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U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs
11-09-2010, 09:44 AM,
RE: U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs
The reason 73,000 Blogs were taken down by the FBI .. A Cupcake Recipe!

Quote:FBI Takes Down 73,000 Blogs Over Al-Qaeda Magazine
July 20, 2010 in News
Public Intelligence

The first page of the Inspire magazine article "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom".

Earlier this week, the owner of a WordPress-based blogging platform was informed by the site’s hosting provider that their servers had been deactivated following a request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Although preliminary reports attributed this takedown to copyrighted content, it has since been discovered that the removal was due to “terrorist materials”. A press release from BurstNet explains “Upon review, determined that the posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNet Acceptable Use Policy. This policy strictly prohibits the posting of ‘terrorist propaganda, racist material, or bomb/weapon instructions’. Due to this violation and the fact that the site had a history of previous abuse, BurstNet elected to immediately disable the system.” later posted comments to a forum indicating that they would not allow the customer access to his data. “We cannot give him his data nor can we provide any other details. By stating this, most would recognize that something serious is afoot.”

CNET reports that there were early reports that the Patriot Act had been used to disable the site’s servers. However, according to an FBI spokesperson was never ordered to stop service to any site it hosts without a court order and “that the vast majority of’s communication with the federal government has involved agents serving warrants related to terrorist or child porn investigations.”

“They have to go through the legal system,” Marr said. “A judge has to issue an order.”

Marr said the FBI contacted and sent a Voluntary Emergency Disclosure of Information request. The letter said terrorist material, which presented a threat to American lives, was found on a server hosted by and asked for specific information about the people involved.

In the FBI’s letter, the agency included a clause that says Web hosts and Internet service providers may voluntarily elect to shut down the sites of customers involved in these kinds of situations. The employee who handled the request erroneously believed that the FBI would want to seize the customer’s server and thus the employee cut off service to Blogetery. Marr said the FBI, however, never asked for the server.

Marr said that regardless of the mix-up, Blogetery’s service was terminated because bomb-making tips and a “hit list” are an obvious and absolute violation of its terms of service.

The FBI’s request invoked 18 USC 2702, a portion of federal law that allows providers to voluntarily disclose information to police in some circumstances.

The specific “terrorist material” that initiated this request happens to be Inspire magazine, a strange publication that is supposedly a production of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. One article in the purported terrorist publication, sardonically titled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” gives extremely rudimentary instructions on how to construct an explosive device, which is the reported origin of the claim that was hosting “bomb-making instructions”.

A Desert Eagle handgun featured on page 25 of the Inspire magazine.

The takedown also occurs amid growing criticism of the publication’s authenticity. We have repeatedly emphasized that we are highly skeptical of the publication, and we are particularly troubled by its original release containing 64 pages of cupcake recipe fragments. The author of the recipe document that was used to create these 64 pages is an American cookbook author who, quite coincidentally, has the name Dulcy Israel. The SITE Intelligence Group, which has been widely quoted as confirming the document’s authenticity, was co-founded and is run by Rita Katz, whose father was executed for being an Israeli spy when she was a child growing up in Iraq. A number of Dutch sources have also noted that a gun appearing prominently on page 25 of the document is a Desert Eagle, a handgun manufactured in Israel by Israeli Military Industries (now Israeli Weapons Industries) which produces arms for the IDF.

FoxNews and several other outlets are reporting that Inspire magazine is “edited” by a twenty-four year old named Samir Khan, a “web-savvy radical from Charlotte, N.C.” However, all the reports attribute the claim to unnamed “U.S. intelligence officials”.

Quote:Al-Qaeda Magazine is Cupcake Recipe Book
July 12, 2010 in News

UPDATE: There is now, apparently, an available version of the complete Inspire magazine, “uncorrupted” by any cupcake debris. See:

Complete Inspire Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Pennisula Magazine

Public Intelligence

Recent reports of an English-language “al-Qaeda magazine” were dealt with in mostly uncritical terms by the majority of news outlets. Wired’s Danger Room blog described how the new magazine was an attempt “to move politically frustrated Muslim youth in the West down the road of violent extremism” by filling that “inexplicably vacant media space between O: The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics and the al-Qaida book Knights Under The Prophet’s Banner”. FOXNews quotes Brookings Institution fellow Bruce Reidel as saying that the magazine is “clearly intended for the aspiring jihadist in the U.S. or U.K. who may be the next Fort Hood murderer or Times Square bomber”. The Daily Beast quotes U.S. government officials as saying that the “U.S. government is aware of this new propaganda vehicle by al Qaeda in Yemen and Anwar Awlaki” and that “AQAP and Awlaki are clearly trying to incite terrorist activity overseas, and to recruit new extremists. The packaging of this magazine may be slick, but the contents are as vile as the authors.”

