"Jihadi John" Identified

The black-clad executioner in ISIS beheading videos has been identified by the media as Mohammed Emwazi. He grew up in London, graduated college, and according to CAGE, which corresponded with him, was harassed by British intelligence and prevented from leaving several times. He is originally from Kuwait. The BBC has more. [More...]

Cage, a pressure group that represents people it says are victims of security service abuses, says that Emwazi contacted them after he claimed to be suffering harassment from MI5 as he tried to return to the country of his birth, Kuwait. The organisation says he gave up the plan to move and get married in the Middle East because of the alleged interference by MI5 or others.

...Emwazi came to the attention of the security services in 2010 as MI5 and other agencies monitored suspected extremists linked to al-Shabab in Somalia. Emwazi was named in court papers as an associate of two men who had returned to the UK after alleged involvement in extremist activity in the Horn of Africa.

Emwazi himself was never charged with a terrorism-related offence in the UK - but he was detained abroad after travelling in 2009 to east Africa, following his graduation.

Going by the name Muhammad ibn Muazzam, he travelled with another Briton and a third man from Germany to Tanzania. Once there, the local security services interrogated them and they later claimed to researchers back in Europe that they had been subject to harassment and abuse.

Here is a graphic of the British court document discussing him. He was reportedly part of the al-Shabab network led by Bilal al Berjawi, who was killed in Somalia in 2012.

Here is an article in The Independent from 2010 describing his harassment on the 2009 Tanzania trip. He is referred to as Muhammad ibn Muazzam.

Asim Quresh of CAGE held a press conference a few hours ago. He said he has known Emwazi since 2009 and "at that time he was extremely kind, gentle and humble. He said "Emwazi was a "beautiful young man" who was made to feel an outsider" and "Emwazi and others were victims of (alleged) systematic abuse by MI5." He said, "Emwazi wanted to go and work in tel comms in Kuwait but was allegedly repeatedly harassed in the UK by security agencies."

According to CAGE, he reportedly went to Syria in 2013, after again being refused entry to board a flight to Kuwait. Prior hostages have said he was one of their guards in Idlib in 2013. The few ISIS-related accounts responding to reporters' tweets say he was not part of the factions that kidnapped the hostages in 2012 and was not with Amr al-Ibsi.

You can read more about the Bilal al Berjawi network in this report.

According to CourtNewsUK, in June, 2011, a Mohamed Emwazi was charged with possessing stolen bicycles, tried in in the Snaresbrook Crown Court and acquitted by a jury. (Yes, Crown courts have juries.) It's not clear to me that it's the same person, so take this with a grain of salt.

CAGE has now posted a 3,000 word article on Emwazi describing his harassment and radicalization. Please read this, it has his emails and a very detailed account of his various detentions and travels.

The Washington Post and BBC outed Emwazi within minutes of each other today. Why today? So far I haven't seen any photos of his face predating his appearance in ISIS videos.

< Twitter vs. ISIS | Jihadi John's Travel to Syria >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Reports are that Emwazi's family (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 01:30:35 PM EST
    was well-to-do, and that he was raised in privileged surroundings. (That aspect has been emphasized in other stories of young individuals leaving families to follow ISIS/ISIL. A curious aspect.)

    Osama bin Laden, too, (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 01:35:24 PM EST
    & the great majority of the 9-11 hijackers

    Incorrect-not well-to-do (none / 0) (#38)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 07:30:59 AM EST
    His father was a cab driver in the UK. link

    It does not change the larger narrative however-seems to be more of a case of indoctrination that is not related to poverty or other economic issues. One however still needs to factual in their comments...


    OBL's father was a Saudi construction magnate (none / 0) (#61)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 02:06:08 PM EST
    Yes, but Politalkix's link was to (none / 0) (#62)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 02:29:32 PM EST
    an article about Emwazi, whose father was a taxi driver.

    Can (none / 0) (#63)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 02:58:07 PM EST
    you read? The link that I attached made it clear that I was talking about JJ and not OBL. JJ's father is a cab driver in the UK.

    Yes. but (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 03:34:37 PM EST
    The comment you responded to referred to OBL.

    And Jihadi John grew up in a very muddle class home, went to university, and as a Yong adult, lived in a flat in a fancy part of West London.


    And (none / 0) (#69)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 04:29:46 PM EST
     unless one speculates that his money for "celebratory safaris" and other travel came from some outside source, his family was able to provide for him pretty well.

      Of course, the speculation about an  "outside source" is not farfetched.


    apparently JJ was "not well-to-do" (none / 0) (#71)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 05:09:29 PM EST
    in the same sense that Stanley Ann Dunham was "a single mother on food stamps"

    ; )


    So (none / 0) (#73)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 05:27:33 PM EST
    a taxi driver can be put in a similar economic bracket as a billionaire construction magnate?

    Curious (none / 0) (#64)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 03:11:37 PM EST
    What makes you think that a taxi driver's family was "well-to-do", and that his son "was raised in privileged surroundings" and make you write "That aspect has been emphasized in other stories of young individuals leaving families to follow ISIS/ISIL. A curious aspect."

    Just because Patti Hearst was a heiress to the William Randolph Hearst fortune, would it be accurate to say that all leftist radicals that joined terror groups in the seventies came from privileged backgrounds? I would be quite careful about making the kind of sweeping statement that you did.

    "Cults", "causes" and "radicalism" draw people from all kinds of economic backgrounds in all societies. It is the same in Muslim and other middle eastern and eastern societies as it is in western societies.


    Early reports via WashPo & NYTimes (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 04:45:06 PM EST
    indicated that. I'll try to retrieve the "well-to-do" reference.  

    In point of fact, tho, the university degree from Westminster is not usually associated with economic want of any sort ... to the contrary. By most standards in the world, he appears to have been privileged.  As for my reference to the "curious aspect": A general remark that was echoed last night on PBS News Hour in an interview with Gwen Ifill, etc.  (Sorry, I did not record it ... but, I'm sure that the characterization is easily retrievable from PBS.) Additionally: There have been several stories in the news media in the past several months about some of the young people leaving their comfortable home surroundings (mid to upper middle class homes, private schools, etc.) to travel to Syria to ISIS/ISIL.  See, for example, CNN's extensive reporting on line about the Scottish teenager--daughter of a doctor & private school grad--who now recruits for ISIS on line and describes leaving her well-to-do family life OR, in Colorado, the stunner about a teenager from mid-to-upper middle class suburb who was detained at the airport on her way to Syria.  

    The point: While I am unaware of any extensive, contemporaneous survey about who answers the ISIS recruitment, a number of stories are starting to show an outline that differs from the easy expectations about who follows.  Not enough data for a math equation, of course; but, enough info to show that "curious aspect."


    Let us not jump to conclusions (none / 0) (#75)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 05:45:55 PM EST
    College education in the UK and Europe may not be as expensive as college education in the United States. Many countries have free college educations, there are also many Muslim charities that provide help.

    I am just saying that we should not be jumping to conclusions based on our American frame of reference.

    Please also read this link.

    "In contrast, Cherif and Said Kouachi, who massacred cartoonists and others in January in the newsroom of the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, were born in France to Algerian parents and grew up in a working class Paris neighborhood. Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four hostages in a Kosher grocery store, also had working class immigrant roots. The three men befriended each other via prison before the two attacks that left 20 dead, themselves included."


    Not jumping to conclusions (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:15:13 PM EST
    A college education is still a privilege (and rarer than not) in most places in the world.  Emwazi stemmed from privilege in many ways. I think that is accurate.

