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May 3, 2013 0

Boston Marathon Bombers Inspired By Anwar al-Awlaki

Reports are emerg­ing that Tamer­lan and Dzkhokhar Tsar­naev, the broth­ers allegedly respon­si­ble for the April 15 Boston Marathon bomb­ings, were rad­i­cal­ized, at least in part, by rad­i­cal cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.awlaki-boston-marathon-bombing-adl

Dzokhar, the sur­viv­ing Tsar­naev brother, report­edly told law enforce­ment offi­cials that he and his brother were inspired by Awlaki ser­mons avail­able online. Awlaki, an American-born Mus­lim cleric who encour­aged attacks against Amer­ica and the West, deliv­ered his ide­ol­ogy of extreme intol­er­ance and vio­lence to English-speaking online audi­ences for sev­eral years.

Prior to his death in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2011, Awlaki influ­enced a gen­er­a­tion of extrem­ists in the U.S and abroad. One indi­ca­tion of Awlaki’s wide­spread influ­ence is the num­ber of extrem­ists that have been found in pos­ses­sion of his mate­ri­als. In addi­tion to the Boston Bomb­ings, Awlaki’s influ­ence can be seen in at least nine other plots:

  • Quazi Nafis, who pleaded guilty to attempt­ing to bomb the New York Fed­eral Reserve Build­ing in Octo­ber 2012, report­edly watched Awlaki videos and admired him, accord­ing to friends and fed­eral officials.
  • Adel Daoud, who was arrested in Sep­tem­ber 2012 and charged with plot­ting to bomb a Chicago-area bar, shared Awlaki lec­tures with his friends.
  • Jose Pimentel, who was arrested and charged with state-level ter­ror­ism offense in New York for plan­ning to attack mil­i­tary per­son­nel and other tar­gets in Novem­ber 2011, posted at least fif­teen Awlaki videos to his YouTube chan­nel. On his web­site, Pimentel called Awlaki “The Destroyer Of The US” and posted tran­scripts of his mes­sages. Pimentel report­edly accel­er­ated his bomb-building efforts in response to Awlaki’s death in a US drone strike in Sep­tem­ber 2011.
  • Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, who was sen­tenced for his plot to attack a mil­i­tary facil­ity in Seat­tle in June 2011, sub­scribed to a YouTube chan­nel fea­tur­ing Awlaki videos.  In one of the videos Abdul-Latif made him­self, he laments that Pres­i­dent Obama “put a hit out on Anwar al-Awlaki, our brother sheikh.”
  • Anto­nio Mar­tinez, who was sen­tenced for attempt­ing to det­o­nate what he believed to be a car bomb at a Mary­land Army recruit­ing cen­ter in Decem­ber 2010, con­veyed to an under­cover infor­mant his admi­ra­tion for Awlaki.  On his Face­book pro­file, Mar­tinez sim­i­larly broad­cast his appre­ci­a­tion of Awlaki, writ­ing, “I love Sheikh Anwar al Awlaki for the sake of ALLAH.  A real inspi­ra­tion for the Ummah, I dont care if he is on the ter­ror­ist list! May ALLAH give him Kire amen [sic].”
  • Farooque Ahmed, who was sen­tenced for his role in a plot to attack DC-area pub­lic trans­porta­tion in 2010, was found to be in pos­ses­sion of CDs con­tain­ing Awlaki lec­tures and speeches.
  • Faisal Shahzad, who was sen­tenced to life in prison for his failed attempt to bomb Times Square in 2010, told inves­ti­ga­tors he was influ­enced by Awlaki.
  • Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 peo­ple at Fort Hood, Texas, sent 16 emails to Awlaki and received two responses.  In the after­math of the attack, Awlaki claimed he “blessed the act because it was against a mil­i­tary tar­get,” gave Hasan “per­mis­sion to carry out his attacks at Fort Hood,” and instructed him to “kill other Amer­i­can sol­diers,” although his email responses were rel­a­tively innocuous.
  • Five men who con­spired to attack the Fort Dix army base in New Jer­sey in 2007 were report­edly in pos­ses­sion of an Awlaki ser­mon and were also report­edly recorded dis­cussing the lec­ture enthusiastically.
awlaki-samir-kahn-inspire-aqap

Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan

Awlaki was also a con­trib­u­tor to Inspire mag­a­zine which influ­enced numer­ous inter­na­tional and domes­tic extrem­ists moti­vated by rad­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tions of Islam. Fed­eral law enforce­ment offi­cials report­edly con­firmed that the Tsar­naev broth­ers got bomb-making instruc­tions from Inspire mag­a­zine.

