TMR 181: Adeyinka Makinde: The Pan-Islamic Option (Part Two: The Historical Background)
The second part of an extensive interview with Julian Charles of The Mind Renewed about my essay, “The Pan-Islamic Option: The West’s Part in the Creation and Sustaining of Islamist Terror”. This segment focused on the historical origins of Western use of Islam as a factor in war, looking at Germany in Wilhelmine and Nazi eras, Britain from the First World War onwards and the United States’ enduring relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and its inadvertent contribution to the rise of global jihadism through its support for the anti-Soviet Mujahideen in Afghanistan. It also refers to the situations where Islamists who have been given protection by Western state intelligence bodies have gone on to commit acts of terror. It invites listeners to consider whether the many instances of such occurrences are down to negligence or something more sinister.
Julian Charles: Hello everybody! Julian Charles here of The Mind Renewed dot Com coming to you as usual from the depths of the Lancashire countryside here in the UK, and today as promised, here is the second and final part of my interview with Adeyinka Makinde. And just in case you didn’t hear the first part last week, let me just introduce my guest: Adeyinka Makinde. Adeyinka trained as a barrister and is a lecturer in criminal law and public law at a university in London. His research interests are in intelligence and security matters. And he is regularly published online and has served as a programme consultant for BBC World Service Radio, China Radio International and the Voice of Russia. Now of course if you didn’t hear that first part, I highly recommend that you do, because obviously the two parts are a whole and references are made in the second part and depend on one having listened to the first part. So please do go back and listen to that one if you already haven’t heard it. So in the first part we spoke about more recent years as we were talking about Adeyinka’s recent essay “The Pan-Islamic Option: The West’s Part in the Creation and Sustaining of Islamic Terror.” In the second part we turn our attention to the slightly more distant past –slightly more distant- and discuss some of the indications earlier in the 20th century of the West’s use, and to some extent, the West’s manufacture of violent Islamism for its own various geopolitical agendas. So we pick up there with the question I left hanging in the air last time. And one of the first places you go to in your discussion is Germany. You start by looking at Heinrich Himmler giving a 1944 speech where he is basically saying that Islam is ideal. “If you’re going to be a soldier, well, why not be an Islamist. And you also go back to Kaiser Wilhelm’s views of Muslims as “good for guerrilla warfare.” So do you want to tell us about Germany’s cultivation of Islamism for the purposes of war?
Adeyinka Makinde: Yes, I think that it may be a forgotten matter, except for those who are trained or educated in 20th century European history. But for the common person, perhaps their route to having knowledge of that German connection with the use of Islam as a weaponised force to achieve geopolitical aims was the John Buchan novel Greenmantle. That was a piece of British propaganda by a man who was actually associated with British intelligence. And it was actually based on fact, although loosely based on fact. With the Germans, it was a question of their needs during the First World War and the Second World War. And that link between Kaiser Wilhelm and the Third Reich – there was a link with a certain person named Max von Oppenheim. He came from the banking family. He was a diplomat, a lawyer, but when I say diplomat, he only managed to become an attaché because he was denied the status of a full diplomat because of his part-Jewish heritage. Oppenheim wrote on separate occasions at the start of the First and Second World Wars; he composed two famous memorandums known as Denkschrift, which were basically position papers in which he called on Germany to use the Islamic world in a war to help them win. So in the case of the First World War, it was about helping the Central Powers: the Kaiser’s Germany and Austria-Hungary to beat the blockade by the Western allies who were encircling them by undermining the British Empire. (This would be achieved by) getting the British colony of India to be set ablaze by Islamists and also Persia. And in the same way later on in July 1940, just after Britain had been beaten back from Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain was about to commence, he also brought up the idea that he had formulated decades earlier wherein the Germans should use Islamist guerrillas in North Africa and as they got closer to the Caucasus regions of the old Soviet Union -because Germany wanted to reach the oil fields of Baku before they were defeated in the Battle of Stalingrad- they wanted to use those Muslim societies to instigate rebellions against the Soviets, in order to help the German advantage.
JC: This is Oppenheim you’re saying-
AM: Yes, Max von Oppenheim.
JC: He straddles both of those periods of history of the First World War and Second World War.
JC: Was it he who was suggesting…you talk about pamphleteering; I think this was during Wilhelm’s time, to actually pamphleteer Muslims in British territories, and to actually incite them to form rebel cells and go out and kill Europeans in the name of Jihad. Was it his idea, do you think?
