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November 28, 2006
al Qaeda's "Working Paper for a Media Invasion of America"By Greyhawk
(Note: reposted from 2006-10-11 05:09:14)
(Note: This is part three of a series examining recent and little-known developments within al Qaeda, focusing on "public relations" efforts within the group. Previous entries, detailing al-Qaeda's efforts to win back the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and the response they received, can be read here and here. In this installment, we turn our attention to al Qaeda's outreach to the American people...)
You probably haven't heard much about the efforts of the Global Islamic Media Front - al Qaeda's "public relations" team. The group is well known to those who monitor terrorist web sites, but rarely reported on by the mainstream media. (Although the group's recent release of a video game in which the player's goal is to kill President Bush did get some coverage in the Washington Post.)
But another recent effort from the group won't likely be reported anywhere in the western media - at least not directly. Titled "Working Paper for a Media Invasion of America", the recently translated document was originally posted on a known jihaddist web site, but has received scant public attention from its target audience. No full translations of the treatise are currently available, but a brief description of some of the content can be seen here.
Najd al-Rawi, the document's author, begins by noting that although they've been successful in many ways, the jihaddists haven't fully exploited the opportunities presented by the US media. Inspired by a video from bin Laden addressing the American people with subtitles in English, the author notes that "It seemed the Shayk wanted to send a clear message to his brother mujahadeen to pay more attention to this part of the mission." He points out that videos from the "Shayks of jihad" are in great demand in the western media.
Such videos are readily available - but for the most part translation to English is left to the media outlets that elect to broadcast them. The plan suggests a remedy for this oversight, and the paper calls for talented professionals to join the jihad - specifically, translators, and people with journalistic or literary talent who can provide a "ringing and powerful style that will have impact on the American people." Other desirable recruits are computer graphics experts, "with experience in Photoshop, 3d Studio Max, and other programs", and finally "Sharia experts" who can review the projects for materials prohibited by Islamic law, "such as pictures of women".
Suggested projects include English translations of the declarations of the Shayks of Jihad "to throw fear into the American people's hearts". Cited examples include "Sharia Rules regarding the use of WMDs" by Shayk Nasir al-Fahd, (probably a reference to a document with an English translation already available here) or "documentation of Mujahadeen acts against the U.S., such as 'Documentation of the Destruction that Befell America' by Shayk Abd-al-Aziz al-Jarbu", (a non-al Qaeda sponsored translation may be underway here) along with "other pieces the brothers deem worthy."
As an example of the sort of video material the group should provide, the author suggests "Video of attacks on US foot patrols with the caption 'Operation against the sons of the US people whom Bush cast into the fire of war against the Muslims'."
And in that we see both the political savvy and naiveté of the Global Islamic Media Front. They recognize the advantage - and relative ease - of turning as many Americans against their President as they can (dividing the enemy into opposing camps to be eliminated in turn being a primary goal of effective propaganda) but fail to grasp the idea that this requires no effort on their part whatsoever. Still - you can't blame them for being willing to accelerate the process, or contribute to the cause.
Lastly, the paper points out what the author considers the best locations for providing this material, and suggests dissemination via the world wide web, following efforts to ensure the origin can't be traced.
- US discussion forums
(Note that the translation of the document I've seen does not indicate that the original author implied that any particular individual or media outlet is more sympathetic to the al Qaeda cause than any other.)
In Iraq, many Anbar residents have reached a point of sufficient outrage at the al Qaeda terrorists to take up arms against the foe. Lacking the motivation of continued bloodshed on American soil, few Americans are so inclined, and that's fine, so far. But like it or not, Mr and Mrs Average American are involved in a propaganda war, the only battle of the war on terror currently being fought on U.S. soil - and those who choose not to be victims of that battle may wonder what the appropriate response should be. Perhaps just this - bear in mind the stated goal: "to throw fear into the American people's hearts", divide and conquer, weaken resolve, and defeat America. Be aware of the plan to reach that goal, and recognize it for what it is when next you see it in action, as you undoubtedly will. (And while you're at it, spread the word - this won't be on the evening news.)
There's nothing shocking or earth shattering here - except perhaps an actual exoneration for mainstream media outlets that may have previously been accused of conspiring with the enemy. Many close observers and participants in the war on terror have accused the media of touting terrorist propaganda for years. But the Global Islamic Media Front, in calling for an actual organized effort to that end, has demonstrated that any such apparent cooperation prior to this publication has been purely coincidental.
Next: We've seen how the residents of Anbar responded to al-Qarda's outreach efforts, now watch as the American media responds to enemy attempts to involve them in propaganda schemes...
(Note: originally posted 2006-10-11 05:09:14)
Posted by Greyhawk / November 28, 2006 3:35 AM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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