"Jihadi John": Doxed to Death

The British media and the U.S. media have something in common: When a spontaneous event occurs and they get caught flat-footed, in a race to compete with other news organizations, they throw traditional vetting rules out the window and report whatever they are told, reliable or not. They rummage through every type of record, not only of the individual, but their families and associates, every scrap of online information, seek out people who have had not contact with the named individual for 10 or more years and report their information as fact, ignoring even the most basic inconsistencies. In essence, they decide the person is a monster, and then report anything, true or not, that points in that direction. [More...]

The current reporting on Mohammed Emwazi, aka "Jihadi John", reminds me of the early reporting on Adam Lanza and his mother, and the Sandy Hook shootings. In their rush to report, all the major networks made big errors, including misidentifying Adam as his brother Ryan. Many acquaintances and teachers interviewed hadn't seen Adam in years, and as with Emwazi, their information conflicted. The media tarred Nancy Lanza, reporting every detail, accurate or not, provided by so-called acquaintances. Their social media postings, and those of family members and friends were widely disseminated.

With "Jihadi John", every tidbit of his life is reported and much the information is inconsistent or contradictory. Some is so banal as to be ridiculous, like the story he had bad breath in high school. Some of it is irresponsible, such as the Daily Mail article reporting he attended a rally supporting the 9/11 killings.

Emwazi is said to have attended the demonstration outside the Harrow Central Mosque in North-West London in 2009 to 'celebrate' the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Aside from the fact that the photo it claims is Enwazi looks nothing like him, the rally, held on 9/11/09 was a rally staged by an right-wing Islamophobic group called Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) that wanted to ban Muslims from England. Muslims attended as a counterprotest organized by United Against Fascism. No one was endorsing 9/11.

The Independent reported he was recruited while on holiday in Tanzania in 2009.

Emwazi was recruited by two of the world’s most notorious terrorists while on a holiday in Kuwait when he was just 19.

He never entered Tanzania. He was stopped when the plane landed and sent to the Netherlands and then back to England.

The Guardian now has a photo of him when he was working in Kuwait. (His employer says he was the best employee they ever had.)

I don't really care what radicalized him. I doubt we'll ever know. This is just a blame game being played out in Great Britain.

What would be helpful to know are details of his life once he left the UK for good in 2013. ISIS didn't just kill hostages, it tortured them. Several of the guards, reportedly British, French, Dutch and Belgian, are still out there. Who were the guards who worked with Emwazi?

Knowing where he was based and who else was based there, what training camp he attended, whether he was a fighter after training camp or became an administrator/enforcer, his position in ISIS, who promoted him, etc. would be far more helpful information.

I've seen reports that he first went to Iraq and joined up there, before going to Syria. Most reports say he went to Turkey and then to Syria. I've seen reports he went by the name Abu Adullah al Britani, and others saying that is false and he was known as Abu Muharib al-Yemeni. There are reports he first joined Jabhat al Nusra, and then switched to ISIS.

Reports from November quote officials saying he was made the head of the Wilayat al-Furat (Euprates), is on the Shura council, and lives in al Bukamal, (next to al Qaim at the Iraq-Syria border), protected by 7 British bodyguards as he traveled in a fleet of Audis.

Jihadi John is understood to be in the shura council for the wilayat of Al Furat, an area that straddles the Syria-Iraq border and includes Al Qaim, the scene of the air strike. Our source added that Jihadi John does not live in Raqqa, but in Al Bukamal, a small desert town which borders Iraq. He is aged between 28 and 31, and is fluent in English, Arabic and classical Arabic, the language of the Koran, according to our source. He first joined IS in Iraq when he left the UK, but then moved to Syria.

Some reports say he was in the same group as the first British recruit to die, Ibrahim al Mazwagi, who went to Syria in 2012, and was killed in February, 2013, a few weeks after getting married to a Swedish woman. al-Mazwagi gave an enlightening news interview about the members of his group. You can watch it here. Did Emwazi join with this group (which would have been after al-Mazwagi's death)?

There are photos of al Mazwagi with ISIS' military commander in Syria, Chechen Omar al-Shishani.

Many of the British recruits attended training camps led by the Chechens who were part of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar. Omar al Shishani left to align with ISIS, in November or December, 2013, some went with him and some stayed, aligned with al Nusra. One group with a lot of British and European fighters was Katiba al-Muhajireen (which folded in April, 2013 and merged with other groups.) Many eventually ended up with ISIS. Back then, ISIS sometimes ran training camps together with other groups.

There are reports Emwazi is featured along with an Aussie sniper trainer in training camp videos from an area west of Raqqa called Muscana. I haven't seen those videos, and a google search for "Muscana" in Syria comes up empty, but who is the Aussie sniper-trainer?

