ISIS Releases “Greatest” Piece Of Terrorist Video Propaganda In History, Tells US, Russia To “Bring It On”

ISIS15_0Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, Nov. 25, 2015:

By now, it’s probably safe to say that pretty much anyone who follows current events has seen at least one ISIS propaganda video. What began with clips of “Jihadi John” beheading Western journalists quickly escalated to footage of obscenely graphic executions.

The world recoiled in horror when the group’s Al Hayat Media Center released a slick, high-def production depicting a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage earlier this year and from that point on, the group essentially tried to one-up themselves with each new video murder montage. Notable highlights include: putting a handful of “confessed spies” in a cage and drowning them, cramming four people into a maroon Toyota Corolla and blowing it up with an RPG, dousing three people with gasoline before hanging them upside down from a swing set and lighting them on fire, enlisting the help of some 30 pre-teenage jihadists to execute several dozen enemy soldiers in an amphitheatre in Palmyra, lining up eight people atop landmines on a fog-covered mountain side and making them watch as their executioners come riding in on horses out of the woods to light the fuse, and who can forget running over an SAA soldier with a tank.

Less violent clips have recently included a series of videos celebrating the massacre in Paris, two of which contained threats against targets in the US including the White House (which ISIS will “turn black”) and Times Square.

Of course the peculiar (and very surreal) thing about the videos is the production quality. Islamic State’s Hollywood specials are always filmed in crisp 1080p and more often than not, feature multiple camera angles, slick graphics, slow motion replays, and even artificial wind to give the whole thing a more dramatic feel.

Well, just when we thought we’d seen the best Al Hayat had to offer, ISIS released a video on Tuesday that very well might qualify as the most spectacularly absurd piece of terrorist propaganda ever created.

Over the course of four minutes and fourteen seconds, ISIS literally threatens every country on the face of the earth, shows pictures of its fighters grinning and horsing around like something out of a Gap ad, calls Bill Clinton a “fornicator”, runs down the statistics on verteran suicide rates in America, brands Russia and France a “coalition of devils”, says the US is too weak to put boots on the ground, speaks out against racism, and tells the US, Russia, France, and “all of you” to “bring it on.”

We present it below with no further comment other than to say, once again, that this seems quite sophisticated for a group whose headquarters is supposedly located in a bombed out city in eastern Syria.


Still shots (in case the hosting goes down in the internet’s neverending game of ISIS video “whack-a-mole” (view here)


Also see:

ISIS coming for the Kremlin, new video warns

isisvidpic1Fox News, by Malia Zimmerman, November 12, 2015:

The latest video from ISIS combines the terrorist group’s trademark barbarity with an ambitious pledge: a vow that it is coming after the Kremlin.

“We will take through battle the lands of yours we wish,” a voice says in Russian, as English subtitles float over scenes of slaughter and a map of the world. “Hellfire awaits you. Europe is shaking, Russia is dying.”

Vowing that the “Kremlin will be ours” and promising attacks on Europe, the 5-minute video’s producers pledge to “make blood spill like an ocean.”

“Hellfire awaits you. Europe is shaking, Russia is dying.”

– Threat in new ISIS video

Terrorism and intelligence experts said the video is a clear shot across the bow of Russia, and follows the suspected ISIS bombing of a Russian airliner on Oct. 31which killed more than 200.

“The video is a clear threat to Russia, and to a certain extent to other Western countries,” said Veryan Khan, editorial director for the U.S.-based Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. “The Islamic State claims they will reach the Kremlin and bring it down.”

The video is noteworthy, analysts say, because it was released just after an Islamic State affiliate took credit for the Russian airliner plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula, and in the same week there was a reported attack on the Russian Embassy in Serbia.

“Many threats are being issued against Russia because of their intervention in Syria since September, and this video is clearly just one more threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Khan said.

ISIS has called for attacks against Russia since it began airstrikes in Syria Sept. 30 in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

Khan believes the video should be carefully analyzed to reveal clues about the group’s intention for future attacks and expansion plans. The Islamic State shows a map of their planned takeover, while pledging: “We will take through battle the lands of yours we wish. So much of your lands… We will make your wives concubines and make your children our slaves.”

The Islamic State also promises to kill every person and destroy every religious artifact that does not belong to their ideology and maintains only the “fool or the blind” will ignore this “undeniable truth.”

Ryan Mauro, national security analyst and adjunct professor of homeland security for the Clarion Project, agreed that the propaganda video was put together as a response to Russian intervention in Syria. Russia should expect the terror group to follow through, he said.

“ISIS is making it very clear that it will attack Russia, specifically Moscow, and a failure to do so will be a big blow to their prestige,” Mauro said. “We should assume they’ll succeed because bombing a Russian airliner over Egypt is more difficult than attacking a random target inside Russia because ISIS only needs a small group of supporters among the 15 percent of the Russian population that is Muslim.”

This also is a threat to the U.S. because one of the lines spoken by the narrator specifically pledges to attack “the cross,” referring to Christians and the West, Mauro said.

“The pledge to ‘make your wives concubines and make your children our slaves’ is referring to Americans, too,” Mauro said. “It’s a sentence that should remind us of the price that the Islamic State intends to make women and even children pay.”

Besides closeups of hostage beheadings, mass firing lines, and other grisly savage acts, the video shows the Islamic State’s destruction of historical Christian monuments and relics and features its armed forces using heavy weaponry it has acquired.

The first images document the shocking decapitation of 21 Coptic Christians by black-hooded jihadists who force their prisoners to kneel on the beach in the now infamous orange prisoner jumpsuits just before they are killed. The video also shows the Jordanian pilot who was burned alive in a cage in February 2015 as well as several images of corpses, severed heads, fatal wounds and blood spilling around their victims.

To send a message they are organized, Islamic State fighters are shown undergoing training in khaki uniforms, holding standardized weapons and marching in aligned ranks.

“By showing that they have state-like powers, that their fighters are a real army and not mere disorganized combatants, and that they operate as such, the Islamic State is attempting to impress and instill fear in the populations it targets as its enemies,” Khan said. “They are showing that they are a force to be reckoned with.”

This video is another example of how ISIS has successfully repackaged its outdated ideology with 21st century technology, Mauro said, and is using technology to recruit.

“ISIS is bridging the gap between modernity and its outdated theocratic vision, making its ideology easier for young recruits to accept and embrace,” Mauro said. “It’s hard to imagine Usama Bin Laden making a music video like this and that’s another reason that the Islamic State is shaping the future of jihad, not Al Qaeda.”

Russian, American and coalition forces have been battling the Islamic State, and the blood-thirsty terrorists have been losing ground in Syria, Sinjar, AlHawl and Aleppo, said Jasmine Opperman, an analyst for the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium’s headquarters in Africa.

“This video is part of a propaganda campaign diverting attention from their losses,” said Opperman, predicting, “ISIS will become more aggressive in their presence and activities in Wilayahs such as Afghanistan, Libya and Nigeria, culminating in more attacks, more than likely suicide bombings on public places.”

ISIS in the Caribbean: Islamic State in alarming call to arms to jihadis on paradise isle

ISLAMIC STATE’S feared terror network has infiltrated idyllic holiday destinations in the Caribbean popular with Britons, in the latest worrying sign that the jihadi group’s self-styled Caliphate is expanding.


