Adam Yahiye Gadahn

Adam Yahiye Gadahn

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Adam Yahiye Gadahn is an American who is a senior operative, cultural interpreter, spokesman and media advisor for the Sunni islamist group Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

. Since 2004, he appeared in a number of videos produced by Al-Qaeda as "Azzam the American" ('Azzām al-Amrīki, عزام الأمريكي, sometimes transcribed as Ezzam Al-Amerikee). Gadahn converted to Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 in 1995, at the age of 17, at a California mosque and is described as a "homegrown", meaning that he has converted to an ideology so firmly that he is now willing to harm his country of origin. He is believed to have inspired the 2007 Osama bin Laden video
2007 Osama bin Laden video
The 2007 Osama bin Laden video originally appeared in a banner ad on an Islamic militant website regularly used by Al-Qaeda on September 6, 2007. The ad carried a picture of Osama bin Laden and the logo of Al-Qaeda's media production company, As-Sahab. An accompanying translated message read "Soon,...

.

In 2004, he was added to the FBI Seeking Information – War on Terrorism list. On October 11, 2006 he was removed from that list, and placed on the Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security, more commonly known as Diplomatic Security, or DS, is the security and law enforcement arm of the United States Department of State. DS is a world leader in international investigations, threat analysis, cyber security, counterterrorism, security technology, and...

 Rewards for Justice Program
Rewards For Justice Program
The Rewards for Justice Program is the counterterrorism rewards program of the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service . The Secretary of State is currently offering rewards for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or...

 list of wanted criminals. On the same day, Gadahn was indicted based on the testimony of the FBI case agent E.J. Hilbert II, in the Southern Division of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
United States District Court for the Central District of California
The United States District Court for the Central District of California serves over 18 million people in southern and central California, making it the largest federal judicial district by population...

 by a federal grand jury for the capital
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 crime of treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 for aiding an enemy of the United States (i.e. Al-Qaeda). Gadahn is the first American charged with treason since Tomoya Kawakita
Kawakita v. United States
Kawakita v. United States, 343 U.S. 717 , was a case in which the United States Supreme Court reviewed a treason accusation against the defendant , a dual U.S./Japanese citizen.- Crimes :...

 in 1952.

Background and childhood


Gadahn was born Adam Pearlman, the son of musician Phil Pearlman. Gadahn's Jew
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

ish paternal grandfather, Carl Pearlman, was a prominent urologist; and on the Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

. According to Gadahn, he was a "zealous supporter" of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Gadahn's paternal grandmother, Agnes Branch, a Christian, was an editor for The Christian Family Chronicles ( genealogical publication for people with the surname "Christian"). Gadahn's father, originally Phil Pearlman, grew up in Orange County
Orange County, California
Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,010,232, up from 2,846,293 at the 2000 census, making it the third most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. He was involved in the counterculture movement at the University of California at Irvine
University of California, Irvine
The University of California, Irvine , founded in 1965, is one of the ten campuses of the University of California, located in Irvine, California, USA...

, and before Adam's birth became a Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

. Gadahn described his father as having been "raised agnostic or atheist, but he became a believer in One God when he picked up a Bible left on the beach.” His father's religious perspective was flexible and based upon his own spiritual needs and as a new convert to Islam, Gadahn portrayed his father in manner sympathetic to his religion of conversion. Phil and his wife Jennifer changed their name to Gadahn, after the Biblical warrior Gideon.

