Friday, May 28, 2010


*** Wonderful, wonderful article. Shows the depth of his understanding of early Islamic history. MS ***

Dilemmas of Muslims Living in the New Age
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan,

The Biggest Problem of Muslims Today

The biggest problem facing Muslims today is that they still do not know that they are living in a new age. They have no idea of the implications of this. Their leaders, and they themselves, still cling to centuries’-old mindset which is totally out of date. Because of this, they are unfit for the new age. This is also true for the majority of Muslims who live in the West, because they share the same mindset. They may have studied in Western universities but their mindset is almost identical, and this is reflected in what they read, think and talk about in their homes. They wish to impose this old mindset on everyone else. Of course, this is impossible and is nothing but day-dreaming and wishful thinking.
The old mindset of Muslims, which is still so deeply-rooted even today, was a product of an authoritarian political system. Today, we live in an age of democracy, and so we need a total revolution in our way of thinking. For thousands of years, kings ruled, and so popular culture was also authoritarian. There was a single king and the rest of the people were his subjects. There was a single master, and the rest of the people were his slaves or servants. A radical break occurred in the seventh century, with the advent of the Prophet Muhammad. The Quran talked about democratic decision-making, about what is called shura. This represented a veritable revolution. However, the Arabs and others who later embraced Islam were mentally not prepared for the democracy that the Quran heralded. Their minds were deeply moulded for many centuries before the advent of the Prophet by authoritarian culture, and this could not be changed overnight after conversion to Islam. That is why the democratic notion of Khilafat was soon subverted, and, although the term was still used, it became a cover up for authoritarian monarchy after the period of the ‘Four Rightly guided Caliphs’. And so, in the name of Khilafat various despotic Sultans ruled over Muslim lands. This was the case everywhere—under the Abbasids and Umayyads, under the Mughals, under the Arab rulers of Spain. The word of the Sultan was the law, and anyone who dared to oppose him was summarily killed.

Why Muslim Countries Lack Democracy
Because of this, democratic culture was never able to prosper in Muslim lands, although this was precisely the intent of the Quran. This continues to be the case even today. Scores of Muslim countries style themselves as ‘democracies’ but they are nothing of the sort at all. In actual fact, they are all dictatorships. Not a single of the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference is a democracy in the real sense of the word. One reason for this is that self-styled Islamic ideologues wrongly insist that democracy is ‘un-Islamic’. This claim is not true at all. I see no contradiction between Islam and democracy.

Belief is the real part of Islam but politics is only relative. So far as belief is concerned Muslims should follow the eternal teachings of Islam as it is. So far as politics is concerned, it should be left to the democratic process. Free and fair elections should be held after the completion of each term and the elected candidate should be allowed to complete the term and given full opportunity to govern. According to my study of Islam this is in full conformity with Islamic teachings.

The democratic principle of shura that the Quran stressed took centuries to culminate. This happened not in a Muslim country, however, but in France, in the wake of the French Revolution. Islam had started this process of democracy, of revolt against dictatorship, but the process culminated in a non-Muslim country. It did not happen in a Muslim country because for centuries Muslim culture had remained deeply authoritarian and inimical to democracy, which is a complete contradiction of the Quranic spirit.

Democracy is based on the notion of equal rights for all. In a democracy, the Prime Minister has, in theory, the same citizenship rights as a commoner. This is a complete contradiction of monarchy. Lamentably, Muslims have not been able to accept this basic principle of democracy. They want rights for themselves which they are unwilling to let others enjoy.

A democracy is characterized by a culture of give-and-take. Authoritarian monarchical culture is based on taking without giving. This is the basic problem of Muslims today. They want to take but not to give. They demand rights and privileges for themselves but do not want to give these to others or to allow them, too, to enjoy these rights. In this way, they end up denying themselves the many opportunities and spaces that democracy could otherwise provide them with.

Let me clarify this issue with the help of an example. Just the other day, the Government of Pakistan imposed a ban on the social networking site Facebook because it carried a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. Now, I don’t know much about computers but I believe that Facebook is a great blessing, a wonderful means of communicating where you can convey your message throughout the world at no cost at all. In fact, my team at the Centre for Peace and Spirituality uses it almost every day to send out our messages. It is truly a great blessing.

Democracy means that everyone has the same rights. When it comes to Facebook, Muslims have as much right to use it as do others. If Muslims want to use Facebook or any other form of communications to convey the message of Islam to the world (as I and my team are doing), they cannot stop others from using it.

Islam teaches us to search for and use opportunities and to ignore the problems. Facebook provides us with such great opportunities to convey the message of Islam to others. Naturally, some people might misuse it, as they have in this case, but the right approach is not ban Facebook and to create a huge hue and cry. The misuse of Facebook cannot be stopped. It is best left ignored, while Muslims should creatively use the same technology for their own purpose of explaining the truth of Islam to others. If Muslims have the right to propagate Islam, others too have the right to propagate their views, no matter how different they may be to ours. We cannot seek to ban them from speaking.

Let me clarify this with the help of a personal example. Some years ago, I was in Lucknow, where I met a scholar of Hindu background, who was something of an atheist. He argued that if the Prophet Muhammad had not been born it would have made no difference to human history. Now, had some other Muslim been in my place he might have got inflamed by such a remark. He might even have resorted to violence. But I did not react in this way. After all, just as I had the right and freedom to speak, so did he. Instead of getting angry, I turned my attention to researching the life of the Prophet Muhammad, on the basis of which I wrote two books in Urdu ‘Islam Aur Daur-e Jadid Ka Khaliq’ and ‘Paighambar-e Inqilab’, which were later translated into English as ‘Islam: The Creator of the Modern Age’ and ‘The Prophet of Revolution’ respectively. These books proved to be immensely popular.

