Video from Pakistan is valid al Qaeda propaganda

I’ve been following the story pretty closely and the best report I have seen so far is the one from the Christian Science Monitor.

The most interesting parts to me were the following:

A new videotape that has surfaced in Pakistan threatens a massive attack against the United States by a purported American member of Al Qaeda. It is not yet known if the tape is an authentic Al Qaeda production, but it bears enough resemblance that some experts are taking the tape seriously.

The chilling 75-minute digital videotape, seen by a Christian Science Monitor reporter in Pakistan, where it was obtained by ABC News, shows a high degree of sophistication and bears the logo of Al Qaeda’s video production house, As-Sahab.

“Allah willing, the streets of America will run red with blood, matching drop for drop the blood of America’s victims,” says the speaker, who calls himself Azzam al Amriki (or Azzam the American). “What took place on September 11th was but the opening salvo in the global war on America.”

The next attacks, he adds, “could come at any moment.”

“As-Sahab is an Al Qaeda propaganda outfit and engages in psychological warfare,” says Bruce Hoffman, an expert on terror at the RAND Corp. in Washington. “Given the hype of the US election in general, that the jihadists claim credit for affecting the outcome of the Spanish elections, and the heightened chatter that intelligence agencies acknowledge, I’m surprised we haven’t seen something like this sooner.”

The tape, delivered to ABC in Islamabad last Sunday by a courier who was paid a $500 transport fee, contains a lengthy Q&A session between “Mr. Amriki” and an off-camera interviewer. It ends with his warning, which cuts off abruptly when the tape runs out.

Analysts at Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI, say the tape is genuine, explaining the material bears the same “signature” as previous As-Sahab video releases, which are unique in the world of jihadi video for their sophisticated editing techniques.

It features the same gold logo that appeared, among other places, in a 2003 statement from Mr. bin Laden.

There’s also simultaneous Arabic subtitling – a complicated and time consuming process to put together – and a scrolling message across the bottom of the screen (similar to the news tickers on CNN and Fox) that was featured on a recent statement from al-Zawahiri.

Also of extreme interest is this claim from Drudge:

A top goverment source said from Washington that ABC withheld the final 15 minutes of the tape from the feds — the portion of the tape where the man warns of retribution for Americans electing Bush and Cheney.

“The FBI did not see the last 15 mins,” the source claims.

And

ABC NEWS TO AIR TERROR TAPE ON WORLD NEWS TONIGHT AT 6:30 EST

The way I read it is that most likely it is a from the source claimed (al Qaeda) and that chances are good that is it just a mostly empty threat.  But still, I’m advising friends to stay out of D.C., New York, and Los Angles in the near future.  One person asked for my opinion on when the most likely time the attack would occur.  This is just a guess on my part, but I would guess within the next two weeks or during the State of the Union speech in January.