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US State Department Hacks Al-Qaeda Websites In Yemen

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the hearts-and-minds dept.

Security 245

shuttah writes "In the growing Al-Qaeda activity in Yemen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed today that 'cyber experts' had recently hacked into web sites being used by an Al-Qaeda affiliate, substituting the group's anti-American rhetoric with information about civilians killed in terrorist strikes. Also this week, a statement from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs revealed the presence an Al-Qaeda video calling for 'Electronic Jihad.'"

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245 comments

They did it... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101023)

They did it for the lulz.

Re:They did it... (5, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#40101399)

It is a matter of record and fact: The US kills more innocent civilians in Yemen - or anywhere else, for that matter - than do any alleged 'al-qaeda' affiliates.

Jeremy Scahill, National Security reporter for The Nation:

"Saleh essentially made an agreement with the Obama administration to get an increase in his counterterrorism funding in return for allowing the United States to conduct various operations of its own, unilaterally. And so, effectively, counterterrorism funding for his regime became like crack cocaine. Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. His government was extremely corrupt. This was their cash cow, claiming that they were fighting terrorism.

And so what you've seen over the past 10, 12 years of history between the United States and Yemen is Ali Abdullah Saleh, when it was convenient for him, allowing the al-Qaida threat to flare up, looking the other way when 23 al-Qaida people broke out of the prison that they were supposed to be held in, actually allowing weapons to be smuggled into al-Qaida areas so that they would attack a police station, and then coming back to the United States and saying, oh, we really need more funding to go and fight these terrorists."

" the United States has sort of outsourced its intelligence operations in Yemen to Saudi Arabia and Yemen's security forces. And we've seen repeatedly over the past 10 years the Saudis and the Yemenis manipulate events regarding al-Qaida within Yemen to try to curry favor with the United States or to get more funding.

And so I just would sort of reserve commentary, as a reporter who's covered Yemen extensively and been there, on going too far down the line of guessing who this agent was, who he was working for, and what he actually did, because I've seen it too many times where someone's getting played, or someone's getting spun."

"Colleagues of mine who are in the south of Yemen right now and are on really the front lines of this drone war, my friend Iona Craig, who's a great reporter for the Times of London, was just saying to me that she met civilians who were severely burned from the drone strikes and that one civilian that she talked to said there were 26 people killed in the strike that he survived and was severely burned in."

"the U.S. bombed this village and killed 46 people, and we know the names of all of the people that were killed. I went there myself. I interviewed a woman who lost her entire family. An old man, 17 of those 46 people that were killed were members of his family. There were five pregnant women among the dead."

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/17/152854335/why-the-u-s-is-aggressively-targeting-yemen [npr.org]

Re:They did it... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101511)

It is a matter of record and fact: The US kills more innocent civilians in Yemen - or anywhere else, for that matter - than do any alleged 'al-qaeda' affiliates.

...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You read it on the interwebz, so it must be true.

Nice selective use of "matter of record and fact" and "alleged".

Re:They did it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101817)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You read it on the interwebz, so it must be true.

Nice selective use of "matter of record and fact" and "alleged".

You forgot "...and it's against TEH ESTABLISHMENTZ". The GP would be perfectly willing to "confirm" something in teh intarwebz is false if it doesn't support his thinking, either.

Re:They did it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101627)

Yep. The only surprise is why you or anyone act shocked. This is war.
Sure, people whinge and equivocate and try not to call it war, but it's war.

People die in war. Civilians die in war. Its about the oldest truth humanity has.

If our military is active on foreign soil assume people and civlians are dying. Work from there.

Re:They did it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101693)

Eat a dick!

Why? (4, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | about a year ago | (#40101027)

Not to sound unpatriotic, but h4x1ng their bank accounts and those of their supporters would impress me more. Go Joe!!

Re:Why? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#40101153)

Psyops. It's all about using knowledge and bias as a weapon.

Re:Why? (1)

catmistake (814204) | about a year ago | (#40101309)

Psyops. It's all about using knowledge and bias as a weapon.

