Intelligence: March 12, 2003

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It's been known for some years that the Internet is a valuable intelligence resource. Before the Internet, spies could obtain considerable useful information by just getting their hands on local newspapers, magazines and coffee shop gossip. But the Internet allows you to go to all these local sources from one place, and then pass on what you find to like minded people. For example, pro-terrorist web sites have been showing U.S. bases in Kuwait, including photos of the outside and the inside of some of the bases. The jihad oriented sites often discuss targets and tactics. These are generally non-English, often Arabic, sites, so their activities largely go unknown by the general public. The pictures are often recognizable because of English language signs that are also shown. The Pentagon, however, has made no secret of their use of images of growing American military power in the Persian Gulf (and elsewhere) to demoralize the Iraqis. Pictures of troops training and firing their weapons in Kuwait are thought to be demoralizing to any Iraqis, and terrorist wannabes, that see them. Recently, pictures of a new, ten ton American bomb (the MOAB), showed up on the web, apparently part of the same psychological warfare campaign. An earlier version of this bomb, the 7.5 ton BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter" had a fearsome reputation because of the few times it was used in Afghanistan and the 1991 Gulf War. The first MOAB test with it's explosives (earlier tests were with inert filler) took place yesterday, and the psywar people are probably going to get pictures of that into circulation quickly.

 


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