Twitter used to suggest manner of Jordanian pilot’s execution by Isis supporters

February 5, 2015 2:13 pm
The
method of murder raises the chilling prospect that may have been
influenced by the Twitter campaign, which used the Arabic hashtag
#SuggestAWayToKillTheJordanianPilotPig to elicit ideas from the terror
group’s supporters.

In the days after Kassasbeh’s capture – which occurred on
December 24 when his F-16 fighter jet suffered mechanical problems and
crash-landed close to Isis’ Syrian stronghold and de facto capital Raqqa
– militants used Twitter to crowd source ideas for his execution.

Safi al-Kaseasbeh, left, father of slain Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath
al-Kaseasbeh receives condolences at their home village. Photo / AP
Thousands of Isis (Islamic State) supporters took to Twitter in the
days after Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh was captured to suggest
sick methods of execution – including the two techniques that ultimately
resulted in his death, it emerged today.
Kassasbeh was seen
being burnt alive before being run over by a bulldozer in a
22-minute-long video released by the terror group yesterday, in which
the level of barbarism and brutality sunk to new lows, even by Isis’
depraved standards.
The
method of murder raises the chilling prospect that ISIS may have been
influenced by the Twitter campaign, which used the Arabic hashtag
#SuggestAWayToKillTheJordanianPilotPig to elicit ideas from the terror
group’s supporters.

In the days after Kassasbeh’s capture – which occurred on
December 24 when his F-16 fighter jet suffered mechanical problems and
crash-landed close to Isis’ Syrian stronghold and de facto capital Raqqa
– militants used Twitter to crowd source ideas for his execution.
A
film clip featuring a woman who claimed to be the mother of a Syrian
man killed in a coalition airstrike suggested ‘impalement, not with a
mercy shooting or a mercy knife.’
Another horrific idea from a
Twitter user calling himself Abu Ishaq Sophistication was to either
place Kassasbeh in a tank and set it alight, or to use acupuncture
needles dipped in acid to disfigure him, before cutting of his head and
sending it head back to Jordan.
A second hashtag labelled
#WeAllWantToSlaughterMoaz and carrying more brutal execution ideas and
videos of children killed in coalition airstrikes, was retweeted over
11,000 times.
It is not known whether any of those taking part in
the campaign – including the organisers of the hashtag – have any sway
with the Isis leadership and whether any of the ideas influenced the
eventual decision to murder Kassasbeh by burning him alive.
But
what the horrific suggestions do show is the outrageous levels of
barbarism and hatred among Isis’ supporters, many of whom live in the
West, far from the terror group’s self-declared caliphate.
It is
also important to note that following the gruesome video’s release Isis
supporters attempted to justify death by burning and bulldozer as a
similar fate met by those killed in an airstrike – suggesting bombing
victims are often burnt and crushed to death in their homes.
The
sickening Twitter campaigns appear to have been a reaction to the
hashtag #WeAreAllMoaz where individuals praised the pilot and offered
prayers and support for his family after his capture.
That original hashtag was retweeted more than 200,000 times and was supported by Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan.
The early nature of the campaign suggests reports that Isis executed Kassasbeh at the beginning of January may well be accurate.
Experts add that the slick, professionally shot 22-minute video would have taken some time to edit.
The
footage of Kassasbeh’s eventual murder was laced with highly symbolic
imagery, not least the fact he appears to have been killed in a
rubble-strewn courtyard damaged by coalition war planes.
Even by the Islamic State’s barbaric standards, the terror group’s latest execution video reached a truly depraved new low.
The footage shows the Jordanian pilot being burnt alive in scenes that are far too shocking to even consider publishing.
As
with previous beheading videos featuring British executioner Jihadi
John, the 22-minute-long clip is characterised by its slick production
values and graphics.
But unlike the others, it contains an added
cinematic dimension designed to achieve unparalleled impact on the
viewer – as if the horror of watching someone torched to death wasn’t
enough.
Isis blames the F-16 fighter pilot for burning houses – and killing babies – with airstrikes before he was captured in December.
The
manner of his death is a symbolic show of strength to strike terror
into ‘non-believers’ and encourage recruits or doubters within their
ranks in equal measure.
But it appears the Isis PR machine was
well-aware of the stir the execution footage would cause, even before
the disturbing images were circulated online.
Just ten minutes
after the video was released, the jihadist group published a checklist
of justifications, in a bid to encourage Isis supporters to defend the
barbaric actions.
The post, uploaded onto pro-Isis jihadi forum
Al-Platform, offered guidance to Isis sympathisers over what they should
say if questioned about the merits of the brutal murder.
In the
post, entitled ‘Moaz Was Burnt Alive, Below Is the Islamic Justification
for Such an Act’, it gives a list of apparent defences which it says
might be in accordance with Islamic principles.
The crowd
sourcing of execution ideas, the digital release of the video and the
way attempted justifications for the gruesome murder were posted online
all reinforce the importance of social media to the Isis propaganda
machine.
Although the group have been fighting in since at
least 2004 and have had a presence in for many years, Isis’
declaration of a caliphate last summer saw support for the terror group
rocket, largely driven by the highly active social media use of its
fighters.
Jihadis who appear in the group’s officially released
propaganda videos become virtual online celebrities, holding question
and answer sessions and giving advise on the website Ask.Fm, and using
Twitter to share details of the daily life as a terrorist fighting in
the .
Many of the militants use English as a lingua
franca, not least for its potential to reach, influence and possibly
even recruit would-be jihadis still living in the West.
The use
of a British national as Isis’ executioner in chief has had the same
effect, leading to supporters regularly sharing images of the killer
known as Jihadi John and sharing quotes taken from the sickening murder
videos in which he has appeared.

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