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

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.”

Intel

This WWII vet says killing his enemy was the saddest memory of his life

Understanding the mental cost of taking someone’s life can be nearly impossible for those people who have never experienced it. In this StoryCorps video, Joseph Robertson, an infantryman who served during the Battle of the Bulge, tries to explain to his son-in-law the guilt he has carried since he killed a German soldier approaching his position.


StoryCorps, which works nationwide to collect oral history, has a veteran specific program, Military Voices Initiative, where veterans and service members can tell their stories.

(h/t Upworthy)

MORE: The 6 scariest vehicles of WWI and WWII

AND: 21 of the US military’s most overused clichés

Intel

Video: The incredible story of the SR-71 Blackbird in 3 minutes

No military aircraft – past or present – can beat the altitude and airspeed performance of the SR-71 Blackbird.


It’s design and performance evolved out of necessity: “We had a need to know what was going on in other countries,” Jeff Duford, a historian at the National Museum of the US Air Force, said. “And the way that we were going to do that was having a photographic aircraft that could fly very high and very fast. And much faster than the U2, which proceeded it. The SR-71 was that answer for the US Air Force and for the United States.”

Here’s the remarkable story of the SR-71 in a 3 minute mini-doc:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9hSGGEOd9Y
Intel

Watch a Navy SEAL hilariously critique a video of ISIS ‘Navy SEALs’

ISIS has elite Navy SEALs. Well, at least that’s what they want you to think.


The terror group released a five-minute propaganda video in April showing fighters coming out of the water with AK-47s at the ready and learning martial arts. Then there were the masked men sneaking up and taking out clueless guards using nothing but knives.

A few weeks ago, Independent-Journal Review decided to ask real U.S. Navy SEAL Jonathan T. Gilliam to analyze and critique the video. It turned out to be pretty funny.  We especially like how impressed he was at the “Hollywood carry your knife in the mouth tactic.”

Watch:

NOW: Here’s How US Navy SEALs Take Down A House

Intel

33 of America’s most terrifying nuclear mishaps

Since the beginning of the U.S. nuclear program, there have been 33 nuclear weapons accidents, known as “broken arrows,” according to Eric Schlosser in his book: Command and Control. A “broken arrow” is the Pentagon’s phrase for an unexpected event involving nuclear weapons that result in the accidental launching, firing, detonating, theft, or loss of the weapon.


An example of a “broken arrow” is the Goldsboro accident in which a B-52 carrying two nuclear bombs broke apart, dropping the bombs over Goldsboro, North Carolina. Or the time in 1966 when a B-52 crashed into a KC-135 Stratotanker during a refueling operation, releasing four thermonuclear bombs over Spain. It’s hard to believe, but there are 31 more times these doomsday scenarios played out.

Here is a brief, terrifying history of some of America’s nuclear mishaps:

NOW: The 7 weirdest nuclear weapons ever developed

OR: The US nuclear launch code during the Cold War was weaker than your granny’s AOL password

Intel

What doesn’t actually constitute an OPSEC violation

We live in a world more connected than ever before. Within many of our pockets is a device that can instantly share words, voice, photos, and videos with anyone else connected to the internet. That unprecedented ease of access to information has led many to accidentally share restricted, sensitive information. This is a breach of what’s known within in the military as “operations security” (OPSEC). We all know that loose lips sink ships, but despite that, it seems like lectures have been given on a near-weekly basis in the military to keep information from leaking.


As long as thought is put into what’s posted, no sensitive information is released, and what is posted won’t be used as key puzzle piece for the enemy, no one gives a sh*t.

Here’s what you can share without violating OPSEC. Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt. Take all commands from your superiors and unit’s intelligence analysts. They will always have the final say.

1. Group photos (as long as nothing sensitive is shown)

If you’re deployed to Afghanistan and you want to get a picture to remember the good times, go for it! Post it on Facebook and tag all of your bros so you can reminisce down the road.

