- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles yesterday indicted a self-proclaimed American jihadist and al Qaeda operative on charges of treason and aiding terrorists.

Adam Yehiye Gadahn, 28, who has become an English-language spokesman for al Qaeda and has appeared in terrorist propaganda films, has been sought by the FBI since 2004. He is thought to be in Pakistan, where authorities think he attended al Qaeda training camps.

Gadahn has become known by his nom de guerre, Azzam al-Amriki, or “Azzam the American.”

In May 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft described Gadahn as one of seven al Qaeda members who were planning to strike new targets in this country during the summer and fall.

Citing “credible intelligence from multiple sources,” Mr. Ashcroft said the seven operatives — some of whom were thought to be in this country — intended to “hit the United States hard.” He said they “posed a clear and present danger to America.”

In a 48-minute al Qaeda video released last month, Gadahn called on non-Muslims — especially those in the United States — to convert to Islam.

“To Americans and the rest of Christendom, we say either repent misguided ways and enter into the light of truth or keep your poison to yourself and suffer the consequences in this world and the next,” he said in English while dressed in a white turban and seated in front of a computer and books.

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, made a brief statement at the beginning of the tape, urging viewers to listen carefully to the message, which was titled “An Invitation to Islam.”

It was the second time that Gadahn has appeared in a video with al-Zawahri. In a July 7 video marking the first anniversary of the terror attack on London commuters, Gadahn appeared briefly, saying no Muslim should “shed tears” for Westerners killed in al Qaeda attacks.

Gadahn — who was raised on a Riverside, Calif., goat farm and is of Jewish descent — also is thought to be the masked man in two videos not officially from al Qaeda. One was given to ABC television in 2004, and the network received another a few days before the fourth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Authorities said that after the ABC broadcast, a member of Gadahn’s mosque in California told the FBI that he thought the man in the video was Gadahn. In the 2005 video, the American identified by U.S. intelligence officials as Gadahn criticized U.S. foreign policy and military activity, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said there could be more al Qaeda attacks.

“Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing. At this time, don’t count on us demonstrating restraint or compassion,” the man said.

Authorities said Gadahn converted to Islam and worshipped at the Islamic Society of Orange County in 1997 before being expelled for attacking one of its leaders. In 2004, he was added to the FBI’s “Seeking Information — War on Terrorism list,” on which he remains.

They said Gadahn is the son of musician Phil Pearlman, who changed his surname before Adam’s birth. His grandfather, Carl Pearlman, was a prominent surgeon and on the board of directors of the Anti-Defamation League.

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