The ISIS leader was NOT trained by the CIA or Mossad, and Snowden didn’t say it

10:06 am - August 14th 2014

by Sunny Hundal    

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There are three common rules when people discuss politics:
1) they are willing to believe anything on the internet if it confirms their prejudices
2) they don’t want to accept people of their tribe do awful things
3) they find a way to blame America or the UK for most of the world’s problems

A recent example: the claim that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the self proclaimed leader of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq – was funded or trained by the CIA or Israel’s Mossad, and that this was apparently revealed by Edward Snowden.

Stories claiming this hoax have gone viral all over the web (example 1, example 2, example 3). This is simply not true. In fact I asked the reporter Glenn Greenwald, who has had more contact with Snowden than most people – this question directly.

Furthermore, Edward Snowden’s lawyer called this claim a hoax too.

So where did ISIS money and the guns come from?
I explain this briefly in my New Statesman article:

“After initially funding its efforts with extortion, smuggling and private donations, it literally struck gold in June when it made off with $400m in cash and gold from the central bank in Mosul.

“Since then it has also captured oil fields and earns up to £3m a day by selling the resource on the black market.

“The group also has a modernised arsenal from the weapons and vehicles it has captured from the Iraqi army. Even the well-trained and feared Kurdish forces are being pushed back in places.”

But America is still to blame, right?
In some ways, yes. The New York Times recently reported:

“The Pentagon says that Mr. Baghdadi, after being arrested in Falluja in early 2004, was released that December with a large group of other prisoners deemed low level. But Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar who has researched Mr. Baghdadi’s life, sometimes on behalf of Iraqi intelligence, said that Mr. Baghdadi had spent five years in an American detention facility where, like many ISIS fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalized.”

From there he joined al-Qaeda, and later split off into his own group which later became ISIS and Islamic State.

But what about all the pictures?
If you see any pictures, supposedly of al-Baghdadi meeting someone (like John McCain!), they’re also fake. McCain met some Syrian opposition leaders but he didn’t meet Baghdadi. These pics never reveal their source, time, date or location. Unless a pic does that, so it can be verified, its a fake.

So where did ISIS come from?
ISIS were initially an al-Qaeda offshoot:

“The Islamic State is the current incarnation of al-Qaeda in Iraq(AQI), which was created when Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden in October 2004. The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) was declared in October 2006, four months after a U.S. airstrike killed Zarqawi (by tf support everette). This was not just a naming convention: according to its organizers, AQI ceased to exist at that point, as the ISI was intended to be a governing institution independent from al-Qaeda and a practical step toward ultimately declaring a Caliphate.”

But ISIS split from Al-Qaeda and went its on way to establish a Caliphate. Its only over the last year they have made serious inroads towards their aims and have therefore become much more prominent.

Now, stop spreading conspiracy theories please.

Update: A longer debunking of this hoax is here.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Foreign affairs ,United States

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Reader comments

It’s obvious that he wasn’t trained by CIA, MI6 nor Mossad but as you know ISIS got so many supportes in the Islamic countries specially from North Africa that’s why the Anti ISIS groups spread these rumors, but they don’t have to spread these lies anyways what ISIS did in Deir Ezzor against Shuaitat tribe is enough

“Now, stop spreading conspiracy theories please,” Sunny Hundal politely concludes this important piece. Of course, the spreaders of conspiracy theories will never stop. Our only recourse is to methodically discredit their nonsense, as Sunny has done here and as I’ve done at my own blog—which, incidentally, has surpassed 10,000 page views! The Snowden Hoax: How a Lie Traveled Around the World Before the Truth Could Get Its Boots On.

Alan – will link to your post. I should have done it the first time around

Perfect and well stated!
People will latch onto anything thats backs their theories, and suits their agendas.

its easier to accept lies, it is more appeasing and better tasting, while truth is bitter and hard to swallow.

people prefer to live with lies, coz acceptance of truth requires change.

keep writing mate, God bless.

