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June 14, 2013 0

Al Qaeda Propagandist Faces Extradition To New York

A British national of Viet­namese ori­gin is fac­ing extra­di­tion to the United States for his alleged role help­ing Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) cre­ate and dis­trib­ute the type of online pro­pa­ganda that has become a sta­ple of domes­tic ter­ror­istsinspire-al-qaeda-pham

The indict­ment, filed in New York fed­eral court in June 2012, alleges that Minh Quang Pham “pro­vided expert advice and assis­tance in pho­tog­ra­phy and graphic design of media” for AQAP. In addi­tion to help­ing AQAP craft its pro­pa­ganda, author­i­ties also allege that Pham helped dis­sem­i­nate the propaganda.

These graph­ics, cou­pled with West­ern ref­er­ences, prac­ti­cal infor­ma­tion and anti-Semitic nar­ra­tives have made AQAP’s Inspire mag­a­zine an effec­tive recruit­ment and rad­i­cal­iza­tion tool. 

Before trav­el­ing to Yemen in 2010 and bring­ing his pro­fes­sional exper­tise to AQAP, Pham report­edly estab­lished a busi­ness in Lon­don as a web and graph­ics designer. 

The indict­ment also alleges that Pham met with two unnamed Amer­i­cans, a likely ref­er­ence to Anwar al-Awlaki, AQAP’s American-born ide­o­logue who also served as its chief of exter­nal oper­a­tions, and Samir Khan, an Amer­i­can blog­ger who was believed to be the prin­ci­pal edi­tor of Inspire. Both Awlaki and Khan were killed in a drone strike in Sep­tem­ber 2011.

Pham is for­mally charged with pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to AQAP, receiv­ing mil­i­tary train­ing from a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, firearms charges and two other related crimes. He report­edly trav­eled from the UK to Yemen in 2010 where he allegedly received weapons train­ing, took an oath of alle­giance to AQAP, and pro­vided his expert media advice to the ter­ror­ist organization.

British author­i­ties arrested Pham last June, coin­cid­ing with the announce­ment of the Amer­i­can charges against him. He had pre­vi­ously been in immi­gra­tion cus­tody after ammu­ni­tion was allegedly found in his bag after he returned from the Mid­dle East.  His extra­di­tion hear­ing is sched­uled for August. 

If con­victed on all charges, he faces the pos­si­bil­ity of life in prison.

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May 31, 2013 0

Inspire Magazine Highlights “Jewish Enemy” To Recruit Jihadists

The eleventh issue of Inspire, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula’s English-language mag­a­zine, demon­strates how oppo­si­tion to Jews and Israel remains cen­tral to its efforts to appeal to and rad­i­cal­ize its readers.inspire-ipad-jews-al-qaeda

While hatred of Jews is intrin­sic to Al Qaeda’s ide­ol­ogy, Inspire has iden­ti­fied Jews as a key force at war with Islam since it was first pub­lished in July 2010. Every issue of Inspire has been filled with either direct threats against Jews and Jew­ish insti­tu­tions or dia­tribes against Jews and Israel.

For exam­ple, the bomb mak­ing instruc­tions pro­vided in the first issue of Inspire, which the Tsar­naev broth­ers allegedly used to build the bombs they used in the Boston Marathon, included ref­er­ences to “The Jews and Chris­tians” that “have dis­hon­ored the Mus­lims, des­e­crated our holy places, and cured the beloved Prophet.”

The most recently released issue of Inspire, which cel­e­brates the April 15 Boston Bomb­ing and encour­ages future attacks against the U.S., fur­ther demon­strates how anti-Israel and anti-Jewish nar­ra­tives are used to con­nect with the magazine’s readers.

An arti­cle titled The Inevitable by Abu Ziyad Al-Muhajir describes the “Blessed Boston Bomb­ings (BBB)” as an “absolute suc­cess” and quotes Osama bin Laden thusly: “As you kill, you will be killed until you leave our lands and stop sup­port­ing Israel.”

In another arti­cle, titled Mes­sage to the Amer­i­can Nation by Qas­sim Ar-Reimy, the author asks, “Is your sup­port for the Jews in Pales­tine excusable?”

The pack­ag­ing of these nar­ra­tives along­side other ele­ments of Al Qaeda’s broader ide­ol­ogy in Inspire has helped influ­enced numer­ous inter­na­tional and domes­tic extrem­ists, some of which have also uti­lized the bomb mak­ing instruc­tions pro­vided by the mag­a­zine in their attempts to carry out attacks.

The fol­low­ing is a sam­pling of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel nar­ra­tives from the pages of Inspire:

Direct Threats Against Jews

  • If you go kill a group of Jews or Chris­tians after hear­ing that a pilot­less drone killed a group of Mus­lims in Waziris­tan… if it were to be the case, that would stop the strik­ing, killing, occu­pa­tion, humil­i­a­tion and dis­grace of our holy places that Amer­ica and the West perpetrates.”
  • The short-term plan con­sists of tar­get­ing Crusader-Jewish inter­ests, as every­one who attacks the Mus­lim ummah must pay the price…”
  • Our mar­tyr­dom bombers are on their mis­sions against Amer­i­cans, Jews, Indi­ans and Russians…”
  • On loca­tions to tar­get: “Media per­son­al­i­ties and media cen­ters that are lead­ing the war against the Mus­lims and jus­ti­fy­ing the attacks on them, com­ing from the Zion­ist and Zionist-friendly Cru­sader media institutions.”
  • On loca­tions to tar­get: “Places where Jews are gath­ered, their lead­ing per­son­al­i­ties and insti­tu­tions in Europe…”

Dele­git­imiza­tion of Judaism

  • They were made to know that their reli­gious prac­tices were false, that Islam does not approve of either Judaism or Chris­tian­ity, and that they are con­sid­ered to be mis­guided and are des­tined to Hellfire.”
  •  “Allah has made it clear to us in the Qur’an that our worst ene­mies are the Jews and the polytheists.”
  • They [the Jews] have the audac­ity to dis­tort the word of Allah”
  • Look at the Jews and Chris­tians. They work day and night, sac­ri­fic­ing their wealth to serve their null religions.”

Israeli-American Con­spir­a­cies

  • How many have the Zion­ist allies killed from the sons of Pales­tine with the sup­port of these blood­thirsty beasts [the Americans]?”
  • Al Qaeda is fight­ing the Jews and Chris­tians and their stooges and defends the Mus­lims and the Mus­lim holy places.”
  • Amer­ica is the one who sup­ports Israel in all of its crimes and its pres­i­dent prayed in front of the Wail­ing Wall and he declared his affir­ma­tion of mak­ing Al-Quds (Jerusalem) the cap­i­tal of Israel in sup­port of the jews in the judaiza­tion of Al-Quds.”

Destruc­tion of Israel

  • It is jihad to lib­er­ate all of Pales­tine from the river to the sea, Allah permitting”
  • Today we are fac­ing a coali­tion of Cru­saders and Zion­ists and we in al Qaeda of the Ara­bian Penin­sula will never for­get Pales­tine. How can we for­get it when our motto is: ‘Here we start and in al-Aqsa we meet’?”

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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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