A Georgia woman has been charged with helping the ISIS terrorist group make a “kill list” of fellow Americans.
Kim Anh Vo, 20, who went by a number of screen names, including “ZoZo,” “Kitty Lee,” and “Miss.Bones,” in 2016 joined an online group, United Cyber Caliphate (UCC), that pledged allegiance to the Islamic terrorist group and committed to carrying out online attacks and cyber attacks against Americans, according to law enforcement officers in an indictment unsealed this week (pdf).
In early 2017, Vo recruited other people to create content to post online propaganda for ISIS, including a video that threatened a nonprofit based in New York City.
“The group to which Vo and her co-conspirators belonged published videos online calling on ISIS supporters to (a) harm employees of [the nonprofit] dedicated to combating terrorism through de-radicalization efforts, and (b) murder thousands of American citizens through so-called attacks,” law enforcement agents wrote.
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) confirmed that it was the nonprofit that ISIS threatened.
“CEP is grateful to all of the law enforcement agencies whose investigation led to the arrest of Ms. Vo this week. It is always shocking when Americans are charged with supporting terror organizations like ISIS. Ms. Vo’s alleged association with terrorists and direct violent threats against CEP are indefensible,” CEO Ambassador Mark Wallace said in a statement.
“America is safer today with Ms. Vo in custody. CEP will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors in whatever way we can.”
On several occasions, FBI agents said, the UCC circulated a “kill list” with the names of people, including soldiers in the U.S. military, that terrorists should kill. One kill list listed approximately 3,602 people in the New York City area that should be killed.
ISIS is a terrorist group that seeks global control of all Muslims under an Islamic state, establishing governments based on an interpretation of laws laid out in the Koran, and killing people who aren’t Muslims. The group has committed systematic abuses of human rights to both non-Muslims and Muslims who don’t submit to ISIS’s brutal vision, “including indiscriminate killing … mass executions … kidnapping of civilians … killing and maiming of children, rape, and other forms of sexual violence,” prosecutors noted.
ISIS and its supporters utilize social media and other Internet platforms to recruit people, with content posted in English, Arabic, and other languages.
Vo told law enforcement agents that she worked as part of an e-security team and her responsibilities included recruiting, hacking, translating, and editing. Among the people she helped recruit was a minor living Norway who had joined in their efforts. The minor was arrested in March 2017.
In one private message obtained by agents, Vo, under the name “Miss.Bones,” revealed she had changed to the new moniker to try to avoid detection by groups opposing ISIS and its supporters, such as Anonymous. “I will take a new name … just so I can bring on a more [sic] mass destruction,” she wrote.
Other messages to and from Vo were obtained by Norwegian law enforcement after the minor was detained and by Dutch law enforcement, who arrested another person involved in the group.
The messages included exchanges about creating videos in support of ISIS that the group meant to circulate online. In another exchange, Vo told the minor “lol dude you look normal as [expletive] … I wouldn’t expect you to support dawlah.” The minor responded, “But here I am xD.” Vo then sent a photograph of herself to the minor. In another exchange, Vo informed the minor he could “join the media devision in [the grou] and the hacking side.”
The minor then got his friend in Denmark into the group as well, after which the trio engaged in a group chat.
The minor and the man in Denmark, who was later apprehended, worked together to create the video that threatened the New York nonprofit, law enforcement agents said.
The video included the threat: “You messed with the Islamic State so expect us soon.” One scene shows a photograph of the nonprofit’s CEO and a former U.S. Ambassador, with a threat in text, and behind them a man who appears to be shackled with his throat slit and bleeding.
In another video, the man in Denmark helped prepare a “kill list” video that was posted online. In one part of the video, it is written: “We have a message to the people of the US, and most importantly, your president Trump:
“Know that we continue to wage war against you and know that your counter attacks only make us stronger. The UCC will start a new step in this war against you, we call #Demolishing_Fences. So expect us soon!”
The group said they’d soon release a kill list with over 8,000 names addresses, and email addresses. “Kill them wherever you find them,” it said. The video contained an excerpt of the kill list. The information was later discovered to be obtained through a hack.
Scenes in the video showed a graphic depiction of the decapitation of a kneeling man.
Vo was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
According to WRDW, Vo was arrested in 2016 for financial transaction card fraud. Her father told the broadcaster that he doesn’t believe Vo is capable of doing what the FBI says she did. He also said that the alleged crimes happened when she was a teenager, so she didn’t know any better.