Uncovered: Bin Laden Concerned About Reformist Muslims

Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro. June 2, 2015:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a list of declassified letters and open-source reading material found inside Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistan compound. Among the items were documents that likely include the name of Clarion Project counter-terrorism analyst Ryan Mauro and other files indicating that the Al-Qaeda chief was concerned about modernist Muslim reformers.

Three of the 10 miscellaneous documents that were retrieved are from the 2007 Intelligence Summit held in St. Petersburg, Florida, specifically the conference advertising, exhibitor prospectus and participants map. As one of the featured speakers, Mauro’s name and biography would be in the material. The event was billed as the most prestigious intelligence conference in the country.

It is unclear why the event caught Bin Laden’s attention but it was likely the section of the event called the Secular Islam Summit, which featured anti-Islamist Muslims and former Muslims calling for a reformation in Islam in accordance with secular-democracy and modern human rights. The Summit unveiled the St. Petersburg Declaration rejecting Sharia governance and Islamism.

Muslim speakers at the event included Iranian activist Manda Zand Ervin who is featured in our film, Honor Diaries; Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a former associate of current Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri;  Tashbih Sayyed, editor-in-chief of Pakistan Today and The Muslim World Today; Hasan Mahmud of the Free Muslims Coalition, Jordanian writer Shaker al-Nabulsi and Iraqi politician Mithal al-Alusi.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and designated terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, attacked the Secular Islam Summit.

CAIR board chairman Parvez Ahmed claimed it had no legitimacy and inaccurately characterized its speakers as entirely former Muslims and foes of Islam. CAIR criticized the event for drawing a connection between Islamic teachings and terrorism and accused it of promoting Islamophobia.

Genieve Abdo, a keynote speaker at a CAIR fundraiser, took CAIR’s stance in the Washington Post. She applauded CAIR for having “denounced any notion of a Reformation as another attempt by the West to impose its history and philosophy on the Islamic world.”

Abdo argued that CAIR is more representative of Muslims and so the Secular Islam Summit should be dismissed. She also cited another curious figure as a preferable source over the Summit’s: The radical imam of New York-based Masjid at-Taqwa, Siraj Wahhaj.

Abdo portrayed Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as the future of Islam. She advised the West to accept that its “hopes for full integration by Muslims in the West are unlikely to be realized and that the future of the Islamic world will be much more Islamic than Western.”

“The political future of the Arab world is likely to consist of Islamic parties that are far less tolerant of what has historically been the U.S. foreign policy agenda in the region and that domestically are far more committed to implementing sharia law in varying degrees,” Abdo wrote.

Bin Laden’s bookshelf also included a RAND Corporation study titled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources and Strategies by Cheryl Benard. It concluded that U.S. should support Muslim modernists first; support Muslim traditionalists against the fundamentalists; confront and oppose fundamentalists and selectively support secularists.

Bin Laden either requested these materials about Muslim movements against Islamism or his closest aides felt they would peak his interest. At the very least, he was not dismissive of their significance otherwise they would not have invested time to retrieve and presumably review them.

If the highest echelons of Al-Qaeda viewed anti-Islamist Muslim activists as worth paying attention to, then so should we.

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Here are the videos of the conference: (Playlist)

Secular Islam Summit – Press Conference PT1

Secular Islam Summit – Press Conference PT2

Secular Islam Summit Panel 1 Pt1

Secular Islam Summit Panel 1 Pt2

Secular Islam Summit Panel 2 Pt1

Secular Islam Summit Panel 2 Pt2

Secular Islam Summit Panel 2 Pt3

Secular Islam Summit Panel 3 Pt1

Secular Islam Summit Panel 3 Pt2

Secular Islam Summit Panel 4 pt 1

Secular Islam Summit Panel 4 pt 2

Secular Islam Summit Panel 4 pt 3

Secular Islam Summit – Panel 5 PT1

Secular Islam Summit – Panel 5 PT2

Secular Islam Summit – Panel 5 PT3

Yemen isn’t on Verge of Civil War, It Already is – And Saudi Arabia Will Get Involved

March 21, 2015: Members of a militia group loyal to Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, known as the Popular Committees, chew qat as they sit next to their tank, guarding a major intersection in Aden, Yemen. (AP)

March 21, 2015: Members of a militia group loyal to Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, known as the Popular Committees, chew qat as they sit next to their tank, guarding a major intersection in Aden, Yemen. (AP)

March 25, 2015 / /

Once again the American media is a day late and a dollar short in covering foreign policy matters. Now every major media outlet in the country is openly asking the question of whether or not Yemen is “on the edge of a civil war.” The problem with that is they’re still behind the power curve. Why? Because Yemen already is in a civil war and it has been going on for the last several months, only you wouldn’t guess from American media outlets since they were focused on more important things like Bruce Jenner’s transition into “womanhood” – but we digress. Follow-on forces continue to be flown into Taiz for the main Houthi push to take Aden, which we assess can begin within days. This will be a multi-pronged offensive, as we’re already seeing with forces elsewhere moving to isolate pro-Hadi forces in other areas. Hadi’s forces were able to temporarily halt the Houthi advance – although this will change as Hadi’s forces continue to get worn down. Those areas weren’t even one of the major objectives. If anything the forces currently advancing have the port of al-Mukha as one of their primary objectives prior to the main push for Aden being initiated.

What Yemen’s Coming Apart at the Seams Means to Arabian Peninsula

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5737

Forces Loyal to President Hadi Halt Houthi Push Towards Yemen’s Aden

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/mideast/hadi-forces-check-houthi-push-towards-yemens-aden-n329681

hadi faction

Pro-Hadi forces manning a checkpoint in Aden
Source: al-Jazeera

The Gulf nations led by Saudi Arabia are reported to have agreed to a possible deployment of ground troops to support Hadi’s faction and confront the growing Iranian influence on the Arabian Peninsula. The Gulf nations had previously sent a multi-nation ground force to support the Bahraini government against Iranian proxies a few years ago, so there’s a precedence for this sort of thing. Also, Saudi Arabia has waged limited air campaigns along the Yemeni border off and on in the past for lesser reasons. The current buildup of Saudi ground forces suggests that they may be planning a proactive defense of the border region to keep the Houthis on their side of the border, but will likely initiate a ground campaign if Aden is perceived to be on the verge of falling – which might happen in the coming days. We assess that the violence will exceed anything the Saudis dealt with in previous operations that they conducted against the Houthis in 2009 and 2010. If it comes to that (and let’s be honest, does anybody truly think “negotiations” with Iran and its proxies will succeed?), we expect the initial ground deployments to consist of SOF personnel to perform an advise and assist role. That ground presence will likely grow in both role and numbers as the violence continues to escalate. Currently, the Saudis are providing financial support to Hadi’s faction and may be looking to provide lethal aid to keep the loyal military units in Aden propped up.

Saudis Vow “Necessary Measures” in Yemen if Peace Talks Fail

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8b9fa25a-d17f-11e4-86c8-00144feab7de.html#axzz3VMsKd8Ml

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia building up military near Yemen border – U.S. officials

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/24/us-yemen-security-usa-saudi-idUSKBN0MK2S120150324

Gulf states send forces to Bahrain following protests

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-12729786

Analysis: What is behind Saudi offensive in Yemen

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/saudi-arabia/091114/saudi-arabia-offensive-yemen-houthis

Saudi Forces Bomb Yemeni Rebels on Southern Border

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB125746088928732009

KSA capable of deterring attackers: Saudi King

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/11/08/90588.html

Saudi jets bomb Yemeni Houthis

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2009/11/20091151323886933.html

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 6.28.06 PM

The Saudi Army: Ready to rock and roll
Source: thefewgoodmen.com

Saudi Arabia’s actions are hardly surprising given the clear and present threat the Iranian regime and its proxies pose to the region. Houthi fighters are reportedly serving in the ranks of the Iranian regime’s “Foreign Legion” known as the Liwa Abu Fadl al-Abbas (LAFA) in Syria against anti-Assad forces. Those Houthi fighters reportedly received pre-deployment training at Hezbollah camps in Lebanon much like Iraqi proxies such as Kitab Hezbollah (KH) and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS). Should the Saudis get involved militarily, and we think its only a matter of time before they do, we could very well see the Houthis applying what they learned from that Hezbollah training. We’ll also likely see more from the IRGC-Qods Force and its proxies like what we saw in 2009 with Hezbollah operatives shot down a Yemeni fighter jet in 2009. Its been a few years since that incident and the Iranian regime now has firm control of Sanaa’s international airport with regular flights coming and going between there and Tehran – meaning more weapons (and Qods Force personnel) are being brought into the fight.

Iranian Regime Consolidates Houthi Gains, Begins Work Forming Houthi Intel Proxy

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5580

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels: The Hand of Iran?

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1992

Shia Proxy Threat to US ISIS Strategy in Saudi Arabia

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1837

Yemeni Fighter Planes Shot down by Hezbollah’s Elements

http://www.yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=1391

Syrian Army Takes Advantage of US Airstrikes in Counter-Offensive

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2788

hezbollah_24 mar

Hezbollah has been operating in Yemen for several years now – and their OP-Tempo is steadily increasing
Source: al-akhbar.com

As of this writing Hadi has the support of roughly 5,000 Yemeni Army personnel against a Houthi force numbering from 13,000-15,000 men. Those pro-Hadi Army personnel suffer from a lack of ammo, equipment and poor morale, so its debatable just how long they can hold out with no external support – which is a big reason why we assess the Saudis will become more involved. Here, air support will be key for both sides and the Saudis and UAE will be the most likely participants of any Gulf-led air campaign. However, the Saudis are not as capable as their UAE counterparts in terms of conducting sustained external operations.

