Category Archives: Terrorism

The new approach to jihad – oh my!!

I have already mentioned this case, where two potential jihadists who wanted to set fire to Jewish synagogues and blow up the Empire State building were captured, and today there are new revelations about one of them. He was a smart dresser and he worked behind a cosmetics counter at Saks fifth avenue. Another salient point about this would be assassin is that he wanted to be a model and an actor.

Whilst it is somewhat easy to make guesses about individuals who dress in white, have a beard and wear a white skull cap, it is a very different story when the potential jihadist is dressing in a very snappy style. He was no doubt hoping to blend in with the population and escape detection. This is just food for thought due to the increased risk and potential for another disaster like the bringing down of the twin towers of the WTC.

There is an extremely detailed news report at the DailyMail UK site, and I suggest that if you do not get this information in the USA that you should take a read of it.

Both individuals already had a criminal record, and had been arrested for burglary. The dapper gentleman was also involved in drug dealing. The police in New York had been on to both of them for some time. It was not a recently hatched plot.

Judge orders FBI to search for missing Murrah bldg tapes

The person bringing the action is the brother of Kenneth Trentadue who died in mysterious circumstances in prison, the day after the OKC Murrah bldg bombing.  If you click on the links you will see that the man was beaten prior to being strangled, and I doubt he committed suicide in prison. Trentadue must have known something that the FBI did not want to get out, and thus could be considered victim nr 169 in the bombing.

Trentadue has made an FOI request seeking the video tapes from surrounding buildings that appear to be missing.

As you would be aware, Jayna Davis, a reporter was on the spot at the time, and her investigations has led to the naming of Iraqi Hussein al-Husseini as being John Doe #2, a fact that is denied by the FBI in an attempt to cover up details as ordered by the Clinton Administration.

The fact that McVeigh faced the death penalty so very quickly is enough to make one feel suspicious. McVeigh knew things that he did not discuss at his trial. He never revealed the name of the man who was seen with him. Witnesses have placed a man of Middle Eastern appearance in his company at the time of the bombing. I doubt that Terry Nicols was capable of building a bomb that had the strength to do that much damage. There must be others involved in the plot, and the FBI has been covering up all of these years.

Guess which religion and other affiliations – lone wolf? I doubt that

The Australian ABC has a link to a story about the arrest of some Presbyterians who were going to blow up some synagogues and the Empire State Building. Of course when you see the names of the suspects who are from Middle Eastern countries, but are now American citizens, you will probably guess correctly that these are not your everyday loving Presbyterians…. Lutherans? Catholics? Amish? Jews?…. Nah…. go on take a guess….

They were caught after one of them purchased a gun and other equipment. Their intention was to blow up a series of synagogues as well as the Empire State building:

New York police commissioner Ray Kelly says the pair were caught when Ferhani bought two semi-automatic pistols, a handgun and a hand grenade from an undercover police officer.

“Just before Ferhani was apprehended he said he wanted to obtain more handguns, silencers, a box of hand grenades, bullet-resistant vests and police radios,” he said.

“By way of explanation, Ferhani said … he was fed up with the way Muslims were being treated around the world – ‘They are treating us like dogs’.”

Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance described the men as Islamist extremists.

“They did it for jihad, something they referred simply to as ‘the cause’, which meant the violence and armed fight against Israel, Jews and other non-Muslims and the West,” he said.

“They are charged with engaging in this conspiracy as a crime of terrorism.”

Despite the sensitive timing, authorities have found no direct ties between the men and Al Qaeda or any other operational terrorist group but say they were “home-grown lone wolves”.

Mr Vance says the transcripts of Ferhani’s conversations are “frightening”.

“While this defendant is not charged at this time with membership in any terrorist cell, make no mistake, he was very clear about what he wanted to do – get guns, get explosives, blow up synagogues and kill Jews,” he said.

“He was committed to violent jihad and his plans become bigger and more violent with each passing week.”

Major terrorism cases are generally investigated by the FBI. This is the first time a state terrorism law brought in after September 11 has been used to address a terrorist threat in New York City.

