islamist radicals was probably true. Turkey is the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism, the godfather of ISIS, and the home of thousands of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood operatives. So, if one wanted to spy on Arab radicals, Turkey is a good place to be–even if he didn’t speak Turkish.

Turkey’s ruling AKP party is a clone of the Muslim Brotherhood, so it would only be natural for them to want to arrest anyone spying on their Arab terrorist clients.

But, what is not natural is murdering captured spies while you’re holding them in prison.
Civilized countries like the U.S. and Russia (and its USSR predecessor) all hold/held captured spies for a possible later trade–because you know that sooner or later your opponent will pick up one or more of your spies. Civilized countries exchange spies. Turkey kills.

Now, with all of Turkey’s creating a storm over Saudi Arabia’s handling of the Khashoqji affair, and the Saudi’s refusal to turn Khashoqji’s body over for an autopsy, guess who refused (for weeks) to turn Zaki Mubarak’s body over to his family so they could have it autopsied? Guess who refused to send an autopsy report to the family?

And this, raises another question. Where is the American media on all of this? The U.S. and European media, and politicians, have all taken Turkey’s, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s side on the Muslim Brotherhood member Khashoqji’s murder (with the exception of President Trump), but are entirely silent on Turkey’s handling of the Zaki Mubarak case.

Could the double standard in U.S. media coverage possibly have to do with Khashoqji’s being a Muslim Brotherhood operative (and therefore being a darling of Qatar and
al-Jazeera), and Zaki Mubarak’s being an opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood (and therefore one of the “bad” guys in the view of Qatar and al-Jazeera)?

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Barry Webb has logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, has two MA degrees in related subject matter, and is currently a Senior Fellow with Americans for Intelligence Reform. He is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com

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LEAKED DOCUMENTS MAKE CLEAR QATAR’S FINANCING OF MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ORGANIZATIONS IN CANADA

