Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Homegrown American Jihadi – One Of Many On YouTube – Charged With Planning Florida Attacks Was Highlighted In 2010 MEMRI Report On YouTube Jihad
An American jihadi mentioned in a MEMRI report in late 2010, Kosovo-born Muslim Sami Osmakac, was charged yesterday, according to federal authorities, with allegedly plotting to attack crowded locations around Tampa, Florida, including nightclubs and a sheriff's office, with a car bomb, assault rifle and other explosives. Prior to his arrest, Osmakac had made a video of himself explaining his motives for carrying out the planned violent attack. According to court documents, Osmakac had also expressed a desire to attack military bases. He was arrested January 7 following a meeting with an FBI undercover agent.
Osmakac was highlighted by MEMRI in a December 10, 2010 report, "Part V: YouTube – The Internet's Primary and Rapidly Expanding Jihadi Base: One Year Later on YouTube – Anwar Al-Awlaki's Presence Expands, Al-Qaeda Goes Viral, Jihadists Post Thousands of Videos of Killing of U.S. Troops; European Jihadists Also Embrace YouTube," for his November 15, 2010 post on the YouTube page of Tampa-based Anwar Al-Awlaki follower and fellow Florida jihadi Abdullah Abdul Malik (who has himself been highlighted in multiple MEMRI reports).
In the post, Osmakac, under the online alias "Abdul Samia," promised that Muslims will work to "fight the Christians, to close down the churches, to divide, to destroy, [and] take down the cross, to kill all the swine."
Malik's YouTube page, which as of 11 AM EST today was still active, contains multiple Al-Awlaki video clips, and his user avatar is a picture of Al-Awlaki with an Al-Qaeda flag behind him. The videos on the page express love for Al-Awlaki, as well as for Osama bin Laden. Another comment on the page was: "May Allah destroy all you evil dirty mouth immoral cross-worshippers, prepare for the hellfire! The end is near…"
Through our monitoring of jihadi use of YouTube over the past two years, MEMRI research has determined that YouTube has emerged as one of the leading websites for online jihad. It has replaced – and surpassed – websites administered by the jihadis themselves, which were previously the leaders in online jihadi efforts.
MEMRI has briefed members of the U.S. government and Congress on this issue, and has also met with representatives from Google Inc. to share our findings in identifying videos that incite violence and terrorist acts and to explain the role they play in homegrown terrorism.
As MEMRI noted in its most recent report on jihadis on YouTube, "despite YouTube's efforts... monitoring of online jihad shows that there has been no visible impact on YouTube against jihadi clips."
The following are links to Abdul Samia's videos posted to YouTube, and, below that, an appendix of major MEMRI reports on jihad on YouTube:
Read and see the full story here
Michelle Obama's Mumbai dance stage managed: Book.(NDTVNews).Washington: The impromptu dance that First Lady Michelle Obama did at a school in Mumbai when she accompanied President Barack Obama on his India trip in 2010, was stage managed by White House staff. According to a claim made by a new book on the Obamas, this was done to send a positive image throughout the world."In Mumbai, while the president was in discussions on trade relations between the two countries, the First Lady visited with a group of orphans and runaways, kicking off her shoes to play hopscotch with them, dancing and shimmying to the beat of a song from a Bollywood movie," wrote the New York Times journalist Jodi Kantor in her latest book The Obamas."The First Lady's staff knew the formula by now: put Michelle Obama in a roomful of kids especially kids who were outsiders in one way or another just let them interact, and they were likely to end with a moment that generated warm, positive images and video," Cantor wrote."All we had to do was set the stage," Melissa Winter, the First Lady's deputy chief of staff, was quoted as saying in the book, which has been described as highly exaggerated by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney."It was the original, defining visit to the London school refined, repeated, staged again and again by East Wing staff, turned into a reliable formula to convey what she wanted to stand for on the world stage: the idea that anyone could grow up to be anything," the book says.Read the full story here.
Picture: Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.A Palestinian resident of Bethlehem looks over the wrinkled sleeping accomodations of the besieged civilians and Palestinian terrorists.
Theologians who are breathing new life into a kind of demonology which criminalizes all Israelis will meet in Bethlehem in March.(INN).Next March, the Bible College in Bethlehem will host dozens of US theologians, activists and ministries for the “Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 Conference”.
It is to be a major religious and political event meant to demonize Israel and to support the Palestinian Intifada against the “ethnocentric” Jewish State.
The impressive range of Christian theologians and pastors from many churches located in the United States make the gravity of the upcoming conference clear.Samuel Rodriguez, President of the US National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, is a speaker.
Also attending are popular US preacher and “spiritual adviser” to Bill Clinton, Tony Campolo, and President of the World Evangelical Alliance and Asia Evangelical Alliance, Sang-Bok David Kim.
Two of the conference organisers, Stephen Sizer and Sami Awad, adamantly defended the Gaza flotilla sent in May 2010 by the Turkish terror group IHH.
Another speaker, Ben White, has shared a political platform with Azzam Tamimi, who has endorsed suicide bombings against Jewish civilians in the past.
In the last few months we have seen an increase of attacks on Israel by many Christian denominations. While the United States is home to millions of Christian supporters of Israel, these are anti-Jewish Churches which are more closely attached to global public opinion, European bureaucracy, the media industry, the United Nations and various legal forums.
In fact, the “Bethlehem Call” manifesto, which serves as platform for the Bethlehem 2012 Conference, has just been published on the websites of the Would Council of Churches, the Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ.
