Pro-ISIS Telegram Channel: To Obtain Release Of Female Jihadi Prisoners In U.S., Kidnap U.S. Politicians, Celebrities – Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, 'Kardashians/Jenners' From Malibu And Los Angeles, California; 'Give The Government An Ultimatum – Release Aafia Siddiqui... [Or] Find The Headless Corpses of 3 Celebrities'

October 9, 2020

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On September 24, 2020, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) English-language Telegram channel shared a post saying that the best way to secure the release of Aafia Siddiqui, an Al-Qaeda-affiliated Pakistani woman incarcerated in the U.S. for attempting to kill U.S. military personnel, is to kidnap high-profile "Amerikkkans[i.e. Americans]," such as politicians or celebrities. The post recommended kidnapping celebrities living in California, particularly young white women, like "Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus[,] or the young Kardashians/Jenners" to motivate their fans to campaign for negotiations for their release. The post also suggested taking over schools attended by the children of politicians and holding them hostage, or kidnapping five to ten children and using them as bargaining chips. The pro-ISIS Telegram channel publishes ISIS claims of attacks and anti-Western content. It also covers extensively news about foreign fighters and their families detained in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-run prisons in Syria. The channel says its aim is: "Exposing & fighting the hidden hand of fitna [sedition].”

The post began by claiming that "the best way to free Aafia Siddiqui is through kidnapping Amerikkkans [sic], and [I] am not talking about regular Amerikkkans, [I] am talking about high profile Amerikkkans[,] like politicians or celebrities."

The post also alleged that ISIS already tried to free Siddiqui by exchanging her with some American journalists held in Syria, but America "refused to negotiate and jihadi John beheaded them [the journalists]."

Discussing how to kidnap American politicians, the post stated that this requires a lot of planning, since their "schedules are complex and they are usually protected by the Secret Service."

The post then recommended kidnapping "high profile" celebrities in California, saying: "Many of them also live in the city Malibu which like Los Angeles is also in California... They may have bodyguards but these bodyguards are easy to put down or scare away. Some of the celebrities don't have bodyguards," the post added.

The post also urged "strugglers [i.e., mujahideen or jihadis]" to kidnap two or three high-profile people and then involve the media. The post said that extensive media coverage will help leverage the kidnapped celebrities toward negotiating the release of Aafia Siddiqui, under threat that the captives will be executed.

"Let it be the biggest news, use social media to reach out to their fans, especially the young fans, to come out and protest [so that] their idols be saved, then negotiate with the government to release Aafia Siddiqui [in exchange] for them. The fans are there to pressure the government to bring the celebrities back by any means which does not in danger them [sic]. Make it the biggest thing on TV, then give the government an ultimatum, release Aafia Siddiqui or in a few days they will find the headless corpses of 3 celebrities."

The post further suggested that kidnapping "women celebrities" is better than men, except "the likes of Justin Bieber," saying "Kidnapping teen or celebrities in their twenties like Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus or the young Kardashians/Jenners is better than kidnapping the more older celebrities, except if they are buzzing at the time of the kidnapping [sic]."

Suggesting that kidnappers target "white" celebrities for the purpose of this prisoner swap, the post noted: "Kidnapping white celebs is better than kidnapping black or brown celebs because the Gov't may not really care if they are not white, except if its Oprah Winfrey, then only her suffices to use to negotiate the release of not only Aafia Siddiqui but all strugglers held in Amerikkkan prisons."

The post then urged "the brothers" to take this matter seriously, highlighting that U.S. media will do most of the work for them.

Describing the required setup for kidnapping, the post said: "All you need is a few resources. A good quiet place to keep them, multiple vehicles, some light weapons which can be gotten in the streets, coordinating the kidnapping with mainstream and social media making it breaking news, and high profile. Negotiate with the government publicly through the media and put the responsibility on them for whatever happens to the celebrities."

Concerning how to conduct negotiations with the U.S. government, the post cautioned jihadis: "Be very careful the FBI does not track you through the social media you are using, and your phones. Have one among you away from the safe house keeping contact with the media, if he is in another state outside California or even outside Amerikkka is better, he puts out all the information you need put out on social media and then he offs his phone and remove the battery. He should keep moving during these times, not stay in one place so that he does not get caught. Give a little time also for negotiations, like 5 to 10 hours, nothing more. The more time you give them the easier it is for them to track you down. Make sure the one putting out the messages does not know where the safe house is, or who the other strugglers are. He has his job, and they have theirs."

In a subsequent post, the pro-ISIS channel went on to say that kidnaping politicians is difficult, but their power can be used to free Aafia Siddiqui.

Calling for the abduction of politicians' children, the post said "strugglers" needs to identify the "elite" institutions attended by politicians' children, mainly high schools, not colleges or universities.

The post suggested surveilling their targets and either taking over the school, then "hold the children of the elite as hostages, and then negotiate the release of Aafia Siddiqui," or kidnapping "some of the children, between 5 to 10 and using them as bargaining tools to get our sisters out." The post added: "Their elite wealthy parents will force the government to go along with it without risking the lives of their kids."

The post highlighted: "This was what Pablo Escobar and the Medellin drug cartel did in Colombia to get the government to sit with them and negotiate the extradition treaties, they kidnapped the children of the elite, and the elite forced the politicians to sit with the drug kingpins and negotiate."

Holding children hostage, the post noted, requires "some automatic weapons and explosives to secure the job, just like the Chechen mujahideen under Doku Umarov did in Russia, when they took over a school and the Russian army came and killed all the kids. Amerikkka does not operate that way, it does not intentionally target its citizens especially if they are white, children or young, that would be the end of that government, its way is different from Russia's."

Highlighting the difference between the U.S. and Russia when dealing with hostage situations, the post explained that "Amerikkka has no problem killing your citizens, your women and children, but it does not target its own intentionally, or lightly if it's a covert espionage mission they have decided on. Russia on the other hand has no problem killing your women and children and killing their women and children to accomplish a goal."

The post concluded by saying: "We have to get Aafia Siddiqui and ALL THE OTHER SISTERS OUT OF KUFFAR [unbelievers] PRISONS or this shame will follow us into the akhira [i.e. afterlife], and we don't want that [sic.]"

The same Telegram channel published a post recommending attacking the trucking and shipping industries in Western countries in order to disrupt their economies.[1]

A post from the Telegram channel recommending attacks on the trucking and shipping industries in Western countries.

The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More