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Replies to Washington Post: Terrorists use the Net as new "base of operations"

Replies to Washington Post: Terrorists use the Net as new "base of operations"
Replies to Washington Post: Terrorists use the Net as new "base of operations"



Also see Monday's article in the Post:
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/07/AR2005080700890.html 



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Terrorists reportedly use the Internet as new 
"base ofoperations" [fs]
Date: Mon, 08 Aug 2005 18:50:08 -0400
From: Paul Levy  
To:  

In fact, I understand that they also use the Earth's atmosphere to
sustain their lives.  Gotta do something about  that.......

Paul Alan Levy
Public Citizen Litigation Group
1600 - 20th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 588-1000
http://www.citizen.org/litigation 



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Terrorists reportedly use the Internet as new 
"base of operations" [fs]
Date: Mon, 08 Aug 2005 12:07:09 -0500
From: Jon Lebkowsky  
Organization: Polycot
To: Declan McCullagh  
References: <42F7897D.3020109@well.com> 

http://www.weblogsky.com/archives/000549.html 




[Below also noted by John Fleck. --Declan]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Other points about the Post story on eQaeda
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 15:56:51 -0400
From: George Smith <70743.1711@compuserve.com> 
To: declan@well.com 

Declan:

 >From today's Secrecy & Government Bulletin, by Steven Aftergood:

TERRORISTS, THE INTERNET AND THE BETALUMINIUM THREAT

"Terrorists Turn to the Web as Base of Operations," a Washington
Post headline declared in a front-page, above-the-fold story on
August 7.

"Among other things, al Qaeda and its offshoots are building a
massive and dynamic online library of training materials," the
Post reported, and offered sample documents from this library on
its own web site.

But contrary to the Post story line, the cited library materials
suggest a startling lack of technical competence.
Unfortunately, the Post did not critically examine the
materials that it presented.

The Post story's uncertain grasp of the underlying science was
signalled early on when it twice mistakenly referred to a virus
as the cause of pneumonic plague.  Pneumonic plague is caused by
a bacterium, Yersinia pestis, not by a virus.

A page excerpted by the Post online from "The Mujahideen Poisons
Handbook" purported to explain how to manufacture "betaluminium
poison."

But there is no such thing as betaluminium poison.  (The word
appears to be a corruption of "botulinum").  Nor would the
proffered production method -- combining fresh horse manure,
meat, grain and water in a sealed jar -- yield much more than a
stinky mess.

"The first time I saw [the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook]," said
chemist George Smith of GlobalSecurity.org, "I thought it must
be a hoax."

"Careful examination of the document shows that it is crammed
with errors, seemingly the work of someone with little
discernible sense, profoundly ignorant of the nature of simple
compounds and incompetent in even minor [laboratory]
procedures," Dr. Smith wrote in National Security Notes in March
2004:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/nsn/nsn-040304.htm 

In short, the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook that was excerpted on
the Washington Post web site indicates something nearly the
opposite of what the Post article on terrorist use of the
internet claimed to show.

"The 'Poisons Handbook' is an example of someone professing to
know what he is doing on poisons who profoundly and obviously
does not know what he is doing," Dr. Smith said.

If the Poisons Handbook is indeed representative of the "massive
and dynamic online library of training materials" offered by
jihadists, then that is good news for public safety and
security.

The Washington Post, the best of newspapers, is far from alone in
succumbing to, and propagating, exaggerated threat assessments.
There seems to be a powerful temptation to believe that
terrorists are everywhere and, aided by "the internet," capable
of everything.  It is a temptation that needs to be confronted
and thought through.

======George





-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Terrorists reportedly use the Internet as new 
"base of operations" [fs]
Date: Mon, 08 Aug 2005 09:54:22 -0700
From: TAO1  
To: politech@politechbot.com, Declan McCullagh  
References: <42F7897D.3020109@well.com> 

  Right ... and think of all the knowledge online about the life cycle of
mold, bed bugs, lice, cockroaches and other disease and death spreading
vermin which cause damage to human bodies and property ...... BIOTERRORISM.

  Tao


              "The Tao that can be told is not the
              eternal Tao; the name that can be
              named is not the eternal name."
              Tao Te Ching





-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Terrorists reportedly use the Internet as new 
"base of operations" [fs]
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 16:18:39 -0700
From: Jim Warren  
To: Declan McCullagh , Dave Farber  
References: <42F7897D.3020109@well.com> 

>http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/05/AR2005080501138_pf.html 
 >
 >Terrorists Turn to the Web as Base of Operations
 >
 >By Steve Coll and Susan B. Glasser
 >Washington Post Staff Writers
 >Sunday, August 7, 2005; A01
 >...
 >  "every second al Qaeda member carrying a laptop computer along with
 >a Kalashnikov"
 >...
 >  al Qaeda has become the first guerrilla movement in history to
 >migrate from physical space to cyberspace. ... 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.
 >...

SHAME on the Wash Post!  While true, this is nothing more than
fear-mongering horse-puckey!

It's equivalent to breathlessly reporting how
terrible-awful-dangerous it is that the terrorists are using cars and
trucks ... or cell phones ... or any other modern technology ...
certainly including essentially ALL of their arms, ammunition, etc.,
which come -- directly or indirectly -- from the "First World"
arms-makers who are reaping such monumental profits from these
conflicts.

(Note that the terrorists most-surely do NOT manufacture their own
machine-guns, shell casings, RPGs, or for that matter, ANY of the
cell-phones that they modify and use to remotely trigger bombs.)

Where are the high-profile mass-media stories about THESE terrorists'
technologies?!

--jim




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