Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Info War

There has been much made of how the West seems a lumbering giant in a new age of "fourth generation warfare" in which information and non-state actors run circles areound the dinosaurs of old institutions.

Here for example is a look at how al-Qaeda has morphed supposedly 4 times to try to stay ahead of the curve.

But it cuts both ways.

One point to consider is that Western citizens can become non-state actors too, and I'd worry more about what the people who invented GPS and the internet can do with them than a bunch of savages whose greatest technological achievement is a rug.

As I've mentioned before, a high-school student built a working nuclear pile in his backyard, and a hobbyist in New Zealand flies homemade cruise missiles.

All that is missing is the motivation to put them together.

Which a sufficiently egregious atrocity by thet terrorists could produce at any time.

But less-direct (though still effective) means are available for people to strike back with pure information warfare.

Indeed, don't miss the comments at the above Belmont Club link, where one reader points out:
In the future, it should be possible to create fake jihadist web sites designed just like "roach motels". The idea in the long run is not merely to arrest the terrorists, but plant the idea among al-Qaeda's fellow travelers that any forum they use is so thoroughly infiltrated that it is futile to organize any violence at all.
...
The very fact that al-Qaeda mutates is not merely an expression of adaptability, but of its weakness and its inherent inability to win sufficient victories to maintain a coherent organization.
...
Although our enemy seeks to use its hot temper as a weapon against us (much as a wife beater does), our best weapon against the Islamist is his own rage.
Another responds,
If Al'Qaeda has gone through 4 evolutions, that means it has experienced four environmental crises for which it was, at the time, insufficiently or inappropriately organized to overcome.

It's important to recognize the other side of this coin: Al'Qaeda's environmental dangers are evolving, too, and the adaptations are additive instead of subtractive (as they are for Al'Qaeda). Al'Qaeda is losing ground in design space, discarding operational and organizational possibilities in response to the immunological progression of its target.

Al'Qaeda evolved from A to B to C to D because we evolved non-A, non-B, non-C, etc. Al'Qaeda can no longer successfully function at design space A, B, or C, while we retain our non-A, non-B, and non-C responses as (in evolutionary terms) frozen accidents. For Al'Qaeda there is no going back; they can only go forward into an ever more circumscribed arena of existence while we stay fast on their heels closing doors and burning bridges.

As Alexis noted, Al'Qaeda will continue to evolve away from their environmental pressure along the path of least resistance. Once they can no longer plan and incite except anonymously on the internet, we will be able to pour so much uncertainty into their existence that they will no longer be a threat. It seems we are close, and as long as we don't give up the ground we have gained, I might start calling Al'Qaeda our erstwhile enemy of yesteryear.
Here for example is Internet Haganah, which tracks and shuts down jihadi "4th gen" websites, and was the brainchild of a guy in his basement.
Quote of the day

From Our Man in London™:

The weakness of non-hierarchical networks is that there are no 'low-level' nodes, so the compromise of any single node can provide multiple points of entry into the network. Someone has successfully exploited this weakness to take down a whole lot of bad guys.
Internet Haganah was started by Aaron Weisburd:
Weisburd, 41, a half-Irish, half-Jewish New Yorker, said that like other Americans he was deeply affected by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He wanted to enlist in the military, but his age and health issues made that impossible.
From Wikipedia,
Internet Haganah is a "global intelligence network dedicated to confronting internet activities by Islamists and their supporters, enablers and apologists." Internet Haganah also is an activist organization which attempts to convince businesses not to provide web-based services to such groups, and collects intelligence to store and pass on to government organizations. It was formed by Aaron Weisburd in 2002, and became part of a collection of private anti-terrorist web monitoring companies, including "Terrorism Research Center", "Search for International Terrorist Entities Institute", and "Northeast Intelligence Network". Weisburd is the only full time employee of Internet Haganah, which is run primarily from his home office, with the help of many online associates.
...
The organization claims to have taken down approximately 730 Jihad sites.
Here, a woman in Montana, in her spare time, ferrets out jihadis on the internet and passes significant information to the FBI.
HELENA, Mont. -- Like a hunter using a duck call, Shannen Rossmiller invites the online attentions of would-be terrorists by adorning her e-mail with video clips of Westerners getting their heads cut off.

"They get pumped up when they see beheadings. For them, it's like rock videos," Rossmiller said. "I always give the appearance that I am one of them."
...
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, she has found herself an unpaid night job. She uses the Internet to find terrorism suspects, she said, hunting for them while her family sleeps, spending the hours between 3 a.m. and dawn at her home computer. Her husband, Randy, a wireless network technician, keeps eight computers and two broadband systems working in their house.