Make sure it isn’t taken in a classified location, inside the Ops center, or anywhere else with sensitive information around. Make sure that nothing is shown that hasn’t yet been made public knowledge.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
I mean, unless you don’t want the enemy to know where your most convenient smoke pit is… (Photo by OF-2 Kay Nissen)

2. General information about yourself

Chances are high that you’re not doing Maverick-level work, so there’s no need to use the “If I told you, I’d have to kill you” line at the bar. If you’re a regular Joe in the formation, it’s not a secret that you’re just rearranging connexes in between the occasional patrol mission.

For the large majority of Uncle Sam’s warfighters, the only real bit of sensitive information about an individual is a social security number — but letting that slip is more of a personal security risk than a national one.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Being in the military is already badass enough. You don’t need to inflate your ego to impress someone who’s already interested. (Photo by Spc. Ryan DeBooy)

3. General locations (if it’s public knowledge troops are there)

Obviously, you should never post GPS coordinates along with times of your movements. But if someone asks where you are, you can totally reply with, “I don’t know, some sh*thole in the middle of nowhere.” People don’t really need to know, care, or sometimes understand where you’re at.

Plus, we’ve had troops in Afghanistan for almost seventeen years, so they can probably find the country on a globe, and that’s about it.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
This is basically how they all see the Middle East anyway. (Photo by Chief Master-at-Arms Tony Guyette)

4. Mailing address (after a certain time)

If you’re out on deployment and someone back home is worried sick about you, it’s completely fine to say where you’re at after the unit allows you to post it.

Deployed mailing addresses are very distinct. The street code is usually the unit, the city and state is “APO, AE,” and the ZIP code starts with a zero. This format is the same for troops in-country, stationed overseas, and at sea. There isn’t much personal information that can be deciphered from a mailing address that can’t be found in hundreds of other ways. “Private Smith is with this unit and isn’t in America” isn’t a shocking discovery.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
How else are you going to get cookies from your worried mother?

5. Anything already published

“I don’t know how to break this to you guys — and it’s super serious — troops have supplies somewhere in the Middle East!” See how dumb that sounds? Everyone already knows that.

Posting stuff on social media that’s already published doesn’t breach OPSEC. Why would a terrorist go through the effort to find something on your profile they can get from a quick Google search?

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
If the official U.S. Army Facebook page posts something about how it has stuff all around the world in locations that troops are commonly stationed, they probably know what they’re doing. (Image via U.S. Army Facebook)

Intel

This Remarkable Video Shows What It’s Like For Medevac Crews To Rescue Troops Under Fire

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Summer M. Anderson/ US Navy


After watching this video from The New York Times, it’s easy to see why Medevac crews have one of the most intense jobs in the military.

Also Read: Here’s What An Army Medic Does In The Critical Minutes After A Soldier Is Wounded

Medevac crews have the dangerous job of flying into gunfights in unarmed helicopters to provide medical care to wounded troops. It’s a race against time, and it’s nothing short of astonishing.

The video starts with a crew racing across Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley in a Black Hawk helicopter in response to wounded Marine. The terrain makes it difficult to spot ground forces, so they bank and turn to avoid the ground fire, that may, or may not be there.

Green smoke signals the helicopter, which also serves as the chosen landing spot by the Marines huddled just a few yards away. The helicopter doesn’t just land, however; it circles around the troops to assess the danger. Once it finally lands, the Marines rush the wounded corporal to the Black Hawk for evacuation while others stand watch.

Even with a circling pass around the Marines, the medevac crew in the helicopter drew fire from three sides. Watch how the rescue unfolds in this short three-minute video:

H/T: Funker 350

Intel

Why military dolphins are more hardcore than you’d think

Troops have long used animals in warfare. Horses to carry them into battle, pigeons to send messages, and dogs to do all sorts of things a good boy does. The Animal Kingdom’s second smartest species is no exception when it comes to fighting in our wars.


The military dolphin program began in 1960 when the U.S. Navy was looking for an easier method of detecting underwater mines. Their solution was to use the animals that play around the mines without problem: the bottlenose dolphin and the California sea lion.

