It turns out that ISIS are major cinephiles. That’s according to its latest stream of propaganda movies, which include a plethora of references and even footage from some of the biggest Hollywood releases of the last decade.
ISIS recently created and released a 22-minute-long propaganda video titled Healing Of The Believers’ Chests, which was designed to recruit new members to their terror organization. But among its various shots and message trying to entice new Jihadis to join them in their pursuits against the West was footage from Flags Of Our Fathers, the 2006 Clint Eastwood war-drama that depicted the 1945 Battle Of Iwo Jima, as well as the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima by five Marines and one Navy Corpsman. This image is one of the most replicated in the history of the USA, which makes it even more ironic that ISIS would then decide to use it.
But this isn’t just a one-off occurrence. That’s because another ISIS propaganda video, titled Shoot To Redeem Yourself 2, features a shot that’s the direct replica from 2014’s American Sniper, which went on to gross $547.4 million at the box office in that year, and told the story of Chris Kyle, the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history. Obviously ISIS doesn’t quite get irony, while they also appear to have an infatuation with Clint Eastwood films, because, like Flags Of Our Fathers, American Sniper was overseen by the Academy Award winner. The shot in Shoot To Redeem Yourself 2 that blatantly borrows from American Sniper depicts a slow-motion image of bullet being shot right out of a rifle.
Healing Of The Believers features the most barbaric use of real-life footage, though. After opening with its obligatory Clint Eastwood plagiarism and theft, Healing Of The Believers then goes on to tell the story of a pilot from Jordan that is captured by ISIS and then forced to reveal what he has committed. Healing Of The Believers actually concludes, though, with real-life video footage of this same pilot being burned alive.
According to experts, ISIS has been increasing the use of Hollywood footage in their propaganda videos in recent years. Lara Pham is the deputy director of the Counter Extremism Project, an organization that was originally co-founded by a number of foreign-policy experts including former Senator Joseph Lieberman and former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend. She and her team have analyzed 1,275 films produce by ISIS and their various media companies. They’ve discovered that ISIS has been “deliberately and strategically using these references,” while she is also convinced that Hollywood studios don’t actually have a clue that this is taking place.
“I haven’t found anything suggesting Hollywood is aware of this, but I’m sure plenty of individuals would be concerned.”
Of course, one of the deepest ironies of all of this is the fact that ISIS fighters are actually forbidden from watching any American content whatsoever, a point that Lara Pham made herself when she talked to the Hollywood Reporter.
“ISIS fighters are forbidden to watch American movies. Which is ironic, since they use these images to attract people to their cause.”
Al-Furqan Media, a production company that is run by ISIS and previously created films that showed the deaths and beheading of American, British, and Japanese citizens that the terrorist group had kidnapped, is responsible for creating these videos and using Hollywood footage. In the past, footage from G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, The Hunger Games, and Mad Max: Fury Road have each been incorporated into feature length and short films created for the outfit. They appear to have had some success with their films, too, because the House Committee on Homeland Security and FBI previously reported that, over the last 12 months, 39 Americans have joined ISIS after watching this footage.
[Featured Image by Warner Bros]