29 June 2011


Military.com ; JihadWATCH; US/[redacted]; US/8; [Ethiopian Sources/redacted]; US/1; ATTN: US/44; NEPH-1; HST/2; GIM.com; US/5; NSNS/1 et.al.

   [ed.note: Member LTC Charles USMC (Ret.), a former Marine recruiter and information warfare/intel officer. QUOTE(s) to follow, next dispatch. Former CIA-OS and NCIS Special Agent MEMBER has been queried on instant case of the NCIS concurrent investigation of Marine-reservist currently in federal custody, with negative response to present.

Lead pursuit BKNT Member INQUIRY post in preparation, and will include further information on MEMBERS’ preliminary investigation to DATE.

Ethiopian BKNT SOURCES and Members advise Melaku is Tigra Christian name. Members Scott Malone and Janine Schoonover are pursuing Ethiopian-end of investigation with Ethiopian ex-pat community, Falls Church, VA. Suspect, a former UNSUB, lived in Alexandria with his parents. Father is taxi driver. 

Several Ethiopian-descended/immigrant DC-area cab drivers interviewed yesterday. All so interviewed stated they were closely following news media accounts, but none had known Suspect’s father, or had heard of the Melaku family prior to Yonathan's detention and later arrest on 17 June 2011.  

See BlackBOX Intel-CENTER Post on the Media and FBI reluctance to describe Melaku as either a Muslim or a terrorist suspect.: 

...Ethiopian BlackNET Sources and MEMBERS tell us "Melaku" is indeed a 'Christian' name, but that is not quite a distinctively distinct distinction in 21st Century Ethiopia. While the current government is majority Christian, more than a third of the population are practicing Muslims.


BlackNET Members are continuing their investigation on this angle. Yonathan's father given - 'Christian'- name, is also Christian. The younger Melaku joined the Marine Corps in 2007, when he was 18-years of age.


It appears probable, at this point, that the young Yonathan converted to Islam in recent years and while living in the United States.


According to the FBI's complaint affidavit, the younger Melaku video-taped himself while firing [9mm handgun] rounds at the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, while "repeatedly... exclaim[ing]" the [increasingly immortal] Arabic phrase "Allahu Akbar," (God is Great).


Ethiopian-descended and immigrant BlackNET Members stated 28 June 2011 that one could argue that "God is great" might conceivably, if not presumptively, be a Christian proclamation. But "not in Arabic--in present day Ethiopia," said one "Christian" BlackNET Member dryly.

The FBI Affiant Agent continued to quote the alleged, if disputed, 22-year old --- Al Qaeda and Taliban-quoting -- non-Islamist terrorist from the digital-tape recovered from the young Melaku's bedroom desk:
"I've already. . . that's the military building. . . last time I hit them, they turned off the lights for like three or four days. So now here we are again; this time I'm going to turn them off permanently. Alright, next time this video turns on I will be shooting. That's what they get. That's the military building. It's going to be attacked."
JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) FBI lead investigator, Kelley Clark, further affirmed in the federal complaint that the Firearms and Toolmarks Unit at the FBI Quantico Lab had examined the recovered 9mm rounds and fragments from all FIVE sniper-scenes, as well as the 9mm Prvi Partizan expended shell casings discovered in Melaku's Arlington Cemetery mid-night backpack and concluded that "all [were] fired from the same firearm."

BlackNET Member Investigation continues apace…

Don’t touch that dial…err digital wireless remote radiation emitting control device…

‘PENTAGON SHOOTER’ is the BlackNET nomination, if not decree, for designated appellation for Mohammed Henry Oswald, err..Lee Yonathan Oswald--only the second best sniper in the Marine Corps history. Lone-wolf or not, that Marine sniper almost started a nuclear conflagration-- to the ever-liver-eaten chagrin of Osama bin Harvey, who also was denied his goal of circus trial propaganda platform. Oh well, never mind…]
Description: E-mail

Written by Administrator   
Monday, 06 June 2011 23:30 

Everyone, including myself, is writing about it – the “doctrine of individual jihad”, the age of the lone-wolf terrorist – the jihadist taking action in their homelands. 

In recent months, discussion on this topic has increased dramatically, with imams like Anwar Awlaki encouraging this activity, Inspire, the internet magazine published under the name Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula providing ideas on how to get the job done, and in recent days with last week’s words from Adam Gadahn in an As Sahab message released Friday:

Let's take America as an example. America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?

Yet this is not a new concept for Al Qaeda. Individual jihad has long been part of the “action plan” of Osama bin Laden and his leadership team in charge of the “Global Jihad”.

In 1998, Bin Laden issued his now-famous fatwa calling for Muslims to rise up and attack Christians and Jews

On that basis, and in compliance with Allah's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah."

