On Friday, May 6, partners from across the mid-Atlantic region gathered together for the inaugural Regional Domestic Terrorism Conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to discuss how law enforcement and homeland security professionals may counter the current threat of domestic terrorism. This event hosted by our office, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, in coordination with the New Jersey Regional Intelligence Academy, provided a forum for various organizations from various states to report on the terrorist threat that exists in the United States and in their jurisdictions.
In Episode 20, NJOHSP Intelligence Analyst, Angie Gad, sat down with J.M. Berger after his presentation on social media tactics and messaging by both foreign and domestic terrorist groups.
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J.M. Berger is a fellow with George Washington University's Program on Extremism. He is researcher, analyst and consultant, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and use of social media. Berger is co-author of the critically acclaimed ISIS: The State of Terrorwith Jessica Stern and author of Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement.
Berger publishes the web site Intelwire.com and has written for Politico, The Atlantic and Foreign Policy, among many others. He was previously a non-resident fellow with theBrookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World and an associate fellow with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.
In addition to writing for the media, Berger consults for and trains private companies and government agencies on issues related to homegrown terrorism, online extremism, foreign fighters and advanced social media analysis. He has lectured at Harvard University, American University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He was keynote speaker and a panelist at the 2015 conference of the Society for Terrorism Study, hosted by the University of Massachusetts.
ISIS: The State of Terror
The Islamic State, known as ISIS, exploded into the public eye in 2014 with startling speed and shocking brutality. It has captured the imagination of the global jihadist movement, attracting recruits in unprecedented numbers and wreaking bloody destruction with a sadistic glee that has alienated even the hardcore terrorists of its parent organization, al Qaeda.
Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger, two of America’s leading experts on terrorism, dissect the new model for violent extremism that ISIS has leveraged into an empire of death in Iraq and Syria, and an international network that is rapidly expanding in the Middle East, North Africa and around the world.
ISIS: The State of Terror traces the ideological innovations that the group deploys to recruit unprecedented numbers of Westerners, the composition of its infamous snuff videos, and the technological tools it exploits on social media to broadcast its atrocities, and its recruiting pitch to the world, including its success at attracting thousands of Western adherents. The authors examine ISIS’s predatory abuse of women and children and its use of horror to manipulate world leaders and its own adherents as it builds its twisted society. The authors offer a much-needed perspective on how world leaders should prioritize and respond to ISIS’s deliberate and insidious provocations.
Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam
They are Americans, and they are mujahideen. Hundreds of men from every imaginable background have walked away from the traditional American dream to volunteer for battle in the name of Islam. Some have taken part in foreign wars that aligned with U.S. interests, while others have carried out violence against Westerners abroad, fought against the U.S. military, and even plotted terrorist attacks on American soil. This story plays out over decades and continents: from the Americans who took part in the siege of Mecca in 1979 through conflicts in Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, and continuing today in Afghanistan and Somalia.
Investigative journalist J. M. Berger profiles numerous fighters, including some who joined al Qaeda and others who chose a different path. In these pages he portrays, among others, Abdullah Rashid, who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan; Mohammed Loay Bayazid, who was present at the founding of al Qaeda; Ismail Royer, who fought in Bosnia and Kashmir, then returned to run training camps in the United States; Adam Gadahn, a Jewish Californian who is now al Qaeda’s chief spokesman; and Anwar Awlaki, the Yemeni-American imam with links to 9/11 who is now considered one of the biggest threats to America’s security.