Saturday, October 18, 2008

Terrorism and Child Porn

Telegraph:
Terrorists may be using child pornography websites to exchange data, according to anti-terror experts.

It is thought Islamist extremists are concealing messages in digital images and audio, video or other files.

Police are now investigating the link between terrorists and paedophilia in an attempt to unravel the system.

It could lead to the training of child welfare experts to identify signs of terrorist involvement as they monitor pornographic websites.

The move follows the discovery of sex abuse material during investigations into a number of advanced suspected plots.

It is not clear yet whether the terrorists chose child pornography because of a personal interest or merely because it represents a useful medium for disseminating information.

"It shows that these people are very confused. Here they are hating Western decadence but actually making use of it and finding that they enjoy this stuff," a source told the Times.


The only thing I agree with is that last sentence. These people are very confused. However, I do not believe they would send secret messages to each other in child porn. Why? Because it's a really, really, really fucking stupid idea. Why? Because child porn fucking sticks out like a sore thumb. The entire point of sending a message in a file is that it is inconspicuous.

For example, if I were to send a message to Mrs. P it would be in a photo of an old-time movie star, such as Errol Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.




Do you see what I mean? The condor rollerskates at dawn.

Child porn sticks out like a sore thumb, and tends to attract unwanted attention from law enforcement. These terrorist are complete fucking nutjobs, but they aren't idiots. Or at least the ones in charge of coordinating messages aren't idiots. I highly doubt Islamic terrorists are exchanging messages in child porn files. More likely, these particular members are lowlife pederasts.

5 comments:

David Gerard said...

This is transparently ludicrous rubbish - why use illegal images when they could use wedding photos or LOLcats? - and it defies rational thought that the Home Office spinmeisters could think this one would pass uncommented.

See the reader comments on the original Times story - they all think it's idiocy too.

I wrote a blog rant on it - http://tiny.cc/QAm8c - but I'm not sure it's clear it's a parody of an actual ridiculous assertion.

Withywindle said...

But if in point of fact it is happening, then you need to adjust your preconceptions. One thing to notice: if you are sufficiently Islamic, most of Western culture is pornographic, and you might not be able to tell the difference between what is legal and illegal. Another thing: assuming excessive intelligence is probably misguided. State bureaucracies are stupid enough; why assume the terrorists are more intelligent?

FLG said...

On the last point, state bureaucracies are stupid because they are large. Terrorist organizations are 1) smaller and 2) divided into semi- or fully-autonomous cells, which leads me to believe they are smarter and more nimble than your average state bureaucracy. (This does not mean that a state bureaucracy cannot destroy a terrorist organization because they can by using superior resources.) On the first point, I find it very hard to believe that anybody would not find child porn worse than adult porn, even if they were appalled at the later. There is a visceral revulsion that child porn provokes that is deeper religion alone. Yet, even if I grant that a sufficiently Islamic person cannot distinguish between run of the mill pornography and child porn, an intelligent, rational terrorist who knows his enemy would at least know that we make the distinction and that child porn would attract more attention.

So, as long as the terrorist acts rationally and somewhat intelligently, then it is highly unlikely that they would use child porn to communicate. However, throw intelligence or rationality out the window and anything is possible. But is that really useful? We have limited resources to pursue terrorism, and asserting that they are dumb or irrational does little to help us prevent attacks because by their very nature the irrational are utterly unpredictable. Therefore, it's best to assert that they are intelligent and rational, if grossly misguided, and use that to predict behavior. We can't go chasing down every crazy possibility. We just don't have the counterterrorism resources available to do that.

Withywindle said...

But if they are in point of fact doing this, and we have detected them doing this, then it seems reasonable to invest more resources thataway.

You added "rational," a bugaboo word to me, which isn't relevant to the discussion. I think all such discussions are improved by removing "rational" as a category.

The question is "intelligent"--under which I'm collapsing "massively ignorant of the West and how it works." To speak nothing of, "adept at running a terrorist organization." They've got a limited recruiting people, their intelligent people may be engineers or doctors who are not ipso facto brilliant terrorists, and one shouldn't assume either utter incompetence or evil-genius-brilliance on their part. Do you remember the first attempt at the WTC bombing, back in 1993 or so? The clownish idiocy of those involved was breathtaking. Look at the movie *Path to Paradise* for a reasonable rendition. Note, incidentally, the focus of the US and Israel on assassinating key terrorism operatives. That's not foolish: it's because there's a very limited pool of competent terrorists, and it's worth eliminating them.

FLG said...

"Do you remember the first attempt at the WTC bombing, back in 1993 or so? The clownish idiocy of those involved was breathtaking."

Touche.

There's a theory out there, I'd have to find the related articles, that the terrorists fatal flaw is their lack of a liberal arts education. Basically, they think of the world as a formula and look for simple answers, but none exist and people will eventually hate them for it.

 
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