The latest online release of a message from al Qaeda is just one of many from the team known as the as-Sahab Institute for Media Production. They’ve been working very hard to get al Qaeda’s message out. This year, they’ve released 34 videos, averaging a release every five days, according to Ben Venzke of IntelCenter who tracks al Qaeda’s internet messages.
Many of the online messages are slickly produced with graphics and a soundtrack. Some are in the style of newscasts. They open with flashy headlines, and then the news is read to viewers by an anchor. To the viewer, it looks just like any other broadcast news show, except the anchor is often wearing a black ski mask.
Aside from delivering messages from Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, as-Sahab was also behind a videotape that surfaced in 2004 featuring an American making threats against the United States. In that tape, a man identified as Azzam warned the U.S. that 9/11 was not the end of bin Laden’s war on the U.S.
"Allah willing, the magnitude and ferocity of what is coming your way will make you forget all about September 11th," he said into the camera.
As-Sahab’s audio/video production is currently higher than at any point since the inception of al Qaeda, according to Venzke. In the first six months of 2006, as-Sahab doubled the number of video releases it did compared to any prior year.
And June has been a very busy month. As-Sahab released 11 videos this month, including three from Ayman al-Zawahiri and the audio from Osama bin Laden. This is the highest video production level ever for al Qaeda in one month, said Venzke.