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May 26, 2015 3

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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May 7, 2015 2

Minnesotan In Somalia Encourages Americans To Engage In Terror

Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan

Mohamed Abdul­lahi Hassan

Update — 6/17/2015: Two addi­tional U.S. res­i­dents have been linked with Has­san since this blog was first posted: Nicholas Rovin­ski of Rhode Island, arrested 6/12/2015 for pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to ter­ror and his role in a Boston-area attack plot and Munther Omar Saleh of New York, arrested 6/16/2015 for pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror and a New York attack plot, both report­edly directed mes­sages to Has­san on Twitter.

Mohamed Abdul­lahi Has­san, who author­i­ties believe may have inter­acted with the Gar­land shoot­ers, may have inspired as many as 11 peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. to take action in the last two years.

Has­san is a per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent who was indicted in 2009 for trav­el­ling to Soma­lia to join Al Shabaab. He is believed to have com­mu­ni­cated with Amer­i­cans through his exten­sive social media net­works, on which he is known as Mujahid Miski or Muham­mad Miski. He has actively sup­ported and pro­moted ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda on Face­book, on the social media ques­tion and answer site Ask.FM, and on over 30 Twit­ter accounts.

Prior to the May 3 shoot­ing in Gar­land, Texas, Has­san report­edly inter­acted on Twit­ter with one of the alleged shoot­ers, Elton Simp­son. In April, Simp­son asked Has­san to fol­low his Twit­ter account so the two could pri­vately exchange mes­sages. Then, on April 23, Has­san wrote a tweet urg­ing attacks against the event at the com­mu­nity cen­ter that stated, “The broth­ers from the Char­lie Hebdo attack did their part. It’s time for broth­ers in the #US to do their part.” Later that day, Simp­son tweeted at Has­san, “When will they ever learn. They are plan­ning on select­ing the best pic­ture drawn of Rasu­l­ul­lah (Muham­mad)… in Texas.” Has­san retweeted the tweet.

Notably, Simp­son allegedly sought to travel to Soma­lia to join Al Shabaab in 2009 – one year after Has­san did. It is unknown if the two knew each other in the U.S. Has­san has also inter­acted online with sev­eral other Amer­i­cans fac­ing ter­ror­ism charges, includ­ing Abdi Nur, who allegedly trav­eled to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2014. Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Has­san com­mu­ni­cated with Nur on Face­book, ask­ing Nur, “us broth­ers from mpls (Min­neapo­lis) wanted to know how many you guys are back there in Sham (Syria),” to which Nur responded, “only three of us. The oth­ers there are still workin mak­ing hijrah (mov­ing abroad).”

The Face­book con­ver­sa­tions between Nur and Has­san also indi­cated that the two may have known each other when they lived in the U.S. Nur asked Has­san to “send [a mutual friend] my salams (greet­ings) akhi (brother)…please remind him that the salams came from abdi­yare [Nur] that you went to south­west [high school] with.” Nur was indicted together with Min­nesota res­i­dent Abdul­lah Yusuf in 2014. In 2015, six addi­tional Min­nesota res­i­dents were charged as part of the same con­spir­acy to travel to join ISIS.

Elton Simpson promoted Hassan's most recent Twitter account, @LoveHooooooooor

Elton Simp­son pro­moted Hassan’s recent Twit­ter account, @Love_H0000riyah

A third Amer­i­can, Dou­glas McAu­thur McCain, is alleged to have had con­tact with Has­san as well. McCain died fight­ing with ISIS in August 2014. Fol­low­ing McCain’s death, Has­san retweeted mul­ti­ple state­ments from McCain’s Twit­ter pro­file, @iamthetooth, and wrote, ““The Hard­est thing in Jihad is when a brother u  love is granted Sha­hadah [mar­tyr­dom]. Today im expe­ri­enc­ing those feel­ings. May Allah accept @iamthetooth.”

Has­san reg­u­larly inter­acts with many other uniden­ti­fied indi­vid­u­als online and is well known in extrem­ist social media cir­cles. Despite his reported mem­ber­ship in Al Shabaab, he advo­cates for his con­tacts to join ISIS if pos­si­ble, although he has tweeted both Al Shabaab and ISIS pro­pa­ganda too. On Jan­u­ary 29, 2014, he wrote, “My Heart is in Sham [Syria], my eyes are in Aqsa [Jerusalem] and My Soul is in Somalia.”

Hassan’s account on Ask.FM, an anony­mous ques­tion and answer ser­vice, is illus­tra­tive of the sup­port he pro­vided for English-speakers to join ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions. For exam­ple, one indi­vid­ual on the site asked, “My brother wants to be a mujahid (fighter) but he’s got glasses. Will that stop him from becom­ing one?” Has­san responded, “He can be a Mujahid and still wear glasses…And don’t worry about loos­ing (sic) them or brak­ing (sic) them because if you do insha Allah (God will­ing) you’ll have a new one made for you.” Another indi­vid­ual asked, “What does your last answer mean? Where you said ‘Don’t waste time and try to be one of the builders of the Islamic khi­laafah (Caliphate).’” Has­san responded, “It basi­cally means every minute and ever sec­ond is wasted if you’re not out there build­ing the Islamic Caliphate. Go out and make hijrah (travel) from the east and west and join the Jihad. Let your blood be the water for the tree of Khilaafah.”

