Why does al-Qaeda regularly release video tapes showing images of Osama bin-Laden that contain nothing dated (like a newspaper page) to show he’s still alive, with a voice-over that may?or may not?be his? Since these tapes don’t provide proof that he’s alive, what’s the point? It may be this: no matter who’s doing the talking, the words contain hidden messages to “sleeper cells,” telling them it’s time for a new attack.

When bin-Laden’s message was broadcast over the al-Jazeera satellite channel last weekend, only one country was named: Kuwait. “Islamic countries that take part will not be excluded,” the voice claiming to be bin-Laden said. “This applies particularly to the Gulf states, particularly Kuwait, a launching pad for the crusader forces.”

On November 2nd, Kuwait will begin the trial of six people charged with being part of an Islamic terrorist network. “We believe this was directed at al-Qaeda’s large sleeper network in Kuwait to move into action,” says an intelligence source. “There’s nothing more specific than this.”

Where are these sleeper cells? The U.K. says al-Qaeda established a large network of terrorist agents there. Eliza Manningham-Buller, the director of Britain’s MI5, says al-Qaeda has recruited people who have already blended into British society and they have been ordered to maintain normal lives until they receive orders from al-Qaeda. She says, “The timing of any attack is of their choosing and for them patience is part of the struggle.”

Governments?as well as terrorists?are excellent at keeping secrets.

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