Al Qaeda Produces… Terrorist Encyclopedias

This week, al Qaeda published what passes in jihadist circles for encyclopedias – not one but two. The first is the single-handed handiwork of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, better known for staging mass murders by suicide bombers and hostage beheadings in Iraq.

He calls his opus American Hell 2.

The second, a 275-page volume, is the first of a series devoted to security and intelligence in the service of a terrorist organization.

The first is issued in print and in an electronic version. It is basically a compilation of the Tawhid and Jihad leader’s spoken and written words, with frames from the video-tapes recording his “operations.” The second is more like an intelligence manual. Its author is named on the book’s cover as Seif bin Adel, who is known to counter-terror experts as al Qaeda’s intelligence chief (at least, according to the most recent information in the hands of Western intelligence).

From his safe base in Iran, Bin Adel set up and orchestrated the large-scale May 2003 suicide attacks against Western housing compounds in Riyadh in which 9 Americans and 16 other nationals died. Later, the Saudis were dragged by Tehran into drawn-out negotiations over his extradition which led nowhere. The present whereabouts of the terrorist in the photo appearing with this article are unknown.

The publishers tried hard to make this volume look like a professionally-produced publication. According to the title page, it is the first volume of an encyclopedia published by “The Abu Zubeida Center for the Promotion of Jihad, Research Department.”

Abu Zubaida, born to a Palestinian family in Saudi Arabia, was a high-ranking al Qaeda global executive and recruiter, whom the Americans captured in Pakistan two years ago.

The content of the short foreword, signed by bin Adel, will sound familiar to Americans. “We (namely, al Qaeda) pay too little attention to intelligence for two main reasons: over-confidence and overzealousness to carry out operations. Our jihad fighters therefore neglect the intelligence side of their operations, which causes needless loss of life, squanders resources and leads to avoidable fiascos.”

DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter-terror experts, who have read the work, report chapters dealing with such subjects as member recruitment, the activation of fighters and precautions against enemy intelligence agents. This section is called “preventive security” and deals with ways of getting rid of agents who mean harm to the organization or know enough to give away the secrets of its operations.

A large part of the book is devoted to the subject of “How to communicate and relay messages safely on the Internet and by e-mail.” Offered here are instructions on how to use Microsoft’s Word to transmit messages without leaving a trace and now to pirate usernames and passwords unbeknownst to their owners to plant alien content in their computer files. An electronic or telephone notice then goes out to the al Qaeda recipients informing them of the username, password and filename they need to unload the secret message buried in the pirated file.

Another chapter tells the al Qaeda terrorist what disguises he is permitted by religious precepts to assume to conceal his identify as a fundamentalist Muslim.

The cover of al Zarqawi’s American Hell 2 is reproduced at the top of this article. It has photos of Zarqawi himself at different periods of his life. The most authentic portrays a young man dressed in festive white. It was taken from a video clip shot at his sister’s wedding in his Jordanian home town of Zarqa.

Our sources reveal that of late, US intelligence in Iraq has finally been able to assemble an identikit of the terrorist chief’s appearance today from the descriptions of his captured followers. We have obtained this depiction and publish it on this page.

Iraq’s interim prime minister Iyad Allawi and the US and government negotiators inside Fallujah say he is there, at his main base, ready to lead the resistance against the decisive assault US and Iraqi forces are poised to launch.

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