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June 25, 2013 0

’93 Landmark Plot Foreshowed Domestic Terror Threat

landmark-plot-omar-abdel-rahman

Omar Abdel Rahman

Yes­ter­day marked the 20th anniver­sary of the arrest of eight fol­low­ers of rad­i­cal Egypt­ian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rah­man for con­spir­ing to carry out a cam­paign of ter­ror­ism against New York City land­marks and officials.

The arrests not only fore­shad­owed efforts to attack New York City in the years since 1993 — most hor­rif­i­cally on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 — but also how ter­ror­ists link their oppo­si­tion to Amer­ica with their hatred of Jews and Israel.

The major land­marks that were tar­geted in the 1993 plot included the United Nations Head­quar­ters, the Lin­coln Tun­nel, the Hol­land Tun­nel, the George Wash­ing­ton Bridge and the FBI office. Notably, the plot­ters also dis­cussed attack­ing New York’s dia­mond dis­trict, an area largely pop­u­lated by Jew­ish busi­ness­men, which, accord­ing to one them, would be like “hit­ting Israel itself.”

The arrest came four months after a car bomb­ing at Tower One of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York City killed six peo­ple and wounded more than 1,000 oth­ers. Ramzi Yousef, the mas­ter­mind behind the attack, first planned to bomb Jew­ish neigh­bor­hoods in Brook­lyn, but set­tled on the World Trade Cen­ter because “the major­ity of peo­ple who work in the World Trade Cen­ter are Jews,” accord­ing to Abdul Rah­man Yasin, a co-conspirator in the attack.

In the 20 years since the foiled land­marks plot and first World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ide­olo­gies remain a core fea­ture in the pro­pa­ganda dis­trib­uted by ter­ror­ist organizations.

For exam­ple, every issue of Al Qaeda’s Inspire mag­a­zine, which has influ­enced numer­ous inter­na­tional and domes­tic extrem­ists, includ­ing the Boston Marathon Bombers, has been sat­u­rated with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel nar­ra­tives. The abil­ity for Al Qaeda to dis­sem­i­nate such pro­pa­ganda online and recruit would-be Jihadists around the world was vir­tu­ally unheard on in June 1993.al-qaeda-new-york-threat

But while the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and recruit­ment has sig­nif­i­cantly changed, efforts to attack New York remain unchanged, as do the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel moti­va­tions. Sev­eral post-9/11 plots and con­spir­a­cies tar­get­ing Jews have taken place around the coun­try and in New York in par­tic­u­lar. For example:

  • In May 2011, Ahmed Fer­hani, a legal res­i­dent from Alge­ria, and Moham­mad Mam­douh, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen of Moroc­can decent, were arrested for plot­ting to attack a syn­a­gogue in New York City in order to advance their rad­i­cal ide­o­log­i­cal goals. Dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing, 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.” New York Police Com­mis­sioner Ray­mond Kelly said Fer­hani planned to grow out his beard in order to look “more like a Jew” and enter a syn­a­gogue more easily.
  • Zarein Ahmedzay, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen from Afghanistan, admit­ted in fed­eral court that he and two other New York­ers planned to det­o­nate home­made explo­sives on New York City sub­way lines dur­ing the days fol­low­ing the eighth anniver­sary of the Sep­tem­ber 11 ter­ror attacks. While enter­ing his guilty plea, 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 the United States of America.”
  • A sim­i­lar plot occurred in 2009, when four men, includ­ing three Amer­i­can Mus­lim con­verts, planned to attack syn­a­gogues in the Bronx and a mil­i­tary base in New­burgh, in response to per­ceived Amer­i­can actions against Mus­lims around the world. The men planted what they believed to be bombs in cars out­side of the Riverdale Tem­ple and the nearby Riverdale Jew­ish Cen­ter.  In a con­ver­sa­tion with an under­cover infor­mant, one of the plot­ters, James Cromi­tie, stated his desire to “destroy” the Jews. “The worst brother in the whole Islamic world is bet­ter than 10 bil­lion Yahudi (Jews),” Cromi­tie stated.  “With no hes­i­ta­tion, I will kill 10 Yahudis.”
  • In 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 planned the attack in part because they wanted to take revenge on the U.S. for its diplo­matic rela­tion­ship with Israel. Defre­itas later report­edly 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.” Court doc­u­ments have also alleged that Defre­itas had sug­gested tar­get­ing a nearby Jew­ish school or a pre­dom­i­nately Jew­ish neighborhood.
  • In 2004, Amer­i­can cit­i­zen James Elshafay and Sha­hawar Matin Siraj, a Pak­istani who was in the U.S. ille­gally, plot­ted to bomb New York’s Her­ald Square sub­way 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 at the book­store where Siraj worked, and Siraj gave Elshafay books that claimed the Jews were con­spir­ing to take over the world’s economy.

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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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