Think Tank Report Merges Racism With Criticism of Islam To Achieve ‘Islamophobia Crisis’ Numbers

BBC-Demos-3-640x480Breitbart, by Liam Deacon, Aug. 19, 2016:

The BBC has seized upon a report by a left-wing think tank, which openly conflates criticism of Islam with racism, to claim “islamophobia” on social media has “peaked” and imply more censorship is needed.

Demos, whose Chief Executive is Claudia Wood, who joined the think tank from Tony Blair’s strategy unit, developed a method of supposedly automatically identifying Tweets that are “hateful, derogatory, and anti-Islamic”.

They claimed that over 5,000 “Islamophobic” tweets are sent every day and that the number “peaked” after a number of Islamist terror attacks rocked Europe this July.

“Over July, we identified 215,247 Tweets, sent in English and from around the world… On average, this is 289 per hour, or 6,943 per day”, the report claims.

“Islamophobic tweets ‘peaked in July’”, claimed a BBC article and extended segment on the BBC News Channel, after they were given “exclusive access” the report which they published alongside a series of emotive and subjective interviews with “offended” and aggrieved British Muslims.

These “possibly socially problematic and damaging” online utterances were said to “contain one of a number of specified keywords”.

However, the National Secular Society (NSS) labelled the report “an accidental case-study in why we should all stop using the meaningless and sinister word ‘Islamophobia’”, and identified some serious methodological flaws.

Benjamin Jones, the communications officer of the NSS, explained in a blog post:

“In their report Demos selects some tweets it included in the study, which they presumably think are good examples of their methodology in action. A tweet stating “Morocco deletes a whole section of the Koran from school curriculum as it’s full of jihad incitement and violence The Religion of peace” is treated the same way as a tweet saying “I fucking hate pakis” in their methodology.

“One of these tweets criticises an idea. The other is racist. One describes and mocks a belief system, the other (verbally) attacks people. Demos’ methodology treats both of these tweets in the same way.

“I have read (an English translation of) the Koran. Saying it contains violence (it does) is in no way comparable to using racist language.

“This is an appalling conflation, which creates a false moral equivalence between racism and criticising a set of ideas.

“Another tweet Demos offer as an example reads: “Priest killed in #Normandy today by a Radical Islamic Terrorist yet Hillary says that Islam is peaceful! 1274 attacks this year=peaceful? Ok.”

“Is asserting that Islam doesn’t seem to be conducive to peace really ‘Islamophobic’? The BBC apes Demos’ dangerous line, referring not to anti-Muslim, but explicitly to “anti-Islamic” tweets as ‘Islamophobic’.

“… Wanting to jail homosexuals might also be “socially problematic”, but pointing out that half of British Muslims do want to criminalise homosexuality and most think it is immoral would have me labelled an ‘Islamophobe’ under Demos’ methodology.”

The report’s authors claim that “we believe it is important that the principle of internet freedom should be maintained… However, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and misogynistic abuse can curtail freedom…”

In the methodology section of their paper, they write that “An Islamophobic expression was defined as the illegitimate and prejudicial dislike of Muslims because of their faith”, but conceded that, “Islamophobia can take on a very large number of different forms, and its identification, especially within Twitter research, was often challenging.”

“Ultimately, this research comes down to the judgement of the researchers involved”, they add.

Screen-Shot-2016-08-19-at-13.56.03

According to NSS, Demos clearly failed to successfully identify bigotry, and by conflating it with legitimate criticism Islam and Islamism, they and the BBC have damaged people’s ability to speak freely on the subject.

An example of this conflation came within the BBC’s own report, when a man interrupted one of the Muslim interviewees to say that “there is no sharia law here” and “we’re losing our freedom of speech”.

The man was immediately castigated by the Muslim interviewee, and the BBC ran a second article titled: “BBC Islamophobia discussion interrupted by Islamophobia”, implying that stating Sharia law isn’t part of UK law is itself Islamophobic.

Convictions for crimes under Section 127 of the Communications Act of 2003, a law increasingly used to prosecute “internet trolls”, have increased ten-fold in a decade.

Earlier this week, the office of London’s first Muslim mayor announced they had secured millions of pounds to fund a police “online hate crime hub” to work in “partnership with social media providers” to criminalise “trolls” who “target… individuals and communities.”

And in May this year, the EU announced that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft had “committed” to working more closely with them and national governments and “their law enforcement agencies” to help “criminalise” perceived “illegal hate speech” online.

Also see:

Al Qaeda’s 20-year plan to violently impose Sharia on the West in stages is just entering Phase Six (2016-2020) of “Total Confrontation”. This timeline, hatched well before 1996, was known to the West for ten years.

The other death-to-the-West Islamic timeline implemented ten years ago by a highly powerful and influential organization — the world’s second largest intergovernmental organization (next to the United Nations) and largest Islamic organization — is also building momentum in a less violent but parallel way.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the largest voting bloc at the UN (comprising the world’s 57 Islamic states) proposed a Ten-Year Programme of Action (at a two-day summit in Mecca concluding on Dec.9th) to internationally criminalize any criticism of Islam or so-called Islamophobia, culminates this week (December 8th and 9th).

Criminalizing Islamophobia[1] was the OIC’s major initiative since 1999, at which time it began pushing for a blasphemy-against-Islam UN resolution. That resolution finally passed in 2011 as UN Resolution 16/18 — the underpadding of which is to establish a global Islamic hegemony or caliphate that subjugates the entire world to Sharia. UN Resolution 16/18 and the hate-speech laws that it gave rise to simply facilitate the Islamization of the West.

Both timelines are influencing, guiding, and mobilizing jihadists worldwide to launch attacks that are gaining momentum throughout the West. All-out war has begun with more and more Islamic terrorist attacks launching worldwide, including now in the U.S.

ISIS Is Winning the Twitter War

An ISIS propaganda poster featuring terrorist Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida / AP

An ISIS propaganda poster featuring terrorist Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Morgan Chalfant, Aug. 6, 2016:

Islamic State supporters have given the terror group an advantage over its opponents by out-tweeting critics, according to a new study.

While ISIS opponents outnumbered the group’s supporters six-to-one on Arabic-language Twitter last year, ISIS supporters “routinely outtweet opponents” and are better at using social media to propagate their message, according to a RAND Corporation study that examined ISIS Twitter networks between July 2014 and April 2015.

