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Topic: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom (Read 466304 times)
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #200 on:
September 13, 2007, 10:57:15 PM »
The War on Terror: The German Front
By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, September 13, 2007
Although praise for the United States occurs very seldom in anti-American Western Europe, it was different in Germany last week. Unreported by most media outlets, the largest potential terrorist attack on German soil since the Second World War that saw three men arrested, two of them German converts to Islam, was thwarted with considerable American help.
As it turns out, according to a report in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, CIA officials had been working in close co-operation with German intelligence on this case for months, right up until the arrest of three suspects last week in an inconspicuous village in the state of North Rhineland-Westphalia. A joint team of American and German investigators had already been working in Berlin for some time on “Operation Alberich”, the name of a king in German mythology given to the project. US Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, told Der Spiegel that the cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence services was never closer than during this investigation.
The terrorist cell broken up last week apparently appeared on German intelligence agencies’ radar screens for the first time last fall after a warning from their US counterparts. American authorities alerted the Germans that the Islamic Jihad Union, an extremist, Uzbekistani outfit with ties to al Qaeda and to which these particular terrorists belonged, was setting up a network in their country. It is known that the IJU’s German members arrested last week had trained at terrorist camps in Pakistan in 2006 where they most likely came to the attention of the American security officials stationed there.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America maintains a large, clandestine intelligence-gathering effort that has already resulted in several significant victories, as already reported in FPM (
). FBI teams in Pakistan have built up a network of informers, including members of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services, which pass on information for money and, according to one Pakistani writer, even for trips to the United States.
This same writer states that this German cell had probably trained in the camp of al Qaeda commander Abu Hanifah, who trains Turks, Bosnians and Kurds in the lovely Islamist art of blowing up their fellow human beings. Another commander trains Chinese Muslim terrorists and Pakistanis, while still another looks after the homicidal needs of Uzbeks and Tajiks. One of the three suspects arrested last week is a German-Turk, while other Turks are being sought in this case.
It is also now known the cell returned to Germany with a “clear assignment.” Its German leader was even in contact with someone in Pakistan at the end of August who urged the carrying out of his murderous mission within the next fourteen days. And probably due to al-Qaeda’s apparent involvement, Americans were the plot’s main targets and not Germans. Besides American military installations and the Frankfurt airport, the terrorists, in their mindless hatred, were considering attacking discotheques, schools (think of Beslan), bars, or anywhere their sick minds considered there would be American citizens.
According to the Spiegel report, the tracking of the terrorists became an important theme in German-American relations over the past months, most likely because of this Islamist targeting of Americans and their desire to “kill as many people as possible” with bombs a hundred times more powerful than the backpack explosives used in the 2005 London transit bombings. Operation Alberich was considered so important that it was one of the topics of conversation between President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, last June. President Bush was also immediately informed of last week’s terrorist arrests.
The only unfortunate part of the whole affair is that only three of the 49 Islamists that German Federal Intelligence Service chief Jorg Ziercke believes are involved in the plot are in custody where they are remaining silent. The German newspaper, Die Welt, reported Ziercke’s statement regarding the plot’s size as well as the fact that the cell consisted of a solid core of ten terrorists, of whom two are still in Germany but cannot yet be arrested due to a lack of evidence.
But perhaps just as alarming as this large number of potential mass murderers still on the loose and dedicated to killing Americans is the fact that seven persons from German Islamist circles have been arrested in Pakistan over the past months and an additional six are known to be currently in that country. And if such is truly the case, then one can probably expect a lot more friendly words to come America’s way from Western Europe yet.
Stephen Brown is a columnist for Frontpagemag.com. Email him at
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #201 on:
September 14, 2007, 02:54:26 PM »
The Trans-Atlantic Militant Connection
Authorities on both sides of the Atlantic arrested a total of four people Sept. 12 in connection with a plot to stage jihadist attacks against Austria and Germany. Earlier in the month, Danish authorities arrested eight people on suspicion of plotting attacks in Denmark, and a day later German authorities arrested three people on suspicion of plotting to attack U.S. and Uzbek targets in Germany. Counterterrorism officials in Europe and the United States believe the plots in Germany and Denmark are related.
This latest wave of arrests demonstrates the interconnection between militant cells in Europe and North America -- and serves as a warning on the increasing militant activity on European soil.
On Sept. 12, two men and a woman were arrested in Vienna, Austria, for allegedly posting a video on an Islamist Web site threatening attacks against Germany and Austria because of those countries' support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The three allegedly are associated with the Global Islamic Media Front, a media outlet known for spreading al Qaeda messages on the Internet. The outlet also reportedly has links to the Army of Islam, the militant group linked to the kidnapping of British reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza in March.
Working with Austrian authorities, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Said Namouh, a Moroccan, in connection with the alleged plot and charged him with conspiring to detonate an explosive device. Canadian authorities said the plot was not directed at targets inside Canada, but that it was linked to the Austrian plot. The Global Islamic Media Front reportedly has other members in Canada, indicating that more arrests could follow after Canadian and Austrian investigators examine evidence found at Namouh's apartment. Namouh, who was taken into custody near Montreal, allegedly had communicated with the suspected militants in Austria over the Internet.
On Sept. 4, Danish counterterrorism forces in Copenhagen arrested eight people -- six Danish citizens and two foreigners with Danish residence permits -- on suspicion of plotting militant attacks against targets in Denmark. Less than a day later, German authorities raided several locations in Germany and arrested three people, including two Germans who had converted to Islam, on suspicion of plotting to attack U.S. and Uzbek military, civilian and diplomatic targets in Germany.
This spike in activity -- three cells arrested within 10 days -- highlights Europe's increasingly precarious security situation. Every year since 2004 there has been a major attack, failed attack or thwarted plot targeting a European city. Countries such as Spain, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom have had frequent incidents of militant activity, but other countries are feeling the heat as well. Although there have been militant elements present in Germany, Denmark and Austria, overall they had not been actively engaged in plotting serious attacks.
Germany, in particular, has seen an increase in the danger, beginning in summer 2006 when an attack targeting passenger trains failed in western Germany due to poorly constructed bombs. Although the plot that was thwarted Sept. 7 probably would have failed anyway, it was much larger in scope than past attempts, indicating that Germany's local cells are getting more ambitious.
The jihadists despise Europe as much as, if not more than, they do the United States, and they have made it clear that they intend to stage an attack on European soil. In addition to the threat from the Muslim immigrant community, the German example demonstrates the ongoing threat from within -- in the form of disassociated Europeans or longtime residents who convert to Islam and end up in one of these cells. The jihadists' poor tradecraft could be Europe's saving grace at the moment, as this failing appears to be one of the major reasons Europe has not experienced a major attack since the London bombings of 2005.
The arrest in Canada is another example of how grassroots jihadist cells in Europe can be linked to cells across the Atlantic. In June 2006, U.S., British and Canadian authorities uncovered a plot to attack targets in the United States and Canada. In addition to a European link, both the Canadian and U.S. cells had links to militant communities in South Asia.
By taking advantage of the well-developed communication links across the Atlantic, the relative ease of travel between Europe and North America, and contacts between immigrant communities on both continents as well as in the Middle East and South Asia, Europe's jihadist problem could easily become North America's problem, too.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #202 on:
September 14, 2007, 03:44:08 PM »
Med school jihadi.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #203 on:
September 14, 2007, 06:00:22 PM »
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #204 on:
September 14, 2007, 06:56:32 PM »
Going to be interesting to see how that plays out!
Security chief says terrorists have been arrested on border
By Jeff Carlton / Associated Press
Article Launched: 09/12/2007 07:09:01 PM MDT
DALLAS -- Texas' top homeland security official said today that terrorists with ties to Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaida have been arrested crossing the Texas border with Mexico in recent years.
"Has there ever been anyone linked to terrorism arrested?" Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw said in a speech to the North Texas Crime Commission. "Yes, there was."
His remarks appear to be among the most specific on the topic of terrorism arrests along the Texas-Mexico border. Local and elected officials have alluded to this happening but have been short on details.
Leticia Zamarripa, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, said Wednesday she was unaware of any border arrests of people with terrorist ties. An ICE spokeswoman in San Antonio did not return phone messages left by The Associated Press. U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Lloyd M. Easterling was unable to comment.
However, McCraw's remarks are similar to those made recently by National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, who last month told the El Paso Times that a small number of people with known links to terrorist organizations have been caught crossing the border.
McCraw identified the most notable figure captured as Farida Goolam Mahomed Ahmed, who was arrested in July 2004 at the McAllen airport. She carried $7,300 in various currencies and a South African passport with pages missing. Federal officials later learned she waded across the Rio Grande.
After her arrest, U.S.
Customs and Border Protection issued a release saying she was wanted for questioning about the bombing of a U.S. Consulate office, jibing with similar statements from a U.S. congressman.
But the department quickly retracted the terrorism connection, calling it "inaccurate on several levels." Michael Shelby, then the U.S. attorney in Houston, said in January 2005 that any suggestion Ahmed was involved in terrorism "is in error."
According to federal court records, Ahmed pleaded guilty to improper entry by an alien, making a false statement and false use of a passport. She was sentenced to time served and deported to South Africa. Other details of the case were sealed.
But on Wednesday, McCraw described Ahmed as having ties to an insurgent group in Pakistan and whose specialty was smuggling Afghanis and other foreign nationals across the border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel could not confirm details about Ahmed on Wednesday.
McCraw also said that since March 2006, 347 people from what he called "terrorism-related countries" have been arrested crossing the border in Texas. The number of Iraqis captured at the border has tripled since last year, he said.
"A porous border without question is a national security threat," he said.
Terrorism isn't the only concern for homeland security officials in Texas, McCraw said. The state's size, population and geography make it susceptible to all sorts of disasters, both natural and man-made. Emergency responders must also be prepared for natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and wildfires, he said.
The state has made significant strides in emergency planning since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Hurricane Rita, McCraw said. Plans include cooperating with large private companies, including grocery stores, Wal-Mart and the oil industry, to help the state respond during disasters.
"This is not a shot at FEMA, but we can't depend on FEMA to protect Texas," McCraw said. "The governor's mandate has made it clear: If those buses don't come, we better have our own buses. If that food doesn't come,we better have our own food. If that water doesn't come, we better have our own water to take care of Texas."
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #205 on:
September 15, 2007, 12:45:03 AM »
I'm thinking the next big attack CONUS will be after the 2008 elections but before the next president is sworn in. It wouldn't surprise me if the deliberately leave a trail for investigators from over the border just so it'll be part of Bush's legacy
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #206 on:
September 15, 2007, 01:34:08 AM »
Why do you think it will be after the election, instead of before?
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #207 on:
September 15, 2007, 02:35:13 AM »
Unlike the Spanish population, the American public would react to the "Next 9/11" by electing a President willing to fight, which of course wouldn't be a democrat these days. It's in Al Qaeda's best interest to get a dem in office who'll attempt to appease them, withdraw from Iraq and allow them the opportunity to recover from the current offensive against them.
Sudden Jihadi Syndrome Interuptus?
Reply #208 on:
September 15, 2007, 10:21:20 AM »
Michigan Man Remains in Custody After Entering Park With AK-47
Friday , September 14, 2007
A 26-year-old man accused of carrying an assault rifle in a Michigan park remained in custody Friday on a $1 million cash bond.
Houssein Zorkot, of Dearborn, Mich., was arrested on Sept. 8 after witnesses called police to complain about a man with an AK-47, dark clothes and blackened face walking around a park.
"We don't know exactly what his intent was or what he was intending on doing," Dearborn Police Chief Michael Celeski told FOXNews.com.
Police responded to the scene and approached the vehicle Zorkot was driving. Zorkot attempted to flee and was not cooperative with police, Celeski said.
"At one point, he was reaching to a lower area of the vehicle and the other officer at the scene was able to determine there was a weapon on the floorboard," Celeski said.
Officers then took Zorkot into custody and charged him with one count of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, one count of possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and one count of felony firearm. If convicted on all three counts, Zorkot faces 9 years in jail.
Zorkot was arraigned on Tuesday. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Sept. 21.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #209 on:
September 15, 2007, 12:34:52 PM »
Good to see alert citizens doing their part. In that vein, here's this:
John Doe in post-9/11 era
September 15, 2007
"If only." Those are the verbal crutches America must discard in a post-September 11, 2001, world.
If only the State Department hadn't been so sloppy in issuing visas to the September 11 hijackers. If only police and state troopers had been able to check the immigration status of the hijackers who were pulled over for speeding before the attacks. If only universities had been more diligent in monitoring the hijackers' whereabouts. If only the feds had listened to alert agents' recommendations to profile young Arab students in our flight schools. If only someone, anyone, had said something when they saw the suspicious behavior of the jihadists on dry runs.
We have borne the bloody costs of coulda-woulda-shoulda. Nearly 3,000 dead. The World Trade Center in ruins. The Pentagon on fire. The fields at Shanksville, Pa., scarred. Six years later, we can no longer afford hindsight heavy breathing. Memory must guide action. And action must be taken without apology.
Zogby released a poll for the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks showing that "77 percent of those living in the East and 46 percent of those living in the West — 61 percent overall — said they think about the attacks at least weekly. Eighty-one percent — 90 percent in the East and 75 percent in the West — said the attacks were the most significant historical events of their lives."
That's good news. But remembrance without resistance to jihad and its enablers is a recipe for another September 11. Not every American wears a military uniform. Every American, however, has a role to play in protecting our homeland — not just from Muslim terrorists, but from their financiers, their public relations machine, their Shariah-pimping activists, the antiwar goons, the civil liberties absolutists and the academic apologists for our enemies.
Earlier this year, jihadist enablers attempted to intimidate citizen whistleblowers who said something about the suspicious behavior of six imams on a US Airways flight in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The legal battle to protect ordinary Americans from such lawsuits gave rise to the John Doe movement. Pro bono lawyers and Republican members of Congress stepped up to provide protection. And Americans across the country expressed solidarity with the airline passengers targeted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and its ilk.
The Left greeted the John Doe movement with mockery and derision, preferring instead to suck its collective thumb, wield the grievance card and play the blame game. But it's the John Does of the country, not the race-hustling litigators and speech-stiflers, who will help prevent the next terrorist attack. They are John Does like Brian Morgenstern, the young Circuit City employee who contacted authorities after viewing a jihadist training video by the Fort Dix Six Plotters.
"It was a difficult decision at first," Mr. Morgenstern told Fox News. "I went home, and I talked with my family about it. And we all came to the general conclusion that it was the right thing to do." No regrets. No apologies. And no "if onlys."
Not everyone is willing to do the right thing. When the FBI recently asked for the public's help in identifying two men acting suspiciously on Pacific Northwest ferries, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper refused to run the photos — and instead held a reader haiku contest mocking the terrorism concerns. When two young Muslim men were arrested and indicted on weapons and terrorism charges after being stopped near a naval base in Goose Creek, S.C., Muslim civil rights groups immediately cried racism and suggested law enforcement officials were bigoted and paranoid.
There are September 10 people and there are September 12 people. The September 10 people live in a world of make-believe, where sensitivity trumps security and second-guessing is their only acceptable homeland security policy. September 12 people are the John Does in your neighborhood, on your plane, train or bus, moving ahead with their lives but always on alert.
We live in post-September 11 reality where "Never forget" is not just a once-a-year slogan. It's a 24/7 frame of mind.
Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of "Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild."
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #210 on:
September 15, 2007, 03:24:56 PM »
Homeland Security: Woman Had Terrorist Ties
Friday , September 14, 2007 Posted: 06:45 PM
Ahmed Latest at 6
Ahmed caught in McAllen airport in 2004
MCALLEN - For the first time, Homeland Security openly admitted a Pakistani woman captured in McAllen has terrorist ties.
Farida Ahmed was caught at the McAllen-Miller International Airport in 2004. She was on her way to New York with $7,000 in cash and a South African passport.
We learned she had swum across the river into the U.S.
At the time, NEWSCHANNEL 5 uncovered Ahmed was on a terror watch list. The information confirmed off the record through our sources.
Just this week, Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw admitted publicly that Ahmed did have terrorist ties to an insurgent group in Pakistan. The group reportedly smuggles Afghanis and other foreign nationals.
Fred Burton is a counterterrorism expert recently appointed to the Texas Border Security Council.
He says, "You had an individual that had associations with an international terrorist organization all probability that would have been a jihadist group."
Burton recalls the Ahmed case. He tells us there are ongoing investigations right now.
"These individuals are going to take the path of least resistance. And I'm sad to say that that path is the border," says Burton.
NEWSCHANNEL 5 tried to get a phone interview with the Texas Director of Homeland Security in Austin.
A spokesperson in the Governor's Office told us he wasn't available for an interview. But they stand by the information he released.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #211 on:
September 15, 2007, 03:48:00 PM »
'Jihadi' Images, Detonator Video Found
By ELAINE SILVESTRINI, The Tampa Tribune
Published: September 15, 2007
TAMPA - A laptop computer deputies found when they pulled over two University of South Florida students in South Carolina contained a video made by one of the men showing how to use a toy to detonate a bomb remotely, a federal prosecutor said Friday.
On that video, the student, Ahmed Mohamed, said the detonator could 'save one who wants to be a martyr for another day, another battle,' Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hoffer said.
The prosecutor said that video was posted by Mohamed on YouTube, a popular Web site.
Also on the laptop were 'jihadi' images and footage of rockets used by Hamas, Hoffer said.
Although a judge granted bail for the other student, Youssef Megahed, prosecutors immediately appealed, delaying his release until at least next week. Mohamed waived his right to a bail hearing.
Hoffer disclosed the computer evidence Friday as he laid out the prosecution's case that Megahed should be denied bail because he is a danger to the community and a flight risk.
U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Jenkins ruled Megahed could be released on $200,000 bail if he meets a number of strict conditions, including what amounts to house arrest. 'I do agree he poses a danger, no question about that, based on what was found in the car,' Jenkins said. She also said the government failed to demonstrate a specific danger to the community, as required by law.
Hoffer acknowledged under questioning from the judge that he had no specific evidence of Megahed's intentions. Hoffer said that under the current charge, Megahed likely faces less than three years in prison if convicted.
A defense attorney maintained his client was not dangerous and that he has strong ties to the community and no record of violence. The federal courtroom was packed with Megahed's family members and friends, and Jenkins said she had received numerous letters in Megahed's support.
Neither the defense nor the prosecution presented sworn testimony during the hearing.
Megahed's public defender, Adam Allen, said there was no evidence his client made or saw the video that prosecutors said Mohamed made.
Both defendants are Egyptian citizens. Megahed is a legal, permanent resident of the Unites States, and Mohamed is here on a student visa.
