DeconstructingISIS, featured, media watch
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The idiotic media version of ISIS: are we losing our critical thinking?

by BlackCatte

Does anyone remember the bizarre stories that began circulating in the mainstream press in the summer of 2014 and into early 2015, alleging that certain of ISIS’ infamous snuff videos had been faked? The following appeared in that bastion of the official narrative,the Times August 25:

Foley video with Briton was staged, experts say

The video of a British jihadist beheading an American hostage was probably staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, according to forensic analysis.

Footage of James Foley’s death at the hands of a man with a London accent provided a powerful propaganda tool for Islamic State — formerly Isis — when it was uploaded on to the internet and broadcast around the world last week.

Now it has emerged the Briton might be a frontman and not the killer…

(The Briton in question was of course the infamous “jihadi John”, whose alleged identity was revealed in what looks like a very contrived and potentially dishonest media storm earlier this year.)

The Telegraph also ran the fake video story at around the same time as the Times:

Foley murder video ‘may have been staged’

The video of James Foley’s execution may have been staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, it has emerged.

..a study of the four-minute 40-second clip, carried out by an international forensic science company which has worked for police forces across Britain, suggested camera trickery and slick post-production techniques appear to have been used.

Both articles quote what they say is clear evidence of staging. The Telegraph says “there appears to be a blip” in James Foley’s speech, which suggests the scene had been cut and re-shot, maybe for a fluffed line. An anonymous “forensic analyst” is quoted in both sources as saying:

After enhancements, the knife can be seen to be drawn across the upper neck at least six times, with no blood evidence to the point the picture fades to black,

An “expert”, also unnamed, alleges:

I think it has been staged. My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped.

Though the company who did the analysis was careful to add:

No one is disputing that at some point an execution occurred.

This “conspiracy theory” of the kind normally relegated to the outermost fringes of alt media, was repeatedly floated over the ensuing months in the mainest of mainstream outlets. Not just the Times and the Telegraph, but Fox News, which ran this piece on a different ISIS snuff vid in January 2015:

ISIS’ army of 7-footers? Experts say video of Copt beheadings manipulated

Video of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians being marched along a Libyan beach before being beheaded by black-clad members of ISIS is hard for any civilized person to watch, but experts who made it through the sickening, five-minute clip told FoxNews.com Friday they came to the same conclusion: The footage was faked

…several anomalies in the video, which was posted online Feb. 15, indicated to trained eyes that at least some of the production was done on “green screen” with background added later, perhaps to disguise the real location of the atrocity. A day after the clip went viral, Egyptian warplanes struck hard at an eastern port city near Tripoli, where the video appeared to have been shot.

Again, Fox was careful to point out the murders themselves were real – just not done on camera. The narrative coalescing though these various pieces was that ISIS had somehow acquired sophisticated green screen equipment and other movie-making paraphernalia, together with the expertise to use them, and was making fake videos of beheadings, before executing its victims for real later, off-camera. Fox quoted one Veryan Kahn, an “editorial director of the Florida-based Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium” as saying:

The Islamic State’s manipulation of their high-production videos has become commonplace. The murders likely took place in a studio, and the background image shown was likely from another location, the Bay in Sirte, a part of the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya.

“Hollywood horror film director” Mary Lambert was also quoted by Fox as saying:

The shot that seems really tampered with is the one with the really tall Jihadists and the dwarf Christians. The close-ups of Jihadists on the beach are most likely green screen.

How much of this can we believe?

Two questions seem to arise from this strange situation.

1) Why on earth have the normally very un-curious and obedient mainstream media been drawing attention to what amounts to a glaring anomaly in the official ISIS narrative?

2) Is the claim that ISIS makes fake videos but then actually kills its victims off-camera plausible?

The first question is mired in the hopeless confusion inherent in propaganda and counter-propaganda. There’s certainly a suggestion that the Foley video presented problems for the official narrative shortly after its release, since, in a move designed to dissuade people from watching it, Scotland Yard was wheeled out to announce “viewing, downloading or disseminating the video within the UK might constitute a criminal offence under terrorism legislation.” Perhaps the video was seen to be so badly faked some sort of limited hangout admission in the controlled press was unavoidable.

Most mainstream analysts have, fairly predictably, found the “official” explanation of these apparent anomalies entirely plausible, though, equally predictably, some in the alternative news community have been less sanguine. 21st Century Wire described both the Foley video and the Steven Sotloff beheading video as

nothing more than crudely constructed propaganda videos, designed to start a new war at home, and abroad.

The article points to what it says are peculiarities in Foley’s career resumé which might imply he had been some form of intelligence asset.

…In 2009, just three years before his capture in Syria, Foley worked for CIA front organization USAID, apparently working on ‘development projects’ in Baghdad. In 2011, he “moved to Libya” where he was promptly kidnapped by NATO-backed Islamist fighters and held for over a month.

Then in 2012, Foley landed a gig with an unusual Boston-based, online media outlet called GlobalPost. With no visible advertising and a membership subscription base in the hundreds, somehow GlobalPost manages to pay for up to 65 foreign correspondents, sending their reporters as eyes and ears on the ground in hot spots like Syria. The answer to this puzzle comes in the form of a handful of elite US foundation, quietly injecting millions of dollars into their GlobalPost operation. They include the Ford Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Open Hands Initiative, The Henry Luce Foundation, The Bake Family Trust, The Correspondents Fund and the Galloway Family Foundation….

Whatever we make of this allegedly murky history, the entire issue with the potentially faked snuff films is just one of numerous weirdnesses in the ISIS narrative. Not much of which can pass detailed, or even cursory, analysis (why, for example, does ISIS seem to release its questionable videos exclusively through a US/Israeli-intelligence linked organisation called SITE? )

But then, hard facts – real, solid, old-fashioned, non-social media hard facts – about ISIS are amazingly difficult to come by.

What is “ISIS”?

If we strip away all the layers of hype – the photos, the videos, the column inches, the “expert” analyses crammed with assumptions, the fear porn headlines, we’re left with very little solid data beyond the fact there is a group located in Iraq and Syria, of indeterminate size (estimates can vary wildly), calling itself at various different times “ISIS”, or “ISIL” or “Islamic State”, or “Daesh”, or any other of a dozen other monikers and acronyms. The group is claimed to have been founded in the late 1990s as an offshoot from al Qaeda, though little was heard about it in western media before the second decade of the present century.

In June 2014 it allegedly proclaimed a “Caliphate” across the territories it controls, though exactly where those territories are and how extensive or connected they may be seems surprisingly difficult to pin down. There are plenty of maps on offer, but much dispute over what they actually show. Is ISIS territory getting bigger or smaller? Even the BBC doesn’t seem to know. Does it have 20,00 fighters? Or more than 50,000 fighters? Or over 100,000 fighters? Depends who you ask. In the chaotic war zones of Iraq and Syria all such estimates seem to be more guesswork, rumour and myth than fact, particularly when “ISIS” can morph into the FSA or al Qaeda and back again simply by the proclamation of any “source” the western media deems reliable.

In terms of its physical presence on the ground ISIS is all but indistinguishable from al Qaeda, al Nusra, the Mujahideen and all the rest of the western-backed terror networks/proxy armies currently in place in the Middle East and other areas of strategic sensitivity. What sets ISIS apart is not hard fact, but the gigantic PR machine that pushes its name, its declarations, its agenda in the world media. Nine tenths of what constitutes “ISIS” in the popular mind is not anything directly connected with that ill-defined and fluid band of mercenaries/jihadists.

In fact you might say there are really two versions of ISIS. One the poorly documented fighting force of indeterminate size. The other the massive brand saturation “ISIS” of media legend. And even while the barest hard facts about real ISIS on the ground seem impossibly mired in contradiction, so the media version of ISIS becomes ever more detailed, elaborate, bizarre and sometimes simply ridiculous.

How many ISIS coins to the dollar? Oh who cares, look how pretty...

How many ISIS coins to the dollar? Oh who cares, look how pretty…

This “media ISIS” is defined almost entirely by memes and iconography. A borrowed and rebranded flag, a succession of liminal “leaders” one of whom allegedly died at least three separate times (in 2003, in 2005 and again a year after that), and another of whom has been alleged to have never existed at all.A video front man whose pseudonym is a tabloid headline. “Media ISIS” has a business portfolio Goldman Sachs would admire, and the kind of reach SMERSH could only dream of. It runs a billion dollar oil empire that can’t be stopped, a multi-million dollar artefact smuggling business that can’t be tracked, witnessed or halted, keeps a vast fortune in western banks that can’t be traced, runs movie studios and social media campaigns from locations that can’t be bombed.

ISIS’ “annual report”, complete with glossy pics and diagrams…

“Media ISIS” has a “human resources” department for recruiting its oil-drilling workforce, offers “competitive salaries” to scientists and experts, which is how it manages to keep its rigs pumping “40,000 barrels per day”. Does ISIS pay these professionals in the shiny new ISIS money it’s started minting? (because, of course, the global financial market just doesn’t exist in this little alternative universe and terrorist currencies have value by merely existing, even if no nation in the world accepts them). Maybe it’s the glossy end of year reports that lure in so many would-be employees? But then “media ISIS” is a law unto itself even on Twitter. Heck, it can even create its own Android app and sell it through Google.

No, really, the Indy told us…

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 11.11.27

The tower of stupid grows so high and rickety it’s quite easy to believe there’s a focus group somewhere churning out these publicity pieces, thinking “ok, how far can we take this crap before people refuse to bite?”

And the answer would seem to be – as far as you want to go, boys.

Nothing up to this point has proved too ridiculous for public consumption. Not even when it’s proved to be a bit of a lie. Like the “destruction of ancient artefacts…” which turned out to be copies (though as with the vids, there was someone on hand to say “other” smashed statues were the real deal). Or the bogus “Caliphate map” claiming to show ISIS’ “five year plan” to take over the western world, that had people everywhere wetting themselves with dread.

the “five year plan” that wasn’t…

It looks like this franchise could run and run. Baghdadi is Emmanuel Goldstein on speed! Oceania will be at war with these tricky dickies until the end of time. Watch out for future blockbusters such as ISIS’ first satellite launch, ISIS goes to the Moon, ISIS takes over Disneyland and murders Mickey Mouse. On video. With a complementary Android app and total media meltdown. All to be spoon fed into our gawping open mouths with nary a gag or a dribble.

Don’t we need to call this?

Too few people – even in the alt media – seem to be focusing on the sheer bogusness of the “media ISIS” story. While there are plenty of articles pointing out that ISIS is likely funded by western treasure, there are few pointing out that meanie terrorist caliphates who are the declared enemy of the entire western world don’t get to market Android apps through major western corporations, or invest their money in major western banks, unless it suits a lot of well-connected people that they should. Are we forgetting how the real world really works? Where is our scepticism? Come to that where is our sense of the ridiculous?

