Monday, 24 November 2014

ISIS Origins Traced to U.S. Prison in Iraq

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In yet another bizarre turn of events surrounding the “Islamic State” terrorist group, the establishment press is now reporting that the organization, sometimes known as ISIS or ISIL, was actually born, radicalized, and nurtured inside an American prison in Iraq dubbed Camp Bucca. According to numerous media reports in recent months, many of the Islamist leaders of the barbaric terror outfit — including its self-styled “caliph,” who goes by the name Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — were held and radicalized in the prison before being released. What it all means or even if it is true remains unclear, especially in light of contradictory reports and sources.

Despite being largely ignored by the establishment press, the key role played by the Obama administration and its allies in building up the “Islamic State,” of course, goes far beyond U.S. government-run prisons that reportedly helped spawn the “Islamic State” and other violent jihadist movements. From providing weapons and funding to ISIS terrorists to creating the conditions on the ground allowing them to succeed, the White House and its Islamic-dictator allies in the region have been indispensable to the “Islamic State” and its brutal campaign to create a “Caliphate” in the Middle East.    

That ISIS boss al-Baghdadi was once a detainee at a U.S. prison camp in Iraq has been widely reported since at least the summer. Still, even on this, conflicting reports and comments from officials have muddied the waters. By June of 2014, multiple media outlets were reporting that al-Baghdadi had been detained in 2005 at Camp Bucca before being released in 2009. Some reports suggest he was a mere farmer swept up in the fog of war who became radicalized only after being rounded up and put in the prison with jihadists.

Other sources, however, suggest Baghdadi, also known by another pseudonym, Abu Duaa, was a radical jihadist involved in torture, kidnapping, and murder before being detained by U.S.-led coalition forces. “Abu Duaa was connected to the intimidation, torture and murder of local civilians in Qaim,” states a 2005 Pentagon document cited in numerous media reports, with Baghdadi being identified as al-Qaeda’s “point man” in the town of Qaim. “He would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them.” Baghdadi was supposedly released from Camp Bucca in 2009.

According to the British state-funded BBC, meanwhile, Baghdadi also appears to have been a jihadist prior to his capture. The man and his associates reportedly created a Sunni militant group dubbed Jamaat Jaysh Ahl al-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah (JJASJ, or the Army of the Sunni People Group) following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Baghdadi, who reportedly has a background in Islamic theology, served as chief of the “sharia committee” for the outfit. However, without citing sources, the BBC also reported that he was detained in February of 2004 and released in December of that year as somebody who allegedly did not represent a high-level threat.

Whether Baghdadi was actually released from Camp Bucca in 2004 or 2009 remains unclear. Conflicting establishment media reports and supposed U.S. government sources alternatively report both possibilities as fact. The original source of the claim that Baghdadi and his co-conspirators were in Bucca plotting until 2009 appears to have been an interview with the former commander of the prison, Colonel Kenneth King, who said he remembered Baghdadi. “He was a bad dude, but he wasn’t the worst of the worst,” King told the Daily Beast.

However, Politifact, always eager to defend Obama from his critics, disputed reports that Baghdadi was set free in 2009 on Obama’s watch and tried to discredit pundits who lambasted the U.S. president. “Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badry, also known as ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ was held as a ‘civilian internee’ by U.S. Forces-Iraq from early February 2004 until early December 2004, when he was released,” the Pentagon told Politifact in statement, contradicting countless media reports and official sources. “He was held at Camp Bucca. A Combined Review and Release Board recommended ‘unconditional release’ of this detainee and he was released from U.S. custody shortly thereafter. We have no record of him being held at any other time.”

One possible explanation for the conflicting reports was provided by U.K. Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb, identified as a former British special forces commander who helped fight al-Qaeda in Iraq during the occupation. “We either arrested or killed a man of that name about half a dozen times, he is like a wraith who keeps reappearing, and I am not sure where fact and fiction meet,” he told the U.K. Telegraph, further muddying the waters. “There are those who want to promote the idea that this man is invincible, when it may actually be several people using the same nom de guerre.” Other analysts have suggested that the reason it is so hard to determine the background of Baghdadi and his fellow jihadists is that they are working with foreign intelligence agencies.

Either way, in recent months, the establishment press has continued to promote the 2009 narrative, suggesting that Camp Bucca birthed and nurtured the terror group known as the “Islamic State” today. “Before their detention, Mr. al-Baghdadi and others were violent radicals, intent on attacking America,” argued Iraq War veteran Andrew Thompson and University of Texas at Austin Professor Jeremi Suri in an opinion piece for the New York Times last month. “Their time in prison deepened their extremism and gave them opportunities to broaden their following.… The prisons became virtual terrorist universities: The hardened radicals were the professors, the other detainees were the students, and the prison authorities played the role of absent custodian.”

The Washington Post also ran with the narrative, featuring a major story this month, headlined “How the Islamic State evolved in an American prison,” that was picked up around the world. The article begins by recounting a mass release of hundreds of prisoners from Camp Bucca in 2009 — 90 percent of whom local Iraqi officials estimated would resume fighting. “The camp now represents an opening chapter in the history of the Islamic State — many of its leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, were incarcerated and probably met there,” the Post reported.

Citing prison commanders, analysts, and troops, the paper said Bucca “provided a unique setting for both prisoner radicalization and inmate collaboration — and was formative in the development of today’s most potent jihadist force.” One former commander of the prison was quoted as saying on Twitter that many officials at Camp Bucca were concerned that they had created a “pressure cooker for extremism.” Apparently detainees were even allowed to run their own sharia courts in the prison, doling out brutal punishments to each other.

In all, as many as 100,000 detainees reportedly went through the prison, ranging from former officials in the relatively secular Saddam Hussein regime to violent Islamists obsessed with waging jihad against forces they consider to be against Islam. The mix of Saddam’s bureaucratic enforcers with radical jihadists was supposedly explosive, with Islamists obtaining organization and military skills while former bureaucrats gained a “purpose” from the jihadists. Former inmates at the prison were quoted as calling it an “al Qaeda school” — the beginning of ISIS.

Of course, much of the establishment media reporting surrounding Camp Bucca as the birthplace of ISIS, whether deliberately or not, serves a number of purposes. For one, it distracts from the something far more explosive — at least a U.S. prison serving as an “al Qaeda school" can be explained away as dumb policy. Far more revealing and important to the discussion, though, is the blatant role of Obama’s supposed “anti-ISIS” coalition in creating, funding, arming, and training those same jihadist terrorists to overthrow the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. Vice President Joe Biden admitted as much during a recent speech at Harvard.

Whether ISIS leaders did or did not decide to join forces at an American prison camp in Iraq is no longer the primary issue. What matters at this point is that Congress and Obama are still showering weapons and U.S. taxpayer support on violent jihadists — many of whom are either already working for al-Qaeda and ISIS, or likely to follow their comrades and defect to those terror groups in the future. To avoid more calamities in the future, such as the U.S. government-aided rise of both al-Qaeda and ISIS, the American people ought to demand that their elected representatives follow the U.S. Constitution and non-interventionist advice of the Founding Fathers. The consequences of ignoring them are now plain for all to see.

Photo of insurgents:

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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