    So (none / 0) (#88)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:40:45 PM EST
    by the same token when jbindc or Addams Family complains about economic inequality or economic injustices, are you ready to tell them, "Stop the whining, you are privileged people"? I guess if a cab driver's son that went to college can be considered to have a "privileged" upbringing, we all have "privileged" upbringing too.

    I cannot understand why it is so important for you to portray that he came from a "privileged" background. Can't we just condemn the choices he made in his life and say that it is impossible to justify his actions in any way whatever his grievances might have been without creating a false narrative of "privileged" upbringing?



    Today's editorial in the DenverPost (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:17:14 AM EST
    refers to the noticeable phenomenon of "affluent" individuals from the Mideast turning toward terrorism. BTW, we may be talking past each other in terms of definitional reads ... but, from one point of view, location & comparison cannot be discarded ... standards in different locales of the world are clearly different.

    The DenverPost says the cause/effect relationship between poverty and radicalization is not meant to be diminished by their editorial comment.  Rather, the column notes that something different--even using the word "atavistic"--appears to be at play because the sheer number of non-impoverished, affluent, highly educated individuals involved in these fairly recent Mideast terrorism actions stands out to the observer. The column notes as well that that characteristic suggests the actions are not so much acts driven by desperation as acts driven & chosen by ideology.  

    I agree with the editorial in the DenverPost.  While I do not believe every detail in these various individual lives nor every detail of their chosen ideology is essential to the formulation of America's evaluation, response, etc., knowing what drives a process and a lot of the individuals attracted to/furthering that process is significant.  That is why I wrote the initial comment.

    politalkix: Should you want to take a look yourself at the editorial to which I referred, it is available online.


    Because we find it easier to (none / 0) (#90)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 10:22:15 PM EST
    understand radicalization that grows from poverty and limited opportunity.  We get why someone from poverty, who could feel oppressed and denied, would be angry, but what does the "privileged" person have to be so angry about that he could cut off someone's head?

    If you eliminate one's station in life as a possible cause, what are you left with?  Religious zealotry and/or mental illness.  

    We don't want to think these people could be normal, or that with a few adjustments, we could be them, so we have to make them "the other."

    Isn't this what we always do?  Demonize the kid who shoots up the elementary school, demonize the man who holds women captive for years, demonize anyone who deviates from our idea of "normal."

    "Well-to-do" and "privileged" just sound too normal, and if there's one thing this guy isn't, it's normal.


    We are left with more than those two options (none / 0) (#123)
    by ZtoA on Mon Mar 02, 2015 at 11:58:36 AM EST
    "If you eliminate one's station in life as a possible cause, what are you left with?  Religious zealotry and/or mental illness. "

    "Station in life" is apparently very important to us and poverty seems like the most unfair and oppressing thing. But for some the loss of respect is extremely important. Perhaps jj was among those people who long for something that appears pure - something consistent and incorruptable.

    Loss of basic respect for one's own government/religious system would force that longing for purity into idealizing ISIS. Young people, especially those who have the luxury to be able to think and yearn, are particularly vulnerable to yearning for something they can respect - in the sense that it seems to be consistent.

    Elders can also argue that all teens and 20somethngs are 'mentally ill', since they are not 'normal' (like 'we' are). Ages 16-30 are a huge transition time for many, and many feel basically insane during that transition.  

    And ISIS also knows exactly how to talk to them, via music and videos. Where are the western religious rap and videos clearly showing the hope, progress, equality and inclusiveness it offers? Where are the western governments seen supporting the artists who can offer a greatly hopeful (and very cool) alternative kind of purity?


    This man has solutions (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 08:50:52 AM EST
    And he has been working in the UK to transform the prison radicalization, Maajid Nawaz.  Whenever he is on the tube I'm watching.  It's a big problem though and he's only one person.

    He got a big chuckle out of the gentleman fron CAGE claiming that JJ was radicalized through government treatment though because he remembers preaching radicalization in UK streets to the youth with that CAGE spokesperson standing next to him.


    I'll ignore the mention of official government (none / 0) (#124)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 05:34:12 AM EST
    art (Ugh!) and point at this, a BBC interview with an ex al qaeda mole.

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy

    A former member of al-Qaeda who began working as a spy for Britain's security and intelligence services has told BBC HARDtalk the antidote to extremism can only come from the Islamic world itself.

    Asked what the differences are in the attraction by al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS), Aimen Dean explained that al-Qaeda was about defending the honour of Islam and expelling the US from the Middle East, but with IS it was about revenge.

    "It is no longer about going to fight for a noble cause, it is about going to fight for revenge," he said.

    Can you explain the source (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 02:46:01 PM EST

     of your ability to read minds? I can't even consistently understand people I know very well, let alone people I have never met and about whom I have only read brief  descriptions. Such a talent could be very useful, so I'd really appreciate it if you shared.

    He clearly was not a radical and had no intention of becoming one

    read his own words in his emails (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 02:48:15 PM EST
    to CAGE.

    OK, well never mind... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 02:54:14 PM EST
      As 6th sense impaired as I may be, I do understand that assuming what a person expresses to others is  always intended to do nothing but supply the truth and  most accurate possible understanding of that person is not a good way to stumble through life.

    His repeated efforts to work within (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 03:13:21 PM EST
    the system, both through police and human rights groups, his contemporaneously made complaints about being falsely accused, and the chronology of events as documented by CAGE, do not paint a picture of a radical, but someone who believed he was being unjustly treated and trying to correct his Government's mischaracterization of him.

    The only allegation ever put to Mohammed was in the Netherlands: that he intended to go to Somalia to go training camps and to join a terrorist organisation.

    However his response to this allegation was that: he went to Tanzania for a holiday having the documents for a booked safari; he packed clothing clearly intended only for a holiday; he booked a ticket in London clearly shows that he planned to go from Tanzania to London; between Tanzania and Somalia is another country, Kenya, so it would not even be possible to get to Somalia from there; there was a war going on in Somalia so he wouldn't even want to go there.

    This was a clear refutation of the allegation, and was even seemingly accepted by the intelligence officers who then moved on from accusing him of terrorism to seeking to recruit him.

    Cage says that it was sometime in 2010 that he began comparing his situation to mistreatment of others.


    Everyone lies... (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by fishcamp on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 04:15:57 PM EST
    And even when not "lying" (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 04:59:14 PM EST

     meaning being untruthful with an intent to deceive, people are not always accurate "self-reporters." That's probably a more pronounced phenomenon when the subjrct is obviously a deeply disturbed person.

    I'm not sure what has brought on this Isis groupie fetish, but I hope it's just astounding gullibility.


    lol. you should be less concerned about (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:08:32 AM EST
    the "fetish" and more concerned about being put on the list of known associates...

    In our society & around the world (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:02:20 PM EST
    the unfortunate reality is that the system does not treat particular individuals fairly.  While I consider it likely that Emwazi may have reason to portray himself as a victim of the British system & may well have enhanced his version when communicating with close friends, it is arguable that the system's treatment angered him at a fundamental level. Even with the reality of a fortunate upbringing (by world standards) and British university background, his anger may have reached an inordinate level. Yet ... why would a systemic slight cause one to be the methodical killer that he is alleged to be?

    Many individuals--especially the non-privileged in society, historically--suffer more serious harms at the hands of nations than what we seem to know of Emwazi.  Some move to lives of crime, many others don't ... and, certainly, many who have lived through &/or witnessed harsh surroundings in their youth don't transform into killers.  While I understand that there will be more information  to come on the whys & wherefores all the way around ....  

