Tag Archives: terrorist

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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New Strains of Terrorism – The Moscow Times

An interesting look at security and terrorism from an equally interesting source. –AA

Like bacteria seeking to avoid destruction by antibiotics, terrorism evolves. For that reason, the New York marathon of early November, though admirably secured, was probably the least likely target around.

It is also probably true that terrorists have been poring over the Snowden revelations, but what specifically they will learn from them remains unclear, despite all the huffing and puffing of current and former security officials declaring it a disaster. Osama bin Laden was clearly aware that any of his telephone or electronic communications would be bugged. And so he used messengers. Ironically, it was the tracking of one of those messengers he used to avoid electronic eavesdropping that cost him his life. Taking similar precautions, the Saudi jihadi known as Khattab who fought with the Chechens was supposedly killed by a letter poisoned by Russian security agents.

Islamists may be fanatics, but they are not fools. They learn from past mistakes and work constantly to create new means of eluding existing security measures. Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the master bomber, who came up with the underwear bomb, and, more chillingly, the explosives that were disguised as part of a shipment of printers, is reported to be working on nonmetallic, essentially undetectable explosive devices that can be surgically implanted within the human body. This is an idea that comes first from science fiction having figured in the 1975 film “Death Race 2000″ and a 1990 Star Trek film.

Terrorists no doubt also scrutinize the world media to gauge which actions generate the most coverage. The Tsarnaev brothers proved two things with their attack on the Boston Marathon. The first is that a terrorist can gain more coverage by attacking an event where the cameras are already rolling. That way the event becomes part of everyone’s present tense. The second thing is that this initial momentum will often continue for longer than an event that occurred off camera. The evening news will revisit the victims or tie their story into another story.

Terrorists in Russia seem to be testing new methods. On Oct. 21, a Dagestani woman blew herself up on a local bus in the city of Volgograd killing herself and six others, wounding 37. The city is quite far from Moscow, St. Petersburg or Sochi. It is possible that she had another target in mind but detonated the device by accident or out of desperation. But it might also be a sign that terrorists have learned another lesson: strike out-of-the-way places so that people will not feel safe anywhere.

This principle is one that may be applied in Russia during the Winter Olympics since Sochi itself will presumably locked down very tightly. But then again, the same presumption could have been made about Tiananmen Square until a van full of suicide bombers made it through to very heart of the Chinese capital. Doku Umarov, leader of the Chechen Islamist insurgency, has called on his followers to use “maximum force” and “any methods” to disrupt the Winter Games, which he calls “satanic dances to be held on the bones of our ancestors.”

But that does not necessarily mean by direct attack on the site, events or spectators. Significant terrorist attacks happening all over the country could disrupt the games simply by overshadowing them. On Oct. 15, a terrorist attack on a chemical weapons facility in the Kirov region was thwarted by local law enforcement officials. Kirov is a 1,000 kilometers east of Moscow. The woman bomber in Volgograd is reported to have had a bus ticket for Moscow on her person, and the capital may have been her original target.

In the Kirov incident, there cannot be any such ambiguity. The two attackers, young men from the North Caucasus where the insurgents’ aim has morphed from independence to creating an Islamic caliphate, had specifically travelled to a site far from major population centers or targets of symbolic significance. The plant is currently engaged in destroying soman, a chemical nerve agent more lethal than sarin. Authorities state that a successful attack would have resulted in large loss of life.

There are eight such facilities in Russia, where chemical weapons are stored and destroyed. Was the Kirov attack a failure or a feint? Now security at the chemical weapons sites will be beefed up, possibly leaving other targets more vulnerable.

There is also the question as to whether the Chechens and other Islamist rebels already have chemical weapons seized during the Syrian civil war? It is only a 800-kilometer drive from Aleppo to Sochi, or 1 1/2 hours by plane. Possessing chemical weapons and being able to accurately deliver them are, of course, two quite different things.

