In March 2017, in separate arrests, a black man in St. Louis and two father-and-son dual US-Israeli citizens were arrested for pretending to be anti-Semites who made a rash of bomb and other threats against Jewish organizations in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. See:
- Fake Anti-Semitism: Black-racist Bernie-voter made bomb threats to Jewish groups to make ex-girlfriend look bad
- Fake Anti-Semitism: Dual US-Israeli citizens made bomb threats against Jewish groups
Yesterday, I came across another case of fake threats, by a Jewish young man living with his parents in Florida, who pretended to be an ISIS/Islamic State jihadist threatening to attack the U.S. and Australia.
Elise Potaka and Luke McMahon report for Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald that on Sept. 9, 2015, the FBI arrested 20-year-old Joshua Ryne Goldberg at his parents’ home in Orange Park, a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida, for pretending to be an Australian-based Islamic State (IS) jihadist and for “distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction in furtherance of an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence”.
The police made the arrest after an FBI joint investigation with the Australian Federal Police based on information provided by Fairfax Media — one of Australia’s largest media companies and the owner of the Sydney Morning Herald.
Calling himself “Australi Witness,” Goldberg had posed online as an IS supporter working with other jihadists on plans to attack individuals and events in Australia and the United States. He even posted pictures of a bomb that he said he was making with “2 lbs of explosives inside”.
Goldberg is Jewish, not a Muslim, and has no real-world links with the Islamic State or any other terrorist group.
US Attorney Lee Bentley III said Goldberg:
- Instructed a confidential source how to make a bomb similar to two used in the 2013 Boston Marathon
bombingshoax, with nails, metal and other items dipped in rat poison.
- Provided five web links to sites containing instructions to make explosives as part of a plot to explode a bomb at a memorial ceremony in Kansas City, commemorating the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The affidavit, released by Special agent William Berry of US Customs and Border Protection, says Goldberg initially denied to police that he had distributed information on how to make a bomb, but later admitted it and “further admitted that he believed the information would create a genuine bomb”.
In the leadup to an exhibition in Garland, Texas, at which pictures of the Prophet Mohammed were to be displayed, posing as “Australi Witness,” Goldberg tweeted the event’s address and urged people to go there with “weapons, bombs or with knifes”. Two Muslim men attempted an attack at the exhibition, and were killed by police. Australi Witness then praised them online as martyrs.
Australi Witness Goldberg also urged followers to target Australian cartoonist Larry Pickering, who has previously depicted the Prophet Mohammed.
Goldberg, as Australi Witness, posed online as prominent Australian lawyer, Josh Bornstein. Goldberg established a blog on the Times of Israel in the lawyer’s name and, pretending to be Bornstein, posted an inflammatory article calling for the “extermination” of Palestinians. The Times retracted and apologized for the article. For his part, Bornstein said in a public statement that “I deplore racism…I’ve fought racism since I was four years old”.
When confronted, Goldberg boasted he had fooled “that guy” Bornstein into thinking that the online radical right-wing website “Daily Stormer did it.”
According to Wikipedia, Goldberg also pretended to be these other online personas:
- White supremacist neo-Nazi on The Daily Stormer, Reddit, and European88.
- Radical feminist.
- Woman-hating misogynist on Reddit, advocating corrective rape against “whores and feminazis”, and offering tips on how to do so without getting caught.
Goldberg’s Australi Witness persona fooled journalists and terrorism experts.
As an example, Rita Katz, 54 — a Jew born in Iraq who is a terrorism analyst, co-founder of the D.C.-based private intelligence firm Search International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Intelligence Group, consultant for US and foreign governments, and has testified before Congress on online terrorist activities — said “IS supporter” Australi Witness held a “prestige” position in online jihadi circles and was “part of the hard core of a group of individuals who constantly look for targets for other people to attack”.
You can’t make this stuff up! — but evidently, terrorism expert Rita Katz can.
According to Wikipedia:
- On Sept. 15, 2015, Goldberg appeared in court where he was ordered to undergo a 30-day mental health evaluation to determine his fitness to stand trial. If tried and convicted, Goldberg faces 20 years in prison.
- On December 14, 2015, after an examination by psychologist Lisa Feldman at Federal Detention Center, Miami, US Magistrate Judge James Klindt ruled Goldberg mentally incompetent to stand trial and Goldberg was ordered to be undergo psychiatric treatment for four months at the Federal Medical Center, Butner.
- On June 15, 2016, appearing again before Judge Klindt, Goldberg was described by prison psychiatrists as “improving”, and that there was a “good chance” of him being returned to competency to stand trial. Another status update was scheduled by Klindt for October 15, 2016.
- Israeli intelligence chief said Israel does not want ISIS to be defeated
- WTF? ISIS apologizes for attacking Israeli soldiers