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    "May God bless you my brothers, but the password is wrong:" Web problems hit release of al Qaeda 9/11 video

    An al Qaeda video to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks has appeared on the Internet more than a week late, after Islamist websites it uses went down and a technical glitch further delayed its distribution.

    The delay of the much-touted 87-minute video, and the disappearance of the main Islamist sites -- possibly after being targeted by hackers -- have marred al Qaeda's usual celebration of its attacks on U.S. cities in 2001.

    Excerpts from the video -- a compilation of documentary footage and messages by al Qaeda leaders including its deputy head Ayman al-Zawahri -- were aired on September 8 by Al Jazeera television, which did not say how it obtained them.

    But the full version hit websites only on Friday, eight days after the anniversary. Al Qaeda has marked the date in the past with timely releases, including a tape on September 7 last year in which leader Osama bin Laden appeared on video for the first time in nearly three years, addressing the American people.

    Al Qaeda attaches great importance to spreading web-based propaganda and know-how through its specialist media arm as-Sahab, whose productions are often highly professional.

    It was unclear why the websites normally favored by the group had gone down. By Saturday, the two most popular were still out of action.

    India's Hindustan Times pointed the finger at Internet intelligence websites, which responded in tongue-in-cheek fashion.

    Rusty Shackleford of My Pet Jawa (www.mypetjawa.mu.nu) denied his web group was behind any cyber-attack on the websites. "But if I was responsible I'd deny it," he added.

    Aaron Weisburd of www.internet-haganah.com wrote: "The actual reasons for this are not known to me (and I would say that even if I actually knew what was going on)."

    When less popular Islamist websites finally managed to post links to the much-hyped video -- which includes a "last will" recording by one of the September 11 hijackers -- downloaders noted that the password given to them was wrong.

    This further delayed the release and unnerved al Qaeda sympathizers, one of whom wrote: "May God bless you my brothers, but the password is wrong."

    The video, in which Zawahri accused Iran of taking part in a Western "crusade" against Islam, showed apparently recent footage of senior al Qaeda figure Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, casting doubt on a report that he was killed on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan last month.

    The closure of the Sunni websites coincided with an apparently widespread cyberattack which shut down some 300 Shi'ite Muslim sites, according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency. Fars blamed this on hardline Wahhabi Sunni hackers in the United Arab Emirates.

    Hackers calling themselves Group XP took responsibility for defacing the website (www.sistani.org) of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's highest Shi'ite authority. The group said the Shi'ite sites were attacked for "offending Sunnis."

    Visitors could push a button to see U.S. humorist Bill Maher making fun of Sistani's religious edicts on a television show segment posted on youtube.com.

    (Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

    By Firouz Sedarat
    Saturday, September 20, 2008; 7:43 AM

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    Calling all patriotic hackers! Calling all patriotic hackers! I think it's time to give those web servers serious bellyaches.
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