Abu Zayd al-Muhajir and his three sons

Abu Zayd al-Muhajir and his three sons

Propaganda footage to emerge from the barbaric organisation shows a man sitting beside his three children issuing a call for Muslims on the idyllic islands of Trinidad and Tobago to rise up.

In the video, a man, identified as Abu Zayd al-Muhajir, claimed he had fled his homeland because Muslims in Trinidad and Tobago were restricted in what they could do.

He said people were free to wear the hijab or other Islamic clothing but that in reality Muslims were only allowed to practice what they were told.

He said: “The only practice that you can practice is what they tell you is halal [permissible] to practice.

“The other aspects of Islam are haram [forbidden] for you.

“You cannot practice your deen [Islamic way of life] 100 per cent.

“It was yearning for me that I knew I had to leave, I had to leave this land.

“I cannot sit and watch my children grow up in this land in which they cannot practice their Islam 100 per cent.”

The three boys at an ISIS-run schools

The three boys at an ISIS-run schools

Muhajir said his three young sons were now studying Maths, English and Islam at an ISIS-run school.

The video, entitled, “Those who Believe and Made the Hijra,” was posted on social media.

Militants filmed in the video at a shooting range

Militants filmed in the video at a shooting range

Abu Khalid converted from Christianity to Islam

Abu Khalid converted from Christianity to Islam

Another fighter interviewed in the 11 minute film, Abu Khalid, said he had converted to Islam because of “the way the Muslims care about themselves, how they care about themselves, their family structure”.

He said he felt that he did not belong in Trinidad and that after reading sections of the Koran, he “started to understand that fighting is something that has been prescribed upon Muslims”

Abu Mansour al-Muhajir, another fighter from the twin island Caribbean country, said he had travelled to Syria to fight allies of the devil.

He said: “Allah is inciting us to fight the friends of Satan for they are weak.

“This is a time when the Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, mentioned that there will come a time when all the nations of the world will gather around to wipe you out?

“Who? The Muslim. As we speak today, over 60 nations of this world sign on to wipe out us, but Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, is with us.

“I hope and pray that Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, will guide us and protect us and bring us to this land so that we will make jihad for this cause and to gain the reward of Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He.”

Reports of Trinidadians making the trip to Syria to fight for ISIS first emerged last year when the island republic’s former national security minister, Gary Griffith, claimed around 30 citizens were now terrorist fighters.

The United Nations has also warned the country is being used as a recruiting ground for the terror group.

It is not the first threat to the relatively peaceful Caribbean states from Islamic extremism.

Cyber hackers linked to the Islamist group twice attacked the government computers of Jamaica and St. Vincent and Grenadines over the summer.

A top American general also warned earlier this year that 100 militants have already left Caribbean countries to fight with ISIS in Syria.

Marine Gen. John F Kelly, chief of the US Southern Command, said extremists could potentially get across the US border when they return home.

He added that small nations such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname were concerned about fighters returning because they didn’t have the resources to deal with the threat.

Radicalization: Social Media And The Rise of Terrorism

online-radicalizationMEMRI, by Alberto M. Fernandez, Oct. 28, 2015:

On October 28, 2015, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subcommittee on National Security held a hearing titled “Radicalization: Social Media and the Rise of Terrorism.” The background given by the subcommittee for the hearing, which it said aimed to “address the scope of radicalization, and assess what steps can be taken in order to mitigate the rise of terror via social media,” read: “In recent years, terrorist organizations have attempted to control their image, attract new recruits, and inspire ‘lone wolf’ attacks through the use of social media, including disseminating images of graphic violence. Terrorists’ use of social media is resonating with vulnerable populations. Media platforms like Twitter are used to spread their message and enable supporters to find one another. Recent estimates indicate that 30,000 foreign fighters, including at least 250 Americans, have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria or Iraq to fight with extremist groups, including ISIS. Federal and state governments, as well as communities have begun to take action to mitigate the threat of terrorist propaganda on social media. However, they have experienced multiple challenges in combating such a wide and pervasive threat.”

The following is the written testimony given by MEMRI Vice President Alberto M. Fernandez at the hearing:

“Written Testimony By The Honorable Alberto M. Fernandez

“It is an honor to have been asked to address this Committee. For most of my 32 year career as a Public Diplomacy Officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, serving mostly in the Middle East and the Muslim world, the great and continuing challenges presented by the juxtaposition of the power of media, radicalization, and political violence have been most salient in much of my work.

“As Vice President of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), I am fortunate to have joined an independent institution which has for almost 20 years been in the forefront of documenting and analyzing political, social and intellectual currents in the Middle East, including the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hizbullah and their use of media, and especially social media, for propaganda purposes. MEMRI continues to meticulously document the latest twists and turns of the extremist narrative, bridging the language gap for Western audiences with translated primary material in Arabic, Turkish, Farsi and other languages.

“Radicalization and terrorism is nothing new in the world. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, influential individuals such as the anarchist leader Mikhail Bakunin popularized the concept of the ‘propaganda of the deed,’ that the best way to demonstrate the importance and power of a political idea was to show it by concrete action, preferably by violent action. ‘We must spread our principles, not with words but with deeds, for this is the most popular, the most potent, and the most irresistible form of propaganda,’ Bakunin wrote in 1870.

“As scholarly studies such as the 2013 Rand Europe report on radicalization in the West have shown, social media alone is not the creator or reason for radicalization but merely a very powerful and effective accelerant. Social media takes concepts and actions already present in the real world and rapidly disseminates it to a willing and receptive audience. It is a powerful idea which seemingly has real effect in the actual world and which can then be dynamite in the virtual world.

“It is the narrative that gives power. This has certainly been the case throughout history when people have been motivated by great causes, many of them political or religious, some of them truly evil, to give all they had in the fulfillment of goals that to us clearly seem odious. When we think of something like Leni Reifenstahl’s repulsive yet compelling 1935 documentary ‘The Triumph of the Will, ‘ we are conscious of the technical quality, of the power of images, AND of an ideological worldview that for millions of Germans at a particular time and place seemed particularly potent and seductive. Reifenstahl’s skill added to the power of the message but it was the message itself that was the wellspring of that evil. So it is with social media today, which makes certain messages in certain spaces appealing to specific audiences easy to see and seemingly difficult to remove.

“While the narrative of some terrorist groups are tied to a specific political narrative such as Hamas or Hizbullah, both albeit with a strong Islamist component, there are few narratives as ambitious and as aggressive as that of the Islamic State. This is a complete package which includes a strong ideological component deeply rooted in a specific Salafi Jihadist reading of the period of formative Islam, a political project which is seemingly a going concern, and a 21st century appeal to substantive and consequential participation aimed at youth searching for purpose and identity in a seemingly aimless, empty and hedonistic world.

“Indeed, one can marvel at the fact that so few have been motivated to join up with the mesmerizing siren call of this revolutionary vanguard offering purpose, violence, sex, the end of the world, and fulfillment in the path of God rather than so many. Despite the relatively small numerical appeal of ISIS within the context of the number of Muslims worldwide, its impact has been tremendous when coupled with that toxic accelerant which is social media.

