March 13, 2010

Why YouTube Matters to the Lone Wolf Terrorist

StarCMC has a lengthy post up about the evolution of Islamic jihad. The most important recent development has been the call by al Qaeda's Adam Gadahn for individual acts of jihad in which would-be terrorists are urged not to consult with any one else before murdering their victims. For why that is see this post at the Society for Internet Research: Adam Gadahn makes the case for the weakness of al-Qaida Central.

If jihadis are beginning to realize that the more organized they are the more danger there is of detection by intelligence and law enforcement agencies, then calls to direct action through the internet become increasingly dangerous. If the present model for law enforcement is to disrupt terror plots only after some time in order to detect as many players involved in the plots as possible, then in an age of Nidal Hasan style Fort Hood massacres it becomes woefully inadequate.

Star CMC:

As terrorist movements become increasingly characterized by “lone wolf” scenarios and as radical Islamic clerics call for even greater use of technology to both join them together and also to spread propaganda, terrorist’s use of forums such as YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, LiveLeak and Facebook and any other internet technologies which evolve to encite and train their followers will become that much more important to their ability to conduct the business of terrorism.

These uses of technology and the internet must be taken seriously if we wish to impede the spread of terrorism. To disregard threats posed over the internet, which is emerging as a vital terrorist tool for battle, is to seal our own fate.


If the jihadis were to take Gadahn's advice, then the stream of propaganda towards terrorism becomes more causally direct and therefore should become a higher priority. I really like Aaron's "supply-side approach to dealing with jihadi media" and would urge those in law enforcement, intelligence, or academia to seriously consider it.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:01 PM | Comments |