    At this point, my inner reaction: What!?!  


    Clarification (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:11:25 PM EST
    In my preceding comment, when I said that he "may have reason to portray himself," before the word "reason," insert: "convinced himself that he has" <reason.>

    Did this man set animals on fire when (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:32:16 PM EST
    he was young?  I am having a lot of difficulty accepting his rationale for his current actions.

    You have hit upon one of the (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by fishcamp on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 07:24:21 AM EST
    many characteristics that define a psychopath oculus.  There are many, but lack of remorse is the big one.  At first it seems strange that this college educated man from a seemingly good family, could so suddenly snap and become the notorious Jihadi John, that beheads people.  The CAGE story about him that Jeralyn included reveals more than his confused innocence.  As some one pointed out, why was he on so many lists, and why did he get stopped and interrogated so often?  I think we will see more disturbing facts emerge from his past soon.  It just doesn't seem that a person can go from good to bad as fast as he did, without other sociopathic tendencies from his earlier life..  

    I think part of the problem (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:52:15 AM EST
    is we are trying to discuss these people in the context of western values.  Terms like psychopath or even good or bad are really kind of irrelevant in the context in which they live.   They have millions of followers who do not consider what he has done either bad or those of a psychopath.  He is a hero.  A recruiting superstar.  
    I do not think he is a psychopath any more than the people doing this heartbreaking destruction of priceless artifacts.
    These people are not like us.   Unless we begin to understand that we will not fight them effectively.  
    Personally I become more convinced every day that "understanding" them is a dangerous fools errand.  AFAIAC you can understand everything you need to know by watching that video.
    They need to be destroyed utterly.

    And btw (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:06:08 AM EST
    millions of people across the world deal daily with official harassment without cutting random strangers heads off with a hunting knife.

    You guys are right, (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by fishcamp on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:07:42 AM EST
    I'll probably never understand the radicalization of JJ, or any of them, so I'm shutting this machine down, getting in my boat, heading out to sea, and think about catching some fish for dinner.

    Take me? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:09:21 AM EST
    I can understand it.. (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 12:25:31 PM EST
    my dealings with the authorities "radicalized"
    me as a teenager and younger man, and helped shape the world views I still hold today.

    No doubt mistreatment at the hands of the authorities, whether real or perceived, is one of the many ingredients that make a radical.

    What I can't understand is the path those like Jihadi John take open being "radicalized", aka becoming the very thing he supposedly despised...authoritarians who use violence to oppress others, or kill others.

    Better paths would be to become peaceful non-violent resistors and reformers...or simply rant on the internet about the police surveillance authoritarian state and get on with your life;)

    Another factor would be the severity of the abuse suffered...relatively minor sh*t like a couple arrests and one case of abuse at the hands of the authorities that I experienced is easier to shake off and keep a cool head, a greater level of harassment like Jihadi John describes, or extreme cases like some poor innocent slob locked in Guantanamo for a decade or some poor slob who watched his family get blown to bits by a drone strike.  

    Moral of the story...we should be mindful of western society's role in helping to create radicals in our midst with our authoritarian responses to terrorism and extremism. iow, do unto others.


    I agree that looking at and trying to (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:34:23 AM EST
    analyze through our Western perceptions is probably not the way to go.

    As for the millions of followers who don't see anything wrong with these actions, and even praise them, it's always easier to opine on a theoretical basis than on an actual one.  You can appear to be on board while maintaining a safe distance as others do the dirty work for you.

    Aren't we all familiar with that concept?  We happily approve and applaud the sanctioned killings by people like Chris Kyle, we hail him as a hero, suggest that he be given a Congressional Medal of Honor - but we do so at a distance, from the safety of our nice, normal lives.  How many of us who approve could do what he did?  I'm guessing not many.

    One thing: just so we're clear - I'm not putting Kyle and JJ on the same footing, just making a point about the theoretical versus the actual.  If I wanted to take it further, even Chris Kyle, in killing people from a distance, was more detached from the reality of his job than JJ and others who held living people in their hands as they cut off their heads - which is about as up-close and personal as it gets.

    Who is drawn to this kind of thing, and why? There has to be a psychological component, or even a brain chemistry aspect, and I rather suspect the genesis could be different among the people engaging in these horrific acts.

    Why would it be important to know?  Ideally, so it could be corrected, but as long as there are fanatical groups happy to exploit the psychological peculiarities of its members, I don't imagine there will be much progress in getting it to stop.


    For the record (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:42:21 AM EST
    i do not consider Kyle or Clint Eastwood heros.  I have not seen American Sniper and I won't until it shows up for free on cable.
    We have seen what they do and we pretty much know what they want.  Not sure what there is to understand.  
    I happily agree that they are not that different than other groups in the region in what they do or believe.

    What I don't understand is why we are involved.  I would get the hell out and let them do what they have done for centuries.  


    Would add (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:45:04 AM EST
    let them do what they do until they attack us.  Then obliterate them.  Aid workers go at your own risk.

    Re: Kyle and Eastwwood - no, I don't (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 10:05:59 AM EST
    either.  Consider them heroes, that is.

    The most disturbing thing I heard this morning is that some Congressman from Texas wants Kyle to get the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    Eww...just eww.  No. I don't want to celebrate the killing of other human beings.  


    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 10:17:23 AM EST
    there are plenty of people in this country - not thank god a majority, I think - who who are just as bloodthirsty.  
    Here's my worry about what I just said.  If we did withdraw I think they would rather quickly spread their influence through the ME.  Then (possibly,probably) turn their attention to the west.  THEN we really would have what we have tried to avoid even talking about.  A war with Islam or at least the Islamic world.  
    There are no good answers.  No easy decisions.  I will say again I am glad I am not making the decisions and I do believe the president has done his best to walk the knife edge.   And I am sure there are many thing he knows that i do not.
    Reading my comments they seem a bit harsh.  So be it.   I do not see this ending well.

    I think everyone is missing (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 07:19:04 PM EST
    The points that many feminist Muslims have pointed out now. From birth there has been a teaching attached to faith that you kill apostates.  This has occurred while Muslim societies have a lack of predictable legal and social consequences for the abuse and murder of apostates.

    If I want to see the exact sort of group psychosis in my own country, all I have to do is take a look at what we did to anyone defined as black in this country from the point that they were slaves onward. And how those who were not slaves were taught from birth to perceive someone we socially defined as black.


    I disagree (none / 0) (#76)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 07:05:29 PM EST
    They are like us.  Structurally they (seems weird to call them they in this context) are exactly like us.  How our personalities evolve and our psyches develop to constant exposure to a socially and familial and GOD accepted violence to others does have a chart-able and psychologically understandable path.

    They may be born like us (none / 0) (#77)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 07:10:17 PM EST
    but you just said it's about your experiences.  So,  vastly different experiences, they are not like us.

    Find me a single person in the west who would even attempt to justify what they did in that museum.


    Btw (none / 0) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 07:19:00 PM EST
    I intentionally use the museum instead of some of their other exploits to eliminate the ridiculous eye for an eye equivalencies.  That was horrible.  What injustice possibly justified the destruction of what was literally the worlds history.   It's sick.  It's unforgivable.  It's uncivilized.

    Their progression into a structure (none / 0) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 07:26:48 PM EST
    Of accepted and rewarded violence is identical to ours.

    I guess (none / 0) (#81)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:10:45 PM EST
    if such things were "acceptable" I don't doubt there would be wingbats with torches on the steps of every museum in the country.  It isn't.
    I read someone say they did this for the same reason the release those hoffiffic execution videos.  As a provocation.  Well, if that was the goal it worked for me.  They can consider me officially provoked.  I'm done.  No quarter from me henceforth.

