Friday, December 17, 2010

Lack of Priority Causes Obama's Missile Defense to Fail

/PRNewswire/ -- Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA),, has analyzed the recent missile test held out at Vandenberg Air Force Base earlier this week which failed. Ellison is one of the top lay experts in the field of missile defense in the world. His analysis is outlined below regarding this:

"The number one priority for ballistic missile defense as stated and outlined clearly by President Barack Obama is the defense of the United States homeland. The American public demands, supports and expects ballistic missile defense for the protection of the U.S. homeland.

"U.S. military and intelligence agencies have testified in Congressional hearings that the ballistic missile threat to the United States from North Korea is real and that Iran could have a capability as early as 2015 to strike the U.S. homeland. There are thirty Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) deployed today that the Administration has deemed necessary to protect our nation from long-range ballistic missile threats. These thirty deployed GBIs also help dissuade North Korea and Iran from developing long-range missiles that could strike the U.S.

"For the military, especially those in United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), to fulfill their mission of defending the U.S. there must be demonstrated consistent success in the GBI's capability to intercept and destroy an incoming ballistic missile. The mission is too important to our nation's national security for it to fall short.

"The last two GBI intercept tests, and the only two conducted under President Obama, have failed to intercept leaving a lack of confidence in the system and a perception of vulnerability to North Korea and Iran. The last time the GBI had two failed tests in a row was between 2003 and 2005 when the system was being initially developed and was not yet fully operational.

"More priority and better focus is required to understand the problem within the system that has been successful in eight out of fifteen tests. It will take time before answers as to why this test was a failure come to light, but urgency is required to clearly resolve the issue and fix the problem.

"Initial analysis of the failed test looks similar to the earlier failed test this year, when at the last minute the Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) failed to make the intercept. Tracking and discrimination information of the target from the sensors, most notably the Sea-based X-band radar (SBX), put the EKV in the right location. There has to be a focus on gathering a clear understanding of the root cause of the failure; from the first failure of the EKV this year to making the adjustments before launching a second similar test with a much more robust complex target and stretching the flight of the EKV to the farthest distance it has ever flown. This is especially important when these tests, including pre- and post-test analysis, cost the U.S. taxpayer over $150 million apiece from an already tight missile defense budget.

"Quality control will always be a challenge for a very complex system that has numerous points of failure linked to the sophisticated technology and coordination required to hit an approximately 6' long object traveling close to 15,000/MPH, 120 miles up in space with a missile launched thousands of miles away. Modernization is needed to reduce failure points across the system and increase its reliability. Modernization is also required for the sustainment of confidence in the system into the future; the system is expected to perform up to and possibly beyond 2030.

"This issue is even more acute with the EKV and its many possible failure points in both hardware and software. Currently the Administration sees modernization of the Ground-Based Midcourse System (GMD) as a low priority at best. This is reflected in the funding for the entire GMD system which at its peak accounted for more than thirty percent of the total missile defense budget but has been reduced to less than ten percent with minimal modernization funding.

"Despite the EKV missing the target, this past test performed extremely well in a number of areas. The sophisticated target missile, AN/TPY-2 Forward-Based Radar, SBX, GBI and command and control are all complex systems that were coordinated with great success. The tracking of the target missile was successfully transferred from the Forward-Based Radar to the SBX to the EKV. This led to the EKV being in position to make a realistic operational intercept. There were also upgraded Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ships that tracked the target missile and perhaps could have taken an early shot. All of these were significant events that are critical to the confidence in the overall missile defense system as well as providing valuable information for future modeling and simulation testing.

"Also notable was the successful use of the Forward-Based Radar in Wake Island north of the target launch. This would duplicate, to some extent the positioning of that same radar in Turkey for an Iranian launch missile towards Europe or the United States.

"An early conclusion that could be drawn from this test would point to lack of priority and focus over the past eleven months towards resolving the root cause of the EKV failure, one of the most critical elements in the GMD system. There have been eight successes with the EKV in flight tests which would lead one to assume that the engineering and technology can be resolved if attention, time and priority are put forward. It is also of equal importance that priority of modernization for the GBIs and its overall system be addressed by the Administration as it is the system that upholds and brings confidence to the President's number one priority for missile defense: the U.S. homeland.

"When there are failures and frustration, we must always remember that the American public expects supports and will always demand protection of the U.S. homeland."

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oregon Resident Arrested in Plot to Bomb Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Portland

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia and resident of Corvallis, Ore., has been arrested on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb at an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony earlier this evening in Portland, Ore., the Justice Department announced.

According to a criminal complaint signed in the District of Oregon, Mohamud was arrested by the FBI and Portland Police Bureau at approximately 5:40 p.m. (PST) Nov. 26, 2010 after he attempted to detonate what he believed to be an explosives-laden van that was parked near the tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. The arrest was the culmination of a long-term undercover operation, during which Mohamud had been monitored closely for months as his alleged bomb plot developed. The device was in fact inert; and the public was never in danger from the device.

Mohamud is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Portland on Monday. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Dwight C. Holton, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, said, “This defendant’s chilling determination is a stark reminder that there are people—even here in Oregon—who are determined to kill Americans. The good work of law enforcement protected Oregonians in this case—and we have no reason to believe there is any continuing threat arising from this case.”

“The complaint alleges that Mohamud attempted to detonate what he believed to be a vehicle bomb at a crowded holiday event in downtown Portland, but a coordinated undercover law enforcement action was able to thwart his efforts and ensure no one was harmed,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “While the public was never in danger from the device, this case serves as yet another reminder of the need for continued vigilance both at home and abroad.”

“The threat was very real. Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale,” said Arthur Balizan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “At the same time, I want to reassure the people of this community that, at every turn, we denied him the ability to actually carry out the attack.”

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, in August 2009, Mohamud was in e-mail contact with an unindicted associate (UA1) overseas who is believed to be involved in terrorist activities. In December 2009, while UA1 was located in the northwest frontier province of Pakistan, Mohamud and UA1 discussed the possibility of Mohamud traveling to Pakistan to engage in violent jihad. UAI allegedly referred Mohamud to a second unindicted associate (UA2) overseas and provided Mohamud with a name and email address to facilitate the process.

In the months that followed, Mohamud allegedly made several unsuccessful attempts to contact UA2. Ultimately, an FBI undercover operative contacted Mohamud via e-mail in June 2010 under the guise of being an associate of UA1. Mohamud and the FBI undercover operative then agreed to meet in Portland in July 2010. At this meeting, Mohamud allegedly told the FBI undercover operative that he had written articles that were published in Jihad Recollections, an online magazine that advocated violent jihad. Mohamud also indicated that he wanted to become “operational.” Asked what he meant by “operational,” Mohamud stated that he wanted to put an “explosion” together, but needed help.

At a second meeting in August 2010, Mohamud allegedly told undercover FBI operatives he had been thinking of committing violent jihad since the age of 15. According to the affidavit, Mohamud then told the undercover FBI operatives that he had identified a potential target for a bomb: the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26, 2010.

According to the affidavit, the undercover FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of this plan, noting there would be many people at the event, including many children, and emphasized that Mohamud could abandon his attack plans at any time with no shame. “You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?” an undercover FBI operative asked Mohamud. According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded that he was looking for a “huge mass that attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.” Further discussing the attack, Mohamud allegedly stated, “’s in Oregon; and Oregon like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

The affidavit alleges that in subsequent months, Mohamud continued to express his interest in carrying out the attack and worked on logistics. He allegedly identified a location to place the bomb and mailed bomb components to the undercover FBI operatives, who he believed were assembling the device. He also mailed them passport photos, as part of a plan to help him sneak out of the country after the attack. In addition, Mohamud provided the undercover FBI operatives with a thumb drive that contained detailed directions to the bomb location and operational instructions for the attack.

