Truth Frequency Radio
Sep 09, 2014

i1.huffpost.com_2014-09-09_16-22-45Homeland Security News Wire

The State Departmentis advancing its anti-terrorism efforts on social media by reaching out to vulnerable English-speakers who could be recruited to join the Islamic State (IS). The campaign emphasizes IS’s brutality, and, mockingly, advises would-be recruits to learn “useful new skills” such as “blowing up mosques” and “crucifying and executing Muslims.” Experts say that there is a psychological error in trying to scare people off with threats that something might be exciting and thrilling. “If you challenge a young adult, particularly a male, with the fact that something might be especially difficult or challenging, you’re just exciting them,” says an expert in the psychology of terrorists.

The State Department is advancing its anti-terrorism efforts on social media by reaching out to vulnerable English-speakers who could be recruited to join the Islamic State (IS). In a recent YouTube video satirizing recruitment efforts for IS — called “Welcome to the ‘Islamic State’ land (ISIS/ISIL)” — the State Department shows video footage of IS militants throwing bodies of their victims, many of whom are Muslims, into mass graves, as well as pictures of beheadings, accompanied by text on the screen calling on followers and new members of IS will learn “useful new skills” such as “blowing up mosques” and “crucifying and executing Muslims.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, which operates the Obama administration’s anti-terrorism social media strategy, manages several profiles on YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, notably with its “Think Again Turn Away” campaign in languages including Arabic, Urdu, and Somali. The campaign often uses satire to counter the social media strategy put on by IS to persuade Westerners to join IS in Syria and Iraq.

Since 2011, the State Department has been promoting anti-militant videos and content in Arabic channels throughout the Web, but as more British and American citizens continue to join IS, the Obama administration has stepped up its English anti-terror content.

Yet Dr. Jeff Victoroff, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at University of Southern California who studies the psychology of terrorism, warns that past government anti-terrorism outreach efforts have instead motivated the targeted audience to join terror groups. “There is a psychological error in trying to scare people off with threats that something might be exciting and thrilling,” he said. “If you challenge a young adult, particularly a male, with the fact that something might be especially difficult or challenging, you’re just exciting them.”

Victoroff suggests that rather than trying directly to persuade vulnerable targets to reject IS, policymakers should reach out to community leaders to turn potential recruits away from IS. “The source of authority has to, at a bare minimum, come from a Muslim leader,” Victoroff said. “Their source of authority is someone within their group, just as we might respond to a police officer or a teacher or a senator.”

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