Tag Archives: Terrorism

Long War Journal: Boko Haram attacks Borno and threatens the Niger Delta

The maniacal Boko Haram is alive and, unfortunately, well…

As if to ridicule the Nigerian government’s claims that it has security in the north under control and that it is winning the war, Boko Haram fighters have been on a rampage in Borno state over the past week. And while their Feb. 18 assault on the country home of Major General Tukur Buratai, Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta was meant as an insult, the following day the group carried out another high-profile attack on the town of Bama.

At approximately 4 a.m. on Feb. 19, Boko Haram gunmen armed with heavy weapons and explosives stormed the town. Residents fled the violence and destruction which, according to a Nigerian senator, lasted for seven hours. At least 98 people have been killed in the attack, Reuters reported, and many buildings, including the palace of the Emir of Bama, were burned to the ground.

According to Borno state’s chief of police Lawal Tanko, Boko Haram fighters were finally chased off when the air force was scrambled jets from Maiduguri, resulting in heavy losses for the insurgents as they fled. This is reminiscent of Boko Haram’s previous attack on Bama in December 2013, when the group attacked a base belonging to the 202 Tank Battalion, killing an unknown number of soldiers as well as their families who lived with them at the barracks.

 

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Russia not sharing Sochi threat information, US says

In my estimation, this can only mean that the threat information received by the Russians in especially daunting. –AA

by Stephen Collinson with the American Foreign Press

Washington — Russia has balked at sharing specific information on terror threats made against the Sochi Olympics with Washington, a US official said amid mounting fears over security at the Games.

The Obama administration meanwhile publicly stopped short of expressing full confidence in a massive Russian security operation ahead of the sporting spectacular opening next month in the Black Sea resort and nearby mountains.

Signs of increasing US concern followed a telephone discussion on security at the Sochi Olympics between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

A senior US official told AFP on condition of anonymity that Russia “has not been forthcoming in sharing specific threat information.”

Extremist insurgents based in North Caucasus republics such as Dagestan who are seeking their own independent state have vowed to disrupt the Sochi Games in an effort to undermine Putin.

Washington, which has sophisticated intelligence and counterterrorism capabilities that have been deployed in previous Olympics, has offered Russia security assistance as it places a ring of steel around the host city and venues shortly to welcome thousands of athletes and spectators.

White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted earlier that there was “concern” in Washington about an uptick in reporting of threats by Islamic extremists relating to the Sochi Games.

He said the United States would send diplomatic security and FBI agents who would liaise with Russian security officials to protect American athletes and spectators.

But he did not take several opportunities offered by journalists to express full confidence in Russia’s preparations.

“I wouldn’t be qualified or wouldn’t want to venture to assess overall,” Carney said.

“These kinds of major events around the world obviously present security challenges,” he said, without confirming whether Russia had accepted US offers of help.

“The president spoke with President Putin about this. We have offered any assistance that they might want to avail themselves of.”

At the State Department, deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf deflected a query as to whether the United States had full confidence in the Russian effort, but added that Washington knew Moscow was “committed to doing everything they can in terms of security.”

The careful public tone adopted by the administration could signal a desire to avoid offending or antagonizing Russia in the run-up to the Games while concerns are expressed privately with top Russian officials.

The Games are seen as hugely important to Putin’s personal prestige and to his project of restoring stability and honor to Russia as it emerges from the post-Cold War period that saw the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ties between Moscow and Washington are currently as tense as they have been for many years, with the case of fugitive US intelligence leader Edward Snowden — granted temporary asylum by Russia — and the Kremlin’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fraying tempers.

The call between Putin and Obama came amid signs of subtle but rising pressure on Russia over securing the Games from Washington.

On Monday, the Pentagon said it was ready to deploy air and naval assets — including two ships — to help secure the Olympics, which begin on February 7.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had already offered American support during a January 4 phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

Security fears were exacerbated by two suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd last month — Russia’s deadliest in three years — that killed 34 people.

The State Department has warned Americans headed to Sochi to be vigilant.

