As a reminder:
German Journalist Who Interviewed Syrian ISIS Daesh Commander: US Providing Weapons to Terrorists
October 8th, 2016 – Last month, German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer, the first Western journalist to be given access to Daesh (ISIS) controlled territory, conducted an explosive interview with a Nusra Front commander in Syria. Soon afterward, he was accused of ‘fabricating’ the interview. Speaking to Sputnik Deutschland, Todenhofer responded to his critics.
Late last month, an unnamed militant believed to be a senior Nusra Front commander told Todenhoffer in an interview that his group had received advanced weapons, including BGM TOW anti-tank missiles, from the United States.
The sensational (and damning) interview soon spread around the world, and soon German media engaged in damage control began claiming that the interview was a fake. The detractors’ main allegation focused on the territory where the interview was conducted; skeptics even suggested that the terrorist militant was actually a Syrian government plant.
Speaking to Sputnik Deutschland about the now famous interview, Todenhofer explained that he never had any illusions that his journalistic effort, and its shocking revelations about the extent of Western support for Islamist terrorists, would cause a strong reaction, “both from terrorists and from those who support mainstream Western policy in the Middle East.”
“I think that most of those who criticized me wanted to divert attention from two things, [first of all] from the issue of the supply of weapons to the Middle East, which is really indisputable. The US, France, Britain and Germany supply weapons to the Middle East. I believe that this is a very serious problem that needs to be discussed. And these weapons aren’t there to shoot fireworks – they are there to conduct wars with.”
Secondly, Todenhofer noted,
“they want to distract from the fact that my interview – and not just this one but my earlier statements as well, destroy the mainstream worldview. This worldview suggests that in Syria, there is supposedly only one side fighting – namely the Syrian government and the Russians. If that were true, the war would have ended a long time ago. The truth is that there are two sides fighting a brutal war against one another.”
Commenting on the details of his interview with the Nusra Front commander, the journalist recalled that at first, it wasn’t even clear whether the jihadist would agree to filming.
“At first, there was a great deal of stress, because we were surrounded by gunmen in masks, and our driver feared that we had been trapped. But the conversation went smoothly. This commander is not a politician – not a Salafist, not a fanatic; he’s just a mercenary, who managed to serve in the ranks of at least two rebel groups – a field commander with perhaps about 200 people under his command. And since he is not a politician, he spoke openly about the things he knows.”
Incidentally, for the sceptics out there, the journalist emphasized the commander did not actually say that his group received weapons ‘directly from the Americans.’
“He said ‘we directly received American weapons’. He did not say whether this was from a country or organization serving as an intermediary, but there is no doubt [that this is going on]. Everyone knows that the US and other countries supply weapons to the rebels; they say that they supply them to the ‘moderate opposition’, but we all know that some of these weapons are then passed to radical rebels and terrorists.”