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Are Amaq + SITE news agencies run by ISIS or NATO?

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:42 am    Post subject: Are Amaq + SITE news agencies run by ISIS or NATO? Reply with quote

Propaganda

Aamaq - ISIS deny many of the 'claims' they release

SITE is run by former Mossad officer Rita Katz

So are either/both of these news agencies a reliable source for claims of terrorism responsibility?

Unnamed spokespeople - unverified assertions - denials by the group 'claiming responsibility'. Aamaq and SITE have all the hallmarks of being Western propaganda outfits yet both are treated as totally trustworthy by Western Mainstream News services and quoted without question by the likes of the BBC, Reuters, Press Association, Associated Press, ITN and all the UK national newspapers,

Here's a German article in English that seeks to explain, or more appropriately, excuse, the NATO zone mass media's over-reliance on such dubious 'fake news' or propaganda sources...

Inside Islamic State's Savvy PR War
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-professional-pr-strategi es-of-isis-in-syria-and-iraq-a-995611.html
Islamic State's methods may be medieval, but the group's propaganda is second to none. The Islamists target their professionally produced videos at specific audiences -- sometimes to spread a specific message, sometimes merely to terrify.

By Christoph Reuter, Raniah Salloum and Samiha Shafy
Photo Gallery: Jihad on the Web Photos
AFP/ AAMAQ NEWS
October 08, 2014 01:54 PM

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Last Monday, the now weekly Islamic State television show pronounced its verdict on Barack Obama's latest speech about the group: "Disappointingly predictable," the anchorman intoned. "America is good, the Islamic State is bad," he said, parodying the US president's strategy. "And they will be defeated using aircraft and a motley collection of fighters on the ground."

US allies in the Free Syrian Army, he went on, were an "undisciplined, corrupt and largely ineffective fighting force." The Islamic State, the anchorman intoned, "welcome meeting Obama's under-construction army."

The speaker, pale and thin but bathed in professional lighting as he sat calmly at a table like a real anchorman, is a hostage. "Hello there," his show began, "I'm John Cantlie, the British citizen abandoned by my government and a long-term prisoner of the Islamic State." The cameras changed perspective frequently, from a frontal view to a lateral one, and zoomed in on his unshaven face. Cantlie, in effect, was speaking for his life. After about six minutes, he closed: "Until next time."

The weekly videos featuring Cantlie, in which he argues on behalf of those who likely intend to kill him, are among the most perfidious productions created by the terrorist group Islamic State. Indeed, not long after Cantlie's latest episode, Islamic State released another video, allegedly showing the beheading of Cantlie's countryman Alan Henning, a 47-year-old taxi driver and aid organization worker who was kidnapped in Syria nine months ago. He is the fourth Western hostage that Islamic State has decapitated.

In recent months, Islamic State has become known for its adept video production and its fighters are widely present on all manner of social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram and SoundCloud. If their accounts get closed down, they just register under new names.

But the group's marketing gurus do much more than simply repeat the same message ad infinitum on different platforms. They design each video and each message to correlate exactly to the target audience. For Western observers, they are cool, clean and coherent. For locals, they are bloody, brutal and fear-inducing.

Bringing People Together

When it works to their advantage, they exaggerate their own massacres. Sometimes they falsify the identity of their victims. The thousands of fellow Sunnis they killed in Syria were branded simply as "godless Shiites" on television. They even market themselves to kids, manipulating popular video games such as Grand Theft Auto V so that Islamic State fighters and the group's black flag make an appearance.

In short videos from the series "Mujatweets," an apparently German fighter talks about his supposedly wonderful life in the Caliphate. Such scenes, depicting the multicultural Islamic State brotherhood, are clearly meant for Muslims in the West. "Look here," the message is, "everyone is equal here!" The images suggest that jihad has no borders; that it brings people together and makes them happy. Other blogs include women gushing about family life in wartime and the honor of being the widow of a martyr.

Islamic State's propaganda offers something for every demographic -- it is so professionally produced that al-Qaida looks old-fashioned by comparison. It is, as the New York Times recently dubbed it, "jihad 3.0."

Their strategy is best illustrated by two almost simultaneously released videos from several weeks ago. One was produced to publicize the killing of American journalist James Foley, who had been kidnapped in November 2012. The second was likely never intended for a Western audience.

