This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days - We Are The Mighty
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This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days

A former Islamic State militant spoke with NBC news about his experience fighting with ISIS in Syria — and why he surrendered after just three days on the frontlines.


 

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Youtube.com

 

The man, a 24-year-old single father and college dropout who traveled from New York back to his native Turkey, told NBC what has become a familiar story. Socially isolated and lacking meaning in his life, he was seduced by the jihadis’ promise of a salary, a house, and a wife.

“My life was hard and nobody liked me,” the man, who insisted on anonymity, said while crying. “I didn’t have many friends. I was on the internet a lot and playing games.”

This is a common profile among those recruited by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, who are often young men (and women) seeking purpose and identity. They are drawn to ISIS’ promise of community, along with the glory of potential martyrdom. ISIS’ inclusive rhetoric, combined with its social-media prowess, has allowed the group to recruit more foreigners to its ranks than any other modern jihadist group.

Firsthand accounts of the militants’ brutality from those who have fought with ISIS, such as the one given by the Turkish-American recruit, are still relatively rare, even though an estimated 20,000 foreign fighters have joined the group.

“They told us, ‘When you capture someone, you will behead them,'” he said. “But as for me, I have never even beheaded a chicken … It is not easy … I can’t do that.”

He said he was also instructed to throw homosexuals off of tall buildings and kill female adulterers. He said he decided to leave ISIS after an airstrike killed six of his fellow fighters in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad.

“I got scared because in my whole life I hadn’t seen anything like this,” he told NBC. “And since I was scared, I threw my pistol away and my legs couldn’t hold me.”

 

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Youtube.com

 

The online radicalization of Muslims has become a security threat for the West: An estimated 4,000 ISIS recruits come from Western countries, and foreigners now make up at least half of ISIS’ fighting force, The New York Times reported in April.

Many disgruntled recruits have tried to return to their home country after traveling to join ISIS and finding that life with the group is less glamorous than advertised, The Independent reported.

“I’ve done hardly anything but hand out clothes and food,” a French recruit wrote in a letter home obtained by Le Figaro. “I’ve also cleaned weapons and moved the bodies of killed fighters. Winter is beginning. It’s starting to get tough.”

The man interviewed by NBC may have escaped the Islamic State. But the interview was conducted in a Syrian prison where he was being held captive by Kurdish forces.

He will only be free in death, the ex-fighter told reporters.

“They burn your life, they leave nothing,” he said. “I can’t do anything now. If I go to them [ISIS], they will kill me. If I go to Turkey, they will arrest me. If I stay here, I will go to prison. I have nothing. The only escape for me is death.”

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Russia boosts its propaganda division

The Russian Defense Ministry has formalized its information-warfare efforts with a dedicated propaganda division, Russian state-run media said on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.


“Propaganda needs to be clever, smart and efficient,” said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in reference to the new unit.

Retired Russian Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, who leads the defense-affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said the unit would “protect the national defense interests and engage in information warfare.”

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
The U.S. may have the stronger military, but Russia reigns when it comes to propaganda. (Image of Vladimir Putin)

But Russia has long been accused of spreading propaganda in the West. Business Insider’s Barbara Tasch detailed one case where Russian outlets spread a false story of a Russian-born 13-year-old being raped in Germany by a group of three refugees.

In December, US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had meddled in the US election and that its interference may have been directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

Russia’s use of propaganda as an element of “hybrid warfare” proved instrumental during the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the later insurgency in Ukraine.

Russia has vastly improved their conventional and nuclear military assets as well. An Associated Press report on Wednesday said that Russia will deliver 170 new aircraft, 905 new tanks and other armored vehicles, and 17 new naval ships.

Russia’s forces in Eastern Europe now vastly outmatch NATO’s.

A NATO spokeswoman told Reuters earlier this month that “NATO has been dealing with a significant increase in Russian propaganda and disinformation since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.”

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This is why Andrew Jackson gets our vote for ‘most badass American president’

Andrew Jackson’s future as a badass started at the tender age of 13 during the Revolutionary War. He joined the Continental Army as a courier and was taken prisoner along with his brother Robert in April 1781.


Related: Here’s what America’s 6 sailor presidents did when they were in the fleet

When a British officer ordered him to spit shine his boots during captivity, Jackson refused. Not amused by the boy’s defiance, the redcoat drew his sword and slashed Jackson’s left hand and head, which left him with a permanent scar. The brothers were released from captivity after two weeks as part of a prisoner exchange, but Robert died within days due to an illness contracted during detention. Another one of Jackson’s brothers and his mother died before the war ended, leaving him with a lifelong hatred toward the Brits.

