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August 10, 2012

Kenyan Al Qaeda Supporters’ Magazine Takes On Jews And Obama

A predominantly Swahili-language online terrorist magazine, apparently written by Kenyan supporters of the Somali-based Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab, features English-language articles that describe Jews as “the worst enemy of Islam,” as well as a “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster of President Barak Obama.

Screenshot from Gaidi Mtaani article

The magazine, titled Gaidi Mtaani, roughly translated as “Terrorism Street,” is replete with the graphics and layout reminiscent of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language terrorist magazine, Inspire. Two issues have been released since April 2012.

The English articles repeatedly describe Kenya’s military incursion into Somalia to combat Al Shabaab as “a clear manifestation of hatred of Muslims” and part of “America’s global war on Islam.”  The magazine claims the objective of this American proxy war is to “Crush Islam or Islamic Renaissance.”

The magazine casts “the Zionist with their American partners” as the beneficiaries of the “crusade” in Somalia and criticizes the Kenyan president for traveling to Israel to secure Israeli cooperation for counterterrorism efforts.  Although the English articles do not directly threaten Israeli or Jews, Israeli interests had previously been targeted by Al Qaeda in Kenya, including an attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner and an attack on an Israeli-owned resort in 2002.

The authors warn that they will not “differentiate between civilians and combatants” and call on Kenya’s citizens to “reflect on the magnitude of what is yet to come,” citing the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya that killed over 200 people.

Al Shabaab and its supporters have been blamed for repeated grenade and gun attacks in Kenya since Kenya began military operations in Somalia last October.

The Muslim Youth Center, a Kenyan organization supportive of Al Shabaab, has promoted the magazine via its Twitter account and blog, which was taken down shortly after the magazine was advertised.

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August 1, 2012

Nidal Hasan Email Correspondence with Al-Awlaki Released

This month, the FBI released correspondence between Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter who killed 13 people and injured 32 others in November 2009, and Anwar al-Awlaki, the influential American-born terrorist ideologue who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in September 2011. The correspondence – 16 emails sent by Hasan to al-Awlaki and two responses from al-Awlaki – reflects Hasan’s interest in arguments justifying acts of violence.

The emails were included in the final independent report investigating the Bureau’s handling of intelligence surrounding the 2009 shooting.  According to the report, aside from blast emails originating from al-Awlaki’s website, these 16 messages encompass all of the communication between Hasan and al-Awlaki in the time frame surrounding the attack.

Less than a year before the shooting, on December 17, 2008, Hasan asked al-Awlaki for his view on Muslims serving in the U.S. military and whether attacking military personnel was a good idea. Two weeks later, on January 1, Hasan wrote to Awlaki that hatred of the Israel could unify “all Muslims regardless of… difference [sic].”  He also decried the double standard he perceived was applied to Israel and the U.S. in relation to the Muslim world.

Later that month, Hasan asked for al-Awlaki’s opinion on “indiscriminately killing civilians,” and sent another message several days later that read, “the Western world makes clear that it does not want Islamic rule to prevail.” On February 19, Hasan claimed that al-Awlaki has “a very huge following” in the United States that is afraid to be vocal. A message from Hasan three days later noted that his “goal is Jannat Firdaus [Paradise].”  On February 28, Hasan shared a survey with al-Awlaki that he claimed “shows that most Muslims feel that the U.S. is trying to undermine Islam [sic].” A few months later, on May 31, Hasan asked for al-Awlaki’s opinion on suicide bombings.

In one of the two emails al-Awlaki wrote to Hasan, dated February 19, 2009, he said that he would be unable to award a scholarship established in his honor and expressed his discomfort with the idea.  The other email, from February 22, suggested that Hasan help “poor people, orphans, widows, dawa [Muslim outreach] projects.”  Both messages are dated more than eight months prior to the attack.  Hasan apparently never heard from al-Awlaki again, despite continuing to contact him through June.

Although al-Awlaki did not respond directly to later emails from Hasan, in the 8th issue of the terrorist magazine Inspire, released in May 2012, al-Awlaki wrote that “the populations of the nations that are at war with the Muslims and especially those who are at the lead such as the U.S., Britain and France should be targeted by the mujahidin in operations that employ explosives, poisons, firearms and all other methods that lead to inflicting the greatest harm on them…”

The release of these emails belie al-Awlaki’s claims in the aftermath of the attack that he had “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.” His correspondence to Hasan was, in fact, relatively innocuous.

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July 27, 2012

Hezbollah on Your iPhone: There’s An App for That

Update: The Almanartv application was removed from Apple’s iTunes over the weekend. It was later removed from Google Play for Android.

In the latest example of terrorist organizations exploiting current technology to spread their violent messages, an application was made available on Wednesday through Apple’s iTunes service providing mobile access to content from Hezbollah’s satellite television station, al-Manar.

The new free application, advertised on air by al Manar, directs users to various station content, including speeches by Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Al-Manar broadcasts the terrorist group’s messages of hate and violence, disseminates anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda and glorifies suicide bombings to millions of viewers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hezbollah is a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and al-Manar was listed as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the Department of the Treasury in 2006.Al-Manar has a presence on other internet platforms as well, including a Twitter account with over 17,000 followers and 51,000 messages.

Other terrorist organizations use the microblogging service, including Al Shabaab, a terrorist organization in Somalia which formally merged with Al Qaeda earlier this year. There are also numerous terrorist support pages on Facebook and other social media platforms.

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