Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fallujah Fake ISIS Document, Part 2

Fallujah Fake ISIS Document, Redux
June 7, 2016
last edits June 10

In December I wrote a little-seen analysis of  the Falluja Fake ISIS Document, which I considered as possible "massacre pre-marketing" in Iraq. It was revealed only as Iraqi and allied forces were planning to re-take Fallujah from Daesh (Islamic State) It's dated September 25 (translated from a Hijri date) and actually publicized in mid-October, before being re-publicized, more widely-noted, and debunked, in December.  It ordered Daesh (ISIS) fighters to abandon Fallujah, but not without first committing various atrocities it would blame on the Iraqi military and allies.

I and others may have been too quick to call that a counterfeit, but now the feat has been repeated, and it feels about twice as likely to be fake. I was also inspired to finally create a page at A Closer Look On Syria to consider both of them. And now the allegations of militia abuses are coming in (see below), and the subject matters.

The first find was clear in its intent to demonize any liberating force, especially Shia forces. But in appearing fake, it spun around in most minds to do the same; the fakery implicated the "sectarian Shi'ite militias" who wanted a "carte blanche" to kill Sunnis and pretend it was ISIS framing them. But they did it with what seems to be an obvious fake.

So did they just goof-up? Or ... did someone else fake it for them, while trying to make them look stupid along the way? Reverse psychology being what it is, in fact I propose another turn is involved, and its goal was to create just that widespread interpretation. The experts might've walked into a trap, wittingly or not, and given ISIS "carte blanche" to do whatever they want and let it look like the culmination of this plot by the genocidal Shi'ite goof-ups. 

In May, 2016, as Iraqi forces and allies prepared to actually enter Fallujah, another document to the same effect was allegedly issued. Dated 9 or 10 of May (the Hijri date is hard to read - there's a 2 or 3 involved, and at too low a resolution to tell which), its commandments are about the same. Point 2 says blow up houses and mosques and blame the liberators. Point 4 says to dress as Iraqi or Shia forces and execute prisoners, and "document the killings while chanting Shiite slogans and publishing them as acts committed by the Shiite forces themselves." (Never mind that they'll also deny it, even as they seem to boast with the open videos - the public and the Ulema will probably not be confused)

The paper was reportedly discovered by the mainly Shia Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Karamah, northeast of Falluja, lightly crumpled. It was quickly published by PMU supporters to prove Daesh duplicity, as if the first find never happened. The earliest mention I've found is a May 23 tweet, 1:17 PM exposing the "smokescreen" - Another 30 minutes later heralded "an important document found by our heroes in Fallujah." A later Facebook post by Dr. Tim Anderson (accurately) describes this false-flag thinking as "the modus operandi of NATO-backed terrorist groups... What DAESH, Nusra and FSA have in common."

Signs of Forgery
Many have re-posted it with no comment, as it speaks for itself - just like the last one. But it's also seriously questioned. A Vocactiv analysis on May 24 explained the document and how its veracity is doubted by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi - the main expert cited to call the previous one fake. "He says the Iraqi military or Shiite militias likely created it," the report says, "to pin the blame for any acts of destruction and war crimes that might take place during the fight for Fallujah on ISIS" (note: they leave open that the acts might be done by either side). Tamimi is quoted as telling them “It’s similar to the fake tweeted by Col. Steve Warren in December, albeit slightly improved.” The letterhead is now correct, for one (Anbar, not Nineveh province). Here he cites only an improbable job title.

Another issue I noticed is what seems to be a directly copied "official stamp." The square blue stamp on each document is shown for comparison at right: the 2016 instance (bottom) might be rotated about 0.5 degrees either way relative to the 2015 order (top), or not at all (the crumpled paper might be giving a false perspective). 

It's not built in to the paper at that angle (of course stamps usually aren't); another document found more recently (June 6 tweet) tells Daesh fighters to flee to Raqqah. It's a bit suspicious itself, with the convenient little battle-burns, but has what seems like the same stamp done at a notably different angle from these two.