However, few authors have taken the time to understand the obvious signs indicating that “Inpsire magazine” is not an authentic production of AQAP. In fact, the 63 pages of “garbled images” which has been described as the result of a virus corrupting the file, is nothing more than a ACSII text dump of the first page of a book of cupcake recipes published by Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. The first page of the “Best Cupcakes in America” written by Dulcy Israel is available from the website of Main Street Cupcakes in Ohio at the following URL:

If we reduce page scaling in the original Inspire magazine PDF file on any of the “garbled images”, there is an address and timestamp, indicating the location of the file of the creator’s computer and the time at which the file was created. This fact was first reported on by Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic, who noted that one of his readers had indicated that:

People who have Adobe Acrobat (not Reader) can download PDF (and no, it has no viruses), go to any page after 3 and open Document -> Crop pages menu. In the “Margin controls” replace 0.5 inches in the “Top” and “Bottom” sections with 0 inches. You will see that what was cropped out in the pdf are the page number (bottom) and this string (top):

“”C:\Users\m050\Desktop\ellenbca.pdf 29 June 2010 16:45″

Which means that the debris _was_ put into the file deliberately, and was present in the initial file from which it was printed (“ellenbca.pdf”).

However, Ambinder then goes on to say that this is likely just “adding debris” to the file. It was then left up to a random commenter on Ambinder’s article to reveal on his personal blog that this “debris” is in fact a list of cupcake recipes. We have confirmed that the debris is from the “Best Cupcakes in America” (ellenbca.pdf) file by a simple comparison of a hex dump using any hex editor with the “garbled image” pages of the Inspire magazine PDF. We have put together the following image to better highlight this process and demonstrate the identical nature of the two files by selecting long, easily identifiable strings of code.

Click on the image to view a larger version.

Analysis provided to Public Intelligence indicates that the file does not contain any known viruses, when run through a total of 32 anti-virus programs. Processing the file with PDFiD reveals that the file contains no JavaScript objects, but it does contain a single JS object. Despite this, typically infected PDF files display much more positive identifications of active content.

PDFiD 0.0.11 inspired2.pdf
PDF Header: %PDF-1.4
obj 509
endobj 509
stream 158
endstream 158
xref 1
trailer 1
startxref 1
/Page 67
/Encrypt 0
/ObjStm 0
/JS 1
/JavaScript 0
/AA 0
/OpenAction 0
/AcroForm 0
/JBIG2Decode 0
/RichMedia 0
/Launch 0
/Colors > 224 0

In addition to these technical reasons for doubting the authenticity of “Inspire” magazine, other authors have also noted a number of obvious reasons for doubt:

* The magazine contains statements from Bin Laden and Zawahiri, who are both “extremely secretive and issue statements rarely and directly to the media. It would be unusual for them to write for a third-party publication, especially one put out by the Yemen-based AQAP, with which they have little or no direct ties.”
* The magazine’s general tone and use of the English language is either clumsy or purposely intending self-parody. For example, the “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” article and the usage of the word “terrorist” as a form of self reference.
* Gregg Carlstrom, a reporter for Al Jazeera noted that the logo used in the document is not the same as Al-Malahem’s normal logo.
* Jihadi forums openly claim that the magazine is fake and a construction of the “apostate hypocrit dogs” (sic)
* To our knowledge, no “corrected” version with the complete text of the magazine has been released. If you are aware of a copy, please contact us. (A complete version now seems to be available.)

In order to aid in further analysis of the files, we are providing the following items for download:

* The original Inspired Magazine file as we obtained it (2.94 MB)
* A HTML hex dump of ellenbca.pdf (4.43 MB)
There are no others, there is only us.

Messages In This Thread
RE: U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs - FastTadpole - 11-09-2010, 09:44 AM

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