Let’s look at those words from Bin Laden again: “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it” 

Nothing has changed, has it? Al Qaeda’s message remains the same. The only difference is the messenger.

Since the release of that Fatwa in 1998, there have certainly been a significant number of acts of terror – the USS Cole, the French tanker Limberg, the nightclub in Bali, and so many more. None of us alive that day will ever forget September 11, 2001, just like those in Madrid at the time will ever forget the March 11, 2004 train bombings, and London will always remember the July 7, 2005 bombings. 9/11, 3/11, and 7/7 are days that have been engraved in our respective national consciousness.

There have been scores, if not hundreds, of plots disrupted – plots which could have let to the loss of considerable numbers of souls if Bin Laden’s devotees would have had been allowed to continue. Others have thankfully failed. Some have succeeded.

There has been a move towards decentralization of the jihad; of empowering individuals to take action in their own countries at a time of their choosing.

This trend isn’t accidental. This trend is something that was described by Abu Mus’ab al Suri in his 1600 page treatise “Call to Global Islamic Resistance”, where he described what he called “Individual Terrorism”, seeing it as the direction in which jihadist “resistance” would by necessity evolve. (Al Suri’s writing career was cut short in 2005 when he was arrested.) 

Even before the release of Al Suri’s book, there was a trend towards exploiting internet resources for the sake of jihad. 

Detailed “how-to” guides were released in Arabic, such as Moaskar al Battar, an internet publication which covered the full spectrum from military strategy to physical fitness. In recent years, similar guides have been released; the most recent iteration is the Inspire series in English, out of Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. It’s interesting to note that two of the most infamous publications of jihad, Sout al Jihad and Moaskar al Battar, also were released by Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula back in 2004 and 2005.

Videos and PDF files showing how to create any kind of weapon including cyanide bombs, suicide bomb vest, cell phone detonated bombs, VBIED’s – Car and Truck bombs often using propane tanks, and many other types of IED’s. The “Mujahideen’s Poison Handbook” was a detailed “encyclopedia”, detailing how to produce many kinds of poisons, including ricin and botulinum.

It is undisputed that there is a wealth of information out there on the web that is readily accessible in Arabic and much of that information is also in English. 

It appears that a growing number of youth are being radicalized, not only in street corner mosques, but in also cyberspace, in forums, chatrooms, YouTube, and on Facebook. 

Each year, the number of youth migrating to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Yemen and Somalia to participate in the jihad grows.

So what is the next step?

Young who don’t hesitate to go to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia and die on the battlefield of jihad seem to be a little less anxious to blow themselves up on the US homeland, and even in Europe.

When Inspire magazine called upon Muslims to attack in the US, suggesting how to modify a truck with blades to mow down civilians in Washington DC, there was a tremendous outcry in the media.

Last week, when Adam Gadahn called for Muslims in the US to take up arms and carry out attacks in their home country, the reaction was likewise swift.

Yet these are not new calls; they are readily visible in Bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the United States.

So what makes these calls different? Is there really any difference?
Or is it simply that the Al Qaeda message has failed.

Certainly Al Qaeda has succeeded in attracting those misfit souls who, like mosquitos seeking light, clinging to any message or movement that can fulfill their innate need for belonging, for fitting in with something or someone.

Yet Al Qaeda has not succeeded in reaching the masses.

Over recent years, Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Gadahn began to incorporate video clips from Malcolm X in their messages, in an attempt to gain a foothold in the communities where Malcolm X’s legacy remains strong. These not-so-subtle attempts to foment racial strife in the US are almost certainly largely driving by Adam Gadahn, whose views are warped by his own personal experiences.

Gadahn is one of those misfit souls; if he had not been attracted to radical Islam, he would have been attracted to some other fringe group or cult. Gadahn is quite simply not mainstream anything. This is obvious when you go back and review the open source news reports. There are interviews with Gadahn’s immediate family, his aunt, a few people who knew him at the mosque. I have yet to find a single interview with a girlfriend or even a close friend. He is a loner, painting American society, which he was unable to fit into, as the bogeyman.

People like Gadahn are drawn to Al Qaeda, not because they deeply believe in that specific ideology, but because they need to believe something that gives them a feeling of belonging. It doesn’t matter to them what they belong to – they just want to be a part of something.
Al Qaeda knows this.

This is what makes internet radicalization so dangerous. Charismatic cyberimams offer that degree of instant intimacy that the internet provides so well. It has been said many times that you can be anything on the internet. It is easy to email and chat online with someone you’d never be able to tolerate in the real world. We see this every day as young teens get head over their heels in trouble in romantic encounters with adults 20, 30, and 40 years older – people they never would have been attracted to in the real world.