According to the affidavit, on November 4, 2010, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County, Ore., where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack. Afterwards, on the drive back to Corvallis, undercover FBI operatives questioned Mohamud as to whether he was capable of looking at the bodies of those who would be killed in the upcoming attack in Portland. According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded, “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured.”

Upon returning to Corvallis that same day, the affidavit alleges that Mohamud recorded a video of himself with the undercover FBI operatives in which he read a written statement that offered a rationale for his bomb attack. On Nov. 18, 2010, undercover FBI operatives picked up Mohamud to travel to Portland in order to finalize the details of the attack.

Earlier this evening, Mohamud was arrested after he attempted to remotely detonate what he believed to be explosives in a van that was parked near the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the affidavit alleges.

This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Oregon State Police, the Corvallis Police Department, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and the Portland Police Bureau. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan D. Knight and Jeffrey Sweet from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. Trial Attorneys Jolie F. Zimmerman and David Cora, from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, are assisting.

The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Faisal Shahzad Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to Life in Prison for Attempted Car Bombing in Times Square

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York ("NYPD"), announced the sentencing today of FAISAL SHAHZAD to life in prison for his attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square on the evening of May 1, 2010. SHAHZAD was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge MIRIAM GOLDMAN CEDARBAUM.

SHAHZAD, 31, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport ("JFK Airport") on May 3, 2010, after he was identified by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection while attempting to leave the United States on a commercial flight to Dubai. SHAHZAD was then charged in a five-count criminal Complaint. On May 18, 2010, he was presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge JAMES C. FRANCIS IV. On June 17, 2010, SHAHZAD was indicted in the Southern District of New York for ten offenses relating to the May 1, 2010, attempted bombing. Based on the offenses alleged in the Indictment, SHAHZAD faced a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. On June 21, 2010, SHAHZAD pled guilty to all ten offenses before Judge CEDARBAUM.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: "Faisal Shahzad is a remorseless terrorist who betrayed his adopted country and today was rightly sentenced to spend the rest of his life in federal prison. While his life sentence ensures that he will never again threaten the security of New York City and our nation, together we must remain vigilant against those like him who wish to do us harm."

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge JANICE K. FEDARCYK said: "The case of Faisal Shahzad demonstrates the global scope of the terrorist threat. Distinctions between home-grown and foreign terrorists are blurred when a U.S. citizen travels to Pakistan to learn bomb-making from a known terrorist organization, then returns to the U.S. and receives financial backing from the overseas organization. However you define him, there’s no question that Shahzad built a mobile weapon of mass destruction and hoped and intended that it would kill large numbers of innocent people – and planned to do it again two weeks later. The sentence imposed today means Shahzad will never pose that threat again. The FBI will continue to work with our partners here and around the world to protect the public."

NYPD Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY said: "It's only right that Faisal Shahzad forfeit his freedom for life after trying to forfeit the lives of innocent New Yorkers forever."

According to the Indictment to which SHAHZAD pled guilty, other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made during today's proceeding:

In December 2009, SHAHZAD received explosives training in Waziristan, Pakistan, from explosive trainers affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a militant extremist group based in Pakistan. On February 25, 2010, SHAHZAD received approximately $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts sent from a co-conspirator ("CC-1") in Pakistan whom SHAHZAD understood worked for Tehrik-e-Taliban. Approximately six weeks later, on April 10, 2010, SHAHZAD received an additional $7,000 in cash in Ronkonkoma, New York, which was also sent at CC-1's direction.

On March 15, 2010, SHAHZAD purchased a semi-automatic 9 millimeter Kel-Tec rifle in Connecticut. This rifle was later found, loaded, in SHAHZAD's car on the day of his arrest.

In April 2010, SHAHZAD contacted the seller of a Nissan Pathfinder after seeing an advertisement posted on a website. Thereafter, on April 24, 2010, SHAHZAD and the seller of the Pathfinder agreed to meet in a supermarket parking lot in Connecticut, where SHAHZAD paid the seller $1,300 for the Pathfinder. In April 2010, SHAHZAD also purchased components for the improvised explosive and incendiary devices that he loaded into the Pathfinder on May 1, 2010.

On May 1, 2010, SHAHZAD drove the Pathfinder, loaded with the improvised explosive and incendiary devices, into Manhattan. He parked the Pathfinder in Times Square in the vicinity of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue. After parking the Pathfinder, SHAHZAD attempted to begin the detonation process of the improvised explosive and incendiary devices. SHAHZAD then abandoned the Pathfinder and returned to his residence in Connecticut.

On May 3, 2010, SHAHZAD drove from Connecticut to JFK Airport with his Kel-Tec rifle inside his car as he attempted to flee to Dubai. He was arrested later that same day at JFK Airport. After his arrest, SHAHZAD admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan. He admitted that he had brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it. He also admitted that if he had not been arrested he would have attempted to detonate another bomb in New York City two weeks later.

The law enforcement operation that culminated with today’s sentencing was the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces ("JTTF") in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, especially those JTTF members from the FBI and the NYPD. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also made significant contributions to the case. Substantial assistance also was provided by the Justice Department's National Security Division, as well as the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Districts of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys BRENDAN R. MCGUIRE, RANDALL W. JACKSON, JOHN P. CRONAN, and JEFFREY A. BROWN of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

'Ground Zero Imam' Evades Being Served with Complaint -- Later is Legally Served for Nuisance, Emotional Distress, Assault

/Standard Newswire/ -- Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, announced yesterday that the "Ground Zero Imam" and his mosque, the Cordoba House/Park51 Project, were served with the class action complaint filed by First Responder Vincent Forras. The complaint alleges that the building of the planned mosque would be a legal nuisance and that the entire project, to be built in the immediate vicinity of Ground Zero, is a blatant attempt to inflict emotional distress on the inhabitants of New York City; in effect a form of psychological terrorism.

Both the Imam and the mosque have ties to terrorist interests, and a large donor to the Imam's enterprises gave handsomely to the Holy Land Foundation, a convicted terrorist front group. In addition, during an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" the Imam refused to say where the money was coming from to build the mosque at Ground Zero. There is other considerable evidence connecting the "Ground Zero Imam" and his mosque to persons and entities associated with terrorism.

When Freedom Watch, plaintiffs' counsel, sought to have the complaint served personally upon the defendants, including the Imam, servers were prevented from giving it to them. In this regard, plaintiffs sought to serve the Imam after his speech yesterday at the Council for Foreign Relations in New York City.

Service of process was however made under alternative legal means.

Larry Klayman issued the following statement to the Imam:

"In this country, it is important to obey the law. If the Imam is innocent of the charges, he should have willingly accepted service of the complaint. However, instead he chose to 'run' from the process server. The Imam can try to run but we will not allow him to hide. Justice will be done under the American legal system, not Sharia law. The case is now on its way to achieving justice for the plaintiffs and all of the people of the City of New York."

The class action suit has been brought at the behest of Declaration Alliance, with Freedom Watch, in the Supreme Court of New York in Manhattan, on behalf of Lead Plaintiff Vincent Forras, a courageous First Responder severely injured during his efforts to save innocent lives during September 11, 2001. The complaint as filed in court is available online at Freedom Watch and Declaration Alliance ( and (

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Friday, September 10, 2010

The September 11th Attacks Leave Lingering Fears Around the World

/PRNewswire/ -- Even though nine years have passed since the September 11 attacks, people around the world still feel its effects, according to new research with Survey Sampling International's (SSI) global online panels. SSI findings show that in all countries studied, the perception of being safe from terrorism is well below pre-9/11 levels. Though Australians and New Zealanders feel more secure than citizens of other countries, they still feel less safe today than before the events of 9/11.

