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State Department Makes Graphic Videos in Effort to Stop 'Wannabe' American Jihadists

By    |   Friday, 05 Sep 2014 11:03 AM

The State Department has created a video to discourage American "wannabes" from joining the Islamic State (ISIS), with graphic footage of suicide bombings of mosques, crucifixions, and beheadings.

The video released on a dedicated channel on YouTube is part of a larger social media campaign launched late last year called "Think Again, Turn Away." The campaign is directed at Muslims in the United States believed to be vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups.

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"Travel is inexpensive because you won't need a return ticket!" says a caption in the video intended to warn potential recruits that their job will likely involve a violent and untimely death.
The Internet presence is designed to combat ISIS' recruitment and propaganda effort which have taken off on social media since the group released videos of the beheading of two Western journalists.



Entitled "Welcome to the 'Islamic State' land," the one minute video has prompted a number of comments from viewers, both positive and negative.

"This is well done with gritty intent," wrote one viewer on the YouTube site.

Another viewer, however, criticized the State Department's decision to post the video on YouTube.

"Why not show this footage on the news so everyone can see it? I find it odd that the State Department made a point to make this bizarre and poorly produced video on some random YouTube channel no one is subscribed to."

In addition to its use of YouTube, the department also launched a Facebook page and a Twitter account  along with its own hashtag, dedicated to trolling users who vocally support terrorist groups.

"Our mission is to expose the facts about terrorists and their propaganda. Don't be misled by those who break up families and destroy their true heritage," the State Department said on the campaign's Facebook page.

Another official comment on the page says, "Terrorists planning violence to pursue ideological goals will be stopped." It lists a history of international arrests of those suspected of plotting terrorist attacks.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that more than 100 Americans are already fighting alongside ISIS.

"We are aware of over 100 U.S. citizens who have U.S. passports who are fighting in the Middle East with ISIL forces," Hagel told CNN, using the U.S. government's preferred acronym for the Islamic State. "There may be more. We don't know."

U.S. authorities are also using other methods to target and stop Americans who have been seeking to join extremist groups in the Middle East, and at least eight "wannabes" have been arrested in the last 15 months.

NBC News reported that a former Catholic police officer from North Carolina, Don Morgan, was arrested after unsuccessfully trying to reach Syria to join the militant group, having converted to Islam.

Authorities say recruits have a number of things in common, such as a conversion to Islam, being young, male, and "without hope," or having a troubled past.

Separately, law enforcement officials have said that at least two federal grand juries have been investigating Americans who are believed to have already joined the Islamic State group in Syria, and at least two Americans fighting for the extremist group have been killed in battle.

Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told NBC News that it is difficult for authorities to track down potential radicals and that officials should be concerned about the long-term threat the budding jihadists pose to the United States.

"From a U.S. counterterrorism perspective, nothing is more important — and often more difficult — than identifying U.S. citizens who fight and train in Syria," Leiter said.

"In many cases, U.S. citizens fighting overseas have become operatives or key operational planners and leaders in terror groups. Because of this, the U.S. intelligence community is laser-focused on knowing the who, when, where, and why of U.S. citizens — and Westerners more broadly — who are in Syria today," he added.

FBI informants are also increasingly playing a role in helping to capture potential suspects.

"This is the preventive strategy," Karen Greenberg, director of the Fordham University Center on Security, told NBC News. "Over time, the suspect's acts turn out to be more and more remote from acts of violence themselves, and more like potential beginning steps in a direction that might or might not someday take the suspect in the direction of jihadi violence."

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The State Department has created a video to discourage American wannabes from joining the Islamic State (ISIS), with graphic footage of suicide bombings of mosques, crucifixions, and beheadings. The video released on a dedicated channel on YouTube is part of a larger...
jihadist, state, department, video, isis
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2014-03-05
Friday, 05 Sep 2014 11:03 AM
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