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.

CBS’ 60 Minutes avoids Egyptian Connection to Benghazi

Logan: Well done report but missing something very important.

Logan: Well done report but missing something very important.

Walid Shoebat:

The 60 Minutes piece by Lara Logan on the Benghazi attacks was well done. It included excerpts of interviews with State Department whistleblower Gregory Hicks, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, and a British security official who was in charge of the Libyans who were hired to provide security, Libyans he didn’t seem impressed by.

Here’s the report via 60 Minutes; commentary to follow:



Well done, yes but also a bit incomplete and possibly misleading in some respects.

First, here we are more than one year later and Logan reports it’s now “well established” that the compound was attacked by al-Qaeda. When was this established? It would seem that this is a bit of a bombshell, would it not? Initially, the attack was about a video; then it was a group called Ansar Al-Sharia. Now, a “well established” fact that al-Qaeda was involved. This is a bit of news if for no other reason than it is officially acknowledged.

Earlier this week, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported that the attack had connections to “Al-Qaeda Core” in Pakistan. Again, huge bombshell because it leads to Ayman al-Zawahiri, whose first cousin was Mohammed Mursi’s chief of staff.

The 60 Minutes piece went in a curious direction when it seemed to imply that the guy who could take the fall for the attack is Abu Anas al Libi, who was apprehended by U.S. Special Forces in Tripoli earlier this month. Al Libi is wanted for his role in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. He was not a suspect in the Benghazi attack but Logan reported he is being questioned to find out what he knew about it.

Completely absent from the report was any reference to Egypt’s involvement. For example, the Jamal Network’s involvement in the Benghazi attacks is far more established than any connection al Libi may have. The network’s founder Muhammad Jamal Abdo Al-Kashif is currently sitting in an Egyptian jail and has even been identified by the U.N. Security Council as a lead suspect in the attack with connections to Ayman al-Zawahiri (yes, that Ayman al-Zawahiri).

Let’s also not forget that Thomas Pickering inadvertently divulged information from his Accountability Review Board’s “classified” report when he mentioned an Egyptian connection. He was almost undoubtedly referring to the Jamal Network. A few weeks after doing so, the U.S. State Department identified Al-Kashif and his network as terrorists. Unlike the U.N., State did not identify Al-Kashif or his network as suspects in the Benghazi attack but it did acknowledge his connection to and correspondence with Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Publicly acknowledging that al Libi was involved in the Benghazi attacks is far more preferable to the Obama administration than putting the spotlight on the Jamal Network for several reasons. Among them is that Al-Kashif was released from prison after the fall of Mubarak and subsequently founded his network. There are multiple Arabic reports that say Mursi pardoned him. This would mean that the President of a nation state pardoned the guy whose network was responsible for the murder of a U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans.

We also know that Al-Kashif is connected to Al-Zawahiri. Making this even more potentially explosive are reports that Mursi and al-Zawahiri collaborated to release jihadists and open terror camps in the Sinai and along Egypt’s border with Libya.


Benghazi attack suspect list expands to include Egyptians

By :

The list of suspects in the Libya terror attack now extends to a handful of  suspected militants aligned with an Egyptian group known as the Jamal Network,  Fox News has learned.

A U.S. official said the Jamal Network is committed to violence to attain its  political ambitions, adding they are “hard-core, violent extremists in Egypt who  are trying to develop a relationship with Al Qaeda.”

Fox News is told that there are between two- and three-dozen suspects  actively being investigated at any one time in connection with the Benghazi  attack. The suspect list is fluid, drawn from intelligence ranging from  intercepts to witness accounts, with new names being added and dropped on a  regular basis.

The majority of the suspects were described to Fox News as “locals” who come  from Libya and are followers of the group Ansar al-Shariah, which wants to  establish an Islamic state with adherence to strict Shariah law.

The additional suspects are being investigated after one Tunisian suspect,  Ali Ani al-Harzi, was first arrested in Turkey — after being identified through  telephone intercepts where he bragged to friends about his involvement — and  transferred to Tunisian custody. There is also at least one suspect with ties to  Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The radical ties of the suspects further raises questions about the degree of  planning that may have been involved in an attack initially described as  “spontaneous.”

The Jamal Network takes its name from Mohammed Jamal Abu Ahmed, who was  released from an Egyptian jail during the Arab Spring and is now trying to  establish himself as a leader in Jihadi circles. U.S. officials believe he  established training camps in Libya, and it was in these camps that some of the  fighters linked to the attack were trained.

Read more at Fox News with video

Al Qaeda-linked jihadists helped incite 9/11 Cairo protest

Osama bin Laden, Mohammed al Zawahiri, and  Sheikh Tawfiq Al ‘Afani, as seen in the Al Faroq video on the protest at the US  embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012. Courtesy of SITE Intelligence Group.