The Bethlehem Call defines Israel as an “illegal regime” and a “crime against humanity”, it promotes “international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns” against Israel, labels the more neutral Churches as “accomplices in crimes against humanity” and attacks Christian Zionism as “a crime and sin as defying the core of the Gospel”.
The Bethlehem Call also updates the “Kairos Palestine”, the major document used as global tool for the Christian struggle against Israel speaking in the behalf of “us Christian Palestinians”. Even the name of the Catholic Custodian of the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, prominently appears among the most important signatures in this website:
In 2007, the World Council of Churches, the umbrella organization of liberal Protestants claiming a membership of 580 million worshippers, also produced the “Amman Call”, which denies Israel’s right to continue to exist as a Jewish State by insisting that millions of Palestinians have the “right of return” to Israel.
In 2008, the World Council of Churches convened a group of Protestant and Catholic theologians to review the underpinnings of Christian attitudes about Israel. The group published the “Bern Perspective”, which, among other things, instructed Christians to understand all biblical references to Israel only “metaphorically”.
The theological meeting also marked a return to “replacement theology”, the medieval view that the Church has replaced the people of Israel in God’s plan and that all biblical references to Israel refer to the “new Israel”—that is, to Christians.Replacement calumny has changed its language, yet still is basically a death sentence for the Jewish people. Now it is Israelis, like Lucifer, who were God’s chosen but were cast out for their rebellious and evil ways, and deserve to be obliterated from the “Holy Land”, according to this macabre theology.
Taken together, it seems these Churches are now breathing new life into a kind of demonology which criminalizes all the Jews living between the Jordan River and the Meditarranean.Hmmmm.........Not in my Bible!Read the full story here.
US delegation discusses Iran sanctions with Turkish officials.(TodaysZaman).A delegation from the United States held talks with Turkish officials in Ankara on Monday to discuss the latest economic sanctions on Iran to pressure the Islamic republic to abandon its nuclear program the West believes is a front for developing nuclear weapons.
US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns had separate talks with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and discussed unilateral sanctions by the US on Iran due to its controversial nuclear program as well as other regional developments.
Iran, which says it only seeks to harness nuclear energy for energy production and research purposes, has sharply increased its threats and military posturing against stronger pressure, including the US sanctions targeting Iran's Central Bank in an attempt to complicate its ability to sell oil. Tehran also has been angered by the West's efforts to sanction Iran over its nuclear program, including a possible ban on European imports of Iranian oil.
President Barack Obama approved new sanctions against Iran a week ago, targeting the central bank and its ability to sell oil abroad. The US has delayed implementing the sanctions for at least six months, worried about sending the price of oil higher at a time when the global economy is struggling.
Burns' visit came days after Davutoğlu visited Tehran to discuss, among other things, the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West. Davutoğlu offered to host the next nuclear talks in Turkey -- a move Iran welcomed.Turkey is bound by UN sanctions against Iran, though it opposed the last round of measures in 2010, and it insists it is not obliged to follow non-UN sanctions. Turkey is also evaluating whether to seek a waiver from the US to exempt Turkish oil importer Tüpraş from the new US sanctions on institutions that deal with Iran's central bank.US ally Turkey is among the biggest importers of Iranian oil and gas. It gets about 30 percent of its oil from neighboring Iran, and Tüpraş, Turkey's biggest crude oil importer, is a big purchaser of Iranian crude.
Turkish diplomats said Burns and Turkish officials also discussed the Cyprus problem, the unrest in Syria and the political instability in Iraq.Hmmmm......Sanctions that benefit my reelection?Read the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Solomon islands 6.6 ; Tonga 5.4!More info here.
- 2012 'Armageddon' for Americans: "The reelection of Obama"!(USNews).Poll: Americans By Two-To-One Margin Say Obama’s Reelection Their Biggest Fear In 2012.When it comes to how Americans view President Obama going into the new year, there appears to be very little spirit of Auld Lang Syne. Instead, according to the new Washington Whispers poll, many voters aren’t forgetting what they dislike about Obama and want him out office.In our New Year’s poll, when asked what news event they fear most about 2012, Americans by a margin of two-to-one said Obama’s reelection. Only 16 percent said they fear the Democratwon’t win a second term, while 33 percent said they fear four more years. [...]But in results backed up by other polls, older Americans and those earning $75,000 or more are especially worried about the president getting a second term, according to the poll done by Synovate eNation.Nearly half of Americans 65 and older said Obama’s reelection was their top fear, 39 percent of those making $75,000 or more agreed.Hmmmmm......Makes you wonder how the Mayans Knew?Read the full story here.
- Allen West: GOP Must Stop Obama’s ‘Imperial Presidency’.(NewsMax).Congressman Allen West tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama has “complete contempt” for Congress and is starting to believe that he has an “imperial presidency.”The Florida Republican says Newt Gingrich is the “smartest” GOP candidate but thinks any of the Republican hopefuls can beat Obama in what undoubtedly will be a “brutal bloodbath.”West also asserts that sanctions will not succeed in deterring Iran’s belligerency and warns that the United States should not cut the defense budget to make the military the “bill-payer” for Washington’s failure to rein in spending.President Obama has said he is hopeful for an improved economy in 2012. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, West was asked whether Americans should feel that way.“No, they shouldn’t,” West declares. “President Obama is just going to sit back and hope that things fall into his lap.“He’s not going to do anything as far as reforming our tax code so that our small business owners have some sort of predictability. He’s not going to do anything to lower the corporate tax rate and eliminate loopholes. He’s not going to do anything to correct the regulatory environment that his administration is putting forth. In 2011, his administration added more than 71,000 pages of new regulations to the federal registry. That’s not how we’re going to heal this economy.”Asked whether Obama has given up on “hope and change,” West responds: “I think the president has given up, period, and he’s in a campaign mode. He’s going to disengage from Washington, D.C. That’s not leadership, that’s an abdication of leadership.“What concerns me is the rhetoric around [Obama’s recent recess appointments]. He is going to bypass Congress. He has a complete contempt for the legislative branch. We don’t have an imperial presidency, but I think that is what he’s starting to believe.“We have to be very vociferous about this. We’ve got to get in the arena and battle the president and the liberal progressive ideology in the arena of ideas.”Read the full story here.
