Taking his lead from Queen Elizabeth of England and US presidents, Osama Bin Laden is to release a Christmas video.
"It's his message for all the people of the world at this special time of the year," said an Al Qaeda PR spokesman.
The organization would not reveal details of the video except to say that "it might contain a few surprises".
Terrorism experts and news networks are said to be looking forward to the video. "With all the goodwill that the holiday season generates, it's a lean time of the year for folks like us," said one War-on-Terror pundit. "This should help produce some much-needed appearance fees and boost our book sales. It's time that people stopped being so indulgent at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever, and realized that they should be just as afraid as they are the rest of the year."
Whereas previous Al Qaeda videos have been leaked through Middle Eastern news agencies, Bin Laden's Christmas recording will be available on Youtube and for download from iTunes, claimed the PR spokesman. He was unable to say if the file would be DRM-free.
Personal Protection for Al Qaeda Boss
According to unnamed sources, Osama Bin Laden has signed a deal with US-based LethalResponse Inc to provide personal protection services, secure transportation and "ad hoc operational capability".
One Syrian-based source said: "We believe he looked at using Blackwater at first, but wasn't impressed by the negative publicity they seem to be getting. Image is important for a terrorist leader and he thought any association with Blackwater might tarnish his reputation."
It's thought that Bin Laden has taken this step because of the increasing lawlessness and violence in some areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. "In Bora Bora and the desolate border areas, not even the Al Qaeda top brass feel safe anymore," said one local tribesman. "It's like the Wild West out here."
Little is known about LethalResponse. Defense experts have claimed that it maintains links with members of the current US cabinet, some of whom may be silent board members. And they say it recruits mercenaries from ex-members of the US Marine Corps, LAPD, university campus guards and visitors to gun shows.
Some members of Congress have already raised concerns about this new deal. Like Blackwater and many other private security companies, LethalResponse has a number of contracts in Iraq. For example, it is responsible for protecting convoys delivering the large amounts of cash needed to pay private security contractors. "They don't call them soldiers of fortune for nothing," said Senator Ignatius 'Piggy' Barrell (Republican).
He added: "This does suggest a certain conflict of interest. However, I think we can leave this to market forces. It's not our place to intervene in what are essentially matters of private enterprise."
Things that go bang in the night
The creature that has haunted the nightmares of generations of children has now confessed to being a member of terrorist group Al Qaeda.
The Bogeyman (also known as the 'Boogeyman' in states that do not believe in evolution) says that he joined an insurgent cell in Iraq, financed by Osama bin Laden, two years ago. This followed a period of self-doubt and depression during which he began to question his very existence.
"In this world of YouTube and MySpace, there just doesn't seem to be a place for mythical creatures like me any more," said the beast via his publicist, Steven King, in Fallujah. "It was really getting me down and I started to think, 'what's the point?'."
Then the evil specter heard about Al Qaeda. "I hadn't really been following the news — I'd kinda given up because every time you turn it on it's always bad. So it took me a while to hear about these guys."
The Bogeyman says he might have been misled about the nature of the terrorists.
"I already had the facial hair and like to hide out in caves," he said. "So I thought, 'hey, these guys are just like me'. I figured it would be like joining a club, or something."
Moving from New Jersey to Iraq was the biggest shock of his existence, said the beast. "Hell, you think some parts of Newark are rough. You should try getting a pizza after 9pm in Sadr City."
After two years of hiding in the desert, eating bugs and biting the heads off private security guards, the Bogeyman said he'd had enough. "One day I just freaked," he said. "It was like I'd got two years' worth of The Willies. I mean, these guys are really scary."
The Bogeyman said he would be leaving the Middle East and returning to the US as soon as he could get a flight from Baghdad. Surprisingly, he said he has had no problem with no-fly lists. "Maybe that's because I always travel first class," he said.
A White House spokesman said that President George W Bush would now be sleeping with the light on.
Santa Claus has been classified as an 'enemy insurgent' by the Department of Homeland Defense (DHS) and the Pentagon. If the jolly fat man shows his ruddy face in US airspace, he is liable to be shot down or captured and sent to Guantanamo Bay, said a spokesman for the DHS.
