I wasn’t surprised almost three weeks ago when news outlets worldwide reported about an al-Qaeda magazine article listing U.S. targets for terrorists to hit, because I had shared news more than six years ago about an English language Al-Qaeda publication I obtained from a confidential U.S. intelligence source. According to my source, the publication had not been distributed in the United States before he provided it to me.
At first glance, Al-Qaeda Business Opportunities Monthly (see low-resolution cover image above) resembled a typical U.S. business publication. Upon closer inspection, however, it revealed itself as a new form of terror journalism operating under the masthead slogan, “Taking extremism ‘Allah’ the way to the bank!” Not surprisingly, my source told me, Al-Qaeda BOM was often referred to in Middle East business circles as “Da Bomb.”
While no publication date appeared on the cover, a telling statement appeared under the masthead along with a toll-free phone number Muslims could call to subscribe: “Published and distributed five times a day in Baghdad, Beirut, Kabul and Damascus.”
The headline story of the issue broke news about former vice president Al Gore’s alleged purchase and renaming of Al-Jazeera, the Arab news network famous for airing sometimes-gruesome and always threatening videotapes received from Bin Laden and other terrorists. It even listed a new name for the network as “Al-Gore-Zeera” and included a quote from bin Laden in which he implored his followers to subscribe: “Call your cable providers! Demand Al-Gore-Zeera! If they don’t provide it, blow them up!” Though the deal never seemed to materialize, I find it interesting the former vice president involved in litigation with the Qatari-owned news network more than six years later.
Also in the issue was a front-page story about officials at Hurts© Rental Car-Bombs, a car rental agency-turned terrorist munitions supplier, reporting a rise in same-store profits at all 12 of its Middle East locations and saying they have plans to expand their operations to the United States, Great Britain and other Western countries.
Perhaps most interesting was a piece that appeared beneath the headline, Build-A-Bomb Workshop Tickets Still Available. It reported that Bin Laden was not only holding five-day bomb-making workshops at locations across the Middle East, Europe and New York City, but he was also offering an “I SURVIVED!” t-shirt to any student who graduated from the course.
Editor’s Note: In case you’re wondering, the post above is purely fiction. I thought I would share it to counter the flood of dark news I expect to dominate this week’s 13th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. If you’re into dramatic nonfiction, I suggest you order copies of my books, Three Days In August and The Clapper Memo. Both are available at this link. If fiction is more to your liking, plan to purchase my first fiction novel, The National Bet. It will be released soon.