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Terrorists Move to Cyberspace 705

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-not-so-good dept.
Dreamwalkerofyore writes "The Washington Post has an article on how Al Quaeda is now using the 'net for its new HQ. From the article: 'With laptops and DVDs, in secret hideouts and at neighborhood Internet cafes, young code-writing jihadists have sought to replicate the training, communication, planning and preaching facilities they lost in Afghanistan with countless new locations on the Internet.'"
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Terrorists Move to Cyberspace

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  • by UserGoogol (623581) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:18PM (#13266540)
    1) Find Al-Qaeda website.
    2) Troll with goatse.
    3) ???
    4) FREEDOM!
    • 1) Find Al-Qaeda website 2) Post on Slashdot (include reference to breasts) 3) Allow nature to run its course (Slashdotting) 4) Servers become anti-terror weapons
    • by WAG24601G (719991) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:27PM (#13266583)
      1) Find Al-Qaeda website
      2) Post on Slashdot (include reference to breasts)
      3) Allow nature to run its course (Slashdotting)
      4) Servers become anti-terror weapons
    • 1) Toss opposition website/organization metaphorical football
      2) Label terrorists; play smear the queer
      3) ???
      4) Victory...

      How long before the government disappears non-conformists with this label?

      "Terrorist Web-site shut down: al-kay-duh torrents found"
  • by XorNand (517466) * on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:19PM (#13266544)
    I'm a computer geek, not a terrorism expert but from my understanding, Al Queda is much more a brand name than it is an omnipresent, neboulous, James Bond-like organization. Bin Laden/Al-Zawahri isn't holed up in some Bat Cave, directing his mindless minons in yet another half-baked, but grand scheme at ruling the world. But painting Al Queda as such makes it easier to scare a populace who's grown up with comic book bad guys into complacency.

    Al Queda is just a cause; it's a flag that militant Islamic zealots hoist in order to feel part of a worldwide movement. They're a ragtag bunch of criminals who want to spread their message as far and wide as possible. There are no definate leaders (Bin Laden is just a spokesman), nor do they have a cohesive strategy. Therefore it makes perfect sense that they use the Internet to communicate. This isn't news. It's just another way to make us feel that a Muhammad with a Kalashnikov just might be invading an ubiquitous part of most Americans' daily lives. Pair that anxiety with most people's complete lack understanding concering the Internet (ignorance begets fear) and suddenly it becomes much easier to curb our digital liberties just a bit more. Not to mention it helps to sell Washington Post newspapers.

    I mean, come on... how many headlines read "Confirmed: Terrorists using telephones to communicate"?
    • I agree.

      From my understanding, these suicide bombers are just disaffected young men with life problems and frustrations. No different to the kids who committed Columbine IMHO.

      The fact that there is a "secret" organization masterminding the whole thing makes them feel special or part of a group.
    • Thirty seconds on Google shows the media has reported on how Al Queda communicates before. (Feel free to be picky about 'headlines' if you want.)

      http://www.cellular.co.za/news_2002/091602-us_cust oms_agents_intercept_cell.htm [cellular.co.za]

      In a major breakthrough, U.S. Customs agents intercepted a cache of 250 cell phones that were to be shipped to the al Qaeda network, said John Babb, U.S. Customs director.

      http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/07/31/london. tube/ [cnn.com]

      Osman was arrested in Rome on Friday after investigato

    • Loose confederation of individuals rallying under a common name, a head-figure that's just a spokesperson, using the Internet to communicate and plan... SCO was right, the terrorists *do* sound just like Free Software hackers!

      (For the slow of wit, yes, that was just a joke.)
    • Scary Boo! Ooga-Booga!

      Confirmed: Terrorists Use Internet!

      Confirmed: Terrorists Using Telephones!

      Confirmed: Terrorists Highly Secretive "Triple ROT13" code Can Not Be Broken!

      Confirmed: Terrorists Enjoy A Good Ice Cream!

      Quick! Everyone hide! The Terrorists Are Everywhar! Oooga-Booga!
      • Scary Boo! Ooga-Booga!
        Confirmed: Terrorists Use Internet!
        Confirmed: Terrorists Using Telephones!
        Confirmed: Terrorists Highly Secretive "Triple ROT13" code Can Not Be Broken!
        Confirmed: Terrorists Enjoy A Good Ice Cream!
        Quick! Everyone hide! The Terrorists Are Everywhar! Oooga-Booga!

        And yet, the British seem to have captured many people involved in 7/7 and the subsequent bombings.

        They'll go to trial, have evidence presented aginst them in open court, defend themselves, and go to jail if found guilty.

