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March 20, 2014 2

Arrest Demonstrates Influence of Online Terrorist Materials

Nicholas Teausant

A 20-year-old com­mu­nity col­lege stu­dent from Acampo, Cal­i­for­nia, was arrested on March 17th for attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), a ter­ror­ist group for­merly affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda. His alleged activ­i­ties prior to his arrest demon­strate the dan­ger­ous influ­ence of English-language online pro­pa­ganda that is being dis­trib­uted by ter­ror­ist organizations.

The stu­dent, Nicholas Teau­sant, report­edly accessed a vari­ety of online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda includ­ing issues of Inspire mag­a­zine, an English-language pub­li­ca­tion pro­duced by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, and its com­pan­ion “Mujahid Pock­et­book,” which con­tains a com­pi­la­tion of arti­cles designed as a “how-to guide for becom­ing a lone wolf terrorist.”

Teau­sant also broad­cast his views over social media. In a Face­book post dated March 9, 2014, he asserted “the peo­ple you call ter­ror­ist aren’t really ter­ror­ist (sic) they are just doing what your to (sic) afraid to do, the gov­ern­ment fears these peo­ple and that’s why they are called ter­ror­ist.” He also posted mes­sages about car­ry­ing con­cealed weapons in public.

On the photo-sharing ser­vice Insta­gram, Teau­sant allegedly wrote, “Don’t get me wrong I despise Amer­ica and want its down fall…I would love to join Allah’s army.”

Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Teau­sant dis­cussed bomb­ing the Los Ange­les sub­way sys­tem and pur­chas­ing fire­works and explo­sives prior to his attempt to join ISIS.

Teau­sant had enlisted in the U.S. army reserves in 2007 – seem­ingly prior to his attrac­tion to ter­ror­ism – but appar­ently never com­pleted train­ing because he did not meet the aca­d­e­mic requirements.

His arrest came the same day as that of Moham­mad Has­san Ham­dan, a 22-year-old per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent resid­ing in Dear­born, MI, who was arrested for attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join Hezbollah.

Both arrests high­light the con­tin­ued threat of Amer­i­cans trav­el­ing to join ter­ror­ist groups in Syria as the civil war there continues.

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March 18, 2014 0

New Terror Magazines Highlight Al Qaeda Commitment To Recruitment In U.S.

Inspire 12 back imageAl Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s March 15 release of a new issue of its English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine, Inspire, cou­pled with Al Qaeda’s March 9 announce­ment of its new English-language mag­a­zine, Resur­gence, demon­strates ter­ror­ist groups’ per­sis­tent com­mit­ment to rad­i­cal­iz­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of home­grown Islamic extrem­ists through its online initiatives.

The Spring 2014 issue of Inspire pro­vides detailed instruc­tions on how to build a car bomb, with sug­ges­tions of loca­tions to plant them in New York City, Wash­ing­ton, D.C., North­ern Vir­ginia, Chicago and Los Ange­les, as well as in the UK and France. “Many Feisal Shahzads are resid­ing inside Amer­ica,” explains the edi­tor refer­ring to the man who attempted to det­o­nate a bomb in Times Square in 2010, “and all they need is the knowl­edge of how to make car bombs….The Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment was unable to pro­tect its cit­i­zens from pres­sure cooker bombs in back­packs [a ref­er­ence to the Boston marathon bomb­ing], I won­der if they are ready to stop car bombs!”

As in the past, the new issue is replete with anti-Semitic state­ments and high­lights the sup­posed exis­tence of a “Jew­ish enemy” to recruit terrorists.

The lat­est issue of Inspire also refers to sev­eral home­grown Islamic extrem­ists that the pub­li­ca­tion claims to have influ­enced, includ­ing the Tsar­naev broth­ers who were respon­si­ble for the Boston Marathon bomb­ing; Nidal Hasan of the Fort Hood shoot­ing, and Feisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber.

Shortly before the release of this newest issue of Inspire, As-Sahab, the media arm of Al Qaeda’s cen­tral orga­ni­za­tion, released a slick video pro­mot­ing a new ter­ror­ist mag­a­zine called Resur­gence on March 9, 2014. The new mag­a­zine is likely mod­eled after Inspire, which has influ­enced numer­ous home­grown Islamic extrem­ists since 2010, includ­ing the Boston bombers.

The pro­mo­tional video for Resur­gence, cre­ated in “kinetic typog­ra­phy” designed for Eng­lish speak­ing audi­ences, includes a voiceover from a Mal­colm X speech on vio­lence. Over video footage of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, the voiceover says: “They only know one lan­guage,” allud­ing to vio­lence. “You can’t ever reach a man,” the voiceover con­tin­ues, “if you don’t speak his language.”

