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January 4, 2004 DUBAI (Reuters) -- Al Jazeera has aired a new audio tape purported to be from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. In Washington, a Central Intelligence Agency spokesman said it might take a couple of days to determine whether the tape, which sounded like previous broadcast recordings by the al Qaeda leader, was genuine. The taped voice said Muslim and Arab leaders had reason to fear the precedent of letting foreigners topple a Muslim government, "especially after they saw the capture of their former comrade in treachery and collaboration with America" -- meaning Saddam. The recording, which rambled like a sermon between a myriad of topics, urged Muslims to fight U.S. occupation forces in Iraq and criticised Gulf Arab governments for supporting Washington's invasion of an Arab country. It said the fall of Baghdad would be a precursor to a U.S. occupation of Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Gulf Arab states.
December 29, 2003 -- At the year's end, is America winning the "war on terror"? In the first fourteen days after Saddam Hussein had been detained, 12 US service members were killed and 105 injured. Just over a week after his capture, Saddam was reported as being uncooperative during interrogation, but some materials found with him were useful as intelligence. More than two weeks after his detention, the overall situation is still unclear, but certain features are now evident and do give us some indication of probable trends.

One Unusually Scared Turkey
Give Thanks. We Can Blame Al Qaeda for Everything.

November 25th, 2003 -- With Turkey now the new "frontier" in the war against terror, the Bush administration is fighting Al Qaeda all over the place. The world is divided into two halves: the Western democratic half led by Bush's Christian America, and the Al Qaeda half led by the seldom seen if living bin Laden and his lurking Muslim hordes.
Al Qaeda "has developed into a kind of worldwide lexicon of terrorism," notes a writer in Ha'aretz, the Israeli newspaper. "So, when two vehicles blow up on the same day in the same place, it's taken to be 'a characteristic operating method of Al Qaeda.' Every terrorist who was ever in Afghanistan or Pakistan is automatically a member of the organization. Every extremist preacher in a remote mosque is from Al Qaeda, and every Arab regime that wants to arrest opponents of the regime can do so very comfortably by declaring that the detainees have ties to Al Qaeda. Whatever is anti-Western, anti-American or anti-Israeli is Al Qaeda." -- complete article in The Village Voice

Iraq and Al Qaeda

In its cover story this week, The Weekly Standard presented classified intelligence data concerning the relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda.

The Standard article, written by Stephen F. Hayes and rather presumptuously entitled "Case Closed," is based on a classified letter sent by Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  It cites numerous reports of contacts between Iraqi officials and al Qaeda that appear to indicate an operational relationship between the two. The article is posted here:

But in a remarkable if oddly worded dismissal, the Pentagon stated that "News reports that the Defense Department recently confirmed new information with respect to contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee are inaccurate."

The Feith letter "was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaida, and it drew no conclusions," the Pentagon said.

Furthermore, "Individuals who leak or purport to leak classified information are doing serious harm to national security; such activity is deplorable and may be illegal."

It is in the nature of raw intelligence reports that they are susceptible to multiple interpretations, some more plausible than others. Even reliably accurate data can mean radically different things depending on the larger context. That is why intelligence reports are subjected to analysis, and not simply siphoned directly to policy makers. The Weekly Standard article in effect bypassed the analytical process, yielding a sensational but hardly conclusive result.

Stephen F. Hayes today responded to the Defense Department's statement regarding his story in the
Weekly Standard online here: (Source: Secrecy News)

Saudi Arabia Urges All Fugitive Militants to Surrender


28 June 2003 -- Saudi Arabia has urged all fugitive militants to surrender after a top suspect in Riyadh's suicide bombings surrendered to the authorities. Ali Abdulrahman al-Faqa'asi al-Ghamdi, accused by the US of being the mastermind of the May 12 bombings in Riyadh that killed 35 people, gave himself up at the home of an assistant interior minister.

Ghamdi was the third most wanted on a list of 19 militants suspected of planning terrorist actions, issued only six days before the Riyadh attacks. They were initially wanted in connection with a large cache of weapons, including 55 hand grenades, 377 kilograms (829 pounds) of explosives, and 2,545 bullets of different caliber, as well as $5,300 cash and disguises, seized in a raid on May 6.

Saudi officials said that the top suspect on their list, Khalid Mohammed Musallam Al-Juhani, was one of the suicide bombers. Six of the nine bodies of the suicide bombers have been identified, and four of those identified were among the 19 on the list. The second on the list was Turki Nasser Mishaal al-Dandani, who is still at large.

Three clerics, Ali al-Khudair, Ahmad al-Khalidi, and Nasser al-Fahd, not on the list, were among 11 who were arrested by the Saudis on May 30. Saudi names on the list are: Salih Mohammed Awadallah Al-Alawi Al-Aufi; Abdulaziz Eisa Abdul Muhsin Al-Migrim; Abdel-Karim Mohammed Jabran Al-Yaziji; Hani Saeed Ahmed Abdel-Karim Al-Ghamidi; Mohammed Othman Abdullah Al-Waleedi Al-Shihri; Rakan Muhsin Mohammed Al-Sikhan; Yousef Salih Fahd Al-Ayeiri; Othman Hadi Makboul Al-Mardi Al-Amri; Bandar Abdulrahman Salim Al-Ghamidi; Ahmed Nasser Abdullah Al-Dakheel; Hamad Fahd Abdullah Al-Aslami Al-Shammari; Faisal Abdulrahman Abdullah Al-Dakheel; Sultan Jabran Sultan Al-Qahtani, and Jabran Ali Hakami.

