Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Implications of al-Sahâb's new video

On October 7th a new video by Al-Sahâb (Al Qâ'idah's media department) was released on the usual internet forums. The video is 24 minutes and 38 seconds in length. The language is Urdu (the lingua franca of Pakistan). Its title is something like "How the dawn of blood of a hundred gives birth to thousand stars". The film shows atrocities against Muslims in Nigeria, Algeria, Bosnia, Iraq and Pakistan (mainly Swât, many Red Mosque stills).

What is interesting in this release is that it is total patchwork. About nothing in this release is originally by Al-Sahâb. The video starts of with scenes from Nigeria (Police killing Boko Haram members) that were first shown on the TV channel Al Jazeera. Al-Sahâb didn't use the al Jazeera clip though, but cut the scene from an al Andalus (Al Qâ'idah in the Islamic Maghreb's media department) release. To be precise it's out of No. 22 of their Shadows of Swords series from April of this year.

Left: Still from the recent al-Sahâb release - Right: The al Andalus release it is taken from

The film goes on with a clip of French soldiers shooting at Algerians (footage is sometime from 1950-62). Again this clip is taken from an al Andalus production (I will have to look up from which release). The Sahâb guys behind this release seem to be into al Andalus releases big time.

Screen from the recent al-Sahâb release, notice the al Andalus logo

But this is not the reason I wanted to post about this release. The next scene is a CNN clip showing US soldiers shooting at Iraqis. But guess what, it's not the original CNN clip in the release. No, it's neither from al Andalus. It is and now hold your breath from the infamous music video "Dirty Kuffar". The moment I saw this I couldn't believe it - an official al-Sahâb release using "Dirty Kuffar". Dirty Kuffar is a rap video from 2004 (?) showing some English Muslim youths rapping against the kuffâr (infidels, non-Mulims) and in favour of "OBL crew". It was hyped in the mainstream media as a first step to radicalization back in the days.

Watch it below:

So someone from Al-Sahâb is using a video that doesn't just contain music but that IS a music video (note: AQ as any salafi (rigid from of Islâm, look it up if you don't know who they are) group considers music to be harâm - islamic term meaning forbidden)? A video that contains lyrics praising HAMAS (AQ considers HAMAS as group that sold out) and even Hizbûllah (AQ doesn't think that they are Muslims as they are shi'ah - another sect read it up)? What happened to al-Sahâb?

Screen from the recent al-Sahâb release, notice the DIGIHAD logo that prooves that the clips is from the music video

The next scene is from Bosnia and shows executions by Serbs. I think this scene is from one of those 3 or 4 films from Bosnian mujâhidîn releases. Easy to get them I suppose.

The rest (a majority) of the film shows scenes from Pakistan, especially Swât. I want to draw attention to 3 clips. One shows a massacre by Pakistani troops against civilian clothed people. They maybe Tâlibân, maybe they aren't. This clip was unofficially released on the forums as recent as last month. The second one shows Arab fighters captured in Peshâwar, this one is also from the wide world of the forums but not the newest one (about 1 year old I'd say but I'd have to look it up). The third shows Pakistani policemen beating up bearded civilians in Swât. This clip is also from last year and was at least partly used by al-Sahâb in its release on the Khôst bomber Abû Dujânah.

The Rest of the footage is about aerial attacks in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan. I think I have seen quite some of them in releases by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

It is obvious what AQ wants to show to its viewers. The Pakistani Army/Police/Rangers/etc. consists of criminals. Nothing new here. The interesting thing is, why do they use well known video clips that are all over the internet forums of their supporters? Why is that video such a patchwork? Why almost none to none "new" or "exclusive" footage?

I can't answer this but my ideas are:

1. The Sahâb guys behind this release hang around on the internet forums and download their material from there (basically other way round than normal).
2. They are likely not linked to operational cells that could record their own video scenes.
3. They are obviously in Pakistan.

This leads to the question: Do they download all the stuff from lousy speed internet cafes in Peshâwar? Probably. Probably not. I personally would think that some guy brought his notebook with him from some western country. Let's say England. That would explain that he has "Dirty Kuffar" on his hard drive.

On a side note: They are pretty good at video editing and they are using the new al-Sahâb intro that Adam Gadahn used recently.

On a funny (as in not serious, it's just a joke) side note: There's the new intro AND they are using something about "Dawn" as release title? See "Views from the Occident" for a possible explanation.

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