Two videos of US-born al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki were posted on Islamist websites earlier this week.
Awlaki, identified by US intelligence as “chief of external operations” for al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch and a Web-savvy publicist for the Islamist cause, was killed in a remote Yemeni town by missiles fired from multiple CIA drones on September 30, 2011.
The posthumously released videos feature Awlaki, who was eloquent in English and Arabic and a major influence on radical English-speaking jihadis internationally, calling on US Muslims to join al-Qaeda in the Middle East.
“You have two choices: either hijra (emigration) or jihad (holy war),” Awlaki said in the video.
“I specifically invite the youth to either fight in the West or join their brothers in the fronts of jihad: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.
“I invite them to join us in our new front, Yemen, the base from which the great jihad of the Arabian Peninsula will begin, the base from which the greatest army of Islam will march forth,” said Awlaki.
In the second videotaped message, Awlaki warns the American people that more violent acts of terrorism will come.
“To the American people I say; your security will continue to be threatened as long as your government continues with its aggression against the Muslim people.”
“If your security is dear to you then you should call upon your government to pull out from Muslim countries.”
In the same message, Awlaki also makes mention of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist and the terrorist behind the Fort Hood Massacre which took place on November 5, 2009, killing 13 people and wounding 29 others in the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base.
“[Obama’s] administration tried to portray the operation of Brother Nadal Hasan as an individual act of violence from an estranged individual. The administration practiced a control on the leak of information concerning the operation in order to cushion the reaction of the American public. Until this moment, the administration is refusing to release the emails exchanged between myself and Nadal.” said Awlaki.
A DC-based Joint Terrorism Task Force operating under the FBI was notified of the e-mails which were sent between December 2008 and June 2009, and the information was reviewed by one of its Defense Criminal Investigative Service personnel. Army employees were also informed of the e-mails, but did not perceive any terrorist threat in Hasan’s questions. Instead, they viewed them as general questions about spiritual guidance with regard to conflicts between Islam and military service, and judged them to be consistent with legitimate mental health research about Muslims in the armed services.The assessment was that there was not sufficient information for a larger investigation.
Former CIA officer Bruce Riedel opined: “E-mailing a known al-Qaeda sympathizer should have set off alarm bells. Even if he was exchanging recipes, the bureau should have put out an alert.”
Investigators in the FBI and U.S. Army determined that Hasan acted alone and as of yet have found no evidence of links to terrorist groups. They were satisfied that his communications with Awlaki, targeted in 2010 as a dangerous Al Qaeda leader, posed no threat at the time. The tragic incident has been labelled an act of “workplace violence” according to the Obama administration.
In the same video, Awlaki also warns of further violence against US Military personnel fighting overseas. When referring to al-Qaeda recruits in Yemen eager to fight American soldiers in order to become Jihadi martyrs, Awlaki says, “The mothers of US soldiers need to understand that this is the environment Obama is sending their sons and daughters to. We are facing you with men who love death just like you love life.That is why we believe this is a battle we will not lose.”
Watch the Awlaki videos here