Category Archive 'Al Qaeda'
07 Jul 2011

Best Headline of the Week

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The Washington Times’ editorial titled: Obama plays hide the Somali, which argues that the Obama administration hid captured Somali Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame on a US warship for two months before presenting him for indictment in Federal Court in New York in an end run around a Congressional ban on the transfer of terrorist detainees to US soil.

06 Jul 2011

Latest Airline Terror Plan: Surgically-Implanted Explosives

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Infowars:

In response to a Department of Homeland Security warning to airlines that it believes terrorists want to bypass full body scanners and blow up commercial airliners by planting bombs inside humans, the TSA has indicated it will intensify security procedures across the nation’s airports.

“The Department of Homeland Security has identified a potential threat from terrorists who may be considering surgically implanting explosives or explosive components in humans to conduct terrorist attacks,” an advisory to foreign counterparts notes, according to an unnamed U.S. security official.

The advisory says that the DHS believes terrorists could inject a detonating chemical into themselves to trigger the so called “belly bombs”.

The memo also reportedly states “Our Government has information indicating doctors have offered to help extremists surgically implant explosive devices in humans and animals for terrorist attacks.”

Officials claim that full body scanners currently being used in airports would not penetrate deep enough to detect such devices.

The anonymous official stated that there is no intelligence pointing to a specific plot or that any attack was imminent.

14 Jun 2011

Alaska Sign

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31 May 2011

This Memorial Day and the War in Iraq

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Walter Russell Mead thinks the American intellectual establishment ought to have taken the occasion of this year’s Memorial Day to face the truth and applaud the victory delivered by American servicemen in the face of their own betrayal.

The story of Iraq has yet to be told. It is too politically sensitive for the intelligentsia to handle just yet; passions need to cool before the professors and the pundits who worked themselves into paroxysms of hatred and disdain for the Bush administration can come to grips with how wrongheaded they’ve been. It took decades for the intelligentsia to face the possibility that the cretinous Reagan-monster might have, um, helped win the Cold War, and even now they haven’t asked themselves any tough questions about the Left’s blind hatred of the man who did more than any other human being to save the world from nuclear war.

It may take that long for the truth about the war in Iraq to dawn, but dawn it will. America’s victory in Iraq broke the back of Al-Qaeda and left Osama bin Laden’s dream in ruins. He died a defeated fanatic in his Abbotabad hideaway; his dream was crushed in the Mesopotamian flatlands where he swore it would win.

Osama’s goal was to launch the Clash of Civilizations against the West. He would be Captain Islam, fighting against the Crusader-in-Chief George W. Bush. By his purity, wisdom, daring and above all by his special knowledge of the hidden ways of God, Captain Islam would crush and humiliate the evil Bush-fiend and unite the Muslim world behind the Truth. Osama would complete at a spiritual level the mission his father undertook on the physical plane. His father’s construction company rebuilt and modernized the ancient holy city of Mecca; Osama would rebuild and restore the entire Muslim world.

The 9/11 attacks propelled Osama to the historical height he sought: in the minds of many he had become a caliph-in-waiting, the fierce servant of God whose claims to leadership were vindicated by the dramatic success of his plans. Angry young people across the Islamic world, frustrated by a host of frustrations and privations, wondered if this was the charismatic, God-aided figure who would overturn the world order and lead Islam to its old place on the commanding heights of the world.

9/11 was the trumpet, Iraq was the test. The US invaded an Arab country, overthrew its government, and found itself condemned to the hardest task in international politics: nation building under hostile fire. More, the US had taken a country run by its Sunni minority and put power into the hands of an inexperienced and fractious Shi’a majority. Then the US occupation began to fail: the government institutions fell apart, there was no security in country or in town, the economy went into free fall, and basic services like electricity and health failed across the land. The provocations were serious and real; the Americans were clumsy and awkward. US checkpoints and raids were humiliating and degrading; the scalding Abu Ghraib scandal was a propagandist’s dream come true. The ham-handed diplomacy and tongue-tied defense of American policy from Washington created a sense of rising, unstoppable global opposition to Bush’s War. …

For roughly three years America writhed in the toils of our predicament in Iraq. The Democratic establishment had supported the war. Some leading Democrats did so out of conviction, some out of a political calculation that no other stand was viable in the post 9/11 atmosphere. Now the grand panjandrums of the Democratic Party, one after another, made their pilgrimage to Canossa. Some came to believe and perhaps more came to say that the war was lost and that their original backing for it had been a mistake.

