By Mintpress News. WikiLeaks brought renewed attention to an audio recording in which Secretary of State John Kerry admits not only that he supported war in Syria for the purpose of overthrowing the government, but that the United States knew about the strength of terrorist groups in the region and allowed them to grow yet more powerful. Originally leaked to The New York Times in late September and published in its entirety by CNN shortly after, the recording is of a meeting the secretary of state had with Syrian civilians at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations in September. CNN has since removed the audio, but left a description of its contents along with an editor’s note claiming the file had been removed “at the request of some of the participants out of concern for their safety.”
By Sarah Aziza for Waging Nonviolence – Just hours after Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the United States is preparing to launch an offensive against the Syrian city of Raqqa, Abdalaziz Alhamza, a 25-year-old Raqqa native, spoke to a New York City audience about his hometown. Before the Islamic State captured the city in 2014, he recalled, few people outside of Syria had heard of Raqqa, “but now, most people hear about our city as the capital of ISIS.”
By Nafeez Ahmed for Information Clearing House – September 18, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Medium” – A former senior counter-terrorism official in Turkey has blown the whistle on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deliberate sponsorship of the Islamic State (ISIS) as a geopolitical tool to expand Turkey’s regional influence and sideline his political opponents at home. Ahmet Sait Yayla was Chief of the Counter-Terrorism and Operations Division of Turkish National Police between 2010 and 2012, before becoming Chief of the Public Order and Crime Prevention Division until 2014.
By Joshua Eaton for the Intercept. In February 2004, U.S. troops brought a man named Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and assigned him serial number US9IZ-157911CI. The prison was about to become international news, but the prisoner would remain largely unknown for the next decade. At the time the man was brought in, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba was finalizing his report on allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib’s Hard Site — a prison building used to house detainees singled out for their alleged violence or their perceived intelligence value. Just weeks later, the first pictures of detainee abuse were published on CBS News and in the New Yorker. Today, detainee US9IZ-157911CI is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. His presence at Abu Ghraib, a fact not previously made public, provides yet another possible key to the enigmatic leader’s biography and may shed new light on the role U.S. detention facilities played in the rise of the Islamic State.
By the United National Antiwar Committee. (August 7, 2016) The recent bombing of Libya is a continuation of the seven months long campaign of bombing carried out five years ago. At that time the U.S. and its NATO allies succeeded in destroying that country’s government and assassinating President Gaddafi. Prior to that attack, Libya was the most prosperous country in Africa, with the highest standard of living and health care, education and other social benefits for its people. Today it is a failed state, a wasteland that is bleeding refugees to Europe, Tunisia and other countries seeking to escape the horror that the U.S. and NATO have created. The most recent bombing, ostensibly to combat ISIS, will not bring security to the people of Libya, but will continue the destruction of that country and cause more civilian casualties and refugees.
By Haider Newmani for The Guardian – US and coalition military forces continue to attack Isis territories in Iraq, while Iraqi ground troops prepare to retake the city of Mosul from the grip of the terrorist group. As Isis loses ground in Iraq, it escalates its violent campaign against civilians. On Sunday, a suicide bomber attacked a security checkpoint in my home city, Baghdad, killing at least 14 people. It followed the attacks on 3 July in the same city – the city I fled to become an asylum seeker in America after losing multiple family members and friends.
By Bryan MacDonald for RT – According to statements made at last weekend’s summit in Warsaw, NATO regards Russia as a bigger threat than ISIS. Of course, that’s ludicrous but when you scratch beneath the surface, the use of these falsehoods makes perverted sense. Gleb is a Russian student in Dublin. Recently, at the request of a mutual friend, I’ve been helping him with his university thesis which focuses on the reasons Ireland is one of the few Western European countries that has resisted NATO membership. A distinction that most Irish people are extremely proud of.
By Andre Vltchek for Dissident Voice. Lebanon cannot stand on its feet, anymore. It is overwhelmed, frightened and broke. It stands on the frontline, facing the ISIS in the east and north, a hostile Israel in the south and the deep blue sea to the west. 1.5 million (mostly Syrian) refugees are dispersed all over its tiny territory. Its economy is collapsing and infrastructure crumbling. The ISIS is right at the border with Syria, literally next door, or even with one foot inside Lebanon, periodically invading, and setting up countless “dormant cells” in all Lebanese cities and all over its countryside. Hezbollah is fighting the ISIS, but the West and Saudi Arabia apparently consider Hezbollah, not the ISIS, to be the major menace to their geopolitical interests.
