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March 11, 2013 0

Detained Al Qaeda Spokesman Justified Anti-Jewish Ideology

Screen­shot of Abu Ghaith, Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri from video claim­ing respon­si­bil­ity for 9/11

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a for­mer Al Qaeda spokesman and Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, was detained last week by U.S. author­i­ties in Jor­dan after being deported from Turkey to his native Kuwait.

Abu Ghaith’s state­ments on behalf of Al Qaeda, which ceased after he fled to Iran in 2002, demon­strated how the ter­ror­ist group’s ide­ol­ogy was rooted in the hatred of Jews, often link­ing Al Qaeda’s oppo­si­tion to Amer­ica with its ani­mos­ity to Jews and Israel.

In the 2001 state­ment claim­ing respon­si­bil­ity for the 9/11 attacks, Abu Ghaith said that the attacks were in response to “the Islamic Nation hav­ing been groan­ing in pain for more than 80 years under the yoke of the joint Jewish-Crusader aggres­sion” and the “Jew­ish occu­pa­tion” of Pales­tine.  He warned that attacks against the United States would con­tinue unless the United States met three con­di­tions:  stop­ping “its sup­port for the Jews,” lift­ing the embargo on Iraq, and the with­drawal of the United States from “our land.”

Abu Ghaith also released a state­ment claim­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty­for an Al Qaeda attack on a syn­a­gogue in Tunisia, which killed 19 tourists in April 2002 and said it was revenge for the deaths of Pales­tini­ans. In the state­ment, he promised that “as long as Amer­ica insists on its unjust and biased pol­icy towards Mus­lims in favor of Jews and Chris­tians around the world then, God will­ing, we will con­tinue to hit it any­where in the world.” 

Abu Ghaith, who is now in New York City await­ing trial, is charged with con­spir­ing to kill United States nation­als. Pros­e­cu­tors are essen­tially argu­ing that “the core pur­pose of Al Qaeda… is to sup­port vio­lent attacks against prop­erty and nation­als, both mil­i­tary and civil­ian, of the United States and other coun­tries” and that Abu Ghaith was a mem­ber of Al Qaeda with a close rela­tion­ship to bin Laden.

He has pleaded not guilty, and faces a pos­si­ble life sen­tence if convicted.

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March 4, 2013 3

New Inspire Magazine Hits Digital Newsstands

The tenth issue of Inspire mag­a­zine, released by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula last Thurs­day, offers its read­ers an array of ideas and advice for sup­port­ing the global jihadist movement.

In the issue, lone wolf attacks are specif­i­cally encour­aged: “Praises [to] the Knights of Lone Jihad…You are Lethal! You are Dev­as­tat­ing!” Would-be lone wolves are advised to engage in attacks on the road by caus­ing traf­fic acci­dents and torch­ing parked vehi­cles, as well as assas­si­nat­ing polit­i­cal lead­ers and for­mer polit­i­cal lead­ers who may be less pro­tected (Amer­i­can, British and French for­mer polit­i­cal oper­a­tives and diplo­mats are men­tioned by name).

Fol­low­ing Thursday’s release of Inspire, AQAP also released a com­pi­la­tion of the advice it has pub­lished for car­ry­ing out attacks as the “Lone Mujahid Pocketbook.”

Inspire also con­tains an inter­view with the Amer­i­can spokesman for Al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn. If the inter­view proves to be authen­tic, it is the first English-language mes­sage from Gadahn since a June 2011 video in which he called on Amer­i­can Mus­lims to launch lone wolf attacks on U.S. soil.  He has, how­ever, more recently appeared in Arabic-language videos dis­cussing the Arab Spring and Al Qaeda’s role in it.

Gadahn, who was a pio­neer in the field of so-called “jihadi media,” reit­er­ates its pur­ported impor­tance in the inter­view, call­ing on his fel­low pro­pa­gan­dists to “make every effort to reach out to Mus­lims both through new media like Face­book and Twit­ter as well as the tra­di­tional broad­cast and print media.” 

In an appar­ent call for vio­lence, Gadahn instructs “mujahideen around the world” to focus their efforts on “direct engage­ment at home and abroad with Amer­ica and its NATO part­ners, par­tic­u­larly France and Britain.” 

Another arti­cle from the mag­a­zine, called “We Are All Usama,” which focuses on the need for Mus­lim unity in the face of insults by the West, was used by jihadist hack­ers to replace sev­eral uni­ver­sity web­sites on Fri­day and over the weekend. 

