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I know sensationalism sells, and financial profit means more to media outlets than ethics, but first:

Please stop amplifying and implementing ISIS’ agenda and propaganda.

Do you realize a headline like this is what they hope for?
Do you know, @SkyNews, that ISIS forces children to commit atrocities on camera with uncovered faces to ensure that the world sees them as monsters and beyond redemption?

Remarkably irresponsible, and horrific way to treat a 10 year old without agency who needs help as well.
I wrote about this issue in response to other media coverage of ISIS children — because @SkyNews (and the rest) need to understand what they’re doing:

You’re doing ISIS’ work for them — and further brutalizing innocent children that need intervention.
There are teens who joins ISIS (who do have some agency), but it’s ludicrous to claim that a 10 year old RAISED under ISIS rule for the past 5 years does.

He was 5.

A 5 year old does not have agency.
I’ll pick this back up when I get a break — but for now, please read the medium post above, and for god’s sake:

Stop operating off knee-jerk emotional reactions, be logical, and think rationally as well as strategically.

You’re helping them and you don’t even know it.
If you think an ISIS-raised 10 year old (who was 5 when ISIS took power) has agency, go ahead and tell me this:

"That 5 year girl raped by her father had the agency to say no. She's responsible because she knew better."

Because that's what you're saying.
On #ISIS-raised children; let me repeat:

"A 5 year girl raped by her father has the agency to say no. She's responsible."

That's exactly what you're saying, and it should make you extremely uncomfortable.
Here is how ISIS markets themselves to a presumed non-Muslim, Western audience: as "Evil™."

True obscenity: when an enemy weaponizes your own unrecognized bigotry against you--and you help them.…
A couple more points (ok, probably a lot) to add to this thread on the children of #ISIS and the disturbing complicity of @SkyNews and others in the demonization of traumatized children that need psychiatric intervention and reintegration.

And the fact they spread propaganda.
@SkyNews There are thousands of children raised under ISIS currently held in camps while governments decide "what to do" with them.

Many were born under ISIS, or minors brought to Syria/Iraq by parents -- i.e., with ZERO choice.…
@SkyNews A few months ago, NYT ran this headline: "Is a Child of ISIS a Just a Child? Or a Time Bomb?”

This headline (and @SkyNews piece above, as well as many more) proves the efficacy of ISIS propaganda through the simple fact that such a question is possible or even thinkable to ask.
@SkyNews "Sins of the ISIS father" make monsters of the children—a line of reasoning that is deeply unsettling, and profoundly dangerous.

It also reveals a glaring double standard, on which ISIS relies to further spread an outsized image of threat projection.
@SkyNews And “we” continue to fall for #ISIS propaganda, helped by irresponsible media headlines exactly like this: from (even) the "Paper of Record."...



@SkyNews Indoctrination of underage children is part of the ISIS long-term strategy.

And in "our" fetishization of the first half of the organization’s name (“Islamic”), we forget the MORE CRITICAL component: “State.”
@SkyNews State survival relies not on institutions or a governmental apparatus alone, but: imagined communities spanning across time, and sustaining themselves throughout the generations — cradle to grave.

#ISIS the idea outlasts its territory through abusing children like this.
@SkyNews #ISIS forces children (again, not willing recruits - though them as well: forcibly brought by their parents) to commit atrocities on camera, with faces uncovered -- and publicizes those images.

Why the fuck do you think that might be?

So you see them as irredeemable monsters.
@SkyNews Children raised by parents who teach them particular ideologies lack the capacity to question those ideologies until their brains have fully developed.

Guess what?

10 years old does NOT that point in neurological maturation.
@SkyNews I want to remind you what #ISIS the idea is, because it exists in parallel to--but separate from--#ISIS the parastate.
@SkyNews #ISIS (the idea) aims resurrect the illegitimate #ISIS "caliphate," and to achieve both - they see as instrumental a strategy termed "The Extinction of the Grayzone."

Don't take it from me -- take it from #ISIS in their own words:
@SkyNews The Grazyone is any space of coexistence between Muslim and non-Muslim.

#ISIS launches attacks, especially in the so-called "West," to eradicate those spaces of coexistence.

Read @MazMHussain's piece on this:…
@SkyNews @MazMHussain The entire point of such #ISIS attacks in the "West" is to instantiate a "clash of civilizations" that previously DID NOT EXIST.