AM: The basic idea was his. Later on a policy was formulated. What he contributed to it and what he didn’t may be murky. But what did happen afterwards was a man named Oskar von Niedermayer, who was a soldier, he was an academic and a spy par excellence, led this contingent of Germans –along with the Ottomans, or these people who represented the successors of the Ottomans, known as the Young Turks who had seized power- on an expedition to Afghanistan, and the idea was to foment revolution. And part of the whole plan was apart from getting Afghanistan, which was a British protectorate to rebel, along that line were Turkey, where I said previously in regard to the contemporary circumstances of the Erdogan government, Turkey also had that pan-Turkic Dream, and they went along with it. The idea was, as you’ve correctly quoted was that they would create these bands of Muslim assassins who would set upon expatriate Western Christians to kill them or rise up against them in a way as occurred during the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre. It would be happening in areas of the Balkans through to Central Asia –all those areas that were within the British Empire; Muslim communities governed by the British Empire and in outlying areas. But there were problems with the logistics and the overall planning. It was all very well for the Germans to understand the Mohammedan faith to be one that was very stringent and aggressive. But it was another thing to understand the complexities of the different communities. For instance, they didn’t seem to factor in the difference between Sunnis and Shias. Who was going to obey that order? Would an imam from a different sect instruct another? Most unlikely. Also, if you do start that sort of insurrection, what’s there to tell the difference between a white Western European who is French or British from your Germanic allies? So it wasn’t particularly well-thought out. And in that battle, it has to be said, there was a parallel plan -which obviously won out- by the British through the personage of Lawrence of Arabia. But Oskar von Niedemayer was an extraordinary individual despite that failure. A number of the photographs he took on his lengthy journey all the way through Persia and Afghanistan are now UNESCO heritage photographs. He lost out and what basically happened it turned out that when he got to Afghanistan, the Emir kept him and his party waiting, the British upped the amount of money they paid to the Emir, because the Germans were offering him a certain amount of money. And when the British heard of that, they just upped their offer to him, and that was the end of that. But they (the Germans) did try, and if you recall they were to a certain extent successful when it came to Russia by using Bolshevism; you know, Lenin and the sealed train.
JC: Yes, you do mention that. I’ve heard that and I don’t really know too much of the detail of that. Not just him (Lenin), but I believe other revolutionaries were given safe passage across Germany to cause trouble essentially?
AM: Absolutely, it was part of this policy called revolutionspolitik that was used to foment revolution in Russia. And the Bolsheviks did eventually seize power resulting in a lull in the fighting on Germany’s eastern front and the Brest-Litovsk Treaty and also the Ukraine. That wasn’t too successful, but Germany did declare the first modern Ukrainian state. Those actually came later. The blueprint was what we’re talking of about using weaponised Islamists to foment unrest in areas controlled by or adjoining the British Empire. It was a real geo-strategic policy. And before we move on, it is worth talking about ‘blowback’ which will feature in each of these adventures in Libya, in Syria, in Afghanistan –Operation Cyclone. The blowback was that Bolshevism was successfully established in Russia, but what happened later on was that Stalinist Russia; the Soviet Union, was the power that defeated Germany in the Second World War.
JC: Yes, we will come back to this notion of blowback. Of course, it depends on which angle you’re coming at. I mean when we talk about blowback I regard to terrorism happening in the West as a consequence of warfare in the Middle East, that can be criticised as an analysis if it taken in a one-dimensional way that every terrorist attack is as a result of blowback, because it can obscure deeper questions you are asking in this very piece itself as to what extent intelligence agencies themselves may be actually involved in abetting some of these acts. So if we put everything down to blowback, that can obscure that and this is what Tom Secker criticises about relying on that explanation entirely. Maybe we’ll come back to that in a bit. When we turn back to Heinrich Himmler, I wasn’t aware of just how many Muslim soldiers he’d managed to build into these SS divisions. It was hundreds of thousands, apparently. I didn’t realise that it was anything like that.
AM: Yes, I think those who have studied the Third Reich even in a cursory manner may be aware of a picture of these Bosnian Muslim soldiers with Fezzes and they are reading a book in German. Its translation is Judaism and Islam. Himmler was interested in Islam in the sense that Islam was this practical religion which a soldier could understand. What are you dying for? Of course, the Nazis were about the expansion of German territory, German glory, getting rid of the Bolsheviks; that sort of thing. But what do you get in return? And certainly for someone who is about to die, that is a very important consideration. And I think what Himmler was doing was contrasting Christian theology with the Islamic one. People are now familiar with the promise of 72 virgins for the soldier who dies in the cause of spreading Islam.
JC: But there is an inherent weakness there it seems to me that can be exploited. It seems to me that what we’re discussing here is the rather cynical exploitation of that weakness within Islam. You say that’s something that can be debated at the beginning of your essay in fact.
AM: Yes, in terms of Islam as a religion as a whole. But the issue of how it affects a soldier; motivates them, I think what Himmler was thinking about was the paganism he hoped to impose on Germany over the course of time and I think that he realised that it would take a lot of time for Catholicism and Protestantism to die out. But they wanted it (Christianity) supplanted, and that aspect of Islamic religious ideology was in sync with Norse mythology. In Norse mythology you have the valkyries who select who will live and who will die in battle, and these maidens will take those dead to Valhalla; the preserve of the god Odin. In fact, there is a painting of Otto von Bismarck, the creator of the Prussian Empire, The Apotheosis of Bismarck where you see him being carried into the heavens by these maidens or valkyries.
JC: Yes, the Nazis did have an eye for mythology and how useful it could be in their aims.
