Tag Archives: Al Qaeda

ISIS Fight Against al-Qaeda Spills Over From Syria into Lebanon

by Jason Ditz

While most of the factions within the Syrian Civil War are party to an ongoing ceasefire, neither ISIS nor al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front were invited to take part. As those two factions continue to clash with myriad other groups, they’re also finding time to fight against one another.

Heavy fighting erupted in the Syrian Qalamoun Mountains on Sunday, with ISIS pushing into regions held by al-Qaeda. The fighting raged into Monday, and moved further west, with both sides crossing into Lebanon, where al-Qaeda forces aimed to take ISIS territory along the border.

Lebanon has struggled with spill-over violence throughout the Syrian Civil War, with both ISIS and Nusra operating around the hills in the Bekaa Valley, and occasionally clashing with Lebanese security forces in the town of Arsal.

All told, at least 18 Nusra fighters were killed, along with 14 ISIS fighters. Six Nusra fighters were also reported captured in the battles. Though the fighting appears to have reached a lull by Monday evening, it is liable to pick up again at any moment.

16 Killed as ISIS, al-Qaeda Fight Along Lebanon-Syria Border

by Jason Ditz

Heavy fighting has erupted in northeastern Lebanon over the weekend between the major Islamist factions in the Syrian Civil War, ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, who fought on the outskirts of the town of Arsal, which is housing tens of thousands of refugees.

Reports from the area suggest at least nine ISIS and seven Nusra fighters were killed in the weekend fighting, and local Sheikh Mustafa Hujeiri, seen as close to Nusra, is said to be trying to broker some sort of local truce between the two sides to end the fighting.

ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front have years of acrimony fueling these fights, dating back to ISIS’ attempt to absorb Nusra and become the official al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq and Syria, an attempt which led to ISIS’ ultimate split from al-Qaeda.

Since then, the two have fought over territory in Syria repeatedly, fighting which only really ended when their respective territories no longer had a common border. Even now, Nusra is said to be trying to establish mergers with other Islamist outlets to try to more directly compete with ISIS.

Both are keen to carry out strikes in Lebanon, and have a presence in Arsal, but this close proximity to one another seems to have boiled over into another round of fighting.

Syrian Troops, Hezbollah Retake Latakia Town

by Jason Ditz

Syrian military forces, backed by Hezbollah forces on the ground and Russian airstrikes, have retaken the Latakia Province town of Salma, along with strategically important hillsides around the town’s outskirts.

The Latakia Province, along the Mediterranean coast, is hugely important to the Syrian government, and has been contested by the coalition of rebels dominated by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which holds the adjacent Idlib Province.

Holding Latakia is also a top priority for Russia, as they have a naval base further south along the coast, and want to ensure that there is a secure path between the capital city of Damascus and the coast. This is why, despite the lack of ISIS in the area, Russia has heavily supported offensives against other Islamist rebels in and around this area.

In addition to the al-Qaeda coalition, Turkmen rebels are also active in northern Latakia. The Turkmen are heavily backed by neighboring Turkey, and have been targeted heavily by Russia since Turkey destroyed one of their warplanes over Syrian territory.

Flashback: Ben Swann’s Truth In Media on Syria

In September 2013, Ben Swann released a Truth In Media episode, What The Media Isn’t Telling You About Syria, which focused on what the mainstream media was ignoring regarding the civil war in Syria and explained how U.S. involvement would inevitably lead to the destruction of “millions of people.”

“The U.S. government continues to debate whether or not to arm the rebels in Syria, even as a new poll shows nearly 80% of Americans are saying ‘don’t do it,'” said Swann.

In this episode, Swann explained why U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) visited with General Salim Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army.

Swann also revealed what the mainstream media would not (and still will not) discuss, including the truth about the unrest among Syrian civilians under President Bashar Al-Assad, the fact that the Al Nusra Front group is the Syrian wing of al Qaeda designated by the U.S as a terror organization, and that the Free Syrian Army lost thousands of members to Al Nusra Front.

“What you need to know,” said Swann, “is that what is happening in Syria is an enormous problem for the United States.”

[pull_quote_center]Al Qaeda in Iraq has publicly stated that their goal is to create an al Qaeda ‘super state,’ comprised of Iraq and Syria. By funding these so-called rebels, the U.S. government is handing al Qaeda the keys to that super state. By the United States supporting the overthrow of Assad, without question, we will hand Syria over to al Qaeda, make no mistake. And the slaughter of millions of Syrians, including Syrian Christians, Jews, Alawites and Muslims, will be on our hands.[/pull_quote_center]

Fast forward to today: ISIS- a group that once was quite small and struggling to gain power- easily absorbed members of the Free Syrian Army and al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front due to U.S. government involvement, and is now the most formidable terror organization on the planet.

Following the publication of this Truth In Media episode, mainstream media reports began surfacing stating that “weapons were being given to Syrian rebels.” According to CNN, the weapons were not American-made, but they were “funded and organized by the CIA.”

Less than one year after the U.S. gave weapons to Syrian “freedom fighters,” those weapons ended up with ISIS fighters. “Those ISIS fighters came from the group McCain insisted would help the U.S. overthrow Assad: the Free Syrian Army,” said Swann, who also explained that “the army was not only sending the Islamic State weapons, it was also sending them fighters,” in his Origin of Isis Truth In Media episode.

