A mosque is about to be erected on the hallowed acreage of lower Manhattan’s Ground Zero. Where we Americans weep, they rejoice and intend to erect a shrine to the 9/11 terrorists they hail as martyrs. This offense cannot stand.
The deadly twin bombings in Uganda’s capital may have been the “Plan B” for terrorists looking to make a strike on the World Cup but unable to penetrate South Africa’s security, a terror analyst who had earlier warned Congress about such an attack told FoxNews.com.
The Al Qaeda-linked Somali group al-Shabab on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack, which left dozens dead including at least one American. It marks the first time the militant group — which is labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department — has struck outside Somalia.
The attack targeted spectators watching the final match of the World Cup and effectively made the small African country the latest front in the ever-expanding terrorist battlefield.
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A be-on-the-lookout alert issued last month for 17 Afghan military men who walked away from an Air Force base in Texas has turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. No fewer than 46 members of the Afghan military have gone absent without leave from the Defense Language Institute’s English Language Center at Lackland Air Force Base in recent years, FoxNews.com has learned.
From a series of interviews with civilians and military personnel conducted over the course of a week, and according to documents obtained from a variety of sources, FoxNews.com has learned that five of these Afghan deserters remain at large; eight are in custody; at least 18 are in Canada and one has been granted conditional U.S. residency. The most recent to disappear fled the Texas base just last Thursday, hours after his graduation ceremony.
Some of the men disappeared before completing the Defense Language Institute (DLI) program. Others graduated from DLI but vanished before their scheduled flights back to Afghanistan. Many never showed up at the U.S. military base where they were scheduled to attend specialized formal training. A smaller percentage of the group went AWOL while attending the formal training programs.
Military and law enforcement officials say it’s not uncommon for foreign military personnel who come to the U.S. for training to get lured in by hopes of a better life. But the number of AWOL Afghans has become a growing problem.
Last year alone, 21 Afghan military students disappeared from DLI — a much higher rate than students from other countries who attend the school. Two of the men went AWOL weeks after graduating from the program; the others vanished before completing it.
“In 2009, the Defense Language Institute English Language Center reported two other students from countries other than Afghanistan went missing,” Gary Emery, spokesman for Lackland AFB, told FoxNews.com. “They include one Iraqi who requested asylum in Houston and one Djiboutian whose status is unknown.”
On June 17, FoxNews.com revealed exclusively that a nationwide be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) bulletin had been issued for 17 Afghans who had gone AWOL from DLI. The alert, which was compiled by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force, included photos and dates of birth of the 17 men and was widely distributed to law enforcement agencies across the country.
FoxNews.com quickly found at least 11 of the 17 AWOL Afghans on Facebook.
Since then, FoxNews.com has learned that the problem of Afghan military members going AWOL is more pervasive than suggested by the June bulletin, which included outdated and incomplete information. The BOLO alert included men who had been apprehended more than six months before it was issued, and it failed to include the name and photo of the most recent Afghan to vanish from DLI — a pilot who disappeared in March — as well as 28 others who have gone AWOL in recent years.
“Since 2002, 745 students have passed through the U.S. on this training and only 46 have actually gone absent without leave, and in 2009 there was a peak of 21 students,” Col. Stewart Cowen, NATO spokesman, Afghanistan, told FoxNews.com.
Citing statistics provided by the Department of Homeland Security, Cowen said 25 of the 46 remain unaccounted for.
At least 18 of those are known to be in Canada. (Multiple sources told FoxNews.com that there is believed to be a strong network of former AWOL Afghans now living in Canada or illegally in the U.S., and students can easily find out how to get to Canada or leave town.)
The number of Afghan DLI students and former students who have gone AWOL, by year:
2005: At least one
2006: At least three
2008: At least six
2009: At least 21
2010: At least two
Last year, at least 17 Afghans went AWOL from DLI — and at least four more disappeared after graduation and before or during their next training assignment or before a scheduled flight back to Afghanistan. Seven students vanished in December alone.
The Islamic Circle of North America’s (ICNA) 2010 South Central Regional Conference last month at the University of Houston was more than just the local edition of ICNA’s yearly theme, “Save Family – Save Society.” Sessions like “Peer Pressure: Good or Bad” and “Parents and Our Responsibility” offered reasonable emphasis on issues of concern to any family.
However, increasing radicalism among Muslim American youth is a concern as well, and some of the literature available at the conference stood in contradiction with the stated goal of ‘saving society.’ Books by Islamist ideologues were widely available to conference attendees, including those by the godfather of modern Sunni terror movements and a Pakistani extremist who dreams of global Islamic governance.