    I'm not talking about museums (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:28:53 PM EST
    I am talking about striking the heads off of other human beings being okay because they don't believe what you believe and therefore are lesser beings, not on the same level, not worthy.  NOT LIKE YOU.

    You want to see the exact, THE EXACT same group psychosis and lack of being able to connect to your feelings because it is too dangerous to your own survival?  Look at all the faces standing around in an old photo of a lynching in the United States.  Look specifically at the faces of the children too.

    And it becomes generationally entrenched, because those who survived it, they also have loving memories of the murderers and those who taught them to hate and commit atrocity.  Those same people kept them alive and nourished them when they were defenseless.

    When human beings come to terms with what their parents and grandparents did and taught, THAT is often for many who survived it along the lines of a psychotic break...trying to find you and your innocence in all that.  Many choose not to do it.  It's easier.  And they socially threaten, isolate, pound against wailing, and belittle anyone who points out what your loved ones did or taught or how the old belief system is still clinging on and hurting others.  It's very traumatic.  You see it in families with a lot of violence committed around the children too, they become bonded to it.

    We really see our teenagers act all that out.  I could not figure out why my daughters junior high started falling apart.  These kids who started out in grade school together, very much together, still split into gangs and stupid $hit happened. So I chose to investigate and understand.

    Teens are very vulnerable to the old messages still being acted out around them.  There are two bondings we all go through psychologically getting to adulthood.  First is bonding to our families and the second is bonding to our society, and the first has the most affect on how the second goes.  Psychologically closed families will not allow some issues to be sussed out and worked through, and religion does psychologically close families, not all...but when your religion can kill people for talking...oh yeah, that will psychologically CLOSE families.  And then LOOK OUT!

    A lot of Westerners are willing to look at the break in the social bonding, but continue to want to ignore the first bonding.  They instead want to think they are different from us.  No they aren't.  They are not fundamentally different from us.  We are the same.  We just had different crap recorded on our blank hard drives since birth.


    Well I was talking about a museum (none / 0) (#87)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:35:20 PM EST
    and this

    We just had different crap recorded on our blank hard drives since birth.

    Means they are not like us.


    Exactly what we were taught about (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 10:05:55 PM EST
    People defined as black.  And IMO a very dangerous thing to believe.

    Recently, a lot of religions have taken a hit.  The horrors of the Catholic Church, they've recently taken the biggest hit.  Their closed system was breached.  And it has caused anguish for many of its believers, what this closed system propped up and did to the most innocent. We are beginning to understand that some Evangelical organizations might be guilty of some of the same things.  But people have to be able to talk.  They have to be able to survive talking about what has happened to them and to others around them.

    We have all in this country survived how those closed systems have affected Western society.  Our faiths USED TO teach that black people were different from us, not the same. Thank God we can discuss and understand how that has all perpetuated the ritual abuse and spiritual dismemberment of children, non-whites, young women, and anyone who is gay.  We all know how a closed religious system leads to atrocity.  Our legal systems are largely responsible for us being able to survive the abuse, end the abuse, and protect each believer or non believer...but our faiths have been knocked around and transformed into something more functional...certainly more spiritual and edifying for all by our legal systems.

    Our hard drives only have different Gods and prophets written on them.  And the ability to discuss everything about what certain faiths teach and how that can perpetuate murder, rape, torture, is vital to civil society.


    Wrong (none / 0) (#92)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 09:50:19 AM EST
    i was taught blacks were less than me.  Less human than me.  That is not at all what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about is trying to apply western reasoning to the actions of people who are coming from a place that we cannot understand.
    There is nothing racist about what I'm saying.  I do not believe they are less human, less worthy or less intelligent than me.
    I believe their culture and upbringing has made them into people who do not blink at acts of savagery I would need therapy to recover from.

    I'm not saying what you are (none / 0) (#93)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:08:31 AM EST
    Saying is racist.  I am saying it is very dangerous to believe they are fundamentally different from us.I also believe their culture made them into people who do not blink at acts of savagery.  The culture is dominated by their faith.  Ours isn't, but used to be.

    I do not believe (none / 0) (#95)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:17:42 AM EST
    and never said they are "fundamentally" different that us.  And to be honest, I think it's more complicated that religion.  Some one pointed out that they have an incredible history.  And they do.  That area is quite literally the cradle of civilization.  In a way it's ironic that people talk about taking us back to the 9th century.  In fact some of the priceless artifacts the recently destroyed are from that period.  
    At some point just blaming religion for what's happening there doesn't work.

    It is not more complicated than religion (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:30:47 AM EST
    Religion was interwoven into slavery.  Look what we did with it then when OUR GOD sanctioned it. And the trauma of beating people to death, hanging them, making them eat dirt at our command, it damaged our children who watched it.  It broke their souls.  This has all been worked through by psychologists.  It has a very predictable path in the development of a psyche.

    They are not different from us other than everyone is afraid to call their religion on its $hit.  Demand evolution of its current teachings and practices.  The leader of Egypt stood before his Mullahs and laid it out right in their faces.  That was brave.  That could get him killed.


    And, it is being argued by Muslims (none / 0) (#101)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:46:49 AM EST
    Such as Salman Rushdie that their faith returning to fundamentalism is what stalled their progress, then completely rolled it backwards.

    It cannot be denied (none / 0) (#111)
    by Politalkix on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 01:18:06 PM EST
    that the United States and Israel played a big part in pushing the Muslim world towards fundamentalism in recent decades.

    The Muslim world was generally more liberal in the 1960s compared to what it is now. The Middle East was also more liberal in previous centuries during the days of the Abbasid and Ottoman Caliphates. This is the reason why minority religions and their art that the ISIS is targeting, still managed to survive through the centuries. The support for the Mujaheedin in Afghanistan and the Saudi ruling family(that made Wahabbism the state religion and spends billions of dollars towards spreading it across the world)has played a very big part in rolling back some of the civilizational advances that the region had made towards more liberal traditions.

    Wahabbism is the most conservative strand in Islam, yet the country that spreads it is one of our strongest "allies" in the Muslim world.

    There may also be other factors at play besides religion that we may have to understand regarding anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. There is an article in the New York Times in this regard. You have been a strong supporter of Al-Sisi in Egypt who is using extremely anti-democratic measures to consolidate his rule. He is not just heavy handed against Muslims that are opposed to him but also against all his critics (including non-Muslim foreign journalists that he has put in jail). The NYT article is about an American who is rallying Egyptians to fight Al-Sisi's corporatism that is backed by the Wahhabist Saudi regime and many multinational  corporations. I will be interested in hearing your thoughts about this NYT article.


    Once again completely discounting (none / 0) (#117)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 09:29:07 AM EST
    And ignoring the opinions and information being supplied by Muslims who long for peace.  The radicalization is being fueled by Sunni vs. Shia proxy wars as each sect attempts to rule Islam.  The radicals kills far more fellow Muslims they define as apostates than they do non-Muslims.  If a fellow Muslim can be defined as an apostate though, I most certainly am.  And my death will be used as a means to demonstrate my killers power that Allah has granted them.

    Correct (none / 0) (#104)
    by FlJoe on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 11:12:43 AM EST
    it is much more then just religion. While history shows Afghanistan is the place where empires go to die it has also shown that the area of  the Jerusalem, Damascus, Baghdad triangle is where they have gone to PARTY! If you take the old testament as history, war and barbarity has never been a stranger to the region, this was a violent place long before Islam came to be. If Islam is currently a more "violent" religion, it is because it was born into violence and was never allowed to grow out of it.

