The making of internet terrorists…

There are plenty of reports about the power of blogging and how the disaggreation of official newsflows can change the citizen’s relationship to information, and the state. John Lloyd looks at how some young British Muslims are being radicalised by website’s run from 1000’s of miles away – mostly without any knowledge of parents, family, neighbours or friends.

Refering to some of the Yorkshire based London bombers:

These young murderers were that new phenomenon, terrorist nerds. Night after night, they click on to Islamic websites and live a life of virtual resentment and hatred, burning ever hotter with indignation over what has been or is being done to Muslims in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine and Iraq. Images of horrors perpetrated on one’s nation, tribe or community have played a role in stimulating the murderous instincts of would-be combatants for centuries.

In contrast with previous campaigns, the internet makes a crucial difference:

Now, the one who prepares mentally to kill himself and as many of the godless as he can does a crucial part of his training gazing impassively at images of Muslims slaughtered by Americans, British, Indians and Russians, or the sado-porn amateur snaps from Abu Ghraib. What would a community worker, a friend or, for that matter, a mother see but a young man, scrolling through images and text, betraying no emotion? Journalists, who do this for large parts of their day, might understand the phenomenon at least as well as anyone.

John Battle, the MP for Leeds West – his constituency abuts Beeston – used a striking image to describe what happens when people get their information from the web. He said that it was as if a coherent picture had been painted on glass, and the glass then shattered, then some shards of the shattered glass put together in an arbitrary way, according to the dictates of a mind prompted to create an impregnable carapace of grieving hatred.

  • peteb

    “website’s run from 1000’s of miles away”?


    Actually Peter Taylor has been making the point – in his BBC series The New Al-Qaeda -that, although the material used may be recorded “in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine and Iraq”, the websites hosting the material have, in many instances, been run from within the UK.

  • heck

    Why is this any different that what happens with the regular media in Britain?

    Compare the reaction to the brutal murder of Robert McCartney or the reaction to the London bombings with the reaction to the recent loyalist murders (or even Tony’s brutal murders in Iraq).

    On an earlier thread I called it mindless outrage and was told to f* off.

    The only complaint I see here is that the outrage is not directed by the British elite.

    The complaint is that muslim outrage is not according to Tony’s script!!

  • Mick

    Heck, I may have lipped it badly in that case. Have you not been able to read the whole of the original piece?

  • DCB

    And Hitler was only reacting to understandable German outrage over the Treary of Versilles and the resultant emasculation of German nationalism.

  • daithi mac mhaolmhuaidh

    The google ads I can see on the side here are insane: “Scan any of 20+ terrorist watch lists”. What?

  • SeamusG

    I watched the Peter Taylor programme last week and it made me wonder, and perhaps someone with better legal knowledge than me can advise, if it is legal to view beheadings etc. via the internet when it is illegal to view paedophilia. The pornography of violence on many of the sites shown surely warrants a ban.

  • BCN

    One issue I had problems with on last nights BBC programme was Peter Taylors comment about a terrorist victory in Spain because Spanish troops were withdrawn from Iraq in the aftermath of the Madrid bombings. This highly specious reasoning from Peter Taylor tells us nothing of Zapatero’s socialist party’s manifesto stating that in accordance with the Spanish people’s desire, if elected, Spanish troops would indeed be recalled home. Was that not a real exercise in democracy, something which the terrorists wish to destroy? Aznar’s governments comments after the Madrid bombings were deplorable and they were shown to be the real cowards.

  • DCB

    Aznar was well in the lead before the bombings, the socialists won the elections.

    No bombs no socialist victory.

    Of course if Aznar had handled it better and said nothing rather than blaming ETA it is possible/probable that he could still have won.

    But that subtle nuance is going to be lost on those who support the bombers.

    The terrorists and fellow travellers will see it as a case of terror producing concrete political results.

    The Spanish by kicking Anzar out unfortunately only made it more likely that other countries would be attacked.

    However disgracefully Aznar behaved after the bombing the real cowerds were the people who carried out the bombings

  • BCN

    “The terrorists and fellow travellers will see it as a case of terror producing concrete political results.”

    Terrorists always see their terror as producing results be it political, or otherwise. We can’t abandon realities as “naunces” because the terrorists will see it as a result. Thats the black and white world the terrorist opperates in. How can a people keep a government who deliberatly lies to them to suit their own project during such a dark hour deserve anything other than the people’s contempt? Should the Spanish people have ignored their governments lies and lack of leadership?