The Islamist terror threat and “Internet Bloggers” - misinformation via anonymity

An editorial by Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

2 May 2007 It is unfortunate, sad and perilous for people in the United States, Canada and all Western countries to underestimate the threat of Islamic terrorism a half-decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but that is precisely what is taking place today. It is equally sad, but not surprising to watch the cracks in the wall of commitment in the fight against Islamic terrorism widen among the American population with respect to the war in Iraq to the seriousness of the threats of terror attacks looming large in the U.S. and Canada. The fight against Islamic terrorism among the general population has evolved from fatigue to malaise and in some cases, to skepticism, which is exactly what our enemies, who have been domestically entrenched in our society for decades not only predicted, but planned for and are currently exploiting in our post 9/11 mindset.

The well orchestrated propaganda efforts by masters of spin including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and other Islamic entities are paying off in spades, preying on the short attention span, lack of resolve, and even the good will of the American people. Their efforts are facilitated by an administration that has been manipulated from the onset by the unconventional nature of our enemy and the asymmetrical warfare tactics they employ on the domestic battleground. As the administration continues to send mixed signals on the core of the fundamentalist Islamic ideology as it relates to terrorism, the mainstream media apparatus marches in virtual lockstep down the less challenging and socially comfortable road of political correctness. They are quick to squelch the possibility of the fundamentalist Islamic ideology being the cause of - or motivation for - murderous events in this country on nearly any scale, except for those few too obvious to deny.

The doctrine of “Personal Islamic Jihad” remains a mere myth among most in the media, many in law enforcement, as well as some of the most educated but naive pundits in this country. Examples of such incorrect assessments include but are not limited to Joel Henry Hinrichs III TATP backpack bombing, where substantial evidence of his malevolent intentions exist despite the inane but persistent assertions of Oklahoma University President David Boren and the public disinformation operatives of the federal government. One only has to talk with those front line law enforcement officers who were at the scene and executed the search warrant on his apartment to understand the level of misinformation being spoon fed to a populace already tired of the talk of terrorist threats.

Another recent example is the case of Sulejman Talovic, the 18 year-old Bosnian immigrant who killed 5 people at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ask nearly anyone shopping in any mall in America today and they will tell you that Talović was simply a mentally disturbed individual and the murderous spree had nothing to do with revenge for the fate of some of his Islamic family members in Bosnia, despite unpopular evidence to the contrary. The fact that his first choice of targets was those attending services at the Mormon Conference Center the previous Sunday is conveniently omitted or denied.

The skepticism that Islamic jihad is present in the US and Canada, and Islamic terrorist operatives are living and working among us is also being fueled by unexpected but growing threats to the truth in the form of alternate informational sources on the Internet. We live in a time of asymmetrical warfare where information about Islamic terrorism and the seemingly ubiquitous presence of Islamic terrorists, facilitators and sympathizers is already being compromised by everyone from high-ranking intelligence officials to the major media under the constraints of political correctness. While the power of the Internet for use as a propaganda, command and control tool, and communication method by Islamic terrorists, sympathizers and financiers is undisputed by intelligence and defense officials, less obvious threats to the dissemination of the truth exist and continue to grow unchecked under the radar.

In particular, Internet “blogging,” or the posting journal type opinions has experienced remarkably explosive growth on the Internet. This is favorable in an open society and is an asset to the academic discussion of diverse opinions. Some bloggers take an obvious favorable position toward violent Islamic jihad, posing little threat of deception with respect to their agenda. The more insidious threat, however, arises from bloggers who portray themselves as authoritarians on the war waged by Islamic terrorists while misrepresenting facts associated with incidents and activities potentially related to Islamic terrorism. The problem is exacerbated by these very individuals who conveniently choose to mask their true identity and cower behind Internet aliases, preventing any scrutiny of their background or credentials. This facade permits them to recklessly and anonymously assail well researched facts without having to prove their qualifications to do so. The line between opinion and research soon becomes unrecognizable and blurred as the public becomes victims of informational overload. The more pernicious bloggers range from being contemptibly derisive in matters involving the goals and activities of our enemies to shills who are complicit in the spread of disinformation. The danger, of course, is that some people, even the most discerning, are listening.

In a time of war, downplaying the threat to the security of our nation, our families and our very way of life is detrimental and dangerous. Doing so under the cover of anonymity, is cowardly and shameful.

As the director of the Northeast Intelligence Network, it is my sincere hope that the true agendas of CAIR, MPAC, and other Islamic organizations is made known to everyone in America. It is my hope that all activities conducted by Islamic terrorists, their sympathizers, financiers and facilitators that operate in the shadows of our democracy are exposed. It is also my hope that those Internet denizens whose primary agenda seem to be downplaying the threat of Islamic terrorism are exposed for who and what they truly are, despite their cowardice and cloak of anonymity. In fact, it is my objective, as the alternative to those we leave behind is unacceptable.

Does this sound alarmist? I hope so. Of course, you can always ask yourself that question the next time you try to hail a cab at the Minneapolis Airport, use the men’s rest room at the Kansas City Airport as you make your way around the wash basis installed especially for Muslim men, walk by the recently installed Islamic prayer room at the Meadowlands Stadium, or worse, watch the cable news as rescue workers treat innocent bystanders of the next person wearing a backpack of TATP at a college football stadium. Otherwise, you can continue reading reports of how alarmist we are by those who remain anonymous, whose credentials and professional experience you cannot examine, but downplay the threats posed to our nation.

In asymmetrical warfare, the dissemination of truth, however inconvenient and uncomfortable, must never be marginalized by its purveyors. And in order to disseminate the truth about our future as Americans, we don’t have the luxury of anonymity. The threat is too great, the stakes are too high, and the battle is too great for cowardice.