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December 24, 2014

13th Issue of AQAP Inspire Calls for Attacks Against U.S. Airliners

AQAP-Inspire-13-magazine-cover

Inspire 13 cover image

Update: 12/24/2013 – Following notification by the ADL, YouTube has removed the video promoting Inspire 13 from its site.

The 13th issue of Inspire, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s English language magazine, released on December 24, lays out a strategy for defeating the U.S. by attacking American military technology, manpower, media and economy, and encourages lone wolf attacks against commercial airplanes and financial figures.

The central feature of the magazine, entitled “The Hidden Bomb” presents step-by-step, illustrated instructions for constructing a home-made easily portable bomb inside 17cm of a plastic water bottle case.  These instructions follow previous issues of Inspire that included instructions for pressure cooker bombs and car bombs, as well as suggestions for other types of attacks such as running civilians over with cars.

This issue of Inspire suggests that the bombs be used against U.S. commercial airliners – specifically American Airlines, Delta, United or Continental, and ideally over U.S. soil. It also provides advice as to the best location on the plane and altitude at which to detonate the device.

If an attack on a U.S. airliner is not feasible, the magazine suggests attacking British companies British Airways or Easy Jet, or French companies AirFrance or AirFrance KL. A different article further clarifies the priorities of attack, stating that, “the first priority and the main focus should be on America, then the United Kingdom, then France…. This goes on with the NATO countries as per the known order.”

The guide claims that this bomb can be hidden in a part of the body not included in airport pat-downs and is undetectable by dogs, odor-detecting machines, or metal detectors. The article states that the bomb is detectable by millimeter wave scanners, but the magazine advises that “in most cases they are not used in local airports.”

Inspire 13 also encourages assassinations of American financial leaders listed as “economic personalities” such as Ben Bernanke or “wealthy entrepreneurs” such as Bill Gates. It advises that if those personalities remove their money from U.S. banks, stop investing in the U.S., and declare that they disagree with American policies, they will not be targeted.

The magazine also includes several sections highlighting the actions of Al Qaeda members and individuals that it claims undertook violent actions on behalf of the extremist cause. These include Alton Nolan of Oklahoma, Michael Zehaf Bebeau of Quebec, Martin Rouleau-Couture of Ottowa, Zale Thompson of New York and Man Haron Monis of Australia – the majority of whom seem to have undertaken attacks through some combination of personal violent tendencies and encouragement from terrorist propaganda  but have not been associated with terrorist movements.

Image from the magazine advocating lone wolf attacks

Image from the magazine advocating lone wolf attacks

“The Lions of Allah who are all over the globe – some call them lone wolves – should know that they are the West’s worst nightmare,” states one article.

In some sections, it attempts to exploit controversial issues in the U.S. as rationales for joining terrorist movements. For example, a short quote states, “If I am an Afro-American living in Ferguson – I’d rather be labeled a terrorist.” One article presented as an interview with an AQAP member states U.S. torture of Muslim prisoners as a reason to attack the U.S.

The majority of justifications presented for attacking the U.S., however, have been utilized by Al Qaeda and its affiliates since the group’s founding: Attacks should be undertaken because of alleged American support for current regimes in Muslim countries;; support for the Russian and Indian governments in their fights against terrorism; and having “surrendered to the Jews” in supporting the State of Israel.

Like other issues of Inspire, it also attempts to draw readers in by asking provocative questions and making the attack sound simple. “It’s not necessary to do what Mohammed Atta (of the 9/11 attack) did,” notes a poem in the magazine, “it’s enough to do what Nidal Hasan (of the Fort Hood shooting) did.”

Other sections of the magazine include an essay commemorating Tamerlan Tsarnaev of the Boston Marathon Bombing, quotes about Inspire by American academics and government officials, and a “Message for the American People Regarding the Killing of Luke Somers,” the American journalist taken hostage by AQAP and killed during a rescue mission earlier this month.

This edition of Inspire was released together with a promotional video that featured images from the magazine to the backdrop of a song in English that included the lyrics, “The battle for the hearts and minds will continue till the kuffar (apostates or disbelievers) in vice,” “Inspiring the believers to jihad has become the newest fad,” and, “America you are being watched…the mujahideen (religious fighters) are coming for you.”

Inspire is perhaps the most notorious Al Qaeda propaganda vehicle. It has played a role in the radicalization of multiple domestic extremists, including the Tsarnaev brothers (of the Boston Marathon bombing), Jose Pimentel (attempted bombing in NYC) and Abdel Daoud (attempted bombing in Chicago).

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December 5, 2012

New York Synagogue Bomb Plot Suspect Pleads Guilty

Ahmed Ferhani

Update: On March 15, 2013, Ferhani was sentenced to 10 years in prison. On April 26, Ferhani’s  coconspirator, Mohammad Mamdouh was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Ahmed Ferhani, a legal U.S. resident from Algeria, pleaded guilty yesterday to terrorism charges stemming from his role in a plot to attack a New York City synagogue. The foiled plot was the latest is a series of post-9/11 terror plots motivated, in part, by hatred of Jews and Israel.

