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August 27, 2014 0

American Killed In Syria Tweeted ISIS Propaganda

duale-khalid-isis

McCain named him­self Duale Khalid on Twitter

The death of Amer­i­can cit­i­zen Dou­glas McAu­thur McCain while fight­ing with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) this week­end may fur­ther attest to the impact of ISIS’ sophis­ti­cated use of social media and online pro­pa­ganda.

ISIS, an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion oper­at­ing in Iraq and Syria, encour­ages its sup­port­ers to share its mes­sages on social media. McCain appears to have responded.

Between May and August 2014, McCain reg­u­larly shared ISIS tweets and pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als. For exam­ple, he retweeted the Eng­lish trans­la­tion of a speech by ISIS spokesman Abu Muham­mad al-Adnani. In June, he shared an image prais­ing mar­tyr­dom with the cap­tion “Shuhada [mar­tyr­dom] in Jan­nah [par­adise] with there (sic) souls in green birds. flying.”

He also tweeted state­ments indi­cat­ing pro-ISIS view­points includ­ing, “If your (sic) a Mus­lim and you vote, please let me know so I can unfol­low and block you” (indi­cated anti-democratic sentiment).

His own tweets may also indi­cate that he had begun think­ing about dying. On May 14, he wrote, “Ya Allah when it’s my time to go have mercy on my soul have mercy on my bros.” On June 9, he Tweeted to an  an alleged ISIS fighter: “I will be join­ing you guys soon.”  Later, he retweeted: “It takes a war­rior to under­stand a war­rior. Pray for ISIS.”

 

Before May, McCain had not been active on Twit­ter for about a year, and before that he did not reg­u­larly tweet about extrem­ist issues.  duale-khalid-twitter-isis-mcain

McCain’s Twit­ter account and Face­book pro­file (he had recently changed his name to “Duale Thaslave­o­fAl­lah” on Face­book) reflected a man with a diverse mix of non-extremist inter­ests. McCain’s “likes” on Face­book included the Chicago Bulls, Pizza Hut and the TV show Chappelle’s Show. He expressed con­sid­er­able inter­est in street fight­ing and ‘liked’ sev­eral pages pro­mot­ing it.

Some “likes” on Face­book also sug­gested some poten­tial inter­est in extrem­ism as well. For exam­ple, he liked the Face­book page belong­ing to Musa Ceran­to­nio, an extrem­ist Aus­tralian preacher who main­tained an active Twit­ter account that posted and trans­lated ISIS pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als until his arrest in the Philip­pines in July 2014. He also liked a page called The Black Flag that ref­er­ences Islamist mil­i­tancy and reg­u­larly posted links to the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion, an infa­mous anti-Semitic con­spir­acy theory.

Accord­ing to his Twit­ter account, McCain con­verted to Islam in 2004, well before he stopped post­ing about rap, sports and his friends and fam­ily on social media.

McCain is the sec­ond Amer­i­can iden­ti­fied as hav­ing been killed fight­ing with a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion in Syria in 2014. In May, Moner Abu Salha of Florida was iden­ti­fied in a Jab­hat al-Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria) video as hav­ing par­tic­i­pated in a sui­cide attack. In addi­tion, an appar­ent Amer­i­can using the pseu­do­nym Abu Dujana al-Amriki was por­trayed in a video posted online as hav­ing been killed fight­ing with ISIS in 2013.

Over 100 Amer­i­cans are believed to have trav­eled to Syria and Iraq to join the fight­ing, and increas­ing num­bers of those Amer­i­cans are choos­ing ISIS as their orga­ni­za­tion of choice.

McCain was born in 1981 in Illi­nois. He later moved to the Twin Cities and then to San Diego. He grad­u­ated high school and, accord­ing to his Face­book pro­file, stud­ied at San Diego City College.

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June 18, 2014 1

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media*as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

Iraq, Syria and Pales­tine vic­tims of Zion­ist sedi­tion
(Mehr News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary ses­sion, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the city of Mash­had accused the U.S. and Israel of being “behind all these sedi­tions” in Iraq, Syria and Pales­tine, while Iran, he main­tained, “seeks unity among all Mus­lims of the region and whole world.”

