Type of site
|Owner||Khadija Abdul Qahaar (née Beverly Anne Giesbrecht)|
JihadUnspun.com was a Canadian news website. It was launched on April 21, 2002, and had a stated aim to present uncensored reporting of the United States' "war on terrorism" on a global scale and reporting also news from several jihad groups. Its articles were often highly critical of American foreign policy and military interventions in especially Muslim countries. It was claimed by its critics to be a hate-ridden supremacist website.
Website ownership and content
The owner and publisher of Jihad Unspun was Beverly Anne Giesbrecht (born August 26, 1953 - 2010), a semi-retired Canadian publishing entrepreneur and convert to Islam, who called herself Khadija Abdul Qahaar (she was also known by the pseudonyms Beverly Kennedy and Paul Morris-Read). A former Catholic, she began a period of intensive research on the history of the American relationship with the Middle East after 9/11, converting to Islam as well. The news portal was named after Jihad vs. McWorld, political scientist Benjamin Barber's bestselling book on capitalism, factionalism, and world civilization.
Webmaster kidnapped by Taliban
Giesbrecht was kidnapped on November 11, 2008, along with her translator, Salman Khan, and her driver, Zar Muhammad, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In late February 2009, a video surfaced of her, in between two men with rifles, in which she states: “I have been in captivity for almost three months. I wake up in the dark, and I go to sleep in the dark.” In March 2009, a video surfaced on which Giesbrecht could be heard stating that the Taliban would behead her unless a ransom was paid.
U.S. government view
The United States Department of State accused Jihad Unspun of spreading "disinformation appear[ing] to originate with Islam Memo, which is a pro-al Qaeda, pro-Iraqi insurgency, Arabic-language Web site based in Saudi Arabia."
Rita Katz, co-founder of the SITE institute, publicly speculated that JihadUnspun was a US government website "designed to find out who visits or orders videos glorifying bin Laden". Azzam Publications also questioned the website's authenticity.
Libertyforum.org argued that JihadUnspun was unlikely to be a genuine pro-jihad website, given the relative sophistication of the websites' content and design in comparison to other jihadi websites which only operate on a shoestring budget.
- Andy Johnson (2007-08-11). "CD-ROM tracks hatred and terrorism websites". CTV News. Archived from the original on 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
Among the worst in Canada is a website calling itself B.C. White Pride and another, also from B.C., known as Jihad Unspun.
- Jack Kelley (2002-07-10). "Militants wire Web with links to jihad". Islamabad: USA Today. Archived from the original on 2016-05-13. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
Other Internet sites, including jihadunspun.net, offer a 36-minute video of bin Laden, with four minutes of previously unaired footage; pictures of President Bush with his head in the sights of a gun; and other propaganda.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
- Brian Hutchinson. "Little effort shown to locate kidnapped Canadian: The Naional Post, Nov 2". National Post. Archived from the original on 2016-10-27. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
- "Abducted B.C. woman's friend fears worst: Seized in Pakistan in 2008". CBC News. 2010-07-05. Archived from the original on 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
He said that even then, the 56-year-old Giesbrecht-Qahaar sounded like she had aged 30 years.
- "Abducted Canadian journalist dead: sources". Peshawar: Indian Express. 2010-11-02. Archived from the original on 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
A woman journalist from Canada, who was abducted by militants in November 2008, has died following prolonged illness in the custody of the Taliban somewhere in northwest Pakistan or Afghanistan, sources said on Tuesday.
- Mark Hume (2011-03-17). "Old friend gives up hope for captive Canadian in Pakistan". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
"I have long feared it, but I finally accepted her demise only a few weeks ago," said Mr. Cooper, who for years has served as a spokesman in Canada for Ms. Giesbrecht, an old friend of his.
- Curt Petrovich (2012-04-17). "RCMP secretly ended probe into Canadian held by Taliban: Foreign Affairs told Mounties to close investigation into kidnapping and death". CBC News. Archived from the original on 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
Last year, while Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs publicly insisted it was trying to aid a Canadian held for more than two years by the Taliban, it was privately telling the RCMP to stop investigating the crime.
- Claude Adams (2011-02-11). "Who Will Mourn Journalist's Death?". The Tyee. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
As for her controversial website, friends say it was not propaganda, but rather a tool to gain the confidence of the people she wanted to interview. "If you put up a website that looks like another CNN wannabe," says one close friend in Canada, Glen Cooper, "they're not going to pay much attention to you."
- "A Trio of Disinformers: Islam Memo, Muhammad Abu Nasr, and Jihad Unspun". US State Department. 2005-04-08. Archived from the original on March 2, 2017.
Jihad Unspun has a track record of spreading very unreliable allegations. For example, on November 22, 2004, it reported that a November 21 attack on a U.S. base in Balad, Iraq had killed 270 U.S. troops. In reality, no U.S. troops were killed that day.
- "Azzam claims Jihadunspun is a fake". Islamwatch. 2002-11-06. Archived from the original on 2002-12-06. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
Following this second, direct attack on our credibility and integrity, and JUS [jihd unspun]'s statement that Waaqiah.Com is now the home of Britain's controversial Azzam Publications, which has led to our Azzam.com domain being taken down by authorities following this statement (it remains down as this statement goes to press), we had no choice but to issue a statement and warn the Muslims about what Jihadunspun is really about.
- "The Web as al-Qaida's safety net". The Chicago Tribune. 2003-03-28. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
They speculate that Jihad Unspun, an English-language site that appears to promote terror, may be a CIA creation, designed to find out who visits or orders videos glorifying bin Laden.
- "Disinformation: CIA Posing as Al Qaeda?". LibertyForum. 2003-08-21. Archived from the original on 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
. . . So right in our backyard we have a semi Al Qaeda operation which unlike Azzam doesnt even lose its ISP, let alone get shut down.
- Beverly Anne Giesbrecht (2003-08-21). "Assalamualeikum Enver, May this letter reach you in the best of health and Imaan". Jihad Unspun. Archived from the original on 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
Although it grieves me a great deal to say this, the CIA accusations stem from Muslims, my very brothers and sisters. The first rumors were started by Azzam Publications and Maktabah Al Ansar, both who know exactly who I am as we have had business dealings early on.
- "From Ashes to Light", Khadija Abdul Qahaar on herself and Jihad Unspun.
- A front for the CIA?
- Information Clearing House: "Disinformation:CIA Posing as Al-Qaeda?"