By: Ben Swann
In the latest episode of Truth in Media, Ben Swann investigates the origins of the militant group referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“The name ISIS is one that every American knows,” Swann said “The biggest threat to our national security since Al-Qaeda, right? They are a brutal, savage group known for public beheadings and mass executions. They are the face of the new war on terror.”
Swann pointed out that while the U.S. Military is currently conducting airstrikes in Syria, in a supposed attempt to take out ISIS targets, the White House and U.S. military leaders are discussing possible boots on the ground in Iraq. These talks are arising just three years after President Obama declared that the war in Iraq was over.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told USA Today that in order to defeat ISIS, he believes the United States is looking at “a 30-year-war.”
As the U.S. goes to war in an attempt to defeat yet another terrorist group, the biggest question is: Who exactly is ISIS and where did they come from?
Angela Keaton, the founder of Antiwar.com, said that ISIS is “entirely a creation of the United States’ behavior in Iraq.”
“That’s how we got to where we are, because of war, because of occupation, because of torture,” Keaton said. “The United States government completely destabilized and wrecked Iraq. They caused it to fail miserably and that is entirely the fault of the United States government. There is no one else to blame.”
Swann explained that when the U.S. first invaded Iraq, it “blew the country apart.” By destroying the existing government, toppling Saddam Hussein, and destroying the infrastructure, the U.S. “left behind a power vacuum” that would never have existed under Hussein.
Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, said that the impact caused by the actions of the United States is a “historical fact that media just won’t discuss.”
“This has to do with U.S. action in the region, which destroyed the infrastructure, which destroyed Iraq society, which destroyed the Iraqi government,” McAdams said. He explained that while there were a lot of people who weren’t “as happy as larks” while living under Saddam Hussein, they also weren’t at odds with Hussein in the same way they were with the government established by the U.S.
The militant group ISIS was formed as a small insurgent group in Iraq in 2006. Swann noted that while they tried to create problems for the U.S. military, they had no money and no real ability to recruit.
“It wasn’t until 2009 that ISIS shifted its focus from Iraq, where it was largely unsuccessful in developing a foothold, and focused on the civil war in Syria,” Swann said.
While in Syria, ISIS still struggled to gain a foothold. Swann attributed this to the fact that two larger groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad were overpowering them: al-Nusra Front – or al-Qaeda – and the Free Syrian Army.
“Then, came a pivotal moment that most Americans aren’t even aware of,” Swann said. “In June 2013, a Northern General for the Free Syrian Army spoke out on Al Jazeera Qatar and stated that if international forces did not send weapons, the rebels attempting to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad would lose their war within a month.”
Swann noted that just months before this occurred he had personally confronted President Obama on the issue of why the U.S. was covertly funding Syrian rebels. Although Obama acted as if he was proceeding with caution, politicians such as Senator John McCain demanded action.
“Within a matter of weeks of the Syrian general making his plea for international help, the U.S., the Saudis, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and Israel began providing weapons, training and money to so-called rebel groups like the Free Syrian Army,” Swann said.
In September 2013, American media outlets began reporting that weapons were being given to Syrian rebels. CNN reported that while the weapons are not “American-made,” they were “funded and organized by the CIA.”
However, Swann said that things began to fall apart when less than one year after the U.S. supplied Syrian “freedom fighters” with weapons, those weapons ended up in the hands of ISIS fighters.
Those ISIS fighters came from the group McCain insisted would help the U.S. overthrow Assad: the Free Syrian Army. Swann explained that the army was not only sending the Islamic State weapons, it was also sending them fighters.
“The Free Syrian Army has lost most of the land that it ever claimed and it’s entirely incompetent,” Keaton said. “The only thing that it has been good at is currying favor with western leaders.”
Swann said that it wasn’t until June 2014 that ISIS went from being a “no-name group in Syria” to a group that was “heavily armed and trained by U.S. and Coalition Special Forces.” This revitalized group made a dramatic entrance by crossing back over the Syrian border into Iraq and capturing Mosul and much of the northern part of the country.
“One of the most important facts that mainstream media ignores time and time again is that ISIS was able to grow so fast, because of all the U.S. military equipment they were able to seize – equipment that our military left in Iraq,” said Swann. “Truckloads of Humvees, tanks and weaponry that instead of taking or destroying, the U.S. government simply decided to leave behind.”
However, even when the U.S. government became aware that ISIS fighters were capturing U.S. equipment, it did nothing. Swann attributed the lack of action to the fact that ISIS fighters were taking the equipment back into Syria to continue fighting Assad, which was what the U.S. government wanted.
“How is it that the United States, with all of its intelligence capabilities, didn’t know this threat was coming?” McAdams said. “How many billions did we spend, maybe a hundred billion on total intelligence community budge over the year? How did they have no idea?”
Swann said that the answer is simple: “The U.S. did know who ISIS was, but the so-called Islamic State was doing what the Obama administration wanted.”
The ISIS fighters continued to do what the Obama administration wanted, and in late summer 2014, they were labeled what Swann called, “the new boogeyman in the war on terror.”
“Over the past few months, the U.S. government, who acted like they had never even heard of ISIS, suddenly, with the help of media has turned the Islamic State into the new focus of the war on terror,” Swann said. “Now, as ISIS has continued its rise, recruitment is exploding and the group is becoming stunningly wealthy.”
Swann noted that in response to the “ISIS threat,” the U.S. began “conducting airstrikes on Syrian oil fields, instead of going after those buying the oil.”
McAdams pointed out that ISIS makes $2 million a day off of selling oil, and the United States’ response, of “undercutting the competition” by blowing up oil fields makes no sense. He questioned why the U.S., which is known for sanctioning “anything that moves,” when it’s angry, is not placing sanctions on the banks or the oil companies that are involved.
Swann added that in addition to those questions, Americans should also be asking, “Why is the U.S. sending $500 million to the Free Syrian Army to fight ISIS when the FSA is one of the biggest suppliers of fighters and weapons to ISIS?” and “Why are we sending new and more powerful weapons to the FSA like anti-aircraft missiles – weapons that we know will be in the hands of ISIS?”
Swann maintained that while the mainstream media will say that ISIS is the “creation of American inaction,” the reality is that they are the “product of direct action.”
This direct action started with “the action of creating a power vacuum in Iraq” and manifested into the “arming violent Jihadists, hoping they would overthrow a leader in a neighboring Middle Eastern country.”
McAdams described the U.S. government as a victim of its own insane policies, due to the fact that it is “very good at blowing things up, but really bad at putting them back together.”
In determining whether or not McAdams’ statement was true, Swann listed three facts:
Fact #1: “Our government armed Osama bin Laden and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and created al-Qaeda.”
Fact #2: “Our government put Saddam Hussein into power – we helped supply and create chemical weapons for him to use against Iran in 1980 – and then we overthrew him in 2003.”
Fact #3: “Our government trained rebel fighters in Syria who would become the group today known as ISIS. We have watched them commit every violent atrocity you can imagine to people living in Iraq and Syria, and now we want American taxpayers to fund a 30-year war with them.”
Swann came to the conclusion that it isn’t the U.S. government being held hostage by crazy policies; rather it is the American people.
“It is time that we reject the destruction of people groups around the world for the sake of foreign policy that makes so-called defense contractors rich, and perpetuates violence, death, and the destruction of entire people groups,” Swann said. “This is the central issue of our time – because humanity is greater than politics.”