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April 9, 2014 0

Terrorist Groups Continue To Flock To Twitter

The recent launch of Twit­ter accounts by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), a media orga­ni­za­tion affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) under­scores the con­tin­ued abil­ity of ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions to influ­ence and poten­tially recruit fol­low­ers worldwide.aqap-twitter

GIMF’s Twit­ter feed, which was re-launched in Feb­ru­ary 2014, is pri­mar­ily in Ara­bic and includes a mix of offi­cial state­ments and links to pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als. It has gained 1,533 fol­low­ers. One of the recent tweets included a link to an English-language video series called “Mujahideen Moments” that pro­motes mil­i­tant activity.

The AQAP Twit­ter feed was re-launched in late March 2014. The feed, which now has 3,406 fol­low­ers, is in Ara­bic and includes pic­tures of mil­i­tants and offi­cial state­ments from AQAP.

AQAP has been par­tic­u­larly adept at spread­ing its mes­sage online. Inspire mag­a­zine, its online English-language pub­li­ca­tion, has influ­enced many extrem­ists and would-be extrem­ists. Inspire came out with its twelfth issue in March 2014, which called for car bomb attacks on major U.S. cities.

The use of Twit­ter by For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tions first made head­lines in Decem­ber 2011 when Al Shabaab, a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion in Soma­lia that for­mally merged with Al Qaeda in Feb­ru­ary 2012, began tweeting.

ADL recently released a new report, Home­grown Islamic Extrem­ism in 2013: The Per­ils of Online Recruit­ment &Self-Radicalization, ana­lyzing the rise of ter­ror­ist use of online plat­forms and the effects and impact that use has on domes­tic security.

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April 4, 2014 0

Online Terrorist Propaganda & The Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary

boston-marathon-bombing-anniversary-inspire-online-terrorism

Com­mem­o­ra­tive graphic of Boston bomber Tamer­lan Tsar­naev in Inspire magazine

In the year since the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, which resulted in three deaths and over 260 injuries, ter­ror­ists groups that jus­tify and sanc­tion vio­lence have inten­si­fied their efforts to reach, recruit and moti­vate home­grown extrem­ists by adapt­ing their mes­sages to new technology.

Ter­ror­ist groups and their sup­port­ers are not only using social media and other Inter­net plat­forms to spread their mes­sages more quickly and effec­tively than ever before, but also to recruit adher­ents who live in the com­mu­ni­ties they seek to target.

A new ADL report, Home­grown Islamic Extrem­ism in 2013: The Per­ils of Online Recruit­ment & Self-Radicalization, explores the impact sophis­ti­cated ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda has had on a new gen­er­a­tion of home­grown extrem­ists. Face-to-face inter­ac­tion with ter­ror­ist oper­a­tives, the report con­cludes, is no longer a require­ment for radicalization.

Inspire mag­a­zine, for exam­ple, which is designed to engage and recruit sym­pa­thiz­ers in the U.S., has become a sta­ple of domes­tic ter­ror­ism, pro­vid­ing ide­o­log­i­cal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions encour­ag­ing attacks on U.S. soil as well as var­i­ous sug­gested meth­ods of attack. Inspire con­tained the very bomb-making instruc­tions that were used by the alleged Boston Bombers to con­struct their bombs in an arti­cle called “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”

The newest issue of Inspire, released last month, pro­vides detailed instruc­tions on how to build car bombs and includes sug­ges­ted loca­tions for where to plant them in var­i­ous U.S. cities. The author notes, “The Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment was unable to pro­tect its cit­i­zens from pres­sure cooker bombs in back­packs, I won­der if they are ready to stop car bombs!”

The ADL report also explores the other Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents impli­cated in the U.S. on terror-related charges in 2013 and over the past five years, not­ing how many were directly influ­enced by ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda eas­ily acces­si­ble online.

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March 20, 2014 2

Arrest Demonstrates Influence of Online Terrorist Materials

Nicholas Teausant

A 20-year-old com­mu­nity col­lege stu­dent from Acampo, Cal­i­for­nia, was arrested on March 17th for attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), a ter­ror­ist group for­merly affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda. His alleged activ­i­ties prior to his arrest demon­strate the dan­ger­ous influ­ence of English-language online pro­pa­ganda that is being dis­trib­uted by ter­ror­ist organizations.

The stu­dent, Nicholas Teau­sant, report­edly accessed a vari­ety of online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda includ­ing issues of Inspire mag­a­zine, an English-language pub­li­ca­tion pro­duced by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, and its com­pan­ion “Mujahid Pock­et­book,” which con­tains a com­pi­la­tion of arti­cles designed as a “how-to guide for becom­ing a lone wolf terrorist.”

Teau­sant also broad­cast his views over social media. In a Face­book post dated March 9, 2014, he asserted “the peo­ple you call ter­ror­ist aren’t really ter­ror­ist (sic) they are just doing what your to (sic) afraid to do, the gov­ern­ment fears these peo­ple and that’s why they are called ter­ror­ist.” He also posted mes­sages about car­ry­ing con­cealed weapons in public.

On the photo-sharing ser­vice Insta­gram, Teau­sant allegedly wrote, “Don’t get me wrong I despise Amer­ica and want its down fall…I would love to join Allah’s army.”

Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Teau­sant dis­cussed bomb­ing the Los Ange­les sub­way sys­tem and pur­chas­ing fire­works and explo­sives prior to his attempt to join ISIS.

Teau­sant had enlisted in the U.S. army reserves in 2007 – seem­ingly prior to his attrac­tion to ter­ror­ism – but appar­ently never com­pleted train­ing because he did not meet the aca­d­e­mic requirements.

His arrest came the same day as that of Moham­mad Has­san Ham­dan, a 22-year-old per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent resid­ing in Dear­born, MI, who was arrested for attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join Hezbollah.

Both arrests high­light the con­tin­ued threat of Amer­i­cans trav­el­ing to join ter­ror­ist groups in Syria as the civil war there continues.

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