Another Foiled False Flag

Officials suspect master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, above, or one of his proteges to have made the bomb.

By Stephen Lendman

Wikipedia defines false or black flags as “covert operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities.”

“The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is: flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations and can be used during peace-time.”

Big lies substitute for truth. Stories are fabricated. Media scoundrels promote them. At issue is heightening fear for planned policies. Pretexts are needed for militarism, imperial wars, and homeland repression. If and when people learn they were duped, it’s too late to matter.

It’s an American tradition. Incidents are strategically timed. Innocent victims suffer. So does everyone living under heightened national security state conditions.

Threats are manufactured. States of emergency are declared. Rule of law principles are discarded. Unchallenged dominance alone matters. Wars on humanity follow. Big lies facilitate them. False flags play their part.

Here we go again. This one’s a sequel. Perhaps Hollywood blockbusters will follow, first the original plot, then the latest. More on the earlier one below.

On May 7, AP headlined “US: CIA thwarts new al-Qaida underwear bomb plot,” saying:

Agents foiled “an ambitious plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a US-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, The Associated Press has learned.”

AP described an upgraded underwear bomb plot. Like the earlier one, it was “designed to be used in a passenger’s underwear, but this time” US officials called it “more refined.”

On May 7, the FBI issued a brief statement, saying:

“As a result of close cooperation with our security and intelligence partners overseas, an improvised explosive device (IED) designed to carry out a terrorist attack has been seized abroad.”

“The FBI currently has possession of the IED and is conducting technical and forensics analysis on it. Initial exploitation indicates that the device is very similar to IEDs that have been used previously by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in attempted terrorist attacks, including against aircraft and for targeted assassinations.”

“The device never presented a threat to public safety, and the US government is working closely with international partners to address associated concerns with the device.”

“We refer you to the Department of Homeland Security, including the Transportation Security Administration, regarding ongoing security measures to safeguard the American people and the traveling public.”

The device contained no metal. It’s not clear if body scanners could have detected it. Officials said an alleged Yemen-based bomber hadn’t yet picked a target or bought plane tickets. CIA agents seized the device before he had a chance. The suspect wasn’t identified.

AP learned of the plot earlier but agreed to White House and CIA requests to delay publishing because intelligence operations were ongoing.

On May 8, the White House and FBI confirmed AP’s report. Deputy national security council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Obama knew last month. “The disruption of the IED plot underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism here and abroad,” she said.

“While the president was assured that the device did not pose a threat to the public, he directed the department of homeland security and law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps necessary to guard against this type of attack,” she added.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman Matt Chandler said:

The latest plot “demonstrates our adversaries’ interest in targeting the aviation sector.” Protective “layers” are thus used.

They “include threat and vulnerability analysis, prescreening and screening of passengers using the best available technology, random searches at airports, federal air marshal coverage, and additional security measures both seen and unseen.”

“It’s not clear who built the bomb,” AP reported. Authorities “suspect it was the work of master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.” A Saudi citizen, he’s one of their most wanted. Earlier he was imprisoned and released.

He’s reportedly in Yemen with his brother Abdullah. He’s another Saudi most wanted. Washington claims they’re both Al Qaeda connected. He’s blamed for earlier bomb plots.

On March 24, 2011, the State Department included Ibrahim on its terrorist watch list. He’s also on an Interpol Orange Notice one. It “warns police and other international organizations about potential threats from disguised weapons, parcel bombs, or other dangerous materials.”

Washington considers Yemen strategically important. It’s mostly for its location near the Horn of Africa on Saudi Arabia’s southern border, the Red Sea, and Bab el- Mandeb strait.

It’s a key chokepoint separating Yemen from Eritrea. Around three million barrels of oil pass through it daily. The Gulf of Aden connects to the Indian Ocean. Since 2009, Obama waged drone war on the country. CIA and Special Forces operate on the ground. Death squads are deployed.

America’s at war with Yemen without declaring it. Predator drones escalate killing. Media scoundrels say little. Yemen gets attention when foiled bomb plots are claimed. They’re pretexts for stepped up measures there and at home.

Washington’s targets are global. US citizens share risks with foreign ones. Waging war on humanity leaves no one safe. Everyone everywhere is fair game. Any place could erupt in free-fire zone violence. Anyone can be accused of terrorism or conspiracy to commit it.

America’s hegemonic ambitions threaten humanity. Too few at home understand. Public ignorance and indifference let Washington get away with murder. It’s a global killing machine to remove all challenges.

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Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen?

By Jeremy Scahill at The Nation

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Abdulelah Haider Shaye, journalist is in prison at the request of Barack Obama.Credit: Iona Craig.

On February 2, 2011, President Obama called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two discussed counterterrorism cooperation and the battle against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At the end of the call, according to a White House read-out, Obama “expressed concern” over the release of a man named Abdulelah Haider Shaye, whom Obama said “had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP.” It turned out that Shaye had not yet been released at the time of the call, but Saleh did have a pardon for him prepared and was ready to sign it. It would not have been unusual for the White House to express concern about Yemen’s allowing AQAP suspects to go free. Suspicious prison breaks of Islamist militants in Yemen had been a regular occurrence over the past decade, and Saleh has been known to exploit the threat of terrorism to leverage counterterrorism dollars from the United States. But this case was different. Abdulelah Haider Shaye is not an Islamist militant or an Al Qaeda operative. He is a journalist.

Unlike most journalists covering Al Qaeda, Shaye risked his life to travel to areas controlled by Al Qaeda and to interview its leaders. He also conducted several interviews with the radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki. Shaye did the last known interview with Awlaki just before it was revealed that Awlaki, a US citizen, was on a CIA/JSOC hit list. “We were only exposed to Western media and Arab media funded by the West, which depicts only one image of Al Qaeda,” recalls his best friend Kamal Sharaf, a well-known dissident Yemeni political cartoonist. “But Abdulelah brought a different viewpoint.”

Shaye had no reverence for Al Qaeda, but viewed the group as an important story, according to Sharaf. Shaye was able to get access to Al Qaeda figures in part due to his relationship, through marriage, to the radical Islamic cleric Abdul Majid al Zindani, the founder of Iman University and a US Treasury Department–designated terrorist. While Sharaf acknowledged that Shaye used his connections to gain access to Al Qaeda, he adds that Shaye also “boldly” criticized Zindani and his supporters: “He said the truth with no fear.” Continue reading