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Has Al Qaeda Passed the US in Asymmetric War Strategies, Using the Web and Media?

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"The keyboard equals Kalashnikov" Islamofascist.

"The keyboard equals security risk" USA forces.

Note the paradigm divergence.
Which concept owns the Internet?

"The keyboard equals Kalashnikov" is the new slogan among radical Islamic groups today.

The expression, a reworking of "the pen is mightier than the sword," refers to the computer keyboard and the Russian assault rifle more commonly known as the AK47, popular among radical and terrorist groups for many decades.

Radical groups want to go further, infiltrating mainstream, non-political, non-Islamic websites and forums to further spread their message and propaganda with their keyboard.

The Internet was key to al-Qaida's resurrection, said terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman, a Georgetown University professor and author of Inside Terrorism. Without this most modern means of communication, he said, the group "would be like every other terrorist group in history, a localized phenomenon." Instead, al-Qaida has become "the first truly global terrorist movement." Law of Unintended consequences of globalization, blow back.


Throughout the world, Internet chat rooms and forums are replacing mosques as venues for recruitment and radicalization, according to a report released in May by the Task Force on Internet Facilitated Radicalization, a joint group convened by George Washington University and the University of Virginia.

Canada, Britain, Spain, the United States and other countries have felt the impact of radicalization through the Internet, said task force co-chairman Frank J. Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at GWU. There are many examples of homegrown terrorism based on Internet contact.

The task force report noted that al-Qaeda and other terror groups now have their own production arms -- such as As-Sahab and the Global Islamic Media Front -- which produce web content, television programs, online forums, chat rooms, and video games.

The Global Islamic Media Front has urged supporters to infiltrate non-Islamic websites and post messages defending the organization called the Islamic State of Iraq and degrading the American war effort.

It calls on adherents to learn new web skills, and to post the propaganda messages in "non-Islamic forums such as music, youth forums, sports forums and others." Other sites encourage viewers to "assume an American identity, pick a name like 'Joe' or 'Bob' and go get an account on a non-political American [Web] forum and go in there and tell your story about your neighbor who just came back from Iraq who is now paralyzed ... and how this terrible war has ruined his life." To lie about the war and its consequences.

The GWU-University of Virginia taskforce report noted that radical media groups push the narrative of a "clash of civilizations" between the monolithic West and monolithic Islam. It recommended that the U.S. government respond by crafting a counter narrative, reaching populations that might be prone to this message and using covert tactics to confuse the extremist chat rooms and forums.
None of which have been done, there seems to be a lack of imagination about how to do this or a lack of will.

"Voice of the Caliphate," with broadcasts in German.

Al-Qaida affiliates, offshoots, and sympathizers maintain several score more sites. All are part of what Moran and others call the "online jihadi movement," which promotes an extremist ideology of violent jihad against perceived enemies of Islam. Gabriel Weimann, author of Terror on the Internet, and a long-time follower of this phenomenon, recently estimated that of 5,400 Web sites belonging to extremist groups and their sympathizers, about 70 percent are related to radical Islamists, with most espousing jihadi ideology.


Moreover, this cyber presence is extremely tech-savvy with a high degree of interactivity between the sites and viewers, said Moran, a senior intelligence analyst at Terrorism Research Center, a private intelligence gathering firm with corporate and government clients. "These jihadist webmasters, they're not dumb, they don't live in caves," he said. "They're very sophisticated. They understand the propaganda battle very well [and how] they can use the Web as a medium to talk to people that they wouldn't be able to talk to here in America or the West."

In a recent interview, Moran related how some sites produce videos with English subtitles designed to look like CNN or BBC News broadcasts. Friendly visitors, he said, are urged to "download it and then post it on YouTube, and on other sites that you know Americans visit." Other sites encourage viewers to "assume an American identity, pick a name like 'Joe' or 'Bob' and go get an account on a non-political American [Web] forum and go in there and tell your story about your neighbor who just came back from Iraq who is now paralyzed ... and how this terrible war has ruined his life."

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I'm from the Midwest, and damn well love my co... by Edward Ulysses Cate on Thursday, Jun 28, 2007 at 1:11:30 PM