Friday, December 26, 2014

Al Qaeda Wants Followers to Target American Economy

As some of you probably know, Al Qaeda has released its 13th issue of Inspire Magazine, a pidgin English publication designed to indoctrinate its English speaking followers and provide them with technical information. The Insite Blog (which writes about terrorism and extremism) reports:
The 112-page magazine was posted on AQAP's Twitter account on December 24, 2014, and was provided in PDF, video, and images formats, and well as being uploaded on YouTube.  
The issue also included an interview with the “AQ Chef,” who has authored the “Open Source Jihad” articles since the inception of the publication. In the interview, the AQ Chef promoted the concept of lone-wolf jihad, stressing the importance of claiming responsibility for attacks while making appeals to Zale Thompson, the NY hatchet attacker; Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter; and Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the underwear bomber; and others. 
Along with this interview, the magazine issue provided step-by-step manuals on creating bombs and bypassing security barriers.  
The 13th “Inspire” issue also specified different targets of attack in two different categories. The first suggested various Western airline companies, including American Airlines, United, Continental Airlines, Delta, British Airways and easyJet, and AirFrance. Such proposed attacks were specified as being “better to execute inside American soil.” 
The magazine also specified prominent American business/economic figures. In this section, pictures and brief profiles of Ben Bernanke and Bill Gates were given, both described as being people who “run the American economy.”
This summary is not quite correct. Yes, AQAP does ask its fellow terrorists to select economic targets, but it does not suggest attacking airline companies, per se. Rather, the relevant article notes that there are direct economic targets--e.g., financial institutions and exchanges (and apparently includes certain persons in this category)--and indirect economic targets--i.e., targets that themselves are of little economic consequence, but which will result in a heavy-handed government response that will cost significant amounts of money. It includes commercial airlines in the latter category, because it knows from past experience that the successful destruction of an airliner will both (a) cause the government and the airlines/airports to spend considerable amounts of money to increase security and (b) that people will avoid airlines, causing further economic damage. And while not abandoning the concept of large operations planned and financed by AQAP, it also encourages the lone wolf attacks, putting lie to the general government and media line that these isolated incidents are not terrorist related. In fact, since one of the goals stated for attacks is to "[c]reat[e] tension between the government and its people," these inane comments ignoring Islam as a motivator simply assist the terrorists in creating this "tension."

The magazine goes on to describe how different parts of airport security work preparatory to explaining how to make a bomb that will evade most of these security measures. For some reason, AQAP has more faith in airport full body scanners than is warranted. In any event, after very detailed instructions on making a bomb, detonator, etc., without using any metal parts, it also describes the best place to sit on an aircraft to cause the most damage. Although the article goes out of its way to avoid specific references to where to conceal the bomb, it is clear after reading through the magazine that they expect the bomb to be hidden in the rectum or some similarly uncomfortable place. The bomb "casing" is a water bottle, so I'm not sure how they expect to be able to insert something that large into the rectum, but they probably have some experience at it.

As I've written on other occasions, the best defense we have against terrorists is their sheer stupidity, and this issue of Inspire supports my premise. As they have in the past, the primitive savages focus on targets that are high-profile and glitzy--rich financiers and airliners--rather than on more practical targets. Flashing the word "airliner" to a terrorist is like yelling "squirrel" around a dog--they both get so excited they practically wet themselves.

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