The mag­a­zine con­tin­ues to focus on the Sep­tem­ber 2011 deaths of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born rad­i­cal cleric who became a lead­ing ide­o­logue and com­man­der of AQAP; and Samir Khan, who was believed to be respon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing the first issues of Inspire. Al-Awlaki and Khan, as well as a third indi­vid­ual named Abu Yazeed al-Qatari, are fea­tured in a “let­ter to the edi­tor” that praises the men for their com­mit­ment to jihad.

This issue is the first major media effort by AQAP in Eng­lish since May 2012, when it released the last two issues of Inspire, a recruit­ing pam­phlet, and a col­lec­tion of Osama bin Laden state­ments

Although Inspire con­tin­ues to solicit con­tri­bu­tions from its read­ers, dig­i­tal copies of the mag­a­zine appear to be secured which doesn’t allow for the mag­a­zine to be printed. This may be an effort to pre­vent its use as evi­dence in ter­ror­ism cases; the mag­a­zine has often been found in the pos­ses­sion of ter­ror­ism sus­pects as both a source of rad­i­cal­iz­ing mate­r­ial and for its easy-to-follow instruc­tions for car­ry­ing out attacks. 

In a fur­ther move to raise the level of secu­rity, AQAP also issued a state­ment on jihadist forums over the week­end indi­cat­ing that it would no longer com­mu­ni­cate with indi­vid­ual sup­port­ers plan­ning attacks via email and urged those already in con­tact to stop immediately.

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December 12, 2012 0

Shabaab Spokesman’s “Close Friend” Arrested

Two Amer­i­can cit­i­zens resid­ing in Alabama were arrested yes­ter­day in Geor­gia on sus­pi­cion of terrorism-related activity.

Randy “Rasheed” Wil­son was arrested in Atlanta attempt­ing to board a flight to Morocco. Wil­son allegedly claimed to be a close friend of Omar Ham­mami, the Alabama native who became the pub­lic face of Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Somali ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion. His co-conspirator, Moham­mad Abukhdair, was arrested at a bus sta­tion en route to Canada from where he report­edly planned to join Wil­son.  Both were charged with con­spir­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to ter­ror­ists in an Alabama fed­eral court on Monday.

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Wil­son and Abukhdair expressed their admi­ra­tion for rad­i­cal American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Osama bin Laden, as well as repeat­ing their com­mit­ment to carry out vio­lent jihad, to an under­cover FBI employee.  They even turned over a cache of jihadist pro­pa­ganda, includ­ing Awlaki lec­tures, to the under­cover employee for destruc­tion. Wil­son, who is 25, appar­ently believed that “one way or another everyone’s gonna have to fight… there’s no deed bet­ter than jihad,” accord­ing to the tran­scripts of recorded con­ver­sa­tions sub­mit­ted to the court.

Wil­son had pre­vi­ously report­edly con­spired with another mutual friend of Hammami’s (who later became a con­fi­den­tial infor­mant) to travel to Soma­lia to join Al Shabaab. Abukhdair had been detained by Egypt­ian author­i­ties on sus­pi­cion of involve­ment in ter­ror­ist activ­ity and was deported back to the United States.  He appar­ently admit­ted to the under­cover FBI employee that he had jihadist mate­r­ial on his lap­top at the time and believed that “Allah pro­tected him” because Egypt­ian intel­li­gence had not found it.

The two men, who met online in 2010, sup­pos­edly dis­cussed sev­eral pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tions, includ­ing trav­el­ing to Soma­lia via Sudan, where they report­edly expected spe­cial treat­ment because of Wilson’s rela­tion­ship with Ham­mami. Abukhdair alter­na­tively pro­posed that they carry out attacks in the United States because he feared he would not be allowed to travel inter­na­tion­ally after being turned away from a flight to Jor­dan ear­lier this year.  Accord­ing to the charges, Abukhdair allegedly sug­gested engag­ing in hostage-taking oper­a­tions in the U.S. and demand­ing the release of Mus­lim ter­ror­ists being held in Amer­i­can pris­ons in exchange.

The court doc­u­ments assert that Wil­son and Abukhdair made def­i­nite travel arrange­ments to go to Mau­ri­ta­nia via Morocco in Octo­ber. The two also report­edly dis­cussed trav­el­ing to Mali from Mau­ri­ta­nia where Islamic mil­i­tants are active in the north of the country.

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