- Turkey's recent international behavior is a clear indication that its leadership, motivated by a neo-imperial syndrome, is leading the country's foreign policy into perilous waters.(IMRA). EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Since the cooling of relations with Ankara in 2010, Israel has sought alternative allies in the Mediterranean region, courting Greece and Cyprus. An economic and security partnership between the three non-Muslim countries in the eastern Mediterranean benefits all. The most urgent strategic issue that unites them, however, is their need for energy security. The recent discovery of substantial natural gas fields in the Israeli and Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) challenge Turkey’s claim as the central energy hub for Europe. Turkey is employing threatening rhetoric as well as its navy to deter and harass Cypriot and Israeli exploration efforts. Greece, Israel and Cyprus should increase their strategic cooperation in order to contain such Turkish hostility.
Conclusion: Turkey's recent international behavior is a clear indication that its leadership, motivated by a neo-imperial syndrome, is leading the country's foreign policy into perilous waters. The conflict over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean only further exacerbates already strained Turkish-Israeli relations.In view of increasing global competition for energy resources, Israel should accelerate the development of new gas fields in its Exclusive Economic Zone. As Israel plans to export its gas to Europe and, as has been recently disclosed, to its new strategic partner, India, Israel must demonstrate the legitimacy and security of its gas and marine installations. Therefore, Israel should pursue a diplomatic campaign to maintain its hold on its EEZ on par with other countries. Moreover, Israel should increase its naval presence in its EEZ in order to protect its access to its resources. Finally, Israel should enhance its cooperation with friendly countries in the eastern Mediterranean, such as Greece and Cyprus, in order to maintain energy security and construct pipelines for energy exports to Europe.Read the full story here.
- There Was No Nomination of Cordray before the Senate…(DocsTalk).By Mark A. Calabria. Last week President Obama made the “recess” appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created under the Dodd-Frank Act. I’ve already discussed some of the various problems with this so-called recess appointment. Another, perhaps ultimately more critical, problem is that at the time of this action, January 4th, 2012, there was not a pending nomination of Richard Cordray before the Senate. By the unanimous agreement of the Senate, his nomination was returned to the President on January 3rd, 2012, which for all purposes extinguishes said nomination. Per Paragraph 6 of Senate Rule XXXI, the President would have to re-submit Cordray’s nomination in order for it to be considered by the Senate. But then I guess if one doesn’t really believe the Senate was in session on January 3rd, despite marking the beginning of a new session, then I guess one might also not believe the Senate could have conducted any business that day, such as returning nominations to the President.Ironically enough, had the President made the appointment two days earlier, he would be on much stronger, if not still shaky ground. The President’s own attempt at being clever, by trying to gain another year of service for his nominations, may be what ultimately dooms said nominations.If indeed there was no pending Cordray nomination on January 4th, then following the decision of US District Court for DC in Olympic Federal Savings and Loan Association v. Director, Office of Thrift Supervision, it would seem pretty clear that Cordray’s appointment was unconstitutional. But then I’m no lawyer, so we will see.Read the full story here.
- Obama’s militarization of homefront.(WND).In July 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama vowed to create a “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the U.S. military.Apparently no one else in the national press found that promise newsworthy, because I was the first to call it to the attention of the public days later. Interestingly, the pledge had been stricken from transcripts of the speech handed out to media.Whatever happened to the “civilian national security force” initiative? No one in the press has dared to ask that question.But two recent developments suggest Obama may have found an innovative way to achieve his objectives to militarize the homefront without creating a new national security force:
- In December, both houses of Congress passed the defense reauthorization bill that killed the concept of habeas corpus – legislation that authorized the president to use the U.S. military to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial.
- This week, over the objections of Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Guard’s top officer became the fifth member of that body that advises the president on national security matters.
