Christchurch Terror Video Located on Internet Archive, White Supremacists Call For Violence in Virginia
(New York, N.Y.) - The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. This week, ISIS released a new video on multiple websites declaring its strength in Iraq. Additionally, video of the March 2019 Christchurch terror attack was located on the Internet Archive. Lastly, white supremacists are using Telegram to advertise the launch of an “.onion” page and to urge violence in response to potential Virginia gun control laws.
New ISIS Video Released on Multiple Websites
On Saturday, December 14, ISIS released a new video titled “They Will Not Harm You Except for (Some) Annoyance” from the group’s self-proclaimed Dijlah province in Iraq. The video mocked the U.S. for the aerial bombing of Qanus Island in September and declared that ISIS continues to maintain its strength in Iraq. The video includes a scene of a night attack on Popular Mobilization Forces which includes the execution of prisoners and setting fire to crops. The video concludes with ISIS fighters pledging their allegiance to the group’s leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.
“Despite the loss of their territories and former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS has proved that they are resilient and will continue to commit violent attacks in areas where they can muster force, and spread the propaganda generated by those attacks online,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “Kurdish intelligence sources have indicated that ISIS is widely pervasive in northeast Iraq, the spread of the group’s propaganda and online content only bolsters their claims of strength.”
In addition to being released on Telegram and RocketChat, the video was released on at least 18 websites: YouTube, pcloud, top4top, Amazon Cloud Drive, the Internet Archive, mail.ru, Google Drive, file.fm, Facebook, Mega.nz, Mihan Video, Multiup, ok.ru, tune.pk. Dropbox, Mediafire, Nicovideo, and Yadi.sk. Five days later, the video was still available on 11 websites in addition to Telegram and RocketChat: pcloud, top4top, Amazon Cloud Drive, mail.ru, file.fm, Mega.nz, Mihan Video, Multiup, tune.pk, Dropbox, and Mediafire.
The ISIS video “They Will Not Harm You Except for (Some) Annoyance” available on Amazon Cloud Drive on December 19, five days after it was uploaded.
Christchurch Terror Attack Video Located on the Internet Archive
Last week, CEP researchers located the full video of the March 15 Christchurch terror attack on the Internet Archive. The video, made by Brenton Tarrant, who is accused of killing 51 and injuring 40 people, was originally livestreamed on Facebook before it spread to other sites on the Internet. The version on the Internet Archive was uploaded in early October and was viewed approximately 140 times. The same Internet Archive account uploaded additional video clips taken from the full video that were modified with video game graphics, or had additional music included.
White Supremacist Internet Security Group Launches Onion Page
A white supremacist internet security group made public a “.onion” website this week, accessible via the Tor browser, which has links to their Telegram channel and chat page. The page serves as a way to contact the group or locate their Telegram information if their channel is ever deleted. The group, which has almost 1,000 followers on their Telegram channel, serves to share Internet privacy and security information. The group’s Telegram channel offers information on a variety of topics, including encryption, VPNs, applications security, and cryptocurrency.
White Supremacist Telegram Channels Urge Violence in Response to Potential Virginia Gun Control Laws
Several white supremacist Telegram channels advocated resistance or violence in response to potential gun control laws in Virginia. These channels are looking for opportunities to encourage anti-government accelerationist violence. A channel that produces short propaganda videos released one titled “Virginia is for Gun Lovers” that features scenes taken from Brenton Tarrant’s video, as well as footage from the February 1997 North Hollywood shootout, and features Ted Kaczynski, Dylann Roof, Anders Breivik, Robert Dear Jr., and Timothy McVeigh. Another channel encouraged its viewers to “fan the flames” of tension. While the individuals behind white supremacist Telegram channels strongly support the right to own firearms, they are seeking to exploit the division and anti-government sentiment associated with gun control.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has proposed eight gun control measures to the Democratic controlled state legislature for 2020, including banning certain types of assault weapons and allowing a court to temporarily restrict an individual’s access to firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. Numerous counties in Virginia have declared themselves “second amendment sanctuaries” in response to the possibility of gun control laws. Virginia Representative Donald McEachin suggested that Governor Northam might have to use the National Guard to enforce the law.