Hoffer said that when deputies in South Carolina pulled the pair over for speeding on Aug. 4, they saw Megahed, who was the passenger, trying to put away the laptop computer that belonged to Mohamed. When investigators analyzed the computer, they found that the last-viewed images showed Qassam rockets, which are used by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Also on the computer were videos of discussions of martyrdom and videos showing the firing of M-16 rifles, Hoffer said.
In the trunk, deputies found four small sections of PVC pipe, at least three of which were stuffed with a 'potassium nitrate explosive mixture' of potassium nitrate, Karo syrup and kitty litter, Hoffer said. He said the kitty litter served as a binder to keep the substance from coming out of the pipes, which were not capped.
Investigators also found a container of gasoline, 20 feet of safety fuse and an electric drill, which Hoffer said could be used to drill holes in the pipe so fuses could be attached.
'Obviously, that raised the hackles of law enforcement in South Carolina,' Hoffer said. 'That's why we're here.'
Both men are charged with transporting explosives without a permit, relating to the stuffed PVC pipes deputies have described as pipe bombs. Hoffer conceded in court, however, that the devices, while explosive, were not pipe bombs and were not 'destructive devices' under the law.
Allen maintained that the filled PVC pipes couldn't do much damage because there were no caps and no metallic material that could serve as shrapnel.
Mohamed also is charged with demonstrating how to make explosives with the intent of helping terrorists. That charge evidently refers to the video, which Hoffer said Mohamed admitted making in his home in July using a camcorder. Hoffer said Mohamed posted the video on YouTube under another name. It shows Mohamed from the chest down standing in front of a tabletop and taking apart a radio-controlled toy car and pulling a wire from the remote control.
Speaking later from Cairo, Mohamed's father, Abdel Latif Sherif, said his son is being framed.
'This was created and put on his computer to blame him,' Sherif said. 'I can take a computer and put anything on it. They are making this up to make him look bad.'
Hoffer said that in the video, Mohamed makes a statement about the toy car being similar to a boat. The federal prosecutor noted that when investigators searched the Megahed home with the family's permission, they found a remote-controlled boat.
Megahed's South Carolina attorney has said the boat was a 'therapeutic device' for to the defendant's 10-year-old brother, who has Down syndrome.
Allen argued that the judge could set conditions to ensure Megahed would not flee the district if released on bail. For example, the entire Megahed family agreed to surrender their passports and allow investigators to search their home at any time.
The judge also ordered that Megahed be outfitted with the most secure Global Positioning System monitoring device available to probation officials and that Megahed be permitted to leave his parents' house only to see his attorney or attend religious services.
After Jenkins ruled, prosecutors immediately filed an appeal, meaning Megahed may not be released until U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday decides the issue. That can't happen until at least sometime next week.
Ammunition, No Firearms
Under the passenger seat of the car in South Carolina, deputies found ammunition, said Hoffer, but no firearms.
Hoffer said investigators also searched a commercial storage facility. Inside they found a .22-caliber rifle that Megahed had purchased lawfully. Hoffer said Megahed recently tried to purchase a handgun.
Also in the storage facility were welding supplies and scuba diving equipment. Hoffer said Megahed has skill as a welder, so there could be a legitimate reason for those items.
The prosecutor said that when deputies questioned Megahed, he initially denied knowing about 'these rockets or fireworks in the trunk.' But when both defendants were put in the back seat of a patrol vehicle, their conversation in Arabic secretly was recorded, Hoffer said.
A translation summary of the recording shows Megahed asking about what happened to the explosives, Hoffer said, which the prosecutor said shows Megahed was aware of what was in the trunk. The car, Hoffer said, was registered to Megahed's brother.
During the hearing, Allen said the Megahed family was prepared to post $50,000 cash to secure the defendant's release. Hoffer, however, said the government had information that the family has extensive assets and that $50,000 would not be nearly enough to ensure that Megahed would not flee.
Allen said his client is three credits away from earning a bachelor's degree in engineering. Among the glowing letters submitted to the court on Megahed's behalf was one from a university professor, Allen said. Landlords described the Megaheds as an 'on-time, responsible, polite, law-abiding family.'
He said it wouldn't make sense for the defendant to flee the jurisdiction over a charge for which he faces, at most, 33 months in prison.
Hoffer argued that if Megahed flees to Egypt, it will be 'very difficult, if not impossible' for the United States to have him extradited.
Hoffer said Megahed applied to become a citizen last year but was turned down by immigration officials because he had been out of the country for more than 1,600 days during a five-year period that ended in 2003. During that time, he made numerous trips to Egypt, many lasting more than six months, Hoffer said.
Hoffer said Megahed also traveled to Canada, Saudia Arabia and Nigeria, 'which is also of interest to the United States.'
But the judge seemed unimpressed with Megahed's travel, noting it took place when the defendant was 11 to 16 years old.
After the hearing, Megahed family members wouldn't discuss what was said, other than to say they were happy with Jenkins' ruling.
Smiling, his brother, Yahia, said, 'It confirmed our feeling of the justice system.'
Reporter Thomas W. Krause and Editor Howard Altman contributed to this report. Reporter Elaine Silvestrini can be reached at (813) 259-7839 or
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #212 on:
September 16, 2007, 07:45:45 AM »
Prosecutors: USF students had explosive materials, instructions. Case against pair shown
Prosecutors: USF students had explosive materials, instructions.
By ABBIE VANSICKLE, Times Staff Writer
Published September 15, 2007
The U.S. Attorney's Office opened up about what was found in the car of two USF students: pipes stuffed with fertilizer, Karo syrup, kitty litter, bullets and fuses, a laptop with Internet searches about martyrdom, Hamas and Qassam rockets and video instructions for turning a child's toy into a detonator.
Ahmed Abda Sherf Mohamed waived his right to a bail hearing. His attorney said he didn't think bond would be granted to him.
The judge ordered Yousef Samir Megahed, 21, to post $200,000 bail, to remain at his family's home, and to leave only for religious services and to meet with his attorneys.
TAMPA - Pipes stuffed with fertilizer, Karo syrup and kitty litter. Bullets and fuses. A laptop with Internet searches about martyrdom, Hamas and Qassam rockets. Video instructions for turning a child's toy into a detonator.
After weeks of silence, the U.S. Attorney's Office opened up about its case against two University of South Florida engineering students facing explosives charges, implying that Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed had something sinister in mind when they left Tampa in early August and headed north.
Despite the grim implications of what the government presented, prosecutors said they had no "hard, specific evidence" of a motive or answers for a judge's questions about what the men intended to do with the items, prompting U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Jenkins to set bail for one of the men, although he remains in custody pending appeal.
The question of intent has been the biggest puzzle since Aug. 4, when Megahed, 21, and Mohamed, 26, were pulled over for speeding in Goose Creek, S.C., and arrested after a deputy became suspicious and searched the pair's car.
From the start, Megahed's family has said the young man went on a harmless road trip, the whims of college students on summer vacation. The family and supporters filled Courtroom 14B on Friday afternoon, and Megahed's siblings were beaming after the judge's ruling.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hoffer laid out the government's case, saying they view the men as dangerous and at risk of fleeing to their home country of Egypt, a place that doesn't always return fugitives to the United States.
Here's what Hoffer said:
When federal agents searched the men's car, a Toyota Camry registered to Megahed's brother, Yahia Megahed, they found the stuffed pipes wrapped in plastic bags in the trunk alongside a 5-gallon container of gasoline.
Explosives experts categorized the items in the trunk as incomplete pipe bombs, each large enough to blow out windows in a room but not strong enough to destroy a house. Potassium nitrate is a low-grade explosive otherwise used as fertilizer. Kitty litter bound the ingredients while syrup could add fuel.
"I think you can safely say it's a bomb," said Edward Dreizin, a New Jersey Institute of Technology chemical engineering professor.
Agents also found a box of bullets underneath the front passenger seat, where Megahed sat. On a laptop hastily unplugged, agents discovered sites that concerned them, including searches of Qassam rockets, weapons developed by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, often made with steel pipe, liquid sugar and potassium nitrate.
The men were taken into custody and separately questioned. Megahed said he knew nothing about the materials in the trunk, Hoffer said. But when both men were put in the back of a squad car, they spoke to each other in Arabic. In that conversation, which was secretly recorded, Megahed asked Mohamed what happened to the pipes, if they exploded.
As agents dug deeper into the men's background, they found troubling information, Hoffer said.
In July, Mohamed posted a video on YouTube that explained how to transform a toy remote controlled car into a detonator, Hoffer said. The 12-minute video is narrated by a man speaking Arabic with an Egyptian accent. It shows no face, only hands.
"Mohamed admitted he made and uploaded it," Hoffer said.
The video's narrator says it's meant "to save one who wants to be a martyr for another day in battle," Hoffer said. The narrator also mentions a previous example that used a remote controlled toy boat. Federal agents searched the New Tampa home of Megahed's family and found a remote controlled toy boat, Hoffer said.
The judge asked if there was a definite link between the two, and Hoffer said no.
The evidence against Mohamed wasn't the focus, though, because he waived his right to a bail hearing. His attorney, Lionel Lofton, was in Tampa on Friday, but said he didn't think a hearing would have been useful at this time.
"I did not feel he would be granted a bond," he said.
Prosecutors also questioned Megahed's interest in weapons. He recently purchased a .22-caliber rifle and had inquired about a Berreta handgun, Hoffer said. Agents found the rifle inside a storage shed, along with welding and scuba diving equipment.
Megahed had joined a shooting range.
"It certainly raised interesting questions when he's training ... he buys a firearm with a scope," Hoffer said.
Prosecutors said Megahed also had "multiple Egyptian passports" and went to Sears in late July to get more passport-sized photos. There were two passports for Megahed with two different names, Hoffer said.
But Assistant U.S. Public Defender Adam Allen said one of the passports had expired, and that Megahed had used another version of his family's name on the document.
Agents did not seize the passports when they searched the Megahed home, Hoffer said, and they feared, if released, Megahed could flee to Egypt, which does not always extradite fugitives back to the United States. Megahed's extensive travel, both to Egypt and to other countries, including Canada, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, also concerned prosecutors.
When Megahed was arrested, he carried only a California-issued identification card and a photocopy of an immigration green card, Hoffer said.
Allen asked the judge to consider that Megahed had no criminal record and could be closely watched by his family.
"I don't think the government's evidence against my client is overwhelming," he said. He called the evidence against Mohamed "pretty damning."
The judge found the evidence to be "strong" but not "overwhelming" enough to prove Megahed was a dangerous flight risk that must be jailed until trial. "I do agree that he poses danger," she said.
She ordered him to post $200,000 bail, to remain at his family's home, and to leave only for religious services and to meet with his attorneys. His family also was required to consent to a search at any time.
After the hearing, prosecutors immediately filed an appeal, which will likely be addressed next week, Allen said.
As they filed from the courtroom, Megahed's family smiled.
"I'm happy, I'm really happy," said his sister, Mariam Megahed, 18. She said prosecutors couldn't back up much of what they suggested, and the judge knew it.
"Maybe they don't have any evidence because she kept asking questions, questions and more questions," she said.
Ahmed Bedier, director of the Central Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was quick to distinguish between Megahed and Mohamed.
"It's obvious there are two separate individuals with different charges and different allegations," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if the two individuals end up having separate cases altogether."
He defended Megahed, saying it appeared he "just happened to be in the car." But he had harsher words for Mohamed.
If he could talk to Mohamed, Bedier said, "I'd say, 'Wake up!' "
He added, "Muslims don't get a second chance when they dabble with things like this. Not only will this have consequences on him, but it will have consequences on most of the Muslims in this country."
Found in the car
When a routine traffic stop led police to search a car driven by Youssef Megahed, here's what was found:
- Three pieces of PVC pipe cut into various sizes, 1 foot or less, filled with potassium nitrate (used in fertilizer) and Karo syrup. Cat litter was used to bind those ingredients.
- Safety fuse, 20 feet.
- Electric drill
- Gasoline, 5 gallon canister
- Laptop computer reflecting visits to the following Web sites: a video file that shows Qassam rockets firing, Hamas information, a discussion of martyrdom, M-16 rifle photos
Source: U.S. Attorney's Office
How much power?
Explosive experts interviewed by the Times say the loaded PVC tubes sound like incomplete pipe bombs, lacking only detonators. Each one, while not powerful enough to blow up a house, could blow out the windows in a room. However, without a detonator, the devices would simply have burned slowly. The chemical combination would not produce what people would typically think of as fireworks.
Sources: Edward Dreizin, New Jersey Institute of Technology chemical engineering professor; Vilem Petr, Colorado School of Mines explosive engineering professor; Van Romero, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology vice president for research
[Last modified September 14, 2007, 23:56:02]
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #213 on:
September 16, 2007, 09:13:31 AM »
Germany warns of terror nuclear attack
Sep 16, 2007 3:08 PM
The risk of a terrorist attack in Germany, possibly even a nuclear strike, is high despite last week's arrest of suspected Islamist militants, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a newspaper.
"The terrorist threat has not diminished," Schaeuble told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, according to extracts published in advance.
"I am no less worried since the arrests. We know more precisely that we are in the crosshairs of Islamist terrorism...the terrorists want to carry out more attacks," he said.
Schaeuble even warned of the danger of a nuclear attack, although it was not clear if he was referring to Germany specifically.
"Many experts are convinced this kind of attack is a question of when, not if," he told the paper.
Last week, Germany said its security forces had foiled a plan by Islamist militants to carry out massive bomb attacks.
Police arrested three men suspected of belonging to an Islamist terrorist group and who, officials said, were planning strikes on Frankfurt international airport and a major US military base.
Schaeuble wants to introduce new measures to combat the threat from international terrorism, but opposition is high in Germany where curtailing civil liberties is very sensitive more than 60 years after the fall of Nazism.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #214 on:
September 16, 2007, 09:07:51 PM »
Converts To Islam Move Up In Cells
Arrests in Europe Illuminate Shift
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, September 15, 2007; A10
BERLIN -- Religious converts are playing an increasingly influential role in Islamic militant networks, having transformed themselves in recent years from curiosities to key players in terrorist cells in Europe, according to counterterrorism officials and analysts.
The arrests this month of two German converts to Islam -- Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider -- on suspicions that they were plotting to bomb American targets are just one example of terrorism cases in Europe in which converts to Islam have figured prominently.
In Copenhagen, a convert is among four defendants who went on trial this month for plotting to blow up political targets. In Sweden, a webmaster who changed his name from Ralf Wadman to Abu Usama el-Swede was arrested last year on suspicion of recruiting fighters on the Internet. In Britain, three converts -- including the son of a British politician -- are awaiting trial on charges of participating in last year's transatlantic airline plot.
"The number of converts, it seems, is definitely on the rise," said Michael Taarnby, a terrorism researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies. "We've reached a point where I think al-Qaeda and other groups recognize the value of converts, not just from an operational viewpoint but from a cultural one as well."
Religious converts are sometimes more prone to radicalization because of their zeal to prove their newfound faith, analysts said. They are also less likely to attract police scrutiny in Europe, where investigators often rely on outdated demographic profiles in terrorism cases.
Converts are a tiny subset of the Muslim population in Europe, but their numbers are growing in some countries. In Germany, government officials estimated that 4,000 people converted to Islam last year, compared with an annual average of 300 in the late 1990s. Less than 1 percent of Germany's 3.3 million Muslims are converts.
While religious leaders emphasize that most converts are law-abiding citizens who often promote interfaith understanding, the recent arrests in Germany prompted some lawmakers to suggest that police should keep converts under surveillance.
"Of course not all converts are problematic, but some are particularly dangerous because they want to demonstrate through extreme fanaticism that they are particularly good Muslims," Guenther Beckstein, interior minister for the state of Bavaria, said last week.
The trend is not limited to Europe. In Florida, U.S. citizen and convert Jose Padilla was convicted last month on conspiracy charges for participating in an al-Qaeda support cell. In March, David M. Hicks, an Australian convert, became the first prisoner at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be convicted on terrorism charges.
Converts have joined militant groups, including al-Qaeda, for years. Wadih el-Hage, a Lebanese Christian who converted to Islam and became a U.S. citizen, served as an aide to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s and was convicted for his role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa.
But counterterrorist analysts and officials said they have become much more common and are now playing leadership roles. They said there is also evidence that militant groups, which used to eye converts suspiciously as potential infiltrators, are now encouraging them to join.
In May, al-Qaeda deputy chief Ayman al-Zawahiri released a videotape in which he repeatedly praised Muslim leader Malcolm X and urged African American soldiers to stop fighting in Iraq and embrace Islam.
"I am hurt when I find a black American fighting the Muslims under the American flag," Zawahiri said, according to a translation of the speech by the SITE Institute, a terrorism research group. "Why is he fighting us when the racist Crusader regime in America is persecuting him like it persecutes us?"
This month, bin Laden released a rare videotape in which he called upon all Americans to convert to Islam. Analysts said bin Laden's remarks, though theological in nature, were probably not intended as a direct recruiting pitch for al-Qaeda. But they said his speech likely was influenced by Adam Gadahn, a U.S. citizen from California who converted to Islam as a teenager and is a media adviser for al-Qaeda. He was indicted in the United States on treason charges last year.
"This has the language and hallmarks of Adam Gadahn and is very reminiscent of his own messages in terms of style and content," said M.J. Gohel, chief executive of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a London-based security studies organization. "Gadahn, whenever he has appeared in an al-Qaeda video, has always used the opportunity to encourage others to convert to Islam."
Analysts said European converts sometimes are drawn to mosques or organizations at home that have a radical bent but profess nonviolence. After spending time in those circles, however, some seek to deepen their involvement by attending religious schools, or madrassas, in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia.
Once there, it is easy for spotters from al-Qaeda and other militant groups to recruit potential followers, said Ashraf Ali, a researcher at the University of Peshawar in Pakistan. "That's the point where these new converts fall in the hands of jihadi organizations and they go for military training," he said.
One fundamentalist network that has attracted hundreds of converts in Europe is Tablighi Jamaat, a missionary sect based in Pakistan that characterizes itself as peaceful but is criticized by some authorities as a training ground for extremists. Another is al-Muhajiroun, a movement founded by a radical cleric in London that officially disbanded in 2004 but reorganized into an assortment of splinter groups.
Maulana Muhammad Qasim, a member of the Pakistani National Assembly from the Mardan district who is active in Tablighi Jamaat, said the organization has no links to terrorism or politics.
"It is not the policy of the Tablighi Jamaat to send people for military training or jihad," he said. "But if someone starts off with us and ends up as a militant, that's an individual's decision and has nothing to do with the manifesto of the group."