Gadahn was born in Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

, United States, raised a Protestant Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

, and homeschooled
Homeschooling
Homeschooling or homeschool is the education of children at home, typically by parents but sometimes by tutors, rather than in other formal settings of public or private school...

 through high school by his parents on an isolated farm in Western Riverside County
Riverside County, California
Riverside County is a county in the U.S. state of California. One of 58 California counties, it covers in the southern part of the state, and stretches from Orange County to the Colorado River, which forms the state border with Arizona. The county derives its name from the city of Riverside,...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. He played Little League baseball and participated in Christian homeschool support groups. As an adolescent he became very involved in the death metal
Death metal
Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It typically employs heavily distorted guitars, tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, blast beat drumming, minor keys or atonality, and complex song structures with multiple tempo changes....

 community, making contact with fans and musicians through alternative magazines. During the summer of 1993, he formed his own one-man band
One-man band
A one-man band is a musician who plays a number of musical instruments simultaneously using their hands, feet, limbs, and various mechanical contraptions. The simplest type of "one-man band" — a singer accompanying themselves on acoustic guitar and harmonica mounted in a metal "harp rack" below the...

 called Aphasia. Gadahn contributed music reviews and artwork to a zine
Zine
A zine is most commonly a small circulation publication of original or appropriated texts and images. More broadly, the term encompasses any self-published work of minority interest usually reproduced via photocopier....

 called Xenocide. In 1995, at age 16, Gadahn moved in with his grandparents in the West Floral Park neighborhood of Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana is the county seat and second most populous city in Orange County, California, and with a population of 324,528 at the 2010 census, Santa Ana is the 57th-most populous city in the United States....

. Not long after, he converted to Islam and lamented the estrangement his musical interest caused between him and his family writing, "My relationship with my parents became strained, although only intermittently so. I am sorry even as I write this."

Conversion to Islam


While living with his grandparents in West Floral Park, Santa Ana, Gadahn described himself as having a "yawning emptiness", and he sought ways "to fill that void." He explored Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 on the Internet, radio, and locally, but later said that he found evangelical Christianity's "apocalyptic ramblings" to be "paranoid" and hollow. In 1995, at age 17, Gadahn began studying Islam at the Islamic Society of Orange County
Islamic Center of Orange County
The Islamic Society of Orange County, incorporated on January 5, 1976, is one of the largest Muslim centers in the Western Hemisphere, with almost 7,000 worshipers. It is located on approximately in Garden Grove, California. It is neighbored by the Islamic Center of Irvine. Its director, Dr....

. Members of Gadahn's study group were young fundamentalists who "targeted the mosque's chairman, Haitham Bundakji
Haitham Bundakji
Haitham Bundakji was President of the Islamic Society of Orange County, the largest Muslim organization in the western United States, located in Garden Grove, California. Among the members of his mosque in 1997 were Adam Yahiye Gadahn and Joseph Adams, who he initially helped teach...

," whom they referred to as Danny the Jew for his practice of "wearing Western clothes and being overly friendly with Jews."

Gadahn converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 later that year, and shortly thereafter posted an essay to the USC
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 website describing his conversion, entitled "Becoming a Muslim." According to his parents, Adam was "arrested and convicted of assaulting his former mentor Haitham Bundakji in May 1997." He served two days in jail, but his failure to do 40 hours of community services leaves a warrant for his arrest active.

Gadahn reportedly moved to Pakistan in 1998, where he married an Afghan refugee and maintained intermittent contact with his family until March 2001, when all contact with his family stopped. He told his parents he had been working as a journalist while in Pakistan —spending time in both Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 and Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

— presumably a euphemism for his media propaganda efforts for al-Qaeda. He began supporting jihadi causes in the late 1990s.

al-Qaeda affiliation


In a short period of time, Gadahn became a senior commander to Bin Laden and is assumed to be playing the role of "translator, video producer, and cultural interpreter." Gadahn declared his animosity towards the US by declaring it "enemy soil" and praising the individuals responsible for the September 11 attacks. The first production of al-Qaeda's media division, As-Sahab
As-Sahab
The As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication , is the media production house of al-Qaeda, used to relay the organization's views to the world...

, was believed to have been in 2001 with the involvement of Adam Yahiye Gadahn.
US and British intelligence officials believe it to be run by Gadahn. Although it has been reported that the media production of these messages has had a notable decrease in quality, possibly due to Gadahn's involvement in other tasks for Al Qaeda.

