Twitter vs. ISIS

I really wish Twitter would stop deleting ISIS accounts. In the last three hours, 20 accounts I've been following are gone. This has been going on for weeks. I don't like one-sided news. ISIS accounts are a source of information. Following them and reporting about what they write or depict is not support. When I do write about something violent that I've read or watched, I don't provide the link or reproduce the content and insist commenters not post them in comments.

The pro-Kurdish accounts with equally violent graphics (and name-calling) aren't being deleted. There are also a lot of Jabhat al-Nusra twitter accounts being given free reign. Twitter should at least be consistent. If one side gets to stay, they all should. [More...]

Deleting the accounts is also a waste of time. The accounts are back up under another name within days.

Russia is now blocking websites of expert analysts and researchers who track ISIS. Is that what we're coming to? DOJ says it is contemplating charging ISIS' "Twitter Army" with providing material support to terrorists.

There are legitimate reasons for following ISIS accounts and viewing their paste-its and videos. We all have a stake in whether our country becomes involved in yet another war in the Middle East. Relying only on the information the Government chooses to release, and that spread by ISIS enemies and rivals, is not getting the whole picture. It's like sitting on a two-legged stool. Those of us who want to understand ISIS' point of view and make our own judgment as to how much of a threat they pose to us at home should be allowed to do so.

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    GREAT post, Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 11:28:55 PM EST
    thank you

    I can see where it would be (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:01:08 AM EST
    interesting, but I'm not sure it would be all that reliable; so hard to know how much of what you're reading is truth, and how much is propaganda designed to manipulate your opinions - and that is true no matter what side you're talking about.

    I guess where I'm coming from is that, just as we don't necessarily trust the leaks and "information" coming from anonymous sources from within our government, I'm not sure how much trust we should place in what's coming out of ISIS or any entity/group.

    And I'm not even sure if you looked at all of it, you'd be able to suss out the truth from the lies and distortions.

    I think you read it (none / 0) (#17)
    by CST on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:53:19 AM EST
    So you know what their intent is, not because you think it's "truthful" about the facts on the ground, but because you think it's "truthful" about their messaging.

    So you know what ideology you're dealing with.


    There's only so much social media and (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:07:16 PM EST
    online interaction I can do and still have a life that gets lived in the real world...I just kind of had to draw the line at Twitter.  I know some people love it, but my brain just doesn't work for long in 140-character increments (clearly, given the length of some of my comments here!).

    That being said, I have been enjoying the tweets generated by CPAC's #askaspeaker hashtag - raw story has a good selection.  If you haven't, you should check it out - hil-arious!


    Those were hysterical! (none / 0) (#32)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 05:26:54 PM EST

    oh don't get me wrong (none / 0) (#42)
    by CST on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:05:43 AM EST
    I didn't mean you should feel obligated to read it - rather that someone like Jeralyn, or the state department, or whoever, would find a kind of truth in the tweets if they were interested in figuring out what ISIS motivation's and ideas are.

    I have never used twitter.  The only way I'm ever aware of any tweets is when they're quoted somewhere else.  It has never appealed to me as a source of information/interaction.


    Does age matter? (none / 0) (#29)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 01:23:44 PM EST
    There is no way that I can state this without impugning the judgment capacity of teenagers, etc.  Maybe I was quite impressionable then (and into my 20s) about exciting ideology ... I remember thinking that the foreign legion seemed compelling and that <unnamed> revolutionaries had it all together for the good of humankind.

    Age can dull our instincts, sensitivities.  Now, I have to guard against the there-is-nothing-new-under-the-sun attitude creeping in because the years do bring learning on a number of levels.  Before I was one-and-twenty, it could have been very inviting to jump into a cause far away ... and, today, the world is surely "smaller" and more accessible for transportation, travel to what is alluring.

    My instinct now: Effective, scrutinized age filters are justified in light of the obvious propaganda recruiting means reported to be employed by ISIL.


    Twitter (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:21:11 AM EST
     is a private company. If as a business decision it decides to delete accounts, censor, etc., it's basically doing a form of moderation not uncommon across the spectrum. In the absence of coercion from government[s] I have no problem with it choosing what communications and content it wishes to facilitate.


    It's Jeralyn' blog, she calls the shots (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 04:52:47 PM EST
    It's Twitters tweetsphere, they call the twits.

