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WHO IS RAKAN BEN WILLIAMS?

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 12, 2006 11:48 PM

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Lots of readers and bloggers are buzzing about a purported “Last Warning to American People” from an “al Qaeda undercover soldier” identified as “Rakan Ben Williams.”

MEMRI has the translation and details, with this preface:

On March 10, 2006, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) posted, on the Islamic websites, a final warning to the American people, on behalf of “Rakan Ben Williams” who defines himself as “Al-Qaeda under cover soldier, USA [sic].”

It is not clear exactly who is behind this name. Moreover, according to a previous statement by GIMF public relations bureau director Saif Al-Din Al-Kinani on the GIMF Internet newscast Sout Al-Khilafa, GIMF is not affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

But on November 8, 2005, the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported: “The Global Islamic Media Front has threatened [the West] on the Internet by means of its new soldier, whom it calls Rakan Ben Williams, and whom it claims is a white Englishman who converted to Islam.”

Also, on November 24, 2005, the GIMF posted on the Islamic websites a similar warning, under the same name, that included an explicit threat to assassinate Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and U.S. President George W. Bush, when the time comes, with a clear mention of the possibility of doing so after they complete their current terms of office. Although this communiqué was directed to these leaders, it noted that it referred to all Western leaders, and included special mention of Berlusconi. At its conclusion, the communiqué said that it had been written by “the one who thirsts for the blood of the Crusaders, the secret soldier of Al-Qaeda, Rakan Ben Williams, Italy (the Vatican).”

In the following warning, Rakan Ben Williams warns that, unlike after the 9/11, Madrid, and London attacks, which are still being investigated, “[after] the coming attack there will be no one to analyze and investigate, because the mind and the heart will be unable to comprehend it… This will not be a single operation”, the report added, “but two; one bigger than the other, but we will begin with the big one and postpone the bigger one, in order to see [how] diligent the American people is [in preserving] its life. If it chooses life, [it must] carry out the demands of the Muslims, and if it chooses death, then we are its best perpetrators.” The warning appeared in Arabic and in English.

Read it all.

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Here’s an excerpt of the Society for Internet Research’s analysis of a November 2005 terror threat from “Rakan Ben Williams:”

In October 31st 2005, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) published in Jihadi web sites an interesting threatening analysis of Al-Qaeda’s strategy in planning its attacks and choosing the operatives that carries them out.

An imaginary person writes the analysis—Rakan ben Williams—or Wilyamz, as the name mistakenly or deliberately is written. The threatening analysis is titled “The next Al-Qaeda soldier.”

We don’t know who has in fact written the message, but the name chosen for the “Jihadi super hero”—Rakan—reminds us of a legendary Islamic hero of the Middle Ages, who was born in Arabia, and fought against the Mongols in Iraq and Persia. Recently he became a hero of a Middle Eastern comic series as Rakan the “lone warrior.”

…The message was not written just for Western eyes, but for Muslim supporters of global Jihad as well. Rakan Ben Wilyamz is not only the “new secret weapon” of global Jihad, but also a model of “super-hero” for Islamic youth. The fact that the name might have been taken from a comic series, colors it with the heroism of an imaginary figure. Rakan is the Jihadi answer to Superman, Batman, and their colleagues.

There is a question of how we should react to this message. How serious is it, beside the propaganda? Do they really plan to use new Muslim converts in their future attacks, especially on Western soil? The message has lot of internal logic of a well-organized plan. The planned strategy of Al-Qaeda is also juxtaposed with the spread of the Muslim empire in the Middle Ages—from Arabia to Indonesia and Europe—through the conversion of many nations to Islam. The publication of the message by GIMF—an integral organ of global Jihad—authenticates its serious nature.

So far we have several examples of Westerners who, as Muslim converts joined Al-Qaeda, underwent trainings, and participated in terrorist attacks or attempted attacks. Several others were arrested in Afghanistan, Iraq, the United States, or Europe. Religious converts have in many cases been more radical. Moreover, Al-Qaeda has “kept its promises” very adequately, so far. Therefore, intelligence and security services and Western publics should regard the message, despite its arrogant nature, carefully, and take it seriously. The population of Western converts to Islam is not too big to handle for Western security services.

Apart from the operational implications of the message we should also note a significant rise in the intensive activity of GIMF. In addition to a growing number of new messages, articles, or written and videotaped lectures, the main apparatus of global Jihad is busy circulating old material from recent years. From time to time they publish articles that emphasize the importance of the profound indoctrination of Muslim youngsters by Al-Qaeda—“the organization, state, and university for Jihad studies,” as published in an article by the Saudi Ahmad al-Watheq bi-Allah, deputy director of GIMF.

And here’s more on the GIMF:

DUBAI: Stripped of its Afghan haven and chased across the globe, the Al-Qaeda terror network is increasingly resorting to “media jihad” four years after the September 11 attacks on the United States for which it took credit. The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), heir to the “Global Front for Fighting Jews and Christians” set up by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998, presents itself as the hub for Al-Qaeda propaganda on the Internet.

Its emergence is testament to the weight now being placed by Islamist militants on winning over minds to their cause through new media in the absence of any physical command headquarters, terror experts say.

“Unite, O Muslims of the world, behind the Global Islamic Media Front. Set up squadrons of media jihad to break Zionist control over the media and terrorize the enemies,” the GIMF’s “emir,” who goes by the nom de guerre of “Salaheddin II,” exhorts Al-Qaeda followers on the Internet.

The GIMF, is “a new base of Islamic information on the Internet. Our goal is to denounce the Zionist enemy,” echoes his deputy, “Ahmad al-Watheq Billah.” “The Front does not belong to anyone. It is the property of all Muslims and knows no geographical boundaries. All IT and communication experts, producers and photographers … are welcome to join,” he writes…

…The Front recently posted a so-called “Top Ten” of bloody attacks against U.S. forces carried out by the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Land of Two Rivers, the group of Al-Qaeda’s frontman in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The 17-minute video is aimed at “those who like to see American crusader blood flowing,” the GIMF said.

One segment showed American soldiers’ bodies torn to pieces in an attack near the Syrian border that was claimed by Zarqawi’s outfit.

Another scene showed seven U.S. soldiers whose bodies were pulverized in a land mine explosion, before other U.S. soldiers came to collect their remains.

The Internet is also loaded with literature destined to recruit fighters and teach them the tactics of guerrilla warfare and also – primarily – how to manufacture explosives in an effort to groom lone terrorists not necessarily linked to Al-Qaeda or some local variation of the network.

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Bloggers are debating the authenticity of the latest threat, but all agree: It’s a news story the MSM should be covering.

Blog/Internet coverage:

Vinnie at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Jihad Watch
Ms. Underestimated
Right on the Right
Instapundit
World Net Daily
SITE Institute

John Noonan at The Officer’s Club:

This is lazy terrorism, an slacker Islamist’s attempt at causing fear and panic without having to do the legwork. There’s a possibility the press release was calculated, but to me it smells like amateur hour. We’ve heard these ultimatums before, and the worst we saw was a bumped threat level and the national guard/state police posted on high level targets.

Real “large scale operations” come after periods of relative tranquility. Surprise is the most important factor in war, a condition religiously followed by off-the-grid asymmetrically minded AQ types.

This latest threat will have been forgotten by the end of the week. And, at the end of the week, dozens more Jihadis will be captured or dead, proving that all the Islamist threats in the world won’t stop the US military from issuing one-way tickets to Allah.

Posted in: George W. Bush