Monatsarchiv: Oktober 2010

New Al-Qaeda „Winds Of Paradise“ – Video

by Florian Flade

Al-Qaeda´s media wing As-Sahab has released the fifth part of its series „Winds Of Paradise“, featuring Jihadi martyrs of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

The video was released an the usual high-quality version and seems to show not only attacks on NATO and Afghan forces but also camp-life of the al-Qaeda militants and training camps, some of which were apparently run by late Abu Laith al-Libi.

Analysis of the newest „Winds Of Paradise“ coming soon…


NY Terror Suspect arrested in Hawaii – The Next Faisal Shehzad?

by Florian Flade

Surveillance camera footage – US-Jihadi Faisal Shehzad driving car bomb into Times Square

Abdel Hameed Shehadeh tried it several times – and even as FBI agents approached the 21 year-old U.S. Muslim, he did not stop plotting and thinking about how to join Jihad.

The New York-born man was finally arrested last Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii, and appeared in court in Monday for the first time. In the criminal complaint, the U.S. Department of Justice, charges Shehadeh with involvement in international terrorism. Allegedly Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, who was born and raised on Staten Island (New York) posted videos and documents of radical Islamic content on his own websites and had tried to join militant groups in foreign countries, including Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.

Shehadeh´s first attempt to enter the world of jihad, failed in Summer 2008. Livingin Brooklyn (New York) he bought a One-Way ticket to Pakistan, boarding a plane from J.F Kennedy Airport (New York) to Islamabad (Pakistan) on June 13th. Pakistani officials did not allow him to enter the country.

Telling the Pakistani officials, he planned to attend Islamic Universities in the country and visit the engagement party of his brother, they suspected the young American Muslim was about to join Taliban and al-Qaeda.
In an April 2010 conversation with the FBI, Shehadeh admitted, if he had been allowed to enter Pakistan, „without a doubt, he would have joined the Taliban“, the complaint says.

In late October 2008, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, flew from Newark Airport (New Jersey) to Amman (Jordan), suspected of trying to get to Iraq via Jordan. Jordanian officials denied him entry and sent back to the U.S.

Weeks after the failed attempt to join the Iraqi insurgency the terror suspect went to a recruiting center of the US Army on New York´s Times Square to join the military. Asked by the recruiter if he had traveled overseas, Shehadeh lied and told him he had only been to Israel once.

The real reason why the NY-Muslim wanted to become a US soldier was not to serve his country, but to be deployed to Iraq, where he planned to leave the army and join the Anti-American insurgency.

Shehadeh „informed (one witness) that he hoped to be deployed to Iraq,“ the complaint of the DoJ says. „At the time he was applying to join the military, Shehadeh told, when he arrived in Iraq, he intended to commit ‚treason‘ and fight United States soldiers. He explained that joining the military was an easier way to join jihad because the military would provide him with training, transportation and a weapon.“

Turned away by the U.S. recruiting center in Manhattan, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh started becoming more involved in the Online Jihad, creating his a website, promoting Anti-Western propaganda, featuring speeches and sermons of U.S.-Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, Abu Yahya al-Libi and Osama Bin Laden.

After he moved to Hawaii in 2009, Shehadeh was confronted by FBI agents in early 2010 who asked him about his travels and Internet activities – why he spread Jihadi propaganda on internet forums and his own blog. As he allegedly tried to travel to Somalia, the FBI also informed Shehadeh, that he was on a „No-Fly“ list and therefore not allowed to leave the United States.

Questioned by the FBI, Shehadeh admitted his own Website was „designed to mirror and reformat the teachings of radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki“. He also said, in the past he had agreed and sympathized with al-Qaeda´s ideology.

„It is time for the Muslims to start practicing our freedom of speech“, Abdel Hameed Shehadeh wrote on his Website, „My brothers of revolution Islam, I am with you as long as you keep struggling. Trust me there are many brothers and sisters in America that are ready to speak up. They just need a push.“

The Hawaii terror suspect was under the watchful monitoring of the U.S. counter-terrorism forces, yet, authorities decided to detain him only after he started to recruit another Muslim man in an internet-discussion about an Anwar al-Awlaki video, to join him in going for Jihad.

Big question in this new New York Terror case: Connection to Revolution Muslim?

Youtube-Ban against Awlaki-Tapes?

by Florian Flade

Anwar al-Awlaki and Congressman Anthony Weiner (on the right)

„It´s about time that it ends!“ – with these words Democratic Congressman Anthony David Weiner of New York, called for the online-video platform Youtube to delete and ban videos of the controversial US-Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. In front of the media, out on the streets of Manhattan, the Democratic politician stood right next to a board showing a large screenshot of a Youtube page screening the al-Qaeda in Yemen´s video interview with Awlaki.