But there is a way around that as well. Sometimes merely demonstrating that you possess weapons of mass destruction is enough to sow fear. In November 1995, Chechen rebels alerted the Russia media that they had buried a dirty bomb constructed from dynamite and radioactive Cesium 137 in Izmailovsky Park in central Moscow. This has been called the first act of nuclear terrorism in history. It was organized by Shamil Basayev, then the leader of the Chechen insurgents, who had been trained in Osama bin Laden’s camp in Afghanistan, the same one struck by U.S. cruise missiles in 1998. The dirty bomb in the park did not explode, but there was plenty of live coverage to spread the word — and fear.

After 9/11, it was reported that the Pentagon and the security agencies were conferring with science fiction writers to attempt to thwart future attacks. The real problem with the 9/11 attack was that no one had the imagination to see it coming. Maybe Russia could try that as well — if the country’s best sci-fi writers are not living abroad in freer lands or awaiting trial for protesting the current regime.

Richard Lourie is the author of “The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin” and “Sakharov: A Biography.”


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Source: Investigators recover circuit board believed used to detonate Boston Marathon blasts

Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe

Investigators combing through the aftermath of the deadly Boston Marathon terrorist attack have recovered a circuit board in the area of one of the two blasts that they believe was used to detonate the bombs, according to an official briefed on the investigation.

Investigators have also recovered components of the bombs, enabling them to determine what they consisted of two 6-liter pressure cookers packed with nails, ball bearings, and other metal. The makeshift bombs were placed in black duffel bags, the official said.

The one that exploded first was placed on the ground on Boylston Street, across from finish-line viewing stands where dignitaries, including Governor Deval Patrick, had been sitting earlier. The second bag was placed on the ground about 75 to 100 yards down the street, outside the Forum restaurant at 755 Boylston St., according to the official.

The bombs, detonated about 12 seconds apart, killed three people and injured 176 others, including 17 who are still in critical condition. The attacks created a scene of bloody caranage near the finish line of a race that is a colorful rite of spring and draws runners from around the world, who are cheered on by happy crowds.

President Obama, speaking to reporters at the White House this morning, called the attacks a “heinous and cowardly act” and said that the FBI was investigating it “as an act of terrorism.”

“We will find whoever harmed our citizens and we will bring them to justice,” he said.

Eight-year-old Martin Richard of Boston was one of those killed in the attack. A second person who died in the blast was also identified today. She was Krystle Campbell, 29, of Arlington, her grandmother said. The name of the third person killed was not released.

Doctors at several major hospitals in Boston said earlier that they had seen evidence that the bombs contained some kind of shrapnel.

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Obama State Department Invited American Terrorist to Embassy

As you soak in the headline, be reminded that this is the same terrorist for whom President Obama authorized a kill order without due process, despite the fact that he was a United States citizen.  While I personally think such an order was warranted, it’s a move that contradicts every criticism he made of the Bush Administration’s approach to terrorists.  He essentially condone killing US citizens without due process in the courts while condemning what he inaccurately described as “torture.”  — AA


By Tom Fitton

One of the main arguments against the Obama plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the president’s attempts to bring “justice” to terrorists in the civilian courts is that upon release, these individuals become doubly dangerous. (We know this from Bush era records we obtained from the Obama administration.)


According to records recently obtained by Judicial Watch, one of the beneficiaries of the government’s “catch and release” program for terrorists was none other than Anwar al-Aulaqi, the U.S. citizen assassinated by a U.S. drone on September 30, 2011.

You may recall that in 2010, President Obama reportedly authorized the assassination of al-Aulaqi, the first American citizen added to the government’s “capture or kill” list, describing the radical Muslim Cleric as “chief of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” (The Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice had previously determined that targeting and killing of U.S. citizens overseas was legal under domestic and international law.)

The heavily redacted documents received in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Judicial Watch on September 30, 2011, show that the known terrorist had been in custody and that the Obama State Department hatched an incredible plan to invite him to one of our embassies. The following are highlights from the records:


  • The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, was asked on March 24, 2011, to issue a communication to al-Aulaqi, requesting him to “appear in person” to pick up an important letter at the “post.” The letter issued by the embassy, which included a partial address for al-Aulaqi, was a revocation of his passport: “The Department?s [sic] action is based upon a determination by the Secretary that Mr. al-Aulaqi [sic] activities abroad are causing and/or likely to cause serious damage to the national security or the foreign policy of the United States.” The embassy was instructed not to inform al-Aulaqi when he came to the embassy that the “important letter” was a passport revocation.


