Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 11
By: Abdul Hameed Bakier

In a quest to spread security and military knowledge that is vital for
successful Salafi-Jihadi terror operations, jihadi internet forums
intermittently release training lessons in all kinds of subjects. This
article will examine two types of jihadi security training materials.
The first training episode, published by al-Qaeda in the South Arabian
Peninsula, tutors jihadis on ways to resist interrogation. The group
published three training episodes entitled "Triumph over
Interrogators" in their monthly e-magazine, Sada al-Malahim
( January, February, March, 2009). A second
security training episode was prepared by an Ingush jihadi nicknamed
Abu Anas of Khacharoy (it does not appear that this individual is the
same as Commander Abu Anas [a.k.a. Muhannad, a.k.a. Khalid Yusuf
Muhammad al-Emitat], an Arab field commander operating in Chechnya).
This posting discusses intelligence and security techniques in an
article entitled "Security Advice from an Ingush Jihadi." The material
is based on the experiences of Salafi-Jihadi fighters operating in the
Russian North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia.

Triumph over Interrogators

The anti-interrogation lessons, prepared by an al-Qaeda operative
nicknamed Abdulaziz al-Abini, discuss two methods of interrogation
aimed at eliciting confessions and intelligence from imprisoned
jihadis and ways to counter them. The first method is psychological
manipulation and the second method is physical torture. The lesson
starts with the psychological methods used by security forces, which
begin on day one of imprisonment when the jihadi is restrained with
chains as a show of authority. This is typically followed by further
manipulative techniques:

•Intimidation versus Endearment - This method is applied by two
interrogators. One plays the good guy and the other the bad guy. The
good-guy interrogator will promise to help the jihadi if the latter
confesses and provides intelligence on the terror cell. The training
warns jihadis not to fall for the false promises of this interrogator.
The bad-guy interrogator will use obscene language while threatening
the jihadi with all kinds of torture. The counter-measure suggested by
the training is to simply ignore the interrogators' threats - easier
said than done.

•Empathy - Interrogators use empathy, pretending to care for the
jihadi's fate in an attempt to build rapport with the subject.
Building rapport achieves short-term and long-term objectives for
security forces. The long-term objective is to recruit the jihadi and
release him to penetrate the terror cell. Even though the technique is
a very common and crucial instrument in counterterrorism operations,
the training fails to explain how the jihadi is supposed to counter
this technique.

•Indifference - Leaving the imprisoned jihadi for long intervals
without interrogation is another technique used by interrogators when
no timely intelligence is required in the given case. In this case,
the jihadi is instructed to pretend to be coping well with prison
conditions and spend the time reciting the Holy Quran.

•Exaggeration - The interrogators will question the jihadi about a
very serious case, implying his involvement, such as a conspiracy to
assassinate a head of a state. This technique is designed to
manipulate the captive into confessing a lesser evil and to study his
reactions when he is being honest and compare them to his reactions
when he lies. To fend off this technique, the jihadi should answer
sarcastically to all allegations. The training relates the experience
of a fellow jihadi who was accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
The accused told his interrogators that he was in one of the planes
used in the attacks.

•Simplify - The interrogators try to convince the jihadi that his case
is not serious, unless he keeps denying the charges. The training
reminds the jihadi that denying the charges will not exacerbate the
case legally.

•Wear Out - The jihadi is repeatedly questioned about a single incident.

•Insult - Obscene language may be used in the interrogation to break
the jihadi's morale. Interrogators may curse God and religion to shake
up the pious jihadi who is ordered by God not to tolerate blasphemy
and to try and stop it in any way possible. In this case, the jihadi
might think its better to confess than to let the blasphemy continue.

•The Bombshell - After long sessions of trivial conversation, the
interrogators will surprise the jihadi with questions related to
terror activities, hoping to catch him off guard. The training relates
other "bombshell" techniques from actual experience, such as awakening
the suspect and immediately posing questions.

•Uncertainty - The training warns the jihadi not to believe
allegations that security forces have penetrated the terror cell using
one of the amirs. The attempt to cast doubt in the jihadi's mind and
weaken his loyalty to his group is an old technique known even to
novice jihadis. The jihadi must have strong faith in the face of the
authorities' efforts to dissuade him from his path, such as the Saudi
Arabian reeducation and reconciliation prison program (see Terrorism
Monitor, August 16, 2007). The training promises separate lessons on
countering the rehabilitation program in future issues of Sada

•Entrapment - Interrogators will ask questions that sound trivial,
such as the time of a particular terror cell meeting, the kind of
drinks served in the meeting and details of the rendezvous place. The
training warns the answers to these seemingly irrelevant questions
will be used on another imprisoned cell member to convince him
security forces have comprehensive intelligence about the cell.
Captured jihadis are instructed to give short "yes" or "no" answers to
such inquiries because elaboration leads to the disclosure of
sensitive intelligence.

•Polygraph - The training briefly explains polygraph technology. The
instructions to counter the polygraph reveals that the jihadis do not
fully understand the technology or do not train their operatives to
deceive the polygraph by using Yoga techniques, as do some other
insurgent groups.

The training warns interrogators can persist in breaking the suspect
if they are convinced the suspect is holding back crucial intelligence
on activities that might jeopardize human lives. Interrogators will
also use all possible means to get a conviction if they believe the
jihadi would resume terror activities when released.

Physical Duress and Cover Stories

The second part of the training discusses physical duress methods
allegedly used by all security forces against Salafi-Jihadis. The
training describes different torture techniques and urges jihadis to
endure pain for the sake of God, who will reward them in heaven.

