December 31, 2015 | Quoted by Lauren Carroll- Politifact

Is Guantanamo a ‘Key Componenet’ of Terrorist Propoganda?

Supporters of closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, including President Barack Obama, often refer to the military prison’s existence as a major recruitment tool for terrorist groups.

The theory is that terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) can rally potential followers by highlighting alleged human rights abuses against suspected terrorists held at the prison.

But Weekly Standard senior editor Stephen Hayes said this is flat-out wrong.

Guantanamo has “never been a key component of ISIS or al-Qaida propaganda, and yet the president is insisting on moving forward and closing it,” Hayes said on Fox News Sunday Dec. 27.

We decided to get to the bottom of this question.

When we reached out to Hayes, he said there’s no question that Guantanamo features in some terrorist propaganda, but he emphasized that it’s not a “key component.” Experts we spoke with generally agreed.

Hayes pointed us in the direction of Thomas Joscelyn, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert in counterterrorism.

“Guantanamo plays an insignificant role in the jihadis' propaganda” Joscelyn told PunditFact. “It is rarely mentioned.”

Joscelyn’s conclusion is based on statistical analyses of keywords used in ISIS and al-Qaida propaganda, which he has followed closely for the past decade. Over the years, he has amassed a database of messages, videos, transcripts of audio statements and publications produced in multiple languages, predominantly Arabic.

For example, Joscelyn found just four mentions of Guantanamo out of 12 issues — or more than 700 pages in English — of ISIS’ monthly magazine, Dabiq. Not one article included Guantanamo as a main theme. None of the four mentions were in a recruitment context; one was in a footnote.

Read the full article here.