Jackson earned the nickname “Old Hickory” because he used to carry a hickory cane, which doubled as a weapon. He dished out his most famous cane beating to Richard Lawrence, who attempted to assassinate him while Jackson was serving as President. Lawrence approached Jackson with two pistols —plan A and plan B—both of which misfired. After noticing he was out of danger, Jackson proceeded to beat Lawrence to a bloody pulp.

Jackson was known for being a serial duelist; historians estimate “Old Hickory” participate in anywhere between 13 and 100 duels. (That is too many duels by any standard.) Jackson fought his most famous duel in 1806 against Charles Dickinson, who was an excellent shot. Despite knowing about Dickinson’s pistol prowess, Jackson insisted that he fire first. This American Heroes Channel video illustrates the events leading to the duel and why he gets our vote for ‘most badass American president.’

Watch:

American Heroes Channel, YouTube

Articles

Special Forces are testing the tiniest drone ever

Designed by a former toy maker, the Black Hornet UAV fits in a human palm and weighs the same as three pieces of paper. But don’t be fooled by its size. It has impressive capabilities as a reconnaissance drone, which is why Special Forces and U.S. infantry have begun testing it.


The tiny drone feeds surprisingly clear video to the pilot from as far as kilometer away and can bear different sensors including thermal cameras for night assaults. The video is stored on the small user station on the operator’s belt, so enemies lucky enough to catch the Hornet will not be able to see what video the pilot has captured.

See this amazing little drone in action in this video:

To learn more, check out this article at Defense One.

NOW: DARPA is building a drone that can tell what color shirt you’re wearing from 17,500 feet

OR: The 9 weirdest projects DARPA is working on

Intel

DARPA’s new drones show that robots are winning their war against us

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: DARPA


Man is not required.

While most drones require an operator to control them, the ones in DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program fly themselves. Although not perfect in its current phase, the program’s first flight test exceeded expectations.

Related: 5 jobs future recruits will enlist to get

“We’re excited that we were able to validate the airspeed goal during this first-flight data collection,” said Mark Micire, DARPA program manager. “The fact that some teams also demonstrated basic autonomous flight ahead of schedule was an added bonus. The challenge for the teams now is to advance the algorithms and onboard computational efficiency to extend the UAV’s perception range and compensate for the vehicle’s’ mass to make extremely tight turns and abrupt maneuvers at high speeds.”

Advancing algorithms and extending perception range. That’s what we thought.

Now watch this video of DARPA’s first test flight:

Intel

Army vet uses Tumblr to show civilians the realities of war

After touring Iraq, Army vet Casey Tylek created a Tumblr blog that helps veterans during the transition to civilian life.


Tylek told Buzzfeed he was inspired to begin the page, called justWarthings, after feeling disconnected from his peers at University of Masssachusettes, Amherst because of his military experience.

justWarthings is modeled after the viral internet page justgirlythings, another Tumblr blog that uses stock photos and overlay text to communicate themes that are supposedly universal to teenage girls.

Tylek juxtaposes these images with photos of servicemen and women serving overseas, and the results are sometimes hilarious, but more often sobering.

Here are some images from justWarthings that were featured in a YouTube video from servicegirl94:

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: YouTube

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: YouTube

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: YouTube

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: YouTube

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: YouTube

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: YouTube

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: YouTube

For more of Tylek’s work, check out justWarthings

For the YouTube video, check out Soldier’s Tribute

NOW:  William Shatner is traveling the US on a crazy-looking motorcycle to promote vets

OR: Brad Pitt is starring as Gen. Stanley McChrystal in ‘War Machine’

Intel

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days


Texas City plumber Mark Oberholtzer has been bombarded with calls, some hostile, since a truck he traded in at AutoNation was shown being used as a gun platform in Syria, according to a Galveston Daily News report.

Oberholtzer said he traded in the truck to an AutoNation dealership three years ago. He usually takes the decals off his vehicles when he sells them but he left it on this truck with the expectation that AutoNation would remove it.

“They were supposed to have done it and it looks like they didn’t do it,” Oberholtzer told the Galveston newspaper. “How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know.”

Read the rest of the story here.

