Investigator Links 3rd Jihadist Web Site To Tampa Host
Tampa continues to be the focus of an international game of Internet whack-a-mole between jihadists who put up Web sites and organizations and individuals who try to shut them down. For the third time in a month, Sarasota-based private investigator Bill Warner has tracked to a Tampa hosting company what investigators call a significant Web site used by jihadists for communications, recruitment and fundraising. The company is based in the same building as the U.S. attorney's office. The site, www.alekhlaas.info, appears to show images of mujahedeen firing on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, among other images. The Web site was hosted by Noc4Hosts Inc. until it was taken down this month after a call from The Tampa Tribune. Warner, who says he tracks jihadists online to disrupt their activities, says he noticed today that the site once again is being hosted by Noc4Hosts.Previous incarnations of the Web site have contained programs to give jihadists more secure communications capabilities. This week, another site considered to be a key conduit for jihadists was taken down by Noc4Hosts after a call from the Tribune. That site, www.alhesbah.net/v/, is considered the principal and largest jihadist forum of supporters of al-Qaida and global jihad and the oldest, said Reuven Paz, director of the Jerusalem-based Project for the Research of Islamist Movements. That site remains offline. Warner says he goes after these sites, with the help of organizations such as the Middle East Media Research Institute, because "the propaganda war is being fought by al-Qaida and its affiliates on the Internet, and the USA hasn't even stepped onto the court." "Web sites such as www .alekhlaas.info provide inspiration and technical advice for would-be terrorists all over the world," Warner said. Noc4Hosts Inc. general manager Steven Eschweiler could not immediately be reached for comment. In the past, he has said he takes down sites as soon as he is informed about them. Last month he said Noc4Hosts "is not in cahoots with al-Qaida." He said a site that his company took down "was one of several hundred thousand the company hosts." Web-hosting companies keep banks of computer servers where individual Web sites are based. "If there is anything anti-American, we will take them down," Eschweiler said last month. "We work closely with authorities any time something like this comes up."
Editor Howard Altman can be reached at 813-259-7629 or [email protected]