EXCLUSIVE: Federal complaint against bombing suspect omits journal’s ISIS references

Fox News, by Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, September 21, 2016

Pages from the bloody journal of the New York and New Jersey bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami show he was a follower of Al Qaeda as well as the Islamic State terror group, yet federal investigators made no reference to ISIS in their complaint charging him on Tuesday.

At least two pages include references to Anwar al-Awlaki — the American-born Muslim cleric who was killed in a 2011 drone strike and whose preaching has inspired acts of terror linked to ISIS and Al Qaeda. Federal investigators mentioned Awlaki in the complaints.

However, the journal also appears to reference Abu Muhammad al Adnani — the ISIS spokesman killed by coalition forces in August after he called his followers to attack non-believers in their homelands.

“I looked for guidance came Sheikh Anwar, Brother Adnani, Dawla. Said it clearly – Attack the kuffar (non-believer) in the back yard,” one section read. Page 12 of the indictment references this section without naming Adnani.

Rahami’s screed also praised 9/11 mastermind Usama bin Laden and Nidal Hasan, the former Army officer who went on a deadly shooting rampage in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.  Hasan was also a follower of Awlaki. The Counter Extremism Project’s research counted 77 extremists — 43 U.S. extremists and 34 European extremists — with ties to Anwar al-Awlaki. They include the Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen in June, as well as Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre in December 2015.

In addition, the journal included rantings plotting revenge against the U.S. government for slaughtering Muslim holy warriors. In one section, the Afghan-born Rahami suggested he was worried police or the feds would capture him before he could carry out a suicide attack, becoming a martyr. “The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets,” the journal declared.

Another section included a reference to “pipe bombs” and a “pressure cooker bomb” and declared: “In the streets they plan to run a mile,” an apparent reference to one of the blast sites, a charity run in Seaside Park. The feds said the journal ended with the words: “Death to your oppression.”

The pages appeared to be pierced by a bullet from the shootout that ended with Rahami in handcuffs on Monday. He’s suspected of planting bombs in Seaside Park and Elizabeth, New Jersey, as well as New York City, where the feds said at least 31 people were wounded after an explosion Saturday night.

Fox News has asked the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice to explain why Rahami wrote about ISIS in his journal, but unlike the other terrorists he cited, there was no reference to ISIS in the charging documents.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Also see:

Bomb suspect praised Osama bin Laden, Anwar al Awlaki in notebook

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn,  September 21, 2016

The Department of Justice has charged Ahmad Khan Rahami with the bombings in New York and New Jersey on Sept. 17, as well as other planned attacks. The charges include Rahami’s use of “weapons of mass destruction,” meaning the pipe bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) he planted in Seaside Park, NJ, the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, and in Elizabeth, NJ.

ahmad-khan-rahami-captured-768x981The most damaging bomb was detonated near 135 West 23rd Street (the “Chelsea bomb”). According to the Complaint filed in Rahami’s case, 31 people were wounded in the blast, which also caused millions of dollars in property damage. The bomb, which used a pressure cooker, was “comprised of a high-explosive main charge” and “packed with ball bearings and steel nuts, hundreds of which were recovered from the blast site.”

The Chelsea bomb was placed in a dumpster, which likely limited the efficacy of the shrapnel packed in it. But the impact on the dumpster and the surrounding area demonstrates that it could have been deadly. The dumpster, which was more than 100 pounds, was “propelled…more than 120 feet.” Windows 400 feet away from the detonation site and up to three stories high were shattered.

A second bomb recovered on 27th street was apparently constructed in a similar fashion.

Rahami allegedly acquired many of the bomb components via eBay in the months leading up to the attacks. And he apparently didn’t do much to cover his tracks. Not only were Rahami’s fingerprints found on some of the unexploded bombs, according to the Complaint, he also reused cell phones that were previously subscribed to members of his family. The cell phones served as triggering devices for the bombs. In addition, Rahami’s face was clearly visible on surveillance video near where the bombs were placed.

Still another cell phone belonging to one of Rahami’s family members was recovered by officials. It allegedly included a video, recorded on Sept. 15, of Rahami detonating a “small, black cylindrical object” in a backyard near his residence in Elizabeth.

Jihadi references found in notebook and on social media account

During the course of the arrest, authorities recovered a handwritten journal from Rahami. The notebook was damaged during Rahami’s shootout with the police. It included a number of jihadi-related thoughts and comments, including praise for Osama bin Laden and Anwar al Awlaki.

One passage reads: “You (USA Government) continue your [unintelligible] slaught[er] against the mujahidean [sic] be it Afghanistan, Iraq, Sham [Syria], Palestine…”

Another entry, according to the Complaint, expressed concern that the author (presumably Rahami) may be caught before he was able “to carry out a suicide attack.” The handwritten note references the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security “looking for me,” and then includes what appears to be a prayer to Allah “[t]o not take Jihad away from [me].” The comment continues: “I beg [unintelligible] shahadat [martyrdom] & Inshallah [God willing] this call will be” answered.

The Complaint cites a passage in the notebook that contains a “reference to the instructions of terrorist leaders that, if travel is infeasible, to attack nonbelievers where they live.” This has been a consistent theme in the Islamic State’s messaging over the past several months. Sheikh Abu Muhammad al Adnani, the deceased Islamic State spokesman who also oversaw the organization’s anti-Western plotting, told followers to attack in their home countries if they couldn’t travel to the lands of the so-called caliphate. The Complaint doesn’t cite Adnani, however, and instead focuses on Anwar al Awlaki, who helped pioneer the idea of individual jihadist attacks in the West. Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in 2011, was an al Qaeda ideologue and his teachings have been marketed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He is frequently referenced by both al Qaeda and the Islamic State to this day.

The passage is written in broken English but includes the phrase “back to sham [Syria].” The Complaint continues with additional lines from the notebook: “But [unintelligible] this incident show the risk are [unintelligible] of getting caught under [unintelligible] I looked for guidance and…Guidance came from Sheikh Anwar…Said it clearly attack the Kuffar [non-believers] in their backyard.”

A footnote says that “Sheikh Anwar” is a reference to Awlaki.

Indeed, according to the Complaint, the notebook includes praise for Awlaki, Nidal Hasan (an Awlaki follower who killed 13 people during a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in Nov. 2009) and “Brother Osama bin Laden.”

Awlaki has inspired multiple plots in the West. In December 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife killed 14 people in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. Farook had studied Awlaki’s teachings years beforehand. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla. in June, also listened Awlaki’s lectures. Both the San Bernardino shooters and Mateen pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The Islamic State claimed that they acted on its behalf.

On the same day that Rahami allegedly detonated bombs in NY and NJ, a Somali man stabbed nine people at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, Minn. The Islamic State quickly claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq News Agency, which is one of the group’s main propaganda arms.

But the Islamic State has not claimed the bombings Rahami is charged with carrying out. Thus far, no group has claimed Rahami as its own.

Regardless, the Complaint makes it clear that Rahami was drawn to the jihadist ideology. A social media account with the user name Yaafghankid78, which is connected to Rahami, favorited jihadi anthems.

And one part of the recovered notebook reads: “Inshallah [God willing] the sounds of the bombs will be heard in the streets. Gun shots to your police. Death To Your OPPRESSION.”

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

***

NY Suspect’s Mosque Linked to Subversive Islamist Group

***

Just to clarify: Rahami’s parents were asylum seekers from Afghanistan, not refugees. Ann Corcoran explains the difference here.

***

Ignore what Maajid Nawaz says about Trump helping jihadist recruitment – hogwash. But he certainly knows a lot about the jihadist scene in Quetta:

Also see:

Willful Blindness and Our Saudi ‘Friends’

Anwar al-Awlaki in October 2008 (Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Anwar al-Awlaki in October 2008 (Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, April 16, 2016:

For many years, I was reluctant to write a memoir of my experience leading the investigation and prosecution of the jihadists against whom we are still at war over 20 years later. For one thing, while an exhilarating experience for a trial lawyer, it was also a very hard time for my family, for obvious reasons. Also, with all the tough judgment calls we had to make, we inevitably made some mistakes — “we” very much including me. A triumphant outcome has a pleasant way of bleaching away any memory of errors; to write honestly about the case would mean revisiting them. Who needed that?

And about that triumph: I had, and have, a gnawing sense that we failed. Yes, the conviction of the Blind Sheikh and his henchmen was a great law-enforcement success. Throughout the long trial and in the years that followed, though, I came to appreciate that national security is principally about keeping Americans safe, not winning court cases. Sure, winning in this instance meant justice was done and some terrorists were incarcerated. How safe, though, had we really kept Americans?

