Archive for the ‘Islamic State’ category

Humor | ISIS threatens to behead Bugs Bunny if demands not met

November 21, 2017

ISIS threatens to behead Bugs Bunny if demands not met, Duffel Blog, November 21, 2017

DAMASCUS, Syria — The mystery of Bugs Bunny’s recent disappearance took a troubling turn after ISIS claimed to have taken him hostage, sources confirmed today.

The kidnapping of the iconic Hollywood star comes as a major victory for the so-called Islamic State, as Bunny is the most high-profile American to fall into their hands.

“Taking Bugs Bunny hostage is a victory for ISIS that will send shockwaves around the world,” said Bill Testier, a senior defense analyst at the Pentagon. “It’s even worse than the time they painted a fake tunnel entrance on the side of a cliff, resulting in eight American casualties.”

Bunny had been in Syria for the last two weeks shooting scenes for an upcoming film. When he didn’t show up to the set on time earlier this week, producers initially expressed little concern, thinking he might have had too much Acme-brand scotch the night before.

When they went to his room to wake him, he was nowhere to be found, and his room bore signs of a struggle, prompting a search.

Americans’ worst fears were realized after ISIS released a video showing a captive Bugs Bunny being held at gunpoint. An ISIS spokesman declared they would “hold him up by his dopey ears and slice right through his skinny rabbit neck” if the group’s demands were not met.

“The world will not tah-wah-wate that wascally wabbit being harmed,” said Elmer Fudd, a fellow actor who was filming alongside Bunny. “Those Iswamic wadicals are going to we-gwet this.”

“Huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh,” added Fudd.

ISIS has vowed to release Bunny only after the United States immediately withdraws all American troops from the Middle East, renounces Israel’s statehood, and ships them a lifetime supply of goat lube.

“There’s n-n-n-no way the U.S. w-will m-m-meet those d-d-d-d-d-demands,” said Porky Pig, a close associate of Bunny. “B-Bugs is f-f-f-fucked.”

3 Things About the NY Attack You Might Not Be Hearing

November 2, 2017

3 Things About the NY Attack You Might Not Be Hearing, Clarion Project, November 2, 2017

Hours after the terror attack on NYC, police secure the annual Halloween parade (Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

1.It Was Not a “Lone Wolf” Attack

In addition to a potential accomplice that has since been arrested, an image of an ISIS flag on a cellphone near the location of the terrorist attack in NY surfaced two months ago.

According to the police complaint against Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the 29-year-old began planning the attack close to a year ago. The complaint asserts that Saipov watched and was inspired by ISIS videos.

One of the two cellphones that were found in the truck had close to 90 violent ISIS propaganda videos on it, some with information on how to make a bomb.

John Miller, deputy New York police commissioner for intelligence, noted that Saipov “appears to have followed, almost exactly to a ‘T,’ the instructions that ISIS has put out.”

Two months before the attack, this picture taken near the site of the attack surfaced.

It is highly unlikely that Saipov was not communicating to other ISIS followers and leaders who most likely encouraged, supported and even aided him in carrying out the attack.

Terrorist “cells” do not necessarily have to be in physical proximity in the age of online communication.

As for an accomplice, the man the police were looking for was named as Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, a 32-year-old Uzbekistan national. “We have found him and I’ll leave it at that,” said William Sweeney, head of the New York FBI office.

2.His Mosque Was Under Surveillance

Saipov attended the Omar Mosque which was near his home in Paterson, N.J. It was one of the mosques and Islamic organizations that were being monitored by the NYPD in their now-defunct surveillance program.

The NYPD investigations, which began in the years after the 9/11 attacks, centered around whether or not extremists or potential terrorists might be attending the mosque, infiltrating and attempting to sway others to their line of thinking.

The Omar Mosque had been under surveillance since at least 2006 due to this possibility.

In 2011, the Associated Press began running a series of articles detailing and making public the NYPD surveillance program (articles for which they won a Pulitzer Prize). The articles set off a campaign of misinformation from Islamists and their allies aimed at smearing the department’s anti-terrorism efforts.

By 2014, under intensive pressure, the NYPD tanked the program. Islamist agitator Linda Sarsour was one of the activists prominent in this campaign to get the program cancelled, saying that the program “created psychological warfare in our community.”

