Posts tagged ‘Islamic terrorism’
The death penalty trial of the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind and his four co-conspirators held at the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is still pending nearly two decades after the jihadis executed the attack, the deadliest on American soil.
In an unprecedented move, however, the judge overseeing the military tribunal at Gitmo finally set a date at the end of last month for the start of the trial for the five defendants.
On August 30, U.S. Air Force Col. Shane Cohen, who took over as the judge overseeing the case in June, said the trial would begin January 11, 2021, as the nation approaches the 20th anniversary of the day that triggered the longest war in American history.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to remove the Taliban from power for harboring the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the days leading to the attack and prevent the South Asian country from again becoming a haven for terrorists seeking to attack America.
Afghanistan is now home to the “highest regional concentration” of terrorist groups in the world, including the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), the Pentagon reported in July.
Pre-trial hearings for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and the four other men alleged to have played vital roles in helping carry out the massacre on September 11, 2001, resumed Monday.
As the U.S. holds another memorial service Wednesday for the nearly 3,000 people killed by al-Qaeda 18 years ago, the five defendants will still be awaiting trial.
KSM and his co-conspirators — Walid Muhammad Bin Attash, Ramzi Bin Al Shibh, Ali Abdul-Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Al Hawsawi — could face the death penalty.
The U.S. is still holding the five terrorists at the detention facility in Guantánamo, commonly known as Gitmo.
U.S. authorities did not arraign KSM and his four co-conspirators until May 2012, more than a decade after the attacks. American service-members captured KSM in 2003 and transferee him to Gitmo in 2006.
The military commission at Gitmo has repeatedly delayed the prospective trial of the 9/11 perpetrators in U.S. custody.
In setting the trial date, Judge Cohen acknowledged that the U.S. military base at Guantánamo “will face a host of administrative and logistics challenges,” the Military Times reported.
National Public Radio (NPR) added:
[A] number of other deadlines would need to be met for the long-delayed trial to begin.
That includes the U.S. government turning over all evidence it is required to give to defense attorneys. Lawyers for the five defendants say prosecutors have not been forthcoming.
Several defense attorneys told NPR they think the scheduled trial date is unrealistic, and they say Guantánamo isn’t physically ready for a trial of that magnitude. But prosecutors have been asking for a trial date for several years and say that finally having one will motivate all parties to meet the deadline.
The tribunal overseeing the case of the 9/11 attackers is a hybrid of the federal and military justice system.
This week, the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) revealed:
Crucial pre-trial hearings for the accused mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks and four other men alleged to have played key roles in helping carry out the passenger plane hijackings will resume on Monday (September 9) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
[KSM], who confessed to being involved in the capture and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was subjected to extensive torture and was waterboarded 183 times.
The procedure simulates a drowning experience.
Lawyers for the defense are arguing that any confessions or other material should be invalidated because of the torture and are likely to file motions to have the entire trial set aside.
Gitmo is still housing 40 jihadis, the majority of whom are considered “forever prisoners,” or too dangerous to release.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has only transferred one detainee out of the facility. Former U.S. President Barack Obama had approved the prisoner for release.
The Trump administration is considering sending newly captured terrorists to the prison, particularly the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadis.
Citing the slow-moving pace of the military commissions and the cost of operating Gitmo, critics continue to argue in favor of allowing civilian courts on U.S. soil to handle the remaining cases.
U.S. law approved under the Obama administration, however, makes it impossible to transfer any Guantánamo prisoner to the United States.
Gitmo’s military tribunals have only produced eight convictions, including four overturned completely and one partially.
KSM and the other four defendants are among the only seven prisoners still held at Gitmo who face charges before a “military commission.”
Of the four overturned convictions, the military commission will have to deal with three. The other prisoner has appealed his life sentence to the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. authorities only charged 16 detainees held at G with criminal offenses, Human Rights Watch reported.
Yemenis make up the single largest national group at the prison, followed by Saudis.
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Reported By Cillian Zeal | September 3, 2018 at
One of the teens who was taken into custody from the alleged jihadist camp in New Mexico has told investigators he was being trained for terrorist acts, Reuters reports.
The “13-year-old boy who was part of group taken into custody at a squalid New Mexico compound last month has told FBI agents his mother’s boyfriend was training him to conduct ‘jihad’ against non-believers,” according to federal court documents.
The boy’s mother is Jany Leveille, who investigators believe was the leader of the jihadist sect.
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The boy was among 11 children and five adults living at the compound in Taos County when it was raided on Aug. 3 by local sheriff’s deputies, who discovered a large number of firearms and the children living in filthy conditions without food or clean water.
The dead body of a three-year-old boy was found buried at the same location three days later.
Earlier reports indicated that the adolescent and pre-adolescent members of the jihadist camp had been trained to carry out attacks and to “confront corrupt institutions or individuals,” including hospitals.