For all the effort and expense, the number of jihadists neutralized was negligible compared to the overall threat. The attacks kept coming, as one might expect when one side detonates bombs and the other responds with subpoenas. As the years passed, the tally of casualties far outstripped that of convicted terrorists. When 9/11 finally happened, killing nearly 3,000 of our fellow Americans, al-Qaeda credited none other than the Blind Sheikh with issuing the fatwa — the sharia edict — that authorized the attack. We had imprisoned him, but we had not stopped him.

That is mainly why I finally wrote the memoir in 2008. I called it Willful Blindness . . . and not just because my infamous defendant was both blind and willful. American counterterrorism, even seven years after 9/11 (and fully 15 years after the jihadists declared war by bombing the World Trade Center), had bored its head ever deeper in the sand. It consciously avoided the central truths driving the terrorist threat against the United States.

The most significant of these is that violent jihadism is the inexorable result of the vibrance in Islam of sharia supremacism — a scripturally-rooted summons to Muslims to strive for conquest over infidels until Allah’s law (sharia) is established everywhere on earth.

This ideology — also referred to as “Islamism,” “Islamic supremacism,” “radical Islam,” “political Islam,” and other descriptors that endeavor to distinguish it from Islam (and to imply that such a distinction should be drawn) — is not the only way of interpreting Islam. Indeed, it is rejected by millions of Muslims. The conquest for which it strives, moreover, is not necessarily to be achieved by violence. Sharia supremacism is, nevertheless, a mainstream interpretation of Islam. Inevitably, it leads some believers to carry out jihadist violence, and an even greater number of believers to support the jihadists’ objectives, if not their methods.

Since 1993, the bipartisan American ruling class, throughout administrations of both parties, has refused to acknowledge, much less grapple with, this central truth of the threat we face. It has insisted, against fact and reason, that Islam is a monolithic “religion of peace,” and therefore that there can be no causal connection between Islamic doctrine and terrorism committed by Muslims. It has fraudulently maintained that jihadist violence is not jihadist at all — after all, we are to understand jihad (notwithstanding its roots as a belligerent concept, as holy war to establish sharia) to be a noble internal struggle to become a better person, to vanquish corruption, and the like. Terrorist attacks must be airbrushed into “violent extremism,” shorn of any ideological component — as if the killing were wanton, not purposeful. The fact that the attacks are so ubiquitously committed by Muslims (who explicitly cite scriptural chapter and verse to justify themselves), is to be ignored — as if all religions and ideologies were equally prone to inspire mass-murder attacks if believed too fervently.

This deceit at the core of American counterterrorism efforts has led seamlessly to other frauds. Among the most grievous is this one: Saudi Arabia is a key counterterrorism ally of the United States.

This is why it is time — it is long, long past time — for the United States government to come clean with the American people, and with the families of Americans slaughtered on 9/11 by 19 jihadists, 15 of them Saudis. The government must disclose the 28 pages of the 2002 congressional report on the 9/11 attacks that it has shamefully withheld from the public for 14 years. Those pages outline Saudi complicity in the jihad.

It is nothing short of disgraceful that the Bush and Obama administrations, relying on the president’s constitutional authority over foreign intelligence and the conduct of foreign affairs, have concealed these materials. It is equally disgraceful that Congress has indulged this decision in the context of its own fact-finding exercise. This has been done under the pretense that the Saudi government is a stalwart counterterrorism ally of the United States — an absurd proposition that passes the laugh test only if one accepts the even more absurd premise that Islam has nothing to do with jihadist terrorism.

The Saudis are the world’s chief propagator of sharia supremacism, sharia being the law of the Sunni kingdom. In Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, a literalist interpretation of Islam rooted in scripture dating back 1,400 years, is the dominant belief system. For decades, the House of Saud has played a double game with the West: 1) feigning moderation while promoting and internally enforcing this repressive fundamentalism, which brutally discriminates against women, non-Muslims, and Muslim minorities; 2) posturing as a staunch counterterrorism ally while exporting their ideology — and, when called on it, rationalizing either that their ideology does not catalyze jihadism, or that, even if it does, exporting it is necessary to ensure that jihadists do not seize control of the kingdom and its oil wealth — an outcome that, we are warned, would be far worse for the West.

Several Saudi connections to 9/11, as well as our government’s disturbing appearance of not wanting to know the depth of Saudi culpability, have been reported over the years. Let’s look at some of the main ones. Read more…

 

*          *          *

Washington’s bipartisan insistence that the Saudi regime is a vital counterterrorism ally of the United States is a delusional byproduct of its willful blindness to sharia supremacism — the ideological driver of violent jihadism and the oil-rich kingdom’s most consequential export.

The point of the post-9/11 investigations was to hold every culpable actor and negligent government agency accountable. No American citizen or government official, not even the sitting president, was spared. It is time for Washington to stop running interference for the Saudis while the Saudis run interference for the jihadists. At long last, let’s see the 28 pages.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Also see:

From Poet to Jihadi: The Story of a Somali American in Minnesota

Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame

Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame

Clarion Project, by Meira Svirsky, April 10, 2016:

He had everything going for him – except the will to resist a powerful and angry narrative that eventually pulled him in.

Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, now 21, was on the path to fulfilling the American dream.  And it wasn’t a just a materialist dream, the kind that leaves feelings of emptiness upon achievement.

By the time he was a teenager, he was expressing himself as a poet and actualizing talents in art and music. He was active at a local neighborhood center and part of a local arts group. He began talking to other young Somalis about following their dreams. In a video he made as a teenager in 2011, Warsame says, “You guys are tomorrow. And all you have to have, to get anywhere you want, is determination.”

Warsame, a Somali American, came to America when he was 10 months old. One of eight children, Warsane grew up in a neighborhood called “Little Mogadishu.” His mother and cousin were prominent voices in the movement to prevent the radicalization of the next generation of Somali Americans.

Warsame himself is described as a person who was successfully taking advantages of opportunities he was offered. Post high school, he held down jobs, attended a community college and had support from his family.

Still, Warsame gravitated to negative influences, problematic friends that concerned his mother. In 2014, she sent him away from Minneapolis to Chicago to live with his father. But it wasn’t enough. Warsame began watching videos of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American Yemani imam described as the “Bin Laden of the internet.”  Awlaki, a high-level Al Qaeda operative, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, the first U.S. citizen to be so targeted.

From a young man who had spoken out against violence, Warsame became enthralled with beheading videos. He came to conclude that as a devout Muslim, he must join the fight against the infidels. In 2014, Warsame, with a group of friends plotted to go to Syria to join the Islamic State. According to his confession to authorities, Warsame was the ”emir,” the leader of a group recruiting and encouraging other young Somalis to join the terror group.

He was arrested in December of 2015 and now faces up to 15 years in prison.

Two months earlier, his mother had lectured a group of Somali parents at a town hall meeting, “I need you guys to wake up and to tell your child, ‘Who’s recruiting you?’ Ask what happened. …. We have to stop the denial thing that we have, and we have to talk to our kids and work with the FBI.”

Yet even she was unaware of her son’s activities.

At his hearing he offered a in his defense a seemingly incomprehensible explanation, “I was always listening to one side. I didn’t see the other side of it, that innocent people were being killed.”

The Minnesota Somali communities have been the leading location in the U.S. for terror recruiting. Over the last number of year, close to 40 young Somali men have left the U.S. to fight for Islamist terror groups in Somalia and Syria.

Programs have sprung up to stem the flow, most notably Ka Joog, a community group called whose name literally means “stay away.” Ka Jooj works to build Somali youths into the next generation of American leaders and steer them away from terror recruitment, drugs and gang violence. The group was recently awarded $850,000 to establish a number of new projects, including a new job center in the Somali community where unemployment is close 19 percent, three times worse than state average.

“He was one of those kids that could’ve gone either way,” said Bob Fletcher, a former county sheriff and founder of the Center for Somalia History Studies. “To the gangs, to the radicalization, or to succeed academically with the circle of Ka Joog kids who he is close to.”

While it may be hard to understand how Warsame, with his unique background, “could have gone either way,” it is important to put into the equation Islamist groups, including CAIR, that that have a history of working against some of the counter-radicalization programs active in the Somali community, giving these kids a different message.

Abdirizak Bihi, is a Somai American who works with Ka Joog and is the director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center. Bihi’s nephew was recruited by Al-Shabaab and died in Somalia, where the terror group is based.

In 2011, CAIR-MN attacked Bihi and a Muslim colleague of his, Omar Jamal, branding them as “anti-Muslim” when they participated in a seminar run by Fletcher’s center that included teaching about Al-Shabaab. CAIR-MN was upset that their session described Al-Shabaab as an “Islamic extremist terrorist organization,” saying they did not “distinguish between Islam and terrorism.”

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim human rights activist, writes,”Representatives of CAIR, like Dawud Walid from their Michigan chapter are on record repeatedly when discussing al-Shabaab to American Muslims telling American Muslim youth for example that “9 out of 10 times the person trying to influence you over the internet is not even real…it’s someone with the government trying to set you up.

“[Walid] even casts doubt on whether Al-Shabaab is a terrorist organization. Yet when courageous American Muslims do speak out about radicalization in some mosques and among American Muslim groups, CAIR calls them “anti-Muslim.”

Bihi says that CAIR-MN has impeded his efforts to inform the U.S. government about Islamist radicalization for years by saying that he’s bigoted and doesn’t represent the Somali community.

“They say that I am a bad person, that I am anti-Muslim, and that I don’t represent a hundred percent the Somali community. They lie about my life most of the time and try to destroy my character, my capability and my trust in the community,” says Bihi.

As early as 2009, local Somali Muslims were angered by a CAIR Minnesota campaign that urged Muslims only to talk to law enforcement with a lawyer present, sowing distrust in the Muslim community about law enforcement agencies.  Local Somali Muslims argued that CAIR’s campaign merely served to obstruct federal investigations. At the time, Bihi organized a demonstration outside a CAIR-MN event where protesters chanted, “CAIR out! Doublespeak out!”

Bihi expresses hope that Warsame can be deprogrammed and return to being an asset to the community. At his hearing, the presiding judge offered Warsame a spot in ta new program that assesses his prospects for deradicalization before sentencing.

“I can envision him going to schools, talking to young people in the community, going to mosques, working with imams. His message here could resonate in many communities,” said Bihi.

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

Obama’s Dubious Mosque Choice

Mehmet Kaman / Anadolu Agency/AFP

Mehmet Kaman / Anadolu Agency/AFP

IPT News
February 2, 2016

1345Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) Wednesday, his first visit to a U.S. mosque since becoming president.

ISB leaders have amassed a record of support for radical Islamic causes over the years, including endorsing the Chechen jihad and Palestinian suicide bombings. Its former imam was active in a charity later linked to terror financing including Hamas, the Taliban, and for providing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to Osama bin Laden.

More recently, a resident scholar described homosexuality as a threat to societal health, in stark contrast to the president’s views on the issue.

It’s safe to assume the White House vetted the ISB and found it an acceptable venue for a presidential appearance despite this history. And that is not surprising. The Obama administration has repeatedly embraced contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, repeatedly meeting with its officials during and after the Arab Spring while ignoringsecular democracy advocates. It praised the early tenure of Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi when he briefly served as Egypt’s president. The administration also helped a Brotherhood delegation skip routine screening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon landing in America.

And, as we reported in December, a White House meeting also aimed at standing by the Muslim-American community featured representatives of Islamist groups, including some with consistent records of opposing U.S. law enforcement counter-terrorism efforts.

ISB officials have worked closely with one of those groups, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In 2014, two ISB officials joined with CAIR in a news conference blasting Israeli military actions in Gaza. The conflict, known as Operation Protective Edge, started when Hamas operatives kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens and continued its incessant campaign of firing rockets with the hope of killing Israeli civilians.

Those rockets were fired from densely populated areas, including near schools andhouses of worship.

But Hamas’ murders and ongoing efforts to carry out more were never mentioned by the CAIR and ISB officials. Instead, they blamed Israel when raids aimed at rocket launchers and other Hamas targets inadvertently killed and injured civilians.

ISB President Muhammad Jameel recklessly invoked “genocide in the name of self-defense” and said that, “as an American I am ashamed to stand here.”

Abid Husain, the ISB’s general secretary, joined Jameel in calling for the U.S. to pressure Israel into opening Gaza’s borders, ending an embargo that was enacted to stop the flow of weapons and materials used to make them.

“The U.S. government must not remain silent about Israel’s indiscriminate assault and unjust use of force,” Husain said. “The right of a nation to defend itself does not extend to unrestrained aerial bombardments of civilian populations and must be condemned.

Far from genocide, which is the systematic elimination of a people, and from an indiscriminate attack, Israel campaign against Hamas “went to extraordinary lengths” to minimize civilian casualties, said Gen. Martin Dempsey, then-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Israel dropped leaflets and called residents of buildings targeted for bombing in hopes the residents would heed the warnings and seek safer locations.

After the conflict ended, Dempsey sent a team of senior officers to learn from Israeli military leaders to study the tactics in Gaza to minimize civilian casualties. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he said.

Another ISB official, resident scholar Yaseen Shaikh, sermonized against homosexuality as a mental disorder and “something which we despise.” The talk is dated May 2013, just weeks before he joined the ISB.

The Quran says “harm them” to those who engage in homosexuality, he said. “What does this mean? If it was not an aberrant act, if this was not a despised act, why would Allah … say, ‘Harm them’? Allah then says, ‘[Several Arabic words],’ ‘If they repent and they reform and they transform themselves and change, then let them be.”

As the Daily Caller reported, a past ISB imam worked with an Islamic charity latershuttered by the Treasury Department for supporting terrorists.

Mohamad Adam El Sheikh was a regional representative for the Islamic Africa Relief Agency (IARA) in Baltimore the same time that he was an ISB imam and director.

1346

An archived ISB action alert says that the “Islamic Society of Baltimore was recently visited by an IARA representative who brought the attached pictures of atrocities committed by Russians against the Muslims in Chechnya.”

Although links to several pictures from the Chechen jihad are still available on ISB’s archived web page, the actual pictures are no longer accessible.

“Despite all of this, by the grace of Allah, the Mujahidin in Chechnya have been able to defend themselves and remains a formidable threat to heavily armed Russian Army. However, it is also our responsibility as Muslims all over the world to help them in their Jihad effort,” the action alert added.

The action alert further solicited donations “to help the Refugees and Mujahidin in their struggle.”

In 2004, El-Sheikh justified Palestinian suicide bombings, saying they are acceptable when “certain Muslims are to be cornered where they cannot defend themselves, except through these kinds of means, and their local religious leaders issued fatwas to permit that.”

Another page on the ISB’s archived “Official English Site” links to a feature on the “Jihad in Chechnya” on the Azzam Publications website. Azzam publications was an al Qaida-tied website that was “one of the most well-known supporters of jihad, or holy war, on the internet.” The site is replete with material promoting jihad and martyrdom operations and includes a photo and link to a biography of Osama bin Laden’s mentor,Abdullah Azzam.

Just after 9/11, the ISB hosted speakers who would become prominent advocates of jihad, including American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a 2011 U.S. drone strike. Awlaki’s online sermons remain some of the most watched, most effective terrorist recruiting material online.

A page from ISB’s archived website links to the homepage of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi. Qaradawi has issued fatwas or religious rulings in support of terrorism and described suicide operations as “heroic martyrdom operations.” In a 2004 fatwa, Qaradawi called abducting and killing Americans in Iraq is “a [religious] duty.”

At a 1995 conference held by the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) in Toledo, Ohio, Qaradawi called for the “conquest” of Europe and America through Dawa, or proselytizing. “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Dawa,” he said.

The ISB’s leaders have had connections with radical Islamists and espoused extreme viewpoints throughout its history. Like a lot of mosques, it continues to segregate men and women during prayer, something American-Islamic Forum for DemocracyPresident Zuhdi Jasser called “gender apartheid.”

During an appearance on Fox News Monday, Jasser said he was insulted by the president’s choice of the ISB. It continues an administration policy of working with Islamist groups and ignoring Muslims like him who stand against theocracy.

“It’s disgraceful that this is one of the mosques – or the mosque – that he’s picked to be the first visit,” he said. ISB’s website looks like “a covert operation. There’s no name on it. It basically has pictures of individuals, but no names.”

For an event that is expected to focus on tolerance, diversity and inclusion, Obama made a puzzling choice in the ISB. Its leaders sympathize with terrorists, hate homosexuals and treat women as less than equal.

San Bernardino terrorists allegedly studied AQAP’s Inspire magazine, pledged allegiance to Baghdadi

Enrique Marquez

Enrique Marquez

BY | December 17, 2015:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that it has brought charges against Enrique Marquez Jr., “a longtime friend of Syed Rizwan Farook, the male shooter in the San Bernardino, California” terrorist attack.

Marquez was charged “with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists based upon his role in terrorist plotting with Farook in 2011 and 2012, the unlawful purchase of the two assault rifles used in the deadly shooting two weeks ago and defrauding immigration authorities by entering into a sham marriage with a member of Farook’s family.”

Marquez has not been charged with playing any direct role in the Dec. 2 massacre at the Inland Regional Center, where 14 people were killed and more than 20 others injured.

The most interesting details in the DOJ’s announcement concern the evolution of the San Bernardino terrorist’s jihadist beliefs.

According to the DOJ, Farook was initially influenced by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s Inspire magazine and the teachings of Anwar al Awlaki, who was killed in a US drone strike in 2011. But on the day of the attack, Farook and his wife, Tafsheen Malik, apparently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on social media.

AQAP remains loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s overall leader, and is opposed to the Islamic State’s self-declared “caliphate.” Yet, it appears that both organizations played a role in wooing the couple to the jihadist ideology. The Islamic State’s stunning successes in 2014, when the organization captured large swaths of Iraq, may have captured their attention. Many jihadist recruits began to support Baghdadi’s group, because of its battlefield gains and claim to rule as a legitimate Islamic authority.

Farook “introduced Marquez to radical Islamic ideology” after helping Marquez convert to Islam, according to DOJ. Farook expressed his “disdain towards Muslims” in the US military “who killed other Muslims,” and discussed “the extremist views of the now-deceased imam and Islamic lecturer Anwar al [Awlaki].”

Awlaki encouraged Muslims in the US military to attack their fellow soldiers, citing their participation in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Awlaki portrayed US forces as the aggressor, saying American soldiers were killing Muslims and it was the duty of any Muslim in the US or elsewhere to retaliate. In reality, al Qaeda and its branch in Iraq at the time were responsible for significant Muslim casualties.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 people and wounded 32 more during a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in Nov. 2009, is the most infamous of Awlaki’s disciples. Hasan believed, as Awlaki advocated, that his fellow soldiers should be punished for participating in the 9/11 wars overseas.

After introducing Marquez to Islam, according to the DOJ, Farook “provided Marquez with radical Islamic materials.” By 2011, “Marquez spent most of his time at Farook’s residence listening to lectures and watching videos involving radical Islamic content.” The jihadist propaganda they shared included AQAP’s Inspire Magazine, which has consistently encouraged attacks by individual jihadists with no formal connections to terrorist groups, and “videos produced by” Shabaab.

Both AQAP and Shabaab are official regional branches of al Qaeda’s international organization.

In August 2011, “Farook informed Marquez of his interest in joining AQAP in Yemen.” Later that same year, the pair allegedly began to plot terrorist attacks using pipe bombs and other weapons. They considered targeting the “library or cafeteria at Riverside Community College (RCC), where both men had been students” and vehicles on a highway.

They plotted into 2012, but decided not to act. However, forensic testing has confirmed that “two rifles” Marquez purchased for Farook during this period “were used in the attack” on the Inland Regional Center.

Farook and Malik built improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to use in their terrorist attacks. Investigators found that Marquez purchased a “smokeless powder” in 2011 and he has “allegedly stated” to authorities that it was to be used in an “explosive device.” A search of Farook’s residence “led to the discovery” of this same “smokeless powder.”

In interviews with authorities, Marquez “described his familiarity with the use of remote-control devices to detonate IEDs, and said he and Farook reviewed instructions on how to make IEDs that were in Inspire Magazine.” A remote-controlled IED, described as a “pipe bomb constructed out of three galvanized steel pipes and smokeless powder that was armed and ready to detonate,” was discovered in the Inland Regional Center. And a “remote control was found in the sports utility vehicle” used by Farook and Malik as well.

Investigators found that on “the morning of the shooting, a Facebook account associated with Malik searched for materials related to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).”

Not long after the shooting, a “post on a Facebook page associated with Malik” contained the following oath: “We pledge allegiance to Khalifa bu bkr al bhaghdadi al quraishi.”

The US government has determined that this was an oath of allegiance to Baghdadi, who is often addressed as Khalifa Abu Bakr al Baghdadi al Quraishi.

The Islamic State encourages its followers to swear allegiance to Baghdadi before dying, because his “caliphate” is supposedly the only legitimate Islamic authority in the world today. The jihadists argue that if a Muslim dies in a state of “disobedience,” then the fires of hell await. The Islamic State has made this argument repeatedly in its English-language Dabiq magazine, which is very similar to AQAP’s Inspire. [See LWJ report, Why the Islamic State tells supporters to swear allegiance before dying.]

Therefore, the San Bernardino terrorists’ oath of fealty to Baghdadi is consistent with what the Islamic State tells its supporters to do.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

***

***

Interview with Dr. Sebastian Gorka:

FBI, Media, Play Dumb on Chattanooga Shooter

Center form Security Policy, by Kyle Shideler, Sep. 24, 2015:

The FBI and the media continue to appear completely dumbfounded as to what caused Mohammed Youssef Abdulazeez to open fire on a Tennessee recruiting station. That’s despite evidence, (cited on this blog and elsewhere) that identified Abdulazeez’s preferred mosque, the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga (ISGC) for its Muslim Brotherhood ties and overt support for Jihad. It’s also despite the FBI’s own assertion that Abdulazeez was a supporter of the late MB and Al Qaeda ideologue Anwar Al-Awlaki.

And yet utter cluelessness reigns in the ranks of the media and, at least publicly, in the FBI:

The test-drive [of a Ford Mustang, the same model vehicle used to commit the crime] could be an indication of the level of premeditation Abdulazeez put into his attack. The Hixson resident also researched martyrdom online, bought ammunition on July 11 and donned a load-bearing vest that allowed him to carry extra ammunition. Although it’s been more than two months since the shooting brought Chattanooga to a halt, Federal Bureau of Investigation officials have not yet said what motivated Abdulazeez or whether he was connected to known terrorist groups.

One thing that is clear is that Abdulazeez was thousands of dollars in debt.

The author goes on to focus on debts owed by Abdulazeez before his death. The intended inference appears to be that Abdulazeez was motivated not by thoughts of jihad, but due to a feeling of helplessness at his financial situation.

As ludicrous as this is, its not the first time this motivation substitution has been tried. In the case of would be Time Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, the media likewise attempted to paint Shahzad as down on his luck, rather than up to no good:

But unable to pay the mortgage or a $65,000 home equity loan, the couple abandoned their home to foreclosure last summer, putting broken furniture and old clothes up for sale. A heating oil company chased them for non-payment of bills.

The portrait of failure that emerged Tuesday sheds new light on the 31-year-old former financial analyst — reportedly the son of a senior Pakistani Air Force officer — who U.S. officials say has admitted parking a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder packed with fireworks, gasoline and propane on one of New York’s busiest streets Saturday. The car bomb failed to explode.

Shahzad also admitted to the FBI that he was trained at a Pakistani Taliban training camp for terrorists, and was also identified as having ties to Al-awlaki.

The stubborn refusal to even consider ideological factors, and to ignore them even when they are evident, has turned U.S. terrorism investigations and certainly U.S. media coverage, into a farce.

Is it too much to ask for a restoration of the principle of Occam’s razor instead of what appears to be a pathological need to propose some motive, any motive, other than the clear and obvious one stated by the perpetrators themselves?

Losing the War of Ideas

150720-mohammad-youssef-abdulazeez-jpo-420a_dce920bdf1eede9e2aeb17509b9b0ab2.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

The West’s ideological delusions are now too dangerous to ignore.

Frontpage, by Caroline Glick, Sep. 3, 2015:

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

We have arrived at the point where the consequences of the West’s intellectual disarmament at the hands of political correctness begins to have disastrous consequences in the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Speaking last month at the memorial service for the five US marines massacred at a recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said, “The meaning of their killing is yet unclear, and what combination of disturbed mind, violent extremism, and hateful ideology was at work, we don’t know.”

US Vice President Joe Biden claimed, the “perverse ideologues…may be able to inspire a single lone wolf, but they can never, never threaten who we are.”

Both men were wrong, and dangerously so.

The meaning of the killings was no mystery.

Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot his victims down in cold blood because he was a jihadist. He wrote of his devotion to the Islamic war for global domination on his blog. He downloaded messages from Anwar Awlaki, the American al-Qaida commander killed in a drone attack in Yemen in 2011.

Awlaki’s most prolific follower to date was US Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan who massacred 13 soldiers and wounded 32 in his November 2009 assault at Ft. Hood, Texas. Yet, just as the Obama administration denies to this day that Hassan operated out of devotion to the cause of Islamic global supremacy through genocidal war, so Carter pretended away Abdulazeez’s obvious motive. And Biden stood before those whose lives were shattered by jihad last month and told them that jihad was not a threat to their way of life.

Ideas are the most powerful human force. And the idea of jihad that the Obama administration will not discuss is perhaps the most powerful idea in the world’s marketplace of ideas today.

The notion of jihad is fairly simple. It asserts that Islam is the only true religion. All other faiths are wrong and evil. It is the destiny of the one true faith to reign supreme. The duty of all Muslims is to facilitate Islam’s global rise and dominion.

How this duty is borne varies. Some take up arms.

Some engage in indoctrination. Some engage in subversion. And some cheer from the sidelines, providing a fan base to encourage those more directly engaged. What is most important is the shared idea, the creed of jihad.

The jihadist creed is a creed of war. Consequently, its adherents cannot live peacefully with non-jihadists.

By definition, those who subscribe to a jihadist world view constitute a threat to those who do not share their belief system.

Rather than contend with the idea of jihad, the West, led by the US, insists on limiting its focus to the outward manifestations of jihadist beliefs.

Physical bases of jihadists in places like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are targeted to kill specific people – like Awlaki. But the ideas that inspire them to action are ignored or dismissed as irrelevant and interchangeable with other ideologies, like Zionism and fiscal conservatism.

Unlike the Americans, the jihadists understand the power of their idea. And they invest hundreds of millions of dollars to propagate it. MEMRI recently reported that Islamic State (IS) runs at least three production companies. They disseminate professional- quality videos daily. The videographers, composers and singers who produce these films are IS members, no different from its beheaders, sex traders and chemical weapons purveyors.

Like IS’s battle successes and its sex slave industry, these videos have already had a profound impact on the shape of the Islamic world and the threat jihadist Islam constitutes for its opponents worldwide.

From Nigeria to Egypt to the Palestinian Authority to Pakistan, in Europe, the US and South America, jihadist armies and individual Muslims are embracing the idea of the caliphate – the ultimate aim of jihad – and pledging or weighing the option of pledging loyalty to IS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

As a result, the never reasonable notion that you can limit war against jihad to the physical bases of IS and other terrorist groups while ignoring the idea that motivates their actions has become downright deadly.

Consider Egypt. As Yoni Ben-Menachem reported last month for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, on August 20, Baghdadi officially asked the Muslim Brotherhood to join IS and pledge loyalty to his caliphate. His request was completely reasonable.

Both IS and the Brotherhood share the same ideology, including the goal of Islamic domination through the renewed caliphate. Like the Brotherhood, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Ansar el-Makdis in the Sinai and other jihadist groups in Asia and Africa have already accepted Baghdadi’s invitation, pledged allegiance to the caliphate and changed their names to incorporate into the Islamic State.

Ben-Menachem noted that in January 2015, Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi said that Baghdadi is a member of the Brotherhood. Organizational cooperation, including military cooperation between IS and the Brotherhood, which is the largest organization in Egypt has grown steadily over the past two years since then defense minister Abdel Fattah Sisi overthrew the Brotherhood regime in July 2013.

IS’s goal is apparently to convince the young Brotherhood members to join forces. If the bid is successful, Egypt will become a tinderbox whose destructive force will be cataclysmic.

Then there is nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Last week the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center published a joint report warning that given Pakistan’s rate of nuclear activity, within five to 10 years Pakistan may have the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, behind only the US and Russia. According to the report, Pakistan is producing nuclear bombs four times faster than India.

The epicenter of Pakistan’s nuclear work is its Baluchistan province. IS’s popularity is high and growing in the area, as it is throughout much of Pakistan.

Indian intelligence reports claim that Pakistan’s security forces are making the same cynical use of IS that they have made of al-Qaida and the Taliban.

ISI, Pakistan’s spy service, facilitates the operations of these groups in order to coerce the US to provide Pakistan with more aid, which it is expected to use to contain the threat it has itself cultivated.

This game has been going on for decades. But there is no reason to assume that as IS gains power and adherents, the same Pakistani security forces that believe they can control IS will not end up joining it. And as a consequence, the danger that bombs they now build will fall under Baghdadi’s control is real and growing.

Last week the Pentagon’s Inspector General announced it is investigating reports that the Obama administration has required US intelligence agencies to minimize their reporting on the threat IS poses. Intelligence officers have allegedly been ordered to exaggerate the success of the US’s anemic campaign against its bases in Iraq and Syria while understating the threat IS constitutes.

Over the past year, jihadists published the home addresses of American soldiers and officers. On numerous occasions, what an FBI alert referred to as “Middle Eastern men” accosted the wives of US soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan outside of their homes.

Speaking to concerned soldiers last week, Carter again pretended away the problem. While insisting that protecting soldiers is “job one for all of us,” Carter insisted that the threat was limited to “a few troubled losers who are on the Internet too much.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop warned in June that IS may already have sufficient nuclear material to produce a dirty bomb. As we have seen with IS’s wide-scale use of chemical weapons in Iraq, we must assume that its fighters will use all weapons at their disposal.

Had the West – led by the US – been willing to abandon the intellectual straitjacket of political correctness with which it has willingly shackled itself, IS may very well have been a marginal movement able to attract no more than “a few troubled losers who are on the Internet too much.”

Biden’s pledge that while “perverse ideologues…may be able to inspire a single lone wolf they can never, never threaten who we are” might have been credible.

But because of our voluntary intellectual enslavement, we now face a real danger that IS and its demonic notions will take over Egypt. Because we seek to ignore the creed of jihad, Pakistan’s fast growing nuclear arsenal could very well become the property of the caliphate.

Ideas are the force that drives history. If we aren’t willing to fight for what we believe, then we will lose to those who are. And make no mistake, we are not winning this war.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick’s work, visit carolineglick.com

Purple Heart Recipients Reportedly Denied Benefits

12734CSP, by Joshua Kraus, April 10, 2015:

The 47 victims of the Fort Hood, Texas massacre have finally been acknowledged by the Obama Administration as casualties in the global jihad. After a long, bureaucratic and controversial battle between public outcry and the Department of Defense, United States Army, and the Obama Administration, public outcry won.

This outcry culminated in a House Homeland Security Committee letter sent by chairman Michael McCaul, which urged his fellow members to view the ABC News report that contained footage of the attack and narratives of the survivors and to ensure the benefits of the Purple Heart were received by the victims. Former police sergeant Kimberly Munley, who was shot three times during the attack, said during an interview that President Obama, “broke the promise he made to her that the victims would be well taken care of.”

The 2015 federal budget named that National Defense Authorization Act, contained language that declared Fort Hood victims eligible for Purple Heart because the attacks originated from a foreign terrorist organization against whom the United States as a legal Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Now, despite being awarded the medals, victims are apparently being denied the associated benefits of being combat wounded.

There should be no dispute that those targeted in the attack were facing a hardened jihadist, no different from the ones their comrades have faced in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the shooting found that Army Major Nidal Hasan had been in constant communication with Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, later killed in a U.S. drone attack.  Emails released by the FBI shows how the former Yemeni AQ leader mentored Nidal Hassan, receiving reports, and blessing terrorist action.

To be blunt, the casualties of the attack on Fort Hood deserve the full rights of U.S. military combatants injured or killed during a time of war, because that is the situation we find ourselves in, a war with no front lines, but a global jihad.

Also see:

Christopher Cornell Expressed Support for Islamic State, Lone Wolf Jihad on Social Media

CornellBy: Rita Katz:

Christopher Lee Cornell, the 20 year old Cincinnati man also using the online persona “Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah” on social media, was arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force on January 14, 2015 for allegedly planning to plant pipe bombs at the U.S. Capitol and then open fire on those nearby.

Cornell maintained several accounts on Twitter showing great support for the Islamic State (IS) and the lone wolf method of jihad. His posts indicate an influence by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American jihadist and AQAP operative killed in 2011. Further, Cornell’s Twitter accounts tweeted various IS media releases, including the Steven Sotloff beheading video.

Cornell’s social media accounts also appeared to follow and be followed by jihadist accounts, some of which being prominent jihadist fighters and recruiters, such as Syrian fighting group Rayat al-Tawheed and al-Nusra al-Maqdisiya, a pro-IS group known for leading a threat campaign against Twitter.

Support for Lone Wolf Attacks

Across his various accounts, Cornell praised lone wolf jihadists. In an October 23, 2014 tweet, for example, the user made reference to what was then the recent isolated attacks in Canada by Martin Rouleau (Quebec) and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (Parliament Hill, Ottawa):

May Allah reward the brothers who fought and recieved Shahada [martyrdom] in Canada! May these recent attacks send terror into the hearts of the kufr [disbelievers]!

In another tweet made on October 29, 2014, he mentioned previous lone wolf attacks in the West while commenting on what appeared to be the U.S.-led coalition against IS in Syria:

Canada, Britain and America all faced attacks by brave lone wolf mujahid and were terrified so what makes you think they can handle a army?

To a similar note, he also tweeted on the same day:

America wouldn’t be able to handle war in their homeland. They are weak, cowardice and are on the edge of economic collapse.

Influence by Anwar al-Awlaki

Tweets made by Cornell’s accounts also indicate great influence from deceased jihadist recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki. In a tweet made on November 5, 2014, Cornell posted a quote which he attributed to Awlaki:

Jihad-is-global-tweet.jpg

An August 21, 2014 tweet by the user appealed to Awlaki while also mentioning what were increasing protests following a police officer’s killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri:

People are protesting for some thug who armed robbed a store yet stay quiet about Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. #Ferguson

Deceased jihadist recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki.

Deceased jihadist recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki.

Such tweets coincide with the criminal complaint filed against Cornell, which claims that he communicated to a “confidential human source (CHS)” that his plan to attack the Capital would please the deceased recruiter and jihadists overseas:

…we already got a thumbs up from the Brothers over there and Anwar al Awlaki before his martyrdom and many others.

Awlaki was also credited with the recruitment of the Kouachi brothers, who had performed the January 7 Charlie Hebdo attack.

Promotion of IS Propaganda and Beheading Videos

Tweets from his accounts also show participation in grassroots efforts to disseminate IS propaganda, to the extent that he even posted links to multiple IS releases. A tweet made by one of Cornell’s accounts on October 24, 2014 provided a link to what was indicated to be an archive of productions by al-Hayat Media Center, IS’s Western-aimed media arm (which released the beheading videos, among other things):

Archive-Of-AlHayat.jpg

In another example, on July 3, 2014, Cornell’s account tweeted a video produced by al-Hayat Media Center, titled “There is no Life Without Jihad.” The video, released on June 19, 2014, showed IS fighters, identifying as British and Australian nationals, calling for Muslims to join IS while claiming that those within the group “understand no borders.”

b2ap3_thumbnail_There-is-no-Life.jpg
From “There is No Life Without Jihad”

Cornell’s Twitter account also shared “A Second Message to America,” the September 2, 2014 IS video showing the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, a day after its release.

Read more at Insight Blog

Rita Katz, the Director and co-founder of the SITE Intelligence Group, has studied, tracked, and analyzed international terrorists, the global jihadist network and terrorism financing for more than a decade. Ms. Katz has personally briefed government officials in the White House, Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security on terrorist financing and recruitment networks.
Ms. Katz is the author of TERRORIST HUNTER: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America.

Why Paris attacks signal collaboration not competition between Al Qaeda groups

parissuspectsCSP, by Fred Fleitz, Jan. 15, 2025:

Some experts interpreted initial reports that the attacks last week by jihadi gunmen in Paris were conducted on behalf of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as a sign of competition between officially sanctioned Al Qaeda groups and a break-away Al Qaeda franchise, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL).  A video released Wednesday, by the head of AQAP, claiming that it ordered, planned and funded the attack will be interpreted by these experts as consistent with this assessment.

However other information suggests the Paris attacks may actually represent a new and dangerous collaboration between radical Islamist groups.

Two of the gunmen were heard saying said they attacked the Charlie Hebdo magazine on behalf of AQAP.  One gunman, Cherif Kouachi, told a French news network that Yemeni-American AQAP official Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011, sent him to France and financed his trip.  An AQAP official also made this claim in a video released overnight.

According to CNN, Said Kouachi, another gunman and Cherif’s brother, spent several months in Yemen in 2011 receiving training from AQAP.

The link to Awlaki is significant since he influenced or directed at least a dozen terrorist attacks and plots, including the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, the 2010 printer cartridge bomb plot, and the Boston Marathon bombing.

Awlaki recruited and trained terrorist operatives, including Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “underwear bomber” who attempted to blow up a civilian airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Said Kouachi befriended Abdulmutallab in Yemen and the two lived in the same dormitory.

The links between AQAP and the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office has led some experts to conclude that the Paris attacks were an attempt by Al Qaeda to reclaim the international spotlight from the Islamic State and could reflect a continuing feud between these terrorist groups.  One terrorism analyst said the Paris attacks were a sort of “jihadist olympics” in which Al Qaeda was attempting a “comeback tour” to regain recognition as the world’s radical Islamist “top dog.”

This story became more complicated late last week when one of the Paris gunmen, Amedy Coulilbaly, claimed in a video released after he was killed that he acted on behalf of the Islamic State.  Reports have also surfaced that Cherif and Said Kouachi visited Syria last summer.  Coulilbaly’s wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, who is a suspect in the Paris shootings, fled to Syria early this month.

I believe the conflicting information on the Paris assailants’ terrorist group ties confirms reports of growing collaboration between Al Qaeda groups and the Islamic State and strongly suggests the Paris attacks were not evidence of competition between these groups.

The feud that caused a break between the Islamic State and Al Qaeda began in the spring of 2013 when the al-Nusra Front (the official Al Qaeda franchise in Syria) and Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan opposed an attempt by the Islamic State to merge its organization with al-Nusra.  Some experts believe this was because Al Qaeda and al-Nusra leaders objected to the Islamic State’s brutal tactics.  There appears to be some truth to this explanation since the al-Nusra Front at the time was working closely with and trying to co-opt non-Islamist Syrian rebel fighters.  Moreover, an AQAP leader condemned Islamic State beheadings as un-Islamic.

However, the Islamic State/Al Qaeda split was also driven by personality differences and a struggle for power since Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi refused to take orders from Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.

Despite their differences, the Associated Press reported that the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State agreed during a meeting in November to stop fighting each other and work together against common enemies in Syria.  Jund al-Aqsa, an Islamic State affiliate and the Khorosan Group, an Al Qaeda affiliate, also attended the meeting.  There were some reports that the cooperation agreement was in response to U.S. airstrikes in northern Syria.

Al-Nusra attacks on moderate rebels in northern Syria last November may have been a sign of shifting alliances due to this reported Al Qaeda/Islamic State rapprochement.

I believe collaboration between the Islamic State and Al Qaeda affiliated groups probably has been growing over the last year as the Islamic State became known as the world’s most effective and best funded radical Islamist group. There have been reports of Islamist groups in Syria, north Africa, Libya and other areas swearing allegiance to the Islamic State over the last year as well as probable Islamist State-inspired terrorist plots in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Algeria, Lebanon, and other countries.

So if there is cooperation between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State to attack Western targets, why would AQAP claim sole responsibility for the Paris attacks?  The most likely reasons are to appeal to Gulf state donors and because Al Qaeda still has a difficult relationship with the Islamic State.

I believe this adds up to a more dangerous threat than rival radical Islamist groups striving to make headlines by staging competing terrorist attacks.  By cooperating, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State can more effectively prepare Islamist terrorists for attacks against Western targets by utilizing multiple training sites, sources of weapons and funding.  Such a wide terrorist support structure may produce better trained terrorists who will be harder to detect Western security services.

The likelihood that the Paris attacks indicate collaboration, not competition, between the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and possibly other radical Islamist groups requires an urgent and coordinated response by the United States and its allies. This response must start with President Obama acknowledging that radical Islam is at war with the West and has redoubled its efforts to use violence to impose its violent Sharia ideology worldwide.

Brother in Paris massacre met with American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen

anwar22

Fox News, By , January 12, 2015:

Exclusive: Said Kouachi, one of the two brothers who massacred the staff at Charlie Hebdo, met with the American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011 in Yemen at an Al Qaeda camp east of the capital Sana’a, a Yemeni government official briefed on the terrorist investigation told Fox News.