For the first time, a U.S. official demanded Youtube to ban tapes of and featuring a single, specific person – let alone a U.S. citizen.
Congressman Weiner sent a letter to Youtube´s CEO Chad Hurley on Sunday, asking him to delete all of the approximately 700 videos of Anwar al-Awlaki available on Youtube.

„A known terrorist named Anwar al-Awlaki, dubbed the ‚bin-Laden of the Internet,‘ has been using YouTube to promote his extremist ideology and recruit a new generation of terrorists,“ Weiner wrote according to CNN. „I am asking that you remove all videos featuring Anwar al-Awlaki from your website and set up safeguards to prevent future videos from being posted.“

Youtube responded by removing several Awlaki videos after Weiner´s complaint, saying some of the content violates the community guidelines. Still, a quick search of the term „awlaki“ produces 5.070 results, „anwar al awlaki“ to 4.570 results, including numerous versions of the Al-Malahim interview with and without English subtitles. Even the „Anwar Al-Awlaki Utube“ channel is still accessible and operating.

On the streets of Manhattan, Anthony Weiner held a furious speech on Monday explaining his concerns regarding Awlaki´s Youtube presence. „This is someone who is clearly using the service to spread hate and doing it effectively“, Weiner said, „He has followers, 3.5 Million views, 700 videos and it´s about time that it ends.“

What Weiner did not mention is the clear fact that a large number of videos found on Youtube when searching for „awlaki“, is in fact news footage by various TV channels.

Hinting towards the Fort Hood Shooting carried out by Major Nidal Hassan, who was in contact with Awlaki via e-mail before committing the attack, Mr.Weiner said: „Every single day someone clicks on these videos, it is a potential terrorist learning to hate. We have to make sure that does not continue to happen.“ He therefore urges Youtube to stop the spreading of Awlaki´s teaching.

The unsual attempt by an American politician to stop Islamist propaganda by openly addressing Youtube leads to the question: Why now? Why doing it at all?

Anwar al-Awlaki has indeed become an important figure in the Online-Jihad community, and his base of followers is growing, especially in Western countries. Although 90% of lectures found on the internet are rather old audio lectures Awlaki gave in and around 9/11, almost every day these tapes are re-uploaded onto Youtube. His fans create new versions, add subtitles, translate lectures in other languages besides English and Arabic, sometimes editing the tapes with Jihadi-style background pictures, waving flags, roaring lions and swords.

His own blog is dead for now and it does not seem Awlaki is promoting himself on Youtube and other upload services. The virus is spreading, and so is the ideology that attracts a certain number of Western, Non-Arabic speaking Muslim Youths.

Over the weekend, a new video tape was advertised in an Jihadi forum, with an excerpt released showing Awlaki speaking in Arabic. Possible the soon to be released video was the reason for Mr.Weiner to reach out to Youtube – although I doubt the video will first appear on Youtube.

So is fighting the never ending stream of Awlaki-Uploads, copies and re-uploads an efficient way of dealing with the danger of the hateful ideology delivered by a charismatic Jihadi scholar?

Closing websites, forums, blogs or chatrooms has not yet proven to be an effective – not even temporary – solution to the problem called Awlaki. The Online-Jihad community adapts to the closure of the virtual playground by creating new ones, by using other services available besides Youtube or just producing their own system of spreading propaganda media.

Pressuring Youtube to enforce an „Awlaki-Ban“ is a cheap excuse and distraction from the real problem the U.S. is facing when it comes to national security and the danger of the next Awlaki-inspired (or „Inspire“ inspired) Jihad attack on US soil.

Clearly the Awlaki presence on Youtube is not a matter of free-speech or anything related to hateful content. A search for „hitler“ leads to 203.000 video results – and I´m sure not all of them are satire fake material. So where is the point in banning the lectures of the U.S.-Yemeni preacher while there are still videos of Bin Laden, Zawahiri, al-Libi, Zarqawi, Feiz Mohammad and hundreds of lesser known preachers with a brainwashing-potential available?

„It´s about time that is ends“ – Rep.Anthony Weiner demands. Guess what Mr.Weiner, it would not even stop if Awlaki is ragged by a US hellfire missile tomorrow.

Maybe I just did not get the joke, after all Mr.Weiner once shared a flat with Daily Show´s Jon Stewart – so is it just a case of political-satire?