New York Times, 7 June 2010: Two New Jersey men who were bound for Somalia with the stated intention of joining an Islamic extremist group to kill American troops made a brief appearance in federal court in Newark on Monday. . . .
. . . . The suspects, both United States citizens, physically conditioned themselves, engaged in paintball and tactical training, saved thousands of dollars for their trip, and acquired military gear and apparel, according to the complaint. They talked about what they said was their obligation to wage violent jihad, and at times expressed a willingness to commit acts of violence in the United States, the complaint said.
Last Nov. 29, for example, the complaint said that Mr. Alessa told Mr. Almonte and the undercover officer: “They only fear you when you have a gun and when you — when you start killing them, and when you — when you take their head, and you go like this, and you behead it on camera.” He added: “We’ll start doing killing here, if I can’t do it over there.” Mr. Alessa used the Arabic words for gun and killing, according to the complaint.
The next day, said the complaint, he told the officer: “I leave this time, God willing, I never come back. I’ll never see this crap hole. Only way I would come back here is if I was in the land of jihad and the leader ordered me to come back here and do something here. Ah, I love that.” . . . .
Over the last few years, I have been posting about the jihadists machinations on the internet as you know. I have been seeing the trend toward “Americanizing” the process of not only propaganda, but also in recruitment. As time has passed, and AQ has been forced into the tribal areas, they have gone even further online to get their message out and recruit.
At first they were mostly recruiting in the Baltics, and in the Arabic world. Over time though, they began adding English sections, as well as German and French… In fact, they really have gone “global” due to the power of the internet to reach around the world. Add to this too the power of the cell phones today with video and texting, never mind the web browsing capabilities.
So, over time the jihadists have fashioned new programs to bring people to their fold and to train them. You may have seen all of the posts about how they are uploading docs all over the internet on stealth sites as well as places like “megaupload” All of this, to train the recruits, who sit alone in their basements hoping to become brothers in arms, though, in the case of Americans, not necessarily “shahid”
Lately we have begun to see the results of the cyber jihad with Faisal Shahzad, BVD boy, Nidal Hassan, and now these two citizens in New Jersey. I would attribute much of this recruitment not only to the sites that you may have seen me auditing, but also with the jihadi mouthpieces of Anwar Al Awlaki and the new addition of Abdullah Faisal. Both of these guys are American and both bridge the gap between the American sensibilities and the jihadi. They appeal on many levels to would be jihadists here exactly for these reasons.
The net effect now has been to create not “cells” of terrorists, though, sometimes these loners do hook up with cells, but they often are called “lone wolf” operators. These jihadi’s are coaxed into carrying out acts of jihad on their own and with minimal oversight and training. They get to look at their online documents, learn what they can about IED prep and are goaded on by people thousands of miles away to do the work of Allah.
This paradigm shift is scary on many levels.
Just as the Columbine incident showed just how a couple of kids (one really unbalanced one in the lead) could wreak destruction and fear into a society, so too have the jihadi’s found this model that Dillon and Eric already had latched on to. Though, for now, the Columbine incident was far more devastating than Faisal Shahzad even could have been.
So, this leaves us in the US in the position of being information security challenged dealing with an information security problem with communications. Communications on the internet by people who are posting, talking, passing files, and operationally planning in a medium that our government is ill equipped to monitor.
While we hear the news about bills being floated in the senate and house that may give too much power to the government to “protect” the grid, too many are just focused on the wrong threat. Sure, there are threats from cyber attacks, but, frankly, I see more threats from COMINT by jihadists looking to pull off another big attack here in the states.
I guess in the end, no one can monitor everything and not all plots can be detected and stopped. This is something that the we here have to come to grips with.
We will never get them all.
We will have another attack in the US eventually small or large
The perps of this attack are likely to be fringe people who have been called to jihad in their unbalanced minds by the likes of Al Awlaki and they will be US Citizens
Accept these truths
It’s time to redouble our efforts online and try to prevent as many as we can while trying to preserve our constitutional rights… Something that is a task given the technologies at the hands of the monitors.
Lets hope that the government can get out of its own way and work smart…
Meh.. who am I kidding?