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Monday, September 9, 2013

» Senator John McCain, Foreign Relations “Adviser” to Al Qaeda Death Squads in Syria

Julie Lévesque
Global Research
September 9, 2013

While the mainstream media admonishes John McCain for playing a poker game on his iPhone during the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearings on Syria last Wednesday, no one seems to have noticed that the Republican Senator has,  for several years, been supporting and mingling with Al Qaeda commanders in the field in blatant violation of international law as well as in breach of US anti-terrorism legislation.

In April 2011, Senator John McCain described the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in Libya as follows:

"I have met with these brave fighters, and they are not Al-Qaeda. To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it." - Senator John McCain in Benghazi, Libya April 22, 2011.

One of the rebels' leading figures was Abdel Hakim Belhaj (picture below), a member of the defunct Libyan Islamic Fighting Group LIFG), a terrorist organization on both the UN Security Council and the US State Department lists.
In September 2012,  McCain met once more with the Al Qaeda linked Libyan fighters in Benghazi, Libya. (See picture below)
His claim that the "brave fighters" in Libya were not Al Qaeda is in overt contradiction with an authoritative  2007 US Military Academy document entitled, Al Qaeda's foreign fighters in Iraq, indicating that Benghazi was a hotbed of Islamic militancy:

"Libyan Hometowns
The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country's Northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (53) and Benghazi 23.9% (21).
Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya, in particular for an uprising by Islamist organizations in the mid1990s. 

The Libyan government blamed the uprising on "infiltrators from the Sudan and Egypt" and one group—the Libyan Fighting Group (jamaʹah allibiyah almuqatilah)—claimed to have Afghan veterans in its ranks.14 The Libyan uprisings became extraordinarily violent." (Joseph Felter andBrian Fishman, Al Qaeda's foreign fighters in Iraq, US Military Academy, p.11-12, December 2007).

In 2011, McCain was calling on his country to arm the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in Benghazi:

McCain called on all nations, especially the U.S., to recognize the National Transitional Council in Benghazi. He said some of the Gadhafi regime's frozen assets should be redirected to the rebels and the U.S. should facilitate the delivery of weapons to rebel fighters. He clarified that by facilitate he meant not directly arming the rebels, but ensuring that they receive weapons as the U.S. did in the 1980s with the mujahideen battling the Russians in Afghanistan.

Such a call raises alarm bells in some circles. Critics recall that some of those fighters Washington helped arm and train in Afghanistan later joined al-Qaida. McCain dismissed questions about who the rebel leaders are, saying their histories are clear and none of them has any record of supporting radical Islam. (Peter Kenyon, McCain On Libyan Rebels: 'They Are My Heroes', NPR, April 22, 2011)
According to a September 2012 Land Destroyer report:

The men McCain was defending were Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) militants, terrorists linked directly with Al Qaeda according to West Point reports (.pdf), and listed to this day by the US State Department, the UK Home Office (.pdf), and the UN as a "foreign terrorist organization." McCain was not only rhetorically supporting listed terrorists, but calling for material support including weapons, funds, training, and air support in direct violation of USC § 2339A & 2339B, "providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations." 

Tony Cartalucci, US-Backed Terrorists Murder US' Own Ambassador in Libya, Land Destroyer Report, September 2012)

Since the outbreak of the insurgency in Syria, John McCain has been actively involved in meetings with rebel commanders. The Republican Senator met with armed groups in Syria in May 2013 and posed in a controversial "photo op" with leading Al Qaeda commanders. McCain described this encounter on his twitter as an:

"…Important visit with brave fighters in #Syria who are risking their lives for freedom and need our help" (… (John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) May 28, 2013

Hawkish US Senator John McCain (C) poses with infamous kidnapper in Syria, Mohamed Nour (seen with his hand on his chest and holding a camera)
The Washington Post reported at the time:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has pushed back on a report claiming that the Syrian rebels he was photographed with last weekend were involved in kidnapping Lebanese Shiite pilgrims a year ago, saying none of the men identified themselves by the names used in the article.

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