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FTR #880 The ISIS File: The Myth of the Moderates

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. [1] The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by late spring of 2015. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more) contains FTR #850 [1].  

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This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment [6]


Introduction: With reportage of ISIS dominating the news cycle in the aftermath of the second Paris massacre [8] of this calendar year (“Machiavelli 3.0”?) and the San Bernardino shootings, we explore the genesis and operations of the organization. (Please examine this show–the description for it in particular–to see the extent to which it frames the political rhetoric on the Islamist and “Euro-reactionary” sides. That rhetorical dynamic has only increased in the wake of the most recent attacks.)

[9]We begin by reviewing the fact that evidence that CIA is aiding [10] the so-called “moderate” rebels in Syria, and by extension, ISIS, is strong. They are working with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in that capacity.

This should be evaluated against the background of: the use of Islamists as proxy warriors against Russia and China; the transnational corporations embrace of the “corporatist” economics of the Muslim Brotherhood (parent institution of al-Qaeda and its related organizations) and the highly mutable [11] nature of the Islamist militants in Syria (elements of the Nusra Front–an al-Qaeda affiliate–have readily embraced ISIS).

After reviewing ISIS founder al-Baghradi’s “former” membership [12] in the Muslim Brotherhood, we examine [13] several articles relating information [14] from a de-classified DIA document [15] that details the support of American allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar for the establishment of a Sunni caliphate in Syria as part of the pressure on President Assad.

Even Vice President Joe Biden noted the role [16] of America’s allies in the growth of ISIS (failing to mention covert support for their efforts by elements of CIA.)

A VERY telling comment was made in October by the chief of Turkish intelligence. In effect, it was an oblique endorsement [17] of ISIS.

The program reviews a short quote from Zbigniew Brzezinski, read by Elizabeth Gould in FTR #872 [18]. Brzezinski is quite open about the utility of using Islamists to destabilize Russia and China.

We note in that context that the Al Kifah organization switched its focus [19] from supporting the Mujahadin in Afghanistan to supporting the Islamists from Chechnya. ISIS appears to have drawn heavily on Chechnyan jihadists and now Chechens have materialized in Ukraine.

Program Highlights Include:

1a. The evidence that elements of CIA is aiding the so-called “moderate” rebels in Syria, and by extension, ISIS, is strong. They are working with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in that capacity.

“C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition” by Eric Schmitt; The New York Times; 6/21/2012. [10]

A small number of C.I.A. [27] officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria [28]’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said. . . .

1b. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been identified by key Muslim Brotherhood cleric Youssef Qaradawi as a “former” member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the article below, note that Qaradawi notes the key terrorist leaders that were “former” members of the Brotherhood. The “former” is to be taken with a huge dose of salt–Muslim fascists are as capable as European and American fascists at implementing “plausible deniability.”

“FEATURED: Youssef Qaradawi Says ISIS Leader Was Once Muslim Brotherhood; First English Translation of Statement”; Global Muslim Brotherhood Watch; 10/21/2014. [12]

The GMBDW has discovered what appears to be the first English translation of the video in which Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi can be seen referring to what is almost certainly Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and explaining that he was once a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. At time 0:44 of the video [29], posted on the Brotherhoodwatch.co.uk website, Qaradawi refers to “this youngster” who once belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood but desiring leadership and after a period in prison (al-Baghdadi is thought [30] to have spent five years in an American detention facility) went on to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS). It would appear that al-Baghdadi joins the ranks of other infamous terrorist leaders such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Khalid Meshalal who once belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood before going on to joining leading terrorist organizations. In the video (time 1:12), Qaradawi also refers to unidentified “youngsters” from Qatar who also joined ISIS. . . . .

1c. Our recent series of programs featuring Peter Levenda discussing The Hitler Legacy highlighted the genesis of “weaponized Islam” and the use of jihadists as proxy warriors by Imperial Germany [31] in World War I [32], Nazi Germany in World War II and, finally, the U.S. and the West [33] during the Cold War. [34]

In FTR #773 [35], we noted the circumstances surrounding the Boston Marathon Bombing. In that program, we opined that the evidence suggested very strongly that elements of U.S. and Western intelligence were continuing to use jihadists as “proxy warriors,” in this case against Russia in the Caucasus.

In that program, we also suggested that the Boston Marathon Bombing itself, like 9/11, was “blowback” from our continued use of Islamic fascists as proxies.

We have also noted that, in effect, there is a proxy war component to the burgeoning Shia/Sunni conflict in the Middle East. Russia is supportive of the Shiite national combatant forces–Iran and Syria, primarily. This appears to be a gambit intended, in part, to shield Russia’s southern flank from further assault by Sunni proxy warriors.


Alparslan Celik & Friends give the Grey Wolf hand sign. They executed the pilot of the Su-24.