“There is no compelling military need for this change,” said Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, during his congressional testimony on the bill. Nevertheless, Congress knew better. Obama knew better. In fact, all six four-star generals testified in a Nov. 10 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the idea of including the National Guard honcho as a member of the Joint Chiefs would create needless confusion and reduce the authority of the other military representatives.But it gets even worse.Even Obama’s own defense secretary, Leon Panetta, opposed the measure. He told reporters that membership on the Joint Chiefs should “be reserved for those who have direct command and direct budgets that deal with the military.”It seems to me, Obama has, with the approval of Republicans in Congress, achieved his major goal of militarizing domestic civilian life in the U.S. The U.S. military has been authorized by Congress and Obama to arrest and detain indefinitely without charge or trial any U.S. citizen on suspicion of being a terrorist. The only one who can override the order is Obama himself. And now the National Guard has been deputized as a posse for Obama’s “non-civilian national security force.”Just try to imagine the outrage if George W. Bush had made such moves and proclaimed such ideas. It’s frankly unthinkable. There’s no way he could have accomplished it. But the most ideologically left-wing occupant of the White House in American history did. Go figure.This is not good news for those of us who recognize how Obama views his political adversaries and critics. In short, he probably thinks people like me, who stand firmly behind the Constitution, represent more of a threat to national security than did Osama bin Laden.So, for all intents and purposes, the “national security force” Obama mused about in 2008 is in place. It’s just not civilian. It’s military.It’s no longer a question of whether political dissidents are going to hear that dreaded knock on the door in America. It’s only a question of who is going to have their door knocked down by U.S. military forces and be dragged kicking and screaming to Guantanamo Bay without even the right to talk to an attorney.And yet, just as the media compliantly declined to pursue an explanation of Obama’s call for the creation of a “civilian national security force,” they also refuse to ask questions about this fundamental break from the Constitution’s protection of individual rights to a fair and speedy trial and the long-held tradition of the U.S. military being kept out of domestic, civilian life.Hmmmmm...........Dmitri Shostakovich, the famous composer, slept fitfully every night with a "prison suitcase" packed and ready. "Of course I am prepared for anything. Why should it happen to everyone else and not to me?" wrote Pasternak in one letter.Read the full story here.
- Obama Willing to Share US Missile Secrets With Russia – Foolishness, or Design?(Newzeal)By TrevorLoudon.From the Washington Times: President Obama signaled Congress this week that he is prepared to share U.S. missile defense secrets with Russia.In the president’s signing statement issued Saturday in passing into law the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, Mr. Obama said restrictions aimed at protecting top-secret technical data on U.S. Standard Missile-3 velocity burnout parameters might impinge on his constitutional foreign policy authority.U.S. officials are planning to provide Moscow with the SM-3 data, despite reservations from security officials who say that doing so could compromise the effectiveness of the system by allowing Russian weapons technicians to counter the missile. The weapons are considered some of the most effective high-speed interceptors in the U.S. missile defense arsenal.There are also concerns that Russia could share the secret data with China and rogue states such as Iran and North Korea to help their missile programs defeat U.S. missile defenses. Officials from the State Department and Missile Defense Agency have discussed the idea of providing the SM-3 data to the Russians as part of the so-far fruitless missile-defense talks with Moscow, headed in part of by Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, who defense officials say is a critic of U.S. missile defenses.Their thinking is that if the Russians know the technical data, it will help allay Moscow’s fears that the planned missile defenses in Europe would be used against Russian ICBMs. Officials said current SM-3s are not fast enough to catch long-range Russian missiles, but a future variant may have some anti-ICBM capabilities.
Ms. Tauscher has repeatedly denied that her talks with the Russians are secret. However, the administration has provided almost no briefings about the talks to Congress, which prompted critics of the talks to include language in the new defense spending law limiting data-sharing.
Section 1227 of the defense law prohibits spending any funds that would be used to give Russian officials access to sensitive missile-defense technology, as part of a cooperation agreement without first sending Congress a report identifying the specific secrets, how they would be used and steps to protect the data from compromise.
The president also must certify to Congress that Russia will not share the secrets with other states and that it will not help Russia “to develop countermeasures” to U.S. defenses.The certification also must show whether Russia is providing equal access to its missile defense technologies, which are mainly nuclear-tipped anti-missile interceptors.
Mr. Obama said in the signing statement that he would treat the legal restrictions as “non-binding.”“While my administration intends to keep the Congress fully informed of the status of U.S. efforts to cooperate with the Russian Federation on ballistic missile defense, my administration will also interpret and implement section 1244 in a manner that does not interfere with the president’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs and avoids the undue disclosure of sensitive diplomatic communications,” Mr. Obama said, incorrectly identifying the section of the law containing the restrictions.If a missile scientist or Defense Department analyst was caught doing this, what would happen to him?Can it be ignored that Communist Party “friend” Barack Obama has a long history with pro Soviet activists as Frank Marshall Davis and Alice Palmer?Or that both Obama and Ellen Tauscher (a so called moderate Democrat) were supported in their political careers by Council for a Livable World – a leftist ‘peace’ Political Action Committee, founded by former Manhattan Project scientist and alleged Soviet agent Leo Szilard.The question to ask is this? If Barack Obama were an agent of Moscow, would he be behaving any differently than he is today? Why does he seem so keen to appease the Russians at every step?Once, President Obama’s past associations would have prevented him from cleaning the latrines of any military base in the US.Is Obama weakening the US in relation to Russia out of foolishness or by design? Better perhaps to err on the side of caution, and assume the latter.Read the full story here.
- Man thought to be an Islamic extremist in custody after shootout with police in Alabama City.(GadsdenTimes).By Lisa Rogers.A man thought to be an Islamic extremist is believed to have shot the windows out of at least two businesses in Alabama City early Sunday to lure police officers to the area and engage them in a shootout.Luis Ibarra-Hernandez, 21, from Albertville, was charged today with attempted murder, according to a news release from the Gadsden Police Department.“After the man was taken into custody, he reported that he knew he must do something extreme to draw attention to Islam and himself, so he planned to shoot police officers,” Gadsden Police Capt. Regina May said.Gadsden police officers responded to alarm calls for glass breakage after doors were shot out about 1:30 a.m. Sunday at AutoZone and Rainbow Food Mart near the intersection of 27th Street and West Meighan Boulevard.While investigating the broken doors and determining they were shot out, officers heard gunfire and spotted a man near the old CVS building. The man knew he had been seen and ran toward the Cathedral of Praise Church parking lot, then started firing rounds at the officers.The man continued to run through several blocks and at one point was in the Dwight Baptist Church parking lot. Shots were fired over about six blocks, and at least eight officers were shot at, before officers talked the man into dropping his weapon. Read the full story here.
