Thursday, November 12, 2009

Content VS Context: Asymmetric Warfare - it's not just for the other guys (Internet | OSINT | HaYishuv)

When it comes to threat assessment, where someone is hanging out online - context - is likely to be more important than what, if anything, they say online - content. I have seen people online who subsequently became involved in terrorist activity, who a: very clearly expressed their terrorist intentions, b: gave no clear expression to their terrorist intentions beyond adherence to radical Islamist ideological positions, and c: said little if anything prior to blowing themselves up, at which point someone who knew them would announce to the rest of the community that one of their brothers had died as a martyr in the cause of Allah. The common element was that they were all spending time on just a handful of jihadi websites.

Allow me to try and explain this by analogy:

If I'm a regular customer at a bar, that's one thing. Maybe I have a drinking problem, or maybe I just don't want to drink alone.

If, on the other hand, you see me regularly entering a bar, and the bar is owned by a guy who is affiliated with an organized crime family, and the bartender is dealing in meth amphetamine, the bus boys are selling crack cocaine, and one of the cocktail waitresses has a good connection for heroin - and you see me entering that bar because you have it under surveillance - don't you think it's a good idea to find out who the f*ck I am and why the f*ck I'm spending my time at that bar? What else am I up to, and with whom?

And that, my friends, is all I'm going to say about Major Hasan right now, except to offer up my current bibliography...

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