More on the real travel risks

As outlined in another post, I believe that there are real and tangible risks involved with train travel. I based my comments on the observations that I made when travelling in upstate New York, and then from Vancouver to Los Angeles. The way that I saw the problem is that there is little in the way of security in those smaller rail stations. I should add here that it was only at Vancouver in Canada where there were any serious checks of our luggage.  However, I think it would be difficult to execute a large rail disaster as proposed by material that was gathered up in the raid on the compound at Abbottabad, and the reason that I think that this is the case is due to the fact that there are very few longer trips per day. Take for example the trip from Seattle to Los Angeles. It is a two day trip that departs at around 10.00 am. and it arrives in Los Angeles late in the evening. The delays we experienced were due to the track buckling in the heat (record temperatures in 2009) and because freight trains receive precedence.  It would be very difficult to predict exactly when the passenger train would reach a certain spot because of the unpredictable timing of freight trains.

That being said, the greater danger is on the metropolitan trains, and this is the point taken up by Doug Powers on the Michelle Malkin site. 

A senator on Sunday called for a “no-ride list” for Amtrak trains after intelligence gleaned from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound pointed to potential attacks on the nation’s train system.

Sen. Charles Schumer said he would push as well for added funding for rail security and commuter and passenger train track inspections and more monitoring of stations nationwide.

“Circumstances demand we make adjustments by increasing funding to enhance rail safety and monitoring on commuter rail transit and screening who gets on Amtrak passenger trains, so that we can provide a greater level of security to the public,” the New York Democrat said at a news conference.

U.S. officials last week said evidence found after the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan indicated the al Qaeda leader or his associates had engaged in discussions or planning for a possible attack on a train inside the United States on September 11, 2011

Jihadi rail attacks have been a threat for more than a decade here and around the world, dating back to the 1997 NYC subway bombing plot and reaching all corners of Western civilization from Russia to Spain to London.

As I noted back in 2005, KSM’s interrogations yielded details of some of these ongoing bloody schemes. In March 2004, from Terror on the Trains and Al Qaeda’s Chechen Connection, Josh Lefkowitz and Lorenzo Vidino of the Investigative Project reported:

In the United States, the rail network has also been repeatedly targeted. On July 31, 1997, the NYPD launched a pre-dawn raid on an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, after receiving information that two men living in the apartment planned to bomb the New York City subway system. During the raid, police discovered nail-studded pipe bombs, one of which, in the words of a senior law enforcement official, was “all set and ready to go.” NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir remarked, “these individuals intended to take these bombs onto subway trains, set them off, and the probability is that they and many others would have been killed.”

The vulnerability of the New York City subway system again came into focus in September 2003, when Time magazine reported that Saudi Arabia had detained a terrorist with extensive knowledge of a plot to launch a poison gas attack on the subways. In April 2003, news broke that another captured terrorist, Al-Qaeda operations head Khalid Sheik Mohammed, had informed interrogators of an Al-Qaeda plan to target Washington D.C.’s metro.

The warnings from Mohammed and the detainee in Saudi Arabia roughly corroborated an October 2002 FBI statement that “information from debriefings of Al-Qaeda detainees as of mid-October indicates that the group has considered directly targeting U.S. passenger trains, possibly using operatives who have a Western appearance.” The statement also noted, “recently captured Al-Qaeda photographs of U.S. railroad engines, cars and crossings heighten the intelligence community’s concern of this threat.”

The information gleaned from the detainees, coupled with the foiled 1997 Brooklyn bombing plot, make clear the peril posed to the U.S. rail system. When this bleak picture is merged with the international threat assessment, it seems likely that the horrors of Madrid may be repeated in the not so distant future.

My 2009 reminder:

Terror suspect Najibullah Zazi has done us all a favor. But is it enough to rouse a nation in permanent snooze button-mode?

