Brookings Study of ISIS Twitter Accounts Reveals US among Top Locations

Forbes _ISIS_Twitter_ statista  graphicNER, by Jerry Gordon, March 9, 2015:

A Brookings Institution examination of a complete data set of 20,000 ISIS Twitter accounts ranked Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and US as the top four locations of twitter users, The ISIS Twitter Census: Defining and Describing the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter.   The authors of the ISIS Twitter census are J.M. Berger and Jonathan Morgan.  Berger “is a non-resident fellow with the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings and the author of Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam (Potomac Books, 2011) and ISIS: The State of Terror (Ecco, 2015).”  Morgan “is a technologist, data scientist, and startup veteran. He runs technology and product development at CrisisNET, Ushahidi’s streaming crisis data platform, and consults on machine learning and network analysis. Morgan is also co-host of Partially Derivative, a popular data science podcast.”  The Brookings ISIS Twitter project was “commissioned by Google Ideas and published by Brookings”.  The Brookings Saban Middle East Center think tank has had a close relationship with the Obama National Security Council. Use of social media by Islamic extremist groups like ISIS figured prominently in President Obama’s recent, Summit to Counter Violent Extremism. See our March 2015 NER article; Did President Obama’s Violent Extremism Conference Fail?

Notwithstanding the provenance of the Brookings Twitter Census report, the data and methodology are credible and revealing of  how ISIS and supporters use social media.  The authors noted three classes of Twitter users as a precaution interpreting the study results:

Covert supporters of ISIS:

Users who took medium to strong steps to conceal their support due to fear of prosecution or suspension by Twitter. Users who took only casual steps to disguise their support were generally detectable.

Pro-ISIS intelligence operatives:

Some users who follow accounts related to the enemies of ISIS, such as rival jihadists, would be coded as non-supporters under the conservative criteria we employed.

Anti-ISIS intelligence operatives:

These are accounts created to appear as ISIS supporters in order to allow ISIS’s enemies to monitor its activities, which would be coded as supporters (if done effectively).

twitter_location2

Locations of ISIS Twitter Accounts

Source: The ISIS Twitter Census, Brookings Institution, 2015

 

Here is the  Twitter Census Data Snapshot drawn from the Brookings study:

Best estimate of total number of overt ISIS supporter accounts on Twitter:

46,000

Maximum estimate of ISIS supporter accounts on Twitter:

90,000

Number of accounts analyzed for demographics information:

20,000

Estimated percentage of overt ISIS supporters in demographics data set:

93.2 percent (+/- 2.54 percent)

Period over which data was collected:

October 4 through November

27, 2014, with some seed data collected in late September 2014

Top Locations of Accounts:

“Islamic State,” Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, US

Most common year accounts were created:

2014

Most common month accounts were created:

September 2014

Number of accounts detected using bots and deceptive spam tactics:

6,216 using bot or spam technology for some tweets; 3,301 accounts were excluded from the Demographics Dataset for primarily sending bot or spam content

Average number of tweets per day per user:

7.3 over lifetime of account, 15.5 over last 200 tweets by user

Average number of tweets per user (Over lifetime of the Account):

2,219

Average number of followers:

1,004

Smartphone usage:

69 percent Android, 30 percent iPhone,

1 percent Blackberry

Among the principal findings from the Brookings Twitter Census were:

  • From September through December 2014, the authors estimate that at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters, although not all of them were active at the same time.
  • Typical ISIS supporters were located within the organization’s territories in Syria and Iraq, as well as in regions contested by ISIS. Hundreds of ISIS-supporting accounts sent tweets with location metadata embedded.
  • Almost one in five ISIS supporters selected English as their primary language when using Twitter. Three quarters selected Arabic.
  • ISIS-supporting accounts had an average of about 1,000 followers each, considerably higher than an ordinary Twitter user. ISIS-supporting accounts were also considerably more active than non-supporting users.
  • A minimum of 1,000 ISIS-supporting accounts were suspended by Twitter between September and December 2014. Accounts that tweeted most often and had the most followers were most likely to be suspended.
  • Much of ISIS’s social media success can be attributed to a relatively small group of hyperactive users, numbering between 500 and 2,000 accounts, which tweet in concentrated bursts of high volume.

Based on their analysis, the authors concluded:

Recommend social media companies and the U.S government work together to devise appropriate responses to extremism on social media. Approaches to the problem of extremist use of social media, Berger and Morgan contend, are most likely to succeed when they are mainstreamed into wider dialogues among the broad range of community, private, and public stakeholders.

Our assessment is that given the close Brookings Middle East Center liaison with the Obama National Security Council and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Richard Stengel, the latter tasked with social media counter messaging,  that little follow will occur. That is reflected in Google sponsorship of this Brookings Twitter Census report and overarching concerns of social media like Facebook, Google YouTube, Twitter and  Instagram about maintaining Constitutional guarantees of free speech.  These social media would prefer to establish their own criteria for suspending terrorists and supporters accounts.  Monitoring and development of metadata from  ISIS Twitter supporters in the West, especially in the US and the UK, should be left to counter terrorism intelligence echelons or private groups like SITE Intelligence Group and effective individuals like our colleague Joseph Shahda. Congressional Homeland Security and Select Intelligence Committees should hold hearings and investigations into current terrorist social media surveillance, especially for those US ISIS accounts identified in the Brookings ISIS Twitter Census.

Also see:

VA ISIS Suspect Linked to Islamist Clothing Shop; Jihadis in Iran

jihadist-shirts-IPBy Ryan Mauro:

A teenage supporter of the Islamic State (ISIS) has been arrested in Virginia for acting as a liaison between ISIS members in the Middle East and sympathizers outside the region, but research into the individual’s associations indicate he was part of a larger terrorist network.

He is described as a “brilliant kid” who was a freelance writer covering digital currencies, but he’s also linked to a jihadist clothing shop with a phone number in the northern Virginia area. This shop appears to be directly connected to a Balochi terrorist group in Iran.

The suspect is unnamed because he is 17-years old and a juvenile. The Clarion Project is likewise withholding his name. Authorities are hoping to try him as an adult.

The student maintained contact with ISIS members and is known to have arranged for another individual to join the terrorist group in Syria. No information about that individual has been disclosed, including whether he or she is an American.

Authorities also looked into another student at his school, Osbourn Park High School, but found he was only a “minor player.” No further details have been given about this second student.

Associates of the suspect described him as a loner who was “pretty quiet” and did not leave the house much. There is no evidence yet that he expressed his Islamist extremism to fellow students, friends or his work supervisor.

His LinkedIn page said he supports two Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups accused of also being tied to Hamas: The Council on American-Islamic Relations  and Islamic Relief Worldwide, which has an American branch headquartered in Virginia. He was specifically supportive of CAIR’s New York chapter whose leadership is exceptionally supportive of Hamas.

Both groups are banned by the Muslim country of the United Arab Emirates as terrorist entities. Israel banned Islamic Relief Worldwide last summer for allegedly financing Hamas.

The Virginia student was radicalized as early as August 2013. A piece he authored has been discovered that was written for an Islamist extremist clothing shop. It is unknown if he wore the attire to school but if he did then this could be another example of citizen negligence.

Affiliation with Islamist Clothing Shop

The article was written for a now-defunct website named Islamica Online that sells “Sharia-compliant” clothing for websites. The attire is militant in nature with slogans about jihad and images of AK-47s. Its multiple social media pages repeatedly and enthusiastically distributed his pieces.

