Should we tolerate the intolerant, the racist, or the violent?

Ottawa cites hate crime laws when asked about its ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters Blaney’s office cites ‘comprehensive’ hate laws for new zero tolerance plans By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: May 11, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: May 11, … Continue reading

Ottawa cites hate crime laws when asked about its ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters

Blaney’s office cites ‘comprehensive’ hate laws for new zero tolerance plans

By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: May 11, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: May 11, 2015 10:58 PM ET


Tweets About Israel Land New Jersey Student in Principal’s Office


Tolerance is an intractable term.  Should we tolerate the intolerant, the racist, or the violent? Who decides who’s who, who’s what? Words used in complex social situations have always a degree of double-speak; there is a disconnection between what we think we mean and our actual thinking.

Tolerance (http://www.tolerance.org/ ) is supposed to be about letting those different from us be themselves, but in practice is about pretending that we are different from ourselves. To always have a favorite football team as an essential part of our identity? Even in this limited sense, one has to be careful; it might not be healthful to display the wrong loyalty in the wrong bar.

Tolerance stems from a sated world. In times of plenty, we can afford to be kind to those who are different. We are less threatened when we are comfortable. If our 21st Century standard of living peaks—coincident with a peak in surplus energy (i.e., fossil fuels)—then we may not have the luxury of viewing our social progress as an irreversible ratchet. Hard times revive old tribal instincts: different is not welcome.

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. For instance, many Serbian communities believed that the western media portrayed a negative image of the Serbian people during the NATO bombing in Kosovo and Serbia (http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/tolerance ).

it is easy to protest

when the bombs fall miles from the fridge

yet, we are still afraid

a trip to Disney World on the line

so what hundred children massacred a day

better to have less terrorists, right?

In this day and age of information overload modern society is in a state of data deluge, and our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age (https://www.thersa.org/events/2015/01/thinking-straight-in-the-age-of-information-overload/ ). Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_bite ) and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .

The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and the others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/cultural-marxism/ ); we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.

While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/fascism/ ).

Robert Paxton says that fascism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism )  is “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victimhood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/the-oregon-militia/ ).

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:

Thomas Jefferson.

For Tea Partiers, the root of knowledge is a bedrock certainty about the Bible. This provides them with clear, absolute answers and that much of what we see on earth is a struggle between good and evil (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/a-conversation-about-gun-control/ ).

The ability of Government to keep the upper hand in the application of force is an important factor in social stability. The primary function of Government is to guarantee the Social Contract. The freedom to engage in seditious activities and Social peace do not mix.

Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.”

President Obama is aware of the Oregon situation, but the White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. It sounds like fools playing with fire. A fire that will get us all burned.

In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”

Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”

 

More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/10/us/gun-sales-terrorism-obama-restrictions.html ).

The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.

During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 

Few political terrorists in recent history took as much care to articulate their ideological influences and political views as Anders Behring Breivik did. The right-wing Norwegian Islamophobe.  One of the most remarkable aspects of the manifesto is the extent to which its European author quoted from the writings of figures from the American conservative movement (http://maxblumenthal.com/2011/08/americas-breivik-complex-how-state-terror-electrifies-the-islamophobic-right ). Many of the American writers who influenced Breivik spent years churning out calls for the mass murder of Muslims, Palestinians and their left-wing Western supporters. American Islamophobes simply sit back from the comfort of their homes and cheer as American and Israeli troops — and their remote-controlled aerial drones — leave a trail of charred bodies from Waziristan to Gaza City.

While Israel has sought to insulate itself from the legal ramifications of its attacks on civilian life by deploying elaborate propaganda and intellectual sophistry (witness the country’s frantic campaign to discredit the Goldstone Report), and the United States has casually dismissed allegations of war crimes as any swaggering superpower would (after a US airstrike killed scores of Afghan civilians, former US CENTCOM chief David Petraeus baselessly claimed that Afghan parents had deliberately burned their children alive to increase the death toll), the online Islamophobes who inspired Breivik tacitly accept the reality of Israeli and American state terror.

In American and Israeli society, Professional Terrorism is acceptable, whereas Amateur Terrorism is absolutely the world’s greatest evil (http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/08/gallup-poll-jews-and-christians-way-more-likely-than-muslims-to-justify-killing-civilians/ ).  Amateur Terrorism provides the justification for Professional Terrorism (this even though it is usually almost always the case that Professional Terrorism started the cycle of violence).  Those who have the capability to carry out Professional Terrorism have absolutely no need to resort to Amateur Terrorism since the former is so much more effective in killing civilians than the latter.

Public Policy Polling asked Republicans if they would want to bomb the fictional town of Agrabah in Disney’s Aladdin movie (http://www.loonwatch.com/2015/12/30-percent-of-republicans-want-to-bomb-aladdins-hometown-agrabah/ ).

These are the results:

Support bombing Agrabah  …………………………30%

Oppose bombing Agrabah  …………………………13%

Not sure ……………………………………………………57%

In sharp contrast with Americans who identify themselves with other faith groups (http://www.gallup.com/poll/148763/muslim-americans-no-justification-violence.aspx ), Muslim Americans are more likely to say military attacks on civilians are never justified (78%) than sometimes justified (21%). Respondents from other faith groups, particularly Mormon Americans, are more likely to say military attacks are sometimes justified than never justified. The opinions of Americans who don’t identify themselves with any religion are more in line with those of Muslim Americans, but they are also more divided.

Gallup analysts (http://www.gallup.com/poll/157067/views-violence.aspx ) tested correlations between the level at which populations say these attacks are “sometimes justified” and a number of independent indicators, and they found human development and societal stability measures are most strongly related.

Residents of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states are slightly less likely than residents of non-member states to view military attacks on civilians as sometimes justified, and about as likely as those of non-member states to say the same about individual attacks.

 “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade .

In the article “Why are there no condemnations from Muslim sources against terrorists?” Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance summarizes:

A common complaint among non-Muslims is that Muslim religious authorities do not condemn terrorist attacks. The complaints often surface in letters to the editors of newspapers, on phone-in radio shows, in Internet mailing lists, forums, etc. A leader of an evangelical Christian para-church group, broadcasting over Sirius Family Net radio, stated that he had done a thorough search on the Internet for a Muslim statement condemning terrorism, without finding a single item.
Actually, there are lots of fatwas and other statements issued which condemn attacks on innocent civilians. Unfortunately, they are largely ignored by newspapers, television news, radio news and other media outlets. Possibly because Islamic terrorists keep killing innocent civilians.

Contrary to common image, many Muslims have spoken out against 9/11,[2][3][4]

A 2007 Pew Research Center study of several nations throughout the Muslim world showed that opposition to suicide bombing in the Muslim world is increasing, with a majority of Muslims surveyed in 10 out of the 16 of the countries responding that suicide bombings and other violence against civilians is “never” justified, though an average of 38% believe it is justified at least rarely. Opposition to Hamas was the majority opinion in only 4 out of the 16 countries surveyed, as was opposition to Hezbollah.[5] The Pew Research Study did not include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria in the survey, although densely populated Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, and Bangladesh were included.

Per the 2013 State Department’s report on terrorism, there were 399 acts of terror committed by Israeli settlers in what are known as “price tag” attacks. These Jewish terrorists attacked Palestinian civilians causing physical injuries to 93 of them and also vandalized scores of mosques and Christian churches.

An FBI study looking at terrorism committed on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 found that 94 percent of the terror attacks were committed by non-Muslims. In actuality, 42 percent of terror attacks were carried out by Latino-related groups, followed by 24 percent perpetrated by extreme left-wing actors.

And as a 2014 study by University of North Carolina found, since the 9/11 attacks, Muslim-linked terrorism has claimed the lives of 37 Americans. In that same time period, more than 190,000 Americans were murdered (PDF).

Muslim man was attacked by Piro Kolvani who decided he had to drive from Florida to New York to beat on a Muslim (Kolvani was inspired by the NY Post front covers). Kolvani viciously attacked Sarker Haque, who stated, “I never saw a situation like that. Not even after 9/11.”

Yet, the conflict is not about religion nor race, but power (in the sociopathic sense) and resources. Human activity is not driven by justice but by power. In a way, justice is the right of the strong. One thing is rationalizations used to justify actions, and another, real social and psychological motives behind. These ulterior motives are not necessary explicit or even conscious.

All three religions   – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – in conflict share the same core barbaric Bronze Age believes sated in the Hebrew Bible, and all pick and choose what’s convenient to their respective social order. Whether one is consider a Christian or a Muslim is more an accident of geography or ethnicity, than a reflection of actual belief.   That is, religion is mainly a marker of cultural identity.

Israel, for all the talk about being a Jewish state is in practice rather secular. Although the idea of a vibrant queer community in Israel, reputed birthplace of the biblical condemnation of same-sex relations, may seem far-fetched, Israel today is one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of equality for sexual minorities. Politically, legally, and culturally, the community has moved from life at the margins of Israeli society to visibility and growing acceptance (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/homosexuality-in-israel/ ).

Many Israelis are not Semitic (http://www.livescience.com/40247-ashkenazi-jews-have-european-genes.html ). While Ashkenazi Jews have a long tradition in Judaism, they cannot claim a bloodline from David, which is a mythological figure anyway (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/davidjer.html ).

The scourge of Islamic fundamentalism is a monster created by the same people crying wolf (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/the-islamic-state/ ).

The modern Islamic fundamentalist movements have their origins in the late 19th century. The Wahhabi movement, an Arabian fundamentalist movement that began in the 18th century, gained traction and spread during the 19th and 20th centuries. During the Cold War following World War II, some NATO governments, particularly those of the United States and the United Kingdom, launched covert and overt campaigns to encourage and strengthen fundamentalist groups in the Middle East and southern Asia. These groups were seen as a hedge against potential expansion by the Soviet Union, and as a means to prevent the growth of nationalistic movements that were not necessarily favorable toward the interests of the Western nations. By the 1970s the Islamists had become important allies in supporting governments, such as Egypt, which were friendly to U.S. interests. In many cases the military wings of these groups were supplied with money and arms by the U.S. (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/religion-and-terrorism/ ).

Regardless of the machinations behind the current crisis in the Middle East, its effects will unsettle the whole World, including the US and Europe (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-roots-of-the-migration-crisis-1441995372 ). The Syrian refugee disaster presents a dilemma to the West. A massive influx of refugees into any country compromises its social and economic stability but the crisis cannot be ignored in humanitarian and practical grounds. Furthermore, the rise of religious fundamentalism (of all flavors: Christian, Muslim, or Jewish) is a treat to the long term viability of modern society.

Humans are social animals and it’s our natural instinct to be emphatic with others. It’s natural for us to bond by kinship. Unfortunately the same tribal instinct hampers our ability to recognize the essential and vital global brotherhood of man. We cling to nationality, religion, and many artificial walls we build around us that compromise our chances for long term survival (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/merry-xmas/ ).

We must overcome our fears and reach out for peace. To live or die together is the choice.

the Islamic State

Published on Dec 11, 2015 Financing Terror: A look at the sophisticated and well-established civil service that funds My Jihad – Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYiV7… Young, Muslim And Targeted: Paris In A State Of Emergency https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzUov… Inside The Heart Of The IS … Continue reading

Published on Dec 11, 2015

Financing Terror: A look at the sophisticated and well-established civil service that funds

My Jihad – Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYiV7…
Young, Muslim And Targeted: Paris In A State Of Emergency
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzUov…
Inside The Heart Of The IS Caliphate
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OfS-…

Teasing WW III

18:56 15.12.2015(updated 19:37 15.12.2015) Get short URL Pepe Escobar Read more: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151215/1031786484/russia-ready-war.html#ixzz3uqHoNk2f “Tense” does not even begin to describe the current Russia-Turkey geopolitical tension, which shows no sign of abating. The Empire of Chaos lavishly profits from it as a … Continue reading





18:56 15.12.2015(updated 19:37 15.12.2015) Get short URL
Pepe Escobar

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151215/1031786484/russia-ready-war.html#ixzz3uqHoNk2f

“Tense” does not even begin to describe the current Russia-Turkey geopolitical tension, which shows no sign of abating. The Empire of Chaos lavishly profits from it as a privileged spectator; as long as the tension lasts, prospects of Eurasia integration are hampered.
Russian intel has certainly played all possible scenarios involving a NATO Turkish army on the Turkish-Syrian border as well as the possibility of Ankara closing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles for the Russian “Syria Express”. Erdogan may not be foolish enough to offer Russia yet another casus belli. But Moscow is taking no chances.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151215/1031786484/russia-ready-war.html#ixzz3uqHOMLDW


Continuar leyendo “Teasing WW III”

ISIS conspiracy theory

Published on Aug 9, 2014 President Barack Obama’s authorization of air strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq serves as an opportunity to remind ourselves which countries are bankrolling the deadly terror group. http://www.infowars.com/hundreds-repo… http://www.infowars.com/obama-flashba… http://www.infowars.com/trust-in-gove… http://www.infowars.com/isis-threaten… http://www.infowars.com/the-united-st… Friday 19 September … Continue reading




Continuar leyendo “ISIS conspiracy theory”

ISIS – The Known or Unknown Enemy?

Originally posted on Lex Solo’s Political Rantings:
A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue…

Originally posted on Lex Solo's Political Rantings:

A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue happening in the Middle East. The world’s biggest deception: ISIS.

I remember when I first heard of ISIS. I was listening to the news when a Syrian man came on and was sharing his story.  He spoke of a time he called his sister who lived in Idlib, a town in Syria that was very harshly affected by the conflict. He said they were laughing when all of a sudden she looked outside of the window and started to scream. “They’re here, they’re here…AHHH! AND THEY ARE CHOPPING PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF! We are going to die, we are going to die…”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Who are these people that are not too far away…

View original 1,121 more words

ISIS – The Known or Unknown Enemy?