Researchers discovered nearly 76,000 pro-ISIS Twitter accounts using Arabic on the social media site, a marked increase over a 2014 estimate by the Brookings Institution of around 46,000 Twitter accounts used by ISIS supporters—communicating in both Arabic and English.

The RAND study found over 471,000 accounts dispersing critical messages about the terrorist group.

ISIS supporters tweeted 60 times per day on average, 50 percent more than their opponents.

“While ISIS supporters are outnumbered, it is clear that they are more active than ISIS opponents, as they produce 150 percent of opponents’ number of tweets a day. These results suggest that ISIS supporters are more energized than their opponent counterparts,” the researchers concluded in the study released on Tuesday.

“However, more than this, lexical analysis of the ISIS Supporters metacommunity demonstrates that ISIS supporters more actively adhere to good social media strategy by actively encouraging fellow supporters to ‘spread,’ ‘disseminate,’ and ‘link’ messages to expand their reach and impact,” the researchers continued.

ISIS has leveraged Twitter and other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Ask.fm, to disseminate its message and reach potential sympathizers beyond its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria. From 2011 to September 2015, roughly 30,000 foreign fighters, including thousands of Westerners and hundreds of Americans, tried to travel to Iraq and Syria, many seeking to join ISIS.

An Alabama high school student who joined the terror group first made contact with ISIS members and supporters on Twitter, according to an interview published by BuzzFeed last year.

ISIS hacking groups have also used social media to promote “kill lists” targeting U.S. military officials, law enforcement personnel, and civilians.

The State Department said in June that ISIS posed the greatest global terror threat last year, noting that the group’s “propaganda and use of social media have created new challenges for counterterrorism efforts.”

RAND researchers analyzed publicly available Twitter data over a 10-month period to understand different communities talking about ISIS and develop recommendations for U.S. and allied efforts to combat the terror group on social media.

The Obama administration has struggled to counter terrorist propaganda online. In January, it overhauled its efforts to curb ISIS and other terror groups’ digital influence with the creation of a counterterrorism task force.

The State Department, which was widely mocked in 2014 for its “Think Again Turn Away” counter-messaging campaign, shuttered its Center for Counterterrorism Communications at the start of this year after an expert panel concluded that the U.S. government should not be so overtly engaged in information operations against ISIS.

The department replaced the program with the Global Engagement Center, which largely relies on foreign states to lead counterterrorism messaging.

Twitter began suspending ISIS accounts in March 2015, which may have resulted in a gradual decline of ISIS supporters, the RAND research indicated. Still, the organization’s use of social media has exacerbated concerns about its ability to inspire future attacks like the Orlando nightclub shooting carried out by ISIS sympathizer Omar Mateen in June. That attack killed 49 people.

Phillip Lohaus, a national security expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Free Beacon that Twitter has been effective at cracking down on jihadist accounts, but that some supporters have found ways to direct individuals to ISIS resources without being flagged by the company.

“There are people who sympathize with jihadist groups, with ISIS, that are on Twitter and that know what boundaries not to cross, and therefore can serve as a conduit to point people toward certain resources or to get out messages that are sympathetic to ISIS if they’re not necessary inciting people to violence or things that Twitter would immediately kick them off for,” Lohaus explained.

He said that ISIS has used Twitter and other platforms to “create an online community” that the U.S. government has thus far been ineffective at countering.

“The way that the government has handled this so far has been to kind of send out a couple snarky tweets and they think that’s sufficient,” Lohaus explained. “The real issue here is that these jihadist groups are creating an online community. It’s not just that they’re just sending out all this horrible propaganda. It’s that they’re sending out things like poems, they’re sending out highly-polished videos, they’re sending out all kinds of essays that maybe are only tangentially related to extremists.”

The RAND study recommended that the State Department provide “social media trainings and other engagements” to ISIS opponents using Arabic-language Twitter to amplify their messages. “Of course, with al-Qa’ida and its affiliates counted among the ISIS opponents, care will have to be taken in selecting those suitable to train and empower,” the researchers noted.

RAND researchers also recommended that government organizations looking to combat ISIS with counter-messaging on Twitter should tailor their messages to target specific communities because the terror group’s Twitter community “is highly fragmented and consists of different communities that care about different topics.”

The U.S. military and State Department should also continue to highlight global atrocities committed by ISIS, the researchers wrote, highlighting data indicating that intense attention to such acts resulted in an influx of anti-ISIS messaging. “Note, however, ISIS clearly uses ultraviolence as a key component of its brand, and a messaging strategy, consequently, highlighting such actions risks playing into its hands,” they warned.

In addition to public social media platforms, ISIS has also turned to secure messaging platforms like Kik to communicate with potential supporters and fighters, which Lohaus indicated could be more of a threat than propaganda spread through Twitter.

“These are secured chat platforms where ISIS recruiters and propagandists can directly get in touch with youths or with anybody who might be interested in their cause,” Lohaus said, adding later that militants could leverage these platforms to call for future attacks against the West.

“There’s a whole section of communications in our society to which the government doesn’t have access and I think that we are already seeing Islamists exploit that, and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t for operational things either,” he said.

Federal Government Authorizes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to Censor “Anti-Islam” Speech; Lawsuit Filed

3320334677Center for Security Policy, July 13, 2016:

Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment.

Section 230 provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Jihad Watch.

As alleged in the lawsuit, Geller and Spencer, along with the organizations they run, are often subject to censorship and discrimination by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because of Geller’s and Spencer’s beliefs and views, which Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube consider expression that is offensive to Muslims.

Such discrimination, which is largely religion-based in that these California businesses are favoring adherents of Islam over those who are not, is prohibited in many states, but particularly in California by the state’s anti-discrimination law, which is broadly construed to prohibit all forms of discrimination.  However, because of the immunity granted by the federal government, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are free to engage in their otherwise unlawful, discriminatory practices.

As set forth in the lawsuit, Section 230 of the CDA immunizes businesses such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from civil liability for any action taken to “restrict access to or availability of material that” that they “consider to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, issued the following statement:

“Section 230 of the CDA confers broad powers of censorship upon Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube officials, who can silence constitutionally protected speech and engage in discriminatory business practices with impunity by virtue of this power conferred by the federal government in violation of the First Amendment.”

Muise went on to explain:

“Section 230 is a federal statute that alters the legal relations between our clients and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, resulting in the withdrawal from our clients of legal protections against private acts.  Consequently, per U.S. Supreme Court precedent, state action lies in our clients’ challenge under the First Amendment.”

David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added:

“Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have notoriously censored speech that they deem critical of Islam, thereby effectively enforcing blasphemy laws here in the United States with the assistance of the federal government.”

