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ISIS’s Al-Baghdadi resurfaces alive and well

ISIS publishes long recording by Al-Baghdadi, refuting Russian claims ISIS leader was killed in an air strike

Alexander Mercouris

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Conclusive evidence that ISIS’s leader, the man known as Ibrahim Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is still alive despite Russian claims earlier this year that he was killed in a Russian air strike, has appeared in the form of a 46 minute long recording from Al-Baghdadi himself, which must have been made recently – after the date of the air strike in which it was claimed he was killed – since it refers to the Iraqi army’s recapture of Mosul and North Korea’s recent nuclear tests.

Publication of the recording incidentally confirms that Al-Baghdadi’s authority within ISIS is undiminished despite ISIS’s recent defeats, and that within ISIS he continues to be accepted as Islam’s true Caliph and therefore as ISIS’s undisputed leader.

When the Russian claims of Al-Baghdadi’s death originally appeared I was skeptical about them.  I pointed out that within ISIS’s centralised theocratic autocracy the killing of the ‘Caliph’ – ie. of Al-Baghdadi – would be expected to have an immediate and visible impact, of which there was no sign.

Al-Baghdadi’s death has not been confirmed, and the Russian claim so far is only tentative.  The BBC is reporting that ‘chatter’ on Jihadi websites – usually a strong indicator that some important Jihadi figure has been killed – is muted, though that could be more an indication of the lengths ISIS is taking to conceal news of Al-Baghdadi’s death rather than a sign that the news is untrue.

Perhaps a stronger sign that Al-Baghdadi is alive is that there has so far been no visible weakening of ISIS’s resolve.  Though ISIS is everywhere in retreat, its fighters continue to put up a passionate resistance in Mosul, it continues its efforts to storm Deir Ezzor, and its well-oiled propaganda machine, complete with its slick ‘news agency’ Amaq, functions much as before.

That suggests that the central leadership of ISIS is continuing to operate as normal, whereas one would expect if Al-Baghdadi were dead that some signs of disruption would be visible.

I also pointed out that the destruction by ISIS of the Great Mosque of Mosul – the place where Al-Baghdadi originally proclaimed his Caliphate – also provided indirect evidence that Al-Baghdadi was still alive, since it looked like something he had ordered himself.

Almost certainly it was Al-Baghdadi himself who ordered the Great Mosque’s destruction, just as it was almost certainly he who back in October ordered that Mosul be defended rather than handed over to the Iraqi army.

That points to Al-Baghdadi probably being being still alive despite suggestions from the Russians a few days ago that he may have been killed in a Russian air strike.  I say probably because Al-Baghdadi almost certainly gave the order that the Great Mosque be destroyed rather than be allowed to fall into ‘apostate’ hands some time ago, as shown by the carefully planned way its destruction has been carried out.

However even though the order to destroy the Great Mosque was undoubtedly given some time ago, there has to be a question whether the ISIS fighters in Mosul would have acted on the order if Al-Baghdadi was dead.  Though the communications of the remaining ISIS fighters trapped in Mosul with ISIS’s leadership are doubtless sporadic and being monitored, I still think that before taking such a step they would have sought final authorisation from ISIS’s leadership – probably through a coded message – and that this would have required the agreement of Al-Baghdadi himself.

Subsequently, when the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on the basis of what it claimed was information it had been provided by sources within ISIS that Al-Baghdadi was dead, I revised my view, and began to think that he might be dead after all.  It now turns out that it was my original skepticism which was right.

I suspect that some of the supposed ‘clues’ of Al-Baghdadi death, of which the report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was just one, were part of a false trail intentionally laid by ISIS in order to facilitate Al-Baghdadi’s escape from Mosul or Raqqa or wherever else he was hiding.

If so then the fact Al-Baghdadi now feels able to publish his latest recording may be a sign that he now is somewhere where he feels safe.

