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Terror Tracker

Terror Tracker is a senior researcher on Islamism and radicalization at an intelligence think tank in Washington DC.
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New Issue of ‘Inspire’

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula has come out with a new issue of Inspire magazine. The latest issue features details about al-Qaida’s successes and losses on the battlefield in Yemen, as well as explosives training and ideological information.

For more about the magazine, see the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s latest article – http://www.investigativeproject.org/3049/latest-al-qaida-magazine-touts-gains-and-losses

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Al-Qaida issues major new mail bombing threat

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

The Investigative Project on Terrorism is reporting that a major jihadi web forum has issued a new mail-bombing threat against Western government, industry, and media figures. Those threatened include the President and major intel figures, as well as the RAND corporation, Halliburton, and others. Private counterterrorism experts like Daniel Pipes, Yigal Carmon of MEMRI, and Steve Emerson have also been targeted.

AQ has successfully used difficult to trace bomb materials in the past, heightening concern the threat might be acted upon. An FBI report issued about the threats also shows concern about lone wolf terrorists.

The full story can be read here.

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Muslim Student Association Taliban Speech

Thursday, April 7th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

In March 2003, a representative of the Taliban spoke at an event organized by the Muslim Student Association of the University of Southern California. At the event, he defended the Taliban’s policies and even Osama bin Laden, condemning Western justice while playing up the Taliban’s version of the rule of law and “civil rights”. At the time the announcement of the event sparked protest, although very little was written about what the Taliban representative actually said. Now that the videos have come out on Youtube, it’s possible to see how the Taliban represented itself to American college students less than a year before the U.S. would go to war with them.

YouTube Preview Image

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New US military units deploy to Libya

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Pentagon Channel Report - More than 2,000 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and 2nd Marine Expeditionary force, deployed along with Amphibious Squadron 6 for Libya March 29.

According to GlobalSecurity.org, “The Amphibious Ready Group’s capabilities range from providing medical supplies, personnel and food for evacuation in the event of natural disaster, to landing combat ready Marines ashore.”

Are we stepping up combat operations or are these units going to start supplying the rebels?

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New Issue of Inspire Magazine

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula has come out with the 5th issue of its Inspire Magazine. It’s got some more of the same — the wheres and whens of attacking American targets, etc. But interestingly, the issue lays out the case for why Al Qaeda supports the Arab revolutions, leveling the arguments of those who say that the group doesn’t benefit from the general upheaval. It also shows how Al Qaeda sees itself as continuing the jihad begun by the Muslim Brotherhood, but dropped when the MB became interested in elections.

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Al-Shabaab Under Siege

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Fiqi has reported the death of American terrorist Omar Hammami in recent battles, as African peacekeepers and Somali government forces ramp up their attack on al-Shabaab. The goal of the new offensive is to advance the Transitional Federal Government’s power, before its mandate to rule expires in August.

“We have information saying that he died,” stated Defense Minister Fiqi. “I’m not 100 percent sure but this is the information that we get from different sources. We need to make sure.” Hammami, raised in Daphne, Alabama, joined al-Shabaab in 2007 and became a major recruiter and commander for the Islamist militia. His death would be a major blow to the group, whose forces control large areas of southern and central Somalia but are unpopular for imposing a harsh form of Sharia law.

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Libya Under Pressure

Sunday, February 27th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

President Obama has called on Libya’s Dictator Muammar Gaddafi to step down in a call to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Shortly thereafter, the US Security Council passed sanctions on Libya’s leaders, froze their assets, imposed an arms embargo on the government, and referred Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court.

At this point the most likely interim leader is the former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who said a body comprising military and civilian figures would prepare for elections within three months, Libya’s privately-owned Quryna newspaper reported.

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Terrorist Groups Co-opt Egyptian Revolution

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Several terrorist organizations are co-opting the Egyptian Revolution, and that means more than just using it to their advantage.

The Taliban, Hezbollah, and Hamas all seem to see themselves as the champions of the revolution or at least the primary benefactor of it. The Taliban sees the Egyptian Revolution as a “clear message” to the Americans about “the destruction of orchards and homes” in Afghanistan, while Hezbollah’s TV station claimed the revolution is a celebration of the ‘resistance, grace, and greatness’ of their leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Even Hamas sees the nonviolent protests as cause to believe Egypt will support “the Palestinian cause against the Zio-American schemes in the region.”

Read more here.

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Why the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t change

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

There is a lot of talk about moderation in the Muslim Brotherhood, especially since Clapper’s recent flap calling them a “largely secular” organization that “has eschewed violence.” The key elements that prove the absolute falseness of this idea are the MB’s membership rules and education structures.

A “Muslim Brother” becomes a true member of the organization by passing through a “Tarbeyah” [education] system and taking an oath of membership to the group’s goals. These education systems, as seen in MB and Jamaat-e-Islami (the South Asian version of the MB) branches all over the world, including the United States, focus on churning out “Movement-oriented” individuals who agree to a number of basic ideological principles. These include the idea of Iqamat-ud-Deen, or “Establishing the religion,” which includes helping the growth of an Islamic state wherever it may arise, jihad to protect other Muslims, etc.

An example of this can be seen in the relationship in Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood groups, the IAF and the MBM. Jordan’s Islamic Action Front (IAF) is the political branch of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM). The MBM is the hardcore organization of inducted Muslim Brotherhood members, while the closely-linked IAF follows the general ideology but lacks the structured education and supervision of the MBM. Dr. Raheel Gharibeh, a leading figure of the IAF and the former head its political department, explained this in an interview:

Membership in the Movement is far more restricted than in the party. To be a

member in the Movement, your religious duties are watched and monitored,

including your fasting, prayers, behaviors, speeches and almost all other activities.

The party is less strict, and does not focus on what individuals do and do not do

on daily basis. It is also open to all Jordanians regardless of their political,

religious or ideological orientations, unlike the Movement. In fact, we have a

Christian in the party, but this would not be possible in the Movement.

A clearer example of Muslim Brotherhood education came be seen in the US branches of the MB. The primary MB branch in the United States, the Muslim American Society, and Jamaat-e-Islami in America, the Islamic Circle of North America, developed a joint curriculum in 2001 to educate members. The action was part of a process that brought MAS and ICNA together ideologically, as outlined in court documents from the HLF trial and actualized in 2001, with a merger of the ideology and education wings of the two groups.

In ICNA, inductees pass through one level of education and an extensive monitoring process of their actions, reported back to the central leadership through a buddy system, After the course, which takes a couple of years, they take an oath to ICNA’s goals and are offered basic membership. They then pass through a second level of education and further monitoring to become MGAs, Members of the General Assembly, who then have a right to vote in the group’s elections, outline the induction and education process for other newbies, etc. MAS works similarly, with members passing through various levels of education before becoming a part of the leadership.

The membership of MAS and ICNA are much more indoctrinated than the average Muslim, who may pray at their mosques or participate in their programs, but who never went through the indoctrination process.

Seeing how the MB works on the inside, in America and Egypt, is a microcosm of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the most extensive and founding branch of the movement. The intensive monitoring, loyalty oaths, and education that MB brothers experience creates a dedicated ideological core that changes very little. Even if the political branches of these groups give a moderate message, years of intensive education and ideological strengthening mean that the group’s real members stay just as radical.

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Cheering the military dictatorship

Friday, February 11th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

The people have won, Mubarak is gone. But the questions remain about where Egypt is headed.

Al Arabiya TV reported that the higher military council will sack the cabinet, suspend both houses of parliament and rule with the head of the supreme constitutional court.

Mubarak, Nasser, and Sadat – the past three leaders of Egypt – were all from the military. The people have had a positive relationship with the military through the protests, but that will change if they see they have empowered another dictatorship.

And what about Mubarak? His Swiss assets are frozen and he’s still in the country (although Sharm el-Sheikh is a resort town on the Egyptian periphery). He may get his wish to die on Egypt’s soil.

But maybe it will help the stock market and oil prices in the US, which respectively saw a dip and a rise as the crisis continued.

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Who’s Watching the Jails?

Monday, February 7th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

A one-eyed, hook-handed cleric has caught Britain’s attention – this time for a rant from inside his jail cell. It’s a major problem of European democracies; but, before we get too high on our horse, it’s also a concern for the good-old US of A.