NOW: The Most Famous Photograph Of World War II Was Taken 70 Years Ago

OR: Here Is The Army’s Secret File On The Leader Of ISIS

Intel

Ronda Rousey plans to attend Marine Corps ball for more than 34 seconds

Lance Cpl. Jarrod Haschert asked Ronda Rousey to this year’s Marine Corps Ball in a video that went viral over the past few weeks.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6H696ZbkXA

Apparently Rousey knew about the invitation but couldn’t accept because training for her fight with Holly Holm conflicted with the event. When the fight was moved to November, she decided to go to the ball but didn’t know how to to contact Haschert.

“Do I call him?” she said in an acceptance video that went viral as well. “Or do I set up a time and place like “Never Been Kissed” and wait until the clock runs out and be like ‘I’m here!'”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWgFpLGriqY

She also said the Marine would have to be on his best behavior and would have to find dates for all her single friends.

“He needs to find dates for my girls,” she said, “and we’ll all go.”

Rousey is undefeated in the UFC with 12 wins. Her last three fights all lasted 34 seconds or less.

NOW: Watch UFC fighters get stomped by Marine Corps martial arts experts

Intel

11 things you didn’t know about North Korea

You’ve probably heard of North Korea, but there are probably a few things about the totalitarian nation you didn’t know.


Despite having its borders closed to prevent its people from leaving and outsiders from coming in, there is actually a great deal known about the country. The U.S. and South Korea have gathered intelligence about the hermit state since the 1950s from defectors, undercover reporters, activists, and many other ways.

The country has made it illegal to watch “The Interview” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, possessing Bibles, watching South Korean movies, and distributing pornography, which are all punishable by death. Yet, smoking weed is no big deal.

This video shows these and other crazy facts about the infamous country:

NOW: The 9 most ridiculous North Korean propaganda claims

OR: North Korea now has a nuclear-capable missile that can hit the US

Articles

Incredible photos of US Marines learning how to survive in the jungle during one of Asia’s biggest military exercises

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
A US Marine biting into a freshly skinned king cobra as part of a survival exercise during Cobra Gold 2006. (Photo: slagheap/Flickr)


The US-led annual multinational military exercise Cobra Gold kicked off in Thailand on Monday, despite a faltering relationship between the two countries following Thailand’s military coup in May 2014.

Cobra Gold 2015 is scaled down due compared to past years because of the frosty relations between Thailand’s ruling military junta and the US. But it’s still a massive military exercise even in a reduced form. This year 13,000 personnel from 7 participating nations have joined in the exercises, the AP reports.

The participant countries are Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Malaysia, while India and China are taking part in humanitarian training missions. Even though the exercise is smaller than in the past, the scope of Cobra Gold has grown since the first one was held in 1982 and involved only the US and Thailand.

Exercises in Cobra Gold 2015 include jungle survival training and civic assistance programs in underdeveloped regions of Thailand.

Survival training is a big part of Cobra Gold. Thai Marines demonstrate how to capture a cobra in the wild.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Cpl. Isaac Ibarra/USMC

US Marines then help decapitate the cobra and take turns drinking its blood. Cobra blood is surprisingly hydrating and can be used as a temporary replacement for water if a Marine is lost without supplies.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Cpl. ISaac Ibarra/USMC

Thai Marines also teach their counterparts how to recognize edible jungle fruits.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Cpl. Isaac Ibarra/USMC

Like cobra blood, several of the fruits can serve as an improvised source of hydration.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Cpl. Isaac Ibarra/USMC

Marines are also instructed in the proper way to eat scorpions and spiders. Spiders are eaten after their fangs are ripped off, while scorpions are edible once the stinger is removed.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Cpl. Isaac Ibarra/USMC

Aside from survival lessons, participant countries also take part in construction projects to build greater regional cooperation in the event of disasters like typhoons or plane crashes. Here, Chinese and US soldiers work together to build a school as part of Cobra Gold 2015.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Cpl. James Marchetti/US Pacific Command

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

Here’s why it’s a bad idea to snipe at the US Army

A Taliban sniper team thought it would be a good idea to snipe some American soldiers, little did they know what they’d be facing in retaliation. America’s military doesn’t respond with just a little firepower, it responds with jets and bombs.


