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May 26, 2015 1

Pervasive Anti-Semitism in Declassified Bin Laden Letters

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

In the newly declas­si­fied let­ters found in Osama bin Laden’s com­pound, ref­er­ences to Jews, Israel and Zion­ists demon­strate the per­va­sive­ness of anti-Semitism in Al Qaeda’s high­est ech­e­lons, as well as Al Qaeda’s inten­tional tar­get­ing of Jews and Jew­ish institutions.

The let­ters also demon­strate the extent to which Al Qaeda viewed anti-Semitism as a valu­able moti­vat­ing fac­tor for ter­ror­ism: Ref­er­ences to Jews were far more fre­quent in pro­pa­ganda pieces and in items dis­cussing plans for pro­pa­ganda than in strate­gic memos or other letters.

Sev­eral of the let­ters directly dis­cuss tar­get­ing Jews. One sec­tion of a memo on exter­nal oper­a­tions reads, “In regards to targeting…the Jews as per the orders,” and details the pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of attacks against Jews.  Another doc­u­ment high­lights “the beau­ti­ful huge bomb­ing… of the west­ern Ger­man bak­ery mainly vis­ited by Jews and west­ern nation­als,” and a third doc­u­ment, addressed to the Syr­ian peo­ple, states, “If you want to resist, as you claim, we chal­lenge you and your party to shoot one bul­let against the Jews! So show us the Jews as your targets…”

Some of the doc­u­ments also direct praise at other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions for their attacks against Jews. One memo sum­ma­riz­ing the mil­i­tary sit­u­a­tion in Afghanistan and Pak­istan high­lights the Al Qaeda affil­i­ated Abdal­lah Azzam Brigades, call­ing the group, “a small group of broth­ers in Lebanon who fired rock­ets against the Jews once, twice, or more….May God greatly reward them.”

As noted, this tar­get­ing and gen­eral use of anti-Semitism occurs with far greater fre­quency and vit­riol in pro­pa­ganda. One pro­pa­ganda piece released states that the fight­ers were not exhausted in, “bat­tles with the poo­dles of Amer­ica and Israel … or the many other Jews shoe lickers…They refused to be fooled into tack­ling the ser­vants, while the com­man­der in chief and pro­tec­tor of infi­delity, Zion­ism and evil.”

That same arti­cle later harangues, “filth of [the Amer­i­can and Euro­pean] Zion­ist cap­i­tal­ist mas­ters pro­duc­ing the money and man­power which their mas­ters uti­lize to seek to destroy Israel’s ene­mies and to rob the peo­ple of the globe of their minds, honor, land, resources, chastity, min­er­als, oil, and lives!!!” and urges fight­ers in, “this Jihad and holy strug­gle against Amer­ica, Israel and its friends’ Ziocrusade…”

Let­ters and memos dis­cussing pro­pa­ganda pieces clar­ify the inten­tion­al­ity of using anti-Semitism as a moti­va­tional tac­tic. One let­ter asks, “Did you think about issu­ing a state­ment to the nation to show sol­i­dar­ity with the peo­ple?… It should also say that the Jew­ish state is about to end, and so on.”

This use of anti-Semitism is also strate­gi­cally tar­geted. One memo notes that they should “avoid talk­ing about the Jews and Pales­tine when talk­ing to the Ger­mans,” because, “This sub­ject is very sen­si­tive in Germany.”

Image from Al Qaeda magazine

Al Qaeda’s English-language mag­a­zine Resur­gence adopted a long­stand­ing anti-Semitic stereo­type equat­ing Jews with inter­na­tional finance.

Many of the reg­u­lar, non-propaganda memos do not include any ref­er­ences to Jews, Zion­ists or Israel. Where they do, how­ever, they, too, demon­strate a per­va­sive anti-Semitism in Al Qaeda’s high­est ech­e­lons, cen­ter­ing on beliefs that Jews con­trol the West and are unnat­u­rally pow­er­ful. One let­ter, for exam­ple, claimed, “the Jews were able to con­trol world forces with these two sci­ences, soci­ol­ogy and psy­chol­ogy.” Another let­ter sug­gested that the Shi’a ter­ror­ist group Hezbol­lah (which has engaged in fight­ing with Israel) is con­trolled by Jews seek­ing to kill Sunni Mus­lims and another sug­gests that the Saudi royal fam­ily calls for  “blind obe­di­ence to the ruler, who sup­port Jews and Chris­tians.” Yet another crit­i­cizes “peo­ple whose man­ner­isms resem­ble those of the Jews…”

The con­spir­acy the­o­ries against Jews are also related to sev­eral of the books found in Bin Laden’s library, includ­ing the book Secrets of the Fed­eral Reserve by Eustace Mullins, an anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist and Holo­caust denier.

