During several recent conferences concerning extremist radicalization and the web, I have frequently commented that the Internet can often serve as a double-edged sword for terrorist organizations: while it may certainly help facilitate their recruitment and communications, the web also offers a wide interactive arena for dissent within these organizations, and it increases the likelihood of overly-talkative terrorist leaders becoming ensnared in awkward Sarah Palin-like moments -- caught in the spotlight by virtue of their own language.
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Al Qaeda used to be the kings of propaganda, outmaneuvering the American media machine at every turn. Now, it's clear the terror group's information operators have stumbled, big time. The latest misstep: calling President-elect Barack Obama a "house Negro." That's right. The guys who used to kill people, just to get their death on tape, have been reduced to name-calling.
"You represent the direct opposite of honorable black Americans like Malik al-Shabazz, or Malcolm X," Al Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri tells Obama in a newly-released video. "You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims, and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim to be Christian."
"Malik al-Shabazz (may Allah have mercy on him) was killed, while you have climbed the rungs of the presidency to take over the leadership of the greatest criminal force in the history of mankind," Zawahiri adds. "And in you and in Colin Powell, Rice and your likes, the words of Malcolm X (may Allah have mercy on him) concerning 'House Negroes' are confirmed."
By Martin Plaut BBC Africa analyst
Somali pirates have been accused of forming what is described as an "unholy high seas alliance" with some of the country's Islamist insurgents.
Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor says certain insurgents are using pirates to smuggle weapons and supplies and help provide bases in return.
The London-based newsletter says pirates are also training Somali hardliners in naval tactics.
The links are traced to 2007, after Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia.
The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), which took control of much of southern Somalia in 2006, had cracked down on pirate operations in Hobyo and Harardheere.
They even freed a dhow captured by the pirates in August 2006.
But after the UIC were ousted, various Islamic groups formed links with the pirates.
Bruno Schiemsky - who formerly monitored UN arms shipments into Somalia - says these links take a variety of forms:
Islamists have used the pirates to bring in arms shipments and foreign fighters, providing weapons and training in their use in return. They also help with bases from which the pirates operate
Hardliners, known as the Shabab, now have a degree of control over several pirate groups and provide operating funds and specialist weapons in return for a share of the ransoms being paid to free the ships and crew
As many as 2,500 young Somalis have been trained by the Shabab at points all along the Somali coast
The Islamists are using the pirates to train their own forces in naval tactics so that they can provide protection for arms being smuggled in Somalia from Eritrea.
South Korea aims broadside at pirates
By Donald Kirk http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/JK20Dg01.html
SEOUL - It was one thing for 4,000 South Korean soldiers to have to go to northern Iraq to join a war that seemed remote from the country's immediate interests. It's quite another, however, for pirates to be threatening South Korea's lifeblood in the waters off East Africa. That seems to be the message as South Korean troops in Iraq give up the medical and engineering projects on which they've been working for the past four years and close down the operation. While that's going on, the South Korean Navy is preparing to fight against piracy in the waters off Somalia.
Senator Pushes DOJ on Islamists
IPT NewsNovember 19,
The Department of Justice (DOJ) should cut off outreach efforts with organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamist extremist groups, a report from a ranking Senate subcommittee member recommends.
"Justice Denied: Waste & Mismanagement at the Department of Justice," is an 86-page report issued in October by the office of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security.
The report generated attention for its criticism of the millions of dollars spent annually to send DOJ officials on junkets in luxury resorts such as Palm Springs, Cal. and Hawaii. And it noted that law enforcement officials routinely advise Hollywood producers in television and film projects without seeking compensation for their agencies.
But just as important is its detailing of DOJ outreach with questionable Islamist organizations, including two which are unindicted co-conspirators in a major Hamas support investigation. Those efforts
should stop, the report said:
FBI increases reward for suspected eco-terrorists
Four suspects in arson of Vail Ski Resort believed to have fled overseas
Four suspects part of cell linked to Earth Liberation Front
$26 million arson is nation's most expensive case of eco-terrorism, FBI says
From Terry FriedenCNN Justice Producer
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI on Wednesday quintupled rewards for four suspects in the $26 million arson of a Colorado ski resort 10 years ago.