Don't worry - I'm about to explain.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain As an aside:

Do you think ISIS gives a shit if Western Muslims die in their European and American attacks?

Hell no. ISIS doesn't even consider Muslims in the so-called "West" to be MUSLIM.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain Part of the reasoning behind #ISIS attacks in the "West" is...TO INCITE CYCLES OF REVENGE VIOLENCE AGAINST MUSLIMS.

This wedge, according to ISIS strategy -- in their own words -- will force so-called Muslims (to them) into an impossible decision:

Choose death or Daesh.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain The "Grayzone eradication" is central to both #ISIS the idea and #ISIS the parastate controlling territory.

The former, in fact, they hope, will resurrect the latter, and eventually render such divisions immutable.

@SkyNews @MazMHussain Essentially, #ISIS' "eliminate the grayzone" strategy is not all that alien or foreign a concept.

It closely resembles "divide-and-conquer" tactics of European imperialism, but with an even more lethal twist.

And we've seen it before. Now I'll tell you where and how.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain I've screamed for years about the "Grayzone" strategy - in interviews to every media outlet and publication outlet that runs my work.

We have seen this before in Iraq, and the man behind #ISIS' efficacy should be very familiar: Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain A week or so ago, I spoke with the Intercept about precisely how Zarqawi managed to turn an insurgency against the US occupation in Iraq into a civil war.

That civil war is -- in no small part -- responsible for the conditions that gave rise to #ISIS.

@SkyNews @MazMHussain (Sorry @MazMHussain - mute this thread. Twitter is doing that irritating AF thing where it won't let me untag someone mentioned in a thread. Apologies, brother!)
@SkyNews @MazMHussain To awaken the (Sunni) Muslim world, Zarqawi believed they needed to feel under threat by Shia -- so he attacked both Sunnis and Shia.

He hoped to catalyze cyclical revenge violence, and draw Iraq into a sectarian war, thus allowing a vacuum in which IS could arise.

It worked.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain Back in 2015, I described #ISIS strategy to @CNN, what I term "Zarqawi 101" -- #ISIS just globalized it.…
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN I explained the same damn thing on @Intercepted -- "Elimination of the Grayzone" is the globalization of Zarqawi 101.

Instead of a Sunni vs. Shia civil war, ISIS now wants a world-wide war between Muslim and non-Muslim.

You. Are. Helping. Them.

@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted Not even two days ago, I wrote about precisely this same #ISIS strategy for @AtlanticCouncil :…
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil (Apologies also to @intercepted - Twitter won't let me untag you OR Maz for some IRRITATING AF reason, so mute this thread, and I'm sorry, guys!)
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil So, how does the globalization of Zarqawi 101 related to that egregious #ISIS children @SkyNews story?

Oh, don't worry -- I'm getting there.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil Excellent question - and no, Nazi-raised children did not face the same level of demonization, nor did those of KKK members.

I've addressed the double-standard before, and how it assists #ISIS propaganda and strategy before. I'll link in the next Tweet.

@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil Children raised in the KKK are not portrayed as irredeemable monsters as are #ISIS children.…
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil Even children raised by Nazis are not considered monsters to anywhere near the degree of #ISIS-raised children.…
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil Here's one fundamental problem with sensationalist media coverage of #ISIS-raised children as monsters beyond redemption.

This view results from the group's deliberate strategic calculus, and the success of a stunningly effective propaganda campaign.

And. We. Are. Helping.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil Reintegration of child soldiers is a critical issue facing many post-conflict zones, but:

I have never seen child soldiers demonized to the degree that are children born in, or forcibly brought to, #ISIS territory.

And it has long-term implications.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil I've also published on this.

You know why #ISIS forces kids to witness and commit atrocities -- and spreads those films?

To make reintegration efforts impossible and to make society reject CHILDREN as beyond salvation.

To eliminate the Grayzone.…
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil Here's yet another publication of mine that deals with #ISIS strategy and children: a brief for the United Nations -- with policy recommendations for countering NSAG child-soldier recruitment.

Here, I only address active sympathizers - NOT 5 year olds.…
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil Making monsters out of #ISIS-raised children -- instead of intervening with reintegration programs and psychiatric care -- ensures ONE thing, and ONE THING ONLY.