In Germany, investigators are still trying to determine how the three men arrested Sept. 4 became radicalized and how they came into contact with the Islamic Jihad Union, a South Asian network that has asserted responsibility for the plot to attack American targets in Germany.
Gelowicz, whom investigators have identified as the ringleader of the cell, struggled academically in high school and converted to Islam when he was 18. He was active in radical circles in the southern city of Ulm, home to an Islamic cultural center and other institutions that have long been under police surveillance.
In an interview with the German magazine Stern in July, two months before his arrest, Gelowicz described his introduction to Islam. "I had a good friend who was a Muslim," he said. "At some point, you start to ask questions like, 'Why do you fast?' 'Why don't you eat pork?' You keep asking. At some point you realize that God sent a prophet to fulfill all revelations."
Many Germans have been stunned by news of the alleged plot, and religious leaders said they were trying to counter what they described as a public backlash and heightened suspicion about converts.
Gerhard Isa Moldenhauer, a board member at the Central Institute of the Islam Archive, the oldest Muslim organization in Germany, blamed panicky lawmakers for stirring up distrust.
"The German politicians tell us almost daily that all converts are terrorists," said Moldenhauer, 58, himself a convert. "It is truly sad when politicians have no trust in their citizens."
Special correspondents Imtiaz Ali in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Shannon Smiley in Berlin contributed to this report.
New Terrorism Case Confirms That Denmark Is a Target
Reply #215 on:
September 17, 2007, 11:22:09 AM »
With the shadings for which the NY Slimes is known, here is this on the Homeland dangers faced by Denmark:
This article was reported by Nicholas Kulish, Souad Mekhennet and Eric Schmitt, and written by Mr. Kulish.
Muslims see hypocrisy in Denmark’s talk of human rights and its actions in places like Afghanistan, said Imran Shah, 31.
COPENHAGEN, Sept. 16 — After three terrorism cases in less than two years, including an alleged bombing plot broken up this month, intelligence officials say tiny Denmark is on the front line in the battle against Islamic terrorism in Europe.
“Even though we’ve prevented one terrorist attack, we know that there are still people in Denmark and abroad that have the capacity, the will and the ability to carry out terrorist attacks in Denmark,” Jakob Scharf, the head of Danish intelligence, said in an interview in his office here.
He was referring to predawn raids on Sept. 4 that resulted in the arrests of eight suspects, two of whom are still in custody on terrorism charges and are accused of planning a bombing attack.
American authorities helped Danish security officials locate the suspects through electronic intercepts from Pakistan, just as they did in arrests the same day in a bombing plot in southern Germany, intelligence officials in Washington said. They said one of the men in the Danish case received instruction within the past 12 months in explosives, surveillance and other techniques at a terrorist training camp in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.
With Europe again focused on the threat posed by terrorist plots, Denmark illustrates the powerful interplay between foreign agitation and domestic discontent. The country became a target of foreign Islamist terrorist groups two years ago after a conservative newspaper here published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, drawing worldwide attention. At home, the children of Muslim immigrants complain of job discrimination and integration problems, feeding the disenchantment of the small but growing Muslim population.
“In the schools, Danish teachers are always talking about democracy and human rights, but now they see what Denmark is doing in Afghanistan and what they did here with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad,” said Imran Shah, 31, who leads a youth group at a local mosque. “They ask themselves, is this a democracy or are they talking about double standards?”
While much of the world’s attention was focused on the arrests that took place that same day in Germany, but were announced one day later, intelligence officials here and in Washington said at least one suspect in the Danish group had direct ties to leading figures in Al Qaeda, which has regrouped in northwestern Pakistan.
“What’s coming from this is that they are now able to give military and terrorist training and able to plan and steer specific operations in Europe,” Mr. Scharf, the Danish intelligence chief, said. “Al Qaeda is back.”
Mr. Scharf drew a clear distinction between independent or loosely affiliated groups drawing inspiration from Al Qaeda’s ideology and specific control of plans for attack, saying the Danish bomb plot was clearly the latter. “I’m not indicating a direct phone line to Osama bin Laden,” he said, but leading members are able to “direct operations outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
This case was the first time officials here have linked an operation in Denmark to the group that masterminded the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
While Mr. Scharf underscored the threat posed by Islamic terrorism, he also differentiated between the religion of Islam and those who commit violence in its name, an important distinction in a country where debates over the role of Islam in a traditionally Christian society have often been contentious and the lines sometimes blurred.
The case in Denmark also highlights the uneasy coexistence of intelligence and prosecution. Danish authorities gave no indication of the quantity of explosive material found in Copenhagen this month, but they said suspects had begun mixing precursor chemicals for bombs. Of the eight men arrested, the authorities quickly released six of them, fueling skepticism about the strength of the case and the government’s ability to turn arrests into convictions.
In the first of the recent terrorism cases, stemming from arrests in October 2005, three of the four defendants found guilty by jurors had their verdicts overruled by a three-judge review panel. The fourth was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison on terrorism charges, and prosecutors say they will retry another. In the second case, nine suspects were initially arrested, of whom four are on trial. The court proceedings are under way in Copenhagen.
“They are manipulating the press and the public by giving the impression that they have a very serious case,” said Bjoern Elmquist, a lawyer for defendants in two of the cases, including this one. “They are scaring people.”
With a population of 5.5 million, Denmark is smaller than New York City by several million people, but it is a disproportionately large target on jihadist Web sites. Not only did Denmark achieve infamy across the Muslim world for the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, which incited violent and even deadly protests in other countries, it also has troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Page 2 of 2)
There are no official statistics, but researchers estimate that there are roughly 210,000 Muslims in Denmark. It is not a homogeneous group but is split among Turks, Iraqis, Bosnians and others. That jihadist Web sites have been translated into Danish for such a small and disparate group demonstrates the interest and effort they are putting into the country.
The Heimdalsgade mosque which, according to a Danish newspaper, was attended by suspects in all three of the alleged plots.
Mr. Scharf said the profile of Muslim men pulled into extremism was young, “normally in the age from 16 to 25.” The young men are courted by mentors whose job is to identify those predisposed to a jihadi mind-set, radicalize them and put them in touch with others who could help them plan violent acts.
“This is not taking place when the imam is preaching in the mosque,” Mr. Scharf said. “I think that these imams play a very important role in preventing the radicalization” of young Muslims.
Mohammed el-Banna, an imam from the famous family of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, said, “They like heroes, and heroes, from their point of view, are not those who talk but those who fight.” He preaches at a mosque in Heimdalsgade that Politiken, a leading newspaper here, reported had been attended by suspects in all three of the alleged plots. “We cannot check the ID cards of people who attend the prayers,” he said.
Mr. Banna, 49, moved to Denmark from Egypt in 1985. He is a Danish citizen and has four children, the eldest of whom is studying computer science at a university in Denmark. Saying he was speaking for himself and not the mosque, Mr. Banna said that before the cartoon controversy, Denmark enjoyed a very good reputation in the Muslim world, as a nation that did business in the Middle East rather than fighting or keeping colonies there.
For second-generation Muslims coming of age after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the American-led invasion of Iraq, it is a different story. Mr. Banna said young men had come to him looking for religious justification to go and fight in Iraq. “When I told them that there is no justification, they would look for someone else to get the justification,” he said.
The generational gap is a concern not only for security officials, but for Muslim parents grappling with the anger of their children.
“Young people have a problem of identity,” said Bilal Assaad the spokesman for the Community of Islam Mosque in Copenhagen, which led the protests here against the Muhammad cartoons. “They were born in Denmark but they don’t feel Danish. They don’t have good possibilities to get jobs because their name is Muhammad. My son tells me, ‘Yes I can see that I’m Muslim, but I can’t see that I’m Danish.’ ”
Mr. Shah, the youth group leader, said, “When I’m going on a train with my backpack, people start to look at me in a different way.” He said that he appreciated the irony of the fact that, while under suspicion on his commute, he was on the way to his job as a security guard at the airport.
Of the 11 locations searched by Danish authorities in the recent raids, it was an apartment on Glasvej Street in a mixed neighborhood of Muslim immigrants and ethnic Danes where investigators say the bomb-making materials were found. The front door is cracked where it was broken open by a police battering ram.
The apartment was occupied by two brothers of Pakistani descent. Both were arrested in the raids. The older of the two, who is 24, was released after less than a day. “They came at 2 o’clock,” he said. “They broke open the door. They broke everything. They came as animals.”
He added that he had not seen his brother since going to sleep the night before their arrest. Under Danish law, the authorities do not release the names of suspects, and he asked not to have his name used. The authorities say he remains under investigation.
“I work all day,” he said in a soft voice. “I don’t know what my brother and his friends do.”
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #216 on:
September 17, 2007, 12:15:44 PM »
Ah yes, the endless muslim victimhood.....
If Denmark is so bad, pack up and move someplace where muslims rule the land, like France.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #217 on:
September 17, 2007, 12:51:21 PM »
This is a "ping", IMHO.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #218 on:
September 17, 2007, 01:14:14 PM »
Qaeda urges Islamic terror in West in third 9/11 video
Mon Sep 17, 8:29 AM ET
Al-Qaeda called on Islamists to sow terror in the West to create a climate of fear, in a third video marking the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States which was posted on the Internet on Monday.
Called "reasons and motives for the attacks on New York and Washington," the video features a montage of images of the burning World Trade Centre towers and scenes from Islamist training camps.
"We must take Islamist terrorism to Western countries so that it becomes a normal part of life like natural disasters," a voiceover says.
"In that way, we will have acts of mass extermination in which people will feel that their affluence also brings death... and we will have created a balance of deterrence between us and them," the unidentified voice adds.
The new video also includes clips from old voice recordings of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as a short video clip of Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Said, the group's commander in Afghanistan.
Al-Qaeda already released a videotape and an audiotape featuring bin Laden earlier this month to mark the the sixth anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.
A third release had been trailed by Al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab. In the event the new video was issued in the name of Al-Tanzem, prompting suggestions the network has launched a new media arm.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #219 on:
September 17, 2007, 01:49:21 PM »
Third 9/11 Jihadist Video Calls For Attacks on West
By Jeffrey Imm
Media reports state that a third 9/11 Jihadist video, reportedly by Al Qaeda, has been released via Islamist web sites today, calling for Jihadist terror acts on the West to be a daily occurrence and calling for "acts of mass extermination".
AKI and AFP have thus far provided the primary reporting on this new Al Qaeda video.
AKI reports that the new 26 minute video is entitled "The attacks in New York and Washington - reasons and motives".
AFP reports that the video "features a montage of images of the burning World Trade Center towers and scenes from Islamist training camps."
AFP reports that a voiceover on the video states:
"We must take Islamist terrorism to Western countries so that it becomes a normal part of life like natural disasters" and "
n that way, we will have acts of mass extermination in which people will feel that their affluence also brings death... and we will have created a balance of deterrence between us and them".
AKI reports that the new video begins with a message from Abu Yahya al-Libi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. On the new video, Al-Libi is reported to praise the role of Al Qaeda in defending the principles of Islam
AKI reports that the new video includes a montage of audio and video footage of previous messages Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri on the rationale behind the 9/11 attacks. AFP reports that the video also includes a clip by Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Said, the group's commander in Afghanistan.
AKI reports that:
"[a] voice on the video also gives an account of the war in Chechnya, blames the West for having committed a mass extermination and calls for revenge for this action. Also included is footage of interviews carried out by the Arab satellite TV network, Al Jazeera, with university professors, Arab commentators and editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. The entire video describes various events that occured before the 9/11 attacks, in particular the conflict in Chechnya, and tries to explain the reasons behind the terror attacks."
AKI reports that the video ends with a speech by Abdullah Azzam. Abdullah Azzam, who died in 1989, was an inspiration to Osama Bin Laden and countless other Jihadists.
AKI reports that the new video does not the logo of al-Sahab, Al Qaeda's communications arm, but carries the new logo of "al-Tanzim". AFP reports: "A third release had been trailed by Al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab. In the event the new video was issued in the name of Al-Tanzem, prompting suggestions the network has launched a new media arm."
This posting will be updated as new information is released.
September 17, 2007 -- AKI: Terrorism: Al-Qaeda releases third 9/11 video
September 17, 2007 -- AFP: Qaeda urges Islamic terror in West in third 9/11 video
September 17, 2007 -- Agenzia Giornalistica Italia -- Terror: Third Al Qaeda's video, attacks must be normal
April 16, 2002 - Slate: Abdullah Azzam - The godfather of jihad
By Jeffrey Imm on September 17, 2007 1:00 PM
****I really don't like the potential subtext here, as I see it as a potential call for "Beslan" attacks CONUS.****
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #220 on:
September 17, 2007, 02:56:14 PM »
My sources indicate that at least 20 school buses have been stolen in the past few months from various locations in Texas and Pennsylvania. We've been discussing this a bit and what the motive for this could be. In 15 years in law enforcement I never heard of anything like this.
Suarez International USA, Inc.
"Blessed be the Lord my Rock
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle."
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #221 on:
September 17, 2007, 03:29:48 PM »
Like many stolen vehicles, they could be across the border now serving Mexican schoolchildren. I would prefer that scenario.
The much worse scenario involves child hostages in VBIEDs being detonated on live global television.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #222 on:
September 17, 2007, 04:05:55 PM »
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #223 on:
September 18, 2007, 10:46:12 AM »
Muslim Brotherhood's papers detail plan to seize U.S.
Group's takeover plot emerges in Holy Land case
07:37 AM CDT on Monday, September 17, 2007
By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News
Amid the mountain of evidence released in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial, the most provocative has turned out to be a handful of previously classified evidence detailing Islamist extremists' ambitious plans for a U.S. takeover. A knot of terrorism researchers say the memos and audiotapes, many translated from Arabic and containing detailed strategies by the international Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood, are proof that extremists have long sought to replace the Constitution with Shariah, or Islamic law.
But some academics and Muslim leaders say that the ideals contained in the documents were written by disgruntled foreign dissidents representing a tiny radical fringe. The documents also pre-date the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the 80-year-old Muslim Brotherhood is now either inactive or largely underground in America.
The documents – introduced in recent weeks as part of the prosecution's case in the trial of the now defunct Holy Land Foundation and five of its organizers – lay out the Brotherhood's plans in chillingly stark terms. A 1991 strategy paper for the Brotherhood, often referred to as the Ikhwan in Arabic, found in the Virginia home of an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, describes the group's U.S. goals, referred to as a "civilization-jihadist process."
"The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions," it states. This process requires a "mastery of the art of 'coalitions,' the art of 'absorption' and the principles of 'cooperation.' "
Success in the U.S. "in establishing an observant Islamic base with power and effectiveness will be the best support and aid to the global movement," it states.
A transcript of a Brotherhood orientation meeting recorded in the early 1980s includes discussions of the need for "securing the group" from infiltration by "Zionism, Masonry ... the CIA, FBI, etc. so that we find out if they are monitoring us" and "how can we get rid of them." Discussions later turn to "weapons training at the Ikhwan's camps" in Oklahoma and Missouri.
Esam Omeish, president of the Virginia-based Muslim American Society, or MAS, says the documents introduced in the Holy Land trial are full of "abhorrent statements and are in direct conflict of the very principles of our Islam."
"The Muslim community in America wishes to contribute positively to the continued success and greatness of our civilization," Dr. Omeish said. "The ethics of tolerance and inclusion are the very tenets that MAS was based on from its inception."
His group, formed in 1993, is thought by many to be the Brotherhood's current incarnation in the U.S., although he and other MAS leaders say their group formed as an alternative to radicalism.
"MAS is not the Muslim Brotherhood," Dr. Omeish said. The society "grew out of a history of Islamic activism in the U.S. when the Muslim Brotherhood once existed but has a different intellectual paradigm and outlook."
Mahdi Bray, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation, which promotes Muslim civil rights, called the Holy Land documents "a throwback." He has attended portions of the Holy Land trial.
"If those documents talk about the establishing of Shariah law in America, I'm saying that's a lot of hype: wishful thinking from an immigrant perspective. ... It doesn't reflect genuine American perspective in terms of where we're heading," Mr. Bray said.
He said members of MAS decided in 1993, when the organization was founded, that they would pursue political and nonviolent tactics.
"I wouldn't be candid if I didn't say there weren't some old-timers who want to hold onto the old way, who say that this is the way the Ikhwan did it, this should be our model," he said. "We said 'So what? It doesn't work here.' We've been very adamant about that."
Mr. Bray, an Islamic convert, has been criticized by some as being an apologist for terrorists, particularly for his condemnation of Israel's 2004 missile strike in the Palestinian Gaza Strip that killed Hamas' spiritual founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
Mr. Bray says that although his politics are controversial, he's not anti-American.
"Those on the right and many of those who I would classify as Islamophobes, many of them have failed to realize that there is an authentic American Muslim organization here and movement in America that wants to integrate," he said. "We believe the ballot is an appropriate place to be."
He said that he "liked the Bill of Rights" and didn't want to see the Constitution replaced with Islamic law.
"There's a maturation that's taken place in the American Muslim community that's either not understood, or understood but viewed as a threat to other interest groups in this country."
There are those in the U.S. government who believe that the Brotherhood is the Bush administration's best chance for reaching out to moderate Islamists internationally.
The Brotherhood "works to dissuade the Muslims from violence, instead channeling them into politics and charitable activities," said Robert S. Leiken, director of the Immigration and National Security Program at The Nixon Center in a recent article in Foreign Affairs, a publication of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations.
While he has not studied the Holy Land documents, Dr. Leiken said that the U.S. discussion on Islamic thought tends to be polarized and that what passes for scholarship is often more selective than rigorous.
"The more you study it, the more distinctions and differences should emerge," he said. "And scholars should see these distinctions. In Europe, these things are understood better, but in the U.S., they often get brushed aside in the heat of the debate."
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #224 on:
September 20, 2007, 04:02:57 PM »
September 20, 2007
A Bomb Threat Closes Schools in Bergen County
By TINA KELLEY
Schools in at least a dozen districts in northern New Jersey will be closed today as a precaution after an anonymous bomb threat was received by the mayor of Emerson, in Bergen County, police officials said yesterday. The closings affect nearly 12,000 students.
A letter warned that five schools would be “blown out” at 11:30 a.m., school officials said. It mentioned Emerson’s three schools as well as two others in unidentified nearby towns.
According to a statement from the Emerson Police Department, the borough clerk’s office received the letter around 10:30 a.m. yesterday. The Emerson schools were immediately evacuated, and the Emerson police notified neighboring departments about the threat, the statement said.
