Terrorist groups are constantly looking for new ways to attract new recruits and to bring attention to their cause. One of the most powerful propaganda tools for these groups are print magazines and in the digital age these publications have become easier than ever for these organizations to produce. Today we’ll have a look at five real magazines sponsored by or affiliated with terrorist organizations recognized by the FBI.
al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine is designed to appeal to wannabe jihadists in training and has proved to be one of organization’s most important propaganda tools. The English language online publication includes articles penned by top al Qaeda affiliates and covers topics ranging from bomb making tips, military strategies, and even hit lists of individuals whom they believe would make excellent targets for assassination. The magazine also discusses enemies of the organization, which includes cartoonists and journalists for their blaspheme against the prophet Mohammad.
Founded in July 2010, Inspire initially included messages from Osama Bin Laden, himself. Since Bin Laden’s death, the magazine continues to be popular among American and British citizens looking to pledge their allegiance to the terrorist organization. It’s been reported that a number of attempted attacks by radical Islamists have been inspired by the magazine and, in some cases, the perpetrators have even used the magazine’s bomb making techniques.
Bite Back is a radical animal rights magazine affiliated with several groups identified as terrorist organizations by the FBI including the Animal Liberation Front, the Animal Rights Militia, the Justice Department and the Animal Liberation Brigade. The publication not only acts as a forum for members of these groups to take responsibility for attacks, but has also encouraged a number of attacks against their perceived enemies.
The magazine is operated out of Florida and, although the FBI is aware of the publication, freedom of press protects the magazine’s publishers against prosecution. Two other similar publications – No Compromise and Arkangel – operate on a similar scale. According to an 2004 article published in Bite Back radical animal liberationists have committed 554 acts of sabotage, which have included arson and vandalism of private property.
Earth First! Journal
Similar to Bite Back, the Earth First! Journal is the primary means for the radical eco-terrorist organization Earth First! To spread their ideologies about environmentalism and to encourage direct action against companies or individuals they feel have committed crimes against the environment. Even after the 9/11 attacks, the FBI had identified eco-terrorism as the number one threat to national security.
The group is most notable for a technique called “tree spiking”, where piece of metal is hammered into a tree stump and is placed in a location that a person welding a chainsaw is likely to cut into a tree. Tree spiking can cause damage to the chainsaw, as well as possible injury to loggers and has since been made a federal offense. The group is not above violent tactics and has even included “theoretical” hit lists in some of their back issues of the magazine. Earth First! Works closely with the Animal Liberation Front – another recognized terrorist group – and is often involved in acts of property destruction and vandalism on behalf of both groups collectively.
According to Muslim mythology, Dabiq is a town in Syria where the final apocalypse will take place. It would seem fitting that ISIS/ISIL/IS, a group hell bent on destroying everything it touches, would embrace this legend and use it as the title for their own propaganda magazine. Unlike Inspire, Dabiq does not seem to encourage lone wolf terrorist attacks, but it does paint a pretty, glossy picture for life as a jihadist and is used as a recruiting tool for their cause.
In an article written for the Clarion Project – an organization designed to challenge Islamic extremism – the magazine claims that it is, “a periodical magazine focusing on the issues of tawhid (unity), manhaj (truth-seeking), hijrah (migration), jihad (holy war) and jama’ah (community). It will also contain photo reports, current events, and informative articles on matters relating to the Islamic State.” The magazine primarily focuses on different terrorist acts and transforms stories of unspeakable carnage into folklore and makes heroes out of murderers.
The Good Citizen
Unlike the rest of the publications listed, The Good Citizen has been out of print since 1933, but is still available in a number of library archives across the country. Pillar of Fire church founder Alma White aligned herself heavily with the values of the Ku Klux Klan, particularly their anti-Catholic sentiments. White was known to speak extensively on her fondness of the Klan within her sermons and these sentiments spilled over into many of the essays published within the church’s magazine The Good Citizen.
The church itself allowed the KKK to host meetings in their halls and several books resulted from the magazine including The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy, Klansmen: Gardians of Liberty and Heroes of the Fiery Cross. The church still operates in a handful of locations across the country, but have since denounced their ties to the white supremacist organization.