Counter-Terrorism: Al Qaeda's Book Of Lies


November 25, 2008: Spanish police recently arrested a Moroccan immigrant as a suspected terrorist. Among the many incriminating documents found in his home was a new terrorist manual. Titled, "Secrecy in Jihad is a Legitimate Duty - Security Manual" , it was a typical collection of tips apparently drawn from published documents, and existing al Qaeda documents. What distinguished this one was the claim that the devious methods described had been approved by Islamic scholars as justified for a holy warrior. This is important, as many terrorists are recruited from among devout Moslems, who try to lead a righteous life. Obviously, lying, cheating, stealing and all manner of deception could (and does) cause problems with some recruits.

In addition to advice, new terrorists are to, above all, to follow four key rules (secrecy, obedience, patience and defending terrorist leaders.) Most of the advice in the manual was practical, and often obvious. Since many recruits are poorly educated (some are illiterate), you can't be too through or complete when writing for this audience.

Aspiring terrorists are advised to form into cells (usually less than six people), and tell no one outside the cell what the cell is doing. Recruits are told to avoid drawing attention to themselves. That means, if possible, no beards. Obviously if you already have a beard, and are known to many that way, it's best to keep the face hair and make sure you just act like a devout Moslem, not a bloodthirsty terrorist. It's preferable that you be clean shaven and non-religious. Cell members often gather and pray in secret. It's best to adopt a second, secret, persona, complete with a new name, and phony documents. There is advice on how to make, or obtain, false ID.

New terrorists are advised to study local police and counter-terror operations in the country they are in. Recruits must learn to detect informers, as the manual admits that fellow Moslems are often recruited to spot new terrorists. Many, if not most, of the terrorists arrested were turned in by someone in the Moslem community. Thus the need for deception and secrecy. The manual does not dwell on why so many Moslems are hostile to Islamic terrorists, it simply warns new recruits to watch out.

The manual apparently draws on the many Russian terrorist manuals that were created in the 1970s and 80s. Back then, the Soviet Union was a major sponsor of Arab terror groups, and translated and adapted their own espionage manuals for their Arab students. Thus the abundance of simple, and proven, procedures for al Qaeda recruits.




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