Berlin · nov 24-25 · 2017:

TERROR FEEDS: Inside the Fear Machine

Outer Spaces Conference Series 2017

An analysis of ISIS and its media strategy, the meaning of cyber jihad, and why people enroll as foreign fighters.


The 12th conference of the Disruption Network Lab

Directed by Tatiana Bazzichelli. Studio 1, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin.

Curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli and investigative journalist Mauro Mondello. In cooperation with Kunstraum Kreuzberg /Bethanien, SPEKTRUM and Supermarkt Berlin. Funded by the Reva & David Logan Foundation (grant provided by NEO Philanthropy), the Mozilla Foundation, the Bertha Foundation and the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation. Supported by: the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN). In collaboration with the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). Media Partners: ExBerliner, Furtherfield.

Pre-Lab November 10 at SPEKTRUM, Bürknerstraße 12, 12047 Berlin (19.30 until late).
Workshop November 26 at Supermarkt Berlin, Mehringplatz 9, 10969 Berlin (14.00-17.00).

Entrance Studio 1: 5€/day (Conference) · Spektrum: Donation (Pre-Lab) · Supermarkt 12€ (Workshop)

In English language.


Friday November 24 · 2017

17:00-18:30 – KEYNOTE

RISE OF THE CALIPHATE: How ISIS Became a Global Threat

Sue Turton (Reporter and Journalist, Former Al Jazeera Correspondent, UK), Charlie Winter (Senior Research Fellow ICSR Centre, Associate Fellow ICCT The Hague, PhD Fellow King’s College London, UK). Moderated by Mauro Mondello (Investigative Journalist, IT/DE).

18:30-19:00 - Break

19:00-21:00 – PANEL

CYBER JIHAD: ISIS Media Strategies and Countermeasures

Dlshad Othman (Activist and IT Security Engineer, SY/US), Aymenn Al-Tamimi (Jihad-Intel Research Fellow at the Middle East Forum, SY/UK), Donatella Della Ratta (Writer and Arab Media Specialist, John Cabot University, IT). Moderated by Frederike Kaltheuner (Programme Lead and Policy Officer, Privacy International, DE/UK).

Saturday November 25 · 2017

16:00-17:30 – PANEL

RADICALISED: The Franchise of Terror

Saud Al-Zaid (Scholar of Islamic Studies, Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures, DE), Pieter Van Ostaeyen (Historian & Arabist, PhD candidate KU Leuven, BE). Moderated by Dave Keating (Journalist, US/BE).

17:30-18:00 - Break

18:00-19:30 – KEYNOTE

PREVENTION & PREJUDICE: Counter-Radicalisation and Human Rights Challenges

Amrit Singh (Head of the Accountability, Liberty, and Transparency Cluster of the Open Society Justice Initiative, US), Michèle Hassen (Radicalisation Awareness Network RAN Education, Working Group Leader, EU/FR). Moderated by John Goetz (Investigative Journalist, US/DE).

19:30-20:00 - Break

20:00-21:30 – KEYNOTE

FRACTURED LANDS: Confronting the Islamic State

Abdalaziz Alhamza /Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently -RBSS (Co-founder, Media Activist, SY/DE); Aaron Y. Zelin (Founder of Jihadology.net and JihadPod, Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute, US). Moderated by Donatella Della Ratta (Writer and Arab Media Specialist, John Cabot University, IT).


Sunday November 26 · 2017

14:00-17:00 – WORKSHOP at Supermarkt Berlin

FACING TERRORIST THREATS: Cyber Security and Digital Self-Defense

max 20 people, register at info@disruptionlab.org

Dlshad Othman (Activist and IT Security Engineer, SY/US), Aymenn Al-Tamimi (Jihad-Intel Research Fellow at the Middle East Forum, SY/UK).


TERROR FEEDS: Inside the Fear Machine

Outer Spaces Conference Series 2017

TERROR FEEDS: Inside the Fear Machine highlights the change that ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Daesh by its Arabic language acronym) represents in how terrorism is conducted and analyses how electronic jihad and strategic messaging affects the worldwide public opinion, both in the west and in the Arab world, representing a new icon of "global jihad".

How can ISIS and its media strategy be analysed? What is the meaning of cyber jihad, its characteristics, its role in shaping the image of ISIS, and how can we identify ways of confronting this challenge? Which are the reasons young people are attracted by this phenomenon, and enroll as foreign fighters?