The British guards allegedly took over from the Dutch guards. The British guards were at al Dana in Idlib. British and American hostages were also held in Aleppo in August, 2013, according to Belgian Jejoen Bontinck, and moved to Raqqa after that. The Aleppo guards were Dutch, and the lead jailer was the emir of Aleppo, Abu Obaida al-Maghrebi. He was killed by ISIS for sharing information with British secret service, the day after the James Foley execution video aired.

If Emwazi didn't get to Syria until the spring of 2013, and had to go through training, it's unlikely he had a leadership role while the hostages were at Idlib, rather than just a guard. The emir of Idlib at the time was Abu Osama Al Tunisi. (Here is a video of him singing at a public event in August, 2013, with several other ISIS members around, some dressed like Jihadi John.) Did Emwazi guard anyplace else? How did he work his way up, if he did? How far will ISIS leaders go to protect him? Is he connected to Omar al Shisani, Abu Ubayda al Madani or Abu al Athir Amr al Absi? There's a British jihadist in the al Madani video who sounds similar to Emwazi and says:

I represent from Britain here in the UK. We will fight the mushrikin, the murtadin, we will fight Bashar, we will fight the whole world until Allah is the highest.

(The video is no longer on You Tube, but I saved a copy at the time I first wrote about it.)

No rational person would defend Mohammed Emwazi's actions, or any of ISIS' barbaric acts. However he became a terrorist and killer, what matters more is that he is one and is still out there, with others. Instead of focusing on rumors and snippets from redacted intelligence reports, finding the other torturing guards, murderers and beheaders should be the priority. What caused Emwazi to hate his government and join ISIS is water under the bridge.

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  • Display: Sort:
    My view (or, hope) (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Mon Mar 02, 2015 at 04:22:34 AM EST
    One of the reasons ISIS is causing so many problems for the different militaries and security agencies, world - wide is due to they're being a "work in progress." They, themselves, don't know, exactly, who they are, or, what they want to become, other than gaining, and consolidating more power, of course. In other words, I'm beginning to really wonder whether they have any real, basic, core, (or, revolutionary?) beliefs, beyond what we've already seen.

    They strike me as being really smart, opportunistic cookies. Their approach to empire-building in the chaotic aftermath of so many blown up Middle Eastern (and, increasingly, African and Asian) regimes is not unlike what investment bankers do when looking over the investment landscape after an economic meltdown. Everyone knows this is where the real money is made. There's an old saying on Wall St: "Them's that gots `some' when everyone else's gots none, win the game." The "game, of course, is Monopoly.....with real money.  

    ISIS's meteoric rise to power was, virtually, identical. After Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, and more, The Middle East, once a pretty stable place, ruled primarily by ruthless dictators with unquestioned power, and control, entered into a self-destructive chain of events leaving power vacuums all over the region. We were taught in high school how physics hates vacuums, something has to rush in, and fill it. In economics it's the Investment bankers (some would call them vultures) who rush in and take over.

    In the Geopolitical world, it's those with power, and the will to use it, who fill the vacuum.
    Anyway, what it all boils down to, at least for me, is that ISIS is using 5th century Islam as a convenient pretext for what has always been known as a plain old Power Grab.

    From a logistical, and tactical, point of view it was brilliant. Talk about having a set of cajones! With, basically, a handful of teenagers (and, a "pair" the size of Ethiopia) they saw the opportunity, and calculated correctly that they could, basically, bluff, and blackmail, almost the entire Middle East, Geezer Gang into submission.
    But, finishing up here, I think their days are numbered. They had a spectacular run, but, they over-played their hand, and, over-stayed their welcome. I doubt that their overly repressive, ultra-fundamentalist form of Islam will play well in the 21st Century. While I think they used it brilliantly as a quick, easy form of governing while they pursued their real goal of enriching themselves militarily, and, financially as quickly as possible, before the Elders "woke up," I believe time has run out on their brazen scheme.

    Money always wins out in the end. I think the Grown Ups have had enough. Before too long I believe ISIS will join the ranks of the SLA, Black Panthers, Students for a Democratic Society, the Weather Underground, and the Yippies in the dust bin of history.

    At least, I hope so.

    This falls into (none / 0) (#2)
    by FlJoe on Mon Mar 02, 2015 at 11:41:07 AM EST
    the "not seeing the forest for the trees" syndrome that the media often, if not always falls into. Endlessly parsing and analyzing the motives and background of a single individual does not provide much clarity on the over all issues at hand. For example understanding Adam Lanza's pathology and background will do little to help to solve the epidemic of gun violence, likewise searching for, or even discovering, the motives of a single jihadist will do little if anything to help solve or mitigate the problems on that front. The media is lazy, it's far easier for them to put up a picture of the evildoer and chase down anecdotal stories from their third grade teacher then actually report on the overarching realities that are more meaningful.

    Speaking of doxing: (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 05:52:35 AM EST
    BBC: 'Jihadi John' recording: Mohammed Emwazi denied extremism

    A recording has emerged in which the Islamic State fighter Mohammed Emwazi denied being an extremist and complained about UK security services.