The release of “Bin Laden’s Bookshelf” by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has refocused interest on the additional details regarding the operations and mindset of the Al Qaeda “mastermind”. The content was found during the 2011 Navy SEAL team raid of Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Portions had already been released to the public in 2012 through the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (CTC)..
This declassified/released material is described by the DNI as “a sizeable tranche of documents”. Some former U.S. government officials are hitting the talk shows saying it is only a very small portion of the documents seized – estimates of 6,000+ – others have implied far larger numbers.
Most of the initial media coverage has been focusing on the books, magazines and periodicals found – many indicating Bin Laden had sights set on western interests in the U.S., France and Germany. Not really news there.
A bit more telling are all the letters and notes. They provide unique background to Al Qaeda operations along with some insight into Bin Laden’s family relationships. These will be subject to the scrutiny of third parties to verify or challenge the English translations.
A few points of interest:
- Bin Laden remained fixated on engaging American interests and Al Qaeda had a dedicated section (external operations) to organize and execute operations against western interests. There were several references to an Al Qaeda spy network within the U.S..
- Al Qaida members from western countries, such as German Bekkay Harrach (Al Hafidh Abu Talha al Almani) were highly regarded for western recruiting operations and training. (note: It was reported that Harrach was killed in 2010 by a U.S. drone strike.)
- Bin Laden heavily monitored information released by the CTC.
- Relations with the Muslim Brotherhood were lukewarm at best. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has been reported as being a Muslim Brotherhood member in his youth – claiming to abandon it later on. He uses several aliases and may be the “Abu Muhammad” Bin Laden writes about in this letter (date unknown – most likely late 2010/early 2011):
History taught us that the people in revolt will change the existing situation, and we at the moment should exert our efforts to guide them and to prevent their being represented by the half-solution people such as (TN: the Muslim) Brotherhood, and we hope that the next stage will be the reinstating of the rule of the Caliphate. As to the Muslim Brotherhood, we note that the young generation’s adhering to true Islam is a matter of time, as can be noticed by the Internet reply of Shaykh ((Abu Muhammad)) who is a Brotherhood member, in which he said that within the Muslim Brotherhood there are factions who now adhere to true Islam, and there is also a powerful Salafist faction within the Brotherhood.
- as with ISIS, focus on establishing an Islamic Caliphate was the priority and end goal.
- the “Arab Spring” uprisings were not viewed as wins for democracy. Bin Laden wrote that it would, “free the Muslim land from American hegemony” by toppling “tyrants”. As country leaders were removed, Al Qaeda operatives would guide a move towards the formation of an Islamic state.
- Bin Laden was critical of Al Qaeda activity that would harm other Muslims. This was conveyed in instructions regarding actions in Somolia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- Somali pirate actions were apparently Al Qaeda directed for funding, but the connection was not to be publicized:
We hope that you will send a letter to the brothers in Somalia to have them avoid declaring their solidarity with the al-Qa’ida, and to give their full attention to collecting ransommoney and hijack ships.
- Security was a major concern. Operations used compartmentalization as a safeguard. Bin Laden realized that computers and electronic communications were a major risk and he preferred to use couriers for high-level communications. He wrote:
With respect to the communication over the internet, we have no objection in communication of general messages. However, even with what the brothers had mentioned regarding al-Asrar al-Mujahidin program, the secrecy of the external work does not allow its use. I recommend confirming with the interested brothers that the external work would only be through the trusted messengers.
- Bin Laden believed classified Department of Defense information leaked through the website Wikileaks would provide Al Qaeda with important insight regarding U.S. combat strategy.
- Al Qaeda relations with Iran appeared to be conflicting. There are some indications of cooperation, but some letters include accounts of members being detained.
Nothing very revealing considering what the CTC released three years ago.
One can only wonder what the cost will be for this attempt to save face.
The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist
It’s a fictitious name the Obama administration invented to deceive us.
We’re being had. Again.
For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.
Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.
Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: We had the same reaction … who? Never heard of them. Some talk show “experts” /talking heads/administration sources are even claiming that they’ve been monitoring the group for a long time. Doubtful. Some quick checks:
- A Wikipedia check showed entries and sources no older than September 2014
- The group is not listed by the Dept of State as a designated terrorist organization
- The group’s reported leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli is listed on the National Counter-terrorism website as part of al-Qaeda but no mention of a Khorosan/Khurasan Group.