Fair enough. And I see now even a slap in the face really is a valid and effective attack against them. Thanks for making that point.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101549)

I don't know that there's a need to be so sarcastic. Undermining the will to fight is a time-honored and effective tactic. Total dominance (shock & awe) is not the only way to do this. Raiding bank accounts is theft -- crimes against our enemies don't necessarily improve our overall position. In some cases, it is counter productive in the larger sense because such actions can generate sympathy for the enemy and contempt for us. However, posting the honest truth in place of their manipulative deceptions will undermine their propaganda, give pause to reasonable people who support our enemies due to misinformation, and not upset allies in the region and abroad. The truth is a difficult weapon to criticize, and wielding it effectively is a required element of modern war.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101547)

They do that kind of thing as well. Well, the State Department doesn't, but the CIA does. As the poster below me says, this is psyops. What you're asking about is traditional intelligence gathering. Any time a target is captured or killed, they look at who visited them/they visited/spoke with them, and they go back through and try to find their financials, their contacts, etc, to establish a money trail or chain of communication or command in order to identify more potential targets. What the State depatment did is go after websites that would be frequently visited by potential recruits or grunts, on order to show them they aren't targeting evil infidels or making glorious attacks, they are just blowing up or shooting innocent women and kids. Hopefully it can get some of them to stop, or at least focus on legitimate governmetn/military targets. Both operations are equally important.

Re:Why? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year ago | (#40101885)

Al-Qaeda is a former CIA asset. In fact they are still using them in Egypt and Syria to exert regime change. They don't want to *really* want hurt their friend/ally by stealing money..... just put on a little show to impress the Americans back home.

1 - http://www.infowars.com/syrian-girl-natos-secret-agenda-in-syria/ [infowars.com]
2 - http://www.infowars.com/al-qaeda-rebel-pictured-with-un-observers-in-syria/ [infowars.com]
3 - http://www.infowars.com/cia-double-agent-cia-and-british-intelligence-created-ruse-known-as-al-qaeda/ [infowars.com]
4 - http://www.infowars.com/nato-using-al-qaeda-to-destabilize-syria/ [infowars.com]

...Huh? (4, Insightful)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about a year ago | (#40101039)

The feds hack a website, and they issue a triumphant press release. Anonymous does it, and they release the hounds.

Re:...Huh? (3, Informative)

bhcompy (1877290) | about a year ago | (#40101073)

Maybe they'd be okay with it if Anonymous hacked terrorist websites instead of the websites of Western governments and businesses?

Re:...Huh? (5, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#40101105)

...terrorist websites instead of the websites of Western governments and businesses?

You mean there's a difference?

Re:...Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101255)

Yes, the express purpose of Western businesses is not to kill people

Re:...Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101445)

Really?? I'll just name 2.
Lockheed Martin, Blackwater.

Re:...Huh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101139)

Maybe they'd be okay with it if Anonymous hacked terrorist websites instead of the websites of Western governments and businesses?

Terrorists defined so by Western Governments makes everything alright, doesn't it? No. If you call hacking a crime, then it is a crime for the government too. It is stupid they made it public, because now they acting like terrorists themselves. This is why more terrorists exist.

Re:...Huh? (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about a year ago | (#40101591)

Let's get this in perspective. Our government is using drones to launching missiles at buildings housing suspected militants and you are worried about the crime of hacking? I'm pretty sure it's a crime to bomb civilians, too.

Re:...Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101737)

Let's get this in perspective. Our government is using drones to launching missiles at buildings housing suspected militants and you are worried about the crime of hacking? I'm pretty sure it's a crime to bomb civilians, too.

Does the parent say that bombing civilians isn't a crime? And the true perspective is that you should worry about all crimes any government is doing.

Re:...Huh? (2)

MorePower (581188) | about a year ago | (#40101815)

I can at least understand trying to kill terrorists. Civilians get killed because of our desperation to kill the terrorists. I mean, it's horrible and all, but at least there is an understandable goal there.

This seems just flat out petty. If we hacked websites to locate terrorists, or anticipate attacks, or disrupt their finances, I could understand that. But to hack in and just insert our own video? And admit that we did it? It just makes us look like script kiddies putting "USA rulz!!! LOL OMG" on stuff.

