"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jihadi Video on ABC

ABC News obtained a AQAP training video, which includes the sad and desolate statement of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.  There isn't terribly much to this video.  It shows Abdulmutallab shooting a gun, as well as other people shooting.  They are shooting, charmingly, at make-shift flags of Israel, England, and the United Nations (pretty much just a piece of cloth with "UN" written on it).  They are also shooting at a plane in the air, which at first I thought was a drone but now don't think so.  And aviation experts with an insight?  I'm looking at you, Fallows.   Astonishingly, their method of lying on their backs shooting in the air failed to bring it down. 

I'm not trying to make light of this.  I obviously think AQAP is very dangerous.  But there is always, to me, something ridiculous about these videos- a bunch of guys running around in the desert firing guns all helter-skelter. 

The other funny thing is that one of the guys was pixelated out.  I guess they don't want people to see this particular operative- but that begs the question: if you have the technology to pixelate, why not just edit that shot out? 


  1. Perhaps to send the message that "We have other like 'Abdulmutallab"? Leaving the pixelated image in sends that message, which editing out would not. Seems like a strategic decision by AQAP (?)

  2. I believe the plane was a UAV, perhaps a Predator or Reaper, although the shot bounced around so much it is hard to be sure. The wings have a high aspect ratio, like a glider, which is useful for low speeds, quiet operation, and loitering. YMMV, I'm no aviation expert.

    In North Vietnam, the soldiers were known to lie in formation and fire straight overhead on command. It could be effective against low flying aircraft, but required discipline the guys in the video didn't display.

  3. Good call, Sicilian. I question how much they gain by that, but it seems likely. I think I keep overthinking it, and thus underthinking it.

    Thanks for the insight, Gadfly. I suppose lying on your back would give you a bit more stability than just pointing the gun over your head, but that guy looked like he was more likely to shoot off his toes than bring down anything more fearsome than a kite. It is strange how often these guys look buffonish but how dangerous they can be.