The Bergen County police bomb squad searched every school building in Emerson, the statement said. No bombs were found.
School districts in Oradell, River Edge, Closter, Demarest, Haworth, Harrington Park, Northvale, Norwood and Old Tappan will be closed today. Two regional districts — Northern Valley, with schools in Demarest and Old Tappan, and River Dell, with schools in Oradell and River Edge — will also be closed. The schools, all in mostly affluent Bergen County, have a combined student population of about 11,700.
“My first reaction was shock, the concern for my two daughters, then anger,” Emerson’s mayor, Louis J. Lamatina, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “And it’s an anger that’s growing.”
Mr. Lamatina, a part-time mayor, usually collects his mail on Saturdays. But the clerk called him immediately after opening the letter, which had been written on a computer, he said.
“Could it be a prank from a child? From what I’ve heard, that’s obviously a credible theory,” he said, noting that the letter looked a bit patched together. It was postmarked in Teterboro, where the regional post office is located.
“These poor kids’ minds are forming, and they have to live with a threat like this,” he said. “Everything is plastered over the news in front of them, and the fact that someone wants to blow them up is just inhuman. If it’s a prank, there’s no potential justification or explanation of how someone could sink that low.”
He said the schools were evacuated so quickly that some teachers did not have time to grab their purses, which were locked inside.
In Oradell, schools were closed at the end of the day yesterday and will be closed today. All were being searched, the Oradell police said.
“Our department deemed it prudent to treat the threat as credible, to ensure the safety of the students and school personnel,” said Detective Sgt. Mike Oslacky of the Oradell police. Back-to-school nights at the middle and high school were also canceled.
The warning had ripple effects beyond the boundaries of Emerson, which has 7,300 residents and 1,200 students in its schools. In Glen Rock, about eight miles away, the schools will remain open, but, according to the district’s Web site, “All high school students will be required to remain inside the building for lunch, and no outside food deliveries will be allowed.”
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #225 on:
September 20, 2007, 04:28:42 PM »
Video, photos taken at fire stations spark concerns
By GREG WELTER - Staff Writer
During the last week of July, fire officials in the Bay Area city of Campbell reported that two men had been seen videotaping routine activities at a fire station.
The men were reportedly in their 20s or early 30s, and one was using a sophisticated news media-style camera.
When firefighters attempted to talk with the men, they reportedly jumped into a waiting car and sped off.
The incident prompted the Sacramento Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center to send out a request for Northern California fire stations to watch for similar incidents, and report them immediately.
The day the request went out, Sept. 6, a second, similar incident was reported at a fire station in Yuba City.
According to officials, a fire captain encountered two men parked outside the city's main fire station. One of the men got out and allegedly began taking pictures of the fire station's administration building. When the captain approached the men, to tell them they were in a no-parking zone, the photographer jumped in the vehicle and the men left.
The man who took the photos was described as being between 30 and 40 years of age.
On Sept. 12, Fresno Fire Department officials spotted two men in a vehicle allegedly observing activities at a fire training center. When questioned, the driver reportedly said they were just checking things out, then left immediately.
Two days later, on Sept. 14, personnel from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department noticed two men taking photos of a fire station. A third man sat in the back of a car, and appeared to be drawing or taking notes.
When fire officials walked toward them, the two taking pictures jumped in the vehicle and sped away.
The men allegedly took pictures in front of the station, and in the rear. They ranged in age from late teens to about 60, officials recalled.
Tim Johnstone, a commander with the threat assessment center in Sacramento, said all of the incidents are being investigated, but there is no indication they might be related.
"We aren't considering this a specific threat at this time; we're just asking our public safety partners to be on the watch for suspicious activity," he said.
He said the threat assessment center was formed to act as a collection point for homeland security intelligence, and disseminate it appropriately.
Jay Alan, deputy director of communication for the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is concerned about security agencies sharing information, and has made it a top priority.
Local officials said no suspicious incidents involving videotaping or photos have been reported at fire stations.
Fire department personnel are being asked to take note of vehicle descriptions, descriptions of suspicious subjects, and complete license plate numbers. Citizens who witness suspicious activity, near fire stations or elsewhere, should do the same, and report it to their local law enforcement agency.
Citizens should not attempt to contact suspicious individuals.
Staff writer Greg Welter can be reached at 896-7768 or
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #226 on:
September 20, 2007, 05:32:01 PM »
Sep 20, 10:26
The Sudden Rush of Al Qaeda Communications
Perhaps one of the most successful achievements of the old guard al Qaeda, besides staying alive, is the vast expansion of its propaganda outreach arm.
Not only are the videos and tapes coming fast and furious, but in multiple languages aiming at a wide variety of audiences.
This indicates a level of sophistication and and stability that is both deeply alarming and indicative of how secure the group feels. The videos, with different scenes, subtitles, translations and rapid turnaround time (indicated by the references to recent events) shows that the old guard al Qaeda is dedicating significant resources to the propaganda/outreach wing and has a desire to retain a place of preeminence within the jihadi world.
It is interesting that both Bin Laden and Zawahiri have become ubiquitous after years of long silences. This indicates to me that not only do they have the wherewithal to run the operation, but that they feel it is imperative to get their message out repeatedly.
For non-state groups, cut off from the normal media channels, such outreach is vitally important to survival. I draw an imperfect parallel to the success of Radio Venceremos, run by the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) in the Salvadoran civil war in the 1980s.
The radio broadcast daily, and often with live combat reports as the fighting was happening. The constant voice of rebels was not just an irritant to the government, but a source of ideological sustenance to the cadres scattered around the country, as well as a vital recruitment tool.
Despite the dedication of significant resources and intelligence assets to getting rid of the radio, the U.S.-backed military could never take it down. It remained a thorn in the side of the Salvadoran army for 12 years, and a vital part of the FMLN’s ability to survive.
Al Qaeda does not broadcast daily, but the production unit has demonstrated a recent ability to greatly increase its operational tempo. This shows that they are likely in a stable location, with good equipment and not on the run or under significant pressure.
Why the sudden surge in communications with the network? That, to me, is the most important question. The content is important and should be analyzed, especially the call to war against Musharraf in Pakistan and the call to retake Spain for Islam. But much of the statements are simply restatements of old positions and rhetoric.
Perhaps, as the “Base” takes on a life of its own, the old leadership sees a need to reassert its relevancy. Or perhaps the old guard no longer holds a great deal of appeal to the young men wanting to fight the “hot” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and are drawn to different jihadi organizations, rather than the old men living in caves or apartments.
Or perhaps the productions are largely intended as morale boosters for the cadre in the absence of significant successful attacks in the United States and Europe.
What does seem clear to me is that this propaganda machine, run at some risk and expense, is vitally important to the leadership. It is also vital for those in a virtual world, looking for some point of connection, to have access to this material, as well as being useful to those seeking to recruit.
I am not sure what it means, but it is another sign of how much work there is to do in shutting down the message as well as the messenger.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #227 on:
September 20, 2007, 07:25:40 PM »
S.C. mom scoops al-Qaida with its videos
By SAGAR MEGHANI, Associated Press Writer
16 minutes ago
Once her son is off to school, Laura Mansfield settles in at her dining room table with her laptop and begins trolling Arabic-language message boards and chat rooms popular with jihadists.
Fluent in Arabic, the self-employed terror analyst often hacks into the sites, translates the material, puts it together and sends her analysis via a subscription service to intelligence agencies, law enforcement and academics.
Occasionally she comes across a gem, such as when she found a recent Osama bin Laden video — before al-Qaida had announced it.
"I realized, oh my gosh, I'm sitting here, I'm a fat 50-year-old mom and I've managed to scoop al-Qaida," said Mansfield, who uses that name as a pseudonym because she receives death threats.
She sometimes spends 100 hours a week online, and she often finds items after word has begun spreading on the Arabic forums of an imminent release.
"It's really important to understand what the jihadists think and how they're planning on doing things," she said. "They're very vocal. They tell us what they're going to do and then they go out and do it."
Mansfield tips off her intelligence sources when she does find something new, part of an informal working relationship with the government.
"When I send them something, it's welcome," she said. "They thank me."
There have been times when an impending video release has kept her from a planned shopping trip with her daughter.
"It gets really challenging when you're trying to do that and cook spaghetti at the same time," she said.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #228 on:
September 22, 2007, 01:37:06 PM »
This is where we stand, 6 years after 9/11.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #229 on:
September 22, 2007, 02:14:08 PM »
| Original article available at:
Terror & Denial [by Hadayat at LAX]
by Daniel Pipes
New York Post
July 9, 2002
On the 4th of July, an Egyptian immigrant to the United States who believes in wild conspiracy theories about Jews, is known for his great "hate for Israel," and has possible ties to al Qaeda, armed himself to the teeth and assaulted the Israeli airline counter at Los Angeles International Airport, killing two.
It is obvious why Hesham Mohamed Ali Hadayet targeted Jews in a highly visible place on so prominent a date: to engage in terrorism against Israel.
But one important institution - the U.S. government - claims not to know Hadayet's goals. An FBI spokesman has said that "there's nothing to indicate terrorism." Another FBI official said of Hadayet: "It appears he went there with the intention of killing people. Why he did that we are still trying to determine." Possible causes named include a work dispute and a hate crime.
Sure, law enforcement should not jump to conclusions, but this head-in-the-clouds approach is ridiculous. It also fits a well-established pattern. Consider three cases of terrorism in the New York City area:
Rashid Baz, a Lebanese cab driver with a known hatred for all things Israeli and Jewish, armed himself to the teeth in March 1994 and drove around the city looking for a Jewish target. He found his victims - a van full of Hassidic boys - on the Brooklyn Bridge and fired a hail of bullets against them, killing one boy.
And how did the FBI classify this crime? As "road rage." Only because the murdered boy's mother relentlessly fought this false description did the bureau finally in 2000 re-classify the murder as "the crimes of a terrorist."
Ali Hasan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian gunman hailing from militant Islamic circles in Florida, took a gun to the top of the Empire State building in February 1997 and shot seven people there, killing one.
His suicide note accused the United States of using Israel as its "instrument" against the Palestinians, but city officials ignored this evidence and instead dismissed Abu Kamal as either "one deranged individual working on his own" (Police Commissioner Howard Safir) or a "man who had many, many enemies in his mind" (Mayor Rudolph Giuliani).
Gamil al-Batouti, an EgyptAir copilot, yelled "I put my faith in God's hands" as he crashed a plane leaving Kennedy airport in October 1999, killing 217. Under Egyptian pressure, the National Transportation Safety Board report shied away from once mentioning Batouti's possible terrorist motives.
And despite all the "world-has-changed" rhetoric following the horrors of last September, Western officialdom continues to pretend terrorism away.
Damir Igric, a Croat immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, used a boxcutter to slash the neck of a Greyhound bus driver in Tennessee last October, causing the bus to roll over, killing six passengers and himself. Although this bus-hijacking scenario echoed similar attacks by Palestinians on Israeli buses, the FBI immediately classified it "an isolated incident" and not an act of terrorism. The media attributed the violence to post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Hassan Jandoubi, an Islamist with possible connections to al Qaeda, had started working at the AZF fertilizer factory in suburban Toulouse, France, just days before a massive explosion took place there last Sept. 21. This, the worst catastrophe ever in a French chemical plant, killed Jandoubi and 29 others, injured 2,000, destroyed 600 dwellings, and damaged 10,000 buildings.
The autopsy revealed that Jandoubi was wearing two pairs of trousers and four pairs of underpants, which the coroner compared to what is worn by "Islamic militants going into battle or on suicide missions." Also, the chemical plant was processing ammonium nitrate, a stable chemical that requires a substantial infusion of energy to explode.
Ignoring these signs, the French authorities declared there was "no shred of evidence" of the explosion being a terrorist act and ruled it an accident. They even prosecuted two publications merely for calling Jandoubi a "radical Islamist," making them pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines to Jandoubi's heirs, a mosque and a Muslim organization for their "defamation" of Jandoubi.
Work dispute, hate crime, road rage, derangement, post-traumatic stress, industrial accident ... these expressions of denial obstruct effective counterterrorism. The time has come for governments to catch up with the rest of us and call terrorism by its rightful name.
April 12, 2003 update: Good news: the FBI did "catch up with the rest of us" and did call terrorism by its rightful name. It took over nine months after the murders but it finally did:
July 4 Shooting at LAX Ruled Terrorism
By Paul Chavez
Los Angeles (AP) - An Egyptian immigrant who opened fire inside Los Angeles International Airport committed an act of terrorism, but he did it alone and was not tied to any terrorist organizations, federal officials have determined.
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, killed two people at the ticket counter of El Al, Israel's national airline, and wounded several others in the July Fourth attack before he was fatally shot by an airline security guard.
The Department of Justice had withheld characterizing the shooting while federal agents launched a worldwide probe. They determined it was terrorism related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, said Matthew McLaughlin, an FBI spokesman in Los Angeles.
"The investigation developed information that he openly supported the killings of civilians in order to advance the Palestinian cause," McLaughlin said.
The FBI findings, made several months ago, were recently approved by the Justice Department. McLaughlin said Friday that his office was told not to issue a news release but was given permission to confirm the finding if asked.
The investigation found that Hadayet had become increasingly militant in recent years. Just weeks before the shooting, he bought the weapons used in the attack, closed his bank accounts and sent his family overseas. At the time, Hadayet, who lived in Irvine, was $10,000 in debt, and his limousine businesses was struggling, authorities said.
Mar. 14, 2006 update: I today found a name for Hadayet's rampage - Sudden Jihad Syndrome. See the explanation at "Sudden Jihad Syndrome (in North Carolina)."
| Original article available at:
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #230 on:
September 24, 2007, 01:49:51 AM »
One on One with Steven Emerson: 'Jihad is jihad'
Ruthie Blum , THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 20, 2007
Investigative Project on Terrorism executive director Steven Emerson claims that radical Islam is alive and well in America - thanks to the tacit cooperation of government agencies which embrace the very groups they should be investigating.
Steven Emerson's delicate delivery belies the pungency - and punch - of his words. Whether this is the result of having heard it all and said it all in every possible forum is not clear. In fact, delving beneath the surface of radical Islamic activity, only to discover additional layers with each dig, could just as easily have the opposite effect on one's demeanor. Particularly when the information being uncovered is pooh-poohed in some fashion. Or when its disseminator is dismissed as alarmist at best, and anti-Muslim at worst.
But Emerson - an investigative journalist turned NGO director - doesn't appear to be perturbed on a personal level. It's the public response to what he claims is a pernicious network of terrorist cells within the United States, fronted as humanitarian organizations, that gets to him.
"The US government, the media and the intelligentsia are witting and unwitting enablers of radical Islam," says Emerson, a best-selling author, whose books include American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (2002) and Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US (2006), and creator of the prize-winning documentary film Jihad in America (1994).
Here earlier this month to speak at the seventh annual conference of the International Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT) in Herzliya, Emerson, who founded and heads the Washington DC-based Investigative Project on Terrorism, gave The Jerusalem Post an overview of the situation he believes will only really be solved when Islam undergoes a genuine reformation.
In an hour-long interview at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv on the eve of the conference, Emerson, 50, punctuated this sentiment by pointing to the Dolphinarium across the street - the site of the 2001 suicide bombing that left 21 people dead and more than 100 wounded.
"What we're looking at," he says, poker-face intact, "is the marker of where 'lesser jihad' was carried out against young Israelis at a discotheque."
What is the purpose of conferences on counterterrorism? Do they have any effect?
Conferences are ubiquitous - mainly good for networking and making contacts. In the intelligence community, the best way of developing information and getting new ideas is to meet people who do different things in the same area. And conferences also bring in revenue for the organizers.
What about meeting people with different views on terrorism and how to combat it? These conferences, both in Israel and abroad, seem to have such a wide range of ideological slants as to render them useless.
Oh yes. Take the Aspen Institute's annual terrorism symposia, for instance. There participants believe that Prozac and therapy should be dispensed to terrorists. It's so "Kumbaya" that one would gag if forced to attend. It all comes down to the Harvard University view of terrorism, according to which terrorists carry out aggression because they are "humiliated." It's the pseudo-psycho view that offers justification for the committing of violent acts, and ends up blaming the victim rather than the terrorist. This is ridiculous, of course. I feel humiliated when I get a ticket; but that doesn't mean I get to shoot a cop. The whole field became a gravy train in Washington for many people after 9/11, thanks to the hundreds of millions of dollars dispensed by the US government to think tanks and academic centers.
These centers are overwhelmingly anti-American and anti-Israeli, and thus full of pro-Islamist ideologues or just plain charlatans. My organization does not take a dime of government money, so we are free to call the shots as we see them.
How do you see General Wesley Clark, the keynote speaker at the ICT conference this year, for example?
Clark is not someone for whom I have much respect, since he's been championing the notion that we should be talking to Iran and Syria, effectively rewarding them for their terrorist activities. He has also spoken about being nicer to terrorists. In fact, in 2004, when he was running for president, he sent a tape of an address to a radical Muslim convention, greeting participants as though they were members of the Rotary Club. Now, this was a combined group of the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America, both of which have long been affiliated with radical Islamic groups, and whose previous conventions have been full of invectives for the US and Israel, replete with calls for jihad. Had Clark cared to do any due diligence, he would have discovered the extremist ideologies of these groups. But either he didn't bother to investigate, or he simply bought into the propaganda that these two groups were "moderate."
Even after I pointed out these groups' ulterior radical agenda in a debate I had with him on cable television about the appropriateness of his speaking before them, he continued to perpetrate the charade that all he was doing was engaging in "outreach" to innocent Muslim groups.
The new book and documentary film I'm working on - The Grand Deception - is about how the US government, the media and the intelligentsia are witting and unwitting enablers of radical Islam, by accepting front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood or for Hamas as credible and legitimate. This is particularly egregious at the highest levels of the government - such as the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and the FBI - who meet and greet groups they should be investigating, not embracing. This sends a terrible signal to genuine Muslim moderates and the Muslim rank-and-file, reinforcing their sense that it is the radical groups who are respected by the government.
There is a criminal trial presently under way in Texas of a suspected Hamas charity. The revelations that have emerged in the trial - probably the most striking findings since those that came out in the 1949 Alger Hiss trials - are that the Muslim Brotherhood had secretly set up shop in the US under the cover of "charitable" organizations, with the specific purpose of waging jihad from within and subverting the United States until it became a Muslim country. Yet, neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post published these findings.
This sounds reminiscent of the Cold War era, with witting and unwitting "fellow travelers" in the West furthering the communist agenda.