  • The documents include two “Privacy Act Release Forms” issued by the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, signed by al-Aulaqi. One was dated November 14, 2006, and the other July 2, 2007 –which indicates that he was held for at least eight months. (Press reports had indicated that al-Aulaqi’s arrest was in relation to an al-Qaeda plot to kidnap a U.S. government official.) The documents do not show how long al-Aulaqi was detained or why he was released.


  • A September 30, 2011, email from Stephanie A. Bruce, Consular Section Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa to Elizabeth L. Perry, Team Lead for CA/OCS/ACS/NESCA at the State Department, included the following statement: “Elizabeth, I wanted to let you know that the Yemeni Defense Ministry reported that AMCIT Anwar al-AwLaki [sic] was killed in Yemen today.” Except for the added observation, “The statement is being cited in international and regional press reports,” the rest of the email is redacted.


  • Documents from a related FOIA request that was submitted on October 26, 2011, include records concerning the death of Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, Anwar al-Aulaqi’s son, who was killed on October 14, 2011. Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi’s death certificate was recorded on November 14, 2011. He is noted on the death certificate as being the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Aulaqi. The documents also include a “Report of Death of American Citizen Abroad” dated December 20, 2011. The cause of Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi’s death on the form is “unknown.” Press reports indicate Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was born in Denver, Colorado, and was killed by a U.S. drone strike two weeks after his father was killed.


In addition to the arrest noted by the documents in 2006 and 2007, Anwar al-Aulaqi was detained at New York’s JFK airport on October 10, 2002, under a warrant for passport fraud, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. However, the FBI ordered al-Aulaqi’s release, even though the arrest warrant was still active at the time of his detention as reported by the Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge. Once released, al-Aulaqi then took a flight to Washington, DC, and eventually returned to Yemen.


And how dangerous was he?


Since September 2009, according to the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy, 26 terrorism cases have been tied to al-Aulaqi, including an association with blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, currently in prison for his role in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Anwar al-Aulaqi was also known to have been in email contact (19 email exchanges) with Major Nidal Hasan, charged with 13 murders during the Fort Hood massacre on November 5, 2009, and allegedly had contacts with at least three of the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.


So allow me to sum up what these records and reporting detail. The Bush administration had Anwar al-Aulaqi in custody. Then it released him. The Obama administration tried to revoke his passport and concocted some Keystone Cop scheme to get him to come to the embassy for notification. (I mean, the idea of inviting al-Aulaqi – a known terrorist – to our embassy in Yemen in order to revoke his passport is beyond belief.) Then President Obama makes the unprecedented decision to assassinate him via drone, later killing his son as well.


Look, there aren’t many people who will mourn the killing of this terrorist. But that’s not the point of this story. The point is that the federal government (under both Bush and Obama) bungled attempts to bring justice to terrorists, placing the American people at risk.


Anwar al-Aulaqi is just one high-profile example. How many other terrorists have benefited from the incompetence and permissiveness of our government? How many more drones will have to be sent to clean up the mess?


Again, we should all give kudos to Catherine Herridge of the Fox News Channel for some excellent reporting on al-Aulaqi, a topic that has been largely ignored by other so-called mainstream press outlets.


Our disclosures this week led to some tough questions for the Obama State Department.  According Josh Gerstein of Politico:


State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland indicated Wednesday that the embassy did reach out to Al-Awlaki, but he never responded.


“He chose not to answer our request for him to come to the embassy,” Nuland said at the daily press briefing. She said that had he come in officials planned to offer him a “one-way passport back to the United States” to face criminal charges. She didn’t specify the charges.


Nuland did not respond directly to a provocative question from the Associated Press’s Matthew Lee about whether the U.S. believes it would have had the legal right to kill Al-Awlaki on the spot.


“Are you obligated not to kill someone who is responding to such an invitation?” Lee asked.


“I’m not going to entertain the notion that we would be calling him to the embassy for that purpose,” Nuland replied.



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BREAKING: Terrorist Sought to Blow Up The Fed

NBC 4 New York has learned that federal authorities have arrested a man they say was plotting to attack the Federal Reserve building in Lower Manhattan, just blocks from the World Trade Center site.