“So we have a message that is difficult for governments, both in the East and the West, to counter directly. And you have an on the ground political reality, in Libya, in Nigeria, and especially in the ISIS heartland in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq, that gives the propaganda the necessary mooring it needs in the real world. What are the logical steps to be taken in confronting this uniquely potent propaganda challenge?

“Obviously, changing the political reality on the ground is one sure way of rapidly reducing the impact of the propaganda. The shiny, soaring, scary object that was ‘Triumph of the Will’ had tremendous appeal in its heyday of the mid-30s; it had less so in the rubble of German cities in 1944-45. The gap between the propaganda and the reality was too wide to be breached by celluloid. An ISIS Caliphate who predicates that it will conquer Constantinople, Rome and America ‘by the permission of God,’ is unmasked if it cannot hold Tel Abyad or Raqqa or Mosul.

“But given the difficult political-military reality and the difficulty in identifying on the ground alternatives to the Islamic State, what are practical steps which can be taken now to mitigate the appeal of the Islamic State and to at least try to put a blanket on that accelerant which is social media?

“On a strategic level, governments must identify ways to combat the basic pillars of Jihadist Salafism which is the breeding ground from where this ISIS pathology emerges. It is important to point out that this worldview does not emerge fully formed, Athena-like, out of nothing but has been promoted by countries like Saudi Arabia – whether officially or unofficially – for decades. Salafism, not all of which is pernicious, has for decades had the cash, the patronage, the protection and the push that other trends and worldviews within Islam have lacked.

“But much of the activity in this Salafi sphere does frankly promote a worldview which is very conducive to radicalization, material that is extremely intolerant, antisemitic, anti-Christian, and anti-all sorts of Muslims such as Shias or Sufis or others found insufficiently ‘Islamic’ by this worldview. Once the strategic decision is taken that a key part of the problem is Jihadist Salafism, this can be tackled in a variety of ways.  Some of the best ways to counter this may be through quiet and frank conversation by our diplomats behind the scenes with local interlocutors but this is still something than needs to be prioritized and done.

“On the tactical level, there are a series of practical steps that need to be taken to begin to reverse the head start the extremists have built up over the past few years. We need to recognize that while social media propaganda is not super-expensive, we in the West have treated it with far less urgency and importance than have our adversaries. ISIS is prolific, working 24/7, tailoring its approach to the individual and nationality it is seeking to influence. The budget over a three year period of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), for example, which I headed for three years, equaled cumulatively the cost of just one Reaper drone. It accomplished some good things with small amounts of money but was always outnumbered and outgunned in the very specific space we are talking about. We need to fund a media counteroffensive appropriately. We don’t need to break the bank to fight this adversary in social media but we do need to spend somewhat more than we have and spend more wisely.

“In the highly charged narrow space we are talking about, the good guys are heavily outnumbered. ISIS and its supporters are trolling and messaging 24/7 in large numbers. You need a network to fight a network. The way to address this is to both increase the number of anti-ISIS messengers and to make it more difficult for extremists to communicate freely, while recognizing that you will never be able to remove everyone and that the extremists’ message needs to be actually confronted. An August 2015 MEMRI report minutely documented how an ISIS hashtag campaign was ‘hijacked’ by anti-ISIS twitter trolls. The hashtag #WeAllGive BayahToKhalifah was massively interrupted with over 50% anti-ISIS material including all sorts of mockery and even a lot of explicit sexual content within 24 hours. This hijacking limited the reach of the ISIS media campaign, caused ISIS supporters to abandon the hashtag and is something that was not happening a year ago at the height of the ISIS media offensive after the declaration of the Caliphate.

“Secondly, you need content. ISIS messaging is MOSTLY about a Utopian, grievance-laden version of Jihadist Salafism, but it is presented in a wide range of tailored ways, many of these approaches are not particularly violence filled. There has been some incremental progress in this field but not enough. A sarcastic approach on Twitter such as ISIS Karaoke is an interesting small-scale effort but this is not enough. Another recent effort comes from Japan where #ISISchan uses the imagery and language of anime to push the revolutionary concept that ‘knives are for cutting melons,’ not heads. There are a number of reformers, liberals and secularists throughout the Muslim world who have been fighting the good fight against extremists, on their own for years even before the rise of ISIS. Maximizing the stories and visuals of the steady stream of individuals disillusioned with the Islamic State is another resource that counterterrorism communicators are aware of but that is still being used too little. There also needs to be some sort of organized ‘off-ramp’ in Western countries where returnees or convicted, repentant supporters can look directly into a camera, like ISIS supporters often do, and relate in their own words how they were wrong.

“Much work can also be done in highlighting the voices and stories of Sunni Arab Muslim victims of ISIS violence. The stories of the massacres of the Syrian Shaitat tribe or of the hundreds of Iraqi Anbar province Sunni tribesmen or clerics are yet to be told in the words of those who knew them. There are people today in Syrian refugee camps, on the road to Europe as refugees, or being held as prisoners by friendly governments that can make a more compelling case than we can directly on why joining ISIS is a really bad idea and underscore a basic criticism of ISIS that actually has power, which is that most of its victims are the very Sunni Muslim population it claims to represent. It is also pertinent to mention the heroic work of citizen journalist collectives such as Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently and Mosul Eye, reporting bravely from deep inside ISIS-controlled territory.

“Deepening understanding among at risk populations about the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen in the West is still another needed element. It has been a while since I was in school but we generally seemed to do a good job in the United States in inculcating civic values about what it means to be an American to our children. That is not the case elsewhere. I recently spoke to a Northern European citizen who lamented that his country did a poor job in promoting love of country among its immigrant population. The symbols and stories of the nation-state had, because of a fear of extreme nationalism which has existed in Europe in the past, been surrendered and instead of promoting loyalty, pride and inclusion all too often governments promoted nothing, allowing a vacuum to exist which will be filled by others. As Bob Dylan once said, ‘you’ve got to serve somebody,’ and if you can’t serve and be proud of the country you are in, you may go and try to find that with someone else.

“More can also be done to digitally empower leaders and opinion-makers in at-risk communities (both domestically and overseas) to be able to fund and support their own private, individualized approaches to counterterrorism messaging. This will not all look the same or necessarily say the things we would say, but that is alright as long as there is activity constant over time against those who would radicalize the innocent and lead them to violent extremism. An individualized, handmade approach to counter-radicalization can have power by the very nature of its authenticity and independent nature. The very fact that such an approach doesn’t sound or look like what the State Department spokesman would say gives it more, rather than less, credibility.

“Radicalization through social media is often not the mass consumption of snuff videos but rather the direction, intimate interaction between individuals who form a bond through cyberspace. There is a role for vetted members of civil society in helping out in a very powerful, unique and individualized way to intervene against these extremist interactions.

“Finally, we need to recognize that just like extremists have flourished in the ungoverned corners of the world on the ground – Waziristan, Somalia, Northern Mali, parts of Yemen, the chaos of Syria and Iraq – they have also taken advantage of the mostly ungoverned space existing in social media, in space provided by mostly American social media companies. Not all companies are the same and there has been real progress made, for example, by Facebook in protecting its space from ISIS supporters. Others have done less well, with YouTube and especially Twitter being far too open to the incitement and provocation of explicitly labelled propaganda by Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) which should have no place in social media. Both those companies are trying to do better, but they should do more to police the space they control and ensure protection from misuse by FTOs and supporters in what often is abuse of the terms of service of the companies themselves.

