Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Europe: Europol terror unit to tackle online jihadis

Europol  is setting  up a new police unit specifically tasked with shutting down social media accounts used by Islamic State to recruit foreign youth and spread their messages of hate. 

Responding to intelligence showing up to 90,000 Twitter and Facebook accounts had been created to support IS, Europe’s police agency Europol said starting July 1 a new has  begun work to stop the propaganda.

The unit, of between 10 and 20 officers, will identify and take down accounts used by the IS propaganda machine that floods social media with up to 100,000 Tweets a day.

Images like here below are what the youth now are exposed to each day !

“It’s a reasonable estimate and it indicates the scale of the problem that we are up against,” The Hague-based director of Europol Rob Wainwright said, adding technology had allowed terrorist groups like IS to spread their message like never before.

“In the end, what we are hoping to have is a strategic impact against the problem as a whole rather than just playing a simple numbers game,” he said. He added there was grave concern among EU members the terrorist propaganda machine was not only recruiting but also inciting some to carry out home soil attacks.

Examples of members standing in front of the Shahada flag. Radical Muslim leaders are rebooting social media accounts under false names with different profile photos in a bid to dodge a Facebook and Twitter crackdown and keep feeding ISIS propaganda to followers.  The leaders of Sydney's hardline Muslim groups continue to maintain close links on social media, issuing pro-ISIS and jihadi paraphernalia online. 

A spokeswoman for the new organisation said more details about how the new internet Referral Unit (IRU) would work would be made  but officers would work directly with social media companies to take down accounts, created in multiple languages, within hours of them being identified. She said the IRU officers would be made up of those from the EU’s member states but Australia would be a beneficiary of their work.

“There are Australians here in the building, they are a member of Europol, so of course depending on the message flagged or raised by this unit there would be that liaison,” she said.

New front ... Europol's chief Rob Wainwright, centre, said the organisation aimed to identify the ringleaders behind online propaganda.  
Australia became a member of Europol in 2007.

It has been estimated there have been up to 250 Australians enticed to join IS in Syria and Iraq with online recruitment from afar. As a percentage of population that is one of the highest in the world, even exceeding the United States. Up to 5000 people from Western Europe are thought to have joined the IS cause.

Earlier this year, a British youth in Manchester allegedly used the internet to encourage a youth in Melbourne to carry out a beheading on ANZAC Day in the name of the fanatical terrorist organisation. That case is currently before the courts.

Two British cases have highlighted the groups allure last week with Talha Asmal, a 17-year-old from northern England, becoming Britain’s youngest suicide bomber in an IS attack in Iraq while three sisters and their combined nine children abandoned their husbands and are believed to have crossed the border into Syria from Turkey…..