"Someone who goes around distributing high-value gifts for free is a clear and present danger to our way of life, founded as it is on the principles of capitalism. We have evidence that these so-called 'gifts' include Playstations, mobile phones and iPods. No-one gives stuff like that away for nothing. There has to be something behind this. At the very least the guy's a commie, but more likely he's a terrorist determined to undermine our society."
The spokesman pointed to the legend that such gifts are given only to 'boys and girls'. "This is a direct attack on the most vulnerable section of our community. We have an obligation to put a stop to this — you know, for the children."
He also emphasised that the only children who were promised such gifts were those who had been 'good'.
"What this means is children who are passive or timid," he explained. "That directly undermines the warriorlike ethos we have striven so hard to inculcate in our youngsters, through movies, video games, military academies and the general militarisation of our society. If this so-called Santa had his way, our children would grow up a nation of namby-pamby, peace-loving liberals. Then where would we be?"
Supported by a highly trained cadre of reindeer, Santa always works under the cover of darkness and repeatedly enters private homes by unconventional means, according to a Pentagon briefing. However, the traditional story that he breaks into every home in the world in one night is clearly impossible and points to the existence of a shadowy organisation, perhaps supporting a worldwide network of Santas who use the big white beard and red uniform to disguise their identities.
"What we want to know is, who's funding him and what's their agenda?" said a CIA agent who wished to remain anonymous. "But don't for a second doubt that their intention is malicious. Just one look at the horns on those reindeer will tell you that they mean business."
A major operation by the DHS has revealed a network of what it calls 'pseudo-Santas' or 'Santa sympathizers', working undercover in department stores across the country. A leaked memo describes the function of these fake fatties as "unclear" but says "they may represent a potential fifth column designed to spread propaganda and build support, or they may even be 'sleeper' cells awaiting the command to take action, which will probably be encoded in so-called 'carols'."
The DHS says it intends to take firm action against this new threat "as soon as our guys get back from the holidays".
Terror in the Air
Britain's anti-terror forces have foiled a plot by terrorists to use ordinary clothing as explosives. Troops, armed police and private security guards - in an operation described by one spokesman as being of "huge self-importance" - swooped on airports to prevent the so-called 'shell-suit bombs' from being used in a devastating attack on airlines.
The unprecented security clampdown saw passengers embarking at several major UK airports, including Birmingham, Liverpool and Little Snoring, being forced to travel naked.
"We have strong evidence that terrorists were planning to use unstable man-made fabrics to bring down aeroplanes on long-haul international flights," said a spokesman for the security forces. "In particular, our intelligence pointed to flights terminating at Disney World, Florida and Malaga."
The spokesman said that the operation was the culmination of several months of monitoring internet chatrooms in which a number of people had been discussing the electrical properties of nylon. "This operation has prevented a fashion catastrophe of unprecented horror," said the spokesman.
Experts wheeled out by Britain's Home Office claimed that certain artificial fibres, when combined in the right way, are capable of unleashing energy capable of wreaking incalculable carnage.
"These fibres are easily obtainable in any high street," said Dr Felicity Crippen of the Government Agenda Support Institute. "When they are brought together, they generate an explosive force equivalent to several molecules of TNT. Get enough items of clothing in one place and you have a bomb of unimaginable horror."
The intelligence operation apparently centred on certain branches of Asda, C&A and Milletts. A sudden increase in sales of shell suits prompted the authorities to take action. "Milletts had a sale," said one unnamed anti-terror officer who can only be identified by his silhouette. "I mean, the prices were really amazingly low. And they sold out of shell suits in two days. That's when we knew we had to strike."
When asked about the timing of the operation, Chief Inspector Willy Woantee, head of the Special Branch Public Awareness Diversion Squad, pointed to a recent lack of terror alerts and some very disturbing stories coming out of the Middle East. "It was the right time, without a doubt," he said.
Asked whether arrests of terror suspects were expected in the near future, Chief Inspector Woantee said, "We are expecting a large number of arrests in Liverpool." When pushed as to whether any of these would be related to the terror plot he added, "It's too soon to tell".
Several airlines have released statements pointing out that they don't fly from these airports, but that in response to government pressure they would be considering banning clothes on all budget flights.