Friday, June 26, 2009

Violent Islamist Extremism: Al-Shabaab Recruitment in America on the Internet in Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Columbus OH, Minneapolis and Atlanta GA

Violent Islamist Extremism: Al-Shabaab Recruitment in America on the Internet. The crisis in the Horn of Africa, which included the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia, has attracted the rapt attention of Somali diaspora communities and heightened their nationalistic sentiments.

Extremist recruiters play upon these nationalistic sentiments to rally elements of the diaspora with well-produced videos of heroic Somalis engaged in combat against historic rivals, tactics that enhance their fundraising and recruitment efforts.

The Somali-American youth who have traveled abroad to join and fight for al-Shabaab were likely exposed to al-Shabaab’s extremist ideology in the United States, most likely through sustained interaction with extremists—in person and via the Internet—and exposure to jihadist literature and videos circulated on the Internet.

Al-Shabaab’s official website had regularly provided links to al-Qa`ida’s al-Sahab media that endorse violent jihad in Somalia before being shut down by the US Government order on Jan 23rd 2009 !

The Al-Shabaab website had been hosted in Vancouver WA and played to the large Somali youth audience in the USA. See the Vancouver WA Columbian Newspaper's article on the Al-Shabaab website by clicking on "In Out View-Interent Censor", the Columbian Newspaper's attack piece on private investigator Bill Warner that was run on May 7th, 2008, criticizing his efforts to shut down the Al-Shabaab terrorist website .

The website has been re-established with DYNADOT, LLC and the site has a banner reading "Coming Soon:"
Domain Name:
Registrar: DYNADOT, LLC
Whois Server:
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Expiration Date: 2010-05-31
Creation Date: 2009-05-31
Last Update Date: 2009-06-18

Measuring the impact al-Qa`ida propaganda has had in motivating Somali-Americans to fight in Somalia is imprecise at best, nor can we reliably weight the individual effects of clan, ethnic identity, anti-Ethiopian sentiment, or jihadist ideology that influenced recent travelers to Somalia.

Readers of jihadist websites like are mostly Muslims who may sympathize with but are unaffiliated with al-Qa`ida or al-Shabaab. East African-based Al-Qa`ida figure Saleh Nabhan in a video posted online in August declared that training camps in Somalia and elsewhere were open and called for Muslims everywhere to assist the Somali jihad. The video was distributed on behalf of al-Shabaab and had English subtitles.

FBI Eyes Somalis in Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Columbus OH, Minneapolis and Atlanta GA, " We see a lot more Internet recruiting being targeted to Somalia youth in the USA."

The Twin Cities area has been at the center of the federal investigation ever since a 27-year-old from Minneapolis blew himself up in a Al-Shabaab suicide attack in Somalia last fall. But other cities with large Somali populations are being scrutinized, too: Boston, Seattle, San Diego and Columbus OH, which has the second-largest population of Somali refugees in the United States behind Minneapolis -- an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people.

There is terrorist recruitment taking place in Minnesota, said Clarkston GA police chief Tony J. Scipio. That's why his department and the FBI are looking for anything similar in the Somali-American community here in Clarkston Ga (near Atlanta). Terror recruiters are quickly becoming adept at online tactics, noted Young "We see a lot more Internet recruiting being targeted to our youth."

Though much of the blame for the missing Somali youth has been directed at local mosques, there are signs that the youth, galvanized by the 2006 Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, may have radicalized themselves.

Ethiopia’s invasion, widely believed to be supported by the Bush administration, “has attracted the rapt attention of Somali Diaspora communities and heightened their nationalistic sentiments,” Andrew Liepman testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in March.

Andrew Liepman is the deputy director of intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center. Extremist elements like al-Shabaab, a Somali group designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., have exploited the bitter reaction to the Ethiopian invasion and compelled young, despondent Somali men to join their ranks.

As a result, some of the men may have sold assets or worked overtime to pay the airfare to Somalia. A source close to one of the missing young men, Abdisalam, also known as “Bullet-head,” said that he sold his car just a few weeks before he left last year.

At least a handful of the vanished youth have had decent paying jobs. A young man who uses the pseudonym “Abu Muslim” and claims to be a 23-year-old from Minneapolis, told a local radio station in Somalia that no one had recruited him to fight. “I chose to join the cause of jihad in my country,” he said in broken Somali, a clear sign that he grew up in the Diaspora.

In early 2009, al-Shabaab released a sophisticated 31-minute propaganda video designed to appeal to Diaspora Somalis. The star of the video is a Caucasian man who calls himself “Abu Mansoor,” the American. He commands an English-speaking unit of about two-dozen men, thought to be Somalis bred in the West. A Somali member of the unit, whose face is obscured, says in an American accent that he never thought he’d be leaving the comfort of home to carry an AK-47 in defense of his country.

Bill Warner
private investigator