Archive for January, 2007

Bin Laden brother-in-law shot dead in Madagascar

31 January 2007: Jamal KHALIFA, the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden and precious gem broker by profession, was shot by unknown assailants and killed in Madagascar, according to his family. According to published reports, a group of about 20-30 armed men broke into the room where he slept just before dawn at a precious stone mine owned and executed him in bed. The group also reportedly stole all of KHALIFA’S personal belongings, according to a source on Al-Arabiya Television. KHALIFA has steadfastly denied being associated with his infamous brother-in-law, Osama bin Laden.

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Suspicious Packages” found in multiple, separate strategic locations in Boston

31 January 2007; 3:12 p.m. ET: Early Wednesday morning, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority was alerted to a “suspicious package” located on an elevated structure above the Sullivan Square MBTA station. It was placed above the busway on a column that supports Interstate 93 in the Charlestown section of Boston and discovered by a transit passenger at about 8 a.m.

The Massachusetts State Police bomb squad was called and detonated the package just before 10:00 a.m., noting that the package contained an electronic circuit board with some components that were “consistent with an improvised explosive device,” but it contained no explosives. Authorities are conducting an investigation into how the package got there and when it was placed, according to WCVB-TV in Boston. But the story should not end there.

Now, additional packages have been found in separate locations in strategic areas in Boston, causing massive headaches to mass transit and appearing to target the infrastructure in Boston.

Investigators from The Northeast Intelligence Network have been compiling data about such incidents over the last three years, carefully filtering the data to remove the confirmed innocuous incidents, such as the relatively small number of people who have come forward to reclaim their package, identify the contents (or in some cases, the remnants, post-controlled detonation), or admit their forgetfulness, offering their full cooperation to authorities. The bad news, however, is that they comprise only a small fraction of such incidents.

The incidents currently developing in Boston should be of significant concern, especially considering their locations and contents. Absent of the possibility of an elaborate “hoax” in this event, such incidents could well be part of an ongoing pattern that conforms to a series of events that may fall under the concept of “dry runs” for response assessment by terrorists, potential diversionary tactics, or worse.

UPDATE 4:00 P.M.: In at least one of the suspicious packages, a cartoon character made of plastic components and formed - almost in a style reminiscent of the toy “Lite Brite” - to appear as “err” from the “adult” animated cartoon series Aqua Teen Hunger Force (also known as ATHF or Aqua Teen) shown on the Cartoon Network.

Although at least this package, and likely more packages - are related and appear to be part of an elaborate hoax, the situation does not dismiss the potential that not all suspicious packages are related, or diminish the actual public threat.

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Sooner Rather Than Later: Iranian Shahab-6 ICBM

UPDATED 30 JANUARY 2007

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs

27 January 2007: According to a pre-release article by Craig Covault, the upcoming 29 January 2007 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine will reveal that Iran has converted it’s North Korean-cloned Shabhab-3 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile into a satellite launch vehicle. According to a strategic analysis done by GlobalSecurity.Org, Iran conducted a successful test of its large IRIS solid propellant rocket motor in mid-2005. If these assessments are accurate, and there is no reason at this point to dismiss them, then the beast sitting on an Iranian launch pad today may very well be proof of the existence of Iran’s Shahab-6 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. The Shahab-6 is a weapon system specifically designed and capable of delivering an Iranian nuclear warhead to virtually anywhere on earth. It is a virtual clone of the North Korean Taepo-Dong 2C/3 ICBM which allegedly failed in a much publicized test in July 2006.

This technological leap is nothing less than stunning. Just twenty-two months ago, on March 17, 2005, the Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, made public a statement for the record to the Senate Armed Service Committee,

“We judge Iran will have the technical capability to develop an ICBM by 2015. It is not clear whether Iran has decided to field such a missile.”

Such an astounding technological leap makes the sudden appearance of the Soviet Union’s orbiting Sputnik satellite in October 1957 absolutely pale in comparison. A little further back in the same text we read,

Iran is likely continuing nuclear weapon-related endeavors in an effort to become the dominant regional power and deter what it perceives as the potential for US or Israeli attacks. We judge Iran is devoting significant resources to its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs”

As referenced above, and based upon the physical reality sitting on an Iranian launch pad this morning, it would appear that the overall sum of the significant resources invested by Iran has more than adequately funded the long-term missile proliferation and advanced technology transfer programs of Red China, Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, as well as a few western nations. These technology transfers have enabled Iran to leap-frog at least 8 years worth of indigenous development, as well as prove totally inaccurate - if not make a complete mockery of - the best official, unclassified intelligence assessment from the U.S. Government yet made public about Iranian missile capabilities. In fact, such a flawed assessment brings into serious doubt the assessment regarding Iranian nuclear weapons progress.

I have been reading the 2004 assessment done by Aharon Etengoff, editor of the website weaponssurvey.com, titled “2004 Middle East Nuclear Update”. This outstanding assessment by Etengoff, a former staffer with the IDF Spokesmen’s Office, covers both nuclear and missile developments for a host of Middle Eastern nations, including Iran. It is based upon open source intelligence (OSINT) media reporting. Within the past three years and having read these same OSINT reports (I read copious amounts of such data 24/7/365), and I arrived at the same assessments and have so stated them publicly and privately, as well as on this website. This document should be reviewed in its entirety by all interested parties.

Among some of the nuclear-related information within this body of research is the following gem. “In February 2004, media reports indicated that IAEA inspectors had discovered traces of polonium-210, an element that can be used as neutron initiator in certain designs of nuclear weapons.”

In light of recent events, the purposes and/or recent uses of this highly radioactive substance have been discussed by the Northeast Intelligence Network at length. Note the discovery of Polonium-210 in Iran occurred nearly three years ago. Since Iran is not known to possess a working nuclear reactor or particle accellerator - where from did Iran acquire this Polonium-210? Obviously, a nuclear materials proliferator. Russia, Red China, North Korea or even the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network run from within Pakistan are not likely to confess to such transfers, but they are without question the most probable sources. Combine this knowledge with the nuclear weapon plutonium core to be produced at Iran’s Khondab heavy-water reactor in Arak, or highly enriched uranium (HEU), and know that its destiny lies in a warhead perched atop an Iranian Shahab-6 ICBM.

Regarding advanced missile technology proliferation Etengoff provides us with the following paragraph, an exceptional compilation of OSINT data. The bottom line assessment of this paragraph is exactly correct and the focus of this article.

In October 2001, John Kyl, the ranking Republican on the Senate Sub-Committee on Technology, stated that China was providing Iran with the technology to mount nuclear warheads on missiles. In October 2002, Haâaretz reported that North Korea was testing long-range missiles in Iran, and in June 2003, U.S. intelligence officials disclosed that North Korea was exporting missiles to Iran via air routes. In July 2003, an Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman confirmed that Iran had successfully conducted the final test of its Shahab 3 medium-range missile. In August 2003, a Japanese newspaper reported that North Korea was negotiating with Iran over the export of its Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile and the possibility of jointly developing nuclear warheads. In January 2004, the Iranian Defense Minister stated that Iran intended to become “the first Islamic country to find a way into the space beyond the Earth’s atmosphere with its own satellite and indigenous launch-system. It should be noted that such a launch-system would be equivalent to long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capability, and would serve as a ‘civilian’ cover for an advanced weapons system.”

Indeed it would. And now, according to the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Mr. Alaoddin Boroujerdi, the obviously dual-purpose launch vehicle sitting on the Iranian launch pad “will liftoff soon”. Sooner rather than later the Iranian Shahab-6 ICBM is close to becoming a reality. As twin American armadas of surface and sub-surface naval combatants approach the Persian Gulf region, I just have to wonder, is an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) cruiser or destroyer among the surface combatants? Interesting thought nonetheless. The fact is that the policy of the United States is that Iran will not be joining the ranks of nuclear weapons capable states - ever. Can we assume that the delivery vehicles of such Iranian weapons will be allowed to exist in 2007, or at least retarded long enough to fit the current 2015 DIA guesstimate? Stay tuned.