The Japanese feel the least safe from terrorism, with the French and Germans also showing high levels of anxiety. In the US, the site of the attacks, feelings of security have bounced back significantly, with more than 40% of participants perceiving some level of safety, compared to about 20% in the month following 9/11. However, this is still far below the more than 70% who say they felt safe prior to the attacks. The UK shows a similar pattern to the US, with just over 40% of respondents feeling safe from terrorism today compared to about 70% before 9/11.

"The horrific events of 9/11 continue to haunt people around the world," says Mark Hardy, Managing Director, Americas and Chief Strategy Officer for SSI. "Although our research shows that some of the fear and anxiety people felt right after the attacks has dissipated, the impact of 9/11 on people's sense of security remains significant. In no country are we seeing a return to the same level of safety people felt before 9/11."

SSI's findings are based on a study of 5,000+ adults drawn from its online panels. Countries covered include the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. SSI offers extensive worldwide reach to support survey research through SSI Dynamix(TM), its dynamic sampling platform that links to its own online panels, as well as social media, reward programs, ad networks, partner panels and online communities.

In All Countries except Japan, People Believe Anti-Terrorism Policies Have Been Effective, though They Still Want Increased Security Measures

In spite of their concerns, people around the world believe their countries' anti-terrorism policies have been effective. Singaporeans are most positive about their government's policies, with almost 80% of respondents indicating their country's anti-terrorism activities are effective. The majority of British-- more than 60%--also believe their country's anti-terrorism approaches are effective. In addition, about half of American and Australian respondents give high marks to their governments' anti-terrorism policies.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Japanese are the most negative about their country's anti-terrorism policies. Japan is the only country studied where the majority of respondents--62%--believe their country's anti-terrorism policies are ineffective.

Despite the fact that most participants have faith in their country's current approach to fighting terrorism, they still want to see increased security put into effect. In every country studied, at least 60% of respondents would like stronger anti-terrorism measures in place. Support for increased security is highest in Singapore and Japan, with 85% of respondents saying they want increased security. The US places third in terms of its desire for greater security, with 76% seeking stronger measures.

Countries Differ Greatly in Their Willingness to Trade Personal Freedom for Security

Although respondents want more security, many are not willing to sacrifice their personal freedom to get it. Reactions to trading freedom for safety vary greatly by country. Singapore has the highest percentage (61%) of respondents willing to give up personal freedoms in return for higher safety. In fact, it is the only country with a majority of citizens agreeing on this issue. There is significant divisiveness in most countries on whether personal freedom or safety is more important.

Germany shows the greatest divide. Of all countries studied, it has the lowest proportion of participants ready to exchange their freedom for security (25%). On the other hand, 44% of German respondents are against sacrificing freedom for safety, and 31% are unsure. The US also shows a significant split, with 27% of respondents willing to let go of personal freedoms to increase safety, 39% unwilling and 34% unsure.

"Clearly, the topic of decreasing personal freedom to increase security is among the most divisive around the world," says Hardy. "It is telling that in many countries--including New Zealand, the US, the UK, Australia and Germany--a third or more of respondents are unsure of where to stand on this controversial issue."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Attack in Somalia condemned by Minister Frattini

(APO) -- Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has firmly condemned today's cowardly terrorist attack at the Muna Hotel in Mogadishu, in which 9 members of parliament and 26 other people were killed. Minister Frattini has appealed to the international community to tackle the challenge which the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist movement Al-Shabaab poses to the Somali institutions and to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

“If we deliver Somalia into the hands of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, the entire Horn of Africa will topple into chaos”, declared Minister Frattini. He has instructed the Italian Ambassador, Dejak, to convey his condolences for the victims of the attack to the Speaker of the Somali Parliament.

Italy is a firm supporter of the African Union's action, which sees 6000 AMISON troops deployed to fight the fundamentalist Islamic militias. The aim of the action is to prevent the collapse of the Somali institutions and promote stability in the region. The Italian Government will go on helping to consolidate Somalia's government and ministry structures and train its public security and border police forces. Italy is also helping to meet the needs of the Somali people with humanitarian aid and by re-opening hospital and medical structures in the capital.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Statement of National Security Advisor General James Jones on Wikileaks

The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact us about these documents – the United States government learned from news organizations that these documents would be posted. These irresponsible leaks will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan; to defeat our common enemies; and to support the aspirations of the Afghan and Pakistani people.

The documents posted by Wikileaks reportedly cover a period of time from January 2004 to December 2009. On December 1, 2009, President Obama announced a new strategy with a substantial increase in resources for Afghanistan, and increased focus on al Qaeda and Taliban safe-havens in Pakistan, precisely because of the grave situation that had developed over several years. This shift in strategy addressed challenges in Afghanistan that were the subject of an exhaustive policy review last fall. We know that serious challenges lie ahead, but if Afghanistan is permitted to slide backwards, we will again face a threat from violent extremist groups like al Qaeda who will have more space to plot and train. That is why we are now focused on breaking the Taliban’s momentum and building Afghan capacity so that the Afghan government can begin to assume responsibility for its future. The United States remains committed to a strong, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan.

Since 2009, the United States and Pakistan have deepened our important bilateral partnership. Counter-terrorism cooperation has led to significant blows against al Qaeda’s leadership. The Pakistani military has gone on the offensive in Swat and South Waziristan, at great cost to the Pakistani military and people. The United States and Pakistan have also commenced a Strategic Dialogue, which has expanded cooperation on issues ranging from security to economic development. Pakistan and Afghanistan have also improved their bilateral ties, most recently through the completion of a Transit-Trade Agreement. Yet the Pakistani government – and Pakistan’s military and intelligence services – must continue their strategic shift against insurgent groups. The balance must shift decisively against al Qaeda and its extremist allies. U.S. support for Pakistan will continue to be focused on building Pakistani capacity to root out violent extremist groups, while supporting the aspirations of the Pakistani people.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Victims of Hezbollah Terrorist Rocket Attacks File Lawsuit Against Al-Jazeera TV in New York Federal Court

/PRNewswire/ -- On the fourth anniversary of start of the Lebanese-Israeli War, 91 American, Israeli and Canadian victims of Hezbollah rocket attacks have filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network. The suit, Kaplan et al. v. Al-Jazeera (10 cv 5298), filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, seeks $1.2 billion in compensatory damages plus punitive damages.

The plaintiffs, whose family members were killed or who were themselves injured by rockets fired at Israel by Hezbollah between July 12 and August 14, 2006, allege that Al-Jazeera intentionally provided real-time coverage of the locations of missile strikes inside Israel in violation of Israeli security regulations, thereby enabling Hezbollah to aim its missiles more accurately.

Al-Jazeera camera crews in Israel during the war were repeatedly detained by the Israeli police for broadcasting real-time information regarding the location of missile strikes, which Hezbollah utilized to more accurately aim their missiles at civilian population centers.

