The Blogger Who Took on ISIS

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When ISIS took over the northern Iraqi metropolis of Mosul in early June 2014, a neighborhood resident decided to start a blog to tell human beings of what changed into surely occurring below the terrorist regime. The self-defined “non-journalist” launched Mosul Eye, in which they, in reality, noted ISIS’s selections, movements, and planned actions around Mosul—once in a while getting their statistics by just chatting to militants on the street. Articles ranged from everyday reviews on the state of affairs in the city for updates on counter-military operations and designated debts of ISIS’s method.

The internet site continued to put up in the course of ISIS’s 3-year occupation of Mosul. Some of its posts are rumored to have helped the Iraqi army find a few of the group’s headquarters. But because the website’s recognition grew, so did the range of dying threats ISIS sent its publisher—usually via e-mail and comment on blog posts. It escalated to the point where the writer felt threatened enough to flee Iraq rapidly before the city changed into liberated in July 2017.

VICE Arabia spoke to the author of Mosul Eye, at the condition of anonymity, to discover why they began the blog, what it becomes like to be focused by way of ISIS, and what is next.

Mosul Eye: On the day ISIS occupied Mosul, everything was regarded so dark and bleak. By then, I was already using my private Facebook web page to publish news and statistics, so I determined to take it a step similarly via launching the blog to file the whole thing that became happening in the city. Soon when I began blogging, dozens of human beings had been trying to get in touch with me, but I by no means answered out of fear that they had been ISIS combatants seeking to tune me down.

When I started, ISIS changed into spreading a lot of fake propaganda about how the citizens of the city had welcomed them and how each person resided in peace and prosperity beneath their control. To be sincere, I by no means thought of myself because of the type of man or woman courageous sufficient to do something like this. All I desired to do became help human beings within the city by giving them the reality. The more centered on my undertaking I become, the simpler it turned into doing it.

I might stroll around outside and note how ISIS opponents were treating humans—although I never took so much as a pen or a telephone to document what I noticed. I might memorize the entirety that I noticed, then write it up when I was given home.

Sure. Sometimes I’d speak to them once I saw them inside the market or at different public places. I typically felt at ease to get into discussions with them about faith and politics because I have a strong knowledge of their ideology. Although, once, the communication was given a piece heated after they asked me whether I had pledged allegiance to their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. If I had said yes, they could have asked me to do something to show my allegiance but had I stated no, they could’ve killed me. Luckily, I managed to evade the question using changing the situation.

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One day, after speaking to a few ISIS fighters, I stupidly rushed home and blogged about a specific story they had shared with me. A few days later, I noticed those men again and that they asked me to explain how that information had ended up at the site. I completely denied even knowing what the website turned into and something approximately the individual strolling it. They then informed me of their methods to seek out the fellow who owns the website online. It turned into very horrifying.

Yes—and, again, I turned into fortunate. ISIS did pressure net vendors at hand over the personal information of all their customers in the city so they could monitor absolutely everyone’s activity. But I had a friend who clearly owned a web company. I paid him to double for my net connection so he wouldn’t pass on my information.

Obviously, I became scared that ISIS could find out and kill me, but I became greater scared about the terrible things they might do to my circle of relatives. They failed even to recognize that I turned into walking the weblog. Every time a person knocked on our door, I feared it was ISIS. I might constantly quietly prepare myself for the worst.

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Of path, I become satisfied to pay attention that the information I provided was being used to assist the people of Mosul; however, I simply by no means got down to do anything extra than report what I saw—I’m neither a journalist nor an intelligence officer. I would get messages from humans saying that my posts assisted the Iraqi navy in targeting ISIS warring parties and their headquarters. I changed into one of the first humans to write approximately the structure in their company and the hierarchies they established within the company. That exposed their device and weakened them.

Still, yes, I did determine to go away after receiving an immediate chance from ISIS just earlier than Mosul become liberated. I controlled to get away thru Syria with the help of Turkmen smugglers after paying them $1,000. I could alternatively now not say where I am now. Personally, I would really like it to remain active; however, perhaps shift towards documenting Mosul’s cultural revival and how young humans inside the town contribute to it. Or I might forestall at some point and get lower back to my regular life.

As first mentioned by the CBC, the targeted negative evaluations written via bikers and their supporters really pressured one famous Manitoba eating place on Facebook. Since they’re being discriminated against for their affiliation with the prepared crime organization, some members of the Hells Angels are now not going to take it anymore. But as opposed to taking it to the streets on their Harleys and sporting brass knuckles, they’re going to Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and anywhere else they can tank your business—and they’re now not half bad at it.

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It probably needn’t be said, but despite their strength having been waning in current years, the Hells Angels are a down and dirty criminal employer concerned in drug going for walks, extortion, trafficking, and other illicit sports. The so-known as one-percenter gang has been responsible for numerous murders around the world.

However, simply because they’re a difficult biker gang doesn’t mean their emotions can’t get harm. The HA first took to their keyboards over bruised egos when a motorbike journey started from the Headingley Sports Shop in Manitoba, a Canadian province; this summertime, humans flying colorations couldn’t partake. Dale Kelland, an alleged chief of the Manitoba Nomads—an HA club—asked affiliated participants and supporters to present the sports store negative critiques.