LEAKED DOCUMENTS MAKE CLEAR QATAR’S FINANCING OF MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ORGANIZATIONS IN CANADA
Posted on www.ahram.org.eg on 18 May 2019.
Filed by Islam ‘Azzam.
(Translated from the Arabic by Barry Webb)
The book Qatar Papers was recently published in France by the authors Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot. This book contains documents that were leaked from a Qatari government office, and it nails down the names and dates and conclusion of the direct payments by Qatar to organizations connected with the international Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Moreover, the book also noted the existence of similar documents pertaining to North America. So, this was the thread that Tom Quiggen, the Canadian researcher and author, grasped on to in order to be able to obtain a single copy of these documents. And, according to what Quiggen affirmed to al-ahram, it is these documents that affirm the Qatari government’s payments to Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations in Canada and the United States.
In spite of the fact that Quiggen, so far, has refused to give the details about the names of the Canadian persons and entities connected with facilitating the arrival of these funds for the Brotherhood organizations in Canada, and these are organizations some of which the Canadian government had previously placed on lists of banned groups and organizations and which finance terrorist organization outside of Canada, nonetheless Quiggen agreed to grant al-ahram the right to publish some of the information which he obtained in the documents.
Quiggen affirmed from the beginning that the documents make it clear, with evidence, what he had previously gathered from his previous researches connected with eight organizations that are calling for “political Islam” in Canada. Moreover, the documents affirm the involvement of nine prominent Canadian politicians in the facilitation of millions of dollars to enter Canada to finance organizations that publicly encourage violence. The documents point out that the Canadian politicians embroiled in this belong to the three major political parties in Canada, and these are the Liberal Party, the opposition Conservative Party, and the Progressive Democratic Party.
As for the organizations that have obtained financing from Qatar, Quiggen affirmed that all of them are organizations specific to Islamic cultural centers, mosques, and Islamic schools in all of the Canadian provinces. But the most important thing is that these organizations do not at all deny their relationship with political Islam both within Canada and overseas. But what is most astonishing is that these organizations, via their official websites in the English language, are calling for “radical Islam” and encouraging the killing of non-Muslims, as well as domestic violence. And, among these documents is a notorized document for financing in Canada one of the projects Yusuf al-Qaradhawi presented to the Qatari government.
In asking Quiggen as to the possibility of the Canadian government being aware of the existence of these documents, Quiggen answered that they most certainly do know about them. So, it is sufficient to say that one of the political names involved in the facilitation of the entry of these monies into Canada is none other than a current minister in the Federal government.
When al-ahram asked Quiggen as to whether Canadian law does not prohibit the foreign financing of civilian organizations, Quiggen said that that is true, but it does prohibit the financing of extremist organizations, and it prohibits the financing of organization that might have some relationship with terrorism.
As for what Quiggen thought the Canadian government’s reaction would be after the documents are published, he expressed his belief that the preliminary response would be an attempt to discredit the allegations and cast doubt on the credibility of the documents, but after that they will have to admit to the fact that millions of dollars have entered Canada to finance extremism and terrorism.
He added that Canada is a Democratic country that holds in high esteem the value of personal freedoms for the enacting of laws for monitoring the financing of groups suspected of links to terrorism and extremism. And, it is incumbent upon the government to take several measures for monitoring this financing and to identify their sources and to ban them if the matter requires it. This is what the previous government did, but with the arrival of the current federal government four years ago these measures have been negated for unknown reasons.
Quiggen said that there was a law drafted to ban the financing of religious organizations by entities outside of Canada but the discussion of this law in Parliament was cancelled in spite of the fact that it was a logical matter and internationally acceptable. For example, if Canada wanted to finance the construction of a mosque or a church in a country like Qatar, the Qatari law would prohibit that.
What Tom Quiggen said about the way the current Canadian government deals with organizations that support political Islam and calls for violence raises a lot of questions, especially given what we know about one of the big Canadian Engineering companies in the City of Montreal, namely the company implicated in the scandal of the Canadian prime minister being dragged into the investigation proceedings regarding corruption which the judiciary launched some months ago concerning the activities of this company when it sold one of its headquarters in a commercial neighborhood in the center of Montreal to the Canadian institute for Islamic culture in a deal completely financed by Qatar al-khairiyya (Qatar Charity) which is a Qatari government entity. The value of the deal approached 11 million Canadian dollars.
Perhaps this matter is purely coincidental, but if we take into consideration that the company’s activities depend upon its participation in numerous projects in the Middle East and the Arab Gulf area, then the matter stirs numerous suspicions regarding the current prime minister’s support for this specific company.
COMMENT: Egypt’s state sponsored newspaper al-ahram was interested in this story because Egypt is trying to exterminate the Muslim Brotherhood both domestically and internationally. Much of the monies that Qatar sends to MB affiliates in the U.S., Canada, and Europe end up financial illegal MB activities in Egypt. As if to punctuate this fact, a tourist bus was bombed this weekend near the pyramids.
On the U.S. front, we can all hope that the Trump administration can use these documents proving that CAIR, ISNA, etc. are being financed by a foreign government as the smoking gun needed to shut them down. As for Canada, as long as the Obama clone not so true dough is sitting in the PM office . . . lot’s of luck.
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Barry Webb had a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, is currently a senior fellow in Americans for Intelligence Reform www.intelreform.org, and is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com

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28 MAY Arabic News update By Barry Webb