AM: Absolutely. And congruent to that was that another half of the dead soldiers would be under the preserve of the goddess Freyja, who had this great field for the martyred soldiers in the Folkvangr, that is the “great field (of armies). And she’s the goddess of sex, beauty, fertility, so Himmler could see that congruence with Islamic theology and the way it could motivate soldiers. I must say that both Hitler and Himmler –particularly when the war was coming to an end- did ruminate on whether they could have used more Muslim soldiers, because there was a feeling that they did not use them enough in North Africa and as they approached the Caucuses. In their racial thinking, they referred to Christianity as basically an off-shoot of Judaism in regard to which they obviously had an antipathy. They felt it (Christianity) was weak. Hitler and Himmler actually felt that it would have been a good idea to have had Europe Islamicised and that the spread of Islam should not have been stopped at the Battle of Tours. They felt it was this practical religion that met the daily needs of not just the society, but the soldier in battle.
JC: Fascinating. What role do you think this guy called Mohammed Amin al-Husseini played in all this? He was the first Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. I understand that he was onboard with the Nazis because of his anti-Semitism etcetera, and he and spoke with Hitler and Himmler, and out of that came this mass recruitment of Muslim soldiers. What kind of impact do you think he had on that kind of thinking that you were just talking about?
AM: I’m not aware of how much it was. He certainly did go to the Germans essentially on the premise of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. We have to remember that although the insurgents in Palestine who were fighting for a Jewish state decided to ceasefire and join the British Army, some elements in Zionism were equally minded to join forces with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. This is Yair Stern of the infamous Stern Gang. So all these issues do factor in there. But I’m not too knowledgeable about what impact the Mufti practically had, but the Germans certainly in the First World War and in the Second World War did establish these camps for Islamic soldiers where their needs were catered to; both dietary and religious, and they were trained to serve within the ranks of the German armed forces.
JC: It’s fascinating and complicated –one has to qualify everything that’s said. Let’s turn to Britain then. You’ve got some examples of British use and indeed cultivation of Islamic forces during the days of empire, and while I was looking at the background of this I turned to Mark Curtis’ book Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam, which I recommend for a catalogue of examples that are very well documented and articulated. I haven’t yet finished reading it, but I’m finding it compelling. So you mention the Ikwan Army under Ibn Saud, who I believe became the first king of Saudi Arabia, and the British made use of this Ikwan Army to weaken the Ottoman’s hold on the Arabian area, and that the British did that inspite of Churchill’s description of these people as “bloodthirsty”, “intolerant”, “austere” and the quotation goes on “as an article of duty and an article of faith to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children, but Churchill says, “That’s fine, we’ll use them”.
AM: Absolutely. The British did use two distinct forces in the Arabian Peninsula. One was Ibn Saud. And the Ikwan, given their ruthlessness, were absolutely effective. They were made for purpose for what Britain wanted to achieve, that is, the defeat and dismantlement of the Ottoman Empire. The other person who was involved was the Sharif of Mecca. His name was Hussein bin Ali. And just to fast forward slightly, Hussein bin Ali was the (great) grandfather of King Hussein of Jordan. So the long story was that the British who did use the Ikwan and Ibn Saud’s forces to pacify that region effectively rewarded him with this new nation state which bore his name. But they also hedged their bets on the alternative man, Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca -the Hashemite family- and they were eventually defeated by Ibn Saud and chased to Jordan and Iraq where they formed the royal families. But again it shows you how these Islamic ideologues can be used for military purposes. I mean they weren’t going about (things) in the manner General Clark would describes things: “Let’s get recruitment on here”; no, your best bet was to go for those who are the most fanatical. And of course, one distinction which could be made between Ibn Saud and Hussein was that Ibn Saud was a Wahhabist, and they have a particularly puritan understanding of Islam, and indeed that ideology forms the underpinnings of what we understand to be global Islamist terror in this day and age. We can trace that ideology to Ibn Saud’s use of the Ikwani as soldiers against the Ottomans in Britain’s interest.
JC: Yes, and I think that you having said what you’ve just said there, people would –some people anyway, probably not listening to this programme- but some people would be surprised to hear Churchill apparently later writing “my admiration for him...” –that is, Ibn Saud- “…was deep because of his unfailing loyalty to us.”
AM: Of course! If you do the bidding for a particular power, that’s wanted. They want practical, straightforward allies, or better, vassals to do their bidding, and that is what British hegemony was about, and what the new American imperium that started in the second half of the 20th century was all about and continues to be all about until this very day. They are useful soldiers, and as we’ve seen –not to trivialise it- almost like a travelling show. They’ve been in Chechnya, then sent to Libya, from Libya they were transferred to Syria where there is a stalemate and they are being defeated. But the idea was that after Syria, they would be transferred to Central Asia to harass the borders of the Russian Federation and also China’s Muslim population (would be used to foment unrest).
JC: How does the Muslim Brotherhood fit into this story? Their name crops up fairly frequently, but I find them confusing as an organisation. My understanding is that they were founded in the late 1920s in Egypt. They are a pan-Islamic, not nationalist. They are a Sunni organisation and at least officially renounce violence but are considered a terrorist organisation by various countries, but I understand not by the US or the UK. But they have this kind of ambivalent relationship with the British Empire, but they did have some sort of relationship with the British very soon after their founding in the late 1920s. What was that relationship like?