” And there are still other online hosts, such as the San Francisco-based Internet Archive founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996, which is frequently used by Jihadists as a safe harbor for their material. Surely there has to be a better way to safeguard freedom of expression, preserve online archives, and protect the public from terrorist propaganda. A bright light needs to be shined on the work of companies so that there should at the very least be an informed and rational discussion of the challenges that democratic open societies face in dealing with the propaganda of violent radicals.

“The political pathologies of the Middle East have very deep roots going back centuries which can be addressed and mitigated by Western governments but in the end cannot be solved by them. While the heavy military and political lifting can best be done by governments in the region, many of whom have a longstanding and productive relationship with the United States, there are a series of commonsense, relatively low cost steps that the U.S. government alone, and in partnership with friendly governments, with civil society, and with social media companies can, and should, take to, at the very least, make the work of these terrorists seeking to radicalize the unwary more difficult. As impressive as ISIS propaganda is, the impact has all too often been not because it was so great but because there were little or no countermeasures taken by its opponents.”


Here is the video of the entire hearing:


Ahead of 9/11, Al Qaeda Trains for ‘Lone Wolf’ Attacks

A suspected Yemeni al-Qaeda militant, center, holds a banner as he stands behind bars during a court hearing in state security court / AP

A suspected Yemeni al-Qaeda militant, center, holds a banner as he stands behind bars during a court hearing in state security court / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Sep. 10, 2015:

Al Qaeda is disseminating training manuals urging “lone wolf” attacks on America ahead of the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a copy of the terrorist group’s latest publication.

Al Qaeda on Wednesday published a list of targets and methods for individual terrorist attacks on the United States in the latest edition of its English language publication,Inspire, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which released a copy of the terrorist manual.

Just days before the annual commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group’s media arm, published a manifesto entitled “Assassination Operations,” according to the materials.

The contents of the publication are dated Sept. 15, and an editor’s note in the magazine urges lone Islamic extremists, or those not formally affiliated with a specific terrorist group, to take up arms against America and carry out a so-called “lone wolf” attack.

“Editor Yahya Ibrahim, after praising the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack [in France], notes that ‘in the coming days we are waiting for the anniversary of … the blessed 9/11 operation,’ and states that ‘We at Inspire, and in the cause of the events of 9/11, encourage the Muslims in the West to join the Lone Jihad caravan,’” according to MEMRI’s report on Al Qaeda’s latest call for violence.

The manual lays out “for the Lone Mujahid ways and methods to enable him to give victory to the religion and the prophet.”

Included is a step-by-step guide to carry out a terrorist operation without being detected by U.S. authorities.

This section, titled “Open Source Jihad,” explains “assassination operations,” as well as how to make “a timed hand grenade” and various “field tactics” to successfully complete a terror attack.

Screen-Shot-2015-09-09-at-5.01.25-PMOther portions of the guide detail how to specify “a target,” how to collect information for reconnaissance purposes, how to generate a plan of attack, how to prepare for an upcoming terrorist operation, and how to successfully execute the operation.

The guide also points out weak spots in the U.S. security regime, particularly among the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is responsible for guarding the nation’s airports.

“This issue includes graphics with text mocking Department of Homeland Security and TSA efforts and advising readers on how to circumvent them,” according to MEMRI. “One features a photo of a water bottle at airport security with the text: ‘Did you know that a TSA security officer is more likely to confiscate a water bottle than a bomb?’”

Screen-Shot-2015-09-09-at-4.49.21-PMAl Qaeda has begun to encourage lone wolf attacks as its global terror network is dismantled by international efforts. Extremists who are not affiliated with a formal terrorist network have become indoctrinated via social media networks and other online outlets.

The latest issue of Inspire was disseminated by al Qaeda-affiliated groups via Twitter, where it is easier to avoid detection by intelligence agencies.

Also see:

The Islamic State’s Propaganda War: Advertisers and Marketers Weigh in on the World’s Angriest Ad Campaign

Screengrab via freethepresscanada.or

Screengrab via freethepresscanada.or

Vice News, by Landon Shroder, July 14, 2015:

Healing the Chests of the Believing People is a July 4th summer blockbuster offering by the Islamic State (IS). The 10 minute video chronicles the fate of 25 Syrian soldiers as they are led from Tadmur Prison to the ancient Palmyra Amphitheater where, in front of the black flag of IS, they are executed by what appears to be a group of teen-age soldiers.

IS knows that this video, along with other recent death cult recruiting video classics like:Punish Them Severely to Disperse Those Who Are Behind Them, A Message Signed with Blood To the Nation of the Cross, and Healing the Souls with the Slaughtering of the Spy (Part 2, no less) will inspire people to join their cause of revolutionary social change (of the bloody jihad variety) — just like thousands of other Westerners already have.

Videos like these represent just one piece of IS’s global marketing campaign, which also consists of monthly magazines, documentaries, and nasheeds http://messages, as well as online forums, blogs, postings on the ever-ubiquitous social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and even their own short-lived Arab-language app, The Dawn of Glad Tidings, that, once downloaded, automatically posted tweets by IS to a user’s personal Twitter account.

Welcome to the propaganda war with IS — a war that is central to their defeat, and a war that the US isn’t winning.

But how does IS sell their message? How does it get people from comfortable backgrounds in the US and Europe to give up everything and join a movement so infused with violence and brutality?

The answer ultimately resides with the kinds of marketing strategies used by advertising agencies all over the world. In the most basic terms, IS is selling an idea the very same way a company would sell a product.

According to the last National Counterterrorism Center estimate released in February, almost 3,400 Westerners have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside IS. While some of these people would have found their way to the fight no matter what, it would be incorrect to assume that most have joined IS simply to satiate some kind of religious blood lust.

“Today people buy based on social conversation,” Brett Landry, creative director for DarkHorse Marketing, told VICE News. “Brands find success by placing themselves within the social conversation in meaningful or fun or shocking ways.”

Nowhere has this strategy been more successfully executed than in the horrifying media campaign run by IS’s publicity wing, al-Hayat Media Center.

The videos and images of beheadings, burnings, crucifixions, and mass executions have simultaneously revolted and enticed viewers, becoming a core component of their marketing strategy. Those who are attracted to these kinds of graphic media are initially drawn in by the production value, which is extraordinarily high compared to Al-Qaeda and other jihadist-produced propaganda of the past.

In contrast to al Qaeda’s videos, which were shot on shaky handheld cameras, IS uses sound design, special effects, rehearsed sequences, and multiple-angle scenes, as well as high-tech 5D cameras and professional editing teams.

The sensational videos take the viewer directly inside the war being waged by IS, much in the same way a video game or action movie would. This has allowed IS to situate themselves at the center of a worldwide conversation on religion, politics, and war, in a way that is entirely unencumbered by traditional communication strategies — particularly those that would rely exclusively on mainstream media to spread their message.

“The burnings, beheadings, and torture are really hard to look at, but we’re not the [target] audience,” Jason Smith, creative director for Magnetry, an advertising agency in Phoenix, told VICE News. “The brutality works in their favor because it proves their effectiveness. The darker the images, the more obvious the void or lack of someone preventing them.”