The facts, however, consistently showed that the NYPD was not casting a wide net over Muslims in the hopes of nabbing a few terrorists. Its targets were chosen on concrete information. That is why the NYPD won bi-partisan praise at the time, with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer endorsing then NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

subsequent lawsuit against the department claiming damages from the investigations brought by a Muslim Brotherhood-founded group among others was dismissed by a district court judge in 2014.

The Islamists argued that the NYPD should pay them for damages resulting from its intelligence-gathering on them, however, according to the judge, the only reason these plaintiffs could allege that they were suffering was because the Associated Press detailed the NYPD operations to the public.

Perhaps if the program had not been cancelled, the latest terrorist attack might have been prevented.

3.The Attack Was Based on Ideology

In an interview by law enforcement officials, Saipov asked if he could display the ISIS flag in hospital room. According to the police complaint, he told the officials, “he felt good about what he had done.”

Investigators also recovered close to a dozen pieces of paper with Arabic writing on them praising ISIS. One said, “ISIS will endure.”

He said he would have liked to have continued the attack with his truck, killing more people, but couldn’t after he crashed into a school bus. Knives were also recovered at the scene.

NYC Terrorist: Lone Wolf … or Not?

November 1, 2017

NYC Terrorist: Lone Wolf … or Not? Clarion ProjectMeira Svirsky, November 1, 2017

(But, but every fool knows that the Islamic State is not Islamic and that Islam is the religion of peace. Therefore, the October 31st attack in NYC had nothing to do with Islam. QED. — DM)

An ISIS ad encouraging jiahdi attacks on Halloween in France (Photo: ISIS propaganda)

ISIS had called on its supporters through social media to carry out attacks on Halloween. For example, in France, a country in which young people recently started celebrating the holiday, an ad appeared the day before Halloween with an image of a machete dripping blood over the Eiffel Tower.

The text on the ad (shown above) read: “Enjoy their gathering. Terrorize October 31” and “Get out before it’s too late,” seemingly a message to the French to abandon their country to jihadis.

The image was shared on a Twitter account that distributes news about Islamic State (ISIS), jihadi videos and images.

ISIS’ own magazine Rumiyah has extensively encouraged its followers to conduct “lone wolf” vehicular attacks, with one issue providing a step-by-step guide on how to procure a heavy truck and perpetrate such an attack.

In the guide, ISIS recommended to avoid “off-roaders, SUVs, and four-wheel drive vehicles” because they “lack the necessary attributes required for causing a blood bath.”

“Smaller vehicles lack the weight and wheel span required for crushing many victims,” the article stated, while double-wheeled trucks “[give] victims less of a chance to escape being crushed by the vehicle’s tires.”

While attacks such as the one in New York may have carried out by one person, calling such attack the work of a “lone wolf” is deceiving.

ISIS has built a sophisticated network that allows such individuals to be encouraged, tutored and ideologically supported every step of their twisted journey from the inception of the idea to the execution of a terrorist attack.

Social media is not localized. It is a powerful tool that has aided the Islamic State, without which a huge percentage of their successful recruitment of volunteers would most likely not have happened.

Young people who have grown up in the age of the internet are comfortable participating in virtual reality. Thus, online connections — through encrypted messaging, “inspirational” videos and even “personal” contact through video chatting — is as good as the real thing.

To call any terrorist in our day a “lone wolf” is a misnomer – and a dangerous one, as it takes the attention off finding and shutting down the trail of responsibility and focusing solely on the individual.

FBI Bombshell: Far-Left U.S. Radicals Colluding With ISIS

October 30, 2017

FBI Bombshell: Far-Left U.S. Radicals Colluding With ISIS, Clarion Project, October 30, 2017

An anti-fascist protester in France demonstrates against labor reforms (Photo: LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

“The FBI is really playing catchup ball, because the Obama administration refused to give the bureau the resources it needed to effectively infiltrate and surveil the radical groups on college campuses …

“Any talk of a connection between radical Islam—a phrase the Obama people wouldn’t even use—and American extremists was pretty much laughed off. [Former Attorney General] Loretta Lynch would have blown a gasket if she heard that the FBI was surveilling so-called college political organizations.