AM: That’s absolutely correct. I am not a major expert on that, but in terms of the train of events; they have been relatively consistent allies of British intelligence and the deep state. The only interval was when you had the Arab revolt in Palestine between 1936 and 1939. But other than that, there has been this relationship that has fed in at various times. At the beginning in the 1920s and 30s, it was about using the Muslim Brotherhood as a means of keeping order in the areas that Britain had acceded to after the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire; given that they now ruled or had influence over certain created states such as Jordan and Palestine. But it’s much clearer after that period of time and particularly when the Americans come to (global) power, in the sense that they are used to harass those political forces or organisations who are against British interests in that area of the world. My knowledge of the Muslim Brotherhood between the late 20s, when it was created, and the 50s is not particularly large. It’s once the Americans come into the picture that it takes on a different picture.
JC: Sure. But for that picture which you excepted, would you say that they generally, with respect to their relationship with British Intelligence, would have been in resisting nationalist movements in the Middle East, where those nationalist movements would be perhaps be threatening British control of resources like oil, do you think that that’s essentially how they were used?
AM: Yes, that is essentially right. That blueprint which was established then was what the Americans then inherited after.
JC: O.K. let’s turn to the Americans. Perhaps the most famous of these is Operation Cyclone of 1979, with the CIA funding and training Afghan Mujahideen to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. This goes through the 1980s for a full decade. You mention this in the article, and you say that this was essentially the project of President Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski who of course died not that long ago. That was a hugely significant operation was it not in this narrative that we’re discussing. It seems like a huge turning point at which we can see the trajectory leading to 9/11.
AM: Yes, that’s true. I mean it’s important to get a little background, because as I do mention in the article, the relationship between the American government and the Muslim Brotherhood dates back to the era of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and during that period in the 1950s and the 1960s, although a lot of the people who actually were part of the CIA that was created from the Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War were Arabists, American policy was against secular nationalist Arab governments rising such as that of Gamal Abdel Nasser, and so what the Muslim Brotherhood were used as were as saboteurs. This idea that they are not violent is of course not true. They infiltrated –where they could- Nasser’s security apparatus, the civil service, and they committed acts of sabotage and effectively aided the West in undermining Nasser.
JC: Was it not a Muslim Brotherhood person who attempted to assassinate him?
AM: That’s right. But it’s important to link it to what we want to talk about in Afghanistan and 9/11. It’s important to bring up the name of Sayyid Qutb, this philosopher who effectively is the inspiration for al-Qaeda and certainly influenced Osama bin Laden’s mentor Ayman al-Zawahiri.
JC: So Qutb; this is the guy who…he was an Egyptian?
AM: That’s right.
JC: And he spent time in the US and was appalled by what he considered to be the materialism of the West and that heavily influenced Osama bin Laden?
AM: Absolutely. The utter decadence to him in terms of what he considered to be the relationship between men and women in Western individualistic society. Nasser did spare his life for a while, but he was executed by Nasser, so he turns out to be a martyr of sorts. It may be a complicated feature, but it’s worth drawing a distinction between the Muslim Brotherhood, that Egyptian-originated organisation, (and) Wahhabism. And I think that this is a bit of the background to the recent history of Egypt and the overthrow of the government that came after the so-called Arab Spring. The Muslim Brotherhood professes non-violence, but that’s not true. They also are apparently believers in democracy. And that’s a fundamental distinction between their brand of Islamic fundamentalism and Wahhabism, this puritan authoritarian regime which may accommodate the idea of having a king as the Saudis do, or having a caliph at the head of it. So that is at least one minor distinction that we can make. When we go over to Afghanistan, we’re not necessarily dealing with people who subscribe to the Muslim Brotherhood philosophy exclusively. They were Islamic fundamentalists influenced by all sides including Wahhabism.
JC: O.K. so turning back to Afghanistan. There is some debate as to whether this policy of Operation Cyclone was a means of fighting a proxy war against the Soviets so as to draw them into their Vietnam, so to speak; to bleed them dry, or whether this was essentially a way of fighting Afghan Communism, now that Afghanistan was now communist, just as part of the so-called Cold War in general, and then seeing an opportunity to bleed Russia dry. There seems to be some ambiguity there as to what was intended with this Operation Cyclone. What’s your view about it?
AM: I think it was fundamentally about combating Soviet communism and its manifestation in Afghanistan. But those who propound the view –led by the late Brzezinski himself- do say that it was a pre-designed ploy to lure them in there to meet these Mujahideen. I think it’s something that will continue to be debated; I don’t think it can be definitively said. But as the policy developed throughout the 1980s, the invasion occurred in 1979, and of course, there was the transfer of the Carter administration to the Reagan administration and there was no change in that. The fundamentals was that America urged Saudi Arabia to provide funding; (they also urged) the Pakistanis under their strongman leader Zia ul-Haq to also provide logistics, and the Americans would also provide funding and train these jihadists known as the Mujahideen to fight the Soviet invasion. And I think as time went on, it became clear that this was something that could bleed the Soviet Union dry. The Americans could understand “Ahh, this is looking like what we encountered in Vietnam, and these Afghan warriors even going back to pre-Islamic times at the time of Alexander the Great, nobody has ever managed to totally tame them or pacify them or conquer them, we could be onto something”. The policy definitely germinated into one in which the Soviet Union would be sufficiently weakened.
