On a recently released videotape, a man believed to be American-born al-Qaida member Adam Gadahn warns of forthcoming terror attacks: "Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Allah willing," the man on the tape says. Most intelligence analysts who have commented on the message have focused on the vulnerability of L.A., leaving some pundits wondering why the implied threat to Australia has been all but ignored. A reason may lurk in these further excerpts from the tape, never published before now.
"Yes, the nest of vipers that is Los Angeles will fall under the righteous force of al-Qaida's holy jihad. But so will the modern-day Gomorrah of Melbourne, Fla., feel our mighty wrath. We will strike at the fetid heart of this Ground Zero of sin, beginning with the destruction of its decadent King Center for the Performing Arts. No more will the heathen youth of Melbourne pour into their great, gleaming temple of iniquity to lose their souls to the depraved siren song of their whore goddess Debbie Reynolds. We will put a bloody end to ballet recitals and ventriloquism shows alike, till a great wailing goes up amongst the ranks of the anguished season-ticket holders.
"When we have razed the obscene King Center to the ground, we will take our revenge on the city at large. We will pounce at the zoos and libraries, at the curio shops and soft-serve ice cream stands. The breakneck velocity of Melbourne's cosmopolitan lifestyle will come to a miserable standstill, as we punish all who dwell there for continuing to support the wicked U.S. regime that enslaves our people and defies Allah's will.
"Neither will we spare the lives of those in Melbourne who voted for the infidel dog challenger, John Kerry. They, too, will suffer, as soon as we can figure out which miniature-golf course the both of them are hiding on."
Some generalized, vaguely intelligible doomsaying follows, and then there is this:
"The great divine purging will start in Melbourne, but it will not end there. Oh, no, my friends. The evil ones will know they are under siege when we lay waste to their proud metropolis of Haines City. Our assault will be as daring as it is unpredictable. Will we act during one of their infernal bass-fishing tournaments? Or will we instead choose to brutally disrupt the ceremonial hunt for crappie? Perhaps the joyous sound of clogging will be met by the pathetic weeping of new widows, or the Senior Games will suffer losses whose like has not been seen since the 1972 Olympics. Woe to you, Haines City, you crumbling citadel of debauchery! Your cutest-baby contests are as vulnerable to Allah's avenging sword as is your contemptible two-for-one happy hour at Wylies Lounge!"
More semi-comprehensible prophesying. Then:
"In making our vengeful intentions known, we recognize that the loathsome state of Florida is a nexus point for the so-called 'commerce' that puts the innocent nations of Islam in chains. And as we have done so spectacularly before, we intend to land a symbolic blow against the enemy's precious financial infrastructure. By striking in just the right place, and at just the right time, we will rain down utter chaos on the ill-gotten economy of the entire Southeast. The interstate trucker rubbing sleep from his eyes will be too groggy from a night of doing the Great Satan's bidding to prevent our swift and merciless attack. Precious petrol storehouses, roadside orange stands and fast-food restaurants will fall victim to this new incursion, which will likewise make smoking cinders of all novelty baseball hats declaring a preference for golf over marital intercourse. The way of the crusaders cannot prevail. Today, Yeehaw Junction; tomorrow, the world!"
He fires a Super Soaker into the air as a show of defiance, then continues.
"Know ye, too, that the glorious armies of al-Qaida will not stop at the wretched Junction of Yeehaw. The territories that will yield to our onslaught are as numerous as our side is strong and our cause is just. The battle cry of the patriot will be heard in Bushnell. It will be heard in Poinciana. It will resound throughout Howey-in-the-Hills. And if Allah so decrees and the wind is at our back, we might even make it to Eustis, though that's kind of a haul."
The figure on the tape produces a AAA map and prays over it for a few moments before resuming.
"The end is nigh for the handmaidens of the Devil. The depraved encampments of the West cannot help but fall beneath our marvelous forward charge. And any satellite community of a third-rate metropolis may be next.
"When we again spring into action, the effects will be sweeping the stuff of nightmares. The loss of life will be catastrophic. The property damage will reach into the billions. Families will be rent in two, their children turned out of their homes and sent to wander the streets like Third World orphans. Thus will the American people truly know that their lives are completely expendable, and that their weak and spineless leaders are incapable of protecting them. All this we will do by bringing to bear the meticulous planning and technological sophistication that have become synonymous with our most feared name.
"Or, we'll just pray for rain."