We know the terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda and the damage they have caused over the years as well as the steps taken by different nations to stop them. But did you about this epic prank pulled by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) on them?
One of the most decorated and successful agencies is the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), or as you may all know it, the MI6, which is short for Military Intelligence, Section 6. This agency is a foreign intelligence service of the United Kingdom, which was made to collect and analyze human intelligence (HUMINT), which is helpful to the UK’s national security.
The agency was formed back in 1909 and was a part of the Secret Service Bureau which specialized in foreign intelligence and gained popularity during World War-I. The agency adopted its current name, Secret Intelligence Service, in 1920 but was not acknowledged by the nation until 1994. The agency was introduced to the parliament under the Intelligence Services Act 1994 to provide its statutory status for the first time.
Since 1994, the MI6 has established its headquarters in the MI6 building in London, South Bank of the River Thames. The agency’s prominent roles are counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, providing intelligence in support of cybersecurity and supporting stability overseas to disrupt terrorism and other such criminal activities. I am sure you must have caught a glimpse of their working in many movies and series like White House Down, London Has Fallen, Kingsman: The Secret Service, MI-5, and the list goes on.
Replacing the Recipe
After seeing all these action-packed, super-secret and thrilling movies, you would think that the MI6 is a very serious, strict and demanding agency, and you are right; it is. It’s not easy being in the agency, knowing that the whole nation’s security strategy depends on the agency’s intel. As serious as they are, the agency also knows how to mess with the enemies just for fun.
A group of hackers from this agency, in June 2011, hacked into the Al-Qaeda communication network and website and replaced its bomb-making recipe with a cupcake recipe. Cheeky, isn’t it? Who would have thought that the agency with such serious duties is capable of pulling such a sweet prank?
Why Did MI-6 Lock Horns With Al-Qaeda?
AL-Qaeda is a militant Sunni Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam and other such Arab volunteers in 1988. This organization operates in many different nations, intending to create a unified and global caliphate. Al-Qaeda has been behind many military and non-military attacks like the United States embassy bombing in 1998, the 9/11 attacks and the Bali bombing in 2002. But due to their attacks on a number of nations, the United Nations Security Council, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, India and many such countries have declared the organization as a terrorist group.
After the encounter of Osama bin Laden, the top-down organization attacks came down to lone-wolf operations and suicide attacks. The members of Al-Qaeda believe that killing non-combatants, i.e., civilians is religiously sanctioned as Salafist Jihadists. They believe that the Christian-Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam and, as a result, want to replace the man-made laws with a strict form of Sharia laws which are mentioned in the Quran and the hadith.
Why Did MI-6 Lock Horns With Al-Qaeda?
The organization has amassed many Islamic followers and sympathizers around the world who agree to their goal. As a way to communicate with these followers and to recruit lone-wolves, Al-Qaeda’s movement in Iraq has a website Abu Ayyub al-Masri where videos glorifying jihadist suicide bombing activities are published. Alneda.com and Jehad.net were some of the most significant al-Qaeda websites, but Alneda was taken down by Jon Messner.
Many nations have tried to stop Al-Qaeda’s online presence, and as a step in that direction, the UK’s intelligence service, MI6, was in an all-out war with al-Qaeda and the groups that are associated with it. The MI6 was focusing particularly on disrupting the activities of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. One of these activities was that al-Qaeda recruited their ‘lone wolves’ through an online magazine called “Inspire.”
Giving The Right Meaning to the Da Bomb
When the Inspire Magazine and al-Qaeda followers went to download a 67-page instruction for “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” by “The AQ Chef”, instead of a bomb-making recipe they were greeted with a semi-unintelligible computer code. This code showcased a recipe that had nothing to do with the bomb and everything to do with some cupcakes that may be described as “da bomb”.
MI6 had reportedly hacked the website and replaced the recipe with several episodes for cupcakes, including a recipe featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show which was dubbed as “The Best Cupcakes in America.” It also included some more recipes from an Ohio-based cupcake maker Main Street Cupcakes. The variety of cupcakes included white rum cake with buttercream frosting, rocky road and a mojito flavoured cupcake. Not only this, but the MI6 also replaced articles by Osama bin Laden and his second in command, who is now the head of the organization, Ayman al-Zawahiri, on “What to Expect in Jihad”.
Who would have thought that MI6, who could wreak havoc on al-Qaeda’s website by hacking it and taking as much information as they could, would instead give them a little sweet treat? Everyone loves cupcakes, right?