Abu Hamza, who ran one of London’s largest mosques, was convicted and sentenced on charges of inciting murder and race hate. He is also wanted in America on suspicion that he was helping to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Although his extradition has been shot down by Europe’s highest court, which was concerned about the “inhuman or degrading treatment” he might face in American “supermax” prison, Abu Hamza managed to phone a former terrorist to broadcast yet another message of hate. His friend, a man with old ties to the terrorist organization Egyptian Islamic Jihad, taped his ranting session and broadcast it on Youtube.

Ironically, the European High Court was concerned that Abu Hamza might be a victim of America’s ‘cruel and unusual’ system of solitary confinement. But, rather than stop him from continuing the same messages that got him into jail, the British jail system became his new pulpit to the world outside.

It’s a familiar problem in Europe. The US spent 4 years arguing with Spain to designate and isolate a Spanish al-Qaeda member serving time for 9/11. Madrid’s failure to act allowed Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas to finance terror and recruit locals to fight in Iraq, all from the comfort of his 10 by 10.

While we are shaking our head at Europe, we should be asking ourselves questions about why a convicted terrorist’s letters and poems are ending up on Islamist websites broadcasting jihad (see here, here and here). On November 15th, 2010, Tarek Mehanna, wrote from Plymouth Correctional Facility – Isolation Unit – Cell #108:

And the Romes of today at whose hands we’re abused,
Who preach to us values from which they’re self-excused,
How similar the tools of repression they used,
The tyrants of past and present are ever fused; …

In a repeat of that reality uncouth,
Imagine he stood and struggled for the same truth,
And had the same impact on society’s youth,
Would they not once again fight this man nail & tooth?

If these letters are real, shouldn’t it be enough to embarrass us at least as much as our Atlantic neighbors?

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The real stealth jihad

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

There’s a lot of talk about “stealth jihad” out there, but this is the real deal. At least where the jihad goes boom.

An Ex-British Airways IT specialist plead guilty to terrorism charges in the UK, including funding terrorist associates in Yemen, volunteering to become a suicide bomber, and encouraging others to do the same. He also copped to being involved in the production and distribution of a video for the banned terrorist organization Jammat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh.

Worse yet, British prosecutors have alleged that Rajib Karim used his position “to advise foreign terrorists on airport security measures, including suspicion scans, liquid allowances, and computer systems.”

“Colin Gibbs, for the prosecution, said Mr. Karim had offered to pass on information gleaned from cabin crew training — which the airline made available to company volunteers so that services could be kept running during a strike,” reported the Sunday Times. He also reportedly volunteered for cabin duty, during the British Airways strike, which prosecutors allege was a part of his plan to further an unspecified terrorist act.

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Taking back the internet – and national security

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Fighting extremism online is a true uphill battle. New jihadi magazines and videos are a daily occurrence. Blogs are popping up at a rapid pace. The terrorist media has become a genre of its own.

However, in one of its (very) few useful roles, the UN cosponsored a counterterrorism workshop with Saudi Arabia’s Naif Arab University for Security Studies, focused on undermining terrorist narratives. While this was certainly a publicity move on the part of Saudi Arabia, whose billionaires helped develop terror networks and whose clerics provided theological justification for jihad, it was a step in the right direction.

The Netherlands presented a jailhouse recantation of a convicted terrorist, which they circulated online. Pakistani authorities showed scenes from explosions at mosques, suggesting that bombs kill real-life Muslims, not imagined apostates. And Saudi Arabia presented a government-sponsored program that enlists hundreds of Islamic scholars, getting knowledgeable moderates involved directly in debates online.

Will the programs work? Probably not. Hardened jihadists will reject turncoats, Pakistani bad boys will just see the videos as more war porn, and increasingly blogs are locking out non-members from either responding or viewing posts. A Yemeni-government initiative “to use the Koran to persuade others,” has seen mixed results, probably because the regime is largely discredited already.

Any program worth its salt has to use both the carrot and the stick. In Spain, terrorism suspects are treated with kids’ gloves and can only serve a maximum sentence of 40 years no matter what their crime. Imad Eddin Yarkas, a recruiter involved in 9/11, financed and built terror cells from his jail cell while Spanish authorities twiddled their thumbs about legally designating him and his assets. In addition, the prosecutors’ initial request of 74,000 years jail time – 25 years for each of the approximately 3,000 killed on 9/11 – ended bluntly with 27 years. In the wake of Spanish embarrassment about Yarkas’ jail time activities, his sentence was further reduced to 12 years. He will be out on Spanish streets, unrepentant, by 2013.