Marketing these atrocities has a two-fold propaganda value: IS is not only defining exactly who they are, but who they are not, as well, which resonates with a select group of people who equate extreme violence with power. More importantly, the brutality automatically narrows down the viewing audience, allowing the message to specifically target those who might be susceptible to radicalization.

Additionally, IS propaganda is produced in a way that allows it to be packaged for broadcast media and online video forums like YouTube, LiveLeak, and Vimeo. This ensures that at least some of the content will be replayed on mainstream news outlets, regardless of the subject matter.

Because of this, IS has developed a very effective and low-cost type of advertising campaign reliant on something called “earned media.” Earned media is about generating buzz — getting other people to talk about and push your agenda and story. This kind of marketing strategy fundamentally relies on the viral tendencies surrounding online “word of mouth” and comes in the form of mentions, shares, reposts, views, and third-party broadcasts, and acts as a force multiplier for any IS media project.

“The sole focus of an earned media campaign is to reach the maximum amount of viewers with the minimum amount of effort,” Landry told VICE News. “The US and world media are feeding on the content, and that’s huge earned media for ISIS…The more it’s talked about, the more free advertising they get.”

Using social media sites like Twitter contributes to the earned media campaign of IS by providing platforms to spread videos, documentaries, audio messages, and other propaganda products, and allowing users to interact and engage with those products instantly and continuously.

While there are no exact numbers available with regard to internet penetration by IS, according to the ISIS Twitter Census, released by the Brookings Institution in March 2015, at any one time, there are between 46,000 and 90,000 active IS Twitter accounts, each having an average of 1,004 followers who produce approximately 2,219 tweets during the account’s lifetime.

These accounts not only further disseminate IS propaganda, but allows recruiters to connect with potential volunteers in near real time, which has helped the IS brand reach a diverse global audience.

“There are units of specialized recruiters operating around the clock from internet cafes in Iraq and Syria, interacting on an individual level with prospective recruits,” Henry Tuck, program coordinator for Extreme Dialogue at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, told VICE News. “Content is expertly tailored to specific audiences in multiple languages, with propaganda aimed at women, converts to Islam, and even certain professions.”

Read more

Also see:

‘A Global Network of Jihadi Activists’: ISIS Using Social Media to Reach Americans

Gorka on FoxFox News Insider, July 18, 2015:

Did ISIS propaganda inspire Chattanooga shooter Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez?

Just days before the attack, Abdulazeez posted a cryptic message on his blog. “Brothers and sisters, don’t be fooled by your desires. This life is short and bitter, and the opportunity to submit to Allah may pass you buy,” Abdulazeez wrote.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka appeared on “Fox and Friends Weekend” to explain how terrorists are using social media to turn typical American kids into radical extremists.

Gorka said that when it comes to using the Internet, ISIS makes Al Qaeda look like the real “JV team.”

“If you compare the number of platforms they have, more than 20,000 platforms, if you compare the magazine they have, the English language e-magazine called ‘Dabiq,’ it makes Al Qaeda’s English language Jihadi magazine, ‘Inspire,’ look like some high school publication,” Gorka said. “The Internet is essential to recruiting and also to training, providing the trade craft lessons to the future jihadis that will attack Americans.”

He said that the State Department’s attempts to counter ISIS propaganda fail again and again because they ignore the fact that this is about religious ideology.

“You can only beat an ideology by coming up with a counterattack, a counter-offensive, like we did during the Cold War. You’ve got to have counter propaganda,” Gorka asserted.

He added that it’s time to ditch the label of “lone wolf attacks.”

“This is designed to make us disconnect the dots. It’s designed to make us think these are sporadic, disconnected individuals,” Gorka said. “They’re not. Whether it’s the Ft. Hood shooter, whether it’s the Tsarnaev brothers, whether it’s the Charlie Hebdo shooter or this man in Chattanooga, they are all connected by the ideology, by the stuff they consume on the Internet. This is a global network of jihadi activists, and we’re only going to beat it if we attack it as a network.”

Anna Kooiman pointed out that ISIS reportedly creates 90,000 social media posts per day and has between 500 and 2,000 Twitter accounts.

Gorka said we need to go on the offensive.

“We have to help the reformers. We have to help the people who want to take the fight to the jihad through technology, through financing. The CIA has to be involved, and we have to get serious about it.”

Will ISIS Attack on the June 29 Anniversary of the Caliphate?

A photo posted by ISIS today of their caliphate police force

A photo posted by ISIS today of their caliphate police force

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, June 1, 2015:

It’s not the best time for the United States to be facing a terror threat from within.

Intelligence services have been overwhelmed with not just covert communications but a massive web of open-source outreach including tweets, chats, books, videos, new slick radio [2], memos, photo essays and magazines by terror organizations, members and sympathizers. Even when a suspect is known to authorities, such as Garland, Texas, shooter Elton Simpson, they’re flying under the radar.

It’s a time when ISIS is emboldened from the seizures of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria, expanding their territory as their opponents squabble over who gave up the Iraqi city 80 miles west of Baghdad. As ISIS contractors around the globe are written off as “lone wolves,” [3] the terror group is letting its followers know that they needn’t come to the caliphate to train but can prep for and execute a lethal attack at home. And if someone does choose to get on a plane, they need only get their confidence boosted by today’s report[4] that Transportation Security Administration screeners caught just 3 out of 70 attempts to sneak banned items, including dummy bombs, through checkpoints by red-teamers for the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.

Jihadists didn’t attack a heavily armed “draw Muhammad” event last Friday outside the Phoenix mosque attended by Simpson and fellow attacker Nadir Soofi, though the organizer has gone into hiding after threats. Online jihadists were relatively subdued about the event, though al-Qaeda did release guidelines [5] last week detailing which blasphemers would be on their hit list.

So what is ISIS waiting for? Their anniversary, perhaps.

British jihadi Siddhartha Dhar, who now goes by Abu Rumaysah al-Britani after slipping off to the Islamic State when UK authorities arrested him but failed to take his passport when he was released on bail, recently penned what he passed off as a rather innocuous guide pitching the homey comforts of the caliphate from lattes to pickles. Yet he stressed in “A Brief Guide to the Islamic State [2015]“ [6] the importance of an upcoming date: He called the founding of the Islamic State on June 29, 2014, a “date right up there with 11th September 2001.”

“In fact, in many ways it surpasses it purely for what it symbolizes,” he added.

Rumaysah ended the 47-page guide on a decidedly dark note: “As the Islamic State army edges closer and closer to Damascus and Baghdad, as a lion stalks its prey, watch closely at how defeat eats away at the loser, because these two cities are just appetisers. When we descend on the streets of London, Paris and Washington the taste will be far bitterer, because not only will we spill your blood, but we will also demolish your statues, erase your history and, most painfully, convert your children who will then go on to champion our name and curse their forefathers.”

June 29, a Monday, is one day before the P5+1 deadline for a final nuclear deal with Iran. Congress is in recess that week for the Fourth of July holiday. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins June 17.

Charlie Winter, a researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, told [7] The Independent that he believes ISIS will be “more active than ever” as their anniversary approaches.