The FBI announced that it wanted Gadahn for questioning in 2004, and on May 26, 2004, United States Attorney General
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

 John Ashcroft
John Ashcroft
John David Ashcroft is a United States politician who served as the 79th United States Attorney General, from 2001 until 2005, appointed by President George W. Bush. Ashcroft previously served as the 50th Governor of Missouri and a U.S...

 and FBI Director Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller
Robert Swan Mueller III is the 6th and current Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation .-Early life:...

 announced that reports indicated that Gadahn was one of seven Al-Qaeda members who were planning terrorist actions for the summer or fall of 2004. Gadahn's name was the only new name released by Mueller in this warning. Two of the other alleged terrorists named on that date were Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani and Fazul Abdullah Mohammed
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was a member of al-Qaeda, and the leader of its presence in East Africa as of November 2009. Mohammed was born in Moroni, Comoros Islands and had Kenyan as well as Comorian citizenship...

. Those two had been listed as FBI Most Wanted Terrorists
FBI Most Wanted Terrorists
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted Terrorists is a list of fugitives who have been indicted by sitting Federal grand juries in the United States district courts, for alleged crimes of terrorism. The initial list was formed in late 2001 in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks...

 since 2001, indicted for their roles in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings
1998 United States embassy bombings
The 1998 United States embassy bombings were a series of attacks that occurred on August 7, 1998, in which hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous truck bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the East African capitals of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The date of the...

. The others, Amer El-Maati
Amer el-Maati
Born in Kuwait, Amro Badr Abou el-Maati is a Canadian citizen who the United States has alleged is a member of Al-Qaeda who attended flight school and discussed hijacking a Canadian plane to fly into American buildings...

, Aafia Siddiqui
Aafia Siddiqui
Aafia Siddiqui is an American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist who was convicted of assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan. The charges carried a maximum sentence of life in prison; in September 2010, she was sentenced by a United States district court to 86...

, Abderraouf Jdey
Abderraouf Jdey
A Canadian citizen, Abderraouf bin Habib bin Yousef Jdey was found swearing to die as a shaheed on a series of videotapes found in the rubble of Mohammed Atef's house in Afghanistan...

, and Adnan Gulshair El Shukrijumah
Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah
Born in Saudi Arabia, Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah is a member of al-Qaeda, who grew up in the United States and worked as a school teacher....

 had all been on FBI wanted lists for some time. Jdey had been on the FBI's "Seeking Information" wanted list since January 17, 2002, to which Gadahn was added with the other three as well.

In a 2005 video, Gadahn threatened to attack Los Angeles for which the Justice Department
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 "indicted him under seal for providing material support to Al Qaeda". As an introduction to the "An Introduction to Islam" video in 2006, Zawahiri encouraged westerners to heed Gadahn's message and praised Gadahn as “a perceptive person who wants to lead his people out of darkness into the light”; "Al Qaeda had never before given one of its members, let alone an American, an endorsement so intimate and direct." As a result of the contents of the "Invitation" video, he was charged with treason because “[h]e chose to join our enemy and to provide it with aid and comfort by acting as a propagandist for Al Qaeda,” as Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty explained. He was also placed on the FBI's most wanted list and a million dollar reward was offered for his capture. McNulty explained the severity of Gadahn's crimes: “Terrorists create fear and intimidation through extreme violence. They want Americans to live and walk in fear. They want to demoralize us. That’s why propaganda is so important to them, and why facilitating that propaganda is such an egregious crime.”

2004—2006


In late October 2004, ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 broadcast a 75-minute videotape of a man who identified himself as "Azzam the American" threatening the United States with terrorist attacks. After the network played excerpts of the video someone from one of Gadahn's mosques told law enforcement officials that he believed the man in the video was Gadahn.

In 2005, on the fourth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, an eleven minute videotape message purportedly from Al-Qaeda was broadcast on the ABC News program Good Morning America
Good Morning America
Good Morning America is an American morning news and talk show that is broadcast on the ABC television network; it debuted on November 3, 1975. The weekday program airs for two hours; a third hour aired between 2007 and 2008 exclusively on ABC News Now...

