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December 19, 2012 0

Iranian Leader Embraces Social Media

There is now a Face­book page in Iran’s Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei’s name, likely mak­ing him the world’s most socially-networked auto­cratic leader. The account, cre­ated on Decem­ber 13, cur­rently boasts over 16,000 ‘Likes’ and pro­vides Khamenei with another plat­form to dis­sem­i­nate his regime’s anti-West, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic messages.

Pre­vi­ously, Khamenei described Face­book as a “Zion­ist” tool. Face­book has been blocked inside Iran since the 2009 mass protests after the reelec­tion of Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad.

Although Khamenei’s Face­book account is only days old, a video from his Youtube chan­nel fea­tur­ing images of the Star of David and destroyed Pales­tin­ian vil­lages was uploaded to the page on Decem­ber 18. The video, called “New Mid­dle East, Islamic Mid­dle East,” begins with a clip of for­mer Secu­rity of State Con­doleezza Rice super­im­posed with a Star of David. The video also con­tains footage of Hasidic Jews stand­ing in front of a screen with an image of a cry­ing child and a dead Pales­tin­ian, and a mon­tage from a 2006 speech by Hezbol­lah leader Has­san Nas­ral­lah.

The five-minute video ends with a clip of a 2010 Khamenei speech in which he is pre­sented as pre­dict­ing the for­ma­tion of a new Islamic Mid­dle East and then declar­ing, “Pales­tine will be lib­er­ated” and insists that “Resis­tance is necessary.”

Khamenei first made his social media debut in 2009 with a Twit­ter account, @Khamenei_ir. The account con­veys what appear to be offi­cially sanc­tioned mes­sages from the Supreme Leader in Farsi, Eng­lish, Ara­bic and French. The tweets often make use of the regime’s typ­i­cal vit­ri­olic lan­guage against the U.S. and Israel, while prais­ing ter­ror­ist organizations.

For exam­ple, fol­low­ing Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense in Novem­ber against Hamas rocket fire from Gaza, Khamenei tweeted a gloat­ing mes­sage in Farsi, “Who would have believed that in a war between a sec­tion of Pales­tine and Israel, the Pales­tini­ans would be the ones set­ting the con­di­tions for a ceasefire/ Bravo to Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad.” In an English-language mes­sage in Jan­u­ary, Khamenei tweeted, “The Zion­ists, Great Satan-#USA-& West­ern pow­ers are inca­pable in fac­ing Islamic awak­en­ing, & they’ll fail more & more.”

The use of social media has also been increas­ingly uti­lized by U.S. Gov­ern­ment des­ig­nated For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tions (FTOs).

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December 11, 2012 0

Seattle Man Pleads Guilty to Planning Attack on Military Station in Seattle

Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, who planned to attack a mil­i­tary instal­la­tion in Seat­tle, pleaded guilty on Thurs­day to con­spir­ing to kill gov­ern­ment employ­ees and use a weapon of mass destruction.

]In the months pre­ced­ing his arrest in June 2011, Abdul-Latif, a con­vert to Islam, posted com­ments online and recorded and uploaded videos on YouTube (includ­ing nine of him­self) that shed light on his inter­pre­ta­tion of Islam and gen­eral mind­set prior to the plot, as well as his grow­ing militancy.

His co-conspirator, Walli Mujahidh, pleaded guilty last Decem­ber to con­spir­acy charges. Mujahid had been charged with con­spir­acy to kill U.S. offi­cers and to use weapons of mass destruc­tion, as well as another firearms charge.

The plot to attack a Mil­i­tary Entrance Pro­cess­ing Sta­tion in Seat­tle is just one in a series of plots and attacks against mil­i­tary per­son­nel in the U.S. in recent years. Oth­ers include a planned attack on the Fort Dix Army Base in New Jer­sey, a plot in New York to shoot down mil­i­tary air­craft, the shoot­ing at the Fort Hood army base and a planned attack on the Marine Corps base in Quan­tico.

Abdul-Latif faces between 17 and 19 years in prison under the terms of his plea agreement.

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November 30, 2012 1

ADL Tracks Hackers Targeting Jewish Institutions For Electronic Jihad

The Moroc­can Ghosts, a polit­i­cally moti­vated hacker group tar­get­ing the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, launched a cyber-attack last week against a server that hosts approx­i­mately 50 Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tional web­sites, includ­ing syn­a­gogues in New Jer­sey and Connecticut.

The hack­ers defaced the tar­geted web­sites with their logo and an hour-long video deny­ing the Holo­caust. The Moroc­can Ghosts, which has report­edly hacked approx­i­mately 82 web­sites since March, had been promis­ing to launch attacks for sev­eral months.

The group cel­e­brated the attack in a state­ment posted to its Face­book page. The state­ment, trans­lated by the Anti-Defamation League, claimed that the attack was car­ried out against “one of the most sig­nif­i­cant and very extreme Zion­ist assem­blies that sup­port Israel in America.”

The state­ment also read: “…we posted on their wall a video that proves the ridicu­lous­ness of accus­ing the Ger­mans with the Holo­caust. It [the holo­caust] was a scam by the Jews to black­mail the Ger­mans and the west after the war and gain inter­na­tional sym­pa­thy to take over Pales­tin­ian lands… The truth is Holo­caust never happened…”

ADL noti­fied Face­book about the group’s activ­ity and sub­se­quently, the page was taken down. The group has since reestab­lished a new Face­book page, fea­tur­ing sim­i­lar con­tent and promis­ing to con­tinue to recre­ate new Face­book pages as needed.

A post on the groups Twit­ter feed warned that “War against the Zion­ist pigs is com­ing com­ing com­ing…,” Through its twit­ter feed, it also declared sup­port to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah, the Pales­tini­ans and the Arab and Islamic causes.

On one of the Moroc­can Ghosts’ YouTube chan­nels, the group describes itself as a Moroc­can patri­otic group that oper­ates under Morocco’s motto “God, the King, and the Home­land.” The group has been tar­get­ing per­ceived sup­port­ers of Israel, mostly but not exclu­sively, in the United States.

In addi­tion to its ani­mos­ity towards Israel, Zion­ists and Jews, the group claims to oppose the Polis­ario Front, a group work­ing for the inde­pen­dence of West­ern Sahara from Morocco.

This lat­est cyber-attack is part of a larger trend of polit­i­cally moti­vated hack­ings tar­get­ing the web­sites of per­ceived sup­port­ers of Israel. ADL’s regional offices can offer guid­ance to Jew­ish insti­tu­tions regard­ing online and dig­i­tal security.

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