    This sub-thread (none / 0) (#59)
    by NYShooter on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 02:24:58 AM EST
    has gotten more confusing than necessary. I believe the controversy isn't so much banning "free speech" as it is trying to determine what content is "informational" versus what content is simple "advertising/proselytizing" for some kind of screwed-up version of Middle East, "Murder, Inc."

    I don't have a problem with Jeralyn wanting to keep the lines open as to what's going on in their movement. But, that's a far cry from the very powerful, media-savvy, advertising for killers, sadists, and murderers coming to Syria/Iraq for some sort of distorted view of their new "religion."

    Isn't the debate really just about the difference between "informing," and, recruiting?


    i find Twitter very useful (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:54:51 AM EST
    for knowing when & where our local pod of "anarchists" is planning to shut down public transit, freeways, city council meetings, local businesses, & so on, & for knowing where they've set fires in the streets & created other obstacles to getting around - helps in planning my daily life & activities, seriously

    Jihadi John (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 08:25:58 AM EST
    More proof... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:21:20 AM EST
    ...that spoiled psychopaths readily co-opt legitimate grievances of genuinely oppressed people. He's like the even more insane Bill O'Reilly of ISIS. They probably keep this cat so safe and sheltered, consider him SUCH an asset, that he never experiences any of the horrors EVERYONE else involved has to.

    But since Jeralyn doesn't seem to believe in the concept of legitimate grievances being co-opted by even worse people, this message will probably disappear shortly.

    Peace out, my good man.


    Bill O'Reiley? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Slado on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 01:16:57 PM EST

    Shouldn't comparing people to ISIS fall in the same category as comparing people to the Nazis? Maybe a little out of bounds?


    From the Telegraph, (none / 0) (#12)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:37:19 AM EST
    Dozens of tweets

    and this:

    King's College London's International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation has released the following statement:

    This demonstrates what we have long said about radicalisation, that it is not something driven by poverty or social deprivation. Ideology clearly plays a big role in motivating some men to participate in jihadist causes.

    Previous comment maybe should (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 08:27:39 AM EST
    have been in an open?  I agree great post.  Banning them is nuts.

    On the TV... (none / 0) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 08:32:15 AM EST
    ...today there was a bit about social media creating extremists.  Seemed a little thin on evidence, but might explain why social media is deleting accounts.

    I don't buy it, if someone is that susceptible to becoming an extremist, it's just a matter of time.

    I ain't buying either... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:40:24 AM EST
    in fact it's probably the opposite, social media helps expose extremists and those with extremist tendencies.

    Why try to silence it...better to "give 'em enough rope" to expose the bankruptcy of their ideology, and have a better understanding of what makes psychos tick.  

    I also wonder why we are trying to arrest people who want to go join ISIS...wouldn't it be better for us if we just let them go?  Or would that be too selfish of us to say good riddance to bad rubbish?  It would be a d*ck move I guess, but that never stopped us before.


    Well, (none / 0) (#9)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:54:51 AM EST
     from a GOVERMENTAL perspective there is undoubtedly some intelligence value (whether that value is outweighed by the costs is an open question).

      Twitter is not operated to aid in the gathering of intelligence. If the folks who run Twitter determine it is in the company's best interest  to serve as conduit for ISIS communications then it should be free not to do so.


    Intelligence value... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:22:55 AM EST
    for individuals too...if some guy who lives around the corner is tweeting infidels should be shot, I know to have nothing to do with that guy.  

    But of course, twitter can do what it wants, and users can walk if they don't like it.  I don't do social media except for our little TL community thing here, but if I did I don't think I'd want a platform rovider who deleted accounts based on speech content.


    This site, for among other reasons, (none / 0) (#13)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:39:26 AM EST
      deletes based on content that Jeralyn believes will trigger "anti-porn" filters. That's very much based on content and it's a "business decision" that the harm of allowing such content outweighs any benefit of allowing it.

      I believe she also just banned a person for "name calling" which is also a content based decision, and though, she is less heavy-handed than many site operators she is not above censoring merely because she doesn't agree with something someone wrote.



    Fair point... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:46:56 AM EST
    but our amazing hostess always gives fair warning...she doesn't just delete an account without warning, usual several warnings.  And all viewpoints are welcome within her reasonable rules, even extreme ones which I've been known to share from time to time;)

    I don't know the full details of Twitter's policy...but I don't think they are as liberal or as fair as Talkleft.  I could be wrong.


