Dabiq 14, John Cantlie and Other ISIS News

The CBC has a new interview (you can read it without having to watch a video) with Belgian jihadist tracker Pieter Van Ostaeyen (who I've been reading and quoting for over a year a half.) From the new interview:

Few understand ISIS like Van Ostaeyen. And what he sees now is a mutation in the group, in the rhetoric and the recruiting. He points out that the language is less about Islamic fundamentalism and is increasingly focused on the notion of revenge.

"What they really want … is the clash of civilizations," he says. Revenge for what ISIS claims the West has done to Iraq and Syria. And the more ground ISIS loses there, the more the group lusts for bloodshed in Europe.

He says Western intelligence has failed for the simple reason they have no idea what they are looking for. What they should be looking for now: those with criminal backgrounds, not religious extremists. [More...]

"They're like a bunch of blind men," he says in his spectacularly blunt way. "Nobody knows what they are looking for, where they should look for it, who to look for. It's like this network will basically only grow. It's not like they are even close, in my opinion, to stopping this."

...Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui as prime examples. "They weren't known as radicals. They were known as hardened criminals. The police were using two lists. The list of people you should be looking for because they are known for radical Islam, and the other list, people known for violent crimes. But they didn't cross-reference them. Nobody actually had any idea that they had to look on the other list."

He says the allure of criminals for ISIS is significant. They have useful connections to weapons, money laundering, fake IDs, safe houses. And, crucially, they aren't as hard to convince to engage in violence.

ISIS has also released a new issue of its English magazine, Dabiq (Issue 14.) (A safe link from Jihadology is here.) This issue explains all about the perpetrators of the Belgian attacks and the relationship to Paris. The New York Times has an in depth look here. It notes according to Dabiq, the Belgian brothers who were instrumental in the recent attacks there, Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, never went to Syria, but were radicalized in European prisons.

Neither Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, who blew himself up at 7:58 a.m. at the Brussels airport on March 22, nor his brother Khalid el-Bakraoui, who detonated his explosives at 9:11 a.m. in a subway car in the Belgian capital, appears in the images of the fighters in Syria. Their biographies in Dabiq make no mention of travel to Syria, saying instead that the brothers were radicalized in jail in Europe. That suggests that neither brother made it into Syria.

More interesting to me, the new issue of Dabiq has an article by ISIS hostage John Cantlie. Hopefully this means he's still alive. It's an interesting article, blasting the U.S. and U.K. once again on hostage policy. Even though he welcomes the change in U.S. policy of threatening families with prosecution if they try and raise ransom money, he says it does nothing to erase the fact that the U.S. could easily have prevented the deaths of Americans James Foley and Kayla Mueller.

The stupidity of hardline non-negotiation was obvious at the time as my cellmates were beheaded one after the other. Since most countries choose to negotiate, either above or below the table (and everyone chooses to deal below), then by being the hardliner who does not agree to talk, all you’re doing is condemning your imprisoned citizens to death. Nothing more....

...All you’re doing is just condemning citizens who have gotten themselves into a sticky situation for the sake of a few million dollars which – let’s be honest – doesn’t go very far in today’s world. The Islamic State pumps millions of dollars a day in oil revenue so they don’t even need for quite some time. I don’t claim to speak for them, but I believe it’s reasonable to say that the mujāhidīn continue to seek ransoms only to uphold an order dictated in the Qur’ān. {When you meet those who disbelieve, strike their necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either confer favor afterwards or ransom them until the war lays down its burdens} [Muhammad: 4].

Make no mistake about it, the mujāhidīn follow the Qur’ān to the letter, say what they mean, and mean what they say. They don’t play games, a fact that was not lost on the European countries whose citizens were prisoners. America, on the other hand, chose to glibly ignore the disaster that was coming their way and today spends more in one day of dropping bombs over the Islamic State as it would have taken to get 26 year-old Kayla Mueller home. Thanks to US policy at the time, all her family got instead was evidence that she was killed by a coalition bomb in ar-Raqqah and a candlelight vigil at their hometown of Prescott, Arizona.

I've read many but of course not all articles about James Foley's execution. (Cantlie and Foley were kidnapped together in November, 2012.) This I haven't seen before:

“Great, captured on Thanksgiving day, killed on my mom’s birthday,” he said quietly, minutes before he was led out. We’d all had our heads shaved early that morning and it was clear something was up. “It’s just a video, be good for all of us,” said James. “No,” I replied. “This isn’t just a video.”

He also relates an incident involving former French hostage Nicholas Henin, whom he describes as "a peculiar fish but I rather enjoyed his company because he was quiet and said completely weird things." But the incident he describes doesn't seem weird to me. It almost makes me wonder whether someone from ISIS embellished Cantlie's article by adding things he didn't write to it.