On Sunday, several prominent US lawmakers raised new concerns about Russia’s security efforts to protect the Games, despite Moscow’s effort to encircle the host city in a ring of steel.

Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said there had been good cooperation between Russian authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But “it could be a lot better,” he told ABC News in an interview from Moscow.

Another Republican lawmaker, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, said US officials were not getting all the information they needed to protect athletes at the Games.

“What we’re finding is they aren’t giving us the full story about what are the threat streams, who do we need to worry about,” he said.

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Terror Chief Dubbed Russia’s Osama Bin Laden ‘Will Target Britons at Olympics’ Daily Mail (United Kingdom)

More ominous news for the coming Olympics. –AA

A secret intelligence report drawn up by Canadian counterterrorism agencies and shared with British intelligence warns that Doku Umarov, the leader of the Chechen jihadist group Imarat Kavkaz (IK), poses the greatest terror threat for next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Compiled by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the report states that Umarov–who is blamed for the two recent suicide bombings in Volgograd, Russia–has called for attacks on the “satanic games” and notes that the warlord “appears to have consolidated his leadership” over the IK. The extent to which the IK cells will follow his lead is not known, however, as many IK commanders who have been eliminated in Russia’s counterterrorism efforts have been replaced with younger, less experienced fighters. The report notes that British athletes and spectators will be targeted by Umarov at the Games. MI6, British intelligence has begun working closely with Russia’s security service to counter the threat to British citizens.

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BREAKING: SECOND BOMBING IN RUSSIA AHEAD OF 2014 OLYMPICS

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Islamists will stop at nothing, and Chechen Islamists are especially brutal, having massacred 385 innocents in Beslan.–AA

(CNN) — Another deadly blast has struck the southern Russian city of Volgograd, killing at least 14 people and further highlighting Russia’s security challenges as it readies to host the Winter Olympics in less than six weeks.

An explosion hit a trolleybus near a busy market during the morning rush hour Monday, a day after a blast at Volgograd’s main train station killed 17 people and wounded at least 35 others.

Like Sunday’s attack, the blast Monday was a terrorist act, Vladmir Markin, a spokesman for the country’s federal investigation agency, told the state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

No one claimed responsibility for the explosions. But they come several months after the leader of a Chechen separatist group pledged violence to disrupt the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

 

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An Absurd Decision from the Court

Political Correctness hits the Courtroom:  Apparently comparing jihadists to savages is not protected under the First Amendment now.  Who’d have thought that the Court would want to protect the sensibilities of jihadists? –AA

 

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A federal judge rejected a pro-Israel group’s assertion that its free speech rights were violated when the MBTA turned down a subway advertisement on the grounds that the ad was “demeaning or disparaging.”

The ad is paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a New York organization that seeks to combat the spread of Islam in the United States. With bold, all-capital-letter text placed against a stark black background, the ad reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel; defeat Jihad.”

Officials with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority rejected the ad in November on the basis that it violated the agency’s advertising guidelines.

On Friday, US District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton sided with the state’s transportation authority, saying in the ruling that “it was plausible for the defendants to conclude that the . . . pro-Israel advertisement demeans or disparages Muslims or Palestinians.”

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AP: Radical preacher goes on trial in Jordan

This jihadist is linked to Shoebomber Richard Reid.  The shoebomb attack occurred 12 years ago today. AA

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A radical al-Qaida-linked preacher deported from Britain pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges at the start of his trial Tuesday in one of two terror cases against him before a Jordanian military court.

Abu Qatada, 53, is charged with plotting terror attacks against Israelis, Americans and other Westerners in Jordan in two foiled attempts in 1999 and 2000. In both cases, Abu Qatada, who was abroad at the time, was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison.

But on his deportation to his homeland in July, those sentences were suspended and he had to be re-tried under Jordanian law.

Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, has been described in courts in Britain and Spain as a senior al-Qaida figure in Europe who had close ties to the late Osama bin Laden.

