UD’s Buddy Peter Says What UD’s Been Saying for Some Time on This Blog: Separate ISIS children from their mothers, and give them a chance at life, while decreasing the risk to the rest of us.

In yesterday’s New York Times:

The Kurdish authorities, with the blessing and financial support of the United States and its coalition partners, should remove the children from the prison camps. That’s the only way to give them a better shot at life and eventually making it back home.

This might sound harsh — removing children from their mothers, who would ostensibly not have a say in the decision. Some argue it’s a violation of rights. But the status quo — leaving them in miserable conditions to grow up radicalized — is worse for the children and the rest of us…

While some countries, as mentioned, have taken in women and children, most of these mothers are doomed, unlikely ever to be repatriated. The children need not share their fate — most are still too young to have been indoctrinated…

Forced separation in some cases “layers trauma on top of acute trauma,” according to the United Nations. While a few mothers may welcome the idea of their children having the opportunity to live a life outside of prison, most would undoubtedly resist losing them.

And this would certainly be cruel and painful for the children. But I believe it is even more cruel to condemn a child to a life in prison because a parent made the decision to go to Syria to join a terrorist organization…

This is not an argument I make lightly. There are sure to be objections from human rights and humanitarian organizations who condemn separations as harmful and insist that the solution is for governments to repatriate all their citizens — but we know that this largely will not happen.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will — unless separation is deemed to be in the best interest of the child.

It’s clearly not in any child’s best interest to be surrounded by terrorist ideology or face a lifetime in prison, having committed no crime.


I’m as corny as ISIS in August!

Nice as a bomb on the Fourth of July!

No more a smart little girl with no heart,
I am on a mass-murdering high!

I am in an atrocity dither,
With an atrocity star in my eye.
And you will note there’s a lump in my throat
When I think of that wonderful guy!

I’m as tight and as packed as a suicide belt

A bloodbath just for you.

I’m fanatic and fucked as a loon

And real soon a grenade’s coming due!

I’m as corny as ISIS in August,
Nice as a bomb on the Fourth of July.
If you’ll excuse an expression I use,
I’m in love, I’m in love,
I’m in love, I’m in love,
I’m in love with a wonderful guy!

Wyoming, with America’s highest suicide rate, almost never mentions guns in its coverage of this crisis.

Here’s a typical article, and believe me UD has read many of them. Not a word about taking guns away from troubled friends and relatives, or at least securing them more responsibly, or something… State by state, suicide rates track closely with gun ownership, and Wyoming also leads the nation (at the moment it trails Montana – also Suicide Central – by a bit) in gun ownership… So you’d think experts and commentators there would have what to say about all those instant death appliances lying around the house, beckoning…

But the state of Wyoming seems to consider it rude to mention that guns in that state are FAR more about suicide than self-protection or homicide. Just bad form.

Update on my friend Peter’s activities in the ISIS camps.

See this post for background.

And note that I’ve gotten new information since the first draft of this post, which I’ve incorporated into it.


Peter Galbraith, long a champion of the Kurds, has been able to use those connections to free (so far; his activities are ongoing) 47 women and children out of Kurdish-controlled Syria. This is substantially more than what most Western governments have been able to do. And thousands of those governments’ citizens— most of them children— still languish in Kurdish-run prison camps.

Most recently, Peter brought out a Canadian woman who had rejected the Islamic State and cooperated with US law enforcement. In March, he freed the woman’s four year old daughter from Roj prison camp in Northeast Syria. The child now lives with her aunt in Canada and will soon reunite with her mother. In November 2019, Peter brought out a German woman, her three children, and an American orphan. This woman too rejected the Islamic State and now studies at a university in Germany.

Peter has reunited fourteen Yazidi women with their twenty children. ISIS abducted these women—teenagers at the time—in 2014 and sold them to ISIS fighters as slaves. When ISIS fell in 2019, the children born of the rapes were forcibly taken from their mothers and placed in an orphanage in Syria. No one— not the UN, not the local governments, not NGOs—was willing or able to help these women. Peter got the children, signed for them at the Syria/Iraq border, and delivered them to their mothers. He brought out two more mothers (with four children) who, because they refused to give up their children, had been kept under de facto house arrest in Syria.

Peter rescued a three year old boy from a German woman who was abusing the child. The child was not the German’s but the child of her husband’s Yazidi slave.

The Canadian woman whom Peter was able to bring out provided a huge amount of valuable information to US law enforcement that will support the prosecution of US citizens (or persons in US custody), and assist in the recovery of kidnapped American children.