Dolphins are naturally very brilliant animals with an advanced memory and strong deductive reasoning skills. Their ability to understand that performing certain tasks meant getting fishy treats allowed the U.S. Navy to make excellent use of their biosonar. Every mine they locate, they get a treat. Sea lions are just easy to train and have good underwater vision. According to the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, there are roughly 75 dolphins and 50 sea lions in the Navy Marine Mammal Program.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
The dolphins get much more love because, well, they’re more useful to the Navy.
(Photo by Alan Antczak)

Military dolphins have many unique abilities to offer the Navy if trained properly. Outside of mine detection, they make excellent underwater guards. Dolphins can be trained to distinguish friendly ships from foes and, when a threat is detected, will press an alert button on allied posts.

With further training, dolphins can actually place mines on the bottom of ships or physically attack enemy divers.

Since the program began, dolphins have been used in every conflict alongside the Navy. In Vietnam, they were used to guard an ammunition pier. In the Tanker War, the US protected Kuwaiti oil exports by deploying dolphins to guard Third Fleet ships.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
It’s like being at SeaWorld. But instead of jumping through hoops, the dolphins will beat the hell out of you or attach a bomb to your boat.
(U.S. Navy Photo)

Unfortunately, this hasn’t come without harm to our porpoise partners. They’re naturally playful animals and changing a normally cheerful animal into a beast of war, even if just for training, ruins the dolphin’s chance at a normal life. They aren’t meant for domestication and the added stress greatly reduces their life expectancy.

The U.S. Navy isn’t the only nation to use military dolphins. Russia, Ukraine, and possibly Iran do as well and, sadly, their marine mammals aren’t treated anywhere near as well. A scathing statement from Kiev about the Ukrainian dolphins that were taken by Russia after the annexation of Crimea supposedly applauded the deaths of the starved dolphins. To them, the dolphins were “so patriotic” that they would sooner die than follow Russian commands.

Intel

The Military’s Next Big Recruiting Ground May Be Virtual

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Photo: Sergey Galyonkin/ Flickr


Video gamers are more prepared for military service than people the same age were in previous generations.

“We don’t need Top Gun pilots anymore, we need Revenge of the Nerds,” said Missy Cummings, former US Navy pilot, Assoc. Prof. of Aeronautics, MIT in Drone Wars: The Gamers Recruited To Kill, a documentary film about gamers and drone operators.

Also Read: A Drunken Intel Employee Crashed A Drone Into The White House Lawn

With the development of drones and other technologies, it’s easy to understand why she makes that statement. The Navy has even fashioned some of their controllers after popular gaming consoles, such as the X-Box and Playstation, making it a comfortable transition from make-believe entertainment to high stakes shoot em’ up.

Video games have been used by the military to win the minds of young people since 2002 with America’s Army, a first person shooter created and run by the Army. Gamers who play similar first-person shooters get immersed in stories that require teamwork and battlefield knowledge to succeed while having fun.

“Whilst nobody who’s ever played Call of Duty or Battlefield expects to recover from a real-life assault rifle round to the chest by crouching momentarily behind a wall, huge numbers of young people are developing an in-depth knowledge of military hardware, vocabulary and basic technique,” reports Dan Pearson for Games Industry.

The game is so popular that from 2002 to 2008 it was one of the top 10 computer games in the world, reported Corey Mead in a 2013 article for Time magazine. For recruiters, the game is a tool for connecting with people familiar with Army basics, so hosting and attending tournaments is a no-brainer. However, the military is reaching beyond America’s Army. In the video below, you can see military officials attending gaming trade shows searching for the next drone operators.

Here’s a clip from The Guardian taken from Drone by Flimmer Film:

NOW: How Well Do You Know The Predator? Take the quiz

AND: A Drunken Intel Employee Crashed A Drone Into The White House Lawn

Intel

Listen to a Green Beret tell the story of his Medal Of Honor

We’ve written about Master Sgt. Raul “Roy” P. Benavidez’s before, but hearing him recount the events that earned him the Medal Of Honor before a class of Army officers is incredibly moving.


Also read: This Green Beret’s heroism was so incredible that Ronald Reagan said it was hard to believe

He joined the military to escape a bad situation, and the rest is like something out of a Hollywood script. Benavidez walked into certain death when he volunteered to assist with the emergency extraction of a 12-man special forces team caught under extreme fire behind enemy lines.