Britain accused him of links with Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States over the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and with shoe bomber Richard Reid. Audio recordings of some of the cleric’s sermons were found in an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, used by some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

On his arrival in Amman on July 7, Jordanian prosecutors charged him with conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Jordan twice — once in 1999 for a foiled plot against the American school in the Jordanian capital, and another time in 2000 for allegedly targeting Israeli and American tourists and Western diplomats during Jordan’s Millennium celebrations.

On Tuesday, the tribunal — consisting of two civilian judges and a military one — said the cases will be heard separately, and proceeded with the hearing in the case involving Israeli and American tourists.

But Abu Qatada objected to the presence of the military judge — Col. Mohammad Afif — and said it violated an agreement with Britain that paved way for his extradition and meant to guarantee him a fair trial in his homeland.

Sporting his tradition salt-and-pepper beard and wearing a dark brown prison uniform, Abu Qatada appeared defiant as he stood in the dock, his back to the bench. Later, he asked for a microphone and addressed the tribunal.

“I will not answer questions by this court because I do not recognize its jurisdiction,” he said. His relatives, including his son Qatada, and reporters crowded the courtroom. Cameramen and photographers were not allowed inside.

“This tribunal includes a military judge and this is a violation of the deal with Britain that encouraged me to return home for re-trial,” he added somberly.

 

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Mail & Guardian: The Growing Terrorism Threat in Africa

More on terrorism originating in Africa;

The existence of militant religious groups is not a new phenomenon in Africa but their increasing presence and violence has become a growing concern. As a result of religious fundamentalism, tribal and ethnic tension, continued regional and political instability, and the extremist ideologies of groups to establish new states and reform old ones, Africa offers fertile ground for extremism. This year alone, scores of people lost their lives in attacks orchestrated by terrorist groups in various regions of the continent. The main groups are Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in Somalia and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), based in Algeria. 

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful”, is an Islamic jihadist organisation based in Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. Founded in 2001, the group is fighting to reform West Africa into an Islamic region ruled by sharia law. It operates in a cell-like structure and is popular for its use of motorbikes. Their current leader is Abubakar Shekau, who has been deemed a global security threat by the United States. 

Earlier this year, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan considered offering an amnesty deal to the rebels, whose insurgency has left more than 3  00 people dead since 2009. Shekau reportedly rejected the deal, claiming they had not committed any wrong. In various incidents this year, Boko Haram have orchestrated beheadings, bombings, and attacks on schools and checkpoints.

Earlier in December, the most recent attack, the group attacked a military base in north Nigeria that left scores of civilians dead and forced the government to impose a curfew in certain areas.

 

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The Despicable Boko Haram Threatens the United States with Terrorist Attacks

Calling the United States a “prostitute nation of infidels and liars,” Abubakar Shekau says Boko Haram will strike outside of Nigeria and in America.  However, very little media attention is paid to these thugs and lunatics.–AA

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Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Image from Vanguard.

A new video has surfaced showing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claiming responsibility for the Dec. 2 attack on military installations in Maiduguri, and threatening attacks in the West. The emergence of the video further contradicts reports that he was killed several months ago.

In the 40-minute video obtained by AFP yesterday, Shekau is dressed in military fatigues and vest, and has a Kalashnikov rifle under his arm. He speaks for 19 minutes, then the rest of the video shows footage of the attack. The 46-second clip released by AFP contains excerpts showing Shekau speaking, Boko Haram fighters entering Maiduguri in trucks, and fighters calmly in control of the military air base as aircraft and buildings burn.

In his speech in Arabic, Hausa, and Kanuri, Shekau reportedly claims that the whole world fears him, including US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and even the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Addressing the United States, Shekau calls it a “prostitute nation of infidels and liars,” and goes on to threaten that Boko Haram plans to attack outside Nigeria and even the US itself: “You are boasting you are going to join forces with Nigeria to crush us. Bloody liars. You couldn’t crush us when we were carrying sticks. By Allah, we will never stop. Don’t think we will stop in Maiduguri. Tomorrow you will see us in America itself. Our operation is not confined to Nigeria. It is for the whole world.”

