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Mounting concern over SAS operations in southern Syria

British SAS or SBS soldier in action in Syria
Press TV – March 8, 2020

There is mounting concern in the region about the nature and scale of British Special Forces deployment to southern Syria.

The concern comes in the wake of an exclusive report by the Daily Mirror (March 05) that two RAF Chinook helicopters “packed with special forces” troops and medics had “swooped” into southern Syria to rescue a wounded Special Air Service (SAS) operative.

According to the Mirror, the casualty was airlifted from “deep inside the warzone” to a medical facility in Erbil, northern Iraq.

Whilst the Mirror doesn’t say exactly where in southern Syria the SAS soldier was operating, the reference to “warzone” would suggest Deraa province, in the southwest of the country.

There have been clashes in recent days between Syrian government forces and terrorist groups controlling parts of the town of Al-Sanamayn, situated 50 kilometers south of the capital, Damascus.

Based on the realities on the ground, there is mounting speculation that Britain’s elite SAS could be lending a helping hand to anti-government forces in and around Al-Sanamayn.

British Special Forces, both in the form of the SAS and its allied unit, the Special Boat Service (SBS), have been operating in Syria for seven years.

According to the Mirror, more than 30 British special operatives have been injured in Syria. There has been at least one combat fatality, that of Sergeant Matt Tonroe, who was killed in a joint US/UK operation in March 2018.

Late last year it was reported that British Special Forces in Syria were beating a hasty retreat following US President, Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria.

The latest incident appears to indicate that the SAS and SBS continue to operate in Syria based on the needs of allied Syrian rebel and terrorist groups.

The exfiltration of the injured SAS soldier will cause huge concern as the rescue operation involved RAF choppers taking off from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus before flying through Israeli airspace to northern Jordan and onto southwestern Syria.

This brazen violation of Syrian sovereignty is likely to aggravate Britain’s outlaw status in Damascus, where both the Syrian government and people take a dim view of Britain’s hostile interference in their internal affairs.

March 8, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Britain’s Collusion with Terror

Crimes of Britain | May 24, 2017

When Britain’s collusion with death squads across the Middle East and Africa is mentioned it falls on deaf ears. The only time you’ll hear of Britain’s open collaboration with these forces are when they are branded “moderates” or “rebels” by the British media.

Firstly, what do I mean by death squad. I use this term to refer to a wide range of forces, namely Al-Qaeda and al-Qaida affiliated groups, Islamic State group, the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force), UDA/UFF (Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters), RHD (Red Hand Commandos), LVF (Loyalist Volunteer Force) and the British Army’s very own units such as the Military Reaction Force, Special Reconnaissance Unit and the Force Research Unit.

Loyalist death squads in Ireland were an extension of the British state. They worked hand in hand with British intelligence, British military and the colonial police (RUC). In 2012, the De Silva Report revealed that 85 percent of the intelligence the UDA received had been supplied by the British security forces. The UDA was not proscribed as a terrorist organisation until 1992 – the decade when the British were waging a campaign of pacification on the Provisional Republican movement.

Loyalist terror gangs were responsible for scores of terror attacks in partnership with said British forces. The 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings which claimed the lives of 34 people carried out by the UVF in cahoots with British intelligence. Britain keeps the files on this act of terror firmly under lock and key. The Miami Showband massacre in 1975, saw the British Army team up with the UVF to murder three members of a cabaret band. Human rights lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson were assassinated by loyalist death squads working with British military and intelligence. There are endless examples of British collusion with loyalist death squads over a forty year period.

The Irish motto is “collusion is not an illusion, it is state murder” and it rings true today with regard to Britain’s relationship with its death squad proxies across Africa and the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia is a British creation that serves the interests of the Brits and the United States to this day. The British re-established Saudi Wahhabism in the region after it had been rejected, using its intolerance to wage an internal war on the Ottoman Empire during WWI. In a typically British case of divide and conquer, they allied with the Al-Saud family who have been willing servants of British and American imperialism since their reign.

It was Winston Churchill who bankrolled and armed Ibn Saud, the first King of Saudi Arabia. He doubled his subsidy in 1922 to £100,000. In 1921, Churchill delivered a speech to the House of Commons whereby he branded the followers of Ibn Saud “bloodthirsty” and “intolerant.” For the British this was no problem as long as the Al-Saud family and its followers worked in their interest. And this remains the case today. Not only in relation to the Saudis but also to the various proxy forces fighting across the Middle East and Africa. So long as these contras work in British interest, the British will support them. When they render themselves useless or go rogue as often is the case, the British wages war on them.

“They [Ibn Saud’s followers] hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahhabi villages for simply appearing in the streets… [they are] austere, intolerant, well-armed and bloodthirsty”. – Churchill, 1921, speech to the House of Commons.

Thatcher’s open collusion with the Mujahideen in the 1980s saw her tell a large group on the Pakistan and Afghanistan border that the “hearts of the free world are with them.”

Britain covertly gave military training and supplies to the Mujahideen. The SAS was routinely going in and out of Afghanistan from Pakistan, moving supplies to the Mujahideen and other Afghan groups. In 1986 Britain shipped 600 shoulder launched anti-air craft missiles, with many going to the forces of Hizb-e-Islami, headed by Addul Haq whom Thatcher welcomed to Britain the same year. Haq had ordered a bombing in Kabul which killed 28 people, most of them students. Haq stated that the intention of the bomb was ‘to warn people’ against sending their children to the Soviet Union’.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an associate of Osama Bin Laden, was also invited to London in 1986 by Thatcher. She hailed him a “freedom fighter.” He had gained status after throwing acid in a woman’s face. Known as the ‘Butcher of Kabul’, Hekmatyar, oversaw a campaign of terror which led to at least 50,000 deaths in Kabul alone.

The Mujahideen were bolstered  with billions of dollars and military training mainly from the United States. Britain’s specific contributions were specialised military training and funnelling military supplies in to Afghanistan.

In Libya in 2011, Britain allied and worked with various death squads like the LIFG (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group). It was only in 2005, after the 7/7 bombings, that the LIFG  was designated as a terrorist group. 6 years later though, the British were backing colluding with this very force against Libya, a country it has wanted regime change in since the al-Fatah revolution led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969.

An SAS unit along with MI6 agents on a covert mission were captured just outside of Benghazi. They claim they were on their way to meet with Libyan ‘rebels’. Branded a “diplomatic team” by William Hague this blunder on behalf of the SAS was quickly swept under the carpet. A telephone conversation of then British ambassador Richard Northern asking for this “diplomatic team” to be released was leaked. In Basra 2005 an SAS team was apprehended by the Iraqi police after a clash in which two people were left dead. They were dressed in Arab clothing with heavy weaponry. The British Army sent in tanks to brake down the walls of the prison they were being held in.

We saw Britain assist the movement of thousands of militants in Bosnia who were there to fight against the Serbs. Hundreds of men from Britain have in recent years travelled to Syria and joined various death squads in the region. A trail collapsed in 2015 against a Swedish national whose lawyers argued British intelligence agencies were “supporting the same Syrian opposition group” as he was. They went on to allege British intelligence were supplying weapons to the group.

Britain is not the enemy of terrorism – it stokes the flames of sectarianism and facilitates death squads when and where it fits in with the agenda of their foreign policy.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

British ‘secret warfare’ unsustainable in information age – report

RT | April 4, 2017

Britain’s secret war-fighting operations using special forces, drones and similar clandestine methods are folly in an age of information and public demand for accountability, according to a report by the Remote Control Project.

The think tank, run by the Oxford Research Group, examines the rise of clandestine warfare.

Its study, titled ‘All Quiet On The ISIS Front? British secret warfare in an information age,’ looks at where and how the UK is fighting wars, using means which are largely unaccountable.

The UK shields its secret activities behind a long-standing ‘no comment policy,’ which lags behind those of other modern democracies, it says.

The report points out that countries like Australia and the US often detail special forces deployment in a way which the UK does not.

“This provides reporters, and the general public, with an important opportunity to question government strategy and debate the implications of their involvement in conflicts overseas,” the authors argue.

The report also highlights that special forces operations are often only reported as a result of leaks.

The study cites numerous reports in papers like the Express and the Sun which tell selective tales of military daring in places such as Libya and Syria.

“[UK special forces] are unique in their exemption from parliamentary oversight,” the report says.

“Greater inspiration” should be drawn from increased scrutiny on spy agencies where there is “an attitude of acceptance that greater transparency is necessary in today’s world,” it adds.

The study cites the example of MI5 Director-General Andrew Parker who, in the wake of a number of recent major leaks, said: “We recognize that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it.”

Leaks such as those regularly carried in tabloids and via whistleblowers, the authors state, “makes the idea of blanket opacity increasingly outdated, and the benefits of maintaining such a policy should be critically examined in light of the more transparent practices of Britain’s allies.”

The report also argues that secret operations run contrary to democratic aspects of British military doctrine because, unlike normal troop deployments, they sidestep the need for a vote in Parliament.

The normal doctrine “does not capture the many elements of remote warfare, which are often considered ‘non-combat,’ supporting, or assisting roles,” the report says.

Tory MP and former soldier Crispin Blunt told RT last year it is high time for more oversight of such activities.

Blunt said at the time there is no formal parliamentary process for overseeing SAS missions and “there’s obviously an issue as to whether the intelligence and security committee would be the proper vehicle for oversight of these kinds of operations, but we are not there at the moment.”

A new war powers act proposed in the wake of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns could include requirements for increased democratic oversight of UK forces.

Supporters of the idea include Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who told the Middle East Eye in 2016: “I’m very concerned about this because [former Prime Minister] David Cameron – I imagine [Prime Minister] Theresa May would say the same – would say parliamentary convention requires a parliamentary mandate to deploy British troops. Except, and they’ve all used the ‘except,’ when special forces are involved.”

Read more:

‘Special forces shadow wars’ face legal threat from Corbyn

Britain must come clean on special forces’ dirty war in Middle East – Tory MP

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

‘Special forces shadow wars’ face legal threat from Corbyn

RT | August 1, 2016

Special forces operations should be subject to proper democratic oversight through a new War Powers Act, which would prevent troops being risked in Britain’s ‘shadow wars,’ according to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He told Middle East Eye on Friday of his concerns over the repeated use of a legal loophole to deploy troops from the secretive SAS unit into war zones such as Iraq and Libya without a democratic mandate.

The prime minister is currently able to deploy special forces without a vote, a capability which is buttressed by the UK’s long-standing but increasingly controversial policy of refusing to comment on clandestine military activities.

“I’m very concerned about this because [former Prime Minister] David Cameron – I imagine [Prime Minister] Theresa May would say the same – would say parliamentary convention requires a parliamentary mandate to deploy British troops. Except, and they’ve all used the ‘except,’ when special forces are involved,” Corbyn said.

He said this backdoor method of using elite troops has a long and dubious history, drawing a comparison between today’s operations and those of the US military during the Vietnam War.

“The question of this of course goes back a long way to Vietnam in 1963, when the US managed to have I think 50,000 advisers to the South Vietnamese government before the Congress was even invited to vote on whether or not it should be involved in the Vietnam War. I think the parallel is a very serious one,” he said.

His comments were immediately attacked by former soldier-turned-Tory MP Bob Stewart, who told the Times on Wednesday the PM must have the opportunity to deploy troops “when they think it’s crucial.”

However, scholars and other Tory MPs have questioned the UK’s shadowy approach in recent times.

In May, Tory Foreign Affairs Committee chair Crispin Blunt told RT the government should simply come clean because British citizens are fully aware of the UK’s not-so-secret special forces shadow wars.

Blunt said there is no formal parliamentary process for overseeing SAS missions and “there’s obviously an issue as to whether the intelligence and security committee would be the proper vehicle for oversight of these kinds of operations, but we are not there at the moment.”

In a July paper on the issue published by the Remote Control Project, which investigates clandestine modes of warfare, security expert John Moran pointed out that many of the UK’s major military allies – including the US and Australia – are much franker with their citizens about the work of special forces.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Britain’s Secret Drug-Running Operations in Colombia

By T.J. Coles | Axis of Logic | May 25, 2016

Since the 1980s, when Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service started operating in Colombia, special forces on all sides have been killing rival drug gangs and even counter-narcotics police units. This amounts to a proxy drug-smuggling network, which Britain has aided for decades.

Cocaine is a huge industry, worth some $60 billion per annum. Coke is mainly a middle-class drug, used by politicians, models, film stars, and people in music, media, and other industries. More importantly, coke and other drug monies are untraceable and can be used for military black ops. A great deal is known about the US Central Intelligence Agency’s s role in drug running. Alfred McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin , Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance, and Douglas Valentine’s The Strength of the Wolf are vital exposés. Much less is known about MI6’s role.


According to Grace Livingstone, throughout the 1980s, drug barons, paramilitaries, and members of the Colombia government began a heavy drug-money laundering campaign via land purchases, acquiring 10% of the country.

The connections between drugs and politics are such that the Medellin and Cali cocaine cartels funded President Ernesto Samper’s 1998 election campaign. Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel attempted to get farmers to cultivate coca, which, initially, the FARC opposed. FARC is the Marxist-turned-terrorist resistance group which calls for more equal land reform. According to Livingstone, Escobar’s money laundering greatly aided the poor (undercutting FARC’s campaign advantage) to the extent that churches praised his urban regeneration initiatives.