Al-Jazeera is widely acknowledged to have an extreme anti-American and anti-Israel political agenda. For example, in September 2001, U.S. officials filed a diplomatic complaint against Al Jazeera, accusing it of having an anti-American slant and objecting to Al Jazeera's description of Palestinian suicide bombers as "martyrs." In 2002, Professor Khalid al Dakheel of King Saud University stated that: "Al-Jazeera is the mouthpiece of the Arabs. Their coverage is anti-Israelis. Their coverage is anti-Americans." In 2006, Lt. Col. Todd Vician, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense stated: "Anyone, even an American living in the Middle East watching a network like Al Jazeera day after day after day, would begin to believe that America was bad just based on the biased, one-sided coverage." And according to Amira Oron of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, during the 2006 war in Lebanon, "Al-Jazeera was no different from [Hezbollah's own station] Al-Manar ... It's an Arab station and its intent is to promote the Arab cause."

The plaintiffs are represented by attorney Robert J. Tolchin Esq. of Brooklyn, New York's Berkman Law Office, LLC; noted Israeli human rights lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Esq.; and the firm of Heideman, Nudelman & Kalik of Washington, D.C.

Attorney Darshan-Leitner stated that: "Al-Jazeera allowed itself to become a crucial component of the Hezbollah missile offensive. The intent was to assist Hezbollah in targeting and killing civilians. Without the assistance of Al-Jazeera's on-the-ground spotters, Hezbollah would have been unable to accurately aim its missiles into Israeli cities. Al-Jazeera, which has offices in New York, aided and abetted Hezbollah terrorism and shares responsibility for the injuries suffered by the victims of these attacks."

Attorney Tolchin observed that "By giving Hezbollah real-time targeting feedback, effectively helping the terrorists to improve the aim of its missiles, Al-Jazeera crossed the line between reporting the news and being part of the news."

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Ten Russian Agents Plead Guilty and are to be Removed from the United States

Ten individuals pleaded guilty July 8 in Manhattan federal court to conspiring to serve as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the United States and will be immediately expelled from the United States, the Justice Department announced today.

In hearings today before Judge Kimba M. Wood in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, each of the 10 defendants arrested on June 27, 2010, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government within the United States without notifying the U.S. Attorney General. Under their plea agreements, the defendants were required to disclose their true identities in court today and to forfeit certain assets attributable to the criminal offenses.

The defendants known as “Richard Murphy” and “Cynthia Murphy” admitted they are Russian citizens named Vladimir Guryev and Lydia Guryev and are agents of the Russian Federation. Defendants “Michael Zottoli” and “Patrica Mills” admitted they are Russian citizens named Mikhail Kutsik and Natalia Pereverzeva, and are agents of the Russian Federation. Defendants “Donald Howard Heathfield” and “Tracey Lee Ann Foley” admitted they are Russian citizens named Andrey Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova, and are agents of the Russian Federation. “Juan Lazaro” admitted that he is a Russian citizen named Mikhail Anatonoljevich Vasenkov and is an agent of the Russian Federation.

The defendants Vicky Pelaez, Anna Chapman and Mikhail Semenko, who operated in this country under their true names, admitted that they are agents of the Russian Federation; and Chapman and Semenko admitted they are Russian citizens.

The United States has agreed to transfer these individuals to the custody of the Russian Federation. In exchange, the Russian Federation has agreed to release four individuals who are incarcerated in Russia for alleged contact with Western intelligence agencies.

“This was an extraordinary case, developed through years of work by investigators, intelligence lawyers, and prosecutors, and the agreement we reached today provides a successful resolution for the United States and its interests,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

“Counterintelligence is a top FBI investigative priority, and this case in particular represents the dedicated efforts of the men and women who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to counter the efforts of those who would steal our nation's vital secrets,” said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.

This case is the result of a multi-year investigation conducted by the FBI and other elements of the U.S. intelligence community; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; and the Counterespionage Section and the Office of Intelligence within the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Farbiarz, Glen Kopp, and Jason Smith of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Trial Attorneys Kathleen Kedian and Richard Scott of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bipartisan Policy Center Report Outlines Dangers of Failing to Prevent Iranian Nuclear Threat

/PRNewswire/ -- With Iran on the brink of attaining nuclear weapons capability, the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) National Security Initiative is calling for the United States to take a triple-track approach for preventing an Iranian nuclear threat through diplomacy, sanctions and a military option. According to its new report released today, Meeting the Challenge: When Time Runs Out, authored by former Senators Daniel Coats and Charles Robb, and retired General Charles Wald, there are three potential outcomes should the U.S. fail to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions: a nuclear weapons-capable Islamic Republic of Iran; an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities; or a regime change in Tehran.

The report, which is the third in a series by the BPC on Iran, argues that containing a nuclear Iran would almost certainly prove ineffective and lead to a greater regional conflict. It also stresses that an Israeli strike would be risky and regime change is extremely unlikely. Therefore, the report's co-authors strongly assert that a nuclear Iran must be prevented now.

An analysis by the BPC shows that Iran, under current trends, could have enough fissile material in July to produce a nuclear weapon by October 2010. With diplomatic and economic efforts having failed to dissuade Iran from developing its nuclear capability, the authors warn that time is literally running out.

The report recommends the U.S. immediately adopt a triple-track strategy that involves diplomacy, sanctions, and a clear demonstration of its willingness to use the military option as a last resort. The BPC has advocated this strategy in its earlier reports. "Sanctions and diplomacy are much more likely to work if they are backed up by a credible military capability and the clear willingness to use it," said Senator Charles Robb. "We reiterate our support for the President's 2009 pledge to use 'all elements of U.S. power' to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability."

According to the BPC, the U.S. could immediately strengthen its position by increasing the U.S. Fifth Fleet's presence in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman; enhancing the military capabilities of U.S. allies in the region; initiating a strategic partnership with Azerbaijan to establish a broader regional presence on the ground; and by working with Iraq and Saudi Arabia to improve their capacity to ship oil out of the region without passing through the Straits of Hormuz. "Only the credible threat of a U.S. military strike can make a peaceful solution possible," said retired General Chuck Wald. "Ultimately, a U.S. led military strike is a feasible, though risky, option of last resort."

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Islamic Terminology Banned From Times Square Bomber Investigation?

/PRNewswire/ -- PJTV's CEO Roger L. Simon today called for federal agents investigating the Times Square bomber to be unshackled from the ties of censorship in an exclusive PJTV video. During recent months, PJTV has conducted in-depth investigations into document sanitization, finding evidence of censorship in the Fort Hood report and the FBI's Counter Terrorism Analytical Lexicon, among others.

"The public needs to know if our national security professionals are constrained in their use of Islamic terminology in their written and verbal communications," commented Simon. "This is a matter of national security for all Americans, but given the history of 9/11 and this recent incident, New Yorkers, in particular, deserve uncensored documents and unrestricted analysis in this investigation."

Although the bipartisan 9/11 Commission report contained 600 occurrences of Islam, Muslim, Sharia, Jihad, Hamas, and Hezbollah, subsequent documents (such as the FBI's Counter Terrorism Analytical Lexicon) eliminated the terms from the documents completely, as further explained in an April 2010 PJTV investigative report.

In response to these recent events, Simon formally requested a congressional hearing on the censorship of Islamic terminology in the U.S. government. More specifically, he requested the investigative hearing focus on four key topics:

1. To what degree are government documents and reports (perhaps both
public and classified documents) being sanitized regarding Islamic
2. To what degree is there a program or practice of verbal censorship?
What are government employees allowed to say in their internal
meetings? And are there internal policies or what the media might call
"style guides" that prevent department secretaries, their staff and
even the White House press spokesperson from using specific Islamic
3. Who are the people or organizations inside the government that are
pushing for this censorship?
4. What people or groups outside the U.S. government may have been
advocating this censorship?

"America has never been the land of censorship," added Simon. "Certainly, Vice President Biden and Rahm Emanuel have refused to censor their language in the public sphere. Yet, it is quite possible that public liaisons such as Robert Gibbs, Eric Holder, Robert Mueller, and Janet Napolitano have established policies that constrain the use of certain descriptive terms in national security documents and speeches. If this is so, we need to know. As such, I sincerely request a congressional hearing investigating this important subject."

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Statement of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York City Police Department on an Arrest in the Times Square Investigation

“At approximately 11:45 p.m. EDT, Faisal Shahzad was taken into custody. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and detectives of the New York City Police Department arrested Shahzad for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on the evening of May 1, 2010. Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport after he was identified by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection while attempting to take a flight to Dubai.

The defendant will appear in Manhattan federal court (500 Pearl Street, 5th Floor, New York, N.Y.) on May 4, 2010, at a currently undetermined time to be presented on formal charges. No further details are available at this time.

We applaud the collective work of the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force and the prosecutors and investigators in the Southern District of New York, who have worked around­the­clock for the last two days in this investigation. We would also like to recognize the diligent work of the Customs and Border Protection agents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.

The investigation remains very much ongoing, and the dedicated agents, detectives, and prosecutors on this case will continue to follow every lead and use every tool to keep the people of New York City safe. We will not rest until every terrorist, whether homegrown or foreign-based, is neutralized and held to account,” said United States Attorney Preet Bharara, FBI Special Agent­in­Charge George Venizelos, and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

U.S. Homeland Vulnerable to Iran Threat in 2015

/PRNewswire/ -- Riki Ellison, Founder and Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA), has made some comments on the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing held on Capitol Hill Wednesday. The purpose of the hearing was to receive testimony on ballistic missile defense policies and programs in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2011. Ellison is one of the foremost lay experts in the field of missile defense. Ellison's comments include the following statements:

"Over the past week, Congress held three public hearings on missile defense plans for 2011 and beyond. Hearings were held by the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, the Senate Armed Service Committee led by Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and the Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) on Tuesday and most recently the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee led by the Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) on Wednesday.

"During these hearings, the testimony of President Barack Obama's appointees in the Department of Defense and the Director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, exposed five fundamental elements of the administration's missile defense plan:

1. Iran, with foreign assistance (North Korea), could have the ability to
strike the U.S. homeland with an intercontinental ballistic missile
(ICBM) by 2015.
2. In the current administration's plan, the Phased Adaptive Approach
(PAA), there will be a second shot capability based in Europe to defend
the U.S. homeland from an Iranian ICBM in 2020. This is dependent on
the development, testing and deployment, of a new SM-3 Block 2B missile
and the integration that allows for early intercept by launch and
engage on remote sensors including basing Aegis Ashore platforms in
3. The administration's current missile defense plan for the defense of
the U.S. homeland is to rely on 30 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI's),
26 based in Alaska and 4 in California until 2032. They would provide
protection against a maximum of 15 incoming ICBMs, using two GBIs per
ICBM with a shoot, look, and shoot doctrine. Due to distance, parts of
Eastern United States will not have the same confidence of protection
as the remaining U.S. Homeland from an ICBM threat from Iran.
4. There is a gap of protection and vulnerability against an ICBM launched
from Iran at the U.S. homeland, especially to significant parts of the
east coast, for a minimum of 5 years in the President's plan for
missile defense, provided that Iran acquires ICBM capability by 2015.
5. In regards to a hedge for the existent gap in protection from an ICBM
attack from Iran against the U.S. homeland, Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly
presented three options:
-- Fully outfitting missile field 2 in Fort Greely, Alaska with GBIs
adding 8 more GBIs to the existing 30 GBIs,
-- Testing the two-stage GBI, the missile in June of this year, the
same missile system intended to be deployed in Poland for the
canceled 3rd site of the previous administration.
-- Having additional shot opportunities, against an ICBM from Iran,
with two-stage missiles.

"The recent Congressional hearings on missile defense have made it abundantly clear to the American public that a gap exists in the missile protection of the U.S. homeland against Iran. It is also apparent that the administration's plans to develop and deploy a hedge to fill that gap have not adequately been addressed. The administration needs to move forward with urgency for a robust testing and deployment plan of the two-stage GBI on or before 2015 to ensure full protection of the U.S. homeland from Iran.

"The protection of the U.S. homeland from ballistic missiles is the declared and stated number one priority of President Obama's administration missile defense policy."

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Jihad Watch

Al-Qaeda urges UK jihadists to build missiles and attack passenger jets
Apr 04, 2010 04:05 pm | Robert

Using Russian-made rockets -- yes, the same Russia that just suffered another severe jihad attack. "Al-Qaeda urges UK fanatics to build DIY cruise missiles," from ANI, April 4 (thanks to Maxwell): London, Apr 4(ANI): Fears of a terror attack during the UK General Election have been further fueled by reports...
read more

Whoops: Muslim charity praised by British PM and Prince of Wales under investigation for funneling money to Hamas-linked groups
Apr 04, 2010 03:23 pm | Marisol

"Never mind" The juxtaposition of "charitable" work with jihad should surprise no one. It has long been a trademark of a variety of jihadist groups like Hamas and Hizballah, among others. In the West, the two are mutually exclusive. Charitable groups and aid organizations are understood to be non-combatant...
read more

Bridge for sale: Iran to host nuclear disarmament conference
Apr 04, 2010 01:32 pm | Robert

"Iran, as a country supporting global disarmament, invites the world to disarm and prevent proliferation." If the world falls for this, Iran will be the only country that does have nuclear weapons. "Iran to host nuclear disarmament conference," from AP, April 4 (thanks to Phil): TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran...
read more

British couple jailed in Dubai for kissing in public lose their appeal, face prison
Apr 04, 2010 09:25 am | Robert

Haram There's a very mild content warning on the video above, but the point of it is that a jihad against love and ordinary human interaction is very much a part of Sharia. Modern, moderate Dubai, the hope of Dinesh D'Souza, is becoming ever more strict in its Sharia...
read more

An Easter morning death threat: Spencer should be "sloughtered"
Apr 04, 2010 09:08 am | Robert

I received this love letter this morning from "AntiZionist" with the subject line "Silencing the Evils": Killing of this man is a model Uegene Terreblanche. avigdor Leiborman to end aparthied, White colonialization, the oppression, and the supremism of SPENCER-Model.. Spencer himself deserves the same? he should be sloughtered like that...
read more

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Israel Always Rally Sunday Night

Are you concerned about the War on Terror?
Do you value freedom and democracy?

Click this link to hear brief 1 minute interview then ...


Open to the Public - Make plans to attend the Israel Always solidarity rally at
Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church
182 Hunter Street, Norcross, GA 30071!

Hear the Mayor of Ashkelon, Israel, the Honorable Benny Vaknin, and international Christian broadcaster, Earl Cox, speak from first hand knowledge and experience about the dangers of radical Islam and the world's War on Terror.

SUNDAY NIGHT - March 7th at 6:00 PM
Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church
182 Hunter Street, Norcross, GA 30071
Phone: (770) 448-5475

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Two Charged With Terror Violations in Connection With New York Subway Plot

/PRNewswire/ -- The Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of New York has returned a superseding indictment charging Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin with terrorism violations stemming from, among other activities, their alleged roles in the plot involving Najibullah Zazi to attack the New York subway system in mid-September 2009. Ahmedzay and Medunjanin are scheduled to appear in federal court today in Brooklyn at 11:00 a.m.