Posing as an al-Qaeda operative, she has helped federal agents set up stings that have netted two Americans -- a Washington state National Guardsman convicted in 2004 of attempted espionage, and a Pennsylvania man who prosecutors say sought to blow up oil installations in the United States. Rossmiller was a key prosecution witness against the Guardsman, who is serving a life sentence, and said she has been told she will be called as a witness in the Pennsylvania case.

Most of Rossmiller's terrorist tracking, though, has focused on foreign suspects, she said. By her count, she has turned over to federal investigators about 60 "packages" of information on suspects outside the United States.
And here, the "traditional" intelligence ops shut down the top al-Qaeda webmaster -- and capture a treasure trove of information. This capture wasn't reported for a full 8 months as that information was exploited!
On a cold night last October, police stormed a West London apartment and found Younis Tsouli at his computer, allegedly building a Web page with the title "You Bomb It."

Initially, the raid seemed relatively routine, one of about 1,000 arrests made under Britain's terrorism act during the last five years.

The more eye-popping evidence was allegedly found in the London-area homes of two accused co-conspirators: a DVD manual on making suicide bomb vests, a note with the heading "Welcome to Jihad," material on beheadings, a recipe for rocket fuel, and a note with the formula "hospital = attack."

But as investigators sifted through computer disk information the picture that emerged was dramatic. Police had apparently stumbled on the man suspected of being the most hunted cyber-extremist in the world.

Tsouli, a 22-year-old Moroccan, is being widely named as a central figure in a cyber-terrorist network that has inspired suspected homegrown extremists in Europe and North America, including the 17 people recently arrested in the Toronto area.

The massive, 750 gigabytes of confiscated computer and disk information — an average DVD movie is 4.7 gigabytes — found on Tsouli's computer files is an Internet trail believed to link some of the 39 terror suspects arrested in Canada, Britain, the United States, Sweden, Denmark and Bosnia over the past eight months.
...
The five-year war on Islamofascism has had more success than we know. It takes months to get news on intel operations, and during that time we keep rolling up more and more of the AQ network. Even the terrorists understand that they are losing. The only people who haven't realized it are in Congress.
Ironically, the key nature of this Tsouli, under his screen-name Irhabi 007, was just featured in this Atlantic Monthly article about the new nature of "Jihad 2.0".
With the loss of training camps in Afghanistan, terrorists have turned to the Internet to find and train recruits. The story of one pioneer of this effort—the enigmatic “Irhabi 007”—shows how.
Apparently he was already in custody when that article was written!

Not to mention getting their previous top internrt guy about two years ago.

Both kept extensive records.

As did Z-man, whose demise produced a treasure-trove of records:
American and Iraqi forces have carried out 452 raids since the June 7 airstrike on al-Zarqawi, and 104 insurgents were killed in those actions, said U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell.

The nationwide raids led to the discovery of 28 significant arms caches, Caldwell said.

He said 255 of the raids were joint operations, while 143 were carried out by Iraqi forces alone. The raids also resulted in the captures of 759 "anti-Iraqi elements."
Of course, that AP article had to then go directly to "grim milestone" reporting to try to ignore these successes.
The Pentagon's announcement that 2,500 U.S. troops had died since the war in Iraq began more than three years ago did not include any details on when the grim milestone was reached.

The grim milestone underscored the continuing violence in Iraq, just as an upbeat President Bush returned Wednesday from Baghdad and refused to give a timetable or benchmark for success that would allow the 132,000 U.S. troops to come home.
That's all absolutely ridiculous and nothing but a series of defeatist non-sequitors. By any standard, 2,500 casualties in 3 years is incredibly, unbelievable low for anyone who knows anything about military history.

I think the REAL grim milestone is how the propagandists of the MSM are getting gloomy and depressed that they just can't stop success from relentlessly progressing in Iraq!

A captured document said:
the insurgency was being hurt by the U.S. military's program to train Iraqi security forces, by massive arrests and seizures of weapons, by tightening the militants' financial outlets, and by creating divisions within its ranks.
And the last thing that loser saw was a U.S. soldier.

Oh, Sweet Karma!

2 Comments:

Blogger 2$$G said...

"a bunch of savages whose greatest technological achievement is a rug."

Great line.

9:33 AM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger RDS said...

From you, that's high praise indeed! Thanks!

12:10 AM, June 21, 2006  

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