Let’s just try for a reality check. The real ISIS is closer to a gang of sociopaths, mercenaries, deluded would-be suiciders and intelligence agents, than some sort of comic book COBRA with its fingers in a thousand pies. Real ISIS won’t be taking over the world, or Europe or even all of Syria any time soon, because hired mercenaries and nutcases don’t do that unless their paymasters want them to, and they don’t. The US doesn’t want real ISIS to take over anything. It just wants destroyed infrastructure, and failed states, and lots of lovely chaos, and mercs/nutcases are good for all of that. Real ISIS is fighting a war on several fronts in hostile conditions, and we can be pretty sure it has little time or organisational ability for industrial strength oil production, professional grade snuff films, the setting up of human resources departments, the minting of pretty gold coinage, or the creation of Android apps. Because again, ad hoc bands of mercenaries don’t do that. These things are either being outsourced to their US/Saudi chums, or are simply being made up, wholesale, in pursuit of more and better fear porn for a populace that has lost the ability to think critically.

Which brings us back to those videos. Think about it. Do you seriously believe ISIS the mercenary jihadist Caliphate, likes to act out its murder sprees on camera first, complete with green screen and post-production editing, before offing their unfortunate victims later in private?

Seriously?

I think this question is as important, maybe even more important, than who is funding the proxy war in Syria and Iraq, because it touches on something even the most cynical of us tend to consider still sacred. We know the media lies in service of wealth and power, but we are loth to believe that lying might extend to wholesale, absolute invention. That we’re sometimes being fed fake news about non-existent events is something we are all reluctant to contemplate as a bare possibility.

But if evidence is mounting that such things really do occur, how long can we afford to ignore it? The alleged fake ISIS videos have to be seen in the context of increased blurring between fiction and reality in so-called news reporting. The worrying possibility of wholesale deception or manipulation by the BBC in its documentary Saving Syria’s Children, and other recent bizarre examples of seemingly blatant fiction presented as reality, require some response from us.

It’s a difficult issue. But if we don’t address it we are in danger of willingly surrendering our critical thinking. And once we give that up we’ve truly lost everything that makes us human.


56 Comments

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  7. Who said “Whatever we lost between 1911 and 1923, whatever lands we withdrew from, we shall once again meet our brothers in those lands between 2011 to 2023” and went on to say “We shall break the mould shaped for us by Sykes-Picot” a year later?
    Answer: Turkey’s Prime Minister Davutoglu said the original statement in 2012, referring to the World War I era and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
    This obvious desire on the part of Davutoglu and Turkey President Erdogan to re-establish the former Ottoman Empire explains why they are so keen to support the anti-Assad forces inside Syria.
    The US – in pursuit of the zionist Yinon Plan strategy – thinks in its usual misguided way that they are in control of terrorist gangs inside Syria but – just as they lost control in Afghanistan – it is now the Turks who are deploying this latest version of the Taliban to far greater effect than the Yanks.
    What is truly bizarre is that the EU has now agreed to give Turkey US $3 billion to meet the costs of the refugees caused by Turkey’s own support for ISIS and all the other rag bag of forces which they expect to restore the former Ottoman Empire, which casts the alleged “bogus” ISIS map in a somewhat different light, would you not say?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. darlene says

    Thank you for that more food for thought ,, thank you to all posters . I offer this … There are two ways to be fooled . One is to believe what isn’t true , the other is to refuse to accept what is true . All i know is an awful lot of people are working over time to keep us in fear and the middle east is being crushed while we watch . This is all one stinking pile of propaganda spin from MSN and alt news . So keep a diserning eye on all and put on your thinking cap when stuff happens . Be positive , listen to all , follow none . tc all .

    Like

  9. you have made a very serious subject truly hilarious- black humour ,sorry- great article and analysis ,powerful.reasoned,witty,incisive -why i love the off Guardian

    Liked by 1 person

  10. wetherfether says

    If you don’t mind, I have some meaningful critique regarding this op-ed:

    “1) Why on earth have the normally very un-curious and obedient mainstream media been drawing attention to what amounts to a glaring anomaly in the official ISIS narrative?”

    This was one of the first major Western hostage killing videos released by ISIS, so intelligence officers had to analyze the video closely, including the background, man speaking, accent, changes in narrators, skin colour and other physical characteristics of the killer, INCLUDING any anomalies. They found one such anomaly, which was obvious to anyone who watched the video, as it was very noticeable fading. I saw the video, and the fade out was quite long, certainly not 1 or 2 frames.

    “There’s certainly a suggestion that the Foley video presented problems for the official narrative shortly after its release, …. Perhaps the video was seen to be so badly faked some sort of limited hangout admission in the controlled press was unavoidable.”

    This is simply pure speculation. Your absurd argument makes no sense. Prove that it was staged by someone other than ISIS, such as the CIA, as you imply. Prove that the media was controlled to point out the obvious flaws in the video because (insert Western intelligence agency name here) staged it poorly. You can’t. Simply speculation.

    ” (why, for example, does ISIS seem to release its questionable videos exclusively through a US/Israeli-intelligence linked organisation called SITE? )”

    Ah yes, the good old “loaded question” trick. ISIS doesn’t release their videos through the SITE Intelligence Group. Rather, SITE scours Jihadi forums and finds the videos.

    “particularly when “ISIS” can morph into the FSA or al Qaeda and back again simply by the proclamation of any “source” the western media deems reliable. …. In terms of its physical presence on the ground ISIS is all but indistinguishable from al Qaeda, al Nusra, the Mujahideen and all the rest of the western-backed terror networks/proxy armies currently in place in the Middle East and other areas of strategic sensitivity.”

    It’s pretty clear which groups are and aren’t Jihadi, which ones are moderates or secularists and which one is ISIS. Not sure if I’m allowed posting images, but here goes: https://i.imgur.com/9QHupuw.png

    “But then “media ISIS” is a law unto itself even on Twitter. Heck, it can even create its own Android app and sell it through Google.”

    Please read your own links: “The app isn’t available through the mainstream Google Play Store, the normal way that Android users get new software. But it is being made available by supporters through uploads — allowing anyone to download the code and run it on their phone.”

    Thus, the app is not being sold through Google. If it was, it would be sold through the Google Play Store. It has simply been uploaded as an .APK file on the internet, and anyone with an Android phone can find the file on various Jihadi forums/file hosts and download it. Removing it from file hosts such as Mega or even Dropbox would be difficult as the uploaders can simply rename the .apk file to something innocent and the file would be lost in the swarm of billions of files on the internet. Please fix this mistake in your article.

    “meanie terrorist caliphates who are the declared enemy of the entire western world don’t get to market Android apps through major western corporations, or invest their money in major western banks, unless it suits a lot of well-connected people that they should.”

    As mentioned earlier, your claim that ISIS is distributing and marketing their Android app through Google is false. As for its money in Western banks, again, I should mention you should read your own links. The money CAN be tracked and stopped (from your link):

    “The problem is that scores of bank branches are located in areas of Syria and Iraq either controlled or contested by ISIS, including branches of international banks. …….. Treasury has therefore embarked on a joint program with Iraqi authorities, bank headquarters, and others in the international financial community to prevent ISIS from using those branches. Banks have looked closely for indications of ISIS financing and filed suspicious activity reports that US authorities say have provided “valuable insight into financial activity in areas where ISIS operates. At the same time, the Central Bank of Iraq has instructed financial institutions to prevent wire transfers to and from banks located in ISIS-held areas, while international banks with regional branches in these areas have relocated their staff. For example, Mosul Development Bank — the sole Iraqi bank headquartered in that ISIS-controlled northern city — moved its center of operations to Baghdad.”

    In fact, the entire article has a massive list of methods which ISIS uses to transfer, send, and receive money. Some methods it mentions are well-known the intelligence agencies and they thus stop the flow of money.

    “Real ISIS won’t be taking over the world, or Europe or even all of Syria any time soon, because hired mercenaries and nutcases don’t do that unless their paymasters want them to, and they don’t. The US doesn’t want real ISIS to take over anything. It just wants destroyed infrastructure, and failed states, and lots of lovely chaos, and mercs/nutcases are good for all of that.”

    Please prove the U.S. is paying the salaries of ISIS fighters. Otherwise, this claim is baseless.

    “Real ISIS is fighting a war on several fronts in hostile conditions, and we can be pretty sure it has little time or organisational ability for industrial strength oil production, professional grade snuff films, the setting up of human resources departments, the minting of pretty gold coinage, or the creation of Android apps. Because again, ad hoc bands of mercenaries don’t do that. These things are either being outsourced to their US/Saudi chums, or are simply being made up, wholesale, in pursuit of more and better fear porn for a populace that has lost the ability to think critically.”

    Okay, this is completely illogical. Your claim is that ISIS is SO busy fighting wars, that they can’t be doing all those things listed. This is illogical thinking. First, ISIS can split up man power. Some people fight. Some are cyber-hackers. Some have administrative jobs. Some are interpreters (remember, there are people from around the world). Some train the fighters. Some guard the border. Some are Shariah judges. Some teach in the Jihadi schools. You also forget two more important points: ISIS controls territories in which millions of people live in, so they can simply outsource many of these duties to them, such as oil extraction, coin minting, etc. The second point is that many former officials from Saddam’s Baathist party officials and Sunnis are a part of ISIS and have been since its founding. This provides a massive amount of nation building experience to them.

    “Which brings us back to those videos. Think about it. Do you seriously believe ISIS the mercenary jihadist Caliphate, likes to act out its murder sprees on camera first, complete with green screen and post-production editing, before offing their unfortunate victims later in private?”

    I like how you ignore the dozens of other videos ISIS has released showing their victims heads being cut off or burnt alive right on camera. But I guess doing that would be inconvenient as it would expose your illogical claims.

    “I think this question is as important, maybe even more important, than who is funding the proxy war in Syria and Iraq, because it touches on something even the most cynical of us tend to consider still sacred.”

    We already know who funds ISIS. Private, wealthy individuals from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait. Also, Turkey is heavily invested with ISIS it shares an open land border with Syrian land controlled by ISIS. Turkish intelligence is known to finance and supply ISIS with weapons and intelligence. Erdogan is a madman.

    Next time, use logical, rational reasoning and evidence to back up your claims. Also, read your own sources. It will do you much good.

    Like

    • Thank you Wetherfether. I’ll deal with your points in order.

