The commentary below came to us from Walid Phares’ “Phareswire.” Even within the walls of a detention center, avowed jihadists are working and using every means possible to advance jihad. The jihadists’ tenacity and willingness to sacrifice themselves is a sobering reality and reminder of what we are up against.
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December 8th, 2008
Guantanamo’s Jihad: The Show Begins…
Al Qaeda’s great moment for propaganda has arrived, just as I predicted it would when I wrote about this in June. The Guantanamo trials will provide leading figures in the 9/11 massacre their “moment” to deliver a blow to America’s psyche, image and legal system.
A courtroom drawing shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,center, attending a pre-trial session at Guantanamo (AP)
As predicted, almost to the letter in my analysis in June, the men charged with plotting the September 11 attacks have declared their readiness to make confessions. According to the Associated Press the military judge assigned to their war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay read aloud a letter in which the five co-defendants said they request an immediate hearing session “to announce our confessions.” The AP report added that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (aka KSM) has already told interrogators he was the mastermind of the attacks. “Now he’s telling the judge that he and the others want to make confessions at the trial.” The judge at the pre-trial hearing, Army Col. Stephen Henley, is asking each defendant if they are prepared to enter a plea. Three have agreed to do so.
So, is there an Al Qaeda plan being put into motion on the inside? Most likely there is as our knowledge of Al Qaeda training instructions has shown. –Both the government and media of the United States are ill-prepared for this type of jihadi propaganda warfare. Seven years after the beginning of the so-called “War on Terror,” the enemy’s ideology, strategies and methods still haven’t been officially identified. It is like using a Word War I mind set to fight World War II terror strategies.
Here is what the jihadists, both on the inside and the outside of the Guantanamo detention center are planning for:
First, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his comrades will use the so-called confessions deal to build a psychological environment for a martyrdom case: “istishaad.” They aren’t interested in saving their lives (at first, although they think they could) but in providing a maximum damage to their enemy through the tribunal proceedings. They will claim the court is not legitimate, the entire Guantanamo process as illegal and that they are ready to die as Jihadis in the path to Allah. Their first target is to grant themselves, in the eyes of millions of militants around the world the status of “Shuhada,” martyrs, even though they could survive it.
The “confessions” turned declaration of victory will be picked up by Al Qaeda and other jihadi groups and transformed into vital material for propaganda: videos, audio and texts. The “show” inside court will be used for indoctrination purpose around the world. A myth will be set in motion and emotional reactions to the “story” will be mutated into future revenge operations.
From there on, leave it to the architects of jihadi propaganda: statements made by the defendants will be used by operatives online, in the chat rooms but also on Al Jazeera (by callers and guests), and in other medium to widen the radicalization of youth in the Arab and Muslim world and within the West as well. An Al Qaeda “control room” will use the feed from the Guantanamo trials to produce a victory in their war of ideas against democracies. The fate of the 9/11 detainees isn’t the issue to Al Qaeda. By pledging loyalty to the “mission” through the so-called “confessions” or statements they have already sacrificed themselves ideologically. What KSM and his comrades are offering to their “brothers” around the world is an unbeatable series of images, footage and audio — pure gold for Al Qaeda propagandists and ideologues.
Ironically, during this time of transition between the two administrations in both the Bush and Obama teams may find they overlook the direct goals of Al Qaeda’s plan. As national security teams meet and wrestle over future options in the War on Terror (will some possibly end up just calling it a “war”?) the other side is waging its own war methodically, relentlessly and unstoppably. Every inch of room to maneuver is used to the maximum to weaken the enemy, even from within the walls of the detention centers. And that is only at Guantanamo that the defendants are openly admitting their responsibilities in spreading terror. Wait until the processing of jihadists hits our U.S. courts here on the mainland. What we see now is just the beginning.
Dr. Walid Phares is Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad.
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