21st Century Wire
By Patrick Henningsen
What’s happened this week in Libya should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention over the last four years.
Geopolitically speaking and considering its proximity to Europe, this viper’s nest has the potential to be even more perilous than Syria. At the beginning of the new year, we predicted that Libya would be the next major ISIS theater, paving the way for an eventual US or NATO intervention. 21WIRE’s end-of-year feature article Game Changers: 2015 Predictions explains:
“Of all the emerging potential conflict fronts for central planning at NATO, this one looks by far the most promising. In classic Hegelian fashion, the Libyan disaster which NATO created back in 2011 is now ripe for a second clean-up round. Like Iraq, the country has been effectively split into 3 separate regions. Warlords and terrorist gangs have seized the power vacuum left by NATO’s sloppy decapitation of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, and already NATO’s puppet government has run for the hills, using what’s left of their airforce to bomb their own cities“.
From the onset, coverage of Libya has been riddled with misdirection and obfuscation. The warning signs have been visible since late 2011 (below).
How did they get it so wrong? Most of what happened in Libya over the last 4 years was known in the alternative media, but blacked-out by the mainstream media (MSM). As it was then, so it is today. The reason for this is simple. Due to the fact that they gave up on doing any investigative reporting, the MSM has only reacted to the official story. When the event happens, Washington issues its talking points, newspapers repeat, intelligence operatives embedded within the media keep to the script, the State Dept. holds its press briefings, while the CIA dispatches its pundits to panels on CNN, FOX and others. The narrative becomes streamlined. Any subsequent information or theme which counters the official line is summarily dismissed and suppressed, and in most cases – completely ignored.
In early 2013, 21WIRE reported how Chris Stevens was overseeing a US gun-running program out of Benghazi and into Syria, and as early at 2011, I also reported how Libyan Islamic fighters were being transferred to the next proxy war in Syria. If only the MSM had done the same back then.
Is ISIS really in Libya? Well, yes and no. ISIS has become a kind of open-source brand, complete with an entire seasonal fashion line, a logo and a full range of merchandise. In fact, absolutely anyone who fancies it can simply fly the ISIS flag, or print out an A4 page and blue-tac it to the wall while filming a martyrdom video – like Amedy Coulibaly did in Paris. In Libya, they splurged a little, and printed large decals to stick on the hoods of their Toyota pick-up trucks, and showed off their new ISIS flags with a gold fringe. It seems that ISIS/ISIL has no hierarchical structure or organization and exists in Syria and Iraq as a confederation of radical paramilitary and al Qaeda groups many of whom receive various degrees of funding and weapons from NATO allies and from the GCC oil monarchies. There’s also a number of seasoned mercenaries and western special forces who are training rebel and ISIS fighters heading into Syria. Otherwise, terrorist brigades function much more like a gang syndicate or Sand Pirate privateers than they do a bona fide terrorist organization. So in theory, anyone can be ISIS, and ISIS can be anywhere. It looks like the pretext for the ultimate open-ended and unregulated international war.
We were primed for this week’s official ISIS PR launch event in Libya back in January when a minor false flag operation was carried out – a “shooting attack” at the Corinthia Hotel, accompanied by a car bombing. This event was brought to us via Pentagon’s media outlet SITE Intelligence Group, who said the attack was the work of the “Tripoli branch of ISIS”, and we are meant to trust SITE 100% and not question the provenance of their many ‘terror exclusives’..
ISIS ‘Video Wars‘
Most sane people are in agreement that the terror video genre is now officially out of control. To some degree the public are becoming desensitized to it, but on the other hand, politicians and media producers have embraced it because it makes their jobs easier. If it scares the public, then it serves a corporate fascist agenda, and the media too. Our world has been transformed into a cinematic merger of Batman meets Iron Man 3 featuring The Mandarin.
