Tainted Legacies: to the Victor go the (Narrative) Spoils?

By Chris Lundry The first 48 hours after the death of Osama bin Laden were grounds for relief in the United States, its allies, and those who condemn violent extremism, but they have also been fraught with speculation and rumors concerning the operation. Is bin Laden really dead? Did he really use his wife as a shield? Was he really armed and did he fire at the Navy Seals? Why have there been no pictures […] Read more »

A Bad Year for Dr. Zawahiri

by Monika Maslikowski For Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s communication strategy, its been a year full of ups and downs. Individually, the mishaps seem like minor blips in an otherwise burgeoning online presence, but when combined, they could point to Zawahiri’s diminishing abilities as a skilled communicator and principal figure of al-Qaeda’s online media strategy. Earlier this year, Zawahiri held an extensive online Q&A session, soliciting questions from anyone who wanted to ask. It was initially thought […] Read more »

Al-Qaeda’s talking, but are Americans listening?

by Monika Maslikowski Online PSYOP campaigns are a cheap and easy way for extremists to infiltrate U.S. public discourse about the fight against terrorism. The campaigns attempt to break the political will of U.S. policymakers and persuade the public to doubt the purpose and effectiveness of their government’s policies. Does extremist propaganda have enough breadth and resonance with Western audiences to make them re-think their government’s actions? The extremists must think so, because these efforts […] Read more »

Jihad Tech: Mujahideen Secrets v. 2.0

Picking up on a MEMRI dispatch, Computerworld ran a story on a software package designed to help al Qaeda operatives put strong encryption on their files and messages sent over the Internet. The new encryption tool is called Mujahideen Secrets 2 and appears to be an updated version of easier-to-crack software that was released early last year, said Paul Henry, vice president of technology evangelism at Secure Computing Corp. in San Jose. Douglas Farah frets […] Read more »

PSYOPS Tech: Voices in your head

by Steven R. Corman At a government workshop some time ago I head someone describe a new tool that was described as the “voice of Allah.” This was said to be a device that would operate at a distance and would deliver a message that only a single person could hear. The story was that it was tested in a conflict situation in Iraq and pointed at one insurgent in a group, who whipped around […] Read more »