Gadahn gone ... finally?

The London Telegraph has a test to see whether the hail of Predator missile attacks over the last few months took out Adam Gadahn, AKA Azzam al-Amriki, the traitorous terrorist from Garden Grove.  Gadahn has starred in all of the 9/11 videos put out by al-Qaeda since the attack, taunting Americans over AQ’s success in murdering 3,000 people. Will he appear in this year’s entry?

Months of attacks by unmanned US predator aircraft have caused carnage among the middle ranks of terrorist leaders in the lawless lands along the border with Afghanistan, where al-Qa’eda remains dangerous despite suffering a serious defeat in Iraq.

Their victims have included experienced Arab leaders and, it is now thought, Adam Gadahn, a former heavy-metal fan and so-called “killer computer nerd” originally from California. Nothing has been heard from him for months, leading intelligence experts to conclude that he may be dead. …

Jihadists around the world will be watching as closely as intelligence officials this week to see whether Mr Gadahn – also known as Azzam al-Ameriki – produces a new video message to mark September 11, as he has done every year since 2003.

If there is no message it will be taken as near certain confirmation that he is dead – killed either in a strike by Hellfire missiles, or perhaps by jihadi colleagues who have grown jealous of his success.

Frankly, I’d prefer seeing him captured than killed, just so we can try him for treason and stretch a rope with his neck after a guilty verdict.  But if Gadahn has already reached room temperature, the Telegraph’s suggestion that his fellow jihadists could have killed him instead of an American missile sounds almost as good.  If Gadahn discovered in his final moments that both sides considered him a low-life unworthy to waste oxygen, that would at least bring a measure of ironic justice.

Nick Meo suggests another possibility.  Instead of having him killed, his fellow jihadists may have resented his high profile, and AQ may have “demoted” him to a lower status.  That seems very unlikely.  Gadahn’s familiarity with American culture makes him a better propagandist for undermining American resolve.  It makes little sense to have that asset available and waste it on editing videos.

There could be another possibility, although it may be equally unlikely.  Gadahn may have quit and gone into hiding.  It would explain the sudden absence of Gadahn-prepared material, as well as the silence from AQ, which normally salutes its martyrs openly.  He’d have a hell of a time coming back to the US and avoiding trial and execution as a traitor, although under those circumstances, he could offer to work with American forces to target his former jihadists.  If they tried to torpedo him, this scenario may not be out of the question.

We’ll find out soon enough whether Gadahn’s still on the AQ roster, at least.  If we don’t hear from him on Thursday, he’s out in the cold, or his body temperature is.