Benavidez would serve 13 years before receiving the Medal Of Honor. When asked if he’d do it again, he said, “There would never be enough paper to print the money nor enough gold in Fort Knox for me to have, to keep me from doing what I did.”

Watch: 

Intel

This video shows the awesomeness of the US Navy’s submarine force

In case you missed it, the U.S. Navy published a moto video about its submarine force called “The Silent Service.” It gives remarkable details — which are likely inaccurate — about the number of troops, types of submarines, and weapons on board.


The promotional video opens with an inspiring quote by Admiral Nimitz:

It is to the everlasting honor and glory of our submarine personnel that they never failed us in our days of peril.

It dives into the capabilities. (See what we did there?)

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

The types of missions . . .

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

The types of missiles . . .

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

And, of course, no submarine video is complete without the money surfacing shot . . .

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

Now watch the full video:

Intel

Here is what you need to know about Cold War part 2

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker, 4th IBCT, 3rd ID


The Cold War ended in 1991, taking the threat of global nuclear annihilation with it. For over 45 years, America and Russia endured a stalemate that spawned the arms race, the space race, land grabs, proxy wars around the globe and more.

But like a bad eighties movie remade for today’s audience, the same elements that shaped the first one are defining the Cold War part two. So far it’s the same plot. For starters, there’s the Russian land grab of Crimea, the forces placed near the Russian border and the proxy war shaping up in Syria.

In Cold War 2.0, VICE does an incredible job making sense of the events leading up to this undeclared conflict. VICE founder Shane Smith meets with Kremlin officials and American leaders, including President Obama, to figure out what’s driving the new standoff.

You can view Cold War 2.0 in its entirety on VICE.com or YouTube. Here is a quick four-minute debrief about the report.

Watch:

Intel

The British Army is forming a new Ranger Regiment

The name Ranger commands respect in the military community. Synonymous with top-tier units like the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, the Philippine Scout Rangers, and the Nepalese Mahabir Rangers, they are elite warfighters in the military community. The U.S. Army’s Rangers trace their history back to Francis Marion, the legendary Swamp Fox who employed guerilla tactics and maneuver warfare against the British during the American Revolution. The British Army, who also fielded a Ranger unit during the Revolution, are forming a new Ranger Regiment for the 21st century.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
A soldier from 4 RIFLES advises Iraqi forces (MOD)

In early 2021, the UK Ministry of Defence announced the formation of a new special operations brigade, the core of which will be the Ranger Regiment. Comprised of four battalions, the regiment will be a proactive rather than a reactive force. “The best way to prevent conflict and deter our adversaries is to work alongside partners to strengthen their security and resilience,” said Defence Minister Ben Wallace. “These Ranger battalions will be at the vanguard at a more active and engaged armed forces.”

Over the next four years, £120 million will be invested into the formation of the new brigade, with the Rangers receiving a portion of the funds. The thousand-strong regiment is scheduled to be established in August 2021 and hopes to deploy by early 2022. To build its ranks, the Ranger application is open to all members of the British Armed Forces. However, the regiment will begin an exclusively infantry unit. Four specialized infantry battalions, 1 SCOTS, 2PWRR, 2 LANCS, and 4 RIFLES have been selected to seed the regiment. They will form the nucleus of what will eventually become an “all-arms, all-Army” unit.

This former ISIS fighter from New York explains why he quit after only 3 days
Mortarmen of 2 PWRR conduct a live fire (MOD)

As global threats evolve, so too must the warfighters that meet them. Basic infantry skills will be vital to any prospective regiment applicant. However, Rangers will have to adapt to the complexities of the modern battlefield, “Matching brainpower with firepower, data and software with hardware,” said Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith.

The new Ranger Regiment will be routinely deployed around the globe, supporting allied nations in defense and security operations. “They will be able to operate in complex, high-threat environments, taking on some tasks traditionally done by Special Forces,” the Defence Command Paper said. “This work will involve deterring adversaries and contributing to collective deterrence by training, advising and, if necessary, accompanying partners.” So far, Mozambique and Somalia have been announced as two countries under consideration for the Rangers’ first deployment.

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