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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


It's a propaganda war...

Posted 3/03/15 (Tue)

As I sit down to write in this four-column space, (Thursday) the latest overnight news about ISIS is that Jihadi John, the British man on those gruesome beheading videos, has been identified publicly as Mohammed Emwazi, a well-educated, upper-middle class individual from London.

And as I was driving into work this morning, the top news story on CBC Radio was that four college students from Laval University in  Quebec City have gone to Syria to join the fighting there, three of them women.

What is the appeal? Honestly folks, what is the appeal for these people to just leave everything behind and go to a place where they’re probably going to get killed or maimed? What could possibly be motivation for that?

And as time goes on and this plot thickens, more nations are being sucked into the conflict while ISIS is using the Internet to tell its sympathizers in western nations to get weapons and bombs and use them, mostly against police officers.

This isn’t what religion is about. The propaganda suggests these beheadings of U.S., British, French and now Japanese citizens are being done in the name of Islam.

The burning alive of Jordanian Lieutenant Moath al-Kasasbeh was said to be in the name of Islam, but al-Kasasbeh was a Muslim himself. How can something so brutal be in the name of any religion, any ideology?

At some point, and I think we are all hoping it is sooner than later, this will come to a screeching halt.

The world at large isn’t going to stand for what is happening much longer. The Japanese, known to be peaceful since their defeat in World War II, are furious. Australia is on a higher state of alert since the siege in Sydney and the arrest of those responsible for funneling money to ISIS.

Canada’s Parliament is dealing with new legislation that would make it legal for law enforcement or military to take down websites promoting ISIS in any way and stop those from leaving the country to join the radical group.

British intelligence has stepped up its work, the Dutch have strategically placed undercover officers in Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, a major hub for flights around the world, Jordan has mobilized tens of thousands of troops, Turkey, although wanting to stay neutral, has placed troops on its border with Syria just in case and since the beheadings of 21 Egyptians in Libya, Egypt has launched punishing airstrikes against ISIS.

These airstrikes have been going on for months now and between the U.S., British, French, Canadian, Egyptian and Jordanian airstrikes, there can’t be a whole lot of ISIS infrastructure left to destroy.

U.S. Central Command commonly shows videos of bombs hitting communications systems, bridges, convoys and barracks. They’re getting blasted to pieces yet there is some sort of strange appeal to it all?

In my opinion, it is the propaganda that is fueling this far more than the bombs or religion. We like to think the Internet is a wonderful educational tool, and it is, but somebody found a way to use it effectively as propaganda.

I’m also of the opinion that the sorties should be intensified. We, as in the coalition of nations fighting ISIS, have intelligence about where the terrorists are and when they are moving.

Blast them and rather than CENTCOM showing these videos on Facebook, maybe they should be televised all over the afternoon news, stopping ISIS in its tracks.

The other front should be propaganda. We often associate that word with the enemy but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

It’s pretty common knowledge that a good part of Adolph Hitler’s success in the 1930s was because of propaganda.

There was another propaganda case study in the United States that started right after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. It was called the “Red Scare,” and it went on for eight years.

Communist sympathizers spread the word about the “wonderful” world of Marxist communism, or utopia. The only problem, we all know it wasn’t the utopia that Marx described in his communist manifesto.

And now, in 2015, word has to get to these young, brainwashed people that the world will not tolerate this behavior any longer and the western world will do whatever it takes to stop this monster called ISIS.

If that doesn’t work, maybe ISIS needs to experience the true military might of the United States.