These materials were in keeping with ICNA’s long-standing promotion of extremist Islamist literature, a trend which was documented by the Investigative Project on Terrorism in connection with the radicalization of five young Americans arrested in Pakistan last December while trying to join the fight against U.S. troops.
The availability of such material indicates that, despite ICNA’s positive public image, the organization hasn’t taken promised steps to shed its ideological baggage.
ICNA has its own book service, which was created to provide “Islamic literature to Muslims living in North America.” At the South Central Regional Conference, it provided the most radical titles for sale. Among them were Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi’s The Aqsa Mosque and Zionist Designs, which revisits classic anti-Semitic themes and theories reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Mawdudi was the founder of the extremist Pakistani group Jamaat-e-Islami, which advocates the Islamization of the entire globe, including non-Muslim lands and governments. Furthermore, ICNA has provided other materials by Mawdudi through its websites, which call for violent jihad as a duty for every Muslim. In one book available on ICNA’s Youth webpage, Towards Understanding Islam, he wrote:
ISNA Conference Again Features Conspiracy Theories
For the second consecutive year, the Obama Administration honored the annual conference of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) with a prominent official to speak on behalf of the President. And, for the second consecutive year, that conference featured false and radical dogma about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and purported Jewish “power” over America.
~He’s only had two years…covers them prejudicial doesn’t he? ~JP
In 2009, a panel of authors bandied about support for Hizballah and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that cast Jews as controlling the world and interpreted the Holocaust as punishment for their sins. The speeches were more subtle this year, but included support for Hamas and repeatedly lamented what they saw as Israel’s power to dictate policy to America.
During a Saturday evening session, Rashad Hussain read a letter from President Obama welcoming the convention to his hometown of Chicago and praising ISNA for gathering thousands of people. “Outside of the hajj,” or pilgrimage to Mecca, the President wrote, “this convention constitutes one of the most diverse gatherings of Muslim people in the world, and that is a testament to the diversity and dynamism of Muslim communities right here in America.”
Hussain is the White House envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, comprised of 57 Muslim nations. To his credit, he challenged the convention to combat radicalization among Muslim youth and rebutted those who excuse terrorism abroad as a response to U.S. foreign policy decisions. Most victims of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other hotspots are Muslims, he noted:
Potential “Dirty Bomb” Ingredient Removed From NYC Hospital
Federal and New York Police Department officials last week worked together to secure and transport a small amount of cesium 137 from a city hospital to a storage site operated by the U.S. Energy Department, Newsday reported (see GSN, Jan. 14).
Cesium 137 has been identified as a potential ingredient of a radiological “dirty bomb,” which would use conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material in an urban center or other location.
The material used in a blood irradiation machine at the now-shuttered St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan was not believed to be at risk for acquisition by terrorists. However, authorities nonetheless chose to relocate the cesium to a secure location.
The Energy’s Department’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration collected the material while NYPD officers guarded the operation.
“This recovery is part of NNSA’s broad strategy to keep dangerous nuclear and radiological material safe and secure and protect the American people by enhancing our nation’s nuclear security,” NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator Kenneth Baker said in a prepared statement (Anthony Destefano, Newsday, July 4).
Chemical Weapons Disposal Interrupted in Alabama
The Anniston Army Depot in Alabama temporarily suspended chemical weapons disposal Thursday following an equipment breakdown, the Anniston Star reported (see GSN, June 21).
“No one was hurt, and no munitions or (chemical) agent were involved,” said Army spokesman Mike Abrams. “The community was never in danger.”
The malfunction involved a chilling device installed in a room adjacent to the building that conducts actual chemical-weapon disposal. The system became overheated at roughly 4 p.m. Thursday, leading to initiation of the plant’s fire-response protocol. There was no immediate word on whether a fire had ignited.
The machine is one component of a system intended to prevent air from the incineration facility from being released into the environment. That negative air pressure was not compromised by the event, Abrams said.
Disposal operations were expected to resume only after the chiller had been fixed.
“It’s like a blown light bulb on the space shuttle,” Abrams said. “You don’t move forward until you are sure that everything is working at 100 percent” (Tim Lockette, Anniston Star, July 1).
U.S.-Polish Missile Shield Collaboration Moves Ahead
Poland and the United States on Friday pledged to continue plans for collaboration on ballistic missile defense, even after the Obama administration drastically altered the U.S. approach for a Europe-based shield (see GSN, May 25).
