(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. Last week, ISIS supporters on Telegram, RocketChat and Hoop celebrated the November 2 Vienna, Austria terror attack in which four people were killed and 23 wounded by Kujtim Fejzulai. In addition, ISIS affiliated Amaq News released a video in which Fejzulai, posing with his weapons, pledged his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi and links to the video were spread via Telegram and RocketChat. Amaq News also claimed the attack on Kabul University in which three terrorists killed at least 21 people and wounded dozens more and ISIS online supporters on Telegram and RocketChat spread its claim as well as an additional propaganda photo of two of the alleged attackers.
Meanwhile, a pro-ISIS online media group calling itself “Virtual Battlefield” released a French subtitled Arabic video praising Abdoulakh Anzorov, the terrorist who murdered Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb on October 16, and encouraging acts of violence against France and anyone accused of defaming the Prophet Muhammad. Also, CEP researchers located a neo-Nazi Telegram channel sharing videos and written instructions for the manufacture of homemade explosives. Additionally, a neo-Nazi website that supports the work of James Mason, including his book Siege, published a blog post on calling for acts of violence against the government and Jews in order to seize power.
In addition, a white supremacist Telegram channel shared a link to a YouTube video promoting a 3D printed part to convert semi-automatic AR-15 firearms to fire fully automatic. Also, the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Club (NSC)/NSC131 released a video on Telegram boasting of the group’s recent coordinated international propaganda campaign undertaken by members in Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, and 16 U.S. states. Finally, on Election Day in the U.S., numerous white supremacist Telegram channels reveled in the resulting confusion, condemned electoral politics and claimed that both candidates served the interests of a Jewish conspiracy.
Online ISIS Supporters Celebrate Vienna Attack, Encourage Additional Violence
Online supporters of ISIS celebrated the November 2 Vienna, Austria attack in which four people were killed and 23 wounded. On November 3, ISIS’s Amaq News agency claimed responsibility. Austrian authorities identified the attacker as Kujtim Fejzulai, who was convicted in April 2019 for attempting to join ISIS in Syria. Fejzulai was armed with a rifle, a pistol, and a fake explosive vest. ISIS propaganda has repeatedly encouraged individuals who cannot travel to ISIS-held territory to commit terrorist attacks in their country of residence. Austrian police are currently scrutinizing Fejzulai’s contacts and whether he was part of a pro-ISIS network. Following the attack, law enforcement officers arrested 14 individuals in Austria and two in Switzerland.
On Telegram, RocketChat, and Hoop, ISIS supporters celebrated the attack by praising Fezulai, sharing videos and photos taken by bystanders during the attack, and sharing previously released ISIS propaganda videos that encourage terrorist attacks on the west. An ISIS supporter posted an infamous bomb-making video from the group on the File.Fm platform, which the cloud storage site removed within 24 hours after it was reported. Information for committing attacks was also posted on the Telegram affiliated Telegra.ph bulletin board platform, including “how-to” sections on knife assaults and other attacks, which originally appeared in ISIS’s Rumiyah magazine. ISIS supporters also made posters praising the attack, posting them on Telegram and the Internet Archive.
ISIS Amaq News claim of responsibility for Vienna attack, November 3, 2020
ISIS Affiliated Amaq News Releases Video Of Vienna, Austria Attacker
On November 3, ISIS affiliated Amaq News released a video in which Kutjim Fejzulai, posing with his weapons, pledged his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi. Links to the video were spread via Telegram and RocketChat. The video was posted to at least 14 websites on November 3: pCloud, File.Fm, SendVid, Tune.Pk, Yadi.Sk, PixelDrain, Top4Top, Mail.Ru, MediaFire, Dropbox, the Microsoft One Drive, the Internet Archive, Mega.Nz, and Streamable. Two days later, the video was only available on Top4Top and the Internet Archive.
ISIS Affiliated Amaq News Claims Kabul University Attack
On November 2, ISIS affiliated Amaq News claimed that day’s earlier attack on Kabul University in which three terrorists killed at least 21 people and wounded dozens more. Gunmen wearing police uniforms shot at students and faculty and took hostages. On Telegram and RocketChat, ISIS online supporters spread the initial claim as well as an additional propaganda photo of two of the alleged attackers.
