by Tony Cartalucci
"Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life. To violate this paragraph, a person must have knowledge that the organization is a designated terrorist organization (as defined in subsection (g)(6)), that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorist activity (as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), or that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorism (as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989)." -USC § 2339B. Providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations
In March 2011, the London Telegraph reported that Libya's rebels had direct ties to Al Qaeda and that both leaders and fighters had spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan combating US troops. The article titled, "Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links" featured Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, who had been captured by the US after fighting Americans in Afghanistan, returned to Libya, and released under a bargain for Hasidi and his Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) militants to abandon extremism and become productive members of society. Quite obviously, and with the US, UK, and NATO's help, Hasidi and his men went back on this bargain and are now sowing murder and mayhem across Libya.
The New York Time more recently reported in an article titled, "Exiled Islamists Watch Rebellion Unfold at Home" that LIFG has "renounced Al Qaeda and are part of the mosaic of rebel fighters united under the umbrella of the Transitional National Council, the opposition leadership that the United States formally recognized as Libya’s legitimate government." Of course, "renouncement" is exactly what these very same men did to be released from Qaddafi's prisons in the first place before immediately taking up arms and laying waste to the nation. The New York Times also notes that exiled LIFG leader Abu Sohaib, currently being harbored in London, is unable to return to Libya because he and LIFG is a listed terrorist across the Middle East and throughout most of Europe, including the UK. His LIFG fighters are noted as having "combat experience in Iraq or Afghanistan," and that they are part of the "social fabric of eastern Libya," namely Benghazi, Tobruk, and Darnah in a region often referred to as Cyrenaica.
Image: Taken from a US West Point study, these graphs created by data obtained in Iraq clearly show that Libya's eastern region, and the cities of Darnah and Benghazi in particular, provided by far more militants found fighting US troops in Iraq than any other nation, including Saudi Arabia. An apt summary of the report can be found at Tarpley.net. (click image to enlarge)
To get a clearer picture of just how much of the "social fabric of eastern Libya" these Al Qaeda LIFG fighters make up, a study from West Point US Military Academy indicates that this region produced more foreign fighters per capita found in Iraq than any other nation including Saudi Arabia. The vast majority of these fighters came from Darnah and Benghazi, the latter being the epicenter of the current Libyan rebellion. The report, explained in detail by geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley, proves just how understated the New York Times article is in portraying these terrorists as "part of the social fabric of eastern Libya." The facts prove quite clearly that terrorism is the social fabric of eastern Libya.
Just this week, the UK Independent provided its readership with a watered down headline that reads, "Rebel military chief says he was tortured by CIA." The article indicates that the current rebel leader, Abdulhakim Belhaj (aka Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi) is in fact an LIFG founding member, with combat experience in Afghanistan against the Russians, omits that he was also involved in fighting US troops there in 2001, but does mention that he was held by the CIA, then the Libyan government before taking command of NATO-backed rebels in Libya. The Daily Beast reports in an article titled, "Libya’s Powerful Islamist Leader," that Belhaj was in fact, face-to-face with Osama Bin Laden back in the 1980's, and that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is listed by both the U.S. State Department and the British Home Office as an international terrorist organization.
Image: A screenshot taken directly from the US State Department website showing the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) clearly listed as a foreign terrorist organization. This is important, as US Code prohibits providing material support to listed terrorist organizations. With revelations of Al Qaeda and LIFG fighters leading the Libyan rebellion with NATO-members' full military, financial, and diplomatic support, attempts are being made to plea ignorance as to the true nature of the rebels. Listed below LIFG, is MEK, an Iraqi/Iranian group also being armed and supported by the US. (click on image to enlarge)
With the corporate media's help, Belhaj/al-Hasidi and his men are being portrayed as reformed terrorists despite the fact that they are still LIFG fighters and LIFG itself is still listed as an international terrorist organization. And while many will applaud the corporate media for coming forward with this information, it should be noted that Pepe Escobar first broke this story on Russia Today, and the US and British propaganda outlets have merely been forced to address the growing public awareness of who these "pro-democracy" rebels really are and what role the US and British governments have had in betraying their people by providing material support for men who literally killed US and UK troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the 10 year "War on Terror."
According to US Code Section 2339A & 2339B, the leaders of NATO, along with the US, UK, and French governments, are clearly guilty of providing a listed terrorist organization with material support in the most egregious, overt case since the code was written. The staggering scale of training, arming, and providing air support for Libyan Islamic Fighting Group militants, listed by the US State Department itself as a terrorist organization, all done criminally under the guise of "international law" rubber stamped by the contrived UN and bolstered with support from the equally contrived International Criminal Court, may be partially why more people are unable to understand the scope of criminality involved in NATO's intervention in Libya.
A similar situation exists within Iran, where another terrorist organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) are being covertly armed and aided in fighting the Iranian government. US policy makers are fully aware that organizations like LIFG and MEK have US blood on their hands. In fact, their only concern is how using such organizations will appear publicly and how such perceptions might threaten their agendas. In the Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution report, "Which Path to Persia?" we can see clearly the thought process that goes on behind supporting terrorist organizations. Brookings' only concern is how to remove MEK terrorists from the US State Department list (listed just below LIFG) so they can be supported more overtly in a Libyan-style military intervention.
"Potential Ethnic Proxies," page 117-118 (page 130-131 of the PDF): "Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S. proxy is the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran), the political movement established by the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.
In contrast, the group’s champions contend that the movement’s long-standing opposition to the Iranian regime and record of successful attacks on and intelligence-gathering operations against the regime make it worthy of U.S. support. They also argue that the group is no longer anti-American and question the merit of earlier accusations. Raymond Tanter, one of the group’s supporters in the United States, contends that the MEK and the NCRI are allies for regime change in Tehran and also act as a useful proxy for gathering intelligence. The MEK’s greatest intelligence coup was the provision of intelligence in 2002 that led to the discovery of a secret site in Iran for enriching uranium.
Despite its defenders’ claims, the MEK remains on the U.S. government list of foreign terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran. During the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the group praised the decision to take America hostages and Elaine Sciolino reported that while group leaders publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks, within the group celebrations were widespread.
Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MEK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001. At the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations."