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

Osama Bin Laden sickly boasted he’d get away with 9/11 attacks

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith took the stand at his Manhattan terror trial Wednesday. UNCREDITED/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith took the stand at his Manhattan terror trial Wednesday. UNCREDITED/ASSOCIATED PRESS

BY :

Osama Bin Laden thought he was going to get away with it.

When Sulaiman Abu Ghaith on the night of 9/11 predicted that the United States would track Bin Laden down and kill him, the monster replied, “You’re being too pessimistic.”

That was the testimony Wednesday from Abu Ghaith, who later married Bin Laden’s eldest daughter and who is on trial in Manhattan Federal Court for terrorism.

Bin Laden had summoned Abu Ghaith to a mountain cave in Afghanistan just hours after the 9/11 attacks, said the defendant, whose decision to take the witness stand Wednesday was a surprise twist.

“He said, ‘We are the ones who did it. What do you expect to happen?’” testified Abu Ghaith, 48, who is charged with supporting terrorists and conspiring to kill Americans.

“I said, ‘Politically, America … will not settle until it has accomplished two things: to kill you and topple the state of the Taliban.’ He said, ‘You’re being too pessimistic.’”

Abu Ghaith’s prediction came true in May 2011 when Navy SEALs launched a daring raid into Bin Laden’s fortress in Pakistan and killed the Al Qaeda leader.

Abu Ghatih said Bin Laden had asked him to deliver a filmed propaganda speech about the attacks and, after some hesitation, the defendant agreed, he said Wednesday through an Arabic interpreter.

Abu Ghaith told the jury in his case that Bin Laden put words in his mouth and that he was in Afghanistan on a “humanitarian mission.”

“I want you to deliver a message to the world,” Bin Laden said, Abu Ghaith testified. “I’m going to give you some points and you will build around them.”

Read more at New York Daily News

Operative details al Qaeda plans to hit planes in wake of 9/11

Saajid Badat

Saajid Badat

By CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank:

Within weeks of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Osama bin Laden was planning follow-up operations to bring down airliners in the United States and south-east Asia, according to a convicted al Qaeda operative testifying in a terror trial in New York.

Saajid Badat was speaking via a video deposition from the United Kingdom, where he is serving a jail sentence for his role in plotting to blow up a U.S. bound aircraft in December 2001.

It’s the first time that an al Qaeda operative has provided such detail about plans to bring down airliners in the wake of 9/11.

Badat testified that a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, he met with Abu Hafs al Masri, then bin Laden’s right hand man, in the Jalalabad-Kabul area in Afghanistan.

“Abu Hafs asked me to take an explosive device onboard an airplane, a domestic airline [in the United States] and then detonate it,” Badat testified. He was then called to meet bin Laden himself.

“It was just the two of us in the room and he explained to me his justification for the mission,” said Badat.

“He said that the American economy is like a chain. If you break one link of the chain, the whole economy will be brought down. So after September 11th attacks, this operation will ruin the aviation industry and in turn the whole economy will come down,” he added.

Badat was then told to pick up two explosive shoes from an al Qaeda bomb-maker named Fathi. The explosives, he said, were concealed in the soles.

The idea was for him and Richard Reid, a British operative who came to be known as the “Shoe Bomber,” to blow up different planes simultaneously.

Reid tried to blow up an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami on December 22, 2001.

Before leaving Afghanistan in late November, Badat said he and Reid met with 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

“It was as if he was giving me final orders,” Badat testified.

“He just gave us advice on how to interact with each other, how to contact each other,” he said, adding that the communication between him and Reid was to be via e-mail.

When Badat arrived in the United Kingdom in December he said he got cold feet, fearing going through with the operation and the possible implications for his family. He described how he dismantled the shoe bomb he had brought with him and stored it in his parents’ house.

On December 14, 2001, he e-mailed his Pakistani handler to tell him he was backing out.

Badat now feels he and others were manipulated by al Qaeda’s top leadership.

During his video deposition he stated he was ready to testify against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other top leaders to expose the hollowness of what he called their “bulls**t cause.”

Badat, who joined al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2000, was testifying at the trial in New York of Adis Medunjanin, an American of Bosnian descent charged with involvement in a plot to explode bombs on the subway in September 2009. Though the two never met, Badat met at least one al Qaeda member Medunjanin is alleged to have encountered.

**********

Badat described meeting several times in Afghanistan with Adnan Shukrijumah, an American al Qaeda operative. At the time he knew the American as “Jaffar.” Shukrijumah, he stated, never had any knowledge of the shoe bombing plot.

 Adnan Shukrijumah

Adnan Shukrijumah

U.S. authorities allege that Shukrijumah helped orchestrate the 2009 plot to attack New York subways and met Medunjanin in a camp in South Waziristan in September 2008. They say Shukrijumah has emerged as a senior operational planner for the network and is still believed to be at large in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Read more at CNN

Also see:

FBI had human source in contact with bin Laden as far back as 1993

blBy Guy Taylor and John Solomon:

In a revelation missing from the official investigations of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI placed a human source in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and ascertained that the al Qaeda leader was looking to finance terrorist attacks in the United States, according to court testimony in a little-noticed employment dispute case.

The information the FBI gleaned back then was so specific that it helped thwart a terrorist plot against a Masonic lodge in Los Angeles, the court records reviewed by The Washington Times show.

“It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al Qaeda, directly involved,” Edward J. Curran, a former top official in the FBI’s Los Angeles office, told the court in support of a discrimination lawsuit filed against the bureau by his former agent Bassem Youssef.

Mr. Curran gave the testimony in 2010 to an essentially empty courtroom, and thus it escaped notice from the media or terrorism specialists. The Times was recently alerted to the existence of the testimony while working on a broader report about al Qaeda’s origins.

Members of the Sept. 11 commission, congressional intelligence committees and terrorism analysts told The Times they are floored that the information is just now emerging publicly and that it raises questions about what else Americans might not have been told about the origins of al Qaeda and its early interest in attacking the United States.

“I think it raises a lot of questions about why that information didn’t become public and why the 9/11 Commission or the congressional intelligence committees weren’t told about it,” said former Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, who chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2004 through 2007 when lawmakers dealt with the fallout from the 9/11 Commission’s official report.

“This is just one more of these examples that will go into the conspiracy theorists’ notebooks, who say the authorities are not telling us everything,” Mr. Hoekstra told The Times in an interview last week. “That’s bad for the intelligence community. It’s bad for law enforcement and it’s bad for government.”

Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission with former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, said that as far as he can remember, the FBI never told the commission that it had been working a source so close to bin Laden that many years before 9/11.

“I do not recall the FBI advising us of a direct contact with Osama bin Laden,” Mr. Hamilton told The Times in a recent interview.

Exactly how the information was omitted from the various congressional reviews and the 9/11 Commission report is a mystery. FBI officials and staff involved in the review said they couldn’t determine definitely so many years later whether the information was kept from the various investigations or whether it was simply overlooked by staff in the thousands of pages of documents and electronic records made available during the exhaustive reviews of al Qaeda’s history.

“Both the commission and the U.S. government compiled a fair amount of evidence about the activities of the set of groups later best known as al Qaeda during [the early-1990s], when the group was settling into Sudan. We did not delve as deeply in this period because it was so distant from the plotting that led directly to the 9/11 attack,” said Philip Zelikow, who served as the 9/11 Commission’s executive director and now teaches history at the University of Virginia.

Like Mr. HamiltonMr. Zelikow said he does not recall ever being told by the FBI about the 1993 source and that Mr. Curran’s disclosure appeared to involve “valuable intelligence gathered in 1993 and 1994.”

But Mr. Zelikow cautioned against reading too deeply into the revelation, asserting that bin Laden’s activities that long ago would be viewed as “pretty attenuated in relation to 9/11.”

FBI officials told The Times that the bureau could not say for certain that its agents specifically briefed the 9/11 Commission about the 1993 asset or plot but was proud that it gave unfettered access to its records to the various investigators.

Read more at Washington Times

Uncovered by JW: Top Pentagon Leader Ordered Destruction of bin Laden Death Photos

lie(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on January 31, 2014, it received documents from the Department of Defense (Pentagon) revealing that within hours of its filing a May 13, 2011, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking photos of the deceased Osama bin Laden, U.S. Special Operations Commander, Admiral William McRaven ordered his subordinates to “destroy” any photos they may have had “immediately.” Judicial Watch had filed a FOIA request for the photos 11 days earlier.

The McRaven email, addressed to “Gentlemen,” instructs:

One particular item that I want to emphasize is photos; particularly UBLs remains. At this point – all photos should have been turned over to the CIA; if you still have them destroy them immediately or get them to the [redacted].

According to the Pentagon documents, McRaven sent his email on “Friday, May 13, 2011 5:09 PM.”  The documents do not detail what documents, if any, were destroyed in response to the McRaven directive. The Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit seeking the documents was filed in the United States Court for the District of Columbia only hours earlier. Judicial Watch also announced the filing at a morning press conference.

On May 2, Judicial Watch had filed a FOIA request with the Defense Department seeking “all photographs and/or video recordings of Usama (Osama) Bin Laden taken during and/or after the U.S. military operation in Pakistan on or about May 1, 2011.”  Federal law contains broad prohibitions against the “concealment, removal, or mutilation generally” of government records.

The records containing the McRaven “destroy them immediately” email were produced as a result of a June 7, 2013, FOIA request and a subsequent lawsuit against the Defense Department for records relating to reports of the 2011 McRaven purge directive. McRaven’s order was first mentioned at the end of a 2011 draft reportby the Pentagon’s inspector general (IG) examining whether the Obama administration gave special access to Hollywood executives planning the film “Zero Dark Thirty.”  According the draft report, “ADM McRaven also directed that the names and photographs associated with the raid not be released. This effort included purging the combatant command’s system of all records related to the operation and providing these records to another Government Agency.”  The reference to the document purge did not appear in the final IG report.

The move by McRaven to purge the photos appears to have come, at least in part, in response to aggressive efforts by Judicial Watch to obtain images of the deceased bin Laden that President Obama, in a rewrite of federal open records law, had refused to disclose. In addition to its May 2, 2011, FOIA request with the Pentagon Judicial Watch filed an identical request on May 3, 2011, with the CIA. When neither the Defense Department nor the CIA complied with the FOIA requests, Judicial Watch, in June 2011, filed FOIA lawsuits against both agencies.  In the course of the litigation, the Pentagon claimed that it had “no records responsive to plaintiff’s request.”

On April 26, 2012, District Court Judge James Boasberg accepted the Obama DOD and CIA arguments, ruling that the images could remain secret while conceding: “Indeed, it makes sense that the more significant an event is to our nation – and the end of bin Laden’s reign of terror certainly ranks high – the more need the public has for full disclosure.” On May 21, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the District Court decision while conceding that the documents may not have been properly classified. The Supreme Court of the United States subsequently denied Judicial Watch’s petition for a writ of certiorari seeking a review of the issue.

“The McRaven ‘destroy them immediately’ email is a smoking gun, revealing both contempt for the rule of law and the American’s people right to know,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration has tried to cover this scandal up – and our lawsuit exposed it.  We demand further investigation of the effort to destroy documents about the bin Laden raid.”

SISTER OF 9/11 PENTAGON PILOT BLASTS RELEASE OF LYNNE STEWART

LynneStewart2

 

by WILLIAM BIGELOW:

On Thursday, Fox’s Megyn Kelly interviewed a furious Debra Burlingame about the release from prison of Lynne Stewart, the attorney who conspired with the blind cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. The “Blind Sheik” was convicted of planning to wage a “war of urban terrorism” against the United States, of which the 1993 WTC bombing killing six people was assumed to be a part. Burlingame is director and co-founder of 9/11 Families for a safe and strong America and the sister of Captain Charles Burlingame, the pilot of the jet that crashed into the Pentagon.

After the “Blind Sheik” was sentenced to life in prison he was banned from any communication with the outside world. Stewart, who represented him, violated that that edict, and was convicted in 2005 of helping to smuggle messages from him to his terrorist groups abroad. She was supposed to be in jail until 2018, but U.S. District Judge John Koeltl granted a motion filed by federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to reduce her sentence.

Kelly: This is unbelievable. She had stage-4 breast cancer, and she said she didn’t want to die in a strange, loveless place. So, pursuant to a request by the Administration, the judge said, “Off you go,” and now she is a free woman. Supposed to be released in 2018.

Burlingame: That’s right. She’s been campaigning, trying to get out on “compassionate release” for some time; she’s had cancer for a number of years, and she was actually in remission at one point. They expect her to live another 18 months, maybe less. She looked pretty hale and hearty when she came out at LaGuardia yesterday, giving interviews to the press again. She is a remorseless woman. She calls the blind sheik, whose followers have maimed, mutilated, killed dozens and dozens of people in an effort to get him released; she calls him the hero of the mujahadeen. And she did more than get messages out; she facilitated actual meetings between the blind sheik and his lieutenants, if you will, impersonating a translator inside the maximum prison where he was being held. She pretended to be listening to the translation and… they even joked, she even joked in the middle of one of these settings, that she should get an Academy Award for how well she was doing at pretending to have a lawyer client meeting.

