Jihadi John and other ISIS Mysteries

According to the Washington Post, the ISIS beheader of James Foley and others in Syria, is a West London computer programmer called Mohammed Emwasi.   Yet only a few short months ago “Jihadi John” was declared by British Security Services to be Abdel-Majid Adbel Bary, a London rapper and son of Abel Bary, who at the time was on trial for terror offenses in New York.  Yet this is far from the only strange mystery around the organisation known in the West as ISIS.  So what are we to believe; for truth is hard to come by in the fog of war.

On the 25th August 2014, the beheader of James Foley was unmasked by British Security Services to be the West London rapper, L Jinny.  L. Jinny – or to give him his proper name Abdel-Majid Adbel Bary who had featured in the Sunday Mirror six months previously complaining on twitter of being robbed of his guns, phone and vehicle in Syria.  His father at the time was being held in New York on terror offenses.  Terror offenses of which he had already been dropped in the UK through lack of evidence, however the US had successfully requested his extradition on exactly the same charges.

The  “Egyptian Human Rights Defense Office” that Bary Sr. ran was given official approval by the UK state to fundraise and participate in media activities in February 1997,  despite only a few months earlier, the Egyptian government claiming that they had information that he had funded and orchestrated terrorist attacks in Egypt in 1996.  After the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Bary Sr was detained on terror charges following a dramatic dawn raid. The terror charges on which he was detained in 1998 were dropped and he was later acquitted of unlawful storage of gas canisters.  He was rearrested in 1999 at the behest of the US authorities on the same charges on which he was previously detained.  After 12 years in gaol he was finally extradited in 2012.  He  had entered a “not guilty” plea , but at his trial two months after his son was declared to be “Jihadi John”, weeping in the dock, the human rights lawyer, who had worked for Amnesty International, pled guilty to the charges.  Reading from a prepared statement he announced:

I arranged to transmit messages from media personnel to my co-conspirators, al-Zawahiri and bin Laden.  I agreed with others … to kill American citizens anywhere in the world — either civilian or military.

Which is quite a turn around, given that these are exactly the charges on which he was originally detained and released without charge in the UK 1998, and had previously submitted a not guilty plea on these charges to the US authorities.  The New York Post reports that “When asked afterward if the 54-year-old Bary’s decision to plead guilty has anything to do with “his son’s situation” — or if he’s spoken about his son’s alleged terror acts — Bary’s lawyer, Andrew Patel, declined comment.”

But now we know this his son was not “Jihadi John”, as another man has now been named: Mohammed Emwasi. The name was first given by the Washington Post, then a few days later confirmed to be US intelligences main suspect  UK security agencies had apparently tried to recuit Emwasi after he was refused entry to Tanzenia in 2009 according to a report released by CAGE, an advocacy agency for those impacted by the “war on terror”.

Emwazi said the British agent knew “everything about me; where I lived, what I did, and the people I hanged around with”. The agent then, it is claimed, attempted to “turn” Emwazi, asking: “Why don’t you work for us?”  “When he refused to help, MI5 said “life would be harder for you”.

Jihadi John: Radicalised by Britain?

The report goes on to document ongoing harassment of Emwasi, over the course of several years.  It also documents his efforts to get his situation settled, using a range of official channels, including contacting the Kuwaiti embassy and his MP.  He even contacted the Mail on Sunday – in one of his emails he wrote “Sometimes I feel like a dead man walking, fearing that they {MI5} might kill me.  The government and the press have gone apoplectic at CAGE’s revelations, continually questioning their motivations for releasing this information.  But what they have not said is that they do not think that Emwazi is “Jihadi John”, despite previously naming someone else.

Given that CAGE has implied that Emwazi’s treatment may be a factor in any radicalisation that may have led to him becoming involved in ISIS, you might think that if they believed that he was misidentified, then they would make a speedy announcement to that effect, but nothing has been forthcoming.  You might also think that if they did think that Emwazi was the suspect they might issue a public apology to Bary Jr.  for wrongly naming him as a multiple murderer.  This is after all, a man who at 6 years old watched his father dragged away by police in contamination suits in a dawn raid.  But nothing, just silence, silence from the Government, silence from the security services, silence from the press.

Westerners, both terrorist suspects and the security services, have been ending up in Syria for quite some time.  It was the favoured destination for the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme, a programme in which the UK participated in.  When US security services threatened to send Mozzam Begg, the director of CAGE, then held in Guantanamo, to Syria to be tortured, he informed MI5 – their only response was to demand that he cooperated with the US Authorities.  After his release, he travelled to Syria in July 2013, where he met victims of UK rendition.  In the light of this, I cannot be the only one thinking that that if anyone wanted to “disappear” troublesome elements, then “gone to Syria to fight for ISIS” is an awful good cover story.

