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Day 15: Cooperating Witness Jason Pippen

An informative and detailed day today. Supporter turnout was also worth noting, with school teachers, parents, and several faith groups in attendance. A testament to the standing of Tarek in the community, and the hearts he touched whist he was amongst them.

The session began with U.S. prosecutor Jeffrey Goeharing questioning Customs & Border Patrol Officer James Bailey regarding instant messages and phone records for Ahmad Abou-Samra [1] obtained from his internet service provider and phone company. The phone conversations covered the dates of August 4’th, 16’th, 18’th, and 19’th. The call originating from Abou-Samra which took place on the 16’th was made to a phone number in Pakistan believed to of belonged to Abdul-Majid [2]. Under cross-examination, defense attorney Janice Bassil simply reviewed the instant messages and phone conversations Officer Bailey discussed with Atty. Goeharing.

The most revealing testimony of the day came from the man known as Jason Pippin [3], who testified on behalf of the American government. Under questioning by U.S. prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty, Pippin discussed his life since his conversion to Islaam in 1992, his multiple divorces, and his experience with different Muslim schools and resistance groups. He also discussed his friendship with Tarek’s codefendant Ahmad Abou-Samra. Presented as an expert in Salafi Jihadi doctrine [4], his experience with several Islamist online forums was used to bolster his credibility. What immediately stood out during the several hours of testimony, was the fact that he had no discernible accent while pronouncing Arabic phrases, obviously emphasizing his “expertise”.

Before delving into the details of his drifter lifestyle, Pippin discussed his first two meetings with the F.B.I – the first of which occurred in 2005 during a trip to Finland. Traveling to meet with friends, Pippin was detained at the U.S. embassy, and forcefully confined to the building until the F.B.I. had concluded their line of questioning. Describing the entire experience as “unpleasant”, he characterized his subsequent meeting with them in 2008 as more “pleasant”. Finally, before discussing the case, Chakravarty presented the subpoena issued to Pippin offering him immunity in return for his testimony against Tarek.

Chakravarty segued into the case matter by asking Pippin to discuss the history of Lashkar-e-Taiba [5] and his time with them. While mentioning its orgins [6] and founders, Chakravarty interrupted Pippin and asked him to clarify who ‘Abdullah Azzam was [7]. After reviewing the conflict in Kashmir, Pippin continued, and went on to mention that although he never actively fought in Kashmir, he received paramilitary training in small arms and basic self defense. Also, while in the region, he took the opportunity to study in Kotli (a district in Kashmir).

Moving on to his time in Yemen, Pippin explained how an associate of his from Yemen helped arrange his initial visit to the country, and subsequent studies at Dar-ul-Hadith [8]. Upon arrival, he briefly resided with the brother-in-law of Sh. Abul-Hasan al-Misri, who happened to be an Afghan Arab [9]. Despite this association, Pippin emphasized that he took part in no military training or activities while in Yemen, and exclusively spent his time in the area studying Arabic, Islaamic tradition, and jurisprudence.

Entering 9/11 [10], Pippin explained how his views became more “extreme” after the attacks, as a result of “reading various books written in Arabic, and viewing tapes“. He also expressed that his activities online contributed to his then, extreme views. Chakravarty proceeded to inquire about Pippin’s online activities, asking him to name the various internet forums he visited, and some of the users who were active on them. Starting with the ‘Salafiyoon‘ online forum, Pippin revealed that he posted under the username ‘Abu Umar‘; this activity was pre-911. Next, he mentioned the ‘Clear Guidance‘ (abbr. CG) forum, revealing that he posted under the username ‘Abul-Muthanna. ‘Pippin described it as an online hangout for like minded individuals who shared his extremist views. Finally, he discussed the ‘At-Tibyan Publications‘ [11] forum, noting that he didn’t remember it too well, but recalled how it operated – permitting casual users to read/browse, but requiring Admin approval in order to post. He also noted that most if not all of the members were former participants in the Clear Guidance forum.