. The American English-accented speaker, a man whose face was partially concealed, was identified by US intelligence officials as Gadahn. The speaker praised the "echo of explosions and the slitting of the throats of the infidels" and attacked US foreign policy and military activity, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. He predicted that there would be future attacks in Los Angeles, California
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 and Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

: "Yesterday, London
7 July 2005 London bombings
The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in the United Kingdom, targeting civilians using London's public transport system during the morning rush hour....

 and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing. At this time, don't count on us demonstrating restraint or compassion."

Around the same time, he appeared in an Al-Qaeda-produced American documentary film "Knowledge is for Acting Upon – The Manhattan Raid," a film which traces the organization from its genesis among the anti-Soviet
Anti-Sovietism
Anti-Sovietism and Anti-Soviet refer to persons and activities actually or allegedly aimed against the Soviet Union or government power within the Soviet Union.Three different flavors of the usage of the term may be distinguished....

 Mujahaddin
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 in Afghanistan through its establishment of training camps around the world to its defining moment, the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Gadahn provides Western viewers with an expository look at the group's ideals, philosophy and goals as well as a retrospective look at their perspective on the geopolitical situations which led to their decision to execute the attack. The film culminates with Gadahn's description of the events' aftermath, pre-attack martyrdom video
Martyrdom video
Martyrdom videos are video recordings, generally from Islamist activists who are about to take part in a suicide attack and expect to die during their intended actions. They typically include a statement by the person preparing to be a martyr for their cause. While they are generally of amateur...

s filmed by the hijackers, and finally a montage of videos portraying the attacks themselves. The high production-value film, completely captioned for both English and Arabic-speaking audiences, is widely regarded as a tool intended to motivate and attract other Western-born Muslims.

On July 7, 2006, Gadahn appeared unmasked on an Al-Qaeda tape made public on the internet. On the tape he denounced the United States military presence in Iraq as well as rapes and murders committed by American soldiers
Mahmudiyah killings
The Mahmudiyah killings and gang-rape of a 14-year-old girl by U.S. troops occurred on March 12, 2006, in a house to the southwest of Yusufiyah, a village to the west of the town of Al-Mahmudiyah, Iraq. Five United States Army soldiers of the 502nd Infantry Regiment were charged with the crimes: ...

. Gadahn's family, who had previously said that they could not tell whether or not it was Gadahn who appeared in the Al-Qaeda videos, did not immediately respond to the new tape.

On September 2, 2006 a video called "Invitation to Islam", features a lecture by Adam Gadahn for approximately 44 minutes of its 48 minutes with a lesser part given to Al-Qaeda theorist Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri is an Egyptian physician, Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda. He was previously the second and last "emir" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life...

. In the video, Gadahn stated "If the Zionist crusader missionaries of hate and counter-Islam consultants like Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes is an American historian, writer, and political commentator. He is the founder and director of the Middle East Forum and its Campus Watch project, and editor of its Middle East Quarterly journal...

, Robert Spencer, Michael Scheuer
Michael Scheuer
Michael F. Scheuer is a former CIA intelligence officer, American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst. He is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies...

, Steven Emerson
Steven Emerson
Steven Emerson, is an American journalist and author, who writes about national security, terrorism, and Islamic extremism.Emerson is the author of six books, and co-author of two more. His television documentary Jihad in America won the 1994 George Polk Award for best Television Documentary, and...