“All that has changed under the Trump administration. Everyone’s aware that the resistance movement, with its effort to get rid of Trump by any means necessary, has created fertile soil for ISIS and al-Qaeda to establish a beachhead in America.”


A new book by a former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine and best-selling author reveals for the first time an FBI field report about the collusion between American anti-Trump radicals and foreign ISIS/al-Qaeda operatives.

In his latest book, All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trumpset to be released today, Edward Klein reveals to the public findings from an FBI investigation into the shocking ties between far-left radicals in America and Islamist extremists.

The FBI report was delivered to Acting Director Andrew McCabe on July 11, 2017. While certain names have been redacted, Klein reveals how the FBI followed a group of Americans anarchists/radicals who traveled to Germany to join their German counterpart Antifaschistische Aktion to protest Trump’s attendance at a meeting of G20 leaders and central bank governors.

Evidence gathered from a variety of intelligence sources showed the Americans took part in the violence there. “There is also evidence of meetings between these individuals and associates of ISIS…Making some sort of common cause with Americans who are determined to commit violence against the U.S. makes them potentially very useful to radical Islam,” writes Klein based on the report.

Klein notes that the FBI paid particular attention to a group of anarchists from Oakland, sister city to Berkeley, California, site of the campus of University of California at Berkeley and the scene of several violent protests.

“Now that the bureau has determined [ISIS/al-Qaeda] have followers in the radical U.S. resistance movement in the United States, it is clear there will be additional violence in the attacks on law enforcement and U.S. institutions, including banks,” he writes.

In an article written for the Daily Mail, Klein continues:

“Ties between three key leaders of the Oakland group [names redacted] met in Hamburg with a leader of the AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] and the AQIM [Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb], the report continued.

“The leader from AQAP is an Egyptian-born male [name redacted] who is known to be in charge of finances and recruiting for the group. There is evidence from informants that he is helping the Oakland group acquire the weapons they are seeking, primarily bomb-making equipment and toxic chemicals and gasses.

“One of the men from Oakland traveled to Syria to meet with ISIS; the purpose was for training in tactics, but was thought to be primarily a bonding visit to discuss possible massive disruptive attacks in the U.S.

“While in Hamburg, several of the Oakland-based criminals were photographed throwing Molotov cocktails and wielding iron bars, which have been their weapons of choice, though they are almost certainly on the verge of upping the caliber of their weaponry for use in the U.S.”

Klein notes, “Despite having their faces covered by masks, they were positively identified.”

Previous FBI Director James Comey also “collected intelligence on the connections between Middle Eastern jihadis, European radicals, and the American anarchists who are part of the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ movement,” writes Klein, quoting an an FBI source who had access to Comey’s intelligence reports.

The American anarchists communicate with the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations online on a variety of websites, on which they also find instructions how to make bombs.

Tellingly, Klein notes,

“As the Trump administration has demonstrated it’s serious about destroying the Islamic State, and depriving ISIS of territory in Iraq and Syria, the alliance between the American radicals and ISIS has grown even closer. The Internet chatter between the Americans and the Islamists is astronomical.

“The FBI is really playing catchup ball, because the Obama administration refused to give the bureau the resources it needed to effectively infiltrate and surveil the radical groups on college campuses …

“Any talk of a connection between radical Islam—a phrase the Obama people wouldn’t even use—and American extremists was pretty much laughed off. [Former Attorney General] Loretta Lynch would have blown a gasket if she heard that the FBI was surveilling so-called college political organizations.

“All that has changed under the Trump administration. Everyone’s aware that the resistance movement, with its effort to get rid of Trump by any means necessary, has created fertile soil for ISIS and al-Qaeda to establish a beachhead in America.”

Did a Muslim Brothers armed cell or ISIS massacre 55 Egyptian policemen?

October 21, 2017

Did a Muslim Brothers armed cell or ISIS massacre 55 Egyptian policemen? DEBKAfile, October 21, 2017

If the oasis ambush was also the work of ISIS, it would indicate that these jihadists were not only terrorizing Sinai, but had also penetrated deep into the Egyptian mainland.


An armed group of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood was reported to have waylaid an Egyptian convoy heading for its oasis hideout on Friday and murdered 55 policemen. The only survivors were 14 injured men.