Well do I remember the many impassioned statements in those dark years by leading politicians and pundits that the war was lost, lost, irretrievably lost. It was over now, they wailed on television and in print. The Iraqi government was a farce and could never take hold. These clowns made Diem look like Charles de Gaulle. We had no option but to get out as quickly as possible. On and on rolled the great choir of doom, smarter than the rest of us, deeper thinkers, capable of holding more complex thoughts behind their furrowed brows.

Now they have glibly moved on to other subjects; the mostly complicit media is helping us all to forget just how wrong — and how intolerant and moralistic — so many people were about the ‘lost’ war.

While the politicians washed their hands and hung up white flags, and while the press lords gibbered and foamed, the brass kept their heads and the troops stood tall. And gradually, a miracle happened. America started winning the war.

The French scholar Gilles Kepel, no friend of the war in Iraq and no admirer of George Bush, makes the core point. Osama’s dream was to shift history into the realm of myth. He passionately believed that the ordinary course of mundane history wasn’t what really mattered: there was a divine and a miraculous history just behind the veil. Osama aimed to pierce the veil, to bring hundreds of millions of Muslims into his reality, transfixed and transported by the vision of a climactic fight of good against evil, of God against America and its local allies.

That dream died in Iraq.

But on this Memorial Day it is not enough to remember, and give thanks, that Osama’s dream died before he did and that the terror movement has been gravely wounded at its heart.

Because the dream didn’t just die.

It was killed. ..

All wars are tragic; some are also victorious. The tragedies of Iraq are real and well known. The victory is equally real — but the politically fastidious don’t want to look. The minimum we owe our lost and wounded warriors is to tell the story of what they so gloriously achieved.

On ths Memorial Day, a truth needs to be told.

We have not yet done justice to our dead.

Read the whole thing.

03 May 2011

Finding Bin Laden Exposes Pakistan’s Perfidy

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Pakistan’s current President Asif Ali Zardari (Wikipedia bio) assures us today, in the Washington Post, that Pakistan has been even more the victim of Islamic extremist terrorism than the United States, and is on our side in the war against al Qaeda.

He is the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December of 2007 by indigenous Pakistani Muslim extremists belonging to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an al Qaeda-affiliate group, so his personal antipathy to Islamicist terrorism is believable. Mr. Zardari is, on the other hand, a notoriously corrupt politician, with a record of two convictions and imprisonments for kickbacks, who has demonstrably misrepresented his own educational credentials, and who is referred to derisively in his own country as “Mr. Ten Per Cent” in reference to his corruption scandals. So his word is not exactly to be relied upon.

We know now that when Osama bin Laden’s trail grew cold in 2005, he had begun hiding in a high-walled safe house in Abbottabad recently constructed at a site previously used for the same purpose by Pakistan’s intelligence service and located only 800 meters from the Pakistan Military Academy in a summer resort community popular with Pakistani senior military officers and government officials, located only about 45 road miles (roughly 72 kilometers) from the capital.

Osama bin Laden’s targeting of the United States for terrorist attacks constituted an act of remarkable perfidy and ingratitude because bin Laden had previously been himself a recipient of US aid and support in the Islamic holy war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

It seems that the US has been dealing for decades now, over five presidential administrations, with an extremist Islamist axis combining Afghans, Pakistanis, and wahabi jihadists from the Gulf States who have all accepted friendship and financial and material aid from the United States in liberating Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion, and then turned on America and West as a target of terrorism.

Pakistan has, in the aftermath of 9/11, accepted billions and billions of dollars of US aid and pretended to be a US ally, while continually using claims of sovereignty to restrict Allied operations against Taliban and al Qaeda targets and constantly exploiting claims of civilians casualties to hamper and demonize Allied air attacks.

It seems impossible to believe that Osama bin Laden has been sitting for almost six years in his walled compound in Abbottabad without the knowledge and assistance of significant parts of the government of Pakistan.

