The Return of Juba the Snipe
The “Central Media Commission” of the “Islamic Army in Iraq” has released the second installment of the “Juba: Baghdad Sniper” series. This episode lasts 28 minutes. The first part had been released in November 2005, and even warranted an entry at Wikipedia, see here.
In this latest edition, the Islamic Army in Iraq (IRI) claims that in the preceding year (since last year’s Ramadhan), its “Snipers Brigade” had “harvested” the following results:
634 American soldiers killed.
206 American soldiers wounded.
23 American officers killed.
11 American snipers killed.
“Juba: Baghdad Sniper, Part II” is billed as the IAI’s Eid holiday “gift” to the “People of Monotheism”—or the Islamic Nation.
CNN had obtained similar footage from the IAI and took the controversial decision of airing some clips on last Wednesday’s (Oct. 18, 2006) “Anderson Cooper 360” program. Part II, released a couple of days ago on several jihadi websites, seems to be far better edited and packaged than the CNN footage.
This is what CNN had to say about it (from the show’s transcript):
CNN obtained the graphic tape through intermediaries from the Islamic Army of Iraq, one of the most active insurgent organizations in the country.
It is titled "Latest Sniper Operations in Baghdad." Accents, license plates and street signs seem to indicate the sniper attacks in fact have occurred here in the capital. A careful review of the entire video by CNN technicians found no evidence the images had been electronically manipulated.
The tape documents 10 incidents, all of which appear recent. But there's no way to confirm precisely when or where the attacks took place, or which U.S. units were involved, or what happened to the targeted soldiers.
The tape comes as the Islamic Army calls to renew talks with the United States, and as Islamist Internet postings call for a P.R. campaign aimed at influencing the American public.
The images are markedly different from insurgent sniper videos on the Internet. On this one, we hear the voices of the snipers selecting American targets.
Here, the spotter warns the shooter he only sees Iraqis, until he's sure he's identified an American.
I will read you his name. We wanted to ask the U.S. military about the insurgent sniper tactics, but no one was made available to CNN in Washington or Baghdad. Officials refused to discuss the sniper operations and related casualties, citing the safety of U.S. troops, though they acknowledge, the menace is real.
But it seems that the Islamic Army was only manipulating CNN to showcase a “promo” of the actual release. It is as if the jihadists used a global media giant to hype up their propaganda product and alert young Middle Easterners to stay tuned for when Part II becomes available for download in its entirety.
Part II opens with a stocky man in a ski mask entering a brightly lit room. The lens is in soft focus. He places his sniper rifle, Beretta gun, walkie-talkie and some ammunition shells on a white-clothed table, and then adds scratch marks to a calendar on the wall, presumably adding to his number of recent “kills.” There are 37 scratch marks.
The man then draws back a black plastic chair and sits at the table. From the back, we see him pull of his mask. The camera then angles above his right shoulder to focus on a lined notebook and a pen.
The man begins to write, and an “otherworldly” voice with a deep echo reads out the neat penmanship. There are English subtitles throughout.
“Oh Muslim Nation,” the man writes, “How can the eye turn away from the one who saw your land which was conquered yesterday by our Muslim grandfathers blood and today it is being desecrated by the Jews and Crusaders.” [English translation as appeared in the subtitles]
He goes on to lament the fate of our “brothers” in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Palestine. The camera zooms in towards the notebook at the end of this tedious scene as the writer/narrator calls for the implementation of Islamic shari’a law.
Then we see victim no. 1 sitting in the revolving turret of a Humvee. The vehicle is parked in what appears to be a busy road in Iraq. The easily identifiable American soldier then appears within digitally added red crosshairs, and a shot is fired. He slumps dead.
By my count, this video release shows 27 American soldiers being shot, and by the looks of it, many of these ended up being probable fatalities given that they were hit directly in the head.
Another victim is a gunner of an Abrams M-1 tank. He is also hit in the head. For victim no. 9, the image is so crisp that we see smoke emerging from his helmet. Victim no. 10’s helmet actually flies off vertically after taking a hit.
Throughout these images, there are clips from an “interview with the commander of the sniper brigades in Baghdad,” who appears with a large white dot covering his face, and is also wearing a red kuffiah.
Judging by the shape of his hands, the “commander” is the same person who appeared earlier and wrote the diary entry.
He is well-spoken, and is clearly an Iraqi. At one point, he mentions a book called “The Ultimate Sniper” by a top ranked Marine sniper named “Major John Plaster,” which a textbook that the insurgents use to train a fresh crop of snipers. The way he pronounced the title of the book indicates that the “commander” is proficient in English. It is not a stretch of the imagination to assume that one way this person gets to lug around a sniper rifle without getting thoroughly searched at checkpoints is by having Coalition security badges. He may actually be working as a translator or guide for the Americans, then takes pot shots at them off-duty. Just a thought.
He claims that many more snipers are being trained, but “the one who uses [a sniper rifle] must be a unique person that meets special requirements to the job, like a steady hand, concentration and an eagle eye.” He claims that Saddam-era sniper rifles are abundant and that the previous regime used to manufacture such rifles in Iraq under the brand name “Tabuk.”
He is being interviewed by a long-haired person, either a female reporter or a Western male reporter with unkempt hair. He disputes a claim made on a German channel that the “Baghdad Sniper” had been killed. He also goes on to speculate as to why American soldiers began nicknaming him “Juba” and thinks that it has something to do with an “African death dance.”
The “commander” follows up by describing the psychological effect of the sniper weapon on the “enemy” saying that after taking a shot, the “frightened American soldiers” scurry around “running like mice” and not knowing what hit them.
He identifies himself as a member of the Islamic Army in Iraq.
This is funny, because Al-Hayat Newspaper reported on October 19 that American officials are holding secret talks in the Jordanian capital Amman with representatives of the Islamic Army.
Not only is someone from the American side negotiating with people who have American blood on their hands, but they are actually having a sit down with people who are openly gloating of having American blood on their hands.
Many policy experts are advocating a general amnesty for all insurgents minus Al-Qaeda. But that would also include “Juba.” It means that he would be off the hook, even after claiming responsibility for killing 668 American soldiers and wounding another 206, over the course of a single year.
I wonder how American families who’ve lost soldiers in Iraq through Juba’s crosshairs would feel about that.