internet issues » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘internet issues’
November 4, 2015

Terrorist Videos Threatening Israel And US Continue Unabated

The new Al Qaeda message threatening Israel with Ayman al-Zawahiri

Image from the new Al Qaeda message

As violence has continued in Israel, propaganda released by foreign terrorist organizations threatening and inciting violence against Jews and Israelis has continued unabated. A new video released this week by Al Qaeda featuring audio by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the group’s leader, praises terrorism in Israel and also calls for attacks against the U.S.

The video began by focusing on Israel, with Zawahiri saying, “I ask Allah to bless…those who proceeded forward to stab the Jews.” He quickly pivoted to calling for attacks on the U.S. however, stating that in order to “liberate al-Quds (Jerusalem) and al-Aqsa mosque,” it is necessary to “strik[e] the West and specifically America in its own home.” Zawahiri then praised specific terrorists and attacks, including the 9/11 attacks, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, and the Tsarnaev brothers who committed the Boston Marathon bombing.

Al Qaeda propaganda has attempted to harness popular anger about events in Israel in order to call for attacks against the U.S. in the past. Last year, the group released a magazine titled “Resurgence,” which had a cover story about Palestinians but focused primarily on harming American interests.  Al Qaeda affiliate Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) issued a magazine called “Palestine: Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience” that called for attacks on the U.S. and provided instructions for the construction of pressure cooker bombs and car bombs.

ADL’s recent report, “Anti-Semitism: A Pillar of Islamic Extremist Ideology” contains multiple additional examples of terrorist exploitation of sentiments about Israel and of anti-Semitism for the purpose of gaining supporters and rallying recruits.

The new Al Qaeda video also calls for unity between terrorist organizations.

Screenshot of the Hebrew speaker from the newest ISIS video threatening Israel

Screenshot from the newest ISIS video threatening Israel

Like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also released a new video threatening Israel this week. The video is the second ISIS video to include a Hebrew speaker, although ISIS has translated official propaganda materials into Hebrew in the past.

Addressing “all the Jews, grandsons of apes and pigs,” the Hebrew speaker threatens that, “we are coming for you from all over the world to kill you.” In a reference to a hadith in which trees and stones tell Muslims where Jews are hiding so the Jews can be killed he goes on to state that there will be, “a big war, the war of the stones and of the trees, and this is near, it is not far.”

ISIS has released at least 17 videos threatening Jews and Israel since the middle of October, as well as multiple other propaganda materials including audio messages and graphics.

In addition, Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, indi­vid­u­als cel­e­brat­ing and pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism, and even main­stream Arabic-language news out­lets have also added to the online invective encouraging ongoing violence.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

November 3, 2015

“Telegram” is Latest Platform for Terror Propaganda

ISIS propaganda on the Telegram app

ISIS propaganda on the Telegram app

Update – 11/19/2015: Telegram updated its terms of service to include a means for removing illegal public content on November 18, 2015 and has since removed multiple ISIS channels from its platform.

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terror groups continue to seek out new platforms to broadcast their propaganda and connect with supporters, they have migrated to using Telegram, a chat and group application available for smartphones and desktop, as their primary medium for official propaganda.

Terror supporters continue to share and disseminate propaganda on Twitter, Facebook and other traditional social media platforms. However, the terms of service on those platforms reject users who actively encourage violent extremism and the platforms have been very active in removing content and users flagged for violations of those terms of service. Official terrorist accounts have therefore found them fully inhospitable, and even the accounts of terrorist supporters are regularly removed.

According to Telegram’s terms of service, however, “All Telegram chats and group chats are private territory of their respective participants and we do not process any requests related to them.” As such, the platform does not have effective policies prohibiting extremist speech.  That environment has enabled official terrorist channels to use Telegram as the first point of dissemination for official ISIS propaganda and for Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), an Al Qaeda affiliated media organization.

Users can join groups on Telegram that function similarly to Twitter feeds, releasing a steady stream of content originated by the group’s owner. Among the groups currently operating on Telegram are more than 13 official ISIS accounts in multiple languages including Arabic, English, French and German, an official English-language account for the GIMF, and several unofficial pro-ISIS propaganda groups.

The English-language accounts created on Telegram include Khilafah News, a pro-ISIS account that boasts 2023 members; Nashir English, an official ISIS account, with 1352 members; and an official GIMF account with 1129 members.

Among the materials that have been released on Telegram are the second issue of a new English-language Al Qaeda magazine, Al Risalah, which calls on Westerners to join and fight on behalf of Al Qaeda.

The ISIS English-language Telegram account Nashir English also directs readers to find and download propaganda on a site on WordPress. Like Telegram, WordPress’s terms of service do not explicitly prohibit extremist propaganda, and so ISIS and other terrorist  groups can exploit the website without fear of being taken down. The new WordPress site linked from the Telegram account features all of ISIS’s most recent propaganda releases as well as ‘major releases,’ ‘Top 10 Videos,’ and past issues of ISIS’s English-language magazine, Dabiq. The English site also links to equivalent WordPress sites in German, Bosnian and Arabic. Additional links from the English site to equivalent sites in other languages on Blogspot, which is hosted by Google, were removed after ADL notified Google of their presence.

The WordPress site emphasizes ISIS’s ongoing presence on Twitter and lists Twitter hashtags that correspond with official ISIS propaganda material.