The recent Raymond Davis affair in which Pakistani authorities unlawfully detained an American holding diplomatic credentials after he shot a couple of thugs on motorcycles who were menacing him, and which ended with the payment of “blood money” for his release, actually delayed the US operation to eliminate bin Laden.

Last month, Pakistan was urging Afghanistan to reject an ongoing strategic partnership with the United States.

The denoument of the long search for bin Laden exposes in sharp contrast the hypocrisy, perfidy, and double-dealings of Pakistan and poses the direct question: What is the US Government going to do about this, now that it knows?

26 Mar 2011

Al-Qaeda Has Acquired SAM-7s and Heavy Weapons in Libya

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Nicarauguan Army training with SAM-7

The Australian Daily Telegraph reports that the uprising in Libya has produced a weapons windfall for the North African al-Qaeda branch, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Al-Qaeda’s offshoot in North Africa has snatched surface-to-air missiles from an arsenal in Libya during the civil strife there, Chad’s President says.

Idriss Deby Itno did not say how many surface-to-air missiles were stolen, but told the African weekly Jeune Afrique that he was “100 per cent sure” of his assertion.

“The Islamists of al-Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere,” a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad, Deby said in the interview.

“This is very serious. AQIM is becoming a genuine army, the best equipped in the region,” he said.

His claim was echoed by officials in other countries in the region who said that they were worried that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) might have acquired “heavy weapons”, thanks to the insurrection. …

“We have the same information,” about heavy weapons, including SAM 7 missiles, a military source from Niger said.

25 Mar 2011

Whose Side Are We On in Libya?

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PJM explains that we are supporting, among others, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi who fought American troops in Afghanistan and recruited Libyans to fight American troops in Iraq.

Shortly after unrest broke out in eastern Libya in mid-February, reports emerged that an “Islamic Emirate” had been declared in the eastern Libyan town of Darnah and that, furthermore, the alleged head of that Emirate, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, was a former detainee at the American prison camp in Guantánamo. The reports, which originated from Libyan government sources, were largely ignored or dismissed in the Western media.

Now, however, al-Hasadi has admitted in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that he fought against American forces in Afghanistan. (Hat-tip: Thomas Joscelyn at the Weekly Standard.) Al-Hasadi says that he is the person responsible for the defense of Darnah — not the town’s “Emir.” In a previous interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail, he claimed to have a force of about 1,000 men and to have commanded rebel units in battles around the town of Bin Jawad.

“I have never been at Guantánamo,” al-Hasadi explained to Il Sole 24 Ore. “I was captured in 2002 in Peshawar in Pakistan, while I was returning from Afghanistan where I fought against the foreign invasion. I was turned over to the Americans, detained for a few months in Islamabad, then turned over to Libya and released from prison in 2008.” …

In his more recent remarks to Il Sole 24 Ore, al-Hasadi admits not only to fighting against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but also to recruiting Libyans to fight against American forces in Iraq. As noted in my earlier PJM report here, captured al-Qaeda personnel records show that al-Hasadi’s hometown of Darnah sent more foreign fighters to fight with al-Qaeda in Iraq than any other foreign city or town and “far and away the largest per capita number of fighters.” Al-Hasadi told Il Sole 24 Ore that he personally recruited “around 25” Libyans to fight in Iraq. “Some have come back and today are on the front at Ajdabiya,” al-Hasadi explained, “They are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists.” “The members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader,” al-Hasadi added.

02 Feb 2011

Telegraph Finds Wikileaks Details on Al Qaeda Plans for Dirty Bombs, Nuclear Smuggling, and Childrens’ Articles Filled With Explosives

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The Telegraph has found some alarming information in Wikileaks’ collection of stolen cables.

Al-Qaeda is attempting to procure nuclear material and recruit rogue scientists in order to build a radioactive “dirty bomb,” leaked documents published in Wednesday’s Telegraph newspaper revealed.

The cables, released by the WikiLeaks website, showed that security chiefs told a Nato meeting in January 2009 that Al-Qaeda was planning a programme of “dirty radioactive improvised explosive devices (IEDs).”