By June 2014, ISIS went from being a “no-name” group to one “heavily armed and trained by U.S. and Coalition Special Forces.”

“Our government trained rebel fighters in Syria who would become the group today known as ISIS,” said Swann. “We have watched them commit every violent atrocity you can imagine to people living in Iraq and Syria, and now we want American taxpayers to fund a 30-year war with them.”

Truth In Media’s What The Media Isn’t Telling You About Syria, published two years ago, serves to this day as necessary and meaningful information regarding conflict in Syria that won’t be seen on mainstream media. This episode provides insight for people around the world who are now searching for answers in the face of recent violence and the rise of the Islamic State.

Exclusive Interview: Pastor Chuck Baldwin on Syrian Refugee Crisis, ISIS, Gun Control

In an exclusive interview with Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook, former Constitution Party presidential candidate and Pastor Chuck Baldwin discusses his views on the U.S. foreign policy in Syria, ISIS, the Syrian refugee crisis and gun control.

Cook asked Baldwin his thoughts on the current Syrian refugee crisis.

“We have to talk about the source of the problem,” said Baldwin. “The so-called war on terror is as phony as it can be. We have not been at war with ISIS. In fact, it is our own CIA, and Saudi Arabia intelligence, along with Turkey and the state of Israel that helped create ISIS. We are fighting a proxy war against Syria through ISIS. ISIS is nothing more than elements of al Qaeda that’s focused their attention from Iraq to Syria.”

“This idea that we are fighting ISIS and we’re trying to fight terrorism over there is just bogus,” added Baldwin.

Regarding the Syrian refugees, Baldwin said, “If they had their choice they would go back to a free Syria.”

“If America would get out of the Middle East and quit supporting ISIS and al Qaeda and al Nusra and all these other Sunni terrorist groups and let them live in peace, that’s where these people would go,” said Baldwin.

“The response from America should be first of all, that the American government owes the people of this country the fact that these people from Syria should be properly vetted. If they have any connections to the Sunni terror group they should not be allow entrance,” said Baldwin.

Cook asked Baldwin about gun control and the Christian response.

Cook asked, “Is there an obligation for Christians to obey the laws of the land no matter what?”

Baldwin said, “No Christian or citizen should ever consider disarming themselves.”

“No way, no how should we Christians or any freemen allow themselves to be disarmed. Any law that would require us to surrender our firearms is not only unconstitutional, it’s also immoral and biblical,” said Baldwin. 

Check out Pastor Baldwin’s book on the Second Amendment here.

In September 2015, Ben Swann examined the root of the refugee crisis in Europe and explored the question of US responsibility for this crisis, seen in the video below.


New US-Trained Rebels in Syria Gave Their Weapons to al-Qaeda

by Jason Ditz

It’s already been heavily reported how badly the first class of New Syrian Forces (NSF), also known as Division 30, did after being trained by the US and sent into Syria. There were 54 of them to start, and last week Centcom conceded there were only “four or five left.” This may still look like a runaway success compared to the second class.

The second class entered Syria by way of Turkey on Friday, and according to reports there were between 70 and 75 of them in total. Today, reports out of Syria suggest that the group immediately took its weapons and vehicles to al-Qaeda territory and turned them all over to them.

A statement from al-Qaeda’s Syria branch said the group’s membership had agreed to give them everything in return for “safe passage,” and that the leader of the second class, Anas Ibrahim Obeid, plans to issue a statement repudiating the US training strategy.

Obeid told al-Qaeda he “tricked” the US coalition because he wanted their weapons. Ironically he would’ve been one of the top ranked NSF forces left, after Lt. Col. Mohammad al-Dhaher resigned this weekend, complained the program was “not serious.”

The latest loss speaks volumes about the state of US vetting of its “pro-US” rebels, at a time when reports suggest they intend to dramatically lower those vetting requirements in the future for the sake of faster arming of rebel factions.

Syria Rebels See Longer War With Russia Involved

by Jason Ditz

Talk of increased Russian military involvement in Syria has the various rebel factions simultaneously conceding that it’s a setback to their civil war, and one that’s liable to extend the conflict many additional years, while threatening huge Russia casualties and “another Afghanistan” for the troops being deployed.

The rebels are trying to shoehorn the model of the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan on the war, pushing the idea of forming a new mujahideen to combat the Russians. The differences are stark, however, as this war has been ongoing for years before there was a hint of increased Russian involvement, and ISIS is the major power in Syria at this point, at least from a territorial perspective.

Indeed, the increased involvement is at this point largely speculative, with Russia denying that anything they’re doing is really “new” but rather just a fulfillment of existing military deals with Syria. The “escalation” has been heavily hyped by US officials, who have lashed Russia even though they’re nominally both opposed to ISIS.

The Islamist faction, led by al-Qaeda, which has been trying to push into Latakia is blaming Russia for the increased resistance they are encountering, saying it shows that Russia is “taking the lead,” though most of the battles there haven’t been against the Syrian military in the first place, but rather against local Alawites, supportive of the government, who rightly believe they’ll be wiped out if al-Qaeda seizes their coastal homeland.