The Yemeni official, who is not authorized to speak on the record, confirmed the 34-year-old Kouachi came to Yemen in 2011 to study at an Islamic institute and Arabic language center – the same center where John Walker Lindh, an American and Muslim convert arrested as an enemy combatant in Afghanistan, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutullab, also known as the “underwear bomber,” both studied.

While the investigation is still ongoing, the official said there is thus far no evidence Said and the underwear bomber knew each other.

The Yemeni official said Kouachi came to Yemen on a visa to study, but was kicked out of the institute, in part because he failed to show up for class.

In the spring or summer of 2011, al-Awlaki had moved out of the capital of Sana’a to the Al Qaeda camps for security reasons.

Al-Awlaki was the “talent spotter” for Al Qaeda in Yemen and, according to US government sources, the head of their external operations – including terror plotting. The training camp was described as makeshift, and “like roving bandits.”

Significantly, after he met with al-Awlaki, the Yemeni government official said there is no record Said Kouachi ever returned to Yemen, and they had no inquiries from the French or American intelligence services about the brother’s time in Yemen, suggesting the trip was successfully kept below the radar.

“This is the first significant foreign fighter case that we have seen where they travel to Yemen and back, trained under al-Awlaki,”  Mike McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News. “One of the brothers actually funneled fighters to Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is a precursor to ISIS.”  McCaul was referring to the younger brother, Cherif Kouachi.

Fox News has been told that the evidence increasingly points to the involvement of a foreign terrorist organization either inspiring or directing the attack. Less than an hour after the attack, Fox News was first to report on a series of tweets accompanied by images of three Al Qaeda members – Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, and two American members of AQAP who were both killed in U.S. drone strikes, Samir Khan and al-Awlaki – went out, raising more suspicions the attack was an Al Qaeda plot.

Fox’s ongoing reporting on Al Qaeda in Yemen has shown that in October 2002 the cleric was in federal custody, and despite an outstanding warrant for his arrest on passport fraud, was released on the say-so of FBI Agent Wade Ammerman.

Shortly after al-Awlaki re-entered the US, he showed up in Ammerman’s investigation of Ali al-Timimi whose conviction is on appeal. In an August 2013 interview with Fox News, the outgoing director of the FBI did not deny there was an effort by the bureau to work with, and even recruit, the cleric as an asset.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

***

Money Jihad has this: Kouachi brothers’ weapons trail leads to AQAP

Yemini intelligence has confirmed that both Said and Cherif Kouachi travelled to Yemen by way of Oman and received marksmanship training after meeting with deceased terrorist imam Anwar al-Awlaki between July and August of 2011. (French authorities have said earlier that one of the brothers also traveled to Yemen in 2005.) From Reuters:

…”These two brothers arrived in Oman on July 25, 2011, and from Oman they were smuggled into Yemen where they stayed for two weeks,” a senior Yemeni security official, who declined to be named, said.

“They met (al Qaeda preacher) Anwar al-Awlaki and then they were trained for three days in the deserts of Marib on how to fire a gun. They returned to Oman and they left Oman on Aug. 15, 2011 to go back to France.”

A senior Yemeni intelligence source confirmed the brothers had entered Yemen via Oman in 2011, citing the ease with which they entered while the security forces were focused on the Arab Spring protests that were convulsing the country at the time.

The source also confirmed the brothers had met Awlaki “and trained in Wadi Abida,” – which is between Marib and Shabwa provinces where Awlaki was known to move freely…

But the tale of the weapons trail doesn’t end there. During their attacks in Paris last week, the Kouachi brothers had AK-47s, a rocket propelled grenade launcher, and 10 smoke grenades among other military-grade weapons. One expert has theorized that the Kouachi sleeper cell was simply waiting for these weapons until they could activate for the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Many of the firearms on the black market in France are sold by the Italian mafia and originate from the Balkans (and perhaps Libya), but illegal online weapons purchases in France are on the rise, too. Keeping in mind that neither of the Kouachi brothers had full-time jobs, and that even just their two Kalashnikovs would have cost about $3,000, it is unlikely they were able to fund these purchases on their own without external help. Cherif Kouachi said before his death that he had been financed by AQAP.

One wonders when France will begin air strikes against AQAP targets in Yemen.

Radicalization: There’s an App for That!

generation-awlaki-fb-2dec2014-picture-5-e1418755814427Author Jeff R. Weyers, iBRABO, Jan. 1, 2015: h/t Muslim Issue

In the wake of the most recent attacks in Australia, Canada and the United States the questions surrounding sources of the radicalization is often a topic of concern. With most self starters a good portion of that radicalization is more and more being attributed to material consumed on the internet. As the world watches Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) flood social media with content one thing is very clear about the online battle with the group, we are losing!

The War on Social Media

For corporations that are being used in the proxy online war it will require a shift in how they do business. For Google, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter they simply cannot afford to have their brands associated with the extremist messages that ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra (JN) and Al Qaeda (AQ) foster. They will need to increase their ability to deal with extremist content in a much more effective method. The notion that “we rely on our users to notify us of inappropriate content” is not going to cut it moving forward. Extremist groups are deploying content to social media at a faster and faster pace, one only needs to look at the number of ISIS videos currently on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to see that. For the vast amounts of money that each company takes in in any given year they will need to consider hiring extremism experts to proactively monitor content. ISIS, AQ and JN actively use branding in their online videos and pictures, and these companies will need to use those branding symbols to more readily identify terrorist content as they have done with child pornography and copy right infringement. From an ethical and social/corporate responsibility perspective these companies will need to do better.

Bilad al Shaam's 100th Facebook Page

This is not to say that some companies like Facebook haven’t been trying to keep up. Perhaps one of the largest battles between Facebook and ISIS has been in their attempts to crush the “Bilad al Shaam Media” pages that have had a continual presence since before the announcement of the Islamic State. The day after the Australia hostage siege Facebook removed the 100th iteration of the popular ISIS page with well over 3000 users (above) . In the same breath ISIS launched three new Bilad al Shaam sites to continue their operations on Facebook. This is a battle of persistence that will require vigilance and continuous monitoring to start to push the groups away from the larger social media companies. To some extent we have already seen this happening with groups like ISIS moving to platforms like justpaste.it and manbar.me (the Arabic version of Justpaste.it). Both sites are anonymous media hosting sites that terrorist groups have been using to host and direct users to content. Another curious trend noticed by several experts is the return to webpage based sites and chat forums like ISIS’s webpage http://www.alplatformmedia.com (below).

ISIS website www.alplatformmedia.com

As has been realized by Al-Shabaab (www.al-qimmah.net) and the Taliban (www.shahamat-english.com) , if you can persist through Denial of Service (DNS) attacks by hackers and governments the worst that will happen is they will have to move servers from time to time. In fact while Canadian troops were in the process of preparing to pull out of Afghanistan in late 2012, the Taliban’s webmaster Adil Watanmal had moved all seven of the Talibans websites to a server in Vancouver, Canada (below). The site which primarily is used for propaganda was also engaged in fund raising activities, thus creating a situation where the Taliban were using Canadian servers to assist in fighting against Canadian troops. These types of blatant abuses have resulted in greater calls for internet service providers (ISP) to track and be aware of the content that is being put up on their servers.

Taliban Websites on Canadian Server in 2012 - iBRABO

Apps in the New Age of Terror

The creation of apps for radicalization is not new. J.M. Berger has previously pointed out how ISIS used the Dawn of Glad Tidings app on Google Play to build the fire storm of twitter support for ISIS. In his forthcoming book, ISIS: The State of Terror he outlines in detail the sophisticated social media strategy of the terror group. Other groups like the Sikh extremist group Babbar Khalsa,  have also used the Google play store in the past with their launch of Babbar Khalsa Radioon Google play.

When we speak about radicalizing potential a group that seems to have gone untouched by Facebook, Twitter and Google Play with a string of social media pages and apps are those under the banner “Generation Awlaki”. Anwar al-Awlaki a highly influential al-Qaeda propagandist and recruiter who was most notoriously linked to the Fort Hood attack was killed in a US drone attack in 2011. His radical preachings however persist as both AQ and ISIS groups have sourced Awlaki in their justification for terror attacks and recruitment to violent jihad. More concerning is that his preachings have reached a cult status amongst extremists and terrorists the world over, having more followers in death than he ever did in life due to the continued growth of social media. In our analysis we were able to locate several instance of the “Generation Awlaki” brand being used on FacebookTwitter and Google play.

