Newt Gingrich GETS the Cyber Jihad: It's time to take it seriously

Newt Gingrich gets it, those naysaying him don't. Or, at least, they don't get what Gingrich is saying. He is saying exactly what we've been calling for for awhile now: taking the cyber jihad seriously. As a military matter.

If you don't get that the internet is the way in which jihadis recruit, train, and coordinate then you just don't get it. I'd suggest that you start reading The Jawa Report on a daily basis. Where we bring you stories such as Terrorists Launch Google Guide. Or reading Internet Haganah. Daily.

Now, let me say something here. I respect Ed, but he has this one wrong. Or, he doesn't get what Gingrich is saying. Especially given what I believe is a misleading headline for the story. And I've met Flap and his lovely wife, and he has it wrong too. And I'm sure that Ragnar linked to this earlier just so he could get a rise out of me. Kudos my Padawan biyotch.

Gingrich is not talking about establishing the thought police, a censorship board, and a speech Gestapo. Nor is he even proposing enacting draconian hate speech laws, the kind of speech prohibitions that liberals often support. In the same article, Gingrich also talks about doing away with McCain-Feingold---that is, to increase the capacity for political debate.

Gingrich is only proposing to curtail the speech of our enemies. Not imagined enemies. Real people who, literally, encourage young Muslims to go to Iraq to fight your neighbors. Real people who want you dead.

You live in a bizarro world if you think it is okay to kill our enemies, but not take away their tools of propaganda. It seems like an odd moral system to suggest that speech is a higher priority than life. Especially when the life and speech in question is the life and speech of the enemy.

To paraphrase Lincoln, the First Amendment is not a suicide pact.

It should also be noted that the First Amendment does not apply to the battlefield. The cyber jihadis themselves consider the internet a weapon of war and themselves combatants in this fight. This is why they formed the "Global Islamic Media Front", "The Jihad Media Brigade", "The Alfajr Media Center", and "as Sahab". To recruit. To train. To coordinate. To fight us. To kill us.

So they claim they are combatants. They claim the media, especially the internet, is a weapon. Yet you wish to protect this propaganda because you have some odd attachment to the First Amendment which trumps all other concerns?

WWGD? (What would Goebbels do?)

I believe the WWGD is a legitimate question, but one that most have avoided in this war. In past wars, we have had no problem censoring people. Especially our enemies. And the domestic forces that support them. I doubt any of us would have a problem targetting Joseph Goebells Ministry of Propaganda for a bombing raid during the height of WWII. Had Goebells not committed suicide, I doubt any would raise objections for trying him as a war criminal. Even though he did nothing more than speak.

Nor did any of us have a problem when the leaders of the German Bund were rounded up and their papers and presses shut down.

Sure, censorship has been abused in the past. But the potential to abuse a power is not a sufficient reason to withhold it. Otherwise, governments would have no power.

Here is what Newt says, in context: MORE BELOW

"This is a serious, long-term war," the former speaker said, according an audio excerpt of his remarks made available yesterday by his office. "Either before we lose a city or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people."
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Gingrich gets how this war is being fought. I'm sorry, but the rest of you just don't. The fight is in the cyber realm. It is a real battle. People die because of it.

Now, here is the key:

"We should propose a Geneva Convention for fighting terrorism, which makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous," he said.
And I'm not sure what it is that Ed doesn't get about Newt's proposals. Presto Agito believes that the reporter at The Sun just was too vague. I don't see much vagueness about it, other than the same vagueness that occurs when any policy proposition is first mentioned and before much thought can be given to implementation. Which is exactly where Joe Gandelman gets it right:
In reality, it has long been noted in many publications that terrorists are using the Internet. The problem is going to be great distrust over how this idea — if it ever comes to fruition (and it probably won't) would be implemented.
Yes, the devil is in the details, as they say. And there are legitimate concerns that should always be raised. But these concerns are not insurmountable. Simply raising concerns is not enough to quash discussion.

It's seems rather simple to me: deny your opponents the tools of terrorism. One of those tools in the internet. Go after the cyber jihadis.

And I don't mean issuing an indictment against them, I mean, literally, denying them access to the internet. Through various methods that some might think of as distatsteful. But certainly less distasteful than bombs.

I'm not sure that the NSA is up to the job, but it's a good place to start.

My own proposition is that of Cyber Privateering. The reasoning behind this has more to do with the way in which information flows in distributive networks than anything else. That is, it would be easier for our own cyber Army of Davids--given the proper incentive structure--to fight and beat the Army of Davids of the cyber jihadis.

America has the greatest hackers in the world. Let's use their talents for the public good. Just give us a few bucks for taking down our enemies' propaganda machinery, give us immunity from prosecution, and to paraphrase another great thinker, Winston Churchill: give us the tools and we will finish the job.

The Constitution itself gives Congress the power to grant letters of marquee--which, as you may know, is a means of employing private individuals (privateers--like pirates, but the legal kind) in furthering the goals of the state. It also grants Congress the authority to punish piracy and other crimes which are not even committed on US soil, but which are considered crimes against all civilized nations.