The makeshift nuclear bombs, which could be used against soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, would contaminate the surrounding area for years to come.

The leaked documents also revealed that Al-Qaeda papers found in 2007 convinced security officials that “greater advances” had been made in bio-terrorism than was previously feared.

US security personnel were warned in 2008 that terrorists had “the technical competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb.”

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The Vancouver Sun mentions a few more details.

A leading atomic regulator has privately warned the world stands on the brink of a “nuclear 9/11.”

Security briefings suggest jihadi groups are also close to producing “workable and efficient” biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

Thousands of classified American cables obtained by WikiLeaks and passed to the Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.

At a NATO meeting in 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaida was plotting a program of “dirty radioactive IEDs”, makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against western troops in Afghanistan.

As well as causing a large explosion, a “dirty bomb” attack would contaminate the area for many years.

The briefings also state that al-Qaida documents found in Afghanistan in 2007 revealed that “greater advances” had been made in bioterrorism than was previously realized. An Indian national security adviser told American security personnel in June 2008 that terrorists had made a “manifest attempt to get fissile material” and “have the technical competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb”.

Alerts about the smuggling of nuclear material, sent to Washington from foreign U.S. embassies, document how criminal and terrorist gangs were trafficking large amounts of highly radioactive material across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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And the Telegraph published today the details of a series of nuclear trafficking incidents occurring in recent years.

Radiation alarms installed on the border crossing between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan sounded in November 2007 as a freight train travelling from Kyrgyzstan to Iran passed through Nazarbek rail station. Customs officials halted the train to perform an examination and found that a single carriage ostensibly packed with “scrap metal” was perilously radioactive. So high were the radiation levels that officials were instructed not to pass within five metres of the carriage, making it impossible to come close enough to open it. At the time of the last dispatch to Washington, sent in January 2008, the rail car was still unopened and remained in quarantine.

In November 2007, the US embassy in London received a telephone call from a British deep-sea salvage merchant based in Sheffield, who claimed that his business associates in the Philippines had found six uranium “bricks” at the site of an underwater wreck. The uranium had formerly belonged the US. The merchant provided nine photographs of the bricks, which he said his associates wanted to sell for a profit. It is not clear whether diplomats agreed to the purchase.

Officials in the US embassy in Uganda were approached in February 2008 by a source who claimed that a Congolese acquaintance had asked him to help find a buyer for some highly enriched pure uranium liquid. The source, a Ugandan gold merchant, said a potential sale to a Pakistani buyer in Kenya had fallen through due to the ongoing civil unrest in the east African county. A nuclear smuggling alert sent back to Washington states that the highly radioactive material may be transported across the Congolese border in Uganda in the next few days by train, bus or taxi.

In September 2009, two employees working at the Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia smuggled almost half a ton of the uranium concentrate powder – known as “yellowcake” – out of the compound in plastic carrier bags. The theft was initiated by Namibian police officers who offered the two employees “exorbitant amounts of money” in a bungled sting designed to determine how easily uranium could be stolen. The two employees removed the yellowcake from a broken drum and scooped it into carrier bags which they placed into a skip and smuggled out of the compound on the back of a haulage truck. The police caught the thieves when they attempted to sell 24 bags containing 170kg (370lb) of the stolen yellowcake. The remaining 250kg was not intercepted and are likely to have been sold on to smugglers.

A car carrying three Armenian men set off a radiation detector on the Georgian-Armenian border in August 2009. The driver was waved through by guards after he claimed to have been injected with radioactive isotopes during surgery. When the alarm sounded again as the car returned from Armenia, the guards decided to carry out a search. They found that the car was contaminated with radiation throughout, but no nuclear material was discovered. Whatever radioactive cargo the car may previously have been carrying had already been delivered.

A Portuguese man walked into the US embassy in Lisbon in July 2008 offering to sell six uranium plates that had been stolen from Chernobyl – the site of the 1986 nuclear catastrophe in the USSR. The plates were in the possession of an ex-Russian general who was allegedly using a Portuguese judge to broker sales, he said. Officials reported that the source was a well-known “small-time hustler,” known as “The Giraffe” who was involved in “many scams”. The case was referred to the Portuguese police.