Has­san grew up in Min­nesota and attended Roo­sevelt High School in Min­neapo­lis. He is believed to have trav­eled to Soma­lia in 2008 and is report­edly still a mem­ber of Al Shabaab.

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May 4, 2015 1

Alleged Garland Shooter Indicated His Intent Online

Elton Simpson

Elton Simp­son

Author­i­ties have iden­ti­fied one of the alleged shoot­ers at the shoot­ing at a Gar­land, Texas, com­mu­nity cen­ter yes­ter­day as Elton Simp­son, a 30-year-old res­i­dent of Phoenix, Ari­zona. He and an accom­plice, iden­ti­fied as 34-year-old Nadir Soofi, who was report­edly Simpson’s room­mate, are the 33rd and 34th Amer­i­cans linked to ter­ror­ism moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism this year, and their shoot­ing marks the eighth domes­tic ter­ror plot moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism in 2015. These num­bers rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant spike over pre­vi­ous years, and are likely related at least in part to the exten­sive and sophis­ti­cated online pro­pa­ganda cam­paigns pro­moted by ISIS and its supporters.

Simp­son main­tained an active pres­ence on Twit­ter, with at least 8 accounts that he used to net­work with ISIS sup­port­ers and share extrem­ist ideas. Prior to the attack, ADL had been mon­i­tor­ing at least one account believed to be his, under the name “Sharia [Islamic jurispru­dence] is Light.” His pro­file pic­ture was that of Anwar al-Awlaki, an Amer­i­can pro­pa­gan­dist for Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, killed in 2011, who is reg­u­larly quoted in ter­ror­ist cir­cles and has been cited as an inspi­ra­tion by many Amer­i­can Islamic extrem­ists. Simp­son used the pro­file to tweet pro­pa­ganda favor­ing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as to share the names of new ISIS sup­porter accounts that replaced accounts pre­vi­ously sus­pended for pro­mot­ing terrorism.

garland-texas-twitter-threat

An ISIS sup­porter encour­aged vio­lence against the event on Twitter

In recent days, ter­ror sup­port­ers on Twit­ter had been call­ing for vio­lence against the event in Texas, which fea­tured anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, as well as a con­test in which par­tic­i­pants were asked to draw car­toons of the Mus­lim prophet Mohamed. One ISIS sup­porter, for exam­ple, tweeted, “Broth­ers in Gar­land Texas Please go to there with your weapons, bombs or with your knives. Threaten your ene­mies & the ene­mies of Allaah,” and, “I think thy forgt the pre­vi­ous attack [against the Char­lie Hebdo mag­a­zine, which printed car­toons about Mohamed] done by our french bros, walahi [indeed] we wil kill u if u dare to insult our Prophet. Fol­low­ing the attack, that same indi­vid­ual tweeted that Simp­son “was favourit­ing my stuff about the Texas event.”

About half an hour before the shoot­ing, Simp­son appeared to claim respon­si­bil­ity on Twit­ter, writ­ing, “The bro with me and myself have given bay’ah [alle­giance] to Amirul Mu’mineen [lit­er­ally ‘Prince of the Believ­ers,’ a ref­er­ence to the Caliph and, in con­text, to the head of ISIS]. May Allah accept us as mujahideen [fight­ers]. Make dua [prayer] #tex­as­at­tack.”

Simpson's claim of responsibility on Twitter

Simpson’s claim of responsibility

ISIS and its sup­port­ers have been vocal in call­ing for home­grown attacks against West­ern  coun­tries and have used the pur­ported defama­tion of Muham­mad as a ratio­nale for vio­lence. Fol­low­ing the Paris attacks against the Char­lie Hebdo mag­a­zine and a kosher super­mar­ket, ISIS sup­port­ers launched a Twit­ter cam­paign with the hash­tag #Fight­forHim, ‘him’ being a ref­er­ence to Muham­mad, advo­cat­ing “the duty of killing those who insult our Prophet Muhammad.”

Simp­son had been under inves­ti­ga­tion for ter­ror­ist activ­ity in the past.  In 2009, he allegedly indi­cated inter­est in Al Shabaab, the Somali Al Qaeda affil­i­ate, telling an infor­mant, “It’s time to go to Soma­lia, brother. We know plenty of broth­ers from Soma­lia. We’re going to make it to the bat­tle­field. It’s time to roll.” He was arrested in 2010 and found guilty of mak­ing false state­ments to fed­eral agents, after which he was sen­tenced to three years’ probation.

Since 2014, ISIS has suc­ceeded Al Shabaab as the fore­most recruiter of Amer­i­can mil­i­tants. A num­ber of Amer­i­cans who pre­vi­ously sup­ported Al Shabaab, includ­ing Amer­i­cans who joined Al Shabaab and act as recruiters from abroad, have since become advo­cates for ISIS.

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