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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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September 30, 2013 - 8:22 am

As terrorists increasingly have embraced social media, Twitter has increasingly come under criticism for hosting terror feeds. Al-Shabaab is on it sixth account after getting suspended in the past for tweeting photos of a dead French special ops soldier, and most recently the Somali terror outlet blazed through a few accounts after suspensions for gloating about the Westgate mall massacre. Their latest account, @HSM_PR, has remained active for many days now and has racked up 59 tweets. During the attack and its aftermath, journalists were checking the Shabaab feed for its latest claims and links to statements.

So when al-Qaeda announced it had launched its first official Twitter account, I, like other journalists who cover terrorism, hit the follow button. The @shomokhalislam account was suspended Sunday by Twitter after being allowed to remain open since Tuesday, posting nearly 50 tweets that included an attack on “the servants of worshipers of the cross” in a bombing that targeted staff of Pakistan’s interior minister in Peshawar.

On Saturday, I received one of those occasional emails from Twitter offering suggestions based on a recent follow — suggesting that I follow other terrorists:

alqaedatwitter

The first suggested account, “Islam Workshop,” is connected to an al-Qaeda web forum to “rouse the believers” — shamikh1.info. On Saturday the feed posted a video removed by YouTube for violence, showing Qaeda- and Muslim Brotherhood-backed jihadists Ansar Beit al-Maqdes fighting Egyptian forces in the Sinai.

The second appears to be linked to the Al-Battar training camp, al-Qaeda’s program that has offered DIY as well as hands-on terrorist advice. These days Muaskar Al-Battar (Camp of the Sword) concentrates largely on bringing together groups with the same goal in a loosely connected network. The feed even has a nice camp photo as its backdrop, with more than a few Tsarnaev look-a-likes in the wooded hills:

battarcamp

The third suggested Twitter account appears linked to a Kurdistan-based affiliate of al-Qaeda.

The fourth claims to be “one of the foot soldiers” of Al-Shabaab, and posted several press photo from the Westgate attack while gloating about Shabaab’s gruesome accomplishments.

The last account, posing with the girl, is former Guantanamo Bay detainee Abdulaziz Sayer Owain al Shammari, who was arrested by Pakistan in 2001 and transferred to his home country Kuwait in 2005.

“Based on detainee’s deception history, it is assessed that he has received training on advanced counter-terrorism techniques, as well as above average terrorist training typically taught by Al-Qaida,” reads a 2004 Defense Department memo. “…Detainee is assessed to have connections to high-ranking Al-Qaida members.”

Twitter has said it can’t comment on users when asked to explain why terrorist accounts remain up. The only reason Al-Shabaab’s account fell a couple of times after the horrific Westgate attack was because of intense pressure from angry Twitter users in Africa and around the globe.

MORE FROM PJ WASHINGTON:

Al-Shabaab Leader Ties Timing of Mall Attack to 9/11 Anniversary

Gruesome Mall Attack Highlights Growing al-Qaeda in Africa Threat

Game-Changer: Signs of the al-Qaeda-Assad Alliance

Al-Shabaab Claims U.S. Kills in Somalia After Obama Steps Up Secret Aid

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
May give the NSA a target to snoop instead of snooping us? One can fantasize, can't one?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
and tell me again why we are not looking to destroy those that wish us dead.

And tell me again how one is to trust any Muslim who believes in the Koran and thinks that the Koran is the word of God and is mandated to follow the Koran.

You know the Koran that tells them to lie and cheat to achieve their goals and that to harm others, who don't believe is perfectly fine.

Qur'an (3:54) - “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers


Quran (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

Qur'an:8:39 "Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Double edged sword here. Sure it is promotion, but it also allows our guys to see who, what, where, when and how. Seriously, you're putting your picture on the interwebs announcing you're a terrorist?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I just want to add my story. I get paid over $87 per hour working online with Google! I work two shifts 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening. And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids. Its by-far the best job I’ve had. I follow this great link WWW.Pow6.com
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
thanks for the heads up. im going to jump at that
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I honestly don't think Twitter ought to close any account for any reason. If I don't like a feed, I won't follow it. Nobody is forcing me to. If a child sees something offensive to the parent, the blame goes to the parent, not Twitter. If Twitter would allow anything, then those of us who are adults would have a better grasp of how others really think, and not the wonderful view of the world Twitter censors would rather we saw.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Murder- stoning and rape is OK as long as it is Muslim Sheep shagging Freedom fighters then it is OK
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our government supports them so why shouldn't Twitter.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Twitter is suggesting that you follow "Terrorists" it would have to be because you've already spent a lot of time looking at "Terrorists". This is less of an issue of Twitter selling you a bill of goods as it is Twitter noticing what kind of good you're buying anyway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Give 'em Twitter, Facebook, et al. The better to find them with.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
May give the NSA a target to snoop instead of snooping us? One can fantasize, can't one?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
and tell me again why we are not looking to destroy those that wish us dead.

And tell me again how one is to trust any Muslim who believes in the Koran and thinks that the Koran is the word of God and is mandated to follow the Koran.

You know the Koran that tells them to lie and cheat to achieve their goals and that to harm others, who don't believe is perfectly fine.

Qur'an (3:54) - “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers


Quran (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

Qur'an:8:39 "Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Better to keep them out in the open where they can be seen and monitored. Further, it's a free speech issue. I'm less afraid of terrorism than reduction of my civil rights.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's a very shortsighted and rather flippant comment.....and, sort of 11th Grade wisdom. But, sadly, you're not alone. It's a "cool" attitude right now.

We Americans [at least] have a generational problem in that too many alive now have no knowledge of the Second Word War and the then prevalent and pervasive censorship and have no memories of the Cold War and the deadly use of Soviet infiltration and subversion, exactly the same tactics and strategy our Muslim enemy of today is applying towards you and me.

Today, most adults are buzz-trained via substantial computer use to have interests primarily on the immediate. Thus Historical precedents for present day perceived restrictions and intrusions into this newly emphasized "privacy" thing are the "in" way to be publicly "cool" with hardly any attention spans at all.

This is not a blanket condemnation of these "social" networks.

Simply a "Caveat Emptor", and a suggestion to "wise up" to today's Muslim butchery.

We are not immune.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree. "Out in the open where they can be seen" means they become normalized. The plan to conquer the west includes just that. This is a battle for the soul of a generation in the war against the west. I'd hate to lose it because tweets are cool.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You make a good point, Ad-Out. Younger people don't see the value in privacy because to live your life on film and online is to live the life of a pretend celebrity. This is understandable, I guess, given the fact that most young people aren't interested in history and don't receive that knowledge from their educators. They aren't even aware of the most recent history. Their lives are all about the here and the now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
On the other hand, perhaps the younger generation of terrorists, with their hubris, believe their internet privacy is also protected.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Double edged sword here. Sure it is promotion, but it also allows our guys to see who, what, where, when and how. Seriously, you're putting your picture on the interwebs announcing you're a terrorist?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Facebook shut down the American Truckers website to protest DC -
Twitter should shut down terrorism websites
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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