Then, too, there was a refusal to recognize that there were communists and communist fronts in the US, put up by the Soviets. This is the same type of structure, but much more extensive and less likely to fall down on its own.
Why is it less likely to "fall down on its own?"
Because it's ideologically and religiously based.
Communism was ideologically based, and for some it was even a kind of religion.
Yes, but it ultimately fell down because of its internal economic contradictions. Radical Islamic ideology transcends economics. That's why Hamas beat the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank-Gaza elections, and why Fatah got its ass kicked in the war in Gaza. Because, whereas the PA doesn't stand for anything other than corruption, Hamas adheres to a genuine ideology of destroying the West and the Jews. It's not going to be swayed by having villas on the sea.
You're saying that money is not its driving force, yet much of your research involves following the money trail. Isn't it relevant, then?
Money is relevant, but dollar-for-dollar, Islamist terrorist attacks are cheaper than any other type of terrorism.
Because it's not done for profit. Take the 9/11 attacks. At a cost of $500,000, they caused $500 billion worth of damage. That's a great rate of return. Even though the US Treasury has done a good job of seizing terrorist assets, al-Qaida is on the resurgence, and Saudi Arabia, despite the ritual slap on the wrist, continues to pump tens of millions a year into radical Islamic groups.
Speaking of which, how could those attacks have taken everybody by surprise?
There are several reasons, other than the obvious failure on the part of intelligence and law-enforcement services to connect the dots. The perpetrators of the attacks were regular visitors of known mosques; they were well taken care of; they were given logistical support, such as drivers' licenses. The FBI leadership's self-serving explanation was that these guys were working alone and therefore couldn't have been stopped. That's bullshit, and FBI agents have admitted to me that it is. The dirty secret of 9/11 is that there was logistical support from members of the Muslim community in the United States.
What could possibly be the motive of the FBI to ignore subversive activity in the first place, and fail to investigate it afterward?
I want to make a distinction between the FBI field agents and FBI headquarters. The headquarters are where the "suits" hang out, away from reality on the one hand, and subject to political winds on the other. The field agents, in contrast, know exactly what they're dealing with. But they are given instructions to go and "make nice" with the Muslim community in their districts.
Well, it's proper for the FBI to have good community relations with all ethnic groups. But the question is: Whom are you going to anoint as the representative of a given group, in this case the Muslim community? The FBI has allowed itself to be manipulated into anointing the Muslim Brotherhood as representatives of the Muslim community.
Why is the FBI not reaching out to the moderates?
The sad reality is that the vast majority of institutional organizations in the hierarchical Muslim spectrum represent the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahhabis or the Salafists. It's a microcosm of the Muslim world. And we deceive ourselves into believing that the American Muslim community is somehow insulated from the "paranoia propaganda" that exists in the Muslim world as a whole - that which claims the Christians and the Jews are out to subjugate Islam.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #231 on:
September 24, 2007, 01:50:47 AM »
Where does this alleged self-deception come from?
To a certain extent, it comes from naivete. It reflects our own belief system. If we don't lie, we don't expect others to lie. If we don't hide behind a religion, we don't expect others to do so. Radical Muslims have no compunction about hiding behind the banner of Islam, while crying racism any time they're criticized and conflating criticism of their groups with criticism of their religion. Politicians run for cover at that point. And the media goes along with it.
Jews are accused of crying anti-Semitism whenever Israel is criticized. Why is this any different?
While perhaps the use of the term anti-Semitism is sometimes excessive, at least there's a heterogeneity of opinions within the Jewish world and Israel. Such heterogeneity does not exist within the Muslim world. You either support Hamas or you're considered a heretic. Nobody is allowed to dispute the views of the Muslim Brotherhood. Jihad, then, becomes obligatory for everybody. As for the distinctions between anti-Semitism and "Islamophobia," there are several: According to the Justice Department's annual bias reports, there are at least 10 times more hate crimes committed against Jews than against Muslims. But the news coverage reflects the opposite percentage.
Secondly, Muslim groups in the West routinely fabricate or exaggerate "hate crimes" against Muslims; they even categorize the arrests of Islamic terrorists as hate crimes. Finally, the entire concept of "Islamophobia" was invented by radical Islamic groups in Britain in the 1990s as a means of discrediting legitimate fears of radical Islam.
If, as you claim, the vast majority of institutional Muslim organizations represent the radicals, is there such a thing today as "moderate Islam"?
There is a moderate Muslim tradition that exists. You can see it in the actions and behavior of some Muslim leaders in the US - like Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser - religious Muslims who have rejected terrorism and extremism. There are also secular Muslims - such as intellectual Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is one of the bravest women I have ever met. But since she's rejected Islam entirely, she has no religious standing.
And, as courageous as the above figures are, they don't have the following that CAIR [the Council on American Islamic Relations] does, because Saudi Arabia's not supporting them financially. There exists no Saudi "Peace Now" movement to back them. There's virtually nobody in the established Islamic hierarchy that will support any Muslim who denounces holy war. Of course, there are the ersatz moderates who assert that jihad does not mean holy war - that it only means striving. These are the propagandists who whitewash Islamic extremism.
Do all these Muslim leaders really support jihad, or are they afraid to come out against it for fear they will be targeted for assassination by radicals?
So far, there is no reformation going on within the Islamic world. The imams who espouse jihad and the killing of Jews and Christians are sincere in their belief. A relative handful of individual Muslim intellectuals and leaders have spoken out, but they have not garnered a major following. It's a fact of life that those willing to stick their necks out of the foxhole risk getting shot at.
You make a distinction between the "suits" in the FBI and organized Muslim institutions and the rank-and-file in the field. Extending that analogy to the American people as a whole, would you say that The New York Times and The Washington Post are perhaps not representative of the majority?
I definitely think the analogy can be extended, and that the American public gets it: They understand there is a problem with radical Islam.
The elite newspapers, with the exception of The Wall Street Journal, systematically censor the news in order to downplay the threat, or at worst, literally distort the facts to falsely portray radical Islamic groups in the United States as victims, which is exactly in line with the victimology propagated by these groups. If misreporting were a crime, a lot of reporters would be in jail.
How do you answer your many critics who accuse you of being paranoid and a conspiracy theorist?
That I wish my conjectures had not come true. In 1994, when I did the film Jihad in America, I was accused of being alarmist and histrionic. Yet, every Islamic radical in that film was subsequently indicted, convicted or deported. And if you look at a map of cells or groups operating in the US over the last 15 years, you will see that virtually every radical Islamic group has had a presence in the US, in more than 100 cities. I deal with information - hard, cold facts based on documents, recordings or impeccable law-enforcement sources. The reality I predicted in 1994 came to fruition in 2001. Had I investigated an easier group, let's say the Ku Klux Klan, I can assure you I would have been lauded all around, with no charges of being a conspiracy theorist. Its just that the KKK does not have a powerful PR machine with sympathetic members of the press.
In spite of all that, and in spite of the 9/11 attacks, why does one get the sense that people in the West are not as shaken by the phenomenon as they should be?
Because people only believe there's a threat when there's violence. If a group is only spreading its word, or only transferring money to suicide bombers in Israel, it isn't perceived as a threat.
Still, 9/11 did arouse awareness that terrorism is present. The point I have been stressing is that terrorism is the ultimate culmination of political Islam - political Islam being the indoctrination that Islam will reign supreme, and that Shari'a will be the law of the land.
How do you rate Israel's response to terrorism?
Israel responds in the same way most Westerners respond. If there's blood in the streets, they respond. If there's not, they don't. That's why Yasser Arafat was touted as a "man of peace," when all he was was a terrorist thug. His legacy will be the introduction of the greatest amount of arms and explosives into the most concentrated territory in the world on both sides of Israel's border. So now Israel has three Lebanons. This is not only Arafat's legacy, but that of the Israeli politicians and of former US president Bill Clinton, who brought them together, and whose advisers for seven long years deliberately averted themselves to the consistent and massive violations of the Oslo Accords by Arafat and his henchmen.
What about incumbent President George W. Bush - whose own legacy will include backing Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Egypt's control of the Philadelphi corridor and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's being supported as a moderate?
Indeed, Abbas is not capable of doing anything - not even tying his own shoelaces - let alone controlling any security force or representing anybody other than himself and his family. It's a charade that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is propping up. That Bush has bought into the malarkey is partly a function of Israeli leaders' blinding him to the cold reality.
Why would he allow himself to be blinded?
He was getting hit over the head by the press and politicians who kept saying that he wasn't "engaged" - a euphemism for putting pressure on Israel, propounded by the likes of [former US ambassador to Israel and current Brookings Institute fellow] Martin Indyk and [former Mideast envoy and current director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy] Dennis Ross. This euphemism has resurfaced as a result of Bush's being besieged on Iraq. Needing a foreign policy victory that Rice said she could deliver, Bush went along with it. And he basically lost control of his agencies.
I can't claim to know what goes on in his head, but I believe he truly knows some of these [Islamic] groups are bad. Still, he does contradictory things. For example, a couple of months ago, he spoke at the Islamic Center of Washington and announced that he was appointing an American representative to the Organization of the Islamic Conference - a group that has supported suicide bombings. Bush referred to them as moderates. He also spoke at a mosque that is funded by the Saudis and which has distributed virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Christian literature. All of this was orchestrated by State Department Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes.
Has Bush, perhaps, relinquished his earlier convictions - those that dominated his speeches in the immediate aftermath of 9/11?
He goes back and forth, one minute denouncing "Islamofascism," another saying that peaceful jihad has been hijacked by the those who "pervert" Islam. What crockery! Jihad is jihad.
Yet a distinction has been made between holy war and spiritual jihad - between the "lesser" jihad and the large.
What we're looking at right here [he points to the Dolphinarium below, the site of the June 1, 2001 suicide bombing that left 21 dead and more than 100 wounded] is the marker of where the "lesser jihad" was carried out against young Israelis at a discotheque. Though it's true that moderate Muslims may interpret jihad as a spiritual struggle, radical Islamic clerics who aren't trying to "spin" the West say openly that jihad means only one thing: fighting for the sake of imposing Islam. And it's both obscene and corrupt that certain media outlets talk about it as though it were no more than quitting smoking or cleaning up the environment. The 3,000 killed on 9/11, and the 1,500 Israelis killed during the second intifada, died because the perpetrators were carrying out jihad.
Where does Iran come into all of this, and how do you explain the Bush administration's talk of negotiating with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Iran plays a vicious role in world affairs, though it is not the spiritual center of jihad; that still resides in Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, certain terrorist groups, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, could not exist without the training and funding they receive from Iran. The reason the US suddenly decided to invite Iran to negotiate was repeated pressure from the anti-Israel types - i.e. the Council on Foreign Relations, so-called Middle East "analysts" and the media - who kept saying that no harm can come of talking to the Iranians. Well, harm does come from talking. You wouldn't have sat down in 1933 with the Nazis. Yet that's exactly what's being done today. Iran is being given legitimacy by coming to the table. Which is exactly what Iran wants - not to reciprocate the gesture by any agreement on its part to lower the temperature, but to use the talks as a cover for continuing to carry out covert activities against the West.
What has to happen for the temperature to be lowered?
An Islamic reformation, and that's not in the cards in the short term. Absent that, a resolve to confront the sources of terrorism without wavering.
A reformation from within?
That's right. And it will be plenty bloody. Unfortunately, however, before that happens, Muslim nations like Iran will acquire weapons of mass destruction. They will acquire nuclear bombs, and when Ahmadinejad says Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth, he really means it. And if he had the weapons to carry that out, he'd use them.
Where US policy vis a vis Iran and radical Islamic terrorism is concerned, will it make any difference whether a Democrat or a Republican wins the next presidential election?
It might make a difference. In the debates so far, several of the Democratic candidates have been taking the military option off the table, whereas few Republicans have. For some Democrats, even openly acknowledging the term "radical Islam" is hard to stomach. This makes Osama bin Laden's recent statements [on the tape he released on the sixth anniversary of 9/11] particularly telling. He actually recommended that Americans read books by [left-wing author] Noam Chomsky, who cites examples of American imperialism, and [former CIA analyst] Michael Scheuer, who says that the US does not understand the Muslim predicament. Scheuer's reaction to this endorsement was pride, rather than shame. Of course, Scheuer's answer to bin Laden is for the US to drop support for Israel, which he contends will appease bin Laden and result in his backing off attacks on the US. Neville Chamberlain practiced this thinking a bit earlier - and everyone knows the tragic results.
That Scheuer was allowed to stay at the CIA while propagating this nonsense tells us a lot about why the US totally misread bin Laden.
The ultimate question is whether any president has the guts to do what is necessary. And what is necessary is military action to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities. This doesn't mean the massive carpet bombing of urban centers. It means the pinpointing and elimination of underground facilities, with the purpose of retarding the nuclear program. It's an issue of buying time. But then, Israel's whole existence has been one of buying time.
How did you get into the business of exposing jihadist activities?
I was an investigative journalist. After producing Jihad in America in 1994, I thought maybe I'd do another film on a different topic. But I'd collected so much material on radical Islamic groups - material nobody else had - that I kept getting contacted for information from certain members of the media and law-enforcement agencies. It was clearly a vacuum that needed to be filled. So I established the Investigative Project on Terrorism to carry out in-depth investigation of these groups, and go into areas that the FBI wouldn't be allowed to, either because of freedom-of-speech restrictions or because of political correctness. In any case, the FBI's mission is not to serve as a truth-detector. Its mission is to prevent or solve crime. So, if a mosque or other Islamic organization lies about its aims, it's not up to the FBI to correct that impression among the American public. That's the work of the media or an NGO. And mine is probably the only non-profit organization - funded only by American contributions, taking no money from the US government - that's taken on the radical Islamic states.
Is it true that you consider your life to be in danger, and that as a result you are always looking over your shoulder?
No. Well, the office has a false cover. And I had to move out of my co-op 12 years ago, because my address had been publicly identified. Let's just say that I know there's a lot of radical Islamic animosity toward me. Even in transcripts that were recently declassified by the Justice Department, Hamas claimed that I was behind all of the bad press it got in the 1990s. I wish I had been responsible, but I wasn't. Still, the impression that I had been could mobilize somebody to do something bad. So I do take precautions. Whenever I speak somewhere that is made public beforehand, I have to have some type of security. I don't let it affect my behavior in general, though. Nor do I have a bodyguard. Having one would be more cumbersome - and conspicuous - than not having one.
Have you received concrete threats?
In the past I have. But I don't take the threats I receive via voice- or e-mail seriously. Someone who's really interested in doing something harmful isn't going to telegraph it. I am determined not to let the Islamists carry out their campaigns of intimidation against me or anyone else.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #232 on:
September 24, 2007, 11:39:19 PM »
In Defense of the Constitution
News & Analysis
016/07 September 24, 2007
CAIR Calls for Profiling of Muslims in the United States.
On September 20, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington DC based Islamic terrorism supporting group, issued a press release titled "CAIR Welcomes TSA Policy Change on Islamic Scarf".
From the article:
"Following discussions with community leaders of several faiths, including a representative of CAIR's Dallas-Fort Worth chapter, TSA officials have accepted a proposed modification to the August 4 policy. According to the updated policy, Muslim women who wear a head cover that is attached to the contour of the head, with no space between the scarf and the head, should not be subjected to a secondary screening. That style of cover is worn by the majority of Muslim women who wear scarves."
In a radical departure from past positions, CAIR is now calling on government agents to profile Muslims.in order to provide them special rights denied to non-Muslims.
Additionally, CAIR has signaled its Islamist terrorist masters that Muslim women are now America's newest privileged protected class and that they are now the perfect venue to smuggle unauthorized items aboard American airliners.
What could be the possible results of this latest appeasement of radical Islam?
- A piece of sharpened carbon fiber, form-fitted to the head and covered with a scarf.
- A plastic letter-opener secreted in the folds.
- Any number of items, such as malleable plastic explosives, that could be formed to the contours of the head.
Let's not forget that there was time when the idea that an airliner could be taken over with a box cutter was laughable.
After 9-11, is anyone laughing?
Leaving aside the obvious security implications of this new policy, what about the rights of other travelers?
- How will Mennonites, Jews, and other faiths that wear head-coverings react to the idea that they are to be subjected to searches that Muslims are excused from?
- The first amendment to the Constitution demands that all faiths be treated equally under the law; how does this square with government employees giving preferential treatment to Muslims?
- How will the airport inspectors determine someone is a Muslim? (Will they ask? Will Muslim travelers be provided a Muslim-only ID card? Will there be Muslim-only lines at the airport? We already have Muslim-only foot baths at some airports, is it really a stretch to call for Muslim-only lines?) Will they...dare we say it.."profile" Muslims?
The bottom line: CAIR is approving of the TSA PROFILING Muslim women!
How much more appeasement are we going to stand for before we realize that radical Islam is not only making us second-class citizens in our own country, but that we are tripping all over ourselves to help them do it?
CAIR and their terrorist masters must certainly see this turn of events as nothing more than another example of Americans surrendering to the fist of radical Islam.
Reply #233 on:
September 26, 2007, 02:44:55 PM »
From today's Indy Star:
Inactive explosives found at airport
By Meagan Ingerson
September 26, 2007
A suspicious item found in a security checkpoint at Indianapolis International Airport this morning caused a concourse of the airport to be closed for about an hour, delaying several flights, according to a report from the Indianapolis Airport Police.
An unidentified passenger reported the suspicious package, which appeared to be an improvised explosive device, after finding the item in a stack of gray plastic trays used to send personal belongings through the X-ray machine, the report stated.
Police shut down the checkpoint and adjoining concourse D from 5:10 to 6:20 a.m. A perimeter was set up and a bomb squad from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department rendered the device safe.
The suspected bomb appears to be a simulated explosive device, the report stated. The device included a battery, wires, a switch, and a plastic bag containing a modeling-clay-like substance labeled as a semtex imitation. Semtex is a plastic explosive often used in terrorist attacks.
According to the report, a second plastic bag also contained a fake explosive consisting of a small amount of a liquid labeled helix and a powder-filled tube. The bag was marked with a label from manufacturer S.E.T.D. Law Enforcement Training Center in Stamford, N.Y., the report stated.
Police called the manufacturer and were told that the company did manufacture the simulated helix but did not make the semtex imitation.
The origin of the simulated device is unknown. The incident is still under investigation by airport police.
Several East Coast-bound flights for United and U.S. Airways were delayed as a result of the closure, airport spokeswoman Susan Sullivan said. No flights were cancelled.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #234 on:
September 28, 2007, 04:49:53 PM »
While opposing the Israeli invasion of Lebanon last year is within the range of reasonable points of view (for the record, as recorded elsewhere on this forum I supported the invasion as being forced by the attacks on Israel), the comment about Jihad here in America is not. Another moderate Muslim turns out not to be as billed.
