February 27, 2012
Younes Abdullah Muhammad (a.k.a. Jesse Curtis Morton), co-founder of the fringe extremist Muslim organization Revolution Muslim, pleaded guilty on February 9, 2012 to communicating online threats, including threatening the creators of the cartoon "South Park."
In a press statement accompanying the announcement of the plea deal, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride highlighted the threat posed by the group to national security, citing "the string of recent terrorism cases with ties to Morton's organization." He also warned that "we may never know all of those who were inspired to engage in terrorism because of Revolution Muslim."
Under Muhammad's leadership, Revolution Muslim, now operating under the name Islam Policy, distributed anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist propaganda online. The group's Web site, YouTube channel, and associated online forums attracted a following, including several individuals who have been implicated in terror-related activities.
The following is a list American citizens and residents linked to terrorist activity who had been in direct contact with Younes Abdullah Muhammad:
- Zachary Chesser, an American who pleaded guilty to attempting to join Al Shabaab, a regional Al Qaeda group in Somalia, soliciting crimes of violence, and to threatening the creators of "South Park" was a rising leader within Revolution Muslim prior to his arrest. According to court documents, Chesser worked with Abdullah Muhammad to craft the posts surrounding the threats to South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The two also appeared together at a Revolution Muslim rally held in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.
- Samir Khan, an American who distributed propaganda material online and who was killed with Anwar al-Awlaki in September 2011 in Yemen, had repeated contacts with Abdullah Muhammad and Revolution Muslim. Khan was given permission to post directly to the Revolution Muslim Web site, and Abdullah Muhammad posted Inspire Magazine, believed to have been written and produced by Khan, on the site. Abdullah Muhammad also wrote two articles for Khan's online publication, Jihad Recollections "first English Jihad magazine."
- Jose Pimentel, a naturalized American charged with plotting to attack military personnel and other targets in the New York City region, contacted Abdullah Muhammad by e-mail and told him "that he was a big fan of Revolution Muslim and Islam Policy," a successor Web site, according to court documents. Pimentel also posted directly to the Islam Policy Web site. His posts included news stories from mainstream media, as well as posts from more extreme Web sites and blogs such as the Taliban's Web site. He also reposted pieces from his own Web site, including his commentary about alleged atrocities committed by U.S. military personnel and about the Arab Spring.
- Carlos Eduardo Almonte and Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, two men from New Jersey who pleaded guilty to attempting to join Al Shabaab, attended Revolution Muslim protests in both New York City and Washington, D.C. Videos of the events show Alessa standing next to Abdullah Muhammad.
- Rezwan Ferdaus, an American charged with planning to attack the Pentagon and the Capitol, contacted Abdullah Muhammad by e-mail about the appropriateness of martyrdom operations. Abdullah Muhammad replied that such operations are judged based on their intent but can have enormous benfits [sic] in a war of attrition." Abdullah Muhammad invited Ferdaus to "log onto our site and join our Paltalk discussion on Thrusday's [sic] you can ask the questions and we will go into great detail inshallah."
The following is a list of Americans linked to terrorist activity who visited the Revolution Muslim Web site, attended group meetings, or had contact with the organization's other cofounder, Yousef al-Khattab:
- Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, an American charged with lying to authorities regarding his plans to join the Taliban to fight against American troops, attended Revolution Muslim meetings in person in New York and posted to the Revolution Muslim Web site. A Web site he maintained automatically redirected visitors to the Revolution Muslim Web site.
- Antonio Martinez, a naturalized American who pleaded guilty to attempting to detonate a car bomb at an army recruiting center in Catonsville, Maryland, visited the Revolution Muslim Web site.
- Colleen LaRose, popularly known as "Jihad Jane," who pleaded guilty to conspiring to support terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, lying to investigators and attempted identity theft, followed the Revolution Muslim Web site and subscribed to the group's YouTube channel.
- Bryant Neal Vinas, who pleaded guilty to providing information to Al Qaeda and firing rockets at an American military base in Afghanistan, met with al-Khattab once in Atlantic City and had dinner with him and several others, according to al-Khattab. Law enforcement officials claim that the two met on several additional occasions.
- Tarek Mehanna, who was convicted on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda, was friends with al-Khattab, according to al-Khattab.
- Daniel Maldonado, who pleaded guilty to participating in terrorist activities in Somalia, knew al-Khattab through the Internet, according to al-Khattab. Al-Khattab claims never to have met Maldonado in person, although the two maintained an Internet friendship for several years.