Though the likelihood must be that this is somewhere south of the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, where the rest of ISIS’s leadership is known to have relocated, it cannot be completed excluded that he has fled Syria and Iraq entirely, and that he is now based somewhere else where ISIS has a presence, such as Afghanistan or Libya.

I would finish by making two further observations about Al-Bagdhadi’s recording.

Firstly, there is no doubt that the recording is by Al-Baghdadi himself.  Some people who still want to believe that Al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian air strike will no doubt deny this, and will claim the recording is a fake.  However the recording is undoubtedly genuine and by Al-Baghdadi himself.

Secondly, the recording is basically a call for ISIS to keep fighting with the assurance of final victory despite all the ongoing defeats.  However it offers no practical explanation of how that victory will be achieved, or of how what now looks like ISIS’s inevitable defeat will be avoided.

As such it reminded me of Hitler’s last public speech – delivered on 30th January 1945 – which in similarly mystical language laced with invocations of God, called on the German people to keep fighting to the bitter end until final victory was achieved, without however offering any practical indication of how that victory would be won.

Comparisons of contemporary world leaders with Hitler are made far too often, and should generally be avoided.  The case of Al-Baghdadi is however something of an exception.

Like Hitler Al-Baghdadi is someone who came out of nowhere, managed amidst much horror and devastation to achieve extraordinary power in a remarkably short time, and who continues to retain the fanatical loyalty of his followers, and seems certain to go on doing so right up to the bitter end.

The final parallel, and in some ways the most fitting but also – given Al-Baghdadi’s position as a Middle East leader who is also the leader of a fanatical religious cult – the most extraordinary, is that as was the case with Hitler, it is the Russian army which seems to be the force which principally acting to bring his reign to an end.

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André De Koning
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André De Koning

Fine article and “bad news” the man is still there to incite murder and hatred.
Regarding the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: a one man band that has misled numerous media outlets, including the BBC and The Guardian. Why they never check who and what this source is about, is amazing! They have spread the most ridiculous fake news.

Joel W
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Joel W

So is he the offspring of a Weeble and Whack-a-Mole? Knock him over, put him down, but he keeps popping right back up? Obviously the US’s fight against them is complete BS, but I really thought with Russia thinking they got him, he’d be gone. Hope they were merely mistaken and not playing both sides like our Neocon devils are.

seby
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seby

So he is “safe and warm” in the bungalow at the back of john mccain’s place! I wonder when he will get invited to the whitehouse as a “freedom fighter” since Russia are “more dangerous” than isis the wh spruikers say.

Tiffani Drew
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Tiffani Drew

Soon, soon.

seby
Guest
seby

🙂

S.M. De Kuyper
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S.M. De Kuyper

I would guess his life has nothing to do with the US except they desperately need him alive, which wish alone in enough to kill him, so he’d stay far away from them.

seby
Guest
seby

Could be being set up for another “killing bin laden” kind of charade. Seymour Hersh will later expose it as a fraud, get a prize and the same old crap will keep going on until the American people really pull their heads out of the militarists arses and start a genuine anti-war movement. Forget voting for “anti-war” candidates after the last two bullshit artists. “If their lips are moving most politicians are lying” to paraphrase kindly.

mikhas
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mikhas

He is probably alive and well at some US occupation base in Syria together with other US trained assets like those that were flown out to safety from Deir Ezzor as SAA and the Russians were approaching.

Tiffani Drew
Guest
Tiffani Drew

You got it.

Dot
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Dot

Just like Santa, there’s one on every street corner as needed.

Ike
Guest
Ike

As ISIS is a CIA asset videos of Al Rubbish Bagi are performed by a hollywood actor who has mastered the Arabic language. This narrows it down to….well… Omar Sharif. Unfortunately he is long dead. The only conclusion then is that this is a holographic image and the mainstream media is leading us down the garden path once again.

S.M. De Kuyper
Guest
S.M. De Kuyper

Al-Bagdadi alive and well, but more important is Alexander’s comment on Hitler and the Russians. He is correct, that similarities are incredible, and, no coincidence.