Had I responded to the Lucknow scholar with violence or agitation, as is the common Muslim response to provocation I would not have been able to write these books and thereby influence so many people with my arguments. Had I reacted negatively by becoming angry, this would have further reinforced his negative views of Muslims. This is not the Islamic way of doing things. After all, even in the Prophet’s time his opponents said bad things about him, but he never reacted by ordering that they should be forcibly silenced or killed. Unfortunately, as the Facebook controversy in Pakistan shows, Muslims have not learnt the democratic, which is also the truly Islamic, means to resolving contentious issues. Hence, they create even more problems for themselves and for others.
Sadly, this is not what Pakistani Muslims or the Pakistani Government chose to do. Instead, they overreacted, banning Facebook, thus effectively denying to themselves the wonderful possibilities that this technology provides of conveying the true message of Islam to others. At the root of this is the authoritarian mindset of Muslims which is ill at ease with the demands of the democratic age. This is causing them to face grave problems, while also further reinforcing negative stereotypical images about Islam and Muslims in the minds of non-Muslims.

Let me clarify my point about the lack of democratic culture proving to be a cause of serious damage to Muslims themselves with the help of the case of Iraq today. Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussain, a military dictator, for over two decades. He came to power not through democratic means but, rather, through a military coup. He continued to stay in power through rigged elections that made a complete mockery of democracy. After supporting him for several years, America began to feel that its interests were being harmed by him and so decided to unseat him in order to bring democracy to Iraq. It asked Saddam to step down, for free elections to be held and for a new elected government to come to power. The Iraqi ulema ought to have agreed to this proposal—after all, dictatorship is un-Islamic and genuine democracy is supported by Islam. They ought to have given a fatwa in favour of democracy and called for the end to Saddam’s un-Islamic dictatorship. However, they did not do so largely because democracy is against their mindset, the same authoritarian and thoroughly un-Islamic mindset that millions of other Muslims share. Had they lent their support to democratic elections by issuing fatwas to that effect, thereby facilitating Saddam’s exit and his replacement by a democratically elected leader, it is likely that Iraq would have been spared the horrors that it has had to witness in the course of the American invasion of that country.

It is sad but true that, because of this mindset, most Muslims simply cannot fit comfortably in the democratic age. They still mentally live in the age of authoritarian kingship. Some of them even believe that they should rule the entire world and that no one else has the right to rule. They believe that they alone are right and everybody else is wholly wrong. Needless to say, such thinking is a complete affront to democracy. This attitude is a major cause for negative feelings and attitudes towards Muslims on the part of others. One can safely say that it is not non-Muslims but Muslims themselves who are their own greatest foes.

Barring, of course, the primary sources of Islam, almost all the literature that we Muslims read today is based on this authoritarian model. Scores of self-styled ‘Islamic’ ideologues, pen-pushers and poets also peddle a completely distorted, highly authoritarian and wholly anti-democratic interpretation of Islam that has nothing to do with Islam as it really is. This is based on the notion, wholly unwarranted in Islam, that only Muslims have the right to rule and that the rest of humanity must remain subordinated to them, that Muslims must be emperors and others their subjects. With a mindset like that, how at all can Muslims live in today’s new, democratic age?

In the meanwhile, non-Muslims are going ahead and adjusting very well to the demands of the new age and are willing to listen to other views. Just the other day I was invited to a Hindu-run college to speak on Islam. When my team requested the manager of the college if they could distribute copies of the English translation of the Quran that we have prepared, he was delighted, and we were able to give scores of copies of the Quran to the almost entirely Hindu audience, who very happily and willingly accepted them. We are often invited by Hindu organizations to talk about Islam and we have never had any negative experiences with them. In fact, most of the Hindus we have met are sincerely interested in our work and are more than willing to cooperate with us, because they believe that truth has many dimensions. The contrast with the authoritarian, dictatorial and anti-democratic Muslim mindset is really stark.

In today’s age those who can creatively adjust to and champion democracy will survive and flourish. Those who consistently oppose it are fated to remain misfits in the present world. This is what is happening with the Muslims today. Their own anti-democratic attitudes are responsible for their bad image in the eyes of the rest of the world. They continue to cling to the old, authoritarian model, based on the notion of a single dictatorial leader and of subjects who have no right to express their views. Muslims want the right to speak and preach, but are unwilling to let others, too, enjoy the same right. This approach of theirs is in fundamental contradiction to democracy. It is this that lies at the root of the widespread and deep-rooted intellectual crisis of Muslim thought today. Unless the Muslim mind is changed, intellectual crisis will become even more acute with every passing day.

Muslims regard democracy as un-Islamic, but this is not true at all. Today, democracy has resulted in the creation of numerous opportunities to serve Islam, rather than hinder it, contrary to what Islamist ideologues assert. In today’s age, opportunities have been decentralized, no longer centrally controlled by kings. Power is also becoming increasingly decentralized, and governance is transforming itself into administration. This is all a result of democracy. According to a Hadith report, before the end of the world, the word of God would be brought to every home. The possibility of this happening is very real today with the development of new means of communications, such as Facebook, which, as I pointed out, instead of using to spread the word of God, the uninitiated in Pakistan are seeking to ban. But it is God who is creating these new possibilities for His word to enter every home—through new means of communications, freedom of speech and expression and democracy, which allow people to choose whatever religion they wish to follow. Lamentably, Muslims do not understand the wonderful possibilities of dawah that democracy, free expression and exchange of views and modern communications afford. Instead, they keep complaining against them, thus doing the greatest damage to the dawah mission. Instead of imbibing the spirit of democracy and relating to other people in a friendly and loving manner, which is essential for dawah, they brand them as ‘enemies’ and ‘conspirators’, thus further alienating them from Islam and creating a bad image of themselves and of Islam as well. Ignoring, or even denying, the wonderful opportunities that democracy has opened for us to engage in dawah, they are actually going against God’s will.

Another reason why Muslims are proving to be failures in adjusting to the realities of the new age is their tendency only to react to events or developments, without a positive agenda of their own. Just the other day, a big delegation of some self-styled Muslim ‘leaders’ went to meet the Indian Prime Minister with a long charter of demands, asking for this and that. What blindness is this that they completely ignore the wonderful opportunities that God has bestowed on us in this modern age—such as freedom of thought, democracy, global interaction and methods of instant communications that are great blessings for us to engage in our principal task of dawah—and all they can think of is the few reserved jobs, for instance, that the Prime Minister can provide them with, if at all! They can see the Prime Minister, but they totally ignore the wonderful possibilities that God has opened up to us through democracy for dawah. Instead of cherishing and using these possibilities, they are simply running after a few dozen jobs! What a tragedy!
I constantly appeal to Muslims not to get provoked by inflammatory remarks or writings. That is neither the democratic nor the Islamic way of reacting. I appeal to them to exercise patience, what is called sabr in the language of the Quran. Some critics blame me of thereby seeking to turn Muslims into cowards, but this is completely wrong. They do not understand what sabr actually means. In fact, sabr is a form of great wisdom. It entails ignoring the problems and using the opportunities that any situation affords. If Pakistani Muslims won’t exercise sabr in the face of the cartoons on Facebook, if they do not ignore this problem and, instead, focus on the wonderful possibilities of dawah that Facebook provides, they will only be harming themselves and the dawah cause, which should be their principal concern.

