Door to door contact is known globally, post World War II, as a means to make a sale or expedite a message, usually of peace. Think vacuum salesmen, kids doing fundraising, Avon ladies, Mormon missionaries, Jehovah’s Witnesses. A sign prohibiting trespassing, or soliciting, is all it takes to deter anyone of these groups.
No so for members of the extremist group known as al-Shabaab. Heavily armed, these militants exerted brutality in a door-to-door massacre of non-Muslims in a small village on Kenya’s coastline earlier this week.
The body count rose quickly as approximately 30 Somali gunmen invaded Mpeketoni, going door-to-door. They shot dead any man who was not Muslim or did not know the Somali language.
Mail Online reports this from victims of the bloodbath:
‘They came to our house at around 8pm and asked us in Swahili whether we were Muslims,’ said Anne Gathigi. ‘My husband told them we were Christians and they shot him in the head and chest.’
Another resident, John Waweru, said his two brothers were killed because the attackers did not like that the brothers did not speak Somali.
‘My brothers who stay next door to me were killed as I watched. I was peeping from my window and I clearly heard them speak to my brothers in Somali and it seems since my brothers did not meet their expectations, they sprayed them with bullets and moved on,’ said Waweru.
How do these brazen third world terrorists recruit and organize for a door-to-door murder campaign? With 21st century technology developed in the west. Social media. What an ironic twist.
Mail Online reveals:
‘While the levels of brutality seen here by ISIS and al-Shabaab are no different from what we have seen them do before, the way they are publicizing their acts of terror is wholly new.
‘Through the use of social media, like Twitter and Facebook, such groups are seeking to maximize coverage of their atrocities with great effect.
Terrorists are using the internet to peddle their hate on an unprecedented scale – because it’s quick, easy and free to use.
Twitter, Facebook and other social media have provided Islamic groups with a global reach, bolstering their propaganda, radicalization and recruitment, say experts.
Twitter, for example, hosts a number of official feeds for terrorist groups, including Somalia’s al-Shabaab, the North African al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra, the Taliban, Hamas and ISIS.
Terror expert Gabriel Weimann of the Woodrow Wilson Center, SAYS the reason they have turned to social media is no different than the rest of us – it’s a quick, easy and, above all, free form of anonymous communication.
‘Terrorists have good reasons to use social media,’ says Weimann, who has studied the online behavior of terrorists for years and last month published a report entitled, ‘New Terrorism and New Media’.
‘First, these channels are by far the most popular with their intended audience, which allows terrorist organizations to be part of the mainstream.
‘Second, social media channels are user-friendly, reliable, and free.
‘Finally, social networking allows terrorists to reach out to their target audiences and virtually “knock on their doors” — in contrast to older models of websites in which terrorists had to wait for visitors to come to them.’
Weimann explains that terrorists are using most of the major social media platforms to recruit militant Islamists. In his report, he quotes a jihadi online web forum explaining: ‘Facebook is a great idea, and better than the forums. Instead of waiting for people to [come to you so you can]inform them, you go to them and teach them!… if you have a group of 5,000 people, with the press of a button you [can]send them a standardized message.’
Internet traffic in several areas overrun by militants, including Mosul and Tikrit, was ordered cut off altogether, he said. No timeframe was given for the shutdowns.
It may however, prove to be a futile gesture given how easy it is for terrorists to simply create new, anonymous accounts in a matter of minutes.
‘One element of publicizing such acts on the internet is to show other terror groups, and potential recruits, particularly those committed to establishing a caliphate, what they are capable of and the lengths to which they will go to promote their causes.’
Staying one step ahead of terrorists is now a matter of cyber expertise and deciphering hash values. Maybe it’s time to develop the talent of telepathic patriots, organize a ‘Minority Report’ center and unleash prophylactic measures before another slaughter by internet savvy horror mongers.
by T.M. Burroughs
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