Russia’s primary interest in Syria has always been their naval base in Tartus, which could be imperiled if the Syrian government is completely wiped out, yet the claims by secular FSA rebels that the Russian government is opposed to a “political solution” is a flat out lie, as Russia has been trying to get the FSA and the other rebels to talk political settlement for years, with those rebels ruling out anything short of complete regime change.

Some of those meetings occurred as recently as last month, and an attempt by Russia to organize “unity government” talks collapsed quite recently on the refusal of the FSA and other rebels to even take part. Though the US at time gave lip service to the “unity” idea, they have similarly insisted recently that any “deal” needs to amount to full regime change, ousting Assad and his inner circle in favor of pro-US figures.

That’s where the big problem lies, as Russia believes, and probably rightly so, that installing a pro-US regime will cost them their naval base, the only Russian base in the Mediterranean.

Al-Qaeda Executes 56 Captured Syrian Soldiers

by Jason Ditz

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda overran the Abu Alduhur airbase in the northern Idlib Province of Syria, killing over 100 Syrian troops in the battle and capturing scores. This weekend, they executed the captured en masse, with a confirmed 56 additional troops killed.

Syrian state media had previously claimed that there were no captured troops, and that everyone managed to safely evacuate, though as usual there was ample evidence that many troops were indeed caught trying to flee the base.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indeed suggested no Syrian troops actually got out of the base in an “orderly” manner, and that everyone who was at Abu Alduhur was either killed in the offensive, captured by al-Qaeda, or is simply missing and unaccounted for.

Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front has been gaining a lot of territory in recent months, and controls virtually the whole Idlib Province, with the exception of a pair of Alawite villages which they’ve appeared to leave alone since the Syrian military fled, leaving them under the protection of Shi’ite militias.

Al-Qaeda Whittles Down US-Trained Rebels in Syria

Group Urges Rebels to Abandon Training, Cooperation With US

by Jason Ditz, August 04, 2015

Late last month, the first US-trained rebels from a group called “Division 30,” also called the New Syrian Forces (NSF) by US officials, arrived in northern Syria. The faction is the result of hundreds of millions of dollars in US spending to create a new force, but amounted to only 54 people. It’s getting progressively smaller.

Almost immediately after arriving, the rebels ran afoul of Syrian al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra, who captured between eight and 18 of them. Not long thereafter, more fighting left one of the NSF dead, and today al-Qaeda is confirmed to have captured another 5 fighters.

Losing a few fighters here or there would normally be seen as “acceptable losses,” but with only 54 rebels to start with, there could be as few as 30 of the NSF fighters even left in the field, depending on just how many have actually been taken by al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda issued a statement on Friday confirming the first round of detentions, warning that rebels should abandon any training and cooperation with the US. Despite confirmation of captures from multiple sources, the Pentagon so far denies anyone was captured.

US-Trained Syrian Rebels Routed by al-Qaeda, Flee Into Kurdish Territory

Al-Qaeda Rules Out Working With US-Backed Groups

by Jason Ditz, August 02, 2015

In the past week, reports have emerged of al-Qaeda’s Syrian faction, Jabhat al-Nusra, capturing a number of top members of the US-trained “Division 30,” also known as the “New Syrian Force.” The group is now reported to have been routed outright from its headquarters in northern Syria, and had to flee into Kurdish territory.

Reports have varied on how many of the NSF fighters al-Qaeda has captured and killed, with early reports suggesting it could be as many as 18. That’s a lot, since the US only managed to train 54 of them in the long-term effort. More may have been killed in the recent fighting too.

Al-Qaeda is saying that’s going to be a continuing issue, as they have no intention of working with any US-backed groups, and will resist all “agents of America.” Since the US began targeting them in airstrikes last year, al-Qaeda has gone after several rebel factions it has perceived as pro-US.

Though the US is said to be assuring the NSF of air support in any fights they get into with the Assad government, as well as envisioning them as a prominent part of their anti-ISIS strategy, it isn’t clear this force can even safely travel around Syria, let alone have any real impact in the ongoing civil war.

Ron Paul: Are Neocons Rethinking Animosity Toward Al Qaeda?

Neoconservatives are rethinking animosity toward al Qaeda, which they say is the enemy of our enemy. Did they forget the connection between al Qaeda and 9/11?

Ron Paul discussed this in his latest Liberty Report, saying that the neocons are unwilling to consider that American policy in Iraq and Syria wrong. Rather, they continually push for changing tactics—but the tactics are a total failure. This could be why neocons are looking to reach out to al Qaeda, he said.

According to Liberty Report co-host Daniel McAdams, the neocon perspective is that it’s all Obama’s fault for not invading Syria in 2013 on trumped up charges of President Bashar al Assad using chemical weapons on his own people. Now, backed in a corner, the neocons believe we have to look at other allies, and that we need to change our ideas about al Qaeda.

At 3:19, McAdams traces our government’s strategy against Iraq and Syria to a 1996 document presented by U.S. officials to the Israeli government. The document, he said, was essentially a list for Israeli dominance in the Middle East. The document is called “A Clean Break.”

Number-one on that list was we’ve got to get rid of Assad in Syria because it challenges policies not just there but toward Lebanon,” McAdams said. “So the roadmap to get there was first going through Iraq and overthrowing Hussein—which they did—then moving on to Syria. It sounds conspiratorial, but if you follow the way events actually happened, they have happened that way. And then you have the myth of the Arab Spring, which was a spontaneous uprising, they say. But it was really nothing of the sort.