Ferhani, 27, and his alleged coconspirator Mohammad Mamdouh, 21, were arrested on May 11, 2011, after attempting to purchase weapons, including guns and a hand grenade, from an undercover officer during a sting operation.

Reading a prepared statement in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday, Ferhani said, “I repeatedly discussed…my anger towards Jews based on what I believed and perceived to be their mistreatment of Muslims throughout the world. I intended to create chaos and send a message of intimidation and coercion to the Jewish population of New York City, warning them to stop mistreating Muslims.”

As part of his plea deal, Ferhani pleaded guilty to 10 terror-related and hate crime charges and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

During the undercover operation, Ferhani allegedly said that Palestinians are particularly victimized and allegedly expressed interest in traveling to Gaza to fight. At the time of the arrest, New York Police Commissioner Kelly said Ferhani planned to grow out his beard in order to look “more like a Jew” and enter a synagogue more easily.

Other terror plots in New York in recent years have been similarly motivated, in part, by hatred of Jews and Israel, including:

September 2009: Zarein Ahmedzay, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan, and two other New Yorkers were arrested for plotting to detonate homemade explosives on New York City subway lines during the days following the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. While entering his guilty plea a year later, Ahmedzay stated that “the real enemies of this country are the ones destroying this country from within” and condemned “a special group of Zionist Jews” who want to “establish a permanent shadow government in theUnited States of America.”

May 2009: Four Muslim converts, three American and one Haitian, were arrested for an alleged plot to attack two synagogues in the Bronx and to shoot down planes at a military base inNewburgh,New York. James Cromitie, the apparent leader of the group, and the other three men allegedly began surveillance of several synagogues and a Jewish Community Center in theBronx in April 2009. “These were people who were eager to bring death to Jews,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said at a court hearing the day after the arrests. The men were subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison.

November 2008: American citizen Bryant Neal Vinas was arrested for providing information about New York City transit systems to Al Qaeda for potential terrorist attacks and for firing rockets at an American military base in Afghanistan. Vinas, who was angry with the U.S. government for its support of Israel, was also involved with the Islamic Thinkers Society, a New York-based anti-Semitic extremist group that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. He also met with the former leader of Revolution Muslim, another New York-based anti-Semitic organization that justifies terrorist attacks and other forms of violence against non-Muslims. Vinas subsequently pleaded guilty to all three charges against him.

February 2007: Russell Defreitas, a naturalized U.S.citizen from Guyana, and three other men were arrested for plotting to attack New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The men plotted the attack in part because they wanted to take revenge on theU.S. for its diplomatic relationship withIsrael. Defreitas later told an informant that Muslims “incur the wrath of the world while Jews get a pass,” and that he “wanted to do something to get those bastards,” according to court documents. Defreitas also suggested targeting a nearby Jewish school or a predominately Jewish neighborhood. Defreitas was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

August 2004: American citizen James Elshafay and another man plotted to bombNew York’sHerald Squaresubway station. In conversations secretly recorded by an undercover informant, Elshafay talked about his hatred of “Zionists” and his solidarity with the Palestinians, according to court documents. The men also watched terrorist videos and shared books that claimed the Jews were conspiring to take over the world’s economy. Elshafay was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison.

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May 23, 2012

Anarchist Arrests Mark NATO Summit

Five individuals have been arrested by Chicago police in three separate bomb-related cases during the lead-up to the recent NATO Summit.

Three men were arrested in a raid last Wednesday in connection to an alleged plot to attack President Obama’s campaign headquarters and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home, as well as police and financial institutions. The men were in possession of Molotov cocktails and instructions for making pipe bombs, according to court documents.

The suspects, who have been identified as Brian Church, 22 from Florida, Jared Chase, 27 from New Hampshire, and Brent Betterly, 24 from Massachusetts, are all self-described anarchists. The three traveled to Chicago together from Florida, where they were reportedly involved with the Occupy Movement.

Last month, five self-described anarchists with ties to the Occupy Movement were arrested in Ohio after allegedly attempting to blow up a Cleveland-area bridge “to send a message to corporations and the United States government.”

Sebastian Senakiewicz, a 24-year-old self-described anarchist, was also arrested in Chicago for making a false terroristic threat. Prosecutors said Senakiewicz was unsatisfied with the relative-calm leading up to the NATO Summit and allegedly bragged he could blow up a downtown bridge. He reportedly claimed he had access to a vehicle packed with explosives and weapons.

In fifth man, Mark Neiweem, 28, was charged with attempted possession of explosives. While charging documents do not mention targets or his motives, the charges assert that he asked other protesters for materials to construct a pipe bomb.

Neiweem is reportedly a member of the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) and frequented their online chat rooms. ABC is a national collective that aims to support and defend political prisoners and has indicated support for class war (abolishing capitalism). Some ABC “collectives” merged into a federation advocating armed self-defense through its Tactical Defense Caucus, which it hoped would organize, recruit and train anarchists in the tactical use of firearms. In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Intelligence in February of 2005, Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI, identified the federation as a potential threat to national security.

Other anarchists clashed with police at the end of an otherwise peaceful anti-war protest Sunday, leading to dozens more arrests.

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