“There is a concerted effort to appear as relevant as ever, stronger than ever and more defiant than ever in the face of international opposition,” he added, predicting the group would be planning “more violence, more advances, more attacks.”

They may not be specifically aiming for a U.S. attack; the Islamic State hacking division just days ago published the names and addresses of Italian military commanders online as targets, the faces of the women cut out.

Maurizio Gasparri, a senator with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, last month accused [8] the government of “bringing in Islamist fundamentalists and using Italian ships as taxis for potential jihadists” with migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy.

Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni warned [8] that they “don’t have months and months” to address the migrant crisis with humanitarian and national security implications. “The double risk of an advance of the Islamic State group in Libya and the waves of migrants means we are in a race against the clock,” he told Corriere della Sera.

ISIS’ desire to sack Rome warranted an entire e-book [9], predicting “recruits” from among “left-wing activists” in Europe sympathetic to their cause “will give intelligence, share weapons and do undercover work for the Muslims to pave the way for the conquest of Rome.” They also predicted, though, that the Mafia will put up a fight.

Here in the United States, nearly a month ago the Pentagon raised the security level at military bases to the highest level since the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

FBI Director James Comey warned around the same time that “the haystack is the entire country” when it comes to finding ISIS.

“We are looking for the needles, but increasingly the needles are unavailable to us. … This is the ‘going dark’ problem in living color,” Comey said. “There are Elton Simpsons out there that I have not found and I cannot see.”

As far as specific threats for America, a message [10] to “brothers and sisters fighting for the Sake of Allah” was posted on an online file-sharing site days after the Garland attack by a user claiming to be an ISIS-affiliated American.

“We have been watching closely who was present at this event and the shooter of our brothers. We knew that the target was protected. Our intention was to show how easy we give our lives for the Sake of Allah,” said the message, which was tweeted by a user who described him or herself as “stuck in the lands of the kufr [nonbelievers],” with a photo of an ISIS flag and a residential suburban neighborhood in the background.

The message said ISIS has stationed “71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire.”

“Out of the 71 trained soldiers 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday, We are increasing in number bithnillah. Of the 15 states, 5 we will name… Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan,” the posting continued. “The disbelievers who shot our brothers think that you killed someone untrained, nay, they gave you their bodies in plain view because we were watching.”

“The next six months will be interesting.”

The Newest Guide On ISIS: Comparing Self-Declared Caliphate to “Plush Holiday Resort”


CSP, by Rachel Silverman, May 27, 2015:

Abu Rumaysah, a British jihadist who fled the UK to join ISIS in Syria, has released an ebook guide titled, A Brief Guide to the Islamic State (2015). This guide targets western recruits and compares territories under the extremist group to a “plush holiday resort.”

When describing the food, Rumaysah writes, “If you thought you would be living on stale bread and septic water then erase that culinary fib from you mind. The great thing about food in the Caliphate is its freshness. You can be sure that the vegetables you crunch down on basked gloriously in the sunshine before reaching your dinner plate. And what about the olive groves? Yes, there are plenty of them and the pickles and rich oils that spring them beat anything from your local Tescos.”

Rumaysah boasts of the education offered in the Caliphate, “There are no classes promoting homosexuality, evolution, music, drama, interfaith and the rest of the rubbish taught in non-Muslim schools. You child’s delicate mind is well and truly protected in the Calihpate.”

Despite the strict curriculum, Rumaysah goes on saying the Caliphate, “screams diversity” and has become a “magnet for talent.” “If you thought London or New York was cosmopolitan then wait until you step foot in the Islamic State, because it screams diversity. In my short time here I have met people from absolutely every walk of life, proof that the Caliphate’s pulling power is strong and tenacious.”

There is, however, no mention of the sex slave markets, beheadings for being gay, dismemberment, stoning, violence and tyranny widely reported in Syria and Iraq.

Rumaysah extols the improvements to transportation under ISIS and how one can now travel freely between Iraq and Syria now that the “satanic boundary” has been bulldozed, even though the guide makes no mention of the historic monuments, antiquities, and religious sites it has also destroyed.

Just like the guide that was released in late March, How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide (2015), this ebook is also just another propaganda piece designed to convert more Westerners to join fighters in Iraq and Syria, as ISIS strengthens its grip in the Middle East.

The guide ends with a chilling message for the West, “When we descend on the streets of London, Paris and Washington the taste will be far bitter, because not only will we spill your blood, but we will also demolish your statues, erase your history, and, most painfully, convert your children who will then go on to champion our name and curse their forefathers.”

Islamic State Magazine Asks: ‘Did You Think We Were Joking?’

Islamic State Terror Handbook Trains Western Jihadis To Avoid Capture



Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, May 15, 2015:

Affiliates of the Islamic State terror group are distributing a new handbook aimed to help Western jihadis avoid capture by the police and train them to clandestinely build bombs and transport weapons, according to a review of the guide, which is being distributed across the Internet as an e-book.

The handbook, “How to Survive in the West,” instructs Western jihadis on how to blend into their societies and hide their terror activities. This includes hiding their belief in Islam and keeping any weapons-related work confined to their homes, according to the guide, which was analyzed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

The chapter of the manual focusing on homemade bomb-making provides tips on how to assemble cellphone detonators and other types of secret explosives.

The handbook “explains that while al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula taught its readers how to make three different types of bombs, whereas this chapter ‘will focus on six different types: Molotov cocktail, nail bomb, microwave airbag bomb, gas canister bomb, remote controlled bomb, and car bomb,’” according to excerpts of the guide provided by MEMRI.

The accused Boston marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, are hailed as a model for Western jihadists.

“The book explains that the microwave airbag bomb was used by the Tsarnaev brothers in their attack on the Boston marathon, and that their bag contained: ‘A mini microwave oven, car airbags (containing sodium azide) or aerosol, [propane] spray cans placed in the oven, nails/sharp rocks/metal balls (shrapnel) put in the microwave oven, and a timer,’” according to the chapter on bomb-making.

“They put the timer on to when they wanted the oven switched on. When the microwave was on, it would heat up the airbags or aerosol cans. The airbags or aerosol cans would explode due to intensity in heat and pressure, forcing the microwave door to open forcefully. The nails/sharp rocks etc. in the microwave would come flying out of the microwave in the direction of the target.”

A step-by-step guide on how to construct a cellphone detonator also is included.

Instructions for making a cellphone detonator

“The principle in this is simple,” the handbook states. “Buy two cheap cell phones, wire one up to explosives (like leaking gas in a fully closed car) and use the other as a detonator by simply ringing the phone wired to the explosives. The mujahideen use this technique all around the world. It keeps you safe because you can be far away when activating the device, and it is easy to make!”

Another section of the terror guide provides tips on the best ways to secretly transport weapons. Western terrorists reading the guide are encouraged to mimic drug smugglers and other types of gangs.

The guide states:

After buying weapons, transporting the weapons and huge sums of cash/jewelry from one location to another in the boot of the car can be dangerous and will give you a long-term jail sentence. You could be jailed for smuggling, laundering and dealing in arms. The best method gangs have used throughout the world is to take your car to a garage, and make hidden compartments within the bodywork of the car. These hidden holes are usually made within the car body’s interior, since security services and border guards simply do not have enough time or equipment to search all cars for hidden compartments. Gangs place bags of money, drugs, and weapons within these hidden compartments. They then ask the lower ranked “transporters’ in their gangs to deliver and transport this car from one country or city to another without fear of being detected.


