Laser activity against commercial aircraft now confirmed in Canada

7 March 2008: The Northeast Intelligence Network was one of the first private intelligence sources to issue reports about unusual laser activity against passenger aircraft, having reported on such activity since 2004. The airline industry has been continuously targeted by terrorists in a variety of forms for decades, from “traditional hijackings” to using the aircraft to cause mass casualties.

Within the last few years, a disturbing trend has emerged - the use of high-powered lasers against passenger aircraft, usually on approach to an airport to blind the pilot and copilot in the cockpit with the possible intent to cause a crash. Other theories pertain to the use of lasers as sighting devices for weapons against the aircraft. The FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security have issued official memos warning of laser activity against aircraft. Excerpted from a 2005 joint FBI/JTTF memo:

“Although lasers are not proven methods of attack like improvised explosive devices and hijackings, terrorist groups overseas have expressed interest in using these devices against human sight. In certain circumstances, if laser weapons adversely affect the eyesight of both pilot and co-pilot during a non-instrument approach, there is a risk of airliner crash.”

Yesterday, Canadian officials reported that “at least 33 pilots in Canada, including some flying large commercial airliners, have complained about being flashed in the eyes by bright lights that could be lasers.”

Background/related: 3 January 2005: Airline Threats: North American Aircraft Are Under Attack By High-Powered Lasers

NYC: Early morning “improvised explosive attack similar to previous

Security camera footage of explosion at Times Square

Secondary explosive device reportedly found at scene - undergoing forensic analysis.

Rambling letter, card & photo sent to Congressional offices on Capitol Hill

6 March 2008: Federal officials are reporting that at least eight House Democratic lawmakers received a rambling, 20-page “rant,” a holiday greeting card with the message “Happy New Year, We Did It” on the cards, and a photograph of a man standing by an undamaged recruiting center before the bombing took place. Investigators are currently searching for additional copies of the letters, suggesting that there could be more yet unopened. As a result of the letters, the U.S. Capitol Police are now involved in the investigation along with the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other agencies.

According to an official close to the investigation, the letters did not contain any specific threats and were all postmarked February 28, 2008.

Internal Memo sent to all congressional officesThe Northeast Intelligence Network received and authenticated a copy of the internal memo sent to lawmakers that states the following:

Attention All Members of the Congressional CommunityWithin the past twenty-four hours, a number of letters have begun arriving at various Congressional Offices on Capitol Hill. The letters contain a reference to the military recruiting office in New York City. At this time, none of the letters received have contained any threat to the Congressional Community or Members of Congress.

All of the letters have properly passed through Congressional mail security screening procedures before arriving at various Congressional Offices and have been determined to be safe.

These letters can be identified in the following manner:

All envelopes received have all been manila in color and are approximately five inches by eight inches in size.

All envelopes have two (one dollar) stamps affixed to them and a white label with a return address.

The United States Capitol Police want to preserve any possible evidence. Therefore, in the event that any envelopes arrive at your Congressional Office, please respond in the following manner:

Do not attempt to open the envelopeImmediately contact the USCP Command Center

The Command Center will have an officer dispatched to your office to take possession of the letter. Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, please do not forward this email or release information outside your immediate office.

—————-

6 March 2008: It has a familiar “sound” to it - an early morning blast blows out the front window of a Midtown building. At about 3:45 a.m. today, a “small” explosion set off by an “improvised explosive device” blew out the front window of the Armed Forces recruiting center situated between 43rd and 44th Streets, and Seventh Avenue and Broadway at Times Square. Police and the FBI are investigating, while the Department of Homeland Security is said to be monitoring the situation.

Vehicle and pedestrian traffic was diverted until about 6:45 a.m. as police searched for possible secondary explosive devices. None were found. A motive for the blast was not yet established.

Similarities to 2007 & 2005 explosions

Authorities are looking into a possible connection to two earlier bombings at foreign consulates in Manhattan in 2005 and 2007. According to officials, a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt was seen leaving the scene on a bicycle after this morning’s bombing.

