11.9.01

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Mayor Bloomberg Against 9/11 Trial in NYC: Opposition Mounts

In 9/11 News on January 29, 2010 at 9:25 am

Opposition increased over Obama Administration’s decision to hold 9/11 trial in New York City:

NEW YORK – Opposition to the government’s plans to hold the Sept. 11 terrorist trial in New York City intensified Thursday, one day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed he had changed his mind and now hoped the trial would be held elsewhere.  Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he has introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of Justice Department funds to try Guantanamo detainees in federal civilian courts. Hours later, New York Gov. David Paterson said he wants discussion with federal officials on the issue of venue.

Last month, the Obama administration announced that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others would be tried in federal court in lower Manhattan.  The New York congressman called it “one of the worst decisions ever made by any president,” and said terrorist suspects should be tried by military commissions.

Bloomberg said he called Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to lobby for moving the trial outside lower Manhattan.  They spoke Thursday afternoon; both sides declined to comment afterward.  Bloomberg initially supported the Manhattan trial decision, declaring: “It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site, where so many New Yorkers were murdered.”  But the mayor this week reversed from what he said in November, when the Obama administration announced its plans.  “There are places that would be less expensive for the taxpayers and less disruptive for New York City,” Bloomberg said Thursday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fear and Wording from bin Laden’s January 24 2010 Statement

In al Qaeda on January 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Indications?

 Osama bin Laden’s word choice in the latest audio message attributed to him is seen as a “possible indicator” of an upcoming attack by his Al-Qaeda network, a US monitoring group warned Sunday.IntelCenter, a US group that monitors Islamist websites, also said that manner of the release and the content of the message showed it was “credible” that it was a new release from the Saudi extremist.

“The Osama bin Laden audio message released to Al-Jazeera on 24 January 2010 contains specific language used by bin Laden in his statements in advance of attacks,” IntelCenter said in a statement.

The group said it considered the language “a possible indicator of an upcoming attack” in the next 12 months.

“This phrase, ‘Peace be upon those who follow guidance,’ appears at the beginning and end of messages released in advance of attacks that are designed to provide warning to Al-Qaeda’s enemies that they need to change their ways or they will be attacked,” the group said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Taliban Promoting “Gentler Insurgency” Image in Afghanistan

In Taliban on January 21, 2010 at 10:44 am

A kinder, gentler terrorist organization:

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban have embarked on a sophisticated information war, using modern media tools as well as some old-fashioned ones, to soften their image and win favor with local Afghans as they try to counter the Americans’ new campaign to win Afghan hearts and minds. The Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, issued a lengthy directive late last spring outlining a new code of conduct for the Taliban. The dictates include bans on suicide bombings against civilians, burning down schools, or cutting off ears, lips and tongues.

The code, which has been spottily enforced, does not necessarily mean a gentler insurgency. Although the Taliban warned some civilians away before the assault on the heart of Kabul on Monday, they were still responsible for three-quarters of civilian casualties last year, according to the United Nations.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Terror Plots of 2009

In Other Terrorist Events, Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts on January 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

Most of the terror plots of 2009 were uncoordinated, or marginally coordinated, by al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization.  Was 2009 the Year of the Lone Wolf?

As terrorist plots against the United States have piled up in recent months, politicians and the news media have sounded the alarm with a riveting message for Americans: Be afraid. Al Qaeda is on the march again, targeting the country from within and without, and your hapless government cannot protect you.

But the politically charged clamor has lumped together disparate cases and obscured the fact that the enemies on American soil in 2009, rather than a single powerful and sophisticated juggernaut, were a scattered, uncoordinated group of amateurs who displayed more fervor than skill. The weapons were old-fashioned guns and explosives — in several cases, duds supplied by F.B.I. informants — with no trace of the biological or radiological poisons, let alone the nuclear bombs, that have long been the ultimate fear.

And though 2009 brought more domestic plots, and more serious plots, than any recent year, their lethality was relatively modest. Exactly 14 of the approximately 14,000 murders in the United States last year resulted from allegedly jihadist attacks: 13 people shot at Fort Hood in Texas in November and one at a military recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark., in June.