    I agree (none / 0) (#18)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:55:03 AM EST
     Twitter is a corporation seeking to make money. This is a discussion forum intended to provide a platform for an individual to advocate and I presume profit is not a motive or occurrence.

      I have no idea of the politics of its operators' politics.

      Whether this has a bearing on the ISIS decision, I don't know.  

       Saudi Prince invests in Twitter


    has nothing to do with my view of the comment (none / 0) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 03:27:48 AM EST
    I look for profanity, name-calling and insults. Those go. The comment could have been bashing the war on drugs and I'd still delete iti if it was the san worlds.

    You may call people psycopaths when you  aren't privy to his medical records.That's an insult and potentialy liablelous.


    Not Sure WHere I Stand on That... (none / 0) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:23:31 AM EST
    ...I am sure during WWII they weren't letting people go to Germany/Japan and fight against us.  While not the same, it kind of is.

    But how many people are we talking about, 100, 10000, they never really say and the numbers getting busted on the TV is like 10.

    I also think some of them want to get caught.  I can board a plane and go to Turkey no problem, but these people create such a visible path that they are stopped.


    Too much of stretch... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:40:06 AM EST
    to compare to joining the Japanese in WWII...ISIS sure seems to want us to go to war with them, but we are not at war with them...it's a regional civil war over there.

    It might be better compared to the Mariel Boat Lift...letting undesirables voluntarily leave and become somebody else's problem.  Though unlike Cuba, they'd be allowed to come back which could pose a problem down the road when their dreams of holy war and extreme Islamic law ain't all it's cracked up to be...I hadn't really though of that.

    How 'bout this...ya can go join ISIS, but you have to renounce your citizenship first?


    I have a good idea on that I've been (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 04:15:13 AM EST
    waiting for the right time to post. It doesn't make them give up their citizenship. Instead, we offer to help them go, buy them a new iphone and laptop and a one way ticket. The day before they leave they have to sign papers. They get brought to a federal courthouse. A public defender is provided to advise them. They get handed a complaint (charge) for conspiracy to commit material support of terrorism. They get advised, plead guilty, and get a suspended 15 year sentence. So long as they don't return, they don't go jail for that offense. If they get caught back in the U.S. anytime later, they've already plead guilty, sentence gets imposed.

    Where would be put them those we catch coming back? I'd suggest a place they can't radicalize anyone else. Maybe build a low level camp type prison in a empty county in Wyoming (Dick Cheney's home state.) There are counties there with very few residents. It will be in the middle of a place that has very harsh winters. There will be no cars for them to drive them in or out, no highway nearby , they are stuck. They don't have to stay in cells, because  there is just no way out. No guns allowed,by staff or inmates. if they tried to leave, they'd likely get eaten by a wild animal or die of dehydration or frostbite. Since there would be no roads, there's no place for anyone to pick them up. The food would be airflown in and dropped. There'd be an infirmary and doctor and psychologist on staff, and if they needed more medical attention, someone could fly  a doctor in to see them or fly them to a hospital under heavy guard. That's the outline of my plan, I have more.


    I Like the First Paragraph... (none / 0) (#43)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 09:54:29 AM EST
    ...but the second part is impractical, IMO.

    Alcatraz for radicals without cells, but somewhere in the US that is inaccessible, inescapable, but with a staff, and no guns ?

    There is a good chance that these people with have military training and battlefield experience.  Do they cook, clean, and wash clothes, maintain their structures.  Or does the staff do that ?  I ask because at some point, things like knives and tools will be onsite.

    I assume there is a separate camp for women.  

    These are Americans and their families are going to demand access of some sort.

    To me it would eventually turn into some sort of prison.  You can't confine people partially, especially people who have been radicalized, may have mental problems, who most certainly want to harm others, and may have the training to do it.

    And unless they get a muslim staff, it would be basically be christians confining radical muslims and that alone would be a propoganda nightmare when things go bad.  A white collar GITMO of sorts, but for Americans.


    Why not in Colorado? (none / 0) (#45)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 10:47:44 AM EST
    Up in the mountains? It's remote, has harsh weather, and would make escapes difficult.

    No roads in?  Hugely impractical.  Not sure how you would build it, run communication lines or plumbing without having roads.  Also, what about the employees?  Will they also have to live there?  No way you can fly people and material in and out all the time.

