Wednesday, August 10, 2005
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —The Arabic television network Al-Arabiya aired a videotape purportedly by Al Qaeda (search) that shows terrorists training for attacks on the United States and on coalition troops in the mountains of Afghanistan.
U.S. intelligence officials said they believe the tape is authentic. The two-hour tape, which Al-Arabiya (search) described as a documentary and ran over the weekend, bears the name of Al Sahab productions – the production company used by Al Qaeda for numerous other videos.
In the tape, terrorists are seen in classroom settings, planning attacks, building bombs and training for ambushes. It’s subtitled in Arabic but carries interviews in English, French, Pashtu, Urdu and Arabic spoken with Yemeni, Saudi and Iraqi accents. English-speaking members address people in the West directly.
A British- or Australian-accented man wearing a black robe, AK-47 and military-style vest, warns Westerners of "the lies of Blair and Bush."
"The Muslim world is not your backyard," he yells. "The honorable sons of Islam will not let you kill our sons. It is time for us to be equals. As you kill, you will be killed. As you bomb, you will be bombed."
U.S. intelligence officials said the tape is the latest in a long list of efforts to recruit and promote for Al Qaeda on the Web and over the airwaves. An Al-Arabiya official said the network received the tape last week but he would not say how or where it was delivered.
A British member of Parliament blasted Al Arabiya for keeping its sources quiet, especially after London was targeted by terrorists twice recently – on July 7, when four bombs exploded on the city’s subways and a bus, killing 56 people; and again on July 21, when another series of four bombs failed to detonate. Al Qaeda did not take responsibility for the attacks.
“This has nothing to do with Islam,” Lord John Taylor (search), told FOX News. “They’re not martyrs. They’re murderers.”
The three-part video, titled "The War of the Oppressed People," depicts what appears to be a few months in the lives of a group of fighters in wilderness camps in the Afghan mountains.
The men cook tea over campfires and kneel in prayer under the open skies, then duck into a makeshift classroom where an instructor outlines the coming "Operation to Defeat the Crucifix" against U.S. and allied forces.
In one scene, the tape claims Al Qaeda was responsible for shooting down a U.S. Chinook helicopter, killing all 16 American troops on board.
The tape features an appearance by top-ranking Al Qaeda member Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, as well as shots of a U.S. Air Force A-10 jet making bombing runs on a mountainside, and a close-up of a U.S. soldier quivering face down on the ground.
Al-Iraqi, speaking with a scarf hiding his face, says the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have created "two fronts" for recruiting terrorists to the cause of Usama bin Laden (search) and Taliban leader Mullah Omar (search).
"Now all the world is united behind Mullah Omar and Sheik Usama," he says.
The program includes interviews with bearded fighters claiming they are avenging the killing of Muslims by the U.S., Britain, Israel and India.
"If this is terrorism and fundamentalism, then OK, we are terrorists and fundamentalists," a Pakistani man who identifies himself as Bilal says in Urdu.
One grisly segment shows a dead soldier lying face up, his bearded face caked in blood. The soldier, perhaps an Afghani, is dressed in green camouflage fatigues with a red shoulder patch. The insurgents display his rifle, an American M-16.
In another scene, a group of bombmakers slices white bricks of plastic explosive, packing them into cooking oil cans along with heavy steel bolts and gobs of glue.
Green-hued night footage shows the men digging holes at the roadside and planting the bombs.
Later, shaky footage follows a blue SUV as it travels along a remote dirt road. Text on the bottom of the screen says the car is carrying the head of security for Afghanistan's Kunar province.
Without warning the vehicle is ripped apart in a giant fireball. The attack appears to depict the June 28 roadside bombing that killed a district police chief and two other officers.
Yet another scene pans across a cache of captured U.S. gear, including a laptop, an M-16, military radios, a global positioning satellite display and the Department of Defense ID card of slain Navy SEAL Danny Phillip Dietz Jr.
Dietz, 25, of Littleton, Colo., was killed June 28 after his four-man reconnaissance team came under attack in Kunar province. The Chinook helicopter was downed and the 16 troops killed as the craft was on its way to aid Dietz, killing all aboard.
An insurgent is shown going through the laptop's hard drive, zooming in on a U.S. military document marked "For Official Use Only" and a map of Kabul marked with the locations of the U.S. and British embassies.
Terrorism experts said the video served several purposes – namely to build membership in Al Qaeda and to create a degree of fear among Westerners.
“It shows the intention of Al Qaeda to continue their campaign in the West or at least to recruit western Muslims,” analyst Peter Neumann told FOX News. “The purpose of the video is to radicalize people and convince them they must join the fight right now.”
CIA veteran Bob Baer, author of the book “See No Evil,” said the situation was becoming chaotic. “It’s Islam against the West. It’s the worst possible direction this could be going in – us vs. them,” he said.
FOX News' Bret Baier and The Associated Press contributed to this report.