Get ready for the next generation of the Caliphate, and know it exists because YOU helped build it.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil If you don't believe me or any of my publications in the thread above, listen to @mike_giglio. He knows his shit on #ISIS:

@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio And if neither my #ISIS thread or @mike_giglio's thread convinces you, read more by @MazMHussain -- who wrote the Grayzone article I posted.

Read that one again, and this one: "Baghdadi Died, but the U.S. War on Terror Will Go on Forever."

And repeat.…
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio Imagine the public outcry if CNN published video showing the faces of children raised by Nazis.

How unethical would you find it - knowing those kids would be easy to identify, and likely targeted, for the ideological trauma carried out through the sins of an abusive father?
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio If you cannot say the same for #ISIS children as you could for children raised by Nazis -- you need to sit with the discomfort of your cognitive dissonance.

You need to examine precisely why that disjuncture between who you view as "human" exists.

@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio #ISIS published the image on the left.
@SkyNews published the image on the right.

Disturbing, isn't it?

It should be.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio There's another issue with #ISIS representation of children that you need to pay attention to, and it is not something I've seen anyone address before.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio Much of #ISIS propaganda features masked men (as well as men showing their faces) -- but their media also blurs the faces of particular fighters:
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio But #ISIS never blurs the faces of children in #ISIS controlled territory.

Why do you think that is?
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio I'll tell you why #ISIS shows children's faces, but strategically blurs those of adults.

1) "Anonymous" adults scare you because...they could be anywhere and anyone.

2) They want you to recognize those children -- so they can never, ever "go home."

@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio When I get a chance, I'm going to break down an ISIS propaganda video for you called "Eid Greetings from the Land of Khilafah," from 2014.

I'll add a few screen grabs here, and finish later.

Children are always in focus, right in the foreground.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio Adults so appear in focus, but when they do? It's almost inevitably with children as the camera's primary focus.

At other points, adults are pictures with faces covered (like this image) -- but never, ever children.

Even girls.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio Often, #ISIS adults are shot from the back, or in soft focus that obscures their features. Not so with the children.

Here's one screen grab from the same 2014 video of Friday prayers. Focus on this camera angle's portrayal of adults, because the next one is...quite different.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio Same #ISIS video, same Friday prayer.

Now notice who the camera seeks out to focus on:

@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio "Eid Greetings from the Land of Khilafah" is extremely consistent in the foregrounding of #ISIS children.

For the entirety of this 20 minute+ propaganda film, children constitute the central visual element.


You need to ask yourself why.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio I'll wrap up the breakdown of #ISIS children's centrality in propaganda (specifically the above video from 2014) later.

But I've had more than enough of ISIS (and their unaware, bigoted Western accomplices). I have other work to do now.


@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio Tonight's last word - I tend to curse when I talk about so-called "Islamic State." But the real obscenity here?

Helping the enemy by letting #ISIS weaponize your own unrecognized bigotry - and use it against you.

Hang on to, and fight for, the Grayzone.


@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio "The real obscenity is helping the enemy by letting #ISIS weaponize your own unrecognized bigotry - and use it against you."

This is what it looks like when ISIS successfully recruited..... you, and you don't even realize it:

@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio .@SkyNews has no problem blurring the faces of the armed guards of al-Hol camp.

But not those of ISIS children traumatized and brutalized by the parents who brought them--without consent--to be raised in ISIS-held territory.

That discrepancy should give you pause.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio Congratulations, Sky News. The responses to your coverage gained ISIS so many more (unwitting) recruits, like this one.

"I feel so sorry for this child...he's past any kind of help."

Scroll back to the top of my thread: "No going back."

@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio Responses like the above Tweet demonstrate:

1) the efficacy of ISIS propaganda
2) media complicity in spreading ISIS' messages and gaining the group Western recruits.

All without those recruits realizing they're ISIS pawns and unwitting co-conspirators in grayzone elimination.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio How do you eradicate the Grayzone? You incite revenge violence, paint all Muslims as synonymous with the point that a child isn't a child, quote the New York Times: "a time bomb."

Or, stated differently: the embrace of genocide.
@SkyNews @MazMHussain @CNN @intercepted @AtlanticCouncil @mike_giglio But if you're @SkyNews -- or any other major media outlet -- who really cares about the implications, right?

"It bleeds, so it leads."

You got your website clicks, so I guess you'll sleep well.
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