Leveille had apparently planned to target Grady Hospital in Atlanta “due to the treatment her mother received there,” according to court records.
Reuters reported that in an affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, an FBI special agent wrote that Leveille’s 13-year-old son told investigators that his mother’s boyfriend, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, wanted to “get an army together” and train them for jihad.
The boy told agents that Ibn Wahhaj trained him and another of Leveille’s teenage sons in firearms and military techniques, including rapid reloads and hand-to-hand combat, and told them jihad meant killing non-believers on behalf of Allah, according to the affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico.
“The 13-year-old also told the FBI that his mother believed she received messages from God, and that he watched her and Ibn Wahhaj perform supposed ‘exorcism’ rituals over the three-year-old boy, including one during which the boy choked and his heart stopped,” according to the special agent’s affidavit.
The teen also said that they were told they would “all go to jail” if they talked about the 3-year-old ever being at the camp, Reuters noted.
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The jihadist camp has been one of those stories that has flown under the radar, and for the most obvious of reasons.
Despite the fact that Wahhaj was “heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down,” a media obsessed with gun control decided it wasn’t worth the trouble of covering all that much.
The answer why was simple: It’s a jihadist camp, the kind that conservative outlets like the Western Journal have warned about for years and which liberal outlets have laughed about.
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A horrifying video that emerged online shows a drone hovering within only feet of an airplane reportedly landing at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Shot by an unknown drone pilot, the video specifically depicts “the drone taking off from what looks to be the parking lot at Whitney Ranch near 95 and Russell, then flying dangerously close to a Frontier passenger plane heading to land at McCarran Airport,” according to local station KTNV.
Not only is this a potential violation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules for drones, which limit drones to a maximum height of 400 feet, but it’s also a possible sign of what’s to come in regard to the future of radical Islamic terrorism. But we’ll get to that a bit later.
First, watch the video below:
Dovetailing back to the FAA, local station KLAS noted that “a drone pilot who flies unsafely could face fines from of up to $1,437 per violation, while businesses that fly unsafely can face fines of up to $32,666 per violation.”
“On top of that, people who fly drones unsafely can face federal criminal penalties including fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three year,” the station added.
Why all the hubbub? Because of the catastrophic consequences the pilot’s birdbrained actions could have conceivably triggered.
“You know, if he was to hit the plane or there were any transmission signals that could interfere with that plane, he could honestly jam something in the plane, anything could happen,” explained drone expert Steven Williams of Alpha Drone in a statement to KTNV.
If the FAA manages to track down the drone’s pilot, I therefore recommend hitting him or her with as large of a fine as possible.
In the meantime, both the FAA and the Department of Homeland Security need to determine a way to prevent this from ever happening again, and a report published in Fast Forward magazine last year offers a clue why:
“The possibility of terrorists using drones to drop explosives or even unleash biological attacks on U.S. soil is a growing threat, Nicholas Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told a Senate panel Wednesday.”
But as is now obvious from the horrifying drone footage above, the threat isn’t just of “terrorists using drones to drop explosives” on land; it’s also of terrorists using drones to drop explosives (or whatever else) on airplanes.
Can you imagine the terror that could be caused by this?
Let’s be clear: This is a big, big problem, and one that the administration of President Donald Trump needs to resolve sooner rather than later.
Knowing Trump, though, I’m sure the administration will indeed resolve it.
Despite complaints from U.K. officials about President Donald Trump’s decision this week to retweet the allegedly “anti-Muslim” video posts of a British anti-Islam activist, evidence suggests both Trump and the activist he retweeted have valid points about radical Islam’s presence in Europe — and especially the U.K.
In a stunning report published Wednesday, The Guardian revealed that “the number of people arrested for terrorism-linked offences (in the U.K.) rose by more than two-thirds to a record 379 in the 12 months to June — one of the most intense periods for terrorist attacks in recent history.”
Of those 379 suspects, nearly a third were eventually charged with terrorism offenses, while nearly 18 percent still face further investigation.
The publication of this report occurred on the same day that Trump retweeted three video posts from British activist Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of British First, a reportedly “far-right” political party that opposes mass migration.
One of the video posts showed radical Muslims pushing a teenage boy off a roof and then beating him to death, while the second video showed Muslims destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary. According to The Daily Wire, the first video was shot in Egypt five years ago, while the second video was shot in Syria one year later. In a third video retweet, a Dutch boy could be seen beating up another Dutch boy, though Fransen mistakenly claimed one of the boys was Muslim.
Following the U.S. president’s retweets, a number of prominent British officials condemned Trump, including Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.
British Prime Minister Theresa May chimed in as well, decrying Britain First as “a hateful organization” that “seeks to sow division and hate and mistrust in our communities,” according to ABC News. “It stands in opposition to our fundamental values we hold as a country.”
