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Binocular (camera) vision, Mosul

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — ISIS vs journo, fighter vs reporter ]
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An intriguing use of DoubleQuote thinking — from opposite sides of a conflict moment:

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These images are even more striking when seen in full:

ISIS pov:

Raineri pov:

Kudos, Daniele Raineri.

So now ISIS has its own fake news

Friday, March 10th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — propaganda and, i suppose, impropaganda ]
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Publication of the last three issues of the ISIS magazine Rumiyah have been preceded or accompanied by bogus issues, thus giving ISIS its own quota of fake news. I’m of course delighted because one can compare authentic and fake versions as visual DoubleQuotes. Here are some examples from the latest issue, #7, courtesy of Charlie Winter:

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MEMRI has graciously made its February report, Release Of Two Suspicious Fifth Issues Of ISIS’s ‘Rumiyah’ Magazine – Timeline, Characteristics, And Takeaways, openly available — here are the basic paras:

On January 6, 2017, the Islamic State (ISIS) released Issue 5 of its online magazine Rumiyah. The issue, which included, inter alia, the usual threats to the West and advice for carrying out attacks there,[1] was picked up by Western media outlets and widely reported. Much less attention, however, was given to two other purported issues of the same magazine, which were released a few hours prior to the official Islamic State release of Issue 5.

Each of the two fake issues of Issue 5 of Rumiyah appears to have a different purpose. While the first was reportedly a rogue PDF file packed with malware aimed at infecting the devices of anyone downloading or opening the file, the content of the second was surprisingly well crafted content in what appeared to be a malware-free PDF file, making the point of its release not entirely clear.

This is not the first time that a jihadi magazine or other release is comprised, especially in light of the fierce cyber warfare being waged against terrorist groups. The most prominent example of this is the 2010 operation that aimed to undermine the first release of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) English-language magazine Inspire. That attack resulted in the release of two modified PDF versions of the magazine, and has had a negative impact on one of the magazine’s distribution channels as well.[2] In another incident in 2013, which also targeted AQAP, a video of the group was purposely sabotaged and a segment calling for the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Yemen at the time was removed prior to its official release.[3]

Terrorist groups’ distribution chains and channels have evolved in the last decade. What was once a single download link posted on a password-protected top-tier jihadi forum, is now a widely distributed URL to jihadi content posted on the San Francisco-based Internet Archive (archive.org)[4] that goes viral on Twitter, Telegram, and elsewhere within minutes of its initial release. Jihadi response to suspicious content, on the other hand, has been relatively consistent during that same period, with overly cautious and even paranoid behavior characterizing many members of online jihadi circles. In fact, social media has in many ways made it more difficult to “trick” jihadis into consuming dubious jihadi content, since warnings about such content are now generated and disseminated faster and easier than ever before.

The graphic at the head of this post is taken from a February Heavy Terror Watch post, ISIS Alleges Someone Is Publishing Fake Islamic State Magazines

It’s all faintly hilarious / deadly serious: fake news, ISIS-style.

ISIS goes Matryoshka

Friday, March 10th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — humans bearing doll attributes and vice versa ]
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ISIS brings those Matryoshka dolls to life..

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SITE Intel‘s video on ISIS indoctrination of children — one of their people actually terms it “brainwashing” as though it’s a blessing, not a perversion — is pretty graphic, but important.

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For our younger readers, then:

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Sources:

  • SITE Intel video report, Raising Terror: How the Islamic State Indoctrinates its Youth
  • The Peoples Cube, Islamic Matryoshka

  • Teletubbies, Developmental Benefits
  • “KarlreMarks” Sharro moves on

    Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — from Abu A and Abu B to Steve and Donnie ]
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    Karl Sharro is a Middle Eastern architect and satirist based in London, whose two modes of “simply” explaining the Middle East I presented a while back. His third view envisions ISIS as a board game, and asks Who can devise the most convoluted way to wipe out the Islamic State?

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    Anyway, KarlreMarx has two jihadist ezxtremists he’s been tracking for some while — Abu A and Abu B:

    Outside Sharro’s fevered imagination, ISIS does indeed have an air force — of weaponized drones.

    Suicide? No, martydom — and individual ISIS members are as expendable as their goals are lofty:

    Sometimes, to be honest, those goals make little sense..

    — and besides, eclipses are signs of impending apocalypse..

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    Time rolls on, however — and Sharro has shifted his target. As he put it in a tweet today, “I decided to retire Abu A and Abu B and replace them with another radicalised pair”:

    Steve and Donnie — two’s company.

    We shall see what we shall see..

    A striking image from Scott Atran, Davos

    Saturday, February 25th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — on the importance of spiritual commitment ]
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    Scott Atran, author of Talking to the Enemy: Violent Extremism, Sacred Values, and What It Means to Be Human, speaking at the World Economic Forum, offered this slide with the following comment:

    Our research with fighters shows that the US Government’s judgement is fairly mistaken about underestimating ISIS and overestimating the armies against it, because it denies th4e spiritual dimension of human conflict. Three critical factors are involved: sacred values and devotion to the groupz people are fused with; willing to sacrifice family for values; and perceived spiritual formidability. For example, among fighters on both sides in Iraq and Syria, they rate America’s physical force maximum but spiritual force minimum, and ISIS’ physical force minimum but spiritual force maximum. But – they also think material interests drive America but that spiritual commitment drives ISIS. The spiritual trumps physical force when all things are equal.

    Here’s the short clip from which that slide & comment are taken — Friday 24th February 2017, WEF Davos, Scott Atran analyses the limits of rational choice in political and cultural conflict


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