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My name is David Heyman. I am the Director of the Homeland Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. My bio and everyone's bios are in your books. Let me welcome everybody online as well. Let me say, "Bonjour, hola, Konichiwa, Salam a lekum, and welcome. We do have an international audience and we appreciate that. As a consequence of this being filmed and onlined, please make sure when you speak, speak into the microphones so that we get this over the internet and the media. And as this conference and this topic is about the role of media in communicating ideas overcoming extremism. I am pleased to to be here today with esteemed panel to talk about the role of media. What I would like to do is perhaps perhaps just a a couple of ideas that I would put on the table and hopefully to get the discussion started. And my colleagues here, I think, who are the real experts, thank you will elaborate. It is my belief frankly that when we talk about terrorism and terrorist violence, we are missing the picture. We are just talking about the boom. We need to talk about we need to talk about, is my mike still on? I lost my boom. We need to talk about terrorism as a means of communication. It is it is my belief that the boom is really an extension of a voice and it is only successful if it touches up on the masses. And so, the means of communication and the message associated with it is critically important. I think this is a a notion that is greatly now recognized and has been probably in some sense in terms of extremism, over the years for many years. So that is to say that the perception of the crowds and the masses is almost as important or more important than actual theater of operation. And perhaps it's become a new theater of operations in the 21st century in the age of information. Perception Warfare, perception can have greater influence frankly than facts on the ground that the terrorist activity extremist activity recognizes this. It is been a you know, equally as important to be effective in tactical operations in terms of terrorist attacks as it has been in terms of the shaping public opinion. And we see this across the board. I think, frankly one of the most significant recognitions of this in Iraq for example was the letter from from the number two in Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri to Al-Qaeda on the ground; and saying, "Your tactics in as portrayed in the media are are loosing our influence with the people on the ground. Perception is important. There are also a number of other elements in which media can be used for affect in on the negative side. It is used to suppress our position to enflame sentiments, to provoke action, positive or negative, it helps to build networks we are seeing in training and education and covert communications. At the same time, it can be used to raise awareness. We see this in most recently in Miramar of of atrocities or extremist activity. It's a forum for discussion or debate of ideas and it's a check on the government and power. I there are many examples of this through out history and and recently has Hezbollah, Rwanda, and Nazi Germany. We see the new media role, the the new tools being shaped in China today in terms of how Google and Yahoo are being forced to have their whether they are having their search engines diverted and this lead to obviously different perceptions in shaping of opinion. Rather than me going in through out this, we have people who have been on the ground who have done a terrific job learning about using the new tools of media and to actually shaping public opinion in their in their actions. Let me introduce them going from my right to left, Kathleen Ridolfo is a regional analyst covering Iraq for Radio Free Europe, she has over the past five years covered political, economic, and social developments in Iraq including the emergence of insurgent groups extensively for the weekly Radio free Europe Radio Liberty program. Before joining the Radio Free Europe program she worked as a research assistant at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University here in Washington, D.C. She has also served at the Middle East Institute and has worked as a consultant for several Palestinian NGOs and companies in the West Bank, and as Foreign Relations Officer at the Arab Thought Forum in Jerusalem. She has just, and I think she will probably we will get to hear about this if you haven't read her, most recent excellent report Iraqi insurgent media and I hope she will talk to us about that today. Next to her we have Anthony Barnett, he is the founder of openDemocracy.net and a social entrepreneur with a tremendous birth of experience, he helped launch Charter 88 in 1988 and was its first Director. He has been a writer and a journalist, author of numerous books including Iron Britannia; Soviet Freedom and This Time; and he is the co-author and editor, Aftermath: the Struggle of Vietnam and Cambodia; which actually I would like to talk to you about since I was just there fascinating and particularly the use of media in Cambodia. He Writes regularly for Open Democracy and is currently editing its British blog Our Kingdom which is launched a couple of years ago and next to him we have Mr Ammar Abdulhamid who just last two years he has returned to the United States. He is a Syrian dissident, he returned here as he was ask to leave his country. He was born and raised in Syria, has done his undergraduate work here in the United States. He returned to Syria after college in September 1994 and lived there until his family was forced into exile on 2005 on account of his growing criticism of his country's president and his grassroots activism meant to improve inter-communal relations in the country. He was a visiting fellow a non-resident fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute 2004-2006, Currently he serves as the director of the Tharwa Foundation, which is a U.S.