Adam Gadahn: Californian Turned Al-Qaida Spokesman Killed By US

SANTA ANA (CNS/FOX 11) - A Southern Californian who became a self-styled American spokesman for Al-Qaida was killed in a counter-terrorism operation near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the White House announced Thursday.

From Phil Shuman:

On the grounds of the sprawling Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove, the sounds of school children almost drowned out the soft-spoken Religious Director Dr Muzammil Sidiqqi. He's been here for almost three decades, and remembered quite well when a teenaged Adam Gadahn came to the Mosque seeking to convert to Islam. "Like we do with all people , we welcomed him... he was quiet and calm. ''

But after a dispute with a member, he was asked to leave, and about that time he became 'radicalized' to use the latest term, moved to Pakistan, and lost contact with his family. Dr. Sidiqqi says he would just be speculating but there are lots of things that ''go wrong'' from for various reasons.. . ''family problems..there are a number or reasons people are getting involved with all these horrible things. ''

He also went on to ''denounce all acts of terrorism '', and asked me to to remind our viewers that ''Islam is a religion of peace." Apparently not to Gadahn, who proclaimed his hatred of America and his praise of 9-11 in a series of videos posted on the web. He was the first American indicted for treason by the federal government, back in 2006, accused of ''giving comfort and aid to Al Qaeda. ''There was a million dollar reward offered for his capture. It's not clear who if anyone will get that, as we've just found out now that Gadah apparently perished in a drone strike way back in January. As one local man , having coffee in an Arab bakery in Anaheim's '' Little Gaza '' put it when he heard that, ''He's dead ? that's good, I like that."

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Adam Gadahn grew up in rural Riverside County and converted to Islam at an Orange County mosque. In 2006, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana with treason and providing material support to the enemy, making him the first person to be charged with treason against the United States since the World War II era.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Gadahn was killed in January in the same region where a separate operation inadvertently killed two al-Qaida hostages -- American Warren Weinstein and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto.

According to the 2006 indictment, Gadahn, while "owing allegiance to the United States, knowingly adhered to an enemy of the United States, namely, al-Qaida, and gave al-Qaida aid and comfort, within the United States and elsewhere, with intent to betray the United States.''

The indictment listed 20 separate statements Gadahn made in videotapes broadcast since Oct. 27, 2004, in which he said he had joined al-Qaida and called the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks the "opening salvo of the global war on America ... The magnitude and ferocity of what is coming your way will make you forget all about September 11th.''

On Sept. 11, 2005, Gadahn -- also identified as Azzam al-Amriki and who called himself "Azzam the American'' -- called the 9/11 attack "the blessed raids on New York and Washington.''

In an appearance on or about July 7, 2006, Gadahn referred to the recent capture and execution of two American servicemen in Iraq and questioned why any compassionate person could see "atrocities committed by America'' and "not want to go on a shooting spree at the Marines' housing facilities at Camp Pendleton.''

During the July 7 message and one on Sept. 2, Gadahn referred to aggressors as "Crusaders'' and "Crusader tyranny.''

He said "America's war machine is going from bad to worse,'' and advised viewers to "escape from the unbelieving army and join the winning side.''

"Time is running out, so make the right choice before it's too late and you meet the dismal fate of thousands before you,'' Gadahn said, according to the indictment.

The final al-Qaida video referred to in the indictment was on Sept. 11, 2006, in which Gadahn called the United States "enemy soil.''

According to a variety of media reports, Gadahn was born Adam Pearlman.

His father was local musician Phil Pearlman.

Gadahn's grandfather was a prominent Jewish surgeon, but Gadahn's father converted to Christianity and changed his name to Gadahn, a variation on the name of the Biblical figure Gideon.

He lived and was home-schooled for several years on a Riverside County goat farm in rural Winchester, near Murrieta, where his free-spirited family raised and slaughtered goats for market on a farm without electricity or modern amenities.

He was home-schooled until 15, when he moved in with his grandparents in Santa Ana.

In 1995, Gadahn posted an essay on the USC Web site describing his conversion to Islam called "Becoming a Muslim.''

According to Wikipedia, Gadahn moved to Pakistan in 1998, where he married an Afghan refugee and mostly lost contact with his family.

In May 2004, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller announced that Gadahn was one of seven al-Qaida members planning terrorist actions. The attack, supposedly designed to affect the presidential election, never happened.

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