Cantlie says he viewed this documentary on hostages and ransoms a few months ago (it has an interview with Henin and aired in June, 2015.) He doesn't say how he came to view it.

He also has this short statement on Peter Kassig:

Peter Kassig wasn’t the easiest guy to get along with in prison, but when he knew his time was coming, he became quiet and reflective. A few days before he died, he said, “Maybe after I’m dead, somehow something good will come of it.”

His death, and the deaths of the others, shamed America into change. But the shedding of their blood could have been so easily avoided in the first place.

He makes the argument that not paying ransoms serves no purpose and didn't weaken ISIS in any way. On France:

France got all their prisoners home and continue to be attacked on French soil, so the evidence is damning. By choosing not to negotiate in any way with the mujāhidīn, all America and Britain did was get six of their citizens slaughtered for no reason whatsoever other than arrogant bloody-mindedness.

...the fact is they could have gotten them all home no problem, both Americans and British, and their war against the Islamic State would have taken exactly the same course that it has today. The events of the last year and a half have proven this statement to be true.

Lastly, Cantlie usually is quite pessimistic about his ultimate fate. He sounds less so in this article.

I have moved on both physically and mentally and have tried to put it behind me. We cannot live forever in the past.

I hope I'm wrong and this was all written by Cantlie from a a safe perch somewhere in ISIS-land.

< DA to Announce No Prosecution of Trump Campaign Manager | Parole Board Recommends Parole for Leslie van Houten >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I disagree with  Van Ostaeyen as to (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 14, 2016 at 03:46:01 AM EST
    Why "western intelligence" failed. But I realize all this mystification gets him read. There is no such thing as Western intelligence first of all. "The West" is made up of sovereign nations with their own voting constituencies, and human beings should never give in easily to having to adopt protection stances and policies. Some nations did not place tracking and hunting ISIS on any priority list at all, and agencies were not working together.

    Poor Turkey, they have genuinely been busting their butts to notify other countries that ISIS fighters have arrived in country, and they have been largely ignored.

    ISIS isn't some magical mystical unknowable transforming mist, they are thugs. The few recent successes they claim are only due to citizens and governments of Europe wanting to think good thoughts.

    The thing (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 14, 2016 at 10:19:33 AM EST
    that should really get our attention is that the radical islamists were created while in jail.

    We know that some radicalized when in jail (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 14, 2016 at 02:14:36 PM EST
    Others were radicalized in their loving homes, and some of the latest aren't even about Islam. They are thugs without the faith, but ISIS doesn't care. If you committed a violent act within the hour Jim and credited them they'd take it. They are more then happy to be the channel for anyone's misplaced anger.

    I didn't say ALL of them (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 14, 2016 at 09:49:55 PM EST
    Just some.

    But I can't see a thug who isn't a true believer blowing  himself up.


    While (none / 0) (#3)
    by FlJoe on Thu Apr 14, 2016 at 10:39:06 AM EST
    you always seem to forget that most of the leadership of ISIS did time in Bagram or Abu-Gharib.

    Doesn't make any difference (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 14, 2016 at 09:47:59 PM EST
    They aren't the ones who are getting radicalized in prisons within the US and Europe.

    Remember the radical islamist who beheaded a co-worker in OK?? Oh, wait. That was just another instance of work place violence.

    But I give you props for trying to blame the US.


    i feel sorry for the victims (none / 0) (#7)
    by linea on Thu Apr 14, 2016 at 10:34:44 PM EST
    but i can't follow this person's logic.

    seems he's saying that the US should pay ransoms because (1) not paying ransoms doesn't discourage terrorists from kidnapping and murdering people and (2) the US should pay ransoms because asking for a ransom is a sincerely held religious belief. ref: "it's reasonable to say that the mujāhidīn continue to seek ransoms only to uphold an order dictated in the Qur'ān

    why the pronunciation aids for arabic words?

    Today's ISIS in Dearborn News: (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Apr 15, 2016 at 03:57:23 PM EST
    A federal defender representing an alleged ISIS supporter from Dearborn Heights is accusing the government of "double-teaming" his client with two fictitious Islamic women who pretended to be potential wives for the 21-year-old while he was under FBI surveillance.

    Khalil Abu-Rayyan, who was being watched by the government for allegedly making violent threats about committing acts of terror and martyrdom in Metro Detroit, was the victim of a "disturbingly crafted seduction and manipulation ... through the inducement of love," attorney Todd Shanker wrote in a motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit in a second attempt to get bond for his client.

    confused (none / 0) (#9)
    by linea on Fri Apr 15, 2016 at 07:37:25 PM EST
    the article you linked to says:
    Federal prosecutors have never charged Rayyan with terrorism-related crimes.