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Ghost posts from Omar Hammami via the Twitter Medium

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

[ Charles Cameron — receiving messages from the dead via Twitter ]

I was surprised late last night when a tweet from the account of the late American jihadi Omar Hammami showed up in my Twitter stream:

It was in Arabic as you can see, so I took it to Google Translate — which never quite makes sense but almost — and thought I recognized it, checked it out with the Quranic Arabic Corpus translation section, and it did look very much as though what @abumamerican had posted was from the Quran 7. 43:

Praise to Allah, who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us.

I checked with whoever was posting in @abumamerican’s name, and got the reply “you r right. Sura E Alaraf”.


Okay, that’s one part of any Islamist communication that interests me a great deal, and others often not so much — the epigraph, the scriptural basis on which the communication in question is based. Everything that follows should be read as a possible variation on that theme — see my earlier ZP posts Speak the Languages, Know the Modes of Thought and especially Close reading, Synoptic- and Sembl-style, for parallels, patterns.


In any case…

After that first, epigraphic tweet, a whole stream of further tweets from @abumamerican followed, many of them in English, and many of them indeed dealing with the notion that Omar Hammami had died remaining faithful to the Guidance, while his killer, Zubeyr / Godane, had gone wildly astray from it.

Others are better qualified than I to discuss the details of what the spectral @abumamerican said and will perhaps continue to tell us. For the moment, I can recommend these two sources:

  • Clint Watts post, Omar Hammami’s Ghost Tweets On Westgate, Kenya & Shabaab
  • Sahan Journal’s 8 Reasons Why al-Shabaab Killed al-Amriki
  • **

    Keep your eyes open, there will be more…

    A flock, a gaggle of tweeters?

    Monday, May 13th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — a testament to bewilderment ]

    It is pretty clear, I think, that Craig Little (upper panel) is not a mujahid from Daphne, Alabama, now living or dead in Somalia. He first tweeted on 22 March, 2009, however, and hasn’t tweeted since 29 July, 2010. Which gives him the name AbuAmerican on twitter.

    Abu M, however, came later, first tweeting on May 15, 2012, and most recently on May 3, 2013. He has the Twitter handle AbuMAmerican, and is generally regarded as being the mujahid from Daphne, Alabama, Omar Hammami — of whom one might ask, is he in heaven, is he in hell, that demmed, elusive Pimpernel? Or still in Somalia, perhaps, dead or alive? Depending on what one believes about life, death, and beyond.


    But that leaves us with two other contenders to consider:

    Both these gents — the one with an “a” where an “e” would otherwise be, and the one with an _ at the end of his handle, as though you might need to crank a car with it — purport to be picking up where AbuMAmerican left off.

    AbuAmerican_ with the crank handle is followed by Jarret Brachman, J. Dana Stuster, Khanserai, Peter Neumann, and Raff Pantucci among knowledgeable others — Raff also follows AbuAmarican with the improper “a”. And how’s this for complicated? AbuAmarican with the “a'” is followed, too, by the frankly cranky AbuAmerican_, by Chris Anzalone, IntelGirl, DC Gomez and Christof Putzel.

    Putzel, in case this is any help, interviewed Hammami in 2012 for CurrentTV, long before Spencer Ackerman talked with him for Wired this April.

    Neither Abu with an A nor Abu Crank have shown the kind of easy humor the Original Abu M showed in tweets like this:


    But then — is Abu M any more real than his knockoffs? At least he’s the most interesting of the lot. And as JM Berger said to Attackerman, speaking of the “original” AbuMAmerican:

    If it’s a hoax … it’s an incredibly elaborate one, and would be done for an extremely small audience.

    Who’s Who? How should I know?

    Two tales from the outsider jihad

    Sunday, April 28th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — wanna know the very latest on those black banners from Khorasan? ]

    Here’s the scene that greeted four British recruits to the jihad on their arrival at a training camp in Pakistan in August 2011:

    This wasn’t like the training camps of propaganda videos, with the black flag of al-Qaeda flying free in the wind. There were no racks of weapons waiting for recruits. And all the trainers had left for the religious festival of Eid.

    They came home to the UK, where their families “berated” them, they were arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced to 40 month terms in prison.

    With jihad, as with so much else, you can’t always count on truth in advertising.


    And then there’s Omar Hammami.

    Even Rusty Shackleford from My Pet Jawa — “a weblog comparing Muslims to Jawas and containing criticism and satire of Islamic traditions and beliefs” — can’t help but like Omar Hammami, aka Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, the American jihadist from Alabama who, as Wired puts it, “shoots the breeze” on Twitter “with the people whose job it is to study and even hunt people like him.” He does it with verve, even when ridiculing al-Shabab, the group he was put on the the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List with a $5 million bounty for joining:

    Shackleford commented, “I’ve actually become kinda fond of the guy — if that’s possible”.

    Al-Shabab, however, appears to dislike him enough to have tried to assassinate him a couple of days ago, following up their failure with a major attack, results as yet unknown.

    With jihad in foreign lands, apparently, you can’t even trust your fellow mujahidin to treat you better than your avowed enemies.

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