UPDATE

The full Aviation Week & Space Technology article went up yesterday. With the development of this payload launch capability no ambiguity remains whatsoever regarding Iran’s hell bent quest for a global nuclear first strike capability.

But this is not the sum total of Iranian offensive nuclear desires. As the AW&ST article notes, and as DefenseNews.com reported in December 2005, Iran reportedly acquired a total of 18 North Korean BM-25 ballistic missiles. According to some data I have seen, the BM-25 is a land mobile variant of the ex-Soviet submarine-launched nuclear missile, variously known as the SS-N-6 (NATO NAME: Serb) or R-27 (Raketa 27). The SS-N-6 was a nuclear first-strike capable missile deployed on Soviet Yankee-class ballistic missile submarines which routinely parked themselves in deep water off the US east coast. The SS-N-6/R-27 came in three variants. Variants 1 and 2 carried a single nuclear warhead with a 600 kiloton to 1 megaton yield. Variant 3 was a MIRV, or multiple, independent re-entry vehicle, which had three nuclear warheads of approximately 450 kilotons each.

Citing a German BND intelligence source the German newspaper Bild, reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad decided the range of the reconfigured Iranian variant of the BM-25 was to be increased from 800 miles to more than 2,000 miles. Here we find a strong clue to the greater scope of the Iranian effort.

First, let me say that I do not believe that the”satellite launcher” sitting on the Iranian launch pad is a BM-25. In analysis of all pertinent data I note that the length of a BM-25/SS-N-6 is just 31 feet and it weighs 14.2 tons. Remember, it was designed to be launched from a submarine. What is apparently on the Iranian launch pad is at least 100 feet in length and reportedly weighs an estimated 25 to 30 tons. Iran says “satellite launcher”, I say ICBM.

However, regarding the BM-25, and as acknowledged by former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, Iran has conducted exploratory ballistic missile tests by firing them while at sea from the hold of what appears to be an ordinary cargo freighter. The new Iranian variant of the BM-25 missile when fitted into the hull of an Iranian freighter would be a doomsday, first strike weapon system not very different in mission objective than that of the Soviet missile submarines parked off the US east coast.

Theoretically speaking, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad’s plan to increase the BM-25’s range to over 2,000 miles would make sense in that Iran would be able, with little or no warning, to target anywhere in the USA with a 600 kT to 1 MT nuclear warhead, if launched from such an Iranian cargo freighter in the vicinity of Cuba, and the entire eastern half of the USA if launched from the vicinity of Venezuela. In this capacity such a weapon system is meant to start a war.

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Survey: 1 in 8 Muslims in UK “prepared to fight the West”

29 January 2007: Forty percent of Muslims between the ages 16-24 living in Great Britain hold strong anti-Western views, according to a just released report titled Living Together Apart: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism, issued by the UK-based think tank Policy Exchange. According to the report, this emerging generation would prefer to live under Sharia law in Great Britain, which is a purely Islamic legal system based on the teachings of the Qu’ran. A “significant minority” expressed support for Islamic terrorism; one in eight young Muslims admitted their admiration for terrorist groups like al Qaeda and said they “are prepared to fight the West.”

The Policy Exchange report also notes the growing adherence to Islamic orthodox beliefs, with 36 percent of those surveyed saying they believe that a Muslim who converts from Islam to any other religion should be “punished by death.”

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The Jihadist Challenge To America

“Americans also ought to take notice of the fact that no Islamic leaders, anywhere in the world, have clearly condemned jihadists. Time and again when asked directly whether they condemn the practice of jihad, Islamic leaders everywhere fail to clearly state their opposition to it.”- L. John Van Til, Ph.D.

By L. John Van Til, Ph.D.

