al Battar Issue 6

albattar128 March 2004: Until the US invasion of Afghanistan put a screeching and explosive halt to the process, a would-be terrorist had to travel halfway around the world, to get state of the art training in the training facilities operated by Al Qaeda.

Those training facilities are now dust, and although replacements have sprung up in various locations, most notably Saudi Arabia, these training centers cannot handle the volume of students that Al Qaeda must process in order to continue its quest for worldwide domination.

The masterminds behind Al Qaeda, just like many major corporations, made a decision last fall to expand their training operations onto the internet with the launch of a monthly magazine called “Al-Battar”.

“Al Battar” takes its name from the “Sword of the Prophets”.  The ”Sword of the Prophets” is an ancient relic that is said to have originally belonged to King David of Biblical fame, and was used to cut off the head of Goliath, and was later taken as booty in battle by the Prophet Mohamed.  Islamic traditions claim that this sword will be used by Jesus when he returns to earth to defeat Dajjal, the Islamic Anti-Christ.  This sword, which is currently located in the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, is inscribed in Arabic with the names of the prophets revered by Islam:  David, Solomon, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Zechariah, John, Jesus, and Muhammad.

In an effort to maintain the tradition of victory that is associated with the phrase “Al Battar”, the authors go into extensive detail each month, providing explicit directions in a wide range of topics that are essential for the well-prepared warrior.

The sixth issue of Al Battar is no exception.  This particular edition contains detailed articles on cell organization and management, weapons training, physical fitness, and even wilderness survival training.

Editorial on Madrid Bombings

The issue starts with an editorial praising the militants who carried out the attacks in Madrid on March 11.  The article places the blame for the attacks on the Spanish decision to join with the coalition in Iraq.  It contains various historical references to the days when Spain was Anadalusia and was under the control of the Islamic Caliphate. It makes explicit references to injustices perpetrated against Islamic civilian populations in the Palestinian territories, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United States, and Spain, and states that Spain has received its punishment for joining with the “infidels”.

Physical Fitness

Issue Six of Al Battar appears to put a heightened emphasis on the physical fitness of the warriors.  It details a “Body Building” regime that consists of the following exercises to be done daily:

  • 300 meters swimming, side stroke or breast stroke, followed by a 15 minute rest period
  • The maximum number of chest presses that the individual can do in two minute increments, followed by two minute rests
  • The maximum number of sit-ups that the individual can do in two minute increments, followed by two minute rests
  • The maximum number of chin-ups that the individual can do in two minute increments, followed by two minute rests

The regime stresses that detailed records of the exercise regimen are to be followed, and emailed to their mentor who will monitor their progress.

Cell Organization

Al Battar goes into explicit detail describing the organization structure of the various cells.  The resulting org chart bears close resemblance to one, which you might find within a project team of a major corporation.

Each project consists of a number of sub-cells, which operate independently and report to a single management team, or management cell.

Each individual subgroup within the project team should consist of no more than four individuals.  The individuals should have the ability to “fit in” with the rest of the community, and should know the city well.

Proper documentation is stressed.  Each team member must have the training and documentation necessary to allow him to assume a cover identity.  Team managers are advised to obtain whatever documents are needed, whether they be authentic or forgeries.  The team members are advised not to excel; nor are they to do substandard work within their cover occupation.  Instead they are advised to be as close to average as possible so that they do not stand out from the group.

The team members are advised to select a home or apartment similar to their peers within their cover occupation.  Likewise, they are advised to purchase a car that “fits in” well with the location of their home, and with their peers.

Al Battar emphasizes compartmentalization within the cells.  It cites the number one mistake of most jihad groups is that every cell member knows the other members of the cell, as well as operational and logistical details.  It stresses that secrecy must be maintained in order to ensure that the goal of the group is reached, and that individual members are not to know members of other subgroups, nor are they to know any more information that is critical for them to carry out their assigned roles.

The hierarchical organization of the project group is defined as follows:

  • Command and control team (project management team)
  • Information gathering team
  • Preparation team
  • Execution team

The Command and Control Team

The command and control team acts as the project managers, and consists of no more than two or three individuals.  This team will receive information and instructions from Al Qaeda Supreme Command via intermediaries or through a “dead drop”, but will never have direct contact with the top level.  (A dead drop is defined as an exchange where no direct contact takes place between two parties; for example, the sender may leave a message on a park bench for the recipient to collect later.)  Much of the contact is to be done through “dead drops” using specific websites.

Other roles of the Project Management Team are defined as follows:

  • Supervise and delegate the various tasks required to complete the goals of the team
  • Send instructions and receive feedback from the various cell members by dead drop
  • Maintain information regarding all elements of planning, operation, and execution of the various tasks needed to complete the goals of the team

In addition to these roles, the Project Management team must establish a strong Islamic Intelligence Bureau.  Individuals from each of the subgroups will make up this composite group, consisting of four people.

Members of the Project Management team should have a military background, and should also be well educated.  They must be able to manage all aspects of the project, and handle all personnel issues.

Specific training goals for the Project Management team include:

  • Study and analysis of information gathering; it is preferable if these team members have a natural ability for analysis and planning
  • Analysis and planning of military operations, and the establishment of plans needed for attack, defense, and retreat, as well as emergency contingency planning.
  • Extensive training in secret communications in all its forms, as well as a mastery of various types of meetings including secret meetings, and creaking surveillance.
  • Ability to conduct the roles of individuals in the various subgroups

The Reconnaissance Team

This team is responsible for gathering the information that will be needed in order to meet the project goals.  This team should consist of two individuals, although if the target of the operation is large, members of the project management team may assist with the reconnaissance.

It is important that members of this group are proficient in one or more of the following skills:

  • Computer use, in order to enter data into the system in the proper format (photographs, documents, maps, data, or written reports), as well as the ability to send and receive information through the internet
  • Art/photography.  Digital photography is preferred to standard film photography because no lab is needed.  Each individual within the organization will have a digital camera, but one individual is to be primarily responsible for photography of various operations
  • Report writing.  The ability to compile the information into coherent reports, and transmit the information over the internet.
  • Training all group members in photography using digital cameras and video cameras.  It is important that they place emphasis on covert use of the equipment, so as not to undermine the surveillance.
  • Telecommunications is an area that requires special care from the militants.  It is important that they utilize the existing telecommunications vendors for wireless and wired telephones, so that their security is not compromised.

Preparation Team

The Preparation Team, according to the guidelines, is to consist of two to four individuals.  Al Battar recommends that the individuals have experience in mission preparation, and that that have contacts or experience in smuggling or with the mafia.

This group is tasked with preparing all of the resources that the other groups have determined are essential to the success of the mission.  This group will be the one procuring weapons, tools, equipment, documents, ammunition, safe houses, and cars, among other things.

Members of the Preparation Team will need advanced training, and a special course has been established for these individuals.  The specialized training includes:

  • Purchase of cars.  Cars are not to be stolen, but are to be purchased or leased legally.
  • Purchase of marine and sailboats.  Like cars, boats are not to be stolen, but are to be purchased or leased legally.
  • How to avoid detection at checkpoints
  • Purchase of weapons and ammunition, and how to store them safely
  • Forgery and other techniques by which to obtain the necessary legal documents.
  • Selecting, establishing, and using various “cover” identities during the mission. Covers may be transitory in nature; for example, with smugglers and contract workers the militants are advised not to reveal that they are Islamists.  In the event that a cover is broken it may become necessary to eliminate the individual who breached security.

The Execution Team

The training guide explains that the Execution Team is the striking force for the cell, and is the unit that most of the recruits wish to join.  It stresses that this group is to be staffed with care, since if there are any weaknesses in this area it will cause the entire mission to fail.  In addition to actual goal, this group will serve as the military tool of the cell, and will also provide defense should the cell come under attack.

The Execution Team is made up normally of two to four individuals.  They are tasked with carrying out the plans of the organization.  Normally their mission will fall into one of the following categories:

  • Assassination
  • Kidnapping
  • Explosion and Sabotage
  • Storming and Killing Hostages

It is especially important that the members of this group be segregated from the remaining members of the cell.

Communications

Communications guidelines for cell members to follow are spelled out explicitly.

Orders are issued by the Supreme Command and sent to the Field Management (Project Management) Team, in response to the reports that the Field Management team submits.

The Surveillance group gathers information in response to orders from the Field Command, with regard to surveillance of a specific target.  When they have collected the information, they submit the reports to the Field Command.

The Project Management Team, or Field Command, instructs the Preparation Team to perform the tasks needed in order to fulfill the mission goals, using the reports from the Surveillance Group as a guide.

When preparation is complete, the Field Command verifies that the preparation goals have been completed.  Once Field Command has determined that the readiness level is appropriate to ensure success of the mission, they send a message to the Supreme Command.

Once the Supreme Command authorizes the mission to proceed to the execution stage, Field Command then authorizes the Execution Group to complete the mission at the earliest possible time.  Actual mission timing depends upon an agreement between the Field Command and the Execution Group, taking into consideration various factors that can only be determined at the local level.

Security

Security is an overriding concern of the Al Qaeda militants and a considerable portion of this issue is spent discussing issues related to secrecy and security.  It is obvious that these issues have been well thought out, and the militants are given specific instructions on how to ensure that not only are valuable resources maintained in a secure fashion, but in such a way that they are difficult for law enforcement authorities to detect.  It also appears that there are fail-safes present within the cells, and the cells are compartmentalized to the highest degree possible so that if security is compromised, perhaps by the arrest of a cell member, that the remaining cell members are not endangered.

Security Precautions Regarding Transport

Specific instructions have been provided to the militants regarding the use of cars, motorcycles, and other means of transport.  The guide recommends the use of motorcycles in urban areas, and cautions the militants that regardless of the mode of transportation to ensure that they have the proper operating license and tags, and to pay careful attention to traffic laws, so as not to come under the scrutiny of law enforcement.  In cases where a car is used instead of a motorcycle, the trainees are instructed to select a car that fits in with their “cover” and with the neighborhood where they are living.

The color and tag numbers of the both cards and motorcycles are to be changed during the operation, and returned to their original status afterwards, to protect the cell from discovery.

The guide strongly recommends that at least one cell member become proficient in mechanical car repairs so that reliance upon anyone outside of the cell is not necessary.

Militants are instructed that if at any time they feel that the car is a security risk, they should dispose of it.

Financial Security

When it comes to the financial resources, the upper level management of the cell is responsible for hiding the funds, handling financial transfers, and authorizing the expenditure of the funds for secret projects.  The training guide provides the following instructions to be following:

  • Funds are not to be kept together in one location, but are to be kept in multiple locations
  • Funds are not to be moved in large amounts; cell members should use small bills and should never transact large amounts of cash
  • Cell members should not know the manager who has control of the funds; nor should he know the location of the funds; funds are to be dispersed to the cell members through intermediaries and dead drops
  • Any cell member carrying a large amount of cash must have an adequate cover to explain the presence of the money.
  • Funds are to be kept in cash form, and purchases should be paid for in cash.

Weapons Security

The training manual also covers the issue of weapons security, including the purchase, use, and storage of guns, ammunition, explosive devices, and other armaments.  It advises the militants to take precautions when making the purchase, and especially when dealing with large quantities of weapons or ammunition, in order to escape detection.  According to the instructions, the militants are forbidden to store the weapons at their homes or workplaces.

A special emphasis is placed on weapons maintenance.  A review of the section of Al Battar regarding the MP5 shows the detail-oriented maintenance instructions the militants are provided as part of their training.

Weapons Training

Weapons’ training in issue six is focused on the Al Qaeda weapon of choice:  the MP5 and MP5A1 assault rifle, or submachine gun.  These guns are normally used by Special Forces and SWAT teams, and are considered to be extremely accurate and lethal.

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The authors provide detailed and illustrated step-by-step instructions on fibattar3eld stripping and cleaning the weapon.   A translation of this section has been reviewed by a former weapons specialist with the U.S. Army, and he has confirmed that the information provided is not only correct, but also provides the reader with information critical to the use of this submachine gun.

Wilderness Training

The basics of wilderness survival are discussed in depth in this issue, with a particular emphasis on building expedient shelters.  These shelters are the type of structures that you might learn in a boy scout training manual:  teepees, lean-to’s, and other structures that can be constructed from the materials on hand in the environment.

These shelters would not be suitable for protection against radiation or chemical weapons; they are simply for protection against inclement weather.  The author assumes that the militant would be out in cold or rainy weather and would need a warm dry place to stay while on a mission.

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Conclusion

The issue closes with quotations from Quran and Hadith, and then proceeds to instruct the militants that it is their responsibility to master the techniques described in the issue and their honor is dependent upon this.

Al Battar, issue six, makes it quite clear in its closing words that Al Qaeda is playing “for keeps”.  This is a war they intend to win.

The enemies do not fear you and do not fear that you possess the weapon; your honor depends upon the weapon, and the safety of your women;  when the circles spread, you will not be an easy target to the enemies.  The jihad is the key to the wealth of Doomsday; the victories of the jihad will lead to the establishment of that Hour.

The one who believed and who emigrated and fought for Allah’s sake beg the mercy of Allah, the forgiver and merciful.

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