The Security Service of Ukraine arrested two private entrepreneurs and a prominent local politician in April 2009 as they attempted to sell a container of weapons-grade plutonium for $10 million (£6.3 million) in the western province of Ternopil Oblast. A security official told the embassy that the radioactive material could be “used by terrorists for making a dirty bomb”.

During the summer of 2009, Russian customs officers reported three incidents in which cobalt-60, a highly radioactive substance, was detected in passenger trains travelling from Kazakhstan to Russia. A large number of passengers were exposed to the radiation. The authorities seized 500g of the substance.

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Also, in the Telegraph:

Airport security staff are being urged to examine “children’s articles” after US intelligence concluded that terrorists were plotting to fill them with explosive chemicals.

Terrorists are attempting to manufacture nitrocellulose, a chemical which can become highly explosive if tightly packed. Details of how to prepare the chemical, which cannot be detected by airport X-ray machines, have been found in al-Qaeda training manuals.

06 Dec 2010

TSA Searches Continue, But Terrorists Have Other Options

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TSA chief John Pistole recently drew the line at cavity searching airline passengers, explaining erroneously to the gaping idiots in the lamestream press that the terrorist would have to be carrying a detectable external detonating mechanism, and our current gropings and electronic strip searchers would find that.

Terrorists could, of course, conceal a radio-transmitting detonator in more or less any object. But, why worry about cavity bombs when al Qaeda is being reported to be making plans for surgically-implanted infernal devices.

New York Daily News:

Jihadis bent on concocting a “new kind of terrorism” are brainstorming how to surgically implant explosives to make undetectable Frankenbombers.

“What is your opinion about surgeries through which I can implant the bomb …inside the operative’s body?” an apparent mad surgeon recently asked an online forum used by Al Qaeda affiliates.

He called on bombmakers and doctors to cook up the perfect solution to murder “larger numbers of unbelievers and apostates.”

“I am waiting for the interaction of the experienced brothers to connect the two sciences together and produce a new kind of terrorism, Allah willing,” he wrote, according to a translation by terror experts at the SITE Intelligence Group.

The scheming comes amid controversy over body scanners and pat-downs in airports that some Americans complain are too invasive. The ideas for a “surgically booby-trapped martyrdom seeker” were chillingly concise for the doctor of death monitored by SITE.

Stitching a bomb into the abdominal cavity made of plastic or liquid explosives – such as semtex or PETN – was judged the best method.

“It must be planted near the surface of the body, because the human body absorbs shocks,” advised one terrorist.

Al Qaeda has already used a remotely detonated cavity bomb in an assassination attempt on the Saudi head of counter-terrorism.

18 Nov 2010

How Is That Civilian Trials Policy Working Out For You, Mr. Holder?

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The answer is: not well. The Embassy Bomber who killed 224 people in the simultaneous truck bomb attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 was acquitted in a Manhattan Federal District Court of all but one count of a 285 count indictment.


Jennifer Rubin
, in Commentary, explains what went wrong.

The acquittal of Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani yesterday on all but one of 285 counts in connection with the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania has once again demonstrated that the leftist lawyers’ experiment in applying civilian trial rules to terrorists is gravely misguided and downright dangerous. The soon-to-be House chairman on homeland security, Peter King, issued a statement blasting the trial outcome and the nonchalant response from the Justice Department:

    “I am disgusted at the total miscarriage of justice today in Manhattan’s federal civilian court. In a case where Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was facing 285 criminal counts, including hundreds of murder charges, and where Attorney General Eric Holder assured us that ‘failure is not an option,’ the jury found him guilty on only one count and acquitted him of all other counts including every murder charge. This tragic verdict demonstrates the absolute insanity of the Obama Administration’s decision to try al-Qaeda terrorists in civilian courts”

Congress can start by ending federal-court jurisdiction over detainees. Then they should demand Eric Holder’s resignation — preferably before his serially wrong advice causes any more damage to our national security.

As the New York Times explains:

    [P]rosecutors built a circumstantial case to try to establish that Mr. Ghailani had played a key logistical role in the preparations for the Tanzania attack.