Yerushalmi concluded:

“It has been the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists to impose such standards on the West.  Its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which co-sponsored, with support from Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton, a U.N. resolution which called on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are falling in line, and we seek to stop this assault on our First Amendment freedoms.”

AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise and David Yerushalmi, along with the plaintiffs in this case, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, will hold a Press Call from 2:00-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13.  To access this press conference call, dial (641) 715-3655 and enter code 111815.

Also see:

European Union Declares War on Internet Free Speech

This week, the EU, in partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, unveiled a "code of conduct" to combat the spread of "illegal hate speech" online in Europe. The next day, Facebook suspended the account of Ingrid Carlqvist, Gatestone's Swedish expert, after she posted a Gatestone video to her Facebook feed — called "Sweden's Migrant Rape Epidemic."

This week, the EU, in partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, unveiled a “code of conduct” to combat the spread of “illegal hate speech” online in Europe. The next day, Facebook suspended the account of Ingrid Carlqvist, Gatestone’s Swedish expert, after she posted a Gatestone video to her Facebook feed — called “Sweden’s Migrant Rape Epidemic.”

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, June 3, 2016:

  • Opponents counter that the initiative amounts to an assault on free speech in Europe. They say that the European Union’s definition of “hate speech” and “incitement to violence” is so vague that it could include virtually anything deemed politically incorrect by European authorities, including criticism of mass migration, Islam or even the EU itself.
  • Some Members of the European Parliament have characterized the EU’s code of online conduct — which requires “offensive” material to be removed from the Internet within 24 hours — as “Orwellian.”
  • “By deciding that ‘xenophobic’ comment in reaction to the crisis is also ‘racist,’ Facebook has made the view of the majority of the European people… into ‘racist’ views, and so is condemning the majority of Europeans as ‘racist.'” — Douglas Murray.
  • In January 2013, Facebook suspended the account of Khaled Abu Toameh after he wrote about corruption in the Palestinian Authority. The account was reopened 24 hours later, but with the two posts deleted and no explanation.

The European Union (EU), in partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, has unveiled a “code of conduct” to combat the spread of “illegal hate speech” online in Europe.

Proponents of the initiative argue that in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, a crackdown on “hate speech” is necessary to counter jihadist propaganda online.

Opponents counter that the initiative amounts to an assault on free speech in Europe. They say that the EU’s definition of “hate speech” and “incitement to violence” is so vague that it could include virtually anything deemed politically incorrect by European authorities, including criticism of mass migration, Islam or even the European Union itself.

Some Members of the European Parliament have characterized the EU’s code of online conduct — which requires “offensive” material to be removed from the Internet within 24 hours, and replaced with “counter-narratives” — as “Orwellian.”

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Twitter and Facebook Vow to Eliminate ‘Hate Speech’

facebook_twitter_intergration

Henceforth only far-Left and pro-jihad views will be allowed.

Front Page Magazine, by Robert Spencer, June 1, 2016:

Could it soon be illegal to oppose jihad terror on the Internet?

AP reported that “the European Union reached an agreement Tuesday with some of the world’s biggest social media firms, including Facebook and Twitter, on ways to combat the spread of hate speech online.”

Not only Facebook and Twitter, but also YouTube and Microsoft, “have committed to ‘quickly and efficiently’ tackle illegal hate speech directed against anyone over issues of race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. The sites have often been used by terrorist organizations to relay messages and entice hatred against certain individuals or groups.”

Vera Jourova, whom AP identifies as “the EU commissioner responsible for justice, consumers and gender equality,” explained: “The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech.” She added that the new rules would “ensure that public incitement to violence to hatred has ‘no place online.’” But incitement to violence isn’t all that the social media giants are planning to stamp out: Karen White, Twitter’s European head of public policy, declared: “We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”

The problem with both Jourova’s and White’s statements is that they assume that “hate speech” is an entity that can be identified objectively, when actually it is a subjective judgment based on one’s own political preconceptions. And given the years-long insistence from Leftists and Islamic supremacists that any honest discussion of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism constitutes “hate speech,” these new rules could mean the end of opposition to jihad terror on the Internet.

Consider, for example, what Twitter does not consider to be “hate speech.” A Muslim named Obaid Karki, @stsheetrock on Twitter, who runs a website headed “Obaid Karki St.Sheetrock’s Painfulpolitics Offensive Comedy Hepcat” and another called is called “Suicide Bombers Magazine” posted this on one of them last Sunday: “Robert Spencer mustn’t [be] featured but lynched from his scrotum along with Zionists scumbags, Pamela Geller, Pat Condell, Daniel Pipes, Debbie Schlussel and JIHADWATCH Jackass duo Baron Bodissey & Geert Wilders for inspiring Anders Behring Breivik to [kill] innocent students in 2011.”

Neither Bodissey or Wilders actually run Jihad Watch – I do — and I didn’t inspire Breivik to do anything, but what is interesting about Karki’s loony message is that he posted this call for me and others to be lynched on Twitter.

Twitter supposedly has a policy against death threats. “The Twitter Rules” say: “Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.” I therefore duly reported this one – but as of this writing, it has not been taken down (in fact, Karki posted it along with variants of it several times). I reported Karki’s tweet (which he republished on Twitter several times, and on Monday received this message from Twitter: “Thank you for letting us know about your issue. We’ve investigated the account and reported Tweets for violent threats and abusive behavior, and have found that it’s currently not violating the Twitter Rules (https://twitter.com/rules).”

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Social Media Emerges as a Valuable Terrorist Fundraising Tool

by Abha Shankar
IPT News
April 20, 2016

1493Social media has emerged as a valuable and effective fundraising tool for terrorist groups. The Internet’s easy access and relative anonymity allows terrorist groups to solicit online donations from both supporters and unsuspecting donors who believe they are supporting a humanitarian or charitable activity.

On March 22, for example, the Nafir al Aqsa (Mobilizing for Al-Aqsa) Campaign “to equip the mujahidin of Beit al Maqdis [Jerusalem],” posted (and suspended in the past day) a solicitation for funding under the Twitter handle @Nafeer_aqsa100. It cites a hadith – a saying attributed to Islam’s prophet Muhammad – that giving money to those waging jihad is as good as doing it yourself.