Watch the full episode above and check out more episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report here at Truth In Media.

In case you missed Ben Swann’s Truth In Media episode on ISIS watch it below:


After Fall of Yemen, US Officials Fear Terrorists Have Seized $500 Million in US-Donated Weapons

For years, the US has engaged in a counter-terrorism strategy in Yemen involving aggressive drone strikes and the donation of over $500 million in weapons and equipment to Yemen’s US-backed government. However, these moves aimed at defeating al-Qaeda in Yemen have produced an array of unintended consequences, which appear to be spiraling out of control.

First, local anxiety over US drone strikes led to a January 2015 uprising by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who toppled Yemen’s government suddenly, taking US officials by surprise. The fall of Yemen has been compared to ISIS’ taking of Mosul in that, in both cases, US-trained-and-funded soldiers refused to fight as rebels launched their attacks. Additionally, al-Qaeda has reportedly seized some of the collapsed Yemeni government’s bases. In February, the US closed its embassy in Yemen, and rebels stole vehicles that were left behind during the evacuation.

Meanwhile, according to The Washington Post, Pentagon officials recently admitted that they have lost track of the over $500 million in military assistance that the US has given to Yemen’s failed government. The lost equipment includes M-16 and M-4 rifles, over a million rounds of ammo, Glock pistols, night vision goggles, drones, helicopters, surveillance aircraft, and patrol boats. US officials planned to send $125 million in additional aid, including ScanEagle drones, but instead redirected the shipments to other Middle Eastern and African nations following Yemen’s collapse.

An anonymous legislative aid told The Washington Post, “We have to assume [the weapons are] completely compromised and gone.” Though Pentagon officials say that there is no specific evidence demonstrating that al-Qaeda or Houthi rebels have obtained the US-donated weapons and equipment, the Department of Defense has admitted that it has lost track of the items. Given the fact that both al-Qaeda and the Houthi rebels have seized many Yemeni bases, the prevailing logic in Washington DC is that the shipments have likely been claimed by the anti-US groups.

In 2014, President Barack Obama pointed to his counter-terrorism strategy in Yemen as an example of a War on Terror foreign policy success story. “The administration really wanted to stick with this narrative that Yemen was different from Iraq, that we were going to do it with fewer people, that we were going to do it on the cheap,” said Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX).

CIA “Ghost Money” Funneled to Al Qaeda

When Afghan officials had to gather $5 million in ransom to free a diplomat held by Al Qaeda, they dug deep, according to the New York Times, and gave U.S. money given to them by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

According to the Times, Afghanistan received monthly cash deliveries from the CIA to the presidential palace in Kabul. Afghan officials said they had squirreled away about $1 million of that fund.

Al Qaeda was rejuvenated after receiving that money.

Atiyah Adb al-Rahman, Al Qaeda’s general manager, wrote to Osama bin Laden in June 2010 claiming that the money would be used for weapons and other operations. “God blessed us with a good amount of money this month,” he wrote.

In a letter back, bin Laden expressed concern about the newfound wealth:

“There is a possibility — not a very strong one — that the Americans are aware of the money delivery, and that they accepted the arrangement of the payment on the basis that the money will be moving under air surveillance,” bin Laden wrote.

But, the Times pointed out, the money wasn’t a trap: “It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting.”

This is not the first report of “ghost money,” off-the-books cash being funneled in secret to the Afghan government. New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg exposed “America’s conflicting priorities” in a 2013 report.

It’s apparently clear that America’s current foreign policy strategy is in major need of reform. If America is waging a war on global terrorism, then why are we funding our enemies?

Reports from investigative reporters like Rosenberg and Ben Swann have both presented cases regarding the U.S. government’s involvement in funding Islamic terrorist groups. See Ben Swann’s report on the Origin of ISIS.

BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook asked award-winning journalist and researcher Nizar Nayouf his thoughts on the New York Times report.

Though Nayouf doesn’t consider himself an expert in the affairs of Afghanistan and “al-Qaeda” in Afghanistan, he considers this story very familiar because he said it mirrors what’s happening now in Syria.

Nayouf told Cook: “Now we know that Qatar, under the direction of the US, has paid 25 million dollars as a ransom to Jabhat Al-Nusrah (Al-Qaeda in Syria) for releasing the UN peacekeepers in the occupied Syrian Golan, who had been kidnapped by groups funded and armed by the Gulf States, especially Qatar; and other millions for releasing Lebanese civilian hostages (pilgrims) kidnapped by other groups funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and the United States.”

“In fact, according to well-documented information, the mechanism of paying ransoms for releasing hostages has become part of the United States and its Gulf allies’ policy to fund terrorist groups away from the legal monitoring of financial transactions,” he added.

“After the UN categorized ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusrah as terrorist groups, it has become more difficult for those countries to finance these groups, The Qatari and Saudi Arabia intelligence services have resorted to direct these groups to kidnap hostages, then Qatar or Saudi Arabia pays a ransom. This mechanism makes the financing of terrorist groups seems as if to be “legit.” This is what I call “laundering terrorism’s money” or “ financing terrorism by terrorism,” said Nayouf.

Truth in Media: The Origin of ISIS

In the latest episode of Truth in Media, Ben Swann investigates the origins of the militant group referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The name ISIS is one that every American knows,” Swann said “The biggest threat to our national security since Al-Qaeda, right? They are a brutal, savage group known for public beheadings and mass executions. They are the face of the new war on terror.”

Swann pointed out that while the U.S. Military is currently conducting airstrikes in Syria, in a supposed attempt to take out ISIS targets, the White House and U.S. military leaders are discussing possible boots on the ground in Iraq. These talks are arising just three years after President Obama declared that the war in Iraq was over.

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told USA Today that in order to defeat ISIS, he believes the United States is looking at “a 30-year-war.”

As the U.S. goes to war in an attempt to defeat yet another terrorist group, the biggest question is: Who exactly is ISIS and where did they come from?

Angela Keaton, the founder of Antiwar.com, said that ISIS is “entirely a creation of the United States’ behavior in Iraq.”

That’s how we got to where we are, because of war, because of occupation, because of torture,” Keaton said. “The United States government completely destabilized and wrecked Iraq. They caused it to fail miserably and that is entirely the fault of the United States government. There is no one else to blame.”

Swann explained that when the U.S. first invaded Iraq, it “blew the country apart.” By destroying the existing government, toppling Saddam Hussein, and destroying the infrastructure, the U.S. “left behind a power vacuum” that would never have existed under Hussein.

Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, said that the impact caused by the actions of the United States is a “historical fact that media just won’t discuss.”

This has to do with U.S. action in the region, which destroyed the infrastructure, which destroyed Iraq society, which destroyed the Iraqi government,” McAdams said. He explained that while there were a lot of people who weren’t “as happy as larks” while living under Saddam Hussein, they also weren’t at odds with Hussein in the same way they were with the government established by the U.S.

The militant group ISIS was formed as a small insurgent group in Iraq in 2006. Swann noted that while they tried to create problems for the U.S. military, they had no money and no real ability to recruit.

It wasn’t until 2009 that ISIS shifted its focus from Iraq, where it was largely unsuccessful in developing a foothold, and focused on the civil war in Syria,” Swann said.

While in Syria, ISIS still struggled to gain a foothold. Swann attributed this to the fact that two larger groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad were overpowering them: al-Nusra Front – or al-Qaeda – and the Free Syrian Army.

Then, came a pivotal moment that most Americans aren’t even aware of,” Swann said. “In June 2013, a Northern General for the Free Syrian Army spoke out on Al Jazeera Qatar and stated that if international forces did not send weapons, the rebels attempting to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad would lose their war within a month.”

Swann noted that just months before this occurred he had personally confronted President Obama on the issue of why the U.S. was covertly funding Syrian rebels. Although Obama acted as if he was proceeding with caution, politicians such as Senator John McCain demanded action.

Within a matter of weeks of the Syrian general making his plea for international help, the U.S., the Saudis, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and Israel began providing weapons, training and money to so-called rebel groups like the Free Syrian Army,” Swann said.

In September 2013, American media outlets began reporting that weapons were being given to Syrian rebels. CNN reported that while the weapons are not “American-made,” they were “funded and organized by the CIA.”

However, Swann said that things began to fall apart when less than one year after the U.S. supplied Syrian “freedom fighters” with weapons, those weapons ended up in the hands of ISIS fighters.

Those ISIS fighters came from the group McCain insisted would help the U.S. overthrow Assad: the Free Syrian Army. Swann explained that the army was not only sending the Islamic State weapons, it was also sending them fighters.

The Free Syrian Army has lost most of the land that it ever claimed and it’s entirely incompetent,” Keaton said. “The only thing that it has been good at is currying favor with western leaders.”

Swann said that it wasn’t until June 2014 that ISIS went from being a “no-name group in Syria” to a group that was “heavily armed and trained by U.S. and Coalition Special Forces.” This revitalized group made a dramatic entrance by crossing back over the Syrian border into Iraq and capturing Mosul and much of the northern part of the country.

One of the most important facts that mainstream media ignores time and time again is that ISIS was able to grow so fast, because of all the U.S. military equipment they were able to seize – equipment that our military left in Iraq,” said Swann. “Truckloads of Humvees, tanks and weaponry that instead of taking or destroying, the U.S. government simply decided to leave behind.

However, even when the U.S. government became aware that ISIS fighters were capturing U.S. equipment, it did nothing. Swann attributed the lack of action to the fact that ISIS fighters were taking the equipment back into Syria to continue fighting Assad, which was what the U.S. government wanted.

How is it that the United States, with all of its intelligence capabilities, didn’t know this threat was coming?” McAdams said. “How many billions did we spend, maybe a hundred billion on total intelligence community budge over the year? How did they have no idea?”

Swann said that the answer is simple: “The U.S. did know who ISIS was, but the so-called Islamic State was doing what the Obama administration wanted.”

The ISIS fighters continued to do what the Obama administration wanted, and in late summer 2014, they were labeled what Swann called, “the new boogeyman in the war on terror.”

Over the past few months, the U.S. government, who acted like they had never even heard of ISIS, suddenly, with the help of media has turned the Islamic State into the new focus of the war on terror,” Swann said. “Now, as ISIS has continued its rise, recruitment is exploding and the group is becoming stunningly wealthy.”