The Bush administration had planned to deploy 10 long-range missile interceptors in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic to help protect Europe and the United States from missiles fired by nations such as Iran. Its successor replaced that initiative with the “phased adaptive approach” that focuses on fielding sea- and land-based versions of the Standard Missile 3 around Europe over a period of years as a hedge against Iranian short- and medium-range missiles.
The document signed last week in Krakow revises the U.S.-Polish agreement to fit Washington’s revised policy.
“This agreement begins implementation of the U.S. European-based phased adaptive approach (EPAA) for ballistic missile defense and enables the stationing of a U.S. land-based missile defense interceptor system in the Republic of Poland,” the U.S. State Department said in a release. “The agreed ballistic missile defense site in Poland is scheduled to become operational in the 2018 time frame and constitutes a key element of Phase 3 of the EPAA. Upon entry into force, this agreement marks an important step in our countries’ efforts to protect our NATO allies from the threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction” (U.S. State Department release, July 3).
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said he believed the Obama administration’s missile-shield plan would be more effective than the Bush program and would safeguard Europe “from a bigger range of threats,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
“The new version is a better one for us,” said Sikorski, who observed the signing ceremony alongside U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Obama administration’s top diplomat said the new plan would provide greater defense against “evolving missile threats, especially from Iran” and would shield areas of Europe more quickly than its predecessor. She also addressed Russia’s continued concerns that the missile shield could threaten its own deterrent.
“This is a purely defensive system. It’s not directed at Russia. It is not a threat to Russia,” Clinton said.
Moscow remains welcome to join Washington in missile shield collaboration, she added. Sikorski said his government could permit Russian officials to examine missile defense installations in order to address their worries about the system (Gordon Fairclough, Wall Street Journal, July 3).
“NATO has encouraged Russia to cooperate and even participate in the missile defense efforts that NATO is undertaking against what we view as common threats,” Clinton said after the signing ceremony, according to the Hill newspaper. “Russia has not accepted that offer, but the offer stands” (Roxana Tiron, The Hill, July 3).
The Kremlin, which also objected to the recent deployment of U.S. Patriot missiles in Poland, made it clear today its concerns stand, Bloomberg reported (see GSN, June 25).
The Iranian missile threat “doesn’t exist on the scale that would require the deployment of such systems,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was reported to say (Patrick Henry, Bloomberg, July 6).
Sajjad thought the worst was over, but then his mother was sentenced to be stoned to death. Mohammed Jamjoom reports.
~My friend Race Bannon LOGO TO LOOK MORE LIKE OBAMA LOGO was the first to post an extensive running thread on this before it became viral. We worked relentlessly to make it viral…we had it before Drudge or Michelle. I was in contact with one of my Senators who felt the alarm bell going off was disconcerting.And now FIVE months later here we are with THIS! Go to this link for eyeopening investigative work
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a recent interview that his “foremost” mission as the head of America’s space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world.
Though international diplomacy would seem well outside NASA’s orbit, Bolden said in an interview with Al Jazeera that strengthening those ties was among the top tasks President Obama assigned him. He said better interaction with the Muslim world would ultimately advance space travel.
“When I became the NASA administrator — or before I became the NASA administrator — he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering,” Bolden said in the interview.
The NASA administrator was in the Middle East last month marking the one-year anniversary since Obama delivered an address to Muslim nations in Cairo. Bolden spoke in June at the American University in Cairo — in his interview with Al Jazeera, he described space travel as an international collaboration of which Muslim nations must be a part.
“It is a matter of trying to reach out and get the best of all worlds, if you will, and there is much to be gained by drawing in the contributions that are possible from the Muslim (nations),” he said. He held up the International Space Station as a model, praising the contributions there from the Russians and the Chinese.
Bolden is trying to sell you the Shahara Bridge in Yemen
However, Bolden denied the suggestion that he was on a diplomatic mission — in a distinctly non-diplomatic role.
“Not at all. It’s not a diplomatic anything,” he said.
He said the United States is not going to travel beyond low-Earth orbit on its own and that no country is going to make it to Mars without international help.
Bolden has faced criticism this year for overseeing the cancellation of the agency’s Constellation program, which was building new rockets and spaceships capable of returning astronauts to the moon. Stressing the importance of international cooperation in future missions, Bolden told Al Jazeera that the moon, Mars and asteroids are still planned destinations
CNN’s Mohammed Jamjoom looks at the case of an Iranian mother who is to be stoned to death after an adultery conviction.