Crap like this makes our enemies hate us just a little bit more, and makes our allies just a little bit more reluctant to support us, and doesn't accomplish anything material.

Re:...Huh? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#40101703)

No. If you call hacking a crime, then it is a crime for the government too.

Think for a second -- murder is illegal, but war is not. What is war, but mass murder on a huge scale? A thing is illegal when the government says it is, and illegal when the government says it is. That's how the world works, kid.

Re:...Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101717)

I'm pretty sure the act of changing www.Allah-Wants-Blood.com to a message of, "ya'know, when that psycho next to you blows himself up in a schoolyard, that's gunna be bad for everybody", is already a public thing.

All they did was admit it.

Re:...Huh? (0)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | about a year ago | (#40101763)

It's not like they hacked the website to post links for Goatse and Lemonparty; they did so to remove the anti-American/European propaganda and replaced it with the truth about the horrible acts of violence bestowed upon those civilians by Al-Qaeda. But I guess it's their right to kill innocent people in the name of some imaginary fairy in the sky, and we should just mind our own business and stay the hell out of their country and off their servers.

Say what you want about the political aspects or reasons to "invade" or not to...I don't give a shit about any of it, but there's nothing that makes it OK to harm innocent people and then lie about it. Much of the indigenous population supports Al-Qaeda because of they're simply not aware that the terrorists cover up their own disgusting actions.

Which I would prefer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101203)

Maybe they'd be okay with it if Anonymous hacked terrorist websites instead of the websites of Western governments and businesses?

It's great that the State Dept. is admitting that they do this because when - not if - they were discovered, they'd look like liars. They owning up to it make them look a little better.

But they still look sleazy.

If I were President, I would publically, quitely (don't try to hide it but don't make a press release) enlist Anonlymous' services in doing exactly what they did - and give them a deal on the side.

Why?

Because Anonynous doing it is a little more credible. They have proven themselves to be antognostic to the US Government and I would think that folks who are sympothetic to Al-Queda would believe them a little more than the US State Dept.

Frankly, if folks who are sympathetic to Al-Queda are as cynical as I am, they would think this anouncement is also some sort of ruse.

Re:...Huh? (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year ago | (#40101085)

As if this is news? For decades, the feds have been busting into innocent people's homes and killing them and their dogs, without being arrested or imprisoned for it. Now, if I were to throw a grenade into someone's house, rush in with an assault rifle and kill them, what do you suppose would happen to me?

Re:...Huh? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#40101215)

That is a really terrible SOP as well. I can promise this, if you enter my home legally or illegally and do deliberate harm to my pet you will have removed any possibility the of the situation being resolved without additional violence. I don't care what uniform you have on, my response will be to defend my home and family inclusive of pets with any force that can be mustered.

 

Re:...Huh? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | about a year ago | (#40101349)

My state's Castle law states specifically that it can't be used if the invader is a LEO acting in pursuit of his duties. No one has ever been able to legally explain how this would play out in court in the case of a no-knock warrant. I presume that even with a no knock warrant there is a formal announcement, but if my door bursts in I may not have time to wait for verification. I keep thinking of the guy who got SWATed and met the team with a kitchen knife when he heard people sneaking around outside his house.

Re:...Huh? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | about a year ago | (#40101227)

Now if I were to pave a road through your backyard and let vehicles travel by your bedroom window at all times of the day and night, what do you suppose would happen to me? Maybe I'm missing your sarcasm, but government is a group of people to which we give additional protections and authority for the purpose of executing actions that are in the benefit of society in general. We should fight corruption and try to maintain a fair definition of benefit to society, but to say they are to be held to the exact same standards as private citizens is to open yourself to exploitation from any number of persons or groups that wield an individual does.

Re:...Huh? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year ago | (#40101557)

You are missing the point about throwing grenades into the homes of people who committed no crime, then busting down their door and shooting them. This happens all over the country:

http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim/ [drugwarrant.com]

The SWAT teams and drug squads who kill people generally receive no punishment for their actions, even when they kill innocent people. These are not actions that benefit society -- these are people who committed no crime and posed no danger, who were killed by paramilitary police squads.