This is also readily apparent in the cyberjihad world. This is a world where a self-taught imam with a history of vice arrests, who is barely competent as an imam, can become a celebrity.

This is a world where a misfit from Orange County can draw the attention of law enforcement and news media worldwide, just by going on camera and spewing vague threats.

There are only a handful of things setting Anwar Awlaki apart from Adam Gadahn. First, Awlaki answers emails; at least he did until the last year. Secondly, Awlaki has a fan club on the internet that uploads videos of his sermons; Gadahn doesn’t have any sermons videotaped to be uploaded – just a short article that he wrote as a teenager when he was at USC.

The bottom line is both have warped visions of American society. Neither can make it in American society; both have retreated to remote locations, making their only incursions into the world through the internet. 

Neither has the understanding, insight, or ability to appeal to the mainstream American – which is what Al Qaeda would like to do.

All they can do is reach out to those disaffected individuals who like them never fit in.

These cyberjihad celebrities really believe that they are having their 10 minutes of fame. They really believe they are special. It’s even sadder to think that people are destroying their lives following a couple of narcissistic warped minds. 

And the worst part of all is that innocent civilians have died and will continue to die because of it.   
Anwar Awlaki: Al Qaeda’s Forrest Gump?
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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 06 June 2011 02:41

As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s media production arm, released a two-part video Friday promoting ingenuity and “get up and go”. The problem is what they want us to do when we get up and go. The theme can be summed up in a just a few words: “It’s your responsibility to kill Americans in jihad, and you need to do it now. No more excuses.”

This video should be right up the alley of Anwar Awlaki; after all he is supposedly a staunch proponent of the doctrine of individual jihad. Inspire, a flashy English language internet magazine that claims affiliation with Awlaki, champions that doctrine every month, plagiarizing passages on the subject by Abu Musa’ab Al Suri that were translated in Brynjar Lia’s book “Architect of Individual Jihad”.

You would think Awlaki would be starring in this video.

Yet this jihadist darling of the internet is conspicuous in his absence. There is one short clip of Awlaki included, and that clip is in Arabic.
From Tehran to Abbottabad: the return of Osama bin Laden’s family
Description: PDF

Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 21 May 2011 02:01 

It is approximately 3,600 kilometers from Tehran, Iran, to Abbottabad, Pakistan. That’s just over 2,200 miles, just a couple of hundred miles less than the distance from New York City to Los Angeles. One of Osama bin Laden’s wives, and several of his children made this journey, along with a number of Al Qaeda operatives including Saif al Adil.

In the end, the messages were Bin Laden’s undoing
Description: PDF

Written by Administrator   
Monday, 02 May 2011 16:00 

Since the early days after 2001, Al Qaeda leadership has been playing a game of cat and mouse with American forces. Each time a video or audio message was released, analysts examined every frame in the footage carefully, and analyzed the background, the sounds, the foliage, and anything else that might provide a clue as to the location of Bin Laden and his leadership core.

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

26 June 2011

W. Scott Malone and Anthony L. Kimery: NEW DETAILS - Al Qaeda HIT LIST Names NAMED...



UpDATE: Dozens of Top US Military, Corporate Leaders on AQ ‘Hit List.’ CT Officials Debate Seriousness of Threat
BlackNET Intelligence Channel/ 
Homeland Security Today
June 23, 2011
By: Anthony Kimery and W. Scott Malone

Eleven of the nation’s top military leaders are among 58 past and present military, corporate and civilian officials who have been identified by members of the Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Al Mujahedeen jihadist forum as infidels who should be murdered, according to a jihadi “hit list” that accompanied a June 6 Florida fusion center bulletin.

The bulletin coincided with an unusual flurry of similar alerts that were issued at about the same time by the FBI, Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and which came on the heels of FBI Director Robert Mueller having told the Senate Committee on the Judiciary that one of the early assessments from intelligence seized at Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan is that Al Qaeda is committed to continuing attacks against the United States.

While some officials downplayed the “hit list” as wishful thinking by Al Qaeda-sympathetic jihadists, other counterterrorism authorities went on high alert in response to the jihadi forums’ members’ disturbing talk of assassinating top US military and corporate leaders. Especially in light of testimony a few weeks ago in a federal terrorism trial that revealed a senior Al Qaeda official had ordered Lockheed Martin chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Stevens assassinated because his company manufactures UAVs used by the US military in strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Al Qaeda leadership targets in Yemen and in special operations in Somalia.

Stevens’ name was on the list of 58 names of persons jihad forum members recommended be killed.

