Discover more from WORLD GONE WRONG
Back to basics
The new INTELWIRE website offers something old, something new
As many of you know, I ran a website called INTELWIRE for many years, which featured a lot of primary source documents and fairly granular reporting on different aspects of terrorism. The site fell victim to time, changing priorities and constantly shifting technologies, as I bounced around from hosting service to hosting service, and site structure to site structure, breaking links at every juncture.
Eventually, Twitter became my main online platform, and I shifted focus from reporting and documentation to theory. The site slowly became unusable and eventually died. I felt bad about that. Now, with Twitter gone, and no clear successor on the horizon, I am going back to the beginning. Consider this a soft launch of the new INTELWIRE website, which should probably be considered “in beta” for the foreseeable future.
Part of the aim of the new site is to slowly reconstitute the best material from the old site, which I will do gradually under Archives, in a probably futile effort to minimize dead links and missing images or documents. But I am also offering a couple of brand-new features, which I think will provide a lot of the new site’s appeal.
First, The Firehose. In the very distant past, my initial reason for joining Twitter was that I could automatically tweet terrorism and extremism related news from around while also posting the same headlines to INTELWIRE. Twitter is pretty much done for, so I returning to the website model for now. The Firehose is a high-volume headline and research feed (as befits its name, derived from the old intelligence cliche of “drinking from the firehose”). For now, I am the sole maintainer, but I am talking to folks about adding others. It will grow over time, but for now it’s a good (if less than perfect) way to replace your extremism-oriented Twitter news feed with something vaguely comparable.
Second, Databases. Readers of the old site will recall that I initially made my name in this field by posting documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and court records. In some cases, those documents were posted to pages subsequently lost to the process described above. In other cases, I held material intending to write books that never came to fruition. I am going to start regularly publishing these documents, some of which have never been seen before, using Google Pinpoint, part of the Google Journalist Studio. Pinpoint creates powerful full-text searches with entity detection, so these documents may be more formatted more usefully than past iterations of the website. I’ve published a massive consolidated collection of material on the September 11 attacks for the site launch, and more will follow.
So why is this a beta site and soft launch, rather than a full-court press? A couple reasons. First, the original INTELWIRE collapsed under the weight of too many projects, and I don’t exactly have fewer projects, so I am not quite fully committed. I’ve designed the new site to be lower maintenance, which will help with this, but I need to live with it for a while.
This is closely related to the second potential problem, which is that a lot of the labor-saving steps I have taken rely on Google technology, including but not limited to Pinpoint, and Google is notorious for killing extremely useful and popular services, including one that I was using for this project until very recently. So if Google does what Google does, I may have to rethink some or all of this strategy.
If things remain stable for a while, this may very well lead to other offerings, but I am probably not in a hurry to spin a lot of new stuff up, given an increasingly full calendar for the remainder of 2023. For now, I’ll aim to update The Firehose daily and Databases monthly-ish, along with links to major new publications as they occur. We will see where things go from there.
Your feedback is welcome.
Thanks for reading WORLD GONE WRONG! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.