News Reporter: (Sound of helicopter buzzing) US National Security Advisor Brzezinski flew to Pakistan to set about rallying resistance. He wanted to arm the Mujahideen without revealing America’s role. On the Afghan border near the Khyber Pass, he urged the ‘Soldiers of God’ to re-double their efforts.
Zbigniew Brzezinski: We know of their deep belief in God and we are confident that their struggle will succeed. (Afghan voice speaking, presumably translating Brzezinski’s words to a listening audience) That land over there is yours. You’ll go back to it one day because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes and your mosques back again because your cause is right and God is on your side. (Sound of hand clapping).
JC: Yes, as I said to you before the interview, I think it’s a bit of a red herring worrying too much about what the original intention was here, and what we’re to make of what Brzezinski’s said in various interviews, reports of him having said one thing in an interview and having denied it in other places. A bit of a red herring because it ended up being this sending of Afghan Mujahideen as proxies for what the West wanted to do. And they were being radicalised by the West. I have information here from Nafeez Ahmed’s excellent book The War on Truth where, I’ll quote from him: “Central to the US-sponsored operation was the attempt to manufacture an extremist religious ideology by amalgamating the local Afghan feudal traditions with Islamic rhetoric” and then, he’s quoting from a mainstream newspaper here: “Predominant themes were that Islam was a complete socio-political ideology , but Holy Islam was being violated by the atheistic Soviet troops, and that the Islamic people of Afghanistan should assert their independence by overthrowing the leftist Afghan regime propped up by Moscow”. Nafeez continues, “Among the myriad of policies designed to generate the desired level of extremism, the U.S. funded to the tune of millions of dollars the production and distribution in Afghanistan of school textbooks promoting the war values of murder and fanaticism.” And this is quoting here from the Washington Post: “The primers which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines and have served since then as the Afghan school systems core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American produced books.” Nafeez continues, “The Post cited anonymous U.S. officials admitting that the textbooks steeped generations in violence.” So that’s quite damming. In fact, it’s very damming, is it not? It is not just the use of proxies but the cultivation of extremism itself for the purposes of this, so that your boys were not getting killed, but someone else’s was, and you’re actually creating this monster yourself.
AM: Yes, that is an absolutely amazing extract. Again, it goes towards those Western notions –what we discussed earlier on with regard to the Germans and the British Empire about harnessing Islam wherever you can and the fundamentalist tendencies to do battle, to be rigid and be capable of accomplishing a particular goal with a fanatical mindset. On the one hand, yes, it was predicated on a racial, disparaging form of Orientalism, but of course there is a reality to that as well. As General Clark said himself in that CNN interview that you mentioned earlier. What is also interesting is that Pakistan was involved and Britain was involved. I’m sure that you’re aware of that quote by Margaret Thatcher when she visited the Afghan border with Pakistan on a state visit with General (Zia) ul-Haq where she..
JC: ...She said “God is with you” or something like that.
AM: Yes, “the hearts of the free-loving world are with you”; words to that effect. And these are the forebears of the Taliban.
Margaret Thatcher: …trying to destroy your religion, your way of life and your independence. I want to say that the hearts of the free world are with you and with those of your countrymen.
AM: So absolutely harnessing that fundamentalist aspect of Islam has time and again being crucial. Now you go back, and I’m sure that it will be mentioned in Mr. Curtis’ book that Britain was involved, America was involved, but it’s not well know that Israel was also involved. Israel also had a motivation for undermining the Soviet Union because although it was the first country to offer the created State of Israel de facto recognition, what transpired later on was to set in motion this belief that the Soviet Union was an enemy of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. And that has to do with the Stalinist purges, the ‘Doctors’ Plot’ and the attacks on Jews in the Soviet Union who it was felt had a divided loyalty between the State of Israel and the Soviet Union. And then also as time transpired, the Soviet Union was the backer of many Arab liberation organisations including the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. And so for that reason, while Ehud Barak was the head of Aman, Israeli (military) intelligence during that time in the early 1980s, Israel offered support to the most virulent, anti-Western militia. It was known as Hezb-e-Islami Mujahideen and they were headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. They were supplied with weapons Israel had acquired from the war in Lebanon, which was to purge Lebanon of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. And so Gulbuddin, as time went on after the Afghan War had ended, fell out with his Saudi sponsors. But in due course, those members of his organisation, a number of them, were transformed into the Taliban. So that’s a useful quote that you mention there. Of course, the Afghan people by heritage are warlike. But if you add this idea of Islamic fundamentalism, and in particular Wahhabism to it, you have a really potent brew and it’s no surprise that many people posit what transpired in Afghanistan –this support militarily, educationally- this is what has now led to the global Islamist movement represented by al-Qaeda and off-shoots like Jabhat al-Nusra and the so-called Islamic State.
JC: It’s an incredibly complex tapestry indeed. Now it’s often said of course that the West has created Islamic extremism. That’s not really true from the conversation we’re having here, but there’s no doubt that it has fanned the flames of that tendency to an incredible extent. So there is some truth in that statement is there not even though it has been exaggeration?