In the first, Foley's captors had him deliver a message to the world. In the soft light of morning, Foley -- dressed in Guantanamo orange -- blamed the US for his death, expressed his regret at having been born American and absolved his murderers of all guilt. After he finished speaking, the masked Islamist standing next to him placed his knife on Foley's throat and began moving it back and forth as the picture went dark.

There isn't a single drop of blood to be seen in the video, making it seem as though his on-camera beheading was merely simulated. Experts have puzzled over the meaning of the staging, given the captors later show Foley's bloody and detached head lying on his body. The most plausible explanation is that the video was designed to be tolerable for Western viewers -- its most important message isn't the murder itself, but Foley's statement and that of his murderer just prior to the beheading. Those who attack Islamic State, the hooded killer threatens, must bear the consequences. He speaks English with a British accent.

'Look At the Knife'

The second video couldn't be more different. Heavily pixelated, it depicts Islamic State fighters murdering a group of rebellious clan members not far from the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor. It is difficult to find adequate words to describe the 11-minute movie. The victims are lying on the ground, staring upwards with eyes full of fear, before their throats are slit one after the other and their heads are chopped or torn from their torsos. Their butchers laugh as they kill, saying things like "Hey, he's really got some meat on his cheeks!" or "Hey you, you should look at the knife when I cut your head off!" The killers speak Arabic with Moroccan and Egyptian accents.

This video is aimed at a different audience, people living in the regions under Islamic State control, particularly those who might dare to resist -- such as the men from the al-Sheitaat tribe that were massacred on camera. According to various sources, up to 700 tribesmen were killed in the slaughter. And the message appears to have been heard: The tribe's sheikh responded by begging Islamic State for forgiveness and mercy.

For those against whom Islamic State is fighting, the message is always the same: Be afraid! The panicked fear they spread has become a real weapon for the jihadis, in light of the fact that they are often outnumbered by their opponents. It has worked well in many Syrian and Iraqi towns and villages. At the beginning of August, for example, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters abandoned almost all of their positions in the face of advancing Islamic State fighters.

To spread panic even further, Islamic State often exaggerates its own bloody excesses. After the battles between June 11 and 14, when Islamic State took control of Sunni areas in northwest Iraq, the group's PR division released videos of its atrocities. They claimed the clips showed Islamic State jihadists killing 1,700 pro-government Shiite soldiers in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, a number that quickly found its way into international media reports.

But the videos, brutal as they were, showed the murder of a few dozen captured soldiers at most. People visited several large Iraqi cities on the search for evidence of the massacre, but no mass funerals or mourning ceremonies were observed. Activists from Human Rights Watch studied high-resolution satellite photos for fresh excavation sites that could indicate mass graves. They found evidence of two mass graves, and their initial study concluded that the number of dead was between 160 and 190. The group suspects that other mass graves exist, but no proof for a higher number of casualties has yet been found.

The West has tended to take Islamic State claims of barbarity at face value, primarily because it seems so unlikely that anyone would exaggerate one's own cruelty. But the Islamic State was likely trying to reap benefits from its own seeming exaggerations.

'The Law of the Jungle'

The jihadists' PR experts are adept at altering reality to best fit the message it is attempting to propagate -- either by overstating its murderousness or by changing the identities of its victims. Islamic State claims to be protecting and representing the interests of Sunni Muslims. Nevertheless, the jihadists in Syria have killed thousands of Sunnis who refused to submit to their ruthless claims to power. So as to stay on message, Islamic State propagandists simply claimed in video text that those killed were "Shiite soldiers of Assad's."

From a technical perspective, the group's digital jihad has "exponentially improved" in the last year and a half, says Christoph Günther, an Islam expert at the University of Leipzig. Since 2007, he has been monitoring the group's PR strategy. At the beginning -- before it adopted the megalomaniacal name "Islamic State" and proclaimed the establishment of a "Caliphate" -- its presentation was modest. "Earlier, the image quality of their videos was terrible," Günther says. Often, hours-long speeches in Arabic were simply uploaded to the Internet.

Today, he says, the situation has changed significantly, thanks partly to the companies that Islamic State now operates in the territories under its control. The improvements have also stemmed from the influx of foreign fighters who can now spread the group's propaganda in English, French, German and other languages.