And, personally, I don't see much difference between pirates and jihadis. Except the jihadis are worse. The pirates just wanted to rape and pillage, the jihadis wish to rape, pillage, and rule. Kill them wherever you find them, punish all that are found aiding and abeding them.

Gingrich's idea of a 'Geneva Convention' outlawing jihad makes a whole lot of sense. He's never had much of a chance to win the Presidency, but I'd love to see him over the NSA.

: As if on cue: Atlas Shrugs (hat tip: Larwynn):

Technical Mujahid” [Al-Mujahid al-Teqany], published by al-Fajr Information Center, was electronically distributed to password-protected jihadist forums Tuesday, November 28, 2006....

an introductory message, emphasizes the great purpose of jihad in the information sector. This front is determined by the author to be “a main pillar in the battle of Islam against the Crusaders and the polytheist belief”.

Now do you get it?

Newt Gingrich, Jawa reader.

Posted by: Rusty at 03:18 PM


1 I can add nothing to what you and Newt and Rick Santorum have to say. I do find it sad that a majority of the non-muslim world would like to keep their head in the sand which of course just makes the war longer and harder.

Posted by: Rightmom at November 29, 2006 04:27 PM

2 You tell em Rusty.

Posted by: Howie at November 29, 2006 04:39 PM

3 I strongly disagree with the idea that the internet is an important tool used to recruit jihadis except in a very few western countries and in those I think it is a good way for us to monitor their activities since our human intel is so weak. Afghanistan? The tribal areas of Pakistan ? al Queda recruits in these areas probably have never even SEEN a computer. Do they use the internet ? Of course, but how important is it to them ? Not very I think We would do better to provide them with computers and urls for some of our better porn sites. Show them where they can find paradise now.

Posted by: John Ryan at November 29, 2006 04:42 PM

4 John can you get any dumber? I sure hope not.

Posted by: Howie at November 29, 2006 04:52 PM

5 The military has capable and trained cyber warfare outfits. The Air Force has had one for years. They are trained in both defensive and offensive cyber warfare.

Rusty, you had me most of the way with your argument up until you got to the point of privateering and letters of marque. But what if such actions interfere with the ability of intel operations to track jihadists online?

I think this remains a military issue and a policy one. The right people have to wage the cyber fight. Im sure that we cannot leave offensive hacking in the hands of a "general army of hacktivists." It would end up messy and disruptive.

Posted by: BelchSpeak at November 29, 2006 05:00 PM

6 John makes a valid point. But not an irrefutable one. I ditto the porn idea. Better to drop mags, though.

However, I'd suggest that the internet is used to recruit them. The jihadis flocking there have invariably watched video taped propaganda, most of which is just downloaded from the internet and then sold on the streets.

And quite a number of them are educated, and have money--which means the internet.

Also, used to raise money.

Also used to coordinate ideas--which is an essential point.

Most important, our domestic jihadis are definitely recruited through the internet.

Posted by: Rusty at November 29, 2006 05:05 PM

7 PS--John Ryan is not a troll. He and I are on the same page on a lot of things. He just disagrees. Usually in an intelligent matter. And he's not trying to start flame wars. In other words, he's not you-know-who.

Posted by: Rusty at November 29, 2006 05:06 PM

8 "give us immunity from prosecution"

That is all we ask.

Immunity from prosecution is why Turkish/Iranian/Saudi "hackers" (and the like) are so prevalent, they can act without fear of punishment by the authorities in their host countries. "Oh, you hacked the kuffar? Good for you Brother Ahmed".

Similar activities from Western countries earn a swift, usually unpleasant, response from the .gov.

John, your kidding right? I can show you gigs of Salafi/Jihadi materials "hidden" on the Internet, but I won't, because you don't have the need to see it (in my opinion).

The Internet is being used to spread Jihad, both through intimidation of kafir sites and the spread of jihadi literature, materials and communications. I post a bit on this sort of thing, go dig around in the archives if you want to get an idea on the extent of it.

Posted by: blackflag at November 29, 2006 05:11 PM

9 btw: I "hope" that the US .gov has a team to take the appropriate action in this sort of situation, I know there was talk of certain cyber warfare groups being formed but haven't followed it closely of late.

Posted by: blackflag at November 29, 2006 05:13 PM

10 I'm sorry John for my knee jerk reaction. Thanks for smacking me Rusty. But internet Cafes are very popular in the ME,Pakistan and other places. The internet is the means for spreading the info. But also it is done with CD's as well. They are probably a lot more into tech that we would realize. Also most of the reports I read where they find computers the sex porn is already there rith along side the jihadi stuff. Most of this is a sick type of porn to start with. They get a charge out of murder and dominance of the weak just like a sexual predator

Posted by: Howie at November 29, 2006 05:22 PM

11 Whatever Newt does will cause the left to cry and piss and moan as usual. And as usual they won't come up with a plan that's any better. As I've said before. The demos aren't adult enough to make policies. Only complain about the policies of others.