1494Translation:

Nafir al Aqsa Campaign

To equip the Mujahdin of Beit al Maqdis

Equip a Mujahid

2,500 Dollars

Kalashnikov

Ammunition vest

Military clothing

Ammunition

Military boots

The Messenger of God (May God bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever equips a warrior in the way of God has himself fought, and he who supplies the needs of the family of a warrior has himself fought.”

The post lists a Telegram account “Nafeeraq” and email Nafeeraq@tutanota.de to contact the campaign.

Another post from March 23 (also suspended in the past day) solicits funds for jihad, listing the prices of a sniper weapon ($6,000), a grenade thrower RPG ($3,000), and PK machine gun ($5,500).

1495The solicitation campaign cites a statement from bin Laden: “I urge the youth and the sincere traders to seize this opportunity and undertake this sublime task of defending this religion and salvage this Ummah by supporting this Jihad and their properties and by exhorting and fighting against our enemies, especially in Palestine and Iraq.”

1496The Nafir al Aqsa campaign also solicits funds on YouTube.

1497In an April 2015 post, the Twitter handle @7sanaabil belonging to a Chechen jihadist group Jaish alMuhajireen wal-Ansar (“The Army of the Mujahidin and Ansar”) based in Aleppo, Syria, solicited donations for “Arming-Medical-Relief-Sponsorship” and “sponsorship of the families of martyrs.” The fundraising campaign uses Whatsapp and Telegram – mobile apps to receive and send text messages – to communicate instructions for transferring money. Jaish alMuhajireen wal-Ansar has pledged allegiance to al-Qaida’s Syria branch, the al Nusra Front.

An Aug. 21 post by @7sanaabil claims that “Jihad for money” trumps the interpretation of jihad in the Quran as a struggle for self improvement.

A recent report by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog, underscores the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Whatsapp, Skype, and Telegram by terrorist groups and their financial facilitators to coordinate “large-scale and well-organized fundraising schemes” involving thousands of “sponsors” raising “significant amounts of cash.”

The challenge in slowing online fundraising “in an era when social media allows anyone with an Internet connection to set himself up as an international terrorist financier” was further highlighted by then-Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and now CIA Deputy Director David Cohen in a March 2014 address before the Center for New American Security: “We see this activity most prominently in Kuwait and Qatar, where fundraisers aggressively solicit donations online from supporters in other countries, notably Saudi Arabia, which have banned unauthorized fundraising campaigns for Syria.”

A fundraising campaign tied to the al Nusra Front and led by Saudi Sheikh Abdullah Mhesne used the Twitter handle “Jhad_bmalk” to call for contributions “to support the Islamic battalions” by invoking passage 47:38 from the Quran: “Behold, you are those invited to spend in the way of Allah; but among you are some that are niggardly. But any who are niggardly are so at the expense of their own souls.”

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Steve Emerson says ISIS managed to get a senior IT official of a Western law enforcement agency to defect in the past year

emerson

IPT, by Steven Emerson
Interview on Fox Business Network
February 25, 2016

Stuart Varney: My next guest is the enemy of radical Islam. He’s received many death threats because of this. He lives much of his life in hiding. He has an Investigative Project to root out the funding and managing of deadly terror groups. Welcome everyone the Investigative Project guy, his name is Steve Emerson. Sir, it’s a pleasure to have you on the program. Welcome.

Emerson: Good to be with you Stuart.

Varney: There’s a bold statement I read from you – ISIS is ahead of us in technology. That seems incredible to me. Do you want to explain it?

Emerson: Well let me modify that. Let’s just say there’s a cat and mouse game and the mouse seems to be winning at this point. ISIS has been able to exploit its use of Western technology to the point of basically encrypting its communications, using American and Western technology to avoid being hit by drones, using American and Western technology and building logarithms to avoid being shut down by Twitter. Twitter shut down 15,000 accounts, but ISIS continues to send out tens of thousands of Twitter feeds. And in fact I have with me these manuals that we obtained from ISIS – I’m not going to publicly reveal them – but they reveal for example [that] “beginning in 2014 Twitter accounts connected with ISIS began tweeting technical information advising jihadists how to foil attacks by American drones, laser guided bombs and missiles.” The document, it’s pretty incredible.

Varney: How did they do this? Are they recruiting Muslims who are raised in Western technology culture? Is that how they’re doing this?

Emerson: Well they’re recruiting all types. They’re recruiting social media experts. Well first of all they’re recruiting soldiers and that’s one key to their success. So they’ve got a territory. They’re becoming a self-contained state with all the accoutrement of the state. They’ve got weapons, they’ve got territory, they’re starting to get their own currency, they’ve got money. And now they’re beginning to develop their own technology. They are recruiting [specialists in the West]; they deliberately focus on social engineering recruits in the West. And in fact [although] it has not been known publicly but they actually managed to get a senior IT official of a Western law enforcement agency to defect to ISIS in the past year.

Varney: That’s a big win for the other side. Steven Emerson I’m sorry it’s so short but you raise a very interesting point here. And we appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

Emerson: You’re welcome.

***

EXCLUSIVE: Twitter Shadowbanning ‘Real and Happening Every Day’ Says Inside Source

twitter-jail-AP-640x480Breitbart, by  MILO YIANNOPOULOS, Feb. 16, 2016:

Rumours that Twitter has begun ‘shadowbanning’ politically inconvenient users have been confirmed by a source inside the company, who spoke exclusively to Breitbart Tech. His claim was corroborated by a senior editor at a major publisher.

According to the source, Twitter maintains a ‘whitelist’ of favoured Twitter accounts and a ‘blacklist’ of unfavoured accounts. Accounts on the whitelist are prioritised in search results, even if they’re not the most popular among users. Meanwhile, accounts on the blacklist have their posts hidden from both search results and other users’ timelines.

Our source was backed up by a senior editor at a major digital publisher, who told Breitbart that Twitter told him it deliberately whitelists and blacklists users. He added that he was afraid of the site’s power, noting that his tweets could disappear from users’ timelines if he got on the wrong side of the company.

Shadowbanning, sometimes known as “Stealth Banning” or “Hell Banning,” is commonly used by online community managers to block content posted by spammers. Instead of banning a user directly (which would alert the spammer to their status, prompting them to create a new account), their content is merely hidden from public view.

For site owners, the ideal shadowban is when a user never realizes he’s been shadowbanned.

However, Twitter isn’t merely targeting spammers. For weeks, users have been reporting that tweets from populist conservatives, members of the alternative right, cultural libertarians, and other anti-PC dissidents have disappeared from their timelines.

