tv The Stream 2017 Ep 190 Al Jazeera November 29, 2017 11:32am-12:01pm +03
you know speech a day earlier pope francis' call for respect for the rights of all ethnic groups but avoided using the name of me and mars persecuted. him always you mean. i knew that many of you mean marbury the wounds of violence both visible and invisible the temptation is to respond to these injuries with the worldly wisdom that will make the king in the first reading is deeply flawed we think that healing can come from anger really looking at the way of living and she is not the way of jesus. but perhaps next office in bangladesh in the tiny catholic community in dhaka they are getting ready to welcome him on thursday the pope's visit will they hope promote more tolerance for their religion. international airport is about to reopen his ass from a rumbling volcano has shifted away tens of thousands of tourists were stranded on the indonesian resort island where eruptions have kept the airport shut for nearly three days u.s. president is considering when and how to move the u.s.
embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem its president mike pence revealed a plan adding that that commemorating the seventieth anniversary of the un's vote for the partition of palestine in the embassy will anger arab states and palestinians who claim part of jerusalem as the capital of the future palestinian state as have the headlines news continues after the string keep it or. news has never been more available but the message is simplistic and misinformation is rife listening provides a critical counterpoint trying to bring mainstream media now at this time on al-jazeera. ok and you're in the stream live without his ear and on you tube today i saw has been defeated on the battlefield but it is not really the many experts say the conflict continues and the front line is digital i'm only going to allow so does
defeat in iraq and syria i mean i suppose ideology has been toppled or is that war just beginning today we'll hear from a panel of experts and the former wife of an assault commander. last month more than three years after i still captured rocca in syria it was pushed out of the city that happy come in effect its capital and the heart from which it controlled its operations after a series of battlefield defeats this was seen by many as the final blow to the group's ambition to hold territory and build its so-called caliphate but was it really the end of eisel itself many experts say the war continues in one space i still has always been strong online but will the group's defeats on the ground in iraq and syria affect his ability to pump out information and recruit people to his cause but joining us on such
a law is author of digital world war in plano texas tiny a joy as a counterterrorism consultant she was married to a man who became an i'm still commander and spent time with him in syria and cancer area in the u.k. for his courage she is a lecturer and criminology at canterbury christ church university and in baghdad imran khan is an al-jazeera correspondent in the middle east and south asia welcome of what is good. to have you with us in on you have covered the rise of i still around the middle east where is the. around now that there have been defeats in syria and iraq what would you say in terms of time actually that homeless how are they doing well physical therapy particularly here in iraq in recent days they've actually lost their remaining territory that was. ramana and now because they've lost that territory they're now moving into the online space and this as you say was something they were very good at now when they get into the the on. it's
building and pushing it really forward there are a number of different means they're looking at things like instant messaging apps that are secure signal that kind of thing but they're also still using traditional websites to get their message out so they have a rock they don't really control any territory and all that the digital space is so much more difficult for any terrorism experts and counselors and forces to get out because it's so much to show your. little bit of a map and this map is syria in the last year so you can see what's happened i still look for the plaque and yes someone from twenty sixteen all the way up until twenty seventeen november and you can see those black areas growing and then shrinking and this is where we are right now so from the online and battlefields we got this comment on facebook from who says what it looks like on line is you can kill them in the battlefields but if their ideas are not wiped off and all domains then it's
almost impossible to declare a victory over them haroon you look at this comment do you agree with that and what is that my landscape even look like how would you go about declaring a victory there yes so the online what i think of it is it's the information battlefield at the heart of this is that this is a contact war and i think a lot of people lose sight of that and you know i saw in a lot of ways we declared a lot of people declare victory when they saw the pictures and rock in mosul but they would they forget about it they built this ecosystem online so you have people like muhammad ali arraf who lot of people haven't heard of in the west or and haven't heard of around the world but he's a number one person on twitter in the middle east and he's a cleric that's oftentimes the biggest driver of why young people were joining i saw and you know this is part of their fan boys and their influence. i'm just looking at some all see publications that i so have put out over the years we have to think we have right now we've caught the media find this shaun king in
