18 February 2010

Watch For al-Qaeda Propaganda

Joseph Andrew Stack, age 53, crashed his plane into a building after setting his home on fire. His 6-page suicide note is a rant against the US, specifically the IRS, as corrupt and greedy (among other things). In closing, Joe stated:

"I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well. The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.”

As of Thursday, there are upwards of ten social networking groups listed on Facebook alone, all in the name of Joe Stack. One titles itself, "Joseph Andrew Stack, we salute thee." Another, " The Philosophy of Joe Stack." One more, "Take My Pound of Flesh Anti-IRSPage." Many of these pages "sympathize" with Joe because he was "only trying to prove a point." Others are a flat-out "dedication" to his "right action" as the "first casualty in America's Revolution." Some take an objective view, simply providing a forum for discussing the question, "Will he be remembered as a patriot or terrorist?”

The main reason why I am even posting on this topic is to bring to light the highly-probable event that al-Qaeda will, after they receive information on the "deed" of "brother" Joe Stack and analyze it, tailor a message echoing "infidel greed;" with elements to the effect that "America is tearing itself a part, and it should be no surprise." This dangerous message, in pinpointing the collective confusion in the wake of the event (and events similar, such as repeated college-campus shootings) and the personal frustration with the US domestic economic hardship (mostly due, according to their anticipated analysis, with the structural system), can never serve to increase and/or speed the radicalization process. AQ will most definitely tie it to the work (or inability to work, according to their perspective) of President Obama and his "failure," as al-Zawahiri did this past November.

Such a message, if/when issued, would re-iterate, once more, the emphasis on AQ Phase IV Strategy, as shown here in a statement by OBL on 30 October, 2004;

"All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.

This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.

All Praise is due to Allah."

In short, examining the personalities can draw distinctions and parallels of active psychological frameworks; meaning that Joe Stack can be compared and contrasted to Nidal Hasan because they both shared an "anger" towards America and their activities, either military and/or economic. Furthermore, analysis can follow comparing and contrasting the propaganda projected by AQ in both cases for purpose of underlining tactical methods. Questions to consider (for a start);

(a) Who delivered the message;

(b) From where was it delivered;

(c) What was the main message;

(d) What descriptive language was used;

(e) How does it support AQ campaign, either AQCL and/or affiliate (i.e. AQAP)?

Further analysis is required, and time will only tell. I think this event raises the importance of examining the ever-emerging use of the Internet as the breeding ground, what NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly calls the "new Afghanistan." As I have continually said, such interconnected analysis can serve as a resource in the formation of a solid counter-narrative program. Joe Stack used a 6-page letter to communicate his creed; AQ will use their methods as well. We must continue to use full-scale information warfare tactics.


  1. If ambitious people did stuff like setting up Facebook pages, rather than going out and doing things, then this would concern me. But I suspect that setting up a Facebook page is the full extent of their capabilities and about as far as their self-motivation will take them before their short attention spans are redirected to another trip to the fridge, another argument with their parents about when they're going to get a job, or another go-round with their XBox.

  2. Schmedlap,

    I think people think Facebook (and the like) is a way to have their voice heard. So, they support and/or want to recognize Joe IRS through a page. I am happy, as you are, that it is the extent of their capabilities.

    However, I just wanted to post some of my thoughts on;
    a) how AQ might actually reference this suicide/murder for their own cause on the West,
    b) how the Internet is becoming an avenue to "going out and doing things."

    Brachman is all over cyber-terrorism, and there are continued reports on the emergence and escalating use of jihadi chatrooms/forums. I think cyber warfare methods need to prevent the internet from becoming the "capability" for planning and training.

    Al Sahwa has only occasionally posted on this topic. Do you have any further thoughts?