(CNN) — Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a mother of two, is waiting to die in Iran by a method of execution described by her lawyer as “barbaric” — stoning.
She will be buried up to her chest, deeper than a man would be, and the stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately, according to an Amnesty International report that cited the Iranian penal code.
The 42-year-old woman from the northern city of Tabriz was convicted of adultery in 2006, and her execution is imminent, said prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei.
Ashtiani was forced to confess after being subjected to 99 lashes, Mostafaei said Thursday in a telephone interview from Tehran.
She later retracted that confession and has denied wrongdoing. Her conviction was based not on evidence but on the determination of three out of five judges, Mostafaei said. She has asked forgiveness from the court but the judges refused to grant clemency.
Iran’s supreme court upheld the conviction in 2007.
Mostafaei believes a language barrier prevented his client from fully comprehending court proceedings. Ashtiani is of Azerbaijani descent and speaks Turkish, not Farsi.
~Ch 5 news Congressional Candidate Says She’s Target Of Death Threats
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Murfreesboro detectives are investigating alleged death threats made against a candidate for the U.S. Congress.
This comes as tensions escalate over a proposed new Islamic Center in Rutherford County. http://www.icmtn.org/
“They’re saying things you wouldn’t want to hear,” said Zelenik.
According to Zelenik, the threats target her, her staff and some supporters.
The alleged calls started coming late last week after Zelenik issued this statement critical of the proposed new Islamic Center: “This Islamic Center is not part of a religious movement; it is a political movement designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of middle Tennessee.”
The comment made news not just here, but across the country. Zelenik still stands by what she said,
“Those who know me know I’m not the politically correct candidate,” said Zelenik.
Zelenik and her staff have filed a report with the Murfreesboro police department.
“We always take that very seriously,” said Major Clyde Adkison.
Adkison said police were aware the proposed new Islamic Center has polarized the community. Already, someone vandalized the proposed center’s sign at the new site. And now there are alleged threats against Zelenik.
“You’re entitled to have your opinion, but violence? That’s no way to solve any problems at all,” said Adkison.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro hosted an open house this past weekend to help educate the public and clear up misconceptions. Members told Newschannel5 on Monday they do not condone violence or threats. Police say there is no evidence anyone local is responsible for the threatening phone calls.
Zelenik conceded many of the threatening calls appear to be coming from out of state. She said she’ll still take precautions while on the campaign trail.
“We have added patrols,” said Zelenik. “And we’ll watch our backsides a bit more.”
The recent confession by David Headley, a Chicago Pakistani-American, that he scouted targets for Lashkar-e Tayyiba’s deadly attacks in Mumbai, India provides just the latest evidence that the Pakistan-based terrorist group has expanded into a worldwide threat — and increasingly is recruiting U.S. residents as participants in its murderous campaign.
While still described as a “farm team for al Qaida,” the Pakistani group is rapidly honing its own credentials in the major leagues of Islamic terrorism.
A new analysis of Lashkar’s history prepared by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) documents the group’s evolution since its 1989 founding as a proxy of the Pakistani government’s conflict with India, providing recruits to push the Islamic insurgency in Indian Kashmir.
Read the full report here:
An IPT Investigative Report
Early on, it notes, Lashkar’s focus was broadened to include a generalized campaign of terror against the West. By 2003, a founder of the group, Hafiz Saeed (pictured above), urged his followers to “fight against the evil trio: America, Israel, and India.” Broadening its base of operations, today the group has coordinated attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The report discusses increased cooperative efforts by Lashkar with al Qaida and other terrorist groups — the Afghan Taliban, Tehrik-i-Taliban (the Pakistani Taliban), Harakat-ul-Jihadi-Islami and Jaish-e-Muhammad. Meanwhile, Pakistan has been slow to act against the group and its various fronts, with some government ministers offering unabashed praise.
Moreover, the IPT analysis details the shift to expanded recruitment in the West. Among those who passed through Lashkar training camps it cites an Australian-born al Qaida operative named David Hicks, convicted “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, and Dhiren Barot, who planned a failed gas-cylinder bombing in London.
The report focuses most closely on four recent successful efforts to shut down homegrown U.S. jihadists like Headley — terrorists who journeyed overseas to Lashkar training camps, and participated in operations starting with those of the so-called “Virginia Paintball Jihad Network” and culminating in the 2008 attacks on train stations, hotels, restaurants and other public sites in Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans.