Saturday, 29. May 2010
Still Alive & Kicking, A Scholar For All Seasons Or Agendas?, Terrorization & De-Terrorization Flip
This is going to come as a relief to some and as a major disappointment to others: I am alive and almost back! As my long-term readers know I almost never share personal details here, and I am not about to change that, but here is a semi-reasonable albeit a bit vague explanation: despite having very costly health insurance coverage it was far more cost efficient (thus feasible) to take care of certain medical treatments outside the US than back home where the exact same medications (exact same brands) and treatments would have cost almost three times the amount. I am almost done with the two-month medical process, I’m doing well, and I should be back in three weeks or so. Many thanks to those of you who contacted me with your well-wishes and concerns, those of you who made me chuckle (I needed that badly) with some incredibly imaginative conspiracy guesses, and even those with death-wishes since I had the pleasure of disappointing you
While a part of me enjoyed (still does) being away (a break from the sin city where I live) and living in a laidback place, the other part soon began to long for home and now fully qualifies as a true case of ‘homesickness.’ Really. I’ve been trying to keep current, which is very hard to do with the entire medical process, an ultra high-energy 22-mo toddler with me 24 X 7, and a not very reliable (or speedy) internet connection. Yet, the most stimulating conversation I’ve been a part of had to do with ‘Hershey’s vs. Cadbury’ when it comes to chocolate, and, A-Frame Caravan vs. …I have no idea what the other type was or what it entailed… and, they had no idea who Bhutto was and why there was a new report on her assassination…or, what it meant to say ‘the moral dilemma using drones represents’…Yet, I’m still alive; I’m a survivor, ey!
Okay, enough about me. I’ve been saving many interesting stories, reports, and analyses. I won’t cover them all, but here are a few noteworthy notes and stories:
Fethullah Gulen & His Multi-Billion Worth Islamic Entourage
For those of you first-timers, who have never seen or heard this name before, please don’t start with Wikipedia ! I recommend checking out articles and analyses by Mizgin Yilmaz, and Luke Ryland; like this one here. Mizgin has been covering Gulen and significant Gulen related developments for years, and now, recently, all of a sudden, there appears to be these tainted-tilted-falsified-glorified articles in English popping up in the mainstream media and the not-so-mainstream but nonetheless the same outlets. Don’t get me wrong- this guy and the entire operation is very SIGNIFICANT. In fact, significant enough to be censored and blocked by the US mainstream media until recently. So, what’s the deal? What’s the real aim? Who wants what? And why?
October, 1992. the Soviet Union has disbanded and chaos reigns in its former territories. Three times a week, a rattly Russian charter plane filled with young Muslim devotees flies east from Istanbul across barren, low-lying steppes to the capitals of Central Asia. The men are clean-cut, sharply dressed in dark suits and ties, trim of mustache and purposeful. It is the first foray out of their hometown for most, let alone on a plane, but such is their faith in Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish Muslim imam they revere. “Fly like swallows,” Gulen exhorted, “to these countries that are newly free, as an expression of our brotherhood.”
Fly they did. Hundreds of volunteer teachers fanned out across five Central Asian republics. It was the start of a global movement that is now one of the largest and most powerful competing for the future of Islam around the world. There are an estimated 1,000 Gulen-affiliated schools in 100 countries — from Malawi to the U.S. — offering a blend of religious faith and largely Western curriculum. All are inspired by Gulen, an enigmatic retired preacher who oversees the schools — and a multibillion-dollar business empire — from the unlikeliest of locales: rural Pennsylvania.
It’s a fairly lengthy piece, so it continues:
Gulen, the 68-year-old retired imam behind this colossal enterprise has never visited Central Asia. He leads an ascetic life on an estate in Pennsylvania, where he has lived since 1999 for medical reasons, and to avoid facing (recently dropped) charges of seeking to overthrow the secular regime in Turkey. Gulen declined TIME’s request for an interview, citing poor health.
Secularist hostility makes the movement secretive. There is no reliable data on the size of Gulen’s following because one doesn’t sign up to join and it has no official legal status. But it is growing in power. Gulen supporters are estimated to number at least 6 million, according to academics researching the phenomenon. (More surprising is a former Interior Minister’s estimate that 70% of Turkey’s national police forces are Gulen devotees.) “If they were a political party, they could post 20 to 25 MPs,” says Nedim Sener, an investigative journalist. “Any movement that wields that much power needs to be transparent, like an NGO. Who belongs to it? How is it funded? What goes on in the schools they run? What are its political goals? These are all issues shrouded in secrecy.”
And after more along the same lines here is the ending:
Add a quest for power to that fervor, though, and it gets complicated. In Turkey the movement is insular, growing and seems to harbor a mysterious political agenda. “On one level you have activities like the schools, which are hard not to be impressed by,” says King’s College lecturer Park. “Then there’s the political element, which appears suspicious because it’s rich, secretive and nobody really knows what it’s up to.” Gulen says he is opposed to theocracy, yet his supporters suggest that they would like more space for Islam in public life. But how will that come to pass? The future shape of secularism in Turkey — and around the Islamic world — might rest on that answer.
Of course, while it brings a bit of attention to this operation’s significance and reach targeting Central Asia since the mid 1990s, you’ll find no mention of the joint cooperation between Gulen and the State Department, or not the well-hidden secret of his CIA protectors, including his well-known ex-CIA body guards and backers such as Graham Fuller. Absolutely nothing.