Forming the bulk of Hadi’s supporters are the “Popular Committees” led by Abdul-Latif al-Sayid al-Bafqeeh. His faction had been working closely with the military in combatting AQAP in the Abyan-area when the Houthis launched their offensive to take Sanaa. Hadi didn’t order his security forces to combat the Houthis when they stormed Sanaa because he couldn’t trust his own men and didn’t know how strong his support was in the capital – which ultimately led to his and several Arab nations’ diplomatic missions being relocated to Aden. Bafqeeh is considered a local hero in the South for his opposition to AQAP and the Houthis. Although his estimated 6,700-man force adds much-needed bodies to Hadi’s beleaguered loyalist Army force, they’re not as well-trained as former President Saleh’s forces or even the Houthis. These Popular Committees were able to keep the Houthis from seizing Aden’s airport and are currently engaged in several battles north of the city – but they’re plagued by the same ammo and equipment shortage as the pro-Hadi Army units. There’s also some questions regarding Bafqeeh’s true allegiances, as he’s previously worked with AQAP when Saleh was in power. He claims to have left the group due to the leadership refusing to provide sufficient financial support. He also had this rather interesting comment when describing his reasons for his previous AQAP associations:

“when the regime was oppressive and brutal … People then joined al-Qaida to avenge themselves against the government. I and my men pulled out before we got involved with them.”

This pretty much cuts to the heart of what we’ve been saying about AQAP and the Islamic State (IS) being viewed more favorably by a local populace who feel threatened by the Iranian regime – which is every bit as bad as the two Sunni jihadist organizations. The problem with Bafqeeh is that he’s already shown that his allegiances are subject to change – so what will happen should IS offer him cash incentives to pledge allegiance to Baghdadi like they have with others? Something to think about as the Saudis ramp up their lethal aid to the Pro-Hadi crew. This will become a bigger factor later on as IS continues to gain more momentum in follow-on attacks to last week’s Sanaa Mosque bombings, especially if Hadi’s faction becomes even more weakened than it is. They have everybody’s attention now, and are fashioning themselves as the “protectors of the Sunni populace” against the Iranian regime. In the end people are people and like everybody else, the Yemeni Sunnis want to be part of a “winner.” Unfortunately, the factions they view as being the “strongest” just might be AQAP and IS.

abdul

Abdul-Latif al-Sayid al-Bafqeeh
Source: Associated Press

This great news for Iran’s strategic campaign to dominate the Middle East as it allows the Qods Force’s objective of forcing Saudi Arabia and the terror financiers residing there to divert resources from the anti-Assad war effort in Syria back closer to home. Control of key Yemeni real estate also allows the Iranian regime to have more options in disrupting international shipping if they so desire. Using Sanaa as a major support hub, the Qods Force and Hezbollah will be able to provide greater levels of material support to cells operating inside Saudi Arabia to destabilize the new King’s government while targeting IS support nodes throughout the country. With all the fighting taking place in the country, if this isn’t a civil war already, then what is it? Now think about this – President Obama’s “Yemen Success Story” being touted as the “model for future operations in the War Against Terror” has seen millions of dollars in equipment “disappearing,” Hadi being run out of the capital, parliament dissolved, US embassy evacuated and the last of our troops pulled out of the country. The cherry on top is that IS now has a foothold in the country and Iran emerged as the big winner by supporting terrorism and fomenting regional unrest. What we’re seeing in Yemen is Iran exporting their “Islamic Revolution” to the Arabian Peninsula by implementing the “Lebanon Model.” We were also told during the 2008 US Presidential election that he was going to “fundamentally transform America – and the world.” Is this the “fundamental transformation” he was talking about?

A veteran militia leader in southern Yemen emerges as key ally of president against rebels

http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/03/24/in-south-yemen-a-militia-leader-is-presidents-top-ally?page=2

BRIEF CLASHES IN ADEN AS POPULAR COMMITTEES SET UP CHECKPOINTS

http://www.yementimes.com/en/1861/news/4902/Brief-clashes-in-Aden-as-popular-committees-set-up-checkpoints.htm

YEMEN’S USE OF MILITIAS TO MAINTAIN STABILITY IN ABYAN PROVINCE

https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/yemens-use-of-militias-to-maintain-stability-in-abyan-province

Millions in U.S. military equipment lost as Yemen heads down Syria’s path

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/03/24/millions-in-u-s-military-equipment-lost-as-yemen-heads-down-syrias-path/

UPDATE – Reporting that just broke a little while ago suggests that Hadi fled his Aden-based residence. No word yet on his current whereabouts, but if he leaves the country, he could be making a mad dash for either Saudi Arabia or UAE. Should that happen, it would signal the Saudis to initiate the first phase of their military intervention. Oh, and the airfield our troops were stationed at has fallen to the Houthis now. More to follow…

Officials tell AP: Yemen president flees Aden home

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/c55bb2a7eabe4311b2eb40ba1c3f2abd/report-rebels-seize-yemen-air-base-used-al-qaida-fight

Other Related Articles:

Poised to Fill Yemen’s Power Vacuum – Iran Tightens Grip on the Peninsula

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4517

The Islamic State’s Arabian Peninsula Campaign

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4558

President Obama’s Yemen “Success” Story

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4751

IRGC-Qods Force: The Arabian Peninsula Campaign and the Failure of Obama’s Foreign Policy

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4478

Obama Peddles Osama’s Propaganda

The Blaze, by Benjamin Weingarten, March 20, 2015:

Without America there would be no Islamic State.

Indeed, without America there would have been no Cold War. Without the Cold War there would have been no need to arm and train the Mujahideen against the Soviets. Without the Mujahideen there would have been no Al Qaeda. Without Al Qaeda there would have been no Iraq War. And without the Iraq War there would have been no Islamic State. Or as President Barack Obama put it:

ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq which grew out of our invasion which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.

Such is the pretzel logic to which one must subscribe if one is to believe the president.

Which is to say that Barack Obama’s argument during a recent interview with VICE News is patently absurd.

(Image Source: VICE News/YouTube screengrab)

(Image Source: VICE News/YouTube screengrab)

But there is something worse than the absurdity of the president’s remarks, his implicit banal Bush-bashing and unwillingness or inability to ever take responsibility for anything – the least of which includes his failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq.

President Obama’s argument in the main is that America’s actions in the Middle East create terrorists. But by invoking “blowback,” he is parroting precisely the propaganda that Al Qaeda, Islamic State and other jihadist groups want us to repeat, while ignoring the self-evident truth that their actions come not from without but from within. In so doing, as when he raised the scepter of The Crusades, the president provides a veneer of legitimacy and even moral standing to genocidal Islamic supremacists who seek to destroy Western civilization and create a global caliphate.

The words of Osama bin Laden himself are germane to this argument. Witness what Al Qaeda’s godfather said during a May 1998 interview with ABC’s John Miller:

The call to wage war against America was made because America has spear-headed the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of its troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques over and above its meddling in its affairs and its politics, and its support of the oppressive, corrupt and tyrannical regime that is in control. These are the reasons behind the singling out of America as a target.

…The wrongs and the crimes committed against the Muslim nation are far greater than can be covered by this interview. America heads the list of aggressors against Muslims.

…They rip us of our wealth and of our resources and of our oil. Our religion is under attack. They kill and murder our brothers. They compromise our honor and our dignity and dare we utter a single word of protest against the injustice, we are called terrorists. This is compounded injustice.

In a particularly nauseating portion of the interview in which Miller implores bin Laden to “give us the true picture that clarifies your viewpoint” – as opposed to the “distorted picture of Islam, Muslims and of Islamic fighters” presented by “American politicians,” bin Laden continues [emphasis added]:

The leaders in America and in other countries as well have fallen victim to Jewish Zionist blackmail. They have mobilized their people against Islam and against Muslims. These are portrayed in such a manner as to drive people to rally against them. The truth is that the whole Muslim world is the victim of international terrorism, engineered by America at the United Nations. We are a nation whose sacred symbols have been looted and whose wealth and resources have been plundered. It is normal for us to react against the forces that invade our land and occupy it.

Ignored however is the rest of bin Laden’s message [emphasis added]:

…[O]ur call is the call of Islam that was revealed to Mohammed. It is a call to all mankind. We have been entrusted with good cause to follow in the footsteps of the Messenger and to communicate his message to all nations.

…In our religion, we believe that Allah has created us for the purpose of worshipping him. He is the one who has created us and who has favored us with this religion. Allah has ordered us to make holy wars and to fight to see to it that His word is the highest and the uppermost and that of the unbelievers the lowermost. We believe that this is the call we have to answer regardless of our financial capabilities.

This too answers the claims of the West and of the secular people in the Arab world. They claim that this blessed awakening and the people reverting to Islam are due to economic factors. This is not so. It is rather a grace from Allah, a desire to embrace the religion of Allah.

…I am one of the servants of Allah. We do our duty of fighting for the sake of the religion of Allah. It is also our duty to send a call to all the people of the world to enjoy this great light and to embrace Islam and experience the happiness in Islam. Our primary mission is nothing but the furthering of this religion.

This bin Laden interview is crucial because it illustrates the two-sided nature of Al Qaeda’s rhetoric and the rhetoric of jihadists more broadly — appealing on the one hand to the West’s materialism, and on the other to the Middle East’s idealism.

Indeed one of the primary but underappreciated elements of the global jihad is the subtle psychological warfare in which bin Laden engages above by way of the materialist argument.

Understanding the West’s unhealthy sense of guilt and shame, bin Laden portrays jihadists as the oppressed to our oppressor, the victim to our aggressor. Bin Laden knew that repeating such arguments — regardless of their veracity — would have a profound effect on the Western consciousness over time.

Conversely, playing on our moral relativism, multiculturalism and religious tolerance, bin Laden knew that we would fail to internalize his idealist worldview: A worldview formed by the Islamic doctrine that animates jihadists and lays bare their goals, strategies and tactics.

We have accepted the former (materialism) but ignored the latter (idealism), which explains in part why we are losing to the global jihad.

If you disagree with this assertion, consider that we in the West ask “Why do they hate us?” We search in vain for “root causes” of radicalization, and tell ourselves that a group that calls itself Islamic State and follows Muhammad literally perverts Islam or has nothing to do with it at all.

Meanwhile, our enemies self-identify as Islamic jihadists — a jihad compelled by the corpus of Islamic texts – whose end goal is to make the entire world submit to Allah’s rule.

President Obama either out of political correctness, ignorance or a more nefarious impulse damages America’s cause by parroting the victomology that Osama bin Laden knew Western progressives would buy hook, line and sinker.

He gives credence to our enemies’ arguments while implementing an agenda ostensibly to combat them wholly consonant with such a worldview, and thereby wholly ineffectual.

This is the far more consequential and far more dangerous takeaway from the president’s interview than the tired invocation of “Bush’s fault” that Obama’s critics have harped on.

Osama bin Laden’s Files: The Pakistani government wanted to negotiate

osama-bin-laden1-e1425067707264BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | March 9th, 2015:

Recently released files recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound show that parts of the Pakistani government made attempts to negotiate with al Qaeda in 2010. The letters were released as evidence in the trial of Abid Naseer, who was convicted on terrorism charges by a Brooklyn jury earlier this month.

One of the files is a letter written by Atiyah Abd al Rahman (“Mahmud”), who was then the general manager of al Qaeda, to Osama bin Laden (identified as Sheikh Abu Abdallah) in July 2010.  The letter reveals a complicated game involving al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, the brother of Pakistan’s current prime minister, and Pakistan’s intelligence service.

“Regarding the negotiations, dear Sheikh, I will give you an overview, may God support me in this,” Rahman wrote. “The Pakistani enemy has been corresponding with us and with Tahreek-i-Taliban (Hakeemullah) for a very short time, since the days of Hafiz, may God have mercy on him.” Hakeemullah Mehsud was the head of the Pakistani Taliban at the time. The “Hafiz” mentioned is Mustafa Abu Yazid (Sheikh Saeed al Masri), who served as al Qaeda’s general manager prior to his deathin May 2010. Rahman succeeded Yazid in that role.

“We discussed the matter internally, then we talked with Abu-Muhammad later once we were able to resume correspondence with him,” Rahman explained. “Abu-Muhammad” is the nom de guerre of Ayman al Zawahiri. As a result of these discussions, al Qaeda was willing to broker a deal in which the jihadists’ would ease off the Pakistanis so long as the military and intelligence services stopped fighting al Qaeda and its allies.

“Our decision was this: We are prepared to leave you be. Our battle is primarily against the Americans. You became part of the battle when you sided with the Americans,” Rahman wrote, explaining al Qaeda’s position towards the Pakistani government. “If you were to leave us and our affairs alone, we would leave you alone. If not, we are men, and you will be surprised by what you see; God is with us.”

Al Qaeda’s negotiating tactic was simple. Either the Pakistanis leave them alone, or they would suffer more terrorist attacks. Rahman’s letter reveals how bin Laden’s men sought to convey their message. They relied on Siraj Haqqani, the senior leader of the Haqqani Network, which has long been supported by the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment.

Rahman summarized al Qaeda’s plan thusly: “We let slip (through Siraj Haqqani, with the help of the brothers in Mas’ud and others; through their communications) information indicating that al Qaeda and Tahreek-i-Taliban [the Pakistani Taliban] have big, earth shaking operations in Pakistan, but that their leaders had halted those operations in an attempt to calm things down and relieve the American pressure.”

“But if Pakistan does any harm to the Mujahidin in Waziristan, the operations will go forward, including enormous operations ready in the heart of the country,” Rahman explained. This is the message al Qaeda “leaked out through several outlets.”

In response, “they, the intelligence people…started reaching out to” al Qaeda through Pakistani jihadist groups they “approve of.”

Read more at Long War Journal

Osama Bin Laden’s Files: The Arab revolutions

Anas Al-LibiLWJ, by Thomas Joscelyn, March 3rd, 2015:

As the so-called “Arab Spring” swept through the Muslim-majority world in 2011, some US officials and counterterrorism analysts proclaimed that al Qaeda had been left “on the sidelines.” However, the limited selection of publicly-available documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011 tell a different story. The al Qaeda chieftain and his subordinates saw an opportunity.

Atiyah Abd al Rahman, who served as al Qaeda’s general manager, discussed the political upheaval in a letter written to bin Laden just weeks before the al Qaeda CEO was killed in his Abbottabad, Pakistan safe house. Rahman’s letter was introduced as evidence in the trial of Abid Naseer, who is alleged to have taken part in al Qaeda’s plotting in Europe and New York City. Just months after penning it, Rahman was killed in a US drone strike in northern Pakistan.

“We are currently following the Arab Revolutions and the changes taking place in Arab countries,” Rahman wrote. “We praise you, almighty God, for the demise of the tyrants in Tunisia and Egypt.”

Rahman mentions the “situation” in countries such as Libya, Syria, and Yemen, explaining that he has included “some of what” he “wrote to some of my brothers concerning these revolutions.”

“In general,” Rahman argued, “we think these changes are sweeping, and there is good in them, God willing.” Rahman wondered if bin Laden had considered putting out a speech on the uprisings, noting that al Qaeda’s CEO had “not made any statements as of now,” as “hopefully” bin Laden was “waiting for these revolutions to mature and reach stability.”

Rahman wrote that “it might be good for” Yunis al Mauritani, a key figure in al Qaeda’s “external operations” (or international terrorist operations) who was subsequently captured in Pakistan, to “send his brothers to Tunisia and Syria and other places.” Bin Laden’s general manager believed that the “Syrian brothers would have to wait a little for the revolution in Syria to succeed in taking down Bashar Assad’s regime, and for the country to become degenerated and chaotic.”

His conclusion proved to be wrong. Al Qaeda groomed an official branch in Syria, the Al Nusrah Front, to battle Assad’s government and its allies. And al Qaeda’s senior leadership later sent a cadre of officials to Syria to help guide this effort, as well as to plot attacks in the West.

The Tunisian with Yunis “could travel straight to Tunisia now,” as “he could easily enter the country, and then some of our people could travel there and get in,” Rahman wrote. The “three Syrians” will “hopefully” be able to get into their home country.  There is no clear indication of who these Syrians and the Tunisian are, or what happened to them. Some of Yunis’ men were eventually captured alongside him, while others likely remained free.

But the bin Laden files give some details with respect to Libya.

Read more

Also see:

Why Was ISIS Terror Operative Nihad Rosic Arrested in Plainfield, Indiana?

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, March 2, 2015:

Six individuals of Bosnian origin from St. Louis, Rockford, Illinois and Utica, New York, were indicted last month on charges of supplying money and equipment to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

And yet late last week it was revealed that one of those terror suspects, Nihad Rosic, who is also one of two suspects additionally charged with conspiring to kill and maim others in a foreign country and had attempted to board a plane back in July 2014 to fly to Syria to join ISIS, had actually been apprehended in the small town of Plainfield, Indiana, right outside Indianapolis.

As the Indianapolis Star reported on Friday:

A Bosnian national indicted on charges of funneling resources to terrorists overseas was arrested earlier this month in Plainfield, officials confirmed Friday, but it was unclear why the man was in Indiana.

U.S. marshals booked Nihad Rosic, 26, in the Marion County Jail on Feb. 6, jail records show, though his connections to the state appear to be minimal.

A federal indictment alleges that Rosic and five others communicated on social media with coded language to organize financial support and send equipment to terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq.

Jan Diltz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, where the indictment was handed up, said she doesn’t know why Rosic was in Indiana.

While at first glance it may seem odd that Plainfield, Indiana might be a haunt for an international terror operative for perhaps the most dangerous Islamic terrorist group in the world today, it perhaps might be more clear when considering that Plainfield is the headquarters the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), one of the most terror-tied Islamic organizations in American history.

As one former federal law enforcement official told me this weekend, if Rosic was not in Plainfield related to ISNA it would be an “extreme coincidence bordering on the unbelievable.”

ISNA’s ties to terrorism go back even before it’s founding in the early 1980s when the organization was operating in the Indianapolis area as an amalgam of Muslim Brotherhood front organizations, including the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Islamic Teaching Center (ITC) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). I’ve previously reported on the MSA’s extensive terrorist lineup here at PJ Media.

Two of the visitors to the area in those early days included Al-Qaeda founder Abdullah Azzam and his protege, Osama bin Laden.

According to a book published by Bin Laden’s first wife, Najwa, the Al-Qaeda leaders and the Bin Laden family visited the U.S. for two weeks in 1979 with stops in Los Angeles, and yes, Indianapolis. A clue why Bin Laden and Azzam might have been in the area might be an ITC newsletter dated February 1978 I uncovered that documents a previous visit to their Indianapolis offices in January of that year by Azzam and several other well known extremist Islamic clerics. ITC now operates as a subsidiary of ISNA.

From its earliest days ISNA was a hub for international Islamic terrorists. Terrorist figures associated with ISNA include:

  • Al-Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi, who started ISNA’s political action committee in November 1988, who was convicted in 2004 for his role in an international assassination plot targeting then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. In 2005, the US Treasury Department admitted that Alamoudi had operated as one of the top Al-Qaeda fundraisers in North America.
  • Senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian, one of ISNA’s self-admitted founders, was convicted in 2006 for his role in supporting the terrorist organization and was deported from the U.S. last month. Prior to his indictment, Al-Arian was deeply involved in numerous ISNA activities and organizations, and was a regular speaker at the ISNA annual conferences.
  • Pakistani intelligence agent Ghulam Nabi Fai, who not only worked for ISNA but also served for years on ISNA’s shura council, was convicted in 2012 for failing to disclose nearly $4 million he had received from the Pakistani ISI intelligence service to influence members of Congress on behalf of the Muslim separatist cause in Kashmir (I reported on Fai’s operation in a two-part series here at PJ Media, noting that Fai spoke at ISNA’s annual convention two weeks before his arrest). Fai’s co-conspirator, Zaheer Ahmad, reportedly met with both Bin Laden and Zawahiri just weeks before 9/11 to discuss their weapons of mass destruction program. As reported in an in-depth ProPublica expose of Fai’s activites, not only was Fai working for Pakistani intelligence at the same time he was working for ISNA, but key ISNA figures and affiliates helped start his Kashmir American Center.
  • As I reported exclusively here at PJ Media in September 2012, one speaker featured at ISNA’s 2001 annual conference held just days prior to the 9/11 attacks was Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in September 2011. For years Awlaki’s ISNA speech had been cited, but we were the first to actual provide the video to the Al-Qaeda operative’s ISNA conference talk.
  • One other senior terror leader with deep ties to ISNA is current Hamas deputy head Mousa Abu Marzook. I’ll elaborate on the ISNA/Hamas ties below, but will note here that when Marzook was arrested in the U.S. in 1995 and designated a global terrorist by the Clinton administration, and was later deported in 1997, Marzook took out an advertisement in the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs thanking his supporters, including ISNA:

isna-marzook-web

In October 2014, Mohammed Hamzah Khan was arrested trying to board a flight to travel to Turkey to join ISIS. According to postings on Khan’s Instagram account, he had attended ISNA’s annual convention held in Detroit less than a month before.

But ISNA’s role in the international Islamic terror network isn’t just associational. Rather, they have taken a much direct role in supporting international terrorism.

According to forms filed with the IRS, ISNA provided $170,000 in start-up funds for the Islamic African Relief Association (IARA), which was designated a global terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury in October 2004 for supporting Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, and other Islamic terrorist organizations. Exhibits entered into trial evidence in court by federal prosecutors showed extensive payments from ISNA to IARA over the years in increments of tens of thousands of dollars. According to the Justice Department, IARA sent at least $130,000 to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Another ISNA-supported Islamic terror charity was the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA). As reported by Thomas Jocelyn at the Weekly Standard, German investigators found transactions between ISNA and TWRA in 1992 at the same time that TWRA was financing the US-based terror cell that conducted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned “Day of Terror” attacks targeting New York City landmarks.

Despite evidence of ISNA’s support of a long list of Islamic charities tagged by the US government and the United Nations as terrorist organizations, ISNA’s most notorious role in supporting international terrorism came up in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history in the successful prosecution of the executives of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) for supporting Hamas.

Not only did HLF receive ISNA’s longtime support, but it began as the Occupied Land Fund as an arm of ISNA operated out of the group’s Plainfield headquarters.

ISNA was named unindicted co-conspirator in the case, and extensive documentation entered into trial evidence by federal prosecutors (available on the Texas federal court’s website) shows that even after HLF was spun off of ISNA, the money transferred by the HLF to Hamas actually was moved by ISNA and the ISNA-affiliated North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and payments made directly by ISNA to Hamas officials, including Mousa Abu Marzook.

So intertwined was ISNA in conspiracy by the international Muslim Brotherhood to finance Hamas, in one court filing federal prosecutors lay out ISNA’s role in providing “media, money and men” to Hamas (page 13 in the file):

DOJ-ISNA-NAITsm

The federal judge in the case, Jorge Solis, agreed with the prosecutors about ISNA’s role, stating in a ruling that was later unsealed that there was “ample evidence” that ISNA and other US Muslim Brotherhood groups had supported Hamas.

ISNA’s terror support was even profiled by Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR in a 2003 two-part series entitled “Images in Conflict“:

 

 

But if it is the case that ISIS operative Nihad Rosic was in Plainfield meeting with ISNA officials it is highly unlikely that the Justice Department would ever admit to it since ISNA has been the closest Islamic group to the Obama White House.

That’s right, despite what federal prosecutors have said in federal court about ISNA’s role in supporting international terrorism, its ties to convicted terror leaders and supporting designated global terrorist organizations, and even Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez under the Bush administration cancelling meetings because of the presence of ISNA officials, as I noted here at PJ Media in the early days of this administration, ISNA has been openly embraced by the Obama White House.

In 2013, Obama even provided a video greeting to open ISNA’s annual convention:

 

So what is the connection between Nihad Rosic and ISNA, and why exactly was he arrested in Plainfield, Indiana? Most likely federal authorities will never say, but an educated guess about the possible involvement of ISNA given their lengthy track record on these types of activities is hardly out-of-order.

New Docs Reveal Osama bin Laden’s Secret Ties With Iran

osama_bin_ladenWeekly Standard, by Thomas Joscelyn, Feb. 29, 2015:

This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in an al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.

More than 1 million documents and files were captured by the Navy Seals who raided bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. One year later, in May 2012, the Obama administration released just 17 of them.

While there is some overlap between the files introduced as evidence in Brooklyn and those that were previously made public in 2012, much of what is in the trial exhibits had never been made public before.

The files do not support the view, promoted by some in the Obama administration, that bin Laden was in “comfortable retirement,” “sidelined,” or “a lion in winter” in the months leading up to his death. On the contrary, bin Laden is asked to give his order on a host of issues, ranging from the handling of money to the movement of terrorist operatives.

Some of the key revelations in the newly-released bin Laden files relate to al Qaeda’s dealings with Iran and presence in Afghanistan.

A top al Qaeda operative asked bin Laden for permission to relocate to Iran in June 2010 as he plotted attacks around the world. That operative, Yunis al Mauritani, was a senior member of al Qaeda’s so-called “external operations” team, and plotted to launch Mumbai-style attacks in Europe.

As THE WEEKLY STANDARD first reported, the al Qaeda cell selected to take part in al Mauritani’s plot transited through Iran and some of its members received safe haven there after the planned attacks were thwarted.

In the memo to bin Laden, a top al Qaeda manager wrote, “Sheikh Yunis is ready to move and travel.” The file continues: “The destination, in principle, is Iran, and he has with him 6 to 8 brothers that he chose. I told him we are waiting for final complete confirmation from you to move, and agree on this destination (Iran). His plan is: stay around three months in Iran to train the brothers there then start moving them and distributing them in the world for their missions and specialties. He explained those to you in his report and plan.”

Bin Laden’s reply is apparently not included in the documents.

Other intelligence recovered in the raid on the al Qaeda master’s home show that al Qaeda and Iran were at odds in some ways. Iran detained a number of senior al Qaeda leaders and members of Osama bin Laden’s family. Al Qaeda forced Iran to release some of them by kidnapping an Iranian diplomat in Pakistan. Some of the newly-released files provide hints of these disagreements as well, including a suggestion that one of bin Laden’s sons may complain about the jihadists’ treatment in Iran once he was freed.

The same June 2010 memo to bin Laden that includes Yunis al Mauritani’s request also includes a section on the al Qaeda leaders who had returned to Pakistan from Iran. One of them is Abu Anas al Libi, a bin Laden lieutenant who was captured in Tripoli in 2013. Upon being freed, al Libi was reassigned to al Qaeda’s security committee and asked to move to Libya to take part in the anti-Qaddafi revolution. Al Qaeda granted al Libi’s request.

Although Iran and al Qaeda have had significant differences, there is much intelligence showing that the two continue to collude.

During President Obama’s administration, the Treasury and State Departments have repeatedly exposed the formerly “secret deal” between the Iranian regime and al Qaeda that allows the terrorist organization to shuttle operatives around the globe. Some of those operatives included Yunis al Mauritani’s men.

The June 2010 memo to bin Laden indicates that al Qaeda had a significant presence in Afghanistan at the time.

“Our groups inside Afghanistan are the same as for every season for many years now,” bin Laden’s subordinate wrote. “We have groups in Bactria, Bactica, Khost, Zabul, Ghazni and Warduk in addition to the battalion in Nuristan and Kunz.” (Bactria and Bactica may be transliterated incorrectly and actually reference other provinces.)

“We have very strong military activity in Afghanistan, many special operations, and the Americans and NATO are being hit hard,” the memo continues.

The author, who is likely Atiyyah Abd al Rahman (later killed in a U.S. drone strike), says that al Qaeda had recently cooperated with the Haqqani Network in a major operation in Bagram. “We cooperated with Siraj Haqqani and other commander down there (Kabul/Bagram),” Rahman writes to bin Laden. Siraj’s father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of bin Laden’s closest allies. The Haqqani network and al Qaeda have fought side-by-side for years and the Haqqanis continue to provide shelter for al Qaeda’s men in northern Pakistan.

Al Qaeda’s description of its own presence in Afghanistan is directly at odds with the assessments made by U.S. military and intelligence officials, who have portrayed the group as having only a small number of fighters and being geographically isolated.