    And they believe YOU are the lesser being (none / 0) (#96)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:23:16 AM EST
    That is what you and everyone else do not understand.  From birth, you have been defined over and over again to them as the lesser human.  You are unworthy. You do not worship Allah.  You are the savage, you are an apostate.  If they strike your head off they are following the orders of their prophet Mohammad.

    There are people all over the globe (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:28:16 AM EST
    whi think their neighbor is less than them because they are iof another faith.  That is hardly a rare thing.  What is required to create the situation we have in the ME today is a culture that say it's ok to ACT on those feelings.

    Of course (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 10:33:41 AM EST
    But when your legal system does not challenge such religious beliefs and provide equal protection for all, such believes become reality...on the ground.  Happened in Ireland.  And when the legal system does eventually take over, you have an entire nation in shock and trauma.

    There is a zealotry (none / 0) (#83)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:53:02 PM EST
    among some of the uneducated in them which is very uncivilized. Here is another example, this time from the Taliban.

    However, if you take a historical view, you will find that some of the Fatimid and Abbasid Caliphs were great patrons of literature, art, music and architecture and even had the Greek classics translated into Persian and Arabic. It is likely that this ISIS Caliph is a rustic version of some of the more civilized Caliphs from earlier centuries.


    No argument (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:58:52 PM EST
    they were inventing science while the west was still in mud huts.  That was then.

    The missing piece, fishcamp: (none / 0) (#45)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:46:14 AM EST
    he didn't change until he moved to the ISIS zone, where his current behavior is considered normal and rewarded.

    A bunch of people here are trying to figure this guy out on the basis of their own everydays and experience, and they haven't got a freakin' clue.


    Ha (none / 0) (#47)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:52:54 AM EST
    yeah.  Just said that.

    I think the danger comes (none / 0) (#59)
    by ZtoA on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 12:37:46 PM EST
    when individuals lose RESPECT for authorities. Not so much if they see themselves as oppressed or impoverished. It is corruption in governments and other authoritarian entities that leads to loss of respect.  Plus, corruption is a rather natural human (and life) process - there's no getting away from it entirely, tho it is very important to fight against it an curb it.

    As far as JJ's 'radicalization' 'sociology' and 'psychology' of it all, well, we westerners are so deeply involved in cultural group think we simply will not try to see other's actions from any other pov. We, for the most part, have our agreed upon ideas of right and wrong, good and bad - and actions that do not fit into those categories are deemed psychopatic or sociopathic(=sick). But if a person engages in some 'bad' actions and still feels rather normal inside then the authority of the cultural group think is called into question for that individual.

    We (for the most part) westerners think that if one does not head the authority of our agreed upon standards then the one who breaks them is "sick". Basically we are too afraid of recognizing that we all are human and are capable of extreme and violent actions - in different contexts!

    So, while I do not mind the efforts to 'understand' jj's pov and mindset and influences (thinking "how would I react?") it is not understanding at all, only musing within a very narrow and rigid set of moral authorities in a cultural context. We will end up not communicating anything helpful or even defensive.


    But hasn't he ended up "proving" that (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:25:21 PM EST
    his government was right to have concerns and fears about him?

    "I'll show them" seems to have resulted in "see? this is why we had this guy in our sights."


    i'm not sure that's clear (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:33:24 PM EST
    Jeralyn has now put up two posts about Jihadi John & what he alleges as his harassment & mistreatment by British & other authorities

    if we take JJ at his word (see the CAGE links), he was pulled into a Kafkaesque world of nightmare

    as i said earlier, unless JJ was a psychopath to begin with, what Jeralyn calls his "radicalization" seems to have precipitated a psychotic break

    if that's the case, JJ needs to be apprehended & given psychiatric treatment & rehabilitation ASAP (if possible)

    note that i'm not saying that this is, or is not, the case - i'm just posing the question (again)


    You are a true liberal. (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:35:57 PM EST
    Rehabilitation is not one of the options I considered.

    guilty as charged (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:41:05 PM EST
    & if JJ has suffered a psychotic break, & if rehabilitation is not possible, then i would want him to be given as good a life as possible in a comfortable place where the rest of society does not have to worry about coming into unwitting or unwilling contact with him

    oculus: my position aligns with yours (none / 0) (#27)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 06:13:11 PM EST
    on this matter ... entirely.  Although I regard myself as generally liberal and have always opposed the death penalty, it does not follow that in situations considered heinous by society I focus all or in part on rehabilitation.  Justice also means individual responsibility and attendant punishment.  

    christine, i can't disagree with you or oculus (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 06:42:27 PM EST
    let's just say that my position on this question is "evolving"

    i start from a strong conviction that the human psyche is fragile & that the animal body is innocent & that rehabilitation may be possible

    i also recognize that rehabilitation is not always possible & that punishment is indeed necessary in such a case, & so i fully support an irrevocable sentence of permanent incarceration when the crime is, as you say, heinous

    but i want that incarceration to be humane - anything less amounts to abuse of animals, in my opinion - i think that abuse and degradation, far from "teaching" anyone "a lesson," can only offer a sanctioned outlet for sadistic impulses

    i am not saying, by the way, that you or oculus are advocating anything less than humane

    anyway, i have been challenged in the past by people i respect who are believers in the death penalty for certain crimes - again, my thoughts on the matter are in some state of evolution

    i'm squeamish, so if anyone committed a heinous crime against someone i love, i would want to hire someone to tear that heinous criminal apart in the most painful way possible - thank our Founders that the law would define the crime as having been committed against "the people" & would not leave the disposition of the case up to me & my hired help


    "squeamish"? (none / 0) (#107)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 12:03:41 PM EST
    To: The Addams Family  From: Christinep  
    Your comment about your personal evolution in the matter of justice ... our eternal, yet worldly, internal examination of "what is the right thing to do" has been on my mind in recent days.  

    I do not consider what you say about justice to be "squeamish" at all. Would that everyone should be so considerate, so compassionate.  Personally, I find my positions evolve ... and, more often than not, that may be a good thing because we certainly weren't born with rigor mortis of mind and feeling. While here, evolution is a sign of life, isn't it ... while on this earth, we can grow to comprehend that everything (or every person or every situation) most likely isn't all this or all that ... not so much "shades of gray" but genuine hues of humanity.

    The justice system and the goal of societal synthesis is a consideration for me. Or balance.  To me, that means the acknowledgment of the need for rehabilitation/restoration where possible (and feasible) together with the need for deterrence in the form of fitting punishment.  The latter, it seems to me, is not a word to be afraid of--unless unfairly applied--since societal cohesion ultimately depends upon the fair use of incentives & disincentives.  

    Our struggle with what is "humane" in prison/incarceration and what is not really is an important subsidiary issue.  Starting my career, I was assigned by the Court to review & write proposed dispositions for petitions from prisoners in federal prisons--"federal habeas corpus"--where a predominate theme was the claim of inhumane treatment.  Bit by bit, I formed my view of what the 8th Amendment disallowed or should disallow ... but, just as the whole system shift over the years to reflect societal standards and beliefs, I have changed.  We all do, it seems; it makes sense to change and grow according to what the reality teaches us.

    Peace with you in your journey.


    What it comes down to... (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:50:32 PM EST
    Since JJ was born (a reported) 26 years ago, approximately two billion humans have been added to this planet's population.

