Meet Abu Omar, the “Victim” of Robert Seldon Lady

Posted by John Rosenthal

On Thursday, former CIA Milan station chief, Robert Seldon Lady, was detained in Panama and he now faces potential extradition to Italy. In 2009, Lady and 22 other Americans were convicted in absentia by an Italian court for their alleged roles in the kidnapping of one Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, better known as “Abu Omar.” The operation is supposed to have taken place as part of the American program of “extraordinary rendition” of terror suspects. Abu Omar has been widely depicted in the American press as an innocent “victim” of the program.

But how many Americans will know that the “victim,” Abu Omar, is also a wanted man in Italy? A member, according to Italian investigators, of the Gama’a Al-Islamiya of the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel-Rahman, he is wanted, namely, as a facilitator of international terror. For the details — drawn directly from the Italian arrest warrant against him and supported by extensive translated excerpts from Italian police surveillance tapes — see my 2008 article in World Politics Review, “Who is Abu Omar? Extracts from the Italian Police Surveillance Tapes.” And for a study of the Abu Omar case and its deformed presentation in the Western media, see too my 2010 article in the Weekly Standard Online, “Selective WikiLeaks: The Untold Story of Abu Omar.”

The Video and Benghazi Revisited – And What if Susan Rice was Right?

Posted by John Rosenthal

Examination of contemporaneous chatter on Libyan websites and social media shows that locals really were in an uproar about the famous “anti-Islam video” in both the run-up to and immediate  aftermath of the Benghazi attack. This finding is all the more significant  inasmuch as the chatter in question comes from precisely the same extremist  milieu as the presumed assailants. In the hours immediately preceding the attack, local Islamists were calling on their brethren to “do something” in  response to the video. From both the source and tenor of these appeals, it is  clear that they meant something more emphatic than just a peaceful  demonstration…

For the evidence, including numerous photos and screen caps, see my new article on Al-Monitor here.

Benghazi: Security Force at US Mission Had Clear Al-Qaeda Sympathies

Posted by John Rosenthal

The February 17th Martyrs Brigade, the Libyan militia employed by the U.S. government to provide security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, featured an al-Qaeda flag in the original banner for a Facebook page it maintains. That banner was posted on June 10, 2012, i.e. just three months before the September 11, 2012 attack on the mission. Moreover, several entries on the Facebook page make clear the group’s sympathy for Ansar al-Sharia, the allegedly al-Qaeda-linked militia that has been widely accused of perpetrating the attack. Like the banner, still other entries make clear the group’s sympathy and admiration for al-Qaeda as such, as well as for other al-Qaeda affiliates like the Syrian al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra.

For the details, see my new article at here (including a large dose of DC-side reporting by David Patten).

Q&A with Diana West on Libya, Syria, Boston — and “The Jihadist Plot”

Posted by John Rosenthal

Diana West was kind enough to ask me to do an interview on The Jihadist Plot. Even better, Diana asked several questions that go beyond the book itself to related current issues such as the war in Syria and the Boston bombings. Here is a small excerpt:

DW: You make a strong case that on as many as three key fronts in Libya, “NATO partnered with rebel commanders who had previously collaborated with al Qaeda in Afghanistan and/or Iraq: al Hasadi on the Eastern front, Belhadj in Tripoli, and bin Hamid during the siege at Sirte.” Do you think the implications of this have registered with any American or other Western lawmaker or politician in particular?

JR: No. As far as I know, none. I gather that the implications could well register with Rand Paul. But I don’t know if he knows about the evidence. I can tell you that the staff member of the House Oversight Committee who is directly responsible for the Benghazi hearings has been in touch with me and expressed interest in reading the book. I cannot tell you if he has, since I never heard back from him. If you could quote that same passage to Darrell Issa and ask him if he is aware of the facts and their implications, I would be very interested to know his response. My impression thus far is that even the Republicans in Congress do not want go to the root of the problem. The root of the problem is not inadequate security measures at the mission in Benghazi. The root of the problem is a NATO intervention in Libya that strengthened the hand of America’s enemies.

DW: Who do you think attacked the US compound in Benghazi on 9/11/12 and why? Second, what is your guess about the purpose of the US compound in Benghazi?

JR: Elements of virtually any and all of the Eastern Libyan militias could have been involved in the attack. This includes both the militia that was supposed to be guarding the compound, the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, and Libya Shield, the militia that escorted American marines to the supposedly secret “safe house” or annex where mission personnel had taken refuge. As it so happens, the “safe house” would become the target of a second attack after the marines arrived, which suggests that it was at this point that the attackers were tipped off about the location. I cannot say for sure who perpetrated the attacks. But I do know that the focus on just Ansar al-Sharia is mistaken and misleading. The supposedly “friendly” militias like Libya Shield and the February 17th Martyrs Brigade are no different than Ansar al-Sharia. As I say, in the literal sense of the expression, they are all “Ansar al-Sharia.”