        This puni

        • And yet, the British seem to have captured many people involved in 7/7 and the subsequent bombings.

          You say this like it's a good sign. Shouldn't this piss you off? It took merely days to run these people down after the bombs exploded. If it was so fucking easy, why didn't they prevent it from ever happening?

          At least bin Laden has proven that he's wily enough to escape the biggest manhunt in the last couple hundred years. Finding out that the WTC had been destroyed by morons, and worse, that our govern

    • Since it is infinitely easier to data-mine and hunt down information sources on the net than it is to find caves full of real people in places like Afganastan, this is a terrific move. The NSA owns the net (it is unlikely that you can pass information on the net without the NSA filtering software taking a gander at it), and therefore if this is true, the terrorists are cutting their own throats by moving to the net.
    • Wow, that actually sounds a lot like the Open Source movement. I don't mean to invite flame or troll but let's look at it objectively. They both function as somewhat decentralized networks where often anonymous contributors help with the cause by doing their part. I can also see how if they have disagreements among themselves, they can just "fork". And like open source, they don't always require expensive equipment or lots of cash to operate. I suppose they're both in a class of organizations that have
    • Al Qaeda is also a brand name being dramatically inflated by the neoconservatives in the Bush administration. If you understand the philosphy of their mentor, Leo Strauss, their objective is to create myths of good and evil they can use to unite disaffected Westerners behind an easily understood cause of good versus evil. They also server to distract the public as they reinstate a very regimented, very religious society. In this the neoconservatives have a lot in common with Islamic fundamentalists, who
      • by general_re (8883) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:10AM (#13267407) Homepage
        What a load.

        If you understand the philosphy of their mentor, Leo Strauss, their objective is to create myths of good and evil they can use to unite disaffected Westerners behind an easily understood cause of good versus evil.

        Thank you, Ms. Drury. This is, as is typical of most folks who set out to comment on Leo Strauss, indicative of someone who has either A) not read Strauss at all, and has instead substituted someone else's absurd caricature for actual reading and critical thought, or; B) has read Strauss, and yet purposefully misrepresents his writings because he makes a convenient boogeyman with which to tar people whose politics differ from your own. For those interested in the man and his actual writings, as opposed to the deep role he apparently plays in the fantasy lives of some, I commend unto you a relatively even-handed Wikipedia overview [wikipedia.org]. For those who also don't follow the "Ms. Drury" crack, mash here [wikipedia.org] for a somewhat less even-handed (but no less accurate) explanation.

        The necons need Bin Laden, al-Zarqawi and al-Zawahri in the wild to demonize and terrify Americans to make Americans easier to control and manipulate....The neocons needed a new boogie man when the Soviet Union collapsed. Saddam filled the bill but badly and now he is in jail so is a write off.

        And now we delve into the self-contradictory mess that is the typical crackpot spin on current events. We are presented with a conspiracy of sorts, one that is alternately composed of evil geniuses bent on some mad plan, yet who make stunningly bone-headed moves from time to time - depending, of course, on which is more convenient to the storyteller at the time. So how, pray tell, did Saddam wind up in jail? Did he miracle himself in there? If the plan was to use him as a demon to terrorize the sheep at home, doesn't actually capturing him sort of constitute blowing a big hole in your own foot? Why bother capturing him if he's so very valuable out there in the wild?

        Team B took the same data the CIA had which said the Soviet Union wasn't that much of a threat, and was crumbling from within...

        Jeezus fucking Christ. Who fed you this junk, the CIA? Back during the Reagan years, the CIA was most assuredly not saying any such thing about the Soviets - as late as 1985, the CIA was saying that per-capita income in the USSR was on a par with that of the United States. In fact, we now know that it was less than one-third that of the US at the time, but at the time, they sure didn't know it. It's actually hard to think of a less reliable source for info on the USSR during the Cold War than the CIA - they repeatedly and consistently gave out bad information regarding the threat capabilities of the Soviets, virtually uniformly over-estimating the long-term threat they posed. In hindsight, the collapse of the Soviet Union may well have been inevitable, but you sure wouldn't have gotten that impression if you'd been listening to the CIA during the early- to mid-1980's. I'm sure the staff revisionists at the CIA would like you to believe otherwise - and in the Reagan administration, but nevermind that - but it really just ain't so.

        William Casey was a big subscriber of the Soviet Union leading a global terror network. People of the CIA tried to point out to him it was untrue, because in fact it was black propaganda the CIA itself had started.

        Excuse me? The links between the Soviet Union and international terrorism are both extensive and well-documented - mash here [jr.co.il] and here [nationalreview.com] for just a small taste, and please note that the author of those two pieces is a former head of Romanian Intelligence, so spare us "explanations" of how this is more evidence of CIA nefariousness.