    They said the evidence showed that he helped to buy the Nissan Atlas truck that was used to carry the bomb, and gas tanks that were placed inside the truck to intensify the blast. He also stored an explosive detonator in an armoire he used, and his cellphone became the “operational phone” for the plotters in the weeks leading up to the attacks, prosecutors contended.

    The attacks, orchestrated by Al Qaeda, killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded thousands of others.

But the case was ill-suited to civilian courts, and a key witness was excluded from testifying:

    But because of the unusual circumstances of Mr. Ghailani’s case — after he was captured in Pakistan in 2004, he was held for nearly five years in a so-called black site run by the Central Intelligence Agency and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — the prosecution faced significant legal hurdles getting his case to trial. And last month, the government lost a key ruling on the eve of trial that may have seriously damaged their chances of winning convictions.

    In the ruling, the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court, barred them from using an important witness against Mr. Ghailani because the government had learned about the man through Mr. Ghailani’s interrogation while he was in C.I.A. custody, where his lawyers say he was tortured.

    The witness, Hussein Abebe, would have testified that he had sold Mr. Ghailani the large quantities of TNT used to blow up the embassy in Dar es Salaam, prosecutors told the judge, calling him “a giant witness for the government.”

The judge called it correctly, and explicitly warned the government of “the potential damage of excluding the witness when he said in his ruling that Mr. Ghailani’s status of ‘enemy combatant’ probably would permit his detention as something akin ‘to a prisoner of war until hostilities between the United States and Al Qaeda and the Taliban end, even if he were found not guilty.’”

In other words, what in the world was the bomber doing in an Article III courtroom? He was, quite bluntly, part of a stunt by the Obama administration, which had vilified Bush administration lawyers for failing to accord terrorists the full panoply of constitutional rights available to American citizens who are arrested by police officers and held pursuant to constitutional requirements.

Once again, the Obama team has revealed itself to be entirely incompetent and has proved, maybe even to themselves, the obvious: the Bush administration had it right.

04 Oct 2010

Terrorist Teams in Place For Attacks in Europe

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Multiple terrorist teams have arrived and are in position in Europe and are believed to have received go-ahead commands to carry out “Mumbai-style” attacks in Germany, France or other locations. Pre-security areas in airports are thought to be likely targets.

ABC NEWS:

Mounting ‘Chatter’ by Jihadi Extremists Has Law Enforcement Nervous

Among the possible targets in the suspected European terror plot are pre-security areas in at least five major European airports, a law enforcement official told ABC News. Authorities believe terror teams are preparing to mount a commando like attack featuring small units and small firearms modeled after the Mumbai attack two years ago.

The State Department issued a highly unusual “Travel Alert” Sunday for “potential terrorist attacks in Europe,” saying U.S. citizens are “reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.”

One scenario authorities fear is a repeat of the 1985 attack on the Rome and Vienna airports, when Palestinian extremists threw grenades and opened fire on travelers waiting at ticket counters injuring 140 and killing 19, including a small child. …

Authorities have detected a dramatic increase in online chatter among jihadist websites the last week, in what experts believe could be other terrorists banning together in anticipation of terror attack plans in Europe and hoping to engage themselves in prospective plots.

The escalating discussions in the virtual meeting rooms for al Qaeda supporters have praised terror attacks plan and suggested targets, communicating with fellow believers just as the terrorist teams at the center of the current suspected plots likely did, experts said.

01 Jul 2010

New York Subway Suicide Bomber Met With “Second Wave” Attack Leader

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Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah

A leak by US Intelligence Officials to Some News Agency reveals that in 2008 three of the subway bomb plotters traveled to Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier tribal areas where one of them, possibly all three, met with Adnan el Shukrijumah, the prominent al Qaeda figure known to have been the leader of the failed “Second Wave” attack following 9/11 involving the detonation of a dirty bomb in a major US city, whose target is generally believed to have been Los Angeles.

Shukrijumah was long suspected to have been operating from somewhere in Latin America, but this evidence places him in Waziristan in 2008.

U.S. counterterrorism officials have linked one of the nation’s most wanted terrorists to last year’s thwarted plot to bomb the New York City subway system, authorities said Wednesday.

