ISIS: STATE OF TERROR
LINKSBlogs of War
Making Sense of Jihad
Views from the Occident
American Al Qaeda Members
News, documents and analysis on violent extremism
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Quick Notes On Newest Adam Gadahn, Yahya Al Libi Videos
And that brings us to tonight's "Word"
In around January or February, Al Qaeda's As-Sahab media operation suffered a serious setback. We don't know the details, but some key node in the media shop was taken out, with clearly visible results. Where once there were near-HD videos, now there were Webcam-quality videos. Where once there was low-quality video, now there was audio.
Over the last several days, it has become clear that whatever happened (let's say, drone attack on the studio), As-Sahab is back. Two recent videos from senior AQ leader Yahya Al Libi and American Al Qaeda Adam Gadahn (who also runs the media shop) show a return to nearly complete functionality.
Both videos are in near-HD quality, although with some compression, which suggests to me they are using a high-end consumer camcorder. Before 9/11, Al Qaeda used professional media equipment from time to time, but since then, HD camcorders are pretty much the state of the art. That's just smart business. When you're distributing over the Internet, you don't need anything bulkier or more expensive.
The Al Libi video features a CGI background. It's been quite a while since we saw that in an Al Qaeda video. So that means they're back up with a quality laptop too. Gadahn's video features a black background, but a spiffy Bill O'Reilly/Colbert Report style text sidebar.
One final note of interest. Gadahn's video was released today, June 20, 2010, and the content is noteworthy only in its failure to mention Times Square or the Gaza Flotilla. A closer look shows that the file appears to have been last modified on April 10. This might mean that As-Sahab reconstituted its camera in the spring but didn't get replace it's presumed-exploded laptop until very recently. It also means that, technically, we haven't seen Gadahn for at least two months (assuming his last video is also dated back this far). Also, April 10 is the modified date, not the create date, so it's possible the video was recorded even earlier.
P.S. Remember the reports this spring that some American named Abu Yahya Mujahdeen Al Adam had been arrested in Pakistan? That was around March 9 or 10, and the new video references the March 11, 2010, State Department Human Rights report.
So Adam II is definitely not the same guy as Adam I. But it's possible Adam II worked for As-Sahab, and his capture might have sent Adam I scrambling for the hills without his laptop. Just a thought.
Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.
Tweets referencing this post:
"...smart, granular analysis..."ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post
More on ISIS: The State of Terror
"...a timely warning..."Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
"At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times
More on Jihad Joe
Recently on INTELWIRE...
Exclusive: Gaza Flotilla Official Was Foreign Figh...
Charity That Received Millions From U.S. Denies Te...
National Geographic Explorer: Talibanistan
Anwar Awlaki Video Posted Online by Al Qaeda in th...
Fox News Reporting: The American Terrorist, Anwar ...
Bob Novak's FBI File
Al Qaeda Financing: Not Dead Yet
AQAP Promises A New 9/11 If Anwar Awlaki Is Killed
Sneak Preview of CNN's 'American Al Qaeda' Special
New York Pipe Bomb Suspect Linked to Revolution Muslim
The Utility of Lone Wolves
Interview with Online Jihadist Abu Suleiman Al Nasser
A Way Forward for CVE: The Five Ds
How Terrorists Use The Internet: Just Like You
PATCON: The FBI's Secret War on the Militia Movement
Interview About Jihad With Controversial Cleric Bilal Philips
Forgeries on the Jihadist Forums
U.S. Gave Millions To Charity Linked To Al Qaeda, Anwar Awlaki
State Department Secretly Met With Followers of Blind Sheikh
State Department Put 'Political Pressure' On FBI To Deport Brother-in-Law Of Osama Bin Laden In 1995
FBI Records Reveal Details Of Nixon-Era Racial Profiling Program Targeting Arabs
Gaza Flotilla Official Was Foreign Fighter in Bosnia War
U.S. Had 'High Confidence' Of UBL Attack In June 2001
Behind the Handshake: The Rumsfeld-Saddam Meeting