        This

        • by demachina (71715) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:57AM (#13267545)
          "yet purposefully misrepresents his writings"

          Strauss's writings were mostly on Greek philosophers. He didn't write that much about his theories on the modern world he injected in to neoconservatism. He mostly shunned speaking engagements, interviews, etc. When he did give interviews he didn't share the heart of his doctrine. Strauss's approach to immortality was to surround himself with a cadre of trusted and gifted students, to train them in his world view and then to have his impact on the world be made through them. Stauss's students are his real writings, not his writings. Would have been pretty stupid and counterproductive to give TV interviews describing his plans for training national leaders to manipulate the American public and to take away their excessive freedom. Duh.

          "So how, pray tell, did Saddam wind up in jail?"

          Dude that is so easy....

          At the point Saddam was taken down Al Qaeda had displaced Saddam as the long term, persisten, evil. The problem with Al Qaeda is they are extremely hard to whack. The neocons needed an enemy they could vanquish with a blitzkrieg with their conventional military. They need a stunning victory with smart bombs, tanks racing through the desert, and "Shock and Awe" so Americans could feel good about their awesome power and like they had won a victory against the perpetrators of 9/11, that something was being done. It also was conveniently timed to help insure reelection. Iraq was a convenient conventional target.

          Rousting some Al Qaeda operative out of bed in Pakistan and putting him in a dungeon now and then isn't very good theater.

          Al Qaeda is going to be the long term shadow evil and danger that never goes away. Iraq, Iran and Syria are going to be the places that get whacked with conventional forces at regular intervals to make good theatre and so the necons can declare victories.

          "And yet here you are, posting away on their evil and secret plans, and they haven't even kicked down your door yet, have they? How do you do it?"

          Dude its early yet. If you saw Blair's speech last week he is starting the first concerted wave of outlawing websites and bookstores carrying a message the government decides it disapproves of. It will be a crime to frequent or maybe to have frequented these websites and stores.

          If I lived in the U.K. some of the stuff I post here seeking to provide understanding for why Palestinians and Muslims might rationalize what they do, may well soon be illegal in the U.K. and grounds for deportation or arrest, assuming Blair rams through the laws he proposed this week.

          If the U.K establishes this next step in repression then the U.S. can follow suit and leap frog it and justify it by saying see, the U.K. is already doing it so its OK if we do too.

          "Learn a little history, and do a little reading on your own"

          Actually I did a while ago after first seeing the BBC documentary. I was totally unaware of Team B because its never been widely advertised. I remember at the time seeing DoD security training films on this massive Soviet arms build up and imminent threat and wondering where all this propaganda was coming from. In part it was Team B, which I didn't know at the time. When you see the parallels between Team B and the Office of Special Plans, suddenly what happened in Iraq makes a whole lot more sense than it did if you don't know the historical context. Before I knew about Team B I used to rant about how crazy all the WMD and Al Qaida ties to Iraq were, and wonder how those people could be that stupid or deceitful. When you see it as long running policy to fabricate, demonize and exaggerate enemies it makes a whole lot more sense.

          It also makes a lot a of sense out of the Reagan through Bush "evil empire" and "axis of evil" rhetoric.

          This brand of propaganda isn't new or anything, most war time and oppressive governments indulge in it, its just enlightening to see it happening in a supposedly "Free and Democratic" country that doesn't "do such things".
  • Quick! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:19PM (#13266545)
    Quick, turn off the Internet!
    • I'm sorry, Dave, I cannot allow you to do that.

      Sincerely,
      The Internet.
  • Arabic Translators (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HUADPE (903765) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:19PM (#13266547) Homepage
    This is all the more reason the US govt and the CIA need to invest heavily in recruiting and training Arabic translators.
    • by artifex2004 (766107) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:25PM (#13266575) Journal
      This is all the more reason the US govt and the CIA need to invest heavily in recruiting and training Arabic translators.

      Maybe they could start by hiring back the many competent translators they used to have but dumped because they were gay or lesbian?

      Naaaah, that'll never happen.
    • by Gone Jackal (108992) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @11:46PM (#13266932)

      "This is all the more reason the US govt and the CIA need to invest heavily in recruiting and training Arabic translators."

      Except it's not that easy. The CIA has been griping since 2001 that, despite the massive upsurge in students taking Arabic, only about 5% of them - if that - end up competent enough to do intelligence work. With the private sector offering obscene money in comparison to a government job, you can pretty much guess what percentage of those 5% want to end up with the CIA.

