1. Osama's reading list

  2. Osama bin Laden was an avid reader. The al Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind spent years in hiding after the United States invaded Afghanistan. He was eventually traced to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was killed by commandos in a 2011 raid.
  3. On Wednesday, the U.S. released a "sizable tranche of documents" taken from the compound that night, which included a list of the English-language books found on bin Laden's bookshelf. Among them are a simplistic guide to understanding Islam, Bob Woodward's Obama's Warsand Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival.
  4. See the full list.

  5. Do you have what it takes to be a member of al Qaeda?

  6. Among the many documents belonging to Osama bin Laden released by the U.S. government on Wednesday was what appears to be a job application to become a member of the global militant Islamic organization taken during the 2011 raid of the leader's compound in Pakistan.

    Titled "Instructions to "Applicants," the form is as meticulously worded as any job application. It asks questions about personal information, past work history and level of education, as well as foreign language proficiency. The form also urges perspective jihadists to write all answer "clearly and legibly."

    But that's where the similarities end.

    "Please refrain from sharing the information you provide on the application with each other because it is a trust to Almighty Allah," it reads before delving into a darker set of queries.
  7. How long do you plan to stay in the (jihadi) theater?

    Education Level: Primary, Elementary, Secondary or College? When did Almighty Allah bless you with this gift?

    Any hobbies or pastimes?

    What is your favorite material: science or literature?

    Do you know any workers or experts in chemistry, communications, or any other field?

    Do any of your family or friends work with the government? If so, would he/she be willing to cooperate with or help us?

    What objectives would you would like to accomplish on your jihad path?

    Do you wish to execute a suicide operation?

    Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?
  8. The full text of the application can be found here.

  9. Bin Laden to America: 'You are wading into a war with no end in sight'

  10. The undated letter, titled "From Osama Bin Muhammad bin Ladin to the American people," provides a detailed message to the American public defending the militant group's aggression against the West and slams both the Bush and Obama administrations for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  11. He wrote that "the Bush administration got you into these wars on the premise that they were vital to your security. He promised that it would be a quick war...Then Obama came and delayed the withdrawal that he had promised you by 16 more months."
  12. "All the while you continue to bleed in Iraq and Afghanistan. You are wading into a war with no end in sight on the horizon and which has no connection to your security," read the letter.

  13. Bin Laden also gives his view on the war being raged in the name of jihad, drawing distinctions between suicide and religious war saying "our jihad against you is worship, and your killing us is a testimony."

  14. Blueprint for "franchising" terror

  15. Within the dozens of letters, documents and lists uncovered during the 2011 raid was a guidebook on how to "franchise" al Qaeda's brand of terror.
  16. The document, titled "Terror Franchise: The Unstoppable Assassin" gives a detailed breakdown on how the group could branch out internationally and references many of the tactics used by jihadi groups working to recruit and indoctrinate supporters abroad. Interestingly, the documetn emphasizes the use of social media to connect with an international network of supporters, though it was probably created prior to 2009.

    The handbook is signed by Abu-Saleh Al Somali, the pseudonym of high-ranking al-Qaeda official Abdirizaq Abdi Saleh, who planned international operations for the group. He was killed by a drone strike in 2009.

    The guide places a heavy focus on the "media, propaganda task force" that Al Somali believed all units involved in global jihad should have. A 10-point list details how the propaganda machines should work included phrases like "It is all about winning attention!" and "Utilize the same methods used by massive marketing and spam campaigns."

    Al Somali encouraged jihadis to take to "social sites, blogs, etc Twitter, Facebook, MySpace" and "learn from marketing firms, same method... different message!"

  17. Osama bin Laden worried about global warming, too

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