Read the rest of this entry »

Predator Drones Provide Lots of Intelligence, Lots of Casualties

In Pakistan and Afghanistan on January 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

Candid camera for Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans:

US remote-controlled spy drones used over Afghanistan and Iraq are producing so much video intelligence that analysts are finding it more and more difficult to keep up with it, The New York Times reported.The newspaper said the Air Force drones collected nearly three times as much video over Afghanistan and Iraq last year as in 2007 — about 24 years? worth if watched continuously.

That volume is expected to multiply in the coming years as drones are added to the fleet and as some start using multiple cameras to shoot in many directions, the report said.

A group of young analysts already watches every second of the footage live as it is streamed to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and to other intelligence centers, and they quickly pass warnings about insurgents and roadside bombs to troops in the field, according to the paper.

But military officials also see much potential in using the archives of video collected by the drones for later analysis, like searching for patterns of insurgent activity over time, The Times said.

To date, only a small fraction of the stored video has been retrieved for such intelligence purposes, the paper said.

The Torture of Maher Arar

In Civil Liberties, Rendition, Torture on January 10, 2010 at 9:32 pm

From the New York Review of Books:

In the fall of 2002, Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen on his way home from Tunisia, was pulled out of line by US officials while changing planes at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. He was locked up for twelve days, much of that time incommunicado, and harshly interrogated. When he was finally allowed to make a phone call, after a week in captivity, he called his mother in Canada, who found him a lawyer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Obama’s War on Terror

In Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts on January 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm

A New York Times Magazine article highlights one year into Obama’s War on Terrorism:

The evening before he was sworn into office, Barack Obama stepped out of Blair House, the government residence where he was staying across from the White House, and climbed into an armored limousine for the ride to a bipartisan dinner. Joining him in the back seat were John Brennan, his new counterterrorism adviser, and two foreign-policy advisers, Denis McDonough and Mark Lippert. The three men with the president-elect were out of breath, having rushed more than a mile from transition headquarters on foot after failing to find a taxi in Washington’s preinaugural madness. As the motorcade moved out, they updated Obama on gathering evidence of a major terrorist plot to attack his inauguration. After a weekend of round-the-clock analysis, the nation’s intelligence agencies were concerned that the threat was real, the men told him. A group of Somali extremists was reported to be coming across the border from Canada to detonate explosives as the new president took the oath of office. With more than a million onlookers viewing the ceremony from the National Mall and hundreds of millions more watching on television around the world, what could be a more devastating target?

“All the data points suggested there was a real threat evolving quickly that had an overseas component,” Juan Carlos Zarate, President George W. Bush’s deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, told me in November. As the inauguration approached, signs of a plot “seemed to be growing in credibility and relevance.” Another senior Bush official involved in those tense events a year ago said last fall that protecting the new president was not enough. Even a failed attack would send a debilitating message to the world. “If something happens on the podium and there’s chaos,” this official told me, “that’s the first time you see the new president, and you really don’t want that.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Giuliani: No Domestic Terrorist Attacks under Bush

In 9/11 News on January 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

And other canards designed to push the perception that Republicans are better for fighting terrorism and for improving national security:

The Republican said of Obama on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “what he should be doing is following the right things that Bush did.”

While saying he believes Obama “turned the corner” on understanding the nature of terrorism when he publicly declared the U.S. at war, Giuliani added that Obama has plenty of room to improve on terrorism.

“We had no domestic attacks under Bush,” Giuliani said. “We’ve had one under Obama.”

That statement set off waves of protest in the blogosphere. And it echoed a recent claim by former Bush press secretary Dana Perino. GOP strategist Mary Matalin also recently said the Bush administration “inherited the most tragic attack on our soil in our nation’s history,” implying that the 9/11 attacks resulted from mistakes by the Clinton administration.

Bush replaced Clinton in the White House on Jan. 20, 2001, or almost eight months before the al-Qaida sponsored attacks.

When Giuliani was questioned later Friday about his statement, he explained to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he misspoke.

“I usually say we had no domestic attacks, no major domestic attack under President Bush since Sept. 11,” he said. He said after all the warnings of more attacks that came immediately after Sept. 11, many were surprised that this country avoided another major terrorist attack.

