In the first of a series of exclusive collaborations, the UK-based counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam and US-based Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC), are releasing a ground-breaking analysis of one of Islamic State’s (IS) most important propaganda videos, Although the Disbelievers Dislike It.
At first sight, the video, in which twenty-two Syrian Arab Army hostages are simultaneously beheaded and the head of Abdul Rahman (Peter) Kassig is displayed at the feet of “Jihadi John”, is seamlessly and professionally produced. However, an exhaustive analysis of the video, which was broken down frame-by-frame by TRAC and Quilliam analysts, has revealed a number of important inconsistencies which, in isolation, are intriguing enough but, when considered as a whole, illuminate much about IS’ propaganda machine.
Some of the most important findings include:
• The video’s producers go to great lengths to conceal three of the executioners from view. By dismantling the video into individual frames, Quilliam and TRAC have obtained screenshots of each of these three men and identified the most likely reasons for their presence.
• Through a cross comparison with TRAC’s extensive jihadist propaganda archives, a number of the executioners have been tentatively identified.
• Three senior face and neck surgeons were asked to examine photos of Mr. Kassig’s head. The inconsistencies here, laid out in full in the report, are profoundly important and render apparent the fact that the production of the video did not happen as IS had planned it. The implications of this are ground-breaking
• Use of expert forensic digital analysis confirms that IS used a range of expensive post-production software and equipment which has been specifically identified. This gives a good indication as to the structure of the IS propaganda machine, which is detailed in the report.
Please click here to view a PDF of the report, or here to see it on TRAC’s website. This content is being made available for all to see for three (3) weeks, after which the full report will be made available to TRAC subscribers only, with an abridged PDF version available on the Quilliam website.