-based organization dedicated to improving relations between the ethnic different ethnic communities in the Broader Middle East and North Africa and this is a continuation of his work when he was in Syria. He is also known for his poetry and some of his other literary works, let me welcome all of you return the microphone over to you Kathleen, thank you. Let me say that it's an honor to be here today and to discuss this report with you, this is an issue that is very dear to me and particularly today because one of my Iraqi colleagues was kidnapped in Baghdad this morning and her driver was found shot dead in the car, and we still have no idea as to her whereabouts. This is the third attack on one of our journalists this year and the other two had an unfavorable outcome, so we are hoping for a better outcome today. As David said this presentation is based on a report that I co-authored in Sunni Insurgent Media in Iraq, the study came above out of recognition by myself and my colleague Daniel Kimmage of the need to provide a frame work in which people working on issues of terrorism could view the Sunni insurgent media effort. So you all probably have seen Sunni Insurgent Media and one form of another or another on the television and we might not know is that insurgent groups in Iraq produce a variety of media products, everything from statements to press releases, magazines, attack videos and books and films. And so the basic building block of Sunni insurgent media is a statement or a press release. The usually detailed operations and attacks by on US and Iraqi forces or they consist of short summaries of an insurgent groups policies or political goals. To give you an idea of the breath of this media output we study the Sunni Insurgent Statements posted to two popular internet forums for the month of March and what we found was nearly 11 nearly a 1000 statements were put out by 11 insurgent groups. Insurgents also produce magazines, monthly and weekly publications which they post to forums through free uploads and downloads services and they come out in a variety of formats, so for example a magazine which look like this and it's a typical magazine that is produced by an insurgent group this one is produced by in army and that basically opens with and details of operations over a given period of time they basically produced with charts and graphs and typically our magazines are laid out in color. And they focus on the accomplishments of the insurgents in Iraq. Books address a variety of issues from biographies of martyrs to Islamic thought to war tactics. And they tend to be a little bit longer in length about a 100 pages or less and there are dozens of them may be hundreds of them available on the internet, and this is an example of a book that was put out called the Future of Iraq in the Arabian peninsula after the fall of Baghdad, and it is looking at what will the Islamic see in Iraq, look like once US forces are defeated and the Iraqi government is brought down. Attack films are short in length they usually detail an insurgent attack on Iraqi or US forces, these are things that you probably have seen on the nightly news here in America and films will carry the logo of the Insurgent group who has carried out the attack as well as the production the logo of the production you know for that insurgent group, and it usually has a sure text describing the attack where and when it took place and then a video will play and often a clip of that attack will replay over and over in that short attack film. Insurgents also produce feature length films, which also carries a logo of the insurgent group and are often accompanied by assured statements chronic versus and voice over the famous Jihadists and Jihadis music. Films usually fit into one or four generous such as the very popular top 20 produced by the Sunni army, which was a challenge and so Sunni put to its brigades in Iraq saying we are going to have a contest to see who can produce the most visually stimulating attack video on a US-Iraqi forces and then they will take to top 20 and we will pile it all together into a film and we will put out there on the web. So it was the competition of source by this group, and others profiles of martyrs meaning suicide bombers people who have kill themselves in Iraq, video taped overviews of Insurgent Military Campaigns and highly sectarian motivation of films, which seek to insight Sunnis in Iraq and with Jihadis to come to Iraq and fight. So what we found in the course of our study is that it doesn't take very much to put together an insurgent video and anyone with the skills of software and internet, and an internet connection can produce an insurgent firm, all the components are available online except for the actual raw footage of an attack. In some cases - and one case that we found in particular, we found an insurgent video that actually went into footage they downloaded from YouTube, that US forces had taped themselves in a Humvee out on a mission to soldiers kind of looking at each other and talking about their mission and they inter cut that video with an attack of a Humvee being exlodeded and that the idea behind it was to produce this image of a story so you see that US soldiers going about their routine and then you see Humvee exploding, and of course the impact of this is to tell their consumers the Sunni Insurgent Consumers that this is what we do and this is how we kill these particular people when of course that were very different attacks are very different events. So who produce this Sunni Insurgent Media? Well insurgent groups their media production units as I said sympathetic individuals produce insurgent