ISIS E-Book Teaches Western Jihadis How to Organize Sleeper Cells

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf petro-powerhouses encouraged a flow of cash to Sunni rebels in Syria for years. But …
AP Photo/Militant Website, File

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has released a new e-book, “How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide (2015),” specifically for sleeper cells within the United States. It offers points to evade arrest and live under the radar.

The book is written in English but does not name the author. Though it does not appear to be readily available online at press time, The Tampa Tribune managed to snag a copy over the weekend and provided a full report.

“In this book, you will be taught these skills,” stated the introduction, continuing:

You will be taught how to lead a double-life, how to keep your Secret life private, how to survive in a threatening land, how you can Arm and strengthen the Muslims when the time for Jihad comes to your country, and neighborhood. In simple terms, from this guide book–you will learn how to be a Sleeper-cell which activates at the right time when the Ummah needs you.

The Tribune reports the book included information “from breaking allegiances to earning money to making modern weapons, bombs, mobil detonation devices from cell phones, how to avoid detection, how to use the Internet without raising suspicion and what to do ‘when you are spied on and get raided.’” It also offers information about finances and ways to enter a room. It teaches the reader “how to spot and avoid surveillance,” as well.

Terrorism experts have spoken out against the book–not just for its incitement to violence, but its shoddy workmanship. Kerry Myers, a former FBI supervisory special agent who currently teaches about terrorism financing at the University of South Florida, told the Tribune the book “is more of a propaganda piece aimed at inciting Muslims in Europe to act as lone wolves in support of the Islamic State.”

“The ‘tradecraft’ (if you can call it that) is very elementary and poor,” she explained. She went on to state:

What is true is not new and what is new is not true. The alleged “trade­craft” is equivalent to that followed by low-level, uneducated, street-level, dope dealers in any urban city–if even that good. The biggest danger I see in this is as propaganda tool potentially inciting an attack like we recently had in Paris or Tunisia.

ISIS took credit for the massacre at the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia on March 18. The terrorists killed over 20 people and wounded many more. French, Spanish, Italian, and British civilians were among the dead.

“The most concerning of all, though, is not the manual itself, but rather the environment in which the manual and those like it exist,” said Ben Venzke, the CEO of IntelCenter, which follows jihadi groups online, adding:

The threat posed by an effective and broadly distributed terrorist training manual a decade ago pales in comparison to today. The jihadi terrorists’ enthusiastic and aggressive adoption of “lone wolf” or “homegrown terrorists” operating by themselves or in small groups, while continuing their directly managed plots, has completely changed the threat framework. These individual actors are hearing and responding to the call.

Clint Watts, a former executive officer of the Combating Terror Center at West Point believes the writer is “associated” with ISIS and is in Great Britain “from the syntax and spelling in the e-book.”

It is not the first manual or book the terrorist group released. A manual from December advised terrorists “how to properly beat, rape, and fail to impregnate female slaves.” ISIS released a guide in January “to teach women how to properly indoctrinate their children to fully commit to the cause of jihadist terrorism.” In February, ISIS released the “Women in the Islamic State” to tell females what to expect when they join the group. The women must cook, clean, and birth a lot of children for the jihadists. It even permits girls as young as nine-years-old to marry.


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