      I see this sort of foolishness in my department all the time. Some ponce show up for Beginning Arabic saying something like "Yeah, wanna learn, you know, 'cause of the terrorists and all". It takes all of about two weeks before they figure out that, hey, Arabic is hard, you have to actually memorize things which aren't even remotely related to English, spend about 3/4 of your study-time mastering vocabulary, and in the end still can't order a cup of coffee in Cairo. I guess we can just ask nicely if the terrorists would mind sticking to the dictionary and reference grammars.

      Add to that what the linguist-lads call diglossia. Spoken Arabic has little to do with written Arabic. Want to read a Qur'an? Written Arabic it is, but you can't converse worth a hill of beans. A friend of mine, freshly finished with his M.A. in Arabic, decided to take a trip to Cairo, steps into a cab and decides to practice with a High Arabic "How are You"? The Cabbie just stared at him and blurted out "Sorry, no English".

      Want to listen to a wire-tap? What's it going to be then? Cairene Arabic? Yemeni Highland Dialect? Saudi Bedouin Dialects? Palestinian? Moroccan? How about Qwayrish? I've witnessed a 3-hour long argument among an Iraqi, a Yemeni and an Egyptian about the correct Arabic word for watermelon, for Pete's sake. Each one came up with at least three words which the others hadn't even heard of. (We won't even mention that many of the "terrorists" are Iranian, Pakistani, Afghani...)

      So yeah, throwing money into recruitment and training or more funding for the Defense Language Institute might help, but not much.

    • by fdawg (22521)
      Or.....

      ...find the cause of their anger. This is a question I rarely see on the news amidst the rampant "reporting" about the War On Terror. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? I digress. I've noticed security and law enforcement have a strange dynamic; they are completely inverse. If one was to have perfect security, there would be no need for law enforcement.

      By picking a chosing who gets what freedoms, in this case the security and "anonymity" provided by the internet, a large (innocent) part of the
  • by scenestar (828656) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:20PM (#13266549) Homepage Journal
    and shut down the internet......
    • Yes we must take immediate action and shut down the internet......

      This isn't funny and I'm disturbed that a moderator wasted one of his points making this seem less sinister than it may turn out to be.

      The Government is just looking for excuses to present to the American public to push for even tighter controls that will benefit "the war on terror" and Big Business.

      Terrorists support BitTorrent and encryption. We have to eliminate this to keep you and your children safe.
  • AOL (Score:5, Funny)

    by pmdata (861264) * on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:20PM (#13266550)
    The FBI can ditch the expensive equipment and just add the terrorists to their buddy list.
    • Re:AOL (Score:3, Funny)

      by noidentity (188756)
      Or better yet, give their IM screen names to American teenagers. That'll shut down the terrorist network in no time.
  • by Rupan (723469) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:20PM (#13266553) Homepage
    I love how the Bush administration keeps the Terrorist "threat" at the forefront of the American peoples' lives. It really makes me wonder if we are not moving closer to an Orwellian future. "War Is Peace" is beginning to sound more and more like Bush's rhetoric every day.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:24PM (#13266570)
      You don't have to respect the man, but George Bush is America's leader during this war. He was elected twice to the position because America trusts his judgement, who are you to second guess a majority of Americans? Bush has been nothing but forthright and candid during these troubled times.
      • You don't have to respect the man, but George Bush is America's leader during this war. He was elected twice to the position because America trusts his judgement, who are you to second guess a majority of Americans?

        Bush was elected once.

        And not by the majority of Americans.

        • More precisely, according to CNN, he won with only 62,040,606 votes. According to the CIA, the U.S. population is 295,734,134. Therefore, only about 21% of the United States voted for him. Hardly a majority. Not even a majority of registered voters, I don't think.

          Does anybody else think it is sad that the population of the U.S. feels so powerless to fix the federal government that almost two-thirds of the country chose not to even bother voting? Talk about your government of the people.... It isn't

        • And not by the majority of Americans.

          BFD. Neither was Clinton. Or Bush. Or Reagan. Or Carter. Come to think of it, I can't remember the last president who got a vote from the majority of eligible voters.

          I don't mind that people point out the obvious that the current president didn't get a majority vote. But I do mind that people only point this out when a Republican is in office.
      • BWAH HA HA HAAA!!!

        That was great. Someone mod parent "Funny", right now!

        Seriously, though. Isn't it a bit of a stretch to claim that "a majority of Americans" voted for Bush when he won with, what, 51% of the vote? Maybe 52%? And now that his approval ratings are sub-Clinton, that statement is even more disingenuous than ever.