If these are the same exact angle, it would suggest someone copied the one onto the other, without even a basic rotation adjustment. It would suggest sloppy forgery, of the kind meant to be noticed. 

Furthermore, the later stamp seems blurry and low-resolution compared to more crisp lettering. Is that sloppy compression maybe, or stretching from a smaller copy? And consider the slight curve along the right in the top view; that could be part of the design, or from paper irregularities (no noticeable crumpling, however). But  the later stamp, on slightly crumpled paper, seems to mimic this anomaly, besides the rotation - all just a little bit blurrier.

Concerns In Context
True or not, it's widely believed now in most channels that these orders are fake. In the bulk of minds, it seems, this impressions raises concerns that the PMUs or allied forces are planning (or at least expecting) sectarian crimes.  Governments, media, and NGOs seem to credit the fears, urging no reprisal killings, as if it's quite likely otherwise - unconvincing presentation by State Dept. spokesman Mark Toner on June 3 tried to assure us it wasn't likely - etc., all setting the stage very well to be disgusted when and if they do surface.

major concerns about civilian safety led to a halting of operations around June 1  (EA Worldview) - as local were killed by Daesh while trying to flee or drowned crossing the river, allegedly burned themselves in suicide attempts, or like most remained face continued embargo, human shield status or worse, supposedly random shelling, and possible sectarian massacre - a lot of worry about all this has been expressed, with the effect of prolonging Daesh's control, which everyone insists is - maybe just barely - the #1 problem that does need solved. 

Past accusations of atrocities, quite possibly untrue, were trotted out to bolster the validity of concerns raised, for example, in the Vocactiv piece. Some perhaps knowing comments from that:
“Fallujah will be closed upon under the pretext of ISIS ... But it’s to kill Sunnis and exterminate them.”
“Soon on [your TV] screens: the raping of Sunni women, the killing of handicapped elders, the burning of a Sunni boy, the killing of Sunni children.”

If these predictions should come (seemingly) true ... and it seems they just now are ... let's notice the alleged implications of that. After their clever plans were exposed twice, and they apparently didn't notice - the genocidal Shia goof-ups will have committed the massacres they think they have squarely blamed on Daesh. Because of course they are both evil and stupid. 

Or will the worst effect be that the best fighters (in many minds) are kept out of the fight to avoid that risk (so far everyone agrees the PMUs will stay out)? Will it even matter? If the video shows such and such stolen uniform, etc ... they'll be "proven" to be there anyway, despite their denials...

My suggestion now to Iraqi military, the PMUs, their supporters -
1) Re-consider these documents as possibly booby-trapped disinformation - if they really seem valid, please explain why to the rest of us. If they do seem fake, use your brains to consider who and why, and explain your thoughts on that.
2) Work to address existing concerns about the likelihood of sectarian abuses (check the accusations, examine the evidence, accept any  truths and adjust, expose any falsehoods).
3) Press the fight, and obviously don't commit atrocities.
4) Prepare to document and explain any contested crimes - with or without a printed order, false-flag atrocities remain a possibility, but the masses over here would probably not see them for what they are, at least without some serious assistance.

Example Atrocities
(will be split-off into at least one post)
17 Men and Boys Executed:
First example case I've seen yet: Alongside more prevalent reports of abusive detention that most survive easily, there's the story told by "Abu Mohammed" and his nephew, to a dpa journalist -  17 men and boys of their extended family were shot dead in a field execution when they tried to surrender to conquering forces "who were wearing police uniforms but carrying the flag of a militia group." One victim was aged 10, but other children and women were reportedly spared and later released, they say.

Now, if these details are even true ... who could get a single flag but not enough proper uniforms to look like militiamen ... in police uniforms instead? Recall the implied Shia militia plan had been to pose as themselves, pretending to be ISIS posing as them, and demonize themselves on video. But they would have enough uniforms to do that trick right. Or were the uniforms a last-minute change, and they forgot to lose the flag? There's no proof they even had this flag, but it sounds compelling - they probably did fly the flag, and it was probably false.

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