Saturday, June 12, 2010

New York Times Needs My Help to Find Flotilla Planners' Terrorist Ties: OK! Here's A Start for Their Research

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By Barry Rubin

The New York Times is a vast and wealthy organization with highly paid reporters and news bureaus around the world. Unfortunately, however, it seems to need a little help in gathering the news. In an editorial, the newspaper has held forth with the following sentence:

"The Israelis claim that Insani Yardim Vakfi is a dangerous organization with terrorist links. They have yet to offer any evidence to support that charge."

This is like Goldstone who keeps saying that no one has challenged his report despite literally hundreds of specific refutations. It is like the little boy who doesn’t want to hear something, puts his hands over his ears, and keeps yelling, “I can’t hear you!”

It does, however, mark some retreat from the Times's earlier statement of intense suspicion about documented Israeli claims, in which one of its writers dismisses the video footage of the soldiers being attacked with these words: "Those images of commandos being attacked with clubs and chairs are lacking context. Were they shot before or after the boarding party started using force?"

Of course, the video clearly shows the deck of the ship with no Israeli soldiers on it. There is no fighting at all. The first soldier comes down the rope, holding on with both hands. He is attacked. Then a second, he is attacked. And so on for the next two. So how could the boarding party be using force when it had not yet boarded? How's that for context?

In other words, the Times has updated the three famous monkeys: See no terrorism, Hear no terrorism, Report no terrorism.

But since I had a few minutes to spare, I decided to offer my services to the New York Times to provide some evidence about IHH links to terrorism. I offer this to the Times for publication, further research, and suggestions of people to interview. If the newspaper wants more of my research services, I suggest it hires me as a consultant. Otherwise, it might assign some reporters to open their eyes and read material that is available easily from reliable sources. Or they might actually do some research themselves!

OK here is some of the evidence the Times says hasn't been offered:

--Hamas is a terrorist organization and IHH has acted as a support group helping Hamas obtain political support and supplies. It has even undertaken to break the strategic blockade of Hamas's little kingdom. Just as Americans are arrested for furnishing equipment and money to terrorist groups as constituting “terrorist links” the same applies to the IHH. The IHH has organized propaganda and raised money for Hamas, furnished money for the families of Hamas terrorist casualties, and performed many other services which, as noted above, makes it an organization with “terrorist links.” Here's a good summary essay on the IHH-Hamas relationship.

--Statements of the previous Turkish government calling IHH a terrorist organization. In 1997, a Turkish security force raid discovered in the IHH headquarters weapons, explosives, instructions for making bombs, and other furnishings that indicate it has terrorist links. Turkish reports say the documents captured shows that IHH members, with organizational support, were being dispatched as Jihad warriors in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya. The group was also found to have bought automatic weapons.

--A report commissioned by the Danish government is full of data about terrorist links. See here. This is how it opens the section on IHH:

“Yet, the phenomenon of charitable front groups that provide support to Al-Qaida [includes]…the so-called Foundation for Human Rights, Liberties, and Humanitarian Relief (IHH).

--The respected French counterterrorism magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière, has revealed, in the words of the Danish report:

“IHH leader, Bülent Yildirim [who organized the Gaza flotilla], was directly involved in recruiting `veteran soldiers' to organize jihad activities. According to the French report, a number of operatives were sent by IHH into war zones in Islamic countries to gain combat experience. The report also stated that IHH transferred money, `caches of firearms, knives and pre-fabricated explosives’ to Muslim fighters in those countries.

"An examination of IHH’s telephone records in 1996 showed repeated calls to an Al-Qaeda guest house in Milan and to Algerian terrorists operating in Europe (one of whom was the notorious Al-Qaeda figure Abu Ma’ali [Abd al-Qadr Mukhtari], who operated in Bosnia).”

--IHH, according to Bruguière, was also involved in a terrorist attack on the United States, as he testified at the trial of Ahmed Ressam, a senior al-Qaida operative who in 1999 entered the United States with 1320 pounds of explosives planning to carry out a massive attack at Los Angeles International Airport. He testified that IHH had played an important role in the attempted attack, providing forged documents, agents who helped Ressam, and weapons for al-Qaida. I

In recent days, Bruguière has repeated his statements on IHH noting there have been attempts to intimidate him into silence. Here is what France’s former top counterterror judge told Associated Press, a news service to which the New York Times has a subscription: The IHH has had, ”Clear, long-standing ties to terrorism and Jihad…."They were basically helping al-Qaida when (Osama) bin Laden started to want to target U.S. soil,"

----The German Television One show concluding that IHH is linked to international terrorism. Note also the presence of BPP cadre working with IHH, a party which left-wing German groups--including the one that participated in the flotilla--described as violent and neo-Nazi. Here it is in:

--IHH is part of the Union of Good, designated as a Hamas front group by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. According to this U.S. government agency: “The Union of Good's executive leadership and board of directors includes Hamas leaders, Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), and other terrorist supporters.” The State Department points out that it has not designated the IHH as a terrorist organization. That is true. But the Union of Good of which the IHH is a very active member has been designated as a terrorist organization. Since the IHH is a member of a group that is considered a terrorist organization, by the use of basic logic, the IHH has links to a terrorist organization.

Evan Kohlmann, an apparently credible source and the person who wrote the Danish report, has now published a declaration from Turkish Jihadist warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan who say that they were sent there by IHH but complain that it is now spending its time working with Turkish intelligence rather than helping them. I cannot independently verify this but the Times might want to look into it.

And here's a U.S. court document showing connections between IHH and a group in Virginia that was found to be a front for terrorist fund-raising.

You are also welcome to examine this detailed report from Israel on terrorist links of the IHH. Among documents captured by Israel on the West Bank have been those showing how IHH provides direct financial benefits to the families of terrorists--including suicide bombers--killed while attacking Israel. While this can be passed off as "humanitarian," Hamas uses the spectre of such financial support to recruit and motivate suicide bombers to attack.

Let me repeat the New York Times claim:

"The Israelis claim that Insani Yardim Vakfi is a dangerous organization with terrorist links. They have yet to offer any evidence to support that charge."

Ok. Here's what I rounded up in less than an hour. I'm offering it to you for free. Now do some work of your own and issue a retraction since Israel had offered evidence. We are waiting.

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