29 January 2007: Last fall I visited Dearborn, Michigan to attend a high school class reunion. I arrived early enough to drive around my old neighborhood. To my surprise, it had become almost totally an Arab population. Every business I passed displayed Arab-English signs, and on the front lawn of one of Dearborn’s public schools was a 5-by 7 foot “Peaceful Ramadan” sign. Apparently, the Supreme Court’s rules about religious symbols on public school property are not honored in Dearborn. After settling in to visit with old classmates, the conversation eventually turned to the size and nature of Dearborn’s Arab community.

I told them about my profile of Osama bin Laden and about his Declaration of War against the West - in particular, against the United States and Israel. We also discussed the Danish cartoon issue and how, in my view, that issue had laid bare the underlying strategy of the huge, worldwide jihad movement —i.e., war against Jews and Christians.

Indeed, reaction to the cartoons demonstrated how extensive jihad influence had become in the West, especially in Europe. After a few days’ hesitation, during which millions of Muslims around the world proclaimed their indignation most European editors pronounced the cartoons distasteful and refused to publish them. And what was the jihad strategy in this situation? Its leaders wished to suppress free speech around the world in the name of Islam.

I also told my friends that there were three or four basic facets of Islam that ought to concern all Americans. The most important of these is its transnational nature - a little known characteristic of Islam. It refers to Islam’s claim that it always stands above the laws of every nation because it is ultimately a religious rather than political movement.

Westerners need to understand that there is no distinction in Islam between religion and politics, no separation of church and state. Thus, in the case of the recent American supported constitutions of Afghanistan and Iraq - constitutions loudly proclaimed to be democratic - each has a clause stating that Islamic law transcends all other laws. This means for them, and all Muslims with few exceptions, that they have a greater loyalty to Islam and its worldwide goals than they do to the nation in which they happen to live. My friends obviously wondered where ultimate loyalty lay among Muslims in America.

Second, Muslim countries have produced millions of young men who are trained in the “virtues” of jihad. They are happy - no, overjoyed - to support jihad as they ponder eternity with scores of young virgins for their personal entertainment. Parenthetically, it is striking to note that in Islamic countries, birthrates are two to three times greater than among European natives. Surely this spells doom for Europe in the next decade or two. This is another example of the old axiom: Demographics are decisive in defining the future.

Americans also ought to take notice of the fact that no Islamic leaders, anywhere in the world, have clearly condemned jihadists. Time and again when asked directly whether they condemn the practice of jihad, Islamic leaders everywhere fail to clearly state their opposition to it. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that many mosque leaders in the West actively support jihad efforts since Osama bin Laden and his kin went on the war-path in the late 1980s. Jihadists and their supporters are engaged in a religious war against the West, something Washington leaders avoid stating.

This war is but a late chapter in the 1,300-year fight Islam has waged against all non-Muslims, the medieval crusades being the most notorious example.

I wondered how our elected leaders in Washington could be so slow to understand the meaning of the bombing of the USS Cole and embassies in Africa, not to mention the first attempt to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993. And then 9-11 happened. It certainly is accurate to call the jthadists terrorists as the president does, but that is not enough! It would convey more of a sense of urgency for the president to call these radical Islamic acts “jihads” because they are another chapter in the on-going religious war against the West by radical Muslims. Likely that designation would not be politically correct, or even multi-culturally correct.

Will it take another 9-11 or worse to wake up the American people to the fact that we are in a serious struggle for the survival of our civilization?

L. John Van Til, Ph.D., is a Fellow for Law & Humanities with the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The Northeast Intelligence Network is proud to feature his writings.

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Internet Magazine Sawt Al-Jihad (”Voice of Jihad”) Return Announced

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

28 January 2007: This weekend, a number of Arabic language Islamist web sites announced the return of the Internet magazine Sawt {Sout} al-Jihad, or “Voice of Jihad,” the twice monthly online publication related primarily to ideological and doctrinal issues concerning the Mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula. The magazine made its debut in 2003 and was published alternately with the publication known as the Mu’askar al-Battar, more commonly known as al-Battar Training Camp, a publication that dealt specifically with paramilitary training for Islamic terrorists engaged in jihad. Online distribution of the Sawt al-Jihad magazine was first interrupted in October 2004, an indication, according to some experts, that the Mujahideen was experiencing difficulty operating in Saudi Arabia due to an effective security campaign by Saudi officials. The magazine reappeared on April 27, 2005 with a 50-page edition entitled al-Samidun (The Steadfast).