terms of actual territory in the offline welt what does that mean for territory in the online world what are you seeing that's changed well i think that one of the things that we see with the online content of isis. is that i was actually very media savvy so it recognizes the value of online engagement. and i think that as the exclusion territory in iraq and syria online and gateman with its audience has become much more important. and so we see very efficient very snazzy. magazine that it produces. and it uses a language which is warn that young people in particular looking at this material can recognize the rhetoric of it and there's
a lot of work now coming out from some universities people like carrots comps and have been looking at this work and they look at the kind of rhetoric and the kind of language and the narratives that are being produced. the kind of rhetoric of empowerment and dignity. i think some kind of to some of the sort of problems that young muslims are dealing with in europe and other parts of the world they're recognizing these issues and i think that that emphasizes the value of these kinds of organizations because that speaking to the concerns of young people ten years you know just like i'll just say something yeah actually i don't have that it's something that's really interesting i think we have to make a real definition there are two very different types of ice there are those that went and fought and they were in syria they were in iraq and they picked up guns and then there are those who have sort of all in the online space and they are
talking about i saw. as the last guest just pointed out and the problems that muslims face in europe but they've never picked up a gun these are the and i wish you well so i think it's really important we make this distinction to me just bring you in here because your story is really tied into this rise of i still you met your husband back in with two thousand and nine what was it that three two thousand and three what was it that you were seeing online that he was seeing online that was so compelling and attractive. goals for a caliphate were really what drew us together. he had the advantage the advantages that i didn't have you could read arabic they had he knew the middle east where he was a very triggered the middle east i like that about him and he knew syria. so. i looked to his knowledge of the middle east and his devotion i'm fired was talking
about how a lot of the material is designed to bring in young people just for them to find it appealing do you remember looking at anything online that made you feel like ok this this is talking to me this resonates with me. yeah there's a lot of push and pull back to the pole back and had a lot to do with propaganda that. you know i think. to help each other and when we were children and women. that we. found. we wanted the engine and we felt well online we were seeing all the pictures and then you could see western propaganda. these were pushing.
the ideology. yeah you know i mean what tony said exactly right so that she you know which is true she's getting on its audience segmentation so i saw is understand her already to say one thing in arabic they say and i think in english they understand where they're maybe vulnerable you are at risk youth they have different channels like iran and father suggested they use open source for certain things twitter and facebook that they moved and then encryption telegram they use what they use a new app called surat which is really big in the arab world on honesty so they and they feel fast i mean what tony is getting at is that they know how to perfect their pitch. so one of the country's going to one of the comments and i'll direct this to you five this is a common via facebook abraham says isis is an ideology based on mr much misinterpretation of religion and fueled by injustice of arab dictators as well as despair of the youth from ever making their countries great again he goes on to say as long as these causes exist side by side with the have to load of weapons from
america there will always be tens of organizations like isis this is really picking up on a point that iran made earlier about those who are fighting in those who. have an ideology that they are seeking on line but had when you look at this as the impetus behind why people might join organizations like this how do you even begin to tackle bot. i mean i think it's a very interesting comment. i mean over the last few weeks and months we've been seeing media reports that hailing the defeat of isis but i think that's a little bit premature i think that we can't look at organizations like isis in isolation they are a product of broader. wars that have been going on now for several decades and just as a few years ago we. people were. talking about the end of in its place we have had isis and i think that this is not something that we should
see in isolation i think that if we're interested. in serious i mean i don't think that it's accurate to say that we can enter reason but i think that we can do with certain things that mean that the likelihood of terrorism happening are significantly reduced so that we can do some things to manage the problem of terrorism and i think that there are things like was militarism. and these kind of things the arms trade is what is quite significant particularly in the u.k. the u.k. is the sort second largest theater in the world so i think at least some of the things some of the big things that we can look at if we're interested in in dealing with terrorism but it is important said that i don't think that there is a sort of silver bullet that would deal with the short term so what i'd say exactly right said there is look there's a blueprint and i and there are times where i talk about in my book i take a data driven approach which is we have data that backs up what works how do you