Stevens was disclosed to have been an Al Qaeda target in testimony that named Ilyas Kashmiri, the Al Qaeda paramilitary commander in Pakistan who’d been considered a possible successor to Osama Bin Laden, as having ordered Stevens killed. Yet it was Kashmiri who ended up dead - killed - by a missile strike from a possible Lockheed Martin UAV in North Waziristan in Sept. 2009.

The allegation that Stevens was targeted by Kashmiri was made during testimony in May by Pakistani-American, David Coleman Headley, in the trial of Tahawwur Hussain Rana, who is charged with having been involved in the 2008 Mumbai, India attacks that killed 166 civilians.

Since Headley’s arrest and guilty plea on charges of conspiring with the Al Qaeda-offshoot Lashkar-e-Taiba to carry out the Mumbai attacks – as well as other terrorist activity – Headley has been cooperating with US and Indian authorities.

In his testimony in a Chicago federal courtroom, Headley said “there was a plan to kill [Stevens] because he was making drones.” Headley said Kashmiri arranged for unnamed operatives to carry out surveillance of Stevens in the US in connection with the terrorist group’s alleged plot to kill him.

Headley further testified that he’d researched the Lockheed Martin CEO online, stating “my research is more in-depth than Googling someone a couple of times.”

In a statement following confirmation of Kashmiri’s death from the Al Qaeda-tied Harakat Ul Jihad Al Islami’s Brigade 313, the equivalent of a jihadi special operations group that Kashmiri commanded, the group stated their leader had been "martyred" and that, "God willing, America, which is the 'pharaoh' of this, will soon see a revenge attack, and our real target is America.”

Contacts for Harkat Ul Mujahideen Al Islami, an offshoot of  Kashmiri’s Harakat Ul Jihad Al Islami, were found in the cell phone of Bin Laden’s trusted courier. This spinoff group is strongly believed by counterterrorists to have been part of Bin Laden’s support network in Pakistan.

With the latest terrorist concerns fresh on their minds, Washington, DC-area counterterrorism officials were spooked by the detention of 22-year-old Ethiopian-American Muslim, Yonathan Melaku, a Marine Corps Reserve lance corporal on suspicion of having suspected bomb making materials in his car that he'd parked near the Pentagon. Melaku’s car contained unidentified suspicious materials as well as a notebook with numerous references to Islamic jihad.

Forensic and other evidence disclosed Thursday in a criminal complaint and the supporting affidavit by Joint Terrorism Task Force FBI Special Agent Kelley Clark, the lead investigator, alleged Melaku was the perpetrator of shootings throughout the Washington, DC-area last fall that targeted military locations. Federal prosecutors though formally charged Melaku with shooting at only two military buildings, and alleged that numerous documents related to bomb-making and explosives were found in his home.

Earlier this week, Melaku was charged with multiple accounts of grand larceny related to more than two dozen alleged break-ins of vehicles in the Leesburg, Virginia area.

Federal officials said on background that there is no evidence “at the moment to either suggest or indicate” that Melaku is associated with any terrorist group. However, the current, mostly Christian Ethiopian government has been working closely in Somalia with the CIA and Navy SEALS to combat Islamic extremists – which has included the employment of Lockheed drones - for the better part of the last decade, according to past and present US intelligence officers and members of the US special operations community.

The names of the top US military leaders that were spelled out in each of the official alerts that were disseminated to law enforcement authorities last week had been submitted by Ansar Al Mujahedeen and other jihadi forums’ members in response to the June 3 video by radicalized American Muslim, Adam Gadahn, an Al Qaeda spokesman.

In Gadahn’s video, "Do Not Rely on Others, Take the Task Upon Yourself,” the hardened terrorist made a plea to jihadists — especially “lone wolf” jihadists in the United States — to take up arms against Americans involved in prosecuting the war on what Al Qaeda perceives to be true Islam.

Among the top Defense Department officials forum members named include David Petraeus, Commander of International Security Assistance Force & Commander of US Forces Afghanistan; Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley; Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Scwartz; James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps; and C. Robert Kehler, Commander, US Strategic Command.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, disclosed Thursday at the Senate confirmation hearing for Petraeus - President Barack Obama's choice to head the CIA - that Petraeus was the only person Osama Bin Laden had targeted by name in the materials that were seized from the Al Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan.

Other top US military commanders who are on the “hit list” that was compiled by analysts based on Ansar Al Mujahedeen jihadist forum messages are Michael Decker, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight; Thomas Ferguson, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and James Hursch, Director of the Defense Technology Security Administration.

The initial list of “suggested targets” that the forum’s members recommended jihadists kill were compiled and identified in an attachment to the June 6 “Situational Awareness Bulletin,” Forum Chatter: Online Jihadists Provide Instructions for Preparing a Hit List, that was disseminated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (CFIX), a regional fusion center that was opened in August 2007.