A saved image of the website shows that it is based in South Africa but it has a contact number with an area code in the northern Virginia area. It also had a number for Europe/Middle East and Africa/Asia.

The suspect’s viewpoint was that Islam justifies slavery and it is a better alternative to execution or isolation:

“Upon careful analysis of slavery in Islam, one can clearly see that it is intended as a method of peacefully reintegrating former belligerents into a society. Instead of executing enemy forces, or their women and children, they are made as slaves and given human rights whereupon they will learn to except [sic] the Muslims who defeated them, and learn the kindness of Muslim culture and Islam.

“As a practical and beneficial alternative to long-lasting social and cultural strife, this practice immediately brings the conquered soldiers closer to the Muslims and eases any kind of animosity they once harbored. It is a method of getting these individuals ready for a new society, and providing them with the resources to succeed in preparation for integrating them into it, and eventually making them average citizens. This is a system far superior to simply executing captured enemy soldiers or allowing societal rifts to persist.”

ISIS openly engages in slavery but it also executes captives. The suspect is not opposed to executing enemies, but he feels slavery is a better alternative. This apparently was a negligible disagreement for the suspect.

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The Lessons

Islamica’s advertising emphasizes that you can be Sharia-compliant and sylish all at once. This is yet another example of how ISIS is presenting itself as the “cool” jihadists to reach the next generation. This arrest is a microcosm of a larger strategy.

This could also be a teaching moment for civilians. It is very possible that he wore this clothing to school and shared his articles on social media accounts. It has become a pattern to find that terrorists expressed their sympathies online and apparently no one says anything about it.

The very nature of radicalism makes it difficult for Islamist extremists to keep their mouths shut and their social media cleansed. If you’re so dedicated to something that you’re willing to die or go to jail for it, then it’ll be hard not to talk about it. In fact, radicals may feel an obligation to promote their beliefs as part of dawaah (Islam’s required proselytizing).

The Department of Homeland Security’s campaign for citizen awareness is “If you see something, say something.” The website’s explanation focuses on very vague actions that could indicate planning for an attack; not statements revealing dangerous intentions.

This student’s essay on the positive attributes of Islamic slavery or possible wearing of jihadist clothing with AK-47s would slip right under the radar. Even a declaration of support for ISIS wouldn’t necessarily qualify. It’s no surprise that Islamist radicalism often goes unreported when civilians have no idea what to look for and no idea what to say.

The third lesson is that we need to stop distinguishing between Islamist extremists. It is easy to dismiss one’s connection to a Balochi extremist group. It’s not Al-Qaeda. It’s not ISIS. And the Iranian Balochi are primary concerned with the Iranian regime and we’re preoccupied, so focus elsewhere.

This stems from seeing the common Islamist extremist bond between all these groups. It doesn’t much matter where the primary enemy is Iran because the jihadist is in Balochistan or Bashar Assad because the jihadist happens to reside in Syria or Israel because the jihadist lives in Gaza.

The threat is the ideology common to all of them. If you’re involved in a caliphate-promoting, jihad-preaching, anti-Western group like Ansar al-Furqan, it isn’t too far of a step to join a caliphate-promoting, jihad-preaching, anti-Western group like ISIS.

There is still much to learn about this Virginia student’s path to radicalization but it looks like Ansar al-Furqan formed the ideological foundation for him to join ISIS.

The State Department needs to recognize the interconnectedness of the Islamist terrorist threat and designate Ansar al-Furqan and its two component groups as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. And more importantly, we need a broader ideological strategy against Islamism instead of chasing its many manifestations independently.

Read more at Clarion Project

***

Published on Mar 6, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Feds warn about American teens wanting to join ISIS. What law enforcement needs to look out for

Also see:

Prevention: A Role for Everyone

Radicalization and prevention is a community issue that will more and more involve social media and the need for users and responsible corporate partners to do their part. As we are seeing the police simply do not have the resources to do it all. If we had endless budgets and resources we could follow and monitor individuals around the clock but that isn’t realistic nor sustainable. If we tackle the issue from a medical model it will mean delivering prevention techniques to those individuals at risk earlier in order to prevent the scenes that we saw recently in Ottawa and Sydney. Everyone has a role in prevention and governments at all levels will need to do more to empower the community, religious organizations and parents to recognize what radicalization looks like and methods for preventing it. At a corporate level, with respect to terrorist’s use of social media, with corporations boasting record profits and share prices the argument that they are ill equipped to deal with the problem seems like a weak one to me. It’s time they start engaging with the experts and thinking out of the box on tackling the issues and doing their part.

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Good resources —>

ISIS Is Skilled on Twitter, Using Thousands of Accounts, Study Says

isis_twitter_census_coverNYT, by MARCH 5, 2015:

The Islamic State, the violent extremist group that espouses a return to a seventh-century caliphate, has been astonishingly successful at spreading its message using 21st-century social media, according to a study released Thursday.

Despite repeated attempts by Twitter to thwart the Islamic State’s threats, propaganda and online recruiting by suspending accounts associated with the group, sympathizers have maintained thousands of active accounts on the social network, the study said. The users include a disciplined core group that sends messages frequently and understands how to maximize its impact.

“Jihadists will exploit any kind of technology that will work to their advantage,” said J.M. Berger, an expert on online extremism who was the lead author of the study, a collaboration of the Brookings Institution and Google Ideas. But the Islamic State, he said, “is much more successful than other groups.”

The release of the study came as Twitter, the San Francisco-based social media giant with more than 288 million active users worldwide, has moved more aggressively to suspend accounts linked to the Islamic State.

The group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, which is ensconced in parts of Syria and Iraq, has used the social network to publicize executions of prisoners, including beheadings and at least one immolation, and to espouse death, violence and hatred for all perceived enemies.

Twitter’s crackdown on the group has led to death threats against the company’s leaders and employees.

Mr. Berger said the threats against Twitter reflected, to some degree, the Islamic State’s increased reliance on open social media forums, a Western invention that seems incongruous with militants’ desire for restoring the caliphates that once ruled vast areas of the Middle East.

The 92-page report found that a minimum of 46,000 Twitter accounts operate on behalf of the Islamic State. The study, titled “The ISIS Twitter Census,” was the first public attempt to measure the influence of Islamic State members or their sympathizers on social media.

“ISIS has been able to exert an outsized impact on how the world perceives it,” the study said.

The report also asserted that at least 1,000 accounts supportive of the Islamic State, and possibly many more, were suspended by Twitter between September and December.

Executives at Twitter, which did not provide assistance for the report, said the study had significantly underestimated the number of suspensions. They declined to comment on the report’s specific findings, but they did not dispute an ABC News report that they had recently shut down 2,000 Islamic State accounts in a single week.

The company said in a statement, “We review all reported content against our rules, which prohibit unlawful use and direct, specific threats of violence against others.”

Read more

Also see:

Islamic State’s female jihadists use social media to lure women recruits

femrecruisocmed-e1425062775161LWJ, BY MALLORY SHELBOURNE, Feb. 27, 2015:

Jihadist women are using social media to recruit other women for the Islamic State’s declared “caliphate.” The practice is not a new phenomenon. Western females who have migrated to the Islamic State have used various online platforms to lure young women into jihad in Syria. These recruiters hail from a variety of Western countries, including Norway, Canada, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, the Netherlands, and the US.

