The latest Islamic State propaganda video that has spread through social media featured a new unnamed spokesman threatening the United Kingdom. CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reports.
ISIL's recruitment videos and social media show increasing sophisticationThe latest Islamic State propaganda video that has spread through social media featured a new unnamed spokesman threatening the United Kingdom. CCTV America's Jim Spellman reports.
“Oh, British government, oh, people of Britain, know today that your citizenship is under our feet,” a masked man waving a gun said.
He speaks English with a British accent and seems to be a replacement for Mohammed Emwazi, the man known as Jihadi John, the masked ISIL executioner killed in a U.S. airstrike in November.
The new speaker is the latest tool in ISIL’s propaganda arsenal. The terror group uses videos to threaten hostages, take credit for attacks, and recruit new members.
“They get sucked into what’s going on over there, and as part of the video game generation, many of them probably just see it as an adventure and then once they are really in it, it’s all too late,” Douglas Smith, Former U.S. Homeland Security Assistant Secretary said.
Their videos also feature and promote life in the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State.
One recent video highlights the ISIL agriculture administration and shows wheat being harvested and baked into bread. Another shows what it claims to be doctors tending to the sick. Another video and what appears to be dozens of children in an Islamic State school.
They read from the Quran, eat lunch, play soccer, and receive training with Kalashnikov rifles.
“They are clearly targeting multiple audiences. I think they are targeting people in theater who have access to social media, and I think they are targeting the west. They are trying to make the case that they are not just a bunch of savage ruthless terrorists running around the countryside, but that they are actually making a better life for their citizens,” Smith said.
In another disturbing video, young boys are seen executing prisoners, guided by adult militants.
Western governments have struggled to combat ISIL’s message online. Twitter has shut down some ISIL-linked accounts, but increasingly, the terrorists are turning to encrypted messaging services such as Telegram to distribute propaganda and possibly plan attacks.
And while it may be harder to find this material on social media, authorities say the message is getting through.
To combat some of ISIL’s social media presence, the U.S. runs an anti-ISIL Twitter feed @ThinkAgain_DOS and has created a handful of videos:
The United Kingdom also has an anti ISIL twitter feed @UKagainstDaesh:
However a committee of tech industry professionals, assembled by the U.S. State Department to evaluate anti-extremism messaging, has questioned the effectiveness of U.S. efforts and recommends partnering with outside groups.
Media professor Imani Cheers discusses ISIL’s online presence
CCTV America’s Mike Walter interviewed Imani Cheers, an assistant professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University about the increasing sophistication of ISIL’s social media strategy.