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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