Kelly: After one of those messages was sent out, over 60 people were slaughtered in Luxor, Egypt, by members of the blind sheik’s organization and the bodies of many of the victims were mutilated by machetes, the torso of one of the female victims was slit by the terrorists and a leaflet calling for the blind sheik’s release was inserted. This was after she was helping him smuggle messages out to his followers.

Burlingame: It was in 1997, he was imprisoned in ’96, you have to remember; she was on his defense team right from the get-go. He was arrested in ’93, tried in ’95, sentenced in ’96. She knows perfectly well what he’s done, and that he, in fact, was the spiritual inspiration for Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden said in September of 2000, a year before 9/11, that he was the honorable Omar, Sheik Rahaman and later said he gave the fatwa for 9/11. So he has bloody hands and she was convicted of material support.

Read more at Breitbart

Also see Obama Frees a Terror Lawyer by Daniel Greenfield

 

Benghazi – The Signs of Al Qaeda

Jihadist-Hand-Sign-366x350By Dawn Perlmutter:

The latest version of the Benghazi cover up is being argued with semantics of whether the jihadist group that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was part of the “core” al Qaeda network. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said,

“…at this point, we have no indications that core al-Qaida, which I think is what most people are referring to when they talk about, quote, al-Qaida, directed or planned what happened in Benghazi. …..So it is not the U.S. Government’s assessment or position that Ansar al-Sharia is an affiliate of core al-Qaida. We don’t recognize them as an affiliate of core al-Qaida… These folks don’t carry ID cards. They don’t come out and wear a t-shirt that says, ‘I belong to al-Qaida,’ right?”

I beg to differ. In addition to the tremendous amount of evidence and statements by members of the House Intelligence Committee claiming that intelligence indicates al Qaeda was involved and that Ansar al Shariah is widely believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda, there are simpler, more obvious indicators. Ms. Harf is correct, they don’t carry ID cards or wear T-shirts that say “I belong to al Qaeda,” but they do throw hand signs and leave graffiti behind in the same manner as gangbangers that just marked their territory after murdering their rival.

The quintessential image that is used in almost every news report about the Benghazi attacks depicts one of the assailants in a white T-shirt with an assault rifle posing with his index finger pointing up in front of the burning consulate. The man is seen in several photos making this gesture using both his left and right hands. This does not signify that he is number one. This gesture is one of the most prevalent Salafi jihadist hand signs. There are images of every al Qaeda leader, including Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al Zarqawi and others, with their index fingers pointing skywards. Ayman al Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda, is often seen in images making the hand sign. His former top lieutenant Mohammed al Jamal, of the Jamal Network, is believed to have had fighters in the assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound and they would be familiar with this gesture. In October, the State Department designated the Jamal Network as a terrorist group tied to al Qaeda.

The hand gesture also appears on jihadist forums, protest posters, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and in almost every form of al Qaeda propaganda. It is also a favorite gesture among Chechen jihadists, members of the Caucasus Emirate, those most likely responsible for the recent suicide bombings that killed at least 31 people in the city of Volgograd, Russia. Their leader, Doku Umarov, has also been photographed making the jihadi hand sign. For Salafi jihadists groups, the hand gesture of the index finger pointing up represents one God and their willingness to die for Islam, thus attaining martyrdom and entrance into paradise. This Islamist hand sign is also commonly used by radical Imams around the globe while they are recruiting young men to join the global jihad and murder soldiers in their own countries. Although this hand gesture is one of the most recognizable signs of al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist groups, the Obama administration either overlooked, or worse, were unaware of the identifier when they portrayed the attack as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam film.

Read more at Front Page

Dawn Perlmutter Director and founder of Symbol & Ritual Intelligence and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum is considered one of the leading subject matter experts (SME) in the areas of symbols, unfamiliar customs, ritualistic crimes and religious violence.

Yes, Al-Qaeda ‘Infiltrated’ Libya

ben4by :

The New York Times’ conclusion that Al-Qaeda was not involved in last year’s attack on Ambassador Stevens in Libya—or even “infiltrated” Libya to begin with—is an example of a misleading game of semantics. The definition of “enemy” and even “Al-Qaeda” is becoming narrower and narrower, moving us closer to a more comforting (but incomplete) picture of the danger the West faces from Islamism.