By Thomas Joscelyn:

Several al Qaeda-linked jihadists helped incite the protest outside the US  embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11. The jihadists include senior members of Egyptian  Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a group that merged with al Qaeda, and a senior Gamaa  Islamiyya (IG) leader who has longstanding ties to al Qaeda’s senior leadership.

Spontaneous anger over an obscure anti-Islam video titled “Innocence of  Muslims” has been widely cited as the cause of the embassy protest in Cairo. But  clear evidence shows that these al Qaeda-linked jihadists used clips from that  film that were televised on Egyptian television as a pretext to incite a mob.

The most conspicuous of these jihadists is Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa, an IG  leader who was named as a signatory on al Qaeda’s infamous February 1998 fatwa  announcing an Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders. The fatwa  justified terrorist attacks against American civilians and others. Musa would  later disavow his participation in the Islamic Front, but his al Qaeda ties are  well established.

Al Faroq media video

The role of al Qaeda’s allies, including Musa, in the embassy protest was  documented in a video released by Al Faroq media earlier this month. Al Faroq,  which is based in Egypt, is not an official al Qaeda media outlet, but it  clearly espouses al Qaeda’s ideology and frequently trumpets the terrorist  organization’s message. Al Qaeda has also used clips from Al Faroq’s productions  in its own official videos.

The Al Faroq video of the Sept. 11 US embassy protest in Cairo was first  obtained and translated by SITE Intelligence Group.

The Al Faroq video attempts to brand the protest as an al Qaeda event. And  indeed pro-al Qaeda sentiment was rampant. Flags commonly used by al Qaeda in  Iraq are shown throughout the al Faroq video. The protesters chanted, “Obama, Obama! We are all Osama!” And the Al Faroq video splices together footage of al  Qaeda’s senior leaders with clips of the senior al Qaeda-allied jihadists at the  embassy protest.

Osama bin Laden is heavily featured. Specifically, Al Faroq shows a clip from  the deceased terror master’s March 2008 message concerning cartoons that  insulted the Prophet Mohammed. “In closing, I tell you: if there is no check on  the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our  actions,” bin Laden threatened, according to SITE’s translation.

The video ties bin Laden to two men who took part in the embassy protest:  Mohammed al Zawahiri, who is the brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, and  Sheikh Tawfiq al ‘Afani, an EIJ leader who does not hide his pro-bin Laden  views.

Mohammed al Zawahiri at the US embassy  protest in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012.

Mohammed al Zawahiri

Mohammed al Zawahiri is shown at the embassy rally during the Al Faroq video.  In fact, Mohammed al Zawahiri admittedly helped stage the Cairo protest.

“We called for the peaceful protest joined by different Islamic factions  including the [Egyptian] Islamic Jihad (and the) Hazem Abu Ismael movement,”  Zawahiri has explained, according  to CNN.

During his appearance in the video, according to SITE’s translation, Mohammed  al Zawahiri calls for the makers of the film “Innocence of Muslims” to be  prosecuted and “demand(s) the questioning of all of those and to stop that film  that is calling for trouble.”

Mohammed al Zawahiri has been coy about his al Qaeda ties. For instance,  during an interview on Egyptian television earlier this month he tried to  distance himself from the al Qaeda organization, while admitting that he adheres  to the group’s ideology.

“I do not belong to al Qaeda or any other organization, but ideologically  speaking, I am in agreement with all these organizations,” Zawahiri said, according to a  translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “Our common  denominator is the Islamic sharia,” Zawahiri continued, reiterating that he  agrees with al Qaeda’s “ideology, but I’m not involved in its activity.”

On other  occasions, Mohammed al Zawahiri has used the word “we” when speaking about  al Qaeda and has attempted to justify the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Wall Street Journal has  reported that US intelligence officials think Mohammed al Zawahiri put one of the suspects responsible for the terrorist attack in Benghazi in touch with  his brother.

The Journal’s sources identified “fighters” tied to Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad, an EIJ member who was released from prison last year, as participants  in the Benghazi attack. Abu Ahmad “has long ties” to Ayman al Zawahiri, the Journal reported, and he “has petitioned” al Qaeda’s emir “for  permission to launch an al Qaeda affiliate and has secured financing from al Qaeda’s Yemeni wing.”

Ahmad “is building his own terror group, say Western officials, who call it  the Jamal Network,” according to the Journal. EIJ members are suspected of funneling Egyptian militants to training camps in Libya as well.

The Journal added: “US officials believe [Mohammed al Zawahiri] has  helped Mr. Ahmad connect with the al Qaeda chief.”

Read more: Long War Journal