But exactly the UK’s relationship is with ISIS.  The unmasking of Jihadi John comes hot on the heels of reports coming from Tehran that Hakim el-Zamili, the head of the Security and Defense Committee in Iraq had stated that two UK planes carrying supplies for the Islamic State had crashed and that the Iraqi government has asked London for an explanation. The original report, which also includes allegations of the US arming ISIS was from FARS News Agency and there is also a suggestion that “a senior security source” in Iraq also spoke to Vangard News suggesting that a British helicopter supplying the Islamic State was shot down by Iraqi security near Tikrit.

It has been claimed that the report from FARS News is false, and indeed I cannot find the statement which the news report refers to on the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq website, yet a few days later multiple Arabic language news sites were reporting that in an interview on Iraqi television, Zamili had made the same claim (although referencing Fallujah rather than Tikrit).  It is reported that he went even further in this interview suggesting that the Jordanian pilot, Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was burnt to death by ISIS was taking pictures of US and British forces handing over arms to ISIS.  Again, I cannot find the original clip which is referenced, but multiple news sources are reporting this.  The British press however are silent.

The official explanation of how Western made weapons are ending up in the hands of ISIS are that they have overpowered Iraqi government bases, which had previously been supplied arms by the West.  Yet in the case of Mosul it appears that orders came to stand down – and more notably – to leave the weapons behind, even although the estimated number of ISIS fighters approaching the area was only between 500-1000.  But hardware alone is insufficient.  Arms require ammunition, vehicles require spare parts, maintenance and effective use requires training.

Yet not all the equipment and arms found in is US made.  There are also reports of the Syrian Army finding large caches of Israeli made hardware in ISIS possession.  Israel has no diplomatic relations with Iraq, nor for that matter with Syria, so the likelihood of them supplying Israeli made arms to either government is nil.  Furthermore, ISIS fighters have been treated in Israeli hospitals.  Israel explains this oddity as “humanitarianism”, yet of the over 1000 Syrians treated in Israel, 90% are adult men. They have also returned the bodies of armed opposition members to Syria.

Given the situation in the middle east, not least of all the 2014 assault on Gaza where over 1,500 were kill and innumerable more injured and made homeless, one might think that a radical Islamic organisation might consider it a target, but not only has ISIS never attacked Israel, it also has stated it has no plans to do so. Similarly with the murder of Sotloff at ISIS’s hands, and a seemingly unstoppable, militarised Islamist regime making greater and greater advances in a neighbouring country, which has announced its intention to destroy Israel once it is sufficiently strong one might also think that Israel would perturbed, but so far they appear quite relaxed about the prospect.

But all this is just speculation and conspiracy theory, like that ridiculous idea that there was a child abuse circuit operating in the UK establishment, cos everyone knows that Britain and its allies are the good guys.

Leave a comment below, or join the discussion on the or join the discussion on the Second Council House of Virgo facebook page. .
Updated: March 2, 2015 — 2:47 pm

The war of ISIS is primarily intra-Muslim, a war on Shia and other 'impure' Muslims. Israel is far, far down the list of their priorities. Even the West isn't as big a priority as 'cleansing Islam'. This is no big mystery, it's spelled out in their propaganda. You could read one of the half dozen books about them that have been published recently. The Israeli state has also openly explained why it worries more about Iran than ISIS.

There's really no need for conspiracy theories about who is really behind ISIS. The Middle East is a hot mess at the moment, with old allies now friends and vice versa. It must be a nightmare for the anti imperialist who believes that every enemy of the west must be a friend.

But reading this I can now understand a little more about why you feel comfortable at 5 Pillars, where conspiracies about 'zionists' are available on every thread. It makes some sense why a feminist who dislikes George Galloway (rightly) and Tommy Sheridan (rightly) would jump into the Maajid Nawaz affair on the side of a vile abuser of women like Dilly Hussain. 

Dilly Hussain and other Caliphate supporters such as Hizbut Tahrir are no friends of feminists. Where there is concern for women, it's as the carriers of purity, honour and tradition. Where purity and honour are what protect women, breaking honour puts them in danger.  The 'special place' of women in any fundamentalist movement (including segregated spaces where they can feel safe) can be attractive to many women, but it's not feminism. Women in these movements don't challenge any status quo.

