How ISIS Media Factory Works?

Captured ISIS Beheading Film Crews Tells Their Secrets

Captured ISIS Beheading Film Crews Tells Their Secrets
Sat Nov 21, 2015 18:45:56

The Washington Post interview with seven men affiliated with the ISIS terrorist group serving or have served time in Morocco jails emerged brilliant details about the ISIS propaganda factory.Theses man says and described how videographers, photographers and editors are ranked higher than soldiers as ISIS dedicates itself to brainwashing Muslims across the globe.

From its headquarters in a two-story residential building in Raqqa, Syria, the media division oversees hundreds of recruits - mainly foreigners - who have been put through two months of military training and a month of media training.

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State's spokesman, is believed to be the kingpin of the media division, according to the Post, which is mainly manned by Westerners with a background in journalism or technology.

Once approved, the prisoners told the Post, the media recruits are put on a $700-a-month salary, with free state-of-the-art equipment shipped in from Turkey, then start receiving daily assignments.Militants, meanwhile, receive $100-a-month.

They are sent all over the 'caliphate' - the region of Iraq and Syria that ISIS occupies - and ordered to film slayings, landscapes... anything. These shots are put on a hard drive, delivered to one of their 36 offices, and compiled into slick clips, such as this week's video threatening to bomb New York.

The phones that the recruits arrive with are seized by their superiors. Post reporters Greg Miller and Souad Mekhennet write that this is done 'to prevent unauthorized and potentially unflattering images from finding their way online' amid the thousands of Twitter and Facebook posts put out daily.

Abu Hajer al-Maghribi told the Post from his jail cell in Morocco that he would receive a note every morning emblazoned with the ISIS logo and a mission.

He would then drive his ISIS-issued 4x4 to whatever location they required, using his media mission slip as a 'passport' to get through terrorist-manned check points.

Hajer describes filming a mass execution of Syrian soldiers in Taqba from the window of his car as it was driven to get a panoramic shot.

Abu Abdullah al-Maghribi, an ISIS defector who worked in security and dabbled in propaganda, told the Post: 'It is a whole army of media personnel.

'The media people are more important than the soldiers. Their monthly income is higher. They have better cars. They have the power to encourage those inside to fight and the power to bring more recruits to the Islamic State.'

He described an execution in Bab as an example of the media division's superiority over the military: 'It’s the media guy who says when they are ready.'

The executioner was told to raise and lower his sword multiple times to allow for multiple takes from different angles, Abdullah told the Post.

Once the videos are edited, locals in Raqqa, near the media division's headquarters, are invited to watch approved the approved clips on big projector screens.

Some, like the beheadings of James Foley and Alan Henning, were repeatedly screened on a loop.

The Post spoke to 23-year-old Abu Hourraira al-Maghribi, who had 'a shaved head' and 'wore an Adidas hoodie', about the screenings.

He said 'it’s like a movie theater' with videos designed to show 'daily life, [military] training and beheadings'.

The kids, they are not looking away — they are fascinated by it,' he said, adding that children impersonate the videos and try to dress like the executioners.

Of course, locals are not the bull's eye for the Islamic State's propagandists.

"Marginalized and emotionally conflicted Muslims, perhaps in Western countries saturated with Islamophobia, are the real target as ISIS attempts to build an international army to inflict terror."

With each video, each tweet, each photograph, they aim to present two images, as the Post's reporters Miller and Mekhennet well observe.

Some shots show idyllic scenes of beautiful wildlife and sprawling hills in Iraq and Syria, to push an image of what life could be like if Muslims who feel marginalized in the West were to move to the Middle East and join the caliphate.

Others show senseless violence that no adjective can do justice. Mass beheadings, burning people alive, throwing gay men off buildings, stoning people to death. The aim: to instill fear in the people they relish terrorizing.

The latest video issued in the wake of the Paris attacks is designed to instill fear in the West.

It is compelling: with a vibrant, rhythmic French song as the soundtrack, it features high-quality shots of New York's Times Square and Herald Square, cut seamlessly with a scene of a man strapping a bomb around his waist then covering it with a leather jacket.

The media people are more important than the soldiers. Their monthly income is higher. They have power

Other videos, such as the beheadings of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Alan Henning in the summer of 2014, have since been analyzed by videographers who detected a number of different cuts. It suggests the executioner Mohammed Emwazi, also known as 'Jihadi John', performed his pre-amble multiple times before finally murdering the innocent hostages.

Social media is another intensely-monitored prong of the media operation.

As the Mail reported earlier this week, the independent military research group Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) has uncovered a 34-page report on social media that is issued to all ISIS recruits.

It advises them how to avoid detection, and suggests more than 100 encrypted apps - available on the Apple Store - for them to download to avoid being detected by counter-terrorism agencies.

In it, terrorists are told not to use Instagram because its owner, Facebook, 'has a bad reputation in the protection of privacy'.

Messaging services WhatsApp and Line are also banned as they require the internet and cannot be easily masked by encryption devices.

And Dropbox is off-limits because 'Snowden advised not to use the service', and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is on the board of directors.

Instead, terrorists are to add a virtual private network (VPN) to their mobile browsers, which allows you to mask your location and use a foreign IP address, making it look to outsiders like you are in another city or country.

If they upload pictures to sites such as Twitter, which shows the geographic location of an image, they are advised to use apps such as Mappr, which can falsify GPS.

When they do use Twitter, they are advised to 'always check location' to ensure it is switched off or shows somewhere else.

To send images or messages to each other, they use FireChat, which allows phones within a 200-meter radius to connect without using the internet.

And emails can be sent using Hushmail Service or Tutanota - just two of dozens of encrypted email apps.

The handbook, written in Arabic, gives readers different options for iPhones and Android phones, and lists whether an app costs money or not.

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