Pippin’s vague recollection of At-Tibyan Forums was either deliberately misleading or a flat out lie. Contrary to various claims, Pippin (or Abul-Muthanna) had nothing to do with At-Tibyan Publications, having ceased his participation in online forums before At-Tibyan was even established. He neither administered nor moderated the group, and never posted to the forum. Any translations of his appearing on the forum were re-published by active members of the forum who saw value in his work. The only relationship between Pippin and At-Tibyan was the forum title, which was taken from a text he spent 6 months translating [12]. Ironically, this same text explores the Islaamic ruling on Muslims who support the American government and military in oppressing others.

Delving deeper into Pippin’s particular beliefs, Chakravarty asked how long he held onto his “extremist” opinions. Pippin indicated that he maintained these beliefs up until 2004 or 2005, when he began to distance himself from his online activities and contacts [13]. Chakravarty then proceeded to inquire,

AC: “Are you familiar with the term ‘Salafi Jihadi’ ?

JP: “It’s a reference to Muslims who believe that Jihad is an individual obligation on the Muslim Ummah … and that the rulers of Muslim countries are apostates and must be removed by force. They also believe the targeting of innocent civilians is a legitimate tactic.” [14]

Regarding members of the forums Pippin mentioned, Chakravarty read off a list of usernames:

* Abu-Fadl (identified by Pippin as a u/n of Ahmad Abou-Samra)

* Abu Huraira

* Sinaan (identified by Pippin as a u/n of Ahmad Abou-Samra)

* Abu-Hamood

* Abu-Usaid

* Ibn Abi-Shayba (identified by Pippin as a u/n of Ahmad Abou-Samra)

* Abu Dujana (identified by Pippin as a u/n of Tarek Aldour) [15]

* Abu-Khubayb al-Muwahhid

* Abu Sabaya (identified by Pippin as a u/n of Tarek Mehanna)

and asked if Pippin was familiar with them, to which he replied in the affirmative. Chakravarty then proceeded to present two photos of Ahmad Abou-Samra:

* Photo #1

– caucasian male

– broad forehead

– close cropped auburn brown hair

– green eyes

– trimmed Beard

* Photo #2

– Same individual, but with a chest length beard

followed by a photo of Pippin with a much thicker beard. With Chakravarty pointing out the obvious change in his appearance, Pippin pointed out that he used to believe shaving your beard was prohibited in Islaam, but “… obviously I don’t believe that anymore.” Regarding the history and relationship between the two men, Pippin went on to describe how they got to know each other through internet forums, and met in person in 2003 when Abou-Samra travelled to California. According to Pippin, the meeting was arranged in order to discuss traveling to Yemen for Jīhad. At the time, according to Pippin, there remained a significant population of Aghan-Arabs in the region who might of been able to assist them. Before moving on his next line of questioning, Chakravarty inquired whether or not Pippin knew of an individual by the name of Aqeel Walker. Pippin replied that he indeed knew him, and that he was a translator from the Georgia area.

Returning to Pippin’s participation in online forums, a copy of a thread from the ‘Clear Guidance’ web  forum dated November 18’th, 2003, was displayed for the court. Found amongst the posts, was a comment by Tarek discussing verse 66 of the Qur’aanic chapter entitled ‘Al-Anfal’. Another post discussed the book ‘Join the Caravan’ [16], and goes on to explore the juristic ruling of Ibn Hazm [17] as it pertains to a son leaving his parents in order to participate in Jīhad.

The jury then hears about a work entitled ‘Constants on the Path to Jihad’ [18], and how Pippin not only translated the work, but also recorded an audio commentary and published it to the internet [19]. They also listened attentively as Pippin briefly discussed an online communication between an individual under the username ‘Saif Maslool’ and a Boston based Muslim who has no relation to this case.