It is a natural law that problems will always remain. God has given human beings the capacity of choice—to do good or bad—and this freedom of choice can be misused to create problems. A foolish person is he who remains obsessed with the problems, real and imaginary, that he faces and hence is rendered incapable of taking advantage of the opportunities that the situation also provides. This is how Muslims typically behave. On the other hand, a wise person is he who ignores the problems he faces, is undeterred by them, and who instead focuses on the available opportunities. This is a positive formula. Unfortunately, although this is a basic Islamic principle, Muslims have failed to learn this basic truth. Scores of self-styled Islamic ideologues are completely ignorant of this principle.

My whole active life has been spent trying to reform the authoritarian Muslim mindset, which is a complete contradiction of the democratic Islamic ethos. For this task I have had to face much opposition from Muslims but I continue my work undeterred, even in this old age of mine. Yet, I have not given up hope. It is a natural law that, like individuals, communities also go through various phases—birth, adolescence, maturity, old age and decline. Muslims have passed through these stages and are presently in the state of decline. All communities pass through this cycle, and Muslims are no exception to this rule. But it is also true that a community in decline need not be in that state forever. It can be rejuvenated again. This is what I have been trying to do all these decades.


*** Of course they do. In fact, one of the most common reactions from people is, 'but he seemed so nice!'. Another note for Jihadi wannabe's: your family suffers because of YOUR actions - why put them through all this? Trust me - the Muslim bond is not as strong as you think: no one will help you for your legal bills, medical bills they will not even follow through with FOOD for your kid(s) that you left behind. Look before you leap. MS ***


When Pakistani intelligence agents probing the botched Times Square car bombing dragged Humbal Akhtar from his house, his wife grabbed his arm in desperation. "What has he done wrong?" Rahila Akhtar screamed before they took him away.

She didn't get an answer, and still hasn't nearly two weeks later. She has heard nothing of his fate, or whether he's even accused of a crime.

"He is a simple, honest and loving person," she said between tears Friday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I don't know where to go to find him and I have no idea where is he being held. But now I am driving alone on roads and looking for my husband."

Under American pressure, Pakistan has rounded up at least 11 people since the attempted attack May 1 in New York City. An intelligence official has alleged two of them played a role in plot, but gave few details. No one has been charged.

The detentions are angering the men's families, as well as human rights activists in Pakistan who have long campaigned against such actions by the country's powerful and largely unaccountable intelligence agencies.

The families of five of the detained men have told The Associated Press they knew the main suspect detained in the United States, Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, or others held in connection with him, but insist they are innocent.

Most come from the same stock as Shahzad — wealthy, urban, educated and with careers such as computers, telecommunications and graphic design. Several are observant Muslims and had expressed anti-American sentiments, but that combination is common in Pakistan.

One of three men arrested in the U.S. and accused of supplying money to Shahzad was ordered to be deported to his native Pakistan by a U.S. immigration judge Thursday. Aftab Khan has said he never heard of Shahzad before his May 13 arrest, but federal authorities allege he had Shahzad's name in his cellphone and written on an envelope.

Detentions by Pakistani intelligence agencies are typically never confirmed by government officials or security forces. People can be held for months or years without charge, in clear violation of Pakistani law.

Human rights groups allege that torture while in detention is common. Several people arrested by the intelligence agencies in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were given to the United States and their families were not informed.

"Whoever captured my son is a terrorist," said Rana Ashraf Khan, whose son, Salman Ashraf, was detained while driving to work. "I am extremely worried about his safety."

The catering company Khan runs with with his son was accused of possible terrorist links by the U.S. Embassy when news of his detention broke.

U.S. officials have accused Shahzad of working with the Pakistani Taliban to organize the car bomb, a rudimentary device that failed to explode. Shahzad was arrested two days after the bombing attempt as he tried to fly out of the United States on a jetliner bound for the Middle East.

Seven people are known to have been detained in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Officials have said four others were picked up in the southern city of Karachi, several of whom had links to a mosque there run by Jaish-e-Mohammad, a militant group with connections to al-Qaida. It is not clear whether any have since been released.

An intelligence official has identified one of those detained — Shoaib Mughal — as a go-between for Shahzad and the Pakistani Taliban in their hide-outs close the Afghan border. He was running a large computer dealership in Islamabad before his detention.

The other suspect alleged to have had some kind of involvement in the plot, identified only by his first name, Shahid, is alleged to have helped arrange money for Shahzad, but it is unclear what for.

Rahila Akhtar said around 20 intelligence agents and police officers came for her husband in the heat of mid-afternoon on May 17, jumping over the gate and banging on the door of their house. They asked for Humbal and started dragging him away.

"On seeing that, I was shocked and I started weeping, and I tightly held my husband's arm and said, 'I am not going to allow you to take him away,'" she said. She said officers told her not to make a scene.

They asked about her and Humbal, 35, and where his mobile phone was.

She went inside to get the phone, but when she returned Humbal was gone. She said hours later she received a telephone call from someone who did not give his name, assuring her that her husband would be safe.

Rahila Akhtar said her husband graduated from a private university in Islamabad and worked briefly for the government before starting a graphic design business. She said he worked from home to help her raise their three children, all under 5.

Pakistan's Human Rights Commission said it was investigating the detentions.

"No one should be arrested without prima facie evidence. They should be produced in court and their family should be informed," said I.A. Rehman, a leader of the commission. "Whatever agencies may be involved, the law must be followed."