From left, Josephine Overaker, Justin Solondz, Joseph Dibee and Rebecca Rubin are accused of arson.
Remarks by Homeland Security Michael Chertoff at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Aviation Security Measures
For Immediate ReleaseOffice of the Press SecretaryContact 202-282-8010Washington, D.C.
Mr. Heyman: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome. I'm David Heyman. I run the Homeland Security program here at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Today’s topic is general aviation security. And I thought I would just give a little bit of a background on it. It’s not a topic that we talk about every day, and I'm delighted to see how many people are interested in the topic, but it is an important one.
(U) Recruiting Children for Terrorist Operations
This bulletin provides law enforcement and other public safety officials with an awareness of the exploitation of children for acts of terrorism abroad and its implications for the Homeland.
(U) Key Findings
Children pressed into action by terrorists pose a threat to US persons and assets abroad. The FBI judges with confidence that there is no current credible threat of international terrorists deploying child operatives as terrorists in the United States.
FBI assesses that terrorist groups in Iraq, Pakistan, and Algeria are recruiting children for acts of terrorism either as unwitting or indoctrinated actors. The FBI also confidently judges that terrorists employ a variety of coercive techniques, such as intimidation and reprisal, for recruiting children as operatives.
Terrorists train children in basic attack tactics such as suicide bombings, weapons handling, and support tasks such as radio operations. The FBI assesses with moderate confidence that this trend will continue in attacks where terrorists need to deceive law enforcement or military personnel.
Recruiting Children for Terrorist Attacks or Support Roles
• Open source reporting states that Jihadi groups entice or force children into training in the forested mountains of Kashmir Valley. In August 2003, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba reportedly kidnapped a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old and told their families and each village that they had to contribute onerecruit or face reprisals.
• According to foreign Internet reporting, al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) used cyberspace for propaganda to recruit young persons; that group ran a training camp for these children on the Heights of Thenia, Boumerdes, Algeria, in September 2007. Teenagers, aged 14 to 18, had been enlisted and trained to handle weapons and perpetrate suicide attacks.
• According to a respected print publisher, in August 2008, radical supporters of a local cleric recruited schoolboys in Tank, Pakistan, to fight against government forces.
Training Children in Tactics and Weapons
• According to Indian press, Hizb-ul Mujahideen are forcibly recruiting children from the nomadic tribes of Gujjars and Bakerwals, then training them to use AK-47 rifles and handle explosives.
They trained others to operate radios for reconnaissance operations.
• Afghan media reports from July 2007 cite a case of terrorists donning a 6-year-old child in an explosive vest, then directing him to walk to a vehicle and push a button—the child was not aware of the consequences.
Foiled Terrorist Plots Involving Children
• According to media reports, in May 2008, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced discovering, in an abandoned house’s basement, six teenage boys trained as suicide bombers for use against Iraqi security forces. Each teenager had been equipped with suicide vests and given a date for his attack. Each was told his family would be harmed if he did not obey orders.
• According to media reports, in March 2008, Afghan security forces arrested several individuals, including a 14-year-old male from the North Waziristan area, when their explosive-filled car stalled.
The FBI assesses that terrorists will not likely recruit children in large numbers but will select a few innocent children, to exploit their inculpability for specific attacks or for specific support roles such as reconnaissance where operating incognito is advantageous.
Although children are not likely to be recruited within the United States, terrorists may well attempt to employ children in future attacks against US assets abroad or possibly in the Homeland.
(U) Reporting Notice
(U) Recipients should immediately report suspicious or criminal activities potentially related to terrorism to their local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the DHS National Operations Center (NOC).
FBI regional phone numbers can be found at www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm . The NOC can be reached via telephone at 202-282- 8101 or by e-mail at HSCenter@dhs.gov.
Qaeda leader calls Obama a 'House Negro'
Keith Boykin Posted November 19, 2008 9:00 AM
The No. 2 man in Al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri, launched into an attack on newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama today, calling him a "house negro."