'We are Expecting a Larger Audience': ISIS Supporters in Brazil Talk Attacks as Olympics Near
ISIS supporters on a Portuguese-language message board have been discussing attacks in the region as Brazilian officials prepare for a massive influx of Olympic athletes and fans.
The Summer Olympics begin Aug. 5 and run through Aug. 21.
A new Telegram channel, Ansar al-Khilafah Brazil, appeared today, declaring itself an ISIS cell in Brazil that had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “If French police couldn’t stop France attacks, then their training Brazil’s police will serve no use," said a message on the new channel. But the administrator later posted that it was just a messaging channel with one person reposting ISIS news in several languages.
ISIS has been offering its regular propaganda channel in Portuguese along with English, French, German, Russian and other languages in target areas.
Portuguese and Brazilian media revealed last month that Ismail Abdul Jabbar al-Brazili, also simply known as "The Brazilian," was attempting to recruit his countrymen for the Islamic State. He was said to be employing several different social media accounts to reel in would-be jihadists, and has said he was recruited by late American jihadist Abu Khalid al-Amriki.
In an online forum uncovered by anti-ISIS hackers Binary Sec, a July 11 post to fellow "brothers" notes that someone was "wanting to find al-Brazili within 3 weeks... wants to find the recruiter" -- a timetable that coincides with the Olympics' opening week. The poster mused whether this person was a spy and posted his Telegram information.
Binary Sec hackers also flagged a June 18 post with a photo of an AK-47 resting against a carpeted backdrop. "We are expecting a larger audience, will be soon, the blood of sinners will fall and we will show the real power of God," read the accompanying text.
And the poster, going by the name "Wolf," also showed an unidentifiable objecting burning on a concrete surface, talking about "improvisation" with explosive material. "There are many dealers selling fireworks, if you have knowledge, prepare some explosions for the big day."
Binary Sec identified the user as originally being from the U.S. and now acting as a weapons man for ISIS in Brazil.
"In just two months got a gun here, you do not need much," he writes. "...Some of these suppliers are on our side, we have plenty of resources for our actions."
In a June 17 post, he says "we will be in the region of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, we need to gather more, all have their opportunity to serve our Lord, even if you want to be a wolf."
Another post from the same day by a different username shows a photo of an automatic weapon against what looks like a dark bed comforter. "We have a reliable supplier and that is on our side. The weapons transport will be in Rio de Janeiro to Curitiba" -- an 11-hour drive down the coast. A pale-complexioned man's hand holds a barrel in another close-up photo: "The acquired material, all still without scraping and good quality. The number of shots, according to the source, is 72, great news for us." An AK drum magazine can hold 72 rounds.
The poster named "Wolf" replies: "I believe that one of our prepared group could launch an attack so get the party times."
Binary Sec told PJM that they have reported these findings to the proper authorities.
PJM looked at the forum where these posts originated and found some eager ISIS supporters.
One June post cautioned that since their "community here in Brazil" was no longer secret, they would have to be careful about infiltrators. Users were advised to log in with a VPN.
"Can I make a security questionnaire?" asked one user going by the name Chrystian. "I am ready to prove I'm not a spy."
Other posts offer to volunteer: "I am muslim one year. I want to help in a possible attack on Brazil."
"Hi I had contact with a brother was fighting he taught me a few things but I really want to join my brothers," writes one next to a cartoon image of a pressure cooker.
The poster going by "Wolf" stated on June 17, "Brothers, today our meeting in São Paulo was good, we have more ideas, no doubt, use the rush hour on the yellow line will be a good opportunity to hold the trial against these pigs."
"I should point out that we can not use our usual clothes, I noticed that many of you are not yet accustomed to this, but we must be discreet."
Users seem to have deserted the forum this month after expressing wariness about security.
The Brazil government has been staging terror drills in an effort to prevent and prepare for any attacks associated with the Games.
"There is not a specific threat," Lt. Gen. Luiz Linhares of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense told CNN earlier this month, adding that other countries are helping screen those who plan on attending the Olympics.
After the November Paris attacks, French ISIS fighter Maxime Hauchard tweeted, "Brazil, you are our next target."
About half a million tourists are expected to pour into Brazil for the Games, to be met by some 85,000 security personnel.