The arrest of Zazi, a Colorado-based Afghan airport shuttle driver whom counter-terrorism officials believe may have been plotting bomb attacks on New York City mass transit trains, raised alerts on rail lines across the country. A joint FBI-Department of Homeland Security assessment issued Monday warned law enforcement agencies about the use of improvised explosive devices against passenger trains overseas. Zazi was allegedly trained in manufacturing liquid explosives with hydrogen peroxide – the same material used in the London subway attacks in 2005. FBI/DHS analysts have recommended random sweeps and patrols at rail stations and terminals as deterrents.

Remember: The New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the New York Police Department a few years ago to try and stop random bag searches. The civil liberties absolutists are against random searches because they constitute “unreasonable” invasions of privacy. They’re against targeted searches because they amount to racial, religious, or ethnic “profiling.” And they’re against across-the-board searches because they lack “individualized suspicion.”

The ACLU homeland security strategy: Do Nothing.

Over at the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder is committed to eliminating racial “disparities” in law enforcement. His anti-profiling allies at the ACLU and something called the “Rights Working Group” are working to end Bush administration counterterrorism initiatives “including FBI surveillance and questioning, special registration programs, border stops, immigration enforcement programs and the creation of ‘no fly lists.’” The ACLU and RWG have appealed to the United Nations to intervene through the “U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)” – which they say is empowered to require sovereign governments “to review national, state and local policies and amend or repeal laws deemed to be creating or perpetuating discrimination.”

Now, add anti-gun activism and stubborn union squabbling to the mix. As I reported two weeks ago, the Obama administration has quietly gutted the nation’s most highly-trained post-9/11 counterterrorism rail security team. According to multiple government sources who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, OSSSO’s East Coast and West Coast teams have not worked in a counterterrorism capacity since the summer. Their rifles were put under lock and key after Amtrak vice president for security strategy and special operations Bill Rooney and Amtrak Inspector General Fred Weiderhold, who played an instrumental role in creating OSSSO’s predecessor at Amtrak, the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU), were pushed out by Team Obama.

Amtrak confirmed to me last week that the elite members of the specialized Office of Security Strategy and Special Operations (OSSSO) no longer carry long-arm weapons, which played a vital role in the unit’s show-of-force patrols. Government sources blame anti-gun hostility inside Amtrak for the move. Amtrak also confirmed to me that West Coast members of the rail security unit – most of who come from Special Forces, counter-terrorism, and other military service — have been denied police credentials. According to OSSSO sources on both coasts, the rival Amtrak Police Department, in conjunction with the local police union in California, have stymied the process over labor issues (OSSSO members are non-union).

“Amtrak fully expects to have a resolution in the near future,” I was told by the rail agency’s press office last week. In the meantime, according to a high-ranking homeland security source, Amtrak’s unionized police chief has taken over and makes counter-terrorism deployment decisions based on pay squabbles. The rail agency is still dealing with grievances filed by Amtrak police officers over compensation during the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Says my rail security source: “The deciding factor is overtime, not security.”

Dickering while jihadis plot. Feel safer yet?

I have substantially copied a lot of the post over at MM because there is much to digest regarding rail safety, and regarding how Eric Holder has worked to water down the safeguards that had been in place.

I still think that the real threat is to metropolitan transport because this is where most people would be crammed into the trains. Also, I think that having security at the bigger stations will not help if jihadists are intent upon making mischief with Amtrak. This is because of the low security at a myriad of small rail stations on the network. As I stated, Seattle is a good example of a station where there could be a disaster (and that is excluding the checking in counter!!! Ouch my bruised leg and knees and arms). Another station is Albany, it would not allow the jihadist entry to the train but the number of people congregating in the station could become a target. However, those smaller stations in upstate New York are extremely vulnerable.

the death of OBL does not change the F grade given to Østupid for his foreign policy failures

Yes, it is true, I am a very harsh critic of the Østupid regime.  There are few amongst them that deserve any accolades. However, I will give special mention to Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, David Petreus and John Brennan for their persistence in going after OBL. They deserve the accolades for the death of OBL, not Østupid.

