NEW YORK – Documents made public by the Washington watchdog group Judicial Watch and separately by Wikileaks Julian Assange back up Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s assertion on Tuesday that U.S.-led coalition forces have given support to terror groups, including ISIS in Syria.
In an interview with Democracy Now’s Juan González on July 25, Assange said the thousands of documents released by Wikileaks through its “Hillary Clinton Email Archive” contain some 1,700 emails that connect Clinton to al-Qaida and ISIS in both Libya and Syria, demonstrating Clinton supplied weapons to ISIS via Syria.
“So, those Hillary Clinton emails, they connect together with the cables that we have published of Hillary Clinton, creating a rich picture of how Hillary Clinton performs in office, but, more broadly, how the U.S. Department of State operates,” Assange said in the interview.
“So, for example, the disastrous, absolutely disastrous intervention in Libya, the destruction of the Gadhafi government, which led to the occupation of ISIS of large segments of that country, weapons flows going over to Syria, being pushed by Hillary Clinton, into jihadists within Syria, including ISIS, that’s there in those emails.”
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Erdogan said that rather than supporting Turkey, the West was backing ISIS and groups Turkey classifies as terrorist organizations, the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units and Democratic Union Party, who work with the U.S. on the ground in Syria.
“They are supporting all the terror groups,” Erdogan said.
“It’s quite clear, perfectly obvious,” he said, offering to provide proof in pictures and video.
See the Assange interview on Hillary’s emails:
In response to the Assange interview, Snopes.com, a left-leaning “fact checking” website, argued that Assange released no emails that proved she “deliberately and knowingly” arranged for the United States to sell weapons to ISIS.
Snopes.com, however, did agree Clinton “in her role in shaping the United States’ actions regarding the Libyan intervention and the ongoing Syrian civil war” may have negligently allowed arms to fall into the hands of “jihadists.”
As a consequence, Snopes judged Assange’s claim a “mixture of true and false,” insisting Clinton’s negligence in allowing U.S. weapons to fall into the hands of ISIS terrorists in Syria was not the same thing as “selling weapons to ISIS.”
However, since 2011 WND has reported that documents released by Judicial Watch and Wikileaks showed Clinton’s State Department engineering the clandestine transfer of weapons from Libya to Syria that ended up in the hands of terrorist groups aligned with ISIS and al-Qaida.
Ambassador Stevens involved in weapons shipping
In May 2015, WND reported Judicial Watch made public more than 100 pages of previously classified Department of Defense and Department of State documents implicating the Obama administration in a cover-up to obscure the role Clinton and the State Department played in the rise of ISIS.
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The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, provide evidence that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was involved in shipping weapons from Benghazi to support the al-Qaida-affiliated militias fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, effectively arming the Sunni jihadists who morphed into ISIS.
Judicial Watch also noted the DOD documents contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria.
An October 2012 DOD report confirmed:
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPGs, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the (Qaddafi) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
A DIA document made public by Wikileaks included an inventory of weapons that closely matches the inventory listed in the Department of Justice criminal case against arms dealer Marc Turi:
The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]
The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.
Judicial Watch noted an August 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report, written at time the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria, said “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”
Judicial Watch commented that the sectarian direction of the war in Syria was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS.
The DIA document noted:
This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.
Judicial Watch said some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out, but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”
Clinton sought to arm Free Syria Army
In an Aug. 17, 2014, email released by Wikileaks, Clinton, after her service as secretary of state, suggested to John Podesta: “At the same time, we should return to plans to provide the FSA [Free Syria Army], with some group of moderate forces, with equipment that twill allow them to deal with a weakened ISIL, and stepped up operations against the Syrian regime.”
Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute, tied the statement to the Obama administration’s plan to equip Syrian fighters, either the Free Syrian Army or “other moderate forces,” to a U.S.-led operation in coordination with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to steer weapons to Syria, “ostensibly to fight both Assad and ISIS.”
McCarthy noted, however, that Clinton’s 2014 memo to Podesta asserted the Saudi and Qatari governments both supported ISIS and other “radical Sunni groups.”
In September 2013, WND reported Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had relied on the work of Elizabeth O’Bagy, a 26-year-old graduate student, to argue in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Obama administration should send weapons to arm the “moderate” Free Syria Army to oppose the Assad government in Syria.
WND detailed the extensive lobbying efforts conducted in Washington to advance the FSA as a “moderate group,” despite clear evidence the al-Nusra Front – operating under the FSA umbrella – had been declared a terrorist organization by the State Department; has pledged allegiance to al Qaida’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri; and was the group of choice for foreign jihadis pouring into Syria.
in September 2014, WND reported O’Bagy, who had been fired from her job with a Washington think-tank after her exposure by WND as a source for Kerry’s argument that the FSA is a “moderate” rebel force in Syria, had also arranged for McCain a trip to Syria in May 2013, during which senator met with Abdul Hakim Belhaj, who was then represented as a leader of the FSA.
