Here's a review of the situation as presented in posts on the surviving forums.
• Um Hafs is saying prayers for al-Faloja forum
• L33t jihadis "unmask" the "fake" al-Ekhlaas site [page 1, page 2]. Evidently any jihadi site that uses a domain whois privacy/proxy service is really a front for an intelligence agency (i.e. almost all of them).
• The most plausible explanation offered so far regarding WTF happened.
The warning was actually issued as a video on YouTube and was authored by a person claiming involvement in the jarchive.info project.
• Fatima has concerns
• A special warning for brothers in Algeria
• as-Ansar says they were down for a security upgrade. They lie.
• A reader asks how forum admins could have allowed the community's security to be so compromised. It's a fair question - I suspect the guy who asked it will be kicked out of the forum for asking it.
• Off-topic, but interesting: Iran is supposedly on alert against the possibility of an al-Qaida attack.
• An alleged message from al-Fajr Media Center via at-Tahaddi
• An alleged message from al-Faloja, claiming that defeat is victory
• A brother asks, Is it revenge? Answer: Yes. NEXT!
• Tough talk. Be afraid, be very afraid, the toothless lions of the eJihad are very angry.
Assessment: This appears to be a fairly complex Information Operation, not only striking prominent sites in a variety of ways, but also striking at the trust relationships which enable al-Qaida to make effective use of the Internet. How so? Click here to view the banner ad that multiple trustworthy jihad sites knowingly allowed to be featured prominently. It bears the mark of the al-Fajr Media Center and claims that the return of al-Ekhlaas is a gift from Osama bin Laden. The value for al-Qaida in using the forums as a primary distribution network lies in their being able to prevent the release of false information in a way that they could never do on, for example, YouTube. My compliments to all involved for a job well done.
Update 23:21 GMT, 13 September 2009: The willingness and/or ability of jihadis to ignore or gloss over bad news, to deceive themselves, and to flat out lie to their brethren, is truly impressive. At the now-restored Faloja forum, the administrators have - consistent with their statement issued via as-Ansar - declared victory.
Update 11:58 GMT, 14 September 2009: Faloja is down again. Perhaps they wish to reconsider that declaration of victory?
• Defeat is victory
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