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New York Times hit piece on Trump and NATO exposes alliance as outdated and obsolete (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 61.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the New York Times hit piece citing anonymous sources, with information that the U.S. President dared to question NATO’s viability.

Propaganda rag, the NYT, launched its latest presidential smear aimed at discrediting Trump and provoking the establishment, warmonger left into more impeachment – Twenty-fifth Amendment talking points.

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Via The American Conservative


The New York Times scored a serious scoop when it revealed on Monday that President Trump had questioned in governmental conversations—on more than one occasion, apparently—America’s membership in NATO. Unfortunately the paper then slipped into its typical mode of nostrum journalism. My Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “nostrum” as “quack medicine” entailing “exaggerated claims.” Here we had quack journalism executed in behalf of quack diplomacy.

The central exaggerated claim is contained in the first sentence, in which it is averred that NATO had “deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” This is wrong, as can be seen through just a spare amount of history.

True, NATO saved Europe from the menace of Russian Bolshevism. But it did so not over 70 years but over 40 years—from 1949 to 1989. That’s when the Soviet Union had 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops poised on Western Europe’s doorstep, positioned for an invasion of Europe through the lowlands of Germany’s Fulda Gap.

How was this possible? It was possible because Joseph Stalin had pushed his armies farther and farther into the West as the German Wehrmacht collapsed at the end of World War II. In doing so, and in the process capturing nearly all of Eastern Europe, he ensured that the Soviets had no Western enemies within a thousand miles of Leningrad or within 1,200 miles of Moscow. This vast territory represented not only security for the Russian motherland (which enjoys no natural geographical barriers to deter invasion from the West) but also a potent staging area for an invasion of Western Europe.

The first deterrent against such an invasion, which Stalin would have promulgated had he thought he could get away with it, was America’s nuclear monopoly. By the time that was lost, NATO had emerged as a powerful and very necessary deterrent. The Soviets, concluding that the cost of an invasion was too high, defaulted to a strategy of undermining Western interests anywhere around the world where that was possible. The result was global tensions stirred up at various global trouble spots, most notably Korea and Vietnam.

But Europe was saved, and NATO was the key. It deserves our respect and even reverence for its profound success as a military alliance during a time of serious threat to the West.

But then the threat went away. Gone were the 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops. Gone was Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Indeed, gone, by 1991, was the Soviet Union itself, an artificial regime of brutal ideology superimposed upon the cultural entity of Mother Russia. It was a time for celebration.

But it was also a time to contemplate the precise nature of the change that had washed over the world and to ponder what that might mean for old institutions—including NATO, a defensive military alliance created to deter aggression from a menacing enemy to the east. Here’s where Western thinking went awry. Rather than accepting as a great benefit the favorable developments enhancing Western security—the Soviet military retreat, the territorial reversal, the Soviet demise—the West turned NATO into a territorial aggressor of its own, absorbing nations that had been part of the Soviet sphere of control and pushing right up to the Russian border. Now Leningrad (renamed St. Petersburg after the obliteration of the menace of Soviet communism) resides within a hundred miles of NATO military forces, while Moscow is merely 200 miles from Western troops.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has absorbed 13 nations, some on the Russian border, others bordering lands that had been part of Russia’s sphere of interest for centuries. This constitutes a policy of encirclement, which no nation can accept without protest or pushback. And if NATO were to absorb those lands of traditional Russian influence—particularly Ukraine and Georgia—that would constitute a major threat to Russian security, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to emphasize to Western leaders for years.

So, no, NATO has not deterred Russian aggression for 70 years. It did so for 40 and has maintained a destabilizing posture toward Russia ever since. The problem here is the West’s inability to perceive how changed geopolitical circumstances might require a changed geopolitical strategy. The encirclement strategy has had plenty of critics—George Kennan before he died; academics John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Robert David English; former diplomat Jack Matlock; the editors of The Nation. But their voices have tended to get drowned out by the nostrum diplomacy and the nostrum journalism that supports it at every turn.

