By Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES , April 28, 2006
Terrorists use the press and public relations as weapons, said a study released Wednesday by Arizona State University.
“People are surprised the jihadis think of the media as a weapon,” said Steven Corman, director of the school’s Consortium for Strategic Communication and a Defense Department consultant on communications networks and counterterrorism.
The report found that jihadist operations use consistent patterns of outreach that establish them socially and religiously, generate public sympathy and intimidate opponents. Threats, in fact, are part of terrorist “talking points.”
“Jihadis pursue these strategies using sophisticated, modern methods of communications and public relations,” Mr. Corman said. “There’s evidence in the documents that jihadis segment audiences and adapt their message to the audience.”
The report cites similar demonstrations as the “ideological machinery” of terrorist organizations, which maintain formal information committees and are adept at using print, broadcast and online resources on a global basis. The Internet provides such a promising terrorist forum that Mr. Corman suggests the United States create a permanent “geek battalion” to disrupt jihadist message boards and Web sites.
Are not the 101st Fighting Keyboardists a volunteer militia geek battalion? Could concerned citizens with computers not disrupt domestic anti-war, anti-military, defeatist, seditionist, fifth column message boards and websites that are protected from DoD response? Could a volunteer Army of Davids, unconstrained by the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, the Hatch Act, or fear of being passed over for promotion, in coordination with but not under the control of the DoD PA/IO apparatus, actually be useful auxiliaries in the infowar?