By Andre Vltchek for Dissident Voice – Day and night, for years, an overwhelming force has been battering this quiet nation, one of the cradles of human civilization. Hundreds of thousands have died, and millions have been forced to flee abroad or have been internally displaced. In many cities and villages, not one house is left intact. But Syria is, against all odds, still standing. During the last 3 years I worked in almost all of Syria’s perimeters, exposing the birth of ISIS in the NATO-run camps built in Turkey and Jordan.
By Matthew Johnson for Popular Resistance. Dear Westerners: Muslims and Islam are not the enemy of the West. I wish this statement was without controversy, but with the rising tide of Islamophobia (i.e. irrational fear of Muslims) in the United States and elsewhere, it is clear that it is not. There are many out there who cling tightly to the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ propaganda or otherwise insist that there is a notable difference between Islam and other religions, Muslims and the rest of us, and so on. I deplore you to reject this falsehood in the spirit of the holidays and think beyond your immediate family to the human family, which includes more than a billion Muslims who are not going anywhere.
By Dennis Trainor, Jr. for Acroynm TV. Dennis Trainor, Jr. or Acroynm TV takes a look back on some of the biggest stories of 2015 including what to do about the threat of ISIS abroad and what to think of the San Bernardino mass shooting at home; from the unlikely rise of a socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont and the ugly reality of real estate mogul Donald Trump’s appeal; his stint working with Jill Stein, #BlackLivesMatter puts a focus on racism at universities, the cost of Manifest Destiny’s Child, American Empire, in Syria and the Middle East, what could we do without all of that spending on the military? Trainor takes a look at all of that and more in the Acronym TV 2015 year in review.
By Serina Sandhu for Independent – Organisers of an anti-Isis march in London have spoken of their frustration after mainstream media outlets failed to cover the demonstration. Thousands of people took part in the annual UK Arbaeen Procession, coordinated by the Husaini Islamic Trust UK, on Sunday. Although Shia Muslims take part in the march each year to mark the Arbaeen, or mourning, anniversary of Imam Husain – a seventh-century leader who fought for social justice – this year organisers decided to use the event as a platform to denounce terrorism following the recent Isis attacks in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere.
By Dennis Trainor for ACRONYM TV and Occupy.com. If US foreign policy has delivered blowback, and it has; has created ISIS, and it has; has exacerbated the refugee crisis; and it has– and has created of itself an Imperial Empire that requires the pillaging of resources, 700 military bases around the world with a military that is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate which in turn creates the conditions that gave rise to the civil war in Syria – and it did, than the last thing we need is US foreign policy on steroids – which is what Donald Trump is offering. Also, #Cop21 – A Hail Mary for Humanity It is one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever coming together for two weeks in Paris with the publicly stated objective of reaching an agreement to deal with the worst consequences of climate change that human behavior has already caused- and, essentially to radically alter that behavior forging what many called the planet’s last, best hope to stave off the worst consequences of climate change.
By Chelsea Manning for the Guardian. Following the horrific attacks by Isis terrorists in Paris and Beirut, we have rapidly seen blatant pandering to xenophobia on a disturbing scale and scope. Leaders throughout the US and Europe have demanded that authorities stifle the flow of migrants seeking asylum, and to increase the size and depths of intelligence and law enforcement powers in the US and Europe. I don’t have all the answers – but I do know that blaming minority groups, refugees and immigrants, investing in gigantic surveillance platforms and calling for expansive legal authority and the creation of a neo-Gestapo and panopticon-style police state aren’t one of them. Even in the weeks and months before the attacks, rightwing parties in Europe – most notably the National Front in France – have attempted to exploit a rising xenophobic sentiment following this year’s influx of migrants seeking refuge from Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. Immediately following the attacks such fears have “gone viral” in a way that is disturbing and frightening.