        Claiming that he has been "forthright and honest" is even more of a stretch. How many justifications have we heard for the Iraq invasion? How many of them have panned out to be e
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Seriously, though. Isn't it a bit of a stretch to claim that "a majority of Americans" voted for Bush when he won with, what, 51% of the vote? Maybe 52%? And now that his approval ratings are sub-Clinton, that statement is even more disingenuous than ever.

          Why is it a stretch to deem 51% as majority? Would it make any difference if his approval ratings were higher than Clinton? Would that somehow imply that his majority was any more valid?
        • Seriously, though. Isn't it a bit of a stretch to claim that "a majority of Americans" voted for Bush when he won with, what, 51% of the vote? Maybe 52%? And now that his approval ratings are sub-Clinton, that statement is even more disingenuous than ever.

          What's wrong with that statement? He didn't say a majority of Americans liked Bush. All he said is that a majority voted for him. A majority is, by defition, larger than half. What part of that description doesn't 51 or 52 doesn't fit?

          -Grym

        • Justification. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Kaenneth (82978) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @11:30PM (#13266860) Homepage Journal
          I can think of a plausible justification for invading Iraq when we did.

          as an Iraqi refuge told me well before 9-11, Saddam and Bin Laden were not allies, Al Queda wants a government based on Islam, Saddam wanted a government based on Saddam.

          Saddam's power base was slowly weakening, the well trained and fed troops that he had in the prior conflict were getting older, and being replaced by children who grew up undernourished, and undereducated during the Sanctions.

          With Al Queda being crushed in Afghanistan, many of it's members fled into Iraq, which had the convenient situation of no being helpful to the US, while Saddam was rapidly losing control.

          Consider if Saddams government collapsed without American intervention; who would be there to grab the reins of power? Islamic Extremists, backed by Al Queda, ready to bomb, murder, and terrorize anyone who wanted an actual representitive government, just as they are doing now.

          The U.S. wouldn't have an excuse to intervene after the revolution, because Saddam would have been deposed, the new government would claim to represent the people, and by claiming a basis in Islam, any attack would be claimed an attack against Islam.

          So, if that scenario were about to come to pass, the time to begin an occupation of Iraq would be before the revolution not after.

          There is no way the U.S. government would describe their intercession as preventing the formation of a self-described 'Islamic State' as doing so would incur the wrath of far more groups than having a stated reason of "deposing a tyrant", "protecting the region", "WMD's", "Terrorists", etc.

          So these other reasons were made up, and used interchangably. In case one of them proved invalid, the other reasons would still justify going to war.

          The biggest surprise to me was that some covert group didn't plant WMD components in Iraq to be 'Discovered', I thought it was almost certian we would find WMD's if they existed or not.

          We still fall back on the idea of pre-emptive war, and if it's wrong to kill tens of thousands of people over a 'what if'; but it sure looks like there are a lot of terrorist bomber types hanging out in Iraq that don't need Saddam to tell them to kill and terrorise people.

          Fortunetly, radical Islam is dying: Terrorism is like the kid who knocks over the game board when he's losing, the philosophy of "If I can't win, then nobody wins." and the 9/11 attacks were like punching a hornets nest because you're allergic to hornets. Osama, to me, seems like a spoiled brat; rich parents, thinking he's the center of the world, he's right, everyone else is wrong, and all. If he actually had the support of the Islamic people, Al Queda would have an Army, not a few guys with boxcutters and makeshift bombs.
      • by ceejayoz (567949)
        who are you to second guess a majority of Americans?

        Indeed! [yahoo.com]

        Bush's overall job approval was at 42 percent, with 55 percent disapproving.
      • The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
        -Winston Churchill

        (It's worth noting that he also said "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.")
    • If you were president and your approval rating was as low as his is now, your advisors would probably tell you to try to keep people scared to death too.

      Doesn't make it any less rediculous but the guy doesn't have a lot of options left to salvage a good reputation in history.
    • I love how the Bush administration keeps the Terrorist "threat" at the forefront of the American peoples' lives. It really makes me wonder if we are not moving closer to an Orwellian future. "War Is Peace" is beginning to sound more and more like Bush's rhetoric every day.

      Um ... I think someone didn't RTFA. Bush isn't even mentioned once in the article. Why did this post get a +5 Insightful when it has nothing to do with the article?
  • hurry! (Score:2, Funny)

    by v1 (525388)
    Quick, outlaw the internet! The terrorists are using it!
  • Ooh, computers, terrorists, BOOM!

    Be afraid of kids in net cafes, actually you know we should just censor the whole internet. Not like it really went anywhere anyway, it's mostly child porn. Do we really need that much spam?