Back in September, 21Wire reported how most of the early edition ISIS beheading videos were likely fakes, and filmed against a green screen, completely with props, wardrobe and voice overs. It turns out that at least two of the US major networks – CNN and FOX News finally admitted this three weeks ago. Here’s one example, reported by Dahboo77:
So if the MSM got that wrong for so long, why should we believe anything they are claiming in relation to the ISIS movie productions?
Another amazing thing about these videos is how effective they seem to be in getting other Middle East nation states to bomb their neighbors. The formula resembles a pure Hegelian dialectic, introduced by a problem – a horrific ISIS video appearing on the internet, followed by a predictable reaction – which is public outrage and a demand for blood atonement, and finally followed by the solution – a bombing campaign against the alleged faceless enemy.
Jordanian pilot Kasasbeh stands in front of members ISIS, in what appears to be a staged scene. Notice the shadowing of the picture plane from front to back. (counterjihadnews.com)
First came Jordan. Immediately after the public release of a highly suspect ‘ISIS’ movie production allegedly showing a Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, being burned up in what appears to be a ‘prop’ cage, the King of Jordan responded by launching a series of high-profile ‘revenge’ airstrikes inside neighboring Syria. The media were told that these sorties were against ‘ISIS targets’. In reality, we may never know if that’s true or not. Judging by the media hype, it’s more likely that this was a symbolic airstrike designed to bolster public opinion for a regime which wasn’t very popular the week before. To add to the confusion, someone conveniently threw in the alleged American female hostage Kayla Mueller into the mix, with ISIS claiming that the Jordanian airstrike killed her, and Washington and Amman claiming that ISIS killed her – and in the great ISIS tradition of no forensic evidence, the western media validates without any question and then accepts that the JPEGS emailed by ISIS to Kayla’s family – were perfectly legitimate. Surreal.
ISIS in LIBYA: Still image from the latest ISIS production, showing the execution of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians being murdered by masked ISIS militants wearing identical Ninja robes, with prisoners wearing standard-issued Guantanamo Bay orange jump suits.
Then came Egypt. Like his fellow dictator in Jordan, Egypt’s supreme leader General Abdel Fatah El Sisi has his own problems at home. Somehow, he managed to garner 98% of the vote in this past summer’s election, but many believe this result was achieved by locking up any opposition and scaring opposition voters away from the polls (he’s looks a shoe-in to be the next Hosni Mubarak, destined to rule for another 25 years). Suddenly, another gruesome ISIS video appeared yesterday, depicting a mass beheading of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians who happened to be in Libya and hanging out (so we’re told) in an ISIS hot spot along Libya’s northern Mediterranean coast. Within a few hours of the video’s release, El Sisi orders airstrikes against Libya, and news clips of Egyptian-owned, US-made F16 fighters scrambling in formation towards their new target, a civilian neighborhood in the coastal city of Derna, in Libya – exacting revenge for the horrific ISIS movie production. Was the movie really filmed in Derna? There is no way to know in fact. All we know is that it was filmed on a beach, somewhere on earth.
The US or UK media will not report on an y civilians killed in these glorious “air raids”, and if there are any then it’s simply “collateral damage”. But that dark PR generated in places like Syria and Libya only guarantees more extremism will take root on the ground, feeding back into the Hegelian loop. This equation is the very reason (coalition airstrikes anyone?) why Libya is infested with extremist paramilitaries in the first place, but you’ll never hear that admitted by the MSM brain trust, or CNN’s panel of “national security experts”.
Just imagine – a global arms industry driven by YouTube videos? We’re practically there. Washington hardly has to lift a finger, just cue up the videos and watch them all bomb each other back to the Ottoman Era.
Meanwhile the western media falls into hysteria, calling it an “ISIS attack on Europe’s Doorstep”. Even the Italian press is in a panic, fearing that ISIS is “making inroads” into Italy and could hit Rome and other major cities.
Sensationalist reporting by British newspapers are also screaming-up new fears of “boat loads of ISIS” sailing across the Med and on to the beaches of Europe. These stories are placed in the media in order to push public opinion further towards accepting a permanent war.
