Somali Al-Shabaab Militants Use Many Tactics To Woo Somali-Americans on Internet, Australia Lists Somali Militia Al-Shabaab as Terrorist Group, Private Investigator Bill Warner (Internet Censor) Helps Shut Down Their Website WWW.KATAAIB.NET
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 08:5 2MINNEAPOLIS — One young man attended secret meetings in Minneapolis. Another got a phone call, urging him to leave Minnesota and go to Somalia to fight. Terrorist training videos featuring English speakers pepper YouTube, calling others to the cause.Details are emerging about how terrorists in Somalia have lured young American men — including as many as 20 from Minnesota — back to their homeland to join their jihad.
At least three have died, including one who authorities believe is the first American suicide bomber. Three others have pleaded guilty in the U.S. to terror-related charges. Court proceedings and interviews with community members, attorneys and terror experts indicate the Somali-based terror group, al-Shabaab, uses widespread recruitment tactics including a vast Internet Web-based network.
“Al-Shabaab 10 years ago would be a two-bit, paramilitary group that no one would’ve cared about … sitting in a basement somewhere stockpiling rocket-propelled grenades and bullets for AK-47s,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism specialist at Georgetown University. “Now, we see them reaching into the United States via the Internet.”
Like many terror groups,al-Shabaab uses Internet videos to draw disenfranchised young men into its fold. Many feature typical militant scenes: men with covered faces firing automatic weapons, marching or practicing martial arts. Some show close-up footage of dead bodies and religious documents.
The group, which the U.S. government says has ties to al-Qaida, also uniquely targets Americans and English speakers. Some videos show English-speaking suicide bombers reciting last wills. Others showcase a man with shoulder-length brown hair who calls himself Abu Mansour the American commanding fighters and glorifying jihadists killed in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab’s online propaganda proliferated in recent years after messages from Osama bin Laden appeared on jihadist forums (theAl-Shabaab official website was hosted in Vancouver WA USA) encouraging followers to go to Somalia. The country of 7 million has not had a functioning government since 1991.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington was concerned al-Shabaab uses foreign fighters and there was no doubt the group wants to take control of Somalia and “launch attacks against countries far and near.”
In Minneapolis, home to the largest population of Somali immigrants in the U.S., a federal investigation into the missing men is illuminating the recruiting. Salah Osman Ahmed, 26, of New Brighton, told a judge last month that he attended “secret meetings” in Minneapolis starting in October 2007. There, he said, a group of “guys” talked about returning to Somalia to fight Ethiopians.
At the time, the Ethiopian army, which many Somalis viewed as abusive, occupied parts of Somalia. When Ahmed got to Somalia, his attorney said, he realized what al-Shabaab really was. Hoffman said the underground meetings fit a pattern.Many young Somalis in Minneapolis say friends who left have stayed in touch through Facebook or phone calls.
In those conversations, friends said, the men talked about life in Somalia being harder than expected, and of missing American food and Starbucks. The Facebook accounts are private. While the FBI said it can’t comment on specific communications, spokesman E.K. Wilson said the agency continues to investigate “who or what motivated” the young men to go to Somalia.
The Al-Shabaab official websiteWWW.KATAAIB.NET had been hosted in Vancouver WA USA at the Dotster web company since mid 2007 until it was shut down in late January 2009 by the US Government. Sarasota private investigator Bill Warner led a campaign to shut down the Al-Shabaab website in Vancouver WA USA from May of 2008 despite incurring road blocks from the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver that published an attack piece on Sarasota private investigator Bill Warner calling him “In Out View; Internet Censor (Bill Warner).
“If you have computers, if you have Internet, you have to know the sites that your boys are visiting and what they are listening to,” Hurre said.
The listing means it will be an offense to be associated with the group, train with or fund the organization or recruit for it, according to the statement.Al-Shabaab is fighting to oust the United Nations-backed Somali government and controls much of southern Somalia. The group was designated a terrorist organization last year by the U.S., which accuses it of providing a haven and logistical support to al-Qaeda.
Australian police say the group is linked to a plot to storm the Holsworthy Barracks in western Sydney with automatic weapons and kill as many soldiers as possible. Five men, aged between 22 and 33, most of Somali and Lebanese descent, were charged earlier this month with preparing an act of terrorism and will face court again on Oct. 26. While al-Shabaab has focused its activities within Somalia, terrorism analysts say its aspirations may be expanding as it seeks to recruit people from overseas.
PI BILL WARNER
"WAR ON TERROR"
"WAR ON TERROR"