Saturday, March 22, 2008

Al Qaeda on the Run, Tech Support Group Hardest Hit

Help wanted. Video and web skills helpful, but not required. Will train if still breathing.
The U.S. military said on Saturday it had hampered al Qaeda's ability to recruit new members in Iraq by capturing or killing many of the people who make slick videos used to attract disaffected young Muslims.

U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Greg Smith said that in the past year, 39 al Qaeda members in Iraq responsible for producing and disseminating videos and other material to thousands of Internet Web sites had been captured or killed.

"The power of this information is obvious. These guys are using material that is used on Web sites to recruit and raise money," Smith told Reuters in an interview.

"We think the vast majority of this media network has been degraded at this point," he said, adding that the arrests had led to fewer Internet postings of al Qaeda beheadings, kidnappings and other attacks in Iraq.

U.S. defence officials have in the past complained the military was losing the propaganda battle against militants who skilfully exploited communication tools like the Internet.

Smith said there has been a steady decline in videos broadcast on 5,000 pro-al Qaeda Web sites since June 2007, roughly coinciding with falling levels of violence across Iraq.
Seems Reuters may unwittingly be admitting a dirty little secret, that more than just al Qaeda members may be tipped off to impending attacks, considering how some media always happens to be there at the right time.
Smith said militant groups had become increasingly sophisticated in their distribution of information, publishing professional-looking videos with narration, music and special effects of attacks on U.S. soldiers and Iraqis.

"Most of al Qaeda's coordinated attacks tend to be so well-planned that they allow for camera crews to be on location filming just before it happens," he said.

These media networks, found mainly in northern Baghdad, then take the crude videos and re-package them into a more polished product for distribution to Web sites, he said. The networks also put out other material to educate and recruit new members.
Speaking of al Qaeda's diminished media capability, just where is Adam Gadahn?


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