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March 18, 2015 2

NJ Man Arrested For Trying to Join ISIS Espoused Anti-Semitism Online

Tairod Pugh

Tairod Pugh

A New Jer­sey man, indicted yes­ter­day for attempt­ing to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), marks the 12th U.S. res­i­dent charged with sup­port­ing or join­ing Islamic extrem­ism this year and demon­strates the pres­ence of anti-Semitism and role of online pro­pa­ganda in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion process.

Tairod Nathan Web­ster Pugh is a U.S. cit­i­zen and for­mer air force mechanic from Nep­tune, NJ. He allegedly attempted to travel to join ISIS in Jan­u­ary but was detained and sent back to the U.S. by Egypt­ian offi­cials. Pugh was arrested on Jan­u­ary 16, 2015, upon his return to the U.S., but the charges were made pub­lic fol­low­ing yesterday’s indictment.

Pugh’s Face­book pro­file included mul­ti­ple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts sup­port­ing Hamas.

In July 2014, Pugh wrote a post that stated, in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves,” and posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.” In August 2014, he shared an image that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children.

Pugh also posted sev­eral car­toons equat­ing Jews, Israel or Zion­ists to Nazis, as well as mul­ti­ple images claim­ing to depict Israeli war crimes.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh's Facebook page.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh’s Face­book page.

Although Pugh did not pub­licly post his sup­port for ISIS, he did share a quote by ter­ror pro­pa­gan­dist Anwar al-Awlaki in August 2014. Awlaki is fre­quently cited as an inspi­ra­tion for extrem­ism by Amer­i­cans who have been linked to terrorism.

Pugh allegedly also used his com­puter to research join­ing ISIS and watch ISIS pro­pa­ganda videos. An inves­ti­ga­tion report­edly found that he had used the inter­net to search for the terms, “bor­ders con­trolled by Islamic state,” “who con­trols kobani (a city that has been con­tested by ISIS),” “kobani bor­der cross­ing,” and “jarablus bor­der cross­ing,” and the feature-film length ter­ror pro­pa­ganda video “Flames of War,” which depicts and apoc­a­lyp­tic strug­gle between ISIS and the West. He had also allegedly viewed a chart of cross­ing points between Turkey and Syria and had down­loaded at least one ISIS exe­cu­tion video, along with other ISIS videos.

Addi­tional Face­book posts by Pugh demon­strated anti-U.S. sen­ti­ment. One post from August 2014, taken from Iran­ian con­trolled media out­let Press TV, depicted pro­test­ers burn­ing an effigy of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. A post ear­lier that month included an arti­cle that Pugh wrote describ­ing “the rape of a Mus­lim woman by the Amer­i­can forces.” Accord­ing to media reports, some Face­book posts not pub­licly avail­able also expressed Pugh’s desire to never return to the U.S.

Pugh also shared images prais­ing the ter­ror group Hamas. In August 2014, he shared an appar­ent image of Hamas mil­i­tants “returned safely after 21 days of siege.” In July 2014, he shared a photo of Hamas mil­i­tants with the cap­tion, “Thank you! You make us proud …”

The 12 U.S. res­i­dents charged with Islamic extrem­ism related ter­ror offenses this year have been arrested in 7 dif­fer­ent states includ­ing New Jer­sey, New York, Illi­nois, Ohio, Vir­ginia, Indi­ana and Mis­souri. Pugh is also the 31st Amer­i­can res­i­dent pub­licly linked to ISIS since 2014.

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March 13, 2015 1

Under Attack, ISIS Threatens Jews and Israel

Screenshot from the ISIS video

Screen­shot from the ISIS video

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) increas­ingly finds itself under attack in Iraq and Syria, it has used the mur­der of an indi­vid­ual it alleges was a Mossad spy to threaten Jews and Israel and thereby attempt to rally its supporters.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sen­ti­ments are reg­u­larly uti­lized as tools by ter­ror­ist groups includ­ing ISIS to build sup­port and mobi­lize followers.

The mur­der is depicted in a video with nar­ra­tion promis­ing to con­quer Jerusalem, prais­ing the killing of Jews, and refer­ring to anti-Semitic vio­lence in France. Like the threats ISIS issued against Israel this sum­mer, it main­tains that the group is cur­rently occu­pied in Syria and Iraq but aspires to attack Israel in the future.