    Terrorists and movie pirates write all the world virus's you know, that's how identity theft works, they take your credit card number online and buy guns with it. I think we should just go to walmart, it's just more safe and american.

    I mean before you just had to worry about all the 50 yr
  • ..replicate the training, communication, planning and preaching facilities they lost in Afghanistan with countless new locations on the Internet.

    They should also replace actual destruction with playing Batallion [uic.edu] - if anything the scale is greater and they will never be shot back at.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...for new draconian legislation to pass in congress next week.

    What will it be this time?

    Copyright infringement sentences which are longer than sentences for rape?

    Mandatory monitoring and archiving of all Internet communications?

    Blanket ban on the use of any encryption or a mandate to escrow all the encryption keys?

    A new criminal offense of "visiting subversive websites" which automagically renders the user an "enemy combatent"?

    I can just hear them now

    "The terrorists are using this newfangled Internet thing
  • ... if when bin Laden dies / is captured / finally disappears, he'll be replaced officially by Emmanuel Goldstein.

    --- EMERGENCY DISPATCH TO ALL CITIZENS WHO FREELY LOVE DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM: THE MINISTRY OF FEAR ADVISES YOU TO INCREASE YOUR GENERAL FEAR LEVEL TO 'ABJECT TERROR' BUT AT THIS TIME GIBBERING IS NOT ADVISED. REPEAT, GIBBERING IS *NOT* ADVISED. THAT IS ALL. ---

    Yeesh. Maybe they should have thought about the fallout BEFORE they trained and armed this guy. Makes you wonder whether those dudes they
  • This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demon_2k (586844) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:34PM (#13266623) Journal
    I might as well have read a post titled "Terrorists use the phone to communicate". You and I might call them terrorists but, they are still people. And people generally tend to use any piece of technology around them (assuming they are aware pf the technology and they are skilled enought to use it) to achieve their goal. They should not be underestimated and thought of as primitive because even they will adapt and develop new means and methods if need be.
  • This isn't new (Score:3, Informative)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:35PM (#13266625)
    For anybody who wasn't tuning in at home before.

    Al-Quaida stands for "The Base." It was a database of terrorist organizations, maintained by Bin Laden.

    Sure, it had physical manifestations, but it has, from the very start, existed as an Internet entity.

    Afghanistan was merely harboring a known terrorist when he was on the run (and he has been on the run a lot longer than most of us bothered to read about him). Al-Quaida merely had troops in Afghanistan protecting him.

    If there were all there, Al-Quaida business would have stopped the second that we fought them there.
    • Re:This isn't new (Score:5, Interesting)

      by patio11 (857072) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:56PM (#13266712)
      Sure, it had physical manifestations, but it has, from the very start, existed as an Internet entity.

      This is like saying Microsoft is an Internet entity. Its true, up to a point, but like every Internet entity it requires physical infrastructure to survive. Afghanistan wasn't just harboring OBL and giving him rack space for his servers, it also provided physical security and space for terrorist training camps for that certain tactical expertise you can't quite get from playing Counterstrike (he also had a $6 million house next to the Kabul airport -- gack, I wish I lived my life "on the run" like that).

      Even to the extend Al Quaeda is a "brand"/"franchise system of terror" it relies on personal, face-to-face communication between the franchisees and a semi-centralized infrastructure. The London bombers, for example, got their instructions at a face-to-face meeting in Pakistan. (http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/LondonBlasts/story?id=9 40198&page=1 [go.com] )

      • Re:This isn't new (Score:3, Informative)

        by NitsujTPU (19263)
        I didn't say that any of that wasn't needed. What I said was, that this article is implying that there was a change.

        There wasn't.

        Al-Quaida joined a number of terrorist organizations. The same way that a virtual company might join a number of smaller companies.

        There is still face to face interraction, but that virtual company exists merely to join the smaller companies, who provide the physical stuff.

        IE, this is essentially how Al-Quaida worked before.
    • It was a database of terrorist organizations, maintained by Bin Laden.

      talk about folk etomology. Do you have any actual source to indicate this is the case? Or are you just repeating the speculation of others?
    • Re:This isn't new (Score:3, Informative)

      by GrouchoMarx (153170)
      Al-Quaida stands for "The Base." It was a database of terrorist organizations, maintained by Bin Laden.

      Sure, it had physical manifestations, but it has, from the very start, existed as an Internet entity.


      The name "Al Queda" dates from the late '80s early '90s. There was no Internet in Afganistan at that point to exist as an entity of.