On February 14, the al-Khans’aa Media Brigade, the women’s media arm of the al-Battar Media Foundation, tweeted a set of photos encouraging women to defend the caliphate and fight its enemies through what it calls an “economic war,” “ideological war,” and “electronic war.” One of the images reads “active participation in their hash tags, and discussion forums as much as possible (electronic war).” While the same image advocates that women boycott products “of the oppressive crusade” for the “economic war,” it suggests women fight the “ideological war” by abstaining from the lifestyles of the crusaders and “revealing the hatred towards them.”

Similar to various Islamic State propaganda material purportedly produced by women and for women, the images stress the important role women play in the home. Specifically, one message states that a way to begin in the home is “by teaching those under your custody (kids) to hate the cross and its people, for this is the first step in making a Mujahid generation.” Echoing this message, this week, the Islamic State attacked multiple Assyrian Christian villages in Syria and took inhabitants hostage. The amount of residents captured varies across press reports, but the Assyrian Human Rights Network claims the number of Christians kidnapped is as high as 262 .

The emphasis on the role of women in the home was also seen in last month’s manifesto released by the al-Khans’aa Brigade, the all-female group known for enforcing strict sharia law in the militant group’s stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. [See LWJ report, Islamic State al-Khans’aa Brigade publishes manifesto for women.] Additionally, the images released on Twitter and the manifesto both reference the West and its corruption of Muslims. One image mentioning the West touts that the caliphate “took the imprisoned women out of the prisons of Westernization which humiliated the women, and downed their positions.”

The electronic war aspect of the jihadist group’s campaign is a tactic that female Islamic State recruiters have employed in the past to bring western women to Syria, most notably in the recent case of the three British girls who traveled to the caliphate, in addition to the October case of three girls from Denver, Colorado, who attempted to migrate to the Islamic State but were stopped in Frankfurt, Germany and sent back home. The New York Times recently reported that one of the British girls had sent a Twitter message to Aqsa Mahmood, also known as Umm Layth, prior to their journey. Mahmood, who left her home in Scotland in November 2013 to join the Islamic State, is known for her Tumblr blog and propaganda tweets encouraging Western women to migrate to the caliphate. And, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, one of the Denver, Colorado girls had been in contact with another female Islamic State recruiter known as Umm Waqqas. Umm Waqqas and Umm Layth were also in contact with each other via Twitter.

According to a July report in the Financial Times, jihadist women use various social media platforms, including Kik, Twitter, and Tumblr, to help potential migrants travel to Syria. The question and answer website Ask.fm has also become a popular platform for jihadists, and in the case of one of the Colorado teens, shows evidenceof her radicalization over time.

In September, the Telegraph reported that several British women joined the al-Khans’aa Brigade, including Mahmood. While women living under the caliphate, including the al-Khans’aa Brigade in their recent manifesto, glorify life in the Islamic State on their social media accounts, reports directly contradict these descriptions. A November United Nations report detailed the many atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State’s fighters. Furthermore, activist members of the group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently describe the al-Khans’aa Brigade females as a threat to their efforts to expose the Islamic State’s brutality.

Also see:

Western Intelligence Services Overwhelmed by Jihadist Propaganda

Published on Feb 25, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

By JACK MOORE,

“You are strong, smart, beautiful and we are hoping you will make the right decision. We miss you more that you can imagine. We are worried and we want you to think about what you have left behind. You had a bright future, so please return home.”

That was emotional plea to Amira Abase from her devastated family after they learned that the 15-year-old had got on a flight from Gatwick to Turkey with two friends Kadiza Sultana and Shamima Begum, 16 and 15, in what police think is an attempt to travel to Syria to join Islamic State as ‘jihadi brides’.

However, along with the sadness, there was also anger after it emerged that the three girls, all pupils at London’s Bethnal Green Academy, had been contacted on Twitter by Aqsa Mahmood, 20, another woman who had flown to Syria from Glasgow in 2013 to join the terror group. with the Mahmood family saying that the British intelligence services, who had been monitoring Aqsa’s account, having “serious questions to answer”.

“Sadly, despite all the government’s rhetoric on ISIS,” the Mahmood family said in a statement, “if they can’t even take basic steps to stop children leaving to join ISIS, what is the point of any new laws?”

That the radicalisation of three teenagers by a known jihadist on a major platform such as Twitter points to major flaws in the strategies being employed by Western intelligence services, with experts saying that they are being overrun by the sheer scale of extremist propaganda online.

The UK Home Office admits the problem, saying that such propaganda “can directly influence people who are vulnerable to radicalisation”. To tackle this perceived bedroom radicalisation, the Home Office say they are cooperating with social media companies and civil society groups, divulging figures that reveal the takedown of unlawful terrorist material online has almost tripled.

While the Home Office could not divulge government spending figures on the battle against online extremism, it revealed that, from 2010 to 2013, 19,000 pieces of online extremist material were removed from websites by the British government’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) in comparison with 56,000 pieces since December 2013 alone, marking an almost 300% rise. Other members of the US-led coalition against ISIS are also increasing their online counter-terror efforts. Australia’s attorney general, George Brandis, announced last week that Canberra would be dedicating $18m (€12.38m) to the closure of websites and social media accounts which proliferate terrorist propaganda.

The British government is also obtaining more information from tech companies – with 194 information requests made to Twitter last year compared to 82 the year before, and 1,906 data requests to Facebook in the second half of 2013 in comparison with 2,110 in the first half of last year. Home Secretary Theresa May called on tech and social media companies to do more to prevent material being circulated on their platforms at a summit on extremism at the White House last week.

“All companies should take a zero-tolerance approach to the use of their systems by extremists,” she told the conference. “I firmly believe that they have a social responsibility to ensure that their platforms are not being abused for extremist or terrorist purposes.”

However, experts argue that, while more and more pieces of extremist material are being removed from the eyes of impressionable Brits, Britain’s security services are overwhelmed to the point that this “cat and mouse” strategy is being rendered ineffective.

Read more at Newsweek

Also see:

‘What are you waiting for?’: Slick new ISIS campaign puts new face on homegrown terror

The French-speaking ISIS fighters show their faces, an indication that they have no intention of coming back to France. (Screengrab courtesy of TRAC)

The French-speaking ISIS fighters show their faces, an indication that they have no intention of coming back to France. (Screengrab courtesy of TRAC)

Fox News, By Malia Zimmerman, February 09, 2015:

Buoyed by the Islamist terror attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, ISIS has continued a slick campaign with the twisted theme, “What are you waiting for?” and featuring fresh-faced jihadists urging radicals in French-speaking countries to stay put and kill innocents.

In one video released online last week, titled, “Blow Up France 2,” a masked jihadist bearing an assault weapon exhorts Muslims to continue terror attacks in that country.

“Don’t give up and particularly don’t lower your weapons, don’t surrender — kill. Today, it’s our darwa — kill them. You now have more than 4 million targets,” the jihadist said in French.

Just hours after the video release, Moussa Coulibaly, 30, allegedly stabbed three French soldiers on patrol near a Jewish community center in Nice. The police officers, who were on anti-terror patrol, were not seriously hurt. Coulibaly, 31, who shares the surname of Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed four people at a Jewish supermarket in Paris on Jan. 9 in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, was nabbed near the scene.

“These video releases mark the significant push that Islamic State is having toward Francophone recruitment,” Veryan Khan, of the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC), a Florida-based global research firm specializing in political violence and terrorism. “If it also results in transnational attacks outside the Sham, then that is just gravy on top of the plate for them.”