There have been indications of Saudi pre-planning their anti-Shiite crusade. Prince Bandar spoke ominously of a day of retribution against Shiites. In addition, we have discussed the “corporatist” economic viewpoint of the Muslim Brotherhood, an ideology that frames that organization in the same context as Hitler, Mussolini and Imperial Japan [37]. Although those countries were bitter opponents of the U.S. and democracy itself, their anti-communist and fascist [“corporatist”] ideology made them desirable to the transnational corporations that helped to spawn the fascist powers in the first place.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and, very possibly ISIS. (It’s head is a “former” member of the Brotherhood.)

It should be understood that, for the transnationals and the GOP and other political elements that support them and are, in turn, supported by them, the U.S. casualties from World War II, the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the Boston Marathon Bombing are acceptable losses.” They are collateral damage, acceptable under the circumstances.

Attacks like the Paris incidents of 2015 also serve as a de facto “strategy of tension,” buttressing the far-right and the forces of reaction and justifying intrusions on civil liberties. Although we don’t think this is the primary motivation for the Western intelligence collaboration with Sunni jihadists, the benefits of the “blowback” are considerable and welcomed by fascists in this country and others.


ISIS recruits pledging allegiance. They are NOT auditioning for an anti-perspirant commercial.

A recent post by German Foreign Policy fleshes out this line of inquiry. (German Foreign Policy feeds along the lower right hand side of the front page of this website.)

“The Jihad’s Usefulness (II);” german-foreign-policy.com; 5/28/2015. [13]

A recently declassified memo of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reveals that the West had supported the creation of the “Islamic State” (IS). Using jihadist forces has been a Western tradition for decades, as the Afghanistan war in the 1980s and an analysis of the Western power struggle with Iran (especially since 2003) show. In the 1980s, western countries – in collaboration with Saudi Arabia – had supported jihadists associated with Osama bin Laden, to defeat Soviet military forces in Afghanistan. Since at least ten years, they have been supporting Arab jihadists in an effort to weaken Iran’s main allies. These activities, accompanying the official “war on terror,” are “a very high-risk venture,” warn US intelligence officials. Saudi Arabia, one of Germany’s main allies in the Arab world, is playing a central role in supporting jihadists.

Against the Soviet Union

Western powers first used modern jihadism on a major scale during the 1980s in Afghanistan. In their quest to defeat the pro-Soviet Afghan government and the Soviet military stationed in Afghanistan, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany and other NATO member countries banked, not only on the Afghan Mujahidin, but also Arab jihadists, including Osama bin Laden.[1] The then little known Osama bin Laden, and the other jihadists were promoted with Saudi Arabia’s financial and logistical support. The head of Saudi foreign intelligence at the time and Bin Laden’s contact person, Prince Turki al Faisal bin Abdulaziz al Saud played a major role. Today, he provides his political expertise to the “Advisory Council” of the Munich Security Conference.[2] The Afghan Mujahidin and the growing number of Arab jihadists finally succeeded in forcing the Soviet armed forces into withdrawing from Afghanistan. From the western perspective, jihadism had therefore proven its effectiveness as an instrument in fighting secular, socialist forces.

Against Iran

The al Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam (August 7, 1998), the US counter attack on al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan (August 20, 1998) and particularly the 9/11 terror attacks and the ensuing war on Afghanistan seemed to have led to an irreparable rift between the West and the jihadists. However, the “war on terror” did not hinder the West from again engaging in punctual cooperation with Arab jihadists – this time, not a struggle against secular socialist forces, but an attempt at weakening Iran. With Iraq’s destruction starting in 2003, the US-led war alliance had neutralized Iran’s traditional rival, inadvertently opening an opportunity for Iran becoming a Persian Gulf regional hegemonic power. To prevent this, Western powers began an arms buildup of the Gulf dictatorships – particularly Saudi Arabia – to create a counterforce.[3] These dictatorships, in turn, soon began subverting Iran’s regional allies – for example Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

“High Risk Venture”

This has led to Arab jihadists being called back into action. In 2007, the US journalist Seymour Hersh exposed how the West, together with Saudi Arabia, was moving against Hezbollah in Lebanon.[4] While, on the one hand, for example the German Navy was participating in the UN mission off the Lebanese coast to prevent arms supplies from reaching this Shiite militia, Riyadh, on the other hand, was building up their most resolute enemies, the Salafists and jihadists, whose hatred of Shiite Muslims is as strong as their hatred of secular, socialist forces. In early 2007, government officials from various countries had confirmed to Hersh that the USA and Saudi Arabia were providing Lebanese Salafist and jihadist organizations with the means for fighting Hezbollah. A Lebanese government official told Hersh, “we have a liberal attitude, allowing those al Qaeda groups to maintain a presence here.” A former agent from the United States explicitly admitted, “we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. It’s a very high-risk venture.”

