Turn off the internets…

“I hear there’s rumors on the Internets that we’re going to have a draft.” George Bush, second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004

In two days, the writers at the Washington Post have written articles about “Terrorists Turn to the Web as Base of Operations”  and “The Web as Weapon“.

The first article said,

“…Western intelligence agencies and outside terrorism specialists to conclude that the “global jihad movement,” sometimes led by al Qaeda fugitives but increasingly made up of diverse “groups and ad hoc cells,” has become a “Web-directed” phenomenon, as a presentation for U.S. government terrorism analysts by longtime State Department expert Dennis Pluchinsky put it. Hampered by the nature of the Internet itself, the government has proven ineffective at blocking or even hindering significantly this vast online presence.”

The second one said, ”

As with most breakthroughs, it was a combination of technology and timing. Zarqawi launched his jihad in Iraq “at the right point in the evolution of the technology,” said Ben N. Venzke, whose firm IntelCenter monitors jihadist sites for U.S. government agencies. High-speed Internet access was increasingly prevalent. New, relatively low-cost tools to make and distribute high-quality video were increasingly available. “Greater bandwidth, better video compression, better video editing tools — all hit the maturity point when you had a vehicle as well as the tools,” he said.

The original al Qaeda always aspired to use technology in its war on the West. But bin Laden’s had been the moment of fax machines and satellite television. “Zarqawi is a new generation,” said Evan F. Kohlmann, a consultant who closely monitors the sites. “The people around him are in their twenties. They view the media differently. The original al Qaeda are hiding in the mountains, not a technologically very well-equipped place. Iraq is an urban combat zone. Technology is a big part of that. I don’t know how to distinguish the Internet now from the military campaign in general in Iraq.”

The very architecture of the internet that routes around damage makes it virtually impossible to stop the dissemination of information from these scumbags showing their horrific videos and using the internet as a primary means of communication….unless we turn off the internets.

Shutting down the internet simply isn’t possible. The American populace (and the rest of the world increasingly dependent upon it) will not stand for draconian control measures, back doors, and sweeping eavesdropping by *any* government…even the one that invented it. Investment and stepped up effort on identification and shutdown of these al Qaeda sites is the only course of action. As I discussed in this week’s podcast, I’m not willing to hand over my privacy, civil liberties and free speech for security and choking off information (regardless of its horror) as it is a very bad precedent. Focus the war on extremism (apparently the new euphemism for the war on terror) by leveraging the internet for its information dissemination qualities and use it for gathering intelligence.

Sigh…if it were only as simple as capturing a Wehrmacht Enigma machine and starting an Ultra program.

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