- Suspected Islamic extremist arrested in plan to bomb, shoot up Florida sites.(FOX)--A 25-year-old man described as an Islamic extremist was arrested in an alleged plot to attack crowded areas in the Tampa, Fla., area with a car bomb, assault rifle and other explosives, authorities said Monday. The U.S. Department of Justice said Sami Osmakac, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the former Yugoslavia, was arrested Saturday night.Osmakac, from Pinellas County, allegedly told an undercover agent that "We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?'" according to a federal complaint. FBI agents arrested Osmakac on Saturday after he allegedly bought explosive devices and firearms from an undercover agent. The firearms and explosives were rendered inoperable by law enforcement. The federal complaint says that shortly before his arrest, Osmakac made a video of himself explaining his motives for carrying out the planned violent attack.He has been charged with one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. His first appearance in federal court is scheduled for Monday at 2 p.m. ET.
Sources close to the investigation told Fox News that Osmakac was being "closely monitored by law enforcement" for months in what authorities have described as a "sting operation." Federal officials said a confidential source told them in Sept. 2011 that Osmakac wanted Al Qaeda flags. Two months later, the federal complaint said, Osmakac and the confidential source "discussed and identified potential targets in Tampa" that Osmakac wanted to attack.Osmakac allegedly asked the source for help getting the firearms and explosives for the attacks, and the source put him in touch with an undercover FBI employee.On Dec. 21, Osmakac met with the undercover agent and allegedly told the agent that he wanted to buy an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, grenades and explosive belt. During a later meeting, Osmakac gave the agent a $500 down payment for the items."According to the complaint, Osmakac also asked the undercover employee whether he/she could build bombs that could be placed in three different vehicles and detonated remotely, near where Osmakac would conduct a follow-up attack using the other weapons he requested," a press release from the Department of Justice said. "The undercover employee said he/she could possibly provide explosives for one vehicle. Osmakac also allegedly said that he wanted an explosive belt constructed to kill people."On Jan. 1, Osmakac told the agent that he wanted to bomb night clubs, the Operations Center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and a business in Tampa, Florida.Osmakac told the undercover FBI agent that he wanted to detonate a car bomb and use the explosive belt to "get in somewhere where there's a lot of people" and take hostages.
He also allegedly told the agent that "Once I have this…they can take me in five million pieces," in an apparent reference to a suicide blast. During that meeting, the agent told Osmakac he could always change his mind about his plot.Osmakac had created a "martyrdom video" and tried on a bomb belt before being arrested Saturday, law enforcement officials told Fox News.Read the full story here.
- Former U.S. Army Soldier Charged with Support to Somali Terror Group.(IPT).A former American soldier was charged in Greenbelt, Md. with providing material support to the Somali jihadist organization, al-Shabaab, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday.Al-Shabaab was officially designated a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" by the U.S. State Department in February 2008 and is closely affiliated with al-Qaida. A Homeland Security Department investigative report has called the terrorist group's successful recruitment and radicalization of Somali American Muslims within the U.S. "a direct threat to the U.S. homeland."Craig Benedict Baxam of Laurel, Md., who converted to Islam shortly before he left the U.S. Army in July last year, was arrested by Kenyan police in December 2011 for attempting to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabaab militants in the country.According to the court filings, Baxam joined the Army in 2007 where he underwent an eight-month advanced training in intelligence and cryptology. He got interested in Islam while surfing an Islamic religious website on the Internet. Baxam, who was then serving in Korea, converted to Islam but kept his conversion a secret. His roommate in the Army however discovered his secret after he saw Baxam's prayer rug and books.The complaint alleges Baxam was wary about searching for al-Shabaab on his computer because he was "aware of the capabilities of the United States government." Before leaving for Somalia, Baxam destroyed his computer "because he did not want anything on his record and it would help him keep a low profile."Upon his return to Maryland, Baxam spent considerable time praying and reading about Islam. He considered it his Islamic duty to migrate to Muslim lands governed by Sharia. According to Baxam, the only true Islamic lands that were governed by Sharia were the Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan, al-Shabaab-ruled areas of Somalia, and the southern islands of the Philippines."Killing is justified in Islam if the religion is under threat," the complaint quotes Baxam saying.Baxam allegedly told federal agents during his interrogation that his loyalties lay with Islam and would fight the United States to defend Sharia law in Islam lands."Living an Islamic way of life in the United States is oppressive," Baxam said. He also believed that the U.S. and coalition forces were losing the war. "The weapons and technology are irrelevant because Allah is on their side. The World is at war with Islam and the World is losing."Baxam used about $3,600 dollars from his retirement savings to purchase a plane ticket to Kenya and then traveled to Somalia from there. He also planned to give over $600 to al-Shabaab as a gift when he got to Somalia."The arrest is highly illustrative of the progress the international law enforcement community has made in working together to rapidly share resources and information in order to stop terrorism," FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard McFeely said in a statement. "FBI Special Agents in Africa, working alongside our Kenyan police partners, worked together to stop an individual who is now alleged to have been on his way to join a major terrorist group. This spirit of cooperation in fighting terrorism continues to transcend borders around the world," McFeely added.Baxam faces a maximum sentence of 15 years followed by three years of supervised release if found guilty.Read the full story here.
