by Steven Hale
With the legislature gone for the year and a slow news day on our hands, we've been thumbing through more than 175 pages of al Qaeda documents seized in the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden a year ago Monday night.
It's not exactly light reading. In page after page, bin Laden and others discuss their strategy for global domination, including bin Laden's frustration at the behavior of affiliate groups, whose actions had resulted in the deaths of Muslims and damaged public perception of al Qaeda in the region. (A terrorist mastermind fretting over PR? Who knew?)
In the same letter — here is an English translation in PDF form — bin Laden also calls for the assassination of President Barack Obama and then Gen. David Petraeus, but asks that a "totally unprepared" Vice President Joe Biden be spared.
"They are not to target visits by US Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff (Chairman) Mullen, or the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Holbrook," he writes. "The groups will remain on the lookout for Obama or Petraeus. The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis."
The letter getting the most attention from national outlets, though, is one written to bin Laden by American al Qaeda member Adam Gadahn, which includes some analysis of cable and network news outlets in the states. Gadahn informs bin Laden — and the forthcoming parenthetical is his — that CNN "seems to be in cooperation with the government more than others (except Fox News of course)" and that MSNBC was "good and neutral" before it fired "famous journalists" Keith Olbermann and Octavia Nasser.
The Issue of preparing for the Tenth Anniversary, and how it will be marketed in the Media, and How to Exploit the Media in General:
As far as the American channel that could be used to deliver our messages, whether on the tenth anniversary or before or after, in my personal opinion there are no distinct differences between the channels from the standpoint of professionalism and neutrality. It is all as the Shaykh has stated (close to professionalism and neutrality) it has not and will not reach the perfect professionalism and neutrality, only if God wants that.
From the professional point of view, they are all on one level-except (Fox News) channel which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks neutrality too.
As for the neutrality of CNN in cooperation with the government News of course). Its Arabic version brings good and detailed reports about al-Sahab releases, with a lot of quotations from the original text. That means they copy directly from the releases or its gist. It is not like what other channels and sites do, copying from news agencies like Reuters, AP and others.
I used to think that MSNBC channel may be good and neutral a bit, but is has lately fired two of the most famous journalists –Keith Olberman and Octavia Nasser the Lebanese – because they released some statements that were open for argument (The Lebanese had praised a Shia Imam Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah after his death and called him "One of the marvels of Hizballah" it seems she is a Shia.)
CBS channel was mentioned by the Shaykh, I see that it is like the other channels, but it has a famous program (60 Minutes) that has some popularity and a good reputation for its long broadcasting time. Only God knows the reality, as I am not really in a position to do so.
ABC channel is all right; actually it could be one of the best channels, as far as we are concerned. It is interested in al- Qa'ida issues, particularly the journalist Brian Ross, who is specialized in terrorism. The channel is still proud for its interview with the Shaykh. It also broadcasted excerpts from a speech of mine on the fourth anniversary, it also published most of that text on its site on the internet.
In conclusion, we can say that there is no single channel that we could rely on for our messages. I may ignore them, and even the channel that broadcast them, probably it would distort them somehow. This is accomplished by bringing analysts and experts that would interpret its meaning in the way they want it to be. Or they may ignore the message and conduct a smearing of the individuals, to the end of the list of what you know about their cunning methods.