win the war on information battlefield so one thing is that you can't just do tit for tat narratives and lot of times it causes backfire fact so someone says a caliphate is bound to fall and someone else responds in sort of a counter narrative as they're not proud of felt that oftentimes it can reinforce a pretty predisposed belief so what you what does work is defector narratives and i interviewed a lot of them in my research for my book. voices of mothers a very influential and then there's these thousands of stories of these malawi's a young laws out there that are organic authentic narratives and that's why i talk about a manhattan project we really need a collection of talent and technology there is a blueprint for how to win this on information battlefield if you are actually there is absolutely the had story you got for us to have had there is actually a blueprint there is actually a blueprint saying is absolutely right but i do think what you've got to understand particularly when where i am in baghdad is as i still becomes defeated online
presence becomes stronger rhetoric yes we have been defeated but we will prevail this is just one battle that we are taking place and we have lost it through their programs have made that they've lost thirty but they say this is the long war and the defeat almost strengthens the message that they've got this is not only interesting to me because there's a fatalism to what i saw. in iraq where they said he doesn't know what's going on with us we are talking and it's at the last five six or seven years i mean this is something that they say will go on for a thousand years that they will win eventually so that's something we also really need to look at when we talk about rhetoric and welts how to defeat. and so pulling that rhetoric down to what it actually looks like in real life there's a tweet we got from sharif he says i have a friend who receives a bunch of eisel videos and follows them on social media platforms the propaganda
is too strong he even regards going to somalia his biggest dream i don't really know how to react with him but i told him not to show me the videos again and i know everyone could weigh in here but tony i want to give this one to you what would you tell sharif. i was a part to try when i would talk of ideology for us because it's the ideology that unites the extremists and i really just try and break it up you know make me question and compare their ideology to other systems other social other forms of social justice systems and. and you know they're trying to pick up hot dogs. i. guess. not that you're that cold that it. represented. that. it doesn't seem to.
be that it's not going to be that. maybe why so would tanya brings up exactly right is that there's this idea that you know in online you have it in dynamic so i call the one nine ninety model which is that one percent of people online create content their key influencers nine percent are content curators they share content ninety percent of consumers oftentimes people that tony is talking about those that receive content and so in terms of winning this in terms of fighting back to sort of against its ideology it's mobilizing that ninety percent right the content is there but how do you get people on the sidelines that are willing to participate in this battle and your question is what's well they need to get platforms we have to make enable it's a combination of the private sector government and civil society working together you take a holistic approach you have community leaders you have religious leaders that are on the front lines but how do you let those stories be told because the end of the day as i said this is a content war iran's talking about i so well they're putting out online maybe five
to ten thousand pieces of social media day and they're building their fan boys network and so that's why we have to mobilize that ninety percent because look i take this example when we see nazi content online i think it's so horrific i don't feel the need to say anything against it and a lot of people that ninety percent category that's the way they view i so it's not related to religion it has nothing to do with them and in fact most of the propaganda that i sold does less than ten percent of it actually has to do with religion eighty percent is positive messaging a lot of times we talk about the dark narratives well that's an. but if you look at arabic a lot of it's about governance a lot of it's about corruption and the social justice things that tony talked about so we have to think about collecting the best talent the narratives that actually work because that's what we need this manhattan project ok so that's one idea here's another you might agree with this is someone on twitter saying social media companies should identify and block quote unquote terrorists' accounts as much as
they can a simple solution though yet a difficult one another person picks up on that and says there needs to be a proper mechanism to report handles and groups set up social media sites and be taken down immediately when reported also a counter narrative to their evil ideology is in need of the hour ahead i know that social media organizations are being tasked with this because governments are bringing them to task to do what they can but what do you make of that argument. i mean it is true that. this is happening now so just recently i think it was huge you've deleted fifty thousand videos by our lucky who was i think killed in a cross strike several years ago by the american military. but i think that we also need to think about the longer term. consequences of those kinds of moves because it can lead to a stifling of political engagement political discussions and it can have other sort of unintended consequences that can be quite dangerous as you think i would like to
say here is i think that it's very clear that the online space is a big battle space for the hearts and minds and i think that's true for terrorist organizations but also kind of terrorist organizations right so this is just as much as we're talking about the rhetoric and messaging of terrorist organizations that something that kind of terrorism organizations are also trying to do as well in their messaging you know playing on notions of heroism and evil encouraging cultures of vigilance and reporting. making kind of terrorism look kind of official and also saying something about what is what is correct islam and what is not what is not correct islam what is the good way to be a muslim and what is not a good way to be a muslim in the research that's been conducted by its palms thompson for example he looks at some of the magazines the dark big magazines that isis produced and what he finds that there's quite an interesting similarity in the kinds of visual