    No weapons for guards? Horrible idea. Seems to me prisoners all over the country get in fights and make homemade weapons - all while supposedly not being able to or having access to the appropriate material. Why would you disadvantage the people who work there?

    And as Scott says - are you going to cut access off to their families? Basically, isolate them?  I thought that defense attorneys argued against isolationist policies?


    Mustangs in Colorado (none / 0) (#46)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 11:11:33 AM EST
    The armies of Caliphs in Islamic history made their conquests on horseback, not on Ford Mustangs or Toyota pickups.

    A horse would be a wet dream to loons that are obsessed with establishing a Caliphate. They would get their ponies.


    OTOH (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 11:43:24 AM EST
    I would pay to watch a debate between an ISIS loon and a Bible thumper in Colorado Springs.

    My belief is that they would agree on everything except the method to execute their bloodlust. One would argue for using guns, the other would opt for slitting throats with knives.

    I do not think this is about religion. It is about cults.


    'Cuz (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 11:43:53 AM EST
    There aren't any wild Mustangs in Wyoming?

    Oh wait, there are.


    Sounds like the plot of a movie, (none / 0) (#51)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 12:21:28 PM EST
    perhaps another in the "Die Hard" series?

    I don't mean to make light of your proposal, it's just that I don't think your plan is workable - or escape-proof.

    How about Alcatraz - isn't that empty and available to be renovated?  


    Why not Gitmo? (none / 0) (#56)
    by vicndabx on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 01:34:27 PM EST
    Or any other prison for that matter?  

    Why the phone?  Tracking?  


    Would that be entrapment... (none / 0) (#61)
    by unitron on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 08:48:12 PM EST
    ...or would the government that offers "to help them go, buy them a new iphone and laptop and a one way ticket." just be considered an "un-indicted co-conspirator" in the "conspiracy to commit material support of terrorism."?

    Granted, I've never been to law school, but I don't see how the government can be on both sides of this.


    I Doubt Extremists... (none / 0) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:56:11 AM EST
    ...are coming back in anything but a body bag.  They are win or die trying, I don't think there is a 'We lost, now let's go home" option.  Plus once they actually fight against the US, they committed treason, and this country is not going to let that go.

    Definitely a stretch, but I ain't the one having a cow over them leaving.  I was simply stating that's the rational, I believe.  

    Me, I would rather have them over there than here.  I can see people being told they will go to prison if they leave, doing something really dumb here.  


    I was just thinking of... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 12:06:42 PM EST
    them going there and being given instructions to come back and do damage here...that's the only downside I can think of to letting the lunatics  go.

    I know it's not reality, but it would be nice if there were no US soldiers there for them to fight and commit "treason".  In quotes because I'm not sure you can really call it treason in the George Washington sense of the word...they're not trying to overthrow the US government, only to start an Islamic state in a part of the world we have no legitimate claim too anyway.    


    How many? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:55:20 AM EST
    BBC graphic using CIA Factbook data.

    - Another chart, more specific, from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation


    First Link Doesn't Include US... (none / 0) (#27)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 12:43:39 PM EST
    ...so I assume, according to the note, it's less than 500.

    The second link doesn't work.


    Those numbers are "per million" (none / 0) (#36)
    by NYShooter on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:58:48 PM EST
    So, for the U.S. (when that number is determined) simply multiply by 330.

    FWIW, CBS News (or, it may have been NBC, I'm not sure) announced today that ISIS's Twitter, and other social media accounts, have, successfully, recruited approx. 20,000 foreign fighters so far, and, they've come from 90 countries world wide.

    Homeland Security has also announced that they've now identified ISIS sympathetic groups in all 50 States.


    Look At It Again (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 11:35:44 AM EST
    for example Pakistan, according to the raw numbers they have 500, but only 2 per million.

    The bottom number is raw numbers as I read it and the numbers on the right are per million.

    That seems wrong, the entire graph suggests that in the most radicalized countries that are only ~13,000 in total fighting in Syria from those countries.

    It also mentions these are 'upper estimates'.  A graph without a explanation is basically open to interpretation and pretty much useless.


    Another link numbering (none / 0) (#58)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 08:30:05 PM EST
    the numberless hordes.

    Here's the source of the failed link, the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, which Jeralyn also linked to in one of the recent stories.


    I think there is a case to be made (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by CST on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 10:50:37 AM EST
    That it helps them with recruitment and organizing.  It's another form of media, and one with a large international reach.

