Sunday 23rd of January 2022

better things to do...

obamacrisis

 

Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida is under heavy pressure in its strongholds in Pakistan's remote tribal areas and is finding it difficult to attract recruits or carry out spectacular operations in western countries, according to government and independent experts monitoring the organisation.

Speaking to the Guardian in advance of tomorrow's eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, western counter-terrorism officials and specialists in the Muslim world said the organisation faced a crisis that was severely affecting its ability to find, inspire and train willing fighters.

Its activity is increasingly dispersed to "affiliates" or "franchises" in Yemen and North Africa, but the links of local or regional jihadi groups to the centre are tenuous; they enjoy little popular support and successes have been limited.

Lethal strikes by CIA drones – including two this week alone – have combined with the monitoring and disruption of electronic communications, suspicion and low morale to take their toll on al-Qaida's Pakistani "core", in the jargon of western intelligence agencies.

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I'm ready to believe the curse is working...

loose cannons

Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, warned this year that Somalia could become a safe haven for al-Qaida in the way Afghanistan was in 2001. Analysts speak of worries that al-Qaida activity in North Africa and the Sahel could spread to northern Nigeria and affect the UK.

"You haven't lost all those people who were susceptible to the al-Qaida message, ideology or recruitment," said Richard Barrett, co-ordinator of the UN's al-Qaida and Taliban Monitoring Team. "The [al-Qaida leadership] are really under pressure now but could regroup. The conditions remain there, the social factors are all still in place."

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May be it has become obvious to potential recruits that the leaders of Al Qaeda are not eager enough to blow themselves up...

lost in translation...

Audio purported to be an "address to the American public" from Al Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden has been released by the militant group's media branch, a US-based terrorism monitoring group said.

Al Qaeda's As-Sahab media released a video featuring a still image of bin Laden and an audio statement, said IntelCenter, noting that there were no subtitles or transcript yet available.

The release came two days after the United States marked the eighth anniversary of the Al Qaeda-sponsored September 11, 2001 attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people.

"The video shows a still of bin Laden while the audio statement plays. There is no video footage of bin Laden or of anything else, aside from the graphics surrounding his still. There is no media footage or footage from other groups," IntelCenter said.

see toon at top.

creating one's enemy...

From The American Conservative

Without attention, the terrorist is nothing. George W. Bush’s response to 9/11 was everything an al-Qaeda recruiter could have wished. By pretending these terrorists posed an existential threat, he elevated a relatively insignificant group of middle-class pseudointellectuals into the biggest danger to America since the Wehrmacht. Imagine if, after 9/11, Bush had noted the obvious: despite their dramatic murder of our fellow citizens, the jihadis had no chance of overthrowing our government, influencing our policy, bringing back the Caliphate, or accomplishing their goals. Their crimes, while photogenic, were ultimately impotent. Such a response would have undercut the appeal of becoming a suicide bomber. Without a global war on terror, the terrorist is an insignificant criminal.

But today, since war with other great powers is unthinkable, our young majors expect that the war on terror will keep them busy throughout their careers. And our military, they tell us, is too small for that “long war.” Officers in Iraq have informed me repeatedly that we need a draft and larger budgets to ensure that the Army can complete its missions.

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see toon at top.

legs to the possibility of...

From SMH letters:

Loose-lipped spies

Could anything be more stupid and counterproductive than announcing that your spies have infiltrated your enemy's organisation, especially one as ruthless as al-Qaeda (''Infiltration by spies limiting al-Qaeda's ability to attack, US says'', October 1)? One wonders what genius decided to let this particular cat out of the bag. They might as well have gone the whole hog and published the spies' photos, too.

Mike Phillips Wollstonecraft

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I believe Mike Phillips hasn't grasped the subtle art of disinformation, especially in double-cross system. What is the result of announcing that spies have infiltrated al-Qaeda? The result can play out severay ways:

A) The truth is that "no, our spies haven't infiltrated al-Qaeda" but by announcing this it creates doubt in the minds of al-Qaeda's leadership. This doubt can (often will) create internal tensions and distrust, disrupting the effiicency of decisions-making.

B) "yes, our spies have infiltrated al-Quaeda". Most of spies able to infiltrate al-Qaeda would be double-agents or untrusworthy informers. They would have achieved their used-by-date when the information of spies inside al-Qaeda is made public. This create more confusion in the ranks of al-Qaeda.

C) Should these spies be real trained spies, this announcement would distract al-Qaeda in trying to find ways to flush them out, taking valuable time and also leading to the accidental extermination of some of their most devoted dummies, encouraged to do something spectacular but stupid.

Either way on release of the information, al-Qaeda has to be more cautious, more fearful and distrustful of its own members, if we can call these "members"... Thus the information was deliberately released to add legs to the "possibility" of...

Double cross achieved as al-Qaeda has no choice but to pay due attention.

terror inc. is broke...

Al-Qaeda is in its worst financial state for many years while the Taliban's funding is flourishing, according to the US Treasury.

Terrorist financing official David Cohen said al-Qaeda had made several appeals for funds already this year.

The influence of the network - damaged by US efforts to choke funding - is waning, the official said.

The Taliban, meanwhile, are in better financial shape, bolstered by Afghanistan's booming trade in drugs.

According to Mr Cohen, the al-Qaeda leadership has already warned that a lack of funds was hurting the group's recruitment and training efforts.

see toon at top

shameless FBI photokit...

A Spanish politician has said he was shocked to find out the FBI had used his photo for a digitally-altered image showing how Osama Bin Laden might look.

Gaspar Llamazares said he would no longer feel safe travelling to the US after his hair and parts of his face appeared on a most-wanted poster.

He said the use of a real person for the mocked-up image was "shameless".

The FBI admitted a forensic artist had obtained certain facial features "from a photograph he found on the internet".

The digitally-altered photos of the al-Qaeda leader, showing how he might look now, aged 52, were published on the state department's Rewards for Justice website on Friday.

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In the 1980s, I had to "age" some characters in pictures for various purposes... Even for a joke, the results, I must say, were far better than this pathetic FBI attempt. When I first saw the altered pictured I thought their "Bin Laden" was not the same man. And I got it right...

aged bin laden

Gus's aged bin laden in last picture... see toon at top...