AM: Yes, it’s harnessed it, is the best way to say it. It’s there and it’s dormant. The West did not create it, but they have facilitated it. They’ve harnessed it.
JC: Well, just before we finish, I want to look very briefly at the other wing of this that you bring up. So this was your concern over the way in which known terrorists are found to have been monitored by the intelligence agencies for quite some period of time; months, years and it seems like a blind eye is turned to them, especially if they go and fight for what the government think is the right causes then they end up committing, or allegedly committing terrorist acts in the West, or perhaps even serving as patsies; manipulated by some kind of Gladio-like operation -maybe we’ll talk about that briefly as a possibility. So this concern over what you might call intelligence failures, are they always intelligence failures, or are we looking at sometimes the case where a so-called intelligence failure is a success; it was supposed to fail, and these individuals were supposed to carry out these attacks. What’s your general impression of this whole murky area?
AM: Well my view is that, yes, the intelligence world has those conventional features that much of the public tend to understand. People who monitor things, people who report on things, people who turn into spies. But there is a dark art to intelligence. There is a murky side. One that is Machiavellian. Totally immoral. You may actually come across situations where intelligence services are creating false flags. There is a Turkish general who once admitted that during the troubles in Cyprus, the Turkish military blew up mosques in order to blame it on Christian Cypriots. So what I put into that write-up that I did was the Salman Abedi story going back to what we discussed about Libya and the overthrow of Gaddafi, Manchester, where Abedi came from is the home of a small but distinguishable Libyan exile population. They were exiled while Gaddafi was in power. And with the coming of the ‘War on Terror’, you had people who were under Control Orders; that is a form of house arrest under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and these people were offered a deal: You can remain in the position you’re in now or we will release you; we will grant you passports if you fight Colonel Gaddafi. So that’s the first thing. They are going against the rules of the game. With Abedi, we don’t have enough evidence about his precise workings, but we do have that very important issue of Theresa May, the Prime Minister being contradicted by the FBI in America, because after the Manchester bomb went off, Theresa May claimed that Abedi had been a lone wolf, but the FBI report said no. It actually informed you (Britain) that this man was likely part of a North African cell, which was plotting the assassination of a high-ranking British official. So as it turned out, not accurate information, but information nonetheless. Yet, this man despite this warning had gone under the radar. It does give a lot of cause for concern.
JC: And brings up the question whether going under the radar is really going under the radar in some cases.
AM: Well, this is the thing, because we have examples in America with Tamerlane Tsarnaev, the man who along with his brother was figured for being the Boston Marathon bombers. We have Mohamed Merah, who was an Islamist, was suspected of being the shooter in the killings in Toulouse and Montauban. With Tsarnaev, the FBI denied that he was an agent of theirs, but an investigative journalist named Michele McPhee –she’s just written a book entitled Maximum Harm- she believes, like a lot of people do believe -because the FBI hasn’t released all the documents in its control- that Tsarnaev was an FBI agent, and that he may have gone rogue because he was denied American citizenship. In general terms, what one is conscious of is that anytime there is a terrorist outrage in North America or Western Europe, the question immediately is, “Should the laws be tightened up?” Therefore should rights and freedoms be taken away from the citizenry? And the other point obviously is military action: Should military action already in existence be escalated, or should this terrorist outrage become the basis of a fresh military intervention? I think at various points in time that it might be acting towards an agenda as we’ve seen in Italy where Operation Gladio was in effect and the investigations of Judge Filipe Casson and the revelations of the neo-fascist Vinciguerra that people were set up by the government to commit certain acts which would then influence the public mindset. Because what happens after these terror attacks is fear, rage and those emotions can then be used to form the basis of what we’ve just said: change in the law or effecting some form of military intervention. And what happened after Manchester? Apart from what has already transpired with these extraordinary powers for looking over peoples Internet communications, we’re having thoughts about internment such as occurred at the height of the Irish Troubles in the early 70s. We’re hearing about new forms of censorship on the Internet. So that cannot be ruled out. The evidence we have from history (provides a warning) –and it’s a very, very serious matter that should be discussed more in the public domain and not be dismissed.
JC: And of course the official position on Operation Gladio is that well it doesn’t exist anymore. Even if it did exist it doesn’t now. But then of course going back to those days it wasn’t officially known about anyway, so you could say that something’s going on today and that’s not known about either. I’ve no reason to believe that that does not continue in some form, and of course we had on this show before people are talking in terms of ‘Gladio B’. So really it brings us to something we did touch on in the beginning which was what you hold out as a possible solution to this. OK there needs to be this overhaul of Western foreign policy, and you suggest the only way that this is going to happen is if there are mass protests by people who actually understand what is happening or at least have well-defined questions, so that when they hear things on the news, there’re saying well, “is that really the truth?” And are then thinking in these kinds of ways; asking these kinds of questions and protesting in some form. And also bringing –this is the second arm of what you suggest political pressure on the Establishment. So what do you have in mind here? What kind of protest and what kind of pressure?