Among the users complaining of shadowbans are sci-fi author and alt-right figurehead Vox Day, geek culture blogger “Daddy Warpig,” and the popular pro-Trump account Ricky Vaughn. League of Gamers founder and former World of Warcraft team lead Mark Kern, as well as adult actress and anti-censorship activist Mercedes Carrera, have also reported that their tweets are not appearing on the timelines of their followers.

The pattern of shadowban reports, which skews towards the alt-right, the populist right, and cultural libertarians, follows close on the heels of Twitter’s establishment of a “Trust and Safety Council” packed with left-wing advocacy groups, as well as Islamic research centre the Wahid Institute.

It also follows my prediction that Twitter would use its influence to interfere in the 2016 presidential election by muffling conservative voices on the platform.

For close to a year now, Breitbart has covered Twitter’s march towards political censorship. In May 2015 Allum Bokhari reported that the site had begun to experiment with shadowbans, ostensibly to protect users from abuse. Then, as now, it was suspected that “protecting users from abuse” was an excuse to implement a system that would later be used for political censorship.

With shadowbans now confirmed by an inside source, there is little room for doubt that the platform is intent on silencing conservatives. Furthermore, it has demonstrated a complete lack of regard for transparency, concealing its shadowbanning system from users and hiding its political bias behind a veneer of opposition to online abuse. (In reality, the site turns a blind eye to abuse from left-wingers.)

Users in search of a transparent, politically unbiased platform will soon have to find — or build — an alternative.

Follow Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) on Twitter and Facebook, or write to him at milo@breitbart.com. Android users can download Milo Alert! to be notified about new articles when they are published. 

***

Ezra Levant reports that some German carnival goers made fun of Cologne’s mayor for suggesting that women keep Muslim migrant rapists “at arm’s length.” Twitter blocked the photo of their costumes — for being “Islamophobic”?

Also see:

MILO: Twitter ‘Embarking on a War Against Conservative Points of View’

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Breitbart, Feb. 12, 2016:

Speaking with host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon on Breitbart News Daily, Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos discussed the suppression of conservative voices by Twitter on the social media platform.

“Why are you beating up Twitter, and why are you saying that Twitter trying to suppress conservative voices, and why is Twitter’s stock in a total free fall because Milo’s taking them on?” Bannon asked. “Are you a bigger, badder guy than Jack Dorsey?”

“Yeah, of course I am,” Yiannopoulos replied mischievously. “I’m absolute convinced that Twitter is embarking on a war against conservative points of view, a war against what we might call ‘Generation Trump,’ the dissident, mischievous voices of the new counter-cultural alternative right wing and libertarian youth.”

“Look at who Twitter employs,” he warned in reference to Twitter possibly influencing the 2016 presidential election. “You know, this guy used to work with Hillary, this guy used to work with Obama…”

“This is why Obama ran the tables with Google and with Facebook,” Bannon agreed. “Let’s talk about Facebook for a second. Why is Facebook suppressing voices in the continent of Europe about immigration. Why is Zuckerberg in bed with Merkel?”

Referring to the story of Facebook teaming up with the German government to censor debate over the influx of Middle Eastern migrants, Yiannopoulos said, “This is what the left does all over the world. They’ll take ridicule and criticism and they’ll rebrand it as abuse and harrassment or hate speech in some way.”

“This mergence of technology and thought control, it’s Orwellian,” Bannon said. “Are you fighting a rearguard action, or can we have victory in this?”

Noting that Twitter is failing and “in its death throes,” Yiannopoulos stated that Facebook is “more of a problem” and “the one we should really be worried about.”

“Why is Facebook more of a problem?” Bannon asked.

“Because the company’s not doing so badly,” Yiannopoulos replied. “Twitter’s influence is waning. We found out this week its monthly active users are going down. The stock price is tanking, partly as a result of their spat with me, I think. I don’t worry too much about them.”

“I do worry about Facebook. I worry about Facebook because it’s not just Facebook we’re talking about, they also own WhatsApp, and they also own Instagram,” he explained. “This company owns the platforms on which young people are messaging one another, and it has shown itself to be untrustworthy when it comes to free speech.”

***

Paul Joseph Watson: “Not ONE single conservative group” is on Twitter’s “Trust and Safety Council”

Paul Joseph Watson joined Faith Goldy to break down the latest from Twitter’s new “Trust and Safety Council.” Who is on this council and who isn’t? In an effort to transform their platform into a “safe space,” the organization is now in the business of censoring free speech and they’ve picked out an army of SJWs [social justice warriors] to get the job done!

Twitter Puts Anti-American, Anti-Israel Group in Charge of Censorship

twitter-censorFrontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Feb. 9, 2016:

Twitter has unveiled its creepily Orwellian “Trust and Safety Council” under the creepily Orwellian slogan, “When it comes to safety, everyone plays a role”. These groups will be helping set censorship policy for the site.

The Trust and Safety Council incorporates a laundry list of organizations, most obsessed with identity politics, bullying of hate speech, some of them more problematic than others. So while the Dangerous Speech Project suggests that countering speech is better than censorship, Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council also includes Feminist Frequency.

Stuart K. Hayashi had discussed the problems with Feminist Frequency earlier this year. Jonathan McIntosh, the man behind Feminist Frequency, is a radical leftist who has smeared American soldiers and attacked Israel and complained about people celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden. He attacked Charlie Hebdo after the massacre, ranting, “It’s telling that so many white folks are quick to jump to the defense of racist speech but can’t be bothered to fight institutional racism.”

Aside from McIntosh’s politics, it’s very problematic that a man who hates free speech this much will be helping set censorship policy for Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council.

Anita Sarkeesian, the front woman for Feminist Frequency, helped promote a UN Broadband Council report which quoted Lyndon LaRouche and was described by The Telegraph as a blueprint for internet censorship.

“Among other censorious suggestions, it openly urges governments to use their legislative powers and license only those Internet providers that “supervise content and its dissemination.”

This is a serious problem, especially since Twitter is putting political extremists with pro-censorship views in charge of censorship. And McIntosh has his own history of hateful views.

Twitter has forgotten that it owes its success to being an open platform. Turning it into a heavily censored forum moderated by radical leftists will alienate most of its global audience and kill its future.

***

Anti-Trump Saudi Prince Tied to Both Rupert Murdoch And Hillary Aide

Huma-Abedin-Hillary-Clinton-AFP-640x480

Breitbart, by Lee Stranahan, Feb. 1, 2016:

Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch is partnered in multiple media ventures with Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, including an Arabic religious TV network with a direct tie to Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin.

