This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Courting Revulsion

"ISIS products are so emotionally compelling. If you start 'liking' and tweeting their products they start contacting  you -- and you'll have multiple personal contacts...."
"We're trying to break the ISIS brand and their online recruiting and let ISIS speak for themselves. These are the people [ISIS defectors] who walked away. Actually they ran away. They have a lot to say and we need to raise their voices."
"My project was to try [to] get former terrorists on video to talk about terrorism, to say it didn't work out for me and also how they got in."
"For me this is about breaking that [fantasy of promised prosperity in the Caliphate]. I feel bad about breaking a dream, but this dream is a nightmare."
"Working with people in cults you try [to] get someone who's been in one to talk to you. Sometimes that isn't possible, but here you can use the video [atrocity-laden ISIL videos]."
Anne Speckhard, director, International Centre for the Study of Violent Extremism, Washington
isis news, isil news, is news, islamic state news, daesh news, syria news, iraq news, terrorism news, africa news, al qaeda news
A still from a purported ISIS video. ISIS militants pose in front of a black ISIS flag.

Looking at Islamic State video presentations, one is struck by the youth of the recruits; in the foreground of this still can be seen two young teens. They are indoctrinated as early as possible and brought into the cult of jihad, martyrdom, slaughter and gruesome torture of those considered by the savage ideology to be unworthy of life. The deaths of tribal, ethnic and religious minorities is considered to be a gift to Allah for which ISIL jihadis have expectations of reward.

The proliferation of ISIL videos proudly demonstrating their capacity to inflict pain and torment on innocent people they have captured, whether they are Yazidis, Christians, Kurds, Shiite Muslims or foreign nationals with the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the right time to be abducted and become fodder for the Caliphate's public relations campaign to attract Islamist fanatics to their cause has resulted in recruits sufficient to keep ISIL with enough martyr-fodder through suicide attacks to continue horrifying the international community.

Enter Anne Speckhard and her group who have conceived the idea of turning ISIL's videos around on them by playing them back to an audience which also hears testimony from former ISIL terrorists who have abandoned their mentors with disgust at the depth of their depravity and primal message of hatred. One video of the 45 produced to date by the International Centre for the Study of Violent Extremism features a 15-year-old former "cub of the Caliphate" who had completed his training complete with the compulsory beheading of a captive and who later chose to flee.

In another video a young Syrian acting as a prison guard for ISIL escaped with his family to Turkey after witnessing women who were captured during ISIL raids, listlessly huddling together as plans were underway to turn them into sex slaves in service to foreign fighters. This is a successful lure to persuade foreign Islamists to join the ranks of ISIL, promising them sex slaves, among other vaunted proceeds of conflict to enrich their lives.

The plan is to successfully manage through using the public relations tactics of ISIL itself, to turn people away in disgust from the atrocities committed by the group. Which may seem a strange argument given the fact that it is the very atrocities which attract the attention of recruits who themselves believe that destroying lives is an obligation of faithful Muslims through engagement in jihad; a construct to kill those who deny the imperial supremacy of Islam.

Ms. Speckhard, along with Ahmet Yayla, formerly head of the anti-terrorism division of the Turkish National Police, together interviewed a number of ISIL defectors to produce a book titled the ISIS Defectors Project which presents an insider's view of the Islamic State group. With the help of a smuggler, the identities of 32 defectors were made known to the interviewers, all of whom agreed to be interviewed. They ranged from Syrians, Islamists from the Balkans, from Europe in general and from Belgium.

They all spoke of their fascination with the glowing promises of justice, freedom and wealth; all to be had in a caliphate supported by marketing oil riches. They were all promised paradise-on-earth; an obliging wife, a generous salary, boundless adventure. And they represent the backbone of the Defectors Project. They point out the thousands of Twitter accounts held by ISIL, along with numerous graphic videos, the ISIL online magazine and the lure of violence on social media platforms.

The professional-grade videos and other materials from ISIL accounts were utilized in the production of the ICSVE videos in the belief that they will meet with success in countering the claims that Islamic State celebrates; a celebration that has seen their virally atrocious materials garner them international censure, balanced by an ongoing influx of eager recruits to the Caliphate.
isis news, isil news, is news, islamic state news, daesh news, syria news, iraq news, terrorism news, africa news, al qaeda news
A still from a purported ISIS video.  Condemned men are shown with ISIS militants standing over them.

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