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March 20, 2014 2

Arrest Demonstrates Influence of Online Terrorist Materials

Nicholas Teausant

A 20-year-old com­mu­nity col­lege stu­dent from Acampo, Cal­i­for­nia, was arrested on March 17th for attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), a ter­ror­ist group for­merly affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda. His alleged activ­i­ties prior to his arrest demon­strate the dan­ger­ous influ­ence of English-language online pro­pa­ganda that is being dis­trib­uted by ter­ror­ist organizations.

The stu­dent, Nicholas Teau­sant, report­edly accessed a vari­ety of online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda includ­ing issues of Inspire mag­a­zine, an English-language pub­li­ca­tion pro­duced by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, and its com­pan­ion “Mujahid Pock­et­book,” which con­tains a com­pi­la­tion of arti­cles designed as a “how-to guide for becom­ing a lone wolf terrorist.”

Teau­sant also broad­cast his views over social media. In a Face­book post dated March 9, 2014, he asserted “the peo­ple you call ter­ror­ist aren’t really ter­ror­ist (sic) they are just doing what your to (sic) afraid to do, the gov­ern­ment fears these peo­ple and that’s why they are called ter­ror­ist.” He also posted mes­sages about car­ry­ing con­cealed weapons in public.

On the photo-sharing ser­vice Insta­gram, Teau­sant allegedly wrote, “Don’t get me wrong I despise Amer­ica and want its down fall…I would love to join Allah’s army.”

Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Teau­sant dis­cussed bomb­ing the Los Ange­les sub­way sys­tem and pur­chas­ing fire­works and explo­sives prior to his attempt to join ISIS.

Teau­sant had enlisted in the U.S. army reserves in 2007 – seem­ingly prior to his attrac­tion to ter­ror­ism – but appar­ently never com­pleted train­ing because he did not meet the aca­d­e­mic requirements.

His arrest came the same day as that of Moham­mad Has­san Ham­dan, a 22-year-old per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent resid­ing in Dear­born, MI, who was arrested for attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join Hezbollah.

Both arrests high­light the con­tin­ued threat of Amer­i­cans trav­el­ing to join ter­ror­ist groups in Syria as the civil war there continues.

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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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February 6, 2014 0

Anwar Al-Awlaki’s Messages Still Resonate On Facebook

Anwar al-Awlaki, who inspired a gen­er­a­tion of ter­ror­ists in the U.S and abroad through his online pro­pa­ganda, con­tin­ues to reach audi­ences well after his death.generation-awlaki-facebook

A Face­book page called “Gen­er­a­tion Awlaki,” which is made up of images of Awlaki and many of his most mil­i­tant say­ings, has attracted 2,676 “likes” from around the world and is attract­ing more fol­low­ers every day.

Among the quotes by Awlaki fea­tured on the page are, “Run­ning away from Jihad will not save you from death. You can die as a cow­ard or you can die as a Mar­tyr” and, “If you have the right to slan­der the Mes­sen­ger of Allah, we have the right to defend him. If it is part of your free­dom of speech to defame Muham­mad it is part of our reli­gion to fight you.”

The high­lighted quotes also touch on rel­e­vant polit­i­cal flash­points, such as fight­ing against Israel. “The Pales­tin­ian issue should be some­thing we think about day and night,” reads one recently posted quote.

Numer­ous com­ments have been left on the page, pri­mar­ily in Eng­lish. In fact, many of the fol­low­ers of the page seem to be from English-speaking coun­tries, includ­ing Aus­tralia, New Zealand, the United King­dom, Canada and the United States. This attests to Awlaki’s con­tin­ued appeal to West­ern audi­ences, which he worked hard to influ­ence and rad­i­cal­ize dur­ing his lifetime.

One com­ment in response to a quote prais­ing mar­tyr­dom reads, “I will die as a mar­tyr” and the page mod­er­a­tor responded “InshaaAl­lah (God will­ing).” Another says, “May Allah increase our chances to be mujahideen (mar­tyrs) in sha Allah (God willing).”

Gen­er­a­tion Awlaki” is fol­lowed most heav­ily by 18 to 24 year olds, ages asso­ci­ated with increased recep­tiv­ity to extremism.generation-awlaki-22

Through his YouTube ser­mons, arti­cles in Inspire mag­a­zine, and other eas­ily avail­able books, Anwar al-Awlaki con­tin­ues to be an inspi­ra­tion for ter­ror­ists and would be ter­ror­ists. Of the 14 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents arrested on ter­ror charges in the United States in 2013, at least six report­edly lis­tened to or read Awlaki mate­ri­als, includ­ing Dzhokhar and Tamer­lan Tsar­naev of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing and, most recently, Terry Lee Loewen, who attempted to bomb the Wichita Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port in Decem­ber, 2013

Awlaki, an American-born Mus­lim cleric, encour­aged attacks against Amer­ica and the West by dis­trib­ut­ing online lec­tures to English-speaking audi­ences for many years. He was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. 

This sort of page is not unique. Other pages, includ­ing those ded­i­cated specif­i­cally to Awlaki, abound. The Face­book group Mar­tyr of Da’awa, for exam­ple, fea­tures quotes, videos and images of Awlaki and has attracted 1,372 ‘likes’ since it was founded in Jan­u­ary, 2014.

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