European Observatory to Combat Radicalization – EOCR
Extremist Content Online: Neo-Nazi Accelerationist Telegram Channels Encourage Violence
(New York, N.Y.) — The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists and terrorist groups on the Internet to spread their ideologies and incite violence. Last week, CEP researchers located posts on neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram channels that encouraged additional acts of violence following a U.S. court’s sentencing of Aimenn Penny, a member of the White Lives Matter (WLM) movement, to 18 years in prison for firebombing an Ohio church last year because of planned drag events. Also, on Telegram, a neo-Nazi channel circulated guidance on purchasing burner phones with cash to register personal Telegram accounts to avoid law enforcement surveillance.
Additionally, the pro-ISIS propaganda group War and Media Agency released a video on Telegram glorifying Omar Hadid, a leader in the 2004 Battle of Fallujah, as a martyr for the ISIS cause. CEP researchers also located issue 32 of the Voice of Khorasan web magazine published by the pro-ISIS propaganda group al-Azaim Media. The web magazine condemned the government of the Maldives for maintaining relations with China and foreshadowed ISIS’ plans to target upcoming elections in Pakistan with violence.
Also this week, CEP researchers located 13 accounts on Twitter/X promoting antisemitism or white supremacism, nine of which were associated with Active Clubs. Additionally, the administrator of an online forum associated with the Canadian Active Club chapter shared a video praising a white supremacist who murdered four members of a Muslim family in Ontario because of their faith.
Neo-Nazi Accelerationist Telegram Channels Encourage Violence Following Sentencing of White Lives Matter Member
On January 30, neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram channels recommended that their followers fully commit to violence and avoid “half-measures” following the sentencing of Aimenn Penny. A member of the white supremacist, antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ White Lives Matter (WLM) movement, Penny was sentenced to 18 years in prison for charges related to the March 25, 2023, attempted destruction of an Ohio church using Molotov cocktails before scheduled drag events. Telegram channels noted that Penny was “emotional” and did not correctly plan his attack and that if one commits an act of violence, it should be worth the risk.
“Extremists are regularly spreading propaganda and incitements to violence to their supporters in unevenly moderated Telegram echo chambers,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “Telegram is failing in its duty to protect users and the public, which faces a greater threat of real-world violence in the absence of strict and consistent content moderation. It’s past time for Telegram to overhaul and strictly enforce its policies and to remove accounts that call for violence and terrorism.”
Neo-Nazi Telegram Channel Recommends Using Burner Phones for Telegram Registration
On January 31, a neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram channel that has previously celebrated acts of violence recommended that white supremacists use burner phones, paid for in cash, to register their Telegram accounts. The same post also recommended only using the phone for Telegram registration, using a VPN, and taking additional measures to increase operations security to avoid being caught by law enforcement.
Pro-ISIS Group War and Media Agency Releases Video
The pro-ISIS online propaganda group War and Media Agency released a new video on January 29, titled “The State,” consisting of a biography of Omar Hadid, who led fighters allied with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Fallujah in 2004. The video was presented as the first in a series.
The video quickly went over Hadid’s early militant activities before and after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, with the majority of the 22-minute video focusing on what is portrayed as his steadfastness and bravery during the Battle of Fallujah. The battle is described as a heroic struggle of several hundred under-equipped fighters facing off against a force many times their size and significantly better armed. The video concludes with the statement that while Hadid was killed in the fight, his struggle continues, carried on by ISIS fighters around the world.
The video was found on Telegram, pro-ISIS websites, and the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive removed the video after CEP reported it. The War and Media Agency last released a video on January 27, 2023, which focused on Egypt and the Sinai region, condemned the Muslim Brotherhood, and encouraged attacks on the Egyptian Coptic community.
Pro-ISIS Web Magazine Voice of Khorasan Issue 32 Released
On January 29, the pro-ISIS al-Azaim Media propaganda group released issue 32 of the web magazine Voice of Khorasan. The first article condemned the government of the Maldives, condemned Maldivian-Chinese relations due to the latter’s persecution of the Uyghurs, and encouraged joining ISIS. Voice of Hind, an English language web magazine similar to Voice of Khorasan, previously contained articles allegedly from ISIS supporters in the Maldives celebrating an arson attack in the country. Another article condemned the upcoming February 8 Parliamentary election in Pakistan, stating that democracy is blasphemous and that those who participate in the democratic process are apostates. The article urged Pakistanis not to vote and said that ISIS would target the election with violence. On January 31, ISIS claimed responsibility for killing a political candidate in the Siddiqabad area of Bajaur District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Other articles included an English language translation of ISIS spokesperson Abu Hudhayfah al-Ansari’s January 4 speech “And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them,” promoted sacrificing one’s life, and condemned Hamas for serving the interests of Iran and not the people of Gaza. As with prior issues, the web magazine also provided a wallet address for donating the privacy cryptocurrency Monero.
Active Club, Goyim Defense League, and Antisemitic Propaganda Video Accounts Located on Twitter/X
In a sample of content located on February 1, CEP researchers found 13 accounts on Twitter/X that promoted antisemitism or white supremacism. Nine accounts belonged to Active Club chapters or were affiliated with the Active Club movement, and two Twitter/X accounts were affiliated with the Goyim Defense League (GDL). An additional account was created after Twitter/X removed a previous account that promoted a notorious antisemitic propaganda video.
The nine Active Club accounts included chapters in France, two in Finland, as well as Chicago, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, with the remaining accounts consisting of directories or accounts affiliated with the movement. The French chapter had 472 followers only three days after its creation on January 29. The Active Club accounts posted propaganda videos and photos promoting the movement, including an antisemitic protest and leafletting recently conducted by the Chicago chapter.
The two GDL-affiliated accounts, created in September 2023 and December 2023, had 1,905 and 2,112 followers and posted large quantities of antisemitic and neo-Nazi propaganda, including videos, photos, and text. The account created in December appears to belong to GDL leader Jon Minadeo II, who made a large number of posts promoting antisemitism, Holocaust denial, and racism. The other account shared a post stating that it was “not possible to coexist with Jews.”
CEP also located an account, created in January 2024 with the first post on January 26, that heavily advertised a notorious antisemitic propaganda video that was recently promoted on the platform by Gab CEO Andrew Torba. A previous version of the Twitter/X account was recently removed for “hateful conduct,” however, the account owner was able to create a new profile and recoup almost 40% (6,235) of the original number of followers in several days.
The 13 accounts had an average of 905 followers, ranging from 0 followers in one case to 6,229. Four accounts were created in January 2024 and six in the fall or winter of 2023.
CEP reported all 13 accounts to Twitter/X on February 2. Two accounts were removed by February 5, the account that appeared to belong to GDL leader Jon Minadeo II and the account that promoted the antisemitic propaganda video.
On January 24, the administrator of an online forum affiliated with the main Canadian Active Club chapter posted a video praising the white supremacist who murdered four members of a London, Ontario family on June 6, 2021, targeting them because of their Muslim faith. The perpetrator was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder and is facing life in prison.
The video, which was pasted into the forum from the Odysee video-sharing platform, contained news footage of the trial and a song praising the Christchurch terrorist and encouraging additional acts of violence.
European Observatory to Combat Radicalization – EOCR