In the last two days, Washington, along with various media outlets, have been reporting on the “Khurasan Group,” a shadowy terrorist cell in Syria in its later stages of an attack plot against an unspecified Western target(s). It seemed to come out of nowhere; America, in launching what has been specifically branded as a war on the Islamic State (IS), claims a victorious aerial attack against a group no one has ever heard of.
The truth, however, is that virtually everyone around the world has heard about this group, more likely by its other name: al-Qaeda (AQ).
The bottom line is that the Obama administration claimed to have decimated al-Qaeda – but it didn’t. Instead of admitting they were wrong, they came up with a new name. Unfortunately facts do not support the narrative – a common trend with this administration. One can only wonder what the cost will be for this attempt to save face.
Latest news reports are focusing on the Minneapolis connection between Douglas McCain and Abdiraaman Muhumed, the two Americans reported as being killed while fighting with ISIS/IS (Islamic State) in Syria. With the large Somali presence in the Twin Cities, an active Al-Shabab terror group is almost a certainty and part of the jihadi recruitment efforts. In February 2012, Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda announced a merger of the two groups providing a conduit to recruitment for ISIS/IS.
McCain had lived in San Diego and at this point, few reports have picked up on his ties to one of the city’s mosques or past Islamist activity. From Breibart:
SAN DIEGO, California — American citizen Douglas McAuthur McCain, recently killed in Syria after reportedly fighting alongside ISIS militants, has been at the center of new concerns over home-grown terrorists in the United States. McCain lived for years in San Diego, a city now identified as a hotbed for Islamic terror in the U.S.
While in San Diego, McCain reportedly attended San Diego City College; worked at the Somali restaurant, African Spice; and was connected with Masjid Nur, a mosque located in a highly Somali area of east San Diego, according to NBC news, citing a source familiar with McCain. San Diego’s 10 News has also reported McCain as connected to this mosque.
Breitbart News visited Masjid Nur the day details surrounding McCain’s death broke in the news. Men dressed in traditional attire were observed congregating and vigorously conversing in the street, just outside the building’s front gate. After taking note of this reporter, the men outside the mosque quickly dispersed.
Masjid Nur is also known as the Islamic Association & Foundation Of San Diego, located at 3872 50th Street, San Diego, CA
A local San Diego Fox affliate reporting on Masjid Nur, made mention of another American Al-Shabaab recruit from San Diego – Jehad Serwan Mostafa :
“Overtime they’re radicalized and that can happen at schools, it can happen in prisons, it can happen at mosques,” said FBI special agent Darrell Foxworth.
A multi-agency task force is constantly looking for leads and tips to prevent terrorist activity in San Diego, but Foxworth won’t confirm nor deny if they are in fact investigating this mosque.
The FBI is currently looking for another man fighting alongside terrorists who also lived in San Diego.
Jehad Mostafa is on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list and is accused of aiding Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabaab.
Mostafa joined Al-Shabaab when he moved from San Diego to Somalia in 2005. His reported terrorist activities include performing, “various functions for al-Shabaab, including acting as a training camp instructor and a leader of foreign fighters. He is also skilled in the group’s media activities.” Mostafa attended the Islamic Center of San Diego in Kearny Mesa.
Anwar Al-Awlaki, a planner for Al-Qaeda terror operations, served as imam at the Masjid Ar-Ribat al-Islami – a Sunni mosque in San Diego, California, from 1996 to 2000. He was behind two failed terror plots against the United States before he was killed in 2011. Two of the 9/11/2001 hijackers were reported to have attended this mosque in 2000.
- San Diego Jury Convicts Four Somali Immigrants of Providing Support to Foreign Terrorists – Defendants Sent Money to al Shabaab in Somalia – 02/2013
- Document: San Diego among top spots for terrorism – 08/2014
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: While Minneapolis weighs in heavily with the number of incidents involving Americans being recruited as Islamic jihadists, the San Diego ties should be a reminder that other U.S. locales are involved. In 2013, we reported on terror recruits out of Alabama. As American intelligence and law enforcement efforts start to focus on Americans being recruited for jihad, expect more news reports from cities that have become destinations for the increasing number of Muslim refugees. American Islamic special interest groups (i.e. CAIR, MPAC, etc.) are most likely getting primed to claim increased Muslim persecution as well as play the race card as it pertains to Somali blacks.