Re:...Huh? (3, Informative)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#40101235)

Yup. Underscoring this.... I was listening to Hillary and Panetta yesterday talking about this Doctor in Pakistan. The guy has been arrested for "Working for a foriegn intelligence agency". A crime which could get you life in prison or even death if you were caught doing it here.

They, of course, want their informant released. Never mind that he broke the trust of Doctor Patient priviledge for untold numbers of people by setting up fake vaccination clinics to sample DNA (which, if done here would have gotten his license taken away and gotten him slapped with serious violations of the law), never mind that he is a Pakistani national who essentially became a spie for a foeign government....

nope...somehow they don't understand why this guy is in prison.... even though they would hang him if he was an American and did the same things here.

I don't see whats so hard to understand. The law is great, as long as its convinent to the people in power. The rule of law apparently isn't supposed to apply to them or their sycophants.

Re:...Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101431)

He worked for us and did a dangerous and helpful thing. It is the right thing to do to try and get him out of that prison.

Hacked the folks they are shooting at ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101143)

The feds hack a website, and they issue a triumphant press release. Anonymous does it, and they release the hounds.

The feds hacked the websites of an organization they are actively at war with, literally at war as in bullets and bombs. That is not quite the same as what Anonymous is doing.

Re:Hacked the folks they are shooting at ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101329)

The feds hack a website, and they issue a triumphant press release. Anonymous does it, and they release the hounds.

The feds hacked the websites of an organization they are actively at war with, literally at war as in bullets and bombs. That is not quite the same as what Anonymous is doing.

Indeed, Anonymous is not killing anyone yet.

What I can't understand is why they didn't pretend this was the work of an independent hacker. They wouldn't reveal this without thinking so there must be a reason.

Re:...Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101251)

When the feds hacks a website, the feds issue a triumphant press release.
When anonymous hacks a website, anonymous issues a triumphant press release.

There is no contradiction or hypocrisy here, just two different factions doing business as usual.

Re:...Huh? (1)

j-turkey (187775) | about a year ago | (#40101267)

The feds hack a website, and they issue a triumphant press release. Anonymous does it, and they release the hounds.

I am still not sure how I feel about the federal government defacing websites, but I do know how I feel about vigilante justice. I am firmly against it, and I believe that this is what Anonymous is all about. I am OK with the feds releasing the proverbial hounds against Anonymous.

Re:...Huh? (1, Funny)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#40101351)

Meh I don't see much difference between vigilante "justice" and regular "justice"...its all just excuses to use violence against people.

Now, when "jusitce" is used against people who probably did something really bad, like murder, or rape...then I have no problem with it, and even cheer its application.

I don't like it much in the abstract though, I certainly don't cheer it, and do have a problem with it when its used against people who grow plants and sell things to consenting adults with no fraud involved. In fact, then i consider it a crime against humanity, and wish someone would apply some "justice" back to the perpetrators.

Re:...Huh? (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | about a year ago | (#40101725)

Meh I don't see much difference between vigilante "justice" and regular "justice"...its all just excuses to use violence against people.

Now, when "jusitce" is used against people who probably did something really bad, like murder, or rape...then I have no problem with it, and even cheer its application.

I know! How could anyone have a problem with someone who probably did something really bad being beaten and/or killed?

Re:...Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101361)

Just as killing/torturing/kidnapping anyone is alright if they do it.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Captcha: Dictator.

Re:...Huh? (1, Insightful)

kiwimate (458274) | about a year ago | (#40101505)

Point one - it wasn't hacking; they posted counter-propaganda messages on a comment forum. Earlier versions of the story called it hacking, but that was updated within minutes.

Point two - Anonymous releases plenty of triumphant press releases themselves. Anonymous releases their "hounds" (i.e. DDOS attacks) in response to just about any random provocation. What's your point?

And...

Point three - are you seriously equating a counter-propaganda operation against Al Quaeda with DDOS attacks designed to disrupt web sites against somewhat random corporations?