      1. The allegedly manipulated video. You offer a lot of verbiage that doesn’t really go anywhere, so let’s cut to the chase – Are you saying you find it quite believable ISIS would fake video of atrocities before committing the same atrocities for real off camera?

      2.The image you post. What is this graphic? How do you see it as offering any kind of information about the jihadist/non-jihadist terrorist groups in the ME? Who produced this graphic? Based on what information? What does it mean? How can it be said to refute the evidence that there are few to no moderate or secular “rebels” in Syria?

      3. Your claim ISIS did not sell its apps through Google Play. Sorry, not so. I already went into that in a previous article. According to the Atlantic

      “Hundreds of users have signed up for the app on the web or on their Android phones through the Google Play store.”

      But yes, I should probably link to that in this article as well, to make the point clear.

      4. Your claim the “money can be tracked and stopped..” is not supported by the quotation you offer, which simply vaguely alleges that non-specific surveillance is being done an that Iraq (not the US) has taken some steps. No specific success is claimed and clearly the attempts are no more successful than the US bombing raids, since ISIS continues to sell millions of dollars of oil every day. You can’t have it both ways.

      Do you seriously believe the international financial community couldn’t freeze out ISIS money and commodities overnight if it truly wanted to?

      The claim that ISIS uses local branches of international banks in order to evade detection is simply ridiculous and I would have discussed it at length if I’d had more space. Like so much about ISIS’ alleged activities it assumes a kind of parallel universe in which the norms of modern life don’t apply. In today’s world of computerised international finance and global banking the idea that anyone can use a “local branch” that will somehow not be tied in to the network is simply an anachronism. Any account in any bank today is a global account. And we aren’t talking a few thousand dollars here. We’re talking billions. This isn’t finding a place to stash a bit of cash from local oil smuggling. It’s oil trading on a very large scale. It’s simply not possible to operate at that level without being known to, and plugged into, the global financial system.

      5. “I like how you ignore the dozens of other videos ISIS has released showing their victims heads being cut off or burnt alive right on camera…”

      I don’t ignore them, they’re completely irrelevant to the point. I’m not claiming ISIS hasn’t cut off heads, or filmed themselves doing it. I’m pointing out the obvious fact that no one makes fake vids of an atrocity and then commits the atrocity for real off-camera. Ergo, something is seriously wrong with this part of the story.

      The rest of your post is simply reiteration of the implausible narrative with added outrage that anyone should doubt it, so I don’t see the need to deal with that, since you offer not reason for finding any of it more believable. However you end with this:

      7. We already know who funds ISIS. Private, wealthy individuals from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait. Also, Turkey is heavily invested with ISIS it shares an open land border with Syrian land controlled by ISIS. Turkish intelligence is known to finance and supply ISIS with weapons and intelligence. Erdogan is a madman.

      My question is – how do you “know” this while simultaneously “knowing” the US has no part in it? Is this “knowing” or simply assuming inline with your agenda? Turkey is a NATO member. The Saudis are allies of the west, as is Qatar, Bahrain etc. Why do you assume (sorry, “know”) they support ISIS without US approval/co-operation? Even without the numerous lines of evidence suggesting the US has been directly and indirectly aiding jihadists starting with the Mujahideen, doesn’t your certitude seem a little more ideological than actual?

      Liked by 1 person

      • wetherfether says

        Thank you for responding Ms. Catte.

        This was the first Western hostage killing video they released and it is the only one in which they fade out the murder. If you think it is suspicious that they did not do the fading in/out in subsequent videos, just remember this was their first video. so it is likely they “improved” their propaganda technique later on.
        If you still think there are no secular/moderate rebel groups in Syria, even after Russia has openly stated they helped in fighting ISIS (/www.rt.com/news/321563-syria-opposition-russia-base/ and also http://www.rt.com/news/321820-putin-interview-syria-g20/), then I’m sorry, but you aren’t too well informed.
        As for the image, it was created by a member of the syrianicivilwar subreddit. They are actively involved in following the civil war and have more knowledge on the groups than 99% of journalists covering the war. Check out their subreddit, it’s pretty cool. Some even know rebels and live in Syria, so the info they bring is unique, independent, and trustworthy.
        My mistake. You are correct in stating ISIS distributed the app through the Google Play Store. However, the Atlantic article is from June 16, 2014. Google removed the app in 48 hours (June 18): http://www.itv.com/news/story/2014-06-18/google-play-store-isis-app/
        Keep in mind that, unlike Apple, Google does not individually screen apps, so 48 hours is a pretty good response time. I would advise you modify the article with this information, as you make it sound like ISIS did this with Google’s tactic approval. This is how conspiracy theories are born.
        I was responding to your claim that ISIS is largely using Western banks, which they aren’t using to store billions (maybe for the occasional donation/money transfer). The reason Iraq is doing most of the work in combatting ISIS’ money transfer is simply because it is their banks being used. As for ISIS’ use of Western banks, the article shows how they’re able to transfer money using tricks like transferring funds into financial institutions in the immediate surrounding region, when access to local banking services is blocked. They also use middlemen to transfer funds, so it is difficult for authorities to see who’s responsible for the money. ISIS can also send and receive funds through nearby foreign money remitters, which again, masks who is using them. Other tricks include people giving prepaid credit card numbers through Skype. I mean, how do you stop people from doing that? You can’t.
        As for the sheer amount of funds, in the billions, ISIS can use local Syrian banks which only the Syrian regime has control over and the international institutions can’t do anything about that. As an example, since North Korea’s banks have been sanctioned, money can’t be sent/received internationally to/from the banks. But, WITHIN North Korea, people can still store their funds. Makes sense, right?
        Again, I don’t see anything suspicious, considering this was their first video. Why does it matter to you how they edited their first ever Western hostage killing video?

        I would appreciate it if you could address these two points, as I believe they are valid points:

        “Please prove the U.S. is paying the salaries of ISIS fighters. Otherwise, this claim is baseless.”

        “Okay, this is completely illogical. Your claim is that ISIS is SO busy fighting wars, that they can’t be doing all those things listed. This is illogical thinking. First, ISIS can split up man power. Some people fight. Some are cyber-hackers. Some have administrative jobs. Some are interpreters (remember, there are people from around the world). Some train the fighters. Some guard the border. Some are Shariah judges. Some teach in the Jihadi schools. You also forget two more important points: ISIS controls territories in which millions of people live in, so they can simply outsource many of these duties to them, such as oil extraction, coin minting, etc. The second point is that many former officials from Saddam’s Baathist party officials and Sunnis are a part of ISIS and have been since its founding. This provides a massive amount of nation building experience to them.”

        You are asking me to prove a negative. I don’t have to prove that the U.S. is NOT approving the Gulf States’ and Turkey’s funding of ISIS. The onus is on you, since you claimed the U.S. is funding ISIS based on the fact they armed the Mujahideen in the 1980s. You are committing a fallacy here. Just because the U.S. funded the Mujahideen in the 1980s, doesn’t mean they kept on supporting them, even after 9/11 and even with ISIS. These allegations require proof, not “they did it before so they must be doing it now”.

        Thank you for taking the time to reply to my assertions.

        Like

        • wetherfether says

          Sorry about the formatting. I numbered each of my points like you, but for some strange reason,after I posted it, the numbers and spacing were removed. Sorry.

          Like

        • 1.You seem very confused about the ISIS video question. It might help if you read the sources in the article, where it’s all explained. Put simply, these various experts claim the vids are faked, not just “faded out.” Does that help?

          2.Thanks for telling me the provenance of that image. I’m puzzled how much value you think should attach to a computerised drawing devoid of sources and context.

          3.I’m not sure you grasp the interconnectedness of modern financial organisations,nor the impossibility of making billions on the oil market without the co-operation of global commercial and banking interests. Are you saying ISIS keeps its billions in “local” Syrian banks? With the co-operation of the Assad government? Does that seem likely to you?

          4.I appreciate your willingness to believe but I’m afraid a small group of ad hoc jihadists forming an infrastructure sophisticated and well-funded enough to organise currency-minuting (and trading?) oil-production and export, movie-making and artefact-hunting, all based in a loosely defined amount of splintered territory, much of it poverty-stricken, all of it war-torn, funded by inexplicable methods of currency-exchange and wealth-creation, while allegedly being pounded by airstrikes from the most sophisticated military machine in the planet, is one that carries with it logistical challenges and fundamental errors of plausibility you seem powerless to comprehend. If they are functioning at that level it’s because they are receiving an enormous amount of assistance, probably from those unnamed (some G20) countries Putin mentioned.

          5.I didn’t ask you to prove anything. I asked you to explain to me why you “know” the Saudis and their chums are funding ISIS, but “know” the US isn’t.

          You still haven’t explained that btw🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • wetherfether says

            1.You are using vague language here. The experts say the video was staged, not “faked”. This means, they pretended to start killing him in the video, but actually killed him afterwards and then showed his head. Again, for their first video, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.
            You were making claims that some sort of Western intelligence agency faked the videos, and then mass-controlled the media to point out the flaws once it became obvious the videos were “faked”. You offer zero evidence of these claims. Please provide evidence for this; otherwise, it is simply rambling speculation.

            2.I’m afraid here is nothing that will satisfy you. What is your expected burden of proof? What exactly are you looking for as proof? If I show you NGO documents, you’ll probably say they’re government-controlled puppets or something. Ditto for news agencies whose information disagrees with your own. Again, please give me an acceptable example of a proof and I will try to provide it. But remember, as with anything, you can nitpick all you want and use association fallacies to discredit the proof

            3.”Are you saying ISIS keeps its billions in “local” Syrian banks?”
            Yes, of course they are. What’s stopping them?

            “With the co-operation of the Assad government? Does that seem likely to you?”
            I never said they were doing it with the cooperation of the Assad government. I simply said they have not shut down/sanctioned many of the banks used by ISIS, even when those very same banks have been sanctioned internationally. This information is in the article you linked to, regarding ISIS’ financing.

            As for what is “likely” or not, we do not make claims based on what is likely. We make claims with evidence.

            4.This is some extremely illogical and fallacious thinking. You still have it stuck in your head that these are just “ad-hoc jihadists”. You are mistaken. They control land with millions of people in it. They are basically a fully functioning government. They run schools, hospitals, courts, etc. This is what separates them from the Taliban or Al-Queda.

