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March 18, 2015 2

NJ Man Arrested For Trying to Join ISIS Espoused Anti-Semitism Online

Tairod Pugh

Tairod Pugh

A New Jer­sey man, indicted yes­ter­day for attempt­ing to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), marks the 12th U.S. res­i­dent charged with sup­port­ing or join­ing Islamic extrem­ism this year and demon­strates the pres­ence of anti-Semitism and role of online pro­pa­ganda in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion process.

Tairod Nathan Web­ster Pugh is a U.S. cit­i­zen and for­mer air force mechanic from Nep­tune, NJ. He allegedly attempted to travel to join ISIS in Jan­u­ary but was detained and sent back to the U.S. by Egypt­ian offi­cials. Pugh was arrested on Jan­u­ary 16, 2015, upon his return to the U.S., but the charges were made pub­lic fol­low­ing yesterday’s indictment.

Pugh’s Face­book pro­file included mul­ti­ple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts sup­port­ing Hamas.

In July 2014, Pugh wrote a post that stated, in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves,” and posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.” In August 2014, he shared an image that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children.

Pugh also posted sev­eral car­toons equat­ing Jews, Israel or Zion­ists to Nazis, as well as mul­ti­ple images claim­ing to depict Israeli war crimes.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh's Facebook page.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh’s Face­book page.

Although Pugh did not pub­licly post his sup­port for ISIS, he did share a quote by ter­ror pro­pa­gan­dist Anwar al-Awlaki in August 2014. Awlaki is fre­quently cited as an inspi­ra­tion for extrem­ism by Amer­i­cans who have been linked to terrorism.

Pugh allegedly also used his com­puter to research join­ing ISIS and watch ISIS pro­pa­ganda videos. An inves­ti­ga­tion report­edly found that he had used the inter­net to search for the terms, “bor­ders con­trolled by Islamic state,” “who con­trols kobani (a city that has been con­tested by ISIS),” “kobani bor­der cross­ing,” and “jarablus bor­der cross­ing,” and the feature-film length ter­ror pro­pa­ganda video “Flames of War,” which depicts and apoc­a­lyp­tic strug­gle between ISIS and the West. He had also allegedly viewed a chart of cross­ing points between Turkey and Syria and had down­loaded at least one ISIS exe­cu­tion video, along with other ISIS videos.

Addi­tional Face­book posts by Pugh demon­strated anti-U.S. sen­ti­ment. One post from August 2014, taken from Iran­ian con­trolled media out­let Press TV, depicted pro­test­ers burn­ing an effigy of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. A post ear­lier that month included an arti­cle that Pugh wrote describ­ing “the rape of a Mus­lim woman by the Amer­i­can forces.” Accord­ing to media reports, some Face­book posts not pub­licly avail­able also expressed Pugh’s desire to never return to the U.S.

Pugh also shared images prais­ing the ter­ror group Hamas. In August 2014, he shared an appar­ent image of Hamas mil­i­tants “returned safely after 21 days of siege.” In July 2014, he shared a photo of Hamas mil­i­tants with the cap­tion, “Thank you! You make us proud …”

The 12 U.S. res­i­dents charged with Islamic extrem­ism related ter­ror offenses this year have been arrested in 7 dif­fer­ent states includ­ing New Jer­sey, New York, Illi­nois, Ohio, Vir­ginia, Indi­ana and Mis­souri. Pugh is also the 31st Amer­i­can res­i­dent pub­licly linked to ISIS since 2014.

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February 27, 2015 2

ISIS Propaganda Videos Showcased on IS-Tube

IS-Tube

IS-Tube

Update — 3/3/15: ADL con­tacted Twit­ter about the asso­ci­ated han­dle. It has since been removed. 

Update — 2/27/15: ADL con­tacted Google about the web­site this morn­ing. It has since been removed. 

A web­site call­ing itself IS-Tube, pro­vid­ing access to an archive of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) pro­pa­ganda videos, is the lat­est exam­ple of ISIS’ sophis­ti­cated social media com­mu­ni­ca­tion and recruit­ment strate­gies, which have influ­enced a diverse group of peo­ple from around the world, includ­ing from the United States, through­out 2014.

The web­site fea­tures a large col­lec­tion of pro­pa­ganda videos cre­ated by offi­cial ISIS media out­lets, includ­ing ISIS’s feature-length film Flames of War, which presents an apoc­a­lyp­tic strug­gle between the ter­ror­ist group and the West, and the recent video show­ing the mur­der of Jor­dan­ian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was cap­tured by ISIS and burned to death.

Vis­i­tors to the site can search for the videos they want to find via a search bar, or via drop-down menus that cat­e­go­rize videos by nar­ra­tor - for exam­ple, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Bagh­dadi or spokesman Abu Muhamed al Adnani – or by media group, includ­ing ISIS’s Al Hayat, Al Iti­sam, Furqan Media and Ajnad Media. Videos can also be searched by coun­try of origin.

The coun­try of ori­gin search includes Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Alge­ria, the Afghanistan region, Saudi Ara­bia and the Sinai, demon­strat­ing ISIS’s expan­sive claims of influ­ence through­out the region.

IS-Tube, hosted on a Google-owned IP block and reg­is­tered to what appears to an address in Ams­ter­dam, is asso­ci­ated with a spe­cific Twit­ter han­dle,  which directed users to the web­page as part of a new hash­tag cam­paign launched on Feb­ru­ary 26. The cam­paign encour­ages sup­port­ers to send tweets with the hash­tag #Islam­ic­State­Me­dia or a cor­re­spond­ing Ara­bic hashtag.