Punishments should be swift and uncompromising. Deterrence is obvious for us, we’re Americans.  But we need to put pressure on our allies abroad.

The other elements of the puzzle, including the hysterical exaggerations of American and Western human rights violations in Muslim countries and at home, need to be answered. In the US, this is especially true with mainstream Muslim organizations that feed a distorted message of worldwide conflicts to their communities, while claiming to work with law enforcement.

Overall, countering terrorism means using all the tricks at our disposal, from changing the online narrative to breaking the backs of those involved.

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Egypt – Protestors/police clash with army

Friday, January 28th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Al Jazeera English is reporting that police (who joined the protesters) and the army are clashing in Egypt.
Right now, what is being reported on the ground is coming from the eyes of the protesters and those sympathetic to them. When the dust clears, hindsight will be 20/20.

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Update on Egypt

Friday, January 28th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Egypt is on fire. For a full update, check here, and the Tatler is following the story here.

Police have fired tear gas into protesters in the middle of evening prayers. This is an unprecedented and deeply dangerous move in the conservative country.

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Jihad by Bluetooth?

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

One of the most sophisticated and prominent jihad forums has been exploiting Bluetooth technology to transfer documents, according to an ongoing series on terrorist monitor Jihadica.com. Starting in October 2009, Ansar al-Mujahideen forum began offering a special data-package designed for mobile phones, with nearly every part of the radicalization process included.

“The content of all data-packages is well chosen and … comprises new, up-to-date materials, but also capitalizes on older fundamental documents that are of ultimate importance in the jihadists’ mindset,” according the blog. “The general aim of these packages is described in a ‘mission statement’ that includes an invitation to join the endeavor of spreading jihadist materials and to ‘develop the jihadist media’.”

The documents are updated by a new branch of Ansar al-Mujahideen, called the “Mobile Division” (Arabic info here).

Jihadi media is developing quickly. This is just another example of how the bad guys are expanding their reach, through social networks, recruiting videos, and glossy magazines.

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TV Network Goes to War with Government

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

What happens when a TV network takes potshots at the legitimacy of a government? The scene is playing itself out, with Al-Jazeera saying that the Palestinian government “has shown operational willingness to co-operate with Israel to kill its own people” and the Palestinian National Authority [aka the Fatah party] threatening to take the media group to court.

The fight comes down to a massive leak of 1,600 Palestinian documents, called “The Palestine Papers” or “Palileaks” for effect. The files are supposed to show the communication and negotiation of the Israeli and Palestinian governments, but are being exploited to delegitimize the Palestinian Authority for “collaboration.” Naturally, Al-Jazeera and the Guardian, the only two media groups to receive the documents, are making sure that they are as painful and ostracizing as possible to the Israelis as well.

The whole crisis also underlines how reluctant the Arab street is to make compromises for peace. Although the documents show a tough compromise hammered out, Palestinian officials are being forced to take a hard stance and appear as if they have not given up the “resistance.” To make the point, Al-Jazeera’s article states that “since the death of Yasser Arafat, Fatah’s policy of resistance to Israel has become one of collaboration.”

After the fall of Tunisia and amidst the Egypt crisis, Arab governments are looking increasingly brittle. The direction could be bad for American policy, or more nuanced.

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Chaos in Egypt: Mubarak’s son flees?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Unconfirmed rumors are stating that the son of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has fled the country with his family, as the “Day of Rage” erupts in Cairo and throughout Egypt. “Down, down, Hosni Mubarak,” chanted protesters in Cairo, where police fired teargas and used water cannon, and protesters hurled bottles and rocks at them.

The protestors appear to be inspired by the story of “Khaled Said,” an Alexandrian who was allegedly beaten to death by police, and nine protestors who attempted to set themselves on fire in the past week. Like the Tunisian riots, Egyptian anger has been sparked by police brutality and the martyrdom of those sounding off against government corruption and rule by secret police.

The recent riots are also a big change from the protests of the past, where mobs of security crushed the smallest signs of dissent. “Protesters on the streets called up to onlookers from windows above to join in — and many did. Police were relatively restrained and when they did come down with a heavy hand — firing water cannon in a central Cairo square for example — instead of sending people away, protesters seemed emboldened,” stated a Reuters news assessment. “Some even chased after officers, who fled down side roads. That suggests more Egyptians are losing their fear of retribution, which could itself galvanise others.”