By the way, I have come across statements from both brigades suggesting that there really were protests over an “anti-Islam film” on the night of the attacks and, moreover, that the brigades themselves sympathized with the grievances of the protestors. So, it is not impossible that there was an element of spontaneity in the attacks, after all….

To read the whole thing, go here.

The Jihadist Plot — Now Also Available Internationally

Posted by John Rosenthal

My new e-book, The Jihadist Plot: the Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion, is now also available to Amazon customers based in Europe and, I gather, elsewhere in the world as well. The page is here. The book can also be purchased on some other local Amazon sites in Europe and elsewhere. Also now available in the US in paperback, presumably with availability on international Amazon sites to follow.

The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion

Posted by John Rosenthal

My new e-book The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion is now available on here. Beware that as far as I know, it is not currently available when accessing from Europe or perhaps elsewhere outside of the United States. If readers could let me know their own experiences trying to access from outside the US, I’d much appreciate it. You can drop me a line at jrgencer[at] I will, of course, provide updates as I learn more. The book is also available for the ”Nook” reader at Barnes & Noble and as an Apple iBook (via iTunes). A paperback edition is forthcoming shortly.

Here is a description of what is inside:

“How could this happen in a country we helped liberate?” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pondered in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi that left American ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion shows how it could have happened and why it did happen. It happened because in supporting the Libyan rebellion against Muammar al-Qaddafi, America and its allies, in effect, changed sides in the war on terror, securing the victory of some of the very Islamic extremist forces that they had been fighting for the previous decade.

The result is a Libya that is today under the sway of heavily-armed jihadist brigades that make no secret of their allegiance to al-Qaeda, proudly flying the al-Qaeda flag in broad daylight in Benghazi and other Libyan cities. Moreover, as the September 11 Benghazi attacks make clear, if America reversed course in Libya in order to join forces with jihadists, the jihadists remain exactly as they ever were, with the same ideology and the same hatred of America.

Exploding the myth of NATO’s “humanitarian intervention,” The Jihadist Plot tells the real story of the Libyan rebellion. It traces the itineraries of some of the notorious veterans of international jihad who served as the rebellion’s leading commanders and strategists and shows how NATO helped to create a new jihadist hero at the siege of Sirte. And it reveals that long before the onset of the so-called Arab Spring, Libya’s own al-Qaeda affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, had devised a plan to bring down the Qaddafi regime using some of the classic methods of jihadist terror: a plan that would be put into practice in the rebellion of February 2011.

Syria: Rebel Supporters Sing Ode to Bin Laden, 9/11 Attacks

Posted by John Rosenthal

A new video has emerged showing a large crowd of supporters of the Syrian rebellion singing an apparent ode to the 9/11 attacks that celebrates Osama bin Laden as “America’s worst nightmare.” For the clip, as well as the context of the rally it documents, see my new report at WND here.

From Fallujah to Aleppo: Veterans of Anti-American Jihad in the Syrian Rebellion

Posted by John Rosenthal

While the Obama administration hastens to recognize the recently formed and supposedly “inclusive” Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, recent reports from in and around the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo make clear that Syrian rebel forces on the ground consist virtually exclusively of jihadists, including self-avowed veterans of the al-Qaida-led insurgency against American forces in Iraq.

For details, see me new report at WND here.

America’s Libyan “Allies”: Osama bin Laden a Great Man

Posted by John Rosenthal

While Obama administration sources continue to suggest that the Sept. 11 anti-American attacks in Benghazi were the work of a “rogue” Libyan militia with links to al-Qaida, a new French documentary reveals just how thoroughly and openly the mainstream of last year’s Libyan rebellion was inspired by al-Qaida and its founder, Osama bin Laden.

For the details, see my new report on WorldNetDaily here.

French Libya Expert: Official Libyan Security Colludes with Ansar al-Sharia

Posted by John Rosenthal

It is now widely believed that a “rogue” Islamist militia was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi that took the lives of American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans; whereas a “loyal” Libyan-government-sponsored militia is supposed to have joined forces with American Marines in efforts to rescue American personnel.

But according to Patrick Haimzadeh, a leading French Libya expert, Islamists are in fact pervasive in the official Libyan security apparatus and the line separating “loyal” militias from “rogue” militias is porous at best…

See my new article on WorldNetDaily here.