A Salafist Principality

The fact that the West is following this same strategy in the war in Syria has been confirmed in a memo, dating from August 2012, from the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and made public last week. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[5]) According to the memo, the creation of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria was seen as advantageous – to deprive the “Shiite expansion,” emanating from Iran, its “strategic depth” in Syria. The “Islamic State” (IS), in fact, has evolved from that “Salafist principality.”

The Bandar Plan

The western powers along with their main regional allies – Turkey and Saudi Arabia – have actively built up the Salafist and jihadist militias, in Syria, with the ex-Saudi Ambassador to the United States (1983 – 2005), Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud playing a decisive role. In his function as General Secretary of the Saudi National Security Council (2005), Bandar bin Sultan supported the Lebanese Salafists, and as head of the Saudi intelligence services, (2012), he was also involved in the Syrian war. The “Bandar Plan,” named after him, called for forming and arming insurgent militias in Syria. In fact, this refers to the – primarily Salafist – military units being financed by Saudi Arabia. The plan also calls for the infiltration of Saudi agents into al Qaeda allied groups and using other means to influence those jihadist militias, where infiltration proved unfeasible. Within this framework Saudi Arabia even provided aid to IS, albeit the financing, in this case, was inofficial, furnished by private jihadist supporters, according to an Israeli analysis published in 2014.[6] Only after the IS began expanding in Iraq, in early 2014, and began creating the situation that the DIA had warned of in August 2012,[7] was Bandar bin Sultan relieved of his duties and flown to the USA “for medical treatment.” In the summer of 2014, western countries found themselves compelled to militarily intervene against IS, which was gathering strength. This is the IS, the West had paternalistically watched taking its first steps in the struggle against the government of President Assad, their common enemy.

Destructive Potential

Even this has not put an end to the West’s use of jihadists. Most recently, the US-led “anti-IS coalition” stood by watching as IS drove Syrian government troops out of Palmyra, a strategically important city – a welcome support in the war on President Assad’s government. According to reports, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have “again been closely collaborating” since March. Of course, in the war on Syria “they do not have their sights on the IS, but rather target Assad” – Riyadh and Ankara’s more polite formulation of the standard Salafist and jihadist demand.[8] Western strategists have even begun proposing using jihadists in the struggle against the jihadists of IS, which has become much too powerful. According to a recent website article of the US “Foreign Affairs” journal, the al Qaeda should not be allowed to be further weakened. Al Qaeda must be allowed to continue to exist to keep its supporters from defecting to IS. Therefore the terrorist organization should be kept “afloat and [Aiman az-] Zawahiri alive.”[9] Jihadists are only being fought, if they become too powerful – as in the case of IS – or if they begin to attack western targets. Otherwise, their destructive potential is considered a western secret asset in its war on common enemies.

[1] More information on the Jihadists in Afghanistan and the West in: Steve Coll: Ghost Wars. The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. New York 2004.

[2] See Old Allies [39] and Good Guys, Bad Guys [40].

[3] See Gulf Stability [41] and Hegemonic Conflict at the Gulf (II) [42].

[4] Seymour M. Hersh: The Redirection. Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism? www.newyorker.com 05.03.2007.

[5] See Vom Nutzen des Jihad (I) [43] and A Salafist Principality [14].

[6] Udi Dekel, Orit Perlov: The Saudi Arabia and Kuwait “Outposts Project”: Al-Qaeda and Its Affiliates. The Institute for National Security Studies, INSS Insight No. 517, 16.02.2014.

[7] See Vom Nutzen des Jihad (I) [43] and A Salafist Principality [14].

[8] Markus Bickel: Fortschritte und Rückschritte in Syrien. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 09.05.2015.

[9] Barak Mendelsohn: Accepting Al Qaeda. www.foreignaffairs.com 09.03.2015.

1d. German Foreign Policy article presents more of the text of the DIA document excerpted above.

“A Salafist Principality;” german-foreign-policy; 5/27/2015. [14]

In August 2012, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) mentioned a possible “Salafist Principality” in Eastern Syria and a possible foundation of an “Islamic State”. german-foreign-policy.com documents excerpts from the DIA paper.