I wasn’t sure, in my last post, whether Canada would take this woman back, but it probably will. It has said that it will provide consular services – including repatriation – to any citizen who reaches an embassy, and Peter has apparently arranged for her to be in contact with the Canadian Embassy office in Erbil . The Syrian Kurds have investigated her and found no evidence of crimes or of her committing terrorist acts. 


Peter has also weighed in on Shamima Begum, with whom he has met and talked, and about whom I’ve had what to say on this blog. “I’ve talked to Shamima – she is part of the group of women who have absolutely rejected the Islamic State – I know enough about her to feel quite confident that she’s not a dangerous person.” In this, Peter is at odds with the British intelligence services, who have called for her repatriation to be blocked because they believe she indeed does continue to pose a threat to their country. It’s possible Peter has better sources than the Brits.


University Diaries readers got there before Globe and Mail readers.

“Why she chose to leave [Australia for the ISIS caliphate]… is unclear.”

Yet again we get the infantilized woman, the woman incapable of ideological clarity and conviction. We can never know why Suhayra Aden left Australia for the ISIS caliphate! A moral idiot, like all women, Aden must have been victimized by some clever man who talked her into boiling away in the stinking desert so as to be treated as sexual chattel by one ISIS fighter after another.

Now the men… ah, the men grasp the content of fanatic Islamism, and they like it, see? So we can hold them accountable. “It’s unclear what role, if any, Aden may have had in ISIS.” Not only was she just really confused as to where she was and why, she probably didn’t … do anything. But what can this mean? Lived in the caliphate for years doing… nothing. Nothing to promote a terrorist state. Nothing besides hanging around being an idiot.

If you want to know why no state – even places like New Zealand, which pride themselves on being humane and progressive – wants this woman, you have to understand that while some observers seem to believe she’s harmless solely because she’s a woman, actual politicians tasked with protecting actual people have eyes in their head. The same group of fanatics she hung out with in Australia are still there in the home country, ready to take her back into the fold. You think she’s an idiot, but Australian security services will need to spend years, money, and plenty of personnel tracking her once she returns.

Put her on trial in Australia, you say? She could have murdered ten people; the chaos that was ISIS and the burqa as fashion choice makes it almost impossible to find documentation and witnesses.

No, UD does not think this woman and her children should stay in the desert. Authorities should first try to convince Aden that the children’s best interests are served by sending them to family in Australia, if family willing to take them exists.


Australia and New Zealand are locked in a nasty battle over which country has to take this woman in; both have dug in their heels. As Jacinda Arden notes, Australia has the greater claim:

“It is wrong that New Zealand should shoulder the responsibility for a situation involving a woman who has not lived in New Zealand since she was 6, has resided in Australia since that time, has her family in Australia and left for Syria from Australia on her Australian passport.”

But Australia has revoked her citizenship.

Constant readers know UD‘s suggestion. With money from sympathizers, Aden can try buying citizenship in any number of countries. Some will reject her; but if they agree with those who believe that because she’s a woman she’s harmless, others will take her. Her children can visit her there. Not the worst outcome for her.


But I swear to God I committed actual atrocities!

‘With Falwell’s ouster, one of the most influential evangelical institutions in the country is facing an identity crisis: There’s never been a time when Liberty wasn’t led by a Falwell.’

UD proposes as his replacement King Juan Carlos.

Update on the ISIS-generated collapse of the Norwegian government.

I guess ISIS – what’s left of it – can claim this as a major victory. The seasoned terrorist Norway now harbors – a person who refused to give medical authorities her dying child until she brokered a deal to get her own ass out of al-Hol camp – is so dangerous and degenerate and expensive and awful that Norway’s crucial governing partners pulled out of that country’s coalition in protest against the decision to let her in, and the government has collapsed.

Don’t hold your breath for the in-solidarity-with-this-poor-mother march through the streets of Oslo.

So, let’s review.

Point One: All women in al-Hol camp are, like this woman, innocent.

She continues to claim she’s innocent of the terrorism charges against her, while setting off the threat of a government crisis that was more real than ever Monday morning…

The 29-year-old woman at the center of the conflict, meanwhile, continues to claim that she had nothing to do with actual terrorist activities over the past several years. Newspaper Aftenposten has reported that she’s charged with traveling to the Middle East in 2013 and being involved first with the Al-Qaida-linked terror group Jabhat al-Nusra and later the Islamic State (IS).

She has told Aftenposten, however, that she merely was looking for a way to avoid being forced by her family in Oslo to marry a Pakistani cousin. She was born in Pakistan…

Born in Pakistan. Is she a citizen of Pakistan? Can she apply for Pakistani citizenship? And how plausible that in order to avoid a forced marriage she decided her best move was to join a terrorist organization that matched her with serial sperm depositors! For seven years. The women in al-Hol are the last holdouts of ISIS – she fought to the bitter end.

Point Two: ‘[H]er defense attorney has argued that it will be difficult to prove any actual terrorist activity.’ Uh, yeah. Why do you think countries don’t want terrorists back? I mean, aside from the obvious, which is that they’re terrorists. Because it will be difficult to prove any actual terrorist activity. I mean, haha, define your terms! One man’s ISIS fanatic is another man’s Aunt Bee! Plus listen – turns out things get pretty chaotic in seventh-century cults/war zones… Turns out people don’t keep records! I mean, maybe this woman kept a diary, like Earnest’s Gwendolyn, to have something sensational to read in the train! Today I whipped my Yazidi slave until she bled. The weather still continues charming. Let’s check it out during her custody hearing!

Point Three: ‘Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide reported that claims would be lodged against the woman to pay for her own travel expenses back to Norway.’ Travel expenses, security expenses, medical expenses, housing expenses, child care, court costs – we’re right on it! Her work as the camp IT specialist earned her massive bucks, some of which will go toward a villa in Palo Alto, but a portion of which will come right to us, the government of Norway. Don’t worry that your tax dollars are paying for your country to fly back, surveil, and house a Pakistani-born, veteran ISIS fanatic.

‘I approached a small, thin woman, hunched under her all-encompassing black robe. … [S]he was nineteen years old… When she was thirteen, she said, ISIS fighters arrived in her village near Aleppo and took her with them when they moved on. Since then, she had been married four times to foreigners and twice to Syrian fighters—six husbands in as many years. Each time a husband was “martyred”—meaning killed in battle—she was passed on to another. “How do you feel about that?” I asked. “It was fine because I was following the word of the Prophet,” she replied, speaking as if by rote. She showed no emotion. “All of this is for the glory of God.” Haj Omar told me that she had been unable to have children, that she felt weak all the time and suffered persistent vaginal bleeding. I asked why she thought that might be. “I was injured in the womb by bombing,” she said. In her eyes, all the ills that befell her were caused by the Americans, who had not only pursued her and her husbands from place to place with their aerial attacks but also sponsored the mainly Kurdish forces that fought ISIS on the ground. To me, it seemed more likely that being handed on from one man to the next from such a young age was the cause of her gynecological problems, but this did not appear to have occurred to her.’

Snapshots from the Caliphate.

“Crucially, because Muthana’s 18-month-old son was born outside the US and the father was a Tunisian ISIS fighter, the question of whether Muthana is a US citizen determines her son’s citizenship, too.”

This Vox piece is the best summary of Hoda Muthana’s situation I’ve seen; it predates a judge’s recent ruling that she is not in fact an American citizen. Certainly the details in my headline suggest that, along with requesting Yemeni citizenship (her father was born in Yemen), Muthana could approach Tunisia on behalf of herself and her son.

Furthermore, ISIS remains wealthy; it is certainly in a position to give Muthana and her son money to buy citizenship in any number of countries that trade citizenship for hard cash. She might ask private wealthy sympathizers (from the Gulf states?) to give her money; or a Go Fund Me page might be set up by family and friends for this purpose.

The only full-throated defense of welcoming Muthana back to the States that I’ve seen is Noah Feldman’s sober warning that revoking her citizenship will “set a terrible precedent for others whom the government might try to strip of their citizenship in the future.”

To which ol’ UD says: Well, there’s precedent and there’s precedent. How often, in fact, has the US government revoked a person’s citizenship? My sense is that it happens exceedingly rarely. And why? Because it’s exceedingly rare that a US citizen voluntarily leaves the country to become a terrorist in an organization at war with the US, an organization that carries out mass murder all over the world, and in its own territory tortures, takes slaves, and publicly beheads. As her first act abroad, Muthana filmed herself burning to ashes her despised passport; and as her second act she broadcast international propaganda calling for the extermination of Americans. This series of acts Feldman characterizes as “offending public sentiment.”

The next time a U.S. citizen abroad offends public sentiment, you can expect the government to start looking for ways to pull his or her citizenship. That prospect is worrying to say the least.

Yes, the next time some old hippie in France burns the American flag you can expect… Really? Muthana did much more than hurt our feelings; she tried to fucking kill us. UD‘s beloved Christopher Hitchens said it best: My enemies are the theocratic fascists… I want to destroy them. In the case of Hoda Muthana we want to keep her out of our country rather than destroy her.

