Tag Archives | Al-Qaeda

Osama bin Laden’s Personal Notes and Letters To Be Declassified on Thursday

Combating Terrorism CenterThis will be interesting to check out Thursday (but I guess the press has already gotten wind of what is in the documents). Osama bin Laden reads like a troubled CEO who was frustrated by the lack of new talent and struggling with a failing brand. Brian Bennett writes in the LA Times:

Osama bin Laden’s personal notes and letters, which were seized a year ago in the U.S. raid on his compound in Pakistan, show a leader removed from day-to-day operations of the terrorist organization he founded and increasingly frustrated with the new generation of managers who were rising in the ranks.

A declassified selection of the vast trove of material — large enough, officials say, to fill a college library — will be published online Thursday by the Combating Terrorism Center, a think tank at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

In correspondence with his senior leaders, Bin Laden lamented the inexperience and poor judgment shown by the rising crop of Al Qaeda leaders.

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French Gunman Dies, Guns Blazing

MerahOne can only hope he doesn’t become some sort of perverse martyr. From AFP:

A self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda militant died in a hail of bullets on Thursday as he jumped out of an apartment window at the end of a 32-hour siege in southern France.

Mohamed Merah, the main suspect in a wave of shootings that killed seven people, had tried to blast his way out of the siege in the city of Toulouse after members of an elite force known as RAID entered his flat.

But Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the 23-year-old had been found dead on the ground in a dramatic end to the lengthy standoff.

“The killer came out from the bathroom shooting very violently. The bursts of gunfire were frequent and hard,” Gueant said. “A RAID officer who is used to this kind of thing told me that he had never seen such a violent assault.

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Al-Qaeda Tells Iran: Stop Spreading 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

911In its commemorative ten-year-anniversary 9/11 issue, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine attacks Iran for spreading doubt and conspiracy theories regarding the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. (Also: I think al-Qaeda uses the same stock photo services as pharmaceutical websites.) Posted via Public Intelligence.

There have been plenty of conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11. These conspiracy theorists believe that the U.S. government manufactured the attacks while others believe that it was the Israeli Mossad who was behind them. They site claims such as the Pentagon was not hit by a plane but by a rocket, and that the World Trade center building number seven was brought down by a controlled demolition. The prescribers to these theories have been some scattered individuals here and there who do not posses the research capabilities and capacities that are only available to governments. However, there has been one exception: the government of Iran.

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Is The U.S. Really About To Defeat Al Qaeda?

Leon Panetta

Leon Panetta

No doubt there will be naysayers who claim that Al Qaeda was a convenient fiction for the U.S. Government in the first place, but in any event it is certainly a change of tune to hear the U.S. Defense Secretary talk about victory over the bad guys. No doubt it means a change of strategy – but what? Mary Walsh reports for CBS News:

The United States is “within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda,” Leon Panetta declared, as he traveled to Afghanistan for his first visit there as Secretary of Defense.

Speaking to reporters aboard a government flight to Kabul, Panetta said intelligence gathered during the raid at Osama bin Laden’s compound has lead the United States to target 10-20 key al Qaeda leaders.

“If we can go after them, I think we really can strategically defeat al Qaeda,” Panetta said.

The success of the May raid on the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where bin Laden was killed, along with “operations that we conducted at the CIA,” has undermined the terror organization’s ability to conduct 9/11-type attacks, he added.

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U.S. Expands Its Drone War Into Somalia

MQ-9 ReaperMark Mazzetti writes in the New York Times:

The clandestine American military campaign to combat Al Qaeda’s franchise in Yemen is expanding to fight the Islamist militancy in Somalia, as new evidence indicates that insurgents in the two countries are forging closer ties and possibly plotting attacks against the United States, American officials say.

An American military drone aircraft attacked several Somalis in the militant group the Shabab late last month, the officials said, killing at least one of its midlevel operatives and wounding others.

The strike was carried out by the same Special Operations Command unit now battling militants in Yemen, and it represented an intensification of an American military campaign in a mostly lawless region where weak governments have allowed groups with links to Al Qaeda to flourish.

The Obama administration’s increased focus on Somalia comes as the White House has unveiled a new strategy to battle Al Qaeda in the post-Osama bin Laden era, and as some American military and intelligence officials view Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Somalia as a greater threat to the United States than the group of operatives in Pakistan who have been barraged with hundreds of drone strikes directed by the Central Intelligence Agency in recent years.