    People are replaceable.


    I've gotta admit, Oculus... (none / 0) (#40)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:13:50 AM EST
    when I see those photos of the guys in their black suits and AK-47s, extending their forefingers in that iconic pose, the image of Chris Kyle types shooting off those forefingers springs (unbidden) to mind.

    I think for most of us, it's very hard (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:56:01 PM EST
    to comprehend that someone could do the kinds of things this man has done and not be seriously psychologically damaged.  I mean, who wants to think that seemingly normal people can be either driven to this kind of place, or worse, would choose it?

    Was he wired in such a way that his experiences triggered some sort of break?  I have no idea - I don't imagine anyone does.  These kinds of chicken-or-the-egg things make for fascinating puzzles, but the reality of what results from whatever the cause is horrible and horrifying.  We are at once fascinated by such strangeness and afraid of it.

    If he's caught alive, I imagine it will be a cold day in hell before he gets treatment, because most of society will have decided that he is what he did, and reject any notion that he deserves to be restored.  

    And really, how do you repair a mind well enough to enable that person not to want to run screaming from who he became and come to terms with what he did?  

    Remember Andrea Yates, the woman who killed all of her children in a post-partum psychosis?  I remember at the time wondering how a mentally whole Andrea would ever be able to face what mentally ill Andrea did.


    yes (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 06:00:26 PM EST
    the crime truly does become its own punishment - there's no disinfectant like profound remorse

    heaven help us all - the psyche is such a fragile thing


    Did they out him to hinder his (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:01:58 PM EST
    Movement if he was able to find a way to flee?  Is the perimeter tightening in on him?  That would be my bet.

    I don't think so (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 12:55:59 PM EST
    I think it's more likely they hit a brick wall trying to kill or capture him, and they acquiesced to the WAPO disclosure while gearing up their electronic surveillance, hoping the chatter among ISIS fighters/supporters on Twitter would bring a new break on his location or associates. Yesterday was the day ISIS supporters conducted a massive online support campaign, which they had promoted for a week in advance. They were all encouraged to post. The U.S. probably had a field day with the new information it grabbed.

    Mine as well (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:21:32 PM EST
    i wouldn't sell him life insurance.

    I think they might want him alive (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:28:53 PM EST
    I'm going with 50/50 chance of taken alive unless he threatens another life near him.  He might choose to kill himself when cornered and about to be apprehended. I am also willing to bet that some sort of support structure around him has been taken down and taken out.

    They might (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:31:20 PM EST
    but I bet they take him however they get him as long as the pieces are identifiable

    What we often observe in these conversations (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:21:02 AM EST
      well illustrates a fundamental aspect of human nature.

      People have a, most likely innate, tendency to ascribe as the cause of "bad things" that which they most fear or oppose.

      We see Jeralyn assume the  "bad thing" here is  an understandable reaction to unjustified government repression. We see jimakappj assume the "bad thing" is the inevitable product of certain Islamic teachings. We see others assume the "bad thing" of economic inequality and unfairness and lack of opportunity. Others assume it a reaction to Western Imperialism or racism and discrimination. Others assume the bad thing can only be the product of  mental illness, etc., etc.

       Obviously, some or all of the proffered causes might be involved to greater or lesser degrees in any given specific example but there is likely never one factor operating alone and it's folly to think we can even identify the multiple factors let alone understand the dynamics of the interplay among them.

      It would be comforting to believe we that could, because such knowledge would make prevention of "bad things" occurring much more possible and we wouldn't be always simply reacting to the "bad things" that have occurred  by restraining, controlling or outright  attacking the people who have done bad things.

      Unfortunately, that's wishful thinking and while I am not advocating that we don't endeavor to understand (with an open mind and realization of complexity and multiplicity of the influential factors), the idea that "understanding" is the solution. Sometimes, however, you don't have the luxury of knowing "why" before you have to act, or even acting in a manner that addresses and ameliorates assumed root causes. situations exist where you just have to control or restrain through force or even eliminate the persons who do bad things.


    Well, (none / 0) (#42)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:25:34 AM EST
    How about... we send an army of sociologists and pyschologists over there to talk them to death.

    JJ gets a face (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:35:32 AM EST
    CAGE as a credible source? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 10:04:28 AM EST
    CAGE leader Asim Qureshi defended Emwazi Thursday, calling him "the most humble young person that I ever knew," and blamed Britain for his radicalization

      Granting extreme benefit of the doubt and accepting that he is providing his true  belief rather than being dishonest and manipulative, I'd suggest that quote strongly shows nothing more than Mr. Qureshi   would benefit from broadening his range of acquaintances. I personally will give no weight to anything coming from that source.

    CAGE (none / 0) (#57)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 10:41:49 AM EST
    There's a reason that Cage have left out the backstory, which helps us understand why Emwazi was on the government's radar in the first place.

    In 2009, he had travelled to Tanzania to go on "safari". He was refused entry, deported, and questioned by MI5, who reportedly accused him of seeking to join al-Qaeda's Somali affiliate al-Shabab. This is entirely plausible. Why? Because British court papers identify Emwazi as a member of a network of Islamist extremists connected to Somalia.

    This network had been in contact with a 7/7 bomber, and one key member, Bilal Berjawi, had also tried to go on a "safari" earlier that year - eventually ending up fighting in Somalia, later dying in a drone strike. It's also worth noting that Emwazi, in his incarnation as Jihadi John, was "obsessed with Somalia" and forced hostages to watch al-Shabab videos


    The focus on (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 03:35:56 PM EST
    Jihadi John is, in my view, odd.  ISIS considers itself at war to establish its Caliphate.  Jihadi John is one of their warriors, a soldier in their cause.  He, is seen by the ISIS leaders as a soldier who has certain talents, albeit gruesome in the extreme.

    The beheadings are, for ISIS, a war strategy---to present terror and to snag the US and Allies into wider conflict.  ISIS knows that beheadings, while not unheard of punishment in the middle east, are seen by the West as being more than just killing.

    War crimes by an amorphous nation-state, but different (and worse)  for some than strategies such as  waterboarding "accidents," drones hitting wedding parties, or sniper fire, on target or not. Jihadi John is unlikely to be the architect of the strategy, rather, a willing executor and executioner.  The all-out manhunt for Osama bin Laden differs--he was the leader, at the time, of al Qaeda.  Jihadi John is one among a rag-tag army of dangerous and radical miscreants.

    Unfortunately for him (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 04:03:59 PM EST
    he is a famous one.

    True, (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 05:43:02 PM EST
    and when we get him (which now we must) we will all be able to breathe more easily.   ISIS will no longer be a threat--since it is 'All About Emwazi.'

    Today, Saturday, Google News reports (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by fishcamp on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 07:04:28 AM EST
    that BBC news says Emwazi was treated for anger management problems in secondary school.  Sounds like he began his career way back then.  While I may not understand Jihadist reasoning, I do recognize the beginnings of sociopathic and psychopathic behavior

    Merciless killer Jihadi John was 'never the same' after suffering a serious head injury when he ran into a goal post as a child, a former classmate has claimed.

    The executioner - this week unmasked as Londoner Mohammed Emwazi - agreed with Hitler's massacre of Jews and called them 'f***king pigs', another has revealed.

    While some former peers say they are struggling to believe the quiet boy they knew turned into one of the world's most notorious killers, others have spoken of a boy with extreme beliefs and a thirst for blood.

    I imagine it comforts some of us to think his "inhuman" actions are the result of a serious brain injury.


