Sunday, June 15, 2008

CNN: Papers give peek inside al Qaeda in Iraq

CNN's Michael Ware examines the largest collection of al Qaeda in Iraq documents ever to fall into civilian hands, discovering surprises about how the insurgents operate and clues about their strength today.

The concluding paragraphs from the story plust a photo of the four slaughtered Russians via Gateway Pundit.

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.

And those scenes, like the intricacy of the prince of Anbar's planning and internal analysis of Operation Desert Shield, reveal an al Qaeda in Iraq that the world still barely knows.

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