According to General Mattis, the US Defence Secretary, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State is alive. This is just the latest in a series of statements about al Baghdadi that began in June when Russia announced it had conducted an airstrike on Islamic State leaders, which might have killed al Baghdadi.
The Russian statement was followed by the Syrian Human Rights Observatory claiming that its contacts in Islamic State had verified the killing of al Baghdadi. The corporate media were remarkably incurious about the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, which is based in England, having contacts with Islamic State.
Lt Colonel Ralph Peters subsequently told Tucker Carlson that Russia had not killed al Baghdadi. He claimed that the US had killed al Baghdadi. Then, less than than a week later, Iraq's Interior Minister claimed that al Baghdadi was still alive and hiding in Syria. However, on the following Friday, a senior Islamic State preacher broke down in tears at the mention of al Baghdadi's name, suggesting that al Baghdadi is indeed dead. Nevertheless, General Mattis has now repeated the assertion that al Baghdadi is still alive, which of course means that the US did not kill him (contrary to Colonel Peters' assertion). Of course the US military had had al Baghdadi in custody back in 2004 after he had joined the jihadist group al Qaeda, a creation of the CIA. The US released him in 2004.
So is al Baghdadi alive or dead? How is one to know when senior military officers and ministers of state and non-governmental organisations and corporate media outlets all make factual assertions without evidence? One can only wonder whose interests are served by this behaviour.