Friday, November 20, 2015

Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine

By Greg Miller and Souad Mekhennet November 20 at 10:30 AM , WashPost

CONFRONTING THE ‘CALIPHATE’ | This is part of an occasional series about the rise of the Islamic State militant group, its implications for the Middle East, and efforts by the U.S. government and others to undermine it.

RABAT, MOROCCO — The assignments arrive on slips of paper, each bearing the black flag of the Islamic State, the seal of the terrorist group’s media emir, and the site of that day’s shoot.

“The paper just gives you the location,” never the details, said Abu Hajer al-Maghribi, who spent nearly a year as a cameraman for the Islamic State. Sometimes the job was to film prayers at a mosque, he said, or militants exchanging fire. But, inevitably, a slip would come with the coordinates to an unfolding bloodbath.

For Abu Hajer, that card told him to drive two hours southwest of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the caliphate, or Islamic realm, declared by the militant group. There, he discovered that he was among 10 cameramen sent to record the final hours of more than 160 Syrian soldiers captured in 2014.

“I held my Canon camera,” he said, as the soldiers were stripped to their underwear, marched into the desert, forced to their knees and massacred with automatic rifles.

His footage quickly found a global audience, released online in an Islamic State video that spread on social media and appeared in mainstream news coverage on Al Jazeera and other networks.

(More here.)

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