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September 22, 2014 0

ISIS-Related Arrest In Rochester Underscores Online Radicalization

mufid-elfgeeh-isis-rochester

Mufid Elfgeeh

The online activ­ity of Mufid Elfgeeh, whose arrest for attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror, attempt­ing to kill U.S. sol­diers, and pos­ses­sion of firearms and silencers was made pub­lic this week by the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice, under­scores the cen­tral­ity of the Inter­net in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion and recruit­ment process.

Elfgeeh uti­lized mul­ti­ple online plat­forms includ­ing Twit­ter, Face­book, YouTube and the android appli­ca­tion What­sApp to try to raise money for for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and to recruit three other indi­vid­u­als to join for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions. His online activ­ity also inspired him to devise a plot to kill Shi’a Mus­lims and for­mer Amer­i­can ser­vice­men at home.

Social media enabled Elfgeeh to not only learn about the activ­i­ties of for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions through videos, tweets and other online pro­pa­ganda, but to also con­nect with appar­ent sup­port­ers of those orga­ni­za­tions, in par­tic­u­lar the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Elfgeeh sought dona­tions for ter­ror­ists in Syria through Twit­ter. Among his alleged tweets were requests that peo­ple donate a third of their salary or at least “#Five_thousand_dollars_from_every_household” to sup­port mil­i­tants in Syria. He also tweeted and retweeted state­ments of sup­port for var­i­ous ter­ror groups includ­ing, “al-Qa’ida said it loud and clear: we are fight­ing the Amer­i­can inva­sion and their hege­mony over the earth and the people.”

On Face­book, Elfgeeh was a mem­ber of at least two Arabic-language Face­book groups in which group mem­bers reg­u­larly post and share al Qaeda and ISIS pro­pa­ganda. His own Face­book pho­tos included sev­eral images from Al Bat­tar media, an offi­cial ISIS pro­pa­ganda wing.

Elfgeeh also allegedly used Face­book to com­mu­ni­cate with indi­vid­u­als he believed were mem­bers of ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and with the indi­vid­u­als he was recruit­ing about plans to travel abroad to join ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions.

In his recruit­ing, he ini­tially sug­gested Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) and Al Shabaab as pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tions, and later focused on ISIS. Notably, AQAP, Al Shabaab and ISIS are all ter­ror­ist groups that have become highly adept at dis­trib­ut­ing exten­sive English-language pro­pa­ganda.

On April 22 2014, he allegedly posted a mes­sage on Face­book attempt­ing to gain con­nec­tions in ISIS, stat­ing, “Who­ever knows a brother from ISIS who is able to com­mu­ni­cate well in Eng­lish, can com­mu­ni­cate with me through the pri­vate, due to the impor­tance.” He also com­mu­ni­cated directly on Face­book with an indi­vid­ual he was recruit­ing to join ISIS (the indi­vid­ual was in fact an informant).

Elfgeeh was allegedly devel­op­ing a plot to com­mit mul­ti­ple mur­ders in the U.S. as well, appar­ently inspired by acts of ter­ror­ism around the world includ­ing Al Shabaab’s attack of the West­gate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya and, in par­tic­u­lar, by Mohammed Merah’s shoot­ings in France.

His inspi­ra­tion for this plot appar­ently came from watch­ing videos on YouTube. He allegedly explained that he had learned about Merah’s actions because, “[i]t’s in YouTube.” He also allegedly had watched a video that pro­vided jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and instruc­tions for his plot: The video, he stated, “tell[s] you what to do …it’s YouTube…they call them here…’individual wolf’ (an appar­ent ref­er­ence to lone wolf attacks).”

Elfgeeh is a 30-year-old nat­u­ral­ized Amer­i­can cit­i­zen. Orig­i­nally from Yemen, he resided in Rochester, NY prior to his arrest where he owned and oper­ated a store called Halal Mojo and Food­mart. He was arrested on May 31, 2014 and pleaded not guilty on Sep­tem­ber 18.