- Iran plans one-kiloton underground nuclear test in 2012.(Debka).According to debkafile's Iranian sources, Tehran is preparing an underground test of a one-kiloton nuclear device during 2012, much like the test carried out by North Korea in 2006. Underground facilities are under construction in great secrecy behind the noise and fury raised by the start of advanced uranium enrichment at Iran's fortified, subterranean Fordo site near Qom.All the sanctions imposed so far for halting Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapon have had the reverse effect, stimulating rather than cooling its eagerness to acquire a bomb.Yet, according to a scenario prepared by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University for the day after an Iranian nuclear weapons test, Israel was resigned to a nuclear Iran and the US would offer Israel a defense pact while urging Israel not to retaliate.As quoted by the London Times Monday, Jan. 1, INSS experts, headed by Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel's National Security Council, deduced from a simulation study they staged last week that. Their conclusion is that neither the US nor Israel will use force to stop Iran's first nuclear test which they predicted would take place in January 2013.Our Iranian sources stress, however, that Tehran does not intend to wait for the next swearing-in of a US president in January 2013, whether Barack Obama is returned for a second term or replaced by a Republican figure, before moving on to a nuclear test.Iran's Islamist rulers have come to the conclusion from the Bush and Obama presidencies that America is a paper tiger and sure to shrink from attacking their nuclear program – especially while the West is sunk in profound economic distress.Israel's media screens and front pages are dominated these days by short-lived, parochial political sensations and devote few words to serious discourse on such weighty issues as Iran's nuclear threat.This is a luxury that the US president cannot afford in an election year. Iran's acquisition of a nuclear bomb and conduct of a nuclear test would hurt his chances of a second term. The race is therefore on for an American strike to beat Iran's nuclear end game before the November 2012 presidential vote.The INSS have also wrongly assessed Russia's response to an Iranian nuclear test as "to seek an alliance with the US to prevent nuclear proliferation in the region."This fails to take into account that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, running himself for a third term as president in March, has already committed Moscow to a new Middle East policy which hinges on support for a nuclear Iran and any other Middle East nation seeking a nuclear program. This is part of Russia's determined plan to trump America's Arab Spring card.Read the full story here.
- Iran envoy slams US on Turkey ties.(HurriyetDaily).The U.S. aims to harm relations between Turkey and Iran, Iranian envoy Bahman Hosseinpour said ahead of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns’ talks with Turkish officials yesterday. “They try to destroy relations between Turkey and Iran. But, as Turkey and Iran have yet to develop their relations, those ties became unshakeable by any winds,” the Iranian ambassador said in a press conference yesterday. However, he said, Turkey and Iran were “saying good words to each other, but it was time to put these into action.”Burns was to hold talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu last night when the Daily News went to press. Burns’ visit to Turkey coincides with growing concerns over an armed conflict between Iran and the U.S. in the Strait of Hormuz, after Washington issued a series of sanctions against Iran which would penalize foreign financial institutions who do business with Iran’s Central Bank.The U.S. measures could affect Turkey’s energy trade with Iran and may be an issue during talks, a Turkish diplomat told Daily News. Ankara considers seeking exemption from the U.S. sanctions. Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani will visit Turkey on Jan. 11, and the Iranian foreign minister will attend joint economic commission meetings Jan. 18 in Turkey.Hmmmm....Can the U.S. and NATO trustTurkey?Will their missile shield work in case of an armed conflict with Iran?.......Forgetaboutit!Read the full story here.
- Iran’s international press festival of Muslim women opens.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Iran has launched the first international press festival for Muslim women in Tehran, but antagonism and worries over the festival’s content have left women’s rights advocates frustrated.According to the country’s official news agency, the opening ceremony of the event was attended by a number of Iranian officials including Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini as well as Iranian and foreign cultural, press and media and arts personalities.The festival is being held with participation of 50 foreign periodicals from different world countries and 60 domestic ones in the venue of Iran’s National Library.Fardous Mukhtari, a Tehran-based writer and women’s rights activist, told Bikyamasr.com that the idea of the conference is “demeaning” toward women and should “not be praised.”She argued that “Iran has one of the worst records in the world when it comes to women’s rights and women’s issues, so this conference and festival is nothing but lip service to women’s empowerment. It is a joke.”Expert committees to be held at the sideline of the festival will examine such issues as “role of women in establishing the new Islamic civilization”, “media policies of West and Islamic world press”, “a look at the western and Islamic life styles” and “a review of latest Islamic world developments”.An exhibition focusing on reflection of Islamic awaking movements worldwide is also organized at the sideline of the festival, reports said.Women like Mukhtari are hopeful that the festival can bring awareness to the world of the plight of women, by focusing coverage of the event on the “realities facing women in this country.“We have lived under the doormat of men for decades and we barely have a voice, so hopefully the international press will see this event and take on the issue of women in the country from our perspective, the activists fighting,” she added.Read the full story here.