Originally posted on Lex Solo’s Political Rantings:
A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue…

 

Saudi Arabia forms alliance of 34 Muslim nations to fight ISIS and tackle ‘the Islamic world’s problem with terrorism’

  • Coalition to include members from across the Middle East, Africa and Asia
  • Saudi Arabia has called it a bid to ‘save international peace and security’
  • The group includes powerful gulf states Egypt and Turkey – but not Iran

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3360422/Saudi-Arabia-forms-34-nation-anti-terrorist-coalition.html#ixzz3uOsJbJAd
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


Pentagon report predicted West’s support for Islamist rebels would create ISIS

Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion’

by Nafeez Ahmed


Lex Solo's Political Rantings

A lot of people have asked me to write about my opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict but I’ve decided to start by writing about an issue that is the most serious issue happening in the Middle East. The world’s biggest deception: ISIS.

I remember when I first heard of ISIS. I was listening to the news when a Syrian man came on and was sharing his story.  He spoke of a time he called his sister who lived in Idlib, a town in Syria that was very harshly affected by the conflict. He said they were laughing when all of a sudden she looked outside of the window and started to scream. “They’re here, they’re here…AHHH! AND THEY ARE CHOPPING PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF! We are going to die, we are going to die…”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Who are these people that are not too far away…

View original post 1,121 more words

The Islamic State

By Washington’s Blog Global Research, August 16, 2014 Washington’s Blog Christians are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Syria. The “ISIS” Islamic terrorists have literally CRUCIFIED people in Iraq recently, and have marked the houses of Christians … … Continue reading

Christians are being persecuted by Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

The “ISIS” Islamic terrorists have literally CRUCIFIED people in Iraq recently, and have marked the houses of Christians … presumably for execution.

They have told Christians in Mosel, “convert to Islam or die“. They have pulled down crosses at churches in Iraq.   Thousands of residents of Iraq’s biggest Christian town have been forced to flee their homes as the ISIS killers overran their town and said: “leave, convert or die“.

The ISIS terrorists are not only beheading adult Christians, but they are systematically beheading CHILDREN.

In Syria, rebels fighting against the Syrian government told Christians, “Either you convert to Islam or you will be beheaded.”   Syrian rebels slit the throat of Christian man who refused to convert to Islam, taunting his fiance by yelling: “Jesus didn’t come to save him!”  And – like the Islamic terrorists in Iraq – they’ve  CRUCIFIED Christians.

United States Is BACKING Islamic Terrorists

ABC News reports:

The Sunni rebels [inside Syria] are supported by the Islamist rulers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, as well as the U.S., France, Britain and others.

So the U.S. is directly supporting the terrorists … and close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey France and Britain are also supporting them.

World Net Daily reports that the U.S. trained Islamic jihadis – who would later join ISIS – in Jordan.

Der Spiegel and the Guardian confirmed that the U.S., France and England trained hundreds if not thousands of Islamic fighters in Jordan.

The Jerusalem Post and Breitbart report that an ISIS fighter says that Turkey funds the terrorist group.

The Times of Israel reported Wednesday:

A Free Syrian Army commander, arrested last month by the Islamist militia Al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support, in a video released this week.Read more: Syrian rebel commander says he collaborated with Israel.

In a video uploaded to YouTube Monday … Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms. Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22.

In June, investment adviser Jim Willie alleged:

The [Isis] troops that are working there [in Syria and Iraq] are Langley [i.e. CIA] troops. They’re trained, funded, and armed by Langley.

What I’m hearing… the U.S. military (Pentagon regulars), and you have to be careful when you refer to U.S. military anymore. What kind of U.S. military? Is it the Pentagon U.S. Army, or is it the Langley military, which has unmarked uniforms and 10?s of thousands of mercenaries?

They’re about to encounter each other in Iraq. The U.S. military Pentagon regulars evacuated Iraq, and what filled the vacuum was the Langley mercenaries, trained for Syria, that migrated South and announced their new agenda.

If and when the Pentagon regulars encounter the Langley mercenaries in Iraq, Obama’s going to get a house call, because U.S. military will be fighting U.S. military. Pentagon vs. Langley.

While we don’t know which of the above-described allegations are true, two things are certain:

  • The U.S. armed Islamic jihadis in Syria, and their weapons ended up in the hands of ISIS; and
  • Close allies of the U.S. have supported and trained the ISIS terrorists

Published on Aug 14, 2014

Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News

The Islamic State, a hardline Sunni jihadist group that formerly had ties to al Qaeda, has conquered large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group has announced its intention to reestablish the caliphate and has declared its leader, the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph.

The lightning advances the Islamic State made across Syria and Iraq in June shocked the world. But it’s not just the group’s military victories that have garnered attention — it’s also the pace with which its members have begun to carve out a viable state.

Flush with cash and US weapons seized during its advances in Iraq, the Islamic State’s expansion shows no sign of slowing down. In the first week of August alone, Islamic State fighters have taken over new areas in northern Iraq, encroaching on Kurdish territory and sending Christians and other minorities fleeing as reports of massacres emerged.

VICE News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings.