Information Warfare: Somali Terrorists Work The Web


August 9, 2010: While Somali Islamic terrorist group al Shabaab has benefitted from the combat abilities of the hundreds of al Qaeda fighters who have fled to Somalia, another major benefit has been al Qaeda Internet skills. Mainly through members and supporters in other (more affluent) parts of the world, al Qaeda has built a powerful Internet based propaganda operation. While many of these radical Internet geeks have been captured (increasingly in the West) or killed (usually in combat zones like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan), there are still plenty of them active, and some have gone to work for al Shabaab. Al Qaeda in Somalia have shown al Shabaab how to make and collect combat videos (the gorier the better), and email them off to the pro-terrorist geeks elsewhere for use in pro-al Shabaab web sites.

There is also a Somali Diaspora in the West, and some of these migrants have Internet skills and Islamic radical sympathies. Thus there are a growing number of pro-al Shabaab websites, in many languages, to promote the Somali terrorists, and seek volunteers, cash and any support that will help the cause (of turning Somalia into a religious dictatorship and, eventually, worldwide Islamic rule).

On the plus side, these pro-terrorist web sites are a major source of leads to (actual or potential) terrorists. Despite the use of encryption and various other Internet tricks, the pro-terrorist Islamic webmasters are still vulnerable to being tracked, and closely observed. But since these guys are on a Mission From God, they don't pay as much attention to security as they should.




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