One thing, however, remains unclear: What is Islamic State's religious message? Osama Bin Laden and his followers made an effort to justify their deeds both before and after Sept. 11, 2001, says Fawaz Gerges, a terrorism expert at the London School of Economics. "They came up with theological justifications, they pointed to the suffering of the Palestinians or they claimed they were defending Muslims." For Islamic State, though, he says, justifications hardly play any role at all. Its only message is violence and it is aimed even at their own fellow Sunnis. "There is nothing," Gerges says. "It's an intellectual desert."

For years, Gerges has been monitoring the man who claims to be Islamic State's "official spokesman." He calls himself Abu Mohammed al-Adnani and the US State Department added his name to its terrorist list on August 18. Adnani, from the northern Syrian town of Binnish, is thought to be around 37 years old and is among the earliest members of Islamic State. He is one of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's closest confidants and was among those sent to Syria in 2011 to gain a foothold there. Today, Adnani is considered to be the right-hand man of al-Baghdadi's, the self-proclaimed Caliph. A speech he delivered after coalition air strikes against Islamic State began -- in which he called US Secretary of State John Kerry an "old uncircumcised geezer" -- was translated into seven languages.

One anecdote about Adnani is particularly insightful, Gerges says. Two years ago, Gerges relates, representatives from various Islamist groups met near Aleppo to talk about conflicts among their groups. The others agreed that a religious council should be founded to solve the conflicts in accordance with Islamic law. But the Islamic State spokesman, so the story goes, merely looked at them disdainfully. He then said: "The only law I believe in is the law of the jungle."

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http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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Last edited by TonyGosling on Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A News Agency With Scoops Directly From ISIS, and a Veneer of Objectivity

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHIJAN. 14, 2016
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/15/world/middleeast/a-news-agency-with -scoops-directly-from-isis-and-a-veneer-of-objectivity.html

The San Bernardino shootings. The killing rampage this week in a Baghdad mall. On Thursday, it was the explosion that ripped through a Starbucks in Jakarta.

In each of those terrorist attacks, an outlet called the Amaq News Agency was first with the news that the Islamic State was going to claim responsibility. The agency has been getting the scoops because it gets tips straight from ISIS, and for those of us on the terrorism beat, that has made Amaq a must-read every time a bomb goes off.

It publishes a heavy stream of short releases on an encrypted phone app called Telegram, functioning much like an official news agency might inside a totalitarian state. The alerts, articles and videos take on the trappings of mainstream journalism, with “Breaking News” and “Exclusive” headings.

And its reporters try to appear objective, toning down the jihadist hyperbole ISIS uses in its official releases. (The Jakarta attackers were “Islamic State fighters” rather than the ISIS-preferred “soldiers of the Caliphate.” Victims are “foreign citizens” rather than “Crusaders.”)
Quote:
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Make no mistake, though: Amaq is putting out the Islamic State’s message, and the veneer of separation between the terrorist group and what has now become its unacknowledged wire service is quickly disintegrating. Though the group is not officially part of the ISIS media apparatus, it functions much that way.

“It has become much more assimilated into the Islamic State’s propaganda infrastructure, and now it’s a fully fledged and very important part of it. It has become the first point of publication for claims of responsibility by the group — though not as a rule,” said Charlie Winter, a senior researcher at the Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative at Georgia State. He pointed out that one of the biggest attacks — the Nov. 13 killings in Paris — followed the more traditional route, with the claim of responsibility published directly by ISIS.

The Islamic State maintains its official Al Bayan radio station, which puts out daily news bulletins, and its monthly magazine Dabiq, as well as many production companies that put out its grisly videos. Beyond those, there are also media offices in each of the Islamic State’s provinces. The material that goes out on these official outlets has the ultimate stamp of ISIS approval — that’s what they want us to know about their ideology and their tactics.

Those messages are tightly controlled, honed to both appeal to the largest numbers of recruits as well as designed to intimidate and sow fear.

As one example of how much they control their messaging, consider what happened to the British jihadist Omar Hussain. This month, Mr. Hussain published a string of essays about life under the Islamic State — and then he was served a cease-and-desist order by the ISIS Media Committee.

