TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: Taliban Says PayPal Site Isn’t Theirs

Remember the back and forth on the Taliban’s PayPal donations page?

Well, there’s another twist.

The PayPal page itself is still in operation as of this post, but now, the Taliban have issued an official denial (ArabicGoogle EnglishPDF at non-terrorist site):

Inform you that he does not have a note of the Islamic Emirate of any program or site to collect donations on the Web (Internet). Every site or person (on the network) claims that he collected donations for the Islamic Emirate is a charlatan and a liar, which aims to raise money for itself in a way dirty and irresponsible.  We dissociate ourselves from those sites and persons altogether.

Hmmmmm…..  Originally, the PayPal link alemrah.info was part of the Voice of Jihad’s official Pashto page (PDF of screen capture at non-terrorist site), but now, it’s no longer there (PDF of latest screen capture at non-terrorist site – check page 3 to see no more alemrah.info).

So, what’s this mean?

1)  The site is still linked to the Taliban, but the Taliban is trying to discourage folks from using it lest PayPal collect information of interest to those hunting bad guys.

2)  The Taliban tried the concept, and are now dumping it.

3)  The site was set up by the good guys to help lure and track dopey donors.

Any other theories?  Feel free to share them.

Update (1): Internet Haganah blog on this.

TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: Taliban PayPal Site Appears Official

Did a bit more exploring, and it appears that in spite of denials on terrorist forums, the Taliban PayPal fundraising site is official.

Why?

Because there’s a link to the PayPal site from the Voice of Jihad’s Pashto page (highlighted in yellow on page 3 of PDF at non-terrorist site here).

TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: Is It REALLY the Taliban’s PayPal Fundraising Page?

Remember the site looking like it was a Taliban fundraising page whose address was one letter different from the propaganda page?

Well, on November 11 this year, on a terrorist forum, there was a posting (Arabic, Google English and PDF of both at non-terrorist site) warning about that very site – here’s what Google says it says:

Peace be upon you
I want to inquire of you my dear brother on this site, who says he has pleaded for the Islamic emirate and requests to donate to the Taliban.
I think my brother to this site from the establishment of intelligence and wants to sign a brotherhood.
Take your precautions.

Later in the thread, it appears at least one poster suggests a more mercenary reason for the site if it’s not an official Taliban site:

Because even those who want to donate the sign to do so in a manner very naive
Because it puts a donation via paypal
This way those who do not know all the information about the address of the person Envoy to him and the donor and their phones to be linked to their accounts banking
I think that this is not the work of the intelligence of making a thief
The matter is simple
Bought the domain name on behalf of the emirate
Banner stolen brothers and put the name of the page as putting
But it is a simplicity to the way paypal

So, is this

  • an official Taliban web site, taking advantage of tech to collect money from the internet masses;
  • an interesting way for, in the words of those more clever than me, western agencies with (usually) three initials to trick folks into sharing both money and identify info; or
  • a clever identity thief using Taliban graphics just to steal money and ID info?

It’s been more than a month since this posting, and I haven’t seen any official denial by the Taliban (please let me know if you have).  I don’t see any obvious reason for the Taliban to NOT issue a denial if it’s not their site – I’m guessing they wouldn’t want to be helping either foreign intelligence or an identity thief.

Then again, this is an organization that cuts off fingers of people who vote, so who knows?

Update (1): It looks official, folks!

وهذه الطريقة لمن لا يعلم بها كل المعلومات عن عنوان الشخص المبعوث اليه والمتبرع وتليفوناتهم وتكون متصله بحساباتهم البنكية This way those who do not know all the information about the address of the person Envoy to him and the donor and their phones to be linked to their accounts banking

فاظن ان هذه ليست اعمال مخابرات هذه من صنع لص I think that this is not the work of the intelligence of making a thief

الموضوع بسيط The matter is simple

اشترى دومين باسم الامارة Bought the domain name on behalf of the emirate
سرق بانر الاخوة ووضع اسم الصفحة كما يضعون Banner stolen brothers and put the name of the page as putting

الا انه من سذاجته وضع الطريقة ب paypal But it is a simplicity to the way paypal

TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: Taliban Using PayPal to Raise Funds

Update (1): But is is REALLY a Taliban web site?

Update (2): It looks official, folks!

Update (3): Now, even the Taliban says they’re not fundraising online. (More at Long War Journal’s Threat Matrix)

Well, the English-language Voice of Jihad site seems to be down at this address – I’ll share the new one once I find it.

In my hunt, though, I ran across this version of the Voice of Jihad page, in Arabic (GoogleEnglish translation here, PDF at non-terrorist site here) with only a slight difference in the address (alemrah.info, instead of alemarah.info – note the extra “a” in the second version, which brings you to the Arabic news site).  The fundraising site URL seems to be registered with a company in Westchester, California (WHOIS results – PDF of results here).

Here’s what it looks like:

and here’s the Google Translation of the page contents

Statement Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on the site to donate

In the name of God the Merciful

We apologize for the confusion about this new site

It continued an official site of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – Taliban and there is a direct link to him, Li G Emirate’s location

http://www.alemarah.info

The purpose of this new site is to collect contributions to the Emirate and we hope you support

May Allah reward you for your efforts

Dr. Mujahid called

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

(And fight them until persecution is no more and religion is God )

Clicking on the PayPal button at the bottom of the page brings you to the PayPal page, with the payment going to a person or organization “Fida” (that’s what would show up on your account).  The e-mail address on the PayPal(alemarah1@hotmail.com) is not the same as the webmaster’s e-mail address seen on the usual Voice of Jihad pages (alemarah1@gmail.com).

It also appears all major credit cards are accepted as well.