Al Quaeda deliberately attempts to kill innocent people. Your kids. Your local school teacher. Your sister. That old lady in some small town who never did a bad thing in her life and just wants to pay a visit to New York to see the Big Apple, now that she's getting on in years. Al Quaeda looks at them and says, great, the more harmless and innocent, the better, that'll really get our point across.

RIAA, MPAA, MasterCard, etc., do not deliberately attempt to kill innocent people.

I know some of these corporations are poorly regarded by geeks, but please try and keep some fashion of perspective. If you can't legitimately see the difference (as opposed to engaging in hyperbole for deliberate effect), then you have a problem.

Point four - I'd think the second story (which seems to be overlooked so far) is more interesting. A media release from Al Quaeda encouraging cyber attacks, attacks against the power grid, etc. But that's not as flamebait friendly, is it.

Re:...Huh? (1)

Burning1 (204959) | about a year ago | (#40101713)

When the US government bombs an enemy military structure, we issue a triumphant press release. When an anonymous US citizen bombs a US military structure we release the hounds.

Slashdot complains a lot that the US justice system doesn't seem to understand how to apply existing privacy and copyright law to the internet... And we can't seem to figure out how existing forign policy might apply to the internet. Nice. :)

Why was this made public? (3, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#40101045)

These folk are usually extremely careful about the comments they make, so I wonder what the angle is here?

Re:Why was this made public? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101111)

Getting the President re-elected by deflecting criticism from the conservative right that he is not hard enough on terrorists...

Re:Why was this made public? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101181)

These folk are usually extremely careful about the comments they make, so I wonder what the angle is here?

This is the Obama administration we are talking about...

Money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101233)

Money - for "cyber experts". what else?

Re:Why was this made public? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101437)

could just be fud, too. But that's a form of back-handed hacking, too, intended to plant a seed in the users of said websites that, "has my favorite behead_infidels.ym website been hacked" or not, assuming this info gets to them somehow.

Or, it's just US socio-political hacking, saying, "see, we're doing something about it!"

Re:Why was this made public? (1)

The Moof (859402) | about a year ago | (#40101447)

Well, there's an election coming up. With Osama's death and Iraq supposedly dwindling down, they needed to make some statement to put a positive spin for their "War on Terror."

Re:Why was this made public? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101527)

These folk are usually extremely careful about the comments they make, so I wonder what the angle is here?

Extremely careful... like with Noor Khan, the CIA agent who infiltrated al-Qaeda and rose high enough to control their e-mail systems and whose name these folks published because they thought it would get Bush II re-elected. Or the Saudi agent who stopped the plane bombing a few weeks ago, whose identity these folks published because they thought it would get Obama re-elected.

Yeah, these folks are extremely careful.

Re:Why was this made public? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101545)

It's an obvious demonstration of power. You know, the kind of thing dictatorships like to do as a matter of course.

Do as I say, not as I do.

They just get finished making a grandiose amount of noise condemning this exact thing, then they go and do it themselves. The message is clear. "Fuck you."

USA contradicts itself every step of the way... (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | about a year ago | (#40101055)

Isn't it kinda illegal hacking into someone else's property? Oh wait, you call them terrorists possessing wmd's and do whatever you want...

Re:USA contradicts itself every step of the way... (3, Funny)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | about a year ago | (#40101095)

Oh yeah. The "electronic jihad" email will look somewhat like this: This is electronic jihad! Unfortunately we suck at it, so dear infidel delete all files on your computer yourself. Thanks, 4£-Q43Ð4.

Re:USA contradicts itself every step of the way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101707)

oh i get it. it's a nerd joke. get it guys cuz we're all nerds and he used some unicode leet speak. let's laugh to indicate we are part of the nerd group. maybe some neckbeard can even say "that's so nerdy" and upvote the parent to +5, Funny in an entirely predictable way

Re:USA contradicts itself every step of the way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101243)

Isn't it kinda illegal hacking into someone else's property? Oh wait, you call them terrorists possessing wmd's and do whatever you want...

Sovereign governments have the legal right to wage war. They can bomb it, they can hack it ... its all perfectly legal if it is part of the infrastructure sustaining combatants.