Department of Defense: Information report, not finally evaluated intelligence. 14-L-0552/DIA/287-293.
The general situation:
A. Internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction.
B. The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.
C. The West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey support the opposition, while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
3. Al Qaeda – Iraq (AQI):
A. AQI is familiar with Syria. AQI trained in Syria and then infiltrated into Iraq.
B. AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. AQI declared its opposition of Assad’s government because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.
5. The population living on the border:
A. The population living on the border has a social-tribal style, which is bound by strong tribal and familial marital ties.
B. Their sectarian affiliation unites the two sides when events happen in the region.
C. AQI had major pockets and bases on both sides of the border to facilitate the flow of materiel and recruits.
D. There was a regression of AQI in the western provinces of Iraq during the years of 2009 and 2010. However, after the rise of the insurgency in Syria, the religious and tribal powers in the regions began to sympathize with the sectarian uprising. This (sympathy) appeared in Friday prayer sermons, which called for volunteers to support the Sunnis in Syria.
8. The effects on Iraq:

C. If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
D. The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:
1. This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockes in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

3. The renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi arena.
1e. More about the declassified DIA memo (this article is the source of the screen shots of the memo.)
[7]“Newly-Declassified U.S. Government Documents: The West Supported the Creation of ISIS;” WashingtonsBlog; 5/24/2015. [15]
Judicial Watch has – for many years – obtained sensitive U.S. government documents through freedom of information requests and lawsuits.

[9]The government just produced documents to Judicial Watch in response to a freedom of information suit which show that the West has long supported ISIS. The documents were written by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency on August 12, 2012 … years before ISIS burst onto the world stage.

Here are screenshots from the documents. We have highlighted the relevant parts in yellow:

 1f. Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden heightened suspicions about the West having mid-wived the birth of ISIS.

“Behind Biden’s Gaffe Lie Real Concerns About the West’s Role in Rise of the Islamic State” by Adam Taylor; The Washington Post; 10/06/2014. [16]

. . . . When asked by a student whether the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, Biden first explains that there was “no moderate middle” in the Syrian civil war, before changing the topic to talk about America’s allies:

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends, and I have a great relationship with Erdogan, [who] I just spent a lot of time with, [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera.

What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad, and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.

Now, you think I’m exaggerating? Take a look. Where did all of this go? So now that’s happening, all of a sudden, everybody is awakened because this outfit called ISIL, which was al-Qaeda in Iraq, when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space and territory in [eastern] Syria, [and they] work with al-Nusra, who we declared a terrorist group early on. And we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. . . .

So what happened? . . . .

2c. Dur­ing a Skype inter­view back in Octo­ber, Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s intel­i­gence service, railed against Rus­sia try­ing to sup­press Syria’s Islamist rev­o­lu­tion and asserted that “ISIS is a real­ity and we have to accept that we can­not erad­i­cate a well-organized and pop­u­lar estab­lish­ment such as the Islamic State; there­fore I urge my west­ern col­leagues to revise their mind­set about Islamic polit­i­cal cur­rents, put aside their cyn­i­cal men­tal­ité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syr­ian Islamist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies.”

“Turk­ish Intel­li­gence Chief: Putin’s Inter­ven­tion in Syria Is Against Islam and Inter­na­tional Law, ISIS Is a Real­ity and We Are Opti­mistic about the Future”; AWD News [17]; 10/18/2015. [17]

Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intel­li­gence Orga­ni­za­tion, known by the MIT acronym, has drawn a lot of atten­tion and crit­i­cism for his con­tro­ver­sial com­ments about ISIS.

Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turk­ish President’s staunchest ally, con­demned Russ­ian mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Syria, accus­ing Moscow of try­ing to ‘smother’ Syria’s Islamist rev­o­lu­tion and seri­ous breach of United Nations law.

“ISIS is a real­ity and we have to accept that we can­not erad­i­cate a well-organized and pop­u­lar estab­lish­ment such as the Islamic State; there­fore I urge my west­ern col­leagues to revise their mind­set about Islamic polit­i­cal cur­rents, put aside their cyn­i­cal men­tal­ité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syr­ian Islamist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies,” Anadolu News Agency quoted Mr. Fidan as say­ing on Sunday.

Fidan fur­ther added that in order to deal with the vast num­ber of for­eign Jihadists crav­ing to travel to Syria, it is imper­a­tive that ISIS must set up a con­sulate or at least a polit­i­cal office in Istan­bul. He under­lined that it is Turkey’s firm belief to pro­vide med­ical care for all injured peo­ple flee­ing Russ­ian ruth­less airstrikes regard­less of their polit­i­cal or reli­gious affiliation.

Recently as the fierce clashes between Russ­ian army and ISIS ter­ror­ists rag­ing across the war-torn Syria, count­less num­ber of ISIS injured fight­ers enter the Turk­ish ter­ri­tory and are being admit­ted in the mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals namely those in Hatay Province. Over the last few days, the Syr­ian army with the sup­port of Russ­ian air cover could fend off ISIS forces in strate­gic provinces of Homs and Hama.

Emile Hokayem, a Washington-based Mid­dle East ana­lyst said that Turkey’s Erdo­gan and his oil-rich Arab allies have dual agen­das in the war on ter­ror and as a mat­ter of fact they are sup­ply­ing the Islamist mil­i­tants with weapons and money, thus Russ­ian inter­ven­tion is con­sid­ered a dev­as­tat­ing set­back for their efforts to over­throw Syr­ian sec­u­lar Pres­i­dent Assad.