An Iraqi on the list, Abdel-Rahman Mansour Jubara, held both Kuwaiti and Canadian passports, and a Yemeni, Khalid Ali Ali Haj, were also said to be involved in plots with ties to Al-Qaeda.

Saudi sources described Ghamdi as an explosives expert. US officials said he had been captured, but Saudi sources insisted Ghamdi had surrendered voluntarily and this would be recognized in court under Sharia Islamic law. -- Edited from articles at Channel News Asia, Middle East Times, Ain Al-Yaqeen, and Naharnet

May 17: Filipino Was Recruited for Bombing by Al-Qaeda

Photos from the Riyadh bombing

Riyadh Bombing Photos at Webshots

The Involvement of Palestinian
Women Terrorists
Women in Suicide Bombings

Page Contents:

  • An Islamist Critique of Al Qaida
  • Purported bin Laden Tape Mentions Saddam Capture
  • Global Security: Iraq, Afghanistan, Al-Qaida - A Balance-Sheet
  • One Unusually Scared Turkey
  • Iraq and Al Qaeda
  • Saudi Arabia Urges All Fugitive Militants to Surrender
  • Pentagon Terminates Scheme for Online Betting on Future Terrorist Attacks
  • Al-Qaida: Evolution, Not Comeback
  • Al-Qaida 'Paid for Casablanca Attacks'
  • Bush Scolds Israel for Attack
  • Spy System to Aim for Terrorists
  • Women and Terrorism
  • DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Related Articles

An Islamist Critique of Al Qaida

The actions of al Qaida in its jihad against the United States have measurably retarded the objectives that the organization claims to pursue, as evidenced by the defeat of the Taliban regime and continued U.S. military action in the region.

This assertion would be unremarkable, except that it is now being advanced by leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Group, al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, which itself is designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.

The Islamist critique of al Qaida appears in a new book, reviewed and excerpted this week in the London Arabic newspaper Asharq al Awsat.

See "Egyptian Islamist Leaders Fault Al Qaida's Strategy," Asharq al Awsat, January 11-12, 2004, translated by the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, here. -- by Stephen Aftergood for Secrecy News

Al-Qaida: Evolution, Not Comeback

Al-Qaida is not 'back': it has never been away. The sophistication and planning involved in the Riyadh and Casablanca bombings were in place even before regime change in Iraq. Yet if Afghanistan merely dispersed the network, US occupation of Iraq may indeed invigorate it. The prospect is endless war. -- Excerpt from the full article at Open Democracy

Al-Qaida 'Paid for Casablanca Attacks'

The five suicide bombings in Casablanca a week ago were masterminded and paid for by al-Qaida. Moroccan officials said that more than $50,000 was transferred from a senior Qaeda operative living abroad to Morocco several months ago to underwrite the operation.

But the rest of the operation was purely Moroccan. Officials added that a small team of Moroccans who had been trained in Afghanistan was used as intermediaries to choose and train the operatives inside Morocco.

Authorities say that 14 suicide bombers were involved in the attacks and that 12 of them had been killed. Two others are in police custody, one of them badly wounded. Moroccan authorities said they were searching for nine people who they suspect may have some connection with the bombings. -- Excerpted from May 23, 2003 article in the New York Times

Pentagon Terminates Scheme for Online Betting on Future Terrorist Attacks

July 29, 2003 Washington (AFP) -- The Pentagon said Tuesday it was terminating an experimental program to set up an online futures market where traders could bet on future terrorist attacks and assassinations in the Middle East. -- Space War

Bush Scolds Israel for Attack

June 10, 2003 GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- In an apparent "adjustment" to its doctrine that a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist, the White House Tuesday said President Bush was "deeply troubled" by Israel's attack on a senior Hamas leader. Israeli helicopters fired missiles at the car of Abdel Aziz Rantisi Tuesday, wounding him, killing two bystanders and jeopardizing the U.S.-backed road map to Mideast peace. The President is concerned that it will undermine Palestinian efforts to implement the road map for peace. -- CBS News

Spy System to Aim for Terrorists

To thwart terrorists, the Pentagon is developing a computer surveillance system that would give U.S. agents fingertip access to government and commercial records from around the world that could fill the Library of Congress more than 50 times.

At a restricted facility, the technology could warn security officers that an approaching person was probably not an employee by comparing his gait with those on file. "And we now know how to detect people who are carrying heavy packages, which could include a 25-pound bomb in a backpack," Greneker said.

DARPA contracting records made available through a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy advocacy group, show Poindexter agreed to pay for 26 research projects and rejected 154 others through last Dec. 4. -- Excerpted from the full article at Military.com:

DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency  Details this research agency of the US Department of Defense, charged with developing cutting-edge military technology. Noted for its contribution to the Internet.

DARPA Information Awareness Office

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