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October 28, 2014 1

Al Qaeda’s New English Magazine Harnesses Anti-Semitism

On Octo­ber 19, Al Qaeda Cen­tral (AQC) released its much vaunted English-language mag­a­zine, Resur­gence, which har­nesses anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sen­ti­ment to urge harm against the U.S. and the West.Al Qaeda Resurgence Magazine

Using for­mats sim­i­lar to those of Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s Inspire mag­a­zine, Resur­gence also advo­cates for Al Qaeda as the orga­ni­za­tion faces com­pe­ti­tion from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The magazine’s cover story, “Besiege Them: Prac­ti­cal Steps Towards the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine” draws upon the anti-Semitic canard that Jews con­trol inter­na­tional finance. The arti­cle argues that the best means to defeat Israel is to divest from “inter­na­tional trade and finance” and revert to the barter sys­tem. The arti­cle uses the same strat­egy found in AQAP’s most recent English-language pub­li­ca­tion, Pales­tine: Betrayal of the Guilty Con­science, draw­ing read­ers’ atten­tion by claim­ing to be about Israel, but then argu­ing that the best way to defeat Israel is to hurt the U.S. and the West (in this case eco­nom­i­cally), fur­ther­ing Al Qaeda’s pri­mary goals.The use of anti-Semitic themes is com­mon in Al Qaeda and AQAP pub­li­ca­tions and messaging.

Unlike AQAP’s Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zines, Resur­gence does not pro­vide sug­ges­tions for indi­vid­ual attacks in west­ern coun­tries. It does, how­ever, pro­vide a map of U.S. naval and air force bases in the Mid­dle East and sug­gest attacks against them and against West­ern ships trav­el­ing through strate­gi­cally vul­ner­a­ble water channels.

This attack sug­ges­tion appears to sup­port a larger goal of the mag­a­zine: Defend­ing Al Qaeda and its ide­ol­ogy in the face of increas­ing oppo­si­tion from ISIS.  This is evi­dent through­out the mag­a­zine; even the intro­duc­tion states, “Resur­gence is a hum­ble effort to pro­mote a cor­rect under­stand­ing of Jihad and explain its rel­e­vance to con­tem­po­rary issues fac­ing Mus­lims” (empha­sis added).

Resur­gence’s goal of defend­ing AQC is also clear in its pro­fil­ing of Al Qaeda affil­i­ates through­out the world. In one arti­cle on Syria, the mag­a­zine calls on Mus­lims to “par­tic­i­pate in the jihad phys­i­cally” or sup­port it finan­cially and only ref­er­enc­ing ISIS in a call to stop infight­ing between groups.

A fea­tured quote by high-ranking Al Qaeda mem­ber Abu Dujana al Pasha states, “We call for a Caliphate based on jus­tice, mutual con­sul­ta­tion, har­mony and unity; not a ‘Caliphate’ based on oppres­sion, excom­mu­ni­ca­tion of Mus­lims, killing the uphold­ers of Tauheed (monothe­ism), and sow­ing dis­cord in the ranks of the Mujahideen.”

Resur­gence mag­a­zine was released the same day that Tahrek e-Taliban Pak­istan (TTP, or the Pak­istani Tal­iban) released its own English-language mag­a­zine. Titled Reviv­ing the Caliphate, the mag­a­zine high­lights fault­lines between pro and anti-ISIS fac­tions of the TTP. Inter­est­ingly, it incor­po­rates images taken directly from ISIS pro­pa­ganda pub­li­ca­tions and calls for revival of a Caliphate, but does not cite ISIS by name. Reviv­ing the Caliphate also attempts to appeal to West­ern audi­ences by high­light­ing for­eign fight­ers involved in the TTP.

 

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October 14, 2014 1

Florida Temple Latest Target For ISIS Sympathizing Hackers

Update — 10/15/14: ADL alerted Face­book about the “Team Sys­tem Dz”  Face­book page. The page was removed from Face­book by the fol­low­ing day. ADL applauds Facebook’s response to the hacker group’s effort to exploit its service. 

