A disconcerting pattern of geopolitics has played itself out in not one, but two different terrorist attacks on the people of Manchester and London in under a month.
First there was the Manchester Arena nail bomb attack at the Ariana Grande concert on May 22. It was followed soon after by the London Bridge van and knife attack on June 3. Three men drove a van into a group of pedestrians, and then went on a stabbing spree with knives in Borough Market.
In total, 30 people have died and 167 people were wounded (23 of them critically injured) in the violence.
The terrorists in both attacks hail from the same region of the world. It is a region in which Western military involvement has played an incontrovertible role in fanning the flames of extremism and fomenting this terrorism which has claimed so many innocent lives in just a few days.
We now know that the Manchester suicide bombing, carried out by Salman Abedi, was the direct result of the intervention in Libya to overthrow the government of Muammar Gadaffi -- led and supported by Washington, London, and Paris in 2011.
Up until 2011, Libya was relatively stable and ruled by a secular government under Gaddafi that had a zero-tolerance policy for Islamic extremism and terrorism. The Bush Administration openly praised Gaddafi for his cooperation in rooting out and fighting terrorist groups. His overthrow turned Libya into a hotbed of terrorism.
We know Abedi's family was from Libya. Abedi himself was a radicalized Libyan who trained to be an armed “rebel” in Syria. He fought with support from the US and UK governments and their attempt to help Islamic fundamentalists with regime change in Syria, another country with a secular government.
The London Telegraph reports that Abedi, who was living in a radical Muslim neighborhood in Manchester, had actually returned to Libya several times after the regime change, most recently just weeks ago. He most likely trained in this new US/UK-created hotbed of terrorism for his attack in England.
Of the two London Bridge attackers that have been identified by police, one is Libyan and the other is from Pakistan. For decades, the Western military industrial complex has poured billions of dollars in funding and military support to Pakistan, with the express purpose of radicalizing Muslims there and teaching them how to wage warfare by means of terrorism.
The 1979-1989 campaign by the CIA to arm and finance the Mujahideen -- the Pakistani-supported side in an Afghan civil war against the pro-Soviet People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan in Operation Cyclone -- was one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever. It's the subject of a popular film starring Tom Hanks, titled Charlie Wilson's War.
Taxpayer money was deliberately funneled by the tens and then hundreds of millions of dollars, year after year, into the hands of radical Islamic militants friendly to Pakistan.
US officials estimate that from 1985 to 1992, 12,500 Islamic jihadists were trained in bomb-making, sabotage, and urban guerrilla warfare in Afghan camps the CIA helped set up.
These networks spawned Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, many of its affiliates, the radical Taliban government that harbored them during and after 9/11, and one of the young men who participated in this weekend's van and knife attack. All because of the catastrophic short-sightedness and recklessness of Operation Cyclone.
Indeed, Libya/Syria and Pakistan are areas of the world in which the US and UK have recklessly kicked the hornets' nest. They have sent flying back into the faces of their innocent citizens the shrapnel, mayhem, and murder of both these recent attacks in England, and many other terrorist attacks before them.
What is incredibly alarming about these latest two acts of terror, is we now have the staggeringly disconcerting situation of mainstream, establishment news outlets like NBC News and The Daily Telegraph reporting that US and UK security officials say they monitored these attacks in advance of their occurrence and failed to prevent them!
Here's the excerpt from NBC's report (the bold emphasis is mine):
"Multiple U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials told NBC News that the Manchester bomber was known to the U.S. intelligence community before the attack. Those officials also said that Salman Abedi had traveled outside of the UK and had recently returned. Another official said, ‘We knew he was going a little crazy and left, but he went quiet and returned a few days ago, and we had no information about him in between.’ Multiple U.S. officials with knowledge of his travel say he had previously been in Libya and may also have traveled to Syria."
In the case of the most recent terrorist attack on London Bridge, one of the attackers had been referred to the police twice over his extremist views. The Daily Telegraph reports that counter terrorism authorities had actually been monitoring this terror cell weeks before the attack, and had even recorded them planning out the van and knife attack(!):
"Counter-terrorism officers secretly recorded an alleged Isil-inspired terror cell in Barking last month discussing how to use YouTube to plot a van and knife attack in London, The Daily Telegraph can reveal. The investigators were monitoring the alleged extremist cell in the east London borough weeks before Saturday night’s attack in the capital, which left seven dead and 48 injured. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack."
These terrorist attacks were the direct result of a complete breakdown of the vast, expensive, and intrusive national security state, from the global strategic level all the way down to the tactical level. The actions of Western governments have created an environment for terrorism to thrive in the Middle East. Officers then failed to prevent two deadly massacres in the last few days after monitoring active terror cells, knowing they posed a credible threat.
For the sake of our safety from these kind of terrorist attacks, Western people have tolerated unprecedented intrusion into our lives. We have tolerated radical revisions of the constitutional restrictions guaranteed in our forms of government. We have witnessed staggering financial costs and economic downturns as the national security state and military industrial complex siphon off trillions of dollars from the rest of us.
We should consider what we've gotten in return for it all: the London Bridge attack, the Manchester Arena bombing, the 2016 Orlando Nightclub shooting, the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon -- not one single, imminent terrorist attack ever thwarted by the massive and intrusive national security regime.
Clearly, it's time to completely rethink national security and US foreign policy from the ground up.
It's long past time for independent voices -- independent from partisan power structures, the Washington establishment, and the powerful and unscrupulous trade in weapons, war, and death -- to speak the truth about what's going on in the world, and fight a deeply corrupt establishment to forge a lasting peace.
To do what is right and to place the proper value on human life, to move with courage according to the dictates of a good conscience, we must accept from and for ourselves nothing less than this.