Ahmedzay, 25, a U.S. citizen and resident of Queens, N.Y., was previously indicted on Jan. 8, 2010 in the Eastern District of New York on charges of making material false statements to the FBI about his travels to Pakistan and Afghanistan and about his conversations with a fellow traveler. Medunjanin, 25, a U.S. citizen and resident of Queens, N.Y., was previously indicted on Jan. 8, 2010 in the Eastern District of New York on charges of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization, namely al-Qaeda.

The five-count superseding indictment unsealed this morning charges both Ahmedzay and Medunjanin with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction (explosive bombs) against persons or property in the United States. Specifically, they are charged with conspiring with Zazi to conduct an attack on Manhattan subway lines that would take place on Sept. 14, Sept. 15, or Sept. 16, 2009. The maximum statutory penalty for this offense is life in prison.

"The facts alleged in this indictment shed further light on the scope of this attempted attack and underscore the importance of using every tool we have available to both disrupt plots against our nation and hold suspected terrorists accountable for their actions," said Attorney General Holder. "This attack would have been deadly, and the many agents, prosecutors and intelligence professionals who worked together seamlessly to thwart it deserve our thanks."

Both defendants are also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country. Specifically, the superseding indictment alleges that on or about Aug. 28, 2008, both Ahmedzay and Medunjanin accompanied Zazi on a flight from Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., to Peshawar, Pakistan, in furtherance of the conspiracy. The maximum statutory penalty for this offense is life in prison.

The superseding indictment also charges both defendants with providing material support, including currency, training, communications equipment and personnel, to a foreign terrorist organization, namely al-Qaeda. The maximum statutory penalty for this offense is 15 years in prison.

In addition, Ahmedzay and Medunjanin are charged with receiving military-type training from al-Qaeda. The maximum statutory penalty for this offense is ten years in prison.

Finally, Ahmedzay is further charged with making false statements to the FBI in a terrorism investigation. According to the indictment, Ahmedzay falsely told the FBI he had disclosed all the locations he visited during his trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan, when he had failed to disclose all these locations. The maximum statutory penalty for this offense is eight years in prison.

This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado and the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division. The investigation is being conducted by the New York and Denver FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which combined have investigators from more than fifty federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The public is reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation of a crime, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Austin Plane Attacker Not a 'Terrorist'? Of Course He is, He's a Domestic Terrorist says Former White House Staffer Robert Weiner

/PRNewswire/ -- Experts and federal reports today are saying that the Austin airplane bomber of the U.S. tax building is not a "terrorist" and that "terrorism" is not involved.

"Of course he's a terrorist and it was terrorism," says Robert Weiner, former spokesman for the White House National Drug Policy office and the U.S. House Government Operations Committee. "He's a domestic terrorist. He wrote a confirmed suicide note saying he was mad at his tax bill, the national health care stalemate, and the bailout helping corporations and not people. He opposed the government and our laws, and flew a plane into a federal building to make his point. If that's not terrorism, what is?" Weiner asked.

"It's as though experts are expressing a sigh of relief because he's not al Qaeda. It's actually worse, he's one of ours, homegrown. Homegrown terrorism is an equal or even bigger threat than al Qaeda - consider Oklahoma City, Virginia Tech, Columbine, and now today's actions. The fact that he's our extremist nut instead of al Qaeda's does not stop him from being labeled a terrorist," Weiner concluded.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Afghan, International Force Kills Enemy Fighters

An Afghan-international joint security force killed more than 20 enemy militants and captured more than five others during an operation Friday in Afghanistan's Farah province in pursuit of a Taliban commander believed to responsible for organizing suicide-bombing attacks.

The combined force targeted a series of compounds in Farah's Baghwa district near Tali Zardad after intelligence information indicated militant activity.

As the combined force approached one of the buildings in the targeted compound, a militant hiding inside tossed a grenade at them. After calling for the militant to surrender, the combined force attempted to enter the building, and the militant detonated a suicide vest he was wearing. No members of the combined force were harmed by the blast.

After the explosion, a large number of armed militants attempted to maneuver on the combined force. The combined force engaged the militants, killing more than 20 and wounding one. At least five other militants were captured and were detained along with the injured individual, who received medical treatment for his injuries.

In addition to the suicide vest and grenade used by the first militant, the combined force found a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, RPG rounds, grenades, a machine gun, multiple assault rifles and ammunition magazines, bomb components, handheld radios of a type often used by militants for communications and a heavy machine gun.

In the Mohammad Agha district of Logar province last night, a combined force searched a compound after intelligence indicated militant activity and captured a Taliban subcommander with ties to several militant networks believed to be responsible for bombing attacks.

Yesterday, a combined patrol discovered four mortar rounds and a 55 mm shell in one area and three 155 mm Russian-era artillery rounds in another area of Kandahar City.

No Afghan civilians were harmed during these operations, officials said.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry and NATO's International Security Assistance Force are conducting a joint investigation into the suspicious death of four Afghan civilians found in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province.

A combined force of Afghan and international troops last night found the bound and gagged bodies of two women and the bodies of two men during an operation in the province's Gardez district.

The force went to a compound near the village of Khatabeh after intelligence confirmed militant activity there. Several insurgents engaged the force in a firefight and were killed. Subsequently, a large number of men, women and children left the compound, and were detained by the force. Members of the combined force found the bodies inside.

The force immediately secured the area and requested medical support for a combined forensic investigation.

Eight men were detained for further questioning.

"ISAF continually works with our Afghan partners to fight criminals and terrorists who do not care about the life of civilians," ISAF spokesman Canadian army Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay said. "The Interior Ministry of Afghanistan has sent a high-ranking delegation today to jointly investigate this incident. We will cooperate fully in this joint investigation and provide any assistance the Interior Ministry requires."

(American Forces Press Service - Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)
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Friday, January 29, 2010

New Counterterrorism Report Warns of Rising al-Qaeda Threat in N. Africa;Calls Resolving W. Sahara Conflict Key for Regional Cooperation to Fight Back

/PRNewswire/ -- Just days after President Barack Obama underscored in his State of the Union address America's commitment to "take the fight to al-Qaeda," a new counterterrorism report was issued today documenting a dramatic 558 percent jump in terrorist attacks and activity by al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in North and West/Central Africa since 9/11.

The report was released at the 11th annual terrorism review and outlook seminar of the International Center for Terrorism Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, hosted this morning by the Brookings Institution. The event brought together a panel of former CIA, US State Department and Department of Homeland Security officials, as well as international experts, to examine the growing threat and changing face of international terrorism.

The panel was unanimous in identifying al-Qaeda as the most serious terrorist threat to the US, evidenced by the recent failed Christmas suicide bombing attempt on Northwest flight 253 over Detroit organized by al-Qaeda forces in Yemen. "Al-Qaeda remains dangerous, though damaged" by recent US strikes against it in Pakistan, said Charles Allen, Undersecretary for Intelligence, US Department of Homeland Security. The new development, the panel agreed, is that al-Qaeda's regional affiliates continue to pose a serious threat even as its core leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan has come under siege.

The new report, authored by Professor Yonah Alexander, Director of the International Center for Terrorism Studies, highlights the growing danger posed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. "If we truly want to take the fight to al-Qaeda, we must go everywhere they pose a serious threat," said Prof. Alexander. "A comprehensive US counterterrorism strategy must address the increasingly volatile terrorist breeding ground in North and West/Central Africa, where al-Qaeda and other terrorists are exploiting weak regional security cooperation and links to narco-trafficking networks in Latin America to recruit and train terrorists to carry out attacks in the region and elsewhere."