media. Insurgent tend to post the media that they produce to their websites and they publicize the upcoming release of important statements and videos using banner advertisements, such as these and I am here to say that a video is is coming so that people can watch and the way its release. But forums remain them most popular distribution channel, foreign insurgent groups primary because they provider the groups with access to thousands of consumers on a daily basis. It's important to know that all of the media products produced by insurgents and their supporters appear on dozens of websites, making it difficult for governments to block. And the reality of this self safe mechanism insures that the insurgent media message is delivered to its consumers. So how does this Sunni Insurgent Message reach people? Well, generally insurgent media and the very simplistic terms travels from insurgent websites to forums and from there the message is transmitted to online pro-insurgent television channels. Sympathetic consumers have insurgent media also transmit the insurgent message by reposting it to websites of their frequent. Meanwhile Mainstream Arab Media which in the past three lied un-insurgent statements through arrived by fax or courier. Now monitor insurgent websites and bring the news to their readers and viewers on a regular basis. Even Mainstream Western Press follows insurgent website postings in an effort to get their story fast and from the source. The transmission of the insurgent media to the wider global public is something that we have labeled in our report, the amplification effect. The potential is to reach tens of thousands of people who may not be interested or going to these websites. So you are reaching across generations and a cross countries and continents for that matter. Sorry, so well our report focus surely on Sunni Arab Insurgent media, Shiites also have their own media style which can be described in the most basic terms as the low tech attempt to copy the success of Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Shiite Media offer media products, to similar media products as their Sunni brethren. But those products tend to use less actual film footage it's less bloody in nature and not as technologically savvy as Sunni media. Shiite media tends to highlight the historical victimization of the Shia instead and it has a powerful effect on its consumers. So what I am going to play for you is a very short clip it is from three and half minute film and it serves as homage to Shiite Cleric Al Sadr. What you won't see in this clip is part of the video which includes two multi army attacks on US forces which appear to a vent film with cell phone. They were pretty low resolution quality. So let's just take a look at this. So this is actually a film that I got of YouTube if you believe it or not. Generally I monitor Arabic media sites but when I saw in YouTube and I saw it, and I thought it was quite effective so I grabbed it. So what do we conclude from our report. Well one of the main points to take away from the report is that the insurgent propaganda and network does not have a headquarters, it doesn't have a bureaucracy, it doesn't have a brick and mortar infrastructure, its decentralized it is fast paced and it is technologically adaptive. Another point was that the rising tide of Sunni and Shiite hate speech. In the Insurgent Media constitute dangers of further sectarian blood shed. The popularity of the Insurgent Media also reflects the genuine demand for this message ion the Arab world. So an an alternative to this message no matter how lavishly funded or cleverly produced will not eliminate this demand. But insurgent media also has some key vulnerability that should be targeted. And these include the lack of central coordination nation, which results in a lack of message controls. So if you were to follow a very closely the insurgent media message, you would find that for example, Al-Qaeda in Iraq doesn't have a lot of message control over what is been produced. Because now only he is producing its media, it is sympathizers are producing media and its commanders in different areas of the country are producing media, and so something gets lost along the way and what results is fracturing of the group. And also the another point where that can be exploited and it is now being exploited is the widening rift home grow National Insurgent Groups and the one hand in Al- Qaeda, on the other. What we seen kind of exasperated since April are the the relations between the Nationals Insurgent Groups and Al-Qaeda for a variety of reasons. And these are go back to events that started last year, I mean even before Al- Qaeda's death. But they been compounded by the actions of Al-Qaeda on the ground which Sunni nationalist of the groups in Iraq have come out very strongly again, particularly the targeting of the civilians and other tactics. So I leave it there and we can take up other issues in the discussion. We will do questions at the end of all our panel speak. Thank you Kathleen, we will now turn to Mr. Anthony Barnett and we will change chairs only for the purposes of getting closer to the media. Question would be ironic if we can't get this to work in the middle of -- Working perfectly. Thank you very much. Well I I also want to thank CSI as very much for putting on this this very important conference, and when I agreed to come I thought yes I know what I want to say, and then I am afraid as was vote thanks I say as also for this that I have been trying to write it up over the last few days. I have to rethink so I discarded my talk and I apologize if what I am going to say is is more talking point, it is less clear been I been I would have wished. So I start with the role of brief summary of my original remarks. The question - there is the question