Hokayem who was speak­ing via Skype from Wash­ing­ton, D.C. high­lighted the dan­ger of Turkish-backed ter­ror­ist groups and added that what is hap­pen­ing in Syria can­not be cat­e­go­rized as a gen­uine and pop­u­lar rev­o­lu­tion against dic­ta­tor­ship but rather it is a chaos orches­trated by Erdo­gan who is dream­ing to revive this ancestor’s infa­mous Ottoman Empire.

3a. Next, we recap a short reading by Elizabeth Gould of a quote from Zbigniew Brzezinski about using Islamist forces to de-stabilize post-Cold War Russia and China. (This was originally read in FTR #872 [44].)

3b. A major focal point of Chech­nyan jihadism is in Boston, evolved from the Al Kifah orga­ni­za­tion, renamed CARE (not to be con­fused with the UN char­ity.) That milieu is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

“Boston’s Jihadist Past” by J.M. Berger; For­eign Pol­icy; 4/22/2013. [19]

When Boston Marathon run­ners rounded the bend from Bea­con Street last week, they were in the home stretch of the race. As they poured through the closed inter­sec­tion, they ran past a non­de­script address: 510 Com­mon­wealth Avenue.

The loca­tion was once home to an inter­na­tional sup­port net­work that raised funds and recruited fight­ers for a jihadist insur­gency against Russ­ian rule over Chech­nya, a region and a con­flict that few of the run­ners had likely ever given any seri­ous thought. . . .

. . . . (The most impor­tant Chechen jihadist group has dis­avowed the attack, but has not unequiv­o­cally ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of some kind of con­tact with Tamerlan.) . . .

. . . But if the lead pans out, it won’t be Boston’s first brush with that far­away war. Dur­ing the 1980s and into the 1990s, Islamist for­eign fight­ers oper­ated robust recruit­ing and financ­ing net­works that sup­ported Chechen jihadists from the United States, and Boston was home to one of the most sig­nif­i­cant cen­ters: a branch of the Al Kifah Cen­ter based in Brook­lyn, which would later be rechris­tened CARE International.

Al Kifah sprang from the mil­i­tary jihad against the Sovi­ets in Afghanistan. Through the end of the occu­pa­tion, a net­work of cen­ters in the United States helped sup­port the efforts of Afghan and Arab muja­hedeen, solic­it­ing dona­tions and recruit­ing fight­ers, includ­ing at least four from Boston who died in action (one of them a for­mer Dunkin Donuts employee). When the war ended, those net­works did not dis­ap­pear; they refo­cused on other activities.

In Brook­lyn, that net­work turned against the United States. The center’s lead­ers and many of its mem­bers helped facil­i­tate the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing, and they actively planned and attempted to exe­cute a sub­se­quent plot that sum­mer to blow up the Lin­coln and Hol­land Tun­nels in New York, which would have killed thousands. . . .

. . . . When the FBI thwarted the tun­nels plot, the Brook­lyn Al Kifah office and most of the other satel­lite loca­tions were shut­tered. But in Boston, the work con­tin­ued under a new name and with a new focus: sup­port­ing foreign-fighter efforts in Bosnia and Chechnya.

The fol­low­ing nar­ra­tive is derived from inter­views and thou­sands of pages of court exhibits, includ­ing cor­re­spon­dence, Al Kifah and CARE Inter­na­tional pub­li­ca­tions, and tele­phone inter­cepts devel­oped over a years-long series of FBI inves­ti­ga­tions into the char­ity that were made pub­lic as part of mul­ti­ple terrorism-related prosecutions.

Estab­lished in the early 1990s, the Boston branch had emerged from the World Trade Cen­ter inves­ti­ga­tion rel­a­tively unscathed. Lit­tle more than two weeks after the bomb­ing, the head of the Boston office, Emad Muntasser, changed his operation’s name from Al Kifah to CARE Inter­na­tional (not to be con­fused with the legit­i­mate char­ity of the same name). . . .

. . . . It took longer to build a case against CARE. In 2005, pros­e­cu­tors in Boston went after the charity’s direc­tors using the Al Capone strat­egy. Muntasser and fel­low Boston-area CARE offi­cials Samir Al Monla and Muhamed Mubayyid were charged with fil­ing false tax returns and related crimes, hav­ing mis­rep­re­sented their polit­i­cal and mil­i­tant activ­ity as relief for orphans and wid­ows in order to obtain a non­profit tax exemption.

The strat­egy was not as suc­cess­ful as it was with Capone. The defen­dants were con­victed but received min­i­mal sen­tences after years of appeals and legal dis­putes. Muntasser and Al Monla have since been released from prison and are liv­ing in the United States, accord­ing to pub­lic records data­bases. Mubayyid was deported after a short sen­tence and was last reported to be liv­ing in Australia. . . .

