Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dramatic New Evidence On Major Nidal Hasan and the Fort Hood Terror Attack

By Barry Rubin

This story seems to blow the lid off the killings at Fort Hood. Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim cleric who is a U.S. citizen now living in Yemen, says that the mass murdering major, Nidal Hasan, asked and was given by him a religious ruling authorizing him to shoot the soldiers. This would prove premeditation, a rational decision based on Islamic law, and the Jihadist motivation of the attack beyond any ability to conceal it.

Awlaki’s al-Jazira interview is translated by MEMRI which, it should be noted, does not at all sensationalize the story. While Awlaki could be talking big or “taking credit” for the terrorist operation, he was the imam at Hasan’s mosque in the Washington DC area for some time. His account is credible though it obviously should be investigated closely.

According to the interview, Hasan sent Awlaki an email on December 17, 2008, in which he asked, in Awlaki’s words whether “killing American soldiers and officers…is a religiously legitimate act or not."

After an extensive correspondence, Awlaki complied, blessing the attack three days before it happened:

"Because Nidal's target was a military target inside America, and there is no question about this. Then, also, those members of the military were not regular soldiers; rather they were prepared and preparing themselves to go to battle and to kill downtrodden Muslims and to commit crimes in Afghanistan…."

This information is of the greatest importance. Hasan went to his imam, asked to be assured that shooting his fellow soldiers was a recommended deed under Islamic law, and was told to go ahead. Incidentally, Awlaki has thus become an accessory to the crime and U.S. authorities should ask the Yemeni government to ensure he can be interviewed and extradited.

The ABC network's coverage claims that it was not clear from the transcript whether Awlaki gave Hasan a green light to kill his fellow American soldiers. While Awlaki doesn't say in so many words that he told him to go ahead, it is quite clear from the transcript that this is precisely what he did do.

Some reports of a Yemeni government air attack on an al-Qaida meeting claim that Awlaki was one of the targets.

Once again, MEMRI has done excellent work and you might consider making a donation to them. The full text of the interview can be obtained by writing or with the words "Al-Awlaki Interview" in the subject line.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

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