ISIS is different from other terrorist organisations of the past for a multitude of reasons: first, its construction of a pseudo state, an “Islamic Caliphate”; second, its ability to sustain itself economically by amassing greater riches than any terrorist organisation in the past; third, its globalist and apocalyptic ambitions and its heady millenarianism; and finally, its social media campaign, which has to date attracted, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, over 18,000 foreign fighters from over 90 countries.

The concept of cyber jihad occupies a central role in the discussion on how to contend with ISIS. Social media, videos, online magazines, local radio, pamphlets and posters: ISIS has proven capable of adapting its communication strategy to strengthen its power locally and recruit new fighters or influence public opinion in western and Arab countries. Not just images of war and summary executions but also constant propaganda professing their ability to control territory and provide for its inhabitant's needs.

Government sponsored counter-narratives and counter-extremism efforts, and western media coverage are often largely inadequate in suppressing ISIS extremist ideology from spreading online and offline. On the other hand, in the context of the reflection of openness of communication and freedom of speech, activists, reporters, and human right defenders risk their life while reporting stories to reveal and document the horrors perpetrated by ISIS. With this conference project we aim not only to inform, but also to reflect on concrete activist countermeasures to apply in the Middle East and the West, and to sensibilise international press and public opinion.

The aim of this event is to understand and to discuss how ISIS unleashed cyber jihad, as well as the strategies activists and human right advocates use to oppose this form of terror, as well as Internet censorship and surveillance.


Pre-Lab · Friday November 10 · 2017

19:30-22:00 (& bar afterwards) –  at SPEKTRUM Bürknerstraße 12, 12047, Berlin

INTRODUCTION TO "TERROR FEEDS"

Mauro Mondello (Co-curator of "Terror Feeds" and Investigative Journalist, IT/DE).
This introduction talk will discuss ISIS media strategy, focusing on the way the group developed its own official media propaganda to attract in-land and foreign fighters.

PRESENTATION: Topography of Memory: Counter Destruction in the State of Terror  & The "MemoTopo" Project

Nassim Mehran (Architect, Researcher and Lecturer at Humboldt University of Berlin, IRN/DE), Asala Bader (Master of Conflict Management, Lecturer at Humboldt University of Berlin, PS-CY/DE), Ilkim Er (Architect and Researcher at TU Berlin, TR/DE), Rasha Hilwi (Freelance Journalist, PS/DE).

The speakers will discuss grassroots action of citizens to preserve the local values and properties in the time of war in Syria. The event presents and launches the project *MemoTopo*, its roots and concepts. MemoTopo is a location based collective digital platform that offers the space for people from different ethnicities and identities of the same locality to discuss methods and means of representing themselves, and their heritage, especially in areas and communities threatened by conflict (memotopo.com).

The Pre-Lab is introduced by Tatiana Bazzichelli (Artistic Director of the Disruption Network Lab and Co-curator of "Terror Feeds", IT/DE).


CONFERENCE EVENTS

Friday November 24 · 2017

17:00-18:30 – KEYNOTE

RISE OF THE CALIPHATE: HOW ISIS BECAME A GLOBAL THREAT

Sue Turton (Reporter and Journalist, Former Al Jazeera Correspondent, UK), Charlie Winter (Senior Research Fellow ICSR Centre, Associate Fellow ICCT The Hague, PhD Fellow King’s College London, UK). Moderated by Mauro Mondello (Investigative Journalist, IT/DE).

Why did the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria come to exist? What are its aims and its reasons for committing terrible violence? To comprehend this phenomenon, it is first of all necessary to understand the tangled story of how it came to be. The group started in 1999 in a very different configuration. In the last eighteen years the disorders in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State/ISIS became a pressing security and humanitarian concern not only for the region, but also for the international community as a whole. To appraise the effectiveness of strategies to counter ISIS's activities, it is crucial to understand the place ISIS occupies within a broader context. In her keynote presentation, reporter and journalist Sue Turton will focus on the origin, the evolution and the groups current status "in the field", presenting an overview of the Islamic State’s development from the beginning up to now, highlighting different steps followed by the group during the years, as well as its changes in perspective, and how it adapted its strategy to the different countries where it operates. Researcher Charlie Winter will focus on how the ISIS propaganda has been working and the way it changed and developed through the years, especially through the strategic usage of contents, media, and social platforms, which have been crucial for the Islamic State rise since the very beginning. What is the current status of ISIS? How does their official propaganda work and how might it operate in the future?