The man is in custody in New York. Sources tell NBC 4 New York that the suspect, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, lives in Jamaica, Queens.

Nafis, 21, was arrested Wednesday morning after he drove a van that he believed to be loaded with explosives from Long Island to Lower Manhattan. The man left the van near the Federal Reserve building and was then arrested by the FBI and NYPD.

Law enforcement officials stress that the plot was a sting operation monitored by the FBI and NYPD and the public was never at risk.  The explosives had been rendered inoperable, officials said.

“Two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent,” said FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan.

Sources say the suspect was acting alone in the plot against the Fed, which is located at 33 Liberty St., three and 1/2 blocks from ground zero.

He is expected in court later Wednesday.

“Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure, “Galligan said. “The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences.”

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Abu Hamza, the Detestable Cleric, Arrives in the United States

NEW YORK An ailing extremist Egyptian-born preacher and four other terrorism suspects arrived in the United States from England early Saturday under tight security to face trial, and two appeared within hours in a Connecticut court.

The preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri, was taken to a lockup next to the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan to face charges that he conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and that he helped abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998.

Just hours after their arrival in America, Syed Talha Ahsan, 33, and Babar Ahmad, 38, pleaded not guilty in federal court in New Haven, Conn., to charges that they provided terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya with cash, recruits and equipment.

Ahmad made efforts to secure GPS devices, Kevlar helmets, night vision goggles, ballistic vests and camouflage uniforms, prosecutors said.

They were kept detained while they await trial in Connecticut, where an Internet service provider was allegedly used to host a website. Their lawyers declined to comment.

Al-Masri, a one-time nightclub bouncer, will be housed in Manhattan along with Khaled al-Fawwaz, 50, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, and Adel Abdul Bary, 52, an Egyptian citizen, who will face trial on charges that they participated in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. The attacks killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. They were indicted in a case that also charged Osama bin Laden.

Al-Masri, al-Fawwaz and Bary were scheduled to make an initial appearance Saturday in federal court in Manhattan.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the extraditions “a watershed moment in our nation’s efforts to eradicate terrorism.”

He added: “As is charged, these are men who were at the nerve centers of Al Qaeda’s acts of terror, and they caused blood to be shed, lives to be lost, and families to be shattered.”

On “CBS This Morning: Saturday,” Bob Orr said the extradition fight has been so protracted because Masri knows, if convicted in the United States, he faces a life sentence.

He said this case is important because it provides the Department of Justice with another opportunity to prove terror prosecutions can be handled successfully in civilian court. Also, Orr said, “He’s been a big recruiter, and successful prosecution on American soil will effectively strike another big blow against al Qaeda.”

In the 1990s, al-Masri turned London’s Finsbury Park Mosque into a training ground for extremist Islamists, attracting men including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.

Al-Masri is not the first ailing Egyptian-born preacher to be brought to Manhattan for trial. A blind sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman, is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 1995 in a plot to assassinate then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and in another to blow up New York landmarks, including the United Nations and two tunnels and a bridge linking New Jersey to Manhattan. Abdel-Rahman has numerous health issues, including heart trouble.

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Massachusetts Terrorist Tarek Mehanna Sentenced to 17.5 Years

 By Milton J. Valencia and Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Tarek Mehanna, a young Boston-area man who traveled to Yemen in search of terror training in 2004 and later used the Internet to spread Al Qaeda’s message, was sentenced today in federal court to 17 1/2 years in prison, after delivering a defiant speech in court proclaiming his love of Islam and his anger at the United States.

Tarek Mehanna

Mehanna, a 29-year-old pharmacy college graduate from comfortable suburban Sudbury, was sentenced by US District Judge George A. O’Toole.

“I am frankly concerned by the defendant’s apparent absence of remorse, notwithstanding the jury’s verdict,” O’Toole said.

O’Toole said Mehanna had a “strong and magnetic personality,” and some of his characteristics were “noble and praiseworthy,” but there was also something “horrifying” about him and, as he reviewed the case, “the horrifying came into dominance.”

