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In the research entitled “Beyond Al Qaeda, Part One”, published by the Rand Corporation and sponsored by the United States Air Force, Angel Rabasa and the co-authors state that cyberspace is now home to some 4000 pro-jihadi websites and that “Al Qaeda combines multimedia propaganda and advanced communications technologies to create a very sophisticated form of psychological warfare”. This, the report continues, “reveal that Al Qaeda is unique not merely in its use of the Internet but, rather, in the multiplicity of ways in which it works through this medium to strengthen its organization by making its ideology, strategy, and tactics more widely available to potential recruits”

The report adds that: “In addition to its own media sources, Al Qaeda has made use of the international media to spread its propaganda. This includes Arab media such as the satellite stations al Jazeera and al Arabiya. But it also includes Western media sources, particularly CNN, the BBC, ABC news, MSNBC, and other major news networks that have broadcast al Qaeda’s audio and videotapes—particularly those claiming to be of bin Laden—along with other materials such as its training videos”

It is perhaps no accident, therefore, that when CNN reporter Peter Arnett asked Usama bin Laden in his 1997 interview what his future plans were, bin Laden answered: “You’ll see them and hear about them in the Media, God willing”

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