Monday, August 22

The Elusive Origin of ISIS -

When the real story
is much more interesting . . .

A dispute erupted over the origins of ISIS when Donald Trump asserted that President Obama founded it. I casually presumed Trump was speaking figuratively and didn't give his remark a second thought.

Then someone in the Mainstream Media asserted that it was Zarqawi who founded ISIS. And many others repeated that response like parrots in an echo chamber.

Oddly enough, I remember this story quite differently. I blogged it as the story unfolded because I had to study Propaganda Analysis in college and because it seemed like a historic development.

ISIS, I believe, migrated from a CGI animation.

We tell stories to help us make sense of our experiences in the world. My own memory of the story may be imperfect because some of the story may be classified top secret and because of my own efforts to make sense of what was disclosed.

There came a point in time when the Al-Qaida chapter in Iraq was having terrible problems. As I recall, every time the cult named new leadership, our team bumped them off. It became a kind of death sentence to be identified as one of their leaders. Consequently, the cult was having a hard time finding anyone willing to assume leadership.

This is how the Al-Qaida brand went toxic. The cult needed to rebrand their group or face dissolution and extinction.

And then, the second shoe dropped. Once they rebranded, how could they stop the Allies from assassinating the leadership of the "new" group?

The terrorists devised a scheme which they believed would protect them. As many young men these days play computer video games, they were familiar with CGI animation. Some of the artwork in these games and movies can be quite lifelike and convincing.

They had some friendly geeks create a CGI animation of an avatar who could appear in cyberspace on the Internet to make announcements or issue directives.

Thus it was, they created the virtual Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, Emir of the "new" group which they called the "Islamic State of Iraq."

I would conjecture our geeks in the DIA and other agencies performed some packet traces to locate the group, but, eventually, the case was cracked wide open because our team tracked down the actor who was reading the avatar's script, and he publicly confessed what he had done.

The following is an adaptation
excerpted from my blog entries at the time:

A Cyberspace Myth -

The mysterious Abu Omar al-Baghdadi - the so-called "emir" of the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq" - apparently avoided capture so elusively through a very clever ruse: He didn’t exist... (7/19/07)

A computer-generated avatar -

Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi's
speeches were read by an actor.

The ruse was devised by Abu Ayub al-Masri, and Mashhadani, who served as a propaganda chief in the organization, helped create the Islamic State of Iraq as a virtual organization that is essentially a pseudonym for al-Qaida in Iraq. (9/15/07)

The last word on this matter
has probably not yet been written.