EXCLUSIVE: Have Western Governments Aided and Abetted al-Qaeda for 30 Years?
Kit Klarenberg
The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York, September 11 © AP
Those familiar with Tom Secker know him to be a preeminent deep state researcher. Resolutely averse to going further than evidence allows, committed to demolishing harebrained conspiracy theories along the way, his efforts shine candid light on the nefarious activities of Western intelligence agencies.

His work has never been mentioned, or featured, by the corporate media, but mainstream journalists could surely learn a thing or two from Mr. Secker, in particular his aptitude for unearthing compromising internal documents. The determined Brit is quite so skilled at Freedom of Information requests he's even uncovered UK Foreign Office memos complaining about his activities — obviously flustered officials refer to Mr. Secker as a "repeat offender" on a "fishing expedition."

As of 2018, his primary areas of interest have included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Operation Gladio, the 7/7 attacks in London, and Pentagon and CIA meddling in the US entertainment industry. Along the way, he's produced a steady stream of articles, books, documentaries and podcasts.

The UK Foreign Office doesn't like Freedom of Information requests © Tom Secker
War on 'Our' Terror?
His current focus is the infamous al-Qaeda. In a sense, this represents a full circle journey for the disputatious 35-year-old — he began his research in the wake of 9/11, having watched the event live on TV like so many others.

"It had quite an impact on me. I saw this hyper-aggressive foreign policy and absurdly paranoid domestic security policy erupt, with al-Qaeda the primary rationale. I concluded the idea the 'War on Terror' was an adversarial battle between Western liberal democracy and Middle East terrorism — an "us vs. them" crusade — was fictional. In fact, I found they were only able to carry out major attacks by working with covert Western agents, and the sheer range and number of alleged intelligence failures that allowed them to continue their toxic activities," Mr. Secker told Sputnik.

Mr. Secker's work fundamentally challenges the simplistic conventional narrative of al-Qaeda, which states the group was an unintended outgrowth of Operation Cyclone — the US operation which saw funds, arms and training given to Islamist extremist fighters during the Soviet-Afghan War.

It also challenges the more critical, minority mainstream view that al-Qaeda's notorious activities are accidental consequences of an ongoing covert relationship between the group and Western authorities. He believes the attacks are either actively intended by certain individuals within Western intelligence agencies, or seen as a "cost" of intelligence work.

"The notion intelligence agents actively try to prevent terrorist attacks carried out by people they're actually employing to use terrorist tactics in support of Western policy is untenable. There may be some within agencies trying to stop attacks, but they're thwarted by compartmentalization of information, in order to protect assets and agents on the ground. This leads to an extremely messy situation, and cover-ups. These are 'our' terrorists we've supposedly been fighting, making the war on terror a war against one of the darkest elements of our own societies, masquerading as a moral crusade."
Tom Secker
Deep State Researcher
Mujahideen prepare a rocket attack on government troops in Afghanistan January 15, 1989 © AFP
According to some reports, the CIA were aware of the group's formal founding in 1988 — whether true or not, the critical factor in al-Qaeda's history for Mr. Secker is just how many undercover agents were embedded within the group at every stage of its existence, and "just how easily" they escaped authorities' clutches in the wake of major terror strikes.

"The ideological leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot, the Blind Sheikh, was a CIA asset, allowed to stay in the US for over a year after his visa — itself approved by CIA officials — was revoked. The FBI also pulled an informant out of the group six months before the bombing, failing to follow up on information from another informant only weeks before the attack. These informants were likely getting too close to whatever the CIA were up to with the Blind Sheikh and his followers," Mr. Secker states.

The plot was carried out February 26 1993 – a truck bomb detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 606 kilogram urea nitrate–hydrogen gas enhanced device was intended to destroy the North Tower and send it crashing into the South Tower, bringing down both and killing tens of thousands. The plot failed, only killing six and injuring around 1,000.

While most of the individuals involved were arrested following the bombing, both Ali Mohamed — the group's lead trainer, former US Special Forces soldier and FBI informant — and bomber Ramzi Yousef got away. Yousef went on to become infamous for the Bojinka Plot, hatched in the Philippines in conjunction with his uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, supposed 9/11 mastermind.

Al-Qaeda's network in the Philippines was financed by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, likely US intelligence agent. Meanwhile, Ali Mohamed flew round the world training terrorists, constructing the cell that would carry out the 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa.

For these evasions of justice to be legitimate, Mr. Secker suggests the FBI are either "the most incompetent agency the world has ever seen," or "fall guys" for CIA covert operations.

"The same thing happens with the '98 embassy bombings and 9/11, and in the years running up to 7/7, particularly with UK al-Qaeda franchise Al Muhajiroun. Every time the four alleged bombers linked up with al-Qaeda figures, they did so via a probable secret agent. There were also frequent bizarre 'intelligence failures' meaning they were never interdicted, remaining free right up until the attacks. MI5 demonstrably lied every single time they were asked about this, highly incriminating behavior by any measure," Mr. Secker told Spuntik.
Yugoslavian civilians inspect a residential area damaged during a NATO attack April 1999 © Associated Press
Mr. Secker says there are many examples of Western collusion with al-Qaeda throughout the group's history — but the Balkan wars of the 1990s are the "textbook example."