Meanwhile, new publications named Majallat al-Fath (Conquest Magazine) and Dhurwat al-Sanam (The Pinnacle) began appearing in iraq following the difficulties experienced by the Voice of Jihad. Both of the latter magazines imitated the Voice of Jihad and Camp al Battar series.

This weekend’s announcement was made through the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) and could possibly be interpreted as a strengthening of the Mujahideen’s ability to operate in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula.

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The subtle emergence of “home-grown terrorists”

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

27 January 2007: The case of 20 year-old Juan Rafael DIAZ of Kissimmee, Florida is receiving scant media attention. Perhaps it is because nothing blew up, or maybe it is because of his boyish, non-threatening appearance, and possibly, few would believe that this young man would actually have the means to carry out the things he threatened to do. DIAZ is currently in the Osceola County Jail after leaving a series of threatening notes at a number of locations, including the First Christian Church that stated:

first-christain-photo-2Above: First Christian Church, Kissimmee, Florida, reported target of Juan Rafael DIAZ
Photograph by Randy Taylor ©2007“The city of Kissimmee is going to be bombed by al Qaeda, God willing.”
The Northeast Intelligence Network reported on this incident as it began to unfold this week, but hardly anyone seemed too concerned over the matter, despite the references to al Qaeda, and despite that one of the intended targets of his bombings is a Christian Church. Although it might be concluded through an investigation that DIAZ is incapable of carrying out acts, or perhaps found that he is simply mentally incompetent, there is a larger issue that we must not ignore: the profile of the “home-grown” terrorist.

As counter-terrorism analyst Randy Taylor succinctly stated about this matter, “someone put these thoughts into this kid’s head.” Exactly. Mr. Taylor should know, as he sees the ideology of Islamic jihad spreading throughout the Internet in his daily research and investigations. In fact, all analysts, investigators and researchers of the Northeast Intelligence Network have seen ample Islamic terrorist propaganda that is being spread throughout the Internet, much of it directed to recruiting, training and motivating people inside North America, encouraging them to join the cause of Islamic jihad. From the partially successful, if only temporary disembodiment and disruption of the operational aspects of Islamic terrorist groups like al Qaeda, the emergence of the “home-grown terrorist” is becoming more evident.

In general, the profile of a “home-grown” Muslim terrorist is a Muslim who was born and raised in the U.S., has no previous inclinations towards crimes of violence, no (or relatively minor) criminal history, yet suddenly appears active in terrorist-related activities. The only common factor linking “home-grown” Muslim terrorists is their belief in Islamic jihad, and that jihad is duty of the orthodox Muslim in the war against the U.S. and the West. Most individuals who fit this profile often surprise even those who seem to know them well, such as their friends and neighbors.

Using materials readily available on Islamic terrorist web sites, or in some cases, receiving training from Muslims who have underwent paramilitary training and have relocated inside the U.S., these home grown terrorists share ideas and gain inspiration from these same sources. In most cases, these home grown terrorists are self-executing, not relying on direct instructional commands from any organized terrorist organization.

The speed at which these growing number of individuals or loosely knit groups of people with seemingly no ties to al Qaeda or other Islamic terrorist organizations, and no previous history or propensity to violence are popping up is causing law enforcement to do a “double-take.” Despite its apparent suddenness, however, it has been brewing for some time. Examples of “home-grown terrorists” are becoming more plentiful, and can be found in the numbers of Muslim-Americans who have been arrested since 9/11, including but not limited to loose knit groups such as the men arrested last June for plotting to destroy Chicago’s Sears Tower and other public buildings.

Another, more recent example can be found in the story of Derrick Shareef, a/k/a Talib Abu Salam Ibn Shareef, who planned to set off at least four and possibly more hand grenades and improvised explosive devices at the CherryVale Shopping Mall on December 23, 2006. Other, less evident examples can be identified by the targets of choice, including Christian Churches and Jewish Synagogues.