Re:USA contradicts itself every step of the way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101341)

You will get modded down but it is ok. you have told the truth and pathetic wouldn't like that.

They do it.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101063)

for the lulz

Re:They do it.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101307)

Way to miss the first post make the exact same joke.

Think of the Civilians! (1)

imunfair (877689) | about a year ago | (#40101087)

Seems like a pretty hypocritical message, considering all the civilians we've killed over there. In a place where we shouldn't even have military.

Re:Think of the Civilians! (5, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | about a year ago | (#40101239)

Seems like a pretty hypocritical message, considering all the civilians we've killed over there. In a place where we shouldn't even have military.

The difference is the target and the intent. When we kill civilians, it's truly by accident. They usually die because a weapon malfunctioned or they were too close to a government building. We also tend to apologize for it and in many cases, notify the civilian population before an attack occurs.. In Iraq, for example, the goal was to free the people there from a tyrant.

Of course, you may disagree with this, but if an Iraqi were to disagree with his government in 2001, they would die. They are free to disagree today. What makes you so special that you deserve freedoms like this and others don't? I served, by the way, not to give you freedoms. You already have them. I served, knowing full well that when I signed, I would be giving those that have not rights the very freedoms that you and I have.

When Al Qaeda kills civilians, the civilians are the target. There is no warning before hand and no apology afterwards. The goal of Al Qaeda is not to free the population, but to convert or enslave them. If you are a Christian, Al Qaeda wants to you convert or die. If you are an atheist, Al Qaeda wants you to convert or die. If you are a Jew, Al Qaeda wants you to die.

Re:Think of the Civilians! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101441)

When Al Qaeda kills civilians, the civilians are the target. There is no warning before hand and no apology afterwards. The goal of Al Qaeda is not to free the population, but to convert or enslave them. If you are a Christian, Al Qaeda wants to you convert or die. If you are an atheist, Al Qaeda wants you to convert or die. If you are a Jew, Al Qaeda wants you to die.

Wait, can you provide citations for this stuff? I mean, the purpose of Al Quaeda actually is to free the population from the foreign opressors (which is the USA in fact, hence the whole attack against the symbol of power in the heart of their financial district)

All this shit about them wanting to kill christans, jews and atheists? That is not what they are about, excepting that the muslim religion is officially against other religions (and don't forget that this sprang from its christian/jewish roots and is present there also) and you might consider that large part of why Al Quaeda is a muslim freedom movement is because the western powers have demonized the muslim nations in the first place, and they have no way to fight back except through guerilla warfare, conveniently labelled by folk like you as terrorism.

I won't condone their behaviour, but I won't condone yours either. The only way out of this is via dialogue, and both parties have much to atone for and behaviour to change.

Re:Think of the Civilians! (3, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#40101665)

Wait, can you provide citations for this stuff? I mean, the purpose of Al Quaeda actually is to free the population from the foreign opressors (which is the USA in fact, hence the whole attack against the symbol of power in the heart of their financial district)

So then, what exactly is the goal of a suicide bomber in a crowded market full of civilians? Why, exactly, would one need a "citation" to establish that the intent was to kill those civilians?

Of course, if you want citations, Osama Bin Laden himself provided plenty... There really is no shortage, from all sides of al Qaeda, but I'm pretty sure you weren't actually interested.

In other words, go fuck yourself.

Re:Think of the Civilians! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101865)

Citation = Koran
I'm not Muslim, but I've read some of it for educational purposes, and it does indeed command that if someone refuses to convert, you should kill them. The non-violent Muslims aren't "real Muslims" because they aren't following what their religion commands. They're just picking and choosing what they want to follow. Sort of like how 90% of Christians don't follow what the Bible says when they don't like it (except in the case of Christianity it's unfortunate, because the commands that people don't follow are things like not hating others, avoiding greed and adultery, etc).

Re:Think of the Civilians! (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#40101705)

So how would you feel if we would invade your country and brought some of our European Freedom?

Freedom was also never the reason. Money (in this case oil) is the reason and freedom is the marketing part.

If freedom would be the real reason, you would have freedom at home as well. You haven't. Companies have freedom, but you don't.

