The Islamic Army In Iraq’s Propaganda Effort
It is well known that Islamist groups fully understand the value of propaganda in the Arab world. Al-Qaeda is especially fond of making what we refer to as the “snuff film”, it is almost always a video that details the martial successes of the Mujahadeen and involves the violent death of the Kafir (or apostates as the case may be). There is no shortage of eager viewers for this material and these films and documents are not only shared among terrorists but among their sympathizers as well.
There also seems to be certain individuals or small groups of terrorist sympathizers that take up the responsibility of maintaining the “mainstream” websites that distribute this information. In contrast to this effort the West has Counter Terror Law Enforcement personnel, the efforts of private groups such as Internet Haganah and even the efforts of specific individuals who all either document terrorist activity on the web or actively seek to have it taken offline.
The assorted terror groups typically tend to use “security through obscurity” by attempting to keep public disclosure of the locations for their propaganda websites limited to certain Islamist forums. There has been limited success with this tactic and efforts to have the sites removed typically begin within a few weeks of their appearance online. Terrorist snuff films are almost always against the Terms of Service of many web hosting providers and contact with the hosting provider, who is typically unaware that the site exists on their network, will more often than not end with the site being removed. The same behavior is typically seen with DNS registrars, Western service providers don’t typically see hosting Al-Qaeda’s websites as good business practices.
Al-Qaeda has become very proficient at creating their propaganda and at getting that propaganda to eager audiences on the Internet. They have begun to distribute propaganda for their related splinter groups as well including the GSPC and the Islamic Army in Iraq.
The “Islamic Army in Iraq”, a Sunni terrorist group bent on instilling Sharia Law upon Iraq, has recently released a snuff film called “Juba the Sniper 2” that supposedly details some of “Juba’s” kills in Iraq versus Coalition Forces. The websites of jubaonline.org, alboraqmedia.com (now “al-boraq.com”) and “iaisite.com” all share common hyperlinks to files, images and video.
Irhaaby007 (Terrorist 007) used to be considered the technical front man for distributing Al-Qaeda materials on the Internet. Irhaaby007 was identified as a 22 year old Londoner “Younis Tsouli”, he was arrested on charges related to terrorist activity and is currently being held at Melmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom. Irhaaby’s handle was found on DNS records and contact forms for various Al-Qaeda websites on the Internet, after his arrest a new arrival (or small group) seems to have taken that position. The common identifier on the DNS records (other than the obviously fake registrant name of Aaron Wilson) is the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org, this email address was recently used on the DNS record of the Al-Qaeda related Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC). All things considered it indicates to me that this person or persons are handling technical issue’s for multiple Al-Qaeda sites on the web.
I can’t help but take a moment to expose the lie of “Juba the Sniper”, “Juba” is supposedly a single Al-Qaeda sniper who Al-Qaeda claims has killed “668 Soldiers within one year”. In refute of this claim I’d like to point out that, according to the website “Iraq Coalition Casualty Count” there have been 629 US deaths confirmed by the US Dept. of Defense (in Iraq) for the year 2006. The highest reported fatal casualty count is for 2004 with 848. That being the case Juba not only killed all on the US Soldiers killed in Iraq the past year, he actually killed 39 more than the Dept. of Defense reported… and in Baghdad no less… I think not.
That being said, I’m going to cover some technical details for the Islamic Army in Iraq Site and its related sites. A few weeks ago the Jawa Report and it’s readers started noted the location of the IAI website and began efforts to have it taken offline. They were mostly successful in that the DNS record hosted with Bizland hosting was removed; unfortunately the site was still available directly by IP number. The site was physically hosted by eCommerce Corp in the United States, I received no response from their abuse contacts regarding the hosting of this site and it has remained online on their network ever since.
The IP number for the Islamic Army in Iraq website is http://18.104.22.168, the IP-lookup returns the following.
OrgName: Hosting-Network GmbH
Address: 247 Mitch Lane
NetRange: 22.214.171.124 – 126.96.36.199
NetType: Direct Allocation
RTechName: SAID, FATHI
RTechPhone: +43 699 13266 000
OrgAbuseName: Abuse Contact
OrgAbusePhone: +(270) 707-2040
OrgTechName: Hosting Network IPADMIN
The URL iaisite.org actually contains a meta-refresh to direct the visitor to one of three sites, those are: iaisite.info, iaisite.net and iaisite.org.
The DNS records show similarities in the registrant information as follows:
Registrant Name:Aaron Wilson
Registrant Street1:17216 Saticoy Street Van Nuys
Registrant City:Los Angeles
Registrant Postal Code:91406
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Name:ali sultan
Registrant Street1:oman muscat
Registrant Postal Code:118
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Creation Date…….. 2005-10-26
Registration Date…. 2005-10-26
Expiry Date………. 2007-10-26
Organisation Name…. Abbas Ali
Organisation Address. 62 Zahran street
, Amman 11183 Jordan
Organisation Address. Amman
Organisation Address. 62
Organisation Address. zarkaa
Organisation Address. JORDAN
So we have three different registrants, one for each record. Note that the DNS record for jubaonline is offline but had the same contact information (Aaron Wilson) as iaisite.info above. Note that email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org are listed on the IP-Whois for the IAI website. Remembering that I did not get a reply to my email when I notified Ecommerce.com that the IAI site is hosted on their network I did a bit of Googling to see what I could find regarding this company. Evidently hosting terrorist websites is not uncommon for this outfit as a google search led me to the following statement on Pipelinenews.org.
ISP Apologizes for taking Al-Qaeda linked site down:
Last Sat. I called the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and alerted an employee to the Al Firdaws site content. He thanked me and said a company official would investigate. Within a couple of hours, the site was off line. However, a couple of days later the Al Firdaws site was reactivated. Clearly identifying myself as an investigative writer, I called IX Webhosting (also apparently doing business as Hosting-network Gmbh and http://www.ecommerce.com) on Tuesday, to see if the company had reactivated the site or if its operators had switched to another service provider. An employee who answered the telephone said that her company was indeed hosting the site. Then apparently thinking I was the Al Firdaws site owner, she launched into a profuse apology for the site being taken down, as there had not been, she said, any violation of the company’s terms of service.
I then reiterated to this individual that I was an investigative writer, not the Al Firdaws site owner, and that the site contained a significant threat against world leaders. Asked who made the decision to reactivate the site, the IX employee said it was a member of the company’s management. I asked to speak to a manager. The individual took my telephone number and name, and said I would get a call back. Informed that I would be reporting the situation to the FBI, the IX employee said that the FBI could communicate with the company by the U.S. Postal Service if they wanted the site taken down.
As you can see ecommerce.com aren’t overly responsive to requests to remove Terrorist websites from their network. I realized that I probably wasn’t going to receive a response to my email and that the site was not going to be removed by eCommerce Holdings. With that in mind I forwarded the all of the information I had regarding the Islamic Army in Iraq to the FBI some time ago and was assured that it would be delivered to the appropriate people in Counter Terrorism.
There is a concentrated effort by Islamists and their sympathizers to get their message to the World at large, it will take an effort equally as concentrated by the opponents of Terrorism to keep this from happening. If you locate a site distributing terror materials contact the hosting provider or just submit a tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
I’m going to wrap this post up because it’s getting overly complicated and I’m starting to ramble…
As always, if you are a Mujahadeen or sympathizer, yin’al mayteenak.