Other revelations include the following:

Senior al Qaeda leaders discussed potential negotiations with Al Jazeera over the copyrights for the jihadists’ propaganda films and footage. Al Qaeda also wanted to play a significant role in an upcoming documentary produced by the channel.

Al Qaeda believed the British were ready to cut a deal to get out of Afghanistan. If al Qaeda left the Brits alone, one file contends, the UK was willing to pull out from the country.

Al Qaeda was in direct contact with Al Tayyib Agha, a Taliban leader who has served as Mullah Omar’s emissary. The U.S. government has held direct talks with Agha in an attempt to broker a peace deal in Afghanistan. The Taliban has rejected the goals of those talks, however.

Al Qaeda was monitoring the situation in Libya, and noted that the “brothers” in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) were operating in Benghazi, Derna and elsewhere in eastern Libya. Members of the LIFG went on to help form Ansar al Sharia in Derna and other al Qaeda-linked groups, some of which took part in the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack.

Bin Laden advised his subordinates that they should contact Abu Mohammad al Maqdisi, a well-known jihadist ideologue, to see if Maqdisi would agree to have one of his books shortened before being more widely disseminated. Bin Laden’s words show how much respect he had for Maqdisi. The Jordanians have routinely imprisoned Maqdisi, but recently let him out of detention so that he could denounce the Islamic State, which has emerged as al Qaeda’s rival. This shows how al Qaeda is using the Islamic State to portray itself as being more moderate.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Also see:

Orwell and the Administration: The White House as the Ministry of Truth

1984-640x480Breitbart, by DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA, Feb. 3, 2015:

In George Orwell’s landmark novel 1984, Big Brother’s dictatorial state uses “newspeak” and its Ministry of Truth to turn falsehood into manufactured “truth” and reality into lies. The administration’s explanation of what drives the terrorists responsible for 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting, and the Boston bombing sounds everyday more and more like a product of The Ministry of Truth.

This weekend, the President gave an interview on CNN in which he made several categorical assertions about the terrorists that have endangered America and her allies and, most recently, beheaded a Japanese hostage in the Middle East. As Breitbart has reported, the Commander-in-Chief explicitly “rejected the notion” that the war on terrorism is any kind of “religious war” against radical Islam. President Obama went on to explain how groups such as Al Qaeda and The Islamic State are not in fact Islamic but simply nihilists.

This message is not new or unique to the chief executive, since in fact, back in 2011, the administration banned any mention of Islam or even “Jihad” in counterterrorism training for the Department of Justice – to include the FBI – and the Department of Defense, to include all our armed forces. Since that time, the official line has been that religion, and specifically Islam, has nothing to do with events such as the Boston Bombing or the rise of ISIS.

But what are the facts?

Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Al Nusra Front, and ISIS all share the same goal and ideology. They all want to reestablish the theocratic empire of Islam – The Caliphate – that was dissolved in 1924, and they all see Holy War, or Jihad, as the only way to do so. Where does this ideology come from? Just like America and the Western military world, the Global Jihadist Movement (GJM) has its grand strategic thinkers, their own Clausewitzs and Mackinders. The three most important are the Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb; the Palestinian Jordanian, Abdulah Azzam; and the Pakistani Brigadier S.K. Malik. What did these three founders of the GJM have to say about Islam’s relationship to terrorism?

  • Qutb is perhaps the most important person to the Muslim Brotherhood after its founder, Hassan al Banna. After spending two years in the US and deciding that we are a heretical nation that must be destroyed, Qutb wrote his guide to Jihad, the manual on how to destroy us. Entitled Milestones, this text has been found on high-value terrorist targets killed or captured in every theater that jihad is currently being fought in. In it, Qutb is explicit: Muslims have lost their way, Islam must be purged of ignorance of Allah (jahiliyyah), and the only way to do so is through a jihad in which the infidel (kuffar) is subdued or killed. Qutb added that all democracies must be destroyed because in any system in which men make the laws, the sovereignty of Allah has been undermined. The Koran is the only constitution a Muslim needs or is allowed to follow.
  • Next there is Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s boss and spiritual guide. After the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets in 1979, Azzam issued a fatwa, or religious decree with the title: Defense of Muslim Lands. In it, he stated that, since the Caliphate had been dissolved in 1924 and that there was no longer an Islamic Emperor who could declare war against such invaders, Jihad was now fard ‘ayn, or an individual and universal obligation upon all followers of the Muslim faith. Importantly, because Azzam held a PhD in Islamic jurisprudence from the Al Azhar in Cairo, the most important Sunni theological institution in the world, he was fully qualified to issue such a decree, and it was duly endorsed by the greatest names in the Sunni religious establishment. Azzam is not only important because of his making Holy War a duty for all Muslims, but because he created an organization called the Services Bureau (MAK in Arabic) which recruited Muslims from around the world to come fight the infidels in Afghanistan. Not long after its founding, Azzam hired bin Laden as his deputy and it was bin Laden who would inherit the MAK upon Azzam’s death and rename it Al Qaeda.
  • The last and most important Jihadi strategist is the late Brigadier Malik. Also interestingly in 1979, Malik wrote a book which has become the most influential treatise on why Jihad is necessary and how it must be fought. The Quranic Concept of War is a long text on what the faithful Muslim can learn from the way Mohammad fought the infidels and non-believers when he established the empire of Islam. In it, Malik states three things: i) All war must only serve the realization of Allah’s sovereignty on this Earth through the reestablishment of the Caliphate. ii) The only target that matters in warfare is the soul of the infidel: the kuffar must be converted to Islam or be killed. iii) Because the soul is the only target that matters, terror is the best mode of warfare. In other words, it is events like 9/11, the Charlie Hebdo shootings, or the Fort Hood massacre that are the best way to defeat the infidel. (Note this wasn’t a fringe text when it was published – nor is it now – given that the introduction was written by the equivalent of the Attorney General of Pakistan and the preface which endorsed all that was in the book, was signed by none other than General Zia ul Haq, the Commander of all Pakistan’s Armed Forces and at the same time the President of Pakistan.

In other words, the greatest minds behind the threat groups we face today, the authors that shaped the ideology behind the atrocities we witness day in and day out, are all in agreement: Islam has lost its way and Jihad must be used to cleanse the world of disbelief until the theocratic empire reigns supreme.

Whatever the President and his newspeak cadre believe, it is clear what Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the head of ISIS/The Islamic State believes. Last September 11th, I was invited to brief an element of the US Intelligence Community that stills holds to the professional standard that one has to be honest about what the enemy says and what they are doing. In the brief, I took the speech Abu Bakr made earlier in the Summer of 2014 from the pulpit of the Grand Mosque in Mosul, in which he declared the reestablishment of the Caliphate and represented as a “word cloud,” the visual representation of a text in which words are given a larger size and put closer to the center of the diagram the more often they are used.

word cloud 2

 It is clear that our greatest current enemy has no question about why and what he is fighting for.

Sebastian Gorka PhD is the Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University and also adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics. You can follow on Twitter at: @SebGorka.

Why Al-Qaeda Just Won’t Die

OsombieBy Sebastian Gorka:

These days, zombies are all the rage. Viewing figures for the season finale of the hit show The Walking Dead are to be envied. Blockbuster movies featuring Brad Pitt proclaim the genre, as do popular books reconceiving Jane Austen among the living dead.

Perhaps this is no coincidence. The fascination with zombies may be fed subconsciously by a real-world global foe which bears more than a passing resemblance to George Romero’s iconic monsters. Al-Qaeda, even if not actually peopled by animated corpses, is a cult of death. Ayman al-Zawahiri said exactly that when he declared that he and his cohorts love death more than we love life. On top of that, it seems that—despite declarations to the contrary from the White House and more than thirteen years of U.S. counterterrorism operations—al-Qaeda is far from deceased.

Slide2_0In fact, in at least one respect, al-Qaeda may be even worse than the menace of the walking dead. In the latter’s case, they at least have the decency to die when you strike them hard enough in the head. Not so with al-Qaeda. We killed Osama bin Laden, its founder and head, more than two years ago, yet the body of jihadi terrorism fights on. So much so that in his recent open testimony before Congress, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated that al Qaeda now has operational centers in in twelve nations around the world, from Mali to Syria.(1) By way of comparison, in 2001, when we started the war against al-Qaeda, it had operations centers in just one country: Afghanistan. Indeed, as the graph below, based upon open-source unclassified databases illustrates, al-Qaeda is on the rise.

So why is it proving so hard to kill al-Qaeda? Because as a nation we have broken the fundamental rules of strategy: we have failed to execute an objective analysis of why the threat exists and what it wants. Worse, in the last four years we have distorted reality even further by allowing preconceived notions and politically driven strictures to influence and limit our understanding of the enemy.

Know Thine Enemy

I spend my days teaching strategy to the military, federal law enforcement and their intelligence community colleagues. Whoever the audience, we always start in the same place: if you have an enemy that you want to defeat, you have to know who they are, where they came from and what their strategy is. The military calls this an Estimate of the Situation, or more operationally, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. In the decade-plus war with al-Qaeda, we have been erratic and counterfactual in our EoS and IPB.

After 9/11, the President declared a global war on “terror.” The term was an odd one, for terror is the tool of several types of actor, especially dictators who use it systematically against their own people and dissidents abroad. Yet our GWOT was not targeted against recognized practitioners of terror, such as the Kim dynasty in North Korea or the mullahs in Iran. Nor did our global campaign target all terrorist groups. We did not deploy Delta Force against Basque separatists in Spain, or the eco-terrorist ELF (Earth Liberation Front), but against a very specific foe: those that were responsible for the attacks of 9/11. Those “practitioners of terror” justified their murder of unarmed civilians with a religious narrative that saw the West—Dar al Harb, or the House of War—as having declared war on Islam, and had as their strategic objective the re-establishment of the theocratic empire of Islam known as the Caliphate.