, and yes, even the crusader-in-chief George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 were to abandon their unbelief and repent and enter into the light of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and turn their swords against the enemies of God, it would be accepted of them and they would be our brothers in Islam." Both Pipes and Spencer have publicly declined to accept Gadahn's invitation to convert to Islam. Gadahn praised British politician George Galloway
George Galloway
George Galloway is a British politician, author, journalist and broadcaster who was a Member of Parliament from 1987 to 2010. He was formerly an MP for the Labour Party, first for Glasgow Hillhead and later for Glasgow Kelvin, before his expulsion from the party in October 2003, the same year...

 and journalist Robert Fisk
Robert Fisk
Robert Fisk is an English writer and journalist from Maidstone, Kent. As Middle East correspondent of The Independent, he has primarily been based in Beirut for more than 30 years. He has published a number of books and has reported on the United States's war in Afghanistan and the same country's...

 for expressing their "respect and admiration for Islam" and for "acknowledging that it is the truth" and for "demonstrating their sympathy for Muslims their causes", but added "I say to them, isn't it time you stopped sitting on the fence and came over to the side of truth?" Gadahn urged American soldiers to "surrender to the truth", "escape from the unbelieving Army", and "join the winning side."

2007—2011


On May 29, 2007 Gadahn again made headlines when another video "Al-Qaeda Video Warning to US by American Adam Gadahn" was released on the internet. In this video Adam Gadahn listed five actions that Bush and America must take in order to prevent future terrorist attacks.
  1. "Pull every last one of your soldiers, spies, security advisors, trainers, attachés, … out of every Muslim land from Afghanistan to Zanzibar …"
  2. End "all support and aid, military, political, economic, or otherwise, to the 56-plus apostate regimes of the Muslim world, and abandon them to their well-deserved fate …"
  3. "End all support, moral, military, economic, political, or otherwise, to the bastard state of Israel, and ban your citizens, Zionist Jews, Zionist Christians, and the rest from traveling to occupied Palestine or settling there. Even one penny of aid will be considered sufficient justification to continue the fight."
  4. "… impose a blanket ban on all broadcasts to our region …"
  5. "Free all Muslim captives from your prisons, detention facilities, and concentration camps, regardless of whether they have been recipients of what you call a fair trial or not."


Gadahn then warned that "your failure to heed our demands and the demands of reason means that you and your people will – Allah willing – experience things which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11th, Afghanistan and Iraq".

Gadahn is felt to have inspired bin Laden's September 2007 video
2007 Osama bin Laden video
The 2007 Osama bin Laden video originally appeared in a banner ad on an Islamic militant website regularly used by Al-Qaeda on September 6, 2007. The ad carried a picture of Osama bin Laden and the logo of Al-Qaeda's media production company, As-Sahab. An accompanying translated message read "Soon,...

, in which bin Laden, among other things, made reference to the subprime mortgage crisis
Subprime mortgage crisis
The U.S. subprime mortgage crisis was one of the first indicators of the late-2000s financial crisis, characterized by a rise in subprime mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures, and the resulting decline of securities backed by said mortgages....

. M.J. Gohel, chief executive of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a London-based security-studies organization, found bin Laden's video "very reminiscent of [Gadahn's] messages in terms of style and content."

The "high quality" of the English subtitles and the "references to Malcolm X
Malcolm X
Malcolm X , born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz , was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its...

" in al-Qaeda's 2008 post-presidential election video where Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 is attacked as a “House Negro
House Negro
House Negro is a pejorative term for a black person, used to compare someone to a house slave of a slave owner from the historic period of legal slavery in the US...

”, has been said to "reflect the influence" of Gadahn.

On January 6, 2008 Gadahn featured in a video called "An Invitation for Reflection and Repentance" which made threats and comments about George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 visiting Palestine.

On October 4, 2008 a video featuring Gadahn was posted on Laura Mansfield
Laura Mansfield
Laura Mansfield is the pseudonym for an American author specializing in counter-terrorism, the Middle East, Islam, and Islamic terrorism. She is the former Associate Director of the Northeast Intelligence Network...

's website. The 32-minute video primarily focused on Pakistan, but referenced economic woes in the US: "The enemies of Islam are facing a crushing defeat, which is beginning to manifest itself in the extending crisis their economy is experiencing. The crisis, whose primary cause, in addition to the abortive and unsustainable crusades they are waging in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, is they are turning their backs on Allah's revealed laws, which forbid interest-bearing transactions, exploitation, greed and injustice in all its forms and demand the worship of Allah alone to the exclusion of all false gods, including money and power."

