ISIS or ISIL has been around for a bit. But they have recently come into the forefront of media and public attention for their gruesome public assassinations and utilization of effective propaganda.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think ISIS is there black flag. This crudely made banner seems to be reminiscent of the Jolly Roger.
The Arabic text at the top of the flag is called the “Shahada” or “Testimony.” It can be likened to the American cry of “Testify.” It’s meaning is basically:
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
The white dot on the bottom part of the flag is Muhammad’s Seal.
The ISIS flag much like the Jolley Roger, is mostly made by hand and therefore has many iterations, but as ISIS grows in strength so does the consistency of the graphic.
Most of ISIS’ propaganda is heavily designed and orchastrated by the Al-Hayat Media Center, ISIS’s PR/Media department. The Al-Hayat Media Center was established in May of this year. Al-Hayat
MT – mujatweets- twitter campaings, social media presence, motion graphics, slick hd video showing humanitarian acts, movie trailers. All the workings of propaganda used by every organized country in the world.
The “Dabiq” which is a internationally circulated PDF magazine created by ISIS shows full-bleed images of the ISIS troops to show their movement, their successes and push their mission statement / doctrine. The first issue of Dabiq is littered with images that look as if they were taken off of Call of Duty game cases and in some cases the layout is well done. The rest of the issues of the pdf are a mix of mythological illustration, full page imagery with text overlay, type and stripe, captioned images and heavy a girded layout. It’s designed like a mix between a religious pamphlet, an annual report and a national geographic. It’s a weird mix of warnings to join or die, mission success stories and oddly juxtaposed humanitarian aid documentation. There are many articles that are titled with large drop quotes “In the Words of the Enemy,” Most with pictures of American or British political leaders. Below you can view some of the Dabiq PDFs, but be warned there are gruesome images within.DABIQ PDF LINKS:
I have also seen some “Movie Trailers” with heavy edits, slow motion videos, first person perspectives, and complicated motion graphics. The eerie part about these “Trailers” is that none of these explosions, shootings, and scenarios are fake. They are all real executions, killings, and explosions. There is a heavy air of irony and stomach turning realization that these videos wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the American Film Industry. I’m sure there would be killings and bombings but the way this is filmed makes me view movies in a different way. This stuff is being romanticized as “exciting” or “like a video game” much like a commercial for the US navy / army would be (though they are much more subtle and much less graphic). I won’t post the link to most of the “Trailers” here because I am not sure I was even supposed to see them. One such trailer is called “Flames of War” and I believe you can search for it online.
In many ways Al-Hayat is showing the world how seductive the use of media tools are. We have a duty to look at this propaganda and realize that these techniques have the ability to work both ways. It can seduce, misinform, mask true intentions, or put a pretty mask on an ugly face. All this just means we need to look at facts and not get won over by the package alone. It’s the contents that count.