In November 2013, WND reported trusted Libyan expatriates had claimed Belhaj was at large in Libya. The expatriates identified Belhaj as an al-Qaida operative, noting he was at the top of a list of Libyan terrorists banned by the European Union from obtaining entrance visas and was the principal organizer of the terrorist attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2011, in which Ambassador Stevens was murdered.
Clinton arms deals tied to Turi prosecution
McCarthy tied Clinton’s 2014 comment to Podesta regarding the FSA to a weapons shipment from Benghazi to Turkey for eventual transit to Syria that occurred just days before the Benghazi attack. McCarthy noted the September 2012 weapons shipment was coordinated by Belhaj, “an al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadist with whom Stevens had consulted during the uprising against Qadhafi.”
McCarthy further noted the September 2012 shipment of weapons had been arranged by Marc Turi, a professional arms dealer who had been indicted by federal prosecutors in Phoenix for supplying arms to Libyan “rebels” during the 2010-2011 war.
McCarthy commented the Obama administration dropped the criminal case one day before a court-ordered deadline to disclose information about its efforts to arm Muslim rebels.
“Turi’s lawyers had explained his defense to the court: His arms shipments, destined for the Libyan rebels and channeled through Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, were part of a U.S.-authorized effort,” McCarthy wrote. “Turi further asserts that the Obama administration was subsequently complicit in the shipment of weapons from Libya to ‘rebels’ in Syria, who are fighting the Assad regime.”
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, in an interview with WND, insisted the DOJ was forced to drop the Turi prosecution because federal prosecutors were convinced his defense would expose Clinton’s secret arms running to the radical al-Qaida-affiliated militia in Libya in 2011.
Video proof of arms transfer
WND published visual evidence Clinton’s State Department secretly provided weapons to Islamic jihadists in Libya to support the U.S.-backed NATO bombing in 2011.
In one of the videos published by WND, Moussa Ibrahim, Gadhafi’s information minister and official spokesman, displayed to reporters in 2011 a cache of weapons and ammunition seized from a ship from Qatar intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard off Libya’s coast.
The video matched a report of Qatari military equipment seized in mid-April 2011. Anthony Bell and David Witter of the Institute for the Study of War, in their October 2011 publication “The Libyan Revolution: Stalemate & Siege, Part 3,” said the shipments “consisting of bulletproof vests, helmets and ammunition were bound for the rebels besieged in Misrata.”
“Though his shipment was unannounced, Qatari Prime Minister al-Thani alluded to arming the rebels just days before the crates appeared,” they wrote.
Turi caught in Clinton’s secret war
WND reported in July 2015 Napolitano’s concerns that Turi was being set up for prosecution to continue a cover-up of the secret war on Libya.
The background of the Turi prosecution, while complicated, is at the heart of an allegation made by Napolitano in a syndicated column published July 1, 2015.
Napolitano charged Clinton, while secretary of state, lied when Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked her in a Senate committee hearing if the State Department had run guns illegally to Libyan rebels.
An interview of Turi by Fox News intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge and Fox News senior executive producer Pamela Browne led Napolitano to review emails to and from State Department and congressional officials during the years when Clinton was secretary of state.
Napolitano concluded it’s “beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty” that Hillary had conducted a “secret war” shipping arms to Libya illegally in 2011.
Turi used as a pawn
Napolitano detailed for WND his understanding of the events behind the Obama administration’s decision to run a clandestine war against Gadhafi.
“Secretary Clinton decided she had to get rid of Gadhafi because she wanted to take credit when she ran for president for being the government official responsible for liberating Libya,” Napolitano said.
Clinton knew she would never get a declaration of war from Congress or authorization under the war powers resolution enacted over President Nixon’s veto in 1973, he asserted.
“So, Secretary Clinton persuaded Obama to use CIA intelligence assets who would be exempted from the war powers resolution even if they wore military fatigues in Libya.”
Napolitano explained that to use intelligence assets under the war powers resolution, Clinton needed the cooperation and informal consent of the “Congress within the Congress,” referring to the House Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which are sworn to secrecy.
“The result is the president of the United States, the secretary of state and about two dozen people in the House and Senate, including the leadership of both parties in both houses, can authorize a clandestine war using CIA assets,” he said.
“And this is exactly what President Obama and Secretary Clinton did.”
Having obtained the authorization of the House and Senate intelligence committees, Clinton began a secret gun-running operation to Libya, using a provision in the United Nations-imposed arms embargo on Libya that allowed the foreign minister of participating countries to grant an exception to the embargo, Napolitano said.
The irony of Turi’s prosecution is that he never actually shipped any weapons to Libya. But in prosecuting Turi for planning to ship weapons, Turi’s attorneys argued in his defense that the Obama administration was planning to blame Turi for the arms shipment should Secretary Clinton’s clandestine arms dealings ever become public.