In all of these ISIS ‘beheading’ videos, besides many of them not even showing the deaths of the on-screen victims, there has been zero forensic evidence to verify the murders; no murder weapon, no location, no time of death, and no body. We are told by our political establishment and media to accept the videos on face value. What makes these highly produced videos any different from a Hollywood production? Answer: Nothing. In the end, there is no real crime scene, only a YouTube video.
Perfect Timing For New US Declaration of War
The timing of this week’s latest ISIS video-on-demand episode in Libya is almost uncanny, if not dubious, considering the constitutional debate which is currently unfolding in the United States. Is it just another odd coincidence that just 24 hours before Egypt launched its airstrikes in Libya, US President Barack Obama proposed a new congressional authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS which beltway pundits were touting as “a rare moment of unity among congressional Democrats and Republicans”?
By using this latest installment of the ISIS Crisis, the US government is attempting to re-write and even redefine the whole process of declaring war. 21WIRE’s Shawn Helton explained the historical significance of this executive move yesterday:
“The War Powers Resolution of 1973 has been a source of sharp debate with US leadership since it was passed, and the ‘constitutionality’ of the joint Congressional law has been questioned by every US President since its establishment.”
“While the AUMF was not an official “declaration of war”, it does provide the legislative grease needed to allow more authority to be used by a US president.“
Pre-ISIS in Libya
It should be clear by now to anyone with even a cursory grasp of recent history, that Washington DC and its NATO partners Britain and France had hoodwinked the world just long enough to fast-track the dodgy UN Resolution 1973 ‘No-Fly Zone’ which gave NATO jets a clear run of the country to provide air cover for their insurgency, effectively opening the gates of hell in Libya, quickly transforming the country nearly overnight into the globe’s most al Qaeda-infested cauldron at that time. The exact same scenario is now unfolding in Syria, only there is no ‘official’ no-fly zone, only a de facto one. This arrangement was more or less formalized this week when Obama signed off on allowing “Moderate” Syrian Rebels to now call in US B-1B bomber airstrikes. If that’s not a war, I’m not sure what is.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, backed strongly by the US (and now we know why) stayed in power just long enough to fulfill their function for the US-NATO operation in Libya. They played a crucial role at that time in shipping arms and fighters over their border into Libya, and also later on in the networking and recruitment through Brotherhood branches in Libya, Tunisia and Syria – to help flood Syria with foreign fighters – many of whom are flying the ISIS flag today.
Once the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was executed in late Oct. of 2011 by armed al Qaeda (and soon to be ISIS) street mobs (we’re told – with ex-US special forces standing by in a ‘supervisory’ capacity only yards away) – Libya was destined to be the warlord-ridden Somalia-on-the-Med that it is today.
Between NATO’s bombing and the new warlords, after it was all said and done an estimated 30,000 Libyans had been killed as a result of the artificial uprising and bombing campaign. Tribal divisions grew and instability with it. Only weeks after Gaddafi’s death, the black al Qaeda flag (same as ISIS) could be seen flying over the old court house in Benghazi. We said it at the time, and so did many other alternative media pundits. Meanwhile, US and European news networks were still musing about “the birth of democracy in Libya” ad nauseum. In the end, the US and its NATO gang lied about the UN Resolution and changed the mission to regime change. Back in Oct 20, 2011, Pepe Escobar explained what the NATO plan was all along, as well as accurately predicting the civil war chaos “for years to come”:
The bottom line here is: if you are expecting the mainstream media to get Libya right again, after getting so wrong before, then I’d like to offer you a half-price deal on London’s Tower Bridge. Buy now, pay later.
The other key point which the US government, NATO and the corporate media are desperate to leave out of this story is the revolving door between Guantanamo Bay prison and Libya’s Islamic and al Qaeda groups. The US cannot rightly complain about al Qaeda or ‘ISIS’ in Libya when at least two of its top leaders were repatriated into Libya for the sole purpose of leading the spiritual and militant insurgency to remove Gaddafi and permanently destabilize the country.