The training session puts emphasis on the importance of cover stories.
Examples are given of the repercussions of bad cover stories in real
encounters with security forces. Finally, the lessons sum up
counter-interrogation techniques by instructing jihadis to preplan for
interrogation in order to minimize the effects of interrogation on
future jihad operations. Different cover stories should be devised for
each and every terror plot. Tolerance, sarcasm and indifference will
wear out the interrogator, resulting in a "triumph over the

No matter how thorough and experienced the jihadis are in
anti-interrogation, the fact remains that human psychology differs
from person to person. Jihadi tactics have failed to address the wide
range of psychological methods researched and adopted by security
forces. For example, there is no mention in the training of the four
different psychological categories interrogators use to try to
identify the suspect at the beginning of each interrogation.

Security Advice from the Caucasus

This security posting, supposedly prepared by an Ingush Salafi-Jihadi,
aims to educate fellow mujahideen about necessary safety procedures
from lessons learned in the North Caucasus jihad (, March
18). The author warns that security agents continuously inquire about
ways to join jihad through internet forums, hoping to deceive and
identify jihadis involved in trafficking mujahideen. Jihadi candidates
must maintain safety requirements and take precautions to avoid

Although jihad has been waged for many years in the Caucasus, very few
Muslims were able to safely travel to the Caucasus and join in, says
Abu Anas. Additionally, negligence and incompetent security practices,
even by experienced jihadis, have led to arrests which decreased the
already modest number of mujahideen active in the Caucasus. Jihad in
regions heavily controlled by security forces requires extra
precautions and good cover stories capable of disguising even the
intention of joining jihad. To hide these intentions, the author
suggests would-be jihadis take the following measures:

•The elimination of all religious aspects of appearance, such as the
beard and the traditional Salafi dress code.

•Avoid frequenting mosques. Mosques are closely monitored by security services.

•Avoid discussions about jihad with unreliable Muslims who don't
believe in the pillar of jihad.

•Allow women to take off their head covers to disguise religious
commitment. Abu Anas claims there is a fatwa (religious verdict)
authorizing this measure.

To stress the importance of eliminating religious aspects of the
jihadi's appearance, Abu Anas says Russian secret services arrested,
by chance, an active jihadi among many bearded men in connection with
a botched assassination attempt on the pro-Russian president of

Abu Anas warns that the internet is a very valuable source of
information for secret services, blaming jihadis for carelessly
posting pictures and video clips pertinent to jihad. He offers the
example of a policeman's son who made a jihadi-style video while
holding his father's state-issued weapon. Security services were able
to identify the serial number on the gun and arrest the would-be
jihadi. Abu Anas cautions against trusting relatives in the security

"Sometimes some Muslims are so naive that they think that ties of
kinship will prevent members of disbelieving forces from harming them.
It should be clearly understood, that bitterness of war in Caucasus
reached such a high degree, that local 'cops' do not hesitate to
shoot, abduct and torture their 'militant' relatives or those
'suspected in links to militants.'"

The release of pictures and videos on the false assumption that the
jihadis in these graphics are already known to the secret services
limits the chance of those jihadis conducting any kind of clandestine
operation, such as collecting intelligence on a possible target.
Despite Abu Anas' warnings, jihadis in the Caucasus keep posting their
pictures on the internet, apparently in an attempt to solicit
donations from jihad supporters ( April
13, 2009)

Insecure communications methods, such as landlines, mobile phones and
the internet, are a major factor in compromising jihad activities. For
the security services, this is the fastest and easiest way to uncover
jihadi intentions. Secret services eavesdrop on what the jihadi says
and analyze what he writes. Therefore, jihadis must turn off mobile
phones in secret meetings and throw away SIM cards if phone calls
suddenly disconnect. Jihadis who release audio statements through any
means must realize that their voiceprint is saved in the
electromagnetic database of the secret services for future
auto-tracking. Abu Anas says there are no secure telephones - 80 to
90% of successful security operations against jihadis are, at least in
part, the result of intelligence collected through technical means.
Hence, jihadis should train on safe communications and severely punish
those who are sloppy in these areas.

Finally, Abu Anas recommends the following security precautions:

•Avoid Russian servers when using internet communications. All Russian
police forces have authorized access to any email.

•Insurgent groups must immediately expel any mujahid who fails to
perform his duties in a secure fashion

•A bad mobile connection in a place that usually has good reception
indicates the secret services are listening in on the call. Evacuate
the area immediately and dispose of the SIM (Subscriber Identity
Module) card. SIM cards are the first things to be checked by secret
services when a jihadi is arrested.

Although more advanced jihadi training materials have been made
available on the internet, the "General Security Advice" prepared by
the Ingush jihadi was posted in almost all Salafi-Jihadi forums and
blogs to depict a united Salafi-Jihadi global front. However, facts on
the ground indicate intrusive Salafism is losing ground to traditional
Sufism in the North Caucasus, particularly in Chechnya.


{Invite (mankind, O Muhammad ) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom 
(i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur'an) and fair preaching, and argue 
with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone 
astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided.} (Holy 

{And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allah (believes in 
His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites 
(men) to Allah's (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I 
am one of the Muslims."} (Holy Quran-41:33)
The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "By Allah, if 
Allah guides one person by you, it is better for you than the best types of 
camels." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim] 

The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  also said, "Whoever 
calls to guidance will have a reward similar to the reward of the one who 
follows him, without the reward of either of them being lessened at all." 
[Muslim, Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, an-Nasaa'ee, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah] 



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