Feldman points out that this desire originated with the politically liberal Obama presidency; his administration was the first to tell her no. In this extreme case of indeed virtually unprecedented degeneracy and obvious threat, public sentiment is not offended; it is united in being justifiably terrified and disgusted.

“Virtually all women [in ISIS detention camps] wear the niqab, the full-length black veil demanded by ISIS’s rigid interpretation of Islam…”

Is the niqab/burqa, as this New York Times reporter writes, the sort of thing you will wear (and make your female children wear: “A small girl of perhaps 7 or 8 was sitting atop a pile of humanitarian food aid boxes, clad in the black abaya and jilbab of a grown woman, but in miniature…” ) if you are a rigid, strict, fundamentalist, literalist Muslim? Actually, Mehdi Hasan makes a compelling argument that ISIS isn’t Islamic at all, but rather a cultic perversion of the faith. Plenty of others have observed that ISIS people tend to know shit about Islam and present instead as nihilists who like violence. ‘“I’m struggling to reconcile the two things, wanting to look at them as displaced people and human,” said Dareen Khalifa, an International Crisis Group analyst who has visited [a women’s detention] camp; but some of the women are “very ideological, and the atmosphere is very ripe for all sorts of indoctrination…”‘ It’s maybe the best thing about us, qua humans, that we struggle like hell to see fanatics, who unapologetically enslave, rape, and behead, as fellow humans, as sufferers, as (trying our very hardest here) confused and fragile victims…

UD remembers, thirty years ago, sweeping her eyes over images of bloated bodies on a hill in Guyana and feeling (along with a sense of witnessing inassimilable grotesquerie) almost unbearable pity for the suicidal stupidity of the Jonestown fanatics.

But ISIS is homicidal, mass homicidal, which makes the business of pitying (looking at them as displaced people and human) very much more difficult. Even those who haven’t literally killed, let’s say, but only enslaved… It’s like – well, here’s another memory. UD remembers trying hard to feel something human toward Hedda Nussbaum, who watched two children being tortured (one to death) by her partner and did nothing, and who at his trial claimed to have been afraid and herself brutalized, etc. Highly educated, an editor at Random House, a successful Manhattanite, Nussbaum asked us to believe this…

UD finds more worthwhile, in these and associated matters, to pose Ron Padgett’s question: What makes us so mean? Padgett writes a long, amusing poem, inconclusively pondering this. But having read lots of interviews with/memoirs by ISIS and other degenerates, UD is at least willing to conclude this: Sadism – watching it, taking part in it, even being the object of it – is for many people terribly, terribly, exciting.

‘Dispersing ISIS members to national jurisdictions would largely deny victims the ability to testify, while simultaneously depriving prosecutors the ability to secure convictions that sufficiently reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed. An [International Criminal Tribunal] would allow victims of ISIS crimes to have their day in court, increasingly understood as a key element of successful transitional justice processes.’

Another thoughtful argument for trying them over there.

‘Experts are now warning that female members of ISIS are a serious security risk, especially those seeking to return to their countries of origin. “Many,” cautioned the head of the U.K.’s Metropolitan Police counterterrorism command, Richard Walton, “will pose just as much of a security threat as their male counterparts.”’

In a recent France 24 documentary on ISIS foreign women in the Kurdish-controlled Al-Hawl camp in north-eastern Syria, a camp director said that “when they [foreign ISIS women] gave themselves up, some of them told us that the IS group briefed them, telling them, ‘Surrender, go back to your countries, get your strength back and we will start again.’”

The Unsinkable Molly BOOM.

‘The government informed Muthana more than three years ago that she is not a citizen and canceled her erroneously issued passport… Muthana — who was at the time a member of ISIS — failed to act timely in response to that notification, [and] remained in a war zone through hostilities for a period of years. Plaintiff should not now be permitted to turn Muthana’s own delay and acquiescence — not to mention her decision to join a foreign terrorist organization in Syria — into an emergency requiring special solicitude for granting her a speedy hearing and speedy relief.’

This is from the government’s response to Hoda Muthana’s father’s lawsuit.


It’s kind of funny picturing her telling her husband Hey I need to try to renew my passport…


Judge denies her request to expedite her case. So no meatloaf with the folks this Sunday.

The New ISIS!

I miss my mum. I know that sounds a bit toddler-ish… Even if I could just see my mum… I would like just a phone call, I don’t know if Britain can do that for me here, but I’d like just a phone call to my mum – it’s been two years. If I could make a request. I’m probably not in a position to make requests. That’s it all, really. I miss my mum.

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