RIP Anna Campbell, a British woman who joined an all-woman Kurdish Protection Unit in Syria

Anna Campbell, from Lewes, England, has died fighting in the Kurdish Women's Protection Units ("YPJ") in Syria; she was likely killed by a Turkish airstrike. She was 26. Read the rest

American fighting ISIS returns home to have gunshot wound patched up in Chicago

We don't hear as much about ISIS as we used to, but the fight against their particular brand on evil is still being waged.

In Syria, for example, a Kurdish militia group called YPG is still waging war on the terrorist group. The YPG is composed of volunteers, drawn largely from areas around and in Syria, but also from countries as far away as the United States. As the militia is currently backed by the United States, it's not a crime for American citizens to find their way to groups like the YPG, get trained up and then deploy to the front lines. Caleb Stevens, a 23 year old from Illinois, felt that he wanted to make a direct impact in the world by standing against those who would do harm to unarmed civilians. After talking to YPG representatives online, he made his way overseas and boned up on the use of Soviet-era small arms before heading to the front lines with his unit in Syria. Caleb took the fight to ISIS, fending them off from civilians for months before he was shot in the calf, bringing his war, at least for the time being, to an end.

In the wake of being wounded, he sought out treatment, first at hospitals in Syria, Baghdad and Jordan, before walking into a hospital emergency room in Chicago to be properly patched up.

It's one hell of a story, it's covered, in detail, over at the Chicago Tribune.

Image: Nûçe Ciwan - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5jA7EiXQsc, CC BY 3.0, Link Read the rest

Social media's "engagement"-based algorithms are intrinsically hospitable to conspiracies and fake news

Renee DiResta is part of an interdisciplinary group that has tracked disinformation campaigns online for years, advising the Obama White House on the use of social media to spread conspiracy theories; she helped brief Congress in advance of the current hearings on the use of the internet to spread misinformation to influence the 2016 election. Read the rest

Conflict photographer risked his life in Mosul, then shared all his pics for free

Kainoa Little spent April and May documenting the harrowing battle of ISIS-held Mosul, and when no one wanted to buy his photos, he published them free of charge. His reasons were particularly cool: Read the rest

Understanding ISIS's media strategy

Lawfare's Charlie Winter got ahold of a copy of Media Operative, ISIS's long-rumored, three-party guide to media strategy for jihadis; his fascinating account of the organization's media strategy is important reading, if only to see how ISIS views its own operations. Read the rest

Verizon store customer insists he is "definitely part of ISIS"

A Pittsburgh-area man was charged with disorderly conduct after telling Verizon store staff that he was "definitely part of ISIS" and talking about ISIS on the store's demo handsets.

When asked to leave the store, Fleming said “he wouldn't leave the store and that he was definitely part of ISIS,” the complaint said. He also said that “he was calling to get his posse to get them” and other Verizon stores.

Fleming eventually left the store, but was later arrested wearing a ski mask at a bar. Police said he made statements about ISIS to officers and had a block, which he said “I want people to believe it’s C-4 explosive,” the complaint said.

They have all the handsets right there to play with, but make an international call on one and everyone loses their mind! Read the rest

ISIS left behind at least 14,000 landmines when it retreated from Manbij

Once it became clear that a US-backed militia coalition was going to chase Isis out of the northern Syrian city of Manbij, Isis planted at least 14,000 mines, boobytrapping refrigerators, onion-baskets, rocks, appliances, tea-kettles, "everything." Read the rest

Daily Mail reporter poses on Syria front lines with assault rifle

British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail posted a photo of reporter Mark Nicol on the Syrian front lines posing with an assault rifle. This is bad for numerous reasons, but the main one is that it casts western reporters as mercenary participants and invites summary execution upon capture.

Hope you can shoot straight, Mark! Read the rest

Trump says Barack "Hussein" Obama and Hillary Clinton founded ISIS

At a rally last night in Ft. Lauderdale, and repeated this morning, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that President Barack Obama was the "founder" of terrorist group ISIS and that rival Hillary Clinton was its "co-founder."

... Trump also said that ISIS "honors" Obama -- who the GOP nominee referred to as "Barack Hussein Obama."

"Normally you want to clean up; he made a bigger mess out of it. He made such a mess. And then you had Hillary with Libya, so sad," Trump said.

"In fact, in many respects, you know they honor president Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He's the founder of ISIS, OK? He's the founder. He founded ISIS."

Challenged on whether it's a joke, he made clear that it is not. It's just the unhinged not-quite-metaphorical blathering of the day from Donald.

"He was the founder of ISIS, absolutely," Trump said. "The way he removed our troops -- you shouldn't have gone in. I was against the war in Iraq. Totally against it."

Update: it's not the first time Trump's floated this idea.

Read the rest

Russian Embassy illustrates terrorist bomb truck tweet with bomb truck from "Command and Conquer"

"Extremists near Aleppo," tweeted the Russian Embassy in London, "received several truckloads of chemical ammo."

And just to make sure the news was sufficiently clear, they attached an image of three trucks loaded with weapons: that is, from the cartoon video game world of Command & Conquer.

Read the rest

Watch: Kurds take out a "suicide bomb truck" as it hurtles toward them

Amazing footage from Syria shows an armored truck, apparently loaded with explosives and driven by a suicide bomber, hurtling toward a low ridge held by Kurdish fighters. After failing to stop it with small arms, they roll out an anti-tank missile launcher and blow the crap out of it. Comparisons with Mad Max are not entirely appropriate... but they really did get the pyrotechnic effects right in that film, didn't they? Read the rest

U.S. military claims to be dropping 'cyber bombs' on ISIS

America's military forces are dropping "cyber bombs" on Islamic State terrorist groups for the first time, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told reporters accompanying him on a military flight on Tuesday.

The ISIS internet attacks, whatever the particulars really may be, are part of a stepped-up coordinated effort to put increasing pressure on the militant organization. Read the rest

ISIS terrorist suicide bomber kills at least 30 people in Iraq soccer stadium

Just days after bloody attacks blamed on ISIS claimed scores of lives in Brussels, today dozens more people were killed by an ISIS-claimed terrorist at a soccer stadium near Baghdad. Read the rest

Top ISIS leader killed by U.S. Not the first time we've killed him, either.

The Pentagon says U.S. forces have killed a top Islamic State commander in Syria, as part of a series of military actions targeting ISIS leadership and its storage sites for explosives. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter delivered the news on Friday. Read the rest

Disgruntled IS defector dumps full details of tens of thousands of jihadis

Abu Hamed is a former Free Syrian Army fighter who defected to ISIS, where he served in their internal security forces; after a split with the organization, he stole a thumb-drive containing the induction questionnaires and personnel files of over 22,000 jihadi fighters who travelled from 51 countries to fight with ISIS. He has turned the files over to Sky News correspondent Stuart Ramsay. Read the rest

Woman calls police to report overheard sexually ecstatic cries of "ISIS is good, ISIS is great"

The 82-year-old caller to Brown Deer, Wisconsin police said that she could hear someone in the throes of sexual ecstasy chanting "ISIS is good, ISIS is great" on the 4400 block of Dean Road. Read the rest

That French kindergarten teacher stabbed by ISIS? Nope, didn't happen.

Police swarmed a Paris kindergarten today after a teacher claimed that a man wearing a balaclava stabbed him in the throat while yelling that the attack "was for Daesh." But the Paris prosecutor's office has just told CNN that the man "made up the attack." The teacher is in the hospital with non-critical wounds but it's not clear how they were actually caused.

Here's the original story: "French teacher stabbed by man claiming to be from Islamic State" (The Guardian) Read the rest

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