Sunday, August 07, 2005

Web Acts as Base for Jihadists

From the Washington Post we get an in-depth article on the latest Mid-East internet craze, Cyber-Jihad:
In the snow-draped mountains near Jalalabad in November 2001, as the Taliban collapsed and al Qaeda lost its Afghan sanctuary, Osama bin Laden biographer Hamid Mir watched "every second al Qaeda member carrying a laptop computer along with a Kalashnikov" as they prepared to scatter into hiding and exile. On the screens were photographs of Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta.

We have our "dancing baby" screen-savers. They have Mohamed Atta. Fun bunch of guys.

Nearly four years later, al Qaeda has become the first guerrilla movement in history to migrate from physical space to cyberspace. With laptops and DVDs, in secret hideouts and at neighborhood Internet cafes, young code-writing jihadists have sought to replicate the training, communication, planning and preaching facilities they lost in Afghanistan with countless new locations on the Internet.

Two questions come to mind. First, weren't we being told shortly after September 11 about Osama's hatred for technology? Wasn't it supposed to represent one of the great evils foisted on the world by the West? If I remember right, this came from the mouth of the Sheikh himself. Yet now they're telling us the dude's got a Dell. I guess hypocrisy is yet another one of those tools that have become acceptable in the fight against the Great Satan... along with lying, stealing, and drug-trafficking.

Second question. How the heck are these jihadists in exile getting online with their laptops? Is there a Starbucks somewhere in the rocky crags of Pakistan's border? I can't even get a good signal from my Netgear router when I'm sitting at my kitchen table.

Finally, I couldn't help but notice the nice little graphic the Washington Post uses for the video that accompanies this piece. Looking at this picture, who does it appear is dominating in this war?

Is that George W. Bush in the cross-hairs? Try a little more subtlety Washington Post. Or better yet, taste.

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