The party to watch is Egypt’s largest and most organized opposition, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood [MB]. The MB has so far claimed that it has not taken a role and that its activists have been arrested and harassed. Although Mubarak’s regime is corrupt and controlling, realpolitik suggests that the MB may enter the protests if they pick up a bit. They will also stand the best chance of controlling a post-Mubarak situation, in the unlikely event that the Egyptian President falls.

The Egyptian government isn’t sitting aside. They shut down Twitter and have taken other measures to stop the spread of the protests.

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A note on Gov Christie’s judge choice

Monday, January 24th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Mud-slinging aside, what’s the real deal on Republican Governor Christie’s choice of a questionable Muslim lawyer for a Superior Court judgeship?

Truth be told, it’s a more than a little unsettling that Christie is moving forward with Sohail Mohammed’s appointment. But not because of fears about him imposing Sharia, or the beginnings of the end for the United States.

Mohammed offered to legally represent an extremist Palestinian rally in 2000, where Jewish stars were equated with swastikas, etc. However, he has since been involved in interfaith activities with Jews. He has repeatedly condemned acts of terror. However, he has also zealously defended his clients, even those linked to terror. But isn’t that what we expect from a good lawyer and candidate for a judgeship? He has also served as a character witness for an imam with links to Hamas, but in all fairness it was his religious leader and many people would go to bat for their preacher.

The real question is not whether Mohammed will implement Sharia (religious quotes from sources like the Bible are used only as additional reinforcement for judges’ rulings, never as primary sources), but whether principles from Islamic law will bias his judgments. Will his identification with accused terrorists in his community, and what he has called a “witch hunt against Muslims,” bias his view on terror cases? Will pro-Israel defendants get a fair shake in his court? Is his appointment going to embarrass Republicans, should the extreme political views of his affiliates turn out to be his own?

Also, how much blame can be placed on Governor Christie, who is just trying to rustle up votes from a large Muslim constituency? His oversight occurred for a number of reasons: a) a lack of solid information about Mohammed’s views; b) the failure of detractors to distinguish between Mohammed’s good defense of clients and his personal views; c) his mosque and organization have sponsored years of interfaith talks in contradiction to extremist rhetoric.

In any case, now that the cat is out of the bag about Mohammed’s bias, Governor Christie should seriously consider rescinding his offer. Saving face may be in the governor’s personal interest, but it’s in everyone’s interest to protect the public from a biased judge.

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See No Terror, Hear No Terror

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Egypt’s government blamed a small al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Gaza for the Alexandria bombings, ignoring rising anti-Christian sentiment throughout the country and exaggerating support from local Muslims. The nation’s press is no better, distorting accounts of support for Christians to take the spotlight off of the republic’s “Coptic Question.”

Following the January 1st attack in Alexandria, which killed 23 people and underlined the sour relations between Muslim and Christians [Copts]in Egypt, mainstream and Arab media came out with articles praising the solidarity of Egyptians over the attacks. Al-Ahram, a majority state-owned paper in Egypt, spread statements that Muslims acted as “human shields” and quoted local Muslim voices calling for unity.

While some Muslim voices were present, the number of protestors in support of Christians was never officially reported. Contrary to the official report, Egyptian Christians filmed abuse of protestors by police and the arrests of the small numbers of Muslims who did show up for the protests. Critically, Egypt’s press was silent about ending false reports against Copts, including claims that churches held Muslim converts hostage. This was the initial source of al-Qaeda threats against Copts in the first place. Instead, they called the attack an attack on Egypt and buried Coptic concerns in nationalist rhetoric.

Egypt’s government also blamed, The Army of Islam, for the attack. However, the Gaza-based group has been unsuccessful at carrying out any large attacks on Israelis and is currently repressed by Gaza’s Hamas regime. The Army of Islam also rejected the claim, despite agreeing with whoever did carry it out. For an al-Qaeda affiliate to turn down responsibility for a massive and popular attack, one that would have catapulted it to stardom in the world of jihad, it’s pretty unlikely they were involved.