*** Extremism - of the left or of the right - leads to violence. Period. MS ***


Maoist rebels sabotaged a high-speed train in eastern India on Friday that killed at least 71 people after it derailed and smashed into the path of a goods train, a top Indian police official said.

At least 200 people were injured and the death toll could rise as rescuers search mangled carriages for survivors.

"This has been done by the Maoists," Bhupinder Singh, police chief of West Bengal state, where the incident occurred, told reporters. Singh said the Maoists had claimed responsibility.

The incident will put further pressure on the Congress party-led government to bring in the military to tackle a four-decade-long Maoist insurgency that has spread across rural swathes of eastern and central India.

The crash occurred in an area known to be a stronghold of the rebels. Maoists, who say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and landless and want to overthrow the government, have stepped up attacks in recent months.

"It appears to be a case of sabotage where a portion of the railway track was removed. Whether explosives were used is not yet clear," Home Minister P. Chidambaram said in a statement.

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said a bomb had hit the passenger train, derailing it.

"The death toll stands at 71 and it could rise," said Saumitra Majumdar, a railway spokesman.


The Gyaneshwari Express, which was going to Mumbai from the eastern metropolis of Kolkata in West Bengal state, was derailed in the state's Jhargram area at around 1:30 a.m.

"The cries of women and children from inside the compartments have died down. They (railway staff) are still struggling to cut through metal and bring out those trapped inside," Amitava Rath, a local journalist at the scene of the crash, told Reuters.

The incident took place days after a passenger airliner crashed in southern India, killing 158 people.

The Maoists have increased attacks this year. In April, 76 police were killed in an ambush in one of the heaviest tolls in years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the insurgency as India's biggest internal security challenge.

More than 1,000 attacks were recorded in 2009 and 600 people were killed. The Maoists regularly attack railway lines and factories, aiming to cripple economic activity.

The insurgency has created a sense that India is not fully in control of its territory and increased the risks for mining firms that operate in mineral-rich areas controlled by rebels.

Work on a $7-billion steel plant by India's third largest steel producer, JSW Steel Ltd, has been delayed. Frequent rebel strikes have hit production and shipment at firms such as India's largest miner of iron ore, NMDC Ltd and state-run National Aluminum Co Ltd.

The rebels have stepped up attacks in recent months in response to a government security offensive to drive them out of their jungle bases. Friday's attack is said to be their biggest strike against a civilian target.

U.K. Bansal, top Indian security official, told Reuters last week that the Maoists had changed tactics and were attacking civilians out of frustration with the government crackdown.

But many analysts said rising attacks undermined the government claim of winning the war against the Maoists.

"The government will have to react strongly and there has to be a well thought-out strategy, but I don't see that happening now. It will be usual posturing and if that happens the situation can get worse," said security analyst Uday Bhaskar.

The Maoists have won some support by siding with villagers battling land seizures by large companies and their attacks are a major distraction for a government wanting to get on its with economic agenda, including fighting high food prices.

The Maoists started their fight in 1967 with a peasant revolt, armed with bows and arrows and some stolen rifles, but have since grown to a militant insurgency armed with automatic weapons, shoulder rocket launchers, mines and explosives.

The rebels, with an estimated 20,000 combatants, including 6,000-8,000 hardcore fighters, aim to overthrow the government by 2050, say Indian officials.

In March, police suspected their hand in the derailment of India's most prestigious high-speed Rajdhani Express. Maoists have also taken over trains in past years in a show of strength, holding them for hours.

The movement is now present in a third of the country. They are mostly spread in rural pockets of 20 of India's 28 states and hurt potential business worth billions of dollars.



The final witness testifying in the "Toronto 18" terrorism case said he was "scared of the jihad talk" when he met with ringleader Fahim Ahmad to discuss ways of fraudulently raising money for the group.

Thomas Stella, a defence witness and longtime friend of Steven Chand, one of the final two facing charges in the high-profile case, told the jury he wanted nothing to do with the group after Mr. Chand introduced him to Ahmad and Mubin Shaikh, an undercover Canadian Security Intelligence Service agent, on two occasions in March 2006.

"I just didn't want to deal with them," said Mr. Stella, who described Ahmad as "nuts" after hearing his jihad philosophy.

Mr. Stella testified that he and Mr. Chand became friends while working at a telemarketing company in 1997.

Mr. Chand, 29, is on trial and accused of participating in the "Toronto 18" terrorist group that allegedly operated between 2005 and 2006 and planned to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto and behead the prime minister.

He also faces a charge of counselling someone to commit fraud over $5,000 for the benefit of a terrorist group.

Earlier this month, Ahmad pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.

Throughout yesterday's proceedings, Mr. Chand sat silently at the back of the courtroom, his shoulder-length black hair pulled back in a bun. He did not take the stand in his own defence.

Mr. Stella, 28, told the court that in 2005, his primary source of income was credit card fraud, an activity that resulted in a conviction the following year.

He said Mr. Chand discussed with him in early 2006 the possibility of obtaining "profiles" -- detailed personal information about unsuspecting private citizens -- from Ahmad for the purpose of committing identity theft to raise money for the group.

The jury heard a CSIS wiretap intercept in which Mr. Stella tells Ahmad, Mr. Shaikh and Mr. Chand how stolen personal information could be used to obtain bank loans of between $10,000 and $25,000. He also boasted about being able to "create" people by using the stolen personal information of dead people to obtain a SIN number.

"In this wonderful country you just need a SIN number to be a person," Mr. Stella is heard telling the group.

Mr. Chand's lawyer attempted to paint his client as a simple bystander during the meeting.

"Did Steven have any role to play at this first meeting?" Michael Moon asked.

"No," replied Mr. Stella. Mr. Moon hinted that the two friends intended to defraud Ahmad by using the personal information he supplied to take out loans, all the while telling Ahmad that the scheme didn't work.

When asked if Mr. Chand was to receive any proceeds resulting from the identity thefts and bank loans, Mr. Stella replied: "I guess."

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Kamran Pasha.Hollywood filmmaker, author of "Shadow of the Swords" and "Mother of the Believers"

Anwar Al-Awlaki: The Jim Jones of Islam

As a Muslim and an American, let me say this loudly and clearly --
Anwar al-Awlaki is a servant of evil and a traitor both to Islam and
to America. He is intent on misleading the world by spreading the lie
that Islam permits the killing of civilians. It does not.

