This month’s Engage for Change networking and learning breakfast at the Groucho Club was nine months in the making; it took that long to track down a suitable speaker for one of our most controversial topics – the dark side of engagement.
And it was well worth the wait. Charlie Winter, Senior Research Fellow at Kings College London, has spent years monitoring and dissecting propaganda from the ISIS caliphate and gave us a real time insight in to the terror group’s communications (Charlie was receiving ‘as it happens’ alerts of ISIS’ activity throughout the breakfast, including six live suicide bomber operations).
Charlie’s presentation was live streamed and can be watched back here:
Key headlines from Charlie’s talk:
- ISIS values its propagandists as highly as those fighting on the front line. Its overall aim is for idealogical longevity, with the caliphate becoming more of a brand than it is a terrorist group.
- They are beating Al-Qaeda by focussing heavily on propaganda and viewing the media – particularly online – as a battlefield. Clickbait has become weaponised by ISIS.
- Charlie has noted many similarities between ISIS propaganda and the Nazi outreach strategy – both focus on true believers.
- The group’s communication centres around its utopian vision, showing what living under ISIS is like and the celebrations following its victories.
- There’s a worrying correlation in ISIS dwindling insurgence and terrorist attacks overseas.
A big thank you to Charlie for spending the morning with us and to our guests for at the breakfast and deeper dive session.