Posted by: Greyrooster at November 29, 2006 05:50 PM

12 Comrades,

For those who think that there isn't much hi-tech in Afghanistan (pr elsewhere over in that neck of the woods), here's a little nugget.

One of the easiest ways to track the Taliban and other Islamofacist groups around the country is to take a look at the local villages. If all the sattelite Dishes and Cell Towers are gone, then there's a pretty good chance the local Islamothugs have moved in and set up shop. First thing they do is to round up all the radios, TV's and cell phones.

FWIW, Cell Phone companies can't build the networks fast enough to meet the demand over there. Go figure. Live in a mud hut, but they've got a Razr.....


Posted by: AW1 Tim at November 29, 2006 05:51 PM

13 Whats so sad, is that we have the capabilities to thwart their ability to wage cyber jihad and yet we do nothing. The current administration, like its predecessor, remain technophobic and continually refuse to push assets into this field. You would think the internet was only for raising money for campaigns, porno and poker if you looked at what Congress and the Administration utilize it for.

Honestly, this is a job for the private sector. Where is our Soros like benefactor who will pony up a cool billion to create the web based counter-insurgency?

Posted by: Gabriel at November 29, 2006 06:38 PM

14 Hi Dr. Rusty,

Thanks for the mention.

But Newt made a critical error.

First amendment speech is sacrosanct. There are other remedies against the Jihadis.

And the Brits with their common law are not a country I would like to emulate - too much remembrance of the American Revolution against King George and the Boer War.

Say, when are we gonna get together again?

E-mail Flap.

Posted by: Flap at November 29, 2006 08:53 PM

15 ...So what you're saying is that the Bush administration can be trusted to use their new unconstitutional powers SOLELY TO PROTECT US, and would NEVER, for instance, go after political opponents or suppress news that didn't make them look good. Once the "Jihadists" (Who they can clearly be trusted to correctly identify) are all dead, wich could take centuries, then they will gladly reinstate the constitution and everyone will be free again. You're a very trusting soul indeed.

Now, If you would kindly give me your credit card number, I promise I'll ONLY use it to run a credit check. Honest.

Posted by: Jonas Planck at November 29, 2006 09:52 PM

16 John Ryan is a piece of shit lefturd traitor whose skull should be
caved in with a brick, and Jonas is just a dumbass who also needs some
brick therapy.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at November 29, 2006 11:04 PM

17 7 PS--John Ryan is not a troll.
John Ryan is a moonbat that drops his feces all over a thread, and barely debates his points. When he isn't rabidly frothing at the mouth about the media (embedded/military "propaganda") or rabidly masturbating over the "jewish vote" he drops statistics like some inane game of bullshit bingo instead.

Posted by: davec at November 29, 2006 11:26 PM

18 "Whatever Newt does will cause the left to cry and piss and moan as usual. And as usual they won't come up with a plan that's any better. As I've said before. The demos aren't adult enough to make policies. Only complain about the policies of others.
Posted by: Greyrooster at November 29, 2006 05:50 PM"

And guys like you just roll over and take it in the ass, like the good soldier you are.

Newt has a plan like President Moron has a plan.

Since when does Newt make any "policies"?

He's just a washed-up politician who gets little respect from anyone, anymore.

After his last stunt, he can forget about his dream of running for president in '08.

Posted by: PuddleDuck at November 30, 2006 06:08 AM

19 Idiots like piddledickhead feel they make a larger anti-American show if they tripple space their comments. Shows an infantile mind trying to act much bigger than it is. Friggin commie bastard. Aren't you fighting in Afghanistan today? or is it Somalia, or Serbia?

Posted by: Greyrooster at November 30, 2006 08:02 AM

20 Actually, I think porn increases the jihadi problem. This is in a couple of ways. 1) It allows them a release from the need to be with a woman so they are not forced to become socially adjusted which is a key factor in guys becoming gents. 2)It strengthens this desire while not truly fulfilling it. Thus it makes them even more sex-crazed and consequently nutty than they already are.

No, free 'love' is not the solution. Instead, teaching them to respect women is. But porn doesn't help in this quest.

And as a side note, porn helps convince them that we are slime buckets who deserve to be wiped out. Ah, you say they use our porn? Well, in their view, we are the corruptive influence then, and thus even worse.

As to the point of the post, oh yeah!! I favor gagging terrorists before shooting them--take away their Free speech rights, and then send them to judgment. Those who make war on my nation don't have free speech rights, even if they are citizens. Non-citizens...never did have free speech rights in the first place.

And cyber privateers would be messy, but they'd also be effective. Terribly effective--remember for those who want the pros to handle everything, remember on 9/11 just who saved the Capitol Building--thats right, amateurs.

Amateurs are usually devoted to getting the job done, and frequently don't have a great deal of extra agendas, and for various reasons, I'd rather have a society of amateurs with guns (or laptops or just free hands to lift rock and carry sandbags) than a small clique of supposed pros. The pros would do better to focus on doing their job than on trying to defend their turf from the amateurs.

Posted by: Tennwriter at November 30, 2006 09:11 PM

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