Some of the propaganda also bears English subtitles, indicating they aim to recruit Westerners. Islamic State has so far put out four of the French-language videos asking the question “What are you waiting for?” beginning in November. The initial video called on foreign fighters to attack their host country if they cannot join Islamic State in the caliphate.

“ISIS did not want this exclusively for a French audience,” said Ryan Mauro, security analyst for the Clarion Project, an educational group focused on Islamist extremism. “The group wanted to send a message to Americans, as well.”

Recent videos feature a series of man-on-the-street style interviews asking jihadists their opinions on everything from the murder of Jordanian air force pilot Moath al-Kaseasbeh, who was burned alive in January by ISIS leaders while trapped in a cage, to the beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

One of the seven jihadists featured in the most recent video is likely Hayat Boumeddiene, the 26-year-old widow of Amedy Coulibaly, according to French authorities. French police killed Coulibaly, 32, after he murdered four hostages in the Paris supermarket Hyper Cacher. Boumeddiene, last seen Jan. 12 in a surveillance video at the Istanbul Airport, is now French law enforcement’s “most wanted” woman and is believed to have joined ISIS in Syria or Iraq.

The supermarket siege came two days after 12 people were murdered in an attack on Charlie Hebdo, the news outlet known for its controversial series of cartoons mocking followers of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Although that attack was linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Amedy Coulibaly is believed to have been a follower of Islamic State.

“Ever since the Charlie Hebdo attacks ‘avenged’ the prophet, there has been a growing trend to justify terrorist acts, such as this murder, by claiming it was an act of vengeance,” Khan said. “Just this week in Sinai, Egypt, ISIS released a video titled, ‘We Swear We Will Revenge.’”

Khan believes the videos, along with other recruitment efforts, are having an impact.

“It’s very possible that the Paris attacks were influenced by this video, which was extremely popular with the Twitter crowd,” Khan said.

Islamic State is making videos targeting the French because they are having success there, said Mauro.

“In the aftermath of the Paris attacks and the latest attack on French soldiers, ISIS knows that will generate attention,” he said.

In the videos, the French-speaking fighters boldly show their faces in some of the videos, indicating they have no intention of returning to France, Khan said.

“The theme of most of their interviews is that France is no place for a Muslim, as they cannot truly actualize their faith in that country,” Khan said.

France is not a country where citizenship, culture or birth can make you French, Khan said, as national identity is in a number of factors not attainable by outsiders.

“Add to this the measures France has taken to protect itself against the insider threat it faces, including banning the niqab (veil or mask), plus the usual complaints that Western religious freedom actually oppresses Muslims by exposing them to what they find morally reprehensible, and there you get the reason for their repeated, triumphal rejection of France,” Khan said.

The videos also call on jihadists to rise up in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the West. Khan believes the videos and other Islamic State tactics have even inspired attacks on law enforcement in France and Canada.

Islamic State is undoubtedly the terrorist group that has been most successful in their online media strategies, Mauro said.

“This successful strategy has enabled ISIS to win over the next generation of jihadists,” Mauro said. “A young radical can feel as if he or she is part of an actual community in the jihadist online world and, unlike Al Qaeda, ISIS can actually claim to be seizing ground and making progress. These videos help ISIS supporters feel as if they are part of an exciting turning point in Islamic history.”

Muslim Supremacist Leaders Go After Facebook and Twitter Demanding Islamic Speech Restrictions

facebookBy Pamela Geller:

While jihadists in Nigeria, Congo, the CAR, the Philippines, Syria, Iraq et al wage their bloody holy war against freedom, individual rights and the “other,” their stealth counterparts are waging the same war insidiously but just as fiercely in the West.

Islamic attacks across Africa and the Middle East are not condemned by Muslim leaders in the West. Who is in their crosshairs? Those who oppose the ideology that inspires those attacks. What are they demanding? Imposition of the blasphemy laws under the sharia — “do not offend or criticize Islam.”

Muslim gunmen storm a building in Libya and go”room to room” in their residence at 2:30 a.m. Saturday and asked for identification papers to separate Muslim workers from Christians….the gunmen handcuffed the Christians and drove away.

Just this week:
–Yesterday, Muslim gunmen storm a building in Libya and go”room to room” demanding identification papers to separate Muslim workers from Christians….the gunmen handcuffed the Christians and drove away.”
–Over the past two days, scores of Christians in Nigeria were slaughtered in jihadi attacks.
–Muslims torched close to 1,000 cars in France on New Year’s eve.
–Jihadi commanders in Russia pledge allegiance to Islamic State’s Caliph al-Baghdadi.
— Iranian police arrested 50 women for “un-Islamic” dress.
–Jihad hostage murderer Man Haron Monis delivered chilling religious lectures to packed Sydney mosques.
— A hijabed homicide bomber killed many in a New Year’s triple jihad bombing Kill 7 in Nigeria.
–An instruction manual was published for devout Muslim mothers in the Islamic State: How to raise a jihadi-baby.
–A Muslim brutally tortures and honor murders his 10-year-old daughter for “adultery.”

Here’s the headline in The Evening Standard: “Twitter and Facebook slammed over huge increase in Islamophobic postings.”

And this is what Yahoo News and multiple news outlets are running today without comment. These newspapers will suffer the same censorship they are demanding of us, the individual. Freedom of the press is the first casualty of the sharia.

It is stunning and stupefying. Discredited liar and Muslim extremist Fiyaz Mughal is given an extraordinary platform by the largest and most influential media outlets to promote the sharia and defame the few who dare speak of jihad and its victims.

Mughal and leading Muslims organizations in the US, UK, Canada and Australia want to destroy free speech. Going after Twitter and Facebook would essentially do that. The only place to get news the media won’t cover is here and on websites like this — Jihadwatch, The Religion of Peace, Blazing Cat Fur, Creeping Sharia, etc and YOU: YOU share these news stories on Facebook and Twitter. YOU get the word out. YOU are the soldiers in the information battlespace. YOU are fighting the great fight. Islamic supremacists knows this. They have enormous funds and fanatics pounding away at the freedom we love.

Targeting Facebook and twitter is targeting YOU.

The article is all in Islamic codespeak. “Anti-racism groups” — Islam is not a race. These are Islamic supremacist groups who mean to impose the draconian blasphemy laws of the Shariah on free societies.

Do you think this can’t happen? The UK banned Robert Spencer and me merely because we speak against jihad and sharia. It can happen and will if we don’t fight back. Look at how Facebook and Twitter are kowtowing and groveling to the discredited liar Fiyaz Mughal: “By working with community groups like Faith Matters, we aim to show people the power of counter speech and, in doing so, strike the right balance between giving people the freedom to express themselves and maintaining a safe and trusted environment.”

Read more 

Also see:

If two or more Muslims participate in a gang rape, is it wrong to say “Muslims commit gang rape”? The answer to that question should be obvious. The only thing that’s understated is that it’s only two. All across the world, the overwhelming – yes OVERWHELMING – amount of heinous acts are being committed by Muslims. We’re having difficulty keeping up with Muslim gang rapes taking place in just Europe alone.

Yet, Facebook and twitter are being accused of fanning the flames of Islamophobia by not censoring posts that point out atrocities and crimes committed by Muslims.

Radicalization: There’s an App for That!

generation-awlaki-fb-2dec2014-picture-5-e1418755814427Author Jeff R. Weyers, iBRABO, Jan. 1, 2015: h/t Muslim Issue

In the wake of the most recent attacks in Australia, Canada and the United States the questions surrounding sources of the radicalization is often a topic of concern. With most self starters a good portion of that radicalization is more and more being attributed to material consumed on the internet. As the world watches Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) flood social media with content one thing is very clear about the online battle with the group, we are losing!