AM: Well I think that the public are sufficiently informed today or have the means to be informed to understand what we’ve discussed throughout this interview about this overarching policy of the West utilising Islamic fanatics to do their bidding in terms of achieving Western geopolitical objectives and that these have had poor ramifications in terms of refugees and the commission of acts of terror.
JC: You say “have the means to be informed”, but by and large I find in the people I speak to in ordinary life that they haven’t got this consciousness even though many of the things we’ve referred to here today are in mainstream publications. You would think the people would be aware, and yet I find personally a lot of people are not aware.
AM: I think there’s enough information there and certainly because of the nature of the corporate press, you’ll very rarely find someone who joins the dots together. So I guess what I’m saying, is that information is there, you know, General Clark who we’ve referred to, issues to do with Operation Cyclone –they’re there in the mainstream press, but very rarely is it put together. It’s only put together by voices outside of the mainstream press. And that’s tragic because I think that knowledge; that consciousness could create a public movement that is not predicated on your ideological persuasion, which takes us back to the beginning of our conversation, namely the way these issues; the effects are used for ideological football in the United States, you know, the Democrats versus the Republicans, whereas the public should be getting together irrespective of that and pressuring their legislators through their constituencies and also the creation of movements; mass movements as we used to see in the past will call for this policy to stop. The only one that comes to mind is Stop the War which is something considered to be a preserve of those on the left. We want something that has more universal appeal. And when we talk about Stop the War, it’s not just direct military action, which is obvious to see, but these covert means by which the intelligence services give support. So that is for the public. For the politicians, you would expect that they are well-informed enough to understand these things. But again they do not take it further in terms of the questions that are asked in Parliament. You know, when Hillary Benn stands up there and criticizes, and then says we should then send the Royal Air Force and its six planes to bomb northern Syria, people have to think “Well, hang on, hasn’t Britain played a part in (this disaster)? Didn’t the Guardian and other Western papers report that British and French soldiers in the early part of the Syrian conflict were at the borders with Jordan and countries like that offering training to any rebels? That’s illegal to plot to overthrow a foreign government and so we should be having Parliamentary inquiries into this, but the politicians do not seem to be able to accomplish that, and I think that that’s another interview as to why that is the case.
JC: Well indeed, there seems to be an acceptable sphere of public discourse and the kind of things that we’ve talked about today –even though they’re there in this compartmentalised way in the mainstream media sources cannot be discussed as you say in this joined-up way for fear of being considered a conspiracy theorist, you know, somebody who is ‘supporting’ the terrorists –all these accusations come out. I find it difficult to see how we can move beyond that. And you have the other difficulty within –I’ve been talking to G. Edward Griffin fairly recently about the truth movement and how that has achieved certain things and in other respects has its problems. There’s all that difficulty there in some cases muddying the waters. Before we had this interview, I was mentioning to you the fact that when the Manchester bombing happened, there were all these people coming out saying that it was a hoax. It didn’t actually happen. It was all fake. And I was immediately hit by that because I have relatives who live over the road from people who lost children in that particular attack. So I know it wasn’t fake. And yet we have some of these narratives being generated within what you might call the truth movement in this very broad sense muddying the waters causing this kind of disruption so that people can look upon that and say that anybody who is considering anything outside of this acceptable sphere of discourse is a nutcase so therefore people will not venture even into the reasonable things we’ve be talking about today for fear of that accusation. How is it possible to move beyond that?
AM: All I can say is that those within what may be termed ‘Alternative Media’; that is, those who are not controlled by the demands of academic funding or political party allegiance or the power of certain lobbies; they should really just focus on the points that are indisputable and those that are of logical imputation. That’s all I can suggest at the moment because it’s muddied on all accounts: an insouciant public, what can you do about that? Ineffectual politicians, what can you do about that? And we know about journalists –that word “presstitute”, what an invention! That does really sum up the lack of courage among those who are in the profession of journalism. And so those factors should also be taken into account when we look at the truth movement for these people probably through laziness, or some people allege that they are actually agents who sow disinformation. It’s not helpful, so all we can do in our writing is essentially to focus on the rational argument looking at solid historical and contemporary back up to it. It’s important when we also discuss these issues where the mainstream fear to tread, we also make a note that things are compartmentalized –and literally so in the intelligence services. These suspected false flags that may occur; it may not be the prime minister of the day arranging it. I doubt if Obama had as much to do with the coup in Ukraine as did Victoria Nuland and John McCain did. Do you see? What we talked about the ‘double government’ and the continuation of this policy regardless of...
JC: I’ve heard people talk in terms of there being a ‘double CIA’, a ‘double MI6’, but why not? That makes complete sense. I think at times, I have made the mistake of giving the impression when I’m talking of the Deep State, I mean the intelligence services, and I don’t really mean that. It’s easy to fall into that trap. What I mean is that web of deep inter-connections –very influential and powerful inter-connections- which will touch upon all sorts of structures within society, so that there will be people within particular organisations who are represented in that ‘deep state’ and there will be other people who know nothing about it at all. It’s completely opaque to them. It’s a very difficult thing to define. Is that the kind of thing you mean? That’s what I mean when I talk about the ‘deep state’.
