Tips for the Traveling Terrorist

The al-Qaeda desktop computer contains voluminous "security" files devoted to, among other things, modern spycraft. The training offered is practical; students are told, for example, how to photograph a bombing target, use invisible ink, and evade police surveillance. The computer's manuals also focus on the broader history of partisan warfare and refer to an eclectic collection of role models, among them Aristotle, Jesus, Ahmed Kamel (the former head of Egyptian General Intelligence), and even the Israeli leader Menachem Begin, whose book The Revolt (1951), about his days as a terrorist fighting British rule in Palestine, is quoted approvingly at great length. The manuals devote special care to teaching recruits how to pass unnoticed in the West, and include the following advice:

  • Don't wear short pants that show socks when you're standing up. The pants should cover the socks, because intelligence authorities know that fundamentalists don't wear long pants …
  • If a person, for example, wears a T-shirt or a shirt that has the drawing of a spirit—that is, a bird, an animal, etc.—don't cut off the head [the Islamic tradition frowns on the depiction of living beings]. Either wear it with the drawing, or don't wear it at all. Moreover, you should never carry any item of clothing in your suitcase where the pictures have been tampered with, or where the head of the animal or bird has been cut off.
  • Don't wear clothes made in suspect countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, etc.
  • Underwear should be the normal type that people wear, not anything that shows you're a fundamentalist.
  • A long time before traveling—especially from Khartoum—the person should always wear socks and shoes, to get rid of cracks [in the feet that come from extended barefoot walking], which take about a week to cure …
  • If the mission requires wearing a chain, you should show it by opening the top buttons of the shirt …
  • Never use the perfumes used by the brothers [fundamentalists].
  • You should differentiate between:
    a) Perfume used only after shaving—"After Shave" is written on the bottle. This type is used only on the chin and nowhere else.

    b) Perfumes—marked "Lotion"—that are placed anywhere on the clothes, on the head, behind the ears, etc.
  • You should use the type of perfume for the underarms that usually comes in the shape of a soap ball. You should never use any other type of normal perfume under the arms.
  • You should differentiate between men and women's perfume. If you use women's perfume, you are in trouble.
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