In May 2009, Gadahn appeared in a new al-Qaeda video. He was shown talking to several recruits, explaining life in the organization. The video was deemed propaganda to convert the US youth to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, and was spoken in American English.

On December 12, 2009, Gadahn, in another English-language video entitled "The Mujahideen Don't Target Muslims", claimed that the organization was being framed by the United States and Pakistan and blamed the media for helping implicate Al-Qaeda in the recent deadly string of attacks in Pakistan that have killed hundreds of civilians.

In a video released on March 7, 2010, Adam Gadahn called on Muslims in the West to follow in the footsteps of Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter. In the video, entitled “A Call to Arms,” Gadahn encourages Americans and other Muslims in the West to “prepare to play his due role in responding to and repelling the aggression of the enemies of Islam.” Gadahn also provides advice on choosing high-value targets for potential terrorist attacks in America and the West, such as military installments and mass transportation systems, as well as symbols of capitalism whose ruin could cripple the Western economy. Gadahn urges his followers to take action as soon as possible and explains that now is the "golden, once in a lifetime opportunity to reap the rewards of jihad and martyrdom…so unsheathe your sharpened sword and rush to take your rightful place among defiant champions of Islam."

On June 21, 2010, a video press release is made in which Gadahn delivers guidelines to Al-Qaeda/American peace. Some of the demands contained within the 24 minute message include withdrawal of troops from Muslim lands and removal of Israeli support. This video also includes clips of Matthew Hoh and several other US military veteran antiwar activists.

On September 29, 2010, in an another video tape Gadahn urged Muslims in Pakistan to join Islamist militants fighting their nation's rulers, saying that Islamabad's "sluggish and halfhearted" response to the recent floods underscored the government's indifference for its constituents. Gadahn's remarks in a video echoed those of al-Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, in a similar posting on militant websites earlier this month, suggesting the terror organization has decided on a single, simple message to promote following of the floods that affected as many as 20 million people in Pakistan.

On October 23, 2010, in a 48-minute video posted on militant websites, Adam Gadahn directed his appeal to Muslim immigrants in what he called the "miserable suburbs" of Paris, London and Detroit, as well as those traveling to the West to study or work.

On June 4, 2011 Gadahn calls on American Muslims to buy weapons from gun shows and carry out random, lone-wolf attacks. The video, called 'Do Not Rely on Others, Take the Task Upon Yourself', was produced by al Qaeda's as Sahab media team and shows 32-year-old Gadahn speaking alongside old clips of Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin laden. In a calm voice, California-native Gadahn tells Muslims it is easy to get weapons from gun shows and carry out random attacks. He said: 'America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. In one section of the video the logos of Exxon, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America are shown as possible targets.

Reports of death


In February 2008, Pakistani news sources reported rumors that Gadahn was killed by a missile fired by a MQ-1 Predator drone in the strike that killed Al-Qaeda leader Abu Laith al-Libi
Abu Laith al-Libi
Abu Laith al-Libi was a senior leader of the al-Qaeda movement in Afghanistan who appeared in several al-Qaeda videos. He was believed to have been active in the tribal regions of Waziristan. He also served as an al Qaeda spokesman...

. On March 2, an Al-Qaeda spokesperson claimed that Gadahn was alive, but the rumor was fueled by a considerable drop in quality of recent Al-Qaeda videos from As-Sahab
As-Sahab
The As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication , is the media production house of al-Qaeda, used to relay the organization's views to the world...

.