Yet from the very start, the President and his team assiduously disassociated al-Qaeda from Islam, representing bin Laden and his followers as renegade extremists whose actions were un-Islamic. This, despite the fact that their fatwas leveraged the words of Allah and Mohammed, those Koranic passages and sections of the Haddith (sayings and tales of Mohammed) that explicitly call for the death of the infidel.(2)

To be clear, as a nation America was never at war with Islam. Nor is it now. We are, however, at war with people who have a fundamental understanding of Islam, and whose broader legitimacy is very difficult to theologically undermine due to their reliance on the ancient tenets of an often-violent religion. But what exactly is al-Qaeda, and where did it come from?

Root Causes

The story starts with the Caliphate, which—contrary to popular conception—is not some abstract idea invented by a small group of extremists. The theocratic empire of Islam, the polity that integrated faith and politics and which was founded by Mohammed, existed for over a thousand years. True, its center moved over time, from Mecca to Damascus, then to Baghdad and finally to Istanbul, but it was a real living thing which still existed at the beginning of the 20th century. By then, it was under Turkish control and most people called it the Ottoman Empire. Yet this was the Caliphate, and there was even a Caliph, or emperor of Islam.

Unfortunately for the Ottomans, after World War I broke out they decided to side with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany. As a result, by 1918 they were on the losing side of the world’s first global war. In an attempt to salvage the Muslim empire after this defeat, and prevent total dismemberment and disarmament along the lines of what occurred to Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles, the Ottomans reinvented themselves under the leadership of a very charismatic and intelligent army officer named Mustafa Kemal. Kemal, who would later change his name to Atatürk—meaning Father of All Turks—would reinvent the nation that would eventually become the Republic of Turkey.

Atatürk’s strategy was to convince the West that his people no longer were a threat and that his nation should be recognized as a member of their community. This required a wholesale reinvention of his country, the key pillars of which were the separation of Islam and politics and the broader secularization of Turkey. To that end, he not only banned traditional Turkic-Islamic dress for officials of the state but replaced the Arabic alphabet with a modified version of our Roman one.(3) Most significantly, in 1924 Atatürk formally decreed the dissolution of the Caliphate.(4) It is no accident, therefore, that less than five years later in the Suez region of Egypt, one Hasan al-Banna established the Ikwan Muslimin, or Muslim Brotherhood, the avowed mission of which was—and still is—to reestablish the Caliphate which had been “unjustly” dissolved.

After World War I, certain Middle Eastern territories that had been part of the Ottoman Empire were put under the mandate of the British government. These lands include what we today call Israel, as well as the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). After WWII, as violence escalated between Arabs and Jews and between these groups and British mandate forces, London decided that after six years of fighting the Nazis, the British had no future as the governors of the Middle East and pulled out of Palestine. It was under these circumstances that the new Jewish state of Israel was declared.

From the Muslim perspective, and the view of the Arab states that invaded Israel the day after it declared its statehood, this was the second seismic blow to the psyche of the ummah, the global community of Islam. From the perspective of the true believer, this territory is sacred Muslim soil. So much so, that before the Qibla—the Islamic direction of prayer—became Mecca, all Muslims had to face Jerusalem five times a day as they prayed to their creator, Jerusalem being the third holiest site in Islam and the place from which Mohammed was said to have risen into heaven.

However, the most important year of all for anyone who wishes to understand why 9/11 happened and what al-Qaeda stands for, is 1979. In the Muslim world, which follows a shorter lunar calendar initiated when Mohammed journeyed from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib), 1979 represented a turn of the century, the shift from 1399 into the year 1400. And just as with other cultures, there were many in the Muslim world who had great expectations for the new century, that significant events would occur. And so they did.

First came the Iranian Revolution. Although a Shi’a event, it had great ramifications for all Muslims. With the removal of the Shah and the complete rejection of the Western model of the secular nation-state, the revolution had at its core the religious imperative that Islam and politics cannot be separated. That is why the real center of power in the Islamic Republic since 1979 has been a man of the cloth and not a politician. This message of the reintegration of faith and politics and the continued success of Iran in rejecting the Western way of politics is an example to all Muslims.

Second was the attack against the holiest site in Islam: the Siege of the Grand Mosque of Mecca. As the Muslim world was collectively entering the year 1400, more than a thousand jihadi terrorists stormed the Grand Mosque and declared a Holy War against “false Muslims.” The terrorists managed to control the most important site in Islam, the epicenter of the annual hajj pilgrimage, for almost two weeks. More importantly, it turned out that the radicals had been encouraged and in fact blessed by members of the Saudi ulema, or clerical class, who agreed that Islam had lost its way and had to be cleansed by force.

The siege was eventually broken by French commandos who had been smuggled into Mecca after being hastily converted to Islam. But the true geostrategic significance of the attack came afterwards, as the King of Saudi Arabia, in an effort to secure the House of Saud, made a pact with the ulema who had endorsed the jihad.(5) The deal was straightforward: in exchange for the support and patronage of the monarchy, the clerics would not propagate the ideology of jihad on the soil of the Kingdom. However, the export and dissemination of jihadi ideology outside of Saudi Arabia into non-Muslim lands was not only permissible but would be supported by the government.

Lastly, that December, came the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. With the unprovoked assault against a Muslim country by godless communists, the seeds were sown for the redefinition of jihad as a global brand, a brand that would exploit the Western desire to hurt the Kremlin for its military expansion into Southwest Asia.

One of the non-Afghan mujahedeen that took up the fight was a Palestinian Jordanian named Abdullah Azzam. With a PhD in fiqh—Islamic jurisprudence—from the most important Sunni institution in the world, al-Azhar University in Cairo, this charismatic teacher established the Services Bureau (MAK) to recruit Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan, learn the rudiments of guerrilla warfare and then be deployed into Afghanistan against the Soviet forces. The same year he would release a fatwa entitled Defense of Muslim Lands, in which he would call all Muslims to Holy War, declaring jihad to be fard ayn, an individual and universal obligation of all believers.(6)

Azzam’s logic was clear, and compelling. Since Atatürk had dissolved the empire in 1924, there was no longer a Caliph or commander-in-chief who could declare a holy war. As a result, it was up to each and every believer to deploy himself. Eventually, according to authoritative estimates, the MAK would churn out between 50,000 and 100,000 fighters, including the man who became Azzam’s deputy, Osama bin Laden.(7) A decade later, after the Soviets had been vanquished in Afghanistan, Azzam would be assassinated in Pakistan and bin Laden would take over control of his organization and rename it The Base for the Propagation of Holy War against Jews and Crusaders, or al-Qaeda, as we call it in the West.

Read more at The Journal of International Security Affairs

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is Associate Dean and Associate Professor of War and Conflict Studies at National Defense University in Washington and a regular instructor and advisor for SOCOM, US Army Special Operations Command, and the FBI. Dr Gorka is also the National Security Editor for Breitbart.com.

Al Qaeda Wasn’t ‘on the Run’

WELL.v20-01.2014-09-15.Hayes_BY STEPHEN F. HAYES:

In the early morning hours of May 2, 2011, an elite team of 25 American military and intelligence professionals landed inside the walls of a compound just outside the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. CIA analysts had painstakingly tracked a courier to the compound and spent months monitoring the activity inside the walls. They’d concluded, with varying levels of confidence, that the expansive white building at the center of the lot was the hideout of Osama bin Laden.

They were correct. And minutes after the team landed, the search for bin Laden ended with a shot to his head.

The primary objective of Operation Neptune Spear was to capture or kill the leader of al Qaeda. But a handful of those on the ground that night were part of a “Sensitive Site Exploitation” team that had a secondary mission: to gather as much intelligence from the compound as they could.

With bin Laden dead and the building secure, they got to work. Moving quickly—as locals began to gather outside the compound and before the Pakistani military, which had not been notified of the raid in advance, could scramble its response—they shoved armload after armload of bin Laden’s belongings into large canvas bags. The entire operation took less than 40 minutes.

The intelligence trove was immense. At a Pentagon briefing one day after the raid, a senior official described the haul as a “robust collection of materials.” It included 10 hard drives, nearly 100 thumb drives, and a dozen cell phones—along with data cards, DVDs, audiotapes, magazines, newspapers, paper files. In an interview on Meet the Press just days after the raid, Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, told David Gregory that the material could fill “a small college library.” A senior military intelligence official who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on May 7 said: “As a result of the raid, we’ve acquired the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.”

In all, the U.S. government would have access to more than a million documents detailing al Qaeda’s funding, training, personnel, and future plans. The raid promised to be a turning point in America’s war on terror, not only because it eliminated al Qaeda’s leader, but also because the materials taken from his compound had great intelligence value. Analysts and policymakers would no longer need to depend on the inherently incomplete picture that had emerged from the piecing together of disparate threads of intelligence—collected via methods with varying records of success and from sources of uneven reliability. The bin Laden documents were primary source material, providing unmediated access to the thinking of al Qaeda leaders expressed in their own words.

A comprehensive and systematic examination of those documents could give U.S. intelligence officials—and eventually the American public—a better understanding of al Qaeda’s leadership, its affiliates, its recruitment efforts, its methods of communication; a better understanding, that is, of the enemy America has fought for over a decade now, at a cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives.

