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April 24, 2015 14

Adam Gadahn, American Al Qaeda Spokesman, Reported Dead

Adam GadahnOn Thurs­day, the White House announced that Adam Gadahn, an Amer­i­can spokesman for Al Qaeda, was killed in a Jan­u­ary drone strike. Although less vis­i­ble in recent years, Gadahn was at the fore­front of cre­at­ing English-language ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda – an ini­tia­tive that has evolved into a sophis­ti­cated recruit­ment and rad­i­cal­iza­tion mechanism.

Gadahn’s death comes as English-language pro­pa­ganda released by ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions is influ­enc­ing an ever increas­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans to join extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions. As of this date, thirty-one peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. have been impli­cated in ter­ror­ism moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism in 2015 alone, a sig­nif­i­cant increase from the total num­ber of arrests in 2014 and in 2013.

Later Amer­i­can pro­pa­gan­dists for Al Qaeda affil­i­ates, such as Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, founders of Inspire mag­a­zine who were killed in a drone strike in 2011, have become more influ­en­tial than Gadahn in extrem­ist cir­cles. And as online tech­nol­ogy has advanced, groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have dra­mat­i­cally increased the reach and influ­ence of English-language calls to violence.

Gadahn, how­ever, was not only the first Amer­i­can to incite extrem­ism on behalf of Al Qaeda, but pre­sum­ably until his death remained the pri­mary English-language spokesman for Al Qaeda’s Cen­tral organization.

Gadahn’s first pro­pa­ganda piece for Al Qaeda was an audio trans­la­tion of an Osama bin Laden speech. In 2004, he began to appear in videos using the nom de guerre Azzam Al-Amriki and to pro­mote attacks against the U.S.

In the ensu­ing years, he released mul­ti­ple videos that reflected his anti-Semitic and anti-Christian views and were marked by threats against Amer­ica and its allies.

Gadahn also called for lone-wolf attacks. In a 2011 video, he stated, “Amer­ica is absolutely awash with eas­ily obtain­able firearms” and that lis­ten­ers can “go down to a gun show at the local con­ven­tion cen­ter and come away with a fully auto­matic assault rifle with­out a back­ground check and most likely with­out hav­ing to show an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card.”  He con­cluded, “So what are you wait­ing for?”

Gadahn’s most recent video was released in May 2014. Like his pre­vi­ous state­ments, it fea­tured calls for attacks against the U.S. as well as anti-Semitic rhetoric and con­cluded with clips of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, fight­ing in Syria, and ter­ror­ism in Israel, includ­ing a brief video clip of Jews pray­ing at the West­ern Wall, Judaism’s holi­est site, fol­lowed by footage of an explosion.

Gadahn was also fea­tured in an inter­view in the March 2013 issue of Inspire mag­a­zine, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine. In it, he called on his fel­low pro­pa­gan­dists to “make every effort to reach out to Mus­lims both through new media like Face­book and Twit­ter as well as the tra­di­tional broad­cast and print media.” Gadahn also used the inter­view to call for attacks against “Amer­ica and its NATO part­ners, par­tic­u­larly France and Britain.”

Gadahn was born in Ore­gon in 1978 and grew up in Cal­i­for­nia. He con­verted to Islam as a teenager and allegedly grew rad­i­cal­ized shortly there­after. In the late 1990s, Gadahn trav­eled to Pak­istan and joined Al Qaeda.

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May 2, 2014 0

Adam Gadahn Issues New Video Threatening the U.S

Adam Gadahn, an Amer­i­can English-language spokesper­son for Al Qaeda, has released a new video call­ing for attacks against the U.S.gadahn-egypt-video

The video, pro­duced by As-Sahab media, the media wing of Al Qaeda’s cen­tral orga­ni­za­tion, is pri­mar­ily directed at Egypt­ian youth, denounc­ing the cur­rent regime and call­ing for the impo­si­tion of Islamist gov­er­nance. Although the video was in Ara­bic, it was pro­duced with Eng­lish subtitles.

The cen­tral por­tion of the video shifted focus to the U.S. Against footage of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 attacks, Gadahn stated that the “coup in Egypt has con­firmed the need to con­front Amer­ica…. It is essen­tial to fight Amer­ica. It is essen­tial for every youth in Egypt to strive to emu­late the mar­tyred cham­pion Muham­mad Atta (among the 9/11 hijack­ers) and his mag­nif­i­cent com­pan­ions, who sold them­selves cheaply to Allah for their Ummah’s free­dom, honor, and future. It is essen­tial to wage Jihad against Amer­ica and inflict slaugh­ter on it…”

Gadahn also used the video to place blame for the coup that installed the cur­rent mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment and “crimes against Islam and Mus­lims” on “the Jews and the cru­saders.”  This fol­lows a com­mon theme of includ­ing anti-Semitic tropes in Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda.