    I don't think we can dismiss it offhand.  Propaganda can be very effective.  Not everyone "susceptible" to becoming an extremist becomes one.  Honestly, I hate to bring up the comparison because it's become such a cliche at this point, but that's a major lesson to be learned from Nazi Germany.  The combination of propaganda and fear is a powerful tool.

    That being said - I don't think banning it is an effective way to fight propaganda.  Then it just moves to the shadows (they open a new account that's harder to find, for example), or you get the Streisand effect.  You have to win on better ideas.


    Maybe... (none / 0) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 12:03:19 PM EST
    ...and even though I disagree, I haven't given it enough thought to argue about it.  It doesn't really matter in a free society, they can legally do it.

    But I do not blame any company for playing it safe.  It would actually be surprising if Twitter just let them go.  I do wonder if their rules are the same for US grown, non-muslim extreme groups.


    This afternoon on the TV here... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by gbrbsb on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:58:59 AM EST
    ... CAGE giving a press conference to justify Jihadi John's take up of Islamic extremism because of his having been harassed by the secret services when he was stopped from going to Tanzania to go on Safari and then stopped from moving to Kuwait to work and marry.

    Well maybe not quite as simplistic but seems to me a long stretch to go from being harassed to beheading people in cold blood in front of a camera.


    Yes, that is what I was trying to get to (none / 0) (#50)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 11:47:56 AM EST
    There is something more going on that makes someone willing and able to behead someone.

    And Justify Killing Innoscent Americans... (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 01:02:54 PM EST
    ...because of issues with the British Government.

    This is the thing that bothers me the most, we are targets because of what other people do.  And they are killing muslims, christians, anyone that is not down with their ideology.

    And people are lining up to justify why.

    For this guy, it's because he wasn't allowed to entry to two countries.  They didn't kill his family or torture him, they restricted his travel.  And while it's certainly more complicated than that, is not what radicalizes people.  Governments have been harassing their citizens since inception.

    Just waiting to see why he was harassed to begin with, because this Richie Cunningham imagine we are getting is not jiving with a guy who video tapes murders and makes them publicly available and some sort of publicity/propaganda/terror stunt.

    His 'war' is with innocent and unarmed people, and it's not enough to kill them, he has to keep a record and release it for all to see how glorious he is.

    In the US we call them serial killers and no cares if the government didn't allow them to travel to certain countries, because there simply no justification for that kind of brutality against innocent victims.  Many of whom were helping the very people he claims to be fighting for.

    I somewhat understand people getting radicalized because their families were killed, a foreign army in on their soil, they were tortured/imprisoned, some serious life altering wrong to them or their family.  But they are out their fighting a battle against an enemy, not beheading aid workers and volunteers for the camera.


    That good middle class upbringing (none / 0) (#55)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 01:26:10 PM EST
    of hid does not jive with this kind of criminal and sociopathic behavior.

    According to Your Link... (none / 0) (#57)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 03:15:46 PM EST
    ...130 Americans have gone to Syria fight.  Nothing to do with your post, but was a number we were trying to find in another thread.

    I think maybe that's... (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 12:37:50 PM EST
    where a person's nature plays a role, the old nature v nurture debate.

    The societal nurturing here contained (alleged) harassment that led to anger, what people do with that anger might come from their nature.  Or maybe just more nurture, and that's where the teachings of radical Islam come in to play.  And everybody has a different breaking point for the amount of abuse they can take before snapping.  Who knows...tough questions to contemplate.


    tweets, text, and homegrown agitprop (none / 0) (#19)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:28:13 AM EST
    - From a NY Times piece about the three wannabe ISIS cannonfodderites arrested yesterday::

    Like countless 19-year-olds, Akhror Saidakhmetov lived much of his life online.

    But it was some of the darkest corners of the Internet that most compelled him, according to the authorities. On websites sympathetic to the Islamic State, he could find videos of the group's beheadings, mass executions and crucifixions, carried out in a campaign to seize territory in Iraq and Syria and establish a fundamentalist Muslim caliphate.

    In recent months, according to the authorities, Mr. Saidakhmetov had made up his mind to go to the killing fields and join the fight.

    But before he could go off to wage war, he needed to get his passport back from his mother.

    Sociologists are having a field day observing this lunacy.  (oops, value judgement)  People are forming connections, and at a rate, impossible pre-internet.