4. We highlight an article noting the military prowess and sophistication of ISIS. Critical to this analysis is the apparent role of the Chechens in the tactical development of the group. In FTR #381 [45]. we noted the role of the Al-Taqwa milieu in the funding of the Chechen separatists. U.S. and Western funding for the Chechens appears to have continued, as we saw in our analysis of the Boston Marathon Bombing [35].

In the context of U.S. and Western support for the OUN/B milieu in Ukraine, including the UNA-UNSO fighters who fought with the Chechens [23] and elsewhere in the Caucasus, we may well be seeing “blowback” from what we have termed The Earth Island Boogie in the development of ISIS’ sophistication. As discussed in FTR #808 [46], the UNA-UNSO fighters were initially composed largely of Ukrainian veterans of the Afghan war. The organization gave rise directly to Pravy Sektor.

As we have seen in FTR #878 [47], Pravy Sektor is working with Chechen Islamists from ISIS, as well as Pan-Turkist Crimean Tatars.

“The Durability of Ukrainian Fascism” by Peter Lee; Strategic Culture; 6/9/2014. [23]

. . . . One of Bandera’s lieutenants was Roman Shukhevych.  In February 1945, Shukhevych issued an order stating, “In view of the success of the Soviet forces it is necessary to speed up the liquidation of the Poles, they must be totally wiped out, their villages burned … only the Polish population must be destroyed.”

As a matter of additional embarrassment, Shukhevych was also a commander in the Nachtigall (Nightingale) battalion organized by the Wehrmacht.

Today, a major preoccupation of Ukrainian nationalist historical scholarship is beating back rather convincing allegations by Russian, Polish, and Jewish historians that Nachtigall was an important and active participant in the massacre of Lviv Jews orchestrated by the German army upon its arrival in June 1941. . . .

. . . . Yuriy Shukhevych’s role in modern Ukrainian fascism is not simply that of an inspirational figurehead and reminder of his father’s anti-Soviet heroics for proud Ukrainian nationalists.  He is a core figure in the emergence of the key Ukrainian fascist formation, Pravy Sektor and its paramilitary.

And Pravy Sektor’s paramilitary, the UNA-UNSO, is not an “unruly” collection of weekend-warrior-wannabes, as Mr. Higgins might believe.

UNA-UNSO was formed during the turmoil of the early 1990s, largely by ethnic Ukrainian veterans of the Soviet Union’s bitter war in Afghanistan.  From the first, the UNA-UNSO has shown a taste for foreign adventures, sending detachments to Moscow in 1990 to oppose the Communist coup against Yeltsin, and to Lithuania in 1991.  With apparently very good reason, the Russians have also accused UNA-UNSO fighters of participating on the anti-Russian side in Georgia and Chechnya.

After formal Ukrainian independence, the militia elected Yuriy Shukhevych—the son of OUN-B commander Roman Shukhevych– as its leader and set up a political arm, which later became Pravy Sektor. . . .

5. Again, ISIS’ combat prowess is viewed by U.S. special operations forces as probably having stemmed from the Chechen component. Note that, in this story, ISIS is described as having evolved from AQI!

“ISIS an ‘Incredible’ Fighting Force, Special Ops Sources Say” by James Gordon Meek; ABC News; 8/25/2014. [22]

With the Obama White House left reeling from the “savage” slaughter [48] of an American journalist held hostage by ISIS [49] terrorists, military options are being considered against an adversary who officials say is growing in strength and is much more capable than the one faced when the group was called “al Qaeda-Iraq” during the U.S. war from 2003-2011.

ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [50], has been making a “tactical withdrawal” in recent days in the face of withering U.S. airstrikes from areas around Erbil in northern Iraq and from the major dam just north of Mosul it controlled for two nail-biting weeks, according to military officials monitoring their movements.

“These guys aren’t just bugging out, they’re tactically withdrawing. Very professional, well trained, motivated and equipped. They operate like a state with a military,” said one official who tracks ISIS closely. “These aren’t the same guys we fought in OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom [51]) who would just scatter when you dropped a bomb near them.”

ISIS appeared to have a sophisticated and well thought-out plan for establishing its “Islamic Caliphate” from northern Syria across the western and northern deserts of Iraq, many experts and officials have said, and support from hostage-taking, robbery and sympathetic donations to fund it. They use drones to gather overhead intel on targets and effectively commandeer captured military vehicles – including American Humvees — and munitions.

“They tried to push out as far as they thought they could and were fully prepared to pull back a little bit when we beat them back with airstrikes around Erbil. And they were fine with that, and ready to hold all of the ground they have now,” a second official told ABC News.

ISIS didn’t necessarily count on holding Mosul Dam, officials said, but scored a major propaganda victory on social media when they hoisted the black flag of the group over the facility that provides electricity and water to a large swath of Iraq, or could drown millions if breached.