19:00-21:00 – PANEL

CYBER JIHAD: ISIS MEDIA STRATEGIES AND COUNTERMEASURES

Dlshad Othman (Activist and IT Security Engineer, SY/US), Aymenn Al-Tamimi (Jihad-Intel Research Fellow at the Middle East Forum, SY/UK), Donatella Della Ratta (Writer and Arab Media Specialist, John Cabot University, IT). Moderated by Frederike Kaltheuner (Programme Lead and Policy Officer, Privacy International, DE/UK).

This panel analyses both ISIS’s sophisticated and rigorous media strategy and its countermeasures. ISIS adopts online media tools to propagate its multidimensional indoctrination, strategically recruiting young men and women worldwide, using websites and online magazines but above all social media platforms. This panel aims at providing an understanding of ISIS’s cyber jihad via practical examples and documents, analysing the role of (social) media usage in building the ISIS image, and identifying ways of confronting this challenge. ISIS makes a profound use of cyber jihad as an instrument for recruitment, radicalisation, and dissemination of propaganda, and has captivated a global network of supporters that articulate, intensify and disseminate its violent extremist messages worldwide. This panel will analyse the results of ISIS’s media and social media propaganda, the developments of its media aesthetics, and its technological capability in building up a global network of supporters; from the other side, it will present countermeasures to defeat extremism, discussing to which level we are dealing with real advanced threats, and what are the consequences of more ISIS fighters currently going back to EU.

Saturday November 25 · 2017

16:00-17:30 – PANEL

RADICALISED: THE FRANCHISE OF TERROR

Saud Al-Zaid (Scholar of Islamic Studies, Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures, DE), Pieter Van Ostaeyen (Historian & Arabist, PhD candidate KU Leuven, BE). Moderated by Dave Keating (Journalist, US/BE).

The jihadist group Islamic State has become notorious for its brutality, including mass killings, abductions and beheadings. The group has demanded Muslims across the world to swear allegiance to its leader and migrate to territory under its control, and has demanded that other jihadist groups worldwide accept its supreme authority. This panel focuses on the fighters behind the Islamic State façade and especially their identities and origins, and their reasons for leaving everything behind to join the fight. Saud Al-Zaid will present his anthropological perspective on the human beings that decided to enroll the terrorist groups during the last years, focusing on the roots and the specifics of different cultural and social backgrounds. Pieter Van Ostaeyen will present an in-depth analysis on European foreign fighters through recruitment, networks, and case studies on individuals, examining their reasons to engage in violence, or for traveling to join ISIS in the Middle East. Furthermore, his presentation will reflect on the methods used by ISIS to recruit and direct individuals. The panels will also address what possible future actions the foreign fighters — who at their peak numbered tens of thousands from dozens of countries — might decide to take after the conflict ends.

18:00-19:30 – KEYNOTE

PREVENTION & PREJUDICE:
COUNTER-RADICALISATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS CHALLENGES

Amrit Singh (Head of the Accountability, Liberty, and Transparency Cluster of the Open Society Justice Initiative, US), Michèle Hassen (Radicalisation Awareness Network RAN Education, Working Group Leader, EU/FR). Moderated by John Goetz (Investigative Journalist, US/DE).

In the context of increased public fear about homegrown terrorism after the London bombing of July 7, 2005, the UK government has responded with a counter-extremism strategy known as Prevent. This programme has also been quite influential beyond the borders of the UK. The Executive Director of Europol recently described Prevent as a "best practice model in Europe" for tackling extremism [1]. Presenting an in-depth analysis of counter-radicalisation policies and the "Prevent" programme, Amrit Singh will focus on the human rights impact of the Prevent counter-extremism initiative in the health and education sectors, referring to the report authored by Singh and the Open Society Justice Initiative. Her talk will address the issue that most of the EU approaches to counter-radicalisation employ very vague ideas of "extremism" or "radicalisation" that run the risk of infringing on human rights, while there is very little discussion of what these programmes mean in practice. Michèle Hassen will present the educational work of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), focusing on the issue of human rights regarding the prevention of violent extremism in schools. RAN being a network of practitioners (teachers, school leaders), this presentation will reflect the issue, sometimes controversial, of the educators’ point of view regarding so called Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures or CVE, and the main analysis and advice from the ground in educational settings.

20:00-21:30 – KEYNOTE

FRACTURED LANDS: CONFRONTING THE ISLAMIC STATE

Abdalaziz Alhamza /Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently -RBSS (Co-founder, Media Activist, SY/DE); Aaron Y. Zelin (Founder of Jihadology.net and JihadPod, Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute, US). Moderated by Donatella Della Ratta (Writer and Arab Media Specialist, John Cabot University, IT).

The city of Raqqa for a long time marked the symbolic path followed by the Islamic State’s rule and showed Islamic State not as a rigid organization, but as an elaborate maze of strategies, contexts and backgrounds, united under the Caliphate utopia. Abdalaziz Alhamza, Syrian activist and co-founder of “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently”, a group that documented the daily life in the “Islamic Caliphate”, will focus on his experience on the field, revealing the crimes of the terror regime and reporting about daily experiences under ISIS's control of the city. To better understand the work of ISIS in the contexts of specific geographical and political areas, Aaron Y. Zelin will focus on the general strategy of developing an idea of global jihad that ISIS has tried to apply since 2014, going from having almost no territorial control to the total occupation of some zones, presenting some specific cases based on territorial analysis. Furthermore, he will report on ISIS's expansion in Libya, Syria and Yemen to investigate why they acquired power in some areas and not others.


Sunday November 26 · 2017

14:00-17:00 – WORKSHOP at Supermarkt Berlin

FACING TERRORIST THREATS: CYBER SECURITY AND DIGITAL SELF-DEFENSE

Mehringplatz 9, 10969 Berlin · Ticket: 12 Euro, max 20 people.

register at: info@disruptionlab.org

Dlshad Othman (Activist and IT Security Engineer, SY/US), Aymenn Al-Tamimi (Jihad-Intel Research Fellow at the Middle East Forum, SY/UK).

This workshop helps provide a platform of sharing knowledge, shedding light on the communication power of ISIS and its media strategy, by proposing a counter-narrative to its media propaganda, and new routes of opposition. The workshop aims to bring a better understanding of what is happening in Syria and the Middle East in relation to ISIS, as well as in the field of cyber security when contents get blocked or compromised by external sources. In particular, cyber security threats (attacks) and Internet shutdowns will be analysed. Policy makers, human right defenders, truth-tellers, investigative journalists, communication experts, NGOs, and other interested people, are encouraged to understand how to combat extremism by learning how terrorist groups initiate attacks and how to protect ourselves.


Speakers

Sue Turton (Reporter and Journalist, Former Al Jazeera Correspondent, UK)

Sue Turton has been a TV correspondent for more than 27 years, breaking countless exclusives, dodging gunfire covering conflicts and now on the run from the Egyptian authorities. She has covered conflict in Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Iraq and Syria and was one of a number of journalists to be convicted on terrorism offences by the Egyptian authorities. She led the campaign to get her colleagues freed. Sue now makes documentaries, anchors 24 hour news and has just written a book about activism: This Book Will (Help You) Change the World, Hachette UK, Sep 2017.

Charlie Winter (Senior Research Fellow ICSR Centre, Associate Fellow ICCT The Hague, PhD Fellow King’s College London, UK)

Charlie Winter studies terrorism and insurgency, with a focus on online and offline strategic communication. He is pursuing a PhD in War Studies at King’s College London, examining how propaganda articulates meaning and, more broadly, exploring how militant groups cultivate creative approaches to governance and war. Alongside his work at ICSR (The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence), he is an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in the Hague. Winter’s work has been published by, among others, Critical Studies in Media and Communication, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Philosophia, the CTC Sentinel, The Atlantic, War On The Rocks, Jihadology and the BBC. He holds an undergraduate degree in Arabic from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King’s College London.

Mauro Mondello (Investigative Journalist, IT/DE)

Mauro Mondello (b. 1982, Messina, Italy) is a freelance journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker based in Berlin. He works as a correspondent for la Repubblica, Avvenire, Radio Rai, Panorama, Rivista Studio, East, Zeit Magazine among others, mainly covering the Middle East area. In 2011 he followed the Arab Revolutions in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt. His documentaries include Stateless (2012), in collaboration with videomaker Nunzio Gringeri, a study of Tunisia's Shousha refugee camp and Lampedusa in Berlin (2015), about the stories of the refugees’ protest camp in Berlin at Oranienplatz. He is the founder and editor in chief of Yanez Magazine.