Some indica­tive quotes include:

  • “This crim­i­nal Pharoanic clique [the cur­rent gov­ern­ment] is noth­ing but the pro­tec­tor of the Jews and the agent of the west­ern cru­saders which lives on their hand­outs and bribes.”
  • “Power, force, arms, ammu­ni­tion and lead­er­ship of armies must be in trust­wor­thy Mus­lim hands not in the hands of the sec­u­lar offi­cers and hyp­o­crit­i­cal kigns and emirs who are the friends of the West and pro­tec­tors of the Jews.”

Con­clud­ing footage in the video also included clips of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, fight­ing in Syria, and ter­ror­ism in Israel, includ­ing a brief video clip of Jews pray­ing at the West­ern Wall, Judaism’s holi­est site, fol­lowed by footage of an explosion.

Adam Gadahn has a long his­tory of using online media to call for attacks on the U.S. In 2011, for exam­ple, he was fea­tured in a video say­ing that, “Mus­lims in the West have to remem­ber that they are per­fectly placed to play an impor­tant and deci­sive part in the jihad against the Zion­ists and Cru­saders and to do major dam­age to the ene­mies of Islam.”

This video adds to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of online media that frames Al Qaeda’s nar­ra­tive in Eng­lish for inter­na­tional con­sump­tion, encour­ag­ing inter­na­tional radicalization.

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March 4, 2013 3

New Inspire Magazine Hits Digital Newsstands

The tenth issue of Inspire mag­a­zine, released by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula last Thurs­day, offers its read­ers an array of ideas and advice for sup­port­ing the global jihadist movement.

In the issue, lone wolf attacks are specif­i­cally encour­aged: “Praises [to] the Knights of Lone Jihad…You are Lethal! You are Dev­as­tat­ing!” Would-be lone wolves are advised to engage in attacks on the road by caus­ing traf­fic acci­dents and torch­ing parked vehi­cles, as well as assas­si­nat­ing polit­i­cal lead­ers and for­mer polit­i­cal lead­ers who may be less pro­tected (Amer­i­can, British and French for­mer polit­i­cal oper­a­tives and diplo­mats are men­tioned by name).

Fol­low­ing Thursday’s release of Inspire, AQAP also released a com­pi­la­tion of the advice it has pub­lished for car­ry­ing out attacks as the “Lone Mujahid Pocketbook.”

Inspire also con­tains an inter­view with the Amer­i­can spokesman for Al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn. If the inter­view proves to be authen­tic, it is the first English-language mes­sage from Gadahn since a June 2011 video in which he called on Amer­i­can Mus­lims to launch lone wolf attacks on U.S. soil.  He has, how­ever, more recently appeared in Arabic-language videos dis­cussing the Arab Spring and Al Qaeda’s role in it.

Gadahn, who was a pio­neer in the field of so-called “jihadi media,” reit­er­ates its pur­ported impor­tance in the inter­view, call­ing on his fel­low pro­pa­gan­dists to “make every effort to reach out to Mus­lims both through new media like Face­book and Twit­ter as well as the tra­di­tional broad­cast and print media.” 

In an appar­ent call for vio­lence, Gadahn instructs “mujahideen around the world” to focus their efforts on “direct engage­ment at home and abroad with Amer­ica and its NATO part­ners, par­tic­u­larly France and Britain.” 

Another arti­cle from the mag­a­zine, called “We Are All Usama,” which focuses on the need for Mus­lim unity in the face of insults by the West, was used by jihadist hack­ers to replace sev­eral uni­ver­sity web­sites on Fri­day and over the weekend. 

The mag­a­zine con­tin­ues to focus on the Sep­tem­ber 2011 deaths of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born rad­i­cal cleric who became a lead­ing ide­o­logue and com­man­der of AQAP; and Samir Khan, who was believed to be respon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing the first issues of Inspire. Al-Awlaki and Khan, as well as a third indi­vid­ual named Abu Yazeed al-Qatari, are fea­tured in a “let­ter to the edi­tor” that praises the men for their com­mit­ment to jihad.

This issue is the first major media effort by AQAP in Eng­lish since May 2012, when it released the last two issues of Inspire, a recruit­ing pam­phlet, and a col­lec­tion of Osama bin Laden state­ments

Although Inspire con­tin­ues to solicit con­tri­bu­tions from its read­ers, dig­i­tal copies of the mag­a­zine appear to be secured which doesn’t allow for the mag­a­zine to be printed. This may be an effort to pre­vent its use as evi­dence in ter­ror­ism cases; the mag­a­zine has often been found in the pos­ses­sion of ter­ror­ism sus­pects as both a source of rad­i­cal­iz­ing mate­r­ial and for its easy-to-follow instruc­tions for car­ry­ing out attacks. 

In a fur­ther move to raise the level of secu­rity, AQAP also issued a state­ment on jihadist forums over the week­end indi­cat­ing that it would no longer com­mu­ni­cate with indi­vid­ual sup­port­ers plan­ning attacks via email and urged those already in con­tact to stop immediately.

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