- As many as 35 killed, 69 wounded in blast in Pakistan’s Khyber region.(AlArabiya).A bomb killed at least 35 people and wounded 69 others on Tuesday when it exploded in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber region, an Al Arabiya correspondent said citing a Pakistani official.Khyber region is one of the restive tribal areas where insurgents are battling government forces.“It was a huge blast and caused damage to a number of vehicles at (a) bus terminal,” Khyber tribesman Khan Zaman from the Jamrud bazaar, around 25 km (15 miles) west of the city of Peshawar told Reuters.Tribesman said members of the pro-government Zakhakhel tribal militia were the target of the attack. Members of the militia -- or “lashkar” -- were filling their vehicles at the station when the bomb exploded.Assistant Political Agent Jamrud Mohammed Jamil Khan said three members of the Khasadar tribal police force were killed. The wounded were taken to hospitals in Jamrud and Peshawar.Officials said there had been no claim of responsibility yet for the attack.Pakistani forces have targeted militants in Khyber, including the Pakistani Taliban, on and off for more than four years.Tuesday’s bombing is the first major one of its kind this year. On Dec. 30, 13 people were killed in a bombing in the southwestern city of Quetta.The attack also comes amid conflicting reports of peace talks between the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Pakistani government.The TTP, formed in 2007 and allied with the Afghan Taliban, is an umbrella group of various militant organizations entrenched in Pakistan’s unruly tribal areas along the porous frontier with Afghanistan.It has pledged to overthrow the Pakistani government after the military started operations against the militants in 2007.The Pakistani army has carried out offensives against the militants in their strongholds in tribally administered regions like Khyber, but the insurgents have proven to be a resilient foe. The violence has triggered fears in the West that nuclear-armed Pakistan may be buckling under extremism.Read the full story here.
- Tunisia’s Islamists lash out at anti-Semitic comments from top Hamas official.(BikyaMasr).ALGIERS: Tunisia’s Islamic party Ennahda condemned the use of anti-Semitic slogans as a top Hamas official arrived in the country on Monday. The chants left the local Jewish community alarmed, but the Islamists said that the use of the anti-Semitic chanting is unacceptable.The small group of ultra-conservative Muslims have been voiceful in the past few months in the country, attacking universities and demanding a more conservative implementation of Islamic law in Tunisia.Rachid Ghannouchi reiterated the policy of his Ennahda party, which heads the country’s new government, that Tunisia’s Jews are “full citizens with equal rights and duties.”“Ennahda condemns these slogans which do not represent Islam’s spirit or teachings, and considers those who raised them as a marginal group,” Ghannouchi said in a statement.Videos circulated online showed crowd members greeting Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Gaza government, at the airport in Tunis on Thursday chanting “Kill the Jews” and “Crush the Jews.” The chants came from Salafists, ultraconservative Muslims who have been making their presence felt in Tunisia recently.University professor in Tunis, Michel Jabar, told Bikyamasr.com via telephone that “this small group should not be seen as representative of the Tunisian people.”He added that “Tunisia has long been secular and is now dealing with the dichotomy of religion and government, which thus far has been done in a positive way. Look at the results, still 60 percent of Tunisians are not wanting an Islamic state.”Read the full story here.
- Euro banks now borrowing from businesses instead of lending to them.(Examiner).In what can only be described as Bizzaro world, or some form of alternate reality, an unusual trend is now taking place in the Euro Zone where banks are actually borrowing money from businesses to stay solvent, instead of the banks lending to businesses for the same purpose. In a report from January 9th, a source within the European banking industry specified that American and European companies were actually lending cash to European banks to allow them to remain solvent, and acquire capital funding.That banks can no longer function simply on central bank intervention and discount window borrowing is a very disturbing scenario that not only exposes how leveraged their own models are, but also how limited central banks such as the ECB and Federal Reserve are today in implenting financial tools to stave off current crises. Additionally, if cash-rich companies in the United States and the Euro Zone find it more beneficial to lend money to banks instead of investing in new jobs, technologies, and growth programs, then it exposes just how dire the economies are in both regions.Since 2008, banks have continued to invest in sovereign bonds, and multi-national derivatives over lending to small businesses or corporate expansion. Tens of thousands of companies and millions of jobs have been lost because of the failure of the global banking system, and there appears to be little incentive for banks to invest or lend to Western economies and businesses. Most of the money that central banks have lent to the banking industry has been used to buy government bonds, or invest in their own instruments, and the tens of trillions of dollars infused over the past three years has done little to spur economic growth, and even less in employing people who have been out of work for so long.It is a very strange dychotomy when the lender becomes the borrower, and when banks seek help from businesses. That new paradigm appears to have been breached as European banks are now seeking salvation in borrowing from the very same businesses that just a few years ago, were borrowing from them to grow their own growth and expansion.Read the full story here.
- US drones over Iranian coast.(Debka). Our sources report too that Saturday, the giant RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV, took off from the USS Stenning aircraft carrier for surveillance over the coasts of Iran. The Stennis and its strike group are cruising in the Sea of Oman at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz after Tehran announced it would not be allowed to cross through.This was the first time the US has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles over Iran since its RQ-170 stealth drone was shot down by Iran on Dec. 4. It was also the first time the huge drone was ordered to take off from an aircraft carrier for a Broad Aerial Maritime Surveillance Mission (BAMS).US military sources reported Monday, Jan. 9 that the Global Hawk's mission is "to monitor sea traffic off the Iranian coast and the Straits of Hormuz." The US Navy was ordered to maintain a watch on this traffic, another first, after Iranian Navy chief Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said in a televised broadcast Sunday night that the Strait of Hormuz was under full Iranian control and had been for years.Also Sunday, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, warned in no uncertain terms that Iran has the ability to block the Strait of Hormuz “for a period of time.” He added in a CBS interview: “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens, we can defeat that.” Gen. Dempsey went on to emphasize: "Yes, they can block it. We've described that as an intolerable act and it's not just intolerable for us, it's intolerable to the world. But we would take action and reopen the straits."Appearing on the same program, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of a quick, decisive and very tough American response to any Iranian attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz.They both spoke a few hours after a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards said the supreme Iranian leadership had ruled the Strait must be closed in the event of an oil embargo imposed on Iran by the European Union.Read the full story here.