rhetoric that being employed so they they use kind of on the one hand i says use kind of rhetoric the young people with the milieu with like call that i think is called call of duty like a first person shooter game using those kinds of languages and i think that they learned that from the american kind of terrorists who use games like the american army to try and recruit you know young people into the american army right in the early period of the war on terror so i think that the important thing out of all of this. is the right message and going on both sides but in the middle of the big audience for both of you for both groups is an audience that is a thinking russian audience it's not somebody it's not a it's important to recognize that this is not a look at zombie audience that is easily brainwashed this is an audience that is thinking that is looking at different arguments and making decisions that thinking about the value of different arguments from different sides and i think that when we think about why it is that some people might join different organizations when you think about what it is about the message that resonates with young people who
look at. the messages that it's an aspirational identity and look they're playing are people like tanya mentioned her husband and you go back to america said look there's a role for censorship i think it's overplayed frankly because you know as fast as they can take down content these groups are evolving and we talk about isis but there's also isis two point zero and three point zero they use like kitten and nutella and so like what are we going to do you start taking down two of my favorite things that idea is that they're using our coded language and they're being more sophisticated in what they put up on open source iran go ahead well let me tell you just personally i think two thousand and fourteen i really started covering the rise of i saw as a territorial and i was able to go into twitter go to a few accounts and i was able to talk to fight in iraq in beijing there were a number of english speaking arabic speaking studies as well that was on twitter.
and it could direct message them at the time was really useful as a primary source it was a couple of guys on the ground that i could speak to when facebook and twitter started shutting those accounts down when they stopped allowing me to post news reports about i still saying that it was in violation of the standards it became problematic and that becomes even more problematic when we are trying to censor online space because security services are clearly taking a look at all the material that we as john this and academics and researchers are looking at as well which probably is when you have access to material when you are looking into this particular to talk with as well that's another place that i see use you become very paranoid that you might be arrested i was jealous because you're looking at all of this material you'll speaking with people who are giving you information about why people join eisel why this now this to me is a real problem when it comes to speech and the ability to we
need to really understand that censorship doesn't really work in the way that we wanted to i guess that's one way of shutting people down with a list like another way of getting their message out whether it's not it's how we how we get there as to how we're allowed to report and research because the last thing we want and this is happened to people into simply being journalists have been using encrypted messages and apps have some awesome contacts on that they've been arrested i think i mean how did this case because you've been talking about messaging from counter terrorist organizations and messaging from i still let me show you something cool you time have a look. well. i don't have to.
do to you turn and you can just see in that clip there is that their energy their base and i spent time with their c.e.o. they're like a social media incubator they're producing viral content they're doing things that are newsie but they're doing stuff that's creative with young people and they're tackling eisel directly they're doing things in comedy satire they're doing things directly speaking to the same youth that are want to they're presenting another alternative say you know we're frustrated like you two we also have discontent with what's going on we're not happy about what happened the arab spring but this is how we're channeling it and here are more positive ways you could channel the sort of frustration and they get millions of views and we need that type of thing hackathon social media incubate errors voices of defectors voice of victims that's how you
win it's a real cultural battle that this case the cliche hearts and minds tanya i'm just going to show these two pictures of your ex-husband this is john here and he was fighting in two thousand and four in twenty fourteen excuse me in syria that's him with two of your youngsters and then again here in syria do you think that kind of message in those kind of videos would have changed his mind about where he wanted to be. no i mean that he was particularly stubborn but. i mean i think i often think what could i have said and i tried to say to him to get him to turn around and change of mind. that i think that when me and again i just questioned his idea of social justice and is that what isis was really doing. but saying it's not is not that easy is not to say who's on
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