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Spy chief warns Australians becoming 'extremist propagandists'

Published on Aug 13, 2014 11:40 AM
 
An Islamist fighter, identified as Abu Yahya al-Shami from Australia (left), speaks in this still image taken undated video shot at an unknown location. Australians are becoming key players in the successful "social media wars" being waged from Iraq and Syria, increasingly acting as "English-language Islamic extremist propagandists", the country's spy chief has warned. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australians are becoming key players in the successful "social media wars" being waged from Iraq and Syria, increasingly acting as "English-language Islamic extremist propagandists", the country's spy chief has warned.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general David Irvine said the bloody and often gruesome conflicts were creating a new generation of militants, "the scale and scope of which we have not seen elsewhere".

"The number of Australians who have sought to take part in the Syria and Iraq conflicts, or have sought to support extremists fighting there, is unprecedented," he said in a speech late Tuesday.

Irvine said what was particularly worrying was that many of the fluent English speakers were being used by the Islamic State to get their message out to a broad audience through graphic and highly emotive social media coverage.

 
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