28 MAY Arabic News update
By Barry Webb
SUDAN
The vice president of the military junta now controlling Sudan, General Muhammad Hamdan was recently interviewed by a correspondent from Egypt’s al-ahram newspaper. During the interview General Hamdan thanked Egypt for its role in terms of siding with the “revolution.”
Based on this interview, and a host of other news items that have come in regarding the Sudan situation, the background to this is that the former dictator al-Basheer, in addition to being a clowning thug, was also pushing the Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood/Erdogan agenda in Sudan. There is no way that Egypt could sit by and watch Turkey gain an ever stronger foothold in its southern neighbor. So, I suspect that Egypt had a lot to do with stirring up, and supporting, the demonstrations that brought al-Basheer down.
Other news reports have shown that leading junta members have also indicated they want positive relations with Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., key allies of Egypt and important sources of funds for reconstruction.
However, the Junta has also notified Turkey that they can keep its holdings on Sudan’s Suakin Island. The island once hosted an Ottoman naval base, and supporting entities. Erdogan considers these installations to be a “museum” of Ottoman history. An agreement was signed last December to allow Turkey to restore the naval base and pertinent buildings so as to make it a “tourist” destination. However, there are accounts that Turkey plans to dock naval ships there as well as civilian vessels. That could become an issue given the Sudanese Junta’s open attempts to forge ties with Egypt and its Gulf allies.
During his al-ahram interview, Gen. Hamdan noted that there are divisions within the “freedom and change” protest movement. In this regard he indicated that “foreign” elements are meddling with certain factions in the movement.
Other reporting out of Egypt points the finger at Turkey for smuggling weapons into Sudan to support its factions there, and at Qatar for providing “money laundering” services for the pro-Brotherhood/Erdogan factions.
Gen. Hamdan stated in his al-ahram interview that he is a “target” of the “deep state.” Yes, he actually used that uniquely Trumpian term, the Arabic of which is “ad-dawlah al-‘ameeqah.” He supported this contention by pointing out that since al-Basheer had ruled for thirty years, he had plenty of time to make sure his cronies were well entrenched in the military and all branches of the civilian government.
‘Abd al-Ghufar Shaker, also writing in al-ahram, claims that the “deep state” is also embeded in the 10-member ruling military council and that it is trying to so divisions within the protest movement to pave the way for bringing back the dictatorship to restore law and order. Mr. Shaker also noted additional challenges facing Sudan in the aftermath of al-Basheer’s removal, and foremost of these include the tribal nature of the country and its huge geographic size, being the largest single geographic entity on the African continent. He would not be surprised if some of the regions broke off like the primarily Christian Southern portion already has done.
He blamed the al-Basheer regime for having cultivated and promoted ethnic difference among the people, which has led to forms of discrimination.
LIBYA
The Saudi-owned al-arabiyya TV channel has reported that Turkey recently shipped 40 armored vehicles to the Islamist-supported Sirraaj government in Tripoli, for use against the Gen. Haftar forces. This Turkish shipment docked at the harbor in Masrattah, to the east of Tripoli. Militia from Marattah have also joined in the fight against the Haftar forces besieging Tripoli.