"You had the Pentagon flying in mujahideen to fight in Bosnia - they went on to become the Kosovo Liberation Army, trained by US mercenary firm MPRI, and then the National Liberation Army in Albania. In the early 1990s, the Blind Sheikh helped recruit young men to go and join the fight in the region, later it was the Al Muhajiroun group, the leaders of which — Omar Bakri, Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada — all had relationships with UK intelligence," Mr. Secker told Sputnik.

Among the Islamist fighters battling in the region were alleged Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, and two Saudi volunteers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khaled al-Mindhar, who would hijack American Airlines flight 77 and crash it into the Pentagon.

Bin Laden was also active during the war, funding fighters — although his organization did much else conducive to NATO's destabilization plans for the region, which ultimately precipitated the fragmentation of Yugoslavia.

On top of "plenty" of Western intelligence assets and agents in their ranks, they fought alongside militants being directed by Western governments, militaries and intelligence agencies. They also, Mr. Secker suggests, benefited from years of "intelligence failures" which meant they avoided interdiction or arrest, even when intelligence agencies had considerable evidence of their criminal activities.

"Whether all that adds up to collusion or conspiracy is not entirely clear, but ongoing relationships prove either they were being directed by Western military and intelligence agencies, or these groups simply don't care when their agents or assets blow up buildings and kill hundreds. Without these organizations and operations, there never would have been an al-Qaeda in Europe on any scale, posing any meaningful threat," Mr. Secker states.
Smoke rises from bother World Trade Center towers, 9/11 © Associated Press
Of all Tom's investigations, the tale of Ali Mohamed remains "the most incredible spy story" he's yet come across.

Without Mohamed, Mr. Secker suggests there would be no al-Qaeda as the world knows it — "probably no WTC93, no embassy bombings, quite possibly no 9/11." Mohamed trained most of al-Qaeda's important footsoldiers in a dozen countries, and Bin Laden's bodyguards, conducted surveillance for the 1998 US embassy attacks in Sudan, and helped move Bin Laden from Sudan back to Afghanistan in 1996 — all while being a part-time FBI informant, serving in the US Special Forces and working for the CIA. The CIA claimed Mohamed was sacked in the mid-1980s, but Mr. Secker claims this is "total nonsense."

"When one of the defense lawyers in the US vs Rahman trial attempted to subpoena Mohamed, the prosecution wouldn't reveal where he was. When they eventually tracked him down, the prosecution told him to ignore the subpoena, and he never testified. Years later he was arrested, cooperated with authorities and offered one brief allocution, before disappearing, perhaps into protective custody. He even offered, in the wake of 9/11, to help the US government find Bin Laden and bring him to justice, leading one special forces unit to consider dropping Mohamed into Afghanistan, and injecting him with a time-delay poison pill," Mr. Secker told Sputnik.

A "less clear" yet still "incredibly important" example is "whatever was going on" with 9/11 hijackers Khalid Al Midhar, and Nawaf Al Hazmi. The CIA and NSA were monitoring al-Qaeda's communications hub in Yemen — as a result, Mr. Secker believes US authorities should've been able to stop the attempted bombing on USS The Sullivans, the successful bombing of the USS Cole, and "probably" 9/11 as well.

The first two were carried out by a local al-Qaeda arm financed by Jamal Khalifa, who also funded the Bojinka Plot — and was Bin Laden's brother-in-law. Former US National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-Terrorism Richard Clarke has said the CIA deliberately withheld information on Al Midhar and Al Hazmi from the FBI and White House, because they'd recruited them, or were trying to — an aspect of 9/11 the official investigation failed to scrutinize.

"Finally, 18 months after the two al-Qaeda men arrived in the US, the CIA, in a very low key way, passed a report to the FBI about al-Mihdhar and al-Hamzi. It was too late. Their trail had gone cold. They'd entered the final phase of preparations for 9/11. Nothing in the joint congressional investigation, the 9/11 Commission's work or the CIA Inspector General's investigation explains why the CIA hid its knowledge about these two al-Qaeda operatives," Clarke has alleged.

However, Mr. Secker believes the behavior of certain officials, most prominently Tom Wilshire of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, suggests even Clarke's narrative doesn't truly get to the bottom of things. Despite alerting superiors to Al Midhar's significance and impending involvement in a major al-Qaeda attack, he continued to protect and hide information on the target.

"This suggests Al Midhar was still working for the CIA in some way, right up until the moment Flight 77 smashed into the Pentagon," he grimly concludes.

Sputnik contacted the CIA for comment, but is yet to receive a response as of January 31.
The views and opinions expressed by Tom Secker are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
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