ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Released From U.S. Detention By Obama Admin In 2009…

Weasel Zippers

Another one of Obama’s brilliant decisions when he decided to abruptly pull all U.S. forces from Iraq.

Via Telegraph:

The FBI “most wanted” mugshot shows a tough, swarthy figure, his hair in a jailbird crew-cut. The $10 million price on his head, meanwhile, suggests that whoever released him from US custody four years ago may now be regretting it.

Taken during his years as a detainee at the US-run Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, this is the only known photograph of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. But while he may lack the photogenic qualities of his hero, Osama bin Laden, he is fast becoming the new poster-boy for the global jihadist movement.

Well-organised and utterly ruthless, the ex-preacher is the driving force behind al-Qaeda’s resurgence throughout Syria and Iraq, putting it at the forefront of the war to topple President Bashar al-Assad and starting a fresh campaign of mayhem against the Western-backed government in Baghdad.

On Tuesday, his forces achieved their biggest coup in Iraq to date,seizing control of government buildings in Mosul, the country’s third biggest city. Coming on top of similar operations in January that planted the black jihadi flag in the towns of Fallujah and Ramadi, it gives al-Qaeda control of large swathes of the north and west of the country, and poses the biggest security crisis since the US pull-out two years ago.

But who is exactly is the man who is threatening to plunge Iraq back to its darkest days, and why has he become so effective?

As with many of al-Qaeda’s leaders, precise details are sketchy. His FBI rap sheet offers little beyond the fact that he is aged around 42, and was born as Ibrahim Ali al-Badri in the city of Samarrah, which lies on a palm-lined bend in the Tigris north of Baghdad. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a nom de guerre, as is his other name, Abu Duaa, which translates roughly as “Father of the Summons”.

Some describe him as a farmer who was arrested by US forces during a mass sweep in 2005, who then became radicalised at Camp Bucca, where many al-Qaeda commanders were held. Others, though, believe he was a radical even during the largely secular era of Saddam Hussein, and became a prominent al-Qaeda player very shortly after the US invasion.

“This guy was a Salafi (a follower of a fundamentalist brand of Islam), and Saddam’s regime would have kept a close eye on him,” said Dr Michael Knights, an Iraq expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“He was also in Camp Bucca for several years, which suggests he was already considered a serious threat when he went in there.”

That theory seems backed by US intelligence reports from 2005, which describe him as al-Qaeda’s point man in Qaim, a fly-blown town in Iraq’s western desert.

“Abu Duaa was connected to the intimidation, torture and murder of local civilians in Qaim”, says a Pentagon document. “He would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them.”

Why such a ferocious individual was deemed fit for release in 2009 is not known. One possible explanation is that he was one of thousands of suspected insurgents granted amnesty as the US began its draw down in Iraq. Another, though, is that rather like Keyser Söze, the enigmatic crimelord in the film The Usual Suspects, he may actually be several different people.

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Oil Prices Swell as Iraq Tension Heats Up

 Fox Business

Oil prices jumped to nine-month highs on Thursday, as concerns mounted that escalating violence in Iraq could disrupt oil supplies from the second-largest OPEC producer.

Sunni Islamist militants, who took over Iraq’s second-biggest city Mosul earlier this week, extended their advance south toward Baghdad and surrounded the country’s largest refinery in the northern town of Baiji on Thursday.

“The fear is that will cause a threat to Iraqi oil exports,” Christopher Bellew, a trader at Jefferies Bache, said. “If this conflict knocked out Iraq as an exporter, that would have significant impact on prices.”


Brent futures gained $3.07 to settle at $113.02 a barrel, the highest level since Sept. 9. U.S. oil gained $2.13 to settle at $106.53 a barrel, also the highest close since Sept. 18, according to Reuters data.


Continued Reading 

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Obama Administration Knew About Secret VA Wait Lists For Years

By: Patrick Howley (Daily Caller)


The Obama administration knew about allegations of secret waiting lists at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as early as 2010, The Daily Caller has learned.