The Turkish arms shipments represent a flagrant violation of the UN “embargo” against any weapons shipments going to either side in this dispute. Unfortunately, no one in the international community seems to give a hoot what Turkey does.
Another report from al-ahram this week quotes a “Gallup” poll showing that people in the Middle East region believe that the ongoing civil war in Libya will spill over into the neighboring countries (which would include Tunisia, Algeria, Chad, Niger, Sudan, and Egypt, all of which share a border with Libya).
The pro-MB al-jazeera TV station is claiming that two Russian-built IL-76 transport aircraft registered to Khazakhistan, but owned by an Emirati company are making regular flights bouncing around between Egypt, Israel, and Jordon allegedly to deliver arms and/or troops to the Haftar forces besieging Libya. If true, this report would add Israel, Jordan, Khazakhistan, and possibly Russia to the ever growing list of countries getting involved in one way or another in the Libya quagmire.
MORE TURKEY
Al-arabiyya TV has also reported that the oil rig Turkey has set up off the coast of Cyprus, in Cypriot-claimed waters has already begun drilling. This is another flagrant violation of international norms committed by Turkey, but ignored by the international community. Cyprus’s allies of Egypt and Israel are now too distracted with hot wars in their own backyards to want to take on Turkey, and Cyprus’s big brother Greece certainly can’t do it alone.
This is yet another example of NATO member Greece being left to cry in the wind alone when fellow NATO member Turkey tramples its rights.
ALGERIA
After weeks of surprisingly well-disciplined, peaceful demonstrations against the “establishment” ruling regime–demonstrations that have continued long after the aging former President Boutiflika stepped down–al-Jazeera TV has reported that violence between the police and the demonstrators has broken out. The demonstrators are demanding that all vestiges of the “establishment” be ousted. Yet, they are also demanding that “democratic” elections be held immediately without offering any mechanism for those elections to be sponsored, conducted, and voted counted afterwards.
COMMENT: The Algerian situation is developing into a recipe for the “wrong” elements in the protest movement to take over (i.e. the pro-Turkey Islamist).
Sudan is looking more and more like a recipe for dismemberment with Turkey, Chad, Egypt and its allies each carving out their own niches based on tribal divisions.
The Libyan Civil war sees no quick ending, and will likely spill over into its neighboring countries as mentioned above.
The greater Middle East conflagration that everyone hopes won’t happen, may already be happening under our noses. Add to the Libyan situation the worsening developments in Algeria, Sudan, and the potential for spillover into Libya’s other neighbors, plus Egypt’s ongoing war against Islamist in the Sinai, the full scale war in Yemen which is now affecting Saudi and Emirati cities and installations, the on-going civil war in Syria, with the outside powers of Russia, Iran, and Turkey intervening with often opposing objectives, then throw in the resurgence of ISIS in Iraq, as well as Syria . . . stir, and then add Turkey’s infringement on Cypriot waters for oil production . . . looks like we’re already there. And, that’s even without talking about the Iran vs. U.S. scenario.
LYONS, FRANCE
The Lyons, France bomber has been identified by French authorities as a computer student from Algeria. He had been in the country only a few months.
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Barry Webb had a 25-year career as an Arabic translator for the NSA and is currently a senior fellow with Americans for Intelligence Reform at www.intelreform.org. He is also the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies are losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com

