As the Senior Deputy Director of MIGS - Montreal’s Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies - Kyle Matthews believes that we’re already beginning to fight the Third World War and that its front lines can be easily found on the internet.
Let’s face it,” he said. “…we’re at war, and as of now, the bad guys are winning.”
According to Matthews, western governments should recognize and understand that ISIS – the Islamic State – is already using the social media as an effective medium for all of its propaganda and recruitment efforts and research indicates that they are already getting excellent results. After citing assorted intelligence sources who believe that some 20 000 new recruits are already on their way to the Middle East in order to join DAESH -the Islamic State, Matthews believes both governments and assorted media outlets must adopt a coherent, coordinated and comprehensive media strategy if they wish to fight the growing threat of a digital ‘jihad’ that, followed last month’s Charlie Hebdo massacre.
As a result of his research, Matthews decided that something had to be done about the digital threat and he established the Digital Mass Atrocities Prevention Lab, an organization that he hopes will become a major presence amid the front lines of the fight against the growing threat of digital extremism. As research continues to indicate that ISIS is continually scouring what Matthews described as “…the dark side of the web,” for vulnerable individuals (who may or may not have previous personal problems), he also mentioned that the digital fundamentalist sites have a lot in common with assorted ‘extreme’ porn sites that cater to the same kind of alienated and dis-affected individuals as those who find a home among digital extremist ‘chat’ groups.
“Terror works…at least for a little while,” said Matthews as he described a bare and vacant media landscape that’s dominated by the epic violence that has now become part of the day’s news on the internet.
With little more than a good video camera and a working internet connection, digital activists can take advantage of their own media vacuum in order to deliver their ‘everyone is against us’ narrative that defines the entire western world as implacable enemies of their one, true, holy and apostolic interpretation of God’s implacable will. Aside from their numerous Facebook profiles and (at last count) over 45 000 twitter accounts, ISIS is now using disciplined, skilled and experienced media technicians who know how to produce a growing number of professional promotion videos (in several languages) that will eventually make their own way through the social media.
“ISIS is very good at using video to shock the world and getting the media to cover them (at a distance) in order to spread their message,” said Matthews. “But nobody is doing anything to produce any kind of counter-narrative that’s going to tell the truth about what’s really going on out there.”
To that end, Matthews and his staff have been developing ideas and working out a number of strategies that they plan to share with others at a Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum that’s scheduled to be held in Germany this summer. While Concordia provides MIGS with both its office and its staff, another round of provincial budget cuts have eliminated the university’s ability to help the Institute pay for airplane fares and expenses Matthews and two others need in order to attend the summer conference. In order to cover the expense, Matthews has already organized an online (Indiegogo) fund raising campaign in order to raise the money ($5000) he needs to get himself and his staff to the Deutsche Welle Forum.
“It’s not enough to simply meet your enemy and destroy him on the ground,” he said. “You have to destroy his ideas…the ideas that made him your enemy in the first place.”