Information Warfare: Islamic Terrorists Prefer The Internet


January 13, 2016: The widespread adoption of the Internet since the 1990s has had some unexpected side-effects. For example it has become much more difficult to confirm casualty figures in most wars today because the violence has become increasingly intolerant of journalists. Before the Internet it was different with all sides in wars eager to get their version of the story out and that meant tolerating the presence of journalists. But with the Internet you don’t need journalists present in the combat zone. In fact those reporters are often a liability as they tend to report what is really happening rather than the version each side prefers. The Internet has become the mass media for Islamic terrorists.

This was not obvious to Islamic terrorists right away. Initially Al Qaeda found it had little success using the Internet to influence people who are not already fans of Islamic terrorism. Most Moslems will at least read Internet postings by Islamic terror organizations, but the real power of the Internet proved to be as a means attracting and regularly communication with the small community of Moslems who do support Islamic terrorism. This is a big help for recruiting, fund raising, and organizing attacks and other atrocities.

Using the Internet is not without its dangers. Most Islamic terrorists are Arabs and Arabs have a thing about telling, creating, and believing outrageous rumors. Some counter-terror organizations took advantage of this by taking seemingly plausible, scary, and damaging (to terrorist operations) stories they found on the net and spreading them among a large number of pro-terrorist web based groups. This is disinformation, and is an ancient technique. Ancient scriptures mention its use. The new wrinkle here is that the counter-terror organizations that are monitoring terrorist, or pro-terrorist web sites, chat rooms and listservs, note those bits of scary misinformation that seem to be the most popular. Sometimes calling in an Internet expert, the counter-terror people cook up even scarier variations on the initial rumor, and make sure all of them get spread around as much as possible. The Islamic terrorists and their fans have a hard time doing this, because many of the Islamic terrorist meeting spots on the web are kept secret, lest they be discovered by security officials and shut down. But most major Western intelligence agencies have an extensive list of these sites, a larger list than any Islamic terrorist has. New discoveries are shared among different countries, and when a particularly exploitable new rumor shows up, it gets a boost from the infidels.

Despite these problems Islamic terrorists have found that depending on the Internet, rather than mass media, to get the message out is a much more efficient the Islamic terrorists. At the very least, no one can shut you down while traditional newspapers, radio and TV are still vulnerable.


Article Archive

Information Warfare: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close