Dlshad Othman (Activist and IT Security Engineer, SY/US)

Dlshad is BSc in computer science, Postgraduate degree in Computing (Information security) with more than 7 years experience in Cyber Security. Currently works for Internews Network as senior information security engineer and he lives in Washington DC. He started supporting local coordination committees in Syria as an IT consultant from the beginning of the Syrian revolution but was obliged to flee Syria at the end of 2011 when his name became known to Syrian intelligence following the arrest of British documentary filmmaker Sean Mcallister. Dlshad designed and is still working on the data protection systems of the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, which is used by the media and NGOs worldwide. He started working with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting as a cyber-security trainer in December 2011. He has given many data security training courses for Syrian activists in Lebanon and in Jordan. He has succeeded in detecting malwares developed by the Syrian regime to monitor Syrian activists and has been able to guide international organizations active in helping opponents of the Syrian regime.

Aymenn Al-Tamimi (Jihad-Intel Research Fellow at the Middle East Forum, SY/UK)

Researcher fellow at the Middle East Forum, a U.S. Think-tank, and an associate fellow at ICSR in King's College, London. His work primary focuses on the Islamic State and the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, including the compilation of an extensive archive of the Islamic State documents.

Donatella Della Ratta (Writer and Arab Media Specialist, John Cabot University, IT)

Donatella Della Ratta is a writer, researcher, and curator specialized in media, arts and culture in the Arab world. From 2007 until 2011 she lived in Damascus and carried out extensive media ethnography of Syrian TV series that became the topic of her PhD research (University of Copenhagen, 2013). She is a former Post-Doctoral Fellow at University of Copenhagen and at the Annenberg School for Communication, Pennsylvania University and an Affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Donatella has authored several books on Arab and Syrian media, and she is a contributor to Italian and international media outlets, such as Al Jazeera English, Hyperallergic, Internazionale, il Manifesto. Donatella has a professional experience as a journalist, TV author and producer, and has managed the Arabic speaking community of the international NGO Creative Commons for five years (2008-2013). She has curated several art exhibitions and film programs on Syria and the Arab world, and  is co-founder and board member of the web aggregator on creative resistance SyriaUntold (www.syriauntold.com). She tweets avidly at @donatelladr.

Frederike Kaltheuner (Programme Lead and Policy Officer, Privacy International, DE/UK)

Frederike Kaltheuner develops PI's positions on the privacy and security challenges of connected spaces. Frederike regularly speaks at tech, policy and art conferences and comments on emerging technologies in the British and international press. In 2016, she was a Transatlantic Digital Fellow on cybersecurity and platform regulation with the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin and New America Foundation in D.C. Previously, she worked with the Centre for Internet and Human Rights, as a technology reporter and in the R&D department of an online newspaper. Frederike holds an MSc in Internet Science from the University of Oxford (Thesis: Web Archiving the Egyptian Revolution) and a BA in Philosophy and Politics from Maastricht University. She was previously a researcher at the University of Amsterdam and a visiting scholar at Bogazici University, Istanbul.

Saud Al-Zaid (Scholar of Islamic Studies, Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures, DE)

Saud Al Zaid is a scholar of radical Islamic thought and governmental reactions to radicalism. He specializes in the writings of Sayyid Qutb and their influence on the Salafis of Central Arabia and the Gulf. He holds degrees in Economics and Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago, a Masters degree in Arab Studies from the Center of Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, and another Masters in the Anthropology & Sociology of Religion from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. He completed his Doctoral dissertation in Islamwissenschaft (Islamic Studies) at the Freie Universität Berlin entitled Modernity’s Other: An Intellectual Anthropology of Radical Islamic Thought.

Pieter Van Ostaeyen (Historian & Arabist, PhD candidate KU Leuven, BE)
Pieter Van Ostaeyen studied Medieval History with a specialisation in the history of the Crusades (KULeuven 1999) and Arabic and Islamic Studies, focusing on the history of Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi and the Assassins (KULeuven 2003). He has been analysing the conflict in Syria since the outset in 2011. In 2012 he began reporting on foreign fighters and extremist groups such as Jabhat an-Nusra, Ahrar as-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa and The Islamic State. In 2015 he published his first book From the Crusades to the Caliphate (Van Kruistochten tot Kalifaat) with Pelckmans.

Dave Keating (Journalist, US/BE)

Dave Keating, the former editor of EuropeanVoice.com, is an American journalist based in Brussels and Berlin. Having previously covered US politics in Washington, Dave specializes in drawing comparisons between the American federal system and the European Union. He is well-known in Brussels not only for his reporting, but also his conference moderation. As a broadcast journalist, Dave has worked as a line producer for a weekly newscast, a show producer for newsmagazine specials and a segment producer for live news panels and interviews. Outside of journalism, Dave has worked as a documentary filmmaking instructor and directed a weekly talk show in New York. Dave holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University in Film/Television and History. He also holds a Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Amrit Singh (Head of the Accountability, Liberty, and Transparency Cluster of the Open Society Justice Initiative, US)

Amrit Singh directs the project on national security and counterterrorism at the Open Society Justice Initiative. She conducts strategic litigation, documentation and advocacy on a range of human rights issues relating to counterterrorism measures such as counter-radicalization, freedom of expression restraints, drone killings, rendition, torture, and arbitrary detention. Among other cases, she successfully litigated al Nashiri v. Poland, a challenge before the European Court of Human Rights to Poland’s hosting of a secret CIA prison. She is the author of Eroding Trust, Death by Drone, and Globalizing Torture, and the co-author of Administration of Torture. Previously, Singh was a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she litigated immigrants’ rights and national security cases. She also served as a law clerk to Judge Cedarbaum of the U.S. District Court in New York. She is a graduate of the Yale Law School, Oxford University, and Cambridge University.

Michèle Hassen (Radicalisation Awareness Network RAN Education, Working Group Leader, EU/FR)

Michèle Hassen was nominated working group co-leader for RAN EDUCATION by the European Commission in 2015. Former principal in secondary schools in areas with multicultural challenges, she is now inspector for schools in Paris authority. Peaceful schools, promotion of democracy values and active citizenship are the main objectives of Michèle Hassen's work on the educational field. RAN is a network of front-line or grassroots practitioners from around Europe who work with people who have already been radicalised, or who are vulnerable to radicalisation. Practitioners include police and prison authorities, but also those who are not traditionally involved in counter-terrorism activities. The RAN Education working group focuses on equipping teachers to play a crucial role in preventing radicalisation. The aim is to raise awareness of the topic, but also to empower and strengthen capacity to deal with radicalisation in educational settings.

John Goetz (Investigative Journalist US/DE)

John Goetz is a US-born investigative journalist and author, based in Berlin since 1989. His work has appeared in the Sunday Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and worked as a reporter for the German newsweekly Der Spiegel.  He is now the NDR-editor for investigations at ARD-Hauptstadtstudio and a member of the investigative team at the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Abdalaziz Alhamza /Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (Co-founder, Media Activist, SY/DE)

Abdalaziz Alhamza is award-winning Syrian journalist, human rights defender and activist living in Germany. He is the founder and spokesperson ofRaqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) which is a nonpartisan, independent organizationthat exposes the atrocities committed by the Bashar Al-Assad regime, ISIS & other groups in Syria. Alhamza started non-volatile protests and demonstrations against the Syrian regime in 2011 and was arrested by the regime three times in 2012. The Islamic State Group (ISIS) interrogated him more than one time about his activism. After ISIS took control of his hometown, Raqqa in January 2014, he escaped to Turkey and started RBSS with his friends to show the reality of life in Raqqa and ISIS. In 2015, Alhamza received the International Press Freedom award by the Committee to Protect Journalists and was named a Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy. In 2016, he was awarded the Ischia International Journalism Award, the Civil Courage Prize and other awards on behalf of RBSS.

Aaron Y. Zelin (Founder of Jihadology.net and JihadPod, Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute, US)

Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy where his research focuses on Sunni Arab jihadi groups in North Africa and Syria as well as the trend of foreign fighting and online jihadism. He is also a PhD candidate (ABD) at King's College of London, where his dissertation is on the history of the Tunisian jihadi movement. Zelin is the founder of the widely acclaimed and cited website Jihadology.net and its podcast, JihadPod. He is also the author of the New America Foundation' January 2013 study The State of the Global Jihad Online, the June 2014 Washington Institute study The War Between ISIS and al-Qaeda for Supremacy of the Global Jihadist Movement, the January 2016 Washington Institute study The Islamic State’s Territorial Methodology, and the editor of the June 2017 Washington Institute study How al-Qaeda Survived Drones, Uprisings, and the Islamic State.


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Funded by: the Reva & David Logan Foundation (grant provided by NEO Philanthropy), the Mozilla Foundation, the Bertha Foundation and the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation. Supported by: the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN). In cooperation with Kunstraum Kreuzberg /Bethanien, SPEKTRUM, Supermarkt Berlin. In collaboration with the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). Media Partners: ExBerliner, Furtherfield.