As noted in our report of 27 October 2007, the explosions in 2005 and 2007 had similar MO’s and a similar appearing suspect. At about 3:40 a.m. on 26 October 2007, two hollowed-out hand grenades filled with explosive material detonated outside of the Mexican Consulate located at 27 East 39th Street. At about the same time on 5 May 2005, two crudely made but more powerful improvised explosive devices detonated outside of the British Consulate situated at 845 Third Avenue in East Midtown, shattering windows and damaging a planter.

Each of these attacks were captured on video surveillance. In each case, a man appearing to be in his 20’s, riding a bicycle and wearing a hooded gray jacket was seen and captured on video leaving the scene at the time of the blasts.

The investigation is continuing.

RICIN FOUND AT LAS VEGAS HOTEL

UPDATE/EXCLUSIVE: Law Enforcement Source close to investigation:

“The ONLY purpose for this ricin found here was to produce a deadly toxin… to kill a lot if people”

Vegas mayor pushing hard to downplay incident.

“Federal authorities are ‘watching and waiting’ for symptoms to manifest themselves before notifying public. ‘They don’t want to see panic, and are keeping a tight lid on this until people begin to flood hospitals, die, or the investigation results successfully in finding those behind this.”

29 February 2008 “It’s 100 percent ricin,” according to Capt. Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. That much they know. They don’t know who brought it to a room at the Extended Stay America hotel in Las Vegas, however.

The Northeast Intelligence Network is currently talking with a Nevada law enforcement source and expects to have more information later this morning.

RICIN is 6,000 times more toxic than cyanide and has is no known antidote. One milligram of RICIN - a dose the size of the head of a pin, can kill an adult.

If inhaled, RICIN can cause death in 36 to 48 hours by attacking the respiratory and circulatory systems.

If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting and bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by collapse of the circulatory system.

Click here for CDC facts about RICIN.

UPDATE 1:

SOURCE: Castor beans, acetone, and RICIN powder found; presumptive and subsequent tests POSITIVE for manufactured RICIN…

Federal authorities contacted - looking for “additional quantity of RICIN in powdered form…”

Law enforcement source calls this a “deliberate act” to manufacture RICIN… Cites “two people of interest.”

Stepping back in time:

Ricin found in a Senate office building mail room - February 2004

Al-Zarqawi believed to be behind ricin plot - January 27 2003

…Developing

Dallas cop: “Something was not right”

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

“I’ve been a cop too long not to know that there is something bigger going on here.” – Dallas police officer, referring to orders to “stand down” on Obama security detail.
UPDATE: Deju vu in Dallas? Conspiracy? You decide.
Click HERE to watch YouTube video of JFK Secret Service detail in Dallas on the day of his assassination.
Click HERE to discuss this on the NEIN Blog23 February 2008: Dallas, Texas police officer Donald Strong* could not believe what he was hearing – an order issued by the United States Secret Service to “stand down” at a Wednesday rally at the Reunion Arena where Democratic presidential candidate Barak Obama was to address a crowd of nearly 20,000 people. “About 90 minutes before the start of the event, an order was issued to stop the most basic protective security procedures. We had the manpower - it didn’t make sense,” stated the officer.

A report published in the Star Telegram describes the surprise by several Dallas police officers upon receiving an order to “put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags,” allowing an untold number of people access to the arena without undergoing any security screening. “It was surreal,” stated the Dallas officer to the Northeast Intelligence Network.

The officer also described the statement made by Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, who said that the turnout “seemed to be a friendly crowd” as ridiculous. Lawrence is also head of the Police Department’s Homeland Security and Special Operations divisions.