posed by this conference, which is how can we over come extremism? And the answer is through the triumph of moderation. Now I know that's sounds little bit like an oxymora and that sort of contradiction in terms talk about moderation be triumphant. But I don't mean sort of squishy bushy sort of modernist, by moderation I mean, justice fairness, the rule of law, respect for argument, the reasoned open-mindedness. Moderation means to prevail one of the speakers opening the the session this morning talked about the defeating terrorism. Because it isn't something you cant defeat, what we need is a politics to ensure the moderation prevails and that would protect civilians. Now I am the founder of openDemocracy which you can see the current the current page shot, from page on the screen. I need moderate in this I have been in this strong sense, release it tries to be. That means it can be quite a hard read, moderation is a challenge. And I often found myself saying to people let, buy openness we don't mean being balanced to being neutral. We are not trying to be as sort of BBC we have got the strong arguments documents and welcome engagement with reason and with strong responses. So you could say that open democracy is trying to use the new media to compact extremism. And unlike my two distinguished panelists I am not going to talk about what terrorist extremist or not just talk about what terrorists extremists do on the net. I also want to talk about our own societies, because I have a problem which is that for me a government that adjures the Geneva conventions insist up on this right to top telephones with out a warrant, invades enough a country and a cloud of lies. We will extend the tension without trial. Such a government in those actions is an extremist one. And I say this with great respect to the united states, where which I being to often of the last four decades where which and I love being here. Which is the there is in the moment I felt on this trip, I been just now week here in in New York, a greater gap and I ever know in between the way Americans think about themselves. Americas across the nation and the way people in the rest of the world now feel about America and Americans. And that brings me to the text that I wanted to talk about quite a lot, in my original draft. It's from Bruce Hoffman who is a RAND Corporation specialist and his testimony to congress on the internet and extremism in 2006. And he said the problem is this was his testimony to congress, is that the internet once regarded as an engine for education and enlightenment, for America's enemies has become an central means for the dissemination of propaganda for weaving the courses to most base conspiracy theories with the ubiquity and pervasiveness that it is completely divorced from reality. The result is the most outlandish and far fetch views requiring that the near of truth and veracity simply because of the unmitigated and unchallenged reputation and circulation through the internet, which you see is becoming a virtual scientific terrorism. Now, the other thing about reading something like this for me is that you know for a long time, sometime before the long time after the invasion of Iraq it was widely and that I could may cause I can make it reliably reported that is a significant majority of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks, and this is a view completely divorced from reality and it was perpetuated here by the traditional media. So, we have something odder dissociation going on here and the internet is an engine for education and enlightenment. This was open democracies project, when we started in 2001, just before the 9/11 attacks. And we saw this as a marking gap. So there is something in those that Hoffman presentation which claims as to speak, the United States has a victim and I think that George Sores has responds to this which we published was the right one, that the victim has become a perpetrator. Now, another way of getting at the problem that I am seeking is that in a technical sense, we already know how to overcome extremism and to protect civilians. The answer which the British initially having got it wrong got it right in northern island is to stay cool and focused to be intelligent, to isolate the incorrigible killers and punish them. Well winning over the support of those who are inclined to support terrorism by providing a fair and just environment for them to pursue their alliteration with in trust. This is a clear strategic response. It is, I think this is the way good Rumsfeld. This is a known known. So the question then, is why is that been such a failure to carry it out. Now, one answer which is in to one is that the those authorities especially in the United States and under Tony Blair in Britain sort to speak wish to exploit the polarization that terrorist offer them for the own means of rule and for supporting those who supported them and this brings me to an argument that you might find shocking, he is prevalent across both left and right in the United Kingdom and it was a view that I was sort of trying to view and this view basically goes something like this. But in the comparative sweep of things, 9/11 was not very important. It only destroyed two buildings that weren't really in comparative terms many victims of the great conflict have had many more dead. Today, fly cabin goes can be locked, it wouldn't happen again. The first is purely contrived terrorism is not really very significant. So there isn't a real crisis and I found myself itching closely to agreeing with this British view. But I didn't trust this kind of, it is a sort of patronizing is sided to glib and it seems to me that it was missing something. And so what I mean was trying to think through was what was wrong that view. I first start the issue of the destruction