«Workshop held 9-10 January 2008 in Arlington, VA Prepared for US Strategic Command Global Innovation and Strategy Center (USSTRATCOM/GISC) Prepared ...»
• Misuse – use of Internet to disrupt websites or infrastructure
• Offensive Use – use of Internet to cause damage or theft
• Cyberterrorism – actual assault on the Internet that results in violence or severe economic damage.10 Maura Conway and Madeleine Gruen provide analyses of Internet use by terrorist organizations (see also CTC 2006 for a catalogue of images and their meanings used by terrorist organizations). Conway (2007b) describes bin Laden’s use of websites like Al-Neda and AlAnsar to disseminate speeches by bin Laden, analyses of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Islamic scholar’s commentaries, and assessments of how al Qaeda’s goals would benefit the community of Muslims. She also notes al-Zarqawi’s (al Qaeda Iraq) effective use of the Internet to advertise his deeds and spread fear, actually enabling him to reduce the size of his attacks and drive away foreign contractors necessary for the rebuilding of Iraq. Conway (2004; 2007b) also notes Hezbollah’s use of a website associated with al Manar TV in Lebanon for propaganda and strategic communication during the Israeli invasion of 2006. Conway also provides thoughtful discussions of the challenges of regulating the Internet (Conway 2007a) and cautions against blowing the threat of cyberterrorism out of proportion (Conway 2008).
Madeleine Gruen (2004; 2006) provides detailed descriptions of how Islamist organizations (Hezbollah, Hizb ut-Tahrir) adroitly use popular music, online games and blogs to attract bored or disaffected young Muslim males. Hizb ut-Tahrir has actually subtly infiltrated blogs of hip/hop Muslim groups to shift the discussion toward radical Islamist themes. Hezbollah launched an online computer game, “Special Force,” which depicts operations against Israeli troops and target practice on Ariel Sharon.
This next leads us to ask: Who is attracted to radical Internet sites? Scott Atran and Jessica Stern provide insights from their investigations of terrorist Internet use and found that disaffected and culturally disoriented young males in diaspora communities gravitated toward the Internet where they could be radicalized (Atran 2006; Atran and Stern 2005). This profile fits within the broad patterns Anderson describes.
NOTES: In Chapter 3, author Allison Astorino-Courtious also discusses a different way of looking at the problem that includes classification by Actors and classification by threats.
Deterring VNSA in Cyberspace Probably the most detailed description of terrorist recruitment and use of the Internet is from the New York Police Department study of 11 terrorist plots (Silber and Bhatt 2007). The Internet was especially important in the Toronto 18 Case (2006) and the London bombers (2005), where members variously discovered radical Salafist Jihadism, met future collaborators, and reinforced their radical views. The most vulnerable individuals were young Muslim males or recent converts who were disaffected, had experienced a life crisis and were searching for meaning in their lives. In line with other studies, young males in diaspora communities were especially vulnerable. The report concludes that the Internet can be a driver of radicalization by providing young, disaffected males with access to radical ideologies, by facilitating the meeting and networking with like-minded individuals, as a means for studying and immersing oneself in
radical views, and finally as a source of information for planning attacks (Silber and Bhatt 2007:
Svetlana Peshkova (2002) studied the role of Hib ut-Tahrir’org in Uzbekistan. Like Conway and Gruen, she provides a description of how the organization uses the Internet to spread its religious and political message. She also provides a characterization of the recipients, noting that recipients of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s messages are likely to be better off economically, and have high linguistic and technical competence thereby biasing the audience and the nature of discussions that take place (Peshkova 2002:19). This leads to sometimes surprising debates in e-Forums that argue the relationship of Sunni Islam to other religions, engage debates internal to Islam, and sometimes even question the political agenda of Hizb ut-Tahrir (Peshkova 2002:21-22). She closes by noting that much more study of actual use of radical sites on the Internet is necessary to elucidate who uses, why, and what connections emerge between them.
The broad variety of radical Internet users, issues, demographics, and forms of Internet interaction make the typological characterization of the complexity of non-state actors (violent or not) within cyberspace is critical. It is vitally important that relevant information on a broad range of issues is appropriately considered, and a typological approach can facilitate this end.
The below diagram depicts a basic socio-cultural typology that was first introduced in an earlier discussion of typologies as they referred to deterrence (Chesser, 2007).
In the main, the purpose of a typology in the current work is to provide a generalizable organization structure for military and intelligence analysts and planners to characterize socioDeterring VNSA in Cyberspace cultural systems. These systems could include a military organization, a terrorist organization, a tribal society or a nation state.11 The following brief descriptions of the typological factors apply to the model above. The first broad category above addresses Interests.
Motivating Factors – Ideological: One source of motivation for VNSAs is the realm of their ideals, some of which may be very
(e.g. a Manichean belief in a struggle between good and evil), and others may be more concrete (e.g. the moral superiority of Sharia, or democracy). Ideological motivating factors can include principles of leadership, political values (democracy, autocracy, communism), legal principles, military doctrine, religious dogma. These factors also include basic existential and moral beliefs, such as good versus evil, the afterlife, moral principles such as honesty (also the “Golden Rule”), beliefs about proper place in the social or natural world, cosmology.
This is the symbolic realm of an actor’s cognitive environment that provides aspirations – how they look at the world. It is useful to separate it into codified (i.e. military doctrine, church dogma, charters, legal codes) and uncodified (social norms, senses of right vs.
wrong, morality) norms. Codified motivating factors also include rituals and other scripted performances used to express motivating factors.