Addi­tion­ally, Awlaki is believed to have per­son­ally instructed Umar Farouk Abdul­mu­tal­lab to det­o­nate his bomb aboard a transat­lantic flight from Ams­ter­dam to Detroit on Christ­mas Day 2009 over Amer­i­can air­space in order to max­i­mize casualties.

Awlaki’s influ­ence is not lim­ited to plots. His pro­pa­ganda also influ­enced a num­ber of indi­vid­u­als accused of pro­vid­ing or attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to ter­ror­ists. Recent exam­ples include Abdella Tounisi, four indi­vid­u­als from Cal­i­for­nia, Randy “Rasheed” Wil­son and Moham­mad Abukhdair. Notably, sev­eral Amer­i­can extrem­ists com­mu­ni­cated with Awlaki directly, includ­ing Nidal Has­san, Zachary Chesser and Barry Bujol, Jr.

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April 22, 2013 1

Inspire Magazine: A Staple Of Domestic Terror

Pres­sure Cooker Bomb From Inspire Magazine

Update — May 30: The eleventh issue of Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula’s Inspire mag­a­zine cel­e­brates the April 15 Boston Bomb­ing, praises the Tsar­naev broth­ers and encour­ages future attacks against the U.S.

Update — April 23: Fed­eral law enforce­ment offi­cials have report­edly con­firmed that Dzhokhar Tsar­naev and his brother got bomb-making instruc­tions from Inspire magazine.

Shortly after author­i­ties revealed that pres­sure cook­ers were used in the explo­sives det­o­nated at the Boston Marathon last week, numer­ous media out­lets began to report and spec­u­late that the bombs matched designs in Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula’s English-language ter­ror mag­a­zine, Inspire.

Let’s be clear, there is still no evi­dence that broth­ers Tamer­lan and Dzkhokhar Tsar­naev read the ter­ror­ist mag­a­zine or used its pres­sure cooker instruc­tions, which are not unique to Inspire. How­ever, the Tsarnaev’s online activ­ity and social media pro­files indi­cate some fas­ci­na­tion with mil­i­tancy and Islam that are con­sis­tent with other mes­sages of Inspire.

Numer­ous inter­na­tional and domes­tic extrem­ists moti­vated by rad­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tions of Islam have been influ­enced by the mag­a­zine and, in some cases, report­edly uti­lized the bomb mak­ing instruc­tions in their attempts to carry out attacks. In the United States, for example:

  • In Novem­ber 2012, Raees Qazi was arrested along with his brother, She­heryar, for allegedly plot­ting a bomb attack against unspec­i­fied tar­gets in New York City.  Raees report­edly admit­ted hav­ing read Inspire mag­a­zine, and a search of his home turned up bomb-making com­po­nents con­sis­tent with instruc­tions that can be found in an issue of Inspire he had read.
  • In Novem­ber 2011, Jose Pimentel was arrested and charged with state-level ter­ror­ism offenses in New York after he allegedly came close to com­plet­ing three bombs based on an Inspire design. Pimentel’s web­site, “True Islam,” also reposted PDF copies of Inspire mag­a­zine. Pimentel appar­ently had planned to attack return­ing U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel, post office and police tar­gets. He is still await­ing trial.
  • In July 2011, Naser Jason Abdo was arrested at a motel in Killeen, Texas, where author­i­ties claimed that he was plot­ting to attack a restau­rant fre­quented by mil­i­tary per­son­nel based at Fort Hood.  Bomb mak­ing com­po­nents were recov­ered from the motel room. The arti­cle “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” from the first issue of Inspire mag­a­zine was report­edly also found in his room. Abdo has since been sen­tenced to life-in-prison for his attempted attack.
  • Adel Daoud, who was arrested in Sep­tem­ber 2012 and charged with plot­ting to bomb a Chicago-area bar, sent his friends copies of the mag­a­zine in order to “brain­wash them,” and called Inspire “the best mag­a­zine I have read.”

