But threat of terror network's deadly reach continues to be hyped by global arms contractors, security corporations, media and government
Former CIA case officer Marc Sageman says the membership of "Al-Qaeda" has dwindled to a paltry two dozen people, and its leadership is completely cut off from the mostly "petty criminals and gang members" that are now the target of the war on terror.
Such a sweeping denouncement of the strength of Al-Qaeda is at odds with the constantly hyped threat of the terror network by media outlets and government.
"Dr Sageman said al-Qaeda's leaders had been all but cut off from the current crop of jihadists and comprised no more than two dozen people. The threat was now coming from home-grown young men in their early 20s who recruited mostly on the internet," reports news.com.au.
"Sageman said there were "potentially thousands" of these "new" terrorists, although they were incapable of replacing older terror networks because of their self-organising, independent structure. Many were petty criminals or gang members who eventually drifted back to their Islamic roots."
Sageman's conclusions also wildly contradict the findings of a recent military intelligence report, which asserted that Al-Qaeda had restored itself to pre-9/11 strength.
The ex-CIA man's words are likely to be swept under the carpet by global arms contractors and security companies, who have collectively made well over a trillion dollars by propping up the specter of Al-Qaeda's deadly threat.
"When the dust finally settles on the 'War on Terror', the next generation will look back on the politicians, media and security corporations mega-hyping of the Al Qaeda threat, and view it all in a similar way to how we now look back on those who claimed their nations were infected with witches in the 1600s and 1700s. That is, with disbelief and disdain," comments blogger Darryl Mason.
"Future generations will also probably wonder why leaders like President Bush, former British prime minister Tony Blair and soon-to-be-former Australian prime minister John Howard expounded so much energy, money and fear-mongering in hyping the "worldwide" threat posed by Al Qaeda."