“I felt that there was something wrong with the order [to stand down] but I was told not concern myself, that it was being handled. But it was not being handled. When I continued to voice my concern, I was told to ‘stay out of it,’” stated the officer, who added that he fears going public with the information could jeopardize his job. Although the rally went forth as planned without incident, Officer Strong believes that there is something else – something more nefarious going on. “The manpower was there – it was not an issue. Why would we be told to stand down? It made no sense. There needs to be an investigation [of this incident] and the individual who ultimately issued the order needs to be identified. I’ve been a cop too long not to know that there is something bigger going on here.”

*The name of the Dallas, Texas police officer changed at his request to protect his identity.

Florida man arrested at Tampa airport

Man had box cutter hidden in hollowed out book boxcutterinbook
Photo courtesy of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority20 February 2008: A 21-year-old man from Clearwater, Florida was arrested at Tampa International Airport last Sunday after TSA officials found a box cutter in a hollowed-out book. Benjamin BAINES Jr., 21, was attempting clear a security checkpoint inside Concourse C when a TSA screener saw the knife inside his backpack. He was attempting to board a Southwest Airlines flight, according to officials.

The box cutter was found when screeners searched the backpack and found the knife inside a hollowed out book called Fear, Itself. A search of his backpack yielded several other items, including violent rap music lyrics reportedly written by BAINES, a copy of the Qu’ran, and other books including Muhammad in the Bible, The Prophet’s Prayer and The Noble Qur’an.

At the time of his arrest, Hillsborough County officials charged BAINES with a single misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon. On Monday, BAINES pleaded guilty to that charge in Hillsborough County court and received a 30-day jail sentence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa also filed a federal charge of attempting to board an aircraft with a concealed dangerous weapon, although the charge was not announced by federal officials until yesterday. If convicted of the federal charge, BAINES faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Special report: Tampa explosion & the strange case of Farid Karakra

18 February 2008 It was around midnight on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 when a series of at least three explosions ripped through Jacob’s Lube & Citgo gas station, convenience store and deli at the corner of Busch and North Boulevards in Tampa, killing 22 year-old Palestinian immigrant Farid I.A. KARAKRA. The station was closed for business at that hour, raising questions about what KARAKRA was doing at his brother-in-law’s automotive repair shop in the middle of the night.

According to law enforcement sources and published reports, KARAKRA, a/k/a Farid YUSIF, went to the station after visiting with some friends at the Al-Aqsa Coffee House, a Middle Eastern coffee shop and popular hangout for Muslims, especially Muslim students who attend the University of South Florida. Investigation indicates that KARKRA left the coffee shop around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, traveling from 10819 56th Street to Citgo at 901 W. Busch Boulevard in Tampa. Within the hour, he would be dead from the burns he suffered in the explosions and subsequent fire.

karakracitgoAccording to residents living near the gas station, the explosions were so large that the concussions shook houses in the area. Valiant attempts to rescue the screaming KARAKRA were made by Alonzo Browne, an employee of a donut shop located across from the station, and by Tampa Police Tampa Officers Ed Croissant and Cpl. Jim Thompson who arrived shortly after the explosions. The heat from the fire following the explosions was so intense, KARAKRA could not be saved. He was ultimately removed from inside the gas station by Tampa Fire personnel, but KARAKRA had already expired.

FBI enters investigation

The circumstances surrounding the deadly explosion on February 5th have been the subject of much initial speculation, fueled by the involvement of the FBI in an event that is normally handled by local fire investigators and law enforcement. The reason for the involvement of the FBI and other federal agencies in this matter, however, is beginning to emerge.

Doug Hagmann, a 23-year veteran investigator and director of the Northeast Intelligence Network has been in contact with a law enforcement source close to this investigation since the incident. This source, speaking on the strict condition of anonymity, stated that “cause and origin investigators have all but ruled out that the explosions were caused by gasoline or other flammable sources that would routinely be found in a normal service station setting.”