Current and former counterterrorism officials said top al-Qaida operative Adnan Shukrijumah met with one of the would-be suicide bombers in a plot that Attorney General Eric Holder called one of the most dangerous since the 9/11 terror attacks.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have named Shukrijumah in a draft terrorism indictment but on Wednesday the Justice Department was still discussing whether to cite his role. Some officials feared that the extra attention might hinder efforts to capture him. …

Current and former counterterrorism officials discussed the case on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it.

Shukrijumah, 34, has eluded the FBI for years. The Saudi-born terrorist studied at a community college in Florida, but when the FBI showed up to arrest him as a material witness to a terrorism case in 2003, he already had left the country. The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Intelligence officials began unraveling the subway plot last year, when U.S. intelligence intercepted an e-mail from an account that al-Qaida had used in a recent terrorist plot, officials said. The e-mail discussed bomb-making techniques and was sent to an address in Denver, setting off alarms within the CIA and FBI from Islamabad to the U.S.

Najibullah Zazi and two friends were arrested in September 2009 before, prosecutors said, they could carry out a trio of suicide bombings in Manhattan. Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay have pleaded guilty and admitted planning to detonate homemade bombs on the subway during rush hour. A third man, Adis Medunjanin, awaits trial.

A fourth suspect, a midlevel al-Qaida operative known as Ahmed, traded the e-mails with Zazi, who was frantically trying to perfect his bomb making recipe, officials said. The U.S. wants to bring the Pakistani man to the U.S. for trial on charges that are not yet public.

Pakistani officials also have arrested a fifth person, known as Afridi, who worked with Ahmed, officials said.

11 May 2010

Osama, Falconry, and the Iran Refuge Theory, Part 2

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Alan Parrot with falcon in Maine

The theory that bin Ladin is being sheltered by Iran is not impossible to believe, and stories of nefarious meetings between Middle Eastern sheikhs and terrorist leaders occurring in the desert at falconry camps has considerable romantic appeal.

The sole informant behind all of this however, is “one of the world’s foremost falconers:” a fellow named Alan Parrot (pronounced “Per -oh”), the son of a leading Bangor, Maine physician and Middlesex preppie, who ran off to the Middle East instead of attending college, where he learned Arabic, allegedly “served as the royal falconer for various Arab leaders for two decades,” and became a Sikh.

Despite his intimacy with various Middle Eastern ruling families, his chauffer-driven Mercedes, and the honor of having been admitted the inner circles of Arabic falconry, Parrot broke with his sponsors and employers to found a conservation organization devoted to a) enforcing international trade restrictions on the traffic in raptors, and b) banning captive breeding and use of captive bred falcons.

If falconers are to be permitted neither to purchase or use wild-caught birds or domestically-bred birds, it seems to me that this is bound to have a serious negative impact on falconry.

By 2006, despite describing himself as having been treated like a son by the president of the United Arab Emirates, Parrot was offering the same storyline about clandestine meetings between al Qaeda and Arab financiers of terrorism at falconry hunting camps with the UAE, instead of Iran, at the center of the story. This was back at the time when Dubai Port World, a UAE company, was attempting to purchase port management businesses in six US ports.

February 24, 2006 Big Story with John Gibson interview with Alan Parrot 4:43 video

Stephen Colbert (ashes from Ash Wednesday Roman Catholic ceremonies on his forehead) mocks John Gibson’s interview with Alan Parrot video

Front Page, May, 18, 2006 article on Parrot accusations focused on UAE.

The most prominent falconers I know seem to be skeptical of Parrot’s claims to rank among the world’s foremost practitioners of the sport. With good reason, he has written no book on falconry that I’m aware of.

Press coverage of “Feathered Cocaine” provoked an indignant outburst from some unclear combination of Matt Mullenix and Steve Bodio.

They know all about Parrot, and mention that in US falconry circles he is commonly referred to jocularly as “Hari Ha Ha,” in a take off of his adopted Sikh name: Hari Har Singh Khalsa (Note comments).

Bodio/Mullenix have big problems with the kinds of figures for falcon purchases being thrown around.

$5000 is HIGH these days (except possibly– the story goes–for four or five individual unusual–for reasons more superstitious than scientific– smuggled birds a year that seem to go to certain Arabian families again and again). And six figures would be an unlikely high figure for even these.

