How Al Qaida worksgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
This is how Al Qaida works
BY BOB DROGIN
WASHINGTON: Al Qaida, the prime target of US ire, is unlike any enemy America has ever faced. Launched in 1988, Al Qaida has no capital city or standing army. Terrorism experts say it is a loosely knit coalition of previously distinct militant Islamic organizations and operatives who are united by their hatred of the West — and by the leadership of Osama bin Laden.
Working from a rugged redoubt in Afghanistan, Osama provides inspiration, financing and religious fervor to thousands of followers in scores of countries. His training camps teach suicide bombing and assassination. His multinational staff has tried to create chemical and biological weapons. Bin Laden’s crusade against the West is increasingly middle-class. He has drawn in engineers, computer specialists, soldiers and pilots.
The organization now is so sophisticated that bin Laden and his far-flung forces have kept Washington off guard for months by using decoy terrorist teams overseas and by feeding disinformation over phone lines and other communications systems monitored by the US, officials say.
In the most dramatic case, the Pentagon in June abruptly halted military exercises in Jordan, ordered 5th Fleet warships in Bahrain out to sea, and called the highest state of alert for US military forces in the Persian Gulf after intercepted communications indicated an imminent attack by bin Laden operatives. Nothing happened, and it is unclear if the precautions worked, or if it was a false alarm.
A US intelligence official said that investigators now suspect that some recent threats were deliberately designed to keep Washington off balance before hijackers seized four passenger jets and carried out the deadliest terrorist strike in US history.
Another US official said bin Laden used fake threats, and even decoy terrorist teams, in the last year to “probe our defenses” and see how the US would respond. “They’ve gotten very good at using disinformation, threats that are not real threats,” he said. A third official confirmed that analysis. Bin Laden has the ability to confuse and confound US intelligence agencies and the Pentagon.
It is unclear if a US intelligence task force, which was set up three years ago, still is able to track bin Laden with any precision. The decoys aren’t the only things that make bin Laden so difficult to locate. He now is believed to communicate mostly by couriers, who hand-carry coded instructions and guidance to Pakistan and use telephones there. His aides also have sent computer e-mails that use sophisticated encryption software to block outsiders from deciphering their meaning.
In addition, experts say, bin Laden doesn’t maintain tight control over Al Qaida. Experts say he relies on a few trusted aides, with others getting information only on a need-to-know basis.
Adding to the challenge is a shortage of translators and analysts fluent in Pakistani Urdu, Afghan Pushtu, Iranian Farsi and other languages used in and around Afghanistan.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 22, 2001
His aides also have sent computer e-mails that use sophisticated encryption software to block outsiders from deciphering their meaning.
It is actually worse than that. By combining Encryption with the Ancient art of "secret writing" ie. STEGANOGRAPHY, he has effectively hidden his encrypted messages in Pixels of both Pornographic and non pornographic images on the WEB in USENET Newsgroups, as well as Wave files.
Without getting into details, his computer types use the least significant BIT in a color specification. This yields about one useful BYTE per four pixels. As long as the file extention is compatible with LOSSLESS compression (NOT JPEG, which is lossy) the cyphertext can be recovered by a supporter and decrypted. Since the least significant bit is used, it looks as though the variations are RANDOM.
Some in the Intelligence community believe that operational orders for 9-11 were posted in plain sight on Newsgroups, and that the American Intelligence community still doesn't have a clue.
Do a GOOGLE search on STEGANOGRAPHY...Info for sale is a tad bit pricy, but given the power of the tool, Bin Laden can afford it.
-- Lael (Lael@sendthemtoAllah.net), September 23, 2001.