When we last left the genius who apparently thought that what al Qaeda's global death cult needed most was to embark on a print media enterprise, he was ... well, he was dead, actually. Samir Khan, the "Saudi-born, New York-raised" propagandist behind Inspire, the Lapham's Quarterly for bomb-mad terrorist weirdos, had been killed in one of those fun extrajudicial drone strikes that have become all the rage. Prior to that, Khan and his editorial team had commemorated the 9/11 attacks in "sour grapes" fashion.
Anyone looking for evidence that al Qaeda had been organizationally degraded in the decade since 9/11 would have found it in abundance in the pages of any issue of Inspire. Its debut issue urged young jihadis to "make a bomb in the kitchen of [their] mom" -- a sort of menacing version of the advice Alton Brown dishes out on the Food Network. Another issue featured a story suggesting that a good way to strike fear in the hearts of infidels would be to trick out your pickup truck to make it "the ultimate mowing machine," and terrorize sidewalk pedestrians.
Basically, these are the sort of convoluted, outlandish plans for villainy and mayhem that South Park's Professor Chaos would have deemed to be clownish.
Nevertheless, despite recent setbacks (that whole having your editor-in-chief killed thingy), Inspire is back, and it has new ideas for al Qaeda wannabes, chief among them ... uhm -- setting forest fires? Am I reading that correctly, ABC News' Randy Krieder?
The magazines have also lost some of the snark and American colloquialisms favored by the U.S.-raised Samir Khan, who memorably titled one of his articles urging Western Muslims to wage lone wolf attacks "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom." But issue nine carries equally lethal advice, with "It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb," which gives detailed instructions on how to ignite an "ember bomb" in a U.S. forest, recommending Montana because of the rapid population growth in wooded areas.
"In America, there are more houses built in the [countryside] than in the cities," says the writer, who uses the pseudonym The AQ Chef. "It is difficult to choose a better place [than] in the valleys of Montana."
Daily Intel's Brett Smiley gives good quip: "Little do Inspire magazine subscribers know that the U.S. already has arsonists and meth heads who will set fire to brush and historic trees."
Elsewhere, Krieder reports that the quality of the copyediting in Inspire has fallen considerably, with one story that seeks to assess what's happening on the battlefield between al Qaeda and the West getting the headline, "Wining On The Ground," which would be a more appropriate title for a piece on planning the perfect Napa Valley picnic. Of terror!
Anyway, it looks like Inspire's quest for an Ellie will remain unfulfilled.[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]