A new ADL report, Home­grown Islamic Extrem­ism in 2013:The Per­ils of Online Recruit­ment & Self-Radicalization ana­lyzes the rise of such online pro­pa­ganda and its effects and impact on domes­tic secu­rity. In addi­tion, the report looks back at 2013, when 14 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens or per­ma­nent res­i­dents were impli­cated in the U.S. on terror-related charges, rang­ing from domes­tic plots and con­spir­a­cies to pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to ter­ror­ists abroad. Many were directly influ­enced by pro­pa­ganda eas­ily acces­si­ble online, includ­ing the Boston bombers.

As Inter­net pro­fi­ciency and the use of social media grow ever more uni­ver­sal, so too do the efforts of ter­ror­ist groups to exploit new tech­nol­ogy in order to make mate­ri­als that jus­tify and sanc­tion vio­lence more accessible.

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December 3, 2013 0

Afghani Azan Magazine Picks Up Where Inspire Left Off

Azan Mag­a­zine, pro­duced by the pro-Taliban Abtalul Media Group since March 2013, mir­rors the tone and con­tent of other English-language pro­pa­ganda that has influ­enced many domes­tic ter­ror­ists over the past few years. azan-magazine-afghanistan-inspire-terrorism-adl

Azan is not only mod­eled after Inspire Mag­a­zine, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Peninsula’s English-language mag­a­zine, but may be attempt­ing to fill the gap left by Inspire, which has not pub­lished an issue since June.

The Fourth issue of Azan Mag­a­zine, 72-pages long and titled “To the Jihadis in the West,” was released this month. Like Inspire, this issue encour­ages vio­lence in the West, hatred of the United States and is filled with con­tent glo­ri­fy­ing a mil­i­tant Islamist ideology.

And like Inspire, Azan mag­a­zine also makes use of col­or­ful, infor­mal pages and arti­cles with dif­fer­ent approaches to encour­ag­ing extrem­ism, includ­ing quotes from reli­gious fig­ures and threats of pun­ish­ment to those who do not espouse rad­i­cal Islamist beliefs.

It includes “adver­tise­ments,” such as “A come-to-jihad ad” that depicts ter­ror­ists in front of a fiery back­drop with a quote from the Quran, and an image of the World Trade Cen­ter on 9/11 with an image of and quote by Osama bin Laden with text that reads: “A ‘9–11 We Remem­ber’ Ad.”

The mag­a­zine also has a sec­tion address­ing spe­cific con­cerns that might oth­er­wise stop would-be extrem­ists from com­mit­ting ter­ror­ist actions, sim­i­lar to Inspire’s question-and-answer sec­tions address­ing con­cerns about ter­ror­ism. It sim­i­larly includes an “Around the World” page about ter­ror­ism and anti-Western activ­ity world­wide, and pages ridi­cul­ing pres­i­dent Obama and crit­i­ciz­ing Amer­i­can policies.

Con­spic­u­ously absent is a sec­tion mir­ror­ing Inspire’s infa­mous “Open Source Jihad” with sug­gested attack meth­ods and weapons instruc­tions. Instead, Azan fea­tures a dia­gram of an extrem­ist on a motor­cy­cle, not­ing dif­fer­ent items that may be help­ful to him, includ­ing an Mp3 player “to lis­ten to the Qur’an” and “Rockets/Ammo” that can be “fit into the woolen blan­ket” that he sits on to pro­vide comfort.

This issue of Azan mag­a­zine closes with a solic­i­ta­tion for reader con­tri­bu­tions – again, fol­low­ing a trend of encour­ag­ing inter­ac­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion through a vari­ety of medi­ums. “If you would like to con­tribute to the mag­a­zine or to the global Jihad against the crusader-zionist alliance – or if you would like to carry out Jihad on your home ter­ri­tory, con­tact us,” it says, fur­ther advis­ing read­ers to look back to their copies of Inspire for instruc­tions on send­ing encrypted emails.azan-ad-come-to-jihad

Also like Inspire, the pri­mary focus of Azan Mag­a­zine is domes­tic extrem­ism and attacks on West­ern soil. Such encour­age­ment has been down­played in recent months by for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions such as Jab­hat al-Nusra and al-Shabaab, which have been encour­ag­ing Amer­i­cans and other West­ern­ers to join them abroad. But Azan makes very clear that domes­tic plots should be pri­or­i­tized over join­ing ter­ror groups abroad.

Abtalul Islam like­wise released its first English-subtitled video last month urg­ing West­ern­ers to con­tribute to its cause through a vari­ety of means, includ­ing through writ­ing, com­puter use and actual fighting.

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