Kaine Appointee Advocates 'the Jihad Way'
September 27, 2007 - 2:58pm
Editor's Note: This story contains video from YouTube. Please click on the link in the story or in the left-hand column to watch.
By BOB LEWIS
Associated Press Writer
RICHMOND, Va. - A member of the state's Commission of Immigration resigned Thursday, a few hours after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was told about online videos showing the appointee condemning Israel and advocating "the jihad way."
Kaine learned of the videos from a caller to his live monthly radio program and accepted the resignation of Dr. Esam S. Omeish about three hours later.
"Dr. Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me," Kaine said in a press statement announcing the resignation.
Kaine said Omeish resigned because he did not want the controversy to distract from the work of the 20-member commission appointed to study the effects of immigration and federal immigration policies on Virginia.
Omeish, the president of the Muslim American Society, is shown in a video on YouTube denouncing the invasion of Lebanon during that time by the "Israeli war machine" during an Aug. 12, 2006, rally in Washington.
Omeish, chief of the division of general surgery at INOVA Alexandria Hospital, also accused Israel of genocide and massacres against Palestinians and said the "Israeli agenda" controls Congress.
In a separate, undated video made, Omeish tells a crowd of Washington-area Muslims, "...you have learned the way, that you have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land."
That video was credited to Investigative Project, a Washington-based organization that investigates radical Islamic organizations.
Omeish did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #235 on:
October 08, 2007, 08:11:43 AM »
Goose Creek Terror Trial - Egypt to Hire Lawyer for Accused USF Student
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Egypt's government is paying for the legal representation of a college student who authorities say was found with pipe bombs near a Navy base, an attorney said Wednesday.
Attorney John Fitzgibbons told a judge he was in talks with the Egyptian embassy in Washington and likely will be hired to represent suspended University of South Florida student Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed.
Ahmed el-Qawassni, an official in Egypt's foreign ministry, said the government is closely monitoring the case and confirmed that an attorney is being hired for Mohamed, who was born in Kuwait to Egyptian parents.
"We are responsible for the sons of Egypt abroad with no exception," el-Qawassni said.
Mohamed, 24, and another USF student, Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, are charged with carrying explosive materials across state lines.
The Attacks that didn
Reply #236 on:
October 17, 2007, 04:12:52 PM »
Summer 2007: The Attack that Never Occurred
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart
The summer of 2007 was marked by threats and warnings of an imminent terrorist attack against the United States. In addition to the well-publicized warnings from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and a National Intelligence Estimate that al Qaeda was gaining strength, a former Israeli counterterrorism official warned that al Qaeda was planning a simultaneous attack against five to seven American cities. Another warning of an impending dirty bomb attack prompted the New York Police Department to set up vehicle checkpoints near the financial district in Lower Manhattan. In addition to these public warnings, U.S. government counterterrorism sources also told us privately that they were seriously concerned about the possibility of an attack.
All these warnings were followed by the Sept. 7 release of a video message from Osama bin Laden, who had not been seen on video since October 2004 or heard on audio tape since July 2006. Some were convinced that his reappearance -- and his veiled threat -- was the sign of a looming attack against the United States, or perhaps a signal for an attack to commence.
In spite of all these warnings and bin Laden's reappearance -- not the mention the relative ease with which an attack can be conducted -- no attack occurred this summer. Although our assessment is that the al Qaeda core has been damaged to the point that it no longer poses a strategic threat to the U.S. homeland, tactical attacks against soft targets remain simple to conduct and certainly are within the reach of jihadist operatives -- regardless of whether they are linked to the al Qaeda core.
We believe there are several reasons no attack occurred this summer -- or since 9/11 for that matter.
No Conscious Decision
Before we discuss these factors, we must note that the lack of an attack against the U.S. homeland since 9/11 has not been the result of a calculated decision by bin Laden and the core al Qaeda leadership. Far too many plots have been disrupted for that to be the case. Many of those foiled and failed attacks, such as the 2006 foiled plot to destroy airliners flying from London to the United States, the Library Tower Plot, Richard Reid's failed attempt to take down American Airlines flight 63 in December 2001 and Jose Padilla's activities -- bear connection to the core al Qaeda leadership.
So, if the core al Qaeda has desired, and even attempted, to strike the United States, why has it failed? Perhaps the greatest single factor is attitude -- among law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the public at large, the Muslim community and even the jihadists themselves.
Law Enforcement and Intelligence
Prior to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the FBI denied the existence of an international terrorism threat to the U.S. homeland, a stance reflected in the bureau's "Terrorism in the United States" publications in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Even after the radical Zionist Rabbi Meir Kahane was killed by a jihadist with connections to the Brooklyn Jihad Office and "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdul-Rahman, the FBI and Department of Justice denied the act was terrorism and left the investigation and the prosecution of the gunman, ElSayyid Nosair, to New York police and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. (Though they were greatly aided on the federal level by the Diplomatic Security Service, which ran investigative leads for them in Egypt and elsewhere.)
It was only after Nosair's associates detonated a large truck bomb in the parking garage of the World Trade Center in 1993 that the existence of a threat to the United States was recognized. Yet, even after that bombing and the disruption of other plots -- the July 1997 plot to bomb the New York subway system and the December 1999 Millennium Bomb Plot -- the apathy toward counterterrorism programs remained. This was most evident in the low levels of funding and manpower devoted to counterterrorism programs prior to 9/11. As noted in the 9/11 Commission Report, counterterrorism programs simply were not a priority.
Even the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing made no real difference. Some changes were made, such as physical security enhancements at federal buildings, but they were merely window dressing. The real problems, underlying structural problems in the U.S. government's counterterrorism efforts -- resources, priorities and intelligence-sharing -- were not addressed in a meaningful way.
Prior to 9/11, experts (including the two of us) lecturing to law enforcement and intelligence groups about the al Qaeda/transnational terrorist threat to the United States were met with indifference. Of course, following 9/11 some of those same groups paid careful attention to what the experts had to say. Transnational terrorism had become real to them. The 9/11 attacks sparked a sea change in attitudes within law enforcement and intelligence circles. Counterterrorism -- aggressively collecting intelligence pertaining to terrorism and pursuing terrorist leads -- is now a priority.
Before the 1993 World Trade Center bombing the American public also was largely unconcerned about international terrorism. Even after that bombing, the public remained largely apathetic about the terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland. This was partly the result of the media's coverage of the 1993 bombing, which seemed to focus on the hapless, bumbling Mohamed Salameh and not the cunning and dangerous Abdel Basit (who is more widely known by his alias, Ramzi Yousef). Furthermore, the follow-on plot to that attack, the 1993 New York bomb plot -- for which Abdul-Rahman and some of his followers were accused of planning strikes against the Lincoln Tunnel and other New York City landmarks -- was thwarted. This led many to believe that the government had a handle on terrorism and that the United States was protected from such attacks. The second plot was thwarted before it could be executed, and most Americans never saw the gigantic crater (nearly 100 feet across) that the February 1993 truck bomb created through several floors of Building One's reinforced concrete parking garage. Instead, they saw only a bit of smoke billowing from the damaged building. The 1993 cases lacked the stunning visual displays of the 9/11 attacks.
The events of 9/11 also created a 180-degree change in how people think about terrorism and how they perceive and respond to suspicious activity. "If you see something, say something" has become a popular mantra, especially in New York and other large cities. Part of this stems from the changed attitudes of law enforcement officials, who not only have issued appeals in the press but also have made community outreach visits to nearly every flight school, truck driving school, chemical supply company, fertilizer dealer and storage rental company in the United States. Through media reports of terrorist plots and attacks, the public also has become much more aware of the precursor chemicals for improvised explosive mixtures and applies far more scrutiny to anyone attempting to procure them in bulk.
U.S. citizens also are far more aware of the importance of preoperational surveillance and -- fair or not -- it is now very difficult for a person wearing traditional Muslim dress to take a photograph of anything without being reported to the authorities by a concerned citizen.
This change in attitude is particularly significant in the Muslim community itself. Contrary to the hopes of bin Laden -- and the fears of the U.S. government -- the theology of jihadism has not taken root in the United States. Certainly there are individuals who have come to embrace this ideology, as the arrests of some grassroots activists demonstrate, but such people are very much the exception. In spite of some problems, the law enforcement community has forged some strong links to the Muslim community, and in several cases Muslims have even reported potential jihadists to law enforcement.
Even in places where jihadism has more successfully infiltrated the Muslim community, such as Europe, North Africa and Saudi Arabia, the jihadists still consider it preferable to wage the "real" jihad against "crusader troops" in places such as Iraq, rather than to attack soft civilian targets in the West or elsewhere. As unpopular as it is to say, in many ways Iraq has served as a sort of jihadist magnet, drawing young men from around the world to "martyr" themselves. Pragmatically, every young jihadist who travels from Europe or the Middle East to die in Baghdad or Ar Ramadi is one less who could attack Boston, London, Brussels or Rome.
Attitude is Everything
In late 1992 and early 1993, amateur planning was all that was required to conduct a successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil. In addition to the almost comical mistakes made by Salameh, serious gaffes also were made by Ahmed Ajaj and Basit as they prepared for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. However, because of the prevailing apathetic attitude among law enforcement officials and the public in general, those mistakes were not fatal to the operation.
Given the changes in attitude since 9/11, however, no operation conducted as poorly as the 1993 bombing would succeed today. Before the bombing, the FBI investigated the cell that carried it out, made the determination that the men were harmless fanatics and closed the investigation. That would not happen today, as even slightly goofy, wannabe terrorists such as the Miami Seven are vigorously investigated and prosecuted when possible.
When Ajaj and Basit flew into JFK Airport in September 1992, authorities pretty much ignored the fact that Ajaj was found transporting a large quantity of jihadist material, including bombmaking manuals and videos. Instead, he was sentenced to six months in jail for committing passport fraud -- a mere slap on the wrist -- and was then to be deported. Had authorities taken the time to carefully review the materials in Ajaj's briefcase, they would have found two boarding passes and two passports with exit stamps from Pakistan. Because of that oversight, no one noticed that Ajaj was traveling with a companion. Even when his co-conspirators called Ajaj in jail seeking his help in formulating their improvised explosive mixtures and recovering the bombmaking manuals, the calls were not traced. It was not until after the bombing that Ajaj's involvement was discovered, and he was convicted and sentenced.
These kinds of oversights would not occur now. Furthermore, the attitude of the public today makes it far more difficult for a conspirator like Niday Ayyad to order chemicals used to construct a bomb, or for the conspirators to receive and store such chemicals in a rented storage space without being reported to the authorities.
Another change in attitude has been on the legal front. Prior to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, there were no "terrorism" statutes concerning the use of weapons of mass destruction or acts of terrorism transcending national borders. Instead, prosecutors in terrorism cases struggled to apply existing laws. The defendants in the 1993 New York bomb plot case were not charged with conspiring to build bombs or commit acts of international terrorism. Rather, they were convicted on "seditious conspiracy" charges. Similarly, Salameh was convicted of violating the Special Agricultural Worker program and with damaging U.S. Secret Service cars stored in the basement of the World Trade Center building.
The U.S. security environment has indeed improved dramatically since 1993, largely as a result of the sweeping changes in attitude, though also to some extent due to the magnet effect of the war in Iraq. Success can engender complacency, however, and the lack of attacks could allow attitudes -- and thus counterterrorism resources -- to swing back toward the other end of the spectrum.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #237 on:
October 17, 2007, 06:57:45 PM »
Second post of the day
* * *
Mike Kelly's journal about events and people in the Garden State.
Visit the blog
One of Cruise's deputies was even more specific.
"There are people in your county who are affiliated with known al-Qaida members overseas," said Jack Jupin, the FBI agent who heads the counterterror squad for Bergen County.
Cruise, who supervised FBI investigations of terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole before taking over the Newark task force, cautioned that his agents have no information about an imminent attack here. But he said several al-Qaida sympathizers would try if given the chance.
"There are many people who are like-minded who want to commit acts of terrorism and have just not taken that extra step," said Cruise, who keeps a "wanted" poster of Bin Laden on his office wall.
Sometimes, he said, counterterror agents "disrupt" these North Jersey residents with al-Qaida ties.
Cruise declined to describe any case in detail. But in general, such disruption methods ranged from outright deportations to quiet visits by FBI agents in which suspected terrorists are told their activities are being monitored.
"There are many disruptions that occur that the public does not know about," Cruise said.
Taliban aren't here
For the past six years, FBI officials have routinely declined to discuss counterterror measures in northern New Jersey. But last week, the FBI granted The Record limited access to the offices of its Joint Terrorism Task Force, in a gleaming glass building in Newark overlooking the Passaic River.
This unusual glimpse into the inner workings of North Jersey's primary counterterrorism force revealed the following:
Task force investigators have discovered that every major terrorist group in the world, including Hamas and Hezbollah, has at least one North Jersey contact. The lone exception is Afghanistan's ultra-fundamentalist sect, the Taliban.
The task force is currently conducting more than 400 counterterror investigations. These range from probes into Bin Laden's network to neo-Nazis to environmental terrorists.
Each month, a task force "response" squad receives as many as a dozen new tips about possible nuclear, biological or chemical terrorism in New Jersey. These range from citizen concerns about a mysterious powder to the report that three ships were sailing to New Jersey with radiological material on board. Squad members were even dispatched to Emerson last month after school administrators received a threat to blow up schools.
Undercover agents attend all professional football games at Giants Stadium. Agents also plan to monitor the upcoming Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park Racetrack.
Task force agents routinely travel overseas. One is currently in Iraq; another is in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, helping to question suspected al-Qaida captives at the U.S. naval base there. Newark-based agents also played a role in the investigation of the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and provided information to assist the interrogation of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
Task force agents say they are united by one common fear -- that they may overlook information that could stop a potential terrorist attack. Indeed, almost every office seems to contain some reminder of the 9/11 attacks.
In weighing his own fear of an attack, Cruise noted that northern New Jersey has a wide range of tempting and vulnerable targets, from tunnels and bridges to sports venues, shopping malls and chemical plants.
"My greatest fear in New Jersey is that somebody or some group will slip through our grasp," he said.
Scott Nawrocki, the FBI agent who directs the task force's special response squad, keeps a photograph of the World Trade Center on the wall by his desk. On the opposite wall is a poster with a mushroom cloud from a nuclear bomb. "The first things I see are a daily reminder of why I'm here," Nawrocki said.
But he added that it's dangerous for his counterterror agents to fall into the trap of assuming that future terrorists will try to duplicate the 9/11 attacks.
"We use our imagination when we conduct assessments," Nawrocki said.
William Sweeney Jr., whose squad monitors potential terrorists in Hudson County, said some tips for local investigations can originate in the unlikeliest places.
In one case, Sweeney described how U.S. soldiers confiscated a laptop computer when they captured a suspected al-Qaida operative in Iraq. When the laptop's files were examined, investigators discovered several New Jersey phone numbers.
"Why was a person in New Jersey in the address book of a bad guy picked up in Iraq?" Sweeney asked. "We have to check it out."
He declined to describe the result. But the process, described by Sweeney, is not uncommon for the task force.
As a result, task force agents are in daily contact with officials at the CIA and other American intelligence agencies who monitor phone and Internet traffic from North Jersey to known operatives for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.
"I talk to them 10 times a day," Jupin said of the CIA.
Cruise holds several top-secret intelligence briefings each week with fellow agents as well as police from such small towns as Old Tappan and Ho-Ho-Kus.
Amid the wash of tips and ongoing cases, though, Cruise said the task force has to make difficult calculations -- especially when monitoring phone or Internet contacts.
"If it's somebody who is simply communicating with somebody who is known to be an al-Qaida operative, that in itself is not illegal," Cruise said. "It's what they intend to do."
To better understand some of his enemies, Cruise even listens to Arabic language CDs during his commute. But he tries to keep himself and his agents from becoming too confident.
"We have better security measures in place and we have better intelligence," he said. "But we are still vulnerable."
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #238 on:
October 26, 2007, 07:21:45 AM »
I'm putting this piece here because I'm guessing the American homeland will be this man's target:
Geopolitical Diary: The Re-emergence of a Terrorism Artist
The United States dished out another round of sanctions against Iran on Thursday, making good on threats to single out the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity and targeting three of Iran's largest banks. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is neck-deep in separate security negotiations with both Washington and Tehran, bluntly accused the United States of worsening the situation by "running around like a madman with a razor blade."
As we have discussed extensively in recent days, the Iranians have a lot to ponder as they decide their next steps in dealing with the United States over Iraq. It does not appear that Tehran has yet made a decision on whether to move toward serious talks with Washington or hold out for a U.S. withdrawal with the Russians watching its back, but the stress is definitely taking its toll on the regime. Washington has picked up on this friction, and there are indications that it soon will extend a fresh offer of talks -- a negotiations carrot to complement the sanctions stick.
It was against this backdrop that we received a bit of intelligence on Thursday that made us bolt upright. Reports indicate that Imad Fayez Mugniyah has been training Shiite militants from Arab Persian Gulf states -- specifically, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain -- in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley for use in retaliatory attacks if the United States strikes Iran.
It has been some time since Mugniyah has popped up on the radar, so it is certainly worth revisiting what the man is capable of -- and, more important, how he fits into the contemporary geopolitical context.
Mugniyah's job title ranges from chief Hezbollah intelligence officer to head of special operations, but it does not matter what his business card says -- this guy is important. Simple improvised explosive devices and assassinations are not Mugniyah's game; he specializes in working behind the scenes in an egoless manner to plan the attacks that really hurt. Unlike Osama bin Laden, he ignores the limelight, and he eschews the day-to-day operations in much the same way Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did. Mugniyah is patient, good at understanding cultures and obsessed with security. His 30-year career has put him on a number of most-wanted lists, and his close association with Iranian intelligence is as cordial as it is impossible to track (except in retrospect).
While Mugniyah has a number of successful attacks under his belt, the most effective by far was the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. In a day, Mugniyah achieved what 20 years of terrorist attacks could not: convincing the United States not only that the Middle East is dangerous but also that even a superpower can bleed badly enough that an ignoble retreat is the only policy option.
This singular attack unnerved Washington, causing it to end direct military involvement in Lebanon and ingraining a "cut-and-run" mentality in the White House. And this was under President Ronald Reagan, who is not exactly known for being gentle. The United States quickly developed a reputation for abandoning operations at (or even before) the first sign of casualties (e.g., Somalia, the Iranian hostage rescue and the first Gulf War), or limiting operations to those in which the chances of casualties are nil (e.g., Grenada, Panama, Haiti, the Libya bombing and the Kosovo air war). This risk-averse attitude persisted until al Qaeda's 9/11 attack.
