From al-Qaeda, an English-language 'magazine'
With glossy photo spreads, pseudo-celebrity interviews and how-two articles, "Inspire" has the feel of a modern magazine. But the first issue of al-Qaeda's new online publication is unlike anything you'll find on a supermarket aisle.
The centerpiece article was submitted by a radical cleric tied to a string of recent terrorist plots, and the instructional content consists of a piece written by "the AQ chef" about how to "make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom."
Inspire is an ambitious bit of propaganda by al-Qaeda's Yemen-based affiliate. The magazine is the terrorist network's first English-language online publication, designed to reach a wide audience in Europe and the United States. The first issue was posted Monday by Flashpoint Partners, an organization that monitors jihadist Web sites
In some ways, Inspire is remarkably sophisticated in its mimicry of Western magazine motifs. The third page carries photos and provocative quotes from public figures -- a feature found in almost every American newsmagazine. There's even a reprinted joke from David Letterman about how a new book documenting the mistakes of former president George W. Bush is merely "volume one."
The aim of the publication, however, is serious -- deadly so. Its title is taken from a verse in the Koran that seeks to "inspire the believers to fight." Anwar al-Aulaqi, a U.S.-born cleric targeted in military strikes in Yemen, doesn't acknowledge his alleged connections to the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day. But he argues that "assassinations, bombings, and acts of arson are all legitimate forms of revenge" against the West.
The article on bomb-making includes steps that seem simple to follow, illustrated by pictures. The materials include a broken bulb from a string of Christmas tree lights, and a mixture of sugar with the flammable substance found on the tips of matches. "Sniffing dogs are not trained to recognize" the ingredients, the article says. It takes only a day or two to build a bomb capable of killing several people. With a little more time it's possible to make a more powerful explosive "that could kill tens."
| July 12, 2010; 12:48 PM ET
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