So what’s left at the dust clears? Egypt has shunned any real responsibility for anti-Christian sentiment and vehemently rejected calls for change in supporting Christians. The nation’s society and educational system still treat Copts as second-class citizens. The bombing could have been a catalyst for change, but the Egyptian government is treating it as a state threat and not a threat against an endangered minority.

In Egypt, there is an old saying; “The rope of lies is short.” The rope may be short; but, it is still enough for Egypt’s regime to hang itself.

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Canada’s Little Jihad Problem

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Does Canada have a jihad problem? It could be, as Royal Canadian Mounties arrested a local Canuck on terrorism charges brought in the US and a new report emerged about a dozen Canadians Muslim converts training in an al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan.

Faruq Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa was arrested on charges of conspiring to kill Americans abroad in Iraq and with providing material support for an international terror ring. As part of a multinational terror network, he was responsible for aiding Tunisian suicide bombers being sent to Iraq, with practical matters like reminding them to delete personal information and cover their tracks before traveling to fight. ‘Isa also expressed his desire to conduct a suicide mission to the Iraq-based leader of the terror network, and instructed a family member in Iraq to “Go learn about weapons and go attack the police and Americans. Let it be that you die.”

In addition, the Asian Times Online is reporting that a dozen Canadian Muslim converts are in Pakistan and Afghanistan “receiving jihadi training in al-Qaeda camps in North Waziristan for terror attacks in Canada.”

“In Afghanistan they received basic jihadi training, while currently they are busy doing some special courses. Their main learning is how to use sophisticated weapons, and how to connect with local smuggling networks in North America,” Arif Wazir, a local militant of Darpakhel in North Waziristan told Asia Times Online. “They are also learning how to use ordinary material like sugar and basic chemicals to make powerful explosives. These militants will then return to their country to execute al-Qaeda’s plan of targeting big cities in Canada.”

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Helen Thomas – Again

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Helen Thomas is up to her old tricks again, and at this rate she’s going to bury her reputation before they bury her.

The Society of Professional Journalists has retired the lifetime achievement award named after Thomas, in condemnation for her December comments. “Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by the Zionists. No question, in my opinion,” Thomas told a 300+ audience in Detroit at the time.

Apparently losing another award didn’t stop Thomas, who complained to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that she had been wronged by being labeled racist. “You can never mention Israel without being immediately called anti-Semitic, lose your job, or anything else,” she complained. “I could call President Obama anything in the book, and no one would say anything. You touch one thing about Israel and you’re finished.”

It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and a few months of senility to wreck it all.

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STL First Indictment

Monday, January 17th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

The hour of truth is here. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) filed its first confidential indictment in the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others on February 14th, 2005. According to initial reports by the AFP, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei may be indicted for ordering the hit job.

“They will now be reviewed by the pretrial judge, Daniel Fransen,” the STL said in a statement Monday. “The contents of the indictment remain confidential at this stage.”

As a note, Hizbullah collapsed Lebanon’s government and is claiming that the transitional authority cannot legally accept indictments. The STL appears to have jumped right over the issue by submitting the indictments to The Hague, which has the Iranian-backed terror organization scrambling to get all Lebanese factions to support it, whether by hook or by crook.

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Self-immolation trend

Monday, January 17th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Tunisia was brought down by years of anger and corruption; but it was the rage and desperation of one man who set himself alight, which kindled the powder key of society. Now, other protesters across the Arab world are trying to help the revolution spread by lighting themselves and public anger on fire.

A 50 year old Egyptian shouted anti-government slogans and set himself on fire outside of Egypt’s parliament. A Mauritanian man, unhappy with government policies, lit himself up outside a government building in the capital Nouakchott. And two locals in Algeria also joined the party.

In westernized Tunisia, the fall of the regime meant the inclusion of all parties in a national coalition. However, Algeria, Egypt, and Mauritania all have strong Islamist opposition parties, making possible the rise of Islamic governments should these nations falter. In a short period of time, America’s allies in North Africa could fall prey to their unpopularity at home.

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Update on Inspire Edition #4

Sunday, January 16th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

In an article on military strategy in the latest edition of Inspire, al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language magazine, a prominent Jihadi theologian argues that a new division in Jihad should be made. Those located in Arab/Islamic countries can focus on strategizing about creating “Open Front” warfare throughout the Muslim world, to gain the strategic goal of territory. However, the emphasis in the West should be locals attacking from loose cells or as individuals.

