Terror propaganda experts agree no link between Las Vegas shooter and ISIS

13 October 2017

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.

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.

The two experts will be speaking at the Information Warfare in the 21st century conference on propaganda and violent extremism, to be held at The Australian National University (ANU) on Monday. Australian journalist Peter Greste will give the opening keynote address.

Dr Ingram said that 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 said.

"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 said 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."

More information and the full program are available here - http://bellschool.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/5657/information-warfare-21st-century-media-jihad-new-cold-wars-and-fake-news.