But as noted by Robert Spencer, a Fox News contributor known for his criticisms of Islam, those castigating Trump seemed more focused on whom he retweeted versus the actual content of the tweets.
“I have not seen any Muslim spokesmen say, ‘There is a problem (in Islam) we need to deal with,’” he said in a statement to Breitbart. “They are all just criticizing Trump. … (Former President Barack) Obama did everything he could to whitewash the image of Islam — Trump is calling attention to atrocities that are committed in the name of name of Islam.”
As well as the rise of radicalism across the world, but especially so in the U.K.
Reported By Ryan Mauro Wednesday, August 9, 2017
North Korea is officially a communist, Stalinist dictatorship, but that hasn’t stopped it from crossing the ideological divide to embrace Islamist regimes and, reportedly, even jihadist groups. The latest crisis between North Korea and the U.S. appears separate from the war with Islamism, but there are 10 ways it overlaps.
The U.S. and allied intelligence services now believe North Korea has miniaturized its nuclear warheads to fit onto its intercontinental ballistic missiles and has the potentially up to 60 nuclear weapons.
This was seen as an undeclared “red line” and prompted President Trump to threaten to bring “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea’s verbal threats continue; a benchmark North Korea immediately crossed by announcing it was considering a nuclear strike on the U.S. territory of Guam, where 6,000 U.S. troops are stationed. Another 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea and 49,000 in Japan.
North Korea threatened to attack Guam in 2013 and its bombastic rhetoric is practically a daily occurrence, but North Korea’s aggressive attacks have increased in recent years including sinking a South Korean ship in 2010, an artillery barrage on a South Korean island that same year, a cyber attack on Sony Pictures in 2014 and a bold assassination of a political rival in a Malaysian airport using the VX biological weapon earlier this year.
- The Iranian and North Korean WMD programs should be seen as a single entity. We must now assume that Iran likewise has the ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads onto ICBMs.
Iran and North Korea have shared virtually everything when it comes to ballistic missile and nuclear technology. One Iranian opposition group claimed that Iran continued its nuclear program in spite of the nuclear deal by simply outsourcing it to North Korea. The nuclear and missile tests are widely seen as being on done on behalf of Iran with Iranian scientists on the scene for their occurrences.
Both North Korea and Iran helped the Syrian regime pursue nuclear weapons, resulting in the Israeli airstrike on Bashar Assad’s nuclear reactor in 2007. Various reports indicate that Syria’s nuclear program continued thereafter, albeit on a smaller scale.
- North Korea’s Links to Hamas, Hezbollah and reportedly Al-Qaeda-tied terrorists in the Philippines. In 2003, the government of the Philippines said that it captured documents showing that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an Islamist group that has had a relationship with Al-Qaeda in the past, paid $2 million to North Korea for guns, ammunition and grenades and was looking to buy mini-submarines. Another sale was reported in 2005 of 10,000 rifles.
In 2006, a federal judge ruled that North Korea is liable for damages caused to American-Israeli citizens due to its material support for Hezbollah. Iran sponsored North Korean assistance to help the terrorist group by providing rockets and missiles and guidance on building its sophisticated network of tunnels and bunkers. It said that Hezbollah terrorists have been traveling to North Korea for advanced training since the late 1980s.
In 2009, the UAE intercepted over 2,000 detonators for Hamas’ 122mm Grad rockets and associated equipment. Later that year, Israel intercepted 35 tons of rockets, RPGs, shoulder-fired missiles and equipment for surface-to-air missiles from North Korea to Iran for delivery to the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups in Thailand.
In 2014, it was reported that Hamas was negotiating an arms deal with North Korea worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for missiles and communications equipment and a down payment had already been made. It is strongly suspected that North Korea helped Hamas build its sophisticated tunnel system that was used to attack Israeli civilians and wage war in 2014 against the Israeli military.
The Hamas terrorist group openly thanked North Korea for its political support against Israel this year. The North Korean regime (DPRK) pledged to “mercilessly punish” Israel for its leaders’ accurate description of the ruling leader as a “crazy.” The DPRK said it “fully supports” the Palestinian jihad to have an independent country and to seize Jerusalem, a vague statement that seems to imply material support.
We should expect such sales to increase as sanctions force the North Korean regime to look for more revenue, as well as ways to retaliate against the U.S. and its allies. The North Korean regime has no problem selling arms to Islamists and is not a target of the jihadists, so we shouldn’t be surprised if North Korea goes so far as to directly sell weapons and expertise to groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
- North Korea has threatened to sell nuclear weapons to other countries and even international terrorist groups. It now has up to 60 nuclear weapons, a number that could grow to 100 by 2020.In 2005, North Korea threatened to sell its nuclear weapons to terrorist groups “if driven into a corner.”