Mugniyah is not simply a terrorist or a terrorist trainer; he treats terrorism almost as an art form, searching for a soft spot in a country's physical, cultural and emotional defenses. This makes him absolutely critical to Iranian military strategy.
Iran has to take U.S. threats of military action seriously, but it also has to do everything it can to make U.S. military planners seriously consider what would happen the day after Washington launched an attack. With Mugniyah back in the game, Iran appears to be hard at work creating that nightmare scenario.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #239 on:
October 27, 2007, 07:51:05 AM »
Imad Mugniyah is one of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet. I'm sure it's shocking news to you all that during the Clinton administration, we had a chance to capture/kill him but didn't.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #240 on:
October 27, 2007, 08:38:35 AM »
I wish Stratfor had fleshed out his career more. I remember it to be all they say it is, but frankly I forget the details
Anyway, I live in a major target area of America. Time to continue tightening up my game. With this news, "Escape from LA" scenarios just became a tad more likely.
PS: I hold the health-care-fascist-pardon-selling-etc Clintons in low regard, but in fairness one must note that the President's father created much of our problems today by snatching stalemate from the jaws of victory in 1991.
The ping goes on , , ,
Reply #241 on:
November 15, 2007, 10:44:01 AM »
(U//FOUO) Suspicious Activity Onboard Flight to Milwaukee
(U//FOUO) On 24 October 2007, crewmembers aboard a Reagan-Washington National to Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport flight reported to a Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) flying in non-mission status that they noticed suspicious behavior by four passengers.
One of the subjects entered and exited the rear aircraft lavatory three times and failed to comply with crewmembers' verbal instructions. The FFDO seated himself near this subject to observe his behavior. Shortly afterward, two more of the subjects moved into the aisles and entered both lavatories. After one of the subjects vacated the rear left lavatory, the FFDO searched it, noting that the mirror above the sink was not properly latched.
He exited the lavatory and a fourth subject was waiting second in line with a passenger in front of him. The FFDO offered the fourth subject access to the right lavatory, but the subject declined, claiming the right lavatory was dirty.The FFDO noted the right lavatory was clean, and the subject reluctantly entered the right lavatory and remained there for an extended period of time. (TSA/SD-10-3849-07)
(U//FOUO) TSA Office of Intelligence Comment: Although there is no information that the aircraft was being specifically targeted for a future terrorist attack, the actions of the four passengers are highly suspicious. FFDO confirmation of possible tampering of the lavatory mirror in one of the lavatories could be indicative of an attempt to locate concealment areas for smuggling criminal contraband or terrorist materials. In this case, it appears the left lavatory was the sole area of interest for the passengers. One subject's excuse that the right lavatory was dirty when it was confirmed to be clean shows the four passengers had a specific, operational objective. Although unconfirmed at this time, this incident has many of the elements of pre-operational terrorist planning.
Source: TSA Suspicious Incidents Report #177
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #242 on:
December 16, 2007, 09:42:25 AM »
The LA Times reaches Orwellian levels of PC cowardice by refusing to identify the religion/ideology of the guilty here:
Try to Find "Islam" or "Muslim" in this Article on Terror Guilty Pleas
Plot posed a real, immediate threat, experts say
The case illustrates how quickly authorities must be prepared to move once they learn of terrorists' plans.
By Greg Krikorian, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 15, 2007
It was not the most spectacular domestic terrorism plot since the Sept. 11 attacks, and certainly not the best-known.
But no other case posed such a real and immediate threat as the audacious scheme to attack more than a dozen military centers, synagogues and other sites in Southern California, experts said Thursday.
"If you look at the roster of defendants in terrorism cases, it often seems like a casting call. They all have aspirations, but most lack real talent and helpful connections," said Brian Levin, an attorney and director of Cal State San Bernardino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
"But here you actually had a case where defendants had a radicalized ideology, a list of targets and they had already gone from planning to operations," Levin said. "This was beyond merely a threat. In this instance, they were operational."
The guilty pleas announced Friday in what is known as the JIS case represented an important win for the Justice Department, after a string of high-profile courtroom defeats in terrorism-related prosecutions. Just Thursday, a jury in Miami acquitted one man charged with plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and deadlocked on charges against his six alleged accomplices.
The courtroom ending mirrored a mistrial declared earlier this year in a Dallas prosecution against five Islamic men accused in the largest terrorism-financing case brought by the U.S. government.
"The bottom line is that when you look at a lot of these prosecutions, many people are accused of lying to investigators or [other crimes] rather than terrorist acts or threats to national security," Levin said. "And that is why you have seen a bit of prosecutorial fatigue set in with the public. . . . There is a lot of talk about what could have happened in a case" rather than evidence of a pressing threat.
By contrast, the JIS plot was within 60 days of launching, according to sources close to the investigation.
The case illustrated how quickly authorities must be prepared to move in the event of an actual terrorist threat, they said. In a matter of weeks, the FBI, Los Angeles and Torrance police departments and two dozen other agencies conducted 19 searches, seized two dozen computer hard drives and examined about 53,000 documents, all without the normal luxury of moving at their own pace with undercover informants, surveillance and wiretaps.
The plotters "were flying dangerously below the radar," said the FBI's John Miller, who was the LAPD's counter-terrorism head at the time the case broke. He added that the defendants had robbed gas stations for the money to buy rifles, had picked their targets and had set a date.
"The clock was ticking. All they needed to do was to start killing," he said.
The prison-hatched scheme raised another fear in U.S. counter-terrorism circles, particularly within California, which has the nation's largest inmate population: Were there other members of the conspiracy, spawned in cellblocks and prison libraries, preparing to carry on the plan?
"We were confident that we could make a case against the people we had in custody," said Randy Parsons, the retired former head of counter-terrorism for the FBI in Los Angeles. "Our greatest concern was: Did we miss somebody? Is there somebody who has been released from prison or radicalized on the street that we might have missed who might be about to go operational?"
More than 350 federal agents, state investigators and local police worked five weeks, around the clock, to determine if others had escaped their dragnet. In the end, they did not find additional accomplices, but their investigation led to new intelligence coordination between prison officials and outside law enforcement.
For all its urgency, however, the case never drew the attention of lesser threats. One reason was that news of the JIS investigation trickled out over the course of weeks.
In addition, the federal indictment of the four defendants, though announced by top Justice Department officials in Los Angeles and Washington, was unsealed as the nation's attention was riveted on Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans.
Too, the men charged with terrorism did not fit the stereotype of the foreign-born menace that had been drilled into the American psyche after Sept. 11.
For professor Levin, that may be the long-term lesson of the case.
"I think this case shows you cannot racially or religiously profile an ideology. It is fanaticism, not faith, that drives this extremism," Levin said. "And disenfranchised people will craft their hatred into an ideology of their choice. That is why religious converts are so good for this radicalization . . . because those who have been raised in a faith know better."
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #243 on:
December 17, 2007, 07:08:08 AM »
0640 GMT -- SINGAPORE, UNITED STATES -- Under the new Secure Freight Initiative signed by Singaporean and U.S. officials, cargo leaving Singapore for the United States will be scanned for nuclear and radiological materials, the U.S. Embassy and Singapore's Ministry of Transport said in a joint statement Dec. 17, Channel News Asia reported. The scans will be conducted during a six-month trial of the new system. Singapore is one of seven global ports participating in the trial, the report said.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #244 on:
February 20, 2008, 10:51:28 AM »
The Unilateral Disarmament Democrats: Putting Trial Lawyers Ahead of Your Family's Safety
by Newt Gingrich
It's hard to think of an action that has put as many lives at risk as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D.-Calif.) declaration of unilateral disarmament in the War on Terror last week.
By refusing to renew our ability to monitor terrorist communications overseas, Speaker Pelosi has put Americans at risk. She has blinded our counterterrorism capability and shut down America's most sophisticated defenses against the irreconcilable wing of Islam. As of midnight last Saturday, the law governing America's defense is totally inadequate to stop terrorists.
Why? Because the Democratic left believes lining the pockets of trial lawyers is more important than stopping terrorists.
Suing Telecom Companies for Helping Keep America Safe
At issue is the extension of the Protect America Act that was passed last August to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor foreigner-to-foreigner communications without a warrant. Congress has known for six months that this ability under the Protect America Act was set to expire on Sunday. So last week, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority, the Senate passed legislation to prevent the authority from lapsing.
But the House Democratic leadership, led by Speaker Pelosi, refused to let the House vote on the bill. This led to a House GOP walk out led by Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who said, "We will not stand idly by and watch the floor of the United States House of Representatives be abused for pure, political grandstanding at the expense of our national security."
Why? Not because the bill lacked bipartisan support, but because it lacked trial lawyer support. The Senate-passed bill contains a provision granting immunity from lawsuits to telecommunications companies that have been cooperating with the government in the War on Terror.
Instead of putting her fellow Democrats in a position where they have to make a public vote in favor of trial lawyers over the safety of Americans, Speaker Pelosi opted to leave Washington for vacation.
'The President Just Wants to Protect American Telephone Companies'
As Robert Novak reported Monday, the trial lawyers -- the Democrats' most important source of political contributions -- have filed dozens of lawsuits seeking millions of dollars against phone companies for helping keep us safe by responding to the request of intelligence agencies to provide critical information about suspected terrorist communications without a warrant.
The continued cooperation of the telecom companies in monitoring terrorist communications is crucial to America's defense, which is why the Senate bill contained the immunity provision.
The simple fact is that if a company cooperates with the United States government in tracking down terrorists, it should receive our thanks and gratitude, not a lawsuit.
But some Democrats evidently don't agree. Note that House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) chose to attack the bill and the President's support for it by siding with the trial lawyers: "This is not about protecting Americans. The President just wants to protect American telephone companies."
The House's Unilateral Disarmament Contrasts Sharply With the Senate's Leadership
Speaker Pelosi's and the House Democratic leadership's unilateral disarmament contrasts sharply with the Senate Democrats who joined in the bipartisan 68-vote majority to strengthen America's defenses against terrorism.
The Senate bill was a compromise between Senate Democrats and the White House. As former Justice Official Andy McCarthy put it: "Democrats surely did not want to give President Bush this legislative victory, and President Bush certainly did not want to cave on these issues. But both sides compromised precisely because they understood that failing to do so, failing to preserve current surveillance authority, would endanger the United States."
Senate Democrats such as Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jim Webb (Va.) deserve thanks for putting the safety of America ahead of their partisan political interests.
The Law Was Never Meant to Protect Foreign Terrorists
So what is the state of our national defenses as I write this today?
The Protect America Act amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that was passed in 1978 to protect people inside the United States from being monitored by U.S. intelligence without a warrant proving they were agents of a foreign government.
This point is crucial: FISA was never meant to apply to foreigners outside the United States communicating with other foreigners outside the United States.
For 30 years, this was the understanding of the law. But a court case last year said that foreigner-to-foreigner overseas communications now have FISA protections -- that is, they require a warrant before they can be monitored -- because technology has changed and these non-U.S. communications now technically may pass through U.S. channels in the global telecommunications network.
The result is that for U.S. intelligence to monitor suspected terrorist communications between a Pakistani and an Afghani, they have to go through the time-consuming, bureaucratic procedure of having the attorney general and others approve lengthy affidavits proving that the targets are agents of a foreign power.
As of Midnight Saturday, American Lives Are at Risk
So as of midnight last Saturday, if U.S. intelligence discovers a new terrorist threat, it must spend valuable time preparing bureaucratic documents and seeking approval of busy officials before their communications can be monitored. By the time they've jumped through the bureaucratic hoops forced on them by House Democrats, it may be too late.
What's more, American telecommunications companies are less inclined to cooperate with intelligence officials because they lack protection from lawsuits under the law.
In short, Americans are at greater risk today than we were four days ago.
But Don't Take My Word for It -- Listen to the Intelligence Professionals
But don't just take my word for it. Here's what Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell -- an intelligence professional who served under President Clinton as well as President Bush -- told "Fox News Sunday":
"Our situation now, when the terrorist threat is increasing because they've achieved -- al Qaeda's achieved de facto safe haven in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan -- the threat is going up.
"And therefore, we do not have the agility and the speed that we had before to be able to move and try to capture their communications to thwart their planning.
"...[Our country is in] increased danger, and it will increase more and more as time goes on. And the key is the -- if you think about the private sector global communications, many people think the government operates that.
"Ninety-eight percent of it is owned and operated by the private sector. We cannot do this mission without help and support from the private sector. And the private sector, although willingly helped us in the past, are now saying, 'You can't protect me. Why should I help you?'"
Obama and Clinton Were AWOL on Protecting Americans
The potential threat to our safety is so great that the situation calls for leaders of all political parties to come together to call for Congress to act -- without delay -- to restore these crucial authorities to U.S. intelligence.
Senators and presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama missed the vote that passed the Senate to extend the Protect America Act. But they now have an obligation to keep America safe by joining President Bush in calling for the House return to Washington and pass the Senate bill.
No presidential primary, no 12-day vacation, is more important than the safety and security of our country.
Our leaders and would-be leaders must act.
The United States Congress by its inaction has created a gap in our national defense. A gap we can now only hope will not be filled by our enemies. Congress has the solemn responsibility not to put politics over American security. The President should implore Congress, as a national security priority, to return to Washington and pass the Protect America Act to give our intelligence agencies the tools they need to defeat our enemies.
P.S. -- The FISA issue in the Congress is another stark reminder of the need to move beyond red-versus-blue partisan bickering.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #245 on:
February 20, 2008, 10:56:16 AM »
Wrong Call on Telecoms
By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
The Washington Times | Wednesday, February 20, 2008
We interrupt this congressional recess to bring you an announcement: While the House of Representatives is vacationing this week, terrorists are probably communicating about plots to kill Americans without fear that their plans will be intercepted by U.S. intelligence.
If one or more of those mortal plots are, as a result, succeed, we won"t need an independent commission to assign blame. The buck will stop squarely at the desk of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who refused to allow a vote on permanent renewal of the Protect America Act (PAA).
That legislation provides, in effect, authority for the commander in chief to monitor our adversaries" battlefield communications — something successive presidents have routinely done since the Founding of the republic. Unfortunately, in the current, ongoing War for the Free World, the battlefield is global and the enemy"s signals are conveyed by a bewildering array of media not anticipated back in 1978 when Congress first imposed significant, but relatively modest restrictions on how and when American signals intercepts could take place.
To be clear, I believe such authority is inherent in the president"s powers under our Constitution. Unfortunately, a federal court found otherwise last year. This led first to a mad scramble to enact the Protect America Act in Fall 2007 and then, as that temporary, six-month legislation was ready to expire last weekend, to a continuing test of wills between the Democratic House leadership and President Bush. Incredibly, the House left town without scheduling a vote to reenact the PAA on a permanent basis.
Prominent among the stated justifications for this dereliction of duty by the House of Representatives is that the Senate version of the PAA re-enactment — passed recently with broad bipartisan support — included a provision anathema to the lower chamber"s Democratic leadership: It offered immunity from litigation for private telecommunications companies whose help in collecting signals intelligence was indispensable in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Sadly, this dereliction is not an isolated incident. In 2007, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — an organization identified by the Justice Department as a Muslim Brotherhood front organization and an un-indicted co-conspirator in a terrorism financing case — threatened to sue several individuals identified to date only as "John Does." These Americans responded, as did the telecoms, to a request for help by their government. They reported worrisome and provocative behavior on the part of a group of "Flying Imams" prior to a flight from Minneapolis to Arizona in 2006.
Congress and the public reacted vociferously when word got out concerning CAIR"s threats to those who fulfilled the oft-stated request by law-enforcement agencies across America to the effect that, "If you see something, say something." Within days, it became clear that substantial majorities in both the House and Senate favored relief for the John Does.
Then as now, though, Nancy Pelosi and other, like-minded House leaders used their positions to try to prevent enactment of the needed legislation. In the case of the John Does, however, the outcry to protect the country and those who heed official appeals for help toward that end became simply irresistible. At the instigation Republican Reps. Peter King of New York and Pete Hoekstra of Michigan and Sens. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Independent Democrat, and Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, the obstructionists were forced to allow a vote that overwhelmingly repudiated the naysayers.
Mrs. Pelosi has evidently learned nothing in the intervening months about either the national security implications or the politics of obstructionism in the service of trial lawyers and at the expense of the common defense. All other things being equal, it seems likely she will be rolled again when Congress reconvenes in another week.
After all, as the director of national intelligence, Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, observed on the "Fox Sunday Morning" program last weekend: "We cannot do this mission without help and support from the private sector. ...
f you think about the private sector global communications, many people think the government operates that. Ninety-eight percent of it is owned and operated by the private sector." Therefore, cooperation of the telecoms with U.S. intelligence is not simply nice to have; it is essential.
The problem is that, even if Mrs. Pelosi is forced to relent relatively soon, our intelligence agencies" "situational awareness" of terrorist activities may suffer lasting harm. As Andrew McCarthy, one of the prosecutors in the trials regarding the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, put it in a recent blog posting at National Review Online:
"Every day we don't fix this problem, the problem — the investigative leads you don't get, the connections you don't make, the things you don't learn but which you should know — metastasizes. Intelligence is dynamic: You can't stop collecting for a day, a week, a month or more and then figure you are picking up right where you left off. What you have lost tends to stay lost."
America can ill afford in time of war for the House Speaker to play games with legislation designed to ensure that patriots — be they individual John Does, telecommunications companies or other corporations — are not penalized for doing their civic duty. We can only pray that, by the time she gets around to doing hers, our enemies have not advanced undetected the plots that will put still more of us at risk.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and Townhall.com and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #246 on:
February 20, 2008, 04:09:25 PM »
Congress recessed without renewing authority for eavesdropping because Democrats bowed to trial lawyers' demands not to grant retroactive immunity from lawsuits for phone companies that helped U.S. intelligence agencies. It shows greater Democratic reliance on contributions from trial lawyers than their vulnerability on the national security issue.
Stratfor: The Thin Blue Line
Reply #247 on:
March 03, 2008, 12:50:13 PM »
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart
As Stratfor has observed for some years now, the global response to the 9/11 attacks has resulted in the transformation of the jihadist threat. Whereas six and a half years ago, the threat came from “al Qaeda the organization,” today it emanates from “al Qaeda the movement.” In other words, jihadism has devolved into a broader global phenomenon loosely guided by the original al Qaeda core group’s theology and operational philosophy. We refer to the people involved in the widespread movement as grassroots operatives.
