Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bloggers get Al Qaeda web sites shut down

The Washington Times has an provocative story today (Wednesday October 10, 2007) about “blogger” vigilantes in the international scene, on p A1, by Audrey Hudson, “Blogs target jihadis online: Force servers (even those overseas) to close sites.” The link is this. The story lists nineteen sites in a box called “Jihad Bookmarks,” sites put up by Al Qaeda or sympathizers with violent rhetoric and images, some of them of insurgency in Iraq.

Individual bloggers have sometimes pressured ISPs to close down sites with violent rhetoric, which the story says has pressured Al Qaeda to place more effort on sending tapes to the major media outlets with risky land courier operations. The story mentions Dr. Rusty "John Doe" Shackleford who runs the “Jawa Report,” here.

The story reports that bloggers sometimes contact the FBI, and often want to, in contrast to the recent controversy over reporters’ guarding confidential sources and shield laws. I have done so myself a few times. Sometimes parties with axes to grind contact individual bloggers instead of the major media or law enforcement, and sometimes these parties may want to see others caught.

“Vigilante” activity on the Internet has attracted attention in other areas, such as Peej and NBC Dateline with its notorious TCAP series, or Lane Hudson, whose anonymous blog helped bring down Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley in 2006 and may have had a material effect on the midterm Congressional elections. I’ve noticed this consistently: sometimes obscure materials reported by bloggers or individual websites get picked up by major media, or sometimes even get written into fictitious settings as in television series and soaps.

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