May 14 2012
So, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, former leader of the LIFG, is going to sue former UK foreign Secretary Jack Straw as reported by the Telegraph, 24 April 2012,[ See also Guardian, April 18 2012:Belhaj and his wife (Fatima Bouchar)....are seeking damages from Straw for the trauma they suffered] This is the same Libyan Islamic Fighting Group which, was trying to murder national head of state Gaddafi [see below] possibly using either UK or US taxpayers' money, or both but naturally deniable and denied. Certainly it was linked to Al Qaeda and as such was a proscribed organisation. But then it might must be part of the closed circle of secrecy which keeps us all in a state of perpetual fear.
Mary Fitzgerald of the Irish Times, among whose readership is no doubt Dublin based (sometimes) Mahdi Al-Harati, puts us in the picture:
MaryFitzgerlT Mary Fitzgerald
#Libya's Islamist parties: MB-linked Justice & Construction; ex-LIFG
have split between Hizb al-Watan (w/ Belhaj) + Hizb al-Umma (w/ Saadi)1:34 PM May 2nd 2012
[NB Saadi = Sami Al-Saadi]
[The Justice & Construction Party formed by Islamists and Independents elected its leader as reported in the Tripoli Post of March 3 2012, Mohammed Sawan ( Mohamed Sowan) from Misrata, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, formerly detained under Gaddafi but released in 2006 and who expected women to play "a prominent role". "We have created a new era in Libya by electing a party leader democratically," said Khalil Sawalim, a UK-based rights activist.
The LIFG merged with Al-Qaeda in November 2007
A member of the LIFG broke cover in early March 2011 to speak to Press TV's Yvonne Ridley and Afshin Rattansi: Ismail Kamoka. He was briefly in the news after the fall of Tripoli when the files of the Jamahiriya were opened up, allegedly. Since then he has disappeared.
For the record I have captured his quite unremarkable interview here with the announced "dissident and leading member of the LIFG, Ismail Kamoka. For a leading member, he keeps a low profile, difficult though with the huge bushy beard. [photo]
Ridley introduced Kamoka and his lifelong hobby thus:
"....he's been committed to overthrowing Gaddafi for nearly 20 years...
"you must really want to be in Libya at the moment. Tell us about the nature of the opposition in Libya"
"There are 4 or 5 groups as far as I know [note - it seems to crop up no 26 of 27 opposition groups here in Feb 2011] .I was with one of these groups,its called the Libyan Fighting group (sic). The main aim for this group
before before [is] to take, the specific one, they try many times to assassinate
Gaddafi. The reason for that one is to give freedom for the people [when] decided
for themselves what they are going to do because the regime in that time
is very brutal and Gaddafi is a dictator."
"What did you feel about how Tony Blair,[and] the west were becomeing friends with the person you were trying to assassinate?"
"I think I felt very angry because Tony Blair himself tried to have a good "relation" [ship] with Libya for one reason, for the benefit of his country . He doesn't care about the benefit of Libyan people."
"But what about life after Gaddafi? This is something that everybody is focussing on at the moment. Are these groups that are in Libya and of course dissidents like yourself - are you capable of forming a government and taking Libya ahead into the new phase?"
"I think so. The Libyan people they are capable they have very high(ly) qualified people"
"But what has been the price been so far for this freedom, there is talk of 1000s of peole injured more than a thousand dead?"
"We feel very sad about this price but if you read the history,if you want the freedom the freedom doesn't come easy"
"So they don't want the king back, but Gaddafi and his sons are saying there will be Al Qaeda in Libya ,the Islamic extremists will take over even while he talks about Omar al Mukhtar at the same time. Did you feel while watching his speech...?
"I think when I (heard) this speech they try to play this game with the people because the first part they tried to play on the fears of the people and with this fears it provoked the people to come out and in the uprising everyone doesn't care even he would like to die for his own country. They changed their tactics, they changed their new game they tried to play with Islamic extremism. They will come and take over something like that. In reality, the main point is now we need the regime gone, we need Gaddafi to get out.
"How frustruating is it for you sittng in London? Are you tempted to go out and join the people in this revolution?"
"My heart is there since 15 February. I tried to help my country, my people 20 years ago. I feel this is the time now for me for everybody that is outside to be there because we have been waiting for this a long time"
Perhaps the preferred destination of NATO is the descent of Libya and the rest of of the Mediterranean rim into an Islamic Ice Age
Mr Kamoka (the name seems local to Pakistan, rather than Libya, but then these LIFG types are very well travelled with many interesting visas in their passports and many aliases as well. Indeed Mr K also seems to have an alias) has gone to ground again and he registers no presence in 2012, indeed no presence in Libya in 2011. Perhaps he never went.
Former LIFG member Numan Ben Othman or Noman Benotman is based in London and now embedded as a senior researcher with the Quilliam Foundation "challenging extremism".
Limited hangout information from early 2005 on the LIFG here on the Centre for Defense Inforation site : In the Spotlight: The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
On October 15 2009, Islamisation Watch noted (captured AFP report) that:
Libya on Thursday freed 88 Islamists and announced it will demolish Abu Slim prison, notorious for what human rights groups say was a 1996 massacre in which more than 1,000 prisoners were killed.
The Islamists with Al-Qaeda links walked out of the Tripoli prison, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.