Both Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and Murdoch’s Fox News network have become vocal critics of GOP Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. On December 11, 2015 Bin Tala took to Twitter to savage Trump:

The Al-Resalah TV network is a venture created by Alwaleed in association with Rupert Murdoch. As The Guardian reported in 2010:

A company headed by the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says it plans to launch a new Arabic television news channel in partnership with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network. The prince said the Kingdom Holding company’s 24-hour channel “will be an addition and alternative” for Arab viewers. It will compete with al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera.

Alwaleed Bin Talal’s stated goal is to “present true Islam” but the network’s programming has been often been radical. As The Sun reported in 2006:

[M]uch of the content on his TV channel is overtly anti-Western. On March 31, the secretary-general of Al-Resalah, Sheik Tareq Al-Suweidan, gave a speech at Dialogue between Europe and Muslims, a convention in Copenhagen that the channel was covering. “The West have done strategic mistakes … they underestimate the power of Islam,” he said. Sheik Suweidan praised the election of Hamas and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, warning: “The West have no chance but to deal with Islam, and we are extending our hands in peace and dialogue – you have slapped it. We do not accept insults.”

According to the official website of Prince Alwaleed, one of the members of the Supreme Advisory board for his  network is “Dr. Abdullah Naseef, President of World Muslim Congress and President of Forum For Social Studies (FFSS).”

As Breitbart News has extensively documented, Al-Resalah TV  board member Dr. Naseef is the longtime benefactor of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s family business, the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.

As Vanity Fair reported:

When (Huma) Abedin was two years old, the family moved to Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where, with the backing of Abdullah Omar Nasseef, then the president of King Abdulaziz University, her father founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a think tank, and became the first editor of its Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, which stated its mission as “shedding light” on minority Muslim communities around the world in the hope of “securing the legitimate rights of these communities.”

It turns out the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs is an Abedin family business. Huma was an assistant editor there between 1996 and 2008. Her brother, Hassan, 45, is a book-review editor at the Journal and was a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, where Nasseef is chairman of the board of trustees. Huma’s sister, Heba, 26, is an assistant editor at the Journal.

In his early years as the patron of the Abedins’ journal, Nasseef was the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, which Andrew McCarthy () claims “has long been the Muslim Brotherhood’s principal vehicle for the international propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology.”

The Muslim World League was the mother organization of two groups the U.S. government thinks was involved in funneling money to terrorists–the Rabita Trust and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO). Both groups are listed on the Treasury department’s website of terrorist organizations. Naseef’s Rabita Trust co-founder Wa’el Hamza Julaidan was one of the founders of Al Qaeda.

These connections have been hidden by the mainstream media. Breitbart News demonstrated attempted to muddy the connection between Saudi Arabian raised Huma Abedin and Nassef when questions about Abedin were raised by a group of Congress members in 2012.

It’s been widely reported that Bin Talal is a large investor in Murdoch’s Fox News, but much less attention has been paid to Al-Resalah.

In early 2015, Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company reduced his stake in Murdoch’s News Corp to 1 percent but maintains a 6.6 percent interest in 21st Century Fox, which controls Fox News. As CNN Money reported:

News Corp. is Murdoch’s publishing operation, made up of the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal as well as the book publisher HarperCollins. The more valuable 21st Century Fox is home to a host of television and film properties such as Fox Searchlight, the Fox broadcasting network and Fox News.

“We have a strategic alliance with Rupert Murdoch for sure and I have been with him for the last 15 or 20 years,” Alwaleed said. “My backing of Rupert Murdoch is definitely unwavering.”

The connection between Alwaleed, Murdoch, Abedin, Hillary Clinton and Saudi Arabia are troubling given a number of recent events.

Prince Alwaleed is boasting about his role in impacting U.S. elections. As Breitbart News Network’s Aaron Klein reported, the Saudi Arabian news site Sabq claims that “Alwaweed Bin Talal caused a decline in Trump’s popularity.”

 CNN reported in 2008 that “donations to the William J. Clinton Foundation include amounts of $10 million to $25 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Huma Abedin was hired as a consultant to the William J. Clinton Foundation after Clinton left her role as Secretary of State.

Abedin is also at the center of Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal.

Huma Abedin’s mother currently lives in Saudi Arabia and runs the Journal for Muslim Minority Affairs and is also a dean at a woman’s college there.

Also see:

Gaffney: Shariah-Compliant Twitter

Arabic-Twitter-Getty-640x480Breitbart, by Frank  Gaffney, Jan. 3, 2016:

Twitter seems to think 2016 is 1984. It has welcomed in the New Year with a change in the rules governing all of its accounts that is reminiscent of Orwellian thought-control. Or at least that practiced by another, non-fictional totalitarian system: the Islamic supremacist program known as shariah.

Shariah’s adherents demand that no offense be given to them, their religion, deity or prophet. Now, all other things being equal, they are close to ensuring that none will be forthcoming in 140 characters.

If successful, contemporary Islamists will have achieved a major step towards a goal they have been pursuing through other means for nearly two decades: the worldwide prohibition of “defamation of religions” – read, Islam. In particular, since 2005, their proto-Caliphate – the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – has been working through the United Nations on a ten-year plan to impose this restraint concerning freedom of expression on the rest of us.

In 2011, with the active support of the Obama administration, this gambit produced UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. It basically gives the imprimatur of international law to Shariah’s demand that speech, books, videos and now Tweets that “defame” Muslims or their faith be prohibited.

In July of that year, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implicated herself personally in this affront to our First Amendment guarantee of free expression. She launched with the OIC and the European Union the so-called “Istanbul Process,” a tripartite effort to accommodate the Islamic supremacists’ demands that Western nations conform to Resolution 16/18 by adopting domestic strictures against offense-giving to Muslims. 

On that occasion, Mrs. Clinton famously declared her willingness “to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.” The message could not have been more clear to jihadists around the world: The United States was submitting to shariah blasphemy norms.

According to shariah, the proper response is to redouble the effort to make the infidel “feel subdued.” That means, worse behavior from the Islamists, not better.

Now, it seems that one of the greatest enablers of the global jihad, Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, is seeing his substantial stake in Twitter stock translate into another breakthrough for Islamic supremacy: The suppression of Tweets that, according to the company’s new rule, involve “hate speech or advocacy against an individual, organization or protected group based on race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status or other protected status.”

