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As-Sahab: Winds of Paradise Part 2

As-Sahab, al-Qaeda's central media wing, released its 4th video for 2008 and the second installment of "The Winds of Paradise" on January 27 on the main al-Qaeda message forums. The 46-minute video, a documentary-style strategic PSYOP product aimed at boosting morale among the rank and file, promoting martyrdom, and encouraging participation in the Afghan theater, is an extremely well-produced product that features a group of al-Qaeda fighters from Turkey, Kuwait, Syria and Afghanistan who died while fighting alongside Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

The video begins with a 4-minute title and introductory reel that originally appeared in the first installment of "The Winds of Paradise," which was released on July 14, 2007, and re-released with English-language narration on September 5. It starts with a campfire 3D computer animation and speech by former al-Qaeda in Iraq head Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and then a recitation from the Qur'an. A 50-second and undated clip of Usama bin Laden espousing the virtues of martyrdom follows. Bin Laden, it is interesting to note, is flanked by a member of his elite security detail, the Black Guards. The video also includes speeches by al-Qaeda Afghanistan chief Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, who is chroma-keyed onto a green After Effects backdrop, and al-Qaeda "defense minister" Abu Yahya al-Libi.

Each fighter featured in the video is introduced by a narrator and identified by his nom de guerre. They are shown engaged in weapons training, marching in formation, and morale-boosting activities like singing Islamic nasheeds and camping overnight in a cave. At one point they also meet former Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, who arrives at the training camp in two pick-up trucks. Each fighter delivers a video testimonial, including the Turkish fighters who are subtitled in Arabic. They are then shown participating in ambush operations.

As-Sahab's banner for The Winds of Paradise.

As-Sahab camerawork has increasingly improved in sophistication and technique. Although the footage included in this latest video seems to have been shot before Dadullah's death in May 2007 it shows a level of creativity that as-Sahab field work has previously lacked. Whereas in the past training and operations footage has consisted of "point and shoot" with little thought about the final product, the training footage in "The Winds of Paradise Part 2" experiments with different camera angles and techniques. One shot, for example, shows the fighters reflected off the shimmering water of a creek as they march by. Additionally, the overall pacing of the video is also tight, which suggests improved storyboarding capabilities.

The video was posted in 3 video formats and 4 different file sizes and seeded across a total of 426 free file transfer sites on January 26, including archive.org, uploaded.to, badongo.com, yourmirror.biz, hostupload.net, rapidfile.net, megaupload.com, filepep.com, theonlinedatastorage.com, picshome.com, ezyfile.net, fastuploading.com, simpleupload.net, archiv.to, egosh.dr.ag, netload.in, egoshare.com, bluehost.to, depositfiles.com, filefactory.com, badongo.com, share-online.biz, cocoshare.cc, savefile.info, 4filehosting.com, zshare.net, upitus.com, ntshare.com, heyupload.com, and maxishare.net. Some of the seeds are stamped with "mirrorit.de," a Web site that facilitates three uploads at once.

File Name
Format
Size (MB)
Seeds
Sh1.rar
DIVX
1.24G
18
Sh2.rar
RM
201.0
139
Sh3.rar
RM
32.7
148
Sh4.rar
3GP
16.8
121

The files were last modified on January 22 between 4 and 5 am (local computer timestamp). Following standard operational security, the files are zipped in the RAR format and protected with the randomly-generated password "h7dkk4%0$45FJ*(DJ&Xhy43VFchys#@^&G(HFfah." The unlinked promotional banner for the video first appeared on the Web forums on January 23 - four days before the final official release.

As-Sahab's banner for The Winds of Paradise.





[Editor's Note: We have begun posting the propaganda from al-Qaeda and others for the primary purpose of informing and educating both the general public and policy makers about the level to which the enemy has actively engaged in Information Warfare. Some of the messages contain graphic content. We at ThreatsWatch post these videos as evidence of the brutal nature of the enemy we face and the clear intent they have to kill those not aligned with them. Making the public aware of the nature of the enemy - as well as the often forgotten virtues of our own nation - is one of the primary missions of ThreatsWatch and the Center for Threat Awareness.]

2 Comments

You know if people like you and rest of media wouldn't give these guys so much hype they would probably crawl back in their hole. It is probably people like you and the rest of the DCers that are afraid of these people...come-on 12 people sitting around a camp fire singing songs shoting guns and missing most of the time!! Where the heck do you live? I've seen worse in the US. In fact I would take a week against these nut bags over a week in a Federal High Security Prison with gang members. Give me a break! Send them a video of Americans with guns inviting them to come here for a little BBQ.

Oh really?

Seems no one gave them "much hype" in the past and they promptly "crawled out of their hole" and flew two planes into the World Trade Center.

They are hardly invincible and their victory far, far from the inevitability they fervently believe.

But they are far smarter and far more capable than you give them credit for.

They gain little by having their propaganda flitted about the West. However, you and others can gain much by paying attention to it and learning who they are and what they intend to do.

They are consistent in one thing: They tell us precisely their aims and, often, their means.

No one ever defeated an enemy not knowing what he wanted or how he intended to achieve it.