of the world trade centre is that it was a real symbol and we live in an age for short hand of the spectacle. In the age of the spectacle, it created a spectacle. So it was more important because it was taking place in this spectacular environment, not less certain. Not to understand this, the thing this is just full of consciousness is to miss the point. Terrorism is abided and it thrives upon the propaganda of the deed. This is a point that I was making at the beginning. The success of terrorism, turns on the impact of the propaganda, not the deed that is to say it is not the deeds that matter but their perception, the fear they spread, the panic they cause, the emulation they inspire which gives some power and influence. So the terrorist in this sense, I mean the terrorist themselves as a kind of weak victim but if we not looking at David traditional, David and Goliath situation, David hit Goliath on the head with the real stunt and not came out, I was then able to beget him. David, the terrorist Osama Bin David has have got inside Goliath's head and freaked him out. He disturbed Goliath's spiritual and psychological equilibrium. The American Goliath is not unconscious. But it's flailing around. Now, I am not trying to defend George Bush's responds after 9/11, I am trying to understand it. The attack in a way opened the first world war of the spectacle and the battle to dominate the spectacle was something that the Americans would caught up and shocking or the name for the initial strike on Baghdad was also intended, designed as a propaganda of the deed. So now you have free Goliath invading countries, frightening the rest of the world, threatening to attack Iran now, one insisting that it remains invulnerable. And this, there was quite an interesting discussion in the amphitheatre but state terrorism but I think that this is in terms of occupation in middle east and somewhere, I think this area the authorities themselves or somehow involved in similar game which is the more important point, I mean which is quite difficult to say far to articulate. Now, I want to emphasis that this has come about in the age of the traditional mass media. But that is now reorganizing itself, I said masked on to the web and perhaps the most of compelling image to explain this was developed by writer forum open [0:32:43] ____ who talked about in the media torrent. And the media torrent is something we tend to think that the spectacle is something which is on your screen and you can turn it off but the media turn to something which surrounds us, we can't turn it off. Its physics may still be purely a sort of fully understand but it loves speed as far of froth. It loves self reference, self reference is very not statistic and it has a tremendous drive and if you try to surf the media well it be very console of you and the new media have intensified so far these features of the media torrent with greater speed, with greater plough in emotion and sensation rather than enlightenment and reason. You can find enlightenment and reason on the web as you can see but what matters is influence not just presence. It is what the energy of the torrent comes in. so we need to explore the non-rational power of the now inescapable torrent and the more our leaders gain power, thanks to that media, the more they have to serve at themselves. So what I am trying right here is that it wasn't just a cynical choice of the Bush leadership and the Blair leadership to respond to the 9/11 attacks in the way they did by invading Iraq, I mean it was an excellent good choice but it wasn't justice in good choice. They were in a sense prisoners of the process. The process that head elected them. In both cases by a significant minority of the population and of course Bin Laden is obviously a product of the media rage and I have never gotten the fact that as a young man he crossed America wearing flags. And I think your point about the the difference between the Sunni and Sergeants making their point of and not being caught down where as they more interested in history was a bit slower and bit as the Shia as you were suggesting. So extremism is more at home on the web than in traditional media even more tenable. While liberalism, or let's call it moderation if not or not yet. So the issue, otherwise how to fight back against extremism in the in the media torrent and on the web. And I did think we can do that until we really understood the medium itself the real nature of spectacular lives as a historical species that lives by the imagination. So I want to end with with two points two things. And the first is to recommend I don't know what the kind is here. One of the organizers of our conference a thrilling exchange that she had on open democracy with. Perhaps her modesty prevented to being put down as one of our conference resources. Scrutened and ceased up on an article that Karin had written in the run up to the Madrid Summit which took place a year after the terrorist attacks, it was a great world summit in Madrid and she was looking at the causes of terrorism and he identified political correctness at work in her argument. And he said, "The terrorists the evil, and that's the end of the story. Terrorism the terrorism is an evil, the terrorists themselves are evil, we don't need to start understanding them." And Karin replied - and this is the her her response. "Of course terrorism is evil and of course evil is part of human nature but not all evil people are terrorists. So even when we have said this point, it doesn't it still takes us back to the fact that there is an argument about why some turn to such violence and how do we prevent this?" And when I asked, himself about whether he would reply. He basically said, "It was a good answer." That was in a reply. And my point here is that I think this was a