Sunday, March 7, 2010

Adam Gadahn...arrested in Pakistan

Cross posted from the Guardian

Adam Gadahn, al-Qaida's US-born spokesman, arrested in Pakistan

California-born American was charged with treason and had $1m reward offered for his arrest
 Sunday 7 March 2010 22.29 GMT

A US-born spokesman for al-Qaida has been arrested, Pakistani authorities said today , hailing an intelligence coup that struck a blow at the organisation's public relations apparatus.
Reports of the arrest of Adam Gadahn in Karachi came on the same day the California-born American appeared in a web video in which he called on American Muslims to launch attacks in the US.
Gadahn, the first American to be charged with treason since the second world war era, is one of the FBI's top 10 most wanted terrorists and has had a $1m reward offered for information leading to his capture.
The 31-year-old is believed to have been captured in recent days in the seaport metropolis, according to Pakistani intelligence officers. Authorities there also said the arrest was a joint operation with US intelligence and he had been shifted to Islamabad for interrogation. Officials in Washington would not confirm the arrest.
The arrest came after recent visits to Pakistan by leading US diplomatic and security officials, including Barack Obama's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, FBI director Robert Mueller and national security adviser General James Jones. Earlier this week, Pakistani intelligence agents arrested a former finance minister to the Afghan Taliban, and in recent weeks have detained at least four other senior Taliban.
In a video on Sunday Gadahn praised Nidal Malik Hassan, the Muslim-American Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 soldiers at an army base in Texas in November, calling him a role model.
Raised in southern California, Gadahn converted to Islam at 17 and left the US about 10 years ago, later attending Taliban or al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan, US officials say.
A pudgy man who has been seen with a beard and turban in the online videos in which he assails the United States, Gadhan has been al-Qaida's translator and chief English language spokesman. The FBI has said he has had close contacts with Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders. In one video Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden's lieutenant, praised him as a brother.
He was seen as a particularly effective public relations tool for the group because he speaks fluent American English and is schooled in American culture. In one video, he referred to the classic American board game Monopoly: "If you die as an unbeliever in battle against the Muslims, you're going straight to hell, without passing Go."
In others, he ceremoniously tore up his American passport and said his grandfather was Jewish, ridiculing him for his beliefs and calling on Palestinians to continue fighting Israel.
A US indictment against him for treason and giving material aid to al-Qaida stems from a series of videos shot between 2004 and 2006 in which Gadahn, styling himself Azzam al-Amriki, taunted the United States, acknowledges he had joined al-Qaida and praised the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Gadahn was brought up by parents who lived a self-sufficient lifestyle, for years owning no telephone, producing their own electricity from rooftop solar panels, and home schooling Gadahn and his three siblings.
His father slaughtered livestock in the ritual Islamic fashion in order to sell them at a local Muslim market, through which Gadahn was exposed at an early age to Islam, although his parents have been described as non-denominational Christians.
Gadahn converted to Islam at 17, later working at a mosque in Orange County, California. In 1997, he assaulted an elder who questioned his work habits and was expelled from the mosque, serving two days in jail. He left the US in the late 1990s, and later married an Afghan refugee.

1 comment:

Maggie Thornton said...

Norm, I read that CBS is saying the reports are false, or mistaken...whatever. It is not believe they have this traitor. Dang!