In the week since it was announced that OBL was dead, there has been so much spin coming out of the White House that it has been enough to make a person go dizzy. The stories have been changing daily, and there has been a lack of consistency about those stories. Even that story about waiting 16 hours before giving the final go ahead sounds like cow dung. It is a story that does not show decisiveness, but instead shows virtual cowardice when it comes to facing the realities of a war situation. It sounds like the truth lies somewhere between the Ulsterman report on the matter, and the cow dung fodder that came out of the press. I have a hard time imagining that the fey pResident could hammer his fist on a table to give the go ahead on something this important, and then head off to parties and playing golf, whilst it is all going down.

The fallout from the action is still very nuclear at the present time. The relationship between the USA and Pakistan is deteriorating rapidly. What is worse, the Pakistanis have released the name of the top CIA agent in Pakistan, which has put his life in danger. This is partly caused by the spin that has come from the White House, as well as the refusal to release the pictures of the body of OBL or of the video that showed him being fed to the sharks.

There should have been a very real psychological advantage in showing those photographs, but the image-obsessed pResident has told the world that he is “afraid” of any ensuing outrage. Well, the fact is the outrage is going to happen anyway, and why should the USA be concerned about the sensibilities of a bunch of very brain deficient individuals who go crazy over the slightest thing?

However, it is not just the handling of finding OBL that keeps that grade as an F, but it is the way in which he has handled other Middle East issues.  For example, when the Iranian regime crushed the protests of the people with bloodshed, Østupid said nothing until prompted by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. If it had not been for those two, Østupid would have totally ignored the human rights abuses in Iran. It was the death of Neda that made a difference, but the difference was short lived. The notion of extending a hand has been proved to be fruitless, and on the other hand it has shown to the Iranians that the USA has been weakened by having this man as pResident.

Then there is the attitude over the uprising in Egypt. The strategic concerns for the region were overridden out of some other underlying beliefs that Muslim Brotherhood be allowed to control Egypt… oh what a web we weave!!! Now it seems that the Salafists are on the loose in Egypt and the uprisings that are about to take off again are going to get extremely bloody unless the army is willing to stop the slaughter of the Copts. Muburak at least kept these Salafists (allied to AQ) under control. The demands that the pResident made to Muburak to step down were totally ill-considered.  Tunisia is also troubled, but it is a far more settle nation for the time being.

Since there have been several uprisings, and with brutal crackdowns by the regime in question, this leaves open further accusations of inconsistency in policy. As an example here, look at both Libya and Syria. I do see the differences in that Syria was slower to crack down on the population, and in Syria the situation is becoming more and more bloody. It has been the slow build-up. On the other hand, in Libya, Gadhafi planned his reaction in advance of any protests. At first Østupid made some noises, but only after Sarkozy and Cameron were insisting that action had to be taken. The UN no-fly zone enforcement is justified in Libya because Daffy Duck was bombing his own people, pretending that he was combating AQ elements. I have discussed at length that much of the claims about the involvement of AQ in Libya has been exaggerated, and is mostly coming from regime propaganda. This does not mean that some AQ associated individuals are not present, it just means that the vast majority are not associated with AQ, and that they are fighting for their lives against a wounded bull. That being said, the issue here is the manner in which Østupid stepped back, leaving a gap that had not been filled in the mission to take out Daffy’s means of killing Libyans. The attack on Misrata is outrageous and it needs to be stopped.  It needs strong leadership from the US and instead, the leadership has been totally wimpy. I commend both Sarkozy and Cameron, and I give a special mention to the Turk Erdogan for their efforts in attempting to protect the citizens of Misrata and Zintan.

To these concerns about Libya, I add here that the pResident had plenty of time to go to the Congress before the UN resolution, and to put to Congress the possible actions that would be required. The fact that he was spending his time on vacation, playing golf and giving parties, indicates that he is not serious in being a leader of the world. The fact is that without Congressional approval, the participation of the US in the Libyan action is not illegal, but certainly illicit. 