defining simple shot and defining exchange. But who knows about it? Who know the Cues the Madrid agenda where world governments and including Kofi Annan and so on gathered together and said "We need a new better approach to terrorism than that in effect, than that that was being perpetuated by the by the Bush Administration. So the issue is not being right. It's about being influential and here the the so its be the battle for influence on the web - is one that we haven't yet succeed in. And our answer at open democracy, what part of our answer is that is two fold. Partly we have got to organize and and but also we have to network. And the to find that as you were saying the many of the the search in websites, the multiplicity of websites, feeding of each other, linking to each other. This is one of the ways in which influence is created on the web. And we are now starting to create partnerships. This is a - a step one step of parting away of open democracy but independent and an editor I think is he is at the back and he is speaking here this afternoon. And this is a way in which we ourselves have got to create a a framework a wider form of opinion in which argument can take place not in a traditional way but in a network fashion to organize the influence that will be needed if we if moderation has to prevail, thank you. Thank you, Anthony Barnett, it turns out that, not all the people who try to understand and exploit the tools of the new media are evil either and we have with us today somebody who is trying to use the new tools for opening this in moderation. We welcome Mr. Ammar Abdulhamid, thank you. Thank you. I I will actually try to build on on the presentations of Kathlyn and and Anthony. But also I have to say that I was evil at one point. So - I was a fundamentalist and I was an extremist and I can tell you this I was at the sort of the the birth of the thinking at least of how to more effectively use the media by Islamist groups and most of that thinking took place here in in the United States. It did not take place in Afghanistan as a lot of people think, it took place among the Afghans simplifiers here in the United States and who were at that time operating very freely because Mujahideen were given a free hand to recruits in in US mosques and this is how I came to almost be recruited and I was just a few days - you know away from boarding a plane and and going to Afghanistan when friends of mine who were already there came and talk to me out of it and told me now it's a civil war after the the soviet poll out and during that period I settled in Los Angeles I was I was a preacher fire and brimstone type thing and I was sort of parts of that ethos that was developing of the need to use the media more effectively and try to organize our selves and and more effectively and put out Islamists message out there and the first application of in fact was that was the simple use of taking excepts and user regular mails to actually exchange the ideas and inform each other in different parts of the world about developments that should be of interest was as Islamist and one such effort actually coalesced around the issue of Salman Rashdi in 89 where the whole issue began in London and by by mail and faxes we got aware of it in the United States and we had we write except of the books and we have already read the conclusions made and the highlighted passages came to us so we did not really have to read the book in order to formulate our own responses, they are simply built on the responses and on the advice of of the groups in in London to formulate a response here. May I now - for me this was also the case where I was already getting dissolution to Islamism but this was also push me over the edge, I was willing to condemn the book at that time without reading it but I couldn't stomach the death sentence and that was - and I was interviewed by the Los Angeles times at that time and and then I came out and said it publicly which calls me a huge problem with the with that my colleagues and with the lot of the Iranian population at the time and the area where I was living in Los Angeles. But it also helped me sort of speed up the process of my disillusionment with Islamism and began a a long journey that culminated in being becoming inherited and become a secular human or so whatever you know a lot of terms have been used - a liberal a moderate - but I preferred the term heretic really you know an apostate is you know another term but but heretic is to me far more tangible because here you see is I think the right to heresy is what some thing that we and the Muslim world need to come to terms with because once we accept that, it's sort of put the whole issue of freedom of conscience in a in a different perspective, in a more coherent light. That haven't made that sort of introduction, I would want to say however that I really do think that as Kathleen really have have very quotiently showed that Islamists groups are really doing a great job. They are they are really fantastic, they have taken very simple technology, they had very consistent simple message nothing over you know over the top they are not using anything complex, they are using regular e-mail, they are using web websites, they are using they are nothing inventing any thing new but they are just being more consistent at at using it and I think what they are - what they have really discovered is that the best way to be able to operate and by creating that cell structure basic - independent cells operating is that they also accommodated the personality differences that that Kathleen sort of referred to and she said that basically in a sense one of the reason that these groups fracture a lot is because that independence of there's actually encourage a lot of people to come and build on their message and go their