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May 20, 2016 0

ADL Alerts Service Providers to Hezbollah Presence on Their Platforms

Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, speaking on al-Manar television

Has­san Nas­ral­lah, the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of Hezbol­lah, speak­ing on al-Manar television

UPDATE: 5/20/16 — Face­book & Insta­gram have removed the accounts iden­ti­fied in this blog.

Al-Manar, the media wing of Hezbol­lah, has long broad­cast ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda dis­guised as news to the Arab speak­ing world. After being dropped by two of the largest satel­lite providers in the Ara­bic speak­ing world, Arab­Sat (which dropped the chan­nel in Decem­ber 2015) and Nile­Sat (which dropped the chan­nel in April 2016), Hezbol­lah is rely­ing increas­ingly on online plat­forms to main­tain its viewer base. As a result, removal of al-Manar pres­ence from online plat­forms at this time has the poten­tial to sig­nif­i­cantly dis­rupt the group’s reach and impact.

Al-Manar, des­ig­nated by the U.S. State Depart­ment as a Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Global Ter­ror­ist Entity, cur­rently has offi­cial pres­ence on a num­ber of U.S.-based social media and web plat­forms, most of which are linked from al-Manar’s offi­cial web­site. ADL has alerted the com­pa­nies to the group’s presence.

ADL reg­u­larly alerts Inter­net com­pa­nies to ter­ror­ist exploita­tion of their ser­vices, and most com­pa­nies quickly remove the con­tent when alerted. We have informed the rel­e­vant com­pa­nies of these exam­ples of Hezbol­lah use of their plat­forms and antic­i­pate that they will remove the con­tent once again.

Twit­ter

Al-Manar has an offi­cial Twit­ter han­dle, @almanarnews, which can be accessed via direct link from the al-Manar web­site. The account appears to have been cre­ated in July 2010, and has upwards of 334,000 fol­low­ers. Accord­ing to the page descrip­tion, “Al-Manar web­site News and pro­grams. Al-Manar TV is con­sid­ered the tele­vi­sion of the Lebanese resis­tance against the Israeli occu­pa­tion.” The descrip­tion also includes a link to live stream­ing of al-Manar broad­casts on the al-Manar website.

Most of the Tweets on the al-Manar Twit­ter feed include state­ments pro­mot­ing vio­lence against the U.S., Israel, and other enti­ties Hezbol­lah con­sid­ers to be its ene­mies. It also fea­tures state­ments and speeches of Has­san Nas­ral­lah, the head of Hezbollah.

Spe­cific exam­ples of Tweets include one Tweet from May 18, 2016 that stated,“The Amer­i­can pres­ence is an occu­pa­tion that must be fought against,” one Tweet from Octo­ber 8, 2015 with an image show­ing a stabbed Israeli civil­ian and a mis­lead­ing cap­tion that reads: “an Israeli sol­dier stabbed in occu­pied Jerusalem;” and a link to an arti­cle that praises stab­bing attacks against Israelis. Another Tweet from Jan­u­ary 28, 2016 states, “The mis­siles of the Resis­tance (Hezbol­lah) dis­turb Washington…[because] Israel’s safety comes first [for the U.S.].

 

An al-Manar Tweet showing a stabbed Israeli civilian. The caption reads, "an Israeli soldier stabbed in occupied Jerusalem"

An al-Manar Tweet show­ing a stabbed Israeli civil­ian. The cap­tion reads, “an Israeli sol­dier stabbed in occu­pied Jerusalem”

Face­book

Al-Manar has an offi­cial Face­book page titled al-Manar Chan­nel – the Offi­cial Page (in Ara­bic). The page can be accessed via direct link from the al-Manar web­site and has over 4,000 fol­low­ers. The page dis­plays al-Manar’s offi­cial log and posts news about Hezbol­lah and links to live stream­ing of al-Manar television.

As on the Twit­ter feed, most of the posts on the al-Manar Face­book page include state­ments pro­mot­ing vio­lence against the U.S., Israel, and other enti­ties Hezbol­lah con­sid­ers to be its ene­mies, as well as Islamic extrem­ist views and state­ments and speeches by Has­san Nasrallah.

Spe­cific exam­ples of posts include a car­toon posted on May 18, 2016 depict­ing an Amer­i­can sol­dier sup­port­ing ISIS and a post encour­ag­ing stab­bing ter­ror­ist attacks in Israel with an image of a knife cov­ered with the Pales­tin­ian flag with the Ara­bic text stat­ing, “stab it in the heart of your enemy.”

A cartoon posted on al-Manar's Facebook page depicting a U.S. soldier supporting ISIS.