The fusion center bulletin was first obtained separately two weeks ago by Homeland Security Today and BlackNET Intelligence Channel, who jointly were working together to interview counterterrorism officials to get a sense of the seriousness of the threats that the forum’s members had been discussing when news organizations obtained the alerts that were issued by the FBI and DHS that contained some of the same information as the CFIX analysts’ bulletin.

Because of the potential for the loss of life and the confusion sowed over the number of multi-agency bulletins that were issued, Homeland Security Today and BlackNET Intelligence Channel delayed their reporting on the alerts in order to put them into proper context based on officials’ assessments and with the goal that no operational security information be divulged that could benefit terrorists.

As one federal security official put it last Sunday evening, “[i]n critical times like these” following the demise of Osama Bin Laden, “[p]erhaps an over abundance of caution should be applauded …” by the media.

Officials in the office of outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requested in early Monday morning phone calls that the various bulletins not be made available. After reasoned deliberation regarding the request, Homeland Security Today and BlackNET Intelligence Channel agreed that this was a reasonable operational security request.

In addition to the top US military leaders targeted by Al Qaeda sympathizers, 11 top and senior executives of AeroVironment Inc., including CEO Timothy Conver, were identified by the jihadist forums members.

AeroVironment manufactures the thousands of miniature robotic UAVs like the Raven, Wasp and Digital Puma that are being used over the battlefields in Afghanistan in the US-led war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The firm is the largest maker of the tiny drone spy planes that are being used in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).

Other top past and present corporate leaders involved in the GWOT who were nominated for assassination include seven from KBR and several from Blackwater Group, including founder Erik Prince; Gary Jackson, who was president during operations in Iraq; and former vice president Cofer Black, a 28-year CIA veteran assigned to the Directorate of Operations who once headed up the Agency’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC).

Black also served as the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism from December 2002 to November 2004, and was the point man for the government's counterterrorism policy in the first term of President George W. Bush.

In addition to Lockheed Martin’s Stevens, Halliburton Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, Christian Garcia; and seven executives of RAND Corporation, eight from IAP Worldwide Services, Inc. and the chairmen of Dassault Group and Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy also were named.

The targeting of Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy appears to be a bit of a mystery, unless, perhaps, it’s because it produces and sells heathen infidel high-end consumer products.

Lastly, several think tank executives, one US Representative and a controversial US pastor were targeted.

None of the persons on the so-called “hit list” whose offices were contacted for comment had responded by press time, although the office of the US Rep. indicated the Congressman was aware that he was on the list.

Other corporations proffered by Jihadi forum members as worthy terror targets appeared to have been taken from a website that named “The 25 Most Vicious Iraq War Profiteers,” according to intelligence contained in CFIX alert. While the webpage is no longer active, it can still be found in a Google cache of the page.

“Getting to these criminals isn't as hard as you might think,” Gadahn claimed in his video that inspired members of the Ansar Al Mujahedeen jihadist forum to draw up the list.

“I mean, we've seen how a woman knocked the Pope to the floor during Christmas mass, and how Italian leader Berlusconi's face was smashed during a public appearance,” Gadahn said. “So, it's just a matter of entrusting the matter to Allah and choosing the right place, the right time, and the right method.”

“Target major institutions and public figures,” Gadahn urged his fellow jihadists, saying, “do not rely on others, take the task upon yourself. What are you waiting for?”

A separate “Law Enforcement Sensitive” security alert from the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) Protective Intelligence Investigations branch of the DoD’s Coordinator for Threat Mitigation office that also had been provided to Homeland Security Today reflected Pentagon officials’ concerns. The title read: “AQ Hit List to Include Occupants of the Pentagon …”

“Although the topic of individual jihad has been addressed regularly throughout the jihadi forums, recent issues of Inspire [a slick magazine for jihadists believed produced by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, and allegedly edited by American born jihadist leaders Gadahn and Anwar Al Awlaki], along with AQC's [Al Qaeda Central] propaganda video, are presenting these issues with a new flavor that makes the material relevant … In recent postings, the online jihadists are providing both tactical techniques and specific targets to facilitate and assist in the planning of operations in the West …,” the DoD bulletin said.

One Jihadi poster cited by both the DoD and CFIX bulletins “advised that he fully agrees with the message relayed by Adam Gadahn in reference to targeting politicians, influential leaders and CEOs who ‘work with the crusaders try to destroy the Ummah.’ He places emphasis on targeting individuals and businesses in the US, UK and France and provides a simple plan ‘which can be shared by the supporters of jihad’…”

"[W]e [should] now have a list of assassination” targets …whether one list or several lists, according to importance, so that, for example, there would be the first list, the second list, etc.,” the Jihadi forum member said.