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MUHAMMAD’S NIGHT JOURNEY By Barry Webb

MUHAMMAD’S NIGHT JOURNEY
By Barry Webb
What it is: The basis of the story is that one night while Muhammad was sleeping in Mecca, the angel Gabriel came and woke him and had him mount the mighty steed Buraq, usually described as a steed with supernatural powers. Buraq took Muhammad to Jerusalem where he found Abraham, Jesus, and other prophets. There Muhammad led these great prophets in prayer. Muhammd then mounted a ladder and climbed all the way into the seven heavens where he once again sees all the prophets, as he ascends through the various levels of heaven. He eventually reached the seventh heaven where he talks with God.
Even though it takes 100,000 light years just to cross our one galaxy of the Milky Way in a starship, Muhammad manages to do the entire universe in just one night . . . while climbing a ladder!
Muhammad’s “night journey,” or laylat al-isra’ w-al-mi’raaj, is one of the most amazing stories found in Islamic culture. As we can see, it is very fanciful, and at times humorous. As a result, many Islamic scholars have discounted it, believing that it is not mentioned in the Qur’an and is nothing but stories that found their way into the ahadeeth (a collection of supposedly sacred sayings of Muhammad inspired by the angel Gabriel). The problem for these Islamic scholars (by trying to deny the night journey) is that it actually is in the Qur’an, or at least sort of.
The 17th chapter (or sura) of the Qur’an is actually titled al-isra’ (meaning the “night journey). The first verse of that sura says: Glorified is he who caused his servant to travel by night from the inviolable Mosque (Mecca) to the furthest Mosque (Jerusalem).
While it is true that no more details of this fantastic journey are given in the Qur’an, Muhammad’s biography by ibn Ishaq (written 130 years after Muhammad’s death) provides several versions of this story, apparently passed down by word of mouth from those who knew Muhammad.
Before I get into the details of this story, I have to say something about that 17th sura which mentions the night journey. Muslim scholars classify it as one of the “middle Meccan” suras. I find that assumption to be outrageous for a couple of reasons:
First, Most authentic (so-called) Mecca suras are written in a childish, choppy style of short two, or three word “sentences,” like children’s nursery rhymes. Whereas all of the Medina suras are written in a flowing, easier to read, prose with (usually) superior syntax and grammar (in the original Arabic). And, the surat al-isra’ is written in the style of the Medina suras.
Second, Muhammad’s final wife, ‘Aisha, is often quoted as a witness who said that “his body never left the room” indicating that it was only a vision, and not a physical journey (even though other accounts do make it out to be an actual physical journey). And, Muhammad did not marry ‘Aisha until late in his life, shortly before he returned to Mecca to conquer it. Meaning that this sura had to be a Medina sura.
Third, this “night journey,” whatever it was, allegedly took place “when Islam had spread in Mecca among the Quraysh and all the tribes” (ibn ishaq, 263, p.181). This sentence describes a time late in Muhammad’s life after he had returned from Medina to conquer Mecca. Because his earlier stay in Mecca only netted him a max of 200 followers, all from among the citizens of Mecca, and none from any of the other tribes–according to the Islamic sources themselves.
FIRST STOP: JERUSALEM
Buraq was truly an amazing animal because each of his strides covered a distance as far as the eye could see. Buraq had also been around for a long, long time, since other prophets before Muhammad had ridden on him. The Arabic word buraaq, is derived from barq meaning “lightning.” So, you might say that the steed Buraq was as fast as lightning.
The story begins while Muhammad was sleeping in the Hijr (refers to Mecca) the angel Gabriel woke him during his sleep. Gabriel then led Muhammad outside and there was good old Buraq. The animal is described as white, half mule and half donkey (an interesting trick since mules are sterile), and it had wings on its sides with which it propelled its feet (an interesting anatomical feature, indeed).
Buraq was more than surprised to see Muhammad. Heavenly steed that he was he “shied” when Muhammad approached him. Gabriel then admonished the white steed saying “Are you not ashamed, O Buraq, to behave in this way? By God, none more honorable before God than Muhammad has ever ridden you before.” The poor animal was so ashamed that he broke out into a sweat and stood still so Muhammad could mount him.
Muhammad and Gabriel then arrived at Jerusalem (none of the accounts ever say what means of transportation Gabriel used to get there). Visiting the temple at Jerusalem Muhammad found Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and a bunch of other prophets, whereupon Muhammad led them all in prayer (showing Islam’s superiority over all other religions).
THE ASCENT TO HEAVEN
A popular folk belief among many Muslims is that Muhammad rode the steed Buraq from Jerusalem up to heaven. However, the accounts given in ibn Ishaq say that Muhammad used a ladder. “A ladder was brought to me finer than any I have ever seen.” Muhammad and Gabriel then mounted it until they came to one of the gates of heaven called the Gate of the Watchers. There they were greeted by an angel called “Isma’il,” and under his command were twelve thousand angels each of which had twelve thousand other angels under their command. That comes to something like 144 Billion angels, an obvious takeoff on the 144,000 of “super saved” individuals of Christian tradition (The Revelation 7:3-8).