But some of the evidence also points to the Islamic State as the perpetrators.

The police convoy was attacked while driving on the El-Wahat Highway from Cairo to Giza on its way to raid a secret hideout of the banned Muslim Brotherhood’s armed underground (Hasm) at the El-Bahariya Oasis in the Western Desert, 135 southwest of the capital.

The disaster, together with a string of deadly Islamist attacks in Sinai in recent weeks, raised tough questions about Egypt’s capacity to deal with the extremist terrorism plaguing the country. President Abdul-Fatteh El-Sisi immediately set up a commission of inquiry to find out how the casualty of Egyptian servicemen came to be so high – a well-tried device used by governments for keeping the details of a mishap dark until the immediate hue and cry dies down.

DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources have gleaned information that points to a merciless massacre, most likely at the hands of the Brotherhood’s armed activists. According to first reports, the policemen were killed in a shootout with the extremists during a raid of their hideout in the oasis.

The wild beauty of this vast oasis – over 2, – makes it an attraction for visitors to Cairo especially since it is just a short drive from the capital. Its sparse inhabitants are mostly Bedouin tribes with kinship ties across the border in eastern Libya, a region where the Islamic State and Al Qaeda maintain strong footholds. Because it is only visited occasionally by foreign visitors on night-time jaunts, the Brotherhood felt the oasis was far from the long arm of Egypt’s anti-terrorist forces.

After intelligence agents discovered their location, the Brotherhood cell was ready for the raid. They set up an ambush and before the police convoy of four SUVs reached the hideout, dozens of wanted terrorists opened up with heavy machine guns, recoilless grenades and mortars, and detonated roadside bombs. The carnage was devastating.

Their tactics, involving ruthless massacre, strongly resembled the most recent Islamic State strikes against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. On Sept. 11, 18 Egyptian troops were killed near Sheikh Zuweid.

In both these outrages, the Egyptian air force was not brought in.

If the oasis ambush was also the work of ISIS, it would indicate that these jihadists were not only terrorizing Sinai, but had also penetrated deep into the Egyptian mainland.

Was Las Vegas a Jihad Attack?

October 3, 2017

Was Las Vegas a Jihad Attack? FrontPage MagazineRobert Spencer, October 3, 2017

(Please see also, Active Shooters at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas possibly at Harvest Festival. — DM)

 “The propaganda organs of ISIS such as Amaq exaggerate but do not falsely take credit for attacks mounted by other entities.”

In light of all this, it looks as if the Las Vegas massacre was likely a jihad attack. But since that doesn’t fit the establishment media narrative, or the agenda of all too many in law enforcement, don’t expect it to be announced forthrightly by any authorities anytime soon, if ever


Memphis imam Yasir Qadhi said that the Las Vegas massacre was a manifestation of “white privilege.” Texas imam Omar Suleiman tweeted ridicule of ISIS’ claim of responsibility for the attack: “Breaking: ISIS claims responsibility for hurricane Harvey saying he became Muslim days before hitting Houston.”

They didn’t ridicule the ISIS claim, but unnamed U.S. officials did decisively dismiss it: Reuters reported that “two senior US officials said on Monday that there was no evidence that the shooter who killed at least 50 people in Las Vegas was tied to any international militant group….One of the two US officials discounted Islamic State’s claim of responsibility and said there was reason to believe that the shooter, whom police identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, had a history of psychological problems.”

The only one insisting that the Islamic State was responsible was the Islamic State itself. Its Amaq news agency initially announced: “The Las Vegas attack was carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried it out in response to calls to target states of the coalition. The Las Vegas attacker converted to Islam a few months ago.”

Then, after its initial claim was dismissed everywhere, the Islamic State doubled down, issuing an official communiqué identifying Paddock as “Abu Abd Abdulbar al-Ameriki.” Even after their claim was dismissed everywhere, they didn’t back away from it. They don’t seem to be afraid that Stephen Paddock will turn out to be a white supremacist neo-Nazi or some such. They don’t seem to be worried about being exposed as grandiose liars.