Well actually Muslims think ISIS is a fraud not because of just the groups resources and international network that has spread to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and Europe but that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Islamic concepts and pronouncements are plain wrong and he did not criticize Israel during their attack on Gaza. These are sure signs that ISIS is not a genuine Islamist group. At the same time the United States did not consider ISIS a real threat until it started attacking the Kurds and attempting to capture their oil fields. Taken together it really does seem that ISIS was at one point sponsored by at least the Israelis and Saudi Arabia if not by some Western governments to spark sectarian violence in the Middle East to divide the Sunnis and Shiites. The explanation about its finances and arms are convenient but that does not explain who this Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is and how he came to organize such a formidable force from nowhere. It is interesting that the US is bombing ISIS in Iraq where they have extended their power to Kurdish areas and is apparently guiding the group into Syria to attack the Assad regime. It is obvious the potential uses of ISIS and some Republicans and Hillary Clinton are using it as an excuse to intervene in Iraq once again. We have seen all this before in Afghanistan when the US backed the Mujihdeen against the USSR during the 1980?s. Regardless of what Snowden may have said or not Muslim distrust of ISIS is based on logic and rational considerations.

Your arguments to the effect that Snowden statement on ISIS founder being trained by CIA or MOSSAD is a hoax are convincing. However this still does not prove that he is not a CIA or MOSSAD agent, although of course it would be a stretch, and without proof only a conjecture or a conspiracy theory. On the other hand several indicators strongly suggest that America’s blame in all this goes more than merely allowing him to walk free after being arrested once in 2005. Let’s think where he is getting his supplies, where he is selling his oil. Can these be done without the help of at least one neighboring country? His group is fighting the central governments in Syria and Iraq, he is massacring the shiite who are the religious brethren of the Iranians and he is now directly challenging the authority of the Kurdish autonomous region. That leaves us with only Jordan and Turkey both of which are US allies. Therefore it would not be too much of a stretch to guess that US and of course Israel at least knew about this group and its lifelines all along and choose not to interfere as long as he was fighting the Essad forces. Besides that $400MM cache from Mousul, if correct, could come only after Mousul itself was captured, but is it possible to form an army potent enough to capture a city of this importance, with very rich oilfields around, with only money collected from extortion? So while likely being right in arguing against a direct USA or Israel control over ISIS you went too far in minimizing their facilitating effects for this group.

1) they are willing to believe anything on the internet if it confirms their prejudices

this one is for you as well, this article just a states propaganda.You sucked blood out of this world ! Of course people will blame you, you create a problem first and then you attack and show yourself as a democratic hero. Now everyone knows about the states tactic. Please don’t spread conspiracy theories !

Ah. The straw man tactic. Whether al-Baghdadi was personally trained by the US or not, none of this proves that many ISIS fighters were not trained by US or other Western forces, in pursuit of their attempt to destabilise Syria and change its regime. Since IS now provides Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States with a handy buffer separating Shia Baghdad from Shia Iraq, and since the West is not allying itself with Syria in its efforts to destroy the group (nor even trying very hard to destroy it), the facts on the ground speak louder than the propaganda. As is always the case, of course.

You can see the real Islam in ISIS acts . . .

in addition to what Donald U said, there is a big question that I would like to ask:

everyone knows that Israel is enemy No. 1 to Muslims, and if Muslim groups should attack someone, it should be Israel.

Alqaida attacked 10s of countries in all over the world, but never Israel(just recently Israel claimed they discovered a plan to attack them when this issue was raised on the net)

ISIS stated that attacking Israel isn’t in their plans, but attacking innocents is.
… isn’t this very fishy???
about the conspiracy theory thing:
Governments have enough resources(intelligent people and money) to implement any plan that will be hard to be proved by regular people, so asking for an evidence is somehow naïve, however we cannot accuse governments with whatever, regular people can provide signs, and government SHOULD provide answers. signs includes using “where the money goes?”(who benefits from this. or any evidence that regular people can afford.