As Muhammad travels through this “lowest rung of heaven” he sees sinners being tortured for their sins. In the second heaven he sees Jesus and John the Baptist (but I thought that he had just seen Jesus back down in Jerusalem?).
In the third heaven Muhammad sees Joseph, and in the fourth heaven the prophet Idris. Idris, in Islamic tradition is the first of the prophets after Adam. He is identified with the Enoch of the Bible, and with the Greek Hermes Trismegistus, and the Egyptian god of wisdom Thoth.
On to the fifth heaven Muhammad sees Aaron, brother of Moses. In the sixth heaven is Moses himself. In the seventh heaven he meets Abraham. Abraham then takes Muhammad into “paradise” where he sees “a damsel with dark red lips. And I asked her to whom she belonged, because she pleased me much when I saw her, and she told me ‘Zayd bin Haritha.'”
Now, this is really interesting on a couple of levels. First, because Zayd bin Haritha in real life was Muhammad’s adopted son, and it was Zayd’s wife in real life about whom Muhammad lusted over. So he had a “vision” where Allah tells him that it is permissible for him to marry his adopted son’s wife, and that it would be wrong for him “to deny that which Allah has caused you to desire” (Qur’an 33:37). And, so Muhammad did indeed marry his adopted son’s wife. So, in this trip to heaven we see Muhammad having yet another vision implying sexual lust, over Zayd’s wife.
Second, this idea of entering “paradise” and seeing a beautiful maiden reminds me of the ancient Indo-Iranian myth of the worthy soldier, priest, or ruler being met on the bridge linking earth with “paradise” being met by a beautiful young maiden.
Thirdly, this episode plays into the “babes in heaven” fantasies of Islam which reached its apex in the 72 virgins lore of the Islamic ahadeeth.
FIFTY SHADES OF PRAYER, or IS IT JUST FIVE?
While roaming the 7th heaven, Muhammad comes face to face with God. God tells him that he has to go back down to earth and tell the people that they have to pray 50 times a day. So, Muhammad begins his trek back down through the layers of heaven. As soon as he steps down into the sixth heaven he runs dab smack into Moses and tells Moses that God ordered him to command the people to pray 50 times a day. Moses says that’s way too much. People are weak, they could never stick with that tough of an assignment. So, Muhammad goes back up to the 7th heaven to argue with God and got the number reduced down to 40. Stepping back down to the 6th heaven he told Moses the results, and Moses said, “nah, that’s still to high, go back up there and keep trying.”
So, up and down Muhammad went arguing with God to get the sentence reduced, and then being prodded by Moses to get back up there and tell God that it is still too much. So, finally God agrees to reduce the number of prayer calls to just five times a day.
Thus, Muslims believe that this little story is the reason why Shari’a law demands Muslims to pray five times a day, even though the Qur’an never mentions more than three prayer calls a day. This part of the story was obviously invented to deflect the Muslims’ ability to recognize the real reasons why shari’a demands five prayers a day in conflict with the Qur’an. And, this real reason is that the idea of the five prayer calls a day is one of the many Persian Zoroastrian customs the inventors of Islam imported into their religion.
DANTE’S INFERNO AND ISHTAR’S DESCENT INTO THE UNDERWORLD
In reading Muhammad’s journey through the seven layers of heaven, any student of western literature would easily recognize Dante’s inferno.
But there are even earlier parallels. The Babylonian fertility goddess Isthar’s descent into the underworld where the dead go, for example. First off, Ishtar encounters “gates,” just as Muhammad encountered “gates” up in the various levels of heaven . . . where the dead people go.
Each “gate” that Ishtar goes through, takes her through a layer of the underworld.
But guess how many layers, or “gates” Ishtar encounters and goes through in the underworld? Yeah, that’s right, seven–paralleled by Muhammad’s seven heavens.
In order to enter each new level, Ishtar has to remove an article of clothing until she is completely naked upon reaching the seventh level (a precursor of Salome’s “Dance of the Seven Viels”).
There, Ishtar also has to divest herself of her life (and her body) and face Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the underworld devoid of everything except her spirit. Perhaps presaging Muhammad’s alleged “out of body experience.”
And, of course, the Ishtar story was borrowed from an even earlier Sumerian story of the Sumerian fertility goddess Inanna’s descent into the underworld involving, yes, seven layers.
BIBLICAL PARALLELS
The ladder that Muhammad ascended to heaven on reminded me of the story about “Jacob’s ladder” in Genesis 29:10-13.
A new testament parallel is found in I Peter 3:18-22. In this story Jesus Christ, like Ishtar, is put to death in the flesh, but with his spirit still vibrant “he also went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” What prison are these “spirits” in? The prison of the same underworld that Ishtar and Inanna visited, the 1st layer of heaven that Muhammad visited.