You ridiculed Nawaz's statement for mentioning stoning, but the context was plain to those of us who are following the controversies around CAGE. Men who won't say that they disagree with stoning for adultery, like the CAGE spokesman on the Andrew Neil show, are unlikely to be the best supporters of the rights of strippers or any other women. This is not Orientalist fantasy. These are real debates going on. 

By the way, HT is also linked to at least 100 people who have gone to fight in Syria, according to the same Mail article that broke the Maajid Nawaz story (of course you may think this really isn't happening, and that it's just another conspiracy of the zionist media).  These young British people are getting involved in crimes including the mass rape and enslavement of women. This is worse than what Maajid Nawaz did in a strip club. Yet white apologists like you join in the attack on secular Muslims by far right Islamists. There seem to be far fewer of you these days, but you have already done huge damage.

mhairimcalpine moderator

@Londonobserver Apologies I havent responded to you sooner.

No, I recognise that there are other imperialisms besides Western ones, however the West had had a direct influence in Iraq, Libya and Yemen - all ISIS hotspots, yet geographically distributed.  I accept that they are not the only imperialism operating and there is also internal tribalism (I really dislike that word, btw, but I cant find a better one). 

In terms of feminism, yeah you are right.  Dilly Hussain is "problematic" to use the social justice terminology, and 5 pillars have certainly published some shite, but other times they are spot on.  Hizbut Tahir are indeed scarily right wing.  I'm not sure what you are referring to about Nawas' statement on stoning...in Pakistan you mean?  I didnt mention this in the article and indeed I've just had to look up what you were referring to.  

In terms of the "men who wont say that they disagree with stoning for adultry" - this is a "when did you stop beating your wife" question.  Have you ever said publicly that you disagree with such. I certainly never have - despite being a (cultural) Christian, nor do I remember any practising Christians being asked that question either - yet the punishment of adultery by stoning is the  in the Bible but in the Quran the punishment is 100 lashes (stoning is not in the Quran, but in the supplimentary hadiths). 


Hi Mhairi,

Thanks for your civil reply.
Asking random Muslims about their opinions on stoning would be wrong and racist.  
Asking a UK based preacher of the Islamic right,  or one of his followers is far enough, since it's been discussed and advocated by a number of popular speakers at UK universities including Haitham Haddad who is closely involved with CAGE. This is why Amnesty stopped working with Cage (finally) just a few months ago. 
This was the context of the Maajid Nawaz statement.
Your comment about the Christian bible is misplaced. The Jewish holy book also proscribes stoning (that's where Islam gets it) but Jews and Christians are nowhere in the world practicing stoning at the moment (I think). Unfortunately stoning of women for adultery does take place in Islamic states and places with powerful Islamic movements. Some British young people have left to join these movements and have probably even taken part in stoning events. Not abstract. It sounds sensational and just the type of thing that the EDL would use against Muslims, but this is real.
I see these as thoroughly modern movements by the way, shaped by imperialism and war,  and I don't believe stoning is an integral part of Islam or attractive to most Muslims.
 Recall, the context of mentioning this was taking part in trashing Maajid Nawaz for his sexist behaviour,  alongside men who advocate stoning and other harsh punishments for any transgressions by women. I suggest you and your feminism are being used by these men (and reactionary women) as cover. They are not feminists. They jumped on MN over this because they use any opportunity to trash him and every other secular Muslim.
I don't defend Maajid Nawaz particularly. But I do have some sympathy for Sara Khan, another secular Muslim reformer who is attacked day and night by Islamist trolls. I see how any Muslim who speak again Islamists gets this treatment.  Jen Izaakson jumped in to bully Sara Khan, alongside Dilly H and some women, over the Masjid Nawaz incident. That was particularly gross. I don't think she really knows (or cares) about the bigger picture.
Reactionary Islamists use any help they can get from feminists and the left to provide cover for their abhorrent views. If no one points out their hypocracy, so much the better.
That's why 5pillars is sometimes spot on; they've  adapted their politics to sound more palatable and relevant to people attracted to rebellion against the state or capitalism. They use rights discourse and the language of popular movements. But a caliphate really is not a good alternative to western imperialism or capitalism. 
Here's some info on Haddad and other reactionary Islamists who regularly speak in UK universities. They influence a lot of people, but they don't represent Muslims or Islam, and it's ok to criticise them as you would any other group (i.e. politically). You decide whether feminists should occasionally speak up against them too. http://ex-muslim.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/EvangelisingHate_Report_Web.pdf

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