On May 18, 2008, Counterterrorism Blog surmised that Adam Gadahn was dead based on the latest Al-Qaeda missive. Mansfield wrote: "Normally important messages from Zawahiri contain linguistic indications that they were translated by Adam Gadahn. Gadahn’s translation style is noticeably absent from this video, giving more credence to open source reports from Pakistan regarding the possible death of Gadahn in an American air strike. (There are other plausible explanations for Gadahn’s absence from the scene—including his quip in his January video tape that ripping up his passport would not hinder his ability to travel.)"

On September 7, 2008, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Gadahn may have been killed by a Predator attack in January 2008 in Waziristan. This was reported by The Orange County Register, KABC TV in Los Angeles, and other news agencies.

On Saturday October 4, 2008, a video appeared on the internet by the As-Sahab Foundation for Media Production
As-Sahab
The As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication , is the media production house of al-Qaeda, used to relay the organization's views to the world...

 by Gadahn entitled The Believer isn't Stung from the Same Hole Twice. Mansfield posted a video of Gadahn speaking about current affairs including the economic crisis in the US and the resignation of the President of Pakistan
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

.

In 2009, As-Sahab
As-Sahab
The As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication , is the media production house of al-Qaeda, used to relay the organization's views to the world...

 released a video entitled, Gaza, Not Again and in the same year, another video where Gahdan is speaking Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 in an As-Sahab
As-Sahab
The As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication , is the media production house of al-Qaeda, used to relay the organization's views to the world...

 release entitled Let's continue our Jihad and Sacrifice this is his first video speaking only in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

.

Reports of capture


On March 7, 2010, it was reported that Gadahn had been captured in Karachi, Pakistan in late February 2010
shortly after another video came out in which he called on Muslims serving in the US armed forces to emulate the actions of Nidal Malik Hasan
Nidal Malik Hasan
Nidal Malik Hasan, USA is a United States Army officer and sole suspect in the November 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting, which occurred less than a month before he would have deployed to Afghanistan....

 in the Fort Hood shooting
Fort Hood shooting
The Fort Hood shooting was a mass shooting that took place on November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, the most populous U.S. military installation in the world, located just outside Killeen, Texas. In the course of the shooting, a single gunman killed 13 people and wounded 29 others...

. His arrest was not immediately confirmed by US officials. Gadahn was said to have been arrested in Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 by Pakistani intelligence officers during the course of a raid on a house located by the Super Highway. Pakistan's DawnNews reported on March 7 that this likely occurred in Sohrab Goth, a major Pashtun area in northern Karachi.

Senior US officials informed The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

that the individual arrested was not Gadahn. Subsequent reports indicated the individual arrested was Abu Yahya Mujahdeen Al-Adam who was born in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 who may have been confused with Gadahn. The confusion was apparently caused by an alias of Gadahn's which is similar to the name of the arrested individual. An unnamed Pakistani intelligence officer explained, "The resemblance of the name initially caused confusion but now they have concluded he is not Gadahn." Al-Adam, the arrested individual, was described by an American official as "fair-skinned" and able to speak both English and Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

 and is believed to be connected to the operations division of al-Qaeda. While a Pakistani security official said he "he was apparently an American al Qaeda operative", it has not yet been determined whether al-Adam is an American citizen. The Pakistani intelligence officer described the arrested individual as "proud to be a member of al-Qaida." The BBC reported an additional identification of the arrested as Egyptian-American Abu Yahya Azam.

See also


  • Detention of five Americans in Pakistan (Dec. 2009)
    2009 detention of Americans by Pakistan
    Five Muslim Americans with suspected ties to terrorism were detained on December 9, 2009, in Pakistan. The five men, part of an increasing trend in homegrown terrorism, in their late teens to early twenties and from the Washington, D.C., suburbs, were detained during a police raid on a house with...

  • Michael Finton
    Michael Finton
    Michael C. Finton, also known as Talib Islam , a convert to Islam and a part-time cook at a fish and chicken restaurant, attempted to bomb the Paul Findley Federal Building and the adjacent offices of Congressman Aaron Schock in downtown Springfield, Illinois, on September 24, 2009...