A car­toon posted on al-Manar’s Face­book page depict­ing a U.S. sol­dier sup­port­ing ISIS.

One of the posts, also dated May 18, 2016, includes an admis­sion of the group’s vio­la­tion of Facebook’s terms of ser­vice. It reads, “To our hon­or­able and beloved page vis­i­tors, no mat­ter how many pages they shut down. We will always be the voice of resis­tance which doesn’t know defeat or sub­mis­sion.  We invite you, oh you who love resis­tance, resis­tance fight­ers, and the leader of the resis­tance to stand right in the face of false­hood to call upon rel­a­tives and friends to actively par­tic­i­pate in this page, which thanks to God and thanks to your efforts you will con­tinue and win.”

Insta­gram 

Al-Manar has an offi­cial Insta­gram page called alma­narnews. The page has 873 fol­low­ers and can be accessed via direct link from the al-Manar web­site. The page’s Arabic-language descrip­tion states, “Al-Manar web­site News and pro­grams,  al-Manar TV is con­sid­ered the tele­vi­sion of the Lebanese resis­tance against the  Israeli occu­pa­tion.” The descrip­tion also pro­vides a link for users to “watch the TV chan­nel broadcast.”

The Insta­gram page dis­plays the offi­cial logo of al-Manar and links to live stream­ing of the ter­ror­ist entity’s TV broadcast.

YouTube

Al-Manar has an offi­cial YouTube page called Al Manar Chan­nel 3. The page has 9,669 fol­low­ers and can be accessed via direct link from the al-Manar web­site. The page descrip­tion calls it, “The offi­cial page of the Lebanese Media Group al-Manar channel-Lebanon.”

The YouTube page dis­plays the offi­cial logo of al-Manar and links to media mate­ri­als pro­duced by al-Manar. The chan­nel also has a live stream of the al-Manar TV sta­tion and includes posts and videos fea­tur­ing Hezbollah’s mil­i­tary operations.

What­sApp

Al-Manar has an offi­cial What­sApp ser­vice called Al-Manar chan­nel What­sApp ser­vice, which can be accessed via direct link from the al-Manar web­site. The al-Manar What­sApp ser­vice page also links to other al-Manar social media accounts, includ­ing Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube. The ser­vice pro­vides sub­scrip­tion options for groups of five or more peo­ple, or for individuals.

The al-Manar WhatsApp service

The al-Manar What­sApp service

ADL pre­vi­ously exposed Hezbol­lah use of What­sApp in 2014, includ­ing attempts by the group to inter­est World­Cup sup­port­ers in its ser­vices via WhatsApp.

Telegram

Al-Manar has an offi­cial Telegram chan­nel called alma­narnews, which has 17,538 fol­low­ers and is acces­si­ble via direct link from the al-Manar web­site. The chan­nel descrip­tion states that it is “The offi­cial account of al-Manar chan­nel on Telegram” and pro­vides a link for users to “watch the TV chan­nel broad­cast” on the al-Manar website.

The chan­nel dis­plays the offi­cial logo of al-Manar and links to posts and videos from the satel­lite station.

Posts on the chan­nel include exten­sive news about ter­ror attacks in Israel, includ­ing posts that read, “Occu­pied Pales­tine: The mar­tyr­dom of the one who exe­cuted the stab­bing oper­a­tion in Jerusalem,” and “The enemy’s media: an Israeli attacked in a stab­bing oper­a­tion in Israel.”

On May 20, AlMa­nar also launched two addi­tional Telegram chan­nels, called Alma­narnews­bot and Almanarnews_bot, pre­sum­ably as backup chan­nels in case their orig­i­nal chan­nel is removed from the plat­form. They have already begun to post news from the Alma­narnews­bot chan­nel, but the Almanarnews_bot chan­nel is inac­tive as of this posting.

Apps for mobile devices

In the past two weeks, ADL has dis­cov­ered and alerted plat­forms to the devel­op­ment of new apps that enable al-Manar stream­ing for mobile phones. These included an app on iTunes, which iTunes has since removed, and an app on Google Play. Al-manar sub­se­quently posted a state­ment on Twit­ter rec­om­mend­ing that its Apple users use Telegram to get news and alerts, rather than iTunes. There is rea­son to assume that Hezbol­lah will con­tinue attempt­ing to cre­ate new apps, as it has done mul­ti­ple times in the past.

Al-Manar's Tweet advising Apple users to switch to Telegram to receive news.

Al-Manar’s Tweet advis­ing Apple users to switch to Telegram to receive news.

