On May 3rd, two men from Phoenix, Arizona shot a security guard outside a convention centre in which a contest was being held to draw cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The event, which was ostensibly organised in pursuance of the principle of free speech, was called the “Muhammed Art Exhibition and Cartoon Contest” and was bound to be provocative, particularly after the attack on the Charlie Hedbo offices in Paris earlier this year.
Two days earlier, a tweet was sent to the Garland Police Department’s Twitter account from a person connected with the group Anonymous, warning of a potential ISIS attack in Texas. The Garland Police Department have maintained that they never saw this message. One of the young men involved in the shooting also highlighted his intentions on Twitter days before the attack, with clear references to ISIS and its leader.
Online activists under the collective “#OpISIS” have been gathering information on social media accounts with links to ISIS and have been successful in getting many of these removed. This move has not proved popular with intelligence agencies who monitor this activity in the hope of gathering information. However, supporters of ISIS claim that this online presence is merely for propaganda purposes and offers no substantive detail.