The difference between Jesus and Muhammad here is that Jesus preaches to these sinners to give them one more chance to see the light so they can repent and find a better resting place in the afterworld. Muhammad, on the other hand, simply passes right on by these sinners suffering in torment totally unconcerned about their fate. I think that illustrates the different attitudes of the two religions: Christianity is about helping others. Islam is entirely self-absorbed like its Jew-hating, infidel beheading, sex-slaving “prophet.”
After ministering unto the sinners, Jesus then ascends up to the highest level, to God’s right hand. This is, of course, echoed by Muhammad’s ascending up to the highest level of heaven to be in God’s presence (and Ishtar’s reaching the seventh level of the underworld to face Ereshkigal).
THE BOOK OF ENOCH
But now, we turn to the best example of all, and this is Enoch’s ascension into heaven. Genesis 5:22 mentions that “Enoch walked with God: Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him.” This passage could simply mean that Enoch died. But the full story of Enoch was fleshed out in a collection of apocryphal literatures written in the century before and century after the birth of Christ. The book of Enoch itself is believed to have been written during the earliest years of Christianity, and had a considerable influence on the New Testament writers.
Enoch’s ascension is told in the first book of Enoch: 3-22. Unlike Jesus and Ishtar, but like Muhammad, Enoch did not really have to die because he lived to come back to earth to tell his sons about his journey–just as Muhammad was to return to earth to tell his followers about his journey.
Unlike Muhammad, Enoch did not have to climb all the way up to heaven on a ladder, no, he was born aloft on the wings of angels. Strangely though, Enoch describes 10 heavens, rather than seven. However, at one point of this journey, Enoch is stranded and left alone on the 7th level of heaven. He cries out to God to help him, and shortly who should show up to accompany him through the eighth, ninth, and tenth levels? None other than the angel Gabriel, who was to play the same role for Muhammad six and a half centuries later.
SUMMARY
Muhammad’s much ballyhooed night journey to Jerusalem and ascension to heaven was cobbled together from a long list of previous such journey’s to the seven layers of the afterworld, and the face-to-face meetings with God. Inanna, Ishtar, Enoch, Jesus, and Muhammad all have similar experiences of going through “layers” in the afterworld before meeting up face-to-face with deity.
The Muhammad story itself reads more like a disjointed dream than an actual experience. Even Islamic scholars today are beginning to recognize that the night trip to Jerusalem never did occur. For one thing, in the seventh century it took a full month to travel from Mecca to Jerusalem, so to claim that Muhammad did it one night sort of negates the veracity of the story. Even his wife ‘Aisha claimed that his body never left the room.
Another serious problem with the Muhammad story is the claim that he prayed in masjed al-aqsa (the furthest mosque) in Jerusalem. There were no mosques in Jerusalem until after the Arab conquest in the late 630s. Jerusalem was taken in 638, six years after Muhammad’s death. The masjid al-aqsa was not built until around 700, probably in 705.
Therefore, it is safe to say that this entire story of the night journey to Jerusalem was back-written many decades after Muhammad’s death.
These facts are important for today’s Israeli-Palestinian struggle. This is because the only claim that Arabs and Muslims have to Jerusalem is this alleged tenuous dream of Muhammad which was back-written decades after Muhammad’s death–even if there was such a person a this Muhammad.
For decades I have always said that the only reason Jerusalem is important to Islam is because it is important to Christians and is the only holy site for the Jews. Therefore Islam just had to steal it away.
Muslims can counter by saying that Jerusalem is important because it was the first gibla (meaning the city that Muslims must face when they pray). In fact, some of the early “mosques” are alleged to be oriented towards Jerusalem instead of Mecca.
But this is because the Arabian portion of Islam evolved out of the Jewish Ebionite Christianity which was popular in Arabia during the 5th and 6th centuries. And, the “northern” portion of Islam was cobbled together from elements of the Christianity of the followers of Bishop Arius, the Gnostics, and Talmudic Christianity, all of which, like the Jewish-Christian Ebionites in Arabia, would have venerated Jerusalem as the holy city. Besides, Mecca did not become an important site in Islam until at least 630 when Muhammad conquered it, if one believe the traditional Islamic interpretation of Islam’s origins. In the skeptic’s view, that shown by history, linguistics, and archaeology, that of the “out-of-Arabia” origin of Islam, Mecca was not chosen as Islam’s holy site until sometime around 700 A.D.
Ironically, the “out-of-Arabia” view of the origins of Islam gives Muslims a much stronger connection to Jerusalem than does their own made up, back-written stories about Muhammad’s night journey and ascension to heaven.
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Barry Webb logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the National Security Agency, has two MA degrees in related subject areas, is currently a senior fellow with Americans for Intelligence Reform www.intelreform.org, and is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA Spy: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com

