"Theocracy" Watch: Netfaith Subversion and Deformation

Network Theory with Emphasis on Al Qaeda,” by Dr. Von, Vonny, 10 July 2005, http://vonscience.blogspot.com/2005/07/network-theory-with-emphasis-on-al.html (from Zen Pundit).

The new Girl Scouts,” by Bianca Vazquez Toness, Minnesota Public Radio, 11 July 2005, http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/06/30_tonessb_girlscouts/.

An “interim” post in the series now including

Coming Anarchy


Zen Pundit

A ideological religious movement subverts secular organizations to its own ends…

A group of Girl Scouts gather at a community center in Minneapolis. Like many Girl Scout troops, these young girls start each meeting with the Girl Scout promise. The girls face each other, holding their three middle fingers in the air, and recite their pledge. But this troop does it a little differently than most.

“On my honor,” they start, “I will try to serve Allah and my country, to help people and live by the Girl Scout law.”

Substituting Allah for God is one of a few tweaks the Girl Scouts of America have made to the traditional scouting rituals and practices to include Muslim girls. These girls wear traditional head scarves, called the hijab. They earn some badges unique to their faith. Islamic merit badges are rewards for learning prayers or teaching non-Muslims about their religion.

Hassan Mohamud wants to keep Muslim girls in a segregated Girl Scout troop. There are other leaders in the Twin Cities minority community with the same goal. That’s lead to segregated Hmong and Latina troops, as well.

Shelley Jacobson, executive director of the Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis, says the council will maintain all-Muslim troops since it’s one of the only opportunities for these girls to spend time with girls just like themselves.

(tdaxp Comment: Much like the early Christians subverted the Roman Empire.)

… while Dr. Von implies the need to deform another netfaith

One interesting aspect of this is to think of a social network such as Al Qaeda. This organization follows scale-free network structures, rather than some other types of social network structures. Other types may be a hub-and-spoke structure like a dictatorship, where a central hub runs the entire network. A tree structure is also possible, with a set chain of command (much like a typical military organization, where more minor decisions can be made locally in parts of the network, and major, global decisions made by someone like the President or a top general, and this decision cascades down to lower parts of the network simultaneously. Al Qaeda is neither of these, but rather a ‘web without a spider.’

If Al Qaeda had more of a military structure, taking out Bin Laden and some key lieutenants would likely cripple and possibly defeat the organization, much like taking out key generals in a war can have devastating consequences for the outcome of battles and perhaps the war itself. Unfortunately, it is not so simple with the terrorist organizations we are facing.

(tdaxp Comment: Caiaphas and Diocletian fought back by killing people, not deforming networks.)

Some tdaxp commentators worry about a “coming theocracy.”  What’s happening is far more powerful: the discovery that traditionalist religions make for powerful flat ideological networks.  But that is a post for another time…

Like Dogs or Escapees

Terror suspects escape US Afghan base,” by Mark Tran, The Guardian, 11 July 2005, http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,1284,1526159,00.html.


US forces today launched a manhunt after four prisoners escaped from Bagram, the main US base in Afghanistan.

The men, described as “dangerous enemy combatants”, got away from the sprawling Bagram Air Base to the north of Kabul at about 5am local time (0130 BST), US officials said.

The Arabic television channel al-Jazeera quoted unnamed sources as saying the four men were Arabs, but a US official declined to confirm this.


So on what side does the military error: tying up inmates like dogs, preventing escape, or treating them in a way that isn’t embarrassing in the morning, preventing moral isolation?

Come to think of it, why is the kill-people-and-known-down-stuff portion of our military handling prisoners at all? Shouldn’t that be someone else’s core competency? Like a System Administrator?

Interested in Special Operations? Here’s the magazine for you

  I spent most of today painting my house, but now I’m relaxing enjoying a cold beer and googling, resulting in my discovery of a great magazine that I had never heard of before:

Special Operations Technology: http://www.special-operations-technology.com/
All kinds of great stuff here about all the services’ special ops guys and you can explore the archives too. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Royal Marine Colour Sergeant M.R. Tomlinson who is doing an exchange with the USMC and has spent time in Iraq. I didn’t know the Marines were engaged in this kind of riverine combat:
We deployed on the night of November 8, 2004 from our launch site and commenced our transit downriver toward Fallujah. Five SURCs and one Rigid Assault Craft (RAC) were used during this operation, with 53 Marines of SCCo spread between the craft as boat captains, coxswains, gunners, mechanics, my GCE of ten Marines and the medic. As with all other operations, the GCE would always be seated in the first two craft. Their task is mainly as a dismount section utilized for infantry tasking.

Within 20 minutes of launch we were at our limit of exploitation. The intelligence we had received, that insurgents were actively patrolling the riverbanks, proved accurate. No sooner had we arrived when the enemy engaged the front two boats from a range of 50 meters. A mix of HMG and small arms fire ripped overhead, some rounds striking the gunner’s Kevlar plates on the GPMG mounts, others passing directly through the open console of the craft. Immediately, we returned fire into the building and riverbank positions where the enemy had foolishly tried to take us on. The rear SURCS maneuvered forward and increased our return fire. The craft turned 180 degrees to enable the rear .50 caliber guns and MK19 to fully engage the attackers.

The craft then moved upstream 300 meters and established the FOB. Luckily we had survived what would prove to be the first of several ambushes.

The Fallujah offensive lasted approximately 19 days of which SCCo spent 15 days operating from the FOB. We took on multiple tasks and certainly proved an asset to the land force commanders. Each day we were subjected to mortar and rocket attacks, snipers, and heavy, medium and small arms fire.

Seven days into the operation, on November 15, at 1500 hours, we were tasked to search a compound for a suspected weapons cache in our TAOR. We decided to set a diversionary maneuver and patrol upriver past our intended target, with the intention of inserting the GCE further upstream. All was going according to plan, however, a well-prepared ambush lay in wait. The insurgents had actually dug in several fighting positions along the riverbank with good cover and concealment. Just as the two lead boats (with myself and GCE embarked) started to about turn, we came under sustained RPG, RPK and small arms fire. Rather than attempt to drive through the ambush the boats turned directly into the ambush. With GPMGs, MK19s, .50 cal and even the GAU 17 returning fire, we closed their position. No sooner had the two SURCs rammed into the riverbank than I disembarked with my two fire teams and the ever-enthusiastic Captain ‘W’ and began assaulting the fire positions. Over the next 48 minutes we were in contact, fire and maneuvering across irrigation fields, closing with and destroying the enemy.

During this time the SURCs and crew were taking RPG and small arms fire, yet they still managed to provide us invaluable fire support. It seems that a local village not 400 meters from our position was accommodating a large number of insurgents that had obviously fled from Fallujah. It soon became apparent that we were nearly surrounded, as we started taking fire from left and right and to the rear. We were greatly outnumbered and running low on ammunition; with an ever-increasing number of insurgents pressuring our position, we decided to call in the SURCs to conduct a hot extraction. We finally broke contact after 68 minutes. The only casualty was a lance corporal.

The Fallujah offensive continued for another eight days, during which time we continued to engage pockets of insurgents both from the boats and on the ground. We were also subjected to several attacks involving extremely close air burst mortar fire, sometimes falling 10 meters from the boats.