separate ways and that is so problematic because it allows them to fracture but at the same time it's also in genial because it allows them to accommodate personal ambitions, personality conflicts, this is y a Sarkavi who never read alike Osama Bin Laden can nonetheless operate and and at one point operate it before he was killed and managed to create some thing and still you know claim to be Al Qaeda Iraq and still you know still coordinate this kind of cellular structure that they have created is actually very powerful but it could not have operated - have they not used the internet to create a virtual cellular structure also for their for their operation. This website - this 20 website or a hundred website out there that connect each other, this this a virtual community of terrorist basically that are in fact communities and these virtual communities are helping and fostering the expansion of the physical community on the ground of the physical cells on the ground so you can see a corresponding growth some thing on the internet, facilitating the operations of some thing off the internet and facilitating the expansion of some thing off the internet and the more this community becomes complex this virtual community the more complex and the more serious operations of the physical on the ground cells. This is the kind of structure that will be facilitated even more out imagine right now with the advance of new technologies on the on the internet. Right now the the message of the Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are being sort of perpetrated by electronic forums or you go ahead you have your username your login and then you you you upload your your files, you discuss them, a lot times that you have to actually register in order to to be able to have access and that registration gives them also an e-mail list so they they can have now an a growing e-mail list that they can always communicate with and make them aware of the new website they are creating, of a certain site of there which was blocked. So they use that also to communicate and develop a following and develop a fan base we can say. So this is a very effective way and right now they are really focused on forums but soon they can actually develop and go in to social networking. A lot of you I think are already familiar with face book or or tagged or or any of the of the other right now groups that are emerging out there. In fact even Youtube is becoming sort of like a social networking. They are adding and updating their services. So almost every every websites or or every services that emerged even for photo sharing recently is now developing sort of that community aspect towards where it allows people to put a profile about themselves to to communicate with other users through a private e-mail system, to develop their own groups and become sort of like very much a social group you know it's it's like a neighborhood, a virtual neighborhood where people simply can can have their neighbor hood committees on on on a variety of issues, can have their own causes and can sort of give encouraging messages and and buy each others virtual drinks basically on Facebook you can do that actually send a beer or a Tequila sunrise to to some you know just this morning I got a Tequila sunrise by a friend of mine from Syria, so it's on Facebook so it's it's an interesting concept. So this kind of technology right now actually will be soon tapped into by terrorists. I am sure, if not already. You can see a lot of in fact this under groups or causes, you can a lot of people are trying to sort of create awareness at least and and and generate some fund raising for for their for a particular cause at at their fund office could be a school and need of help, it could be save all Damascus, for instance right now there is lot of new construction schedule for the old city, that could destroy the all cities. So there is a group now on Facebook that's you know calling for protesting these kind of new plans. So but I would imagine that sooner or later the Facebook will be infiltrated one way or another by organization that will have you know some some some acceptable cause as in the front. But actually the money could be easily channeled to to else where. These kind of new technologies that are emerging are going to make and I am I am very sure that the terrorists will be taken advantage of it perhaps before that we do or at least they will try to. My hope would be - would be kind of work and this where I get a little bit in personal and try to promote our project is that you can actually try to under cut this and and and face the extremists and the terrorists on their own network by adopting some of their own strategies. I mean why not after all I feel that I was - you know part of the people who brainstorm with with colleagues on these ideas when I was an Islamist. Might as well carry them now when when I am a liberal and try to to to put them to provision. This was the whole idea I think why when I went back to Syria, I I I began brainstorming along the line of establishing the the Tharwa of foundation or the Tharwa of project as as it was called at the time. The idea was actually to work improving inter communal dialogue and that is long before 9/11. You know we are talking about 94-95 and the whole idea was I worked into - facilitating democratization by improving inter communal dialogue. A lot of the regimes in the middle east as we better found out about Saddam Hussein use inter communal tensions to justify the existence of the regimes or to build their support base for the regime among minority groups some times - among such an ethnical groups such as those and and and this creates a a major obstacle for any kind of democratization effort. So the whole idea was to try to take that tool from the hands of