Elfgeeh is the sec­ond Amer­i­can arrested in 2014 for recruit­ing oth­ers to join for­eign ter­ror orga­ni­za­tions, fol­low­ing Rahatul Ashikim Khan of Round Rock, Texas, who was arrested in June.

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August 12, 2014 27

David Duke Exploits Gaza Situation With New Video

For­mer Klan leader and anti-Semite David Duke, pre­sent­ing him­self as a “peace activist” and an unbi­ased “his­to­rian” has cre­ated a new exploitive video on the war in Gaza. Duke uses the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza to pro­mote his own vir­u­lent brand of anti-Semitism and attempt to win sympathizers.david-duke-gaza-video

In the video titled, “Israeli Geno­cide in Gaza,” Duke accuses Israel of “bar­baric” mass mur­der and geno­cide. He also alleges that the media and politi­cians are con­trolled by Zion­ists who pur­posely mis­lead the public.

Iron­i­cally, Duke claims to be a his­to­rian “who likes to expose hypocrisy, decep­tion and manip­u­la­tion.” Yet he uses all three to paint Jews as mur­der­ers, liars and thieves. Duke also rep­re­sents him­self as a cham­pion of the Pales­tini­ans despite hav­ing been an active white suprema­cist for decades.

The real objec­tive of Duke’s video, which has received almost 32,000 views on YouTube, is to demo­nize Jews and to pro­mote the idea that Jews con­trol Amer­ica. At the end of the video, Duke exclaims, “Free Pales­tine and free Amer­ica and free the world from Zion­ist lies and tyranny.”

In addi­tion to the video on the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza, Duke has been try­ing to raise money to pub­lish “The Illus­trated Pro­to­cols of Zion,” a ver­sion of the noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic work that accuses Jews of a world­wide plot to con­trol the world.

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July 16, 2014 2

Hamas’s Ongoing Social Media War

Update: July 17 — Since this blog was posted, the Al Aqsa Today, Quds TVandIzzat Al Risheq Face­book pages are no longer available.

As Hamas con­tin­ues to tar­get Israelis with rock­ets from Gaza, the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion is using a range of Inter­net and social media plat­forms to dis­sem­i­nate its pro­pa­ganda, news and updates.hamas-social-media-twitter-facebook-youtube-rockets

The fol­low­ing is a sam­pling of Twit­ter han­dles, YouTube chan­nels, Face­book pages, Google+ pages and other online plat­forms being exploited by Hamas. While some Inter­net plat­forms have made efforts to cur­tail these efforts in the past by remov­ing Hamas-run accounts, the ter­ror­ist group con­tin­ues to actively engage on all of these sites.

In addi­tion to these accounts, there are count­less oth­ers oper­ated by sup­port­ers of the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion and in var­i­ous languages.

The ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the com­mu­nity to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter ter­ror­ist con­tent such as this.

 Hamas Media Office

The Hamas press office and Infor­ma­tion Agency. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Twitter.

  • Media Office – Hamas The Twit­ter han­dle for the Hamas Media Office.  It is cross-linked with the Twit­ter feeds of senior Hamas polit­i­cal leaders.

Izzedeen al-Qassam Brigades

The Izzedeen al-Qassam Brigades (short­ened to ‘Qas­sam Brigades’) is the Hamas mil­i­tary wing. This is the wing of Hamas that has stock­piled and devel­oped weapons includ­ing rock­ets and drones and is fir­ing them at Israel. In addi­tion to web­sites in Ara­bic, Hebrew and Eng­lish, the Qas­sam Brigades has active pres­ence on Twit­ter, YouTube and Google+.

