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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 27, 2014 0

New Spate of Lone Wolf Attacks Highlights Terrorist Propaganda

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

A recent series of attacks in the U.S. and Canada have renewed national con­ver­sa­tion about the dan­ger of lone wolf ter­ror­ism: Attacks under­taken by indi­vid­u­als act­ing entirely on their own, with­out belong­ing to an orga­nized extrem­ist group, ter­ror­ist group or cell.

When extrem­ists plan and exe­cute attacks alone, as indi­vid­u­als, there are far fewer oppor­tu­ni­ties for law enforce­ment to detect the attacks in advance and they are much more dif­fi­cult to pre­vent. Con­se­quently, “lone wolf” actions tend to be more deadly.

There is increas­ing spec­u­la­tion that the rise of online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other for­eign ter­ror­ist groups – and its increas­ing sophis­ti­ca­tion – may con­tribute to such attacks.

ISIS, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP), and other groups have called on Amer­i­cans, Cana­di­ans and other west­ern­ers to self-radicalize and com­mit lone wolf attacks against their home countries.

In Sep­tem­ber, a speech released by ISIS told sup­port­ers, “If you can kill a dis­be­liev­ing Amer­i­can or Euro­pean – espe­cially the…French – or an Aus­tralian, or a Canadian…kill him in any man­ner or way how­ever it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s ver­dict. Kill the dis­be­liever whether he is civil­ian or mil­i­tary…” One of the sug­gested meth­ods of attack was to “run him [the West­erner] over with your car.”

In August, AQAP issued an English-language mag­a­zine, which stated that the U.S. “needs sev­eral more attacks inside and out­side its ter­ri­to­ries. This could be done by a Mujahid group or a lone Mujahid,” and pro­vided updated instruc­tions for build­ing pres­sure cooker bombs and car bombs. Such sen­ti­ments have been a fea­ture of AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda for years.

More­over, expo­sure to vio­lent images com­bined with the incite­ment of ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda may pro­vide the nec­es­sary ratio­nale to lead indi­vid­u­als with vio­lent ten­den­cies – and some­times unsta­ble behav­ior – over the tip­ping point towards vio­lence. And in pro­vid­ing that ratio­nale, ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda may also direct the vio­lence, lead­ing to a higher like­li­hood of attacks against law enforce­ment, author­ity fig­ures, or other sym­bolic targets.

Zale Thompson’s alleged attack against NY police offi­cers and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s alleged attack on the Cana­dian Par­lia­ment pro­vide exam­ples of this new type of lone wolf: Indi­vid­u­als with some degree of upset and insta­bil­ity who buy into the frame­work of ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda to the extent that they under­take acts of violence.

Thomp­son, for exam­ple, was rumored to be depressed and suf­fer­ing from drug abuse. He was angry about what he per­ceived as oppres­sion of blacks in the U.S. In his embrace of rad­i­cal Islam, he read and wrote about “holy war” and behead­ings, and googled the phrase “jihad against police,” accord­ing to law enforce­ment sources. He also looked up infor­ma­tion on the two Cana­dian attacks before allegedly attempt­ing to kill the police officers.

Less is known about Mar­tin Rouleau-Couture, the man who allegedly ran over two sol­diers in Canada last week, but he, too, appar­ently engaged with extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda online and praised ISIS on his Face­book page.

Lone wolves aren’t the only ones who respond to online incite­ment. A major­ity of the Amer­i­can cit­i­zens who attempt to join for­eign ter­ror­ist groups abroad or to work on their behalf at home have been influ­enced by it to some extent – appar­ently includ­ing the three teenage girls from Den­ver who allegedly attempted to join ISIS last week.

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October 22, 2014 0

Pro-Hezbollah Hackers Target Media Group For Its Position On Israel

On Octo­ber 20, pro-Hezbollah hack­ers took con­trol of the Twit­ter account of a promi­nent Lebanese Chris­t­ian TV sta­tion, Murr Tele­vi­sion, known as MTV Lebanon, because the sta­tion allegedly failed to describe Hamas com­bat­ants killed in the fight­ing with Israel as “martyrs.”mtv-lebanon-hacking-hezbollah

The hack­ers changed the Twit­ter account’s cover image to a photo of a Hezbol­lah fighter under a Hezbol­lah flag and tweeted a mes­sage from the account stating:

“[Only] when you learn the dif­fer­ence between a mar­tyr and a killed [per­son], between an agent [of Israel] and a resis­tance fighter…. [Only] When you learn that Israel is the enemy, then your account will return to you. So we don’t for­get Palestine.@MTVLebanonNews.”

While no group has claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the hack­ing, Hezbol­lah’s media arm,Al Manar, praised the attack in a report pub­lished yes­ter­day that read in part, “For sev­eral hours today, the flag of Hezbol­lah kept wav­ing over the pub­lic page of MTV twit­ter account.”

The hack­ing of MTV Lebanon and sub­se­quent prais­ing of it by Hezbollah’s media arm could rep­re­sent a new tac­tic in the way ter­ror­ist groups in the Mid­dle East attack their oppo­nents online and spread their ide­ol­ogy to a wider audi­ence. It does not appear that Hezbol­lah has pre­vi­ously endorsed cyber-attacks against its opponents.

ADL has tracked sev­eral hack­ing oper­a­tions against Jew­ish and Israeli insti­tu­tions by anti-Israel groups.

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