O’Toole also sentenced Mehanna to seven years of supervised release.

Supporters attending the hearing cheered and applauded, shouting, “We love you, Tarek!” as he was led out of the courtroom.

Mehanna, a 29-year-old pharmacy college graduate from comfortable suburban Sudbury, was convicted in December.

“The crimes the defendant have been convicted of are among the most significant in the criminal justice system,” said federal prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty, arguing for a 25-year sentence. “When you aspire to take up arms against your country, it deserves severe penalties.”

“We don’t know how many people this defendant radicalized, who he has wound up and sent along their way,” Chakravarty said.

“The damage he has done will linger with us,” Chakravarty said. “What the defendant will do after he gets out of jail one can only guess. We hope for the best.”

Chakravarty said Mehanna had a “perverted interpretation of a great faith.”

Mehanna’s attorneys, who had asked for a sentence of no more than 6 1/2 years, had described him as a young man who saw things in “black and white” when the conspiracy began. They also argued he had a First Amendment right to oppose US wars abroad, and emphasized that he never actually engaged in violence.

But Mehanna eschewed all those arguments when he delivered his own statement to the judge, saying he would not plead for leniency.

Holding up a picture of an Iraqi girl who was raped by American soldiers, he said, “How can someone not be angry when they hear something like that?”

Describing himself as a “very proud Muslim,” Mehanna said he had learned that throughout history there had been a struggle between the oppressed and the oppressor.

He said he had sided with the oppressed, calling the suffering of Muslims caused by the United States no different than colonial Americans suffering at the hands of the English.

Clashing with a prosecutor who objected to one of his statements, Mehanna shouted, “You’re a liar. … Sit down!”

“I wasn’t tried before a jury of my peers because, with the mentality of America today, I don’t have any peers,” Mehanna said.

“In your eyes, I am a terrorist. … But history will repeat itself, and America will change,” he said, comparing himself with Paul Revere and Nelson Mandela.

O’Toole had said earlier in the hearing that he would not order a life sentence for Mehanna. He noted that federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of life — “literally off the charts” — and said, “This will be a sentence in years.”

Mehanna traveled to Yemen in 2004 seeking terrorism training so that he could carry out jihad, or holy war, against US soldiers in Iraq. He failed to find a camp, but returned and deliberately helped Al Qaeda by promoting its ideology on the Internet, posting videos and documents glorifying jihad.

Mehanna was convicted of charges of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a foreign terror organization, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, providing and attempting to provide material support to terorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, conspiracy to lie to federal investigators, and two counts of lying to federal investigators.

Mehanna had attracted significant support from the Muslim community and civil rights groups. Supporters sent more than 100 pages of letters to the judge and US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, pleading for leniency.

A number of Mehanna supporters attended the hearing. Many wore “Free Tarek” T-shirts but were told they couldn’t wear them in the courtroom. The courtroom overflowed with people and a second room was used to accommodate them.

O’Toole said he didn’t relish the task of sentencing, but it was his responsibility. He said he was no monarch, but acted with input from the probation department, the parties in the case, and the intent of Congress.

Before the hearing, Mehanna seemed relaxed, smiling at lawyers, waving to family. “I’m good,” he whispered to one family member. His mother told him, “I love you.” During the hearing, Mehanna sometimes stared at the judge, sometimes leaned back in his chair with his eyes closed, and sometimes bit his lip.

In an unexpected moment of drama, defense attorney Janice Bassil told O’Toole that a juror would like to address the court, but O’Toole refused to hear the juror’s statement and refused to let Bassil recount the juror’s statement.

O’Toole also denied a request by Mehanna’s parents, Ahmed and Saoud, to make a statement to the court, saying that was always his policy. He noted that he had received letters from them and from the defendant’s brother. “I assure them they’ve been heard,” he said.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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Underwear bomber pleads guilty to all counts

Detroit (CNN) — Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying to detonate an explosive device in his underwear aboard a flight to Detroit, surprised courtroom officials and spectators on the second day of his trial Wednesday by pleading guilty to all the counts against him.

He previously had pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, and possession of a firearm or destructive device in furtherance of an act of violence.

AbdulMutallab acknowledged in a courtroom statement Wednedsay that he had previously traveled to Yemen and was “greatly inspired” to participate in such a plot by U.S.-born militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen September 30. U.S. officials say the terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula helped foment the bombing attempt.

“I carried with me an explosive device to avenge the killing of innocent Muslims,” AbdulMutallab said, adding that the failed plot was in retaliation for “U.S. tyranny and oppression of Muslims.”

“I am guilty of this by U.S. law, but not the Koran,” he added.

A day before, the prosecution made its opening statement and had already called its first witness in the case.

Sentencing will take place on January 12.

AbdulMutallab was a passenger aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from the Netherlands to Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009, when he attempted the bombing.

Jonathan Tukel, chief of the National Security Unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan, laid out details of the flight in his opening statement.

Pointing to AbdulMutallab, Tukel said, “His sole reason for being on Flight 253 was to kill all of the passengers and himself. He thought he’d end up in heaven.”

After taking numerous trips to the bathroom, AbdulMutallab went back to the bathroom about an hour before the plane was to land, “to purify himself to die,” Tukel said.

AbdulMutallab did not eat or drink on the plane, a fast that was part of his ritual purification, Tukel said.

A witness testified that AbdulMutallab was in the bathroom for about 15 to 20 minutes, which seemed long to the passenger, Tukel said.

When AbdulMutallab returned to his seat, he pulled a blanket over his head, “pushed the plunger on the bomb and prepared to die,” Tukel said.

Passengers heard a loud noise, which sounded like a firecracker, Tukel said.

AbdulMutallab became enveloped in a fireball which then spread to the wall and carpeting of the plane, yet he remained in his seat “expressionless, completely blank,” Tukel said.

Four passengers helped subdue him and tried to put out the fire, Tukel said, and AbdulMutallab was escorted up to the first-class section of the plane.

When a flight attendant asked him what he had in his pockets, he called it “an explosive device,” Tukel said.

Tukel added that AbdulMutallab was very verbal and spoke with many people, including some on the flight and officials once the flight landed.

The prosecution also called its first witness Tuesday, Michael Zantow, who was on the flight one row behind AbdulMutallab.

Zantow, a 20-year veteran of the Army, was among those who tried to restrain the defendant.

Within a minute of the loud sound on the plane, a passenger said to AbdulMutallab, “Hey man, your pants are on fire!” Zantow testified.

The passenger repeated himself two or three times, and AbdulMutallab did not respond, Zantow said.

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Christopher Hitchens on the Killing of al-Awlaki


By | http://www.SLATE.com

Probably because it mainly provides the kind of short-term cinematic satisfaction that characterizes the Hellfire terminus, the flashy ending of al-Qaida’s main media star has only led to the reopening of some pressing questions about the nature of the jihadi menace. It has also forced us to confront the idea of words as weapons, and the relationship between ideas and actions, in a world of conscienceless criminal violence that operates without employing any code or precedent of its own.


To phrase the essence of the problem succinctly, you are perhaps more likely, as a reader of this column, to be blown up at work or play, or on the way to work or play, by a “homegrown” or “lone-wolf” or “self-starter” fanatic using whatever explosive or incendiary tools may lie to hand, than you are to die at the hands of al-Qaida or the Shabab or any of their shifting surrogates. In the same way, it is at least as likely that a local operative will emerge from the American suburbs to commit one random and unpredictable act as it is that—as sometimes has happened—a fanatic will leave our shores and take himself to Somalia or Yemen or Afghanistan. And so we have the figures of Maj. Nidal Hasan, unsheathing his weapon at Fort Hood to yell “God Is Great!” or Faisal Shahzad rigging his SUV to explode in Times Square or, at one more remove, Farouk Abdulmutallab stuffing his underwear with combustibles and (rather too easily, given his record) boarding a flight to Detroit.


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Read the Indictment against the Ashland, Massachusetts, Terrorist

CLICK HERE FOR THE Ashland_Indictment

Click the above link to read the indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Boston against Rezwan Ferdaus, the “alleged” terrorist from Massachusetts, born in the United States, who, nonetheless, was plotting to attack the Pentagon, the US Capitol, and American troops overseas.

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