North Korea has a surplus of nuclear weapons. It can afford to sell off a few if it feels confident that U.S. intelligence will be unable to identify and intercept the shipment; a fair assumption given our recent underestimations of their capabilities.
Past customers for Iranian missiles and arms include Iran and its puppet Assad regime in Syria; Yemen, which is now working with Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood; Pakistan; Eritrea, which has supported Al-Qaeda’s branch in Somalia; the Somali government; Cuba and possibly Venezuela. There are suspicions that Turkey is looking to build nuclear weapons, as an imam close to President Erdogan is encouraging this.
- Joint cyber warfare programs with Iran. Both Iran and North Korea have launched cyber attacks on the U.S. and its allies with minimal consequences. There is strong evidence that the two rogue states’ programs are interconnected and they are even launching joint cyber attacks together.
- Radical Islam will seep into an unstable North Korea. As soon as a closed society begins opening up, the promoters of Islamism get to work. A relevant example is how Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are in a mad dash to lead the Muslim community in Cuba.In 2010, Pew estimated there are 3,000 Muslims in North Korea, a 300% increase from 1990. It projects that number will stay about the same until at least 2030, but that is doubtful as globalization inevitably penetrates North Korea and exposes more citizens to Islam.
The most jihad-prone forms of Islam in North Korea are already leading the way. In 2013, North Korea allowed Iran to build the country’s first mosque, located at the Iranian embassy.
The extreme anti-Americanism and anti-democracy thought that is instilled in the population means this Muslim population will probably be inclined towards radicalism.
- Regime instability will be a gold mine for terrorists, criminals and rogue states. The regime is bound to become more unstable over time and that could increase as international tension rises and the U.S. potentially tries to undermine Kim Jong-Un. North Korea is armed to the teeth with deadly expertise, conventional weapons and WMDs, all of which will be sold off by their hungry protectors or abandoned in the event of extreme upheaval.
All kinds of black market criminals, terrorists and governments will be trying to snatch up whatever they can. For Islamists, they will look to the Muslim population for logistical support. Iranian operatives are already in the country, as may be Hezbollah terrorists.
ISIS is on the rise in the Philippines, the Islamic terror threat is increasing in South Korea and it’s only a matter of time before China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang Province becomes a jihadist front. North Korea is isolated now, but don’t assume that Islamists won’t be able to enter the country and make contact with its black market as the regime becomes unstable.
- Reported plans for a two-front war by Iran, Syria and North Korea. There have been intelligence reports since the early 1990s indicating that Iran, Syria and North Korea had a deal to force the U.S. into a two-front war if any one of them came into military conflict with America. Since then, these countries have only grown stronger, we have grown weaker, and their friendships have grown tighter.Of course, we do not know if such an agreement exists today and we also do not know if they are loyal enough to honor it if it exists. However, the reported historical precedent must be taken into account and it is certain that Iran, Syria and North Korea will at least take limited measures to assist each other in the event of military conflict. And if Iran and North Korea have aspirations to commit aggression, there’s no better time to act than when the U.S. is preoccupied on another front.
- Bogging down the U.S. If the situation escalates, then the U.S. military—already suffering from the sequestration—will be hard pressed for resources to maintain its operations against ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, not to mention more limited efforts in places like Yemen, Libya and the Philippines.
- North Korean Terrorists Could Target U.S. Soil It is not out of the realm of possibility that North Korea will try to launch saboteur/terrorist attacks on American soil, particularly against those seeking to undermine Kim Jong-Un.Earlier this year, Kim Jong-Un used two assassins to murder a political rival using the VX biological weapon in a Malaysian airport. Think about how much of an escalation that is: A biological terrorist attack inside an airport in a foreign country. That means North Korea has loyal operatives who can sneak such deadly substances into other countries and are willing to risk their lives to commit murder on Kim Jong-Un’s behalf.
And the target was another North Korean from the top of society. Such operatives would have even less qualms about targeting Americans.
North Korea could collaborate with Islamist terrorists or criminal elements for an attack in America. After all, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps hoped to hide behind Mexican drug cartel members in its plan to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. by blowing up a diner.
- The Worst of All Scenarios: EMP Watch this Clarion Project short film from 2012 about the threat posed by a potential Electro-Magnetic Pulse attack by Iran. North Korea has the same capability. A top expert on nuclear weapons and EMPs, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, has been sounding the alarm that he believes North Korea is actually practicing carrying out such an attack on the U.S.Should that happen and the attack succeed, North Korea will cripple the U.S. and perhaps win its war against America. And even if the U.S. destroyed North Korea in response, the jihadists will have won their war against America as the country struggles to survive as Islamists rampage across the planet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ryan Mauro
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.