Re:Think of the Civilians! (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#40101785)

When we kill civilians, it's truly by accident.

Bullshit. We know there is going to be "collateral damage" going in, and we go ahead and do it anyway. That's not "truly by accident".

No, when the US kills civilians it knows exactly what it is doing. The powers that be have made a calculation that the benefits outweigh the costs, that's all. The only real question is who actually benefits and who pays the costs.

Re:Think of the Civilians! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101851)

Huh. Interesting. By "we" who do you mean exactly? Those who used napalm to burn civilians in Vietnam? Fire bombing Dresden, Tokyo, etc? Hiroshima? Nagasaki?

I don't remember any "terrorists" using nuclear weapons against civilians.

Or perhaps murder students at Kent State?

Perhaps you should educate yourself about the actions your country takes against others, beyond resource grabbing in the middle east.

The amount of civilians Al Qaeda has killed, in its entire history of attempting to free the middle east of foreign powers (and its goal of bringing down the Saudi regime) is less than 0.001% of the civilians the Americans killed in the last 100 years.

40-50 million civilians died in WWII alone, with all sides guilty on that.

How many people has "Al Qaeda" killed, ever? 5000? MAYBE?

Estimates for civilian casualties in Iraq alone are anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000.

Get your fucking facts straight soldier boy. War is hell. It destroys lives. Get over your self.

So, when does... (1)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year ago | (#40101135)

... Yemen request the extradition of the US citizens responcible for this crime?

Re:So, when does... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101623)

You are under the impression the U.S. still operates under the rule of law. When it is now more like under the 'rental of law', which is also more 'on top' than 'under'...anything.

Electronic Jihad How-To (3, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#40101145)

Also this week, a statement from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs revealed the presence an Al-Qaeda video calling for 'Electronic Jihad.'

In the video, they recommend fighting this in a traditional manner like suicide bombing. First you tape up with explosives, then sit at a computer, then log into a US website visited by millions of users daily and detonate your vest -- thereby sending all of those heathenish packets of Western information to hell.

Perl Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101167)

if ($organization eq "Homeland Security" && $activity eq "hack"){ print "Good\n"; }
if ($organization ne "Homeland Security" && $activity eq "hack"){ print "Bad\n"; }

They didn't 'hack' a website. (4, Informative)

Brewster Jennings (2642639) | about a year ago | (#40101173)

"State Department officials recently carried out a counter-propaganda campaign on Web sites being used by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, challenging the group’s anti-American rhetoric with information about civilians killed in terrorist strikes, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday" They posted responses on website forums for Tribal sites in Afghanistan. So, unless you believe that countering nonsense is hacking, then no, they didn't hack anything. If you do, though, that means that *this* post is hacking, which I'm pretty sure creates a paradox that destroys the cosmos as we know it.

Re:They didn't 'hack' a website. (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#40101197)

Yeah; currently article says *clears throat*

Correction: This is a corrected version of an article that mischaracterized the nature of a State Department campaign to counter al-Qaeda propaganda. A previous version incorrectly said that cyber experts had hacked into al-Qaeda sites to substitute the group’s advertisements with alternatives. U.S. officials did post the alternative versions on the sites, but they did not engage in “hacking,” a term that generally refers to gaining access to a site or server without authorization in order to alter or steal content.

So if I'm comprendiendo this, al-Q posted a bunch of rah-rah posters and the State Dept posted "al-Q-is-EVILZ" versions on the same forums, but did not use l33t h4x to break into anything to make the posts. Not very much to write home about.

Re:They didn't 'hack' a website. (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#40101305)

Oh my god.

You mean this story is seriously about the State Department posting forum spam?

Truly we have entered a new digital age.

Re:They didn't 'hack' a website. (1)

Brewster Jennings (2642639) | about a year ago | (#40101423)

Okay, so, I want to start off with an apology if I sounded like I was jumping down people's throats. When I loaded the page with the story, the bastards at the WashPo had changed the story, but hadn't stuck the Correction banner in yet. So, erm... yeah. The casual use of the word hacking by 22-year-old journalists who think Swordfish is real drives me crazy.