The current VA scandal involving secret waiting lists that led to preventable veteran deaths at the Phoenix VA Medical Center claimed the scalp of Obama-appointed former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned at the end of last month. Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that President Obama only found about the VA wait-list scandal from watching the news.

But the Obama administration knew that an internal VA investigation into secret “paper” waiting lists was conducted in 2010 under Shinseki.

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Actual Intel Reports On Bergdahl’s Captivity Surface

PJ Media

Blackfive has obtained the actual intel reports on Bowe Bergdahl’s captivity with the Haqqani network. As Jim notes in the post, the reports are compiled in order to help develop a picture of his captivity; they’re not the full picture. You can read what Blackfive has posted at the link above. Here’s a troubling sample.

Conditions for Bergdahl have greatly relaxed since the time of the escape.  Bergdahl has converted to Islam and now describes himself as a mujahid.  Bergdahl enjoys a modicum of freedom, and engages in target practice with the local mujahedeen, firing AK47s.  Bergdahl is even allowed to carry a loaded gun on occasion.  Bergdahl plays soccer with his guards and bounds around the pitch like a mad man.  He appears to be well and happy, and has a noticeable habit of laughing frequently and saying “salaam” repeatedly.

One of the other reports states that Bergdahl had converted to Islam and called himself a jihadist, as has been reported elsewhere.

The question regarding that is, did he do that in sincerity, in order to curry favor with his captors (he did try to escape more than once), or for some other reason.

Allahpundit gets right to that last possibility: Bergdahl was reportedly given a psychiatric discharge from the US Coast Guard in 2006.

Then one day in 2006, Bergdahl announced that he was joining the Coast Guard, a decision his friends thought was unwise given his personality. Harrison said she tried to talk him out of it, but finally relented and drove him to a military office in Idaho Falls to take the entrance exam.

Soon after he left Ketchum for basic training, Bergdahl sent her a dozen or so notebook pages filled with tiny writing, diatribes against the rigors of military life. She was alarmed, she said. When he returned after a few weeks, he told her he had gotten out on a psychological discharge.

“He told me he faked it,” she recalled. “I said, ‘You don’t fake a psychological discharge, you have to become unfit.’ I told him that. The reality was it wasn’t okay. I saw it in the letters, the way the writing was changing, the anger.”…

“I know he believed he was in control, but I didn’t,” [another] friend added. “I sincerely doubted that.”

So he was given a psych pass out of the USCG, then accepted into the US Army…and put on the front lines in Afghanistan?

Yet strangely enough, none of his squad mates have come out and said anything about him being crazy. They’ve said he was aloof, that he learned Pashtun while everyone else socialized, and that he stared off into the horizon. They haven’t said he was nuts.

And he may not have been. When I was in Air Force basic, I saw a few guys decide that it wasn’t for them. They decide to get out, however they could. And it wasn’t hard. I can’t speak for the Coast Guard, but the Air Force isn’t keen on keeping enlistees who show evidence that they can’t handle the stresses of basic training. Once a trainee expresses a desire to leave, they tend to be allowed to leave. I saw one guy get out on an asthma discharge, when he wasn’t having any actual asthma attacks that I could see. Bergdahl could have contrived a way out of the USCG without actually being mentally unstable.

On the other hand, get a load of Bergdahl’s writings. Real cray-cray or fake?

“The closer I get to ship day, the calmer the voices are. I’m reverting. I’m getting colder. My feelings are being flushed with the frozen logic and the training, all the unfeeling cold judgment of the darkness.” Voices, huh? Another bit of writing apparently composed while Bergdahl was in Afghanistan consisted of nothing but the phrase “velcro or zipper/velcro or zipper/velcro or zipper” — for almost two pages.

It’s possible we’ll know soon enough. He’s coming to Texas late tonight, where he will stay in a military hospital in San Antonio. The military is not granting any media access to him.