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August 20, 2014 0

ISIS Backs Up Threats Against U.S. With Beheading

Update – 9/3/2014: On Sep­tem­ber 2, 2014, an ISIS video was released show­ing the behead­ing of a sec­ond Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist, Steven Sot­loff, again blam­ing U.S. pol­icy in Iraq. A third indi­vid­ual, this time a cit­i­zen of Great Britain, was threat­ened at the con­clu­sion of the video.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist group, released an English-language video in which it depicts the behead­ing of a kid­napped Amer­i­can journalist.foley-beheading-terrorism-isis

ISIS is claim­ing that it mur­dered the jour­nal­ist, James Wright Foley, because of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. The video closes with an image of another kid­napped jour­nal­ist kneel­ing next to what appears to be the same exe­cu­tioner, who states “The life of this Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”

The video is titled “A Mes­sage to Amer­ica.” It marks a new approach by ISIS, mak­ing good on threats against Amer­i­cans that the group only began cir­cu­lat­ing sig­nif­i­cantly this June. Such strate­gies have been used exten­sively by the ter­ror­ist group to intim­i­date ene­mies and oppo­nents on the ground, but had not pre­vi­ously been employed against Westerners.

In the video, footage of Pres­i­dent Obama announc­ing the airstrike cam­paign is fol­lowed by a state­ment by Foley in which he asserts U.S. actions are the cause of his death. Foley’s masked exe­cu­tioner then deliv­ers an address in British-accented Eng­lish in which he depicts the U.S. as an aggres­sor against ISIS and the Mus­lims who accept ISIS as a state, and says that any mil­i­tary action against ISIS will lead to more “blood­shed” of Amer­i­cans. The exe­cu­tioner then beheads Foley. After­ward, the other kid­napped jour­nal­ist is shown next to the executioner.

The release may improve ISIS’s recruit­ment capac­ity. ISIS broke with Al Qaeda Cen­tral in Feb­ru­ary, and the orga­ni­za­tions com­pete for recruits, fol­low­ers and influ­ence. ISIS’s rep­u­ta­tion for vio­lent action sur­pass­ing Al Qaeda’s has already con­tributed to its recruit­ment efforts, and if this video is seen by extrem­ists as a suc­cess­ful blow to the U.S. it may lead more to join ISIS.

The video was announced on Twit­ter and on the social media site Dias­pora on August 19, and was linked from the Inter­net Archive web­site, an online “dig­i­tal library” that is some­times used by ter­ror­ist groups as a repos­i­tory for online media storage.

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August 12, 2014 0

ISIS Renews Twitter Campaign Threatening U.S.

al-battar-isis-poster

Image tweeted by Al Bat­tar Media

In response to U.S. engage­ment in Iraq, ISIS sup­port­ers have renewed threats on Twit­ter that Amer­i­cans and the U.S. are at risk of attack. Most of the threats are being posted with the hash­tag #AMessageFromISIStoUS.

Although many offi­cial ISIS media out­lets have been deleted from Twit­ter in recent days, the Al Bat­tar Media han­dle, one of ISIS’s offi­cial accounts, has been post­ing threats, with tweets such as “Would you like to taste the losses, pain, death and all what you tasted in Iraq again?” and “O West­ern­ers, your gov­ern­ments have lost their minds, and they will let you pay the cost of their stu­pid­ity, the Islamic State is too strong, so you must yield to it, not fight it!”

An unof­fi­cial pro-ISIS account that tweets infor­ma­tion from Al Bat­tar media has also tweeted such mes­sages as “Lis­ten: All your bases in the Ara­bian Gulf are our tar­gets, and you know what we’ll do with the employ­ees!” “Tar­get­ing Iraq means tar­get­ing Amer­ica and Amer­i­cans in (sic) all over the world!” and “NOW we’re warn­ing the Amer­i­cans NOW our words speak After Airstrikes: We’re cut­ting their heads Our weapons speak!” All were tweet­ed­with the hash­tag #AMessageFromISIStoUS.

The “Shamal­mala­hem Media” han­dle, ded­i­cated to releas­ing pro-ISIS news, has been pref­ac­ing all of its tweets (regard­less of sub­ject) with the mes­sage from ISIS hash­tag or the hash­tag #Calami­ty­Will­Be­fal­lUS. Its tweets include descrip­tions and video of ISIS fight­ers attack­ing Kur­dish and Iraqi forces, as well as video in which it claims ISIS snipers are “catch­ing the Amer­i­can sol­diers in Iraq.”

Shamal­mala­hem Media has also released an eigh­tand a half minute video addressed “to the peo­ple of the united states (sic) and a mes­sage espe­cially to the (sic) barack obama (sic)” call­ing for the U.S. to remem­ber the destruc­tion it encoun­tered in the sec­ond Iraq war, and to expect worse should troops be sent. The video has since been removed from YouTube  as a vio­la­tion of the company’s policies.

As is typ­i­cal for ISIS social media cam­paigns, mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers are also tweet­ing var­i­ous threats with the same hash­tags. A num­ber of the sup­port­ers have specif­i­cally directed the threat against New York City, post­ing images of Times Square and of the falling Twin Tow­ers along with the mes­sage “The head of ISIS Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said: Our appoint­ment in New York.”

This cam­paign is the sec­ond time that ISIS orga­nized a Twit­ter cam­paign threat­en­ing the U.S. The first was in June when the group encour­aged fol­low­ers to tweet using the hash­tag #Calami­ty­Will­Be­fal­lUS, to warn the U.S. against engage­ment in Iraq.  That hash­tag has occa­sion­ally been used in the cur­rent cam­paign as well.

ISIS has become well known for its sophis­ti­cated use of social media even as it is increas­ingly blocked by social media sites.

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August 5, 2014 1

New ISIS Video Recruits Westerners

Fol­low­ing reports that between 70 and 100 Amer­i­cans have trav­elled to fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a new video released by ISIS’s Al-Hayat media wing has allegedly fea­tured an Amer­i­can call­ing for oth­ers to join.isis-terrorist-targets-video

The video, “Eid Greet­ings from the land of Khi­lafah,” was released on August 2 and fea­tures video of chil­dren prais­ing the organization’s gov­er­nance inter­spersed with video of fight­ers from around the world. The alleged Amer­i­can is a man called Abu Abdu­rah­man al-Trinidadi who is appar­ently of Trinida­dian ori­gin. Other mil­i­tants fea­tured  allegedly came from Great Britain, Fin­land, Tunisia, Indone­sia, Bel­gium, Morocco and South Africa. All praise ISIS and encour­age Mus­lims from around the world to join the orga­ni­za­tion and to estab­lish them­selves in the ter­ri­tory it holds.

For more back­ground on ISIS’s media savvy and recruit­ment of for­eign fight­ers, see ADL’s report “Hash­tag Ter­ror: How ISIS Manip­u­lates Social Media.”

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