Re:They didn't 'hack' a website. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101433)

Why did you change languages mid-post? Do you think that makes you look hip? It makes you look like a fool.

Re:They didn't 'hack' a website. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101457)

Neither the summary nor article are clear as to this important differentiation.

Were the posts in addition to the terrorist rhetoric? Or did they "replace" the posts?

A redirect (1)

lee n. field (750817) | about a year ago | (#40101225)

substituting the group's anti-American rhetoric with information about civilians killed in terrorist strikes.

A redirect to whitehouse.com might be more effective.

What a wasted opportunity (1)

Honest Man (539717) | about a year ago | (#40101241)

Okay, I understand why they did it but what a wasted opportunity. Why not quietly add a hidden pixel on the website and semi secretly track all the ip's and timestamps of visitors to their site. Lots of information to glean from that....

Re:What a wasted opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101451)

shhhh! not so loud or they'll hear you.

Why have the government do this? (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#40101271)

Why can't the government just say "American computer scientists are welcome to penetrate any computer system being used by Al-Qaeda or other organizations on the Terror Watch List. Please feel free to intercept or disrupt any of their method of communication. You will not be prosecuted for any actions taken against Terrorist groups."

Instead of playing Diablo III, my buddies and I could have "Hack North Korea" parties.

Re:Why have the government do this? (1)

a90Tj2P7 (1533853) | about a year ago | (#40101659)

For the same reason the police don't go "Hey, everybody, there's a bank robber on the loose, come by the station and borrow a gun". Idiots are going to start shooting at anyone wearing a hooded sweatshirt and will be putting themselves in harm's way. Most people aren't going to understand what is and isn't a target, they're not going to understand what they can't and can't do, they're not going to be organized, and most of them probably aren't anywhere near as skilled as they think they are. And aside from being untrained, inexperienced and uncoordinated, getting involved would make you a legal military target instead of a civilian. Not that al Qaeda's really worried about that, but still, international law would say that an enemy going after you would be no different from and no less legitimate than killing an enemy soldier in battle.

Re:Why have the government do this? (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#40101883)

To avoid confusion, any organization that is on the Terror Watch List is a valid target. I'm not saying that they will necessarily be effective. Essentially it becomes one of those "We will not prosecute you for it" kind of things. If people want to assume the risk, that is their choice.

And you are right, terrorists aren't exactly worried about military v. civilian targets, as is evident by the fact that they are terrorists. As far as nation-state folks, that becomes a lot more of a gray area. Last class I had on the Geneva Conventions did not cover anything remotely related to cyber issues. But to be fair, how many Chinese hackers try to penetrate U.S. systems of a daily basis? Last time I heard a number from a government organization, it was in the thousands of attempts per day. I don't see China stopping their state-sponsored schools of cyber-espionage. Why should we handcuff ourselves?

On a side note, I mainly mention this because I know the leadership of the Army's section of US Cyber Command (not GEN Alexander, but his subordinates), and I also happen to know they are complete morons. It would take them 45 minutes to get out of a Chinese Finger Trap (pun intended).

More of this droning on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101311)

They posted pictures of casualties of terrorist attacks. Why not post pictures of causalities of those famous drone attacks that have killed thousands of innocent people since the "war on terror" began? Oh, right, they're rich and more powerful, they must be in the moral right.

True Hack or Social Engineering (1)

codepunk (167897) | about a year ago | (#40101335)

More likely the CIA called the server owner and said, "give me root or I keeeeeel you!"

Now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101415)

if you are a hacker, you are supporting al-qaeda!

Jihad needs to go away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40101473)

I understand that it was used in a quote - but the word Jihad needs to go away, using their statements in their language only helps get their silliness out there (FREE advertising for them). A simple translation to holy war works and likely pisses them off, which I'm ok with.

Not quite true (3, Informative)

antonymous (828776) | about a year ago | (#40101611)

What actually happened was that the State Department purchased some anti-Al-Qaeda ads [wired.com] to run when certain key terms were also on the screen, similar to how AdWords works. It's a pretty interesting concept, really - the necessity of displaying advertising on a site can open the door for alternative messages/realities to reach the viewer.
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