Generation Awlaki on Google play

 

Generation Awlaki on Twitter

 

Generation Awlaki Facebook

Examining the users of this content you see a spectrum of individuals along all parts of the path to violent extremism, from the casually interested to the hardcore foreign fighters and terrorist members. The concern of course with these apps and sites is they put recruiters and propagandists in touch with individuals that may be vulnerable to recruitment to the group or adopting the ideological cause. This is one explanation behind the meteoric rise in foreign fighters that has been seen with ISIS coinciding with their unprecedented social media campaign.

Prevention: A Role for Everyone

Radicalization and prevention is a community issue that will more and more involve social media and the need for users and responsible corporate partners to do their part. As we are seeing the police simply do not have the resources to do it all. If we had endless budgets and resources we could follow and monitor individuals around the clock but that isn’t realistic nor sustainable. If we tackle the issue from a medical model it will mean delivering prevention techniques to those individuals at risk earlier in order to prevent the scenes that we saw recently in Ottawa and Sydney. Everyone has a role in prevention and governments at all levels will need to do more to empower the community, religious organizations and parents to recognize what radicalization looks like and methods for preventing it. At a corporate level, with respect to terrorist’s use of social media, with corporations boasting record profits and share prices the argument that they are ill equipped to deal with the problem seems like a weak one to me. It’s time they start engaging with the experts and thinking out of the box on tackling the issues and doing their part.

***

Good resources —>

More Wrong-Headed Criticism of the Targeted Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki

aaCSP, By Fred Fleitz:

On September 30, 2011, Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior official of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. Yesterday, the Obama administration released a Justice Department memo justifying this drone strike in response to a lawsuit by the ACLU and New York Times.

Many on the left and a few on the right, such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) have objected to the killing of Awlaki since he was a Yemeni-American born in the United States.

The New York Times disputes that Awlaki was planning “imminent” attacks and claims that “the memo says only that Mr. Awlaki had joined Al Qaeda and was planning attacks on Americans, but that the government did not know when these attacks would occur.”

Such muddleheaded thinking on national security is breathtaking. How much evidence will it take to convince the Times that Awlaki was a serious threat?

After post-9/11 Bush administration counterterrorism programs and increased security put al-Qaeda on the run and made terrorist attacks on the United States much more difficult, Awlaki became the leading al-Qaeda leader of its Yemen franchise Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) by recruiting terrorists within the U.S. using the internet. Some in the U.S. intelligence community referred to him as an “e-iman” because of his internet savvy and ability to use other forms of electronic communications to spread his message and recruit followers.

Awlaki successfully inspired many home-grown radical Islamist terrorists in the UK and the United States. Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra said in a 2009 op-ed:

“Al-Awlaki’s sermons have influenced would-be homegrown terrorists in the United States and the terrorists who launched the deadly 2005 London subway bombings. Mr. al-Awlaki, who was born in the U.S. and speaks perfect English, has been using his own Web page, social-networking sites such as Facebook, and e-mail to preach a message of violence to English speaking Muslims around the world.”

The men who planned to attack Fort Dix in 2007 had recorded copies of Awlaki’s sermons as did the Toronto-18 group that was arrested in 2006 for planning to attack the Canadian parliament and assassinate Canada’s prime minister. Army Major Nidal Hassan, who carried out a November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas which resulted in 13 killed and over 30 wounded, communicated with Awlaki over the internet. 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab almost certainly met Awlaki during a 2009 trip to Yemen and may have been recruited by him. Awlaki also may have inspired Faisal Shahzad’s May 1, 2010 attempt to set off a car bomb in Times Square and Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year old Somali-American who tried to bomb a Christmas tree lighting in Oregon in December 2010.

Awlaki also is believed to have inspired five American Muslims from the Washington, DC area who were arrested after arriving in Pakistan in December 2010 for terrorist training and Zachary Chesser who was arrested in New York in July 2010 before boarding a plane to travel to Somalia where he planned to join the al Shabaab Islamist terrorist group.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who with his brother Tamerlan staged the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, said he and his brother were influenced by Awlaki’s internet sermons. Tsarnaev also told the FBI that he and his brother learned how to the build the pressure cooker bombs they used to attack the marathon from AQAP’s English language internet magazine, Inspire, which promoted radical Islamist ideology and encouraged its readers to conduct terrorist attacks against the West. Inspire was founded by Awlaki and featured his sermons. It was edited by Pakistani-American Samir Khan who was killed by the same drone strike that killed Awlaki.

Add to all of this the fact that three 9/11 hijackers attended services in Awlaki’s Falls Church, Virginia mosque.

The Times, the ACLU and Senator Paul have asserted that the targeted killing of Awlaki violated the U.S. Constitution, specifically his due process rights as an American citizen, and required an independent review prior to the attack.

I agree with former CIA Director Michael Hayden who said in 2011 that Awlaki should not have been protected by his American citizenship from a targeted killing because he voluntarily became part of an enemy force.

Moreover, there was outside review of the proposal to kill Awlaki with a drone strike because the Presidential Finding approving the strike was briefed to Congress in advance and Congressional leaders were fully on board. That’s why no members of the intelligence committees or senior congressional leaders objected to the Awalki killing after it occurred.

The Obama administration was right about the Awlaki drone strike. By helping run the AQAP terrorist group in Yemen and recruiting terrorists to attack the U.S. homeland, Awalki should not have been protected from a targeted killing because he was an American citizen. Moreover, the Obama administration took the proper steps to obtain the necessary legal and political backing for this attack by a careful review by the Justice Department and by convincing Congressional leaders and the intelligence committees to support the drone strike because Awlaki was an active participant in an armed enemy force.

The drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki is a rare example of the President and Congress working together to defend American national security. Rather than lodge dubious complaints that this attack violated the law, the New York Times, the ACLU , and Senator Paul should press the White House to engage in advance consultations with Congress on similar threats in the future.

Stealth Jihad Meets PC America

tyby William Kilpatrick:

My new book Insecurity is a comedy about political correctness run amok in the government and the military. But, as recent events show, there is a decidedly unfunny side to the world that political correctness is helping to create.

Up until recently, the colloquialism “heads will roll” referred to a threat to fire employees. Nowadays, however, that phrase is more likely to evoke its original literal meaning—as in the beheadings that have become a common feature of the daily news cycle. The streets of Mosul in Iraq are reportedly lined with the severed heads of police and soldiers—victims of the ISIS jihadists. A photo circulating on the web shows one of the recently released Taliban leaders in the days before his capture posing with his trophy collection of five lopped-off heads. Those who thought that decapitation went out with the French Revolution have come in for a rude awakening.

It’s disturbing to realize that such things can happen in this day and age, but we in America tend to console ourselves with the reassuring thought that, thank God, it can’t happen here. Or can it? Why shouldn’t it happen here? Or, to put it another way, “Who’s going to stop ‘em?”

The most obvious answer to that question—the one that will jump most readily to mind—is the Army. And certainly, the U.S. Army is more than a match for any invading force of Middle Eastern jihadists. But, although our army can repel armed jihad, it’s not very well-equipped to resist the other kind—namely, stealth jihad. And if the conquest of America ever comes—as Islamists say it will—it will come about through stealth jihad.

What is stealth jihad? It’s the incremental spread of Islamic law in a society by means of activism, propaganda and lawfare, and by the gradual co-option of schools, courts, and media. It’s the long march through the institutions that the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci recommended to European communists. Leftists have already co-opted many of society’s institutions. What’s to prevent jihadists from doing the same?

Stealth jihad is much more difficult to detect and resist than the armed variety. It’s not the type of aggression the Army is trained to deal with. And, in fact, the Army has proven itself on several occasions to be an enabler of stealth jihad. Take the case of Major Stephen Coughlin. He was the Army’s top expert on Islamic law until he made the mistake of pointing out that Islamic law obliges Muslims to wage jihad. The Army didn’t cotton on to that idea and Coughlin was dismissed from his Pentagon job as an intelligence contractor. The official attitude was nicely captured by an admiral who, upon hearing Coughlin’s assessment, replied that he would first “have to check with my imam on that.”

You can see why the military has to contract out for its intelligence. Why would a high ranking officer have to consult his imam? Well, for reasons of political correctness, of course. It would be offensive not to bring the imam into the loop. For similar reasons, General Petraeus used to visit provincial leaders in Afghanistan dressed up as Lawrence of Arabia, and for similar reasons a manual for U.S. troops in the region directed them to avoid “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” or “anything related to Islam.”

Read more at Front Page