Summary and Analysis
Table of Contents
I. Executive Summary
III. Content Summary
IV Threat Analysis
I. Executive Summary
The fifteenth issue of the Voice of Jihad was published on Thursday, 22 April 2004 and distributed in a normal manner via the Internet. This issue was composed of forty-two pages and utilized a multi-colored composite of words and graphics that established the overall theme of this issue.
Although the timing and method of distribution of this issue could be considered unremarkable, some of the content is significantly different than previous issues in many respects. As detailed herein, this issue addresses matters on a global scale in addition to the routine isolated accounting of regional conflicts. Further, this issue was found to contain words and phrases that were meant to convey a sense of urgency and drama on a level not seen to this extent in previous issues. The importance of this issue can be clearly identified by the content, which varied from accountings of local homicide bombings to events that could have significant multi-national impact in a variety of venues.
II. Background Information
Since late summer 2003, the top leadership of the well-known terrorist organization Al Qaeda has been releasing an Internet magazine titled the Voice of Jihad at fairly consistent two-week intervals. This on-line publication available and read by actual terrorists and those individuals involved in “jihad,” or the holy war declared by radical Islamic Fundamentalists. The Voice of Jihad is a professionally designed Al Qaeda online magazine that is released every two weeks on the internet in both Word document format and Adobe Acrobat PDF format. The magazine traditionally brings messages on various topics, including but not limited to articles on Quranic studies, inspiration articles which may include wills and reflections by family members of “martyrs”, morale boosting articles, and general editorial content that defines Al Qaeda’s position on numerous social, economic and military issues.
The magazine is traditionally announced on the Global Islamic Media group first, followed almost immediately by its posting on the various Arabic-language Internet forums.
Until this week, the publication was distributed on a domain that is owned by an individual with fictitious contact information that resolves to a location in Germany, although was actually hosted on a server at an IP address assigned to a web hosting company in Malaysia. The domain was down earlier this week, but has since come back up on another server.
As a result of a number of external influences, including but not limited to the recent proactive measures undertaken by the Northeast Intelligence Network to expose the facilitation of terrorist communications via the Internet, the method of distribution of the Voice of Jihad has changed. Although not critical to this analysis, it is prudent to point out that the group where the Voice of Jihad is first released has been modified to a password protected and somewhat hidden internet site.
The latest edition, or the fifteenth issue, of Voice of Jihad was released on Thursday, 22 April 2004. This document contains a vital summary of the contents of that issue.
III. Content Summary
The current (fifteenth) issue of the Voice of Jihad is perhaps one of the most disturbing issues of this magazine that has been published to date. This issue is replete with metaphors that convey a palpable new sense of urgency with respect to the publication’s content. Text analysis found the word “Doomsday” used in the various articles throughout the edition in what appeared to be a visible effort to suggest a sense of dread to Western readers. This issue contains roughly eleven stories or reports within its 42 pages, including an “Editor’s Note” that specifically addresses the recent audio tape message purportedly made by Osama bin Laden. The editorial makes a specific attempt to connect the alleged bin Laden message with a planned economic and political assault against the US to achieve the same results in a manner similar to the results achieved by the Madrid bombings. Otherwise, the date and time of the release appear to be unremarkable.
The Cover & Primary Story
The cover, as depicted on page one of this analysis contains images of gold and copper coins under the Arabic words “The Trading, Slowly He Bleeds the Trading.” (It is important to note that an alternate but equally accurate and interchangeable translation could read: “The Market, Slowly He Bleeds the Market”).
This headline sets the tone of the primary story in this issue, suggestive of a deliberate and coordinated economic assault on the United States and the west using the metals market as the primary tool by “terrorists.”
In this case, terrorists appear to be identified as those who are the financiers of terrorist operations and might include veiled references to those having some level of “state sponsorship,” although this is more speculative than factual in nature and is based solely on the monies needed to alter the markets. The cover story is of particular interest when viewed in light of the recent and current behavior of the metals market.
Discussion pertaining to the Arabian Peninsula addressed the recent statement made against the ruling party of Saudi Arabia by US National Security advisor Condoleezza Rice in her Congressional testimony. Additionally, references to the withdrawal of all non-essential US personnel from Saudi Arabia were touted as a sign of fear and weakness on the part of the United States.
Assassination of Abdalaziz Rantissi
The “assassination” by Israeli Security Forces of Abdul Aziz Rantissi was a volatile topic discussed at length and presented in a manner to inflame and incite the Palestinian readership. The article was written in a manner that would cause varied individuals, sects, groups and organizations to unite against Israel and ultimately the United States. Equally important, the article branded the action of Israel as offensively terroristic in nature, thus creating the sense of need for not only retaliation against the aggressors, but for the ultimate unification of all individuals and groups with anti-Semitic and anti-US objectives.
The War in Iraq
This issue of the Voice of Jihad waged a campaign of “shock and awe” by the written word with regard to the current state of military affairs in Iraq. An article detailing the recent events in Falluja where four individuals from the US were killed and their bodies desecrated served to inform readers that the United States has met their match and inspire further anti-US and coalition efforts.
This issue also detailed the fierce fighting in Falluja that required the United States to accept a truce or cease fire due to the unexpected aggressiveness of the resistance.
Consistent with previous issues, Jihad was addressed and detailed in a manner that legitimized homicide bombings as the will of god and the duty of able-bodied Muslims. Wrapped in the fabric of current events, significant obituaries of “martyrs” and victims of jihad were placed in prominence.
IV. Threat Analysis
Issue Fifteen of the Voice of Jihad was presented in a distinctively different tone in terms of the scope of its content and the perceptible sense of urgency it appeared to convey. The urgency as referenced appeared to encompass a much broader range of issues, however, as opposed to focusing on any specific target. Clearly, this issue identified the objectives of terrorism as global in nature and exceedingly asymmetrical in form. This is illustrated by the range of topics from purely simplistic military and martyrdom operations to those of a more complex economic nature.
The primary topic of the metals market assumed special significance in consideration of the volatile fluctuation of gold, silver and other precious metals over the last few weeks. Based on this topic alone, it is evident that the writers for this publication are cognizant of not only military objectives, but also objectives of an economic nature and the use of a free market in the western world as a tool against itself. The potential devastation of the latter cannot and should not be underestimated or clouded by the physical war of attrition in Iraq.
As usual with each release of each issue, it is prudent to expect larger scale physical attacks on a global scale, although the exact nature and location of such attacks continue to remain a matter of analysis by the Northeast Intelligence Network analysts.