Benjamin Carpenter, 31, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was convicted on Oct. 19 of attempting to provide material support to ISIS.
A federal jury learned in court that Carpenter ran Ahlut-Tawhid Publications, a glorified fan club for ISIS dedicated to supporting the terrorist organization’s international propaganda efforts. Under the alias “Abu Hamza,” Carpenter published and generated a great deal of ISIS content.
Carpenter produced a weekly newsletter entitled “From Dabiq to Rome,” wherein he celebrated the murder of American soldiers, idolized suicide bombers, and called for jihad against the U.S. and its allies.
According to Miron Lakomy, a political science professor at the University of Silesia in Poland, Carpenter’s newsletter amounted to an “ambitious, but somewhat unsophisticated attempt” to make up for two other flagship ISIS magazines after their publication runs came to an end. Over 30 editions of the newsletter were published.
The articles contained in the newsletters reportedly drew heavily from the Quran and Hadith. One article ended with a promise to fight jihadists’ enemies “until everyone submits to the din of Allah (…) and complies with its rules and surrenders to its authority.”
Carpenter identified Israeli politicians as potential targets.
Paul Kamolnick, an East Tennessee State University professor specializing in terrorism and religion, told WBIR-TV, “The words that are used [in the newsletters] are extraordinarily dehumanizing. … It gives you a clear conscience in destroying people who you believe to be the enemy of God.”
Social media messages presented in court reportedly showed Carpenter also sending the U.S. Army Munitions Handbook to foreign nationals along with a review, which said, “This book contains more info than you would ever think would be legal to buy on Amazon.”
The Department of Justice indicated that in 2020 and in 2021, Carpenter contacted an individual who he believed to be a terrorist affiliated with ISIS’ central media bureau. Carpenter then provided translation services for a project with the aim of relaunching Al-Hayat Media Center, ISIS’ foreign-language propaganda outfit.
Court documents indicate that a covert FBI official had posed as someone from ISIS’ media organization Diwan and flushed Carpenter out with fulfilled requests for translation services. Carpenter was arrested shortly thereafter on March 24, 2021, reported Courthouse News Service.
Carpenter faces 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Crytzer will preside over his sentencing at a later date.
Knoxville man suspected of helping ISIS makes his case in federal courtyoutu.be
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