The War on Social Media

For corporations that are being used in the proxy online war it will require a shift in how they do business. For Google, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter they simply cannot afford to have their brands associated with the extremist messages that ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra (JN) and Al Qaeda (AQ) foster. They will need to increase their ability to deal with extremist content in a much more effective method. The notion that “we rely on our users to notify us of inappropriate content” is not going to cut it moving forward. Extremist groups are deploying content to social media at a faster and faster pace, one only needs to look at the number of ISIS videos currently on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to see that. For the vast amounts of money that each company takes in in any given year they will need to consider hiring extremism experts to proactively monitor content. ISIS, AQ and JN actively use branding in their online videos and pictures, and these companies will need to use those branding symbols to more readily identify terrorist content as they have done with child pornography and copy right infringement. From an ethical and social/corporate responsibility perspective these companies will need to do better.

Bilad al Shaam's 100th Facebook Page

This is not to say that some companies like Facebook haven’t been trying to keep up. Perhaps one of the largest battles between Facebook and ISIS has been in their attempts to crush the “Bilad al Shaam Media” pages that have had a continual presence since before the announcement of the Islamic State. The day after the Australia hostage siege Facebook removed the 100th iteration of the popular ISIS page with well over 3000 users (above) . In the same breath ISIS launched three new Bilad al Shaam sites to continue their operations on Facebook. This is a battle of persistence that will require vigilance and continuous monitoring to start to push the groups away from the larger social media companies. To some extent we have already seen this happening with groups like ISIS moving to platforms like justpaste.it and manbar.me (the Arabic version of Justpaste.it). Both sites are anonymous media hosting sites that terrorist groups have been using to host and direct users to content. Another curious trend noticed by several experts is the return to webpage based sites and chat forums like ISIS’s webpage http://www.alplatformmedia.com (below).

ISIS website www.alplatformmedia.com

As has been realized by Al-Shabaab (www.al-qimmah.net) and the Taliban (www.shahamat-english.com) , if you can persist through Denial of Service (DNS) attacks by hackers and governments the worst that will happen is they will have to move servers from time to time. In fact while Canadian troops were in the process of preparing to pull out of Afghanistan in late 2012, the Taliban’s webmaster Adil Watanmal had moved all seven of the Talibans websites to a server in Vancouver, Canada (below). The site which primarily is used for propaganda was also engaged in fund raising activities, thus creating a situation where the Taliban were using Canadian servers to assist in fighting against Canadian troops. These types of blatant abuses have resulted in greater calls for internet service providers (ISP) to track and be aware of the content that is being put up on their servers.

Taliban Websites on Canadian Server in 2012 - iBRABO

Apps in the New Age of Terror

The creation of apps for radicalization is not new. J.M. Berger has previously pointed out how ISIS used the Dawn of Glad Tidings app on Google Play to build the fire storm of twitter support for ISIS. In his forthcoming book, ISIS: The State of Terror he outlines in detail the sophisticated social media strategy of the terror group. Other groups like the Sikh extremist group Babbar Khalsa,  have also used the Google play store in the past with their launch of Babbar Khalsa Radioon Google play.

When we speak about radicalizing potential a group that seems to have gone untouched by Facebook, Twitter and Google Play with a string of social media pages and apps are those under the banner “Generation Awlaki”. Anwar al-Awlaki a highly influential al-Qaeda propagandist and recruiter who was most notoriously linked to the Fort Hood attack was killed in a US drone attack in 2011. His radical preachings however persist as both AQ and ISIS groups have sourced Awlaki in their justification for terror attacks and recruitment to violent jihad. More concerning is that his preachings have reached a cult status amongst extremists and terrorists the world over, having more followers in death than he ever did in life due to the continued growth of social media. In our analysis we were able to locate several instance of the “Generation Awlaki” brand being used on FacebookTwitter and Google play.

Generation Awlaki on Google play

 

Generation Awlaki on Twitter

 

Generation Awlaki Facebook

Examining the users of this content you see a spectrum of individuals along all parts of the path to violent extremism, from the casually interested to the hardcore foreign fighters and terrorist members. The concern of course with these apps and sites is they put recruiters and propagandists in touch with individuals that may be vulnerable to recruitment to the group or adopting the ideological cause. This is one explanation behind the meteoric rise in foreign fighters that has been seen with ISIS coinciding with their unprecedented social media campaign.

Prevention: A Role for Everyone

Radicalization and prevention is a community issue that will more and more involve social media and the need for users and responsible corporate partners to do their part. As we are seeing the police simply do not have the resources to do it all. If we had endless budgets and resources we could follow and monitor individuals around the clock but that isn’t realistic nor sustainable. If we tackle the issue from a medical model it will mean delivering prevention techniques to those individuals at risk earlier in order to prevent the scenes that we saw recently in Ottawa and Sydney. Everyone has a role in prevention and governments at all levels will need to do more to empower the community, religious organizations and parents to recognize what radicalization looks like and methods for preventing it. At a corporate level, with respect to terrorist’s use of social media, with corporations boasting record profits and share prices the argument that they are ill equipped to deal with the problem seems like a weak one to me. It’s time they start engaging with the experts and thinking out of the box on tackling the issues and doing their part.

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Good resources —>

The “Explosive Growth” of Jihadism in the Netherlands

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, November 2, 2014:

“The increasing momentum of Dutch jihadism poses an unprecedented threat to the democratic legal order of the Netherlands.” — Dutch intelligence service, AIVD.

“For adherents unable or unwilling to join the armed struggle in Syria or elsewhere, social media offers a form of involvement that allows them to identify themselves as jihadists… without actually having to fight. After all, the movement also considers ‘dawah’ — preaching the ‘call to Islam” — a form of jihad.” — Dutch intelligence service, AIVD.

“Social media has made it possible for a person to go far more quickly from being a passive recipient of jihadist propaganda messages to a sympathizer and then a supporter… Some are also known to have been involved in atrocities, such as beheading prisoners… social media has changed the structure of the and cohesions of the jihadist movement… it has taken on the characteristics of a swarm (in the group behavior sense).” — Dutch intelligence service, AIVD.

“The jihadist movement can only genuinely be disrupted, in a way that prevents the emergence of new guiding figures and structures, if such efforts [not one-off actions] are maintained over an extended period.” — Dutch intelligence service, AIVD.

“Dutch jihadists are convinced that the caliphate is not some utopian dream but an achievable reality for Syria and other Muslim nations — and even for the Netherlands.” — Dutch intelligence service, AIVD.

The home-grown jihadist movement in the Netherlands is experiencing sudden and explosive growth, according to a new report published by the Dutch intelligence service, AIVD.

The Dutch jihadist movement is not only growing in size and strength, it is also becoming increasingly open and provocative, both online and on the streets, according to the report, which warns that the increasing momentum of Dutch jihadism poses an unprecedented threat to the democratic legal order of the Netherlands.

The 58-page report, entitled “The Transformation of Jihadism in the Netherlands: Swarm Dynamics and New Strength,” provides an in-depth analysis of the various factors underlying the “new dynamism” of the jihadist phenomenon.

According to the AIVD, the Dutch jihadist movement began a process of far-reaching change in late 2010, when several jihadists were prevented from leaving the Netherlands to join fellow jihadists in Pakistan and Somalia.

