What Happened to the Texan Who Became the Goebbels of ISIS?
A few years ago, a Texas resident who was born, raised, and educated in my state of Texas -- and whose parents, ex-wife, and four children still reside here -- reportedly became the chief propagandist for ISIS in Syria. John Thomas Georgelas, son of a prosperous U.S. Air Force doctor, ascended to his senior position because the American military and homeland security establishments regarded that position as so dangerous that hellfire missiles had created the job opening.
But no one has really asked obvious questions since the territorial collapse of ISIS in Syria and Iraq where Georgelas operated, or at least not publicly. Questions such as:
- Where is Georgelas today?
- If he is alive and captured, will we put him on trial like American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and document bitter lessons for future generations?
- Will we be told if he is dead?
- If Georgelas is a living international fugitive, what’s being done to track him down? Where is his Most Wanted Terrorist poster, or card in the deck?
I have been scouring open sources for information about him since January 2017, when The Atlantic first broke the story of how Georgelas, a.k.a. "Abu al-Hassan," converted from Greek Orthodox Christianity and rose to the heights of ISIS leadership. It can be read here. (The family is of Greek heritage and lives in the upscale Dallas exurb of Plano). The mag reported that Georgelas was working as a key contributor to ISIS’s English-language publication Rumiyah, which preaches and teaches death and destruction. He was elevated to ISIS “spokesman” in December 2016, becoming a modern-day Joseph Goebbels of the Islamic death cult. Georgelas has blood on his hands because, as is well-established, ISIS propaganda kills. It is regarded as notoriously effective in recruitment and in justifying murderous acts among ISIS sycophants worldwide.
The Texan should be regarded as one of the world's most wanted international terrorists right about now. An indication of how important he may be: The position he holds became available in August 2016 when an American drone strike killed the last guy who held it, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani.
There seems to be little doubt that Georgelas is the alleged propagandist; The Atlantic quoted Georgelas’ father acknowledging that his son is "Abu al-Hassan." British media has corroborated details of The Atlantic piece, and has interviewed people who knew his bride in the UK, Tania Joya, who is now his ex-wife and the mother of his four children in Texas.
In the end, Joya and the kids may prove to be the linchpin for solving this mystery. Joya ostensibly was with Georgelas for some months inside Syria, became disillusioned, and moved back to Texas with their four kids. Georgelas reportedly helped her leave, then stayed in touch for several years. Joya has been living near the grandparents in Plano, has remarried, and interestingly has not been indicted for providing material support to ISIS. That freedom from federal prosecution, and the immigration benefits that allowed her to enter with four kids from ISIS territory, are indicators as to why I presume she has assisted American counterterrorism agencies in ways to which we are not privy.