For these reasons… and counting…. an F grade on foreign policy and international relations is still very appropriate.

The order for the 7/7 bombing came from Pakistan

I have just been reading this story and discovered something interesting. The order for the London bombings known as 7/7 that killed 52 people, and left many seriously maimed and injured, came from Pakistan. I have mentioned several times about the links to Pakistan, and that a large number of Pakistanis have been involved in the acts of terror, but this particular story fills in some interesting detail, via a girl who knew one of the bombers. Siddique Khan was the ringleader of the group, and he took his orders from Pakistan.

Everything seems to come back to Pakistan, and I continue to believe that someone very high up in the government, or in the military, or in the intelligence services in Pakistan was a conduit for OBL. I believe that someone high up in Pakistan was protecting OBL from the West. This feeling is getting stronger and stronger, although I am not sure where it is leading.

On the other hand, even though Pakistan has denied involvement, I have become convinced that the Pakistan military at least, was aware that the raid was going to happen. Something else that sparked my interest came from American Thinker where  a link was made to the CIA operative who shot and killed two men in Lahore, and then an embassy vehicle ran down and killed a person on a bicycle in a separate but connected incident. Did the ISI not know that these people were operating in Lahore and in Abbottabad? How can the military say that they had no idea that the helicopters were coming in to take the OBL compound? Hmmm… that is just to satisfy the religious element in Pakistan. 

My guess is that the order for the London bombing came from OBL but he was not in Abbottabad at the time, and was probably in a safe house in a nearby location. I doubt that he was in the Tora Boras for any length of time, and that he was hiding out in a similar city until the compound was built.  Pakistanis apparently have a tendency to not worry too much if a criminal lives in their midst.

Emerging information: AQ planning attack on US trains to celebrate anniversary of 9/11

I just saw this report which is the first to emerge detailing possible AQ future plans for a massive attack in the USA. The soft target is the railway system.

As of February 2010, al-Qaeda “was allegedly contemplating conducting an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001,” the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advised law enforcement agencies in a bulletin obtained by AFP.

A source said the warning arose from intelligence seized in a daring raid on bin Laden’s fortified compound in which elite US commandos shot dead the terrorist mastermind and gathered computer hardware and other material.

The official message noted that it was based on “initial reporting” and warned that such information “is often misleading or inaccurate due to a rapidly developing situation and is subject to change.”

Read more:

According to the report the idea was to sabotage the rails in a valley or over a bridge that would cause a really terrible accident.
However, having travelled in the USA on some trains, I would think that there was a lot of vulnerability at various railway stations around the country. From what I observed, there were few large railway stations such as the ones I saw in New York city, Albany, Seattle and Los Angeles. Most stations were very small and under-manned. The Seattle station was still quite vulnerable for a variety of reasons, including ease of access and a large hall where it would be easy to just open up and fire at will. There is probably a lot more security at Times Square station and Los Angeles station than elsewhere. The Hartford station was not well protected, and the station at Springfield Mass was one that simply needs to be rebuilt.  However, looking at the surrounds of Springfield, it would make an ideal location for carrying out a daring attempt to cause a major train crash.  When I was there the line that took us from Seattle to Los Angeles did buckle in the heat.
There are a few things to note, as to why the long distance trains might not be the target, but a metropolitan train could be the target instead – frequency and freight. The lines are not owned by AMTRAK but they are owned by the freight companies. If there was such a monumental disaster, it would more than likely end up being a freight train, rather than a passenger train, that would end up being the target. This is because on the lines that I travelled the passenger trains only went about once a day, and they were held up frequently because of the activity of the freight trains.  I do not know if this is the same for other rail lines leading to other major cities in the South since I have not travelled on those lines.
The metropolitan lines, on the other hand, are more frequent and they probably carry more passengers. On top of that an attack would cause a major disruption should such a thing take place. 
This information could see rail passengers facing the same extreme TSA measures as you have been seeing at the airports. This will be despite the fact that most of the travelling public do not wear long white robes, have beards and pray in Arabic.