Links between LA shooter and ISIS is ‘unlikely’

Dr Craig Whiteside, Dr Haroro Ingram, Dr Alastair Reed.

TWO leading terrorism propaganda experts have agreed that Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock is unlikely to have any connection to ISIS, despite the group’s decision to claim credit for the atrocity.

Dr Haroro Ingram of the ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs and Dr Alastair Reed, director of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at the Hague, are calling on politicians and the media to build a greater understanding of the “propaganda traps” used by the group.

Dr Ingram says if no evidence emerges of a link between Paddock and ISIS, it may suggest the group was willing to risk its credibility in the eyes of supporters and bank on media and politicians running with their claim.

“ISIS tends to tell the truth in these matters to build up credibility with its supporters,” Dr Ingram says.

“So every now and then they can cash that in, especially when times are tough for them, and that’s what it seems they have done here.”

Dr Reed says ISIS have learnt from the willingness of politicians and media to run with the group’s claims, especially concerning “inspired” attacks with no direct contact between the terrorist group and the perpetrator.

“When ISIS claim an inspired attack they are often themselves unsure if there is a link, chances are on this occasion they have just taken a punt that it might be the case,” Dr Reed says.

The two experts will be speaking at the “Information Warfare in the 21st century conference” on propaganda and violent extremism, at the Australian National University (ANU) on Monday.

Australian journalist Peter Greste will give the opening keynote address.

Tickets and more information available at bellschool.anu.edu.au

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