The special report "Maghreb & Sahel Terrorism: Addressing the Rising Threat from al-Qaeda & other Terrorists in North & West/Central Africa," was published by the International Center for Terrorism Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. It analyzes and provides a timeline for how al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have taken root and flourished in the region since 9/11.

As a key step to combat terrorism, the report recommends resolving the more than 30-year-old Western Sahara conflict, which is a major obstacle to regional security and economic cooperation. Alexander noted today that "the Tindouf camps in Algeria, where refugees have been confined for decades without hope, present a prime breeding ground for potential recruits by the terrorists." The report outlines a number of other recommendations, including: strengthening US intelligence in the region; expanding US counterterrorism technical assistance to Maghreb/Sahel countries; and raising diplomatic, economic, political, and military costs to Iran to discourage its support of jihadist terrorism in the region.

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. For more, please visit

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Plans to transfer two Gitmo detainees overseas raise concern

The Obama administration's plans to transfer two more Guantanamo Bay detainees overseas in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt is causing consternation on Capitol Hill.
Read more:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

White House Review Summary Regarding 12/25/2009 Attempted Terrorist Attack

On December 25,2009 a Nigerian national, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate an explosive device while onboard flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. The device did not explode, but instead ignited, injuring Mr. Abdulmutallab and two other passengers. The flight crew restrained Mr. Abdulmutallab and the plane safely landed. Mr. Abdulmutallab was taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and later was questioned by the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation (FBI). Mr. Abdulmutallab was not on the U.S. Government's (USG) terrorist watchlist, but was known to the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).


Following the December 25, 2009 attempt to bring down the flight by detonating an explosive device onboard flight 253, the President directed that Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan conduct a complete review of the terrorist watchlisting system and directed that key departments and agencies provide input to this review. What follows is a summary of this preliminary report.

First, it should be noted that the work by America's counterterrorism (CT) community has had many successes since 9111 that should be applauded. Our ability to protect the U.S. Homeland against terrorist attacks is only as good as the information and analysis that drives and facilitates disruption efforts. The thorough analysis of large volumes of information has enabled a variety of departments and agencies to take action to prevent attacks. On a great number of occasions since 9111, many of which the American people will never know about, the tremendous, hardworking corps of analysts across the CT community did just that, working day and night to track terrorist threats and run down possible leads in order to keep their fellow Americans safe. Yet, as the amount of information continues to grow, the challenge to bring disparate pieces of information - about individuals, groups, and vague plots - together to form a clear picture about the intentions of our adversaries grows as well.

These actions, informed by the excellent analytic work of the very same individuals and structure that is under review, have saved lives. Unfortunately, despite several opportunities that might have allowed the CT community to put these pieces together in this case, and despite the tireless effort and best intentions of individuals at every level of the CT community, that was not done. As a result, the recent events highlight our need to look for ways to constantly improve and assist our CT analysts, who are at the forefront of providing warning of terrorist attacks and keeping Americans safe.

1 This report reflects preliminary findings to facilitate immediate corrective action. Neither the report nor its findings obviate the need for continued review and analysis to ensure that we have the fullest possible understanding of the systemic problems that led to the attempted terrorist attack on December 25,2009. Note further that sensitive intelligence data was removed from this public report to protect sources and methods.


The preliminary White House review of the events that led to the attempted December 25 attack highlights human errors and a series of systematic breakdowns failed to stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before he was able to detonate an explosive device onboard flight 253. The most significant failures and shortcomings that led to the attempted terror attack fall into three broad categories:

A failure of intelligence analysis, whereby the CT community failed before December 25 to identify, correlate, and fuse into a coherent story all of the discrete pieces of intelligence held by the u.s. Government related to an emerging terrorist plot against the U.S. Homeland organized by al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and to Mr. Abdulmutallab, the individual terrorist;
A failure within the CT community, starting with established rules and protocols, to assign responsibility and accountability for follow up of high priority threat streams, run down all leads, and track them through to completion; and
Shortcomings of the watchlisting system, whereby the CT community failed to identify intelligence within u.S. government holdings that would have allowed Mr. Abdulmutallab to be watchlisted, and potentially prevented from boarding an aircraft bound for the United States.

The most significant findings of our preliminary review are:

The U.S. Government had sufficient information prior to the attempted December 25 attack to have potentially disrupted the AQAP plot-i.e., by identifying Mr. Abdulmutallab as a likely operative of AQAP and potentially preventing him from boarding flight 253.
The Intelligence Community leadership did not increase analytic resources working on the full AQAP threat.
The watchlisting system is not broken but needs to be strengthened and improved, as evidenced by the failure to add Mr. Abdulmutallab to the No Fly watchlist.
A reorganization of the intelligence or broader counterterrorism community is not required to address problems that surfaced in the review, a fact made clear by countless other successful efforts to thwart ongoing plots.


It is important to note that the fundamental problems identified in this preliminary review are different from those identified in the wake of the 9111 attacks. Previously, there were formidable barriers to information sharing among departments and agencies--tied to firmly entrenched patterns of bureaucratic behavior as well as the absence of a single component that fuses expertise, information technology (IT) networks, and datasets-that have now, 8 years later, largely been overcome.

An understanding of the responsibilities of different analytic components of the CT community is critical to identifying what went wrong and how best to fix it. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) to be "the primary organization in the U.S. government for analyzing and integrating all intelligence possessed or acquired by the U.S. government pertaining to terrorism and counterterrorism

2." Intelligence Community guidance in 2006 further defined counterterrorism analytic responsibilities and tasked NCTC with the primary role within the Intelligence Community for bringing together and assessing all-source intelligence to enable a full understanding of and proper response to particular terrorist threat streams. Additionally, the Director of NCTC is in charge of the DNI Homeland Threat Task Force, whose mission is to examine threats to the U.S. Homeland from al-Qa'ida, its allies, and homegrown violent extremists.

Notwithstanding NCTC's central role in producing terrorism analysis, CIA maintains the responsibility and resource capability to "correlate and evaluate intelligence related to national security and provide appropriate dissemination of such intelligence.

3 CIA's responsibility for conducting all-source analysis in the area of counterterrorism is focused on supporting its operations overseas, as well as informing its leadership of terrorist threats and terrorist targets overseas. Therefore, both agencies - NCTC and CIA - have a role to play in conducting (and a responsibility to carry out) all-source analysis to identify operatives and uncover specific plots like the attempted December 25 attack.

The information available to the CT community over the last several months - which included pieces of information about Mr. Abdulmutallab, information about AQAP and its plans, and information about an individual now believed to be Mr. Abdulmutallab and his association with AQAP and its attack planning - was obtained by several agencies. Though all of that information was available to all-source analysts at the CIA and the NCTC prior to the attempted attack, the dots were never connected, and as a result, the problem appears to be more about a component failure to "connect the dots," rather than a lack of information sharing. The information that was available to analysts, as is usually the case, was fragmentary and embedded in a large volume of other data.

Though the consumer base and operational capabilities of CIA and NCTC are somewhat different, the intentional redundancy in the system should have added an additional layer of protection in uncovering a plot like the failed attack on December 25. However, in both cases, the mission to "connect the dots" did not produce the result that, in hindsight, it could have - connecting identifying information about Mr. Abdulmutallab with fragments of information about his association with AQAP and the group's intention of attacking the U.S.

The majority of these discreet pieces of intelligence were gathered between mid-October and late December 2009.

For example, on November 18, Mr. Abdulmutallab's father met with U.S. Embassy officers in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss his concerns that his son may have come under the influence of unidentified extremists, and had planned to travel to Yemen. Though this information alone could not predict Mr. Abdulmutallab's eventual involvement in the attempted 25 December attack, it provided an opportunity to link information on him with earlier intelligence reports that contained fragmentary information.