Some quotes from the video include:

  • “O Jews, Allah has gifted us with killing your fol­low­ers in your own strong­hold in France”
  • “As for the near-term, you will wit­ness the legions of the Khi­lafa pound­ing your lands and your fortresses. They will lib­er­ate Jerusalem from your filth, by Allah’s permission”
  • “Today we say to you, the Islamic con­quests have begun, and the Jews have become fright­ened because the promise is near.”
  • “So we fight in Iraq and our eyes are on Jerusalem”

The video’s vic­tim, an Arab-Israeli named Mohamed Musal­lam, is shot on cam­era by a boy who appears to be between 10 and 12 years old. Both the boy and the man super­vis­ing him are appar­ently French cit­i­zens, accord­ing to offi­cials and news reports. Some experts believe that the man is Sabri Essid, report­edly the half-brother of Mohammed Merah. Merah is respon­si­ble for a 2011 shoot­ing in a Jew­ish school in Toulouse, France, that left four dead, includ­ing three children.

At its con­clu­sion, the video also names 13 other indi­vid­u­als, all of whom have Arab names, who it claims are spies for Israel. Sev­eral appear to be Musallam’s fam­ily mem­bers, includ­ing his father and brother. The video pro­vides their names and maps their addresses. It also pro­vides sev­eral pic­tures for most of the indi­vid­u­als it named. This infor­ma­tion was reposted in a JustPaste.it doc­u­ment that was also shared on Twitter.

Accord­ing to his fam­ily, Musal­lam had trav­eled to Syria to join ISIS but later changed his mind and wanted to leave the group.

An ISIS supporter on Twitter wrote "Here is teh good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomorrow-God's willing - those cubs will kill the Jews."

An ISIS sup­porter on Twit­ter wrote “Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomor­row — God will­ing — those cubs will kill the Jews.”

Some ISIS sup­port­ers attempted to ensure the video was seen by Israelis by pro­mot­ing the link with a trend­ing Hebrew-language hash­tag that trans­lates to “the end that they don’t tell you.”

ISIS sup­port­ers online also responded to the video with addi­tional anti-Semitic sen­ti­ments. One sup­porter, for exam­ple, tweeted, “For those who said why don’t you fight Israel. Here is the good news, today we kill the agents of Jews and tomor­row — God will­ing — those cubs will kill the Jews.” The term cubs is a ref­er­ence to youth being indoc­tri­nated to sup­port ISIS, such as the boy in the video. ISIS mil­i­tants are some­times referred to as lions.

ISIS and its sup­port­ers have used anti-Semitism and threats against Israel to appeal to fol­low­ers on mul­ti­ple occa­sions, includ­ing through  threats against Israel this sum­mer, a video issued in June 2014 that threat­ened Jews, and in a promi­nent speech by ISIS spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani that alleged Jews con­trol U.S. for­eign pol­icy and are respon­si­ble for Amer­i­can inter­ven­tion in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS sup­port­ers have also recently estab­lished a cyber-alliance with anti-Israel hack­ers in an attempt to increase cyber-attacks on behalf of ISIS.

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March 6, 2015 1

VA Arrest Raises Total Of Americans Linked To ISIS Since 2014 To 30

isis-fighters

ISIS mil­i­tants

The arrest of a 17-year-old Vir­ginia teenager on charges that he had sup­ported the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) brings the num­ber of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and res­i­dents pub­licly iden­ti­fied as linked with ISIS since Jan­u­ary 2014 to 30.

The teenager, who has not been named, allegedly helped another man travel to Syria to join ISIS, at least in part, by using online resources and the help of online contacts.

He is one of eight Amer­i­can teenagers alleged to have attempted to pro­vide sup­port for ISISin the past two years. The oth­ers included 19-year-old Mohamed Hamzah Khan and his two unnamed sib­lings, aged 16 and 17, from Chicago who attempted to join ISIS, three unnamed girls aged 15, 16 and 17, from Den­ver, who attempted to join ISIS and Shan­non Mau­reen Con­ley, a 19-year-old Den­ver woman who, in a sep­a­rate inci­dent, also attempted to join ISIS.

In total, 11 U.S. cit­i­zens and res­i­dents have been linked with ISIS in 2015, with arrests made in Vir­ginia, New York, Mis­souri, Indi­ana, Illi­nois and Ohio.

Nine­teen were believed to have attempted to join or aid ISIS – or died while fight­ing with the group – in 2014.

Ear­lier this month, ISIS claimed via social media accounts and radio broad­casts that another Amer­i­can, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Daud al Amriki, died as part of a sui­cide attack.  His death and iden­tity are still unconfirmed.

These indi­vid­u­als com­prise only a frac­tion of the total num­ber of Amer­i­cans believed to have joined or attempted to join or aid ISIS. National Intel­li­gence Direc­tor James Clap­per said cur­rent esti­mates indi­cate that about 180 Amer­i­cans have attempted to join the fight in Syria. It is unclear how many of those Amer­i­cans attempted to join ISIS, as opposed to other mil­i­tant groups.

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