COLUMN SEVENTY-SIX, OCTOBER 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)
VIDEO ARCHIVE SHOWS AL QAEDA'S GLOBAL REACH
AL QAEDA GASSES A PET DOG TO DEATH
[The beheading of Christian missionaries in the Phillipines, the use of pet dogs on which to test poison gas, the sentencing under the Sharia---Islamic Law---of a young mother to be stoned to death are all examples of the brutal bloodthirstiness of the enemy that faces the so-called civilized world. This enemy is the collective global unity of the barbaric Muslim extremists who have corrupted Islam. The young mother was sentenced to be stoned to death because she had sex out of wedlock. Certainly the Koran, according to scholars, does not call for the stoning to death of women who have sex out of wedlock. It is Muslim extremists who are responsible for the institution of the Sharia.. And Al Qaeda has been shown to be an umbrella organization that has united a worldwide network of Muslim extremists. A network that includes extremist Palestinian Arabs. Al Qaeda embraces all Muslims willing to slit American throats simply because we live in or we come from America. And we also includes Muslims who live in or come from America as well as Arab-loving Americans. Because Al Qaeda, which already possesses poison gas, is seeking even more sophisticated weapons of massacre. Weapons that won’t necessitate the slitting of each individual American throat. Muslim extremists’d rather kill us all en masse. In view of this, American Muslims might eventually have to decide whether they’re more American or more Muslim.]
From Nic Robertson and Mike
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A
careful examination of an al Qaeda video archive obtained by CNN shows something
less graphic---but no less sinister---than images of bomb-making or tests of
chemical agents on animals: evidence of the terrorist network's global reach and
links to other groups.
One video, catalogued by
its owners as Tape B135, shows Arab fighters in Chechnya ambushing a Russian
convoy. Another, Tape C205, shows jihadi fighters in 1990 in the south Asian
country of Burma, training with an Arabic-speaking instructor, who tells them,
"We are fighting this fight because it is an Islamic fight."
And a tape from the east
African nation of Eritrea shows fighters there proclaiming an Islamic battle to
drive infidels out of the country.
Other videos from
Uzbekistan, Algeria, Bosnia and many other countries show similar scenes.
The videos are among 64 al
Qaeda tapes CNN obtained from a source in Afghanistan who said they were found
in a house where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had stayed. Nearly all the
tapes pre-date last year's September 11 terror attacks.
Gunaratna, an expert on al Qaeda who reviewed the tapes, says they provide
proof that al Qaeda has bound itself to similar groups, becoming what he calls
"an organization of organizations."
In fact, Gunaratna says
this is the single most important thing to be divined from the video archive.
"It gives a
comprehensive picture of al Qaeda's strategic gift, of al Qaeda's global
reach," he says. "It very clearly demonstrates that al Qaeda is waging
a universal jihad campaign."
officials say that since September 11, al Qaeda has shifted the focus of its
operations to smaller-scale attacks carried out by so-called super cells around
the world while the network's leadership works to rebuild after being scattered
by the U.S.-led air campaign in Afghanistan.
Those attacks include an
April bombing that killed 21 people near a synagogue in Tunisia, and a bombing
in May outside a hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, that left 14 people dead.
disrupting al Qaeda cells in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines,
and Morocco. The Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington-based think tank
that focuses on international issues, says al Qaeda has links to terrorist
organizations in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Kashmir, Uzbekistan and Algeria, among
The terror ties stretch much farther west. Al Qaeda suspects have been arrested in European
in 60 countries
including Italy, Spain and Germany. In his book Inside Al Qaeda,
Gunaratna claims an al Qaeda cell based in Britain planned to attack targets in
London on September 11 but was foiled when air traffic was grounded.
In testimony last month
before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
said al Qaeda had operatives in more than 60 countries, including the United
A further look at the tapes
acquired by CNN shows how al Qaeda kept its growing empire together.
One segment, shot in an
office believed by coalition intelligence sources to have been al Qaeda's secure
Afghan communications room, shows a man using a two-way radio. He tells the
person on the other end to look for a message on his computer and decode it.
Another tape shows bin
Laden giving a speech. That same speech was found on a video CD, one of a
several obtained along with the archive of tapes---proof that al Qaeda was
disseminating its knowledge in various media.
The video CDs are a
reminder, says one expert, that al Qaeda is more than willing to embrace the
technology of its enemies to spread its message.
"Bin Laden uses the
whole spectrum of technology---video cassettes, he uses e-mail, he uses
encryption," says Magnus Ranstorp, deputy director of the Center for the
Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in
"He also understands
how his enemies operate to function without being impaired in terms of
Other tapes from the
archive give a glimpse of bin Laden's personal public relations efforts. One
tape contains the al Qaeda leader's own recording of a 1997 interview that CNN
terrorism analyst Peter Bergen attended.
Upon seeing the tape,
Bergen expressed surprise that bin Laden had his own camera rolling.
"It's very odd to see
it so many years later and to realize that the whole thing was being videotaped
[by bin Laden]," Bergen says. "I mean, actually I had no idea it was
being videotaped. I just had no idea."
The archive contains other
such examples from interviews with ABC and the Arabic-language network Al
Jazeera---further insight into the terrorist leader's strategy and his psyche.
"Bin Laden has been
interested in his media profile for a long time," Bergen says. "And,
in a way, this videotape collection is sort of the ultimate .. sort of
manifestation of that."
"I think it shows
personal vanity on behalf of bin Laden," says Ranstorp, "of
understanding the power of the media, of how to communicate, how to
The archive of tapes shows
that al Qaeda, and possibly bin Laden himself, apparently reviewed their own
handiwork: One videotape, titled American Under Fire, shows news coverage
of the September 11 attacks, including reports from the BBC, Al Jazeera and CNN.
2002 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
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