ISIS uses Army vet’s photo to call US veterans weak-minded and suicidal


It looks more like an ESPN highlight film or pregame package…maybe even a National Guard commercial. A recently uploaded video by the ISIS propaganda machine has one Afghanistan war vet stunned.

Far from his days in active duty- when he served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 35-year-old Army veteran Will Hammond told the NY Post, “It’s not every day you find yourself in propaganda.” Hammond, who now works as an oil field engineer in Canada, says he was shocked when he saw himself featured in an ISIS recruitment video that a fellow veteran posted an Facebook.

“No Respite” -the four-minute long animated video, with a deep-voiced narrator -was posted online by the terror group in late November. The video “taunts” American soldiers about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the suicide rates among returning veterans.

ISIS has apparently polished its skills in video production — putting out propaganda via social media and tapping people with “considerable experience and highly developed skills in design and animation programs, storyboarding and marketing.” Unfortunately, you don’t need a production studio to do this, experts say, all you need is a laptop.

Photojournalist Robert Nickelsberg, snapped a shot of two soldiers in the open bed of a small truck, with their heads bandaged — at the base of a hill in Afghanistan in 2006. The photo was named one of Time magazine’s best of that year, which is likely how ISIS found it, the Post reports. Hammond, who is on the far right of the photo, holding a rifle, was escorting the wounded soldiers to a landing zone to get them to a hospital. The two soldiers were attacked while delivering food and water to an observation post near their base.

The very “low-key” Hammond told the paper he was more impressed with the technical skills of the ISIS editors than he was upset over the video’s anti-American-soldier message.

“I wish I could sue them for royalties,” he joked, adding that one thing he would like to go after ISIS for is using his likeness without his permission.

On a more serious note,  he says: “What’s scary about this video is that it’s specifically for folks in the West who are disenfranchised who are idealistic and naive enough to believe in something like ISIS.”

“It’s in the same vein as kids who sign up to the Marines to go fight in the Middle East. It’s the same kind of idealism,” he said.

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Author

  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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