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Anonymous Targets Terrorists Using Social Networking In Paris Attacks

November 21, 2015

One of his fellow Belgian jihadists wrote on a social network site after the attack on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris  in January: “The good news is that it is only the beginning.”

Codes, morse codes, computer codes, books with numbers to interpret codes, social networking sites, all go back to the same wartime concept: communication of tactics and strategy. All wartime strategists work to break codes, intercept communication, and take down communication modes, and now Anonymous has said it will focus on shutting down the social networking sites.

Anonymous began its campaign against ISIS in earnest after the killings at Charlie Hebdo in January. That work included launching attacks on extremist websites and finding extremist accounts on Twitter so the social network could take them down.

It has continued that work this time around. Its attacks on websites seem to use a distributed denial of service, a technique that overloads a site’s servers until they go offline. The Twitter accounts are taken down by the network itself, in response to requests the activists make once they are found.

Interrupt communication, now that is something that might just work.

Terrorism is a complicated subject, and combatting belief systems that glorify killing people who make you angry are just the start. It’s not unemployment that makes someone kill another person (read my post about that here: ).

What stops terrorism? Certainly complacency does nothing to stop it. That’s like saying a problem goes away if you just ignore it. Belgium is a hotspot of terrorist activities.

Why is Belgium at the heart of Europe’s most destructive wave of terrorism in a generation? There is no single explanation, but rather a number of ingredients, from post-war immigration from north Africa, hate preachers, ghettos, poverty, and marginalision. There is also a belated realisation by the Belgian authorities that complacency towards extremism has allowed the pernicious Islamic influences to fester. 

Cut off communication, and that might work better. Why hasn’t it been done before?

Although Belgian security services have infiltrated mosques more effectively in past decade – in part, after discovering a Belgian connection to the 2005 Madrid bombings –  Sharia4Belgium and others have found ways to evade surveillance by using internet chat rooms and social media.

Of course, one could look at the Belgium approach to jihad as part of the problem. Note that the head of security points out “marginalization” as if integrating social mixers and jobs could change belief systems. It’s not just about the jobs, people.

Mr Benyaich says that many young Muslims feel marginalised from mainstream Belgian life. “This real or perceived sense of exclusion is combined with extreme Islam,” he says. “All these problems come together in a complex process of indoctrination and alienation.”

The majority of stories I have heard about the families of those involved in jihad speak of desperate families trying to get their loved ones to leave jihadist movements, travel to try to visit their children, pleas to leave the movements, often at great risk to themselves. These parents are not necessarily the parents of children who are marginalized, and the parents themselves say they don’t know how to combat extremism.

Another of the parents of the Paris Terrorists explained how he met up with his son, gave him a letter from his mother, tried to give him money ostensibly to leave, but he couldn’t convince his son out of terrorism:

Born in Drancy, a north-eastern suburb of Paris, he was of French-Algerian descent. His father Mohamed, 67, told Le Monde newspaper how in June last year he travelled to Manbij in Isis-controlled Syria to try to persuade his son to return to France with him, but was unsuccessful. 

When he eventually met his son he was on crutches after being injured in fighting. “It was a very cold reunion,” he said. “He was with another guy, who never left us alone. He did not come home, did not say how he was injured or if he was fighting.”

One of the other brothers of another jihadist said that his family was “in shock.”

You must also understand that, despite tragedy, my parents are in shock and really don’t realise [what has happened].”

Families of terrorists don’t know how this happened, but maybe interrupting social networking sites is the only way to interrupt terrorist activities.


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