During a telephone interview this weekend, this source stated that “they [investigators] found nothing related to the operation of the service station that could reasonably be the cause for the explosions, especially after an assessment of damage to the interior of the building caused by the explosions. The explosions were very powerful and based on the internal reports I’ve read and the investigators I’ve talked to, were inconsistent with a normal gas vapor cause. The blast damage to the interior of the building’s structure was significant,” stated this source. The description of the damage to the building mirrored some witnesses who said that “the roof blew off the place.”

Publicly, law enforcement officials have yet to comment on the cause of the explosions. Rumors that forensic examiners investigating the blast site found traces of a certain compounds “not indigenous to” or normally found at automotive service stations have not been publicly confirmed. Nonetheless, this law enforcement source confided to this investigator that trace evidence collected from the scene has been analyzed “by the feds.” While the results of those tests have not been released, this source is reporting that trace evidence tested positive for the presence of an explosive material, but declined to identify the material to avoid potentially compromising the ongoing investigation.

Who was Farid KARAKRA?

karakraFarid I.A KARAKRA, who resided on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Tampa at the time of his death, entered the U.S. from the West Bank about four years ago on a student visa to attend the University of Miami. He moved in with his sister and brother-in-law and took a job as a mechanic at his brother-in-law’s shop at the Citgo on Busch Boulevard. He quickly made friends through a local mosque and Islamic center, and at the Al-Aqsa Coffee Shop.

Allegedly, KARAKRA was to be married in June to a young girl currently residing in New York. Hi fiancé did not attend the funeral, which was held at the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay, 7326 E. Slight Avenue, Tampa, Florida.

Curiosity surrounds KARAKRA and his activities since his arrival in the U.S., including but not limited to charges filed against him for the possession of fraudulent identification. He was arrested in Florida last year for having a false ID, although the charges were reduced from a felony to summary status when the matter was adjudicated. And then there is the matter of a possible connection between KARAKRA and the high-profile investigation of two USF students arrested last year for possession of explosives.

Following the news of the explosion, rumors within law enforcement suggested a possible connection between KARAKRA and the two University of South Florida students who were arrested last August in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Yousef MEGAHED, 21, and Ahmed MOHAMED, 24 were arrested and charged with possessing explosives in their vehicle. Their arrests are surrounded by controversy clouded by contradicting public statements made federal law enforcement agencies as well as those by officials from the Council on American Islamic Relations. Both men are currently awaiting trial.

According to the information offered by the law enforcement source interviewed this weekend, there appears to be substantiation of rumors that there was “some connection” between the deceased KARAKRA and the two USF students. The possible connection reportedly stems from “a social network” at the Al-Aqsa Coffee House, where many patrons celebrated the acquittal of USF professor Sami al Arian in December 2005.

“There has been an extensive ‘social network’ of young Muslim men in the Tampa area for a long time. Many people don’t understand that this ‘network’ gained a sense of being impervious to investigation that began with the acquittal of al-Arian,” stated this source, noting that this perception has caused investigators some difficulty recently. “Al Arian’s acquittal was seen as one ‘turning point’ that took the wind out of the government’s investigations into the financing of terrorism and related cases.”

What caused the massive explosions that ripped though an otherwise quiet night in Tampa almost three weeks ago? As suggested by the law enforcement source speaking to this investigator, don’t expect much information to be made public by federal authorities working on this case. As with most such cases, news about this case will eventually be absorbed into the fabric of an impotent media combined with public malaise about potential terrorism activities inside the U.S.

Massive explosion rocks Texas oil refinery

18 February 2008: A massive explosion rocked the ALON oil refinery in Big Spring, Texas shortly after 8:00 a.m. local time today, blowing out windows and shaking houses and businesses up to 25 miles away. Despite the magnitude of the explosion and fire, officials are reporting that eleven people were injured from the blast at the refinery, one critically, a toll likely minimized by the President’s Day holiday.

ALON employs about 170 people and produces about 70,000 barrels a day. A Dallas based company, ALON is a majority owned company by ALON Israel Oil Co. Ltd. Although no cause for the explosion has been determined, this refinery has reportedly been the target of surveillance within the last 18 months, by at least two men of Middle Eastern appearance.