    With regard to the awful IS videos, I'd be surprised if the carnage and brutality appears to be much more than a videogame to these wannabes.

    ISIS and Social Media (none / 0) (#26)
    by RickyJim on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 12:22:25 PM EST
    Here is an article by someone who thinks attacking their Facebook and Twitter accounts will help defeat them.  However he also says,
    Unfortunately, fighting ISIS online is not enough. ISIS's powerful online messages targeting extreme personalities resonate importantly with its physical realities. If ISIS existed only on social media, it would be a mere shadow of what it is today.

    Territory empowers ISIS's social media and propaganda machine. Its expansive safe havens provide a safe environment from which to murder hostages and prisoners and to document those activities with professional-level high-definition video. These productions require both physical space and the security to act with impunity.

    Did you just compare the Kurds to ISIS? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jack203 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:18:39 PM EST
    That's pretty awful.  You obviously don't think too highly of our best friend in the region.  

    Did you see ISIS destroying 7000 old artifacts in Mosul?  Assyrian, Hittite, it's pretty damn sad.

    ISIS is losing.  They are in pure desperation mode.  The entire world is against them.  Despite you thinking we should have stayed out of this one Jeralyn, I am thinking Obama has played this one brilliantly so far for coming out in support of the Kurds when they pleaded for our help.  The limited aerial war we have unleashed on ISIS has crippled them.  It's only a matter of time until they are thrown out by the Sunni tribes when they've had enough.  Their grip on the tribes by using fear as a weapon can only last so long.

    The key is what happens next.  I am all for a reconciliation and peace with the Sunnis having autonomy over the lands they dominate the population.

    One man' Sunni is the next man's ISIS (none / 0) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 12:02:40 AM EST
    No, I don't thinkhe's doing Brilliant (none / 0) (#39)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 03:45:33 AM EST
    or that ISIS is losing. Did you see the photos of the Kurds dragging dead ISIS bodies tied to a car and then drive off with them? Or kicking them? There on the Twitter feeds. Their government has started an investiation into their actions, they were so inappappropriate. They torture and behead sometimes too.

    I'm aware (none / 0) (#44)
    by Jack203 on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 10:37:52 AM EST
    of your level of expertise on the subject and value your opinion, so I'm disappointed to hear you think ISIS is in better shape than I.  Certainly increases the chances I am wrong.  

    Desecration of dead combatants does not particularly mean anything to me.  That's been going on forever, and will continue to go on forever as long as there are young men fighting and killing each other in wars.

    I did not like to hear about the Kurds beheading unarmed prisoners (if that is what they are doing).  I wouldn't doubt it, but there are quite a few key differences.

    1. Was it approved or ordered by their superiors?
    2. Were they combatants who previously dished out the same to the Kurds?  That is vastly different than innocent aid workers and reporters.
    3. Was it glorified and used as a propaganda tool?

    it was not supported by (none / 0) (#53)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 12:59:54 PM EST
    superiors -- those who did it are being investigated, and yes, the images were spread all over twitter by their supporters with glee.

    A slight correction, Jack, or, (none / 0) (#60)
    by NYShooter on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 02:45:09 AM EST
    rather, an explanatory pause regarding your reference to the wanton destruction of priceless, irreplaceable artifacts being carried out by these anti-social, uninformed adolescent killers.

    Not to be too picky, but, when you referred to them smashing/destroying those historic gems as being "sad," I almost broke out crying. I know what you were saying, Jack, and thanks for highlighting it. When I watched those intellectually bereft social lizards smashing such beautiful works of art, I almost lost my breath. I know they're not people, or humans being killed, but, my Lord, I hate those people beyond words.

    The Taliban were bad enough in what they did a couple of years ago, but, these characters have simply erased whatever bounds of decency they may have clinged to. I understand, and agree, that calling human beings, "savages" for the actions they may have taken during war time, is usually not a good idea. So, I ask anyone, what would you call what these people are doing to those priceless works of art from antiquity, not to be seen for another 1500 years?    


    Vox ISIS is losing (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jack203 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:37:56 PM EST
    Brilliant in depth article.  Couldn't agree more.

    I don't know that he has any (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 03:52:10 AM EST
    expertise. Where is he getting his sources?From the U.S. and the Pesh? Of course, they will tell him that. There are many other reporters with very good credentials writing good stuff on both sides. I thought his piece was kind of empty. Sorry.

    Link (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jack203 on Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 09:42:22 PM EST