Shekau’s threat follows the US’ addition of Boko Haram to the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities on Nov. 13 along with a splinter faction known as Ansaru. Shekau himself was added to the US list of global terrorists on June 21, 2012, along with Khalid al Barnawi and Abubakar Adam Kamba, both of whom “have ties to Boko Haram and have close links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”

In the State Department’s official announcement of the Boko Haram designation, the group was described as “a Nigeria-based militant group with links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that is responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years including targeted killings of civilians.” Ansaru, on the other hand, was described as focusing “on Nigerian military and Western targets.”

Boko Haram’s tactics have shifted lately, and are becoming more like those of Ansaru. As indicated by the recent attack in Maiduguri, Boko Haram has changed its tactics and grown more sophisticated. The group is now prepared to directly attack military installations, and in large numbers.

This is the second time in the past 30 days that Shekau has appeared in a video to claim responsibility for a Boko Haram attack. On Nov. 3, Shekau featured in a video titled “the Battle of Damaturu,” in which he claimed to have personally commanded the operation that killed 35 people on Oct 24. While the authenticity of the clip could not be independently verified in November, Shekau spoke in Arabic, Hausa, and Kanuri, as he did in the video obtained yesterday. The Damaturu attack was Boko Haram’s first significant raid in a major urban center in some time.

From the Long War Journal

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Islamist Cleric’s Trial Postponed to April 14

Mustafa is better known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, the subject of the important book The Suicide Factory.  Al-Masri is considered responsible for radicalizing a number of known terrorists, and both Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui.  He also praised Osama bin Laden and declared that”many people will be happy, jumping up and down at this moment,” after 9/11.  Here’s to a long, grueling incarceration. –AA

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A federal judge has pushed back the New York terrorism trial of an Egyptian Islamic cleric extradited from Great Britain.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest granted the change Monday for the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa (muh-STAH’-fuh kah-MEHL’ muh-STAH’-fuh).

The new date — April 14 — was requested by prosecutors.

Mustafa’s lawyers said at the hearing that he should be moved to a prison hospital. They say his lower Manhattan lockup cannot adequately care for Mustafa. He is missing both arms just below the elbows.

Prosecutors say Mustafa conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. They also say he helped to abduct two American tourists and 14 others in Yemen in 1998.

He has pleaded not guilty.

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The Daily Star (Lebanon): Hariri says Hezbollah responsible for terrorism

BEIRUT: Hezbollah is the party to blame for the infiltration of terrorism into Lebanon, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in an article published Sunday, as he reiterated his condemnation of Hezbollah’s intervention in the Syrian crisis.

“No matter what excuses Hezbollah uses to justify its mission [in Syria], fingers will always be pointed [at Hezbollah] for its responsibility in allowing the infiltration of terrorism and suicide bombings [into Lebanon],” Hariri wrote in an article published in Al-Mustaqbal daily.

“The party persists on its erroneous behavior and dismisses everything the president declared in his [Independence Day] message, declaring to the Lebanese that the response will be in Syria,” the article read.

“Is not such persistence a suicidal policy and a public invitation for terrorism to come to [our] country?”

President Michel Sleiman explicitly slammed Hezbollah in his Independence Day message for fighting alongside the Assad regime troops in Syria against Syrian rebels and reiterated his call for disassociating Lebanon from the crisis in the neighboring country.

Hariri also said the results of the DNA tests that revealed that one of the suicide bombers involved in the attack against the Iranian Embassy in Beirut this week was from the southern city of Sidon indicate the nature of the real dangers threatening Lebanon.

“For one of the suicide bombers … to be a young Lebanese from Sidon and from a family known for its moderation and its work in service of the city and the entire south doubles the pain that the Lebanese feel over this terrorist attack and reveals the dangers and divisions threatening both the Lebanese and Muslim communities,” he said.

Hariri added that these threats are increasing as the rift between the Lebanese and between Muslims is widening due to many factors, particularly the “policy of bullying and the military involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian war.”

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2013/Nov-24/238721-hariri-says-hezbollah-responsible-for-terrorism.ashx#ixzz2lZk8j6x5
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb) rob ford, pacquiao, miley, haim, doctor who, bbc america, 1D day, brian mccann
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