News Release

The Rise of ISIS: War and Torture


In 1998, Denis Halliday, who had just resigned as assistant secretary general of the United Nations and the head of the UN “oil-for-food” program in Iraq, warned that the long-term U.S. policies of bombings and sanctions threatened the rise of a “Taliban-type” movement — in effect foreseeing the rise of ISIS even before the 2003 invasion.

Said Halliday: “Whatever happens now, I would underline the importance of responding to the younger generation of leadership in Iraq. Let’s avoid the possibility of a Taliban-type of movement emerging in the country, brought on by the isolation and anger and alienation that sanctions and now military strikes are breeding. Let us also avoid the development of political Islamic fundamentalism which has and is hurting global relations of other countries in the region. My Iraqi contacts say both developments will not occur in Iraq, as it is too sophisticated and remains firmly secular. Let’s hope they are right, but let’s not take the risk any longer.” See video and transcript.

KATHY KELLY, kathy at, @voiceinwild
Co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence who went on 70 delegations to Iraq, was often briefed by Halliday when he was with the UN. She just wrote the piece “Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib and the Rise of Extremism in Iraq.”

Kelly noted: “In 2004, Al-Baghdadi had been captured by U.S. forces and, for ten months, imprisoned in both Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca.

“I visited Camp Bucca in January, 2004 when, still under construction, the camp was a network of tents, south of Basra, in an isolated, miserable area of Iraq.

“Before our three-person Voices delegation entered Iraq, that month, we waited for visas in Amman, Jordan. While there, two young Palestinian men visited us and described their experiences during six months of imprisonment in Camp Bucca. Recalling the horrible experience, they remembered how fearful they felt, sleeping in sand infested with desert scorpions; they were paraded naked, for showers, in front of U.S. military women and told to bark like a dog or say ‘I love George Bush’ before their empty bowls would be filled with food.”

Kelly also recently wrote the piece”Trident is the Crime” about the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 who were “railroaded” into a guilty verdict on Thursday. They “symbolically destroyed” nuclear weapons and now face the possibility of 20 years in prison.

Also, see from the Electronic Intifada: “The questions al-Qaida’s rebranded Syria affiliate won’t answer.”

Regarding the veracity of the government’s account of what happened, see news release from 2019: “Postol: Newly Revealed Documents Show Syrian Chemical ‘Attacks Were Staged.’” Also see 2011: “Bin Laden’s Assassination: A Volcano of Lies” by Alexander Cockburn. See also from investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in The London Review of Books, the 2015 piece “The Killing of Osama bin Laden.”