As 21WIRE reported back in 2013, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay circa 2002, after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He was released and filtered back into fighting regions to organise Al-Qaeda-type Islamist groups in Libya. After the fall of Gaddafi, Bejhaj was rewarded with the position of Libya’s military ‘Governor’ of Tripoli. He still commands the same terrorist (ISIS?) forces today which swept him into power behind NATO in Oct. 2011.
The other key Gitmo graduate previously reported by 21WIRE in Jan. 2014, is named Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a former detainee from Libya, who ‘played a role’ in the Benghazi attack, according to witness accounts confirmed by U.S. officials. At the same time, the United States State Department claimed it was to ‘designate’ the three branches of Ansar al-Sharia, as foreign terrorist organizations, who were positioned at locations including Darnah, Benghazi in Libya, and Tunisia. Ansar al-Sharia is stated to have been led by Qumu. Intelligence sources had implicated Qumu in the Benghazi attack, within two weeks of the incident, naming him as one of their prime suspects. Qumu was also involved with Belhaj’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), the group largely responsible for toppling Gaddafi in 2011 alongside NATO. Like US asset Belhaj, fellow Gitmo alumni Qumu still commands the same forces today which he led in 2011.
Those two examples are not the only ones, but at least you can draw your own conclusions here about what Guantanamo is in reality.
Sam Bacile’s enraging “Mohammed film” entitled ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ caused an uproar throughout the Middle East region, but in reality it was just an expensive piece of neoconservative ‘clash of civilizations’ PR financed to the tune of $5 million dollars, and according to the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Beast money was provided by ’100 Jewish-American donors’. It turns out that Egyptian-Christian ‘filmmaker’ Bacile was actually 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a California Coptic Christian convicted of federal bank fraud charges, likely a FBI informant working with a pretty extensive cast of characters in the background helping to produce and distribute the provocative film.
Innocence of Muslims – was a fake video, in other words, the final product had nothing to do with the original production. Bacile had essentially taken an old production about an unrelated subject and plot, re-edited the film, added voice overs, and then changed the title. Despite the lies by Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton at the time in 2012, the film was not the reason why the CIA’s villa in Benghazi was raided by armed insurgent mobs which left US Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 others dead. However, the media hype received by this film (thanks in part to Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice) did spark a series of global anti-American protests which quickly cascaded around the globe in real-time. As we’ve demonstrated, the film was designed as a provocation, and just like the Charlie Hebdo Magazine – it fulfilled its function.
I was asked to comment on the film by global news channel RT just two days after the Benghazi Raid on Sept 11, 2012, and I stated then that the film was a giant PR stunt. I was right, even though it took the mainstream media months to catch up to the real story. The same goes with the ‘ISIS Box Set’ – it’s pure PR and it’s designed to speed-along public opinion in order for the major players to nudge their agendas forward.
In the end, after the hype subsides and the tear gas clears, the final object of PR stunts like this, and those produced by ‘ISIS’ too, is a furtherance of an Anglo-American dominated international policy of ‘divide and rule’.
Is it all fake? Is any of it real? It’s hard to tell for sure, but as we’ve shown you – it is highly stylized, and some of it has been clearly shown to be fake – all the more reason to question and scrutinize every frame which is being held up in public as “evidence” of a terrorist incident.
If, as some analysts suggest, the ISIS crisis is pushing us into a multi-front war, then it’s more likely that World War III will be started by a YouTube video – and the saddest part is that it won’t even matter whether or not it’s real or fake. It might as well be a cartoon.
Terrorism is not the biggest threat to modern civilization. Humanity is standing at the edge of a cliff called sanity.
Unless we can cure ourselves of this mass obsession with religious propaganda videos – and differentiate between what is real and what is fake – then we don’t stand a chance in this new digital hall of mirrors.