June 05, 2006
Canadian Jihadi Linked to Cyberterrorist Irhabi 007
One of the Canadian Jihadis arrested for plotting terrorist acts has been linked to the former cyberterrorist #1, Irhabi 007 (Irhabi translated means terrorist). You may remember Irhabi 007 from our previous lengthy discussions about the cyber jihad.
Irhabi 007 was a frequent poster at the Islamist mesage board Ansarnet. He first came to our attention after he posted a video of the beheading murder of Jack Hensley at the forum. He was banned from the forum, not for posting the beheading video, but for asking for money to cover his bandwidth costs!
Irhabi 007 was the greatest distributor of al Qaeda in Iraq propaganda videos on the internet for some time. Irhadi 007 is probably best known in the U.S. for the time he hacked the Arkansas State Department of Highways and used their server to distribute jihadi material.
Eventually, though, he got sloppy and was caught by British authorities as part of a three man cell of terrorists. Irhab 007 turned out to be Younis Tsouli, a 22 year old from West London. Tsouli has also been linked to terror plots in Bosnia, Sweden, Turkey and Holland.
So, the Canadian jihadis have been linked to both a British and American terrorist cell. What is the common thread? Internet forums dedicated to the Religion of Peace.
According to the Los Angeles Times, U.S. authorities were also watching the two Americans, and at some point discovered communications between the men in Canada and Atlanta and other suspected terrorists overseas, including a group arrested in London last fall that counted among its members a computer specialist who used the Arabic word irhabi â€” for terrorist â€” as his Internet handle, Irhabi007.All of this leads to a very important question about whether we are fighting a 'war' against Islamist forces or only waging a common anti-crime campaign against them. If the latter, then the present strategy of lurking on Islamist messge boards and trying to find only those who are truly committed to jihad, and then arresting them, is a good strategy.
Talk in the group was wide-ranging, according to an American law enforcement official, "about a whole range of targets." Officials and U.S. court documents allege group members were scouting targets that included Canadian government buildings, American oil refineries, and a U.S. tower that they believed controlled global positioning systems used in aviation.
But if the former--if we are at war with Islamist extremists--then our cyber strategy is a losing effort. As I've advocated on dozens of occasions, the internet is a tool of war. One cannot wage this war without taking away the tool from the cyber jihadis.
The reason the would-be jihadis from Canada were detected was that they were communicating through these jihadi forums. But thousands of other Canadian, European, and American Muslims also express similar sentiments on these forums. The problem is not that extremists are drawn to the forums, it is that these forums create extremists from Muslims already at odds with the West.