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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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August 1, 2012 0

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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