Their subsequent interactions with Dutch police and judicial authorities prompted the jihadists and other members of their networks to improve their modus operandi, which eventually led to a wholesale internal professionalization of the movement.

At the same time, Dutch jihadists began adopting propaganda methods developed by fellow jihadists in Britain. Inspired by Islam4UK, a now-banned jihadist group founded by the British Islamist firebrand Anjem Choudary, Dutch jihadists launched their own activist movements, namely Sharia4Holland and Behind Bars/Street Dawah (Straat Dawah).

“By making use of activist techniques like demonstrations and leafleting to disseminate provocative jihadist propaganda openly, these groups were able to mobilize some fellow Muslims and attract new recruits,” according to the AIVD. “Many young people, in particular, found a way of venting their jihadist ideals through such activities.”

Social media has added another entirely new dynamic into Dutch jihadism. Beyond allowing far more intensive flows of information and communications between jihadists, both domestically and internationally, social media has also changed the nature of those flows.

Before the emergence of social media, information flowed vertically (hierarchical) from one to many. By contrast, information on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter flows horizontally (peer-to-peer) from many to many, thus greatly expanding opportunities for interactivity. According to the AIVD:

“Jihadists are constantly influencing one another through social media. Young people undergoing radicalization trawl Facebook in search of like-minded individuals and post jihadist material on their own profiles, thus influencing their own circle of friends. On Twitter, jihadists debate quite openly with each other and with their critics, who often face abuse or worse. They also post photographs of Dutch fighters in Syria on Facebook, which are then shared by members of jihadist communities. Lectures are announced as Facebook events, too, so that potential attendees can see whether people they know will be there as well. The Dutch jihadist world has become simultaneously large, small and fast-moving.”

Social media has also enhanced jihadist recruitment efforts:

“For adherents unable or unwilling to join the armed struggle in Syria or elsewhere, such activity provides another form of involvement that allows them to identify themselves as jihadists. It is their way of being part of ‘Syria,’ or the ‘holy war’ in general, without actually having to fight. After all, the movement also considers ‘dawah’—preaching the ‘call to Islam’—a form of jihad. This parity strengthens the links between those who stay at home to practice dawah and those who leave to fight.

“There is no doubt that the chance of coming into contact with jihadism—particularly on social media—has increased substantially in recent years. Consequently, it has become possible for a person to go far more quickly from being a passive recipient of its propaganda messages to a sympathizer and then a supporter. There is also a real danger that such new ‘online jihadists’ might continue radicalizing to the point where they actually commit acts of violence or leave for a conflict zone. In fact, this is exactly how many of the Dutch fighters now in Syria came to be there. They evolved very quickly from followers at home to front-line jihadists. The AIVD has established that a large proportion of them have been trained in Syria in the use of weapons and have taken part in actual combat. Some are also known to have been involved in atrocities, such as beheading prisoners.”

The Dutch-Turkish jihadist known as Yilmaz, pictured in Syria, has proven adept at the use of social media for jihadist “public relations”.

According to the AIVD, social media has changed the structure and cohesion of the jihadist movement in the Netherlands to such an extent that it has taken on the characteristics of a “swarm” (in the group behavior sense of the word). This means that it is highly decentralized, with numerous individual elements that are largely autonomous. Collectively, however, they maintain their cohesion and direction almost as if a single entity.

“The jihadist swarm may be very dynamic and changeable, but it still knows how to move like one tightly ordered body, despite sometimes seeming capricious and unpredictable,” the report says, adding:

“The upshot of all this is that government attempts to tackle particular jihadist individuals or structures will probably have considerably less effect now upon the movement as a whole than they previously would have done. Particularly when they are one-off actions. The movement can only genuinely be disrupted, in a way that prevents the emergence of new guiding figures and structures, if such efforts are maintained over an extended period.”

In addition to the internal and structural developments that have transformed Dutch jihadism, several contextual factors, both domestic and international, have also contributed to its growth.

Domestically, Dutch Salafism has undergone an important ideological shift.

Salafism is a movement that calls on Muslims to return to the form of Islam that was practiced at its inception. Its adherents reject many of the ideas and customs that have become part of Islamic tradition in subsequent centuries.

Present-day Salafism has three main strands: apolitical, political and jihadi. All three pursue the same ultimate objective: the establishment of a society based solely upon the tenets of “pure” Islam.

Unlike their jihadi counterpart, however, the apolitical and political strands argue that the principal means of reaching this goal should be “dawah,” or the “call to Islam” in the form of preaching and proselytization. By contrast, jihadi Salafism prioritizes the “necessity” of violent jihad.

In recent years, a new group of dawah Salafist preachers has emerged in the Netherlands who are more radical than their predecessors, and who have effectively blurred the lines between dawah Salafism and jihadism. The AIVD explains:

“Theirs is a radical message, which not only promulgates intolerance but also smooths over the ideological differences between dawah Salafism and jihadism in respect of the legitimacy of the ‘holy war.’ These preachers do not consider themselves part of a movement separate from that of the jihadis (a distinction the established dawah Salafists draw far more clearly). And it is they who exert the greatest influence over young people with jihadist tendencies or sympathies.

“Due in part to the emergence of preachers operating outside the established non-violent tradition, dawah Salafism has now become something of a breeding ground for jihadism in the Netherlands.”

Internationally, the conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has acted as a catalyst, amplifying the effects of all of the other developments to produce an explosive growth of jihadism in the Netherlands.

According to the AIVD, the large numbers of Dutch jihadists travelling to Syria show that “this particular conflict has significantly reduced the barriers to active participation in jihad.” It adds that the propaganda generated by the conflict is fuelling the growth of an “assertive Dutch jihadism” in which jihadist groups are “deliberately pushing at the boundaries of what is permissible under Dutch law.”

The AIVD concludes with a warning:

“Already, reports of jihadists’ supposed progress in Syria in establishing an Islamic caliphate under Sharia law are having a visible effect in the Netherlands, in that they are further radicalizing backers of that ultimate goal. Emanating primarily from groups like [the Islamic State], such stories convince supporters and sympathizers that the caliphate is not some utopian dream but an achievable reality for Syria and other Muslim nations—and even for the Netherlands.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

ISLAMIC STATE MANIFESTO: CALL TO AMERICA

Uncle SamIn a war of ideas, it is people who get killed – Stanislaus J. Lec

With the release of the Islamic State (IS) Manifesto we see the latest installment from IS’ intensive, digitally propelled Information Operations (IO) machine. The message is that Muslims are being persecuted worldwide and Islam is under attack. This is a familiar refrain and one that is being dredged up from previous conflicts for its continued effectiveness. With this production they take it to the next level by publishing a ‘fatwa’ approving the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to kill as many as ten million Americans. The video issuing the speech and fatwa by this IS leader was posted on the internet in multiple languages. Of interest is the move by authorities to censor the manifesto, especially given the number of ultra-violent videos from IS showing graphic violence, already available. More important is the building theme with each IS media release, that America and the coalition are falling steadily further behind in the war of ideas.

Fatwa |ˈfätwä|noun: a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority.

WMD: Weapons capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or propelling the weapon where such means is a separable and divisible part of the weapon.

English transcripts are still available for anyone still interested in general content.