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Salvage Diver Plans To Recover Bin Laden’s Body From Sea

Osama_bin_Laden_portrait

Photo: Hamid Mir (CC)

After the disposal of Osama Bin Laden’s body at sea many were skeptical, including Bill Warren. While everyone else was talking up their conspiracy theories Warren decided there was only one way to know the  truth, go down there and get him. Via TIME:

Talk is cheap. That’s why Bill Warren won’t elaborate on his conspiracy theory regarding bin Laden’s death. Instead, he’s taking action. The Fallbrook, Calif. salvage diver is planning a mission to retrieve bin Laden’s body from the bottom of the Arabian Sea.

Having been in the business of salvage diving for more than 30 years, Warren is aware of the dangers and difficulties of rescue missions. The body, he says, “will look like a cigar at the bottom of the ocean.” It’s a mission that will require some heavy – and costly – technology. So is the proof worth the purchase?

To Warren, that’s affirmative.

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65 Al-Qaeda Members Escape From Yemen Prison

Photo: Jenn Vargas (CC)

Photo: Jenn Vargas (CC)

The last major breakout of Al-Qaeda members from a Yemen prison was in 2006, but this escape consisted of nearly three times as many prisoners. Yemen Times reports:

At least 65 prisoner’s escaped on Tuesday from Al-Mukalla Central Prison. Some of the escaped prisoners have been confirmed as Al-Qaeda members who had been transferred from another prison in Al-Mukalla to the central prison.

Civilians claim that heavy gunfire broke out around 8am between security forces and escapees. The situation in the city has now returned to normal, with only one armored vehicle guarding the entrance of Jol Al-Saifa’a where the central prison is located.

The General-Secretary of Mukala’s Local Council, Mohammad Bin Ziad, who has been following the incident, told the Yemen Times that the confirmed number of escapees is 65 so far. However, he also said more details will be released after investigations have been carried out and eyewitnesses questioned.

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Pakistani Journalist Found Dead After Criticizing Pakistan’s Chief Intelligence Agency

Saleem ShahzadVia The New York Times:

The Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad knew he was a marked man. Mr. Shahzad, who covered national security and terrorism, had received repeated threats from Pakistan’s powerful spy agency. Yet he courageously kept doing his job — until somebody silenced him. His body, his face horribly beaten, was buried on Wednesday.

Suspicion inevitably falls on Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s chief intelligence agency. For the sake of justice, and the shredded credibility of Pakistan’s government, his murderers must be found quickly and held accountable.

Mr. Shahzad disappeared from Islamabad on Sunday, two days after he published an article suggesting a militant attack on a naval base in Karachi was retaliation for the navy’s attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda militants in the armed forces. American analysts doubt an Al Qaeda cell infiltrated Pakistani security, but they have long worried about individual sympathizers.

Whatever the case, the attack humiliated the ISI and the armed services.

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MI6 Hacks Online Al-Qaeda Magazine Swapping Bomb Recipes For Cupcake Recipes

Photo: Joy (CC)

Photo: Joy (CC)

This is quite a sweet hack. The Telegraph reports:

The cyber-warfare operation was launched by MI6 and GCHQ in an attempt to disrupt efforts by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular to recruit “lone-wolf” terrorists with a new English-language magazine, the Daily Telegraph understands.

When followers tried to download the 67-page colour magazine, instead of instructions about how to “Make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom” by “The AQ Chef” they were greeted with garbled computer code.

The code, which had been inserted into the original magazine by the British intelligence hackers, was actually a web page of recipes for “The Best Cupcakes in America” published by the Ellen DeGeneres chat show.

Written by Dulcy Israel and produced by Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson, Ohio, it said “the little cupcake is big again” adding: “Self-contained and satisfying, it summons memories of childhood even as it’s updated for today’s sweet-toothed hipsters.”

It included a recipe for the Mojito Cupcake – “made of white rum cake and draped in vanilla buttercream”- and the Rocky Road Cupcake – “warning: sugar rush ahead!”

[Continues at The Telegraph]

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Former Egyptian Special Forces Officer Named New Al Qaeda Leader

Flag of Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Flag of Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Hindustan Times reports:

A fierce succession battle appears to be gripping the senior ranks of al Qaeda in the wake of the death of leader Osama bin Laden, pitting regional affiliates against the central “hardcore” of the organisation. Reports from Pakistan have named an Egyptian former special forces officer, ,as the acting leader of al Qaeda.

Adel, who is in his late 40s, is a veteran militant who was close to bin Laden in the 1990s. He was detained in Iran after fleeing Afghanistan following the ouster of the Taliban in 2001. According to Noman Benotman, a former Libyan militant now living in London, al-Adel, also known as Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi, was released from Iranian detention and returned to Pakistan last year.

The report in the News newspaper of Pakistan identified al-Adel as having been chosen as “interim leader” after a meeting at “an undisclosed location”.

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