Incredibly, such a comprehensive study—a thorough “document exploitation,” in the parlance of the intelligence community—never took place. The Weekly Standard has spoken to more than two dozen individuals with knowledge of the U.S. government’s handling of the bin Laden documents. And on that, there is widespread agreement.

“They haven’t done anything close to a full exploitation,” says Derek Harvey, a former senior intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency and ex-director of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

“A full exploitation? No,” he says. “Not even close. Maybe 10 percent.”

More disturbing, many of the analysts and military experts with access to the documents were struck by a glaring contradiction: As President Obama and his team campaigned on the coming demise of al Qaeda in the runup to the 2012 election, the documents told a very different story.

In the days immediately following the bin Laden raid, the document haul was taken to a triage center where a CIA-led interagency team of analysts and subject-matter experts began to comb through it for perishable intelligence. It was, by all accounts, a fruitful effort.

***

The CTC report was released on May 3 under the title “Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Laden Sidelined?” The authors were careful to note that they were given just a fraction of the document collection and that researchers there had “no part in the selection of documents.” The conclusions of the study were consistent with the administration’s line: Al Qaeda had been badly weakened, and in the months before his death Osama bin Laden had been marginalized.

As the public heard this carefully managed story about al Qaeda, analysts at CENTCOM were poring over documents that showed something close to the opposite.

The broader collection of documents paints a far more complicated picture of al Qaeda. There are documents laying out al Qaeda’s relationships with terror-sponsoring states, including Iran and Pakistan. There are documents that provide a close look at bin Laden’s careful cultivation of a vast array of increasingly deadly affiliates, including the one we now know as ISIS. Other documents provide a window into the complex and highly secretive system of communications between al Qaeda leaders and operatives plotting attacks. Still others offer a glimpse of relations between bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and the others who run the global terror syndicate.

One document laid bare bin Laden’s relationship with Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and suggested that the al Qaeda leader helped plan the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 150 people and injured more than 600. “The documents and files found in Abbottabad showed a close connection between bin Laden and Saeed, right up to May 2011,” former Obama adviser Bruce Riedel told the Hindustan Times. The documents “suggested a much larger direct al Qaeda role in the planning of the Mumbai attacks than many had assumed.”

The CENTCOM team reviewed documents detailing the complicated and dangerous relationship between al Qaeda and Tehran and found evidence that senior Iranian officials facilitated the travel and safe haven of top al Qaeda operatives both before and after the 9/11 attacks. Other documents suggest that the relationship between Pakistan’s intelligence service and al Qaeda leaders was even stronger than many intelligence officials had understood.

The exploitation by the CENTCOM team, though far from comprehensive, generated “hundreds of additional reports” on al Qaeda that were distributed throughout the intelligence community, according to congressional testimony from Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The findings were briefed to senior intelligence and military officials, including Robert Cardillo, deputy director of national intelligence, and Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Several members of Congress were briefed as well on the findings.

Derek Harvey, who supervised the DIA/CENTCOM team and conducted some of the briefings, has considerable credibility on these issues. He was one of the first intelligence analysts to warn of the growing insurgency in Iraq—just months after the invasion—challenging the happy talk from some members of the Bush administration. Later, Harvey worked closely with Sunni tribes in Iraq to lay the groundwork for the Iraq surge in 2007—work that was highlighted in The War Within, Bob Woodward’s account of the Bush administration’s attempt to save Iraq between 2006 and 2008. When David Petraeus went to CENTCOM, he took Harvey with him to the Tampa headquarters to create and run the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence.

Harvey would not discuss the contents of the documents. But he acknowledges that the DIA/CENTCOM conclusions contradicted the story the administration was telling the American people. “They were saying al Qaeda was on the run,” he recalls. “We were telling them al Qaeda was expanding and growing stronger.”

Meanwhile, the internal squabbling continued. The CIA, now under the direction of John Brennan, who had moved back to the agency from the White House, sought once again to limit DIA/CENTCOM’s access to the documents. And some analysts at the CTC were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the analysis in “Letters from Abbottabad.” According to three sources with knowledge of the handling of the documents, at least one CTC analyst drafted a memo—sometimes referred to as an “affidavit”—describing how the conclusions of the study would have been different had analysts been provided access to the full range of documents. The Weekly Standard asked CTC director Liam Collins about the memo in April. He responded: “I’m not tracking you on that.” Collins denied that anyone at CTC had written or distributed such a memo, and he reiterated his denial this month.

But one U.S. intelligence official, told of Collins’s claim, scoffed, “It exists. Period.”

In July, Lieutenant General Flynn left his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, a year earlier than scheduled. Many intelligence professionals believe he was forced out, in part because he—and many who worked for him—aggressively challenged the administration’s view that al Qaeda was dying. Flynn’s views were shaped by the intelligence in the bin Laden documents.

Read more at Weekly Standard

ISIS so extreme, even al-Qaida worried it would “damage its reputation”

brutal-300x180By Allen West:

I am pleased to know the Obama administration has decided to provide weapons support to the Kurdish Peshmerga Army and bypass the Iraqi government — which under al-Maliki is in shambles. Our goal should be to assist in establishing an independent Kurdistan where Kurds, Christians and other religious minorities can live and thrive in peace. And a strategic part of that objective should be to destroy ISIS and deter the rising Islamist government in Turkey. After all, Southern Sudan was established based on religious persecution from the same folks: Islamists versus Christians.

And never forget that the Kurds are the words largest ethnic group without a homeland — the “Palestinians” are just hell-raising Arabs who were kicked out of Jordan.

But the purpose of this missive is to ask a question: How did ISIS kinda sneak up on the Obama administration? Do we have a failure in our intelligence gathering apparatus — or is this just an example of abject incompetence or worse, willful negligence?

Why do I ask this question?

Well, based on a report from the UK Daily Mail, ISIS was already ringing alarm bells on the radar screen of some major players a few years ago, and it might surprise you whose radar was twitching.

According to the report, “Lying among a pile of papers at the hideout in Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden was shot dead was a carefully worded 21-page letter. It warned of the rise of a new and ruthless group of Islamic extremists capable of such extreme brutality that al-Qaida should sever all links with them. In fact, it claimed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) had such complete disregard for civilian life that it could damage the reputation of al-Qaida – if such a thing were possible for an organization that has long traded in murderous terrorism.”

Here’s a particularly brutal video you may or may not want to watch on the Daily Mail’s website.

So let me get this right, Osama bin Laden was aware of ISIS back in 2011 and was concerned about ISIS damaging al-Qaida’s reputation? And how was it that President Obama referred to them as a “JV” team? Obama was beside himself with glee to lay claim to “killing” Osama bin Laden, but neglected to mention there was an even bigger threat looming.
Read more at http://allenbwest.com/2014/08/isis-extreme-even-al-qaida-worried-damage-reputation-video/#9mFe9PVgmJ2hwUzT.99

Read more at Allen West’s blog

Clinton Admits He Passed on Killing Bin Laden

clinton-450x337by :

In a memorably explosive 2006 interview with Chris Wallace, former President Bill Clinton went off on a finger-wagging “tear,” as Wallace put it, when questioned about whether he had done enough during his terms in office to get Osama bin Laden. “I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since,” growled a furious Clinton. Now a recently-released audiotape confirms that Clinton did indeed have at least one clear opportunity to kill the world’s most wanted man in 1998 – and passed on it, allowing bin Laden to live to mastermind the 9/11 attacks.

Last week Australian Michael Kroger, the former head of the Liberal Party in the state of Victoria, unveiled on Australia’s Sky News a never-before-released audio of Clinton speaking to a group of businessmen in Melbourne on September 10, 2001, recorded a mere ten hours before the first plane hit the World Trade Center. In that recording, made with the former president’s knowledge according to Kroger, Clinton responded thusly in response to a question about international terrorism:

And I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s a very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once. I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn’t do it.

Questioned by Fox News about the Clinton recording, Michael Scheuer, chief of the bin Laden unit from 1995 to 1999, replied that Clinton was a “disgrace” and a “monumental liar” for claiming that he didn’t kill bin Laden because of the collateral damage. He asserted that only Taliban and bin Laden and his crew would’ve died if Clinton had given the go-ahead for a missile strike on the region in December of 1998. But Clinton didn’t act, said Scheuer, because he’s a “coward morally” and because he’s “more concerned, like Obama, with what the world thinks about him.”

Read more at Front Page

Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga’

Detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the eyes of military police during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray of the naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Photo: Reuters

Detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the eyes of military police during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray of the naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
Photo: Reuters

If you thought President Obama’s release of five top Taliban commanders in exchange for POW Bowe Bergdahl was bad, wait until you see what his Gitmo parole board plans.

Desperate to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison by the end of his term, Obama quietly is giving “get out of jail free” cards for the flimsiest of excuses.

One al Qaeda suspect captured in Afghanistan is considered reformed because he took up yoga and read a biography of the Dalai Lama. Another is eligible for release because of his “positive attitude.”

And one longtime detainee, a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is now harmless because he’s going to start a “milk and honey farm.”

The Periodic Review Board already helped clear 78 of the remaining 149 prisoners for release, documents show, and has scheduled more hearings for this summer.

Many of these men were dubbed “forever prisoners” because of the threat they posed to the US — with intelligence officials warning that, if free, they would return to the jihad to kill Americans.

Based on past cases, that’s a good bet.

In a report on detainee recidivism, Obama’s own director of national intelligence this year documented that 178, or 29 percent, of the 614 prisoners already transferred from the prison have been confirmed to have, or are suspected of having, re-engaged in terrorism.

That means for every three freed from Gitmo, one has rejoined the war against us. Intelligence analysts admit their ability to track all former detainees is limited, so the recidivism rate may, in fact, be much higher.