U.S. special operations forces under the Joint Special Operations Command and U.S. Special Operations Command keep close tabs on the military evolution of ISIS and both its combat and terrorism — called “asymmetric” — capabilities, officials told ABC News. A primary reason is in anticipation of possibly fighting them, which a full squadron of special mission unit operators did in the Independence Day raid [52] on an ISIS camp in Raqqah, Syria.

“They’re incredible fighters. ISIS teams in many places use special operations TTPs,” said the second official, who has considerable combat experience, using the military term for “tactics, techniques and procedures.”

In sobering press conference Friday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel [53] said ISIS has shown that it is “as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen.”

“They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded,” he said. “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.”

Prior ISIS’s recent public successes, the former chairman of the 9/11 Commission, which just released a tenth anniversary report on the threat of terrorism currently facing the homeland, said he was shocked at how little seems to be known inside the U.S. intelligence community about the Islamist army brutalizing Iraq as it has Syria.

“I was appalled at the ignorance,” former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, who led the 9/11 Commission, told ABC News last week.

Kean, a Republican, who with vice chairman Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, recently met with about 20 top intelligence officials in preparation of the commission’s latest threat report, said many officials seemed both blind-sided and alarmed by the group’s rise, growth and competency.

“One official told me ‘I am more scared than at any time since 9/11,’” Kean recounted in a recent interview.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence defended the intelligence community’s tracking of ISIS, saying officials had “expressed concern” about the threat as far back as last year.

“The will to fight is inherently difficult to assess. Analysts must make assessments based on perceptions of command and control, leadership abilities, quality of experience, and discipline under fire — none of which can be understood with certainty until the first shots are fired,” ODNI spokesperson Brian Hale said.

Where did ISIS learn such sophisticated military methods, shown clearly after the first shots were fired?

“Probably the Chechens,” the one of the U.S. officials said.

A Chechen commander named Abu Omar al-Shishani — who officials say may have been killed in fighting near Mosul — is well known for commanding an international brigade within ISIS. Other Chechens have appeared within propaganda videos including one commander who was killed on video by an artillery burst near his SUV in Syria.

Earlier this year, ABC News reported [54] on the secret history of U.S. special operations forces’ experiences battling highly capable Chechen fighters along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border since 2001. In addition, for decades Chechen separatists have waged asymmetric warfare against Russian forces for control of the Northern Caucasus.

The Secret Battles Between US Forces and Chechen Terrorists [54]

In the battle against ISIS, many within American “SOF,” a term that comprises operators from all branches of the military and intelligence, are frustrated at being relegated by the President only to enabling U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. They are eager to fight ISIS more directly in combat operations — even if untethered, meaning unofficially and with little if any U.S. government support, according to some with close ties to the community.

“ISIS and their kind must be destroyed,” said a senior counterterrorism official after journalist James Foley was beheaded on high-definition ISIS video, echoing strong-worded statements of high-level U.S. officials including Secretary of State John Kerry [55].

6. It should come as no surprise to veteran listeners that ISIS is parking its cash in bitcoin, the latest example of the digital currency being used  for nefarious purposes. In FTR #760 [56], we looked at evidence that Bitcoin may very well have been developed by BND and the Underground Reich.

“ISIS Parks Its Cash in Bit­coin, Experts Say” by Heather Nauert; Fox News; 11/25/2015. [20]

Just days after the hacker group Anony­mous pledged to hunt down Islamic State mem­bers and launch cyber­at­tacks against their accounts, a sep­a­rate group of techies claims it has iden­ti­fied a key fund­ing avenue for the ter­ror net­work – bit­coin accounts.

Ghost Secu­rity Group, a col­lec­tive of com­puter “hack­tivists,” says it has located sev­eral bit­coin accounts that ISIS uses to fund oper­a­tions. One account con­tained $3 mil­lion worth of bit­coin, a Ghost­Sec mem­ber told Michael K. Smith II, a co-founder of Kro­nos Advi­sory, a national secu­rity advi­sory firm.

Ghost­Sec “wants to make an impact in coun­tert­er­ror­ism,” Smith said, adding that the Ghost­Sec mem­ber reached out to him because gov­ern­ment offi­cials were not pay­ing close atten­tion to the allegations.

Smith said U.S. coun­tert­er­ror­ism offi­cials are con­cerned that ISIS is acquir­ing gold and using numer­ous finan­cial tools, includ­ing bit­coin, to tap into mar­kets. A Trea­sury Depart­ment spokesper­son said the agency couldn’t com­ment on accounts allegedly linked to ter­ror­ists unless the depart­ment has taken pub­lic action.

