Expanded role for American mouthpiece of al Qaeda
Screen shot of al Qaeda video released this month featuring American Adam Gadahn (source: SITE)
September 25th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Expanded role for American mouthpiece of al Qaeda

By Wes Bruer

American born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn has released a new propaganda video in support of rebel uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The nearly 84-minute video, "Advice and Support to Our Rebel Brothers Against Injustice," was released on extremist websites and forums on September 20, and was reported to have been produced on April 30 by al Qaeda's As-Sahab media wing.

The address to rebels is the second appearance this month Gadahn has made in al Qaeda videos released on jihadist forums.  The two videos are the first Gadahn videos since before Osama bin Laden was killed.

Remarks by the California-born jihadist were included in Ayman Al-Zawahiri's 9/11 anniversary message last Tuesday. In that video, "Truth has Come and Falsehood has Perished," Gadahn condemned statements by President Barack Obama that the United States was not at war with Islam.
"America is crystal clear about its opposition to Islam as a political system, Islam as a ruling system ... and the essence of Islam. So, how can America say that it is not at war with Islam?" Gadahn said. FULL POST

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Filed under: Adam Gadahn • Al-Zawahiri • Terrorism
Bin Laden documents: Media strategist and critic
May 3rd, 2012
06:50 PM ET

Bin Laden documents: Media strategist and critic

By Jamie Crawford

The 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks provided al Qaeda a platform from which to reshape its image in the global media, Osama bin Laden wrote in documents recovered from his compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan. The documents provide a glimpse of the al Qaeda leader as media opportunist and critic.

"We need to benefit from this (anniversary) and get our messages to the Muslims and celebrate our victory that they achieved," bin Laden wrote to his confidant and al Qaeda operative Atiyya Abdul Rahman in October 2010. "We will have a lot to show, therefore we should not depend on one media outlet to cover the event."

Read: Security Clearance's coverage of the Osama bin Laden documents

In his letter, bin Laden said his group should contact both the Arabic and English speaking networks of Al Jazeera if they were interested, and to cooperate in their coverage of the anniversary. But the familiar outlets were not the only targets of his message.
FULL POST

All quiet on al Qaeda's English front
March 8th, 2012
03:04 AM ET

All quiet on al Qaeda's English front

By Adam Levine

It appears that al Qaeda's English-language outreach efforts have nearly disappeared.

IntelCenter's Ben Venzke, who keeps stats on jihadi videos, notes that the media arm of al Qaeda central, As-Sahab, has not released an English-language video since 2010.

English-language versions of al Qaeda videos started around 2000 and were either subtitled, voiceovers or transcripts, according to Venzke. The person behind most of these is believed to be American Adam Gadahn.

"It was a key way for al Qaeda to deliver its message to both a Western audience and a larger percentage of its non-Arabic-speaking followers," Venzke observes.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Adam Gadahn • Al Qaeda • Al-Shabaab • Al-Zawahiri • Anwar al-Awlaki • Pakistan • Terrorism
Mystery man in new Al Qaeda video
December 20th, 2011
07:01 PM ET

Mystery man in new Al Qaeda video

By Adam Levine

A new video released by the Yemeni wing of al Qaeda includes a mysterious English speaker in what could be the debut of a new spokesman to replace Anwar al-Awlaki. The video, posted by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's media arm, is a commemoration of al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike last September. It includes new footage of al-Awlaki lecturing.

The mystery man, Abu Yazeed, appears twice in the video. He is in shadow, peering off camera, and is wearing glasses and has a full beard. He is wearing what appears to be a black-and-white turban. He is identified as "Brother: Abu Yazeed."

In the video, Abu Yazeed speaks with an accent. He criticizes the U.S. for targeting Muslims as it fights terrorism, referencing the killings of al-Awlaki and American Samir Khan, who was killed in the same strike, and al-Awlaki's son, who was killed in a separate strike.

"Their willingness to exceed all limits is just unthinkable and by assassinating three of its own citizens far away from combat zones and with no judicial process," he says.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Adam Gadahn • Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Anwar al-Awlaki • AQAP • Terrorism • Yemen
Al Qaeda loses its English-language inspiration
Al Qaeda still has one highly visible English-language propagandist: Oregon-born convert Adam Gadahn
September 30th, 2011
02:41 PM ET

Al Qaeda loses its English-language inspiration

By CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank

Earlier this week, al Qaeda issued the seventh issue of Inspire, a glossy English-language online magazine that emerged as a mouthpiece for the preaching of now-dead American-Yemeni terrorist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The message the magazine emphasized most was that supporters of al Qaeda in the West should take matters into their own hands and launch attacks themselves. A dedicated section provided them practical advice with how to carry out such attacks in the West.

It was a publication that caused great concern to counterterrorism officials on both sides of the Atlantic. Distributed widely on jihadist websites, forums, and blogs, not only did the magazine attract a following in the United States and the United Kingdom, but also in several European countries like Germany.

But it is possible that the seventh issue will be its last, with news that Samir Khan, its American Saudi-born editor, was also killed in the airstrike targeting al-Awlaki.

Khan left North Carolina for Yemen in October 2009, according to U.S. officials, and had become radicalized while previously living in the Queens area of New York City.

Even while living in the United States, Khan had attracted significant attention for publishing a blog sympathetic to al Qaeda.

The loss of al-Awlaki and Khan is likely to significantly curtail al Qaeda's English-language propaganda output, one of the factors, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials, behind increased radicalization in the United States in recent years. FULL POST