- Ahmadinejad, Chavez mock US, joke about bomb.(JPost).CARACAS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez lavished each other with praise on Monday, mocked US disapproval and joked about having an atomic bomb at their disposal."Despite those arrogant people who do not wish us to be together, we will unite forever," the Iranian president told socialist leader Chavez at the start of a visit to four left-leaning Latin American nations.Despite their geographical distance, the fiery anti-US ideologues have forged increasingly close ties between their fellow OPEC nations in recent years, although concrete projects have often lagged behind the rhetoric.Ahmadinejad was in Venezuela at the start of a tour intended to shore up support as expanded Western economic sanctions kick in over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program."The imperialist madness has been unleashed in a way that has not been seen for a long time," Chavez said in a ceremony to welcome Ahmadinejad at his presidential palace in Caracas.Both men hugged, beamed, held hands and showered each other with praise.As he often does, the theatrical and provocative Chavez stuck his finger right into the global political sore spot, joking that a bomb was ready under a grassy knoll in front of his Miraflores palace steps."That hill will open up and a big atomic bomb will come out," he said, the two men laughing together."The imperialist spokesmen say ... Ahmadinejad and I are going into the Miraflores basement now to set our sights on Washington and launch cannons and missiles ... It's laughable."US officials from President Barack Obama down have expressed disquiet over Venezuela's close ties with Iran. They fear Chavez will weaken the international diplomatic front against Iran and could give Tehran an economic lifeline.The United States and its allies believe Iran's nuclear policy is aimed at producing a weapon. Iran says it is only for peaceful power generation.As well as Venezuela, Ahmadinejad plans to visit Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador -- a visit that Washington has said shows its "desperation" for friends.Those nations' governments share Chavez's broad global views, but do not have Venezuela's economic clout and are unable to offer Iran any significant assistance.Regional economic powerhouse Brazil, which gave the Iranian leader a warm welcome when he visited during the previous government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was notably absent from his agenda this time.Analysts are watching closely to see if Chavez will back Iran's threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil shipping lane, or how much he could undermine the sanctions by providing fuel or cash to Tehran.Ahmadinejad, who is subordinate to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on foreign policy, has said little about the rising tensions with the West, including the sentencing to death of an Iranian-American man for spying for the CIA.The Venezuelan and Iranian leaders mostly limited their comments on Monday to mutual adulation and anti-US snipes."President Chavez is the champion in the war on imperialism," Ahmadinejad said."The only bombs we're preparing are bombs against poverty, hunger and misery," added Chavez, saying 14,000 new homes had been built recently in Venezuela by Iranian constructors.Read the full story here.
- West Readies Oil Plan in Case of Iran Crisis.(Reuters).Western powers this week readied a contingency plan to tap a record volume from emergency stockpiles to replace nearly all the Gulf oil that would be lost if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, industry sources and diplomats told Reuters.They said senior executives of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises 28 oil consuming countries, discussed on Thursday an existing plan to release up to 14 million barrels per day (bpd) of government-owned oil stored in the United States, Europe, Japan and other importers.Action on this scale would be more than five times the size of the biggest release in the agency’s history — made in response to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.The maximum release, some 10 million bpd of crude and about 4 million bpd of refined products, could be sustained during the first month of any coordinated action, the plan says.“This would form a necessary and sensible response to a closure of the strait,” a European diplomat told Reuters. “It wouldn’t take long to put in place if it was required … and would be unlikely to prove controversial amongst the (IEA) membership.”A spokesman for the IEA confirmed that the Paris-based agency has an existing contingency plan that outlines a maximum stock release capability of 14 million bpd for a month. “We’re watching the situation carefully,” he said of Iran.Tehran announced plans on Friday for new military exercises in the world’s most important oil shipping lane, through which some 16 million barrels of crude pass each day.Iranian officials have threatened to block the strait if new sanctions, aimed to discourage Iran’s nuclear programme, harm Tehran’s oil exports.Many oil experts believe the threats are rhetoric aimed at pushing up oil prices in a bid to avert sanctions.Read the full story here.
- Egypt to try Mobinil employees for serving calls to Israel.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: The Egyptian government has sent four Mobinil – the largest telecom operator in the country – employees to a court to face charges of serving the interests of Israel, the country’s top prosecutor’s office said on Monday.The move comes as increase tension between Egypt and Israel continues to grow and the government and the military junta are attempting to appease Islamist gains in elections by cracking down on all dealings with Israel.“The state security prosecutor referred four employees of Mobinil telecom company to the state security court on the charge of passing calls to the benefit of the State of Israel,” the prosecutor said.Mobinil has faced numerous problems in recent months, especially last summer after Mobinil chairman Naguib Sawiris tweeted on his personal Twitter account a cartoon of Mickey Mouse dressed in conservative Islamic dress and Minnie Mouse in full niqab. The result saw some 300,000 users drop service from Mobinil and switch to other providers.Hmmmm......Who do you gonna call?.....JewBusters?Read the full story here.