Political news source PJ Media reports that a terrifying video released yesterday by ISIS specifically calls out San Francisco as the location of an upcoming attack.
The video shows San Francisco’s golden gate bridge, focusing on the supports of the suspension bridge before panning to the cars driving past. It also shows news footage of Pulse, the club that was the location of the recent attack in Orlando, while praising the attacker.
Several other American landmarks, most of them located in San Francisco, that the article assumes are “aspirational attack sites” are shown as a voiceover by an ISIS member who introduces himself as Abu Ismail al-Amriki (translated as “The American”) plays in the background.
In addition to scenes of San Francisco hotspots, the video shows footage of political leaders like President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande, generally superimposed with threatening images like pooling blood or walls of fire, as well as footage of American Muslim leaders condemning ISIS and the attacks they have staged.
Before reading any further, keep in mind that the San Francisco threat video is textbook terrorism and should be taken with a grain of salt. Most terrorist organizations, and ISIS in particular, have established that one of their most-used tactics by which to spread terror is to make a lot of specific threats to rile up as many people as possible – like San Francisco residents, for example – and only act on a small fraction of those threats. If ISIS’s San Francisco threat turns out to be hollow, it would be far from the first time ISIS sent out a falsely threatening video.
But even if the viewer goes in with the knowledge that the ISIS San Francisco video is likely a complete sham, like one might with a horror movie screening, it cannot be denied that the footage is very unnerving, especially for residents living at or nearby the San Francisco locales depicted in the video.
For example,the camera pans over Pine Street, located near San Francisco’s financial district before focusing on the 555 California Street tower, which stands at 52 stories and is the second tallest building in San Francisco. Shown next is footage of San Francisco’s Powell Street shot from what appears to be a cell phone held by someone riding a cable car. Last, the video shows footage of the bustling Las Vegas strip that the article speculates is shot from the pedestrian bridge at Caesars Palace. It is unclear whether this was a veiled threat to the City of Sin or the video’s editor just thought people would not recognize the difference between San Francisco and Las Vegas.
All this footage is shot via shaky handheld camera. It is accompanied by an English voiceover encouraging more attacks in San Francisco in the same vein as the Pulse incident in Orlando and Arab subtitles are superimposed on the footage being shown.
Perhaps the most disgusting part of the video is that, with its voiceover, ISIS does not stop with attempting to spread fear, but actually works to associate themselves with the more than 1.5 billion genuine, non-homicidal maniac Muslims who despise ISIS just as much as most others do.
“Do you think you are at war with a small group of mujahideen in Iraq, Syria, Libya and other places? You are sadly mistaken. And do you think you will defeat us by bombing our homes with your drones and F-16s?” al-Amriki begins.
“O America, indeed you are at war with… sincere Muslims around the world who yearn and desire to see the honor of Islam returned. And O America, indeed you are at war with the people who wish to be killed and slain for the sake of Allah… you are at war with the holy Quran.”
Again, it is overwhelmingly likely that the San Francisco threat will come to nothing. Nonetheless, though, San Francisco residents should be on their guards.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]