How Jihadists Are Blackmailing, Torturing, and Killing Gay Syrians
Even between the plush sofas and mood lighting of one of Beirut’s hippest bars, Ram shook with fear as he relived his ordeal. He turned his large green eyes from me to the translator and then back to me again, speaking in a low voice, even though we were the only people in the room.
"I think I was targeted for two reasons: because I’m a Druze, and because I’m gay," he said. "They told us, ‘You are all perverts, and we are going to kill you to save the world.’"
Ram’s nightmare, which unfolded on a hot summer’s afternoon in Damascus, forced the then 19-year-old to flee his home for Beirut, with just a few hundred dollars in his pocket. Even in Damascus, the stronghold of Assad’s regime—where the elite still dance and drink cocktails in exclusive nightclubs—society has broken down into a chaotic quagmire where criminal gangs operate with impunity and radical Islamist groups are strengthening their stranglehold.
Maybe it was only a matter of time before Ram was picked out as a target. He is a Druze—a member of the small religious group that makes up just three percent of the Syrian population—and comes from a wealthy family well known for supporting Assad’s regime. From the beginning of the revolution he had known that these things could put him at risk. But his homosexuality was always a secret between him and his gay friends; he never thought that it could finally force him to flee.
"I got a phone call from my friend," he recalled. "He asked me to come over to his house because he’d lost all his money and he needed my help. I could never refuse him anything, so I went there straight away."
But Ram had walked into a trap.
Hackers Blackmailed a Detroit Teenager into Pawning His Mother’s Jewelry
Hector Hernandez is a seemingly average seventeen-year-old kid in Detroit. Earlier this week, he stole and pawned his family’s jewels so he could wire money to internet blackmailers in the Philippines. He did this because they had threatened to publicize webcam video they had managed to get of him by hacking his webcam.
According to reports, this scam is becoming increasingly common. Hackers trick someone into installing a remote access application, switch on their webcam when they’re doing something “indiscreet,” then Facebook message them a copy of the video, and threaten to show it to their parents/significant other/boss/whomever the person in the video would least like to see it. In short, it’s a crime of that type of psychopathic genius I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
In the case of Hector Hernandez, the scheme paid off to the tune of $1,700 in three installments, money he was able to get his hands on by pawning $100,000 worth of jewelry he stole from his family (which doesn’t seem like a very good deal.) The scammers probably used a trojan horse to install the remote access tool or “RAT virus”, as they’re calling it on TV news, on Hector’s computer.
If you’ve been following our coverage of Amanda Todd’s suicide, you’ll know that it led to a realization that there is a very active corner of the internet where pedophiles find young girls on webcam chat sites like BlogTV, coerce them into taking their clothes off, screenshot their images clandestinely, and share the screen-caps with each other in a sick bartering system that leads to rivalries among their ranks. Once you understand this network of predators, it’s clear that the cause of Amanda’s death is wrapped in a dizzying and upsetting online world. One of the most perverse and alarming elements of this subculture is an animated newscast series called The Daily Capper, which covers the exploits and stories that develop inside this playground for pedophiles. This Saturday, The Daily Capper released its first video since Halloween of 2011 (embedded above), which claims to unravel the mystery behind Amanda’s blackmail. The tone that this newscast takes is severely different from any other video that The Daily Capper has released previously.
In this video, the animated newscaster who had previously reveled in the dark activities of cappers by providing them with awards for blackmailing or warning of FBI monitoring on BlogTV, opens by taking a moral high ground against Canada’s law enforcement and the mainstream media. The newscaster opens by declaring that Amanda Todd’s suicide is more than a case of cyber-bullying, which is what I reported weeks ago (since then, this narrative has become the popular understanding in Canada’s mainstream media). The video goes on to reveal a timeline of events that starts with Amanda flashing on BlogTV, moves on to screenshots of pedophiles sharing her live chat link on BlogTV, and then reveals emails sent to The Daily Capper, supposedly from Amanda, that asked for the newscast’s help in exposing her harassers. The video also attempts to verify that Kody Maxson, the man the upstart New Jersey branch of Anonymous outed as her blackmailer, was in fact the man responsible for harrassing her. However, given what we know about the ongoing rivalries between cappers and the sick nature of what they do, it’s impossible to trust The Daily Capper when they say that Kody is more guilty than Viper, the pedophile whom Kody has blamed in the press.