And here is another piece written by a Turkish agent (news? Turkish government? US-Turkish agenda-setters?) published by the Turkish mainstream paper Hurriyet interestingly titled ‘The Gulen Movement Plays Big in Washington’:
It was one of the lavish lounges of the Willard Hotel in Washington where hundreds of Turkic people from all across America with plain name tags gathered to mark the creation of a new umbrella Turkic Assembly last Wednesday. Six Turkish-American federations, which have close proximity to Mr. Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric and the exiled leader of the Turkey-based religious Gülen Movement joined to form the Assembly of Turkic American Federations, or ATAF, a non-profit organization.
Half a dozen U.S. Senators and a few dozens of U.S. Representatives made a strong showing at the reception and the Gülen Movement hinted that its new assembly has some muscles to flex in Washington already.
The Gülen Movement accelerated its activities in U.S., especially since the leader of the Movement, Fethullah Gülen settled in Pennsylvania about a decade ago. During the mid ’90s, after almost three decades in the making, it was still operating very much under the radar in Turkey.
The unexpected and sudden decision to combine all of their 180 organizations under one umbrella assembly was a surprising move, at any rate, for those who follow the Gülen movement closely and are aware about its cautious strategies and steps.
Mr. Gülen first decided to go public with a wide ranging interview in early 1995, and in the following years the movement attracted ever-increasing attention. The postmodern-military coup of Feb. 28, 1997 pushed Gülen out of Turkey to find refuge in the U.S. Only more than a decade later, the Gülen Movement gathered enough manpower, recognition and credit to bring dozens of members of Congress to its half-official Washington debut night. The Turkish ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Namık Tan, came to the reception and stayed there almost the entire night, having conversations with the members of the U.S. Congress – alhough not everyone was as joyful about the new kid in town. The Assembly of Turkish-American Associations, or ATAA’s, president, Günay Evinç, was pretty upset about the name of this new assembly because of its similar word selection with their own assembly. Evinç argued that this name similarity has created a big administrative disaster for their organization to explain the difference.
Again, no mentioning of why Gulen happened to pick the US to defect to, or why this multi-billion dollar organization’s operation center (headquarters) happens to be in the States, or how the State Department has been backing, protecting, and promoting Gulen in the US and abroad (mainly his activities in Central Asia)…Nothing. Nada. Zip zip zilch. The same Turkish reporter/writer/agent who happens to be based in the US (Washington DC;-) has written other pieces (along the same lines) on his site here.
Let’s go ahead and simplify this a bit, shall we? The Russians hate Gulen. The US agenda-setters, the real policy-setters (Neocons and realists alike) love Gulen and have been supporting/backing/funding/protecting him since the mid 90s; especially (mainly, that is) those operations conducted in Central Asia. This man who doesn’t even have a high-school diploma has been promoted as a major ‘scholar’ by the CIA and the State Department, against multiple operations and investigations conducted by the FBI, and later by the Department of Homeland Security. So now: what’s really up with Gulen? Is he “a man for all seasons” or “a man for all agendas” set by our real agenda-setters? And, why this sudden coverage (long-due but completely distorted, sanitized, and re-formulated) by the mainstream media and the ‘agents’? Please be my guest and chip in with your own analyses and input!
Another Case of State Department’s Terrorization-Deterrorization Flip
Thanks to our friend Metem for the following example showcasing another classic flip by the State Department on declaring and listing a group as a terrorist group then declaring them as not, and probably soon declaring them again as terrorists…when their current use expires, that is
The State Department’s update of its annual list of official terrorist groups is imminent, but the group that just attacked Moscow won’t be on the list.
The Caucasus Emirate, which has been waging a jihad against the Russian government, is led by Doku Umarov, who calls himself the “emir of the North Caucasus.” He was previously President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, but dissolved that Republic and established the Emirate in its place in 2007 in order to impose sharia law in his territory.
Umarov declared all the way back in 2007 that his group was expanding its struggle to wage war against the United States, Great Britain, and Israel. Last month, he released a video claiming credit for the suicide attacks in Moscow in March that resulted in the deaths of 39 people.
But apparently, the State Department chose not to include Caucasus Emirate in the newest update to its list of foreign terrorist organizations, according to Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-FL, who is calling on the State Department to add the group for the sake of national security and U.S. -Russia relations.
And here it gets really funny:
Some experts note that there is internal debate within the Chechen rebel community about whether the group’s declarations of jihad against the West is really such a good idea.
“It seems that the Caucasian rebels themselves are frightened by their own ‘war declaration’ against the West,” Andrei Smirnov wrote in an article for the Jamestown Foundation, “The absurdity of the rebels’ declarations lies in the fact that they declare war against the West, and at the same time beg for aid in their anti-Russian struggle.”
“Whatever the Caucasian rebels say, it is clear that they do not have much in common with the interests of the international Jihadi movement,” Smirnov went on, “This movement has no smaller plans than the Jihadi movement worldwide, but it nonetheless limits itself to activities inside Russia’s borders and has no ambitions to grow into an international problem.”
Of course we all remember our flips and then flops and then flips again on KLA, but does anyone here remember our almost recent flip on MEK? So, what’s the latest on that? Did they go back to the list? Are they a part of the Pentagon’s recent souped-up operations inside Iran? Just asking…
Okay, this is it for now. I will be back with more, so please don’t give up on me or this site (including our new season of podcast interviews and articles by our contributors!).