The terror group ordered him to shut down his Telegram account or face the consequences, according to a screen grab of the message which he shared with his followers in his farewell post. Perhaps they didn’t like the 6,000-word diatribe he posted, ranting against Arabs and accusing Syrian children of stealing his phone charger.
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Amaq appears to have been created, or allowed to develop, as a way to create a source of information that is still basically controlled by the Islamic State but is somewhat removed from the group, giving ISIS more of the appearance of legitimacy.

One of the closest watchers of jihadist propaganda for years has been SITE Intelligence in Washington. The researchers there say they first saw the Amaq name pop up during the drawn-out battle for Kobani, the Kurdish town on the Syria-Turkey border that ISIS captured in 2014. The tracking group’s director, Rita Katz, said she and her staff noticed that ISIS fighters were sharing the Amaq updates on their personal accounts.

For much of its evolution, Amaq appeared to be posting updates and on-the-ground developments, but there was no clear pattern of Amaq preceding ISIS in claims of responsibility.

That changed last month, when a married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, burst into the holiday party at the San Bernardino County Health Department and began shooting. Amaq was the first to report that the two supported the Islamic State. A day later, the Islamic State said the same thing in its official broadcast.

As more and more attacks have broken out in recent days, Amaq has almost always been first to report that the Islamic State was behind them.

“They are behaving like a state media. ISIS sees themselves as a state, as a country — and a country needs to have its own media,” Ms. Katz said.

Taking its cues from the Western media, Amaq has even been featuring “embedded” reporters at the scenes of major ISIS battles. When ISIS took the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, it was an Amaq cameraman who captured the first footage, Mr. Winter said.

One thing to remember, though, is that Amaq’s function is to spread Islamic State propaganda. You hardly have to dig to see the spin. When United State Special Forces helped Kurdish forces free dozens of prisoners from an ISIS jail in northern Iraq in October, one American soldier was killed. But the Amaq headline had a different take: The headline was “A Failed Airdrop Operation by the American Army.”

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http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is Behind the Islamic State (ISIL) Beheadings? Probing the SITE Intelligence Group
By James F. Tracy
Global Research, September 15, 2014
Region: Middle East & North Africa, USA
Theme: Intelligence, Media Disinformation, US NATO War Agenda
http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-is-behind-the-islamic-state-is-behead ings-probing-the-site-intelligence-group/5402082

Since mid-August 2014 major news organizations have conveyed videos allegedly found online by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Unsurprisingly the same media have failed to closely interrogate what the private company actually is and whether the material it promotes should be accepted as genuine.

[Image Credit: i24news.tv]

beheading2The Search for International Terrorist Entities Intelligence Group (SITE) was co-founded by Rita Katz in 2001.

In 2003 Katz authored a book, Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America, which she published using the pseudonym, “Anonymous.”

In the book Katz explains how she took on the trappings of a Muslim woman to infiltrate the meetings of radical Muslim terrorists. The plot is unlikely, especially when one considers that such secret fundamentalist gatherings are almost always segregated along gender lines and no woman, however elaborate her costume, would be granted entry without her identity being firmly established.

SITE Intelligence Group consists of Katz and two “senior advisers,” one of whom is Bruce Hoffman, the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and former director of the RAND’s Washington DC office.

The SITE Intelligence Group “constantly monitors the Internet and traditional media for material and propaganda released by jihadist groups and their supporters,” the company’s website announces.

“Once obtained, SITE immediately translates the material and provides the intelligence along with a contextual analysis explaining the source of the material and its importance to our subscribers.”[1]

In 2003 and 2004, SITE received financial support from the US government. Also in the early 2000s SITE was on contract providing consulting services to the FBI.[2]

It would appear that SITE has abandoned its non-profit status and now relies on corporate and individual subscriptions for revenue. In 2005 the private mercenary contractor Blackwater hailed SITE as “an invaluable resource.”[3]

The majority of “jihadist groups” operate one or more media outlets that produce and publish “the group’s multimedia, and in some cases, communiqués and magazines,” SITE explains on its website.