Last week, as Jews were cel­e­brat­ing the hol­i­day of Sukkot, a hacker group call­ing itself “Team Sys­tem Dz” attacked the web­site of Tem­ple Kol Ami Emmanu-El in South Florida, redi­rect­ing vis­i­tors to a page with mes­sages express­ing sup­port of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).team-system-dz-florida-temple-hackers

Vis­i­tors to the synagogue’s web­site were directed to state­ments in Eng­lish such as “I love you ISIS” and an Ara­bic state­ment promis­ing to “never for­get about the heroes of the Mus­lim Ummah [nation] who sac­ri­ficed their lives for the sake of God,” an appar­ent ref­er­ence to ISIS fight­ers. Vis­i­tors also saw an image of the Star of David crossed out next to the words, “F[ ] You Israel.

This inci­dent is the lat­est in a series of attacks against Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites car­ried out by groups appar­ently based in the Mid­dle East and North Africa. While past hack­ing efforts against Jew­ish insti­tu­tions have focused on the Israeli Pales­tin­ian con­flict, more recent attacks against Jew­ish and non-Jewish tar­gets are being car­ried out in the name of ISIS.

“Team Sys­tem Dz” claimed credit for and bragged about its “hacks of Jew­ish web­sites espe­cially the web­site of the Miami tem­ple” on its Face­book page. The claim of credit noted that the attack “coin­cided with the time of one of the Jew­ish cel­e­bra­tions [and] cre­ated a big noise on media sites.” The group’s Face­book page also claims to have tar­geted other web­sites, includ­ing other Jew­ish and Israeli web­sites around the world.

Yes­ter­day the group threat­ened addi­tional attacks against Amer­i­can and Israeli web­sites. “…we will spend all the time for a mas­sive num­ber of attacks on Amer­i­can and Israeli web­sites, with God’s will they will be hacked. Curse upon Amer­ica and Israel.”

The group appears to be based in Alge­ria; its Face­book pro­file cover image includes the phrase “Proud to be Alger­ian” and other posts fea­ture Alger­ian flags and sym­bols. The “Dz” in the group’s name seems to be a ref­er­ence to the inter­net domain des­ig­na­tion for Alge­ria. Fur­ther­more, most announce­ments on the page are writ­ten in the Alger­ian Ara­bic dialect.

In addi­tion to “Team Sys­tem Dz,” the name “Jor­dan Earth­quake” in Ara­bic was also listed on the page that the temple’s vis­i­tors were redi­rected to.  “Jor­dan Earth­quake” appears to be a hacker closely affil­i­ated with “Team Sys­tem Dz.” Var­i­ous posts on the group’s Face­book page indi­cate that “Jor­dan Earth­quake” is a part­ner in sev­eral of its hack­ing operations.

The “Team Sys­tem Dz” Face­book page also con­tains mate­ri­als pre­pared by the media bureau of ISIS. The group’s Twit­ter han­dle uses sev­eral ISIS-related hash­tags and includes links to many media accounts about the temple’s website’s hacking.

Jew­ish web­sites in the U.S. have become a com­mon tar­get for hacker groups in the Arab and Mus­lim world. Below is a sam­pling of attacks launched by var­i­ous hacker groups against Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the U.S. in the past few years.

  • In July 2014, The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group claimed respon­si­bil­ity for van­dal­iz­ing the web­sites of Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tions in Penn­syl­va­nia and Hous­ton with mes­sages in sup­port of Gaza.
  • In Decem­ber 2013, the Tunisia based group, Fal­laga, hacked the web­site of the Missouri-based Jew­ish Radio.
  • In July 2013, the web­site of a Jew­ish com­mu­nal high school pro­gram in upstate New York was hacked by a mem­ber of the Gaza Hack­ers Team. The web­site was defaced with anti-Israel messages.
  • In Decem­ber 2012, the Bangladesh Cyber Army hacker group tar­geted the web­site of a Tem­ple in Omaha and posted images depict­ing what the group called “Israel killing children.”