Iran is not pre­pared to work along­side Amer­ica; Even Hitler never com­mit­ted such inhu­mane crimes as ISIS has*
(Mehr News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Sec­re­tary of the Expe­di­ency Coun­cil and for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mohsen Rezai made claims that “ISIS is a pro­gram of the Zion­ists and reac­tionar­ies in the region who are try­ing to redi­rect the Islamic Awak­en­ing [Arab Spring] away from Amer­ica and Israel and toward Islam instead.”

Basij com­man­der blames US for volatile sit­u­a­tion in Iraq
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Moham­mad Reza Naqdi, the head of the Basij, said dur­ing a speech dur­ing a visit to a north­ern province that the takeover of large parts of Iraq by ISIS is “the result of the United States’ behind-the-scene attempts to sow dis­cord and they are cer­tainly the main mas­ter­mind of these events.”

Report: US train­ing ISIL mil­i­tants in Jor­dan
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Cit­ing an online Ara­bic news site, Fars claims that a Jor­dan­ian offi­cial dis­closed that “Amer­i­can forces trained the ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Lev­ant] recruits in a secret mil­i­tary base in Jor­dan in 2012.”

Iran­ian speaker: Ter­ror­ists strength­ened by US incor­rect approach
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

While address­ing a forum in south­ern Iran, Speaker of Par­lia­ment Ali Lar­i­jani said that America’s mis­man­age­ment and the “incor­rect strate­gies of the west­ern­ers, espe­cially the Amer­i­cans, in con­fronting the phe­nom­e­non of ter­ror­ism,” have in real­ity “strength­ened the ter­ror­ists in some cases.”

hossein-firouzabadi-iran

Hos­sein Firouzabadi

No pres­ence of Iran­ian forces in Iraq; There has never been coop­er­a­tion between Iran and Amer­ica*
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

In a speech dur­ing the funeral of a well-known IRGC com­man­der, Major Gen­eral Hos­sein Firouz­abadi, the head of the armed forces, said, “There are no Iran­ian forces present in Iraq and coop­er­a­tion between Iran and Amer­ica will never hap­pen and has no meaning.”

Iran, Pow­ers con­tinue work on draft­ing final deal in hec­tic day of diplo­macy
(Fars News Agency – June 17, 2014)

Speak­ing to reporters fol­low­ing a full day of meet­ings between Iran­ian and West­ern nego­tia­tors, Iran­ian Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Abbas Araqchi said the meet­ings were “con­struc­tive and positive.”

Seyyed Has­san Nas­ral­lah: With the lead­er­ship of Aya­tol­lah Khamenei out holy sites are secure*
(Kay­han – June 17, 2014)

Speak­ing at an anniver­sary event in Beirut, Hezbol­lah Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Has­san Nas­ral­lah reit­er­ated that “Hezbol­lah is ready to fight a war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq.”

Com­man­der: Iran’s ene­mies weaker than ever
(Fars News Agency – June 12, 2014)

IRGC Com­man­der Gen­eral Hos­sein Salami said dur­ing a speech while vis­ing the north­ern province of Sem­nan last week that Iran “is more pow­er­ful than ever before,” and its ene­mies are at their weak­est position.

Offi­cial: Iran’s aid help Pales­tin­ian Resis­tance over­come prob­lems
(Fars News Agency – June 11, 2014)

In an inter­view with Fars News, for­mer Hamas advi­sor Youssef Rezqeh said, “The relent­less sup­ports of the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran and its stances in sup­port­ing the Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment in the Gaza Strip in the last 7 years have helped the gov­ern­ment to over­come many prob­lems and obsta­cles. Rezqeh added, “The Pales­tin­ian resis­tance move­ment has always thanked Iran for its sup­port for Pales­tine, espe­cially after the (Israeli) 2009 and 2012 wars.”

Pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion on “Polit­i­cal Crimes” by judi­cial par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

New leg­is­la­tion passed in par­lia­ment will pro­vide a broad spec­trum of what will con­sti­tute “polit­i­cal crimes,” which will include indi­vid­ual or polit­i­cal groups against the sys­tem of gov­ern­ment, any move­ment to “reform” the sys­tem of the Islamic Repub­lic, and defam­ing or insult­ing the heads of the three branches of government.

