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October 22, 2008

The Website Defense
Posted by Patrick Barry

Just a few minutes ago, McCain advisers Randy Scheunemann an Jim Woolsey tried to distance themselves from what has got to be the world's worst endorsement by suggesting that al-Hesbah, the al-Qaeda-linked site where the endorsement appeared, does not reflect the true views of the terrorist organization.  However, a closer look at al-Qaeda's internet activities over the past month show this defense to be pretty thin.  For the past few weeks, the organization has been embroiled in an all-out struggle to keep their websites active, losing four of their five affiliates this month:

Four of the five main online forums that al-Qaeda's media wing uses to distribute statements by Osama bin Laden and other extremists have been disabled since mid-September, monitors of the Web sites say.

...For al-Qaeda, "these sites are the equivalent of,,," said Evan F. Kohlmann, an expert on online al-Qaeda operations who has advised the FBI and others. With just one authorized al-Qaeda site still in business, "this has left al-Qaeda's propaganda strategy hanging by a very narrow thread."

Of the five al-Qaeda affiliated websites, guess which one managed to stay up:

After about 24 hours, one forum, al-Hesbah, reappeared, according to Kohlmann, a senior investigator with the NEFA Foundation in Charleston, S.C.

So not only is al-Hesbah a site with direct links to the terrorist organization, equivalent to "" and "," but it is the only al-Qaeda organ still functioning. Wow.  But I guess that means the two aren't affiliated.


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