Inspire’s solic­i­ta­tion for reader con­tri­bu­tions have also played a role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion process of other would be bombers in the U.S.

  • Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was con­victed of attempt­ing to bomb the 2010 Christ­mas Tree Light­ing in Port­land, Ore­gon, allegedly wrote and sub­mit­ted an arti­cle to Inspire, although it was not published.
  • Quazi Nafis, who pleaded guilty to attempt­ing to bomb the New York Fed­eral Reserve Build­ing in Octo­ber 2012, also wrote an arti­cle that he sup­pos­edly planned to sub­mit to Inspire after his attack in which he described his desire to “destroy America.”

Most recently, in Novem­ber 2012, four men from South­ern Cal­i­for­nia were arrested and charged with plan­ning to travel abroad to Afghanistan to fight along­side the Tal­iban and Al Qaeda. Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, the inves­ti­ga­tion began in Jan­u­ary 2012 when one of the men was searched as he crossed the U.S.-Mexico bor­der and was found to have a copy of Inspire in his possession.

Samir Khan, a 24-year-old Amer­i­can known for dis­trib­ut­ing ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda mate­r­ial online, was the prin­ci­pal author of Inspire before he was killed by a U.S. drone strike on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2011.

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September 20, 2012 0

Chicago Teen Arrested For “Violent Jihad” Bomb Plot

Adel Daoud Photo From Facebook

An 18-year-old Chicagoan was arrested last week by the FBI for attempt­ing to det­o­nate what he believed was a car bomb out­side a bar in down­town Chicago. The plot was appar­ently intended as retal­i­a­tion for America’s per­ceived war with Islam and “oppres­sion against Muslims.”

Adel Daoud was arrested after try­ing to set off a fake device set up by FBI agents as a part of a sting oper­a­tion. Fed­eral author­i­ties began mon­i­tor­ing Daoud in Octo­ber 2011, after dis­cov­er­ing his rad­i­cal posts on Jihadist Inter­net forums.

His online activ­ity included send­ing friends copies of Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Peninsula’s English-language ter­ror­ist mag­a­zine, Inspire, in order to “brain­wash them.” On one online extrem­ist forum, Daoud described Inspire as “the best mag­a­zine I have read.”

He also shared recorded lec­tures by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Mus­lim cleric killed in Yemen last year, and a video by Amer­i­can ter­ror­ist Omar Ham­mami, an Alabama native who became the pub­lic face and voice of Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Somalia.

Accord­ing to the FBI affi­davit, Daoud also used the inter­net to research jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for sui­cide bomb­ings and attacks on civil­ians. In May of this year, fed­eral author­i­ties began com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Daoud online and by July, under­cover agents were meet­ing with him in person.

Dur­ing the course of the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion, accord­ing to the affi­davit, Daoud expressed his desire to carry out attacks in the United States and to travel abroad to join ter­ror­ist groups over­seas, in par­tic­u­lar in Yemen. Daoud allegedly applied for a new pass­port in March 2012.

Before set­tling on the bar, Daoud pre­sented a list of pro­posed tar­gets, includ­ing mil­i­tary instil­la­tions, con­certs, malls and tourist attrac­tions. Accord­ing to a recorded con­ver­sa­tion with the under­cover agent, Daoud alluded to the fact that Mus­lims shouldn’t be at a bar, and if they are, they deserve what they get.

“I want [to do] some­thing that’s gonna make it in the news,” he said, accord­ing to the affi­davit. “If it’s only like five, ten peo­ple, I’m not gonna feel that good.”

One of Daoud’s friends was allegedly involved in the plot as well, but dropped out after being con­fronted by the sheikh at the mosque they attended.

Daoud has been charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruc­tion and an explo­sives vio­la­tion. He faces a max­i­mum pun­ish­ment of life in prison.

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