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran­ian leader vows to pro­tect holy sites in Iraq
(The New York Times – June 18, 2014)

Speak­ing on Iran­ian tele­vi­sion, Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani warned that the Islamic Repub­lic would take the nec­es­sary steps needed to defend Shi­ite holy sites in Iraq from ISIS. “Regard­ing the holy Shia shrines in Kar­bala, Najaf, Kad­himiya and Samarra, we announce to the killers and ter­ror­ists that the big Iran­ian nation will not hes­i­tate to pro­tect holy shrines,” Rouhani said.

Saudis give appar­ent warn­ing to Iran: don’t med­dle in Iraq
(Reuters – June 18, 2014)

The Saudi For­eign Min­istry warned Iran to refrain from inter­ven­ing in the Iraq con­flict as Iran­ian author­i­ties have threat­ened to pro­tect Shi­ite holy sites at all costs.

The United States should not coop­er­ate with Iran on Iraq
(The Wash­ing­ton Post Op-Ed – June 17, 2014)

Michael Doran and Max Boot write in their opin­ion piece that “The idea that the United States, a nation bent on defend­ing democ­racy and safe­guard­ing sta­bil­ity, shares a com­mon inter­est with the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary theoc­racy that is the No.1 state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism in the world, is as fan­ci­ful as the notion that Neville Cham­ber­lain and Adolf Hitler could work together for the good of Europe.

With war at doorstep, Iran sees its Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards in a kinder light
(The New York Times – June 17, 2014)

Atti­tudes toward the IRGC are chang­ing as the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in neigh­bor­ing Iraq increases.

Iran is not an ally in Iraq
(The Wash­ing­ton Insti­tute – June 17, 2014)

Michael Singh, the man­ag­ing direc­tor of The Wash­ing­ton Insti­tute, argues that an Iran-America alliance to fight ISIS could actu­ally make con­di­tion worse in Iraq.

Iran, U.S. sig­nal open­ness to coop­er­a­tion on Iraq
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – June 16, 2014)

Ear­lier this week, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry hinted that the U.S. has not ruled out pos­si­ble coop­er­a­tion with Iran in pro­tect­ing the Iraqi gov­ern­ment against ISIS.

Iran eases con­straints on aca­d­e­mic con­tacts with West
(The New York Times – June 15, 2014)

Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s admin­is­tra­tion has begun lift­ing some restric­tions on uni­ver­sity col­lab­o­ra­tion with for­eign pro­fes­sors. The U.S. Trea­sury Department’s Office of For­eign Assets Con­trol has sim­i­larly eased eco­nomic sanc­tions to allow Amer­i­can col­leges to estab­lish part­ner­ships with their Iran­ian counterparts.

Soc­cer breeds nation­al­ism and anti-regime protests in Iran
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – June 15, 2014)

Iran’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the World Cup Games has wor­ried offi­cials that cit­i­zen may use the oppor­tu­nity to stage anti-regime protests, and have there­fore banned large game view­ings in cities.

Iran’s Zoroas­tri­ans cel­e­brate Per­sian roots
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – June 15, 2014)

The Zoroas­trian reli­gion, the monothe­is­tic reli­gion of ancient Iran prior to the Arab inva­sion, is expe­ri­enc­ing a revival of reli­gious life in Iran. Zoroas­tri­ans gath­ered last week at Chak Chak, a holy site, to cel­e­brate their Per­sian roots and pray in remem­brance of a princess who fled the sev­enth cen­tury Arab invasion.

Moham­mad Javad Zarif: Iran is com­mit­ted to a peace­ful nuclear pro­gram
(The Wash­ing­ton Post Op-Ed – June 13, 2014)

For­eign Min­is­ter Zarif wrote an op-ed express­ing his country’s com­mit­ment to a peace­ful nuclear pro­gram while warn­ing that “Illu­sions have in the past led to missed opportunities.”

Build­ing nuclear weapon would take years, no months, Iran says in report
(The New York Times – June 12, 2014)

The Iran­ian gov­ern­ment released a study detail­ing how long it would the­o­ret­i­cally take its sci­en­tists to assem­ble a nuclear weapon.

Iran’s Deputy FM: If nuke talks fail, we’ll resume enrich­ment
(Ha’aretz – June 12, 2014)

Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Araqchi said dur­ing a con­fer­ence in Rome last week that “Iran will return to 20 per­cent enrich­ment if a deal can­not be reached… fail­ure to reach a deal will be a dis­as­ter for everyone.”

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