Sunday, November 15, 2009

Extremist Islamic Jihad HighTech Distance Learning: A Formidable Battleground

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan: the Fort Hood killer

Distance learning focuses on technologies and instructional systems designed to deliver education to students who are not physically on site. Teachers and students may communicate at times of their own choosing by exchanging printed or electronic media on-line in real time through e-mails, internet audio and video conferencing and various other internet techniques.

Extremist Islamic jihadists have capitalized on this new educational technology to advance their philosophy of warfare against Islamic unbelievers in order to subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. The recent Ft. Hood massacre by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killing 13 people and injuring 31, the 2007 thwarted plot on Ft. Dix, the 2006 thwarted plot on the Canadian parliament and the 2005 London suicide bombings claiming 57 lives and injuring approximately 700 are all examples of how extremist Islamic jihad utilized the technology of distance learning to plan and execute their attacks.

In all of the above Islamic jihad attacks, either executed or thwarted, inspiration came from internet exchanges with Anwar al Awlaki, a well known al Qaeda recruiter and spiritual guide. Anwar al Awlaki has been on the FBI radar since he was investigated in 1999 and 2000 after it was learned that he may have been contacted by a possible procurement agent for Osama bin Laden. He established an English language web site which advocated violence against the western world and actually had a page on Facebook, where at one time he had 5,100 Facebook “fans” (both the website and his Facebook page are currently down for unknown reasons).

Evan Kohlmann writes in Foreign Policy on the covert and dangerous internet linkage prevailing within the vast network of extremist Islamic jihadists.
“The Internet has inadvertently become a powerful tool in their hands, offering easy access to an interactive virtual universe where they can mobilize vulnerable, unstable people around the world and incite them to carry out acts of violence. And because the message is spread to individuals scattered across the globe, the violence comes in seemingly random bursts from unexpected sources - like pizza delivery boys, or even an Army psychologist. Even Web-savvy Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn, for example, turned to the parallel virtual world of neo-Nazi radicals for instruction and support.”

The examples of savvy use of the internet by al Awlaki and other extremist Islamic jihadists to promote, plan and execute their jihad cause are clear and present dangers.
  • Anwar al Awlaki posted on the internet his online lecture series "Constants on the Path of Jihad", known as the virtual bible for lone-wolf Muslim extremists. He also posted on the internet "44 Ways to Support Jihad” which is described by the Nine/Eleven Finding Answers ("NEFA”) Foundation as a pro-al Qaeda document that incites English-speaking Muslims. Within a section of44 Ways” titled "WWW Jihad", Awlaki encourages followers to be "Internet mujahedin" by, among other things, "setting up websites to cover specific areas of Jihad, such as: mujahedin news, Muslim POWs and Jihad literature." In "Constants" al Awlaki argues, "Jihad does not depend on any particular land. It is global. ... No borders or barriers stop it." His web strategy has made al Awlaki a familiar figure to Western counterterrorism officials and experts. "His website is very slick, and it's in English — so he's obviously looking to exert influence in the English-speaking world," says Scott Stewart, a vice President at STRATFOR, a global intelligence company.
  • In the Ft. Hood case, the shooter, Maj. Hasan, had according to U.S. Intelligence between 10 to 20 e-mail communications with al Awlaki. al Awlaki continued his internet rage of hate by posting on his website immediately after the shootings describing Hasan as a "hero" and a "man of conscience". al Awlaki also declared on his website that any decent Muslim cannot serve in the US Army, which "is directly invading two Muslim countries and indirectly occupying the rest."
  • In the Ft. Dix case convicted Fort Dix conspirator Eljvir Duka repeatedly instructed other "recruits" to download copies of Anwar al Awlaki's lectures. "It's called the Constants of Jihad, the Constants of Jihad and this, ever since I heard this lecture brother I want everyone to hear about it," he said. "You know why, because he gives it to you raw and uncut ... this is the truth I don't give a damn what everybody says this is Islam, this is the truth right here. ... So this lecture is very necessary for people today, if you're concerned. ... [It is] verbal, audio, you have to download it."
  • Members of the so-called “Toronto 18” watched videos of al Awlaki at a makeshift training camp where they allegedly planned an attack on the Canadian parliament and prime minister. Canadian authorities found audio recordings of al Awlaki’s lectures among the possessions of the 18 Canadian Muslims arrested in Toronto for their June 2006 plot to attack the Canadian parliament.
  • Transcripts and audio recordings of al Awlaki numerous lectures were discovered among the possessions of individuals charged as accomplices to the eight suicide bombers who detonated homemade peroxide & acetone bombs in three of London’s underground trains and on one double-decker bus during the coordinated July 7, 2005 terrorist attack that claimed 57 lives and injured about 700 people.
    Mr. Kohlmann states, “With such a generalized threat, it will be a continuing challenge for Western governments and societies to draw the fine line between what is protected under the freedom of speech and what is criminalized as direct incitement to murder. Surely, if homegrown extremists can train themselves to be al Qaeda aficionados using only their own home computers, then it is within the capabilities of a determined U.S. government to thwart them.”