And historically, they haven’t been liars, at least when they claimed responsibility for jihad attacks. Islamic State expert Graeme Wood notes in The Atlantic that “the idea that the Islamic State simply scans the news in search of mass killings, then sends out press releases in hope of stealing glory, is false,” and that those who claim that ISIS is in the habit of taking credit for attacks it had nothing to do with “do not have a preponderance of prior examples on their side.” Contradicting Suleiman’s ridicule, Wood notes: “The Islamic State does not claim natural disasters. Its supporters rejoice in them, but they reserve their official media for intentional acts.”

This doesn’t mean that Wood accepts everything ISIS says at face value. He reports one false ISIS claim: “In June, a gambling addict shot up and torched the Resorts World casino in Manila, Philippines. The Islamic State claimed credit, with a dubious follow-up alleging that Jessie Javier Carlos, 42, converted to Islam some months before, without telling anyone. That explanation appears to be a total lie.”

Others, however, disagree. Sidney Jones, director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, said: “It’s very likely that the Resorts World was a terrorist operation.” Veryan Khan, editorial director and founder of Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC), added that the attack was not just a terror attack, but specifically an ISIS one, “at the very minimum sanctioned – if not directed – by the Islamic State.”

What’s more, Jones added: “It isn’t true that ISIS has a history of claiming others’ attacks as their own.” And Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside al-Qaeda and head of the International Centre for Political Violence & Terrorism Research, likewise vouched for the general veracity of ISIS’ claims of responsibility: “The propaganda organs of ISIS such as Amaq exaggerate but do not falsely take credit for attacks mounted by other entities.”

While social media is abuzz with charges that only racist, bigoted “Islamophobes” are taking the Islamic State’s claim seriously, it should be noted that neither Jones nor Gunaratna have ever been accused of “Islamophobia,” and that both stated that the Islamic State was generally trustworthy in its claims of responsibility not in response to the Las Vegas attack, but back in July.

In light of all this, it looks as if the Las Vegas massacre was likely a jihad attack. But since that doesn’t fit the establishment media narrative, or the agenda of all too many in law enforcement, don’t expect it to be announced forthrightly by any authorities anytime soon, if ever.

The Making of Monsters

September 21, 2017

The Making of Monsters, Clarion ProjectAnne Speckhard, September 21, 2017


10-year old Yusuf, an American boy who appeared in an ISIS video threatening Trump and the U.S.

SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq – When a little boy who looked and sounded American appeared in propaganda video put out by the failing Islamic State this week, threatening “Trump: puppet of the Jews,” it caused a sensation as, of course, it was meant to do.

“How can a group make a child into a monster?” we ask.  Yet the answer comes to us in the voices of numerous ISIS defectors and prisoners who tell us precisely how ISIS takes the blank-slate minds of children and fills them with poisonous ideologies alongside dreams of Paradise.

Children are powerful tools in the hands of groups like the so-called Islamic State, as we’ve learned after interviewing 63 ISIS returnees, defectors, and prisoners.

Trained at “Cubs of the Caliphate” camps in both Iraq and Syria, children are indoctrinated to hate—and to kill all others who do not adhere to ISIS’s strict, brutal and intolerant views of Islam. They are also taught to give their own lives in acts of “martyrdom.” 

“I saw them train young kids to blow things up. From my camp, 15-year-and-younger kids went on bombing missions.  They tell us they are going to go to Paradise,” 15-year-old Syrian Ibn Omar told researchers for the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism.

Ibn Omar ran off to join ISIS at age 13 after having his head filled with dreams from the preachers who took over his mosque when ISIS overran his region. Impoverished and young enough to be drawn in, Ibn Omar was motivated by the income he could bring home to his unsuspecting parents, and the promises of cars and other material rewards.

In the first days, the “brothers” also appeared to be “real Muslims,” preaching the “real Islam.” Little did he know.

“I liked them [ISIS] a lot in the beginning, but later…They taught us about God, the Prophet and our religion. We spent just one month training at the camp. It was military training, not compassionate at all.” (The classic Muslim invocation is to Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful).

“A lot of the training was with weapons,” said Omar. “ If you get distracted when you’re holding a real weapon they will put your finger in the barrel of the rifle and almost break it. Some of the kids were 13 to15.

