Islamist Terrorists Shifting from Web to Social Media

AP453232788832-540x360By Bill Gertz:

Social media giants Facebook and Twitter are grappling with terrorists who are moving from websites to microblogs as a way to spread propaganda, recruit members, and communicate.

U.S. officials familiar with efforts to monitor social media say Islamist terrorists have increased their use of social media in recent months.

Currently, numerous U.S. and allied intelligence agencies are engaged in large-scale efforts to monitor online activities by Islamists, jihadists, and terrorists.

Based on those agencies’ reports, the intelligence services are having a difficult time balancing the need to keep track of terrorist group members and their statements when the Twitter and Facebook accounts are shut down for advocating violence or otherwise promoting illegal activities.

On the one hand, spy agencies want social media to allow some of the terrorists’ Twitter and Facebook accounts to remain open to keep tabs on them. The postings often can provide clues to online friends’ and followers’ locations and in some cases they can be traced electronically.

In most cases, terrorists’ accounts that are closed or suspended for advocating violence are quickly re-opened using slightly different names.

But problems arise when social media accounts used by terrorists are taken offline, complicating real-time intelligence monitoring. In many cases it takes up to 18 hours to locate the new accounts that reappear under new names.

“They often come to us and say ‘do not take down these accounts,’” one social media executive said of the U.S. government.

The problem of counterterrorism monitoring of social media took center stage last month during the attack by the Somali al Qaeda Al Shabaab on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. In the midst of the deadly attack, which killed 68 shoppers and storekeepers, Al Shabaab opened multiple Twitter accounts, each replacing one that was deactivated by the site.

In all, the group operated seven Twitter accounts that were closed before another was opened.

The social media communications by Al Shabaab were the first time a terrorist group made public statements during an ongoing attack. The messages by the group were mainly propaganda statements explaining the goals of the attack. But all were closely followed by international news media and security services for clues to the group’s plans and operations.

read more at Free Beacon

 

Cyber Jihadists, State Department Now In Full-Blown Twitter War

 fsgfdsdf118900428FP, By Will McCants:

Since 2011, the State Department has sponsored a Digital Outreach Team tasked with countering al Qaeda propaganda on the Internet. In its brief existence, it’s difficult to quantify the team’s progress (and easy to laugh at its failures), but there’s one thing it is doing successfully: Making the right enemies.

The Digital Outreach Team (DOT) is part of the larger Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, an interagency center housed at the State Department with a presidential mandate to subvert al Qaeda’s online outreach efforts (full disclosure: I helped set up the DOT’s current operations while at the State Department). The Center and the DOT venture on Twitter is relatively new and until now elicited little more than scorn from jihadi tweeters. But this month, it started to make some serious waves.

On July 17, a prominent jihadi on Twitter, Mu`awiya al-Qahtani (M_Al_Saqr), established a new Twitter account @Al_Bttaar whose mission is a mirror image of the Digital Outreach Team’s. Whereas the DOT aims to counter jihadi propaganda and discredit its promulgators using social media, @Al_Bttaar aims to spread that propaganda and silence its detractors. Now, there is reason to believe the @Al_Bttaar initiative is a direct response to the DOT’s activities: not only is it patterned after the DOT, its opening salvo was directed against one of the DOT’s tweeters, Tariq Ramzi (@dsdotar).

The DOT first provoked complaints from jihadis after crashing mainstream forums and casting their form of radical Islam in a negative light.  The day after @Al_Bttaar’s inaugural tweets, the group organized its first Twitter “raid,” an effort to take down the State Department’s account. Themethod was pretty simple: Just click the “report” button multiple times until a Twitter administrator removes the account.

Five minutes after passing out the instructions, the administrator posted the address of @dsdotar. Although there was spotty information during the attack on how it was going, @Al_Bttaarannounced the following day that it had failed. The administrator attributed the failure to the lack of participation — only 150 people reported the enemy account, short of the goal of 400 — and to the fact that people had followed the account before reporting it. (In a moment of internal bickering: one of the group’s followers noted that it was the administrator’s themselves who had recommended following the account.)

@Al_Bttaar has since moved on to conduct several attacks against other Twitter users, all of whom are Arabs who have displeased them in one way or the other.Few of them have been successful but that has not dampened the group’s enthusiasm or that of its now 1,570 followers. In one of its latest tweets, it promises even more action in the days to come.

So far, @Al_Bttaar’s efforts on Twitter are pretty small scale, which could also be said of the DOT’s activities. Part of the reason is resources: there are not many jihadis or counter-jihadis. But another reason is that both sides realize that this influence game is not about swaying large numbers of people but rather persuading just a few to join or turn away. Seen in this light, @Al_Bttaar’s antics probably have less to do with actually silencing its enemies than it does with attracting enthusiastic new followers who like its aggressive approach.

Will McCants is an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses and a former State Department senior advisor for countering violent extremism.

 

Dr. Ali Alyami: Critical Changes in Saudi Arabia

Dr. Ali Alyami

Dr. Ali Alyami

By Clare Lopez

Dr. Ali Alyami, a U.S. citizen who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, is the courageous founder and executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (CDHR).

CDHR is a small, non-profit organization established in 2004 to “emphasize the importance of empowering the Saudi people (both men and women) through peaceful democratic reforms without which the country will continue to be ruled by a constellation of autocratic and theocratic men who have tremendous influence that can be and has been used to crush the aspirations of the people, to blackmail the international community, or to plunge it into religious and economic pandemonium.”

Clarion Senior Fellow Clare Lopez (who is also a CDHR Board member) recently interviewed Dr. Alyami on the critical changes taking place in Saudi Arabia and especially focused on the evolving role of women in the conservative Kingdom.

Clare Lopez: Dr. Alyami, how is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia changing, even as the first generation of Saudi family rulers passes away?

Dr. Ali Alyami: Like all societies, the Saudi people have been deeply affected by modernity and its fast evolving demands. Despite the Saudi autocratic and theocratic ruling elites’ severe censorship of all forms of information and depictions of social, political and educational evolutions as the infidel’s conspiracy, the flow of uncontrollable information exposed the Saudi people to the international community, different lifestyles, democratic systems, women’s participation in national life, freedom of expression, dress codes and everything in between.

The most effective game changer is the social media of which the Saudis, young and old, religious and liberals, men and women are frequent users. Social media have enabled the Saudi population to communicate with each other for the first time in their lives. This alone is changing the Saudi people’s perceptions of themselves and of each other. They are finding out that the system is dividing them along religious, gender, ethnic and regional lines in order to manipulate them and prevent them from achieving national unity and identity. They are finding out that they have common grievances that are caused by the same source, the Saudi/Wahhabi ruling dynasties and their rigid and rigidly controlled institutions.

There is no segment in Saudi society that has been more affected by modernity than Saudi women. After being marginalized in the name of Allah and Islam, many of them became educated in schools, from traveling, listening to news and watching satellite TV channels. They are learning how to organize, question male authority and reject the clerics’ teachings and interpretation of religion. In short, they are changing Saudi society in ways men could not or were not willing to do. They are using the system to assert themselves and demand their legitimate rights.

Lopez: Are the successors of that first generation – the second and third generations – very different in their outlook on Islam and the world?

Alyami: The second and third royal generations are very different from their fathers and grandfathers. They grew up with all the things that modernity has to offer. They did not live in mud palaces like their parents during the early stages of their lives and they did not have to embrace the nomadic traditions which their fathers had to do in order to appease the public and keep them under control.

Many of the second and more so, the third generation, were born to non-Saudi mothers who introduced them to a different way of life that often clashes with Saudi traditions and way of life. Like their counterparts in society, royals grew up with and use modern technologies to communicate with each other and with those in society who dare to engage them in sensitive issues such as royal corruption, exploitation, oppression and the economic gaps between the royals and the disenfranchised masses. All of this led to a gradual disconnect from the past, religion and a new perception of the world around them.

Lopez: What are the signs of reform and modernization that you see inside Saudi Arabia today?

Alyami: Beside modern infrastructure, the most obvious signs of changes in Saudi Arabia are the number of educated women and their demands to be included and counted. As noted above, they are changing the country. The Arabian Peninsula was isolated from the world for centuries. This is partially due to lack of incentives for anyone to go there, but partially the system did not want the populace to be exposed to new ideas, different ways of lives, non-religious (non-Wahhabism) information and people of other faiths whom the Saudi/Wahhabi ruling men consider dirty (“pigs”) and unbelievers. The system has embarked upon projects, albeit cosmetic, it once considered the inventions of the infidels to divide people and turn them against authority. An example of this is the 2005 municipal elections from which women were barred.

Read more at Radical Islam

Facebook Targets Hizbullah, Shuts Down its TV Network’s Page

Arutz Sheva:

Facebook shuts down pages created by Hizbullah Al-Manar television, says it’s because Hizbullah is a designated terror organization.

 

Facebook pages created by the Hizbullah terror group’s Al-Manar television station have been removed from the site, the Lebanese Daily Star reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the decision by the social networking website to halt activity connected with Hizbullah was made because the group appears on the State Department’s list of terror organizations.

“Under our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities we do not allow content that incites violence,” Frederic Wolens, a Facebook spokesperson, was quoted as having said. “And to help keep our site safe, we use the State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations to help make determinations of which groups may be involved in the promotion of violence. Due to Hizbullah’s appearance on the list, they have been removed from the site.”

Wolens said this extended to Al-Manar, whose official page was not accessible Thursday. A Hizbullah community page was also down, although a spokesperson for the group told the Daily Star the group has never had an official page.

Several weeks ago, Apple Inc. removed an application that Hizbullah was advertising on the iTunes store promoting streaming video from Al-Manar.

The app, which had been advertised on the air by Al-Manar, directed users to various broadcast content, including speeches by Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised Apple Inc. for its decision, saying, “As the media arm of the terrorist group Hizbullah, Al-Manar is a source for anti-American and anti-Israel propaganda and messages of hate and violence. We commend Apple for removing the app from the iTunes store and appreciate their vigilance in ensuring that terrorist-affiliated organizations will not have access to Apple’s customers.”

On Thursday, according to the Daily Star, the Al-Manar website offered an alternative way to download its app “following the campaign carried out by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League to deactivate Al-Manar applications on smartphones at Google Play and Apple store.”

Last week, the United States imposed a new round of penalties against Syria that included Hizbullah, due to its providing support to President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The U.S. Treasury said that the Lebanese terror group, designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization in 1995, has been providing training and extensive logistical support to Syria’s government.

The Hizbullah leadership claimed this week that its missiles can now reach all of Israeli territory.

Speaking at a ceremony in southern Lebanon, Nabil Ka’uk announced from the podium that “Hizbullah rockets can reach all Israeli settlements,” referring to Israeli towns and cities.

Video:

Lebanese TV report: MEMRI responsible for ban of Hizbullah TV from social networks and apps

First Fox News, now Twitter. Saudis pursue “Information Jihad.”

Praise Allah!  Saudi prince invests $300 million in US company Twitter.
Saudi Royal Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will soon be a household name.
 
 
 
Twitter sells $300 million stake to Saudi with terrorist ties.
It had to happen sooner or later, so I really shouldn’t be surprised. Everything will soon feel the influence of The Islamic Plague.

 
It just disappoints me that so many outstanding US companies are feeling the need to “sell their Souls to Allah” to get the next “zero” on their bottom line.
 
Reported in Fox News this evening is the story that Twitter has sold  3.6% stake — $300 million dollars — to Saudi Royal Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
 
Now I’m going to tell you why we, as Americans, should be concerned with this news, and it doesn’t have anything to do with “Islamphobia.”
 
 
In an effort to get a piece of the next-generation of Internet companies, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal unveiled a $300 million investment in privately held social-media company Twitter.  Based on estimates that Twitter is worth $8.4 billion, Prince Alwaleed’s stake translates to a 3.6% investment in the company.
 
Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact,” Prince Alwaleed said in a statement.
Sure thing, Prince.  Especially when they are US-based companies directly involved in the flow of information.  I haven’t gotten to the scary part yet.  It’s coming. 

Headquartered in San Francisco, Twitter lets users post short messages of 140 characters or less known as “Tweets.” According to Twitter, the service has 100 million active users sending out 250 million Tweets per day.

Prince Alwaleed has investments in a number of media and entertainment companies, including FOX Business parent News Corp. (NWSA: 16.75, -0.23, -1.35%). He owns 95% of Kingdom Holding Company and is worth $19.6 billion, making him the richest man in Saudi Arabia, according to Forbes.

We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend,” said Ahmed Halawani, Kingdom Holding Company’s executive director of private equity and international investments.

 
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Now I’m going to tell you why having this prince in control of our social and communications media is such a scary and disturbing prospect.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is the brother of Prince Khaled bin Talal, an admitted Islamic Terrorist Financier.  And while it might be unfair to judge one brother by the actions of the other, it is obvious — by both deed and word — the apple does not fall far from the tree.In 2002, Al-Waleed donated $27 million dollars to the families of Palestinians during a TV telethon following Israeli operations in the West Bank city of Jenin. The telethon was ordered by Saudi King Fahd to help relatives of “Palestinian martyrs.”

As we remember, 2002 was during the period of the “Second Intifada” (Al-Aqsa Intifada). More than 1,100 Israeli’s were killed by the very same “Palestinian martyrs” that the co-owner of Fox News Channel saw fit to reward financially as “victims of Israeli aggression and occupation.”

In 2005, Al-Waleed gave an interview boasting that he had called Fox to complain about coverage of the “Muslim riots” in France. He said he “called as a viewer” and “convinced them to change” the coverage because “they were not Muslim riots but riots against poverty and inequality.” And “they changed” the coverage, the Saudi reportedly said.

The fact that 99.99% of the participants in the riots were Muslim apparently made no difference. The fact that they carried signs advocating Islamic extremism made no difference either. When you are the co-owner of Fox News Channel, you know you can have Rupert Murdoch on speed-dial.

Read the rest at Deny Islam