    In October, 2008 Vice-President Joe Biden made these prophetic remarks regarding Barack Obama’s inexperience and naiveté, "Mark my words it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. "Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.” 

    President Obama’s strength and courage to protect America on the international stage has been tested numerous times since his inauguration and he has failed miserably. Obama carried out his campaign pledge to send more troops to Afghanistan and to put more emphasis on the war but he quickly lost confidence and now seems mired in a struggle over grand strategy. He’s fumbled our “special relationship” with Britain and has raised serious doubts in Eastern Europe. In dealing with a nuclear Iran he has largely bungled, having seemingly returned to his campaign trail Pollyannaish view of the power of chit-chat. The Ft. Hood massacre happened on President Obama’s watch and the world waits for his responsive action to protect us from future tragedies stemming from internet terrorist communications.

    The world-wide web is a formidable battleground to combat jihad terrorists. President Obama was quick to undermine the Cambridge police by calling them “stupid” without having all the facts. As President he certainly has all the “facts” surrounding Maj. Hasan, his associations with Anwar al Awlaki and the power and influence of internet technology to propogate hate filled propaganda by our enemies. As President he also has the power to influence legislation to counter internet technology terrorist influence on an international scale.

    Which Obama will emerge? Will it be the Obama who, as President, is expected to rise to the occasion as commander-in-chief, take action and call for a full-fledged congressional inquiry and new homeland security legislation to counter internet terrorism? Or will it be the weak, liberal naiveté Obama who reverts to his campaign comfort zone of “let’s talk about it” and cave to the politically correct liberal left, contrary to the overwhelming avalanche of “facts” about Maj. Hasan. Obama already has advised congress NOT to start hearings on the Ft. Hood massacre until law enforcement and military authorities have “completed their probe”. Therefore it appears that unfortunately we will have Obama the latter.

    Yes, Vice-President Biden, Barack Obama has been tested numerous times by on the international stage and he has yet to receive a passing grade. But this recent test involved the deaths of 13 innocent people by a jihad terrorist influenced by internet exchanges. President Obama has no choice but to get a passing grade on this test. If not, one wonders if the U.S. has more to fear from internet terrorism than the incompetent and political expediency of President Obama.


    Matt said...

    I had not made that connection. I was familiar with white supremest groups, and even street gangs using the net. It is, of course, safe to assume that Islamic extremists would use it as well. This raises the obvious national security questions, as well as free speech and privacy rights issues.

    As for Obama's handling of the Ft. Hood situation, it appears to me that he is delaying, and hoping the story and the outrage that goes with it, will fade. The motivation for this is subject to conjecture, but the left's aversion to define this as a terrorist attack is clear. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

    Tina said...

    Hi, this Tina from mumbai, thats a nice write up, I did my MBA from Sikkim Manipal University Distance Education. They too provide awesome courses in management and IT, with no entrance exams and with reasonable fees too. They have their centers all over and you can take transfer wherever you want.

    I had fun while studying with SMUDE, keep up the good will SMUDE.