Monday, July 23, 2007

The Use of the Internet by Islamic Jihadists

Two recent studies have been released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on the use of the internet by Islamic Jihadists.

In recent testimony before Congress, representatives from MEMRI stated that:

"Extremist Islam makes extensive use of the Internet. [1] One can hardly imagine the growth of radical Islam and its jihadi organizations in recent years without the immense reach, impact and capabilities of the Internet. The threat posed by Islamist websites has recently been demonstrated by three cases: the case the New Jersey group that planned a terrorist attack on FortDix; the planned terrorist attack on JFK; and the attempted car bombings in the UK. According to media reports, the terrorists in all three cases were inspired by jihadist websites. There were also two recent court cases in Britain and Switzerland in which terrorists were convicted of using Internet sites to promote terrorist activities.
The National Intelligence Esitmate recently published by the U.S. National Intelligence Council stressed the following, "We assess that the spread of radical - especially Salafi - Internet sites, increasingly aggressive anti-US rhetoric and actions, and the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West’s Muslim population is expanding, including in the United States. The arrest and prosecution by US law enforcement of a small number of violent Islamic extremists inside the United States - who are becoming more connected ideologically, virtually, and/or in a physical sense to the global extremist movement - points to the possibility that others may become sufficiently radicalized that they will view the use of violence here as legitimate..."
[2] .....

The Internet serves as a tool in the military training of jihad fighters by circulating military guidebooks on weaponry, battle tactics, explosives manufacture, and other topics. An example is Al-Qaeda's online military magazine Mu'askar Al-Battar (The Al-Battar Training Camp), published by the Military Committee of the Mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula......
Some websites also carry courses on manufacturing explosives and even guides for making homemade dirty bombs. [4] .....

In practice, the two types of online activity conducted by terrorist organizations - military activity and informational activity - are intertwined. Prominent terrorists played (and continue to play) an active role in online media activities. For example, Fares Al-Zahrani, an Al-Qaeda leader who was arrested in August 2004 by the Saudi authorities, used to write on Islamist forums and on Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi's website "Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad" under the pseudonyms Abu Jandal Al-Azadi and Al-Athari. [7] Another senior Al-Qaeda operative, Abd Al-Aziz Al-Anzi, who likewise participated in clashes with Saudi security forces, headed the Al-Qaeda Media Council, and was referred to as "the information minister of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," was also very active online. He recruited Al-Qaeda supporters on Internet forums, and was a supervisor on the Al-Salafiyoon website ( ), under the pseudonym Abd Al-Aziz Al-Bakri. He also wrote regularly for Al-Qaeda's online magazine Sawt Al-Jihad (The Voice of Jihad), under various pseudonyms, among them Abdallah bin Nasser Al-Rashid, Abd Al-Aziz bin Musharraf Al-Bakri, Sheikh Nasser Al-Najdi, and Nasser Al-Din Al-Najdi. [8] ............."

In a separate study, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty revealed the extent of the Sunni Insurgent media network.

"Iraq's Sunni insurgency has developed a sophisticated media campaign to deliver its message over the Internet through daily press releases, weekly and monthly magazines, books, video clips, full-length films, countless websites, and even television stations. Part of the target audience for insurgent media projects are mainstream Arabic-language media, which often amplify the insurgent message to a mass audience.
The popularity of online Iraqi Sunni insurgent media, the authors contend, reflects a genuine demand for their message in the Arab world. A response, no matter how lavishly funded and cleverly produced, will not eliminate this demand. The authors argue that efforts to counter insurgent media should not focus on producing better propaganda than the insurgents, or trying to eliminate the demand for the insurgent message, but rather on exploiting the vulnerabilities of the insurgent media network....."

Daniel Henninger of The Wall Street Journal writes "Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas" by Daniel Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo (with Radio Free Iraq correspondents, two of whom were abducted and murdered this year) is an astounding compilation of the high-tech methods being used by the insurgency in Iraq to propagate the ideology of the Islamic jihadist movement. This is the blogosphere for killers. ".....

A 28-minute film by Ansar al-Sunnah, "Just Vengeance," records the kidnapping, interrogation and execution of Shiite policemen. Another video of a suicide bomber's truck exploding reveals the centrality of distributable media: It was filmed from three different camera angles. Jihadist video comes in several file sizes: high resolution (up to 500 megabytes), medium (8 megabytes) or in highly compressed files for downloading to mobile phones, popular in PC-deficient Iraq. They enable free uploads of the videos via Windows Media Player, RealPlayer and DivX.

What is clear is that the enemy is using the internet on a large scale to achieve several goals. One is to spread its message and recruit new members. Another is to engage in spreading propaganda as well as issue orders and pass along messages to members around the world. In interested in further reading on this subject, check out the following post from June:

MEMRI also has an Islamist Website Monitor Project:


Tom Head said...

That's frightening.

And it doesn't even include the bin Laden/al-Zarqawi slash fanfiction, the hentai cartoons for burqa furry fetishists, and of course the infamous "Kill an Infidel - Win 5 Free Ringtones" flash ad.

Kingfish said...

you being serious? Hadn't heard about any of that stuff.

Tom Head said...

No, I was not being serious. Nor am I serious about FatwaSpace, the new social networking/dating site for violent Salafist fundamentalists. No pictures and no music, but the surveys are kind of cool. Unfortunately, the database system is screwed up by the fact that every deleted account gets 72 new friends.

Kingfish said...

True. However, I do take this stuff seriously. Why am I posting this stuff on Jackson Jambalaya?

Because the media does a horrible job of covering this stuff. Most reporters are not well read to say the least. The media is not aware of most of these threats and the means used by jihadists in order to further their goals. The local media deals with headlines, little substance, and runs on to the next story. even the CL editorial page has quit taken stands on Iraq but instead posts storychat comments. If you notice, I don't post right or left wing stuff concerning terrorism but instead post stuff coming from valid websites or from credible sources along with articles/studies written by true experts.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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