Prophet Muhammad forbade the killing of non-combatants and reacted
with horror when he heard of civilian deaths on the battlefield. In
order to expound his own political agenda, Al-Awlaki is defaming the
Prophet and the global Muslim community, which rejects terrorism. And
in the process, he is revealing himself to be a modern Jim Jones -- a
narcissist creating a death cult.

In 1978, Jim Jones led 900 of his devoted followers to mass suicide by
forcing them to drink cyanide mixed in a fruit beverage. The term
"drinking the Kool-Aid" has since become synonymous with people who
blindly follow their leaders to their doom. And it is clear that
al-Awlaki's followers are very much drinking his brand of Kool-Aid.
Indeed, the alleged Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was
apparently a follower of al-Awlaki before he turned on his fellow
soldiers in an orgy of murder. Like Jim Jones, al-Awlaki has
remarkable charisma and uses it to lead his followers down a very dark

I say all of this with great grief. Al-Awlaki was once a highly
regarded Muslim scholar who taught a message of peace and brotherhood.
But his story is like that of the archetypal villain of the movie Star
Wars -- Anakin Skywalker, a defender of justice, who devolves into
Darth Vader, a monster who cares only for his own twisted quest for

I have never met al-Awlaki, but those who have tell me that in his
early days as a preacher, he espoused a moderate Islam based on
scholarship and appreciation for Muslim history. Yet after the
terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq, al-Alwaki began to change. He began to see the
world in a binary "us versus them" outlook -- the hallmark of
fundamentalism. After being detained by the Yemeni government in 2006
(apparently under American pressure), he appears to have left his
moderate past behind him and embraced a dark vision of Islam at
perpetual war with America -- and became its most passionate scholarly

Al-Awlaki's story could be dismissed as the sad tale of a good man who
became lost. And yet his personal moral decline has greater
consequences. For he built up a widespread and devoted following among
Muslims in his heyday and is now in a position to brainwash many of
his followers into following his own descent into darkness.

When I have publicly criticized al-Awlaki, I have received emails from
his devotees saying that he is being "set up" by the US government.
And yet when I ask them what they mean by this, there is always
pin-drop silence. His followers seem to want to believe that the good,
charismatic man that they adore is somehow being falsely portrayed in
the media as a villain as part of some PSY/OPS manipulation game. And
yet when I ask if someone else is posting his increasingly radical and
extremist sermons through his website (a CIA agent posing as
al-Awlaki, let's say), there is more silence. It is as if his
followers want to keep clinging to the man he once was and selectively
ignore his recent calls for the murder of civilians in the name of

Like Jim Jones, a personality cult has formed around al-Awlaki. It is
a personality cult that is blinding his followers into a series of
non-sequiturs and conspiracy theories that allow them to overcome the
cognitive dissonance of reconciling the good scholar they once knew
with the deranged and hateful man he has become.

There is a word for that kind of personality cult in Islam: idolatry.
If there are any Muslims out there who believe that a man should be
followed unquestioningly, even when his words violate basic Islamic
teachings, then they have committed shirk, the worst sin in Islam:
ascribing a partner to God. They have given their devotion to a false
god, a fallible human being rather than the infallible Creator, the
Merciful and Compassionate, the Lord of the Worlds, whose moral
commandments cannot be rationalized away by men.

I was sickened and outraged by al-Awlaki's recent video, where he
rationalized terrorist plots to blow up airplanes, saying that the
deaths of civilians are just "a drop of water in the sea." Similar
rationalizations were used by pre-Islamic Arabs who practiced female
infanticide, burying their newborn baby daughters alive. Such innocent
lives were also simply "drops in the sea" for a pagan culture obsessed
with male progeny. But when the Holy Qur'an put an end to this
barbarism, it said that on the Day of Judgment, the innocent girls
will rise from their graves and confront their murderers, and God will
ask: "For what crime was she killed?" (Surah 81:8-9). And then the
murderers' excuses will vanish and they will be flung into Hell.

The God of the Qur'an is the God of life, of mercy, of justice, a God
that says "no soul shall bear the burden of another" (53:38) when
confronted with moral relativists who believe in "guilt by
association" and collective punishment.

If Muslims wish to find in their history a true example of a noble
warrior, they should turn away from this false teacher al-Awlaki and
look at the example of Saladin, the great Muslim leader who conquered
Jerusalem in 1187 C.E.

In my new novel, Shadow of the Swords, I show how, despite calls for
collective punishment against the Christians of Jerusalem for the
crimes of the Crusaders, Saladin showed mercy to the populace. He let
the Christian population remain unmolested and gave them freedom of
worship and pilgrimage to their holy sites. When Richard the Lionheart
led the Third Crusade to expel the Muslims, Saladin treated his enemy
with stunning generosity. When Richard fell ill, Saladin sent his
personal doctor to tend to the enemy king. When Richard's horse was
killed in battle, Saladin sent his personal horse to his adversary as
a gift.

Saladin's acts of honor and wisdom single-handedly shattered the
negative image that many Christians held of Muslims. And for this, he
is lauded by both Christian and Muslim historians as a true statesman
and moral leader.

I ask any follower of al-Awlaki: which is the greater example you wish
to be associated with? The example of your "teacher" who calls you to
turn into monsters without empathy? Or Saladin, who reminded the world
that Islam stood for justice and moral restraint, not barbarism and
rationalization of murder? If you have any hesitation about the right
answer here, then you have left your religion and become the very evil
that anti-Muslim bigots have long claimed Islam represents.

The confusion al-Awlaki has created among Muslims is in many ways far
more insidious than that of his fellow madman, Osama Bin Laden. For
Bin Laden does not claim to be -- and is not -- an Islamic scholar.
Bin Laden's calls for attacking the West are steeped not in Islamic
scholarship but in a rather crude "eye for an eye" philosophy that
says that because Americans are killing Muslim civilians, Muslims have
a right do the same in return to American civilians. Bin Laden has
little understanding of, or interest in, Islamic jurisprudence,
primarily because he finds its rules against murdering civilians to be
inconvenient. Therefore Bin Laden's appeal is really based on an
emotional bait-and-switch. Get Muslims riled up about all the
injustices they have experienced so that they follow him and don't ask
too many questions about the justice of his own movement.

But al-Awlaki's brand of evil is far more sinister. As a trained
Muslim scholar, he is an expert in perverting traditional Islamic
teachings with strange analogies that have no historical basis, such
as his self-serving argument that Americans elected and pay taxes to a
government that kills Muslims, so all Americans are complicit and are
lawful targets of revenge. Aside from the fact that this is a
nonsensical leap of logic, it ignores what Prophet Muhammad himself
did when faced with the opportunity for collectively punishing a
population for the crime of its leaders.

In my novel Mother of the Believers, I discuss how, when the Prophet
defeated Mecca, he was in a position to unleash vengeance on the city
that had driven him out and killed his family and friends. And yet the
Prophet, to his enemies' surprise, instituted a general amnesty and
not only forgave the general populace, which under al-Awlaki's
argument was complicit in Mecca's war against Islam, but also its
leadership that organized the war. The lords of Mecca -- including the
villainous queen Hind, who had cannibalized the Prophet's uncle as an
act of terror -- were forgiven and incorporated into the new Muslim
state as leading citizens.

So I ask the followers of al-Awlaki again: what vision of Islam do you
wish to follow? The false Islam of collective punishment claimed by
your "teacher"? Or the magnanimous Islam of mercy and wisdom lived by
Prophet Muhammad?

Al-Awlaki's credentials as a former religious scholar are troubling
and dangerous. But it should be noted clearly that al-Awlaki does not
represent the face of mainstream Muslim scholarship. In fact, in his
own country of Yemen, there is a remarkable Muslim scholar who has
dedicated his life to defeating extremism: Hamoud al-Hitar, a Yemeni
judge who deprograms terrorists by teaching them the truth about

Judge al-Hitar is living proof of the power of true Islam to defeat
the false Islam of the extremists, of light to overpower darkness.
Al-Hitar works with the Yemeni government to counsel Muslim extremists
who have been brainwashed by men like al-Awlaki. He talks to them
about the Holy Qur'an and traditional Islamic law, and demonstrates to
them -- line by line, point by point -- why terrorism is a violation
of Islam's basic teachings. Remarkably, al-Hitar has deprogrammed over
300 extremists and is said to have even won over high-level Al-Qaeda
agents, who have repented and turned on their leaders.

Al-Hitar served as the basis of a character I wrote for an episode of
the Showtime television series Sleeper Cell. A clip from that episode
has been uploaded onto YouTube and has become a global phenomenon, for
it shows how a Muslim scholar like al-Hitar argues with -- and proves
wrong -- an al-Qaeda extremist.

I ask the followers of al-Awlaki to look at the clip and let the truth
of its arguments -- coming straight from the Holy Qur'an and the
teachings of Prophet Muhammad -- touch their hearts.

If you still prefer the false words of your "teacher" over the truth
of Islam's message of peace and beauty, then there is no more hope for
you than there was for the many misguided souls who followed Jim Jones
to their destruction.

With the forces of evil now cloaking themselves in the garb of
righteousness, there are two paths before the Muslim community. One of
light and one of darkness. And of this moment, the Holy Qur'an says:

"God is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of
darkness He will lead them forth into light. But of those who reject
faith, their patrons are the evil ones: from light they will lead them
forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the
Fire, to dwell therein." (2:257)

My fellow Muslims, the choice between light and darkness is yours.



Devastated after his dreams of pursuing university-level computer science came to a crashing halt, accused terrorist Asad Ansari found a darker new purpose in life, the Crown alleged yesterday at his trial in Superior Court.

"You had become dedicated to jihad," Crown attorney Jason Wakely suggested.

"That is not true," responded Mr. Ansari, who has told the court he fell into a deep depression upon learning his parents could not afford to send him to his program of choice at the Unversity of Waterloo. But he maintains he never contemplated turning to terrorism, and was unaware his close friends were developing a homegrown terror cell during the relevant time period in 2005 and 2006.

Mr. Ansari, 25, is one of two remaining accused to be tried in the "Toronto 18" case, which involved an alleged plot to detonate bombs in the city's core and to attack senior politicians in Ottawa.

Ringleader Fahim Ahmad pleaded guilty to terrorism charges last month.

The jury yesterday watched a video from a CD labelled "Good stuff: Islamic videos," which police found in Mr. Ansari's bedroom after his arrest.

In it, al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri heaps scorn on the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan-- a mission Mr. Ansari has testified he supported--and urges the Muslim population to seek reform through jihad.

As this would have countered the views Mr. Ansari purported to have at the time, Mr. Wakely noted, "why is it that you saved this video?"

Mr. Ansari said he often sought out controversial material for his own edification.

"If I have that, it doesn't mean I agree with it," he said, calling al-Qaeda's standpoint "completely retarded as an ideology."

The court has heard that during a winter training camp in Washago, Ont., in 2005, Ahmad likened the Toronto 18 to al-Qaeda; Mr. Ansari, who says he was unaware the camp was intended as a terrorist training ground when he attended, denies having heard such a statement, and yesterday called it a humourous concept.

Mr. Wakely challenged Mr. Ansari on the title of the CD --- "Good stuff: Islamic videos" -- containing the al-Zawahiri video and other scenes of violent jihad, including explosions and masked militants firing rocket-propelled grenades.

"This depicts warfare, killing, hatred," Mr. Wakely said. "What's good about this stuff?"

"There's nothing good about this stuff," Mr. Ansari acknowledged, noting he frequently and indiscriminately labelled CDs in that fashion: "It was not an assessment in any way."

The Crown also referred to a document called the "Terrorist Handbook" found in Mr. Ansari's possession at the time of his arrest in June 2006. But defence lawyer John Norris contended this was merely an informational document, "not for actual use."

With the defence case for Mr. Ansari now concluded, lawyer Michael Moon will open his case today for 29-year-old Steven Chand, who stands charged with participation in a terrorist group and counselling to commit fraud over $5,000 in association with that group.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010



The Crown launched a multi-pronged assault yesterday on the credibility of Asad Ansari, one of the final two accused in the "Toronto 18" terrorism case.

