April 30, 2013

A More Aggressive Approach to Counter Cyber Terror?

[**Bumped by SH because important Scroll down for newer]

At last! The counter cyber terror pendulum stops and pauses. Will it swing toward a more equitable and effective strategy for dealing with Online Jihad?

Foreign Policy:
A great paradox of the conflict with al Qaeda is that the terrorists, largely driven by 14th century Islamist ideology, make such skillful use of 21st century information technology. Whether to tell their story of a sacred mission to reduce the shadow cast by American power over the Muslim world, to motivate recruits to join the jihad, or to provide a form of "distance learning" in terrorist tradecraft...

..The Boston bombing once again reminded the world of the benefits al Qaeda reaps from cyberspace, as it appears that the Tsarnaev brothers were radicalized and trained via jihadist websites. In this they were hardly alone. The London bombings in 2005 (which killed 52), the fizzled Glasgow Airport attack in 2007, the foiled plot against Fort Dix in 2007, Nidal Hasan's rampage at Fort Hood in 2009 (which killed 13), and the failed attempt to bring down a Northwest Airlines plane that same year all featured terrorists who made extensive use of online motivational and training materials.

The piece goes on to outline the classic conflict in dealing with the Online Jihad, how to balance the competing interests of intelligence gathering or spying, efforts to counter the messaging with more messaging and also direct engagement like take downs and interference with al-Qaeda and other terrorists' propaganda online.

We at Jawa Report have long been an advocate of strong action in the direct engagement camp. Through our actions we've taken down thousands of Youtube videos and hundreds of websites. While also being careful to save and preserve information and passing it along to the appropriate authorities when required.

A few our our cases have resulted in press, not to mention convictions and incarcerations of real cyber terrorists. All of which are too extensive to list here in this post. Of course we had the help of our wonderful reader activists as well as those in LE who do the real heavy lifting in getting these folks prosecuted and sentenced.

Takedowns can actually yield valuable intelligence as well, in the aftermath of an action the Jihadis will take steps that can be tracked and watched as well. Sometimes you breed a more resistant pest. Other times a slip up getting a new site running yields open directories full of data or maybe a DNS registration that was not privacy protected. Sometimes the target gets so angry they feel the needs to express themselves on your platform. Um yeah.... PWNED.

But we have to admit the last few years have been a slog. Here's counter terror expert Aaron Weisburd expressing his feelings at the current state of Counter Cyber Jihad.


The heydays of rampant take downs and Youtube Smackdown have long since passed in favor of the lets just watch method. While all the Jawas, Internet Haganah and other activists have our differences here are a few points I think we all feel basically the same about.

The goal is not to totally eliminate Terrorist Propaganda nor should it be. Never mind that its not possible, the existence of a certain areas that the more dedicated cats can be herded into is not a problem really. These high level forums for heavy hitters yield a lot of intelligence. Even then I'd still throw a wrench it it every now and then just to keep the level nagging discomfort at an appropriate level.

But then again neither should al-Qaeda and the terrorists be allowed free run.

If intelligence gleaned from cyberspace had given the counterterrorist coalition anything like the "information edge" enjoyed by the Allies against the Axis powers in World War II, the age of terror would already be over.
Exacly! Too much watch and not enough act creates new terrorists faster than they can be tracked. Much faster. The events in Boston demonstrate this.

A more comprehensive strategy is needed as the article suggests.

Several years ago, I met with senior intelligence officials to pitch the case for a New Bletchley Park. No dice. They were already doing just fine, I was told. I then took the matter up inside the Pentagon, finally reaching a then-serving member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was very supportive of the concept, and expressed concern that jihadists were being "given a free ride in cyberspace." But he felt that the matter had to be carried forward by...the intelligence community. No joy. Fast forward to the present: The old three-prong strategy of website-based observation, ideological disputation, and selected site disruption continues, despite the fact that al Qaeda still enjoys that virtual free ride.
Speaking of Boston and Samir Khan's Inspire magazine. Did you know that Jawa Report took down Samir Khan's blog a number of times.

We were one of the first to note that Samir was dangerous and was providing what we considered material supports for al-Qaeda's propaganda operation online. Through dissemination, translation and even his own propaganda Samir's goal was to support and aid al-Qaeda in its war against America.

Because see we really don't need a New Bletchley Park all we need is for US TO CARE. And much like if you see a Jihadi walking down the street with a bomb and an AK. If you see something say something.

Participate as a nation and we along with the appropriate authorities can help thwart al-Qaeda's goals and slow the radicalization of new and dangerous Jihadis. We can make them feel less safe to spread their evil online.

Can it prevent the next attack? No strategy is perfect but we know the results of doing nothing. And we can start right now.

Samir Kahn's Inpsire magazine that Dzhokhar and TamerlanTsarnaev used to murder and maim Americans at the Boston Marathon is still online.

Its being spread and discussed right now at the Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad website and their Facebook page.

The site is hosted in NJ.


MTJ is hosted by Interserver.net, which according to its website is a New Jersey company located at 110 Meadowlands Parkway, Suite 100, Secaucus, NJ 07094. The toll-free office number is 1-877-566-8398, and regular office number 1-201-605-1440.

We're sure the site is being watched.

The question I guess is, Do you believe that the authorities, by watching alone, can identify and stop every potential terrorist that might be radicalized by information being spread via the website and Facebook?

If your answer is no then its time to take action. if not against the forum itself then against its Facebook and Youtube presence. Cecause the goal is not 100% elimination of the Cyber Jihad, it the bunt its effectiveness, to slow its spread and create a more hostile and less welcoming environment to the aspiring new Jihadis and terrorist propagandists.

Because sitting around and watching will seem of little benefit the next time we see our countrymen and women laying in the streets dead or maimed by another Jihadi who was incubated online.

By Howie at 01:43 PM | Comments |