Swann noted that in response to the “ISIS threat,” the U.S. began “conducting airstrikes on Syrian oil fields, instead of going after those buying the oil.”

McAdams pointed out that ISIS makes $2 million a day off of selling oil, and the United States’ response, of “undercutting the competition” by blowing up oil fields makes no sense. He questioned why the U.S., which is known for sanctioning “anything that moves,” when it’s angry, is not placing sanctions on the banks or the oil companies that are involved.

Swann added that in addition to those questions, Americans should also be asking, “Why is the U.S. sending $500 million to the Free Syrian Army to fight ISIS when the FSA is one of the biggest suppliers of fighters and weapons to ISIS?” and “Why are we sending new and more powerful weapons to the FSA like anti-aircraft missiles – weapons that we know will be in the hands of ISIS?

Swann maintained that while the mainstream media will say that ISIS is the “creation of American inaction,” the reality is that they are the “product of direct action.”

This direct action started with “the action of creating a power vacuum in Iraq” and manifested into the “arming violent Jihadists, hoping they would overthrow a leader in a neighboring Middle Eastern country.”

McAdams described the U.S. government as a victim of its own insane policies, due to the fact that it is “very good at blowing things up, but really bad at putting them back together.”

In determining whether or not McAdams’ statement was true, Swann listed three facts:

Fact #1: “Our government armed Osama bin Laden and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and created al-Qaeda.”

Fact #2: “Our government put Saddam Hussein into power – we helped supply and create chemical weapons for him to use against Iran in 1980 – and then we overthrew him in 2003.”

Fact #3: “Our government trained rebel fighters in Syria who would become the group today known as ISIS. We have watched them commit every violent atrocity you can imagine to people living in Iraq and Syria, and now we want American taxpayers to fund a 30-year war with them.”

Swann came to the conclusion that it isn’t the U.S. government being held hostage by crazy policies; rather it is the American people.

It is time that we reject the destruction of people groups around the world for the sake of foreign policy that makes so-called defense contractors rich, and perpetuates violence, death, and the destruction of entire people groups,” Swann said. “This is the central issue of our time – because humanity is greater than politics.”

US Drone Strike in Yemen Killed 12-Year-Old Student

Officials Had Previously Identified Him as ‘Al-Qaeda Militant’

by Jason Ditz, January 27, 2015

Details on the Monday US drone strike against Yemen have begun to emerge, and one of the three “al-Qaeda militants” slain turned out to have been a 12-year-old student named Mohammed Saleh Qayed Taeiman.
Taeiman’s father and older brother had been killed in US drone strikes back in 2012, and another of his brothers was wounded in another strike. Taeiman was in sixth grade.

Yet sixth grade and related to other victims of drone strikes was enough for him to be labeled a “militant,” while human rights group the Yemeni National Organization for Drone Victims dubbed him a “normal kid” who had recently been released from a Yemeni government hospital after being kicked by a camel.

The other victims of the drone strike included a farm worker who was married to a woman in Taeiman’s family, and a third person who is as yet unidentified. In both cases, the US claimed they were also al-Qaeda.

Featured photo via National Organization for Drone Victims

Report Claims Medical Professionals in CIA Torture Program May Have Committed War Crimes

On Tuesday, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), an organization that examines human rights violations in the medical field, released a report that called for a federal investigation into the health professionals who were involved in the torture methods that were used on terror suspects.

The request was sparked by the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 500-page summary of its 6,7000-page report on the torture techniques used by the CIA on al-Qaeda hostages, following the terror attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

The report from PHR states that the health professionals who aided the CIA in carrying out certain techniques “betrayed the most fundamental duty of the healing professions” and should be investigated for committing war crimes:

Health professionals, given their ethical and legal obligations to protect the health and welfare of all individuals, have historically represented one essential barrier to the inhumane treatment of detainees and prisoners,” stated the report. “The complicity of health professionals themselves in such abuse indicates that egregious violations of public trust, ethics, and law have taken place.”

The report went on to state that the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report summary “confirms that the United States systematically tortured” the terror suspects detained after 9/11, and shows that the “practices were far more brutal than previously acknowledged.”

The Executive Director of PHR, Donna McKay, said that after more than a decade of covering up the truth, the report finally shows the extent to which health professionals were involved in torturing detainees.

The report confirms that health professionals used their skills to break the minds and bodies of detainees,” said McKay. “Their actions destroyed trust in clinicians, undermined the integrity of their professions, and damaged the United States’ human rights record, which can only be corrected through accountability.

PHR also states that not only did health professional play an essential role in carrying out the program, they were also the ones who “designed, supervised, and implemented” the techniques, they were “paid enormous sums for their efforts,” and they “monitored those being tortured and used their expertise to certify detainees’ fitness for torture and worked to enable and enhance the pain inflicted.”

One of the methods used on detainees by health professionals was the practice of forced rectal feeding. RT reported that this practice was used, despite “officials having not found any medical necessity” in the practice, and despite the fact that as a result, “detainees suffered from rectal prolapses and other after-effects.

The report from PHR states that the Senate’s torture report shows that rectal feeding was used “without medical necessity” and to “control and/or punish the detainees,” and that according to PHR experts, “Insertion of any object into the rectum of an individual without his consent constitutes a form of sexual assault.”