Mr. Ansari, who has denied any role in the 2006 bomb plot and professed to be "scared of weapons," could not explain why police found a cache of files on a CD in his bedroom containing images of violent jihad.

"I can't answer the why," Mr. Ansari said during his cross-examination. "I can only say that I have these images."

The files include photographs of Osama bin Laden and masked militants hoisting AK-47s. In a number of shots, bearded men pose with rocket launchers; others feature a variety of guns and swords.

Mr. Ansari agreed the images glorified the concept of armed mujahideen, but said his aversion to firearms only applied "in real life."

Mr. Ansari, 25, is on trial for participating in a terrorist group that allegedly operated between 2005 and 2006. He admits to attending a winter camping trip organized by "Toronto 18" ringleader Fahim Ahmad, but denies he had any knowledge at the time that the camp was intended as a terrorist training ground.

Ahmad pleaded guilty to terrorism charges this month.

In general, Crown attorney Jason Wakely contended, "[Ahmad] was very open about his plans to attack."

"I guess, sure," Mr. Ansari replied. Yet he maintained Ahmad concealed those plans from him specifically, with discussions on topics such as jihad occurring only in the "theoretical" realm.

The jury has seen a video of the winter camp in Washago, Ont., filmed by Zakaria Amara, who was also charged in the terror plot. In the footage, masked men are seen running through the forest, hoisting a black flag and shooting guns, with Arabic chanting overlaid as a sound-track. Mr. Ansari says he was not present during the filming of any of the violent scenes. "Everything seemed benign and innocuous," he said of the camp.

Mr. Ansari has testified that Amara brought him the camp footage after the event had ended and asked for assistance in converting it to a digital format. This was incriminating evidence, Mr. Wakely pointed out, and "Amara trusted you with that."

"That's correct," the accused testified. Yet he says he never watched any of the footage while he was converting it, simply setting up the conversion process and then leaving the room to do other tasks. The Crown suggested this was false.

"The natural thing to do is to watch it," Mr. Wakely said, noting Mr. Ansari, who was out of school and not working, had little else to focus on at the time.

"I did not [watch]," Mr. Ansari asserted. While he agreed in retrospect it would have

made sense to view the camp video, "it was only happenstance" that he failed to do so.

The Crown also pointed to an intercepted telephone call in which Mr. Ansari speaks to Ahmad about malicious software found on Ahmad's computer.

"You were deliberately cryptic and guarded in this conversation," Mr. Wakely said, alleging Mr. Ansari was aware all the while that Ahmad was the subject of police surveillance, including a wiretap.

"No I did not," Mr. Ansari said. He says he was non-specific in discussing the malicious software because Ahmad "is an idiot when it comes to computers."

At one point in the conversation, Mr. Ansari alerts Ahmad to a program that is sending information out of his computer. "I can guess [where]," Ahmad says. Mr. Ansari, however, fails to follow up with the "obvious question" of where, Mr. Wakely noted.

Mr. Ansari, a self-described computer whiz, said he was not particularly interested in the "amateurish" program, adding it never occurred to him that it was installed by a law-enforcement agency.

The trial resumes today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


*** When people are made to feel they are not welcome in society, they become marginalized and are easy pickings for those who peddle in anger, desperation and rage. We are dismantling human society through our negligence. MS ***


Al Qaeda reaps recruits from Somali refugees in Yemen
By: Sara A. Carter
National Security Correspondent
May 25, 2010

Al Qaeda's robust terror organization in Yemen is recruiting from a pool of hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees who have fled war in their homeland, according to U.S. and Yemeni intelligence officials.

Approximately 700,000 Somali refugees have made Yemen their home, and that population is expected to continue to grow in the face of the collapse of the East African nation, Yemeni and intelligence officials told The Washington Examiner. A significant number of those Somali refugees are believed to be members of Al-Shabaab Mujahideen, an Islamist insurgency group with strong ties to al Qaeda.

Two American tourists were kidnapped by gunmen in Yemen Monday, and local officials said it was likely the group holding them had ties to al Qaeda. The abduction highlighted the growing danger of Islamic extremists in Yemen, experts said.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst who was an adviser to President Obama on Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, said the Somali refugee crisis poses significant national security concerns for the United States, and a golden opportunity for al Qaeda.

Riedel, who visited the Gulf of Aden last winter, said that although Somali refugees hope that Yemen will be their first stop to a wealthier country, "most never get beyond Yemen. Among them are dozens of young extremists who become recruits for [al Qaeda Arabian Penninsula]."

Al Qaeda in Yemen and Saudi Arabia merged into a single organization in early 2009, intelligence officials said. It calls itself al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and is based in Yemen. A number of Somali militants enter Yemen "to train with AQAP," a U.S. counterterrorism official confirmed.

American born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has emerged as a key player in al Qaeda's efforts to raise important new infrastructures in countries like Yemen which are outside the reach of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and where lawlessness and poverty prevail.

Al-Awalki, an American of Yemeni decent, is believed to be hiding in Yemen. U.S. intelligence officials say he is the new face of al Qaeda and recruits from the large number of Somali refugees entering that nation.

Al-Awlaki is the only American on the CIA's list of important targets to apprehend or kill. On Monday, in a video released by al Qaeda, al-Awalki, dressed in Yemeni traditional tribal clothing, called on believers to kill American soldiers and civilians.

Christopher Boucek, a Yemen specialist with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in a recently published report, "There are increasing indications that al Qaeda is regrouping in Yemen and preparing to strike at Western and other targets."

A retired senior military official with direct knowledge of al Qaeda in Yemen said that as al Qaeda's recruiting pool grows, Western targets will become more vulnerable.

He said Somali refugees are just one group of potential recruits.

"With the Somali crisis in Yemen growing we have to be mindful of how these various groups, like Somalia's Al-Shabaab, are connecting, recruiting and developing ties to one another," the official said.

Another military official warned that the global links between the groups in Yemen pose a "significant danger to our own national security because the next attack in the U.S. may not come from someone we suspect but from a recruit born right here or someone else, like a Somali refugee," he said.

In April, The Examiner reported that 23 Somalis who entered Mexico illegally earlier in the year were believed headed for the U.S. after being released by Mexican authorities. Of the 23 Somalis, several were directly connected to Al-Shabaab, according to the law enforcement documents.

