With Christmas 2005 approaching, the princes of al Qaeda's western command were gathering. They'd been summoned for something special: to plot a three-month campaign of coordinated suicide, rocket and infantry attacks on American bases, checkpoints and Iraqi army positions.
The January memo also commented on training and rehearsals for the offensive and the extraction routes their fighters would use after the attacks, and it dictated the need to obtain pledges from the foot soldiers of their willingness to die.
"The hard-core senior [al Qaida] leadership is still trucking along, and there are always going to be internal communications, documents and videos," he said.
"They [al Qaida] took information about [the recruits], and if the applicant lied about something -- because they were investigated -- they would whip him," Abu Saif said.
Al Qaeda's bookkeeping was orderly and expansive: death lists of opponents, rosters of prisoners al Qaeda was holding, along with the verdicts and sentences (normally execution) the prisoners received, plus phone numbers from a telephone exchange of those who'd called the American tip line to inform on insurgents, and motor pool records of vehicle roadworthiness.
And there are telling papers with a window into al Qaeda's ability to spy on its pursuers. One is a document leaked from the Ministry of Interior naming all the foreign fighters held in government prisons. Other documents discuss lessons al Qaeda learned from its members captured by American forces and either released or still in U.S.-run prisons. The leadership studied and discussed the nature of the American interrogations, the questioning techniques used and the methods that had been employed to ensnare its men.
And an Iraqi contractor even wrote the Anbar security prince, asking permission to oversee a $600,000 building project on a U.S. base, attaching the architectural drawings of the bunkers he was to make, with an offer to spy and steal weapons during the construction.
One memorandum from three years ago warned executions of traitors and sinners condemned by religious courts "were being carried out in the wrong way, in a semi-public way, so a lot of families are threatening revenge, and this is now a dangerous intelligence situation."
In a vein similar to the Khmer Rouge's grisly accounting of its torture victims, within the files of one al Qaeda headquarters in Anbar alone was a library of 80 execution videos, mostly beheadings, none of which had been distributed or released on the Internet. And all were filmed after al Qaeda in Iraq ended its policy of broadcasting such horrors.
So why keep filming? According to former member Abu Saif and the senior U.S. intelligence analyst, to verify the deaths to al Qaeda superiors and to justify continued funding and support.
The videos also bear insight into al Qaeda's media units. Raw video among the catalog of beheadings shows how al Qaeda's editing skills hide not just its members' faces (caught in candid moments on the un-edited films) but also their failures.
When three Russian diplomats were kidnapped and killed in June 2006, a well-polished propaganda piece was released. It showed two diplomats being gruesomely beheaded, and yet the third diplomat was shot with a pistol, in a different location. The full video of the slayings answers why.
Though bound and blindfolded, the third diplomat struggled so defiantly that his ailing executioners could not draw their knife across his throat. In the horrific and chaotic scenes, the faces of his killer and the cameraman are seen.
For those who seem to think we can just talk our way out of dealing with these guys, you need to look with your eyes wide open at just whom we are facing. It is not just some nimrods who can't shoot straight. It is not people who can be reasoned with, or who negotiate for compromise positions. It is people who think God has made them righteous, they are carrying out his will, and Death is the suggested punishment for anyone who stands in the way of the Caliphate. ANYONE who stands in their way, Iraqi, American, Indian, Pakistani, ANYONE.
I am perpetually confused why supposedly liberal, freedom loving, and freedom defending people who used to subscribe to the tenets of Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson would allow themselves to be allied with the goals and rhetoric of our enemies (listed in the CNN report above) against loyal Americans, here and in Iraq, who don't believe in bowing down 5 times a day to a mullah with only his interpretation of what his religion says is valid. Folks who believe in Retreat in Iraq or Afghanistan, or failing to pursue radical Islamist terrorists anywhere they are, are laying down with devils and expecting to be forgiven and forgotten for their past conduct. They will be the first to be beheaded by our new Caliphate overlords.
I hope they remember how to prevent that. Struggle so violently that the knife can't be used without slicing their attacker also, and thus the more merciful, yet just as lethal, execution by bullet to the brain can be effected upon their bound and beaten body. Great choices, eh? That is what happens when you surrender to thugs.
Dhimmicrats. Willing to let people like al Qaida have their way with you. Nice.