"[T]hese lists, with the names of their owners, should be announced loudly and spread in the center of sin,” the forum member continued. “For example, with the sanction of the base of jihad [Al Qaeda], the matter would have an effect like a nuclear bomb.”

The Pentagon analysts took particular note of the Jihadi’s advice “that large amounts of money and security resources would have to be used to protect these ‘most wanted’ individuals and it will also make them re-think their involvement in the war against Islam.”

The FBI said in its alert that the “hit list” and the call to jihadists to take up arms against the persons the Ansar Al Mujahedeen and other jihadist forums’ members identified is more “aspirational” in nature, and that there is no indication that there are any plots that have “progress[ed] beyond these discussion forums.”

The FBI said AQAM has a long history of making web-based threats that never materialize.

However, the FBI noted, that “though there has been an increase in postings on extremist web forums since [Osama bin Laden's] death on 2 May 2011, these examples are the most target specific threat postings in the forum since that date,” adding, “the depth and breadth of the list provided …represent a familiarity with defense and intelligence contractors and private sector support."

But counterterrorism analysts also pointed out that the names could easily have been obtained from the Internet.

Senior counterterrorism officials and analysts interviewed by Homeland Security Today last week said while there was “not insignificant chatter” on jihadist websites, chat forums and in the personal emails of known and suspected terrorists who the US Intelligence Community has under surveillance, as one said, “we haven’t really seen any intelligence that we’d consider as actionable or otherwise gives us a hint that there is a specific plot” to kill anyone discussed in “these chat room[s in response] to Gadahn’s message.”

The FBI had noted in an “Unclassified – For Official Use Only” security bulletin to law enforcement authorities last October that Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine, in the article, Tips for our Brothers in the United Snakes of America, had provided jihadists suggestions for a possible weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack and an operation similar to that of the alleged Ft. Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, that specifically targeted a “crowded restaurant in Washington, DC at lunch” that would likely kill US government employees.

“Chatter city leads to chattering teeth around here,” a DC-area security official told Homeland Security Today last Friday evening. But the arrest this week of Marine Reservist Yonathan Melaku has only added to this official’s “re-renewed” concern, he said this Thursday. “Melaku is precisely the ‘random, lone-wolf’ freelancers with special forces-type military-training who were the very targets of the Gadahn/Awlaki ‘web-casts …,’” he said.

This official also noted that the Jihadists seemed to be demonstrating a “bureaucratic bent” in their development of a “hit list.” A bent that also was noted by the Pentagon and CFIX analysts, who remarked about the one forum member who stated that “these lists will be sent to the leaders of the Mujahedeen through jihadi media correspondents and forum administrators, which will allow the leaders of jihad to add or delete entries as they see fit; arrange entries according to priority; and give approval and blessing.”

“Yes, I think this is serious, and those [named] probably already are very much aware of the threat … but hopefully have been notified and taken appropriate measures,” 20-year veteran CIA covert operations officer and Islamist jihadist authority, Clare Lopez, told Homeland Security Today when interviewed last week. She added that the individuals named, and the call for their death by the Al Qaeda video and the Ansar Al Mujahedeen forum, is “entirely in keeping with the Islamic obligation to fard 'ayn, or individual jihad, whenever Muslim lands are occupied by the infidel and there is no Caliph to call for jihad.”

Former CIA covert operations officer Charles Faddis, who headed the National Counterterrorism Center’s WMD terrorism unit when he retired several years ago, told Homeland Security Today that while “I don't think we should blow this out of proportion - putting out a list of names does not mean actual targeting is underway - on the other hand, we do need to recognize that this kind of decentralized, self-directed action is the wave of the future and much harder to stop."

“None of them are soft targets [like the Mumbai hotels], so I wouldn’t put too much stress on them,” added Kerry Patton, who served in both the Defense and Justice departments and was a contractor for the departments of Homeland Security and State. He worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe focusing on intelligence and security matters and personally interviewed current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban.

A senior counterterrorism official explained to Homeland Security Today on background that “chatter of this nature” is ongoing “nearly all the time – it’s just not always reported – and most of the time it’s a lot of wishful thinking – Al Qaeda has lots of wishful thinking, believe me!”

Retired Army Special Forces information warfare officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said “the recent ‘targeting’ of US individuals and businesses is an Information Operation - Al Qaeda does not have the resources or ability to launch viable attacks against these individuals - and even the ‘lone wolves’ they are hoping for will not be able to take on the targets without some level of planning and support - therefore the current list is having its intended effect - to freak people out ...”

“This is similar to the leaderless resistance model adopted by domestic extremists groups such as the Animal Liberation Front [and various US militia groups]. It is a cost and risk free way to encourage people of like mind to act, and it can be effective on those predisposed to bad behavior,” said David Cid, a retired FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge with 20 years experience in the field of counterterrorism who is executive director of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City.

