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August attacks from al-Qaida: That's the word from some

By Jeremy Reynalds
web posted August 5, 2002

It appears that August is going to be a busy month in the terrorist calendar. That's the month al-Qaida is apparently planning to carry out a number of "operations," (presumably terrorist strikes). That's supposed to be followed by a video taped speech from Osama bin Laden soon after. At least, according to http://www.jihadunspun.net/BinLadensNetwork/news/newsindex.php, that was the word Tuesday from the London-based Ash Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.

Bin Laden: He's got to be down to that ninth life by now
Bin Laden: He's got to be down to that ninth life by now

The newspaper reported that the information was delivered by e- mail from sources close to bin Laden's supporters. Apparently these sources are also reported to have said that al-Qaida's preparation for its "August operations" have been completed and all that's left is for them to be carried out. The e-mail also said that, "Sheikh bin Laden is alive and will appear in a videotape after carrying out these operation to confirm that he is still alive and will continue fighting the United States."

According to Jihad Unspun, video footage obtained by the organization in June "clearly shows" that bin Laden survived the December attacks survived the attacks on Tora Bora.

"Titled 'The Unseen Tape,' this footage contains an interview conducted by a reporter for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arabic TV Channel which they chose not to air, a segment in tribute to the Mujahideen martyrs killed at Shar-e Kot, and four minutes of completely new footage of bin Laden and his close associated Al-Zawahari inside Afghanistan in what appears to be early spring."

Jihadunspun.net says that in the Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper article, sources are saying that in his next speech, bin Laden will talk about "the success of Al-Qaida in containing attacks launched by the United States, on rebuilding and reorganizing its ranks ... and carrying out attacks in various countries of the world against U.S. interests."

According to material contained on its web site, Jehadunspun.net is:

"[A]n open information source dedicated to understanding the issues behind the US war on ‘terrorism.' We publish mainstream and uncensored news, articles, and opinions without influence of any government, corporation, or association. (We) provide a platform where facts and viewpoints that address the issues at the heart of this 'jihad' can be considered, devoid of the constraints of mainstream media."

While a quick surf through the site will soon show you that there's a definite attitude to some of the material presented, site administrator Bev Kennedy told me that while she's an opponent of war she is also categorically opposed to terrorism.

And just exactly what is going on in the war against terrorism is one thing I suspect that we're not hearing the whole truth from the government or the media about. While I think there would be some definite differences in philosophy between myself and the folks who run jehadunspun.net, I like their comment about the make up of the news coverage that we have been getting and why it's like it is.

"Uncut news and footage from remote areas like Afghanistan, Pakistan and other South Asian and Middle East countries is extremely difficult and expensive to obtain. Unlike western press where news agencies rarely pay for content, the reverse is true in these countries. Reporters in these areas take great risks and there are many challenges getting the information they obtain to sources that will publish it. Sometimes footage has to be brought out by human courier at great risk which can cause lengthy delays. And when it is available, sometimes it can't be obtained strictly because of the price and therefore is sold to major news agencies that in turn rarely air it or at best air clips out of context. Better resources, better equipment and more reporters on the ground in hot spots are required to get uncut and uncensored news to the public in a timely fashion."

Who can argue with that? I mean, how much "truth" can you buy and pack in a 25 second sound bite? And with that in mind, I'm wondering why I haven't heard about al-Qaida's alleged August attack from a mainstream media source but instead had to turn to jehadunspun.net for information about the group's planned activities. It's worth thinking about!

Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico and is pursuing his PhD in intercultural education at Biola University in Los Angeles. He is married with five children and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work can be viewed here and weekly at www.americasvoices.org. He may be contacted by e-mail at reynalds@joyjunction.org.

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