Children drawn into the Cubs of the Caliphate camps serve many purposes for ISIS.  Some are trained as propagandists and used in face-to-face preaching in the region, as well as in videos sent out both to the West and to their own constituents. This was the newest ISIS video of 10-year-old Yusuf, the purported son of an American soldier now threatening the U.S. in ISIS’s latest release of a few days ago.

Abu Firas, an Iraqi media emir imprisoned in Baghdad, as well as many defectors from Raqqa, told ICSVE about how ISIS films all its battles, makes video interviews with its subjects, and videos all their heinous terrorist acts to use later for recruitment and propaganda purposes.

Abu Firas, who was responsible for supplying the media arm of ISIS in the southern Baghdad region, told us ISIS sets up TV screens in its territories where children and adults can sit –theater style –to view the various feats of ISIS, including those where children behead ISIS prisoners or go to their deaths driving suicide vehicles into enemy lines.

Claims of ISIS spreading the glories of Islam, winning over so-called “infidels” and sacrificing their own lives to move immediately to Paradise are powerful recruiting tools for young minds still unable to understand completely concepts like death, the nuances of religious interpretations and the afterlife. Part of the goal is to raise an army of children who are easily and cynically sacrificed.

Soldiers from a another jihadi faction that had been on the front lines against ISIS told us they were terrified of children carrying explosive-filled backpacks. They could never be sure, and rather than mistakenly shoot an innocent, these battle-hardened men fled their posts.

Similarly all of the former ISIS soldiers who spoke to us told us that ISIS has lines of warriors in battle, the first line always consisting of young people who either race into enemy lines driving bomb-rigged vehicles, or adult cadres, who wear suicide vests intending to explode themselves rather than surrender.  After all, the slogan of ISIS, taken from the Chechen rebels who joined, is “Victory or Paradise!”

They believe they win either way, in life or in death.

The dark side of the victory story is that these children can be as young as six, and ISIS is more than willing to destroy their lives. According to ISIS cadres we interviewed, some are exploded remotely. Others are cynically instructed, “Push the button and you will immediately go to Paradise.”  Some are even offered sedatives to calm them in their missions.

Speaking to Abu Islam, an ISIS emir in prison in Sulaymaniyah, we learned that ISIS doesn’t view young boys in the same manner as most cultures, with theirown definition of a man, whatever the age—which means a child as young as seven can be viewed as an adult man.

“We don’t have any age limit,” Abu Islam told us. “Instead we believe that when a man’s semen develops, then he’s considered a grown-up man. We only take them when they get to that point.”

Yet when Abu Islam was shown Ibn Omar’s video clip he hung his head in shame and admitted the cherubic faces of children proudly carrying ISIS flags in the video were not men.

“We were wrong,” he admitted as we discussed how ISIS manipulates children into becoming killers.

Manipulating sacred scriptures already revered, and well known, by believers is a powerful tactic that groups like al Qaeda and ISIS have learned to rely on in their recruitment of naïve and earnest believers.

Everyone we spoke to — from ISIS returnees and cadres in Europe, the Balkans, and Central Asia — had joined ISIS and its affiliates because they had come to believe in the ISIS dream of creating a new world governance with justice, dignity, security and inclusion for Muslims — Sunni Muslims in particular, in Iraq and Syria and beyond.

This is the dream that ISIS peddles over the Internet and through its face-to-face recruitment.

Indeed, although most of the defectors and prisoners had become disillusioned with the corruption, brutality and un-Islamic character they experienced inside ISIS, they often held fast to this dream.   ISIS knows that through the media, the amplifying power of videos of children — particularly, and the newly released video of 10-year-old Yusuf, who purportedly traveled with his mother to join ISIS two years ago and who claims he is the son of an American soldier who fought in Iraq.

An ISIS child threatening Donald Trump and repeating the oft-claimed ISIS mantra—that the battle will move to the West—garners widespread attention because it’s an innocent involved in brutality, the son of an American denouncing our own country. When this same child describes the constant airstrikes against ISIS, he also hits a sympathetic note—we all know that children unfortunately become both the pawns of terrorists and the victims in our battles against them.

Whether we look at the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi on the shores of the Mediterranean, 7-year-old Julian Cadman who died on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, or the children unwittingly killed in aerial attacks against ISIS, our hearts are conflicted. All these children are the victims of violence. Videos of ISIS-indoctrinated children both horrify and tug at our heartstrings.