Cid added that “a call to the cause is necessary in any movement, and the Internet has provided another way to do so,” but cautioned that “I would view this as effective as junk mail; it goes to everyone but it will have resonance with only a few.”

But a retired senior military officer who’d been involved in counterterrorism whose family members potentially could be put on the list because of their involvement in the war on terrorism, said it only takes one true believer to kill a few, or thousands. Consequently, the official believes the list of top military leaders and other officials should indeed be taken very seriously.

The former officer told Homeland Security Today that, “yes - absolutely - we should worry,” emphasizing “people who say not to worry aren't on this list!”

“Would Al Qaeda Central like to have individual jihadists out there – these lone wolves - trying to kill these people?” asked a senior counterterrorism official.

“Sure they would! But because of precautions that are taken, the intelligence capabilities we have, the potential is lower than it might seem too many people.”

“Still, it’s a concern, and notifying appropriate authorities is the prudent thing to do,” according to this US counterterrorism official. “But it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an identifiable threat; like I said, there’s chatter like this all the time,” the official said, concluding by saying, “still …”

Several other officials said, based on their monitoring of jihadist chat forums, Al Qaeda Internet sites and, presumably, classified counterterrorism communications intelligence, that they believe the so-called “hit list” is not actually a list that was conceived by “some sort of central planning committee or group,” but rather the names were compiled from “all the forum and other chat room participants who were being monitored who were sending in their ideas for people who should be killed,” as a counterterrorism official explained.

“There wasn’t one central list that was posted; these names came from [all the various jihadi] chat room members [who were being monitored], and then were compiled by [our] analysts," the official said.

It does seem evident from the various alerts that were issued last week by an alphabet soup of government agencies that the names had been compiled by analysts from the numerous jihadi forums their analyst had been monitoring.

What is worrisome counterterrorism authorities conceded, is they have seen a growing debate within jihadist circles – including inside Al Qaeda – about carrying out small-scale, low-tech, improvised attacks on soft targets by lone-wolves that can have a more terrifying and persistent effect than the mass-casualty attacks that Al Qaeda historically has strived for.

Senior counterterrorism officials tasked with monitoring, tracking and analyzing the operations and activities of AQAM told Homeland Security Today lone wolf jihadists could indeed be inspired [there is ample evidence that this has happened, as one noted] to try “to off one or more of these people [on the list] – and that’s why precautions have been taken and alerts have been distributed,” one said.

“The real fear is that you get someone – maybe an ex-Special Forces Muslim from somewhere who isn’t on any watch list, for example – who has the wherewithal to carry out professional covert-like hits of some of these people. That’s the sort of thing that we’d be worried about," the official stated.

According to the CFIX bulletin, “the release of Al Qaeda Central’s newest propaganda video … generated fervent discussions by members of the top-tier [Al Qaeda] forums regarding the lone offender operations which were advocated in [Gadahn’s] video.”

Former Army Special Forces veteran Shaffer said he envisions a coming generational change-over in Al Qaeda’s central hierarchy with the demise of its spiritual inspiration, Osama Bin Laden, that could impact the direction AQC or its various franchises decide to take in their continuing jihad against the West.

“The next generation - represented by [Anwar] Al Awlaki [who was born and educated in America] have taken the lead by focusing on ‘individual Jihad,’ as is evidenced by attacks of recent years … all inspired or influenced by Awlaki,” Shaffer said.

“… I do believe Al Awlaki will continue to gain stature and even greater roles in Al Qaeda [and shaping its path forward],” as long he “continues to live,” Shaffer predicted.

In recent postings, online jihadists provided both tactical techniques and specific targets to facilitate and assist in the planning of operations in the West. A June 5, 2011 posting was made by a member of the Shumukh Al Islam forum that provided instructions on how to create a hit list. A member of the Ansar Al Mujahedeen forum elaborated on this posting by suggesting tactics, as well as naming several US-based businesses that should be targets.

The CFIX bulletin explained that “Leman Pigments, a member from the Shumukh Al Islam forum, advised that he fully agrees with the message relayed by Adam Gadahn in reference to targeting politicians, influential leaders and CEOs who ‘work with the crusaders try to destroy the Ummah.’ He places emphasis on targeting individuals and businesses in the US, UK and France and provides a simple plan ‘which can be shared by the supporters of jihad.’”

Pigments “suggests creating a special workshop to collect detailed information on individual actors in the war against Islam such as CEOs from companies that support the war, media institutions and politicians. He advises that information on these individuals and organizations is easily obtainable on the Internet for those who know how to use search engines.”