governments and to by actually creating grassroots dialogue and grassroots understanding and try to rebuild trust between the different communities. It took really many years before I talked myself let's put it this way out to be in sort of this person dedicated to Bohemian lifestyle, and then ustad of extremism and activism and to once again adopting an activist mode and this time on on a liberal issue and you know by the late 1990s I was once again floating the idea of Baath and we launched it officially in Syria war things in 2001. But we immediately operated on a regional level so we had people in Iraq and Egypt and and Turkey for a while and Iran and later on in Morocco, Yemen, Lebanon and we sort of began exchanging ideas how we can do this and once we got to be - in 2003 actually we launched a virtual presence and a board of advisors, that was an international board of advisors that included people like from France or from here we had people like from the Brooklyn institution and and many others basically and of course you have the regional advisors Saladin Ibrahim who was one of the first people to speak about minority issues in the region and others, so - and we also cooperated with a lot of organizations and and tried to also look what is already existed on the web. So we became aware of the open democracy presence and in fact I think you were one of the first if not the first website to have actually translated many of your elastrators into Arabic and - Thawra community. The old was called as Thawra project, now it's the Thawracommunity.org. - So and hopefully we will - you are looking at a website that in three months will be sort of upgraded in order to include the element of social networking, what you are trying to do at this stage is a mixture of blogging, content management system and social networking so that people will be able to login the site and really have - and really have a - the ability to do the social networking that we see in Facebook but on serious issues. You know we we want to be able to instead of having sort of a regular groups around around basically whether you love beer or not, you want to have groups that were actually be a task force to speak on specific issue let's say for the Sunni al Vidala log in Syria. The task force for Arab Turkish dialog in sulaimania and so on. We want to develop these kind of approach and people will be - users will be able to - once they become registered they will be able to go ahead and start their own chapter of Thawra and their community or their own task force trying and dedicated to address in a certain cause. This is where we are heading and I am hoping that by the end of the year, this website will be ready. This is not going to be the only website that will be dedicated to these kind of issues or dedicated to combining social networking with content management system or blogging. I am aware of the effects of colleagues of mine also in Iraq who are trying to do something along these lines and I am sure that with as we explore the idea more and we talk about it more, there will be people coming from let's say South east Asia who will tell me, "hey we were thinking along the same lines and that probably even we have our own website already launched". So we are picking up on ideas but what I am what I always think is that we are really competing against army, we are definitely competing against extremist who are always far more effective and - and quicker to the trigger here in this regard and and they can easily establish this websites and and beat the punch. Nonetheless we are joining the battle a bit late but as a Russian say "better late than never" and and I am I think that basically we don't really have to reinvent the wheel in a sense of the extremist have already shown as a method of operation that is successful, we can adopt it and we can use it for our own purposes. They want to create sleeper cells of terrorism, we will create sleeper cells of democratic values and liberal values and we will monitor them - monitor them as they try to monitor us and this is how you will take the war to them, this is how you take the battle of ideas to them over the top military actions, over the top - even media initiatives are not really what's necessary, viral media what I call viral media which is like email system that you can sent your PP - your power point presentation and your links to youtube and whatever would be far more effective in in fighting the extremist ideas than actually trying to create views, you know channels like Al-Hora whatever and dedicate a 100 million dollars per year to it and eventually only to be to end up competing with with channels that still command far greater attention in the Arab world than Al Hora like like Al- Jazeera or Al-Arabiya, I think the terrorist do not use Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya to spread their messages, they use youtube, they use their own websites and therefore they use very simple, cost- effective means and that's what you have to do in order to fight them, use very simple cost-effective means, let always be aware of what new technologies can also help us in order to extend our reach and I think this is basically where we need to go in in the future and as far as I am concerned, we are already working on this initiative, we are going to be operational by the end of the year and I am hoping for some of us, we will be able to match the dedication of the terrorist simply because we have some self redemption to do as far as - I am driven from sometimes by guilt because of this checkered past of mine but also by the desire to not only to redeem myself but to trip because when you go into extremism, you really have a messiah complex. I still have it, now I am trying to take it in different direction all together. Thank you.