“That the basic axis of the Resistance’s military activity against America and her allies now, must lie within the framework of ‘light guerilla warfare’, ‘civilian terror’ and secret methods, especially on the level of individual operations and small Resistance Units completely and totally separated from each other,” states Abu Mus’ab Al-Suri in “The Jihadi Experiences: The Military Theory of Open Fronts.” “In most Arab and Islamic countries, with their current political divisions and entities, the preconditions for Open Fronts are not present. In most cases, they are arenas suitable for Individual Terrorism Jihad, small units, and secret guerilla warfare, as a result of the dense presence of different American and allied interests, and of Western and Zionist hegemonic projects.”

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Newest edition of al-Qaeda’s premier English magazine

Sunday, January 16th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

The latest issue of AQAP’s Inspire magazine has been released. It includes new strategies like bombing buildings, and articles lauding the most recent European attacks. Anwar al-Awlaki reemerges from a media vacation with a call to steal Western property and money to use for foreign jihad. The Awalik clan, the extended family of Anwar al-Awlaki, also appears to be more involved in this most recent issue as well. American expat Samir Khan also gets central billing with his take on how Jihad went from defensive to offensive. The magazine is graphically sophisticated and touches the Yemeni jihad against Shia Muslims, as well as the usual calls for violence against the West.

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Building a New Islamic State

Saturday, January 15th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Sudan looks set for the old Sharia behind their backs trick, as the largely Christian South Sudan votes for independence. The ceasefire that ended a bloody war between the Muslim/Arab North and Christian/African South will expire, with the South’s inevitable vote for independence in last week’s referendum. For the estimated .5 to 1.5 million Christians living in the North, there are fears about the same type of ethnic cleansing that killed millions in the last war.
Those fears are based in an increasingly violent rhetoric from Sudanese President Omar Bashir. “If south Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity,” President Bashir told supporters at a rally in the eastern city of Gedaref on December 19th. “Sharia (Islamic law) and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.” At best, Christians in the North and Darfuris in the West, who were already dispossessed of land and life for not being Arab, can expect second-class citizenship.

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The Quiet End of Secularism in Turkey

Saturday, January 15th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

The ban on headscarves at Turkish universities and in public places, one of the pillars of the formerly secularist regime, has quietly ended this school year. In September, the Islamist party of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, issued a statement saying that it would support any female student expelled or disciplined for wearing a head covering. The recent undermining of Turkey’s staunchly secular Constitutional Court and Board of Education, allowed Erdogan’s party to end by stealth what they could not overrule in a 2008 constitutional amendment.

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Islamic Leader Denies Muslim Link to Terror

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

Shaker Elsayed, the leader of influential Northern Virginia mosque Dar al-Hijrah, blamed the FBI for recent terrorism cases around the United States in an interview with Iran’s PressTV.  FBI agents “are not investigating to see if the individual is engaged, they are engaging the person in terrorist activities, in conspiracies, in plotting,” Elsayed told the Iranian English-language station. “Our experience here at al-Hijrah was very positive with the FBI leadership in Washington Field Office, until we found out that getting very close to the FBI came at a very serious price.” Elsayed must have missed the terror involvement of previous mosque leaders at Dar al-Hijrah, including the mosque’s employment of al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki. For more information about Dar al-Hijrah’s double-speak on terror, see the Investigative Project on Terror’s article “Dar al-Hijrah Official’s Deception on Awlaki.”

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Shaking FBI Informants

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 - by Terror Tracker

A jihadist article entitled “10 Ways to Detect and Foil the Plots of Spies,” an effort to provide lone-wolf jihadists with the necessary skills to detect and shake off FBI informants, continues to be wildly popular among jihadist websites. Released last month, the article discusses FBI methods of “grooming” terror suspects and tells potential terrorists to be wary about being included in larger plots. It also shows that jihadists have been reading American court documents with an eye for undermining counterterrorism efforts. Coupled with do-it-yourself terror guides like al-Qaeda’s English-language Inspire magazine, this article illustrates an increasing trend towards lone-wolf attacks. For more info about the article, check out the Investigative Project on Terror’s piece “Jihadi Adjustments Seen as U.S. Gears for Holiday.”

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