It's official: the days of Ozzie bin Laden promotional vids featuring the fun-loving al-Qaeda big cheese holding forth at length to some antiquated VHS camcorder while lovingly fingering his AK-47 are well and truly over.
Yup, the terror organisation has now, according to this chilling report, upped its game to the point where it's "turning out high quality material, some of which rivals productions by Western media companies" and which "look like professionally edited documentaries or television news broadcasts, with flashy graphics, maps in the background and split screens".
Of couse, you're not going to find the sort of expertise required to churn out top-notch propaganda in rural Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda is accordingly "recruiting computer-savvy technicians to produce sophisticated web documentaries and multimedia products aimed at Muslim audiences in the United States, Britain and other Western countries".
Afghan Qari Mohammed Yusuf, self-confessed cameraman for Ozzie's video production outfit al-Sahab, declared: "The al-Qaeda men who are coming today are not farmers, illiterate people. They are PhDs, professors who know about this technology. Day by day they are coming. Al-Qaeda has asked them to come."
No kidding. In fact, this recruitment drive has been going on for yonks. Back in 2005, we reported that al-Qaeda had placed internet small ads punting "vacant positions for video production and editing statements, footage and international media coverage about militants in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Chechnya and other conflict zones where militants are active".
What's actually scary about all this is not that al-Qaeda might at some stage decide to knock out a quality web soap opera (Decapitation Street), but that the influx of computer and net-savvy propellorheads will inevitably lead the organisation to ponder a Web 2.0 tentacle - Jihoo! - with a Google-style Ozzieplex somewhere in Tora Bora and promoting user-generated content interfaces such as Beardbook (Name: Abdul. Location: Lahore. Status: "Abdul is homicidally pissed off." Activities: Cricket, beheading foreign hostages, blowing up giant statues of Buddha, discussing finer points of Sharia law...), "Jihoo!Tube" Ricin mashup vid-sharing site, "Eternal Life™" ("suicide-bombing avatars ascend to virtual heaven to be attended by cybervirgins"), "design your custom exploding Nike trainer" ecommerce operation and "Jihoo! Maps" boasting top quality US sat images of every potential infidel target marked with a big red flashing arrow. ®
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