THE ISIS MANIFESTO: WHAT EVERY AMERICAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT ISIS PLAN TO KILL ‘TEN MILLION AMERICANS’ (shoebat.com)

ISIS CHIEF CALLS ON FOLLOWERS WORLDWIDE TO WAGE JIHAD

 

One does not need to be a subject matter expert to understand some ground truths regarding our deficit in this area, or why our Department of State (DOS) and Pentagon are consistently being outclassed by their IS counterparts. There is almost a complete dearth of information operations being conducted by our government or its agencies to dissuade the opposition and their prospective recruits. Islamic State understands the value of sending a strong core message (victory, the caliphate, jihad) to the target audience, and their IO machine is tireless in its efforts to crank out their message often and emphatically. Consider the following video, typical of their productions. Its message is clear and appeals to their audience.

SHOCKING VIDEO SHOWS THE EXTENT OF EXECUTIONS IN IRAQ BY ISIS (dailymail.co.uk)

The Man Behind the ISIS Media Curtain Ahmad Abousamra (isisstudygroup.com)

By contrast our DOS operates a Twitter feed, @Thinkagainturnaway, previously covered in the ISIS Study Group piece: State Department Failure: Messaging Gaffes Miss Mark Completely. The IS makes a bold appeal to their audience and lures them using images depicting power, violence and victory over the enemies of Islam. The DOS Twitter feed responds in a fashion reminiscent of college campus politics or some hipster think tank. IS makes a video of a beheading and DOS responds by targeting them with a hash tag and a pithy phrase. In short, there is no comparison between the effectiveness of IS products and the one-trick pony that is @Thinkagainturnaway.

Read more at ISIS Study Group

ISIS Releases ‘Flames of War’ Feature Film to Intimidate West

A screen shot from 'Flames of War.' The American narrator of the film is on the far left.

A screen shot from ‘Flames of War.’ The American narrator of the film is on the far left.

After releasing the trailer last week, the Islamic State released the full film — a gory, bravado flick showcasing their ruthless tactics in Syria.

By Ryan Mauro:

True to its promise, the Islamic State terrorist group released a 55-minute video (see below) narrated by an operative in Syria with an American accent.  At the same time, Al-Qaeda has released a new video (see below) featuring an American recruit named Adam Gadahn calling on Muslims to pursue regime change in Pakistan.

The Islamic State video is far above the Al-Qaeda video in terms of production. The 55-minute film, titled Flames of War, is professionally edited and highlights the Islamic State’s seizure of the Syrian Army’s 17th Division base near Raqqah.

Footage is shown from the attack and then the film shows an Islamic State fighter near the base speaking in fluent English with an American accent. Captured Syrian soldiers are shown digging their own graves. One claims that 800 of Assad’s troops were at the base and were defeated by only 20-30 Islamic State members. The captives are then shot point blank and shown gruesomely falling in the ditches.

Flames of War uses the narrator to explain the Islamic state’s version of the events, namely, that they are merely trying to establish god’s law on earth but are being attacked by Assad, the Americans, the West and various other foes.

The film utilizes romantic imagery carefully crafted to appeal to dissatisfied and alienated young men, replete with explosions, tanks and self-described mujahedeen winning battles. Anti-American rhetoric provides the voice-over to stop motion and slow motion action sequences. The use of special effects such as bullet-time is interspersed with newsreel footage.

This up-to-date, sophisticated cinematography combined with the bloodthirsty message the film makes Flames of War reminiscent of Hitler propagandist Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 film, Triumph of the Will.

The film finishes with a written statement from Islamic State “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi referring to the U.S. as the “defender of the cross.” The message appears to indicate that the group believes U.S. combat forces will be sent to Iraq.

“As for the near future, you will be forced into a direct confrontation, with Allah’s permission, despite your reluctance. And the sons of Islam have prepared themselves for this day, so wait and see, for we too are also going to wait and see,” it says.

The new Al-Qaeda video with Adam Gadahn is simple and only features a lecture from him. The contrast between the two videos is a microcosm of how Al-Qaeda has faded into the background as the Islamic State has risen and is winning the next generation ofjihadists.

Read more at Clarion Project

View Flames of War, Full film:

 

View Pakistani Regime: The Agent of the Devil:

 

Also see:

Beheading Raises Islamic State Street Cred

378657_ISIL-David-Haines-450x341Frontpage, by Dawn Perlmutter, September 16, 2014:

The Sept. 13, 2014 beheading video of David Haines, British aid worker and military veteran, is almost identical to the Foley and Sotloff productions establishing an Islamic State forensic signature, PSYOPS pattern and a winning recruitment strategy. The David Haines beheading video titled “A message to the allies of America” is addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron who failed rapper turned jihadi executioner calls the “obedient lapdog” of America. This expression is a double insult signifying that he is controlled by America and intrinsically impure. The in your face disrespect will have particular appeal in recruiting British Islamists. Although the latest victim David Haines is British, the beheading video continues to symbolically reference Gitmo by making the hostages wear orange clothing. The disarticulated head placed on the center back of the body is identical to the forensic signature of the beheadings by Al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor group to Islamic State. The end of the video is a uniquely terrifying characteristic of IS messaging displaying their next victim, in this case hostage Alan Henning.  Similar to the two previous videos, Haines is not murdered on film and only ten seconds of the 2:30 second film displays violent imagery. Unlike the Foley and Sotloff videos that humiliated President Obama the Haines video was easily accessible online.

Although the beheading video was addressed to Prime Minister Cameron it was also a response to the ineffectiveness of President Obama’s September 10, 2014 speech that obviously did not strike fear into the hearts of the IS. The Presidents refusal to call the Islamic State by their chosen name or to recognize them as Islamic or a state not only demonstrated his inability to understand the threat but symbolically reflected an unwillingness to know and face the enemy. A semiotic principle expressed in magical thinking is that fear of naming something represents actual fear of the thing itself. Ancient societies believed in word magic, the idea that words, particularly names are imbued with magical powers. They attached great importance to the knowledge of names and believed that to know the true name of something gives one power over it. Furthermore it was a common belief that pronouncing the names of gods or demons in their original form and language would bring them into existence. That is the origin of the expression ‘speak of the devil and he will appear’. To name something makes it real and a force to be reckoned with. Hence to choose politically correct messaging that creates taboo words such as Islamic, State or War has the unintended consequence of evincing fear and weakness. Conversely, tribal warrior cultures like the Islamic State instinctively understand the power of words.

The significance of names as a form of symbolic warfare is evident in gang graffiti where it is common for gang members to cross out names of rival gangs. For example, to spray paint over another gangs tag, cross it out and then put your name up right next to it is an act of disrespect. Crossing out a rivals name and putting a ‘K’ next to it, signifies your intent to kill a member of that rival gang if they come into your territory. This is precisely the same message that the Islamic State sent in their beheading videos, if you enter our territory we will kill a member of your gang. By making good on their threats to kill, the Islamic State raised their street cred. Their credibility and level of respect is what attracts new recruits. Islamic State beheading videos and social media messaging should be interpreted in the same manner as gang codes. For example, the hundreds of IS beheadings of soldiers and civilians can be understood as initiation rituals similar to the concept of ‘Blood in Blood Out’ which requires a new member to commit murder. The beheading videos can be viewed as similar to the revenge threats coded in gang graffiti dissing President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron. Similar to gangs without the appropriate timely, symbolic and proportional response the videotaped revenge killings will not only continue but escalate.