Social Identity: This includes the constellation of factors brought together for selfidentification or labeling by outsiders; these factors may include history, appearance, language, political objectives/ideology, geographic location, and any other element of the typology. The key here is that self-described identity may provide objectives and/or constrain actors to behave in certain ways. Identities in the cyber domain can be especially fluid and overlapping as actors can take on multiple, and at times radically different, identities.
Objectives: This includes concrete goals that actors wish to achieve; often motivated by or justified by motivating factors (establish a Caliphate to establish Sharia law), identity (extract revenge for historical slights against one’s group), or even organizational structure (think of bureaucratic decision making and organizational culture).
People’s motives do not exist in a vacuum and understanding motives, behaviors, and even capabilities requires understanding the world from which these emerge. Therefore, the second
broad category includes Context:
Environmental and Historical Context + Other Actors: These categories may be thought of as external factors that influence a system under study. Environmental factors include By definition, “typologies are a product of deductive research. The researcher conceptualizes the types that are relevant to the research. These types form the cells of the classification scheme and each cell is labeled (named).
The researcher then identifies cases that possess the characteristics deemed essential to fit the cells. The great advantage of typologies is their ability to simplify complex concepts by classifying objects according to a few, often two, criteria at a time.” (Lambert, 2006) Typologies often specify artificial or contrived classifications whereas a taxonomy, often confused with a typology, looks to generate natural classifications. In the case of a VNSA in cyberspace, typologies are likely the best we can do at this time.
Deterring VNSA in Cyberspace climate, terrain, natural resources, arable land/pastures, water, security situation, or political/economic position in world. Also, people’s views of the world and especially political motives have a history that should not be ignored. This historical context conditions who an actor is likely to perceive as friend or foe, the key events used by actors to evoke emotional responses, and the actor’s justification for grievance. The US Military Academy Combating Terrorism Center’s 2006 publication on Jihadist imagery is an excellent example of how historical themes are woven throughout the symbols used by Islamist terrorists. And equally importantly, all actors, whether individuals or groups, behave in relation to others. Other Actors: e.g., “No society is an Island” describe relations with and influences from other societies that are key factors influencing variables within a society. Influences range from political interference (Iran in Lebanon) to refugee populations (Darfur refugees in Chad, Iraqis in Jordan), to immigrants (Turks in Germany), to economic (Western capital intrusion into Third world societies, globalization), to cultural (spread of Western values and behaviors through globalization, spread of global Salafist Jihadism).
Demographics: “How people reproduce.” These factors include age/sex structure, age at marriage, availability of mates, marriage types (monogamy, polygamy); sexual behaviors and mate choice were added since these vary by culture; all of these are very important, and have an impact on demographic trends. As noted in the examples of terrorist use of the cyber domain, young unmarried males tend to be the prime targets for recruitment for Salafists, including through the Internet. Understanding the demographic characteristics of these populations can lead to insights as to why they are attracted to such movements, and possibly ways to deflect their interest in violence.
Roles/Life Cycle: “Functions and positions people play in groups.” Social context (includes other categories) influences roles. Since a person’s social roles typically change throughout life, they are included here. Effective operation in a culture requires knowing how roles change throughout the life cycle. As well documented in the NYPD study of radicalization, violent Jihadist movements require individuals to fulfill certain key roles, such as organizational leader, religious sanctioner, and of course various forms of foot soldiers. Understanding the functioning of a VNSA requires an understanding of the roles necessary in such groups.
Organizational Structure/Social Organization: “How are people in a society organized?” This is a large category that contains many variables not normally considered by intelligence analysts. Understanding the different social organizations that influence an individual or group is the key for identifying decision units and constituencies, and for identifying enabling or constraining factors. For instance, harm done to one’s family in a society organized by kin groups both motivates an individual in that group to take revenge, and provides clan or tribal resources for mobilizing that individual. One workshop participant made the point that much of what occurs in the cyber domain is a transference of traditional social relations to a new medium. Because so many organizations impact actors’ lives in so many ways, it is important to include norms of behavior, habits, traditions, doctrines, rituals, practices, and it includes: kinship (bilateral, patrilineal, matrilineal descent, kinship terminology; this influences how families are organized - often key primary alliances); sodalities: non-kin based social Deterring VNSA in Cyberspace organization, county clubs, Rotary, etc.; political parties, religious organizations and military organizations.
People exist in meaningful social structures and draw motives from a variety of sources, including history, demography, identity, and values. However, assessing whether or not an actor is able to realize objectives requires assessment of Capabilities.
Production/Technology: “What people do for a living” jobs, productive activities (farming, horticulture, herding) plus technologies that people use (tools, weapons, implements) are indicators of capability. Anderson’s (2007) research is an excellent example of how technical skills of engineers, and their Western incomes were fundamental in initiating and spreading cyber technology throughout the Muslim world.
Settlement/transportation/communications: “Where people live and how they get around/communicate,” types and availability of housing, rural vs. urban settlement, road systems, communications are also indicators of capability. Clearly, the infrastructure required for cyber communications, electronic grids, cell towers, satellite systems, and cable systems is key to understanding an actor’s capability for using the cyber world.
Economic System: “How production/exchange is organized at the social level.” Such a breakout includes markets, barter systems, social division of labor, industrial sectors, distribution of wealth and inequality. Once again, Anderson’s research on the spread of the Internet in the Muslim world illustrates how the global market for engineering skills caused migration of Muslims to developed countries where they acquired technical skills necessary to spread the Internet in their home countries. Afterward, complex alliances formed between governments, financial institutions and industries to finance the creation of a cyber infrastructure for the Muslim world.
A fourth broad category above addresses Psychology.