The al Qaeda name
The BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares is often quoted by 9/11 researchers, in particular for its analysis of al Qaeda. One of the claims it makes is that there is "no evidence that bin Laden used the term “Al Qaeda” to refer to the name of a group until after September the 11th, when he realized that this was the term the Americans have given it". Here's the context to that:
There is "no evidence that bin Laden used the term “Al Qaeda” to refer to the name of a group until after September the 11th, when he realized that this was the term the Americans have given it"?
Here’s a comment bin Ladin made from an October 2001 interview:
When was the name first established? Lawrence Wright in The Looming Tower points to a document called the "Tareek Osama", "a collection of memos, letters, and notes that were taken from an al Qaeda computer captured in Bosnia and entered into evidence in United States v Enaam Arnout". One of these documents details a meeting on August 11, 1988, "when the name al-Qaeda first surfaces", and includes snippets like the following:
Read the United States v Enaam Arnout evidentiary proffer for more.
Wright is sceptical about parts of the document, and its poor translation, but reports communicating with one of the meeting participants (through an intermediary) and receiving confirmation that it happened, and that a vote was taken at the end of the meeting on the formation of al Qaeda.
"Special forces and CIA legend" Billy Waugh reports first hearing the name al Qaeda in 1992:
Wright tells us that the French mentioned al Qaeda in 1993:
Another early reference to al Qaeda came in this US State Department statement on bin Ladin from August 14th 1996:
This information came from a State Department report summarised in Mideast Mirror:
There’s definitely evidence for widespread use of the name al Qaeda before 9/11, then, including confirmation from bin Laden himself. The Power of Nightmares claim simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny.