The videos that made bin Laden's son-in-law famous

It's been a long hunt, but today U.S. officials confirmed the capture of al Qaeda spokesman and Osama bin Laden son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. Beating the FBI and CIA to the announcement, New York Congressman Peter King leaked the news to the press and made a point of referencing Ghaith's infamous post-9/11 propaganda videos.

"The propaganda statements in which Abu Ghaith and his late father-in-law, Osama bin Laden, praised the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are alone enough to merit the most serious punishment," King said.

The congressman's jurisprudence aside, it could certainly be said that Abu Ghaith was at the forefront as al Qaeda agents threw salt in the wounds of a reeling, post-9/11 America. In videos in which he appeared alongside Osama bin Laden, Abu Ghaith praised the attacks, dwelled on the demands of the terrorist network, and promised far more serious attacks in the future.  

His most infamous broadcasts were released in 2001 on Oct. 7 (shown above) and 10. "The Americans should know that the storm of plane attacks will not abate," Abu Ghaith said on Oct. 10. "There are thousands of the Islamic nation's youths who are eager to die just as the Americans are eager to live."

"Let the United States know that the battle will continue to be waged on its territory until it leaves our land, stops its support for the Jews, and lifts the unjust embargo on the Iraqi people," he continued. "U.S. interests are spread throughout the world. So, every Muslim should carry out his real role to champion his Islamic nation and religion."

After the release of the videos, the government of Kuwait stripped Abu Ghaith of his citizenship. He then moved to Iran in 2002 and was placed in a loose form of house arrest in 2003, according to reports. He is believed to have then illegally entered Turkey, where he was apprehended several weeks ago, deported to Jordan, and then placed in U.S. custody.

Though much of his rhetoric included empty threats, they were taken seriously by the Bush administration, including a claim that al Qaeda had a "right to kill four million Americans, including one million children, displace double that figure, and injure and cripple hundreds and thousands."

As Long War Journal noted, former CIA director George Tenet wrote in his book that it "would have been easy to dismiss his ranting as the hyperbole of a deranged man," but the government "had to consider the possibility that Abu Ghaith was attempting to justify the future use of weapons of mass destruction that might greatly exceed the death toll of 9/11." From now on, those empty threats will have to come from a prison cell, it seems.


Kazakh website hosts vote for beautiful women in uniform

China's People's Daily may have taken some heat this week for publishing what the Shanghaiist described as a "leering" slide show of a "beautiful" journalist, but some news outlets in Kazakhstan have been one-upping the Communist Party daily when it comes to misogyny. This week, in honor of International Women's Day on March 8, the Kazakh website Vox Populi is hosting a Miss Military Kazakhstan contest -- encouraging readers to vote not for models but for "beauties" from various military and law-enforcement units who "wear shoulder straps" and guard the country. 

On Wednesday, Kazakhstan's Tengri News reported on the competition as if it were a horse race:

Judging by the current results of voting the National Guard of Kazakhstan has the most beautiful officers. Three girls from the National Guard of Kazakhstan have taken the leading positions in the rating: Sergeant of the National Guard Bibigul Sauytova from Astana is in the first place, Junior Sergeant of the National Guard Saltant Bayzhumanova from Astana is in the second place and Sergeant of the National Guard Natalya Fokina is in the third place.

It's not clear how many times this particular contest has been held, but Tengri News reports that authorities in the country do host an annual Lady of Kazakhstan Police contest, with the winner appearing on the cover of a police magazine.

Which brings us back to International Women's Day. According to the website for the century-old celebration, the "tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts." In keeping with that tradition, Vox Populi will award Miss Military Kazakhstan with a digital camera. And in a separate development, Tengri News is reporting that police in the country will give female drivers flowers and forgive them traffic violations in honor of the holiday. So, there's that.