From his reputation in falconry circles and his extravagant personal claims, it seems only too evident that Mr. Parrot (or Mr. Khalsa) is not a very credible source.

In press accounts, for instance, he is described as a resident of Iran and of Kuwait, while this profile says he has lived in Hancock, Maine since 1991.

Last year, we learned on Huffington Post, that the ever intrepid Parrot was still hot on Osama’s trail:

Encouraged by president-elect Barack Obama’s statement on January 14, in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, that his “preference obviously would be to capture or kill him [Bin Laden]”, Parrot sent a letter to the Rewards for Justice program at the State Department detailing his efforts to track Bin Laden and providing information of bin Laden’s whereabouts. Parrot also noted that he had discussed the matter with Iranian officials and that “a negotiated and political (i.e. not-military) solution is available” with the Iranian leadership. The letter was sent on January 20, but Parrot has yet to hear from Washington.

Parrot claims that he has negotiated with Iranian officials the transfer of bin Laden from Iran “to the custody of the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al Faisal, whom I know personally,” he said.

Extravagant, messianic claims on the part of a drop-out claiming a personal mission to protect charismatic wildlife, over which he unilaterally asserts personal responsibility, while operating his own private “conservation organization” and soliciting contributions from concerned animal lovers, sound familiar? What we have here is essentially the Timothy Treadwell of falconry.

23 Mar 2010

“Highest Value Detainee” Ordered Released

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Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Binalshibh and Mohammed Atta

All poor Mohamedou Ould Slahi did was recruit Mohammed Atta, Marwan al Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah, the suicide pilots of American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, and United Airlines Flight 93, for their mission on September 11, 2001.

Mr. Slahi and his defense team allege that he was tortured, i.e., beaten, exposed to uncomfortable temperatures, threatened, frightened by threats against his family, and sexually taunted by female interrogators. A DOD inquiry failed to confirm most of these allegations, but they were obviously credited, and considered to constitute torture, by the officer in charge of prosecution.

Wall Street Journal:

Although the treatment apparently induced Mr. Slahi’s compliance, the military prosecutor, Marine Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch, determined that it constituted torture and evidence it produced could not lawfully be used against Mr. Slahi.

Col. Couch, in a March 31, 2007, Page One story in The Wall Street Journal, cited legal, professional and moral reasons for declining to prosecute.

Mr. Slahi, who was then viewed as a cooperator by interrogators, was granted various privileges at Guantánamo Bay, including his own quarters and garden to tend.

Col. Couch, now in private practice in North Carolina, said Monday’s order “is one of the consequences that the decision-makers should have foreseen when they decided to adopt a policy of cruelty, and the interrogation techniques that flowed from it.”

The same Journal article informs us that he is consequently being freed to resume his former activities.

A suspected al Qaeda organizer once called “the highest value detainee” at Guantánamo Bay was ordered released by a federal judge in an order issued Monday.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi was accused in the 9/11 Commission report of helping recruit Mohammed Atta and other members of the al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, that took part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Military prosecutors suspected Mr. Slahi of links to other al Qaeda operations, and considered seeking the death penalty against him while preparing possible charges in 2003 and 2004.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson granted Mr. Slahi’s petition for habeas corpus, effectively finding the government lacked legal grounds to hold him. The order was classified, although the court said it planned to release a redacted public version in the coming weeks.

Mr. Robertson held four days of closed hearings in the Slahi case last year. Mr. Slahi testified via secure video link from Guantánamo Bay, said his attorney.

“They were considering giving him the death penalty. Now they don’t even have enough evidence to pass the test for habeas,” said the attorney, Nancy Hollander, of Albuquerque, N.M.

Spiegel did a major article in October of 2008 on Slahi.

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What can one possibly say about the kind of stupidity that equates misinforming, threatening, taunting, scaring, and even roughing up or inflicting some discomfort on a mass murderer with torture? Or about the legal acumen of jurists who award habeas corpus protection to unlawful belligerents apprehended overseas during time of war?

Do you suppose they can quote “Quos Deus perdere, dementat” [Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad] in Arabic?

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