Monday, May 19, 2008

Hellllloooo Adam! Werer R U??!

Not that this has much to do with youtube users, other then he made his first appences as a translator for AQ on youtube.

Where's the Beef? Mystery Grows Surrounding Whereabouts of Adam Gadahn
By Evan Kohlmann

This afternoon, Al-Qaida's As-Sahab Media Foundation has released the second
audio recording of Usama Bin Laden in the space of only three days--this time,
openly addressed "to the Islamic nation." But, perhaps what is most interesting
about Bin Laden's latest set of audio recordings is not what they contain--but
rather, what they inexplicably lack: the English-language subtitles and matching
transcript that have, until recently, been a customary feature of
professional-quality As-Sahab videos. An analysis of the history of As-Sahab
recordings and their evolution over time would seem to indicate that the
responsibility for creating these English-language products fell largely on the
shoulders of one man alone: Adam Gadahn (a.k.a. "Azzam al-Amriki"), the
California native who was recruited by Al-Qaida computer specialists living in
Garden Grove in the late 1990s, and who later traveled on to Pakistan seeking to
join his new hero Usama Bin Laden. Gadahn's voice and, more recently, his face
have been an integral part of As-Sahab releases since their first video
production in 2001, "The Destruction of the U.S.S. Cole" (a.k.a. "State of the
Ummah"). He has frequently appeared as a freely identified commentator in
As-Sahab videos, with clips of him speaking in English juxtaposed amid footage
of Usama Bin Laden and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.
In January 2008, the U.S.
military used a Predator drone to launch an airstrike on a house in Mir Ali,
Pakistan, which was suspected to be hiding several high-ranking Al-Qaida leaders
and operatives. Within days, Al-Qaida issued a series of statements and video
recordings acknowledging that the airstrike had caused serious casualties,
including Abu al-Laith al-Liby--a senior Al-Qaida leader considered to be the
"Field Commander" in charge of foreign mujahideen military operations across
large swaths of southern Afghanistan. But according
to NEFA Foundation sources inside Pakistan, the legendary Abu al-Laith was not
the only loss suffered in the strike at Mir Ali. These sources indicated that a
host of other less-senior-but-still-significant Al-Qaida members were also
inside the house at the time, including Abu al-Laith's deputy, a Somali holding
Australian or U.S. nationality, two Kuwaiti jihadis, and--most interesting of
all--none other than Adam Gadahn himself
. Al-Qaida has never confirmed nor
denied reports of Adam Gadahn's death, and that has only added to the growing
mystery surrounding his whereabouts.
This much can definitively be said:
there has been a palpable decline in the efforts of As-Sahab to provide
English-language translations since the January airstrike in Mir Ali. When
As-Sahab recently released a two-part online Q&A session with Dr. Ayman
al-Zawahiri, it was only able to produce an English translation for the first
segment. Even the limited translations As-Sahab has managed to cobble together
recently appear somewhat different linguistically from previous work attributed
to Adam Gadahn. What distinctly struck me on Friday was the As-Sahab release of
a Bin Laden audio recording specifically addressed "to the people of the
West"--most of whom speak little to no Arabic. One would imagine that if
As-Sahab were to ever seek to spotlight its foreign language capabilities, this
would be the totally obvious occasion. And yet, there has only been silence from
Al-Qaida in this regard.
For those who are carefully following the ongoing
saga of Adam Gadahn, it is worth paying close attention to one upcoming calendar
date in particular: the seventh anniversary of 9/11. Gadahn has demonstrated a
past penchant for making grandiose public appearances on 9/11, triumphantly
gloating over Al-Qaida's latest "victories" over its enemies. His continued
unexplained absence from As-Sahab releases as this date approaches will only add
further weight to the argument that Gadahn was indeed "martyred" alongside Abu
al-Laith al-Liby in the far northern reaches of Pakistan. For Gadahn, it has
been a long journey and a strange ideological transformation from his younger
days in California spent promoting recycling and environmental conservation. If
ultimately proven, his death will serve as a lesson for what happens to naive
individuals lured into believing there is honor in playing foolish games with
guns and bombs.
So, Adam, in the event that you are still out there (alive,
kicking, and reading this message), please do drop a line and let us know what
has become of you!
May 18, 2008 05:32 PM

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