ADL has con­sis­tently doc­u­mented Hezbollah’s cre­ation of apps for mobile devices and alerted plat­forms to their exis­tence each time. Infor­ma­tion on each of these instances is avail­able at the fol­low­ing links:

Hezbol­lah on Your IPhone: There’s an App for That (2012)

Hezbol­lah Re-Launches Apps; Blames ADL For Fail­ure Of Pre­vi­ous Effort (2012)

Hezbol­lah Mil­i­tary Branch Offers Free Pod­casts On iTunes (2013)

Hezbol­lah Is Still Try­ing To Broad­cast Mes­sages To Your Hand­held (2014)

Hezbol­lah Android App Re-Launched For The Third Time (2014)

ADL also reg­u­larly mon­i­tors online pres­ence and pro­pa­ganda by other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing Hamas, ISIS and al Qaeda.

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May 19, 2016 1

Latest Issue of Inspire Magazine Encourages Small Scale Attacks

Inspire 15 cover image

Inspire 15

The 15th issue of InspireAl Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine, released on May 14, pro­vides read­ers with instruc­tions for mur­der­ing “the intel­li­gentsia, eco­nomic and influ­en­tial per­son­al­i­ties of Amer­ica.” Such attacks, claims the mag­a­zine, are “easy options that do not require huge efforts or man power, but the result is par­al­lel to the big oper­a­tions or even more.”

This incite­ment to kill indi­vid­u­als is the same attack strat­egy that was pro­vided in the 14th issue of Inspire mag­a­zine (released in Sep­tem­ber 2015), but the 15th issue pro­vides addi­tional sug­ges­tions for mak­ing bombs to con­duct the assas­si­na­tions, includ­ing pack­age bombs, small bombs under cars, and bombs that can be attached to a doorframe.

As in pre­vi­ous issues of Inspire, the mag­a­zine uses anti-Semitism and resent­ment of Israel to mobi­lize the anger and sup­port needed to encour­age indi­vid­u­als to sus­tain AQAP and per­pe­trate attacks. ADL pub­lished an updated report on anti-Semitism in Islamic extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda in 2015.

This exploita­tion of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sen­ti­ment was par­tic­u­larly evi­dent in the arti­cle, “O Knife Rev­o­lu­tion, Head Toward Amer­ica.” In it, AQAP strives to export the cur­rent mode of Pales­tin­ian ter­ror attacks in Israel to the U.S. by ask­ing, “Where are the zeal­ous Mus­lims in Amer­ica, who clearly see their Mus­lim broth­ers in Pales­tine being tor­tured? It is because of this painful tor­ture, that the blessed Knife Upris­ing has sur­faced. Then way is it that you just sit and wait, with your hands tied up?”

That arti­cle fur­ther uti­lizes anti-Semitism to encour­age attacks against the U.S. “It is no secret that the first guardian, sup­porter, and great­est inciter to the Jews are the Amer­i­cans,” it states. It goes on to directly threaten Jews, ask­ing “How many Jews are there in Amer­ica, Europe and other kufr (apos­tate) coun­tries? So take mat­ters in hand and fol­low the advice of your Prophet, if any of you gets hold of a Jew any­where, let him fin­ish him off.”

An article in Inspire 15 Encourages Domestic Attacks

An arti­cle in Inspire 15 encour­ages knife attacks in the U.S. mod­eled after attacks under­taken by Pales­tini­ans in Israel.

Sim­i­larly, the arti­cle, “Let us Unite for Pales­tine,” clearly attempts to trans­fer anger against Israel to attacks against the U.S. by assert­ing “The lib­er­a­tion of Jerusalem…requires…two things: Firstly: Strik­ing the West…. Sec­ondly: Estab­lish­ing a Mus­lim state in Egypt and the Lev­ant.” AQAP is more inter­ested in attack­ing the West and secur­ing a foothold in Egypt and Syria than in attack­ing Israel, so the mag­a­zine tries to con­vince its sup­port­ers that these goals are inher­ently a part of destroy­ing the State of Israel.

Yet another arti­cle, “Inside Obama’s Ratio­nal­ity,” sug­gests a con­spir­acy the­ory of Jew­ish influ­ence in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics: “every­one com­petes in pleas­ing the Jews, even the so-called ratio­nal Pres­i­dents com­pete with each other in prov­ing who is the most biased, irra­tional, par­ti­san pres­i­dent when it comes to sup­port­ing the Jews.”