    I posted my comment immediately below (none / 0) (#103)
    by Reconstructionist on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 11:08:07 AM EST
      before seeing your post and reading the link to the Daily Mail. It contains far more troubling assertions about Emwazi as an adolescent than what we have previously seen, but I still don't think his reported words and actions rise to the level of indicating sociopathic or psychopathic disorder. That's not to argue he wasn't or isn't suffering from such disorders, just that information would not suffice to diagnose such conditions and that many people who express similarly reprehensible beliefs do not suffer from such disorders.

    You seem to be glossing over (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by fishcamp on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 11:36:18 AM EST
    the fact that he had to be sent to an anger management program early in life.  It has been said, and I have witnessed people often come out of anger management, angrier than before.  

    I'm not glossing it over (none / 0) (#106)
    by Reconstructionist on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 11:43:10 AM EST
      I was commenting based upon the indication he was referred to the anger management program because he got in schoolyard fights. That's a behavioral problem and one schools nowadays address through such programs (Had they in my day, I might have been referred to one too. Whatever undiagnosed disorders I may have, I'm pretty sure sociopathic or psychopathic disorders are not among them). Adolescent boys having poor impulse control and fighting is not a precursor of serious mental illness-- or a valid basis to predict a terrorist future.

    The article I read, and referred to (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by fishcamp on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 12:26:42 PM EST
    did not mention schoolyard fights as the reason he went into an anger management program,  it just said he was sent to one.  

    Well... (none / 0) (#115)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 07:57:15 PM EST
    There's no doubt that he's got issues now.

    It would make a helluva story, if anyone could get close enough to hear it, tell it, and survive.

    Who wants to be his Vincent Bugliosi/Truman Capote?


    My (none / 0) (#116)
    by FlJoe on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 08:30:36 PM EST
    twisted mind does see Ted Bundy starring in snuff flicks professionally produced and internationally distributed by the Manson family. Psycho killings are nothing new under the sun but ISIS is chillingly organized and methodical about it, with production values and marketing skills no less.

    If you read the CAGE account (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 02:15:33 PM EST
    He tried every available means of working within the system, including filing official complaints about his mistreatment by agents every time he tried to return to Kuwait. He and his father went to the Kuwait embassy to try and get answers. He lost his job in Kuwait and two opportunities to marry.

    I don't think the story here is about privileged youth vs. poor youth. It's about how British agents and the system radicalized him. Read his accounts in his own words. He clearly was not a radical and had no intention of becoming one before repeatedly being falsely accused and unable to clear his name.

    Alleged mistreatment. (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 02:25:00 PM EST
    Right... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 03:47:37 PM EST
    ...how did he get on their radar to begin with ?

    And only allegedly NOT extremist... (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by gbrbsb on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 06:02:48 PM EST
    ... since the latest on the night news here, discovered a YT channel with Emwazi's student number with many Islamic extremist videos uploaded. Coincidence? Or perchance Emwazi was not the "extremely kind, gentle, and beautiful man" that CAGE thought he was as they described in their very lengthy press conference today.

    And I am no defender of secret services' nasty activities, rendition, Guantanamo, drones, wars on terror on demand, et al., which I think does create resentment in the Muslem community, but CAGE's account (which I read) tells only one side, i.e., Emwazi's, and imo it is a gigantic leap to go from being a kind and gentle non extremist soul harassed by MI5, (of course reproachable if indeed he did nothing), to knife in hand partake in beheading even aid workers such as Alan Henning delivering food and medical supplies to Syrian refugees, (tmk the only victim CAGE campaigned for to be released).

    As with Micheal Adebolajo the beheader of Fusilier Rigby on the streets of London (also represented by CAGE and according to them also turned beheader through harassment by secret services) or what I feel are equally 'extremists' like Elliot Rodger who in his manifesto (which I read most of) blamed female rejection for choosing his murderous path, the only justification I can find in my heart is that they are seriously mentally ill and need sectioning, and where possible treatment, for their own benefit as well as ours.


    so are you saying (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 04:49:34 PM EST
    that his radicalization precipitated a descent into psychosis?

    unless he was a psychopath to begin with, i don't know how else to account for what he has become

    maybe this is my opinion only, but it's one thing to be willing to shoot a rifle or set off a bomb (both conventional acts within warfare, however defined) & quite another to be willing even once (never mind repeatedly) to saw another person's head off with one's own hands


    I think I can imagine a scenario (none / 0) (#31)
    by Slado on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:35:30 PM EST
    were if he truly accepted the theology and became radicalized to the point he didn't think anything he was doing was wrong then he wouldn't need to be a psychopath to commit these acts.

    Also he would have been exposed to many other gruesome types of crimes leading up to this one that would tilt his sense of what is right and wrong.  

    As to his radicalization I can hold the Brits partially responsible but he ultimately made the choices that led him to commit these terrible acts.  Individuals are responsible for their actions and choices if there aren't other factors like mental health at play.

    It's a tough one though if you believe the Cage story because the Brits drove him into terror and once he was there he was unfortunately fully committed to the cause.  

    One thing this story should do is make us all question how our own security apparatus is interactstarting with Muslim Americans.


    really? (none / 0) (#29)
    by markw on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:04:47 PM EST
    The discussion in this thread reminds me of the professor in Alabama who shot up a bunch of her colleagues, allegedly because they weren't supporting her tenure file.  Some people amazingly blamed what happened on a supposedly unfair tenure review systems, as if that's what pushed her into it.  In contrast, my first reaction was that anybody who shoots up a room full of colleagues probably wasn't a very good candidate for tenure to begin with! (Later, it was revealed that she had probably killed other people when she was younger, and the idea that "tenure rejection" made her do it fell out of favor.)

    The fact that this guy is now cutting off lots of people's heads makes me think it's pretty likely that the British intelligence was on to something, and in fact should have cracked down on him harder.  There is lots of evidence that both he and other radicals he hung out with were pretty obsessed with Somalia, and there are a number of other cases of European jihadists using the "safari" ruse to explain their trips to Africa.  As for his writings on this--well, he's a smart persuasive guy, which is how he got into leadership of an organization raising havoc in several countries.

    Dr. Amy Bishop! (none / 0) (#30)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:37:10 PM EST
    yes, indeed - Dr. Amy dragged a long, long trail of antisocial attitudes & behavior behind her, going back to childhood with the fatal shooting of her brother

    i suspect that something of the same type of history may turn out to accompany little Johnny

    my original comment on this post was essentially a request for Jeralyn to clarify why she finds JJ's run-ins with British agents relevant to this post and to the one about JJ's travels - so far, Jeralyn has not clarified that point, & i think i'm not the only one who hasn't grasped the specific relevance of the information she arrays in both posts

    is it to show (as i originally asked) that JJ's "radicalization" caused him to suffer a psychotic break? if so, rescue the man & confine him for as long as treatment &/or possible rehabilitation might take, even if that means the rest of his natural life

    is it simply to show that such run-ins with the authorities can occur? i think we all know that, so JJ's case would seem to be a poorly chosen demonstration

    is it to explain the "root cause" of the serial decapitations allegedly carried out by JJ? if so, i think that's preposterous - my heart just doesn't bleed that way

    but Jeralyn hasn't connected the dots for our inquiring minds, so i'm still wondering


    So everyone in ISIS (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:40:40 PM EST
    has had a "psychotic break?"

    Come on folks.