      The organization itself goes back to the late '70s early '80s, under the name Muhejadeen . It was a US-funded, US-armed guerilla army of Islamists fighting against the USSR,
  • So your telling me that the terrorists who want to destroy us and everything we have accomplished are using the most globalized tool to ever come out of our research labs? Have they even stoppped to think about the fact that they owe this ease of communication to American ingenuity? They are all just a bunch of hippocrates, mean ignorant zealous hippocrates.
  • All the more reason all American's should have to use their SSN's, fingerprints, and cornea to sign into any internet café. Why Bush hasn't payed MS to change every internet sign in to the centralized .NET Jesus only knows.
    (chill, jk)
  • by deft (253558) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:58PM (#13266722) Homepage
    I saw the Al Quaeda myspace profile months ago.
  • by smashr (307484) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:58PM (#13266723)
    Due to the distributed and international nature of the Internet, it just isnt possible for governments to take action against the publicly accessible al-qaeda sites. My question is this: why haven't US and UK based hackers taken action against these sites? It certainly seems like a slightly more productive use of time and energy than writing viruses.
  • by PineHall (206441) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:59PM (#13266726)
    This abuse of the Internet to sow hatred and terrorism will mean that governments will monitor the Internet much more closely, and will close down any web sites and stop any activities that are potentially dangerous. The Wild West Period of the Internet is definitely ending. There will be things you can and can not do. Like it or not the rule of law will be enforced with increasing strictness. (It is just like us humans to abuse a good thing.)
  • From TFA:
    Sending fake streams of e-mail spam to disguise a single targeted message is another innovation used by jihadist communicators, specialists said.
    First discussed on /. here [slashdot.org].
  • by screwballicus (313964) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @11:23PM (#13266821)
    Naturally, many people hear about Radical Islam on the web and the investigative types want to see it for themselves. Well, obviously, unless you can read Arabic or a few others languages with large activist Muslim populations, you won't get very far with that idea.

    One site political observers may find interesting in light of Iraq, however, is Kavkazcenter [kavkazcenter.com] (formerly Kavkaz.org). One might consider Chechnya to be Russia's Iraq. It remains a quagmire in which any obvious means of extricating military control becomes ever more remote as time goes on and the reasons for and results of each conflict share many similarities (though Chechnya is arguably a much, much more ancient one). Like Iraq, the threat of jihadism has radically increased with "foreign occupation" as an extremely successful rallying point for it, while secular nationalism has fallen to the wayside as a dissident cause (and was, I would say, dealt a death blow when Russia killed Aslan Maskhadov, its former figurehead). If you want to read jihadism unapologetically propounded in English, in depth, in light of current events, Kavkaz Center is about as good as source as you'll find.
  • Counterproductive (Score:4, Informative)

    by dancingmad (128588) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @11:31PM (#13266867)
    Sounds like a good way for people to hassle me when I'm with my iBook at Starbucks, not a credible threat.

    I wish these rabble rousing journalists would look themselves in the mirror and realize that instead of helping the American public they are just making life harder for hard-working American immigrants. Looking for a good way to alienate American Muslims in the same way the Londoners bombers were? This seems like a good way.
    • MOD Partent UP (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FullCircle (643323)
      Look, I'm a Southern white boy and even I understand this. Stories like this one are FUD and more propaganda for the current regime.

      They have spooked us into giving up freedom after freedom and are constantly trying to turn us against one another.

      Honestly, I don't see what the journalists get out of it. Wouldn't standing up for the citizens gain more attention than falling into the party line?

  • In Falluja (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @11:35PM (#13266884) Homepage Journal
    My little brother (Marine sniper) found terrorist hideouts complete with tortured Iraqis chained to bloddy walls and CDROMs laying around with .wmvs of said torture. Don't know about connectivity. Sure it was sneakernet.
  • How Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GrahamCox (741991) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @11:44PM (#13266922) Homepage
    If the kind of world they wished to see actually existed, computers, DVDs and the internet etc just couldn't exist. Think 11th century.
    • Re:How Ironic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Triskele (711795)

      If the kind of world they wished to see actually existed, computers, DVDs and the internet etc just couldn't exist. Think 11th century.

