Over the last few months, al
Qaedas Internet propaganda department has been virtually destroyed. The most
visible evidence of that is the sharp decline in al Qaeda press releases (often
accompanied by vids of attacks on U.S. or Iraqi troops). Last year, there were
as many as 200 of these items a month. Over the past few months, this fell over
for this sharp drop was the physical capture of the al Qaeda news and
production staff, along with their PCs and data files. Over the last few
months, several dozen of these specialists were captured or killed, and nearly
a terabyte (a thousand gigabytes) of raw video, sound files, documents and
software was captured. This put many key terrorist PR operations out of business.
This in turn led to fewer cash donations, or volunteers for combat, or suicide
missions. Moreover, the sudden collapse of the al Qaeda PR operation caused the
Arab media to move towards more coverage of the Iraqi government (which was now
distributing more of its own very professional combat videos). The Arab media
had also noticed the sharp loss of public support al Qaeda had suffered in the
Arab world. All those Moslem civilians al Qaeda killed in their suicide bombing
attacks was rather more than even the most anti-Western Arabs could stomach.
seemingly sudden attacks on al Qaeda's media specialists was no accident. U.S.
intelligence has been tracking these guys for years. Al Qaeda protected their
media people inside Iraq, even while trying to move a lot of the operation
outside the country. But the source of new videos had to be inside Iraq, and
much of the initial editing and production was done in Iraq as well. Too many
of the al Qaeda media people felt obliged to stay in Iraq, and that ultimately
cost them their freedom, or their lives. That's because, the surge offensive
last year took control of many areas in central Iraq where al Qaeda was able to
keep their media, and other, specialists. But American intel was able to
monitor where these people were, and when the surge offensive got rolling, the
al Qaeda support soon found that there was no place else to run.