Given the recent threats by Islamic terrorists to U.S. and Israeli assets in the U.S. and abroad in retaliation for the death of top Islamic terrorist Imad Fayez Mughniyeh, the Northeast Intelligence Network will continue to monitor events pertaining to this explosion.

Trailer & $70,000 explosives stolen in Detroit

4 February 2008: A trailer containing about $70,000 worth of high-tech fireworks used during player introductions at Detroit Pistons basketball games was discovered stolen early Sunday morning in the Detroit suburb of Warren, Michigan. The still-missing trailer is described as a 20’ 2001 Haulmark brand tow-behind style trailer bearing Michigan plate A294612. It is silver on the back and sides, blue on the front with a diamond checkered plate.

The trailer was taken sometime Saturday from an industrial parking area located near Dequindre and 14 Mile Road in an industrial parking lot in Warren, north of the city of Detroit, Michigan. The trailer contained pyrotechnics called dragons, which shoot flames skyward and concussive explosions “that easily could blow off body parts,” and tanks of propane gas.

The trailer and its contents is owned by a company identified as Band-Ayd. Through its president Nino De Benedetti, Band Ayd is offering a $5,000 “no questions asked” reward for return of the trailer and its contents. Warren police are investigating the theft. Anyone with information is asked to contact Warren Police Detective Sgt. Dan Beck at 586-574-4776.

Armed man with bomb components in pick-up arrested near U.S. Capitol

19 January 2008: A man armed with a shotgun and samurai sword was arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police yesterday as he walked in Lower Senate Park around 1 p.m., heading toward the Capitol building. Michael Steven GORBEY, 38, also reportedly parked a green pick-up truck with a hard bed cover and bearing Utah registration just outside of the secured area around the Capitol, near the Brotherhood of Teamsters building. A search of the vehicle found bomb components, including but not limited to tanks of propane and parts making a detonation device. GORBEY, previously incarcerated on felony charges, was charged by police on one count of illegally possessing a firearm, although the investigation is continuing and more charges are expected.

Research conducted by the Northeast Intelligence Network has confirmed that GORBEY has multiple addresses and a significant criminal record. Our investigation is continuing.

Two state car chase - man claims to have explosives

9 January 2008: Yousef Abdel ADHAMI, (a/k/a Joseph ADHAMI), 38, who lists his address as 2110 Market Street, Youngstown, Ohio was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police on Monday following a car chase that began in Ohio and ended in a brief standoff in Pennsylvania after ADHAMI claimed to have a bomb strapped to his chest. The suspect was arrested early Tuesday morning by Pennsylvania State Police in a cornfield along PA Route 318, west of Greenfield Road in Lackawannock Township.

Police from Hubbard Township, Ohio began chasing ADHAMI late Monday night, notifying Pennsylvania State Police shortly before 11:00 pm. They picked up the chase and ultimately stopped ADHAMI after he drove his Dodge Neon into a cornfield and threatened to set off explosives. After searching ADHAMI and finding a solid object on his person, police summoned the Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit from Pittsburgh, PA. Officers from that unit searched the suspect and his vehicle, finding no explosives.

ADHAMI was taken into custody and is charged with fleeing police, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction. His bail was set at $75,000 after he was arraigned by District Justice Lorinda Hinch. He is currently in the Mercer County Jail.

According to the police source speaking to the Northeast Intelligence Network on the condition of anonymity, ADHAMI is no stranger to law enforcement. He was stopped by Ohio Highway Patrol on 29 June 2000 for traveling 85 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 76, west of SR 534. He is also awaiting trial in Ohio on charges of petty theft, stemming from an arrest on 28 December 2007 by the Austintown Police Department.

According to property records, the address used by ADHAMI is a used car lot owned by AWAMAN Enterprises, Inc. The Northeast Intelligence Network is continuing to investigate this incident.