The terror guide additionally instructs any jihadi living in Western countries to make efforts to blend into society

“By not showing you’re Muslim, you’ve already excluded yourself being in the ‘Terrorist watchlist,’” the guide states. “Don’t make it too obvious you have become a practicing Muslim.”

Men are told to not grow beards and women are encouraged to avoid wearing a hijab in public.

“When a Muslim goes out in public, he wants to fit into society to make himself look as normal as possible. Remember this isn’t because he fears his Islamic identity, but he is doing this so he is not suspected of being an outsider enemy,” the guide says.

Pentagon struggles to counter success of Islamic State social media, info war

The Islamic State’s latest mass-beheading video purports to show the executions of dozens of Ethiopian Christians against multiple backdrops — including one replete with blood-colored waves lapping up from the Mediterranean. (Associated Press)

The Islamic State’s latest mass-beheading video purports to show the executions of dozens of Ethiopian Christians against multiple backdrops — including one replete with blood-colored waves lapping up from the Mediterranean. (Associated Press)

The Washington Times – Wednesday, May 13, 2015:

The Pentagon is struggling to counter the information warfare efforts of the Islamic State terrorist group that are effectively exploiting U.S. social media and Western press freedoms to recruit jihadists and communicate among themselves.

Bureaucratic red tape within the military, specifically the U.S. Central Command and Pentagon, is preventing rapid responses to IS propaganda and activities, Inside the Ring has learned from knowledgeable sources.

One problem is the cumbersome approval process needed before U.S. information warriors can carry out counter-actions online. Prior to doing so, they’re required to go through several layers of approvals along a lengthy chain of command.

As a result, in some cases U.S. information operations against IS propaganda were delayed for days or weeks, often making the responses ineffective or useless.

Additionally, U.S. information operations have been weakened and limited in conducting counter-information attacks because of concerns the American hand will be exposed. Another problem has been fear among U.S. higher-ups that IS will step up both information and kinetic attacks in response.

Outright lies — such as false reports of U.S. troops deployments — are more easily countered. But those cases are infrequent. Aggressive online programs to dissuade would-be jihadists and expose IS propaganda programs and activities have been stifled. Counter cyber attacks against known IS operators also have been limited.

The U.S. information warfare effort has been hampered by officials have said is a cultural bias against propaganda activities, which are sometime regarded as contrary to U.S. freedoms. That is said to be changing, however, as terrorist groups like IS and al Qaeda are increasing their use of soft power methods to attack the West. Nation-state information warfare, particularly by China, Russia and Iran, also is gradually being recognized as a growing strategic threat.

The IS information threat was highlighted by the alert issued last week raising the security threat level on U.S. military bases. The alert was prompted by an IS-linked hacker group that posted a notice online warning of an “another surprise for America” — interpreted as a possible attack.

As a result, U.S. Northern Command commander, Adm. Bill Gortney, ordered military bases to tighten security from “Alpha” to “Bravo” level around the country. Force-protection level Bravo is ordered in response to a somewhat predictable terrorist threat.

The group making the threat was the same hacker group that successfully conducted a cyber attack on Central Command’s social media accounts in January, replacing web pages with IS propaganda and the name “Cybercaliphate.”

The group conducted some low-level cyber attacks against several Pentagon web sites last week in attempted “denial-of-service” cyber strikes whose impact was limited.

One example of IS’s online agility is its use of Twitter. IS operatives and supporters are using multiple Twitter accounts to send well-crafted videos and propaganda materials. Usually, IS terrorists open up to six Twitter accounts, with successive accounts being used after one or more of the accounts are shut down by the social media giant, often at U.S. government urging.

One effective propaganda and recruiting video was posted on a Russian Internet site and targeted Central Asia Muslims. The five-minute video was described as extremely professional in both content and production values.

Another trend is a recent shift by IS away from Web-based social media sites to mobile devices that are being used to communicate through text messaging, and propagandize by mobile videos shared directly between hand-held devices.

Additionally, IS information operations to inspire Islamists to conduct attacks in the United States also are shifting to the so-called “Dark Web,” the gray Internet underworld used by criminals to share information and software.

IS also appears to have studied information dissemination methods used by neo-Nazi groups, in order to communicate and spread their message in the English-speaking world.

The target audience for IS includes Islamist sympathizers who are not directly linked to the Syrian/Iraqi based IS terror group.

‘Terrorism has gone viral’: US officials, lawmakers warn of growing jihad-inspired attacks

ISIS_Twitter_2Fox News, May 10, 2015:

Top U.S. officials and lawmakers on Sunday intensified concerns about the growing threat of jihad-inspired terror attacks against the United States, after last week’s attempt in Texas and the dire FBI warning that followed.

“I think there’s been an uptick in the stream of threats out there,” Texas GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re seeing these directives on almost a daily basis. It’s very concerning. Terrorism has gone viral.”

McCaul’s comments follow the May 3 attack by two gunmen outside a “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas.

Tweets by one of the two gunmen, killed by police in the attack, appear to link him to radical Islamic terror groups. And Internet chatter purportedly tipped off officials about a possible attack on the event.

On Thursday, FBI Director James Comey said the attack, in which a security officer was shot in the leg, highlights the difficulties the FBI faces — as social media facilitates communication between terror groups and potential homegrown extremists.

He also said the Islamic State terror group has thousands of English-language followers on Twitter, including many in the U.S.

tfss-01f17193-eb53-4fa3-b838-98d2381295de-811740152The group also is increasingly steering followers into forums that allow for encrypted communications that can be harder for law enforcement officials to access.

In addition, the Islamic State has been encouraging followers to travel to Syria to join the self-created caliphate there, but if they can’t do that, to “kill where you are,” Comey said.

“The siren song sits in the pockets, on the mobile phones, of the people who are followers on Twitter,” Comey said. “It’s almost as if there’s a devil sitting on the shoulder, saying ‘Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill,’ all day long.”

McCaul said Comey was “exactly right” and that trying to find ISIS’ calling for terror attacks across the broad spectrum of social media is “like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

He also said the terror threat now is “one of the highest that I’ve ever seen” and warned of similar incidents in the future.

“It’s going to get worse, not better,” he said. “This is very difficult to stop.”

Also on Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the U.S. is facing a new phase of terrorism in which a so-called lone-wolf terrorist, inspired by Islamic State propaganda on social media, could “strike at any moment.”

The Obama administration has said the attack in suburban Dallas last week was a “lone wolf” effort.

“We’re very definitely in a new environment, because of ISIL’s effective use of social media, the Internet, which has the ability to reach into the homeland and possibly inspire others,” Johnson said on  ABC’s “This Week.”

On Friday, the Pentagon increased security measures for military bases across the country based on what officials said are increasing but non-specific threats from Islamic State extremists and supporters.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Sunday also agreed with Comey.

“I think [the Islamic State’s message] is ‘kill, kill, kill,’ ” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s a force that we really haven’t seen before, and we have to begin to cope more seriously with it, and that includes social media.”