Initially, Britain backed Escobar, until, it would seem, his poverty relief efforts got out of hand and ended up undermining big business. The Ford-sponsored Women’s Commission commented on the “narcotrade-financed paramilitary forces,” adding that they “often [work] with the support or acquiescence of [UK trained- and armed] Colombian police and military forces.”

The standard propaganda is that SAS assassins were sent by Prime Minister Thatcher in 1989 at the behest of President Barco, “to fight the drug cartels.” In the real world, they were sent to fight the FARC cartels. By 1985, the wealthy Asociación Campesina de Agricultores y Ganaderos del Magdalena Medio (ACDEGAM) “had powerful new members: drug traffickers who bought land in the Middle Magdalena,” Human Rights Watch reported, adding that, “In 1987 and 1988, the [ACDEGAM] even sponsored training centers with foreign instructors from Israel and Great Britain.”

A 1990 inquiry led by Louis Blom-Cooper QC revealed that “British mercenaries had been training the [Medellin] cartel’s death squads,” and that successive British governments “turned a blind eye to the sale of weapons to the Medellin cartel.” The Financial Times reported that in 1988, ex-SAS mercenaries worked with the former Israeli Colonel Yair Gal Klein’s Spearhead company to arm and train the Medellin cartel, and, again, “the British government ha[d] turned a blind eye.”

Mercenary firms cannot operate without the approval of the Foreign Office.


Britain’s active support for the drugs trade continues.

“In May 2006 troops of a High Mountain Battalion (whose members receive UK military assistance) were ordered by their commanding officer to ambush and kill ten counter-narcotics police officers near the town of Jamundi in the region of Valle del Cauca,” according to a detailed account by the Justice for Colombia group. “Small teams of SAS specialists rotate routinely through Bogota, and work with General Serrano’s main unit, La Jungla,” reports David Smith. The Independent notes that “Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán, a fierce opponent of the drug trade, was assassinated, some Colombian government sources say, by British mercenaries.”

Former SAS mercenary David Tomkins was “due to appear before US District Judge Adalberto Jordan” for his alleged role in the attempted murder of Escobar, whom, as noted, appeared to have fallen out of favour with Britain and America after diverting coke money to the poor. “US officials [say Tomkins] will avoid trial and have time off his sentence,” indicating that he is still a secret ally. Tomkins “planned an attack on the drug lord’s stronghold at the Hacienda Napoles, east of Medellin,” the paper reported, but the “helicopter flew into a mountainside, killing the pilot. Tomkins and his associate Peter McAleese, a former SAS officer, were forced to walk three days to safety through the Colombian jungle.”

More recently, the International Crisis Group noted that Colombian police “seized [a] USB memory stick of a key alleged associate of Daniel Barrera (alias “Loco Barrera”), a drug lord …, that reportedly contained a detailed monthly payroll of over $1.5 million for 890 politicians, military and justice officers and informants,” indicating the levels of politico-drug interconnections throughout the country. In 2003, the late Pedro Juan Moreno, Chief of Staff in Antioquia, was accused of drug-running by US Customs, which seized shipments of potassium permanganate.

The London Progressive Journal writes: “[that] the British government is unconcerned as to who it is working with was [demonstrated] in December 2007,” when then-Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells “was photographed with soldiers of the High Mountain Battalions.” The paper adds that “Howells also posed for the camera alongside General Mario Montoya; a man [who] has a 30 year history of involvement with right wing paramilitaries, death squads and drug traffickers.”


Colombia’s coke is mainly channelled to Europe via the Caribbean, and to the US through Mexico. In July 2012, a US Congress report into HSBC’s involvement in drug laundering found that “the Mexican affiliate of HSBC transported $7 billion in physical US dollars to HSBUS from 2007 to 2008, outstripping other Mexican banks, even one twice its size, raising red flags that the volume of dollars included proceeds from illegal drug sales in US.” Forbes reports that “HSBC actively circumvented rules designed to “block transactions involving terrorists, drug lords, and rogue regimes”—the latter referring to Iran and Syria.

The Daily Mail reports: “Concerns over the bank’s links to Mexican drug dealers included £1.3 billion stashed in accounts in the Cayman Islands. One HSBC compliance officer admitted the accounts were misused by ‘organised crime’.” The Daily Mail also notes that David Cameron’s Trade Minister, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, “chaired HSBC during the period covered by the allegations.” Labour MP John Mann said of Lord Green: “Someone whose bank has been assisting murdering drug cartels and corrupt regimes across the world should not be in charge of a government portfolio.”

This article is taken from Britain’s Secret Wars (Clairview Books, 2016). The author, T.J. Coles, is director of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research (

May 29, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment