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Mad Men: No such thing as bad publicity for Al Qaeda

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Mad Men: No such thing as bad publicity for Al Qaeda

Terror group claims the underpants bomber

It's all about keeping the name in the news for Osama Bin Ladin and his Al Qaeda cabal. Even to the point of claiming miserable failures like the alleged underpants bomber as one of their own.

When it comes to branding, it appears that the world of multi-national terror takes a cure from Madison Avenue. "Keep 'em talking about you."

Trying to get Westerners to recall a mouthful like "Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab" isn't easy. "Underpants bomber," now, there's something catchy.

Al Qaeda was eager to claim Adbul Mutallab as one of it's own. From the Wall Street Journal:

A statement attributed to the group "al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula" claimed it was retaliating for what it says was the U.S.'s role in a recent Yemeni military offensive on al Qaeda, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute. The statement, accompanied by a photo of the suspect, said the "high-tech device" Mr. Abdulmutallab carried had had a "technical" problem.

From Newsweek, word of another would-be bomber:

U.S. agencies are increasingly willing to believe that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula really did have something to do with arming and directing would-be airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, whose attack failed when he tried to set off his underpants bomb but it burst into flames rather than exploding.

Also, U.S. investigators are looking into possible parallels between the attempted airplane underpants attack and an attack earlier this year in which a notorious Saudi terrorist tried to murder Saudi Arabia's counter-terrorism czar. As Peter Bergen, a respected terrorism expert, noted on CNN, the explosive used in the August attack on Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, PETN, was the same explosive apparently used in the failed underpants bombing. The alleged unsuccessful Saudi assassin, Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, who apparently secreted a PETN device up his rectum, had taken refuge in Yemen before returning to Saudi Arabia and trying to blow up the prince.

Hmm. What nickname should al-Asiri be marketed with?

Roberto De Vido is a communications consultant, writer, cartoonist and jack of many trades. The former chief of Tucson Sentinel’s East Asia Bureau, he now lives in California (make of that what you will).

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