Touching upon Ahmad Abou-Samra’s trip to Yemen, Pippin testified that he advised Abou-Samra to enter the country through the airport located in Sayun, Yemen as opposed Sanaa. This was due to the difficulty foreigners sometimes face at the Sanaa airport. He then claimed to of suggested to Abou-Samra that he should state that he plans to attend the Dar-ul-Mustafa [20] school in Yemen, due to its generally apolitical nature. In one of his communication, he stated that Abou-Samra told him the contacts he was given (Al-Misri’s brother-in-law, and ‘Abdullah al-Ahdal) were of no use, and they told him that any training camps in Yemen were “all done with“.

When asked if he ever met Tariq in person, Pippin stated that he had not, but he was aware that he had be kicked off of Tibyan Forums due to his stance that voting in democratic elections did not constitute a form of apostasy.

With the little time left in the day, defense attorney J.W. Carney stood in order to begin his cross-examination. Briefly going over Pippin’s history, the prevalence of the Salafi ideology amongst converts in the 1990’s was addressed. Delving further into Salafi doctrine, Carney posed questions regarding their beliefs and methodology. Finally, Carney asked Pippin to explain the concept of Jīhad, and whether or not it was mentioned in Qur’an.

Having reached the end of the day, Judge O’Toole called for a recess, leaving Carney to continue his cross-examination the following day.

10.21.09 … never forget … never surrender!


[1] Ahmad Abou-Samra: Friend of Tarek who accompanied him on his trip to Yemen. An American Muslim (of Syrian heritage), and graduate of UMASS-Boston with a degree in Computer Science. Fearing for his family’s safety, he fled to the Arab Republic of Syria following F.B.I. harassment. He is listed as Tarek’s co-defendent.

[2] Abdul-Majid: A contact Abou-Samra allegedly met during his travels in Pakistan. For further details, refer to the summary of Day 14 on freetarek.wordpress.com.

[3] Jason Pippin (a.k.a. Abu ‘Umar Al-Jurjaaneee, a.k.a. Abu Umar, a.k.a. Abul-Muthanna): Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, he accepted Islaam in 1992 shortly before he dropped out of Henry County High School. In 1996, he decided to travel to Kashmir for 5 months in order to receive paramilitary training from the Muslim resistance group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Following a brief return to the States, and despite receiving an acceptance letter from the Islamic University of Medina, he set off to Yemen in 1998 in order to study Arabic and Islaamic studies at the Dar-ul-Hadith school, both in Ma’rib (مأرب) and Dammaj (دماج). While there, he studied under the Muslim scholar & theologian Sh. Abdul-Hasan Al-Ma’ribi (أبوالحسنالمأربي), who’s also known by the name Abul-Hasan AlMisri (أبو الحسن المصري). HealsometSh.AbulHasansbrotherinlaw – a veteran of the 80’s era Afghan Jīhad.

Following his time in Yemen, he returned to Georgia where he served as an Imam [leader] of a local masjid. Leaving the country once again to continue his Islaamic studies, he visited Morocco and then Mauritania. Coming back to America, he worked as a school teacher, first in Carriage Park, Maryland, then Sacramento, California. He later attempted to return to Yemen and study at the Dar al-Mustafa school, but was unsuccessful. Currently he works as an editor and translator in the Toronto, Canada area. His recent works include a translation of Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri’s ‘Fatwa against Terrorism and Suicide Attacks’ (فتوي  ضد الإرهاب والعمليات الانتحارية).

Although not discussed in court, Pippin also served as an Imam in both the North Carolina and Washington, D.C. area.

[4] Salafi: An individual who adopts the orthodox/orthoprax methodology of Islaam known as ‘Salafiyya’.

Jīhadi: A Muslim who believes Jīhad is sanctioned in the Islaamic faith, and that it is applicable/legitimate in modern times.

[5] Lashkar-e-Taiba [لشكرطيبه; abbr. LeT. Army of the Righteous]: A paramilitary Muslim resistance group based in the region known as Kashmir. Founded by approximately 17 individuals, it’s should be noted that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was one of the such said founders. Saeed is the uncle of Hassan Masood, a witness for the American government who testified on November 14’th, 2011.