“These media units involve production teams and correspondents who report directly from the battlefield, and craft propaganda to indoctrinate and recruit new fighters into the group’s ranks.” SITE provides no direct links to the jihadist groups’ websites or multimedia productions from its own platform.[4]

Katz describes SITE as geared toward international Islamic jihad. “[W]e at SITE for over a decade monitor, search, and study the jihadists online,” she explains.

We have been studying and monitoring the jihadists online, which also as they get more sophisticated, we follow their techniques and study them. And based on that, we could predict where they will be uploading their video.

After all, we have to remember that much of this propaganda is being posted online. Their releases are released online [sic]. So they have to be able to use certain locations to upload their releases before they are published.[5]

Though routinely overlooked in the flurry of front-page coverage corporate media have allotted the three beheading videos–the most recent of which featured Scottish aid worker David Cawthorne Haines–it is common knowledge that SITE uncannily secures terrorist statements and videos well before the US’s wide array of lavishly-funded intelligence services.

For example, as the Washington Post reported in 2007,

[a] small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 … It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release. Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company’s Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.[6]

The video later proved to be fraudulent.

With the above in mind, one may ask, If parties within a US presidential administration or the State Department sought to bypass the potential scrutiny of a wide-ranging intelligence community concerning such matters, while simultaneously providing itself with the means to effectively propagandize the American public toward a broader end, what better way than to contract the services of an entity such as SITE?

beheadingIf there is some merit in the above appraisal, the arrangement is now being pushed to an extreme by the Obama administration to pave the road toward a long-sought goal: war with Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime. Indeed, services such as SITE’s are a potent and valuable means for moving public opinion, as they have done in recent weeks concerning military action against the Islamic State. Along these lines, a decade ago both John Kerry and George W. Bush credited the latter’s re-election to a surreptitious appearance by Osama bin Laden via video tape several days before the vote.[7]

[Image Credit: ibtimes.co.in]

Playing a role similar to SITE, IntelCenter acts as an intermediary between Al-Qaeda’s supposed media arm, As-Sahab, and major media. In other words, “they acquire the tapes and pass them on to the press, and have occasionally even predicted when tapes would be released beforehand,” Paul Joseph Watson reports.

“IntelCenter is run by Ben Venzke, who used to be the director of intelligence at a company called IDEFENSE, which is a Verisign company. IDEFENSE is a web security company that monitors intelligence from the Middle East conflicts and focuses on cyber threats among other things. It is also heavily populated with long serving ex-military intelligence officials.[8]

As noted, news outlets seldom see fit to closely analyze SITE or Katz concerning their research and function as conduits for terrorist propaganda. A LexisNexis search for SITE Intelligence in the article content of US newspapers and major world publications over the past two years produces 317 items—an admittedly low figure given the prominence of SITE’s recent disclosures. Yet a similar search for “Steven Sotloff” alone yields over 1,000 newspaper stories and 600 broadcast transcripts, suggesting the sensationalistic usage and effect of SITE’s data and how neither SITE nor Katz are called upon to explain their specific methods and findings.

Indeed, a similar search for “SITE Intelligence” and “Rita Katz” yields only 26 entries over a two year period. Of these, 14 appear in the Washington Post, a publication with well-established links to US intelligence. Four New York Times articles feature the combined entities.

In a CNN on the heels of the Sotloff beheading, Katz explains how again SITE curiously surpassed the combined capacities of the entire US intelligence community in securing the Sotloff footage.

“The video shows the beheading of Steven Sotloff,” Katz cautiously begins after being queried on the document’s authenticity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aNUm0Z_lXs

The location from where the video was obtained from is the location where ISIS usually uploads their original videos to [sic]. The video shows a clear message from ISIS that follows the same message that it had before. And in fact within a short time after our release, ISIS’ account on social media indicated that within a short time they would be releasing the video, only we actually had that video beforehand and were able to beat them with the release. (emphasis added)

This unusual statement alongside SITE’s remarkable abilities, should put news outlets on guard concerning the reliability of SITE statements.

Undoubtedly this is a great deal to ask from a news media that all too frequently participate in orienting public opinion toward war, a feat it has once again accomplished with the aid of SITE.

The interests and alliances of the transnational entities owning such media make them poised to profit from the very geopolitical designs drawn up by SITE’s corporate and government clients–the most important of which may be those seeking to broaden Middle Eastern conflict. No doubt, the wide-scale acceptance of such propaganda is also the result of the vastly diminished critical capacities of the broader public, now several decades in the making.