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18 JUNE Weekly report By Barry Webb ENERGY NEWS

18 JUNE INTEL REPORT
By Barry Webb
ENERGY NEWS
MBS-Egypt TV talk show host Amru Adeeb, in his show al-hakayya (the story) aired on MBS- Egypt on 15 June, reported that Egypt is becoming an “energy hub for Europe as well as Africa.”
In this context he noted that Egypt has signed a deal to deliver natural gas to Europe, and plans are underway to export electricity directly to Europe. This project will entail laying underwater cables from Egypt to Cyprus, from Cyprus to Crete, and Crete to Greece from where the energy could be fed to all of Europe.
On the same program, the Egyptian talk show host also reported on friction developing between France, Greece, and Cyprus on one side, and Turkey on the other side, over natural gas wells in Cypriot waters. France has a deal with Cyprus allowing it to drill for natural as in Cypriot waters (which Greece also supports, as “Big Brother” to Cyprus). However, as reported previously, Turkey has also started drilling in Cypriot water, and this without permission from the Cypriot government. France then, recently ordered Turkey to withdraw from Cypriot water.
On 16 June, Erdogan, in a speech to supporters, indicated that the entire Eastern Mediterranean was Turkish territorial waters. Erdogan then belittled Cyprus as being inconsequential and threatened to use military force to ensure “Turkish rights.”
COMMENT: Meanwhile, not only is the U.S. completely AWOL on this issue, but it still lusts to sell this #1 state sponsor of terrorism powerful F-35 jets!
Make no mistake about it, Turkey’s annexation of chunks of N.W. Syria and occupation of chunks of N.W. Iraq (all reported earlier), while the U.S. whimpers its approval and the rest of the world looks the other way, has only whetted the appetite of this fascist state to make ever more encroachments on its neighbors’ territories and rights in the same way that Europe’s acquiescence to Hitler’s early belligerence led to WWII.
Turkey’s current ongoing harassments against Greece and its little brother Cyprus needs to be seen in that light, and if the West does not come down hard on Turkey for this, we’ll all be sorry later.
On another matter, on 16 June, Amru Adeeb commented on the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs visiting Egypt to meet with President as-Sisi so as to obtain reassurance on Egypt’s commitment to the defense of the Gulf states. Adeeb was dismissive of that saying that as-Sisi’s position has always been clear: “Egypt is totally committed to the defense of its Gulf Allies. The security of the Gulf states is Egypt’s security.”
COMMENT: The visit of the UAE FM at this time to obtain Egyptian reassurance should be seen in the context of the rising tensions in the Gulf due to Iran’s increasingly belligerent behavior.
Also, on 16 June, Adeeb commented on a report aired on rival al-jazeera where an Egyptian professor cast dispersion on the four rashideen (the first four Caliphs, called the “rightly guided ones by Muslims). According to this professor, these four “rashideen” were not the “rightly guided ones” tradition claims, but were in fact spies for the Quraish which the Quraish had embedded into Muhammad’s entourage.
The MBS-Egypt talk show host Adeeb, who is usually rather animated anyway, really went ballistic over this saying it was going to cause fitna (stark disturbances) all throughout the entire Islamic world. Then he went on the castigate Qatar (which hosts and supports al-jazeera) of not only causing fitna, but of supporting terrorism.
COMMENT: The so-called “four rightly guided Caliphs” are Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and ‘Ali. The real problem that Muslims have with these four rashideen is not so much that the four rashideen might have been spies for the Quraish, but that they never existed.
These four Caliphs, according to Islamic mythology, are the ones who engineered the expansion of the early Caliphate after Muhammad’s death, giving the Arab/Islamic empire control over all of the Levant, Egypt, most of North Africa, and most of what was once the Persian empire.
If that were true, one would expect that the contemporary histories of all of those literate countries would have made some mention of this. After all, we have Egyptian Coptic writings of that era in our museums as well as Syriac-Aramaic histories, Greek-Byzantine histories, Persian histories . . . and yet none of these sources speak a single word of any of these four “rightly-guided ones.” Oh, they do talk about the Arab and “Saracen” conquests of their lands, but nary a word about these supposedly great historical figures.
That is because they never existed! The entire “history” of the origin of Islam and its early expansion was back-written decades later, in the very late 7th and early 8th centuries . . . and it is all, or mostly all, fiction.
Therefore, I submit that this interview on al-jazeera by this Egyptian intellectual is exactly the sort of thing needed by the entire Islamic community. Causing such a ruckus as it did, it might actually lead to increasing numbers of Muslims to begin to question other assumptions “tradition” has foisted upon them. And, these questionings and discussions are exactly what are needed to begin the process of veering towards a reformation/restructuring of Islam–without which Western Civilization will go the way of the Byzantine and Persian empires.
Also, I think that we need to give Egypt’s President as-Sisi some credit, despite his heavy-handedness against the Muslim Brotherhood and other political opposition, for creating an atmosphere where issues of this sort can be broached by intellectuals and public figures without fear of legal repercussions from the state (though such individuals still have to fear assassination from the Brotherhood’s thugs.
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Barry Webb has logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, has two MA degrees in related subject matter, and is currently a Senior Fellow with Americans for Intelligence Reform. He is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com

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