The Times writes that an Islamist militia leader named Ahmed Abu Khattala is the almost certain culprit behind the Benghazi attacks, even if he denies it. This fact is used to deny Al-Qaeda’s role, along with the premise that there are two distinctly separate groups named Ansar al-Sharia and the one linked to Al-Qaeda cannot be implicated.

Khattala denies that he and his Obeida Ibn Al-Jarra militia are tied to Al-Qaeda. To the Times, the lack of an operational link is equivalent to no link at all, but the two are connected ideologically. Khattala is openly anti-American and approved of the Benghazi attacks. Both agree in violent retribution for mockery of their faith because of their common Sharia doctrine.

According to the Times’ own previous reporting, an Islamist group named Ansar al-Sharia is suspected of involvement. The Times confirms, “Witnesses at the scene of the attack identified many participants associated with Ansar al-Shariah.

Its leader, Mohammed Ali al-Zahawi, said he disagrees that Western diplomats in Libya are legitimate targets and, “If it had been our attack on the U.S. Consulate, we would have flattened it.”

There are two groups named Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, one in Benghazi that may share responsibility, and one in Derna, led by Sufian bin Qumu.

Qumu was once a driver for a company owned by Osama Bin Laden. He was captured in Pakistan and spent six years in Guantanamo Bay before returning to Derna. His Al-Qaeda links are solid, but the Times reports that his Ansar al-Sharia was uninvolved in the Benghazi attacks.

Thomas Joscelyn persuasively argues that this is not the case. The two have a common name, branding and propaganda publisher. The Times also fails to answer an important question: If the two groups are truly separate, why wouldn’t one avoid the confusion by changing its name?

Even the use of the name “Ansar al-Sharia” is rooted in Al-Qaeda. The name first appeared in Yemen as a front for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. We know from Osama Bin Laden’s records that were captured in Pakistan that he planned to change Al-Qaeda’s name and wanted affiliates to portray themselves as wholly independent.

study by the American Federation of Scientists in August 2012, one month before the Benghazi attacks, confirmed that Al-Qaeda had a “core network” in Libya “but it remains clandestine and refrains from using the Al-Qaeda name.” It predicts that Al-Qaeda will continue to “mask its presence under the umbrella of the Libyan Salafist movement.”

Read more at Front Page

America Takes Down Osama bin Laden’s Lawyer

stan_edited-1By Daniel Greenfield:

Osama bin Laden’s lawyer didn’t live in a cave in Afghanistan. Like so many terrorist lawyers, he was a New Yorker. His law office, which has seen more terrorists and their files pass through it than an Afghan cave, sits above a Muslim 99 cent store that offers discounted napkins, sandals and toasters, and is a four-minute drive away from the World Trade Center.

Stanley Cohen has never been shy about fighting what he believes in. And what he believes in is murder.

“If I don’t support the politics of political clients, I don’t take the case,” he once said. A few weeks after September 11, he said, “If Osama bin Laden arrived in the United States today and asked me to represent him, sure I’d represent him.”

Osama bin Laden never did arrive in the United States, though perhaps one day pieces of him will wash up on a California beach, and his wannabe lawyer had to settle for representing his son-in-law, who, after September 11, had appeared in a video threatening that “the storm of planes will not stop.”

Neither Stanley Cohen nor his client were able to make good on their threats. And in a twist, Stanley Cohen may end up with a prison sentence before the Al Qaeda spokesman whom he represents.

Al Capone didn’t go down for any of the murders he committed. Instead he was put away for tax fraud. Now Stanley Cohen faces a maximum of twenty-five years locked away in prison with the terrorists, murderers and rapists whom he has spent a lifetime defending both in and out of court.

Like so many leftists, Cohen began as a community organizer. Then he joined forces with another terrorist lawyer, Lynne Stewart, to defend Kathy Boudin, a member of the Weather Underground. Stewart was put away for passing messages from the Blind Sheikh, the leader of a Muslim Brotherhood splinter group, whose followers carried out the World Trade Center bombing and plotted further attacks.

Cohen became Stewart’s lawyer but couldn’t save his partner from a ten-year jail sentence for providing material support to terrorists. Now he may end up joining her behind bars.

Read more at Front Page