Analytic focus during December was on the imminent AQAP attacks on Americans and American interests in Yemen, and on supporting CT efforts in Yemen.

Despite these opportunities and multiple intelligence products that noted the threat AQAP could pose to the Homeland, the different pieces of the puzzle were never brought together in this casethe dots were never connected, and, as a result, steps to disrupt the plot involving Mr. Abdulmutallab were not taken prior to his boarding of the airplane with an explosive device and attempting to detonate it in-flight.


Intelligence is not an end to itself, nor are analytic products-they are designed to provide senior government leaders with the necessary information to make key decisions, but also to trigger action, including further collection, operational steps, and investigative adjustments. As noted above, NCTC and CIA have the primary and overlapping responsibility to conduct all-source analysis on terrorism. As with this intentional analytic redundancy, the CT community also has multiple and overlapping warning systems to ensure that departments and agencies are kept fully aware of ongoing threat streams.

NCTC is the primary organization that provides situational awareness to the CT community of ongoing terrorist threats and events, including through several daily written products that summarize current threat reporting for a broad audience, as well as meetings and video teleconferences that provide the opportunity for the CT community to engage in a real-time manner on this information. While the threat warning system involves analysis, it also extends to other elements within the CT community that should be responsible for following up and acting on leads as a particular threat situation develops.

In this context, the preliminary review suggests that the overlapping layers of protection within the CT community failed to track this threat in a manner sufficient to ensure all leads were followed and acted upon to conclusion. In addition, the White House and the National Security Staff failed to identify this gap ahead of time. No single component of the CT community assumed responsibility for the threat reporting and followed it through by ensuring that all necessary steps were taken to disrupt the threat. This argues that a process is needed to track terrorist threat reporting to ensure that departments and agencies are held accountable for running down all leads associated with high visibility and high priority plotting efforts, in particular against the U.S. Homeland.


Although Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was included in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), the failure to include Mr. Abdulmutallab in a watchlist is part of the overall systemic failure. Pursuant to the IRTPA, NCTC serves "as the central and shared knowledge bank on known and suspected terrorists and international terror groups.,
4 As such, NCTC consolidates all information on known and suspected international terrorists in the Terrorist Identities Datarnart Environment. NCTC then makes this data available to the FBI-led Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), which reviews nominations for inclusion in the master watchlist called the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The TSC provides relevant extracts to each organization with a screening mission.

Hindsight suggests that the evaluation by watchlisting personnel of the information contained in the State cable nominating Mr. Abdulmutallab did not meet the minimum derogatory standard to watchlist. Watchlisting would have required all of the available information to be fused so that the derogatory information would have been sufficient to support nomination to be watchlisted in the Terrorist Screening Database. Watchlist personnel had access to additional derogatory information in databases that could have been connected to Mr. Abdulmutallab, but that access did not result in them uncovering the biographic information that would have been necessary for placement on the watchlist. Ultimately, placement on the No FIy List would have been required to keep Mr. Abdulmutallab off the plane inbound for the U.S. Homeland.


Mr. Abdulmutallab possessed a U.S. visa, but this fact was not correlated with the concerns ofMr. Abdulmutallab's father about Mr. Abdulmutallab's potential radicalization. A misspelling of Mr. Abdulmutallab's name initially resulted in the State Department believing he did not have a valid U.S. visa. A determination to revoke his visa, however, would have only occurred ifthere had been a successful integration of intelligence by the CT community, resulting in his being watchlisted.


The U.S. government had sufficient information to have uncovered and potentially disrupted the December 25 attack-including by placing Mr. Abdulmutallab on the No Fly list -- but analysts within the CT community failed to connect the dots that could have identified and warned of the specific threat. The preponderance of the intelligence related to this plot was available broadly to the Intelligence Community.

NCTC and CIA are empowered to collate and assess all-source intelligence on the CT threat, but all-source analysts highlighted largely the evolving "strategic threat" AQAP posed to the West, and the U.S. Homeland specifically, in finished intelligence products. In addition, some of the improvised explosive device tactics AQAP might use against U.S. interests were highlighted in finished intelligence products.

The CT community failed to follow-up further on this "strategic warning" by moving aggressively to further identify and correlate critical indicators of AQAP's threat to the U.S. Homeland with the full range of analytic tools and expertise that it uses in tracking other plots aimed at the U.S. Homeland.

NCTC and CIA personnel who are responsible for watchlisting did not search all available databases to uncover additional derogatory information that could have been correlated with Mr. Abdulmutallab.

A series of human errors occurred----delayed dissemination of a finished intelligence report and what appears to be incomplete/faulty database searches on Mr. Abdulmutallab's name and identifying information.

"Information sharing" does not appear to have contributed to this intelligence failure; relevant all-source analysts as well as watchlisting personnel who needed this information were not prevented from accessing it.

Information technology within the CT community did not sufficiently enable the correlation of data that would have enabled analysts to highlight the relevant threat information.

There was not a comprehensive or functioning process for tracking terrorist threat reporting and actions taken such that departments and agencies are held accountable for running down all leads associated with high visibility and high priority plotting efforts undertaken by alQa'ida and its allies, in particular against the U.S. Homeland.

Finally, we must review and determine the ongoing suitability of legacy standards and protocols in effect across the CT community, including criteria for watch lists, protocols for secondary screening, visa suspension and revocation criteria, and business processes across the government.

Office of the Press Secretary
The White House

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Indicted for Attempted Bombing of Flight 253 on Christmas Day

/PRNewswire/ -- The Justice Department announced that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian national, was charged today in a six-count criminal indictment returned in the Eastern District of Michigan for his alleged role in the attempted Christmas day bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Detroit.

Count one of the indictment charges Abdulmutallab with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison. Count two of the indictment charges him with attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Count three of the indictment charges him with willful attempt to destroy or wreck an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Count four of the indictment charges Abdulmutallab with willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which was likely to endanger the safety of such aircraft. This violation carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Count five of the indictment charges him with use of a firearm/destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, which carries a consecutive mandatory 30 years in prison. Count six of the indictment charges the defendant with possession of a firearm/destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, which carries a consecutive mandatory 30 years in prison

"The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads. Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool -- military or judicial -- available to our government."

"The attempted murder of 289 innocent people merits the most serious charges available, and that's what we have charged in this indictment," said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

According to the indictment, Northwest Airlines flight 253 carried 279 passengers and 11 crewmembers. Abdulmutallab allegedly boarded Northwest Airlines flight 253 in Amsterdam on Dec. 25, 2009 carrying a concealed bomb. The bomb components included Pentaerythritol (also known as PETN, a high explosive), as well as Triacetone Triperoxide (also known as TATP, a high explosive), and other ingredients.

The bomb was concealed in the defendant's clothing and was designed to allow him to detonate it at a time of his choosing, thereby causing an explosion aboard flight 253, according to the indictment. Shortly prior to landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Abdulmutallab detonated the bomb, causing a fire on board flight 253.

According to an affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, Abdulmutallab was subdued and restrained by the passengers and flight crew after detonating the bomb. The airplane landed shortly thereafter, and he was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Abdulmutallab required medical treatment, and was transported to the University of Michigan Medical Center after the plane landed.

This prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division.

The investigation is being conducted by the Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is led by the FBI and includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Air Marshal Service, and other law enforcement agencies. Additional assistance has been provided by the Transportation Security Administration, the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Wayne County Airport police, as well as international law enforcement partners.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains mere allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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