EDINBURGH, September 30 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – Jihadists are circulating ghastly beheading videos for the same purpose that 19th-century anarchists carried out violent acts of terrorism, which is to deliver "propaganda by the deed," a professor of history at Yale University has told RIA Novosti.
Professor John Merriman, an expert on the history of the anarchist and nihilist movements and author of "The Dynamite Club: How a Bombing in the Fin-De-Siecle Paris Ignited The Age of Modern Terror", told RIA Novosti that, "One comparison would be the way jihadists use executions 'pour encourager les autres' [to encourage the others], and anarchist 'deeds' as they called them."
"Thus 'propaganda by the deed' [was] intended to provide a spark that would lead to more attacks and ultimately to the kind of mass revolution that, for example, [Mikhail] Bakunin – the Russian revolutionary anarchist – thought would take place among Russian peasants against the state," Merriman said.
He pointed out, however, that "most anarchists were not terrorists, to be sure, just as the vast majority of followers of Islam are not jihadists."
Merriman was commenting after a third video was released by Islamic State of the British captive and journalist John Cantlie who was shown in orange clothing similar to that worn by other captives subsequently executed by the Islamic extremists.
In the video, Cantlie read a pre-prepared script, saying, "It was all disappointingly predictable; America is good, the Islamic State is bad; and they will be defeated using aircraft and a motley collection of fighters on the ground. For their part the Islamic State say they welcome meeting Obama's under-construction army."
"Anarchists used pamphlets and brochures as propaganda in the same sense as jihadists use the internet, social media, etcetera today," Merriman told RIA Novosti.
The Islamic State terrorist group earlier uploaded to YouTube two videos showing the killings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. In addition, Algerian militants, linked to the IS, filmed and circulated the execution of a French hiker, Herve Gourdel, in retaliation to France's support for the US-led anti-IS airstrikes.
All of the videos caused uproar on the Internet, prompting Twitter to shut down tens of thousands of IS-associated accounts in an attempt to prevent jihadists from trumpeting IS violence.