Other hacker groups like aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic) claim to have hacked into per­sonal infor­ma­tion belong­ing to Amer­i­can Jews and Israelis and pro­vided instruc­tions on how to hack into such per­sonal infor­ma­tion on their var­i­ous online forums.

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October 3, 2014 2

Oklahoma Beheading & The Secondary Effect of Terrorist Propaganda

The evo­lu­tion of online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda has been marked by tar­geted efforts to rad­i­cal­ize and recruit west­ern­ers, often encour­ag­ing them to stage attacks in the U.S. or join ter­ror­ist groups abroad. The influ­ence of this vio­lent pro­pa­ganda, how­ever, goes beyond its intended audience.alton-nolan-via-fb

Alton Nolan, who allegedly beheaded one for­mer coworker and stabbed a sec­ond last week in Okla­homa, did not have any appar­ent ties to ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions or appear to be respond­ing to a spe­cific call for attacks on behalf of any orga­ni­za­tion. But his actions can be viewed as a sec­ondary effect of ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda, which any­one can access with ease.

Nolan’s online activ­ity sug­gests that his inter­est in extrem­ist vio­lence may well have informed his deci­sion to under­take a behead­ing, rather than another form of vio­lence. Some of his Face­book posts, for exam­ple, indi­cate an affin­ity to vio­lent images com­monly prop­a­gated by Islamic extrem­ists. One post from March 2014 fea­tures an image of a behead­ing with text that jus­ti­fies that form of mur­der in Islam, an image of a woman receiv­ing lashes, and an image of a man hold­ing a poster that states “Islam will dom­i­nate the world.” Nolan included a cap­tion that stated “Sharia law will takeover (sic)…Cut the hands off the thieves…Islam is the true religion.”

In June 2014 he posted a screed against Father’s Day together with an image of a mil­i­tant from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He also wrote mul­ti­ple screeds against the U.S. and specif­i­cally the Statue of Lib­erty for allow­ing women to show their hair, sell­ing pork in gro­cery stores, and allow­ing same-sex marriage.

In May 2014, Nolan posted two images of what appear to be fright­ened women along­side quotes from the Qu’ran about pun­ish­ing “unbe­liev­ers” and the sen­tence “These piks aren’t qiute how their gnna be but jst sum piks. (sic)”

Such posts were inter­spersed with posts about UFOs, posts explain­ing why some peo­ple have blond hair, and posts about Black Moores enslav­ing “white Euro­peans” and keep­ing “white harems,” among oth­ers. Those posts are also signed “****InfoFromAMuslim****.”

In late 2013, prior to these posts, Nolan also had a series of posts sug­gest­ing that Blacks are the “true Jews” and dis­cussing Hitler, Neo-Nazis, and the KKK.

An analy­sis of all these posts indi­cates that Nolan was appar­ently fas­ci­nated by the vio­lence por­trayed by Islamic extrem­ism. He attempts to pro­mote him­self by preach­ing it. But he does not appear to have con­nec­tions to rad­i­cal extrem­ism, and the core of his vio­lent ten­den­cies appear per­son­ally motivated.

These sec­ondary effects of ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda were sim­i­larly demon­strated in the case of a mur­der that took place in New Jer­sey in August. The accused per­pe­tra­tor in that case, Ali Muhammed Brown, had a pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal record and is also accused of killing three indi­vid­u­als in Cal­i­for­nia in June. In August, he was allegedly engaged in a rob­bery when he shot a man in a car. When appre­hended, Brown claimed that the mur­der was revenge for U.S. actions in the Mid­dle East.

This was not the first crim­i­nal charge against Alton Nolan, a 30-year-old for­mer employee at a food pro­cess­ing plant in Okla­homa. He had pre­vi­ously been con­victed on drug, resist­ing arrest and escape charges.

Nolan appar­ently con­verted to a rad­i­cal ver­sion of Islam in or around the time he went to prison. In Jan­u­ary 2014, he began sign­ing his Face­book posts and com­ments with the phrase “****InfoFromAMuslim****.”

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