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Applied competitive behavior: al Qaeda humint targeting

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Memo outlines al-Qaida terror plans and Al Qaida planning memo excerpts offer a grim forecast of target priorities against Western individuals -- not infrastructure -- here and abroad. Signed by the al Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Al-Mukrin, the list appeared in a webzine frequented by al Qaeda militants. While there is some tradecraft, the bulk of the note is a very personal list that goes beyond infrastructure and religious targets to include specific nationalities and occupations.

For example, 'Christian' targets are prioritized as Americans, British, Spanish, Australians, Canadians, and Italians; while 'category' targets are businessmen, diplomats, politicians, scholars, analysts, scientists, military, and tourists. This becomes personal if you are within reach.

Should this escalation hold, what will be our response under Gresham's Law of Competitive Behavior? This could be Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers" writ large as the excerpts detail:

  • Targets Inside Cities - "Targets inside the cities are considered a sort of military diplomacy. Normally, this kind of diplomacy is written with blood and decorated with body parts and the smell of guns."
  • Faith Targets - Missionaries in Islamic countries, any Moslem religious scholar who cooperates with the enemy.
  • "The purpose of these [individual] targets is to destabilize the situation and not allow the economic recovery such as hitting oil wells and pipelines that will scare foreign companies from working there and stealing Moslem treasures."
  • Human Targets - "We have to target Jews and Christians. We have to let anybody that fights God, his prophet or the believers know that we will be killing them. There should be no limits and no geographical borders."
  • The Purpose for Human Targets - "To stress the struggle of the faiths… To show who the main enemy is. To get rid of the renegades and to purify the land and to use them as examples for others. To spread fear in enemy lines… To lift the morale of the Islamic nation. To destroy the image and stature of the targeted government."

On one hand, there is nothing specific in the targeting so that the note joins the "chatter" background; on the other it provides guidance and esprit to the jihadists thus moving some events forward and reordering priorities.

Memo outlines al-Qaida terror plans
Document lists preferred economic, religious and individual targets

By Lisa Myers
Senior investigative correspondent
NBC News
Updated: 11:29 p.m. ET April 01, 2004

Al Qaida planning memo excerpts
Note details priority list of human targets for terrorists

Updated: 8:10 a.m. ET April 02, 2004

Gordon Housworth



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