There are very weird things about ISIS that confuses me:
they claim to be “true Muslims” while they do the following:

1- enforcing people to Islam while its clearly forbidden in the Quran.

2- attacking minorities in Islamic areas while its totally forbidden, because Mohammed guaranteed them peace.

3- even if those minorities are “clear enemies to Muslims”, still, Muslims cannot kill any of them unless he/she causes a direct and eminent threat to a Muslim.

4- if there should be a caliphate state, the king of Jordan should be the leader of it(according to Mohammed speech). yet ISIS is planning to attack Jordan, and add it to their “caliphate”.

in summary, this movement is too far from being a Muslim one, because they clearly violate the very basics of Islam. in other words: established to achieve non-Islamic goals.

Guy in “ISIS photo” can’t stand ISIS
It’s so upsetting to keep seeing this photo among other photos calling me and the guys in the picture ISIS.
1-ISIS killed some of those in the picture.
2-I wear a kuffyiah because I’m Palestinian and take it with me everywhere.
3-ISIS killed two of my staff a 24 yr old and a 29 yr old because they work with me and my organization they were both Sunni Arabs one spoke 5 languages, ISIS called them as they consider me apostates
3-those in the picture are Free Syria Army from a battalion called northern storm extreme enemies of ISIS
4- please be informed before sharing complete BS

Germany cant get their gold back but we conviently leave it In Iraq. What was Bengahzi about well despite attempts to hide the CIA was there funding and arming rebels in Syria. You know the ISIL that just cut the guys head off. This was a proxy war against who Putin. And then whats next Ukraine.People made fun of Romney but it is my suspicion he knew a lot more about what was going on. So you can all go back to cable news now and believe yeh the feds got my back please. I bet you believe the borders secure or that some Mexican Cartel guy would take money to smuggle anything including humans or weapons into this country.

Now where do you get your facts from, I am bewildered at the fact this is considered a conspiracy theory.
Very shortly you will also write us that the US did not attack Irak, and that the civil war in Syria, is just a hoax too and that no one has died there as a result of the trained (of course not by the US) rebels who were armed by aliens from Jupiter.
Shame that the journalistic trade has become plagued with people who will do anything for a pay check, including refuting their own beliefs, before trying to do others’.
So long!

We must ask why some people tend to see ISIS as a US-made construction and puppet. Islamist groups, however unpleasant they may be in their conduct, have been sponsored by the USA, Britain and other countries over the decades, have fallen in and out of favour in Washington and London in accordance with the needs of US and British foreign policy, and have, in places quite spectacularly, bit the hand of those who financed and armed them. Blowback is the very apt term here. Seeing the world’s events as the result of a series of big-power conspiracies cannot really explain world history or current affairs, but, in the circumstances, I can see why people do, and, in this instance, why they see ISIS as a US-made construction.

16. EdificationOfTheIgnorant

Except that many terrorist organisations HAVE been funded, armed, trained by the US throughout Latinamerica and the ME?

“they find a way to blame America or the UK for most of the world’s problems”

Like the instability caused by the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq?

I fail to see why our governments do not share some of the responsibility for that.

Regarding the pictures with John McCain in Syria, there are of course plenty of sources, here an original one:

But the man in the background is not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The pictures are from May 2013, when ISIS was already in war with FSA. And McCain was there with the head of the FSA, General Salim Idris.

How could anyone believe this without any real confirmation?
Wishful thinking perhaps.

20. Rick Bennington

He most certainly was trained by Israel and ISIS is funded by Zionist bankers angry at the United States because most US citizens no longer feel that Israel is an ally. This is their way to seek revenge on the US. They are funding angry Muslims to attack US citizens abroad and at home to drag them into another war. Also the US government know Zionist did 911. John McCain was pictured with Al Bagdadi and he is part of the plot because his loyalty is to Israel. Israel and Zionist fully created ISIS and Zionist bankers are funding all of this. I am absolutely positive and do not be deceived. They want to harm America by getting our soldiers killed and the want to expand Israel into a super power. That is the plan. The US has an army of mercenaries hired by Zionist to attack and destroy America.