  • Qas­sam Media The Twit­ter han­dle for the Qas­sam Brigades. Vis­i­tors are directed to this page via link from the Qas­sam Brigades website.
  • Al-Qassam Brigades The Hebrew-language Twit­ter han­dle for the Qas­sam Brigades. It is also some­times retweeted by the Ara­bic Qas­sam Brigades feed. Vis­i­tors are directed to this page via link from the Hebrew lan­guage Qas­sam Brigades website.
  • Resis­tance MediaThe Google+ Page for the Qas­sam Brigades. It is cross-linked and shares con­tent with the Qas­sam Brigades’ Resis­tance Media YouTube channel.
  • Resis­tance Media– The YouTube chan­nel for the Qas­sam Brigades. The Qas­sam Brigades web­site directs vis­i­tors to this chan­nel via link. Many of the videos have Eng­lish titles.
  • Pales­tine IntifadaYouTube chan­nel appar­ently linked to Hamas and the Qas­sam Brigades. Most, if not all videos on this chan­nel are offi­cial Qas­sam Brigades videos. They have been Tweeted by offi­cial Qas­sam Brigades twit­ter accounts

Izzat Al Risheq

Izzat Al Risheq is a Hamas spokesman and senior offi­cial. There are active Face­book and Twit­ter accounts in his name.

  • Izzat Al RisheqThe Face­book page for Izaat Al Risheq. It fea­tures the same con­tent as his Twit­ter feed.
  • Izzat Risheq The Twit­ter han­dle for Izaat Al Risheq. This is one of only two accounts that the Hamas Twit­ter account follows.

Al Aqsa TV

Al Aqsa TV is a Hamas-run tele­vi­sion sta­tion that pro­motes ter­ror­ist activ­ity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube.

  • Al Aqsa Today – The Face­book page for Al Aqsa TV. The Al Aqsa TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Al Aqsa TV Chanel The Twit­ter han­dle for Al Aqsa TV. The Al Aqsa TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this han­dle via link.
  • Alaqsa TVChan­nelYouTube chan­nel for Al Aqsa TV. Vis­i­tors are directed to this link from the Al Aqsa TV website.

Al Quds TV

Al Quds TV is a Hamas-run tele­vi­sion sta­tion that pro­motes ter­ror­ist activ­ity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book and YouTube.

  • Quds TVThe Face­book page for Al Quds TV. The Al Quds TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Quds TVSatYouTube chan­nel for Al Quds TV. Vis­i­tors are directed to this link from the Al Quds TV website.

Alray Media Agency

The Alray Media Agency is a Hamas affil­i­ated media agency owned by the Gaza-based Infor­ma­tion Office of the Pales­tin­ian Gov­ern­ment. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube as well as an appli­ca­tion avail­able on ITunes and Google Play.

  • Alray Media AgencyThe Face­book page for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Alray Media AgencyThe Twit­ter han­dle­for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • AlraypsenThe YouTube chan­nel for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • AlRay Pales­tin­ian Media Agency – An appli­ca­tion for ITunes and Google Play devel­oped by the Hamas Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy. The appli­ca­tion claims to be for “a Pales­tin­ian media agency speak­ing in the name of the Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment, it expresses the opin­ion of the glo­ri­ous Pales­tin­ian peo­ple, deals with their con­cerns and adopts their causes and posi­tions.” It is adver­tised on the Alray website.

Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (MTIT)

The MTIT is a Gaza-based Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment agency. Due to its loca­tion in Gaza, its pri­mary affil­i­a­tion is there­fore assumed to be to Hamas (despite the recent Pales­tin­ian unity pact).

  • Elec­tronic Infor­ma­tion –An appli­ca­tion from the Hamas Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (MTIT) that “allows gov­ern­ment employ­ees in Gaza to inquire about mail pay­ments, salaries and other ser­vices.” It is adver­tised on the MTIT website.
  • Dalely-Palestinian Orgs Guide –An appli­ca­tion from the Hamas MTIT that pro­vides a direc­tory to com­mu­ni­cate with var­i­ous gov­ern­men­tal and non-governmental orga­ni­za­tions in Gaza includ­ing Hamas gov­ern­ment apparatus.

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