It was a busy week last week on the internet. With the news that OBL was gone, the jihadi boards stayed silent for a couple days as the rank and file waited for AQ to post a response. It wasn’t too long though before at least one faction (Kavkaz) began posting that OBL was in fact alive and well and that the fire fight in Abbottabad actually took hours.
Of course this is a Russian/Maghreb source so they are quite used to propaganda blasts. This posting though did not seem to gather any traction with the masses on the other boards. The silence continued until AQ finally put out the official word on Thursday, that OBL was indeed martyred and that OBL would ascend, leaving thousands of jihadi’s behind in his wake.
These are just a few from the last couple of days. The boards have been getting extensive posts from the masses.. I am still going through them all and it seems with every refresh, there is a new post of prayer and threats. What has been interesting though, is that they are re-grouping and trying to create extensive propaganda blitzes online. When the news of OBL’s death came out, the savvy jihadi’s started a Facebook page called “We are all OBL”
This site came down quickly as Facebook caught on, but you get the idea. Once this site was removed, I saw traffic that had a new idea. The jihadi’s compiled an uber list of sites to post propaganda on. They had created new OBL Graphics, nasheeds, and documents to get the word out that their shaiykh had been killed, but his jihad goes on. I have yet to see the propaganda propagate anywhere, but I am sure they are feverishly working toward making more videos to upload to YouTube and other places.
Slowly the boards have begun to have non credible threats being made within their threads including comments about bombing and shootings. So far the comments though are not being seen as warranting any action other than being more vigilant (i.e. nothing saying today we are going to hit this place with a bomb) but time will tell if one of these guys decides to go all lone wolf and try something and this is the real problem. The lone wolves out there in their bedrooms making bombs or plotting to shoot people, often times, they do not overtly post that they plan on doing such things. Instead you have to read between the lines on their postings to see who actually might act up.
It’s a crap shoot.
I have been taking stock of what has transpired this last week and here are some observations:
There seems to be another wave of “America FUCK YEAH!” fever going on since OBL’s demise:
While I agree we have some things to celebrate, I think that we also need to take into account that it’s not over. We should not feel as though we can dust off W’s “Mission Accomplished” banner and go back to swilling beer. I have read a few pieces in the news that covered the mentality of the youth who grew up post 9/11 and there seems to be a consensus that with OBL’s death, the “Boogeyman” has been removed from the collective unconscious. Given that I am older, I can’t really empathise on how they feel as well as with what I know about AQ and Jihadi mentality, I cannot party down like many did that night.
I think that Obama has it right when he says we need not swagger. I also agree with him that releasing the photos would only incite more of the jihadi’s to work together and really do something as a whole, it would in effect re-energize them even more so than the killing of OBL itself has done. It would be the equivalent of drawing a picture of OBL and Muhammad together and then having Terry Jones burn it on camera for CNN.
What I really fear is that people collectively have this idea that since OBL is dead, that AQ is too.. And that just isnt the case. If anything they have been damaged (and the intel from the hard drives may give us much more data to keep them on the run or to kill them as well) but, there are many more of them out there now saying they will follow in OBL’s footsteps because he was a righteous man.
To understand the war.. One must understand the enemy…. I think we are still lacking critical thinking and understanding by the masses on that enemy. I really would hate to see us slip into a 2001/2002 mentality again.
Whacknutty “Deathers” and other conspiracy theories abound:
Since the death of OBL was reported, there has been a spinning up of the conspiracists out there claiming that OBL had been in fact dead all along and that this was another COINTELPRO project or something of that ilk. The decision by Obama to not release the photos has only inflamed these conspriacy nuts even further. I actually took a listen to Alex Jones the other day and he was going on and on about how this was just another media created manipulation by the one world government blah blah blah.
Hey Alex… You are insane btw… No, really, clinically insane. You need help.
But I digress.. So, yeah, the lack of physical data or other proofs that OBL is indeed dead would likely make no difference now anyway. You see, for the conspiracy folks, he would have just been on ice somewhere and this “killing” was used to boost the poll numbers for Obama. Frankly its all drivel and shows the insecurities in the average conspiracists mind. If you give them data, they will just say its forged. My evidence that OBL was in fact dead came from AQ themselves. They put out a pdf announcement as well as the boards, like I said above, had been real quiet like… So something was up.
Ugh.. Well, no worries though.. According to other whacknuts with a 100 million dollar radio ministries say that we are in the end times anyway. As of May 21st the games up!
And don’t you know I will be emaling them on the 22nd saying “Welcome to Hell bitches!”
Oh, and back to the “deathers” give it up. He’s dead. Lets move on and work towards ending Jihad huh?
Don’t get cocky America!:
Last weekend I read an article that is pertinent to the post OBL world. The title of the article is “Don’t Get Cocky America” and is by Daveed, Gartenstein-Ross. The point of his argument is that the death of OBL, while damaging, is not the end of AQ nor Jihad. More specifically, the brand of jihad that OBL was espousing featured an economic bent. In the latter part of his jihadi life, OBL and AQ had been moving toward an even more diffuse organization that would be harder to track. Using couriers as he was to get data back and forth was his undoing, but, it is this model along with the idea of self radicalization through jihadi media outlets that makes this more dangerous.
OBL from the start, cited that he wanted to bleed America dry with a death of a thousand cuts as the Mujahideen had in Afghanistan with the Soviet Union. By using this model OBL wanted to create cells all over that could self actuate and with every small attack, cause the American government to spend even more money on security and war. His economic warfare in fact worked… Look at where we are now as opposed to where we were 9/10/01. We have a multi front war ongoing, a security behemoth called the DHS that can’t get out of its own way, and trillions of dollars in debt to show for it all.
Still, we are not truly safe and the sad fact is we never can really insure that we will be. It is just the nature of the beast. There will always be a way for a determined aggressor to strike and we just have to understand this.
Meanwhile, as the article alludes, many now think that the war is over because one man, who was an active part but no longer the true aegis of the organisation, is dead. This is a fallacy and we have to come to grips here with the future.
OBL is dead.. The movement isnt.
Which brings me back to the economic warfare thing.. Do we really need to spend as much on all of this? Would the intel that eventually killed OBL be just as obtainable without the trillions being spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? It’s a puzzle that needs to be looked at and I have to think about it some more…
Its not time to relax our security stance, but, it is a good time to take stock of what we are doing and how. OBL’s demise will bring on interesting times I suspect and I for one, will be quietly watching.