We can laugh off these seemingly amateurish plots like that of Juan Rafael DIAZ and dismiss them as being non-threatening, or we can more appropriately recognize them as a warning sign of events to come. We can get caught up in the misdirection of Muslim organizations and their representatives, who seem to be purposely shifting the focus away from the existence and persuasive “Islamic call to jihad” by discounting a person or group’s ability to carry out terrorist acts. When talking to the media about the arrest of the group of Muslim men who planned to bomb the Sears tower and other buildings, M. Ali Khan, the director of the American Muslim Council in Chicago was quoted: “But… did they have the means to do what they were talking about?”

Mr. M. Ali Khan, much like other Muslim leaders, appears quick to discount the intent of the men, the existence of the growing numbers of Muslims who are embracing the cause of jihad against the U.S., the existence of pro-Muslim, anti-Western web sites that serve to recruit, train and motivate Muslims in the West, and even the existence of Muslim religious leaders who tacitly endorse such activities. Instead, Mr. Khan redirects the focus on whether the group had the ability to carry out their plot at the time of their arrest. Many people have apparently accepted this argument, one that could have applied to the 19 hijackers months or even weeks before 9/11. And we all know what happened on that day.

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Iraqi terrorists dressed & posing as U.S. Security Force kill 4 GIs

27 January 2007: About a dozen Iraqi terrorists, dressed in U.S. military uniforms, speaking English and driving in at least two black GMC Suburban SUVs, abducted four U.S. soldiers last week after entering a US compound - then shot 3 of them to death and left a fourth critically wounded with a bullet wound to his head. That soldier died enroute to the hospital. A fifth soldier was killed at the U.S. compound at the time of the abduction. The murdered soldiers were found about 25 miles from Karbala, south of Baghdad.

The military confirmed that the attack on the compound took place on January 20th, and also confirmed that two of the dead soldiers were handcuffed together inside an SUV while a third soldier was found on the ground. The attack was described as surprisingly sophisticated.

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Explosives found in Florida home of man threatening to detonate bombs by al Qaeda

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

“The city of Kissimmee is going to be bombed by al Qaeda, God willing.” - Juan Rafael Diaz

DIAZ, Juan Rafael; D.O.B: 24 January 1987

DIAZ, Juan Rafael; D.O.B: 24 January 1987

25 January 2007: Explosives and homemade bombs were found in the Kissimmee, Florida home of Juan Rafael DIAZ, 20, who threatened to blow up at least one Christian church other locations throughout Kissimmee. DIAZ reportedly left notes on vehicles parked at the Moose Lodge located on North Main Street and on a vehicle parked at the First Christian Church located at 415 North Main Street in Kissimmee. According to police sources, every note left at the various locations referenced al Qaeda along with the threats to detonate explosives at those locations, specifically stating:

“The city of Kissimmee is going to be bombed by al Qaeda, God willing.”Diaz, pictured above, was arrested in December for placing a written note threatening to detonate a bomb at SaveRite, 1532 West Vine Street in Kissimmee. He was out on bond at the time of his most recent arrest. Police have charged DIAZ with threatening to discharge a destructive device and making, possessing and using a destructive device and is now back in the Osceola County Jail.

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Iraq’s Studious Terrorists

24 January 2007: News that al-Qaida in Iraq plotted to smuggle terrorists into the U.S. using student visas, the entry vehicle of choice for terrorists worldwide, makes the deal to mint 21,000 new visas for Saudi students all the more insane.

The terror-exporting plot was revealed earlier this month in an unclassified statement the Defense Intelligence Agency chief submitted to the Senate.

“Documents captured in a raid on an al-Qaida safe house in Iraq revealed AQI was planning terrorist operations in the U.S.,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Maples.

The plot was disrupted when AQI leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed last year. But the risk remains. Saudis make up most of the foreign terrorists captured or killed in Iraq, so chances are high they’d be tapped for any martyrdom missions to attack the U.S. in the future.

Complete article

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