      I wonder if you appreciate the irony in that statement. In the 11th Century while Christendom was beset by single-minded fundamentalism that burnt any book that wasn't the Bible, Islam was a rich and enlightened world of scholarship. From that era we get the names of most of the visible stars, the basics of modern mathematics (including zero), algorithms (an arabic word

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @11:58PM (#13266967) Homepage Journal
    That's great. We had a chance to send in a few thousand counterterrorist assassins. Infiltrate their groups as did John Walker Lindh and other Euramericans. When they were still small and clustered in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Horn of Africa and a few other places (like Berlin, LA, NY/NJ), even after the 9/11/2001 planebombings. Instead we sent in thousands of troops, made a mess of the place, added Iraq to the blunder, and scattered the seeds. In fact we kicked the hornet's nest, rather than inject it with poison. Now we've multiplied them, mutated them, and handed them media victory after victory, so their obscure gang of assholes is now global and famous. We've got that moron Bush and his sadistic death marketers, never out of the safety of their air-conditioned offices and SUVs, up against bin Laden, his lieutenants, and a gang of desperate assholes with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    Now that the war is on the Net, where lives are not actually on the line, we have a second chance. We're supposedly the masters of the mediasphere. We can crank out orchestrated media campaigns to actually win infowar battles, winning consumers of our brand: liberty. Of course, we have to get our message straight: drop some of this "trade our rights for security" crap that makes us look like the Christian Taliban. We have to stop torturing prisoners, invading countries "because we can", and hiding behind nonsense like "we're not as bad as Saddam".

    Rounds 1 and 2 we handed to the Qaeda, preferring to stick to our old Cold War scripts. If we don't win Round 3, now that they've cashed in on popularity and financial backers around the world, we'll have lost the infowar - and we're already starting down on the mat. If we go into Round 4 friendless, outnumbered, looking evil and deeply divided inside our borders, we'll never get a chance. It'll be the theofascists by a knockout, and our steroid-inflated body will get picked clean by the vultures.
  • by Bryansix (761547) on Monday August 08, 2005 @12:14AM (#13267026) Homepage
    It seems that the majority of people on /. cannot take this article seriously and think it is part of some FUD campaign. I do not think it is at all on the otherhand and I think there are a disproportional amount of comments on this article which are immature.

    The article simply seeks to disseminate information which is interesting. It contains many facts including the URLS of former websites run by Al Quaeda. It even speaks about organizations who devote all of thier time to tracking the websites of Jihadists.

    Since the Washington Post is the most liberal major newspaper in the US right now I doubt they will be doing this administration any favors. I do not think that they intended to spread fear or even to imply that tighter controls on the Internet were needed. Actually I think talking about the real tacticts of Jihadists will be the best argument AGAINST tighter controls. That is because whatever restraints we make on our networks here domestically will not affect the rest of the internet and besides there are ways around even the best policies. The Internet is a network that was designed for the easy transfer of information and that is how it is being used.

    I think some of the information in the article is useful in the posturing of agencies looking to track down terrorists. If people neglect to think about this channel for imformation dissemination then many things will be missed. In addition the article pointed out that Businesses who do not take thier security seriously have thier websites hacked and used by Al Quaeda operatives. I think this is the best motivation ever for companies to finally get off thier lazy behinds and lock down open servers. Getting you corporate site hacked and turned into a commercial for Jihad is not good for PR.

    In conclustion I think the article was good. It was not all new information but the article pulled a lot of info that was scattered and put it in one place. I think that is also deserved to be posted on /. in my opinion.
  • Nothing new (Score:3, Funny)

    by oob (131174) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:39AM (#13267486)
    The terrorists [whitehouse.gov] have had a web presence for quite some time.
  • Going over the article, it seems to focus a lot on the mostly benign while overlooking the real danger.

    It's not these scary terrorist webpages. Heck, I could start my own webpage tomorrow called "People's Jihad of America", or some such rubbish, then provide a link under "training" entitled "How to detonate a nuclear bomb"

    The body could be something like: First you find a nuclear bomb. Bring the bomb into America. This is the tricky part because you might get caught, so we suggest trying to smuggle it in as discreetly as possible. Once you've got it in the United States, take it a city like New York or Los Angeles. You should do this because those are dense cities and the denser the city, the more people the bomb will kill. Finally, take the bomb to the center of the city because that's where most of the people live, and detonate it".

    The next day, there would be news reports that "An American website affiliated with terrorist organizations published a training manual for a nuclear attack against the United States. Singling out either New York or Los Angeles for attack, the manual provides tips on how to smuggle a bomb into the country, and even instructs on the proper placement of the nuclear device to have maximum effectiveness.

    Well . . . um . . . duh.

    The real scary part is communication, not webpages. Anonymous emails and chat rooms abound where parent terrorist cells can disseminate orders and information to subordinate cells. Simply handwriting a note and scanning it, emailing the message as a jpg can defeat pretty much all of our best detection methods. This--which is the real threat--is all but ignored in the media.

    But some yahoo puts up a website after thumbing through the Anarchist's Cookbook, and we're supposed to be scared of that.

Is a person who blows up banks an econoclast?

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