The Kadhafi Foundation, headed by Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, confirmed the planned closure of Abu Slim, saying the remaining inmates would be transferred to another jail.
The building "will be destroyed in the next few days," a Libyan source told AFP, adding that a residential district and a green space would replace the prison, which has often been used to detain political prisoners....
The Foundation, in a joint statement with lawyers' groups, said: "45 members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and 43 members of other jihadist groups were freed" from Abu Slim on Thursday.
"Apart from the LIFG members, the other people freed were former Al-Qaeda members who were active in Afghanistan or Iraq," Saleh Saleh Abdessalem, an aide to Seif al-Islam, told AFP
According to Abu Hashem, his nom-de-guerre, the release programme followed "talks with Seif al-Islam through the intermediary of (Libyan cleric) Ali Sallabi."
The Kadhafi Foundation said it is "working to strengthen peace in Libya," emphasising the "big success" of the dialogue with the LIFG, formed in secret in Afghanistan in the early 1990s and which came to public notice in 1995 when it launched an armed campaign against Kadhafi's regime.
Al-Qaeda announced in November 2007 that the LIFG had joined the jihadist network.
The men's release comes at a time when Seif al-Islam is reportedly being proposed for Libya's second most
HRW duly reported this the following day with calls for more releases (of people whose mission was to assassinate Gaddafi).
Note on the LIFG from Amnesty International,June 2010 report, "Libya of Tomorrow - what hope for human rights"
In recent years there have been some welcome developments. Hundreds of members of al- Jama’a al-Islamiya al-Muqatila (the Libyan Islamic Fighting Front, LIFG) and other groups,many of whom had been held arbitrarily for years, have been released.
The releases were reportedly facilitated by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (Gaddafi Development Foundation, GDF) headed by Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader.50 For several years, the GDF engaged in a dialogue with leaders of the LIFG, which contributed to the group publicly renouncing violence in 2009.
The latest releases
took place in March 2010. According to Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, among those released were 80 individuals cleared by courts, 100 individuals accused of involvement in terrorism-related activities with armed groups in Iraq and 34 members of the LIFG, including several who had been returned from secret detention by the US authorities.
However, the Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Justice (equivalent to the Minister of Justice), estimated that more than 300 individuals were arbitrarily detained by the ISA at the beginning of 2010.
This means that more than 200 individuals were still detained arbitrarily according to official estimates after the release of 80 individuals cleared by courts in March 2010.
Real numbers are believed to be higher, given that this estimate does not include those detained after unfair trials or prisoners of conscience.
Note 15: In the late 1990s, several of the surviving members of the LIFG were believed to have fled to various countries in Europe, Asia and the Gulf. The LIFG was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in December 2004 by the US Department of State.
The US Country Report on Terrorism of 2008 states
that some members of the LIFG had links with the international terrorist movement and that some were believed to be part of the al-Qa’ida leadership. US forces captured a number of Libyan nationals suspected of belonging to the LIFG in Pakistan and transferred several of them to Libya after 2004.
In 2010, the US Govt listed LIFG as a " Foreign Terrorist Organization".
Mr Kamoka was one of five LIFG members arrested in police swoops in the UK. [however, in August 2003,we read courtesy of the Institute of Race Relations,: Found in possession of £6,000. Sun newspaper reported that he was being held under ATCSA at Belmarsh and that police believed the money was for the purposes of terrorism., an interesting case of a tabloid newspaper citation]On 9/11 2011, it was announced that two of them, Mr Kamoka had also become litigious : "Mr Kamoka plans to sue Britain for detaining him under control orders." (lifted in 2009)
Note on the Quilliam Foundation.
This foundation was set up with British taxpayers' money by Tony Blair and Jack Straw ***, with the ostensible purpose of "watching" other jihadis operating under the wings of MI6. Benotman renounced his jihadi image and worked on behalf of Britain, securing release from the present Libyan government, the National Transitional Council, of 600 former activists from prison, arguing for this on the basis of the role that the LIFG played at the frontline to remove the Qaddafi regime.
PS Is Mr Kamoka getting younger by the day? Compare the photo seen at this June 11 2007 BBC article, Three Jailed over terror funding with the one above. Or does he dye his bushy beard?
*** These are the guys Belhaj is going to sue. These are the guys who set up the Quilliam Foundation. These are the guys who wanted a rapprochement with Gadafi who set up the Quilliam Foundation which employs Benotman who belonged to the LIFG whose mission was not rapprochement but assassination of Gaddafi...Go figure. But Belhaj actually doesn't want to sue them any more, he just wants an apology. Like one does. Because he now has his own political party.
Something I missed -
Al Qaeda LIFG leader Abdul Belhaj writes column for Guardian!
[Land Destroyer Sept 27 2011] by Tony Cartalucci
"However, Mr. Belhaj has had time, apparently, allegedly, to draft a lengthy editorial titled, "The revolution belongs to all Libyans, secular or not," gladly published by the London Guardian [CiF], [The revolution belongs to all Libyans, secular or not] where he is allowed to go on at length, whitewashing what is essential a life-long career in terrorism and expound the merits of the wholesale mass murder he and his cohorts, under NATO cover, are committing against the Libyan people"
No comment needed.
Update 19 Aug 2012
A blog which seems interested in the LIFG, Harati & Co:
The Flower Throwers