Notes

[1] “Services,” SITE Intelligence Group, , accessed September 15, 2014,

[2] Berni McCoy, “So, a ‘Charitable Organization’ Released the bin Laden Video,” Democratic Underground, September 10, 2007, http://journals.democraticunderground.com/berni_

[3] “SITE Institute,” Sourcewatch.org, Center for Media and Democracy, n.d.

[4] “Media Groups,” SITE Intelligence Group, n.d., accessed September 15, 2014.

[5] Karl Penhaul, Pamela Brown, Alisyn Camerota, Don Lemon, Paul Cruickshank, “Joan Rivers on Life Support; Chilling Words From ISIS Terrorist; How to Fight Radical Recruitment” (transcript), CNN, September 2, 2014.

[6] Joby Warrick, “Leak Severed a Link to Al Qaeda Secrets,” Washington Post, October 9, 2007.

[7] Paul Joseph Watson, “Another Dubious Osama Tape Appears When the Neo-Cons Need It Most,” Prisonplanet.com, July 16, 2007.

[8] Ibid. See also, Kurt Nimmo, “Sotloff Video Found by Group Responsible For Releasing Fake Osama Bin Laden Video,” Infowars.com, September 3, 2014.

_________________
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www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ISIS NEWS AGENCY AMAQ FOUNDER 'KILLED IN U.S. COALITION STRIKE'
BY JACK MOORE ON 6/1/17 AT 5:59 AM
How ISIS Went Global
http://www.newsweek.com/us-coalition-kills-founder-isis-news-agency-am aq-airstrike-618693

The founder of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) news agency Amaq was killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in eastern Syria, according to his brother and activists.

ISIS has not confirmed the death of Rayan Meshaal but his brother said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he had achieved “martyrdom” in the city of al-Mayadin in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor.

“I'm pleased to announce the martyrdom of my older brother Baraa Kadek, known as Rayan Meshaal...in an air strike by the coalition,” Hozaifa’s post read, according to Reuters.

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Rita Katz, director of U.S.-based jihadi monitoring company SITE Intelligence, reported Meshaal’s death on Twitter. Syrian activist outlets, Halab News Network and Qasioun news agency, also reported his death on Wednesday.

Meshaal was an opposition media activist who reported on the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from 2011 onward. But he joined ISIS in 2013.

ISIS has used Amaq as its primary content output, presenting it as an authentic news source separate to the group, with slick, professional releases.But the outlet effectively serves as an ISIS propaganda operation, sharing the group’s message to thousands of jihadis via the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

ISIS has used Amaq to confirm more than a dozen deadly attacks inspired by the group in Europe, referring to the attackers as its “soldiers” of the caliphate. The agency also has a website and an Android app.

ISIS Rally in Raqqa
ISIS fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014.
REUTERS/STRINGER

But Amaq is not always the first place for ISIS’s ‘breaking news.’ The group claimed the Manchester attack via statements posted on social media. It also publishes its weekly Al-Naba magazine and has an official radio station, Al Bayan, which distributes daily news bulletins.

Read more: ‘Matter of time’ until ISIS flag falls in Mosul

The coalition is supporting ground forces in offensives on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, the two largest cities that ISIS controls. But it has also sought to directly target the group’s top financial and propaganda chiefs in airstrikes.

In March, the coalition said it had killed a top leader in the group’s propaganda machine and several of his associates in an airstrike in western Iraq. Ibrahim Al-Ansari served as an “important ISIS leader,” Colonel Joseph Scrocca said.

He was key to the group’s propaganda output that helped it recruit foreign fighters, as well as inciting vehicle, knife and arson attacks against American and Turkish nationals and “terror attacks” in the West, he added at the time. His work included brainwashing children to side with the group’s brutal methods, officials said.

In the near three years that ISIS has had control over territory in Iraq and Syria, it has produced propaganda videos featuring children (which it calls the “Cubs of the Caliphate”) purportedly executing spies, detonating car bombs and being trained at military camps. It has also published articles and videos by western hostages and shared several of their executions in moves that spread its brutal image and convey its appearance as the most dangerous jihadi group in the world.

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