In analyzing this metamorphosis over the years, we have noted the strengths of the grassroots jihadist movement, such as the fact that this model, by its very nature, is difficult for intelligence and law enforcement agencies to quantify and combat. We also have said it has a broader operational and geographic reach than the core al Qaeda group, and we have discussed its weaknesses; mainly that this larger group of dispersed actors lacks the operational depth and expertise of the core group. This means the grassroots movement poses a wider, though less severe, threat — one that, to borrow an expression, is a mile wide and an inch deep. In the big picture, the movement does not pose the imminent strategic threat that the core al Qaeda group once did.
It is important to recognize that this metamorphosis has changed the operational profile of the actors plotting terrorist attacks. This change, in turn, has altered the way operatives are most likely to be encountered and identified by law enforcement and intelligence officials. As grassroots operatives become more important to the jihadist movement, local police departments will become an even more critical force in the effort to keep the United States safe from attacks. In short, local police serve as a critical line of defense against grassroots jihadists.
The operatives involved in the 9/11 attacks attended al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, received thousands of dollars from the group via wire transfers and were in regular contact with al Qaeda operational managers. Grassroots operatives have a different operational profile. While some grassroots operatives — such as Mohammed Siddique Khan, the ringleader of the July 7, 2005, London bombings — have had some degree of contact with the al Qaeda organization, others have had no discernable contact with the group. This lack of contact makes it difficult for law enforcement and intelligence officials to identify grassroots operatives because efforts to identify these militants have been designed to focus on such things as personal contact, travel, financial links and operational communication.
U.S. security agencies have made great efforts since 9/11 to recruit human intelligence sources within communities that are likely to harbor militants. Such sources are invaluable, but they can only report on what they observe within their limited areas of operation. It is simply impossible to recruit enough sources to cover every potential jihadist operative within a given city or even within a given neighborhood or large mosque. Human intelligence sources are scarce and valuable, and they must be used wisely and efficiently. Intelligence pertaining to militant activity and planned terrorist attacks is only obtained if a source has had an opportunity to develop a relationship of trust with the people involved in planning the attack. Such information is closely guarded, and, in most cases, a source must have an intimate relationship with the target to gain access to it. Such relationships take a large investment of a source’s time and efforts because they are not established quickly and cannot be established with too many individuals at any one time. This means that the people charged with recruiting and running human intelligence sources generally point them toward known or suspected militants — people who have been identified as having connections with known militant actors or groups. They cannot waste their limited resources on fishing expeditions.
Moreover, in places such as London, Houston and New York, there are so many individuals with some sort of link to Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda or another militant group that it is almost impossible to sort through them all. There is precious little intelligence or surveillance capacity left to focus on finding unknown individuals. The problem is that these unknown individuals many times are the ones involved in grassroots militant plots. For example, Khan came to the attention of British authorities during the course of an investigation that did not directly involve him. After briefly checking him out, however, authorities determined that he did not pose enough of a threat to warrant diverting resources from more pressing cases. Although that assessment proved to be wrong, it is not hard to understand how and why the British authorities reached their conclusion, given the circumstances confronting them at the time.
The strength of U.S. intelligence has long been its signals intelligence capability. The vast array of American terrestrial, airborne and space-based signals intelligence platforms can collect an unimaginable amount of data from a wide variety of sources. The utility of signals intelligence is limited, however; it does not work well when suspects practice careful operational security. In the case of grassroots operatives, escaping scrutiny can be as simple as not using certain buzzwords in their communications or not communicating with known members of militant groups.
In the end, most counterterrorism intelligence efforts have been designed to identify and track people with links to known militant groups, and in that regard, they are fairly effective. However, they are largely ineffective in identifying grassroots militants. This is understandable, given that operatives connected to groups such as Hezbollah have access to much better training and far greater resources than their grassroots counterparts. In general, militants linked to organizations pose a more severe threat than do most grassroots militants, and thus federal agencies focus much of their effort on countering the larger threat.
That said, grassroots groups can and do kill people. Although they tend to focus on softer targets than operatives connected to larger groups, some grassroots attacks have been quite successful. The London bombings, for example, killed 52 people and injured hundreds.
As we have said, grassroots militants pose a threat that is unlikely to be picked up by federal authorities unless the militants self-identify or make glaring operational security blunders. All things considered, however, most operational security blunders are far more likely to be picked up by an alert local cop than by an FBI agent. The primary reason for this is statistics. There are fewer than 13,000 FBI agents in the entire United States, and less than a quarter of them are dedicated to counterterrorism investigations. By comparison, the New York City Police Department alone has nearly 38,000 officers, including a counterterrorism division consisting of some 1,200 officers and analysts. Moreover, there are some 800,000 local and state police in other jurisdictions across the country. Granted, most of these cops are not dedicated to counterterrorism investigations, though a larger percentage of them are in a good position to encounter grassroots jihadists who make operational security errors or are in the process of committing crimes in advance of an attack, such as document fraud, illegally obtaining weapons and illegal fundraising activities.
Many terrorist plots have been thwarted and dangerous criminals captured by alert officers doing their jobs. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, for example, was not captured by some terrorism taskforce or elite FBI team; McVeigh was arrested shortly after the bombing by an Oklahoma state trooper who noticed McVeigh was driving his vehicle on Interstate 35 without a license plate. A large federal taskforce unsuccessfully hunted Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph for more than five years, but Rudolph ultimately was arrested by a rookie cop in Murphy, N.C., who found him dumpster diving for food behind a grocery store. Yu Kikumura, the Japanese Red Army’s master bombmaker, was arrested on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1988 by an alert New Jersey state trooper. Additionally, Hezbollah’s multimillion-dollar cigarette smuggling network was uncovered when a sharp North Carolina sheriff’s deputy found the group’s activities suspicious and tipped off the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, thus launching the large “Operation Smokescreen” investigation.
Local traffic cops also have identified several potential grassroots jihadists. In August 2007, two Middle Eastern men stopped by a sheriff’s deputy for speeding near Goose Creek, S.C., were charged with possession of a destructive device. The deputy reported that the men’s behavior and their Florida license plates led him to believe they were involved in drug smuggling. A search of the car, however, turned up bombmaking materials rather than dope. Likewise, a traffic stop by a police officer in Alexandria, Va., in September 2001 led to an investigation that uncovered the Virginia Jihad Network. In that case, network member Randall Royer was found to have an AK-47-type rifle with 219 rounds of ammunition in the trunk of his car. However, at least one notorious militant was able to slip through a crack in the system. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, there was an outstanding bench warrant for the operation’s leader, Mohamed Atta, for failure to appear in court after driving without a license.
In July 2005, police in Torrance, Calif., thwarted a grassroots plot that came to light during an investigation of a string of armed robberies. After arresting one suspect, Levar Haney Washington, police searching his apartment uncovered material indicating that Washington was part of a militant jihadist group that was planning to attack a number of targets, including the El Al Israel Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport; synagogues in the Westside area of Los Angeles; California National Guard armories in western Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach and Torrance; and U.S. Army recruiting centers in Long Beach, Torrance and Harbor City.
Cases such as this highlight the fact that grassroots operatives are more likely to indulge in petty crimes such as credit card theft, cargo theft or armed robbery than they are to have telephone conversations with Osama bin Laden. When these operatives do commit such crimes, local cops — rather than the National Security Agency, FBI or CIA — have the first interaction with them. In fact, because of the lack of federal interaction, any records checks run on these individuals through the FBI or CIA most likely would turn up negative. Indeed, even Atta had no CIA 201 file until after Sept. 11, 2001. Therefore, it is important for local cops to trust their instincts and hunches, even if a suspect has no record.
Also, since jihadism is a radical Islamist concept, when we discuss fighting grassroots jihadists, we are talking about militant Islamists, including converts to Islam. With that in mind, there are certain crimes that, when perpetrated by Muslims, warrant thorough investigation. Most observant Muslims are excellent law-abiding citizens. However, it should be a red flag to law enforcement when an otherwise-observant Muslim is found engaging in document fraud or financial frauds such as bank fraud, credit card fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, fencing stolen property, cigarette smuggling, selling pirated goods (such as software or designer handbags) or even dope smuggling. These crimes are especially significant if the perpetrator has made millions of dollars and yet still lives modestly, raising questions about where the proceeds from such crimes have gone. Obviously, not every Muslim who commits such crimes is a terrorist, but these crimes are an indication that further investigation is required. Of course, this follow-on investigation could prove difficult — getting leads run in Pakistan or Lebanon can be tough — but it can be successful if the officer has determination and the proper mindset. An officer with such a mindset will look at such crimes and consider whether they could have been perpetrated for some purpose beyond self-enrichment — such as terrorism.
Like in the cases of Operation Smokescreen and the Virginia Jihad Network, the instincts and observations of an experienced street cop can launch an investigation with far-reaching implications. This fact makes local cops a critical line of defense against grassroots operatives.
China's organizational capabilities in the US
Reply #248 on:
April 17, 2008, 12:02:31 AM »
Beijing’s Obvious Hand at the U.S. Olympic Torch Run
April 16, 2008
2008 Olympics: Beijing’s Hopes and Hurdles
China: Protests and Beijing’s Olympic Conundrum
The Olympic Torch in San Francisco
By Rodger Baker
The April 9 Olympic torch relay in San Francisco opened a window into the organizational capabilities of the Chinese government and its intelligence collection apparatus inside the United States. From the coordinating efforts of the city’s Chinese Consulate, down through local Chinese business and social organizations, and on to the pro-China supporters who photographed the event, the operation showed an efficiency and organizational capability not seen among the anti-China demonstrators. The run also revealed a high level of sophistication, planning and control in the pro-China camp.
A Day of Confusion
The torch relay in San Francisco proved a mixed bag of anti-China and pro-China demonstrators, as well as spectators simply hoping for a glimpse of the symbol of the Olympic Games. Pro-Tibet and other demonstrators altered their tactics in San Francisco following clashes surrounding the torch run in London and Paris — where pictures of a protester with a Tibet flag trying to snatch the torch from a handicapped torchbearer left the protesters looking worse than China. As a result, the demonstrators in San Francisco planned to impede the progress of the relay rather than attempt to extinguish the torch or interfere with the actual torchbearers. The massive gathering at the beginning of the torch route, and the blocking of a bus carrying Chinese security officials and items related to the torch run, triggered the organizers of the relay to change the route completely. In part, then, the protesters interrupted the relay effectively, though not in the manner they had hoped.
The on-the-fly changes in the torch relay route, which left many spectators waiting down near the piers when the torch was running along the hills several blocks away, allowed the relay to progress relatively smoothly, interrupted only a few times by protesters attempting to block the route or by a few demonstrators bearing little sign of affiliation with the Tibetan or Darfur causes who threw water balloons at the torch. The heavy police and Diplomatic Security Service presence around the torch runners largely kept demonstrators on the sidewalks, while the moving roadblocks and the unclear torch route left demonstrators unsure of where they could amass to intercept it. The security organizers, then, were relatively successful in their efforts to allow all planned participants to carry the torch with minimal interference.
In the end, neither protesters nor security “won” the day. Amid the confusion, however, the groups that showed a very strong sense of organization and planning were the pro-China demonstrators. Their coordination demonstrated the ability of the Chinese government, via its local consulate and its association with overseas Chinese organizations, to rally and coordinate large-scale activities inside the United States — and to use these activities for intelligence collection.
By 8 a.m. April 9, the pro-China demonstrators were taking up positions along the planned torch relay route, pulling in groups carrying Chinese, U.S. and Olympic flags, and equipped with cases of food and water. However, these were not spontaneous gatherings of overseas Chinese supporting the motherland, as Beijing media have portrayed them. Rather, there was a coordinated effort between local Chinese business and social associations and the consulate to attract, equip, deploy and coordinate the large pro-China turnout. This is in contrast to the Free Tibet, Save Darfur and other anti-China protesters — who often seemed disorganized.
By some estimates, as many as 50 busloads of Chinese from other parts of California were brought to San Francisco. Many of them paid (by some accounts $300 each) to come out for the day in support of Beijing. They were placed in groups along the anticipated torch relay route and given Chinese and Olympic flags, as well as American flags (the latter a tactical move to show they were not anti-U.S., but rather pro-China — a distinction made all the more apparent by the fact that most anti-China protesters did not carry U.S. flags, and some also were critical of the U.S. government).
In addition to those bused in from out of town, many of the local Chinese business and social organizations were involved in fielding groups of pro-China supporters, and these were similarly equipped. Most groups also were supplied with cases of water and food — something not seen among the anti-China demonstrators, who appeared more a gathering of individuals than prearranged groups. One local Chinese organizer was overheard saying they had spent some $30,000 on food and water for the day of the torch run — perhaps not a large amount overall, but a clear investment to ensure that there was group cohesion among the pro-China demonstrators.
In addition to many older overseas Chinese posted along the route, there also were numerous Chinese of college age, many representing several overseas and mainland Chinese student associations. Some carried a large flag representing China’s Tsinghua University, which produces many top Chinese officials, and among the others were local chapters of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. During the run, some of these students challenged the American Free Tibet or Saver Darfur protesters to discussion, asking, for example, whether they had been to Tibet or diverting accusations of Chinese military support to Sudan with counteraccusations of U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. In general, the Chinese side kept the confrontations rather civil, seeming to have been well prepared to respond (suggesting they had been provided with materials on how to respond in advance). On numerous occasions, however, the anti-China demonstrators in these one-to-one confrontations would resort to their own chanted slogans or just shout that the Chinese were liars.
The organization of the pro-China contingent was further demonstrated by its self-policing efforts. While the anti-China demonstrators ignored the barriers along the route and moved into the streets, far fewer pro-China demonstrators did so. When one did cross, the pro-China group would shout at them to return behind the barriers and “follow the rules.” There was clearly a concerted effort to make the Chinese demonstrators appear as the more controlled, more peaceful and less confrontational participants — part of a broader PR strategy.When confronted by a large group of pro-Tibet demonstrators, for example, the Chinese often simply ignored the repeated cries of “China lies, people die” and instead broke into song, effectively ending the exchange.
Instigation and Intelligence Collection
There was at least one exception to the restraint shown by the pro-China demonstrators, however, suggesting they were not entirely the innocuous gathering they sought to portray. On numerous occasions, individuals or small groups carrying cameras would seek to incite the anti-China demonstrators to acts of confrontation or violence, frequently by parading through the middle of a group of Free Tibet or Save Darfur demonstrators with a large Chinese flag, walking back and forth through the group. In some cases, small scuffles broke out — and pictures were snapped — though the anti-China demonstrators soon deployed individuals to try to keep the two opposing sides separated. The same day, Chinese media ran photos of pro-Tibet demonstrators shoving pro-China demonstrators, “proving” their point that the Tibet supporters are violent.
It was no accident that the photographs appeared so quickly in the Chinese media. In addition to the demonstrators, numerous individuals were sent out with cameras. Although cameras are expected at such an event, many of the photographers were collecting images either for Chinese propaganda purposes or to identify anti-China demonstrators in order to identify pinpoint “troublemakers” who might be planning to attend the Olympics in Beijing. With their pictures on file, Chinese authorities can then either deny their visas or monitor them more closely when they arrive in China.
In addition, Beijing has been trying to locate the organizers of anti-China protests and demonstrations overseas, ones who may be planning action in China, in order to infiltrate their groups and gather intelligence on their planned activities. This is not new for Beijing — as the Chinese Embassy official who defected in Australia a few years ago demonstrated by revealing the details of Chinese infiltration of and spying on Falun Gong supporters in Australia. Beijing also has been seeking out U.S. and other foreign academics for their insights on potential demonstrations in Beijing, hoping to get information about individuals and tactical details of plans in order to pre-empt or at least effectively counter them.
In addition to the intelligence collection efforts and the careful organization and coordination of the pro-China demonstrators in San Francisco, electronic countermeasures also were used to disrupt the communications and activities of the anti-China demonstrators. In some cases, the cell phones of the anti-China organizers were spammed with prank calls and text messages in order to limit their effectiveness as a coordinating tool — particularly as the torch changed routes. There also were unconfirmed cases of limited cell-phone jamming, likely using the short-range cell-phone jammers that were popular a few years ago. These created intermittent and isolated interference with cell-phone reception, further deteriorating the communications and coordination ability of the anti-China demonstrators.
Beyond San Francisco
Furthermore, China did not limit its activities to San Francisco. It also organized a smaller response to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Seattle, Wash., a few days later. Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Gao Zhansheng sent a letter to University of Washington (UW) President Mark Emmert urging him and other UW officials to refrain from meeting with the Dalai Lama or from giving him a platform for political or “separatist” activities. Additionally, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association sent an open letter to the UW leadership and met briefly with Emmert and Provost Ed Taylor, asking them to limit the Dalai Lama’s opportunity to use his visit for political reasons. Several hundred pro-China students also staged a demonstration outside the Dalai Lama’s speaking venue in Seattle on April 14, using the Internet to coordinate banners, chants and actions.
Throughout the United States there have been reports of other group actions by Chinese students and activists, from Internet-based activity promoting boycotts of French goods following the Paris torch relay to a push to “correct” foreign media coverage of the Tibet riots and the Tibet issue overall. But there also have been more aggressive instances. For example, at least one Chinese student at Duke University received threats after attending a pro-Tibet rally, while others have had their personal information, including their phone numbers and Chinese identification cards, posted on the Internet bulletin board hosted by the university’s Chinese Student and Scholar Association (the association denied responsibility, saying those postings were the actions of individuals). The students’ concern, however, is that the information will get back to Chinese authorities and thus undermine their future prospects in China or even lead to further harassment of themselves or their families.
China has had a long reach into the Chinese community in the United States for quite some time, and frequently uses this community for espionage, both within the community itself and against American companies, the military and the technology and political spheres. Also, Chinese consulates in the United States have helped facilitate pro-China gatherings in the past. However, while it already was known that China was anxious to restore its image after the Tibet unrest and the trouble with the torch run in London and Paris, the effort and coordination Beijing exhibited in San Francisco, through the consulate and local Chinese business and social organizations, was rather impressive.
There are no estimates of the number of pro- and anti-China demonstrators at the San Francisco event, though the former easily totaled several thousand. Additionally, the actions of the pro-China camp, along with the supporters’ placement along the anticipated route, demonstrated a much more centralized and coordinated organization than the anti-China groups — and revealed the depth to which the Chinese government can organize and deploy its overseas population, even in the United States.
Re: Homeland Security
Reply #249 on:
April 17, 2008, 09:21:36 AM »
As I understand it, the PRC's biggest recruiting tool is playing on ethnic pride/loyalty in the Chinese communities.
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