            “forming an infrastructure sophisticated and well-funded enough to organise currency-minuting (and trading?) oil-production and export, movie-making and artefact-hunting, all based in a loosely defined amount of splintered territory, much of it poverty-stricken,”

            I don’t understand why they can’t do these things. As I told you before (I’m beginning to repeat myself quite a bit), there are many members of the former Iraqi government working with them. What does their territory being “loosely-defined” or “splintered” have to do with anything? Does it stop them from selling oil? No. Does it stop them from hiring people who have experience with Adobe’s apps to make propaganda? No. Does it stop them from selling artifacts on the black market, using multiple middlemen? No. Does the territory being “poverty-stricken” stop any of these activities, when ISIS gets much of its funding from kidnappings and extortions of wealthy people? No. You must explain in detail why these things can’t be done by these people. You simply throw out this list and assume these things are impossible to do, which they aren’t.

            “while allegedly being pounded by airstrikes from the most sophisticated military machine in the planet, is one that carries with it logistical challenges and fundamental errors of plausibility you seem powerless to comprehend.”

            Explain how airstrikes can stop ISIS from selling ancient artifacts, making propaganda videos using Adobe apps, or making coins. I’d love to know.

            “If they are functioning at that level it’s because they are receiving an enormous amount of assistance, probably from those unnamed (some G20) countries Putin mentioned.”

            Did you know he said Russia is also a part of that list of 40 countries? When he said “financing”, he did not say governments. But the Russian propaganda machine RT quickly spun what he said and took his words out of context, to imply he was blaming some governments of funding ISIS. Although, Turkey is clearly funding ISIS.

            How I know the U.S. is not funding ISIS? Again, you are asking me to prove a negative. There is zero evidence of the U.S. funding ISIS. The lack of evidence is evidence. As for the Saudis, well, there is plenty of evidence showing their are funding ISIS. The U.S.? Not so much.

            Once again, I ask you to update your article with the information about Google removing the ISIS app 48 hours after it was reported. You are trying to spread a conspiracy theory that Google is “in on it”, so to speak. I do not want your disinformation to confuse readers.

            Also, as I mentioned before: “Please prove the U.S. is paying the salaries of ISIS fighters. Otherwise, this claim is baseless.”

            Lots of conspiracies and disinformation. But zero evidence for all your claims that the West is funding ISIS, helping ISIS store money in Western banks, paying their salaries, that Google is purposely letting ISIS market their app, etc.

            Like

            • Catte aid:

              1.You seem very confused about the ISIS video question. It might help if you read the sources in the article, where it’s all explained. Put simply, these various experts claim the vids are faked, not just “faded out.” Does that help?

              Your reply was:

              1.You are using vague language here. The experts say the video was staged, not “faked”. This means, they pretended to start killing him in the video, but actually killed him afterwards and then showed his head. Again, for their first video, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.You were making claims that some sort of Western intelligence agency faked the videos, and then mass-controlled the media to point out the flaws…….etc etc…

              As you can see, your reply has nothing whatsoever to do with my very short and not at all “vague” comment, so I can’t meaningfully respond. I’m not the one claiming the vids are faked, so it’s entirely pointless to keep talking as if I were. If you want dispute the alleged fakery or the expertise of the alleged fakers then you need to talk to those making the claims. The idea I’m claiming some sort of mass-hypnosis, conspiracy…blah-blah is just you resorting to tropes to avoid dealing with the reality of my words.

              I’m sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with your bizarre suggestion that a video of a staged event claiming to be of a real event is somehow not fake

              Catte said:

              2.Thanks for telling me the provenance of that image. I’m puzzled how much value you think should attach to a computerised drawing devoid of sources and context.

              Your reply was:

              2.I’m afraid here is nothing that will satisfy you. What is your expected burden of proof? What exactly are you looking for as proof? If I show you NGO documents, you’ll probably say they’re government-controlled puppets or something. Ditto for news agencies whose information disagrees with your own. Again, please give me an acceptable example of a proof and I will try to provide it. But remember, as with anything, you can nitpick all you want and use association fallacies to discredit the proof

              Again, you’re replying as if to a different conversation. I was talking about your unsourced graphic, you reply with general declamations about the nature of acceptable proof! Your graphic is unsourced and unproven. I’m puzzled why you take it as proof. That’s all. Take a breath.

              Catte said:

              3.”Are you saying ISIS keeps its billions in “local” Syrian banks?”

              You said:
              Yes, of course they are. What’s stopping them?

              Nothing. Nothing to stop them keeping their billions anywhere, provided they are a welcome part of the global banking system. That’s exactly my point. For ISIS to have actual viable wealth of the magnitude claimed they need to be exchanging goods for currency and currency for goods – at very high levels of return. Or they need to be playing the money markets in some way. In today’s financial world, where a handful of banks and institutions control the global currency markets and global economies you can’t do billions of dollars of trade without being plugged into that system. But since ISIS is more of a threat to Assad than anyone else right now it seems highly unlikely his government would be more willing to turn a blind eye to its wealth-accumulation than – say – Turkey, or the Saudis, or (gasp!) the USA.

              You said:
              What does their territory being “loosely-defined” or “splintered” have to do with anything?

              Ok…If you don’t realise a state needs cohesion and stability in order to generate wealth and infrastructure, I don’t have the time nor the inclination to try and explain it to you. How do you suppose otherwise? How does a splintered state maintain communications? Raise the ISIS taxes? Pay “competitive” wages to its apparently huge workforce? Import food? Create enough stability or cohesion to keep oil production flowing? Syria is finding it hard to do this right now, and Syria has a central government, army, police, civil structure, and support from large wealthy patron such as Russia. The idea ISIS, clinging on to patches of territory, can be maintaining itself independently without huge amounts of assistance is simply ridiculous.

              You said:
              As for what is “likely” or not, we do not make claims based on what is likely. We make claims with evidence.

              Oh for heaven’s sake, this is embarrassing. Of course we make claims based on what is “likely”! There’s literally nothing else to base a claim on! `Every assessment we ever make in human endeavour from the financial markets to nuclear physics is based on an assessment of probability. Which in turn is based on evidence. You’re deeply confused here as elsewhere.

              You said:

              Explain how airstrikes can stop ISIS from selling ancient artifacts, making propaganda videos using Adobe apps, or making coins. I’d love to know.

              You’d “love to know” how bombing a movie studio could stop film production? How bombing a mint could stop currency production? How bombing convoys of trucks could stop oil and artefact exports?

              Because you just can’t figure out how it would work?

              Think about it for a moment. Close your eyes. Picture it…

              Yeah, that’s how ridiculous your position is.

              Oh, and you played the “conspiracy” card, which means you have officially run out of viable argument. Amusing that you’re the one arguing for a mysterious Caliphate with movie studios and mints and Twitter apps and riches untouchable by western bombs – but you call me a conspiracy theorist, because I suggest it’s not completely plausible🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              • wetherfether says

                Before responding to what you said, I would like to point out that you selectively responded to my accusations and ignored others, such as Google removing the ISIS app, among other things. Please respond to those as well. I showed that your outrage at Google helping ISIS is baseless.

                1.”The idea I’m claiming some sort of mass-hypnosis, conspiracy…blah-blah is just you resorting to tropes to avoid dealing with the reality of my words.
                I’m sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with your bizarre suggestion that a video of a staged event claiming to be of a real event is somehow not fake”

                But you are claiming there is a mass conspiracy. From your op-ed: “The first question is mired in the hopeless confusion inherent in propaganda and counter-propaganda. There’s certainly a suggestion that the Foley video presented problems for the official narrative shortly after its release, …. Perhaps the video was seen to be so badly faked some sort of limited hangout admission in the controlled press was unavoidable.”

                Here, you are saying that the “official narrative” was that ISIS beheaded these people, but that since the video was “so badly faked” and it would have been obvious that it was faked, the “controlled press” was forced to point out these mistakes themselves. Seriously, the entire first part of your article is you expressing your skepticism of why the media would even bother pointing out the anomalies. Of course you are saying there is a mass conspiracy. What else?

                “I’m sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with your bizarre suggestion that a video of a staged event claiming to be of a real event is somehow not fake.”

                There was no fake event claiming to be a real event. Jihadi John begins cutting the guys head, which is then edited out. The final, severed head is then shown. They probably had difficulty cutting the head and didn’t want to embarrass themselves by showing them struggling with the head, so they edited that part out. This explanation is the main one put forward by all the experts saying it was “staged”, even the ones you sourced. Nobody is claiming there is a mass conspiracy here.

                “Again, you’re replying as if to a different conversation. I was talking about your unsourced graphic, you reply with general declamations about the nature of acceptable proof! Your graphic is unsourced and unproven. I’m puzzled why you take it as proof. That’s all. Take a breath.”

                Do you deny that there are moderate, secular rebel groups in Syria? Even Russia has admitted that they were helped by the moderates.

                “In today’s financial world, where a handful of banks and institutions control the global currency markets and global economies you can’t do billions of dollars of trade without being plugged into that system. But since ISIS is more of a threat to Assad than anyone else right now it seems highly unlikely his government would be more willing to turn a blind eye to its wealth-accumulation than – say – Turkey, or the Saudis, or (gasp!) the USA.”

                I already explained this. Banks can still function locally. As I said before, North Korea’s financial institutions are sanctioned. Does that mean they can’t store billions? No! Iran’s banks were sanctioned and approx $150 billion was locked in foreign accounts. But they kept the billions they had stored in their own, local banks. Your claim that “you can’t do billions of dollars of trade without being plugged into that system” is completely wrong. It is possible. Iran was cut off from SWIFT and so is North Korea, yet both do billions in trade. Also, remember, ISIS does NOT do billions in trade. Most of its money comes from kidnappings and extortions. For proof: “The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen—acknowledged in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington that “[ISIS] has amassed wealth at an unprecedented pace and its revenue sources have a different composition from those of many other terrorist organizations.” ISIS doesn’t “depend principally on moving money across international borders,” he said, but “obtains the vast majority of its revenues from local criminal and terrorist activities.” That last part is key.

                “How does a splintered state maintain communications?” “Raise the ISIS taxes?” “Pay “competitive” wages to its apparently huge workforce?” “Import food?” “Create enough stability or cohesion to keep oil production flowing? “The idea ISIS, clinging on to patches of territory, can be maintaining itself independently without huge amounts of assistance is simply ridiculous.”

                ALL of these can be explained. Please read this very, very long piece which answers all of your questions: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:IaVCC448Z_IJ:www.newsweek.com/2014/11/14/how-does-isis-fund-its-reign-terror-282607.html+&cd=14&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca&client=safari

                You will notice that ISIS relies on wealthy Gulf families, as well as political support. Also, remember that many civilians in the Gulf actually support ISIS. Again, all your questions regarding ISIS’ financing, donors, oil selling, artifact smuggling, supply routes, and banking are answered in the above article. I suggest your read it.

                “Oh for heaven’s sake, this is embarrassing. Of course we make claims based on what is “likely”! There’s literally nothing else to base a claim on! `Every assessment we ever make in human endeavour from the financial markets to nuclear physics is based on an assessment of probability. Which in turn is based on evidence.”

                That last line is important. You need evidence. I was replying to your question: “With the co-operation of the Assad government? Does that seem likely to you?” I never claimed Assad was cooperating with the financing of ISIS.

                “You’d “love to know” how bombing a movie studio could stop film production? How bombing a mint could stop currency production? How bombing convoys of trucks could stop oil and artefact exports?”

                Ah, I wish I was as naive as you. I guess the Americans could magically find a movie studio in a territory controlled by ISIS in which 8 million people live in, with hundreds of thousands of buildings. Would they magically find the room where ISIS does its filming? Would the answer come to them in a dream? As for bombing the mint, how would the U.S. know which factories are producing the coins? As for the oil, America has already bombed trucks carrying oil. Just yesterday in fact.

                “Think about it for a moment. Close your eyes. Picture it…”

                I can picture myself going to the moon. Doesn’t mean it’ll happen anytime soon. Fantasizing about America magically finding the rooms ISIS uses to film its propaganda is wishful thinking. Please don’t be so simple minded. Also, remember that ISIS uses real locations to film its propaganda. When ISIS films its videos in the desert, the Americans identify the area based on the back ground/sun/buildings. How would this help them locate the very building where ISIS does its post-production? They are already doing a good enough job. Your claims that America is helping ISIS by NOT bombing their propaganda building or coin factories is absurd.

                “Oh, and you played the “conspiracy” card, which means you have officially run out of viable argument. Amusing that you’re the one arguing for a mysterious Caliphate with movie studios and mints and Twitter apps and riches untouchable by western bombs – but you call me a conspiracy theorist, because I suggest it’s not completely plausible :-)”

                I have to laugh about this. The West can’t stop ISIS from filming videos, or hiring programmers to create apps. Al-Queda has done both those things already. You just need the right people to do the filming/programming and a few empty rooms. Yes, you are without a doubt, a conspiracy theorist. Saying ISIS is helped by the U.S. in doing these things and that it’s simply not possible for ISIS to do these things by themselves is, at best naivety and at worst, disinformation.

                Like

                • I’ve already read all the articles you have linked to so far, and the ref to Google taking down the ISIS app after complaints was in a previous article of mine. I’m afraid you really aren’t telling me anything I don’t know.

                  Please don’t be offended if I point out that this intervention of yours is obviously not going as you planned it. It’s pretty clear you came here thinking you’d be bearding some loony conspiracy theorists in their den and make mincemeat of them with you hard-nosed scepticism. Instead you’ve had to face the fact that you are the one nursing a conspiracy theory, and a highly contradictory one at that.

                  You are very fuzzy about the nature of hard evidence and keep sending me to all the unsourced claims made in the media as if you think the mere fact they exist is some sort of proof. You don’t seem to realise the fact Newsweek says it’s possible for this magical caliphate to self-sustain in situations where it would clearly be difficult/impossible does not constitute proof or even evidence that this is actually true. Saying “they export 40,000 bpd of oil without being detectable” isn’t proof they are. None of the articles you cite explain how these things can be done, they simply assert that they are being done. You uncritically regurgitate the more or less irrational world they create and seem to believe you are making some sort of case. It’s very very odd to witness.

                  You also employ terrifying amounts of doublethink. Look at your own words. You have no trouble believing the US can’t find a movie studio or a 6km convoy of trucks in the desert, yet you also believe the same technology can locate Jihadi John in his Hilux and blow him right out of his socks. You know you can’t access your bank account in a “local branch” anywhere without that transaction being known to every other branch of your bank, and to all the numerous financial agencies and credit agencies plugged in to the system. Yet you believe this very same same system that knows all about you just can’t trace billions of dollars of ISIS oil money (not that they’ve tried much apparently, according to the latest White House presser).

                  This discussion is ultimately pointless because we use entirely different frames of reference. You are so embedded in the idea that truth is somehow integral to the Western narrative that you think merely re-assering that narrative should be enough to convince anyone. I don’t share that view and prefer to use my own judgement.

                  Sorry it hasn’t worked out for you as you hoped, but maybe this could be a wake up call to question more and rely on authority figures a little less.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • wetherfether says

                  I have to reply to myself, as for some strange reason, the “reply” button is absent from your below post to me.

                  “None of the articles you cite explain how these things can be done, they simply assert that they are being done. You uncritically regurgitate the more or less irrational world they create and seem to believe you are making some sort of case. It’s very very odd to witness.”

                  The Newsweek article I gave absolutely does show how ISIS does what it does, and is not merely a description of what it does. It explains how they make money, how they transfer the money, who gives them money, etc. I believe you are simply ignoring the plain evidence. Not much I can do about that.

                  “You have no trouble believing the US can’t find a movie studio or a 6km convoy of trucks in the desert, yet you also believe the same technology can locate Jihadi John in his Hilux and blow him right out of his socks.”

                  As I said before, you are clearly quite naive. As I said before, ISIS films its videos in various areas. Their filming is not confined to just one building. If they are using a building to do editing and post-production, then finding such a building is different than finding an actual human. In order to understand how Jihadi John was captured, please read this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11993569/How-the-US-and-UK-tracked-down-and-killed-Jihadi-John.html

                  Actually, I just read your other article about Jihadi John, where you claim it’s all fake, including the recent hostage rescue mission where an American was killed! No offence, but your so-called “questioning” of the “official narrative” is absurd.

                  Anyway, you fail to explain how Western bombing can stop ISIS from creating apps and releasing them. The fact that you already know Google removed the ISIS app surprises me even further, considering you say Google is helping ISIS’ branding by allowing it to host the app. Why then do you seem surprised in this article that the app was hosted?
                  Why pretend to be outraged: “But then “media ISIS” is a law unto itself even on Twitter. Heck, it can even create its own Android app and sell it through Google.”?

                  “You know you can’t access your bank account in a “local branch” anywhere without that transaction being known to every other branch of your bank, and to all the numerous financial agencies and credit agencies plugged in to the system.”

                  No, I don’t know this because it is false. If I live in Iran or North Korea, regimes cut off from the world’s financial system, I know I could make a local transaction, inside the country, without the West knowing. Instead of blaming the big, bad Americans, who have cut off ISIS’ banks from the rest of the world, blame the Assad regime who OWNS these banks. It is baffling you would blame the Americans for something Assad is responsible for, especially considering the Americans did their part by cutting off ISIS’ banks from the international system.

                  “Yet you believe this very same same system that knows all about you just can’t trace billions of dollars of ISIS oil money (not that they’ve tried much apparently, according to the latest White House presser).”

                  Once again: they are using cash and local banks. It’s as simple as that.

                  “You are so embedded in the idea that truth is somehow integral to the Western narrative that you think merely re-assering that narrative should be enough to convince anyone.”

                  Nice accusations, but when I see someone making naive assumptions such as “ISIS is using local banks to do transactions with the help of the Americans, and somehow foreign financial institutions are responsible for this even though they have cut off all ties with ISIS banks, and that the big, bad Americans are responsible for it” or “Just because the Americans found Jihadi John, they should be able to find where ISIS does its video editing” or “Jihadi John’s death is a fake”, etc, I have to call them out on their absurdness. Nothing to do with blindly trusting the “Western narrative.”

                  “Sorry it hasn’t worked out for you as you hoped, but maybe this could be a wake up call to question more and rely on authority figures a little less.”

                  This is a non-sequitur. I do question authority figures. I’m just not committing the fallacy of calling everything that comes out of the West a lie. I guess you must really like RT’s “Question More” slogan, where they host well-known Western disinformation sources and 9/11 conspiracy theorists. But hey, can’t believe the official narrative, right?

                  Like

    • J Garbo says

      Did you believe the White House was destroyed in Indepenence Day, an evil asteroid obliterated in Armageddon, velociraptors threatening children in Jurassic Park? ISIS is pure Hollywoood, elaborate sets, cast of (foolish) thousands and some real deaths. A brilliant PR play by the CIA – think Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty – and Mossad pulling the strings. It’s real but unreal, like Hitler’s Kristallnacht. It’s happenning but not the way you are shown. But it’s only business, not ideology.

      Like

  11. Jean Baudrillard says

    Welcome, mes amis, to the hyperreal, reality as simulation, and the precession of simulacra.

    Like

  12. In my fairly extensive library of ISIS videos (I watch them for the purposes of satire, especially in regard to my comic strip), I have several which make even the “Jihadi John” ones look realistic, they’re so theatrical. But there are others which are extremely gruesome and graphic – and those never, ever, bother with such things as orange jumpsuits and the victims reading out carefully rehearsed lines. The killers are dressed like any other common- or market jihadi, with or without covered faces, the murders take place on camera with much larger knives than the Jihadi John toothpick, and there’s no fancy editing or cutaways.

    At the same time, the basic problem with ISIS is that as a marketing brand it has become too successful, too well known, too much of a magnet to sociopathic crazies who are looking for a cause. This will probably require an article to discuss in detail. If you wish I will inform you when I’ve written it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. zvezdicaslo says

    Or the bogus “Caliphate map” claiming to show ISIS’ “five year plan” to take over the western world, that had people everywhere wetting themselves with dread.

    Take over the “western world”? There is very little territory of the “western world” included on the ISIS map.

    I live in a country which is actually on the ISIS map – Slovenia. To Slovenes with some basic knowledge of history and basic skills of critical thinking, it is perfectly clear what this map shows in relation to Europe (and in particular to the Balkan region). And we and our neighbours do take this map quite seriously, not due to any ‘conspiracy theories’, but rather due to the ISIS ideology as linked to history – and we have seen (and see now) similar destructive populist ideologies in action too many times in our part of the world.

    The ISIS five-year map was published at the end of June 2014, when the caliphate was declared, together with a call for other Muslims to join ISIS.

    Please have a look at these maps:

    the original ISIS map with labels in Arabic language:

    the same map showing present borders and state names in German (from an Austrian newspaper):
    http://images03.kurier.at/46-63208329.jpg/72.757.524

    The ISIS map shows all territories in the Balkans which the Ottoman Empire conquered or tried to conquer over centuries (the Ottoman Empire was defeated in WWI). The Ottoman Empire suffered crucial defeats at Vienna (in 1529 and 1683), which stopped its spreading into the rest of Europe (Slovenia was at the time under Austrian/German rule). So Austria for example is included in the ISIS map, but neighbouring Switzerland is not. Compare the ISIS map to the maps of historical expansion of the Ottoman Islamic Empire into Europe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_evolution_of_the_Ottoman_Empire

    The ISIS ideology according to the ISIS five-year map is this: conquer / spread ISIS influence to all the territories which were historically under Muslim rule and to those which are now under Muslim rule / in which many Muslims live (apart from south-east Asia which is not on the map). One could just as well call this the ‘Greater Islamic State’ concept, as it is ideologically very similar to other Greater XXX ideologies such as the Greater Serbia concept (all territories on which Serbs live should be united under Serbian rule; recently this concept was used by the dangerous murderous populist Milošević to justify his Yugoslav wars) and the Greater Hungary concept (all territories on which Hungarians live should be united under Hungarian rule; recently resurrected by the dangerous populist Hungarian PM Orban and other far-right Hungarian groups).

    Please compare the ISIS map to

    the map of the modern world showing countries with Muslim populations
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Islam_percent_population_in_each_nation_World_Map_Muslim_data_by_Pew_Research.svg

    Note for example that the ISIS map includes also the north Causasus region (where the Muslims live) within the borders of the Russian federation, and western India (where the Muslims live).

    As far as Europe goes, apart from the Balkans, the ISIS map also includes Spain and Portugal. Well, large parts of the Iberian Peninsula were under Arabic Islamic rule for a long time (see for example maps here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus). I was a bit surprised that the ISIS map does not also include Italy (due to Arabic history of Sicily).

    the “five year plan” that wasn’t…

    Well, the ISIS “five year plan” expires in June 2019, so it is rather premature to judge its success.

    Note that ISIS does not have to militarily occupy all the territories on the ISIS map. To start with, it is quite enough to have strong ISIS allies / groups in the target states. And so far, ISIS has spread its influence to the target countries chillingly efficiently.

    Only a year and a half after publication of the ISIS map, ISIS occupies parts of Iraq and Syria, and it has allies in North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt), Nigeria (Boko Haram), Kenya and Somalia (Al-Shabaab), Yemen, Afghanistan, North Caucasus in the Russian Federation (ISIS recently declared an ISIS governorate/province there), it is trying to gain support in Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Mauritania etc. etc. Quite big changes in only one year!

    Have a look at the MAPS and the TABLE in this recent article:

    Where ISIS Has Directed and Inspired Attacks Around the World (NYT, August 2015)
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/06/17/world/middleeast/map-isis-attacks-around-the-world.html?_r=0

    I am not “wetting myself with dread”, but I do think that the ISIS ideology really should be taken seriously because it dangerously abuses people’s deep identity emotions and our vulnerability to the sheep effect. It also uses the classical divisive populist concept of ‘us and them’ via aggressive brainwashing propaganda. All sorts of Greater XXX concepts and ‘us and them’ ideologies have been historically proven to be very dangerous, and have often spread and gained huge support remarkably quickly. And historically the danger of such ideologies has been repeatedly initially underestimated – until it was too late to stop the flood.

    I am old enough to have seen myself how Milošević rose to power using such dangerous (nationalistic religious) ideology and populist propaganda methods in the state that I was born in and which does not exist anymore. It all started oh so very ‘innocently’.

    Like

    • I don’t see much value in citing the NYT as evidence of the reality of the ISIS media story! Let’s be clear. ISIS the terrorist organisation and ISIS the media image are only loosely connected. The purpose of ISIS on the ground is to fight proxy wars for the US and to create chaos. The purpose of media ISIS is to create such fear of the name “ISIS” that the populations accept any remedies offered to “keep them safe.” It’s a tried and trusted methodology that began with the First Crusade.

      I have yet to see any firm evidence the real ISIS has ambitions for a Caliphate that have the slightest chance of being realised. What I see plenty of evidence for is absurd narratives aimed at implanting a state of terror that shuts down critical thinking.

      Even if real ISIS did go rogue and decide to invade Europe, how can anyone possibly imagine they could succeed? Are you suggesting the combined might of NATO, designed to deter Russian invasion, couldn’t defeat a collection of ad hoc jihadists who don’t even have an air force or sophisticated weaponry? Do you think these guys could just roll in and occupy the Balkans, Spain and Portugal? What mad little parallel universe are you living in? Terror organisations are only permitted to exist when they conform to the geopolitical plans of the great powers. The moment the Caliphate went off script and started to challenge imperial rule they’d be snuffed out in a week.

      I think what’s going on here is is the deliberate agitation of ancient tribal fears and collective unconscious “memory.”

      This isn’t 1529, 0r 1683. This is 2015 and nothing happens in Europe without the US wants it to. ISIS is the Brotherhood. Just keep repeating that.

      Like

      • zvezdicaslo says

        What mad little parallel universe are you living in?

        Is THIS what Off Guardian is all about? Personal insults aimed at people with ‘wrong’ opinions?

        Unfortunately, I live in the REAL universe in which very BAD things happen much too often in our part of the world, on our doorsteps. Where many different nations with different cultures, languages, religions, histories live close together. In the region in which for many centuries there was a stand-off between the Muslim East and the Christian West, with dire very long-term consequences.

        You say “This isn’t 1529, 0r 1683. This is 2015 and nothing happens in Europe without the US wants it to.” Do you really think that the deep national scars which centuries-long occupation and mutual massacres left are healed and not relevant today or even that the US can control (!) such deep collective emotions?

        The problem is that

        (1) The US does not even remotely understand the complex multi-national relationships in the countries in which it wages direct or proxy wars (I witnessed for myself how the ‘west’ had absolutely no understanding about what was brewing in Yugoslavia even LONG BEFORE the bloody wars started, when it was still time to stop Milošević).

        (2) Once the ugly ghost of divisive populist ideologies burdened with historical national/religious wounds is released, it is not possible to really control it even for the insiders, much less for the outsiders such as the US.

        Due to the above, the US serially supports/creates various militant groups (e.g. the ‘good rebels’) to suit their general strategic aims, but they also serially lose control of them.

        From recent history in our region: The US strongly supported Milošević’s aggressive attitudes and actions and gave him a green light for attack on Slovenia (which was the first military aggression in the 1990s Yugoslavia; the bloody wars developed later) and the US supported Milošević even after the wars in Croatia and Bosnia started. In the end, Nato bombed Serbia.

        But Nato bombing came TEN YEARS after Milošević rose to power in Serbia and attacked Kosovo (Muslim) Albanians as his first targets. Milošević brutally crushed Kosovo’s autonomy as granted by the federal Yugoslav constitution. Tiny Slovenia (with only two million people) stood up united in early 1989 and demanded that Milošević respects Kosovo’s autonomy and the rights of the Kosovars (which outraged Milošević and this really got Slovenia on a collision course with him that eventually led to Slovenia using independence as a measure of last resort; Slovenia’s conflict with Milošević was constitutional rather than nationalistic/religious). But tiny Slovenia stood ALONE against Milošević’s regime. Even Croatia at that early point decided to appease Milošević (which Croatia later bitterly regretted).

        The crucial point in Milošević’s rise to power happened in June 1989, when he gave his Gazimestan highly-loaded populist speech in Kosovo (!) to a crowd of a million of his supporters. The speech was at the occasion of the 600th (!!!) anniversary of the Kosovo polje battle, where Serbia lost to the Ottoman Empire, which in turn led to centuries of occupation of (Orthodox) Christian Serbia by the Muslim Turks. Yes, it was 1989 and not 1389 when Milošević gave that speech, yet these centuries-old events with their dire consequences are still very relevant when it comes to inciting hatred along the ‘us and them’ lines. And these events are in particular relevant because in the Balkans, the clashes of empires continued for many centuries, stirring also serial fighting among the Balkan nations/ethnicities (e.g. in the 20th century most notably during WWII and during the 1990s Yugoslav wars). And the same is true for the rather explosive multi-national Middle Eastern region.

        There, after the Gazimestan speech, it was clear what Milošević was after. But as usual his dangerous ideology was underestimated before violence got out of hand. Slovenia declared independence in June 1991, after which we had the ten-day war for independence (yes, I live in a REAL universe where wars happen out of the blue even in the most peaceful Slovenia). In July 1991, there were international peace conferences trying to prevent further fighting. But Milošević went ahead with serially attacking other Yugoslav nations, and the focus of the crisis returned back to Kosovo in spring 1999, when Nato decided to bomb Serbia.

        I used to be very naïve. I used to believe that war would never happen to me, never ever. But it did, overnight. And my grandparents lived through three wars in Slovenia – WWI, WWII, and the 1991 independence war.

        By the way, Slovenes were the first nation in Europe to rise against Nazi-fascism (the TIGR movement) because western Slovenes who came under Italian rule after WWI (thanks to sinister policies of the UK) were the first European nation to experience the terror based on Nazi-fascist ideologies (Mussolini declared already in 1920 that the “Slavs” = Slovenes and Croats were “inferior barbarians” to be eradicated. This was a long time before Hitler rose to power in Germany. The family of one of my grandfathers was caught in this terror of ethnocide.) Slovenes were also the first to stand up against Milošević’s increasing aggression in Yugoslavia in late 1980s (when Milošević was still supported by both the ‘west’ and the ‘east’ = Russia).

        Well, history teaches us all that we should never ever underestimate insane aggressive populist ideologies and we should strongly stand up against them as soon as they appear. You can mock this as a ‘mad little parallel universe’ all you like.

        Oh, and by the way, the 1990s Yugoslav wars were the last Christian vs Muslim / religious wars in Europe (with strong components of religious nationalism and religious symbolism). Not so very far back in history, is it. And the initial aggressor were the Orthodox Christian (!) Serbs vs Kosovo Albanian Muslims / Bosnia Slavic Muslims / Croatian Catholic Christians. Oh, apart from the on-going Protestant vs Catholic religious civil war in Northern Ireland. It is 2015 now and not 16th century (protestant vs Catholic massacres in Europe) or indeed 1922 (partition of Ireland), yet this religious war within the UK (in ‘western’ Europe) is not yet over and more than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin war there are still those horrible ‘peace walls’ in Belfast separating Protestant and Catholic neighbourhoods for safety reasons.

        I don’t see much value in citing the NYT as evidence of the reality of the ISIS media story!

        Can you please explain WHAT EXACTLY is wrong with the NYT article that I linked to? Which data are wrong?

        To be honest, I did not check all the data in NYT, but I thought it gave a good overview of the events. In my opinion if anything, the NYT article is not comprehensive enough. It for example completely omits Bosnia which is in Europe (and a European region where Muslimcommunities live; they also live in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia)!

        Before the 1990s Yugoslav wars, Bosnian Muslims were very moderate and ‘westernised’ and ‘European’ indeed (Slavic by ethnicity; consequence of centuries-long Ottoman rule). During the Yugoslav wars, foreign Muslim fighters got involved in the fighting in Bosnia (mujahedeen etc.), and some stayed on. Most Bosnian Muslims remain very moderate after the Yugoslav wars. Note, however, that many have been badly traumatized during these wars (massacres, mass killings, genocide, systematic rape, burning down of whole villages, destruction of mosques) and are possibly more vulnerable to radicalization. Now Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are operating by proxies (extreme wahhabites) in Bosnia.

        Bosnian authorities have made several arrests in relation to ISIS. Earlier this month, the leader of Bosnian wahhabites has been sentenced to 7 years in prison due to incitement to terrorism (recruiting for ISIS).

        This is our present REALITY, not some “mad little parallel universe”.

        As I said in my above post, no need for panicking. And I certainly do not agree with the hysterical propaganda in the US/UK media. But we should respond to the threat rather than underestimate it. The most dangerous thing is to underestimate danger. Very soon the flames of hatred on both sides can rise very high unless we actively stop this insanity (also the extreme ‘islamophobes’ in Europe). History.

        If you do not like NYT, you are most welcome to read some regional Balkan news about the events if you speak any of these languages. For example here:

        a Bosnian news outlet (August 2015)
        http://www.nezavisne.com/novosti/bih/Nova-poruka-ISIL-a-BiH-Niste-svjesni-sta-vam-se-sprema/321033

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m really not sure what your point is, as it seem to keep shifting. If you’re saying the US is willing to create any amount of mayhem to further its aims then I agree. It doesn’t care about the morality or even the sanity of those it supports and finances.

          But earlier you seemed to be suggesting ISIS was aiming at a wholesale invasion of parts of Europe (based on the bogus “Caliphate Map”). This is indeed a parallel universe scare story promoted in the western media, and not any kind of real world scenario.

          You say:
          “…no need for panicking. And I certainly do not agree with the hysterical propaganda in the US/UK media. But we should respond to the threat rather than underestimate it….”

          Forgive me, but your logic seems to curl back on itself. You agree ISIS is a western creation, agree the image of ISIS in the media is “hysterical propaganda”, but still think we need to “respond” to “the threat.”??

          Respond how? To the threat of what?

          Rather than me tell you what’s wrong with the NYT, maybe you could explain why a US state organ should be taken as some sort of authority on a situation in which the US state has massive interest and culpability? As with all such outfits it’s selling ISIS scare porn now, just as it once sold Saddam scare porn (and indeed Milosevic scare porn).

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you both for intelligent discussion. I take in your words carefully and to me it matters less whether one of you is right than that you are both sentient as opposed to the NATO-apparatchiks that fill the “media”.

            Like

        • Selassie I says

          I was willing to give you the benefit of doubt until this point which clearly shows your lack of understanding of history: “Slovenes were also the first to stand up against Milošević’s increasing aggression in Yugoslavia in late 1980s (when Milošević was still supported by both the ‘west’ and the ‘east’ = Russia).” Excuse me, Milosevic increasing aggression in the late 1980’s? Let’s get one thing strait, Milosevic was a bastard psychopath, but it was the Slovenians and Nazi Croats who instigated the separation that led to wars. In the early 90’s not late 80’s. Nobody attacked Slovenia. Slovenia’s and Croatia’s undemocratic separation is precisely what gave Milosevic power as the foolish Serbs were confused and turned to nationalism. And Milosevic was not supported by the West or Russia at any point. He was simply a psycho mad man who was used by the west to break up Yugoslavia. And please, to use Slovenia and “stand up to” in the same sentence…..the article is correct and your respondent is correct. Media narrative is created to push an agenda, as witnessed in your lovely former Yugoslavia.

          Like

    • Ponder Twice Cut Once says

      Interesting take on Milosevic. Maybe you’d care to add a bit about Izetbegovic and Tudjman and throw in some history of the Ustase and Bosnian Muslim escapades during WWII while you’re at it, just to round out the nationalism cards you’ve played. Some background on how the Lisbon Accord was torpedoed with US blessing might gain you some credibility as well. Just a thought.

      That said, If ISIS happens to swallow your little country up, just by chance, maybe you’ll have just enough time to ponder your country’s inadvertent role in the process.

      Like

  14. Mick McNulty says

    I think the next place the western elite and its media will go with ISIS is to accuse Russia of turning ISIS to their own purposes. Then both ISIS and especially Russia can be demonised with accusations of all kinds of atrocities coming our way at Russia’s bidding. The thing is it’s possible Russia will turn ISIS to attack US interests in the Middle East; the US has the disadvantage of occasionally bombing ISIS for public relations reasons, and to kill your own is the worst betrayal. So the liars may have that element of truth to fall back on, and an element of truth always serves the big lie.

    Liked by 1 person

      • wetherfether says

        Uh, is this a joke or something? Of course the U.S. has bombed ISIS. As for independent evidence, what kind of evidence do you want? Photos of U.S. war planes bombing ISIS? Videos from drones? They are readily available on line.

        But then you’ll say “oh, but how do we know they’re actually bombing ISIS and not a fake, CGI building”. LOL.

        But you probably believe the Russians have bombed ISIS, even if I used the SAME evidence to prove it.

        Like

        • Well, after 12 month s of the US allegedly bombing ISIS, it had suffered no discernible loss of revenue or infrastructure and had only gained ground. After a few weeks of Russia bombing ISIS it is in disarray and is losing ground. So you do the math.

          We also remind you of the numerous incidents in which the US has either thwarted attempts to attack ISIS (as when it assisted Turkey in attacking the Kurdish forces), inexplicably failed to intervene against ISIS (as in the taking of Palmyra), or been discovered to be bombing Syrian government infrastructure while claiming to be attacking ISIS.

          Like

          • wetherfether says

            Firstly, U.S. airstrikes not doing enough damage to ISIS is NOT the same as them not doing any bombing at all, as Ms. Catte bizarrely stated.

            Secondly, how do we know that “after a few weeks of Russia bombing ISIS it is in disarray and is losing ground”? What I mean is, how exactly do we compare the damage done by America with the damage done by Russia?

            Turkey bombed the PKK, not the U.S.A. As for “assistance”, well, it was simply permission. I’m not saying the U.S. was right in doing this, but they have to balance the geopolitical board. If they anger Turkey, they’ll lose access to air bases. Keep in mind, the Turkey was allowed to bomb the PKK AFTER it gave permission to the U.S. to use its air bases to attack ISIS. This was a tactic deal between Turkey and the U.S., and the U.S. had to allow Turkey to bomb the PKK for the base.

            Also, who is arming/financing the Kurds (YPG being one of them)? Who’s their biggest helper? The Americans! They’ve sent the most money and weapons to them, while playing a fine line with Erdogan. The YPG is the most effective fighting force against ISIS, more so than the SAA.

            As for the tragic taking of Palmyra by ISIS, America’s lack of involvement can be explained by two simple reasons: 1) The Syrian Air Force was already bombing Palmyra together with the SAA ground offensive and the American coalition did not want to have an incident where their fighter jets crash into Syrian ones. Don’t forget the airspace over Palmyra at the time was restricted to the Syrian Air force. 2) More importantly, since the U.S. did not have troops on the ground, it did not want to risk massive civilian casualties or miss due lack of intelligence to target precisely since no one could call air strikes from the ground. It was a heavily populated area.

            “been discovered to be bombing Syrian government infrastructure while claiming to be attacking ISIS.”

            I agree that bombing the Aleppo power plant was not good for the civilian population, but you should understand that they did it because ISIS had control over it. Also:

            “[T]he agreement of understanding pertains to the division of the electricity supply between the parties, whereby ISIS will receive 60% of the quota and the Syrian regime will receive 40%.”

            For more information regarding the informal energy deals between Assad and ISIS, please read this very informative piece: http://acdemocracy.org/syria-isis-pragmatic-cooperation/

            Now, the biggest reason as to why the U.S. bombing campaign was not effective is quite simple: no boots on the ground. There is no way for them to identify targets other than through drones, which isn’t nearly as effective. Also, nobody can call in U.S. air strikes from the ground against ISIS, except for the Kurds. This is why the Russians are winning: they have the SAA, Hezbollah, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Although, now we are seeing the FSA helping both the American coalition and Russian coalition in calling airstrikes against ISIS: http://www.rt.com/news/321563-syria-opposition-russia-base/ and here: http://www.rt.com/news/321820-putin-interview-syria-g20/

            Anyway, going back to my original point: to say that the U.S. has not bombed ISIS is simply a lie.

            Like

            • The point is not that the US bombing campaign “was not effective”, it’s that it was counter-effective. ISIS gained ground while the US was bombing. Is this why so many observers accuse the US of bombing Syrian infrastructure under the guise of attacking ISIS?

              Like

              • wetherfether says

                I already explained why the U.S. bombing campaign was not effective, at the end of my post:

                “Now, the biggest reason as to why the U.S. bombing campaign was not effective is quite simple: no boots on the ground. There is no way for them to identify targets other than through drones, which isn’t nearly as effective. Also, nobody can call in U.S. air strikes from the ground against ISIS, except for the Kurds. This is why the Russians are winning: they have the SAA, Hezbollah, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.”

                As for the infrastructure bombing, there was only one example I found. It was, as I previously mentioned, the Aleppo power station. I already explained why the Americans bombed it:

                “you should understand that they did it because ISIS had control over it.
                Also: “[T]he agreement of understanding pertains to the division of the electricity supply between the parties, whereby ISIS will receive 60% of the quota and the Syrian regime will receive 40%.”

                For more information regarding the informal energy deals between Assad and ISIS, please read this very informative piece: http://acdemocracy.org/syria-isis-pragmatic-cooperation/

                Like

                • Remind me – how does bombing a major Syrian power station affect the fighting capabilities of ISIS?
                  A curious point – the Americans treated ISIS oil convoys with kiddie gloves, dropping warning leaflets at least twenty minutes before the bombing commenced. I’d be interested to know whether they dropped leaflets on the power station before bombing it.

                  Like

            • Ponder Twice Cut Once says

              I fail to see your point. Whether or not the U.S. has managed to bomb ISIS in those thousands of sorties it claims to have flown, one can only assume that it’s done its best to micromanage its campaign with pin pricks, and becoming a dismal failure in the process. Playing the useful idiot for Turkish, Saudi and Qatari interests is not my idea of projecting an effective foreign policy in the Middle East. So have it your way, the U.S. has bombed ISIS, in a sorry effort to show it still has a modicum of independence from the ISIS supporting tails that so effectively are wagging its dog.

              Like

        • anonymous says

          It is a fact that once Russia started destroying hundreds of IS-owned oil tanker trucks in Syria, on 19 Nov. 2015, the US was forced to stage a bombing run in which it allegedly hit 116 trucks — 45 minutes after warning the drivers to run away, of course. The Pentagon spokesman told a news conference with a straight face that the reason the bombers didn’t destroy all 300 trucks (and IS convoys are usually much longer) was because they ran out of ammo. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-u.s.-ran-out-of-ammo-in-attack-on-isis-trucks/article/2576958

          By this time, Russia had destroyed around 2000 trucks, but they weren’t as considerate of the drivers, and they made sure to load their bombers with bombs before they took off.

          <>

          Another fact about the fake US war against IS is that the current leader, Ibrahim al-Badri, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was a guest of the US military at Camp Bucca in Southern Iraq for 4 to 5 years before the U.S. turned him over to the Iraqi government so that he could be immediately set free. The same thing happened to his predecessor: the Iraqi government claimed to have captured him, and then all of a sudden he was free. Pretty careless of the U.S. and Iraq, no?

          Even stranger was the fact that John McCain met with al-Badri in Syria in 2013 (along with another notorious terrorist, Mohammad Nour) on a trip organized by an employee of AIPAC named Mouaz Moustafa. McCain posted photos from his meeting on his Twitter account, but claimed that the terrorists he had met with were leaders of the Free Syrian Army. On Oct. 4, 2011, the U.S. govt. named al-Badri as one of the five most-wanted terrorists in the world, and offered up to $10 million for his capture. For some reason, McCain didn’t notify the State Department or the U.S. military or the CIA, which he is so close to, or Mossad, for that matter, that he had met and spoken with the head of the Islamic State. And the U.S. authorities, apparently, never asked him about that.
          http://www.globalresearch.ca/did-john-mccain-meet-with-abu-bakral-baghdadi-the-alleged-head-of-the-islamic-state-isis-isil-daesh/5498177

          Finally, like Catte, I am always astounded when people pretend that there’s nothing odd about the fact that thousands of oil trucks have been crossing from Iraq and Syria into Turkey for a couple of years, generating $3 million a day for the organization, but the U.S. is both unaware of these kilometer-long convoys and of the ways that Erdogan’s son and son-in-law are paying for the oil. Are we supposed to believe that the trucks are equipped with invisibility cloaks that only the clever Russians can see through? And that millions of dollars can flow through the companies run by the Turkish president’s son and son-in-law but none of the many CIA and DIA officials living in Turkey have looked into it? Do we really need Norway to “discover” this?

          “A newly-leaked report on illegal oil sales by Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL), which was ordered to be compiled by Norway, has revealed that most of the IS-smuggled oil has been destined for Turkey, where it is sold off at bargain low prices.”

          I remember back in the 1980s when the U.S. claimed, based on satellite images, that it had proof that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was selling cocaine, like a dealer in South Central Los Angeles. Allegedly, the U.S. satellite could see through a package Ortega was holding and perform a chemical analysis of the contents, positively identifying it as cocaine. But U.S. satellites and drones can’t spot 12,000 oil tankers on roads and queuing up at the Turkish border. What are we, fucking idiots?

          Like

          • Rhisiart Gwilym says

            No we’re not fucking idiots. People like wetherfether my be though. Voluntary trolls and naive propaganda-regurtitators often are; utter F-Is. The paid ones, not so much, perhaps. But still trolls and propagandists, to be discounted roughly 99%. Mostly 100%, even.

            Like

  15. ISIS videos are Hollywood on steroids !!

    Its all done to suit a short sighted CIA purpose which ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ but now Russia went & f*kked the US storyline………..

    Like

  16. So they’re not really dead after all? Unfortunately, this is the first step in humanising ISIS now Russia is bombing them.

    It seems the US propaganda machine, and its big gob -the corporate nerdia- have gone so far round the twist they think they can make us believe head-lopping lunatic ISIS has morphed into to lovable, cuddly ISIS, all moderate and friendly. Seems it was one big wheeze all along. Putin’s evil vampire army is now trying to slaughter these cheeky young lads, who have only been up in Lapland all this time, helping Santa and his elves whittle wooden toys for Christmas orphans.

    It’s going to take a lot more coke than even the CIA can get their grubby hands on for the neo-cons to snort themselves into the delusion they’ve pulled this one off. Surely?

    Thanks for another great piece.

    Like

  17. Rhisiart Gwilym says

    Good on yer, Catte! I’ve been suspecting this ‘wholesale invention’ idea for some years now. In fact to me it seems fairly obvious. But then, as the sort of person who belongs to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, I’ve been confident for some years now that the official 9/11 fairy-tale is utter bunkum, with the false-flag hypothesis being by far the odds-on front-runner for the real story; and to my mind the Osama-killed-by-SEALs-in-Abbottabad stunt was likely a blatant fake as well. So I’m already very used to the idea that the Big Lie technique is alive and well and thriving in the USukiznato-axis states, particularly in the US itself.

    Lately, though, it’s become pretty clear that the ability to fake Hollyshite-style horror videos to good professional standards has become widespread, and technically fluent. Also the utter, spineless obedience of the West’s lamestream media to the requirements of the power ‘elites’ has become so total, that the really chutzpah-ish operators in the Western public perception manipulation machine are now quite ready to invent and disseminate entirely fictional ‘accounts’ of events which are not even staged, because they don’t happen at all.

    So, at any rate, I suspect strongly.

    All that happens is the making and releasing of the horror vid, with actors in screen-plausible locations, together with current cutting-edge, electronic-wizardry-standard studio and post-production facilities as needed; and with the associated press-release razzmatazz. Then, of course, the obedient, on-cue lamestream-media feeding frenzy completes the scam: And behold! A false meme is borne, and widely implanted into many over-trusting minds as firmly-established, widely-regurgitated ‘truth’.

    The ever-pliant corporate-media hacks will not know (and the more naive ones – of whom there are always plenty! – will not even suspect) that they might be propagating high-level political lies. And, naturally, they know better for their precious careers’ sakes not to ask, investigate, and ferret, the way real journalists are supposed to do.

    It’s a basic rule of history and human nature, I think, that as soon as something – no matter how grotesque – becomes technically possible, then sureashell some group of amoral apes somewhere will give it a go – or five. The technical possibilities of gross electronic manipulation of information, and therefore of public perceptions, have become so highly sophisticated just lately that we’re now seeing its first fruits creeping into all sorts of august outlets – such as the BBC – which most of us just can’t bear to believe might be so mendacious and dishonest.

    Not me, though. I can bear it easily, when the evidence-stack gets tall and blatant enough. The outrageous, high-treasonous scam of 9/11 was a smash hit, text-book-quality mass public-perception deceit. It’s taken fourteen years, and counting, to get the debunking effort of the principled, courageous volunteer investigators to it’s current conclusive level of certainty. Note the adjective, though: conclusive. That’s the right word, by now – literally. Yet what percentage of we common punters in the West have yet worked diligently through the evidence-stack, and purged themselves – often very painfully – of the ‘Nineteen Islamic Jihadis attacking America’ false-meme?

    Add to all this the increasing desperation of the US imperialists, as their empire accelerates into its own inevitable decline and fall – as they all do eventually, with zero exceptions so far. In these particular circumstances, high-chutzpah fantasy scams of the sort sketched in here, and in Catte’s article, are simply to be expected; expected pretty confidently, I’d say. It doesn’t surprise me at all that a growing tally of independent-minded people are beginning to suspect that the Western ‘news’ system is now deeply involved in hyper-Big-Lie scams.

    Interesting Times!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect many people will be re-evaluating 9/11 in light of recent revelations and developments. I know my views have evolved dramatically since watching the media coverage of the Maidan. It suddenly became impossible to ignore both the insane extent of US ambition and the complete emasculation and “dumbening” of the press.

      It was watching some smiling imbecile reporter on the BBC saying happily that the Maidan was about to be exported to Crimea that was a cathartic moment for me. Not only did it show the neocons were literally both stupid and insane, but that this BBC fool had no clue about the political realities he’d been put on camera to “report.” He was predicting WW3 and didn’t have a clue that was what he was doing. That and the degree of Stalinist misinformation unleashed by the supposedly anti-establishment Guardian made it unavoidably clear to me what kind of world we are really living in.

      Could 9/11 have been an inside job? The Empire is crazy and sociopathic enough to kill its own people for sure, and the media is broken enough to sell any story it was told to sell. Once you know the very words “conspiracy-theorist” were coined by the CIA to control public enquiry into the JFK murder, you realise the extent to which current “scepticism” about the possibility of government involvement in such events is more the result of propaganda and pre-programming than dispassionate analysis.

      Liked by 3 people

      • ‘We’ve entered an era where it is not crazy to assess news events to see if they are real or not real…in fact it’s kind of crazy not to’. Naomi Wolf 2014

        I think that we abandoned critical thinking back in 2001. We were collectively traumatised and repeatedly told not to question what we were being sold about what we had just all just witnessed. Anyone who studies the psychology of trauma and the techniques of suggestion will, I think, agree with the significance of this aspect of what went on in the aftermath of the attack.
        It is easy to forget the level of the fear fest back then that was unlike what had gone before – a kind of hysteria that has become normalised now in mainstream media output. At the same time, the years have lessened the effect of the emotional shock of it all, so more people like Wolf – critics of US imperialism – should speak out if they doubt what we were expressly told not to doubt. Klein, Cockburn, Chomsky, Greenwald, Hedges, Fisk, Herman, Pilger, Hudson, et al et al, where is their critical thinking about the event that defines our era?

        [ I ‘woke up’ in 05-06, and as a consequence have been a doubting thomas about darn near everything that has taken place the past ten years].

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Superbly said, all of it.
    You could have mentioned that ISIS themselves have, through their publication ‘Dabiq’, criticised ‘conspiracy theories’ and the community of ‘truthers’ who dare to question the veracity of the mediaverse. Here is Corbett:

    That brings on in me the bizarre tragicomic grimaced laughter that is perhaps unique to our times.

    I think it would be a strange omission if no comment below this piece drew attention to this except:
    Are we forgetting how the real world really works? Where is our scepticism? Come to that where is our sense of the ridiculous?
    …and apply it to the initiating event of the Global War on Terror. The trick for the illusionists is to try and make sure few people cross that threshold of scepticism and questioning -at least publicly. It is a threshold either way, as once critical thinking is abandoned, the technique can be repeated, the stakes raised and the subject infantalised further and further. Conversely, if one allows the scepticism in just a bit, all manner of things start to crumple like a shoddy stage set.
    This is what I believe we have seen the past 14 years and so I applaud this writing for its call to bring us back to reason.

    Liked by 2 people

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