Dr. Vincent Iacopino, PHR’s senior medical advisor, called for the health professionals involved to be held accountable for their involvement in the torture program.

Health professionals played a pivotal role in the abuse and brutality exposed in the CIA torture report and they must be held accountable,” said Iacopino. “They were complicit at every step, including designing the torture techniques, monitoring the infliction of severe physical and mental pain, and failing to document clear evidence of harm.”

PHR released a statement calling for an investigation of the professionals who betrayed their ethical duties, and inflicted harm on patients they were supposed to be protecting:

PHR calls for the investigation and prosecution of all those complicit in the torture and ill-treatment of detainees and the revocation of licenses for any health professionals who participated. PHR also repeats its call for transparency, and for the U.S. government to clarify the extent to which U.S. officials and those acting at the government’s direction violated the U.N. Convention against Torture and the U.S. Constitution.”

The Only CIA Officer in Prison for the Torture Program is the One Who Exposed It

On Tuesday, the United States Senate Intelligence Committee released its summary of the torture methods, or “enhanced interrogation techniques,” used by the Central Intelligence Agency on al-Qaeda hostages following the terror attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

The report, which contained details of CIA agents performing acts such as waterboarding, rectal feeding, and sleep deprivation, on the detainees, has led to questions over whether anyone will be prosecuted as a result.

Vox reported that while torture is illegal under U.S. law, any legal avenues have been closed off in this case, and thus far, “the only person the Obama administration has prosecuted in connection with the torture program is a man who revealed its existence to the media.”

According to International Business Times, John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer who is “currently serving jail time on charges of espionage for speaking out against the CIA torture methods” seven years ago, was the first from the agency to “blow the whistle on the CIA torture program.”

After working for the CIA from 1990 to 2004, Kiriakou shared his knowledge of the agency’s torture methods in 2007, during an interview on ABC News.

Kiriakou discussed the account of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-profile al-Qaeda terror suspected captured after the 9/11 attacks. Zubaydah was subjected to “non-stop use of CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques 24 hours a day for 17 days,” which included the practice of waterboarding.

During the interview, Kiriakou ultimately justified the technique, saying that if they hadn’t used it, and had missed out on an important “nugget of information,” he would have had trouble forgiving himself.

In addition to revealing to the world that the U.S. had used such extreme torture methods, Kiriakou also made it clear that the CIA officers were not acting alone, and were “carefully directed” from the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, “each step of the way.”

After pleading guilty in October 2012, Kiriakou began his 30-month sentence in February 2013, for revealing the CIA’s illegal torture program, and for disclosing the fact that the program was an official policy of the U.S. government.

Prior to beginning his sentence, Kiriakou said he was “accepting responsibility” for his actions, and “hoping that maybe the country is better and more informed and more transparent” for the debate he helped to initiate.

I believe I was prosecuted not for what I did but for who I am: a CIA officer who said torture was wrong and ineffective and went against the grain.” Kiriakou said.

An RT interview from Jan. 31st 2013:

Republicans Criticize Political Motivation Behind Democrats’ Torture Report, and Release Their Own Version

On Tuesday, the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the torture methods, or “enhanced interrogation techniques,” used by the Central Intelligence Agency on al-Qaida hostages following the terror attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

As previously reported, the committee’s Democrats were the only ones who approved this account, and the Republicans on the committee chose to follow-up the initial report with one of their own.

While the report from the Democrats accused the CIA of misleading White House officials about the effectiveness and the cruelty of the tactics being used on the hostages, the Republicans took a different angle.

The 100-page report from the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee claimed that the tactics used by the CIA weakened al-Qaida overall, and saved American lives:

We have no doubt that the CIA’s detention program saved lives and played a vital role in weakening Al Qaeda while the program was in operation,” concluded the report.

The committee’s Republicans also alleged that Democrats had practiced “inadequate objectivity,” and had written their report with “political motivations” in mind.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, released a statement condemning the timing of the release, and saying that he believes the decision to release the report at this time was “politically motivated,” following the Democrats’ loss of control in the Senate.

The timing of the release is problematic given the growing threats we face,” said Graham. “Terrorism is on the rise, and our enemies will seize upon this report at a critical time. Simply put, this is not the time to release the report.

Some Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee viewed the release of the report as a way to degrade former President George W. Bush.

Richard Burr, a Senator from North Carolina, and the Committee’s incoming Chairman, insisted that “The only motive here could be to embarrass George W. Bush.”

According to USA Today, in the midst of the report’s release, Bush and his top aides have “remained low-key,” and have issued “few statements on the report’s claims that the agency exceeded its authority and lied about the results.”

Bill Harlow, the CIA’s Director of public affairs from 1997 to 2004, was in charge of the group that organized the website ciasavedlives.com, which was created shortly after the Democrats released their report.

“Our concern is that right now people are reporting the Feinstein report as if it’s true,” said Harlow. “We don’t think it’s true.”

In an editorial for the Wall Street Journal, three former CIA Directors and three former deputy directors, who were part of the group that created ciasavedlives.com, concluded that the Democrats’ report was merely a form of “politicization.”

As lamentable as the inaccuracies of the majority document are — and the impact they will have on the public’s understanding of the program — some consequences are alarming,” the former Directors wrote.


Al-Qaeda Linked Group Reportedly Seizes US-Donated Weapons from Moderate Syrian Rebels

When the Obama administration announced its plan to arm moderate rebel groups in Syria in an effort to stop ISIS’ rampage throughout the region, Senator Rand Paul warned that radical militant groups would likely seize the weapons and use them against the United States. Said Senator Paul on Fox News’ Hannity, “I’m not for arming radical jihadists, I’m not for arming radical Islam.  And I think most of the weapons – either intentionally or unintentionally – that have been given to the Syrian rebels, have basically just gone on through to ISIS.  If you give them to the moderate rebels – the so-called moderate rebels – that’s just a stopping point because ISIS takes them away.”

Now, International Business Times is reporting that Senator Paul’s prediction that American weapons would likely fall into the wrong hands may have come true. Over the weekend, al-Qaeda affiliated rebels with the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra defeated Harakat Hazm and the Syria Revolutionaries’ Front (SRF), two Free Syrian Army associated moderate rebel groups that were armed and trained by the US, after a five-day siege against the villages of Jabal al-Zawiya in Syria’s Idlib province. Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters, “Dozens of [Syria Revolutionaries’ Front leader Jamal Maarouf’s] fighters defected and joined Nusra, that is why the group won.”

Following the battle, Twitter accounts associated with al-Nusra began boasting that US-donated weapons and food aid had been seized. The list of spoils included TOW anti-tank missiles like those being fired by US-supported rebels in the above-embedded Telegraph video. The reported weapons seizure has yet to be verified by an independent source. An example report by Ar Raqqah Media, which claims that al-Nusra also seized tanks, trucks, ammo, and more during the battle, can be seen in the below screenshot.


While ISIS and al-Nusra are not officially allied and have battled each other in the past, CNN reported last month that US-led airstrikes have recently been blamed for encouraging the two groups to put aside their differences in strategy and form a coalition against the US and its allies. Raed al-Fares, a local activist in the Idlib province, told The Washington Post, “When American airstrikes targeted al-Nusra, people felt solidarity with them because Nusra are fighting the regime, and the strikes are helping the regime… Now people think that whoever in the Free Syrian Army gets support from the U.S.A. is an agent of the regime.”

Syrian analyst Aymen al-Tammimi told The Telegraph, “As a movement, the SRF is effectively finished…Nusra has driven them out of their strongholds of Idlib and Hama.” Now that the Syria Revolutionaries’ Front and Harakat Hazm have suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of al-Nusra, President Obama’s strategy of using moderate Syrian rebels as ground forces in a campaign against ISIS appears to be crumbling.

Critics Call New UN Anti-Terror Resolution “Global Patriot Act”

In the above-embedded video, Abby Martin of RT‘s Breaking the Set brought to light some of the concerns that civil liberties advocates have raised regarding the United Nations Security Council’s newly-passed anti-terrorism measure Resolution 2178, which is aimed at stopping the flow of funding to and preventing the travel of foreign fighters who attempt to cross borders to join terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda on the battlefield. RT correspondent Marina Portnaya also participated in the discussion, which considered the possible unintended consequences of the resolution’s vaguely-worded language, including fears that the text could be used by member states to target political activists.

Marina Portnaya told Martin, “…the resolution requires all UN member states to take a series of measures to prevent the movement and recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters. So, for example, law enforcement agents now have the authority to prevent and suppress what they deem as recruiting, organizing, transporting, or equipping of individuals who travel to a foreign country for the purpose of committing terrorist attacks. Officials can prevent people from traveling if they have ‘credible information that provides reasonable grounds,’ but what that actually means we don’t know because that statement wasn’t defined in the resolution.”

While UN resolutions are sometimes ignored by member states, Reuters pointed out the fact that the UN Security Council claims legal authority to enforce the measure “with economic sanctions or force” through Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Practically speaking, UN resolutions are typically more strictly enforced on smaller nations with limited military power, rather than on superpowers like those on the Security Council.

According to NPR, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2178 on September 24. Portnaya expressed her belief that the resolution passed swiftly due to the political reality that member states did not want to be seen as voting against a measure aimed at stopping ISIS’ rampage across Syria and Iraq.

In the video above, Portnaya outlined some concerns that civil liberties activists have expressed about the text, “If you read the text of the resolution, it requires governments to grant law enforcement authorities a wider scope to monitor and suppress the travel and other activities of suspected foreign terrorists, but how each country defines potential terrorists or jihadists is different. This could allow countries to monitor more people in the name of international security. Additionally, Human Rights Watch says the resolution is rampant with potential due process violations because the text doesn’t articulate the process in which suspects would be denied their right to travel, and some critics say that some provisions of the resolution actually promote the idea that people can be prosecuted for their thoughts and beliefs, but not their actions. So basically, this resolution does not specifically detail what exact criminal conduct is a prerequisite for detention.” She also voiced concerns that “[member states] could include a traveler’s previous itinerary for potential grounds for detention,” fearing that this might lead authorities to profile individuals who travel to places like the Middle East or North Africa.

The BBC notes that Resolution 2178 may be difficult to enforce, as each nation has its own anti-terrorism policies. Critics have compared its language to the USA PATRIOT Act, which has been blamed for authorizing a wide range of civil liberties abuses by the US government against its citizens.