You can’t drown out Donald Trump because he’s president of the United States. And so he has to be traduced, ridiculed, dismissed, and marginalized. That’s what the Times story, by Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper, sought to do. Consider the lead, designed to emphasize just how outlandish Trump’s musings are before the reader even has a chance to absorb what he may have been thinking: “There are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” Translation: “Take that, Mr. President! You’re an idiot.”

Henry Kissinger had something interesting to say about Trump in a recent interview with the Financial Times. “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history,” said the former secretary of state, “who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses.” One Western pretense about Russia, so ardently enforced by the likes of Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper (who, it may be safe to say, know less about world affairs and their history than Henry Kissinger), is that nothing really changed with the Soviet collapse and NATO had to turn aggressive in order to keep that menacing nation in its place.

Trump clearly doesn’t buy that pretense. He said during the campaign that NATO was obsolete. Then he backtracked, saying he only wanted other NATO members to pay their fair share of the cost of deterrence. He even confessed, after Hillary Clinton identified NATO as “the strongest military alliance in the history of the world,” that he only said NATO was obsolete because he didn’t know much about it. But he was learning—enough, it appears, to support as president Montenegro’s entry into NATO in 2017. Is Montenegro, with 5,332 square miles and some 620,000 citizens, really a crucial element in Europe’s desperate project to protect itself against Putin’s Russia?

We all know that Trump is a crude figure—not just in his disgusting discourse but in his fumbling efforts to execute political decisions. As a politician, he often seems like a doctor attempting to perform open-heart surgery while wearing mittens. His idle musings about leaving NATO are a case in point—an example of a politician who lacks the skill and finesse to nudge the country in necessary new directions.

But Kissinger has a point about the man. America and the world have changed, while the old ways of thinking have not kept pace. The pretenses of the old have blinded the status quo defenders into thinking nothing has changed. Trump, almost alone among contemporary American politicians, is asking questions to which the world needs new answers. NATO, in its current configuration and outlook, is a danger to peace, not a guarantor of it.


Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century

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Nigel Farage To Back Another “Vote Leave” Campaign If UK Holds Second Brexit Referendum

Nigel Farage said Friday that he would be willing to wage another “Vote Leave” campaign, even if he needed to use another party as the “vehicle” for his opposition.

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Via Zerohedge


Pro-European MPs from various political parties are pushing back against claims made by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government that a second Brexit referendum – which supporters have branded as a “People’s Vote” on May’s deal – would take roughly 14 months to organize, according to RT.

But while support for a second vote grows, one of the most notorious proponents of the original “Vote Leave” campaign is hinting at a possible return to politics to try and fight the effort.

After abandoning UKIP, the party he helped create, late last year, Nigel Farage said Friday that he would be willing to wage another “Vote Leave” campaign, even if he needed to use another party as the “vehicle” for his opposition. Farage also pointed out that a delay of Brexit Day would likely put it after the European Parliament elections in May.

“I think, I fear that the House of Commons is going to effectively overturn that Brexit. To me, the most likely outcome of all of this is an extension of Article 50. There could be another referendum,” he told Sky News.

According to official government guidance shown to lawmakers on Wednesday, which was subsequently leaked to the Telegraph, as May tries to head off a push by ministers who see a second referendum as the best viable alternative to May’s deal – a position that’s becoming increasingly popular with Labour Party MPs.

“In order to inform the discussions, a very short paper set out in factual detail the number of months that would be required, this was illustrative only and our position of course is that there will be no second referendum,,” May said. The statement comes as May has been meeting with ministers and leaders from all parties to try to find a consensus deal that could potentially pass in the House of Commons.

The 14 month estimate is how long May and her government expect it would take to pass the primary legislation calling for the referendum (seven months), conduct the question testing with the election committee (12 weeks), pass secondary legislation (six weeks) and conduct the campaigns (16 weeks).