A tweet advocating attacks in conjunction with the #IslamicStateMedia hashtag campaign

A tweet advo­cat­ing attacks in con­junc­tion with the #Islam­ic­State­Me­dia hash­tag campaign

Calls for attacks against West­ern coun­tries and for Mus­lims abroad to travel to join ISIS in the region have been promi­nent among the mes­sages being tweeted by ISIS sup­port­ers using #Islam­ic­State­Me­dia, as have tweets of ISIS mag­a­zines, videos and other pro­pa­ganda con­tent in addi­tion to IS-Tube. One ISIS sup­porter, for exam­ple, tweeted an image of Hyper Cacher, the kosher gro­cery store attacked in Paris in Jan­u­ary, with the words, “Jihad is the path for Par­adise. O’ lone wolf, another attack like Paris attack #IslamicStateMedia.”

ISIS has con­ducted sim­i­lar hash­tag cam­paigns in the past, which it uses both to mobi­lize sup­port­ers and to adver­tise spe­cific mes­sages. Fol­low­ing the attacks on the Char­lie Hebdo offices and a kosher super­mar­ket in France in Jan­u­ary, ISIS sup­port­ers used the hash­tag  #Fight­ForHim to cap­i­tal­ize on the press sur­round­ing the attacks and call for addi­tional vio­lence. In June and August 2014, ISIS ini­ti­ated hash­tag cam­paigns using the phrases #Calami­ty­Will­Be­fal­lUS and #AMes­sage­FromI­SIS­toUS that threat­ened the U.S. and its citizens.

The ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the com­mu­nity to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter ter­ror­ist con­tent online.

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February 25, 2015 0

ISIS Related Arrests In Brooklyn Raise 2015 Total To 10

Saidakhmetov promoted pro-ISIS sentiment on his apparent Google Plus profile

Saidakhme­tov, one of the men arrested, pro­moted pro-ISIS sen­ti­ment on his appar­ent Google Plus profile

Yesterday’s arrest of three New York City men under­scores the per­sis­tent influ­ence of ISIS pro­pa­ganda on indi­vid­u­als resid­ing in the U.S. and the related threat to domes­tic security.

Abdura­sul Juraboev, a 24-year-old per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent with Uzbek cit­i­zen­ship, and Akhror Saidakhme­tov, a 19-year-old U.S. per­ma­nent res­i­dent with Kazakh cit­i­zen­ship, both cur­rently resid­ing in Brook­lyn, allegedly attempted to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of domes­tic attacks if they were unable to do so. Abror Habi­bov, a 30-year-old Brook­lyn res­i­dent with Uzbek cit­i­zen­ship, allegedly pro­vided the two with funds and encouragement.

All three were arrested last night; one at JFK Air­port while attempt­ing to board a flight to Turkey.

Accord­ing to the FBI, the men spent time online either express­ing sup­port for ISIS or watch­ing the ter­ror­ist group’s propaganda.

A Google Plus page that appears to have been cre­ated by Saidakhme­tov includes a video called “Hon­ored Sheikh inside Syria invite[s] Mus­lims to work for Khi­lafah and imple­ment HT’s con­sti­tu­tion.” Khi­lafah is Ara­bic for Caliphate, a ref­er­ence to ISIS. HT stands for Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist orga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes theo­cratic gov­er­nance. Hizb ut-Tahrir is not allied with ISIS, but the sen­ti­ment con­veyed in the video was sup­port­ive of ISIS’s goals.

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Juraboev was also allegedly recruited online by an ISIS sup­porter resid­ing in Iraq, to whom he said “I need to sneak out of here with extreme cau­tion with­out being noticed.”

In August, accord­ing to the com­plaint, Juraboev wrote a post on an Uzbek-language pro-ISIS web­site ask­ing “is it pos­si­ble to com­mit our­selves [to ISIS] as ded­i­cated mar­tyrs any­way while here [in the U.S.]? What I’m say­ing is, to shoot Obama and then get shot our­selves, will it do? That will strike fear in the hearts of infidels.”

Saidakhme­tov expressed his intent to attack law enforce­ment.  Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, he stated “it is legal in Amer­ica to carry a gun. We will go and pur­chase one handgun…then go and shoot one police offi­cer…. Then we will go to the FBI head­quar­ters, kill the FBI peo­ple…” The men also allegedly dis­cussed plant­ing a bomb on Coney Island.

The arrests in Brook­lyn fol­low the arrest, also yes­ter­day, of Abdi­rah­man Sheik Mohamud a 23-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen from Ohio. Mohamud is sub­ject to an ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion and was not linked to any par­tic­u­lar ter­ror­ist group; court doc­u­ments allege he sent funds and trav­elled to a “Mid­dle East­ern ter­ror­ist group.”

To date, 10 U.S. res­i­dents have been arrested on Islamic extremist-related ter­ror charges in 2015. The oth­ers include Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell, a 25-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen from Ohio, and six indi­vid­u­als of Bosn­ian descent –U.S. cit­i­zens and refugees resid­ing in Mis­souri, Illi­nois and New York – accused of aid­ing ISIS.

Last year, 19 U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents were iden­ti­fied as hav­ing joined or attempt­ing to join or aid ISIS.

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