Ibn Omar was next in line for a suicide attack and only stopped by his parents when he took a home leave and shared his “glorious task” with them. They immediately forced him to flee ISIS and enter Turkey. Ibn Omar was so convinced by the ISIS claims that he told us that it took over a year away from the group before he felt the brainwashing of ISIS ideologies left him completely.

Abu Islam, the Iraqi ISIS emir, also tells us how successful they were in indoctrinating children into the “martyrdom” ideology teaching them that giving up their own lives to kill others would gain them a place in Paradise.  “There is an office. If anyone volunteers … ‘I want to my give my bayat [pledge],’ then he signs up for a martyrdom mission at the same time. It’s like a regular recruiting process,” he says.

In regard to the ISIS training camps with a steady stream of explosive-rigged cars being made to put the children into, to send them to their deaths at checkpoints and the frontlines, he says: “They instruct them. They know what will happen. They’re happy. It’s like a kid at Christmas. You know how happy they are? Calmly happy, knowing something good is going to happen.”

Referring to the joyful expectations of children and young people anticipating their final journey to Paradise, Abu Islam says, “They have a list of serial numbers and names. If I’m set to go next, then I’m next. If something changes the order and they aren’t sent, they start crying. If they aren’t the next one, they actually cry and get angry, and even complain, ‘My name is set to go!’ I’ve seen this with my own eyes.”  Abu Islam’s own eyes were shining in admiration for the zeal of these youth that he helped to indoctrinate.

When it comes to killing, we also need to understand that ISIS is a command and control organization. Not all young people, or even adults, who go to “martyr” themselves wish to do so.  Inside ISIS, orders are from the top and are not to be defied.  Once in, there are no more choices to be made.

Attempting to escape ends in beheading for males, being sent back to Raqqa for females.  “We were supposed to just obey,” Syrian ISIS defector Abu Abdullah explains. “If they tell you to slay others, you have to do it. Even if they tell you to behead your own father you have to do it. Whatever the sheikh tells you to do, you have to do it. When we hear the order, we have to execute it.”

According to defectors, children who were ordered to kill were often horrified, but knew that they had no choice. Follow orders and kill, or be killed. As Ibn Omar described one of his friends who was summoned, like many youths are, to carry out a beheading, “They picked him up in a truck and told him he was going to execute an infidel. He took the zarqawiya [knife] with him, and they led him to the prisoner. The person’s hands are tied, so he pulled his hair back, and sawed across his neck until he was beheaded.”

The groupthink of ISIS and their social coercion, backed up by brutal punishments, silenced any dissenters. “Some people felt upset deep down, but they wouldn’t say anything, Ibn Omar explains. If someone was executed, everyone would act happy and shout ‘Allahu-Akbar!’ They couldn’t say they were upset, or that it wasn’t right.”

“I was upset,” Ibn Omar admits.

For defectors like Ibn Omar, witnessing violence and injustices began to undermine sharia training from teachers who manipulated Islam to justify the brutality of the group.

In Iraq, the government estimates that half a million young people lived under or served ISIS. It may be even more in Syria. Now these children are returning to schools that were decimated by ISIS.  Some spent two or more years in ISIS schools where learning to kill and behead and taking on the ISIS ideology was central to their curriculum. It’s a huge job to reintegrate these children back into society.

At the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, we hope that raising the voices of ISIS insiders may be one way of smashing the ISIS illusion. Justice, dignity, security and inclusion in society are the tasks of good governance and are needed to put an end to ISIS terrorism, but as the struggle to achieve these larger goals continues at a slower pace than most would like, we work at breaking the ISIS brand—using insiders to tell the truth about ISIS.

“I lost my country…Everything,” Ibn Omar says while wiping away tears. “I would tell all the children of the world—I would tell them not to join this organization. This organization is not Muslim, they’re the infidels. They slaughter innocent people. And that they are not here for real jihad. They are just here for the money. And whoever joins them cannot leave. They pretend to be Muslim but they just teach people to blow themselves up and tell you that you’re going to Paradise—but none of it is true. I would tell them not to join this organization.”