She also suggested a changing terror environment in which Islamic extremist groups encourage a lone wolf to commit an attack, then “take credit for it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

U.S. Military Bases Raise Security Level as FBI Director Warns of ISIS Threat

CSP, by Aaron Kliegman, My 8, 2015:

FBI Director James Comey warned on Thursday that potentially thousands of people inside the United States are consuming recruitment “poison” and directives to attack the U.S. from Islamic State (ISIS), which he compared to “a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, “‘Kill, kill, kill, kill’ all day long.’”

Comey elaborated to a small group of reporters that ISIS is using social media in an unprecedented manner to reach large amounts of people on personal electronic devices. From Syria, the jihadists are initially contacting individuals on Twitter and then directing them to encrypted venues where U.S. authorities lose the communications.

J.M. Berger, an analyst at The Brookings Institution, told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, “We’re [the US] getting creamed on social media.” He added that ISIS’s magazine, Dabiq, which is named after a key town in Islamic eschatology where the Muslim and Christian armies will face each other, is another effective propaganda tool.

Social media, however, does not sufficiently explain why people join ISIS; a tweet in itself will not cause someone to kill and wish to join the caliphate. People who support ISIS must first be indoctrinated to accept shariah law obligations regarding waging jihad.

Comey noted that ISIS’s recruitment is difficult because the group says if foreigners cannot travel to “the caliphate” to fight, then they should kill wherever they are, thus breaking down the model of “‘inspired’” versus “‘directed,’” making it difficult to determine if someone is a “‘talker or a doer.’”

In a chilling assessment, Comey described how “the haystack is the entire country. We are looking for the needles, but increasingly the needles are unavailable to us. … This is the ‘going dark’ problem in living color. There are other Elton Simpsons out there that I have not found and I cannot see.”

Simpson was one of two men who launched a failed attack in Garland, Texas against a “Draw the Prophet” Muhammad contest before being killed. Authorities have been watching him since 2006 for terrorist-related activity, and he was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to three years probation.

Simpson was indoctrinated well before reaching out to Islamic State from attending the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP), which has produced multiple terrorists beyond Simpson and his partner Nadir Hamid Soofi. ICCP’s imam has strong connectionsto Muslim Brotherhood front organizations. It is reasonable to ask what role the Garland shooters’ mosque played in preparing the men to be susceptible to ISIS propaganda.

The Texas attack is not an isolated incident as other ISIS-inspired acts have taken place on American soil. As recently as Thursday, for example, 21-year-old Christopher Lee Cornell, who was arrested last year for planning an assault on the US Capitol, was additionally accused of providing material support to ISIS. Furthermore, 20-year-old John Booker, Jr. was arrested a month ago for allegedly trying to bomb Fort Riley in Kansas in support of ISIS.

The FBI Director’s warnings and aforementioned events, among others, helped cause all US military bases to raise their security levels to “Bravo,” the third of five levels of alert and the highest point since the 10th anniversary of 9/11, because of a threatening environment created by ISIS. The Pentagon defines level “Bravo” as an “increased and predictable threat of terrorism.”

Admiral William Gortney, head of the U.S. Northern Command, which manages U.S. military instillations in the continental US, signed the order “as a prudent measure due to a lot of things in the news lately.”

Comey’s comments and Gortney’s security order make clear that Islamic State’s ability to recruit sympathetic Muslims from within the United States poses a real threat to the American homeland, and not just to Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

In countering this enemy, however, the U.S. must remember that it is the ideological content of the message, and not the chosen media, that leads jihadists to join the fight.


Also see:

FBI knew shooter might go to Muhammad drawing contest

FBI crime scene investigators document evidence outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas where two men opened fire Sunday night on police who were guarding a contest to draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed. (Brandon Wade/AP)

FBI crime scene investigators document evidence outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas where two men opened fire Sunday night on police who were guarding a contest to draw artoons of the Prophet Muhammed. (Brandon Wade/AP)

Washington Post, by Adam Goldman, May 7, 2015:

FBI Director James B. Comey said Thursday his agents learned hours before the start of a cartoon contest and exhibit depicting the prophet Muhammad that one of the gunmen had expressed interest in going to the controversial event in Texas, but there was no indication he was planning an attack.

Comey said the FBI sent an intelligence bulletin to local authorities through its Dallas field office that included a picture of Elton Simpson, 30, and other details such as his associates and possible license plate numbers.

“But we didn’t know more than that,” Comey said in an interview with reporters at FBI headquarters.

Simpson and his roommate, Nadir Soofi, 34, who lived in Phoenix, were killed by a local traffic officer as they opened fire at a conference center in Garland, Tex., where the competition was taking place.

The two men were heavily armed, U.S. law enforcement officials said. They had six weapons — four handguns and two semiautomatic assault rifles. Soofi is thought to have purchased one of the rifles on Craigslist, officials said.

All of the weapons were purchased legally, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Comey also provided details about the FBI’s long-standing interest in Simpson. He said FBI agents in Phoenix began investigating Simpson in about 2006, based on information that he was looking to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate and a U.S.- designated terrorist organization.

Simpson was arrested in 2010 after he bought a plane ticket to South Africa. He was charged with lying to FBI agents in connection with terrorism. He was convicted, however, of a lesser charge the following year and sentenced to three years’ probation.

Comey said the FBI continued to investigate Simpson until 2014. Agents in Phoenix reopened the case in March, Comey said, after “we developed information that he was making statements on social media that might indicate a renewed interest in jihad, but this time with” the Islamic State.

He added that the “investigation was open, but far from complete.”

Comey declined to discuss whether the FBI was also looking at Soofi, but other officials said agents in Phoenix were preparing to investigate him when the shooting took place.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Soofi’s mother, Sharon Soofi, said her son had discussed Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American preacher who took on a prominent role in al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate before he was killed in a 2011 drone strike.

Soofi’s mother said her other son, Ali Soofi, lived with his brother and Simpson. She said Ali Soofi was concerned about Simpson’s influence on his brother and recently moved out.

Comey said the FBI will review whether the bureau made any missteps and could have stopped Simpson and Soofi before the attack. But, he said, he hasn’t seen any indications that his agents missed a major warning sign.

The roommates apparently fell under the sway of the Islamic State, which has been using social media, including Twitter, to encourage attacks in the United States.

Comey said the Islamic State’s effort to recruit and motivate people in the United States to try to do harm was paying dividends.

“If you can’t travel, kill where you are,” Comey said, echoing the Islamic State’s message to followers. He described the Islamic State’s message as a siren’s song, one easily accessed on phones or computers.

“It’s almost if there is a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, ‘Kill,’ ‘Kill,’ ‘Kill,’ ‘Kill,’ all day long,” he said.

Comey also discussed whether the attack was actually directed by the Islamic State. He said al-Qaeda previously would train its operatives so they could be vetted before getting an assignment.

“But what we see [the Islamic State] doing is trying in a way to test people’s bona fides by urging them to kill,” he said. “Sometimes supplying with them hit lists, sometimes suggesting particular targets, but other times just ‘kill in our name.’ In a way, the old paradigm between inspired or directed breaks down here.


FBI Gave Police Three Hour Warning Before Garland Attack (