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Ex-intel officials: Pentagon report proves US complicity in ISIS -- INSURGE intelligence -- Medium

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This story is published by INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project.
Support us to break the stories that no one else will"--"become a patron of independent, investigative journalism for the global commons.

According to leading American and British intelligence experts, a declassified Pentagon report confirms that the West accelerated support to extremist rebels in Syria, despite knowing full well the strategy would pave the way for the emergence of the 'Islamic State' (ISIS).

The experts who have spoken out include renowned government whistleblowers such as the Pentagon's Daniel Ellsberg, the NSA's Thomas Drake, and the FBI's Coleen Rowley, among others.

Their remarks demonstrate the fraudulent nature of claims by two other former officials, the CIA's Michael Morell and the NSA's John Schindler, both of whom attempt to absolve the Obama administration of responsibility for the policy failures exposed by the DIA documents.

Foreseeing ISIS

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As I reported on May 22nd, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document obtained by Judicial Watch under Freedom of Information confirms that the US intelligence community foresaw the rise of ISIS three years ago, as a direct consequence of the support to extremist rebels in Syria.

The August 2012 'Information Intelligence Report' (IIR) reveals that the overwhelming core of the Syrian insurgency at that time was dominated by a range of Islamist militant groups, including al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). It warned that the "supporting powers" to the insurgency"--"identified in the document as the West, Gulf states, and Turkey"--"wanted to see the emergence of a "Salafist Principality" in eastern Syria to "isolate" the Assad regime.

The document also provided an extraordinarily prescient prediction that such an Islamist quasi-statelet, backed by the region's Sunni states, would amplify the risk of the declaration of an "Islamic State" across Iraq and Syria. The DIA report even anticipated the fall of Mosul and Ramadi.

Divide and rule

Last week, legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, the former career Pentagon officer and US military analyst who leaked Pentagon papers exposing White House lies about the Vietnam War, described my Insurge report on the DIA document as "a very important story."

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Daniel Ellsberg, the former US military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, revealing how the US public had been misled about the Vietnam War.

In an extensive podcast interview, he said that the DIA document provided compelling evidence that the West's Syria strategy created ISIS. The DIA, he said, "in 2012, was asserting that Western powers were supporting extremist Islamic groups in Syria that were opposing Assad"

"They were not only as they claimed supporting moderate groups, who were losing members to the more extremist groups, but that they were directly supporting the extremist groups. And they were predicting that this support would result in an Islamic State organization, an ISIS or ISIL" They were encouraging it, regarding it as a positive development, because it was anti-Assad, Assad being supported by Russia, but also interestingly China" and Iran" So we have China, Russia and Iran backing Assad, and the US, starting out saying Assad must go" What he [Nafeez Ahmed] is talking about, the DIA report, is extremely significant. It fits into a general framework that I'm aware of, and sounds plausible to me."

Ellsberg also noted that "it's pretty well known" in the intelligence community that Saudi Arabia sponsors Islamist terrorists to this day:

"It's kind of a deal that the Saudis will support various Islamic extremists, all around the world, and the deal is that they [extremists] will not try to overthrow the corrupt, alcohol-drinking clique in Saudi Arabia."

Ellsberg, who was a former senior analyst at RAND Corp, also agreed with the relevance of a 2008 US Army-commissioned RAND report, quoted in my Insurge story, and also examined in-depth for Middle East Eye.

The US Army-funded RAND report advocated a range of policy scenarios for the Middle East, including a "divide and rule" strategy to play off Sunni and Shi'a factions against each other, which Ellsberg describes as "standard imperial policy" for the US.

The RAND report even confirmed (p. 113) that its "divide and rule" strategy was already being executed in Iraq at the time:

"Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used a tactical level, as the United States now forms temporary alliances with nationalist insurgent groups that it had been fighting for four years" providing carrots in the form of weapons and cash. In the past, these nationalists have cooperated with al-Qaeda against US forces."

The confirmed activation of this divide-and-rule strategy perhaps explains why the self-defeating US approach in Syria is fanning the flames of both sides: simultaneously allying with states like Turkey who have continued to covertly sponsor ISIS, while working with Assad through the Russians to fight ISIS. Ellsberg added:

"As Assad is the main opponent of ISIS, we are covertly coordinating our airstrikes against ISIS with Assad. So are we against Assad, or not? It's ambivalent" I think that Obama and everybody around him is clear that they do not any longer as they've been saying want Assad to leave power. I don't believe that that is their intention anymore, as they believe anyone who succeeds Assad would be far worse."

If true, Ellsberg's analysis exposes the deep-rooted hypocrisy of the previous campaign against Assad, the current campaign against ISIS, and why both appear destined for failure.

Frankenstein script

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Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the 'System Shift' column for VICE's Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work.

Nafeez has also written for The (more...)

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