July 25, 2006:
There have been noticeable changes in pro-Islamic terrorism Internet forums and chat rooms over the last six years. The biggest change, which only showed up in the last two years, is the larger number of videos. Those showing terrorists killing captives, especially by beheading, are particularly popular. This really got started with the release in 2002, of the Pakistani terrorists beheading American journalist Daniel Pearl. A growing number of videos from Chechnya and Afghanistan became a flood after the United States went into Iraq in 2003. The terrorists noted the popularity of these vids, and provided lots more of them.
Of late, the terrorism supporters have grown jaded with vids, and have been spending more time discussing local conditions. In the Middle East, that means complaining about the local government, and attacking specific officials. A lot of the discussion is about what could best be described as the entertainment value of Islamic terrorism. Lots of fanboy type talk. Islamic militant songs are popular, as is poetry and tales of thrilling (if often fictional) heroics. The lack of any substantial progress by the terrorists is having an impact, with a shift in emphasis to local action, rather than traveling to somewhere else (Iraq, Chechnya or the U.S.). This is scary to Europeans, because of the many pro-radical Moslems living there.
Not too many stories of jihadis (those who had gone off to fight for the cause), or even discussion about those who went off, and didn't come back. Instead, there's a preference for gossip and speculation. This reflects the attitude among many of the jihadis, who carry on like they are operating in some kind of imaginary world. To Westerners, the discussions appear lacking in the kind of logical thinking and practicality one would expect when examining life and death matters.