Pakistan: Govt announces the arrest of a high-ranking officer for alleged connections with terrorism

Pakistan on Tuesday said it had arrested a high-ranking army officer for alleged connections to militant groups, a rare public acknowledgment of possible ties between this country’s military and the organizations it is battling.

The arrest comes amid rising concern that Pakistan’s military is penetrated by Islamists who are sympathetic to insurgent groups that have declared war on the state. Last month, a naval base in Karachi was stormed by heavily armed fighters in an attack that was widely believed to have required inside help.

Austria: convert to Islam arrested for attempting to blow the Bundestag

An Austrian national was arrested in Vienna and charged with terrorism. Detectives believe he was planning to crash a plane into the Bundestag, German parliament headquarters in Berlin. The suspect, 25-year-old Thomas al-J., is a young man who has converted to Islam. He was arrested Wednesday in his apartment in the Austrian capital and has also been accused of recruiting terrorists in order to send them to jihad training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and of funding terrorist organizations. The Bundestag hypothesis was published in Austrian newspaper ‘Kronen Zeitung’.

Found here.

Al-Shabab, the American connection

Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki

Abu Mansur al-Amriki. Image via Wikipedia

The news of another American suicide bomber shows, once again, the deadly allure of jihadism among a small number of young US citizens, but it also casts a light on the potential danger that allowing the conflict in Somalia to continue unabated poses. Now that we are at the third possible American suicide bomber in Somalia, it is time to take stronger measures to solve this problem – before it comes back to haunt us in the west.

In a cynical way, the news is a tidy resolution for security services. The fact that these young men have died abroad means they will no longer be able to pose a threat at home. But this fails to take into account the larger threat that these deaths represent, both in terms of the embedding of jihadist ideas in North America, but also the growing menace internationally of the al-Shabaab group.

The story of the American jihad is not new. At this point, we have seen jihadist plots in the US with links to all of the major jihadist battlefields abroad, and in many cases, they have involved US citizens. And within the US, there have been a number of plots uncovered involving Americans who have radicalised and chosen to participate in plots that may have concluded in terrorist attacks. The conviction of Tahawwur Rana for his role in a plot targeting Denmark was merely the latest manifestation.

Somalia and al-Shabaab (whose name literally means “the youth”) is a subset of this issue, but one that has been growing in importance as it becomes clear that the group has been able to draw to itself both young ethnic Somalis and an ever increasing number of radicalised young men and women from other ethnicities. Young Shabaab leader Omar Hammami, for example, is a Daphne, Alabama native of Syrian descent who left the comfort of the US to serve as a leader in the Somali group using the nom de guerre “Abu Mansur al-Amiriki”. And he is not alone, with some of his compatriots agreeing to act as suicide bombers in that war-torn country.

Found here.

“Prislam”: the threat of Islam inside US prison system

The theme restaurant and control tower at Los ...

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Wednesday’s hearing focused on the threat from “Prislam,” which Downing described as an extremist “cut and paste” version of Islam practiced by inmates. The resulting ideology is what former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Smith said he saw in some New Folsom prison inmates whom he prosecuted for plotting to attack Jewish targets in Los Angeles and the LAX airport.

Smith testified that Folsom inmate Kevin James created the radical prison group Jam’iyyat Ul-islam Is-Saheeh (JIS) in 1997. JIS supported the killing of Jews and the implementation of an Islamic government in the United States. James recruited a fellow inmate named Levar Washington, who recruited two others upon his release, including an LAX employee, to assist with the terror plots.

“From the prison [Kevin James] was able to set up and set out an operation cell of would be jihadists on the streets of Southern California,” said Smith. “James set up a system where he would send the protocol to mail on the outside.”

The person on the outside would send the protocol back to inmates inside other prisons, spreading the JIS ideology.

Several factors contribute to inmate conversions to “Prislam,” witnesses testified, including the accessibility of radical literature inside prison walls and prison chaplains who espouse radical beliefs.

UK: Police have stopped 60 terror plots involving Black Widow bombers

Women of London

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BRIT spooks have stopped SIXTY terror plots involving Black Widow bombers.

Many of the Muslim women who were pulled in were carrying explosives, we can reveal.

Other radicals as young as 17 had bomb materials stashed in their homes across the country.

The operation started when a dozen women in the London and Greater Manchester areas were picked up in security sweeps but allowed to go free.

They were put under surveillance and led the spooks to more than 30 terror group leaders.

But it is feared there are at least 20 of the Black Widow bombers still at large and ready to carry out their deadly missions.

A senior security source said: “The terrorists rely on a woman in a black flowing dress not being stopped. They can’t be searched easily because of their strict rules and it’s hard to see what they are hiding under their robes.

“A lot of people would think twice about searching them for fear of offending religious rules or being accused of sexual harassment or indecency.

More here.

Wikileaks: Ties between the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Saddam’s Iran

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A leaked file says that Jawad Jabber Sadkhan, an Iraqi intelligence officer who moved to Afghanistan in 1998, “admittedly forged official documents and reportedly provided liaison between the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq.” The government of Afghanistan at that time was the Taliban, which employed him as a vicious interrogator for its intelligence service. His driver said he was also close to Osama Bin Laden, who paid him before and after the 9/11 attacks. Another detainee revealed that Sadkhan would travel to Iraq through Iran to retrieve supplies for the Taliban. Sadkhan was not universally popular, as his superior, Abdul-Hadi al-Iraqi, warned Saif al-Adel in November 1998 that he was part of a group of Iraqis “involved in un-Islamic activities.” This accusation did not end the relationship.

According to another detainee named Abbas Habid Rumi al-Naely, Sadkhan was a member of one of Saddam Hussein’s top units tasked with assassinating political opponents. The U.S. government also identified al-Naely as a liaison between Saddam Hussein’s regime and Al-Qaeda. He joined the Taliban in 1994 while living in Baghdad. One U.S. government memo shows he was accused of preparing attacks on the U.S. and British embassies in Pakistan in August 1998 with an Iraqi intelligence officer on the orders of Osama Bin Laden. Later memos did not include the charge.

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Jihadists in Morocco

City of Salé, Morocco

City of Salé, Morocco. Image via Wikipedia

The Belliraj cell’s release and radical preacher Mohamed Fizazi in April was an error of the regime and has emboldened other jihadi prisoners. Moreover, the fact that the auxiliary forces tried to calm the revolt in the prison of Salé saying that in a month will be a second and broader real grace, isn’t viewed with optimism. These prisoners and their supporters abroad are well organized, making it even out of prison and mobile images feed their victimization and work a battlefront that is extremely worrying in terms of security.

The increasing visibility of the Moroccan Islamist mobilizations under the 20/Feb Movement, and its growing effort to attract support among the diaspora abroad, particularly Europe, increases the problem. Recall that this ideology, though according to some, it’s more moderate, will be the probable winner in the coming elections that will be held in Tunisia, first, and then in Egypt. But its troubling aspect is what it is hiding: its fighting spirit and its radical vision of politics.

More here.