    , American convert to Islam, attempted September 2009 bombing of U.S. target with FBI agent he thought was al-Qaeda member
  • Sharif Mobley
    Sharif Mobley
    Sharif Mobley is a suspected al-Qaeda and al-Shabab member who was arrested in Yemen in March 2010 by counter-terrorism officers following a shooting in which he was allegedly the perpetrator. Mobley had moved to Yemen two years prior...

    , American suspected al-Qaeda member, arrested in Yemen in 2010 and suspected of killing guard in escape attempt
  • Aafia Siddiqui
    Aafia Siddiqui
    Aafia Siddiqui is an American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist who was convicted of assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan. The charges carried a maximum sentence of life in prison; in September 2010, she was sentenced by a United States district court to 86...

    , alleged al-Qaeda member, former U.S. resident, convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill U.S. personnel
  • Bryant Neal Vinas
    Bryant Neal Vinas
    Bryant Neal Vinas is a Hispanic Muslim American convicted of participating in and supporting Al-Qaeda plots in Afghanistan and the U.S....

    , American convert to Islam, convicted in 2009 of participating in/supporting Al-Qaeda plots in Afghanistan and the U.S.
  • Najibullah Zazi
    Najibullah Zazi
    Najibullah Zazi is an Afghan-American who was arrested in September 2009 as part of the 2009 U.S. Al Qaeda group accused of planning suicide bombings on the New York City subway system, and has pled guilty as have two other defendants. U.S...

    , al-Qaeda member, U.S. resident, pleaded guilty in 2010 of planning suicide bombings on New York City subway system
  • Naser Jason Abdo
    Naser Jason Abdo
    Naser Jason Abdo is a Muslim US Army Private First Class who is currently being held without bond for possession of an unregistered firearm and allegedly planning to attack a restaurant frequented by soldiers from Fort Hood.-Early life:Abdo grew up in Garland, Texas and attended Richardson Terrace...

     Allegedly attempted to bomb a Fort Hood restaurant in 2011.
  • Anwar al-Awlaki
    Anwar al-Awlaki
    Anwar al-Awlaki was an American and Yemeni imam who was an engineer and educator by training. According to U.S. government officials, he was a senior talent recruiter and motivator who was involved with planning operations for the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda...

     American born Islamist cleric.
  • Hasan Akbar case
    Hasan Akbar case
    The Hasan Akbar case refers to an event in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, when Hasan Karim Akbar was convicted of the double-murder of two officers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait.The victims were Army...

     American Muslim convert convicted of the double-murder of two US Army officers.
  • Nidal Malik Hasan
    Nidal Malik Hasan
    Nidal Malik Hasan, USA is a United States Army officer and sole suspect in the November 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting, which occurred less than a month before he would have deployed to Afghanistan....

    , American Fort Hood Major, turned shooter; 2009, with 13 U.S. service personnel killed in his treacherous attack, and dozens injured.

External links


  • Adam Yahiye Gadahn – profile at FBI
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

     Most Wanted Terrorists website
  • 'Azzam the American – FBI "seeking information" page 2004-10-30
  • Caruso, Michelle and Siemaszko, Corky (May 27, 2004) "A long way from Calif. goat farm", New York Daily News

  • Argetsinger, Amy (December 2, 2004) "Muslim Teen Made Conversion to Fury", Washington Post
    The Washington Post
    The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

  • "New Tape, Old Threats From American al Qaeda". ABC News, The Blotter. May 29, 2007.

  • "Adam Gadahn and Al-Qaeda's Internet Strategy", by George Michael, Middle East Policy, vol 16 issue 3, pp. 135–152, Middle East Policy Council
    Middle East Policy Council
    The Middle East Policy Council or MEPC is a Washington DC based 5013 non-profit organization that produces analysis and commentary on issues impacting U.S. national interests in the Middle East. It was founded in 1981 under the stated mission to "expand public discussion and understanding of issues...

    , September 14, 2009, doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4967.2009.00409.x

Videos