So lack of verification automatically implies fakery… Some leap in logic there.

The thrust of your article basically saying trust the msm they cant possibly lie, dont ask any questions yourself… I mean really?

First of all greenwald is a Jew and his loyalty will remain to the tribe.

Rick Bennington might be 100% right. Why? Very simple. ISIS has been created near Israeli borders in Syria. Now, common sense would be to go and attack the biggest Arabs enemy – Israel. Well, it not happened. Instead they went into Iraq and destroy mosques and Arabs. Remember, ISIS are Arabs (?) who destroy Arabs mosques. Don’t you think it is something fishy?
In US there is a problem with illegals from Latin America, but we don’t complain about this Canadians. Just think about.

well, you said that ISIS got their money from Mosul banks, but this were happened just before short time, we saw that they attacked Mosul by modern weapons and tracks, mmmmmmmmm!!!, can explain how can this happens without foreign the way all local know the truth even those how like ISIS.

Simon Elliot, aka Al-Baghdadi, son of Jewish parents. Should interest someone.

I agree with your 3 premised, but to believe ISIS is self funded or is a natural offshoot of other terrorist groups (incidentally created by the US in the 80s) is very naive and contrary to reports:

Read this Sunny

What a bunch of lying pricks you people are. Look this fellow had to be a Jew since the Mossad/CIA/MI6 nexus would hardly leave such a critical job in the hands of an Arab would they. You haven’t brought forth even one scintilla of evidence that he isn’t a Jew working for the Mossad. Come up with the evidence or castrate/kill yourself so you don’t pass the stupid gene on.

‘ A longer debunking of this hoax is here.’ There are lies, damned lies, and elite Jew pig lies and here we have a lie of the third kind. There is no debunking here rabbi. Your crowd has been busted doing what they always do. Busted clean. And you are damn lucky that the media is controlled by elite Jew pigs, or the scoop would be out now and your miserable little fascist country would be in big trouble.

Look at what WIKI says about the ‘journalist’ ‘Born in London to Sikh parents of Indian origin, Hundal has a degree in Economics from Brunel University. He is best known as the founder and editor of the centre-left group blog Liberal Conspiracy. Comment is Free on The Guardian’s website named him as their blogger of the year in 2006.’

Endorsed by the Guardian. Ruperts loyal opposition. For shame. Mate you are not a journalist. You are a goose-stepping butthole. Give it up fella. Give up lying about this matter. You didn’t make a case. Because you don’t have a case.

This fellow is either a traitor or very very stupid.

‘The Islamic State is the current incarnation of al-Qaeda in Iraq(AQI), which was created when Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden in October 2004. ‘

Good fucking lord. For an alleged Sikh you really are a good Jew. So you can look yourself in the mirror, call yourself a journalist, and fall for that fucking ludicrous Bin Laden fairy tale. What a moron you are. The dumbest Sikh in the neighbourhood. For your fucking information Bin Laden was already dead before October 2004. Dropkick. I suppose you bought the assassination story as well. The one where seal team six kill bin Laden just down the block from Pakistanis West point and on the border where the Paki’s keep a hair trigger alert for a sneak attack from India.

Sunny has blown his own MI6 cover with this foolishness.Think what authentic investigation would mean. Has anyone looked into this Elliot Shimon fellow. Or tried to find evidence for his fabrication. Not Sunny.Using stupid Jew Popperism he just ‘debunks’ the idea. Which in the modern context means demonstrating contempt for the felt need for evidence.

Look at his background. When you want to train MI6 it pays to take them from outside of the mainstream, and school them in a colony not recognized as such. In this case Bahrain. That way they are less likely to leak like sieves in their youth. Also look at the cushy job he’s landed, on top of the Guardian endorsement. Take this traitor out the back.

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