Other arti­cles directly pro­mote any sort of lone wolf attacks against the U.S., while striv­ing to ensure that Al Qaeda can receive credit for indi­vid­ual actions. The arti­cle “Jihad Upon Clear Insight” states “one can ben­e­fit from the pub­li­ca­tion of As-Sahab foun­da­tion (an Al Qaeda media foundation)…It explains the impor­tance of lone jihad and its impact upon the enemy…. And he can also ben­e­fit from Inspire Mag­a­zine. A Lone Mujahid and oth­ers should know that this knowl­edge is not less impor­tant than the sci­ence of weaponry and how to use them, how to make explo­sives and charges.”

As noted, the cover arti­cle, “Pro­fes­sional Assas­si­na­tions,” pro­vides instruc­tions for sur­veilling influ­en­tial indi­vid­u­als and then build­ing bombs to mur­der them.

Inspire is per­haps the most noto­ri­ous Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda vehi­cle. It has played a role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of mul­ti­ple domes­tic extrem­ists, includ­ing the Tsar­naev broth­ers of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing), Jose Pimentel, who attempted a bomb­ing in New York, and Abdel Daoud, who attempted a bomb­ing in Chicago.

 

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May 13, 2016 0

New ISIS App One of Many Efforts to Indoctrinate Children

A screenshot from the ISIS app with the letter Ba for Bunduqiya, meaning rifle

A screen­shot from the ISIS app with the let­ter Ba for Bun­duqiya, mean­ing rifle

ISIS has released a mobile app designed to teach young chil­dren the Ara­bic alpha­bet while simul­ta­ne­ously indoc­tri­nat­ing them with mil­i­tant ide­ol­ogy. The app was shared via ISIS chan­nels on the chat appli­ca­tion Telegram and made avail­able on file shar­ing sites, many of which have since deleted the link.

Fea­tur­ing brightly col­ored, cheer­ful graph­ics, the appof­fers edu­ca­tional con­tent for learn­ing let­ters, such as songs designed for enabling mem­o­riza­tion. How­ever, the songs are filled with extrem­ist rhetoric, and words that begin with the let­ters shown include gun, tank, rocket and bullet.

This is not the first instance of ISIS pro­pa­ganda fea­tur­ing or tar­get­ing chil­dren. The group has released mul­ti­ple videos con­tain­ing acts of vio­lence com­mit­ted or incited by chil­dren as young as tod­dlers, as well as videos fea­tur­ing chil­dren engaged in com­bat train­ing. Many of the group’s more pos­i­tively themed videos, designed to sug­gest that ISIS is cre­at­ing a utopian com­mu­nity, have shown chil­dren play­ing, singing, and enjoy­ing ice cream and other treats. ISIS pro­pa­ganda videos are not only exported to extrem­ists out­side ISIS ter­ri­tory but also are reg­u­larly broad­cast inside areas the group con­trols. Reports have indi­cated that chil­dren within ISIS ter­ri­tory are reg­u­larly forced to watch the vio­lent pro­pa­ganda videos.

A young child in an ISIS propaganda video

A young child in an ISIS pro­pa­ganda video

But ISIS is not the only ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion to directly tar­get chil­dren. ADL has doc­u­mented sev­eral mil­i­tant online video games cre­ated for chil­dren by Hezbol­lah, which Hezbol­lah claimed were designed “to strengthen the cul­ture of resis­tance” – mean­ing, to indoc­tri­nate children.

ISIS, Hezbol­lah and other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions have also cre­ated other mobile apps aimed at adult audi­ences, with the goal of spread­ing their pro­pa­ganda on as many plat­forms as

Children eating ice cream in an ISIS propaganda video

Chil­dren eat­ing ice cream in an ISIS pro­pa­ganda video

pos­si­ble. ADL has just exposed a new app cre­ated to broad­cast Hezbollah’s al-Manar news out­let, which was made avail­able for down­load on iTunes.ISIS has also cre­ated sev­eral iter­a­tions of news apps. Cur­rently active chan­nels are fea­tured on the mobile chat app Telegram and con­tain backup mech­a­nisms so that if the ini­tial chan­nel is shut down, users are auto­mat­i­cally added to a newly cre­ated chan­nel and can con­tinue receiv­ing ISIS news and pro­pa­ganda directly onto their mobile phones.

Children in military training in an ISIS propaganda video

Chil­dren in mil­i­tary train­ing in an ISIS pro­pa­ganda video

Fur­ther­more, ISIS’s sleek and sophis­ti­cated pro­pa­ganda is reg­u­larly aimed at audi­ences not con­sid­ered tra­di­tional demo­graph­ics for extrem­ist recruit­ment. For exam­ple, the group also has a pro­pa­ganda wing that specif­i­cally tar­gets women and has put sig­nif­i­cant efforts into recruit­ing female members.

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