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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 it's 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.
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.
Here’s McCain’s full quote, in context, from back in January:
Questioner: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for fifty years…
McCain: Maybe a hundred. Make it one hundred. We’ve been in South Korea, we’ve been in Japan for sixty years. We’ve been in South Korea for fifty years or so. That’d be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. Then it’s fine with me. I would hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting, equipping and motivating people every single day.
John McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years. He’s said it, and it’s on tape.
But his campaign hates that he was caught. They’ve viciously attacked anyone who reminded the American people that he said it, including me. They’ve said that those who reference the 100 years comments are “deliberately misleading voters.”
So we’ve taken John McCain’s own words — video of him saying that 100 years would be “fine with me” — and made a TV ad. There’s no confusion, no distortion, no misleading — it’s John McCain, on tape, for voters to judge on their own.
It’s one of the most powerful political ads I’ve ever seen. It’s devastating — and the McCain campaign will spend the rest of the election trying to fight it.
New DNC ad:
Yes, those are American GIs. They survived.
About the only thing you can credit the DNC for is finally finding an actual image of American soldiers they could use.
Instead of Canadians:
(Their pals at moveon once used Brits.)
Those examples are sad and pathetic, and laughable. This latest is something else entirely. (But you can bet it was market tested thoroughly before they aired it.)
Update: In reviewing the ORIGINAL source video, I'm not even sure the soldiers were "attacked" - based on their "post-boom" actions that's really not clear. Moving to cover with weapons ready would be a more obvious response, but even from the longer clip I'm uncertain. That might be a controlled det - found enemy device intentionally detonated. There's no arguing that they either didn't expect the explosion right then or if they did they underestimated the size. Again, these guys don't appear to be responding to an immediate threat - but I don't know with complete certainty. The DNC certainly wants the viewer to believe they were attacked - perhaps even killed. So you can definitely credit the DNC with skillfull editing, in addition to finally finding US soldiers to use in an ad.
The odds of actually capturing an attack on video are fairly slim. Unless you're a reporter engaged in an actual combat op you're just not going to have a camera rolling at the opportune moment. Even Mike Yon doesn't have many such examples, and he's spent more time with troops than anyone. (Even with the Farah photo he didn't get the shot of the attack itself.) Unless you're embedded with the guys planting explosive devices (or detonating found ones) you're just not going to get a good video of the explosion.
And another update: Heh - After watching the DNC version again I noticed they substituted a much louder, deeper explosion sound than the actual bang in the real video. Not enough bang for their bucks, I suppose. So credit them with having good sound guys, too. (Unless that was Michael Moore who actually doctored the footage.)
And moore: Michael Moore's version has a fake boom in it too. Can't tell if the DNC used that or created their own.
Still Moore: So after swapping a couple emails with Ace, he and I agreed to split up the Fahrenheit 9/11 videos available on youtube and find the actual use of the clip therein. He found it in part 9 (he had the odds, I had the evens.) It's about 35 seconds into the clip. My take: Moore's version might use the original sound of the explosion, but if so he's cranked the base to produce a much more powerful sound than the original. The DNC version is different than Moore's or the actual footage, a more drawn out explosion.
Another note on Moore's clip: he edits the footage so you never see that the second guy (the one who was holding both weapons) is okay. He had run off camera (unseen in the immediate aftermath of the blast), and in the original his partner walks slowly over to his location and the clip ends with both of them standing, apparently not significantly wounded or concerned about any additional threat. In Moore's edit, the clip ends before he is revealed. The result in Fahrenheit 9/11 is two guys, boom, smoke, one guy left.