AM: Yes, I think that the people who sponsor the politicians; corporations and the like, have an influence on these questions (on) whether certain countries are invaded and whether insurrections are started. It really only stands to reason that this is the case. And remember who sponsors these think-tanks, (including) those ones that are respectable: the Brookings Institute and the RAND Corporation, albeit that it is a right-wing body, but it is a prominent and influential body with affiliations with the US military going back a long period of time. But within security services, there is no question that you do even have competing factions within them. Unlike in Western Europe when after the Second World War, the West did appropriate figures from the Fascist and Nazi ancien regimes, and installed them to be heads of the security services, Britain had a more diffuse one. Because you had people from the left (and) you had people from the right. We know that from those defectors. And the story of Peter Wright, whose information may not have been reliable in some ways, but I think there was an element in MI5 –not the whole of MI5- who were working towards the destabilisation of Harold Wilson’s government, and that that segment within MI5 joined forces with bits of military intelligence; specifically the one that was operating out of Northern Ireland and developed Operation Clockwork Orange, which was this disinformation campaign against certain prominent British political figures. I mean this is all fact. And so that compartmentalization does occur. As I was telling you before the interview, I did get a message through one of my websites from somebody who has a managerial post in NATO; a former US Army officer, and in regard to my article on the Manchester bombing on whether it was criminal negligence or something more sinister, he informed me that a member of his staff had reached more or less the same conclusions that I had in my article, but that they had not put it in their final report. He was just interested in what I had to say. So it’s a very murky area.
JC: That is quite an amazing thing to happen. Very revealing. So we’re nearing the end of our conversation, so if there’s anything you’d like to stress for people listening today, what would that be?
AM: There’s ‘blowback’ to re-emphasize to the public at large; look at the blowback that has occurred and that should reinforce this idea that your rights and freedoms are always under threat and military intervention is always on the line. It’s time to stop. Let’s have some sort of a public conscious mass effort through groups that have been created for the express purpose of putting pressure to stop this decades –centuries-long policy that is utterly cynical in its nature and execution…
JC: Well let me come back to you about this business about blowback. You recall what I mentioned about what Tom Secker said about it that it is only a partial explanation. So if you use it as perhaps the main way of getting people to oppose war as a means of understanding why terrorism is happening at home. Is there not a danger of feeding into the problem that we’re trying to overcome; this circumscribed sphere of discourse. It’s OK to talk about blowback (but) it’s not OK to talk about the possibility that some faction in you security services might be aiding and abetting this. If you just concentrate on blowback, you’re creating the conditions under which this is perpetuated.
AM: We don’t just focus on blowback. Yes, we need to keep on disseminating the whole picture but (refer to) blowback as a reminder that these compartmentalized discussions that are had over immigration, refugees; should the law be tightened up in regard to the Internet –(that) these are not taken in isolation as one act of terrorism, but the wider picture should always be borne in mind. Also just to add to what we’re discussing about the issue of oversight by politicians. Again, I think that there is that element of compartmentalization, because after Gladio, there were some legislative commissions set up in a number of Western European countries, but it was very, very limited and eventually swept under the carpet. And the same thing in the United States. Just one of those suspect bombings –acts of terror in the name of Islam- was subject to congressional oversight. That was the one to do with the Boston Marathon bombing and Tamerlane Tsarnaev. There was a congressional inquiry and it did find that the FBI missed many chances –not just one- several chances to actually catch him. But that was just compartmentalized. It doesn’t link into the wider picture, for instance in regard to that report by Human Rights Watch in coordination with Columbia University Law School and its human rights institute, which said that all but four of the Islamic terrorist incidents to have occurred in the United States since 9/11 –for a ten year period- were to do with FBI sting operations. That would actually encompass issues of not just blowback, but the whole strategy of how informants are being handled. And if we had that kind of scrutiny in a more coherent, dedicated fashion, then I think we might have less of this problem. If it’s a problem of negligence or if it’s a problem of (inaudible) there might be some method or reason for taking people off the radar.
JC: Which is why conversations like this are extremely important. And there needs to be more of them, no matter how challenging they are to engage with or even to prepare for, because there is so much information her, it is important that these conversations are had because they create this narrative, they create this broad picture which does inform a different way of looking at the events that are happening in the world and it is so important that people do have that broad picture otherwise it remains compartmentalized in our minds. All these little things are joined together and they can therefore be put into categories that are conducive to a normal understanding of what’s going on when in fact it may be an abnormal reality that we’re facing here. And as you say, conversations based on the evidence that is there, not just conjecture, these kinds of evidence-based conversations, I think, are vital and I thank you very much indeed Adeyinka for coming back to have such a conversation. I am amazed at your erudition and the way you can recall this information on the spot so well, it’s a delight and a privilege to speak to you and I thank you very much for coming back on the programme. And I very much hope that people enjoyed this and will have learnt from it. Also that they will follow some of the links that I will put, well many links I will put in the show notes to back up; to evidence a lot of the things that have been said here today. Thank you very much Adeyinka for coming on again.
AM: Thank you Julian, it was a pleasure.
© The Mind Renewed and Adeyinka Makinde (2017).