May has repeatedly insisted that a second referendum wouldn’t be feasible because it would require a lengthy delay of Brexit Day, and because it would set a dangerous precedent that wouldn’t offer any more clarity (if some MPs are unhappy with the outcome, couldn’t they just push for a third referendum?). A spokesperson for No. 10 Downing Street said the guidance was produced purely for the purpose of “illustrative discussion” and that the government continued to oppose another vote.

Meanwhile, a vote on May’s “Plan B”, expected to include a few minor alterations from the deal’s previous iteration, has been called for Jan. 29, prompting some MPs to accuse May of trying to run out the clock. May is expected to present the new deal on Monday.

Former Tory Attorney General and pro-remainer MP Dominic Grieve blasted May’s timetable as wrong and said that the government “must be aware of it themselves,” while former Justice Minister Dr Phillip Lee, who resigned his cabinet seat in June over May’s Brexit policy, denounced her warning as “nonsense.”

As May pieces together her revised deal, more MPs are urging her to drop her infamous “red lines” (Labour in particular would like to see the UK remain part of the Customs Union), but with no clear alternative to May’s plan emerging, a delay of Brexit Day is looking like a virtual certainty.

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The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

The National Security Agency values being able to blackmail citizens and members of government at home and abroad more than preventing terrorist attacks.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Via Paul Craig Roberts…


Years before Edward Snowden provided documented proof that the National Security Agency was really a national insecurity agency as it was violating law and the US Constitution and spying indiscriminately on American citizens, William Binney, who designed and developed the NSA spy program revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying. Binney turned whistleblower, because NSA was using the program to spy on Americans. As Binney was well known to the US Congress, he did not think he needed any NSA document to make his case. But what he found out was “Congress would never hear me because then they’d lose plausible deniability. That was really their key. They needed to have plausible deniability so they can continue this massive spying program because it gave them power over everybody in the world. Even the members of Congress had power against others [in Congress]; they had power on judges on the Supreme Court, the federal judges, all of them. That’s why they’re so afraid. Everybody’s afraid because all this data that’s about them, the central agencies — the intelligence agencies — they have it. And that’s why Senator Schumer warned President Trump earlier, a few months ago, that he shouldn’t attack the intelligence community because they’ve got six ways to Sunday to come at you. That’s because it’s like J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids. . . . it’s leverage against every member of parliament and every government in the world.”

To prevent whistle-blowing, NSA has “a program now called ‘see something, say something’ about your fellow workers. That’s what the Stasi did. That’s why I call [NSA] the new New Stasi Agency. They’re picking up all the techniques from the Stasi and the KGB and the Gestapo and the SS. They just aren’t getting violent yet that we know of — internally in the US, outside is another story.”

As Binney had no documents to give to the media, blowing the whistle had no consequence for NSA. This is the reason that Snowden released the documents that proved NSA to be violating both law and the Constitution, but the corrupt US media focused blame on Snowden as a “traitor” and not on NSA for its violations.

Whistleblowers are protected by federal law. Regardless, the corrupt US government tried to prosecute Binney for speaking out, but as he had taken no classified document, a case could not be fabricated against him.

Binney blames the NSA’s law-breaking on Dick “Darth” Cheney. He says NSA’s violations of law and Constitution are so extreme that they would have to have been cleared at the top of the government.

Binney describes the spy network, explains that it was supposed to operate only against foreign enemies, and that using it for universal spying so overloads the system with data that the system fails to discover many terrorist activities. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50932.htm

Apparently, the National Security Agency values being able to blackmail citizens and members of government at home and abroad more than preventing terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately for Americans, there are many Americans who blindly trust the government and provide the means, the misuse of which is used to enslave us. A large percentage of the work in science and technology serves not to free people but to enslave them. By now there is no excuse for scientists and engineers not to know this. Yet they persist in their construction of the means to destroy liberty.

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