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[infowar.de] neues Buch zu Terroristen & Internet
Hier die Presseankündigung des Verlages. Cyberterror kommt nicht vor, eher
klassische Sachen wie Intelligence, Recruitment, Fundraising und
Mir neu ist der Aspekt "Attacking other Terrorists". Ist das schon mal
jemandem über den Weg gelaufen?
Terrorism on the Web Increases Dramatically
"Terror on the Internet" by Gabriel Weimann, April Publication
WASHINGTON, DC - A dramatic explosion in the number of Web sites operated
by terrorist organizations—from just 12 in 1998 to more than 4,800
today—testifies to an alarming terrorist presence on the Internet. This
according to a new book by international terrorism expert and noted
scholar Gabriel Weimann.
“There is a real war going on in cyberspace but it is invisible to most of
us,” explains Weimann. The author describes this war in graphic detail in
his new book, Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges
(April 11, 2006, United States Institute of Peace Press; $24.95).
Using data derived from an exhaustive eight-year study, Weimann chillingly
recounts how terrorists use the Internet to carry out their deadly plans
on a daily basis. Weimann also addresses the threats posed to our civil
liberties by government efforts to constrain cyberterror.
The face of modern terrorism is decidedly different than the face of
terror in the past, not least because of the increasing use of the
Internet as a means for facilitating terrorist activities. “Postmodern
terrorism . . . is less centralized, less structured, less organized, and
far more dangerous than the terrorism of the late twentieth century,” says
Weimann. The modern, technology-savvy terrorist has emerged. The Internet
has expanded the terrorists’ theater of operation, allowing them full
control over their communications through the use of the developed world’s
Recognizing the gravity of this threat, the United States Institute of
Peace invited Weimann to Washington as a senior fellow in 2003–4, enabling
him to bring his research together as a book for those who lead the fight
against terrorism, as well as for the wider public.
Weimann asserts that while much attention has paid to the threat of
cyberterrorism (hacking into military and civil computer systems to cause
death and destruction), far too little attention has been paid to the
dangers posed by the terrorists’ daily use of the Internet to organize and
coordinate their dispersed activities. The terrorist presence on the web
is dynamic: sites appear one day, quickly change formats, and then
disappear or re-emerge with altered online addresses. Efforts to prevent
al Qaeda from using the Internet have proved useless. If one Web site is
hacked or removed from the Net, many others surface with new service
providers and new URLs.
Terror on the Internet offers an overview of the myriad of terrorist
organizations on the Internet. Drawn from all corners of the globe, they
include Hamas, the Basque ETA Movement, Hezbollah, Peru’s Tupak-Amaru and
Shining Path, Afghanistan’s Lashkar e-Toyba, the insurgents in Iraq, the
Chechen rebels, and of course, al Qaeda. Their Web sites target not only
current and potential supporters but also the media and public in the
societies they terrorize. The terrorists typically make no mention of
their own violent activities and instead highlight what they claim is the
righteousness of their cause and the ill treatment of their supporters.
Terrorism functions by delivering threats intended to create fear and
helplessness among its target audiences. “Whether it is the public arenas
of France’s Reign of Terror or the global coverage of the 9/11 attacks,
terrorists have been dependent on whatever means were available to let
their actions and threats be known. With the advent of the Internet, means
of communication become internalized and are controlled by the terrorists
themselves,” says Weimann.
Key Elements in the Use of the Internet
Weimann reveals how terrorists use the Internet on a daily basis for:
* Data Mining — The Internet is basically a vast digital library.
Terrorists use the web to research key details about targets such as
nuclear power plants and airports, and even about counterterrorism
measures. In fact, terrorists can draw 80 percent of the information they
need for an attack from the Internet by using sources legally available to
* Networking — The Internet lets diverse terrorist groups communicate
and coordinate their activities effectively. The web reduces the cost of
communications and increases the variety and complexity of the information
that can be shared. In fact, the new “loose leaderless resistance”
structure of terrorist groups, as opposed to the hierarchical structure
favored in the past, lends itself perfectly to the unstructured approach
intrinsic to Internet communications.
* Recruitment and Mobilization — Recruitment is essential for the
sustainability of any terrorist organization. Users who seem most
interested in the organization’s cause or well suited to carrying out its
work are contacted. Recruiters also use interactive Internet technology to
roam chat rooms and cybercafes, looking for sympathizers and potential
* Instructions and Online Manuals — The Internet abounds with sites
offering manuals and handbooks that teach readers such topics as how to
build chemical and explosive weapons. A 2005 search on Google’s gigantic
search engine using the keywords “terrorist” and “handbook” turned up
nearly eight thousand matches.
* Planning and Coordination – The Internet is invaluable to
terrorists in planning and coordinating specific attacks. Al Qaeda
operatives relied heavily on the Internet for the 9/11 attacks. Terrorists
from all organizations routinely send messages through public e-mail and
use chat rooms to devise attacks and coordinate their actions.
* Fundraising — Using demographics culled from personal information
entered in online questionnaires and order forms, terrorists use the
Internet to identify likely sympathizers. These people are then solicited
for donations through e-mails sent by groups fronting for the terrorists.
* Attacking other Terrorists — The Net is also used as a virtual
battlefield between (and within) terrorist organizations. Debates between
such groups as Hamas and al Qaeda, as well as conflicts within the groups
themselves, are played out over their Web sites.
The Implications for Our Civil Liberties
Weimann suggests that we must be careful not to sacrifice our own civil
liberties in the name of preventing terrorism at all costs—instead, we
must find a “golden path,” or middle ground. With future terrorists bound
to be even more computer-savvy, terrorism on the Internet is sure to
become more sophisticated and dangerous, but this challenge must be met
without overstating the present level of threat. Furthermore, in this new
arena, it’s not just the terrorists who can make use of the Internet—so,
too, can peacemakers. Weimann concludes with a call for increasing use of
the web for activities such as virtual diplomacy and the nonviolent
management of political conflict.
Terror on the Internet is a powerful, persuasive, and groundbreaking book
that reveals how terrorists are making full use of the technology
available in today’s Internet-focused world.
The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan,
national institution established and funded by Congress. Its goals are to
help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts, promote
post-conflict stability and democratic transformations, and increase
peacebuilding capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide. The
Institute does this by empowering others with knowledge, skills, and
resources, as well as by its direct involvement in peacebuilding efforts
around the globe.
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