Pigments further “urge[d] fellow members to collect information such as work addresses, residential addresses, phone numbers, photos and any other relevant information that will assist in targeting these individuals and organizations,” and that “these lists will be sent to the leaders of the Mujahedeen through jihadi media correspondents and forum administrators, which will allow the leaders of jihad to … add or delete entries as they see fit, arrange entries according to priority” and “give approval and blessing.”

It was forum member Pigments who stated, “we [should] now have a list of assassination [targets] or a list of available wanted [targets], whether one list or several lists, according to importance, so that for example there would be the first list, the second list, etc.”

The aspiring Jihadist further proposed that [“]The media [outlets] would be forced to publish the matter. Many of those whose names appeared on these lists would scream through the American and global media, accusing Al Qaeda of terrorism and demanding the appropriation of protection for [themselves], and some would urge bravery and say that they would not be frightened by threats like these, etc. “

“It would not be necessary for Al Qaeda to say that it would assassinate those whose names appeared on the list; it would be enough to say that they are inciting the assassination of those [people] and sanctioning their killing …,” Pigments continued.

Pigments went “on to advise that large amounts of money and security resources would have to be used to protect these ‘most wanted’ individuals and it will also make them re-think their involvement in the war against Islam,” and concluded “his posting by suggesting that the existence of these Al Qaeda hit lists will assist in the facilitation of operations by those wanting to fulfill their obligation of individual jihad.”

“As a follow-up to the Shumukh Al Islam posting,” the CFIX bulletin cautioned, “‘Lion Rebel,’ [another Jihadist] member of the Ansar Al Mujahedeen forum, posted an article regarding ‘sowing fear and terror in the hearts of the people.’ He reiterate[d] the idea of creating lists of those involved in the war against Islam and expands on it by stating that once the residential and business addresses have been obtained, they can send them ‘booby-trapped parcels’ such as letter bombs."

“Lion Rebel then proceeded to list the name of a US business which could be targeted which generated three pages of responses and recommendations mentioning other desirable target. In the discussion thread they provided [a] web link to assist the brethren who are [planning] to identify potential targets. After the business names are pulled from the website listed above, they can be run through a Google search to pull back the website for the businesses to identify the CEO’s. The online jihadists advise that many of the company websites will provide a photo along with the names.”

According to the CFIX analysts, the “implications” are that “with the continued call for individual jihad in the form of lone offender operations, the potential for success will lie in their ability to not only avoid communication of their plans, but mainly in their ability to blend into society, thus preventing law enforcement and members of the Intelligence Community from being able to detect and prevent an attack from occurring.”

And, “in addition to providing easy access to jihadist propaganda,” the CFIX bulletin concluded, “radical Islamist forums such as Ansar Al Mujahedeen and the Shumukh Al Islam forum also highlight[ed] the intelligence process [i.e. establishing workshops for collecting, collating and analyzing data, as well as sharing ‘lessons learned’ and success stories] utilized by online jihadists in preparation for future operations. The ability to identify their process and use it to analyze the intended audience, as well as the effectiveness of the information being distributed will be essential in countering the propaganda efforts of militant groups, as well as identifying those individuals desiring to carry out lone offender operations in the West.”

The CFIX bulletin then offered a cautionary tale of the online Jihadist, “Lion Rebel,” who described himself in the Jihadi forum as a “hard-working … Ansari,” a South Asian ethnic group surname. Lion Rebel reported that he had made “202 posts” and was “now” setting-up a “workshop of terror and the real terrorism: individual terror!” Or, as further described, dryly, in a notation by the CFIX analysts - the “Hit List.”

Lion Rebel added his own addendum under the heading, “Capital crime, thugs and US Department of Defense (Group III)…,” that included his personal collection of individual Pentagon website photographs for four top Pentagon leaders.

Writing in the February 2010 edition of "Sentinel,” published by the Counter Terrorism Center at West Point, terrorism authority Evan Kohlmann said the Ansar Al Mujahedeen jihadist forum has become “a beacon for [ostensibly dangerous] extremists.”

Perhaps there really is a ‘lone-wolf’ central committee that’s not just proffering idle chatter in cyberspace, but is indeed secretly laboring away in some rugged, out-back mountain enclave in South Yemen, North Waziristan or in a tent on the desert wastelands of the disputed Somali border region with Ethiopia.

That would be the real nightmare for the United States.

Co-reporter on this story, W. Scott Malone, is a multiple Emmy and Peabody award-winning investigative journalist and former senior editor of NavySEALs.com. He currently runs the website's counterterrorism newsletter spin-off, “BlackNET Intelligence Channel.” Malone wrote the April 2008 Homeland Security Today cover report, “Beware the Clones.”

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