Islamic State recruitment has been so successful because they understand the signs, symbols and language of the street and the urge to jihad. This is evident in the thousands of Westerners they recruited to join the fight in Syria and Iraq. Conversely The State Department’s ‘Think Again Turn Away’ campaign demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of jihadist messaging. The campaign which utilizes twitter, Facebook and jihadist own violent imagery to attempt to dissuade foreign recruitment into IS is based upon a nonexistent we-are-the-world shared humanitarian rational worldview that presumes everyone is appalled by acts of brutality.  The campaign is based on a false premise that permeates President Obama’s policies and strategies, a fallacy of universal characteristics of human nature, in this case the belief that all people are inherently good and strive for the same things. The Obama fallacy can only comprehend beheadings, violence and terrorism as a direct or indirect result of oppression, colonization, child abuse, poverty, lack of education or some other social ill.  This dangerous misconception is also responsible for the inexplicable denial that countries can be invaded and conquered in the 21st century and the denial that Islamist jihadists around the globe want to rule the world.

While the state department sometimes utilizes the words shame and honor in their messaging they completely misunderstand the nature of warrior honor cultures, particularly the importance of instilling fear, showing strength and making good on their threats. Once the Islamic State took control of cities, like any gang or cartel, any attempts to reclaim designated territory provokes revenge killings.  The president’s refusal to acknowledge the conquered territory in Iraq and Syria as an Islamic State reveals that the administration does not comprehend that when Westerners join IS they are essentially pledging allegiance to another country, the enemies of America. Instead of ‘Think Again Turn Away’, a better slogan would be ‘Join Jihad, Lose Citizenship, Stay Away’.

Similar to President Obama the Prime Minister refuses to call the enemy by name and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg does not recognize them as a state. In response to the beheading of David Haines Prime Minister David Cameron said, ‘They are killing and slaughtering thousands of people – Christians, Muslims, minorities across Iraq and Syria. They boast of their brutality. They claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace. They are not Muslims, they are monsters”….“This murderous organisation calls itself Islamic State. But it is not a state, it is a brutal terrorist outfit” The hundreds of potential British recruits interpret this language as punk ass fear unworthy of respect. The Islamic State names their enemies and through the power of words, images and videos they sounded a call to arms throughout the world. Their first strategic advantage is their willingness to name their adversary, hence the acknowledgement that they are ready, willing and able to confront the West. Their second strategic advantage is the West’s reluctance to name them which allows Islamist jihadists to live in America and Britain hiding in plain sight. It’s time for the West to properly name, thereby, accept the nature of their enemy.

BREITBART’S GORKA: ‘EVERY AMERICAN’ SHOULD WATCH ISIS BEHEADING VIDEO

Gorka3
Breitbart, 9/14/14

On Sunday’s broadcast of “Fox & Friends Weekend” on the Fox News Channel, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, the national security editor of Breitbart, discussed ISIS’s use of social media to further their cause by using it to bring in new recruits.

ISIS has released a number of beheading videos that have brought the terrorist group a lot of attention in recent weeks, those of which “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Clayton Morris said he had refused to watch. However, Gorka encouraged Morris and other Americans to watch the videos in order to have a understanding of the “brutality” of this enemy.

“Well, look, number one, I think you should watch it. Every American, everybody who stands for the values of this republic needs to watch these videos because then you understand the nature of the threat of the brutality of the people we’re facing. Who is doing it? They have a whole recruiting pool. It’s very, very slick. Think about one thing — just two weeks ago, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda issued a 55-minute lecture in Arabic. You’re absolutely right, that’s not going to bring you recruits. That’s not going to further your cause as a jihadist. These people do instant little messages. They do these short videos. They have a very, very professional audio/visual social media crew.”

The full videos of the four experts who did the analysis of the Islamic State propaganda release

isis-video-hed-2014-652x330Vlad Tepes, Sep. 12, 2014:

Here are the full videos by Christian Zeitz, Robert Spencer, Bill Warner and David Wood. Those who saw the official release and feel they would like more, may enjoy this more comprehensive set of analysis by these scholars.

 

 

 

 

And of course, the actual video these were all filmed to create:

The Real Islam:

 

Global drive to stop jihadis going to Syria, Iraq

344317_img650x420_img650x420_crop

By Lori Hinnant:

PARIS: New laws make it easier to seize passports. Suspected fighters are plucked from planes. Authorities block finances and shut down radical mosques. And behind the scenes, Silicon Valley firms are under increasing pressure to wipe extremist content from websites as Western intelligence agencies explore new technologies to identify returning fighters at the border.

Governments from France to Indonesia have launched urgent drives to cut off one of the ISIS’ biggest sources of strength: foreign fighters. At the heart of the drive is mounting concern that the organization is training the next generation of international terrorists.

Those fears have gained urgency from the group’s horrific methods: A British militant is suspected of beheading two American journalists, and a Frenchman who fought with the ISIS is accused in a deadly attack on a Jewish museum in Belgium.

With each video that ricochets around social networks, the militants gain new recruits.

Britain has taken a particularly active role in censoring content deemed to break the country’s strict rules against extremist propaganda. U.K. officials recently revealed they have been granted “super flagger” status on sites such as YouTube, meaning their requests to remove videos with grisly content or that encourage terrorism are fast-tracked.

Over the past four years, an Internet-focused counterterror unit of London’s Metropolitan Police instigated the removal of 45,000 pieces of content, the force said last week. ISIS, however, have just as quickly found other, more decentralized platforms.

In the United States, officials are trying to identify potential jihadists by comparing travel patterns with those of people who have already joined the fight, a counterterrorism official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss intelligence matters.

A French law to seize passports is being fast-tracked through parliament, and the government is ramping up arrests of increasingly young teenagers making plans for jihad.

That can mean last-minute arrests at the airport, as happened to a 16-year-old girl and her alleged recruiter trying to pass through security in Nice Saturday, and to a man at Australia’s Melbourne Airport who was pulled off a flight last week carrying tens of thousands of dollars in cash and ISIS’ black-and-white flag in his luggage.

Britain proposed laws Monday to let police seize the passports of those suspected of having traveled abroad to fight, while the Netherlands is making it easier to strip people of their nationality and go after Internet providers that spread propaganda.

In Bosnia, authorities carried out a major anti-terror sweep Wednesday. They detained 16 people suspected of fighting in Syria and Iraq and recruiting Balkan men to join militants there.

Anti-jihadist efforts are being ramped up in traditionally Muslim countries as well: Indonesia is breaking up meetings of ISIS supporters and seizing T-shirts and other items promoting the group, and Tunisia is shutting down mosques and suspected financiers.

For the radicals who have already reached Syria, the focus of European spy agencies is on trying to identify them when they return. That can mean scouring social media sites for photos of foreign fighters or electronic intercepts for hints of terrorist activity abroad.

Officials are considering the deployment of more advanced techniques like voice recognition to identify suspected jihadis at border control by matching their conversations to those heard on militants’ videos, former U.K. counterterrorism chief Bob Quick told the Associated Press earlier this year.

There is huge interest, he said, in “being able to identify these people at the border.”

The concern is that returning fighters will launch attacks at home. Australia draws on lessons from Afghanistan a decade ago, saying of the 25 citizens who returned to Australia after fighting against Western interests there, two-thirds became involved in terrorist activities back home. Some remain in prison.

“The Australians and their supporters who have joined terrorist groups in the Middle East are a serious and growing threat to our security,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament Monday. “People who kill without compunction in other countries are hardly likely to be law-abiding citizens should they return to Australia.”

A compilation of government estimates shows more than 2,000 people with European passports have fought or are fighting in Syria and Iraq – with most looking to join ISIS.

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