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Ikaika Erik Kang, US Army soldier’s lawyer says he suffers from mental issues

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Sgt. Ikaika Erik Kang, a US Army sergeant and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan has been arrested for pledging allegiance to ISIS and its khalifa or emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. While Baghdadi has died and his death has been confirmed by multiple organizations in Iraq and elsewhere, the US Army veteran has been arrested for trying to give new insights to the terrorist organization through different means.

Sgt. Ikaika Erik Kang also reportedly tried to provide many ‘secret’ documents to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, believing that that these documents may help the ISIS in fighting American and Iraqi forced.

Nonetheless, his court appointed defense attorney, Birney Bervar, told the court that his client was actually suffering from service-related mental health issues of which the government was aware but neglected to treat.

While the investigation in his alleged dalliance with ISIS was ongoing for a long time, Sgt. Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, an air traffic control operator with the 25th Infantry Division at U.S. Army Pacific Command, was arrested this past Saturday by an FBI SWAT team. Officials claim that he was under investigation for the last more than a year and was apprehended only when incriminating evidence was found against him.

Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh is a theocracy, proto-state and a Salafi or Wahhabi group. It follows an extremist interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence, and regards Muslims who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels or apostates. According to Hayder al Khoei, ISIL’s philosophy is represented by the symbolism in the Black Standard variant of the legendary battle flag of Prophet Muhammad that it has adopted: the flag shows the Seal of Muhammad within a white circle, with the phrase above it, “There is no god but God”. Such symbolism has been said to point to ISIL’s belief that it represents the restoration of the caliphate of early Islam, with all the political, religious and eschatological ramifications that this would imply.

The biggest terror organization in the world follows Wahabism, that has been backbone of the Saudi monarchy over the decades. According to The Economist, dissidents in the ISIL capital of Raqqa report that “all 12 of the judges who now run its court system … are Saudis”. Saudi practices also followed by the group include the establishment of religious police to root out “vice” and enforce attendance at salat prayers, the widespread use of capital punishment, and the destruction or re-purposing of any non-Sunni religious buildings. Bernard Haykel has described ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s creed as “a kind of untamed Wahhabism”.

According to the report, US Army veteran is charged with attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. The Army referred Kang, who was most recently assigned to Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, to the FBI in August 2016, reporting that he had begun making threatening remarks and pro-ISIS statements as early as 2011, the FBI said in an affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint, which says that Kang’s security clearance was briefly revoked in 2012.

Officials have pointed out that the soldier was a competent fighter and has the Army’s highest level of combat instructor training. This past March, an undercover FBI operative reported that Kang said he had been researching “the most effective and painful ways people had been tortured,” adding that “he was still angry at a civilian who had taken away his air traffic controller’s license, and that he wanted to torture him,” according to the affidavit.

Sgt. Ikaika Erik Kang was reportedly arrested after he pledged loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and said he wanted to “take his rifle, his magazines and kill ‘a bunch of people.’” Paul Delacourt told the media that Kang and the agents together made combat training videos he believed would be taken to the Middle East to help prepare the group’s soldiers to fight American forces, according to the affidavit. The FBI officer also said that Kang had received the highest level of combat training available in the Army and was a mixed martial arts enthusiast.

Official reports suggest that the rogue soldier hails from Hawaii. He reportedly joined the US Army in December 2001, served in South Korea in 2002-2003,was deployed to Iraq from March 2010 to February 2011 and Afghanistan from July 2013 to April 2014.

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