Online terrorism is no joke

While we love the world of social media here at Global Wire, we're simply not down with the idea of online social networking for promoting global terror.

From Metro US:

Mumbai’s attackers were reportedly well-versed in modern technology. They have plenty of company: Today most rebels and terrorists are masters of the online universe.

Ten years ago, when Dr. Gabriel Weimann, a communications professor at the University of Haifa, started monitoring terrorist Web sites, there were 12. Today there are at least 6,850.

“In the past such Web sites were very simple; now they’re often extremely sophisticated,” says Weimann, currently at American University in Washington, D.C. “Terrorists are using Western technology to fight Western modernity.” In addition to posting messages on Facebook and YouTube, terrorists now run virtual training camps on the internet and use Google Earth to coordinate actions.

Rebel groups in developing countries are Internet experts, too. The Muslim Brotherhood has a Web site; so do the Tamil Tigers and the Mouvement des Nigériens pour la Justice in Niger. The Sudan Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) is battling the Sudanese government over the Darfur region; its Web site is available in several languages.

“We’re not in a position to do what President Obama did with the Internet because we don’t have the resources,” says JEM spokesman Gibriel Ibrahim, “and because a very small portion of our population has access to the Internet. Nonetheless, our Web site is the place where we can freely express our views and communicate with the world.”

According to JEM, people from 85 countries have visited its Web site, www.sudanjem.com, which also has a chat room.

But there’s a war over Web sites, too. Says Gibriel Ibrahim (a nom de guerre): “JEM is a party at war with a notorious ruthless regime which is relentlessly trying to top the operation of our Web site and get rid of the people who run it.”


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