Online Pro-ISIS Group Releases Video Praising Killer Of Samuel Paty
A pro-ISIS online media group calling itself “Virtual Battlefield” released a video in Arabic with French subtitles praising Abdoulakh Anzorov, who murdered Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb on October 16. The video portrayed Anzorov, who was killed by police, in a heroic light and encouraged acts of violence against France and anyone accused of defaming the Prophet Muhammad. The video was uploaded to the Internet Archive on November 1 and was removed after it was reported by CEP.
Neo-Nazi Telegram Channel For The Manufacture Of Explosives Located
CEP researchers located a neo-Nazi Telegram channel made for sharing videos and written instructions for the homemade manufacture of explosives. The channel was created on October 29 and had over 280 members approximately one week later. Explosives instructional videos on the channel were viewed 260, 550, 615, and 640 times, respectively. The channel also posted written step by step explosives manufacturing guides on the Telegra.ph platform. Text on the channel and on Telegra.ph was in both English and Russian. The explosives channel was promoted on a Russian language white supremacist Telegram channel with 4,800 members. The channel was reported to Telegram on November 5, but was still accessible on November 9.
Neo-Nazi Website Encourages Acts Of Violence Against U.S. Government And Jews
A neo-Nazi website that supports the work of James Mason, including his book Siege, published a blog post on November 2, calling for acts of violence against the government and Jews, in order to seize power. The author urged his audience not to commit acts of violence against single “unimportant” individuals, instead insinuating that they should attack high-value targets, including infrastructure and politicians, in an effort to expose weaknesses. The website uses Epik as their registrar and Cloudflare as their name server. A post on the website’s Gab page had 11 likes and eight reposts two days after it was posted.
White Supremacist Telegram Channel Posts Link Promoting Converting Rifles To Fire Fully Automatic
On November 4, a white supremacist Telegram channel shared a link to a YouTube video promoting a 3D printed part to convert semi-automatic AR-15 firearms to fire fully automatic. The channel posts information on firearms, firearms modifications, and gunsmithing and has approximately 2,000 members. The Telegram channel has previously posted content endorsing white supremacy and acts of violence. The account that initially posted the video uses a boogaloo flag as an avatar. Fully automatic firearms are highly regulated in the U.S., and it is illegal for private citizens to modify weapons to fire more than one round per trigger pull without properly registering with the ATF. The YouTube video had over 215,000 views on November 5.
The channel’s original administrator was identified by anti-fascist researchers in June 2020, after he went to counter-protest an anti-police brutality demonstration while armed in Dallas, Texas on May 30. He allegedly gave up his administrator position in August.
The FBI recently alleged in a criminal complaint, first reported by The George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, that an individual affiliated with the boogaloo movement was manufacturing and selling components to modify rifles to fire fully automatic. Timothy Watson is accused of disguising the components as wall hangers.
Neo-Nazi Group Releases Video Claiming International Links
On November 3, the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Club (NSC)/NSC131 released a video on Telegram boasting of the group’s recent coordinated international propaganda campaign undertaken by members in Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, and 16 U.S. states. NSC claims to be a collection of autonomous regional groups united under the same banner. NSC recruits on Telegram and through stickering and posting flyers. Members in the U.S. train in martial arts and at least one regional group has been photographed with firearms. In September 2020, German police searched several homes, including one allegedly belonging to an NSC member, finding weapons and neo-Nazi material.
White Supremacist Telegram Channels Revel In 2020 Presidential Election Confusion, Condemn Electoral Politics
Following election day on November 3, numerous white supremacist Telegram channels reveled in the resulting confusion and condemned electoral politics. Many channels claimed that both candidates served the interests of a Jewish conspiracy. While some channels had previously expressed limited support for President Trump, by November 5, many had repudiated electoral politics, stating that it did not serve white interests and that the vote was either rigged or illegitimate altogether. Accelerationist channels pressed the idea that democracy is a scam, with one prominent channel declaring that it was time to try to convince people that representative government did not work and that their readers should not “let this opportunity go to waste.”