To be sure Twitter is a private sector enterprise. It is, therefore, free to deny its services to those whose content it finds objectionable. At least, as long as it doesn’t try to deny service to approved “haters” like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). This organization has deviated wildly from its early history as an effective advocate for civil liberties. Today, its invective-laced advocacy against individuals or organization who are supposed to enjoy “protected status” under our Constitution, namely that of citizens free to express themselves, can only be described as hate speech. Yet, the SPLC is embraced and even cited by the Obama administration and others among the leftists and Islamists who make up the “Red-Green axis” now feverishly working to silence any who they, as Hillary Clinton put it, “abhor.” (For more on this unlikely alliance, see Jim Simpson’s The Red-Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America.)

What is particularly concerning is that the new Twitter rule sounds a lot like what is coming out of the Obama administration these days. See, for example, the Justice Department’s “Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use Of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Or Gender Identity.”

Speaking of the Justice Department, Americans who are inclined not to worry about losing the ability to Tweet their concerns about jihadism, shariah and anything else that might offend Muslims should bear in mind that Attorney General Loretta Lynch has put us all on notice that considerably worse may be in store for our First Amendment rights. Last month she told a Muslim Brotherhood-tied organization, Muslim Advocates: “Now, obviously this is a country that is based on free speech, but when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone…lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric…When we see that, we will take action.”

With Hillary Clinton’s prominent role in promoting restriction of free expression, and what appears to be accelerating momentum in the direction of ensuring conformity with shariah blasphemy restrictions, this would seem to be a good time for Republican presidential candidates – and the rest of us – to be expressing our adamant objections. If Twitter gets away with keeping us from doing it in 140 characters, we better make sure we do it otherwise, while we still can.

Islam v. Free Speech: Twitter Surrenders

twitter 1National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Jan. 4, 2016:

My weekend column profiled Bosch Fawstin, the intrepid cartoonist who won last spring’s “Draw Muhammad” contest that was attacked by two ISIS-inspired jihadists in Garland, Texas. (The terrorists were killed in a shootout with police.) Fawstin compellingly argues that the best way to fight a repulsive conquest ideology such as Islamic supremacism is to expose it. That means an unstinting reliance on our constitutional right to free expression.

Apparently, Twitter has opted to join the campaign to crack down on free expression. And one is left to wonder whether the big Saudi bucks that have come its way are a factor in Twitter’s decision-making.

As I recount in the column, the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists has long been the imposition of sharia blasphemy standards on the West. This campaign is not waged exclusively or even primarily by violent jihadists. Instead, its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (a 57-government bloc of, mainly, majority-Muslim countries).

The West should be fighting these anti-Western Islamic supremacists in defense of our core principles. Instead, the Obama administration — particularly the president and his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton — has colluded with them. So have other left-leaning governments and institutions that are naturally hostile to free speech and open debate. One prominent result, which I discussed in the column as well as in Islam and Free Speech, is U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. This blatantly unconstitutional provision, co-sponsored by Obama, Clinton, and OIC members, calls on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam. Essentially, this is a codification of sharia, which prohibits all expression that subjects Islam to critical examination.

RELATED Just Asking About Islam and Terrorism

Twitter has announced new regulations on content communicated via its social-networking service. They are prohibitions on speech similar in effect to Resolution 16/18. As usual, this is shrewdly done under the guise of suppressing “hate” speech. In fact, the regulations cast a much wider net that potentially calls for the suppression of political and educational speech.

Twitter’s policy, called “Hate content, sensitive topics, and violence,” is here. The policy states that it applies to “Twitter Ads,” but goes on to explain that these “paid advertising products” include all “Tweets,” as well as “trends and accounts.”

The policy is then spelled out in question-and-answer form. Here is the relevant part (the italics are mine):

What’s the policy?

Twitter prohibits the promotion of hate content, sensitive topics, and violence globally.

ACM: Note from the get-go: We are not just talking about the incitement of violence here. Twitter is laying the groundwork to regulate discussions of any topics it deems “sensitive.”

What products or services are subject to this policy?

This policy applies, but is not limited, to:

Hate speech or advocacy against an individual, organization or protected group based on race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status or other protected status.

ACM: Note that this prohibition expressly goes beyond “hate speech” (which itself is an absurdly subjective term), additionally banning “advocacy against” people or groups based on, among other things, “religion” (as well as “other protected status” — who knows what that means?).

In essence, it is not different from Resolution 16/18’s prohibition of speech that could “incite” mere “hostility” to religion — i.e., anything that could cast Islam in a bad light, regardless of whether it is truthful. If they try to tell you this is just about banning insulting cartoons and patently derogatory statements, don’t buy it. This is about permitting only speech that conforms to the government’s official, smiley-face version of Islam.

Twitter’s list of speech categories to which its suppression policy applies continues:

Violence or threats of violence against people or animals

Glorification of self-harm or related content

Organizations or individuals associated with promoting hate, criminal, or terrorist-related content

ACM: Again, note that Twitter distinguishes “hate” from “terrorist-related content” and seeks to ban both. Remember, it is not just terrorists who engage in “terrorist-related” speech; it is also those of us who write about terrorism and what motivates terrorism. As announced, the policy makes no distinction between ISIS and, say, your humble correspondent.

Before concluding with a ban on “Offensive, vulgar, abusive or obscene content,” the policy also bans “Inflammatory content which is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction or cause harm.” This prohibition continues a dangerous trend: codification of the “heckler’s veto” or the law of the jungle. To the contrary, the First Amendment emphatically rejects the notion that speech obviously not intended to incite violence (indeed, often intended to expose savagery) should be banned simply because uncivilized people might react to it with violence, threats, and other perilous, intimidating behavior.

RELATED: Yes, Islamic Extremism Is Islamic, But That’s Just the Beginning of the Debate

Twitter elaborates that its suppression policy does not apply to “News and information that calls attention to hate, sensitive topics, or violence, but does not advocate for it.” So does that exemption include commentary on “news and information”? Apparently not. In the next sentence, Twitter provides a separate exemption for “commentary” that is much more narrow: The prohibition does not apply to “commentary about products, services, companies, or brands, including potentially negative commentary.”

The patent implication is that if “commentary” “calls attention to hate, sensitive topics, or violence,” Twitter reserves the right to ban it even if the commentary “does not advocate” hatred, violence, or other offenses to someone’s delicate sensibilities.