One notorious recidivist, Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, became the Taliban’s operations commander in southern Afghanistan soon after his 2007 release from Gitmo. He was blamed for masterminding a surge in roadside attacks against American troops and organizing assaults on US aircraft in Afghanistan.

Another repeat terrorist is Said Ali al-Shihri, who after his 2007 release ran al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch and helped plan the deadly bombing of the US Embassy there.

Already, one of the five Taliban leaders freed last week in exchange for Bergdahl — Mullah Noorullah Noori — has pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan.

Obama’s terrorist parole board was established in 2011. He appoints its members — officials from the Justice Department, Pentagon, State Department and Homeland Security — without a congressional confirmation process. It is secretive and lacking in accountability.

In setting up the Periodic Review Board, meanwhile, Obama prohibited members from relying on information that has been obtained as a result of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (in order) to support a determination that continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee.”

The bias against interrogation evidence potentially opens up the release of some of Gitmo’s hardest cases, including al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, 2002 Bali bombing mastermind “Hambali,” and Mohammed al-Qahtani, the suspected 20th hijacker of the 9/11 attacks.

But these releases won’t cause the same outcry, because it’s being done in virtual secrecy. Already, more than 600 prisoners have been transferred out of Gitmo with little fanfare. Two hundred of them were sent back to Afghanistan.

As defense lawyer David Remes explained to Al Jazeera news network, “The Periodic Review Board is likely to be predisposed to approval to transfer because the idea here is to close down Guantanamo.”

The inmates slated for release include:

GHALEB NASSER AL-BIHANI, 34

“He loves yoga”

What he did: Classified as an “indefinite detainee” in 2010 because of the danger he posed to the US. The Yemeni national was captured in 2001 fighting in Afghanistan. The military said he was a troublemaker while in custody, even inciting riots. He was uncooperative in interviews, showing “ill intentions toward the US.” One of his brothers in Yemen is a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s most lethal branch.

What they say now: His government-appointed lawyer argued he was merely an assistant cook for an unspecified military group. “He has asked for yoga magazines and self-help books,” lawyer Pardiss Kebriaei told the parole board in April, noting he practices yoga in his cellblock and has read biographies of the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr.

In his own plea to the board, Bihani suggested his hostility comes from losing his parents as a boy, saying, “It was hard growing up without a mother or father.” He promised to start a family and live a peaceful life if freed. “I look forward to the day when I can hold my baby in my hands,” he said. Last month, the board said it found his story “credible” and declared Bihani “no longer … a threat to the security of the United States.”

MAHMUD ABD AL AZIZ AL MUJAHID, 33

“Wants a milk & honey farm”

What he did: Served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and was captured after 9/11. The military warns that, if freed, he would likely hook up in Yemen with his brother, “another former bin Laden bodyguard.”

Without explanation, the board blacked out a large section of Mujahid’s testimony dealing with al Qaeda.

What they say now: “Mujahid is a peacemaker,” his lawyer David Remes insisted, adding he “requires no rehabilitation when he returns.”

Mujahid called a character witness — another detainee — who testified that Mujahid had told him he wants to start a “milk and honey farm” in Yemen.

In November, the board cleared Mujahid for release, reasoning he would maintain his good behavior through “extensive family support in Yemen.” Panelists were impressed with his personal statement that, while growing up, “in our household, we were taught politeness, decency and human being [sic].”

ALI AHMAD MOHAMED AL-RAZIHI, 33

“Has a positive attitude”

What he did: Served as an Osama bin Laden bodyguard. There’s evidence he wrote to his family boasting of his commitment to jihad. The military cautioned officials against believing that “his stated intentions are genuine.”

Curiously, the board withheld Razihi’s written testimony and hearing transcript.

What they say now: In taking him off the threat list, the board cited his “positive attitude.” His personal representative convinced board members that Razihi “has keen business acumen” and seeks to take over the family’s “fruit and vegetable business” in Yemen.

Added the unnamed government advocate: “He’s ready to live out the rest of his days as a peaceful man, a family man and an entrepreneur, and no longer should be considered a continued significant threat to the United States.”

Prisoners in Gitmo at height in 2003: 684

Prisoners left: 149

Cleared for transfer but not yet released: 78

Prisoners, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who are considered “high-value detainees” charged with war crimes: 16

Recidivism rate for released prisoners: 29%

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

 

Al Qaeda spokesman convicted on terrorism charges

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al Zawahiri, from an al Qaeda propaganda tape. Image from BBC/AP

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al Zawahiri, from an al Qaeda propaganda tape. Image from BBC/AP

By 

Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and spokesman after the 9/11 attacks, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, has been convicted on terrorism charges by a New York jury.

Years before his conviction for supporting al Qaeda and conspiring to kill Americans, Abu Ghaith garnered international infamy after his appearance with bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders in a video that was filmed on Sept. 12, 2001. In the weeks that followed, his threats of additional attacks were seen as an ominous indication of things to come.

Additional attacks were averted, but Abu Ghaith continued to threaten Americans.

Threats against America

In a June 2002 statement, Abu Ghaith argued that “Al Qaeda has the right to kill four million Americans, including one million children, displace double that figure, and injure and cripple hundreds and thousands.”

In his memoir, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, former CIA director George Tenet says that an alarmed US government “had to consider the possibility that Abu Ghaith was attempting to justify the future use of weapons of mass destruction that might greatly exceed the death toll of 9/11.”

In an audio recording that was also released in June 2002, Abu Ghaith claimed credit on behalf of al Qaeda for the April 11, 2002, truck bombing of a Tunisian synagogue. NBC News and the Associated Press reported that the cell responsible for the bombing had been in touch with al Qaeda leaders inside Iran.

After he was captured in 2013, Abu Ghaith told the FBI that he had been smuggled into Iran that same month.

copy of Abu Ghaith’s statement to the FBI can be found at Downrange, a publication launched by Kronos Advisory.

Between June 2002 and April 2003, when Abu Ghaith says he was placed under house arrest by the Iranians, the al Qaeda spokesman continued to make provocative statements.

In July 2002, Abu Ghaith threatened more bloodshed. “Al Qaeda will organize more attacks inside American territory and outside, at the moment we choose, at the place we choose and with the objectives that we want,” he said, according to an account published at the time by the Associated Press.

On Oct. 8, 2002, an al Qaeda cell that was reportedly recruited and indoctrinated by Abu Ghaith opened fire on US Marines stationed on Kuwait’s Faylaka Island. One Marine was killed and another was seriously wounded.

Then, in November 2002, al Qaeda terrorists attacked an Israeli hotel, killing 13 people, and tried to down an Israeli jetliner in Mombasa, Kenya. Abu Ghaith claimed credit for that operation on behalf of al Qaeda the following month.

Also in December 2002, Abu Ghaith threatened additional attacks against the United States and Israel. Bin Laden’s spokesman warned the Muslim world of the “danger of what America and its allies are preparing against Iraq and its people,” which “is not limited to overthrowing the infidel regime and its dictator but is aimed at … Balkanizing this great country.”

In his statement to the FBI, Abu Ghaith claimed that his statements in the latter half of 2002 were unconnected to al Qaeda’s operations. But his claim does not ring true.

Al Qaeda has strict protocols for claiming responsibility for its attacks. That Abu Ghaith trumpeted the organization’s culpability in Tunisia and Kenya strongly suggests he was coordinating with al Qaeda’s most senior leaders at the time.

Read more at Long War Journal

Face the Truth: Pakistan Is Not An Ally

pak

The U.S. government is in dire need of an intervention: its friends need to get it to seek professional help for its addiction to shoveling huge amounts of money to old Cold War allies that aren’t really allies at all. The problem is that the only friends who could stage such an orchestrated effort are just as far gone themselves.

By Robert Spencer:

Journalist Carlotta Gall, who reported from Afghanistan for the New York Times for twelve years, reported Wednesday that

“soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. ‘He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,’ the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so.”

He shouldn’t have been. It has been obvious for years that the Pakistanis have been aiding the same jihadists that the U.S. government has been giving them billions of dollars to fight. The New York Times reported on that at length back in 2008. And now we learn that not only did Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the Pakistani government’s spy service, knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, but also that so did many other top officials in the Pakistani government.

Those who are genuinely surprised by this news probably also think that Islam is a Religion of Peace that has been hijacked by a Tiny Minority of Extremists. After all, this is the country where the jihad terror leader Hafiz Saeed, on whom the U.S. has placed a $10 million bounty, lives openly and comfortably. International Business Times reported in early March that Saeed “lives as a free man in Lahore,” even though he is “chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JUD), a parent organisation of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET). The organization was implicated in the 2008 attacks on Mumbai in India, which claimed 166 lives.” Not only that, but “Pakistan had twice placed Saeed under house arrest since 2001, but had let him go under suspicious circumstances.” And today, “JUD operates quite visibly in parts of Pakistan, with its own website and a twitter page.”

Meanwhile, Sky News reported in January that “Pakistani officials have reportedly used a secret counter-terrorism fund to buy wedding gifts, luxury carpets and gold jewellery for relatives of ministers and visiting dignitaries.” This is better than funneling to the terrorists themselves the money that the Pakistani government received from the U.S. to fight terror, but it shows how seriously the Pakistani authorities have taken their role in the “war on terror”: not seriously at all.

Read more at Front Page

See also:

  • Video – Documentary: Pakistan Double Cross on Terrorism – includes two part article by written Patrick Poole in 2012 exposing a 20 year influence operation by the Pakistani ISI and Ghulam Nabi Fai that may explain US foreign policy towards Pakistan