But bit­coin – an unreg­u­lated form of online cur­rency that cir­cum­vents the tra­di­tional bank­ing sys­tem – is on the government’s radar, since it could serve as an ideal place­holder for ter­ror­ist assets and pro­vide a way for ter­ror­ists to exchange money. The bit­coin web­site, bitcoin.org, describes the ease with which any­one can send and receive vir­tual funds:

“Send­ing bit­coins across bor­ders is as easy as send­ing them across the street. There are no banks to make you wait three busi­ness days, no extra fees for mak­ing an inter­na­tional trans­fer, and no spe­cial lim­i­ta­tions on the min­i­mum or max­i­mum amount you can send.”

Bit­coin is con­sid­ered the first world­wide, decen­tral­ized cur­rency; it can be sent from per­son to per­son with­out the third-party involve­ment of a finan­cial insti­tu­tion. Bit­coin accounts are set up with vir­tual money, but the dig­i­tal funds can be cashed in for real money or goods.

A Ghost­Sec mem­ber said ISIS’ vir­tual cur­rency amounts to between 1 per­cent and 3 per­cent of its total income – between $4.7 mil­lion and $15.6 mil­lion. The Trea­sury Depart­ment esti­mates that ISIS gen­er­ates between $468 mil­lion and $520 mil­lion annu­ally. The ter­ror group’s pri­mary sources of rev­enue are rob­bery, extor­tion, oil sales, ran­som pay­ments and over­seas dona­tions, accord­ing to the Trea­sury Department.

But it doesn’t take a for­tune to pull off a ter­ror attack. Even large-scale attacks can be rel­a­tively inex­pen­sive. The 9/11 Com­mis­sion deter­mined that it cost between $400,000 and $500,000 to plan and carry out the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Ghost­Sec hack­ers insist the alleged ISIS bit­coin account was not linked to the Paris attacks, but they say it shows that ter­ror net­works have found a way to trans­fer assets with­out easy detection.

Related: Sony’s PlaySta­tion 4 could be ter­ror­ists’ com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool [57], experts warn

“The bit­coin uni­verse is decen­tral­ized by design,” accord­ing to Juniper Research, a firm that iden­ti­fies online mar­ket trends. “They’re built by ran­dom play­ers around the world. They’re trans­ferred seam­lessly via name­less dig­i­tal wallets.”

Cyber­se­cu­rity expert Mor­gan Wright, a senior fel­low at the Cen­ter for Dig­i­tal Gov­ern­ment, a national research and advi­sory insti­tute on infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy poli­cies, says ter­ror­ists are increas­ingly uti­liz­ing 21st cen­tury tech­nol­ogy to trans­fer assets and finance operations

“Ter­ror­ists need anonymity,” Wright said. “Coun­tries have got­ten very good at track­ing ter­ror financ­ing in the years since 9/11. Net­works have looked for new ways to do it, and it appears they’ve found it in bitcoin.”

Related: Anony­mous declares ‘war’ on ISIS, vows cyberattacks

Gov­ern­ment offi­cials have become increas­ingly con­cerned about these unreg­u­lated finan­cial sys­tems, and the U.S. is start­ing to apply money laun­der­ing reg­u­la­tions to cyber cur­ren­cies. Firms that issue or exchange bit­coin are required to main­tain records and report trans­ac­tions of more than $10,000.

Indi­vid­ual states, too, are pass­ing laws designed to reg­u­late bit­coin exchanges. New York recently enacted a reg­u­la­tory frame­work, and Cal­i­for­nia will start gov­ern­ing the exchanges next year. “The U.S. gov­ern­ment is work­ing with a broad coali­tion of gov­ern­ments around the world to dis­rupt ISIL’s financ­ing and to sever its access to the inter­na­tional finan­cial sys­tem,” a Trea­sury Depart­ment offi­cial told Fox News.

But few for­eign nations, have spe­cific reg­u­la­tions that gov­ern bit­coin use. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is expected to release reg­u­la­tions by 2017 that would affect Euro­pean Union nations. . . .

7. An interesting footnote to the operations of ISIS, as well as L’Affaire Snowden concerns the use by the Islamic State of a Berlin-based messaging service to broadcast their announcements.

With elements of CIA, as well as overlapping Underground Reich elements backing the Sunni Islamists (al-Qaeda, its Syrian offshoot the Nusra Front and their spawn ISIS) we wonder to what extent the Snowden “op” was intended to run interference for the Earth Island Boogie, now underway from Ukraine to Syria to Iraq to China.

Recall that, when (in the summer of 2009) the Angel of Mercy alighted upon the shoulder of Eddie the Friendly Spook, infusing him with the spirit of human benevolence, he was employed by the CIA.

“Encrypted Messaging Apps Face New Scrutiny over Possible Role in Attacks” by David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth; The New York Times; 11/17/2015; p. A12. [21]

. . . . Even if Apple and others in the United States were compelled to weaken the encryption in their services, American authorities still would have and no judicial authority over Telegram, the Berlin-based messaging service, recently used by Islamic State terrorists to broadcast their communiques. . . .