In addition to maintaining groups on Telegram, terror organizations are also able to engage in chats with supporters and potential recruits. The encouragement of active participation by supporters engages the supporters in dialogue with hardened extremists, furthering the supporters’ radicalization processes.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 20, 2015

ISIS Promotes Murdering Jews in New Online Campaign

A banner promoting the ISIS video "Return the Terror to the Jews"

A banner promoting the ISIS video “Return the Terror to the Jews”

Official media outlets for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have released official propaganda videos and statements encouraging and inciting violence against Jews in Israel.

The propaganda is yet another addition to the cacophony of online calls for murdering Jews and Israelis, which have already been propagated by Palestinian terrorist organizations, individuals celebrating and promoting terrorism, and even mainstream Arabic-language news outlets.

The ISIS propaganda also serves to further demonstrate the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism in terrorist ideology, and the way in which terrorist organizations exploit popular anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment to mobilize and recruit supporters. A recent ADL report, “Anti-Semitism: A Pillar of Islamic Extremist Ideology,” highlights this use of anti-Semitism with examples from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations.

A screenshot from an ISIS video shows images of terror attacks in Israel

A screenshot from an ISIS video shows images of terror attacks in Israel

In its current campaign, ISIS has posted at least eight official propaganda videos inciting violence in Israel. The videos were posted on social media with an Arabic-language hashtag that translates as #BeheadTheJews; some were also posted under the English-language hashtag #Slaughter_the_Jews. Translated titles of the videos, which are instructive of their content, include: “Return the Terror to the Jews,” “Slaughter Them and Don’t Show Them Mercy,” “Terrorize the Jews, Oh People of Beyt al Maqdis (Jerusalem),” “Message to our People in Beyt Al Maqdis,” and “Message to the Mujahideen (fighters) in Beyt al Maqdis.”

Many of the videos feature images of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are easily recognizable as Jewish because of their clothing, and of Israeli soldiers, including multiple images of Israeli soldiers engaged in Jewish ritual activity such as eating matzah and praying while wearing phylacteries. They also show images and footage of attacks against Jews and Israelis, including bus bombings and recent stabbings.

One of the videos, produced by the media division of ISIS’s Ninveh Province, clearly defines attacking Jews all over the world as fundamental to Islamic extremist goals. “Remember that our war with the Jews is doctrinal,” the video’s narrator states; “it is a war between faith and disbelief. Therefore, you must keep going with your fight and use all the legitimate means in fighting them, including stabbing and running them over. Do not forget about the explosive devices…” In a reference to a Qu’ranic verse in which the entire world assists Muslims in killing Jews, the video’s narrator goes on to say that, “Allah permitting, the promised day is approaching from which the Jews will not escape.”

A sampling of additional quotes that encourage violence against Jews includes:

A screenshot from an ISIS video shows Israeli soldiers eating matzah, overlaid with an image of flames.

A screenshot from one of the ISIS videos

  • “Bring back the terror to the Jews with bombing, burning and stabbing.”
  • “Oh, you Monotheists in Palestine, to become lone wolves killing the enemies of God is better for you than to be with groups or parties that claim to be working for the religion of God while they serve as a barrier between the Mujahedeen and Jihad.”
  • “Oh you people of Jerusalem, terrify the Jews.”
  • “Increase your operations against the Jews who fed the Muslims all types of misery and suffering.”

Some of the videos also advocate anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. “[Jews are] the murderers of the prophets and messengers,” alleged one of the videos, which went on to accuse Jews of having “corrupted the faith of the Christians” and “misled the Shi’a.”

Several of the videos borrow footage from previous ISIS propaganda pieces that threatened Israel. One of them, for example, features an image of a child executing a man that ISIS alleged was a Mossad spy. The original video showing that execution had gone on to suggest that the current children of ISIS fighters will go on to conquer Israel in the future.

An image circulated online states that negotiations and elections will lead to destruction, calling instead for readers to "sacrifice our money and selves"

An image circulated online states that negotiations and elections will lead to destruction, adding that what is needed is for readers to “sacrifice our money and ourselves”

The ISIS propaganda also features banners and images released by Al Battar Media, the same media company that was active in releasing images calling for Israel’s destruction last summer; the current campaign has recycled some of the images from last summer, such as one depicting ISIS fighters standing in front of the Dome of the Rock, and has added new images as well.

In a notable shift from previous ISIS propaganda on Israel, the current videos and posters are focused more on promoting the violence than on promising a future ISIS victory over Israel (although the latter is depicted as well). This may be a result of the individual nature of the current violence, which is not claimed by groups but, rather, is being undertaken by individuals inspired in part by the information they find on social media. ISIS can therefore seek to claim credit for inspiring future attacks and assert that it is active in the present conflict simply by encouraging additional violence online.

Similarly, the current campaign features a heavy focus on defending the Al Aqsa mosque, with one video even showing footage of Israeli soldiers and explosions in the mosque. This correlates with the excuse being used to justify the current violence, which stems from false allegations of Israeli attempts to take over that mosque.

The videos and images were distributed on Telegram, an app that ISIS now uses as a primary propaganda distribution service, but they were also circulated broadly on more mainstream social media sites due in part to the strong presence of ISIS supporters on social media and the unfortunately widespread following of content calling for the destruction of Jews and Israel in the current climate of violence in Israel.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,