Friday, September 21, 2007

This could be why people are pretty quiet about the latest "AQ" releases

The Al-Hayat account today of the latest "Bin Laden" tape is accompanied with a screen-capture or whatever you call that, a still, showing the SITE Institute moniker in the upper corner. And AlQuds al-Arabi, for its part, refers to the same SITE institute as an authority for saying the latest tape is "new". The Hayat picture suggests that that London-based pan-Arab paper possibly wasn't able to find the tape on any of actual "jihadi" sites. And the Al-Quds reference is probably an indication that there wasn't any better "analysis" to rely on. Peculiar.

What has happened is that in recent weeks or is it months, the web-sites where normally you could browse the jihadi comment-boards, and find the latest releases, have become unavailable. (You needed registration to comment, but anyone could read). These included,,, and others. Most or all of these, reportedly, were hosted in the United States, which also seems a bit strange. Just to be clear, it isn't clear how or by whom (or as far as I am concerned, exactly when) these were shut down. The fact that Al-Hayat is showing the version released by SITE Institute (and that Al-Quds refers to the SITE "analysis") seem to imply that the shut-down has been fairly thorough.

After the above sites were shut down, I became aware of another site called, which however required registration even to read (not a good idea; don't try this at home, as the saying is). Today, however, the site is headed with an announcement that says "Al-Ekhlaas has been made open for a limited time" and beneath that there are banners advertising an Ansar al-Sunnah forum, a message to the people of Pakistan with a picture of Bin Laden, a declaration of war on Musharraf and his army, and the lengthy composite release starring Zawahari (the one that includes his statement: "Taking back al-Andalus is a responsibility borne by the Ummah as a whole, but particularly on you in particular [to the Islamic people of the Maghreb], and this cannot be done without cleansing the Muslim Maghreb of the children of France and Spain...") The files are on file-hosting sites, from which theoretically you should be able to download them, but in all the cases I tried, these file-hosting sites have already deleted the files, either because of "complaints" or else it is just that the files don't exist there.

Without any expert knowledge in the area, it seems to me clear that the neck of the funnel is tightening, and via whatever technical methods, the news from "AlQaeda" is increasingly filtered through anti-Islamist entities like SITE, and also (you can check some of her antecedents on the Wikipedia, or you could just check the sites listed on her blogroll which include Daniel Pipes, Michelle Malkin and other superstars of the extreme right).

What strikes me as even more peculiar is that this is heppening at the same time that the "AlQaeda" message is becoming noticeably more Bush-like, by which I mean that the stress is more and more on the irreconcilable and open-ended "war of cultures" nature of the conflict, (as opposed to earlier positions that in effect said "as you kill you will be killed", suggesting that the conflicts were thought of as defined). And in this context the Zawahiri remarks about killing the French and Spanish in the Maghreb are particularly telling.

So these two things are happening at the same time: These messages are filtered through Washington-based groups, and the content of the messages is increasingly supportive of the idea of an open-ended and endless war between Islam and the West.

There is another piece of this picture. Increasingly people are speculating about the possibility that Bush will have to forego some of his warlike plans because at some point his term of office will run out, and the question then becomes how he will go about setting the table to make sure that a successor Democratic administration is faced with no alternative but to continue down the same road. Surely (just thinking of the logic of it), if the Bush-Cheney people were able to ratchet up the "AlQaeda" issue as an imminent threat to, say, the nuclear state of Pakistan, or to a cleansing of white people from North Africa, that would go a long way to serve that purpose.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Badger - very interesting! The Pakistan "Bin Laden" declaration seems almost designed to prop up failing support for Musharraf both US-domestic and Pakistani-domestic (on who-the-heck-is-this-Arab-guy-to-tell-us-Pashtun/Sindhi/Punjabi muslims etc etc what-to-do-in-our-own-country grounds), the Maghreb declarations re "reconquering Al-Andalus" no less(!!) to fan Spanish anti-muslim xenophobia/counteract Spanish anti-Americanism dating from way-way-back due to decades and decades of fascist dictatorship-support made even more acute by Madrid bombing as price paid for unwilling Bush-war support?? Curiouser and curioser.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger, there is a story in the NY Sun about AlQ closing down its websites because they have been penetrated. Looks like you had it first!

12:55 PM  
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