In this Hornet’s Nest clip on the American Heroes Channel, a father-son journalism team embedded with the 101st Airborne captured footage of the unit pinned down by Taliban snipers. The snipers come dangerously close to killing some of the soldiers. At first, the soldiers respond with machine gun fire, which managed to injure one of the insurgents but nothing too serious. “They’re reporting that everything is okay,” said the translator listening to the enemy radio chatter. “Good, it’s not going to be okay,” said Lt. Col. Joel Vowell in the video below.

The soldiers were using the shots to lock in the enemy’s position. Air support is called in and BOOM! Game over terrorists.

The military’s embedded program give journalists and filmmakers access to wars like never before, so it’s no surprise that the latest conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been some of the best documented in history. Here’s the footage:

Intel

US general says NORAD responded to more Russian military flights near Alaska last year than any year since the Cold War

  • Last year, the US saw more Russian military flights near Alaska than any year since the Cold War.
  • Gen. VanHerck said the flights show “Russia’s military reach and how they rehearse potential strikes.”
  • He characterized Russia as the “most acute challenge to our homeland defense mission.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The military command responsible for defending the the US and Canada from attack responded to more Russian military flights near Alaska last year than any year since the end of the Cold War, the four-star general leading the command said Tuesday.

US Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), told the Senate Armed Services Committee in written testimony that “Russia continues to conduct frequent military operations in the approaches to North America.”

“Last year,” the general told lawmakers Tuesday, “NORAD responded to more Russian military flights off the coast of Alaska than we’ve seen in any year since the end of the Cold War.” These flights involved heavy bombers, anti-submarine aircraft, and intelligence assets.

VanHerck said that the Russian military flights near Alaska “show both Russia’s military reach and how they rehearse potential strikes on our homeland.”

The Russian military aircraft, which include Tu-160 and Tu-95 long-range bombers, Tu-142 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft, and A-50 early warning and control planes that are regularly accompanied by Su-35 fighters, are typically intercepted by US Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to NORAD whenever they fly into the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone.

No Russian military aircraft has at any point breached US or Canadian airspace, which extends out to 12 nautical miles from the US coastline.

Russian long-range air patrols were fairly common during the Cold War but became less frequent in the aftermath. In recent years, these flights have again become frequent occurrences.

The US military also conducts bomber flights near Russia, which have prompted the Russian military to scramble interceptor aircraft in response.

In addition to frequent military flights near Alaska, the Russian Navy also conducted exercises focused on maritime approaches in the Arctic and Pacific. The drills also involved anti-submarine patrols and anti-ship cruise missile launches in the US exclusive economic zone, an area that extends out 200 miles from a country’s coastline.

In his written testimony, VanHerck asserted that “Russia presents a persistent, proximate threat to the United States and Canada and remains the most acute challenge to our homeland defense mission.”

VanHerck argued that Russian leaders “seek to erode our influence, assert their regional dominance, and reclaim their status as a global power through a whole-of-government strategy that includes information operations, deception, economic coercion, and the threat of military force.”

The general said that should the US wind up in conflict with Russia, “we should expect Russia to employ its broad range of advanced capabilities—nonkinetic, conventional, and nuclear—to threaten our critical infrastructure in an attempt to limit our ability to project forces and to attempt to compel de-escalation.”

He also called attention to Russian newer offensive capabilities such as advanced cyber and counterspace weapons, as well as hypersonic weapons.

VanHerck told the Senate Armed Services Committee in the coming years, “Russia hopes to field a series of even more advanced weapons intended to ensure its ability to deliver nuclear weapons to the United States,” pointing to the Poseidon torpedo, one of several “doomsday” weapons Russian President Vladimir Putin touted a few years ago.

The general’s comments come as the US military focuses intently on China, which Department of Defense leadership has called “the pacing challenge” for the US. The Biden administration has repeatedly made a point of identifying China as the priority challenge.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Intel

Marine Corps vet turned Star Wars villain is hilarious in this SNL sketch

Adam Driver’s star is shining bright, thanks to the blockbuster success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


Related: Meet the Marine veteran turned ‘Star Wars’ villain

If you’ve seen the flick, then you know that his character, the evil Sith Lord Kylo Ren, has a bit of a temper. Some hilariously associate his character to being emo, which is fitting given the way he spoofed himself on Saturday Night Live. As the sketch goes, Kylo Ren infiltrates Starkiller Base Undercover Boss style as a radar technician to find out what his employees think of him. It turns out that the truth hurts, and Kylo reacts in typical Kylo fashion.

Watch:

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