[6] Markaz ud-Dawa wal-Irshād [مركزالدعوي والإرشاد]

[7] ‘Abdullah ‘Azzam [عبداللهعزام] (b. 1941, d. 1989): Islaamic scholar, theologian, university professor, and Muslim resistance fighter from Palestine. Considered by many orthodox Muslims as a revivalist of the jurisprudence of Jīhad, he helped establish and operate Maktab al-Khidamat [مكتبالخدمات] in Peshawar, Pakistan. A mentor to Usama Bin Laden, both men sustained Arab volunteers to the Afghan Jīhad through lodging, salaries, and arrangements for soldiers’ families. He was assassinated on his way to attend Friday services.

[8] Dar-ul-Hadith: A network of Islaamic schools located in the country of Yemen. Originally established by Sh. Muqbil al-Waadi’ee (d. 2001) in Dammaj, Yemen, the schools promote the Islaamic school of thought known as Salafiyya. The branch of Dar-ul-Hadith in Ma’rib, Yemen is operated by Sh. Abul-Hasan al-Misri.

[9] Afghan Arab: Any veteran of the first Afghan Jīhad (approx. 1979-1989) who ethnically belongs to the peoples of Northern Africa, the Levant, or Arabian Peninsula. Following the end of major military operations in Afghanistan, many Arabs found it difficult to return to their homelands due to fear of persecution because of their war efforts. Many who chose not to reside in Afghanistan, sought asylum in Yemen under an agreement established with the ruling government at the time.

[10] 9/11: The September 11’th, 2001 strikes on New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

[11] At-Tibyan Publications: The now defunct British publishing house & web forum where translators from across the globe collaborated in translating classical Islaamic literature from Arabic to English.

[12] /At-Tibyān fī Kufr man A’aan Al-Amrīkan/ [التبيانفيكفرمنأعانالامريكان, ‘The Exposition Regarding the Disbelief of the one that Assists the Americans’]: A treatise written by the Islamic scholar and theologian Sh. Nasir bin Hamad al-Fahad (الشيخناصربنحمدالفهد).

[13] Although his distance from online activities clearly tempered his zeal, his “transformation” actually came about during efforts to compose refutations against extreme Muslim mystics. At the conclusion of his research, those around him found that he had abandoned his previous beliefs, and began to argue in favor of Islamic mysticism. This was attested to by his brief maintenance of a website which explored Islamic mysticism.  Essentially, he had left one extreme and entered another.

[14] His description of the “Salafi Jihadi” belief is surprisingly hackneyed taking into consideration his years of study. Those vaguely familiar with the academic discourse amongst proponents of Jīhad can easily point out that various ideologues of the ‘Salafi Jihadi’ doctrine have openly argued against the intentional targeting of innocent civilians. The British based scholar Abd-al Mun’em Mustafa Halima is one such scholar.

[15] Tarek Aldour (a.k.a. Abu Dujana): British Muslim imprisoned for maintaining a website sympathetic to Muslim soldiers.

[16] A treatise written by Sh. Abdullah ‘Azzam addressing the issue of Jīhad, and specifically the Jīhad in Afghanistan.

[17] Ibn Hazm: A ninth century Andalusian Muslim scholar credited with the founding of the Dhahiri school of thought. Held in high esteem by Muslims across the globe, his contributions covered several fields of study, ranging from Islaam and Psychology, to Love and Physics. His research and work is used as a reference for juristic rulings to this day.

[18] Contants on the Path to Jīhad [ ثوابتعليدربالجهاد, /thawaabit ‘ala darb al jīhad/]: A brief treatise prepared by the Saudi Muslim scholar and Al-Qaeda idealogue Yusuf Al-Uyayri [يوسفالعييري]. The text explores constant principles established in Islaam pertaining to Jihad, and attempts to align them with contemporary military studies. The nature and efforts of the Taliban government are touched upon near the conclusion of the work.

[19] To note, is that American Muslim scholar Anwar Al-Awlaki also published an audio commentary to this text, the result of which landed him with a slew of charges related to material support of terrorism.

[20] Dar-ul-Mustafa: An Islaamic school located in Hadramawt, Yemen.


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