At first it seems all the claims to his story sound ridiculous. A son of a jewish (converted to christianity) hippie psychedelic 60s father, who likes heavy metal, suddenly joins up with a muslim organization associated with terrorists and converts to Islam because he likes the religion the most out of all the religions he read about on the AOL folders he found on the internet. "I began to visit the religion folders on AOL and the Usenet newsgroups, where I found discussions on Islam to be the most intriguing."
He would end up becoming Azzam the American, Adam Gadahn, the english speaking propaganda wing of Al-Qaeda.
Now that story, if it were true, is certainly strange.
It is even harder to believe if one watches his propaganda videos, one of which provoked a post on this blog. Right off the bat, the Adam Gadahn videos seem fake. In my view, and I'm sure many agree, he is simply not convincing at all as a jihadi leader, or islamic terrorist. He looks and sounds fake. The tone of conversation in the videos seems to resemble a comedic parody or bad acting. So is he a fake then?
The original story outlined above about the transformation into terrorist of Adam Gadahn is certainly strange. Yet also strange would be the alternative claim that a son of a 60s hippie would be only pretending to be Azzam the American, acting as a propaganda tool for those who wish to scare the American public into believing in the necessity of the War on Terror.
Where would Adam Gadahn have gotten the connections to a far right group, perhaps a neoconservative group, or a group with connections to the military or intelligence, that would have helped him organize such a deception?
I puzzled over this for some time. In my gut I felt strongly the videos were fake. Yet how can one explain why a young man growing up with his 60s psychedelic dad in California would suddenly start creating fake propaganda for the War on Terror and begin impersonating a member of Al-Qaeda? I got a step closer when I found out from What Really Happened that Adam Gadahn's grandfather was on the board of the controversial pro-Israeli organization, the Anti-Defamation League. Still it seemed to me that this was referring to his grandfather, not his father who he lived with, and who presumably would have more influence on him.
Eventually I came upon a website which has perhaps helped further unravel the puzzle. A blog, Xymphora, has explained that when Gadahn was 15 he moved away from his father's hippie goat farm and went to live permenantly with his grandfather!
So Gadahn chose to live with his ADL grandfather. Mondoweiss, a progressive jewish foreign policy website, explains that the ADL were involved in anti-communist witch hunts at the beginning of the cold war. "The ADL assisted and acted as a go-between for both the Congressional committees and members or former members of the CPUSA who chose to inform on their former comrades and friends, including, in at least one instance, family members.
The ADL, by the late 1980s had begun one of the largest private spying operations in the United States, a fact that was discovered by the San Francisco police in 1992 when it raided the ADL office after discovering that it had been working with a rogue SF cop, Tom Gerard, who had been providing the organization with personal non-public information about a host of American citizens, but, in particular, those supporting the Palestinian cause and opposing South African apartheid.
So the missing link to an "intelligence" group or some group that might have put Gadahn up to the role of an Al-Qaeda imposter has been found. If this information turns out to be correct then perhaps this is the best way of explaining the extraordinarily "fake" seeming propaganda videos of Azzam the American.