There is also crit­i­cism of Israel and of Amer­i­can sup­port for Israel, which is reg­u­larly listed as one of sev­eral rea­sons for attack­ing the U.S. Sup­port for Jews is also listed as a ratio­nale for depos­ing of Arab gov­ern­ments. Ref­er­ences to “Zion­ists and Cru­saders” as the enemy are fre­quent and, although the name ‘Israel’ is some­times used in memos to name the state, ‘Jew’ is always used instead of ‘Israeli.’

In all 103 declas­si­fied doc­u­ments, the word ‘Jew’ comes up 36 times; Israel 16, and Zion­ist 6 ( This does not include com­pound words like Ziocru­sade or Qu’ranic quotes on unre­lated top­ics). The words ‘Quds’ and ‘Jerusalem’ are not referenced.

Anti-Semitism has been a cen­tral ele­ment of Al Qaeda’s ide­ol­ogy since the organization’s found­ing, and it is a reg­u­lar fea­ture in Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda, includ­ing Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP’s) infa­mous English-language mag­a­zine, Inspire. Anti-Semitism is also reg­u­larly used to moti­vate adher­ents and encour­age recruits by many other ter­ror­ist groups, includ­ing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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April 24, 2015 14

Adam Gadahn, American Al Qaeda Spokesman, Reported Dead

Adam GadahnOn Thurs­day, the White House announced that Adam Gadahn, an Amer­i­can spokesman for Al Qaeda, was killed in a Jan­u­ary drone strike. Although less vis­i­ble in recent years, Gadahn was at the fore­front of cre­at­ing English-language ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda – an ini­tia­tive that has evolved into a sophis­ti­cated recruit­ment and rad­i­cal­iza­tion mechanism.

Gadahn’s death comes as English-language pro­pa­ganda released by ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions is influ­enc­ing an ever increas­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans to join extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions. As of this date, thirty-one peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. have been impli­cated in ter­ror­ism moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism in 2015 alone, a sig­nif­i­cant increase from the total num­ber of arrests in 2014 and in 2013.

Later Amer­i­can pro­pa­gan­dists for Al Qaeda affil­i­ates, such as Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, founders of Inspire mag­a­zine who were killed in a drone strike in 2011, have become more influ­en­tial than Gadahn in extrem­ist cir­cles. And as online tech­nol­ogy has advanced, groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have dra­mat­i­cally increased the reach and influ­ence of English-language calls to violence.

Gadahn, how­ever, was not only the first Amer­i­can to incite extrem­ism on behalf of Al Qaeda, but pre­sum­ably until his death remained the pri­mary English-language spokesman for Al Qaeda’s Cen­tral organization.

Gadahn’s first pro­pa­ganda piece for Al Qaeda was an audio trans­la­tion of an Osama bin Laden speech. In 2004, he began to appear in videos using the nom de guerre Azzam Al-Amriki and to pro­mote attacks against the U.S.

In the ensu­ing years, he released mul­ti­ple videos that reflected his anti-Semitic and anti-Christian views and were marked by threats against Amer­ica and its allies.

Gadahn also called for lone-wolf attacks. In a 2011 video, he stated, “Amer­ica is absolutely awash with eas­ily obtain­able firearms” and that lis­ten­ers can “go down to a gun show at the local con­ven­tion cen­ter and come away with a fully auto­matic assault rifle with­out a back­ground check and most likely with­out hav­ing to show an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card.”  He con­cluded, “So what are you wait­ing for?”

Gadahn’s most recent video was released in May 2014. Like his pre­vi­ous state­ments, it fea­tured calls for attacks against the U.S. as well as anti-Semitic rhetoric and con­cluded with clips of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, fight­ing in Syria, and ter­ror­ism in Israel, includ­ing a brief video clip of Jews pray­ing at the West­ern Wall, Judaism’s holi­est site, fol­lowed by footage of an explosion.

Gadahn was also fea­tured in an inter­view in the March 2013 issue of Inspire mag­a­zine, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine. In it, he called 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.” Gadahn also used the inter­view to call for attacks against “Amer­ica and its NATO part­ners, par­tic­u­larly France and Britain.”

Gadahn was born in Ore­gon in 1978 and grew up in Cal­i­for­nia. He con­verted to Islam as a teenager and allegedly grew rad­i­cal­ized shortly there­after. In the late 1990s, Gadahn trav­eled to Pak­istan and joined Al Qaeda.

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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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