    It is about belief in selected part of a religion.

    jim, the question arose for me (none / 0) (#33)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 01:04:59 AM EST
    only because Jeralyn juxtaposed the story of JJ's "radicalization" by British authorities with the common knowledge that JJ is alleged to have carried out a series of decapitations

    i would like to know what connection Jeralyn sees between that story & JJ's alleged actions

    if you are saying that religious belief (or, for that matter, faith-based allegiance to any type of ideology) can suffice to produce atrocities, which cannot necessarily be interpreted according to secular, ethnocentric models of mental health diagnosis & treatment, then i agree with you & think we ignore this possibility at our peril


    It seems (none / 0) (#34)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 01:25:24 AM EST
    to me that his religious beliefs are the cause if mental health plays no or little factor.   He was embraced in Briton but the ideology and his problems with being constantly hassled by the Brits made the pitch or story all the more easy to embrace.  

    We all want to feel part or something bigger than ourselves and to feel we are meaningful in some way.  His couldn't have felt less this way while going through what he did prior to joining up and when ISIS stepped in he was easy pickings.  


    another reflection on Graeme Wood's article (none / 0) (#35)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 02:10:27 AM EST
    on the one hand, your comment touches on the possibility that JJ's treatment by British agents did indeed push a kind & gentle person over the edge of mental health (we are, after all, talking about spectacularly heinous atrocities)

    on the other hand, your comment suggests that there is nothing new about JJ's religious beliefs & that his "radicalization" merely gave him an avenue for expessing one facet of them, in which case the reports of JJ as a kind & gentle person might not be at all incompatible with the atrocities he is alleged to have committed - the 7/7 London bombers, too, were said to have been ordinary people living ordinary lives

    i think Graeme Wood was right when he wrote that it's very difficult for Westerners to grasp the extremist Islamic mind-set


    What leads to this (none / 0) (#36)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 05:58:42 AM EST
    Is the reality that in the secular West religion is no longer the main or single driver of morality and culture as compared to the Islamic world where religion is the only source.   We in the Wedt put a high value on the life of the individual and the rights of that individual to do whatever they want.   So when we see someone blow themselves up or become part of a radical group we struggle to put ourselves in that mindset.  It is hard to comprehend what they are thinking without assuming they are slightly off kilter.  

    This fact that Islamic men who grew up here are also making this choice of fanaticism is even harder to comprehend unless you consider the fact that culturally in Europe they remain very isolated and they see the clash of the cultures first hand and this feeds into the narrative that there is a religious war happening and groups like ISIS offer a way to defend your faith.  

    JJ was ready to fight back and joining ISIS was the best way to do that.  


    I'm not 100% sure of what (none / 0) (#72)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 05:17:46 PM EST
    you said but if it is, "Religion produces nut cases and Islam seems to be doing more than its fair share right now," I agree.

    Not sure about a psychotic break, (none / 0) (#43)
    by fishcamp on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:29:50 AM EST
    but they all do seem to me to have sociopathic problems.

    We're going to have to (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by NYShooter on Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 10:19:48 AM EST
    re-define many psychiatric terms: "Normal?" Sociopath?" "Psychopath?"

    Having mingled with quite a few mafia members during my years as a club owner in NY, I didn't know many who were "radicalized" by their religion, that's for sure. Some of them can dismember their murder victims as easily, and, as devoid of "deep meaning" as you do shucking a basket of oysters/clams/muscles.

    let's face it, power is one of the most powerful  aphrodisiac there is. From the desire to join the ranks of prison guards, or, police officers, if you believe that most applicants follow that path due to their innate sense of "wanting to make society safe," or, the truly nauseating one, "wanting to "give back," you should seek a profession where you're not in a position to hurt yourself, or, innocent others.

    I've seen too many "fair-haired Goobers" turn into sadistic, heartless sub-humans too easily when life's choices presents them with that opportunity to have any optimism regarding mankind's future.


    must have had some inkling that the guy in all the beheading videos was their son?

    Recon, you have combined two (none / 0) (#109)
    by fishcamp on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 12:49:44 PM EST
    separate stories to fit your ideas of what happened.  In the article posted by Mr. Natural, from the Telegraph, it said JJ ran from a fight and bumped into a goal post.  The BBC article I read said he was sent to an anger management program, with no mention of schoolyard fights.  Your speculation  seems typical of many of your posts.  When you're good you're really good and when your not, you're not so good. :)

    And, I'd add (5.00 / 2) (#112)
    by Reconstructionist on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 01:45:54 PM EST
      my post is in essence suggesting you refrain from making speculative psychiatric diagnoses, which would be sound advice even if you happened to be a forensic psychiatrist.

      Far from speculating, in that and my other posts, I have repeatedly stressed reasons why people should reserve judgment as to cause[s] for Emwazi's action.

      We have far from complete knowledge and even if we had much more, it would be speculative, at best, to ascribe causes. I think I have consistently expressed that view.


    Recon, I was in no way (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by fishcamp on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 03:16:14 PM EST
    making speculative psychiatric diagnoses, and I think you know that.  This is not a court of law, it's a blog where many people can discuss situations.  Sociopathic behavior is very easy for a layman to recognize, since there are so many people that fulfill several of the 18 or so traits.  Just check with Google and there they are.  A few of them are: grandiose self-worth, need for stimulation, pathological lying, conning and manipulativeness,  lack of remorse, parasitic lifestyle, and the list goes on and on.  Granted the terms Sociopath, and Psychopath are heavy words, but one doesn't need a forensic psychiatrist to understand them.

    - up early? (none / 0) (#121)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 04:35:34 PM EST
    Well, you did mention that you were heading out, going fishing...

    no (none / 0) (#110)
    by Reconstructionist on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 01:15:44 PM EST
     I had read this BBC link and very similar stories when I made that post. As I said above, I had not read Sarc's link with more troubling accounts at that time, but I still think it is going too far to offer psychiatric diagnoses based on what we know even assuming all "the worst" vewrsions are true/

    Good points, and naturally (none / 0) (#113)
    by fishcamp on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 02:00:19 PM EST
    we could both be right.  The only reason I jumped into the conversation was it seemed so unbelievably fast, that he went from a college grad to the most wanted terrorist in the world.  I still believe he had to have early sociopathic traits, but it doesn't matter what I believe.  I don't want to argue with anyone on this blog, especially a lawyer.  Early this morning I read what they were saying about him and reported it.  Mr Natural and Capt. Howdy jumped in and straightened me out, as they have done before, since they are up early.  Now there are articles all over the place about JJ, so I'm totally finished with the subject.  Thanks for remaining calm during my rant.

    Not my intention (none / 0) (#114)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 04:23:18 PM EST
    sorry if it sounded that way.

    JJ's adult face (none / 0) (#118)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 02:29:29 PM EST
    'Jihadi John' was a cold, loner, ex fighter says (none / 0) (#120)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 04:34:02 PM EST
    "Isis have professional psychologists," said Abu Ayman.

    "They know who to choose from the fighters and how to make them famous.

    "Still, there was nothing special about Jihadi John... anyone could have become like him."

    He continued: "The emirs give the orders - and in return you get promoted.

    "Many brothers joined Isis for new weapons, luxury guns, to drive better jeeps and to show off."

    JJ "the best employee we ever had," (none / 0) (#122)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 05:07:38 PM EST
    says former boss in Kuwait.

    "He was the best employee we ever had," the former boss said of the then 21-year-old. "He was very good with people. Calm and decent. He came to our door and gave us his CV."

    He said staff were surprised that a Londoner would want to come and work in Kuwait, as many of his peers in the region would be looking to make the journey in the opposite direction. The former boss added that, after a stellar probation period, the Briton disappeared completely in April 2010 after a trip to London.