Is it a coincidence that Twitter is pushing the anti-speech agenda in the same direction as the OIC? Consider this: One of the prime movers in the campaign to impose Islamic blasphemy standards and other aspects of sharia law on the West is Saudi Arabia. In 2011, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal — a prominent member of the Saudi royal family with a prodigious record of buying up and influencing Western media and educational institutions — ponied up $300 million to purchase Twitter stock. By the end of 2015, bin Talal had doubled his investment in Twitter: His stake now has a market value of approximately $1 billion, good enough for a 5 percent share.

The sharia justice system that bin Talal’s family enforces is currently drawing attention due to its mass executions, which include putting to death a prominent Shiite activist, drawing the wrath of rival Iran (another prominent OIC country that imposes sharia law and executes dissenters). For present purposes, though, our focus is blasphemy. The Saudis strictly enforce sharia blasphemy strictures that the OIC — wittingly aided by Obama and Clinton — would thrust on the rest of the world. It is a commonplace for Saudi blasphemy prosecutions to be based on social-media postings on Twitter, Facebook, and the like.

RELATED: Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth — the Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate

By spreading his fortune around, tens of millions at a clip, Prince bin Talal attracts many admirers in the Western commentariat. He is thus depicted as the tolerant, progressive face of Saudi moderation. The image masks the ugly reality of the royal family and its sharia enforcement. For a more realistic take, and to grasp the perilous specter of Islamic-supremacist influence over Western free-speech standards, here is something worth perusing: last year’s Saudi court ruling that upheld the blasphemy conviction of human-rights activist Raif Badawi. He was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment and a thousand lashes for writing such social-media posts as: “The combination of the sword and the Quran are more dangerous than a nuclear bomb.”

After explaining that “liberalism is parting away from religion according to the Western definition of it,” the court held that Badawi had shown

disparagement of the one who made the Quran and the Sunnah as a guiding light and a law that equates the ruler and the ruled. And based on these thoughts that spread doubt in the fundamentals of the religion and its values, [Badawi] violate[d] the five essentials which sharia came to protect, and spread sedition and conflict among the people in society.

Hence, according to Act 23 of the basic law of governance, which says: “the government protects the Islamic doctrine, applies the laws of the Sharia, and promotes virtue and prevents vice”; and according to Act 11 of the same law, “the Saudi people live based on the tenacity of its individuals to the rope of Allah, and cooperate on righteousness, piety and interdependence among each other, and never be separated” . . .

The statements he confessed to writing . . . contain overall the perverted liberal thought and a call to embrace it and to reject the way of people of goodness and righteousness. It is a call to liberation from the duties of religion and its values, and to disrespect its [tenets].

The convict’s acts are condemned and considered a crime according to sharia and according to our government [law] combatting cybercrime, which says, “any person who commits the following cybercrimes is to be sentenced to serve a maximum of 5 years in prison [and fined:]. . . . Forming whatever affects public order and religious values, and public manners and the privacy of personal life via composing, sending or publishing the compromising material on the cyber web or any other electronic device.”

Yes, what could be better for Twitter than Saudi money and all the progressive enlightenment that comes with it?

We must hasten to add that Twitter is a private service. It is not bound by the First Amendment. Unlike the government, it is permitted to suppress speech disseminated through its own system. But that system has millions of users (including me, and most National Review writers). The new Twitter policy is clearly an effort to shape the public’s understanding of what is and is not tolerable speech. The question is: Is Twitter influential enough to have that effect . . . or will its obnoxious policy prompt protests by users that induce Twitter to rethink its course?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

IS Supporters on Twitter Wage Anti-American Campaign of Threats

SITE:

Islamic State (IS) supporters on Twitter have launched a campaign of threats against Americans. Unified by the hashtag, “WeWillBurnUSAgain,” the campaign has prompted references to the 9/11 attacks and past lone wolf attacks in the West along with promises for future ones. Content tweeted, along with written messages, included images, videos, and past IS media releases.

The hashtag was first used by the account of “Rabitat al-Ansar,” a pro-IS media group, on April 8, 2015. The message, made in a long series of tweets, announced the hashtag and established its motivation:

We swear that lone wolves are present in all countries of the world and lurking for you. What happened in France is not far from you and will be repeated, but this time in the streets of American cities. The word will be what you see and not what you hear.

The account then specified the date and time which the campaign would take place:

And let your slogan to be today as “I shall not survive if the worshipper of the Cross survived” and Allah permitting, the Media Campaign will be on Friday from 4:30 through

“In a time of lone wolf attacks, and Americans and other Westerners pledging to the Islamic State, this kind of campaign should not be taken lightly,” said SITE Director Rita Katz. “In recent weeks, about 10 Americans were indicted for attempts to act on behalf of the Islamic State, and there are many with every passing day that the group operates on Twitter.”

Currently, the hashtag has exceeded 15,000 uses—the overwhelming majority of which happening on April 10, the campaign’s designated start date.

Within the campaign has been a steady barrage of threats for lone wolf attacks. User “Abu Khattab Ansari 61,” for example, stated bluntly:

every-American-citizen.jpg

The account of “Raiding Battalion,” among the first to promote the campaign, tweeted a series of similar tweets threatening Americans on April 10:

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booby-trapped.jpg

Such messages also included an array of images showing the destruction of American buildings and monuments, including the White House and the Statue of Liberty:

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One set of images—which included attribution to Media Front for the Support of the Islamic State, a pro-IS media umbrella group, and Rabitat al-Ansar —showed pictures of fighters along with threats toward Americans at home and abroad:

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Dominant in the “WeWillBurnUSAgain” campaign was a focus on the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., with many tweets referencing Usama bin Laden and the fallen World Trade Center—by both text and picture. One such tweet, posted by user “Umm al-Bara’a al-Ansariah,” read:

3.jpg

Also tweeted with the “#WewillBurnUSAgain” hashtag were specific threats toward soldiers, deriving particularly from the Islamic State Hacking Division’s March 20, 2015release of 100 soldiers’ alleged addresses. One tweet, made by user “Abu Ubaidah,” showed photos of coffins wrapped in U.S. flags along with the message:

coffins.jpg

IS supporters also used the hashtag to forward past IS media releases from al-Hayat Media, IS’s Western-aimed media arm. Releases circulated within the campaign included IS’s beheading video of American citizen James Foley and the July 11, 2014 posthumous video of Canadian IS fighter “Abu Muslim”:

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“This Twitter campaign, along with other ones like it in the past, shows the Islamic State’s skill in forcing itself into Western conversations,” said Katz. “The planning of the hashtag two days prior and the content tweeted by these accounts shows a unified and structured method of online mobilization by the Islamic State and its followers.”

Also see:

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.

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