Joining the Dots Part 127 : Cambridge spies study the internet to 'Counter Militant Islamist Radicalisation on the Internet - Tony O'Reilly pays the b
Tony O'Reilly's Irish Independent has a fascinating story today about the O'Reilly Foundation making an award...."MI5 spies help student unlock terrorists' web"
Johnny Ryan (27) an Irish student is completing a ground-breaking PhD at Cambridge University under the supervision of British security service MI5's official historian.
Johnny is hoping for a Doctorate after studying how terrorists use the internet under the supervision of Prof Christopher Andrew, 67, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, the official historian of Britain's domestic spy agency - and the University website says of him,"Professor Andrew has been a regular presenter of BBC Radio and TV documentaries on modern history and international relations". He is also a friend of popular TV historian Peter Hennessy with whom he studied under cryptanalyst Harry Hinsley. He is "very close" to the SIS and they chose him to launder and publish (In miniscule and unreadable type) the rather odd , selective and copied / re-copied KGB *** papers of Vasili Mitrokhin, memorable for in unmasking the famous "Grandmother Spy", 87-year old Melita Norwood (d. June 2005 aged 93) codenamed "Hola" by the KGB when she was recruited in Britain in 1937 + other spies****. One report says he is "Widely believed to be MI5's main recruiter in Cambridge. "
Professor Andrew is a great one for spreading the view that the short lived President Yuri Andropov, the KGB chairman had no hand in the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Rome in May 1981. He is also a passionate believer in the utility of SIGINT and other aspects of communications based intelligence...
Johnny Ryan , has already made an impact with his first book, 'Countering Militant Islamist Radicalisation on the Internet', (ISBN: 1-874-109-86-9) published by the Institute of European Affairs which was launched last year by the former chair of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones.(Amazon)
The publishers blurb says ...."Violent radicalisation on the Internet is at the nexus of two key trends: the democratisation of communications driven by user generated content on the Internet; and the democratisation of strategic violence driven by mass-casualty non-state terrorism. How best can Europe capitalise on the first trend to counter the second? "
The Independent continues ..."The book argued against the European Commission's suggestion of using internet censorship to combat terror, and was heavily cited in the Commission's official impact report that decided to abandon the idea of an EU-wide internet censorship system."
Besides a fulsome review on the Amazon website from the Irish Times on 1st July (5 stars given) there are two more very fascinating reviews both awarding the book 5 stars ....
Elegant analysis of link between terrorism and the internet, 3 Jul 2007
By cormacio "cormacio" (france)
I found "Countering Militant Islamist Radicalisation on the Internet" provided an excellent overview of how the internet helps users make the transition from their home environment to a virtual world of dissatisfaction and aggression and, in some cases, on towards active participation in terrorism. The author has undertaken in-depth research and provides many illustrative examples and anecdotes. It is rare to come across a book which marries expertise on both internet and terrorism.
And the following day ...
Insightful overview with a refreshing perspective, 4 Jul 2007
By Marie Della Roche "Marie"
A meaty subject presented in such a way that those of us who are not media savvy can understand. Indeed, the reader need not be an expert on terrorism to benefit from the the authors point of view. Ryan offers an interesting view on the power of ordinary citizens and our ability to influence society through our ordinary lives. Very empowering!
Curiously both "Cormacio" and "Maria Della Roche" have never found the time, energy, effort or enthusiasm to write reviews on Amazon before (or since). Which is very puzzling because the publishers website quotes the OAP Baroness Lady Dame Jane Pauline Neville Jones
"This book is food for thought. ... We really do have a problem in society, and this is chapter and verse what this book is about." - Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, UK Shadow Security Secretary speaking at the launch of this title on 9 July 2007.
(Which was a week after these enthusiastic reviwers had bought, read and put finger to keyboard !!!! - good job someone keeps an eye on what people put on the Internet)
Quick minded readers will remember that this bears more than a passing resemblance to Ms. Plessington who on Christmas Day put up an Amazon review for Peter Neumann and MLR Smith, The Strategy of Terrorism,How it Works, and Why it Fails (Contemporary Terrorism Studies) Routledge, October 2007. ISBN 978-0-415-42618-3 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-203-93700-6 Amazon and an amazing US$130The book (published Dec 11th 2007)
*** Which he was able to do because he was given the job of packing up First Chief Directorate files in the KGB's Moscow headquarters, a massive turn-of-the-century building called the Lubyanka, and shipping them to the KGB's new quarters in Yasenevo.
Mitrokhin started taking notes on the dusty documents passing through his hands—strictly forbidden, of course, and highly dangerous. He hid these notes under the mattress in his Moscow apartment; then he transferred them to a dacha in the countryside, and finally, in 1992, he carried them with him by train to one of the Baltic countries where he, his family, and his 6 cases of materials were picked up by the British SIS. Ho.Ho.Ho.
****Other spies brought to light, partially or fully, were "Hunt," a spy recruited by Norwood but still unidentified by British authorities; "William," a trade union official who worked for the Russians in the 1970s; the British policeman John Symonds, who served as a roving agent for the KGB; and the American Robert Lipka, a clerk for the National Security Agency now serving an eighteen-year prison term for spying for the Soviets in the 1960s.