Giuliani said: “I did omit the words ‘since Sept. 11.’ I apologize for that.”

Shoe bomber Richard Reid tried to bring down a trans-Atlantic flight from Paris to Miami in December 2001 using similar methods to the Christmas Day attempt. In both cases, quick action by courageous passengers and crew members helped avoid catastrophe.

Did Osama bin Laden Declare War on America and the West?

In al Qaeda, Official History on January 8, 2010 at 9:10 pm

One may ask, did UBL declare war on America and her allies, or something else?

It was war.

His article published in Al Quds Al Arabi, a London-based newspaper, in August, 1996, called a “fatwa,” is entitled “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places.”

Today your brothers and sons, the sons of the two Holy Places, have started their Jihad in the cause of Allah, to expel the occupying enemy from of the country of the two Holy places. And there is no doubt you would like to carry out this mission too, in order to re-establish the greatness of this Ummah and to liberate its’ occupied sanctities. Nevertheless, it must be obvious to you that, due to the imbalance of power between our armed forces and the enemy forces, a suitable means of fighting must be adopted i.e using fast moving light forces that work under complete secrecy. In other word to initiate a guerrilla warfare, were the sons of the nation, and not the military forces, take part in it. And as you know, it is wise, in the present circumstances, for the armed military forces not to be engaged in a conventional fighting with the forces of the crusader enemy (the exceptions are the bold and the forceful operations carried out by the members of the armed forces individually, that is without the movement of the formal forces in its conventional shape and hence the responses will not be directed, strongly, against the army) unless a big advantage is likely to be achieved; and great losses induced on the enemy side (that would shaken and destroy its foundations and infrastructures) that will help to expel the defeated enemy from the country.

And his 1998 article published on February 23, 1998, to declare a holy war, or jihad, against the West and Israel. It is signed by Osama bin Laden, head of al Qaeda; Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of Jihad Group in Egypt, and several other Islamic terrorist groups.

And ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries. This was revealed by Imam Bin-Qadamah in “Al- Mughni,” Imam al-Kisa’i in “Al-Bada’i,” al-Qurtubi in his interpretation, and the shaykh of al-Islam in his books, where he said: “As for the fighting to repulse [an enemy], it is aimed at defending sanctity and religion, and it is a duty as agreed [by the ulema]. Nothing is more sacred than belief except repulsing an enemy who is attacking religion and life.” On that basis, and in compliance with God’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, “and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,” and “fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God.”

We — with God’s help — call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.

:

 

Abdulmutallab, the Underwear Bomber, Pleads Not Guilty

In al Qaeda, Other Terrorist Events on January 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Innocent until proven guilty:

A young Nigerian man, wearing a white T-shirt and tennis shoes, did not speak much Friday during his first public court hearing to face charges of trying to ignite a chemical-laden explosive on a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab gave a one word answer — “yes” — when asked whether he understood the charges against him. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Randon entered a not guilty plea for the 23-year-old, who could face up to life in prison on the most serious charge — attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Authorities say the young Nigerian with al-Qaida links was traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit when he tried to destroy the Northwest Airlines plane carrying nearly 300 people by injecting chemicals into a package of explosives concealed in his underwear. The failed attack caused popping sounds and flames that passengers and crew rushed to extinguish.

During his arraignment on Friday that lasted less than five minutes, Abdulmutallab stood at the podium along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel and defense attorney Miriam Siefer and answered a few questions in English from the judge.

The longest answer came when the judge asked if he had taken any drugs or alcohol in past 24 hours. Abdulmutallab answered: “some pain pills.” Siefer then said he was competent to understand the proceedings. Abdulmutallab, who is being held at a federal prison in Milan, Mich., had been treated at a hospital for burns after the attack.

His attorneys then waived the reading of the indictment, and Randon entered the not guilty plea. It is routine practice in federal court for the defendant to allow the judge to enter a plea on his behalf rather than say anything himself.

President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, has said Abdulmutallab would be offered a plea deal in exchange for valuable information about his contacts in Yemen and elsewhere.

After the hearing, one of Abdulmutallab’s attorneys, Leroy Soles, declined to talk about the case.

“It’s just too soon in the process to make any comment,” Soles said.

Read the rest of this entry »