Intelligence suggested some were attempting to cross the southern border into the U.S. Intelligence officials say they have not been located.

Al Qaeda's ties with Somali refugees also have implications for the oil-rich Middle East.

Riedel warned that as al Qaeda solidifies its safe havens in Yemen and Somalia, it will become a growing danger to the shipping lanes in the world's most important waterways.

"Al Qaeda's leadership in Yemen has very ambitious plans to develop cooperation [with] the Shabab in Somalia so that al Qaeda can influence the control of the shipping lanes in the Bab al Mandab strait that separates Asia from Africa and which is the world's energy choke point," he said.


*** Actually, what is laid bare here is not an Obama-specific problem but an indictment of the way false rhetoric becomes taken as fact as well as the notion that America can solve the world's problem by some magic wand. The guy HAS to use diplomacy - MUST be moderate - CANNOT be dictatorial. We all saw what the last guy did, right? Is that what America thinks will help them against terrorism? Got news for y'all - that aint how it works. MS ***


Obama promised radical change, but pragmatism has prevailed.

It was meant to be a disaster, but in fact it was a gift.

Faisal Shahzad hoped to kill as many people as possible, but in instead he gave the American intelligence community a unique opportunity to understand the current strategies and tactics of the Taliban and its relationship (if any) with al-Qaeda.

More importantly, he offered the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, and indeed all Americans, an opportunity to take a hard look at the motivations of the emerging crop of militants who are attempting to bring the war against the US back to US soil.

The question is will the Obama administration look a gift horse in the mouth?

Sadly, the answer is most likely yes.

The son of a retired senior Pakistani officer with roots in the war-torn Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, Shahzad did not mean to lay bare for the world to see the multiple fallacies at the heart of US foreign policy under Obama; but he did.

Neither, for that matter, did failed Nigerian "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who like Shahzad comes from a powerful family whose position offered him plenty of opportunity to observe the hypocrisy of his country's ruling elite and the role of US and European powers in perpetuating it.

But the narratives of both men, from their childhood to their botched bombings, offer pointed examples of how even the most well thought out policy strategies can produce the very opposite of the intended outcome.

Specifically, they challenge the basic orientation of the Obama administration's philosophy of governance: that moderation, compromise, and consensus are the only way to achieve meaningful policy goals.



WASHINGTON - The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East signed a secret order in late 2009 that set the stage for an increase in covert operations to counter militants and other threats across the region, defence officials said Tuesday.

Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, signed an order in September authorizing Special Operations forces to deploy to both allied and hostile nations in the Mideast, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to conduct surveillance missions and partner with local forces, two officials said on condition of anonymity because it involves clandestine forces.

The seven-page order also appears to authorize specific operations in Iran, most likely to gather intelligence about the country's nuclear program or identify dissident groups that might be useful for a future military offensive, according to The New York Times, which first disclosed the directive in Tuesday editions. Also citing anonymous sources, the newspaper said that the new order does not authorize offensive action, but rather its goal is to build new networks to "penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy" militant groups, including al-Qaida, and "prepare the environment" for future attacks.

As such, the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order of Sept. 30 to a large extent is aimed at codifying established activities — some of which have been under way for years — and more systematically align them and fund them under Central Command's special operations component, one defence official said.

One such major escalation in the region is the work already under way with Yemen, the country where al-Qaida linked militants planned the failed Christmas Day airliner attack over Detroit by the so-called underwear bomber. In that case, the Defence Department plans to more than double to $150 million this year the money spent on helicopters, weapons and other counterterrorism efforts to help local security forces go after the group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Aside from that expansion, it was unclear Tuesday precisely what other operations or missions in recent months might have stemmed from the new order.

MS: Need to know basis - and well, you don't need to know.


*** This is precisely why you should not rely so heavily on technology to do this kind of job. As we have seen many, many times - these strikes cause more long-term harm than good. Beef up the HUMINT sections people! MS ***


SANAA (Reuters) - An airstrike in Yemen targeting al Qaeda missed its mark on Tuesday and killed a mediator by mistake, prompting members of his tribe to blow up a crude oil pipeline in clashes that followed, a provincial official said.

A Yemeni news website seen as aligned with the opposition said the strike was carried out by a drone, a weapon that the Yemen military is not believed to have. U.S. forces helping Yemen fight al Qaeda have used drones in the past, but a U.S. diplomat declined to say if the United States was involved.

The strike could heighten anti-U.S. sentiment and broaden al Qaeda's appeal among some influential Yemeni tribes, threatening efforts to stabilize a country neighboring oil power Saudi Arabia and busy international shipping lanes, analysts said.

The botched bombing of a U.S. airliner on December 25, claimed by al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing, spurred Washington to step up security help to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government, which faces multiple grave challenges apart from militancy.

The Yemeni mediator, who had been trying to persuade members of the global militant group to surrender, was killed instantly in a pre-dawn strike on his car in Yemen's mountainous Maarib province that also killed three other people.

"Jaber al-Shabwani, the deputy governor of Maarib, was killed with a number of his relatives and travel companions in an airstrike targeting the Wadi Obeida area, where al Qaeda elements are present," the provincial official said.

"The deputy governor was on a mediation mission to persuade al Qaeda elements to hand themselves over to the authorities, but it seems that the airstrike missed its target and struck his car, killing him instantly in addition to three companions," he added, declining to be named. Two others were wounded.

The strike provoked clashes between the army and members of Shabwani's tribe, and the tribesmen attacked the pipeline that ferries crude oil from Maarib, east of the capital Sanaa, to the Red Sea coast, the official said.

Yemen, which borders the world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, moved to the forefront of Western security concerns after al Qaeda's Yemen-based regional arm claimed responsibility for a failed attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound plane in December.

The United States and Saudi Arabia want Yemen, which is trying to end a conflict with Shi'ite rebels in the north while separatist sentiment bubbles over in the south, to focus its efforts on fighting al Qaeda, seen as a greater global threat.


A statement from a Yemeni High Security Council source expressed sorrow for the death of Shabwani and called him a martyr, but did not specify who carried out the strike or what type of aircraft was used.

A U.S. diplomat would not discuss the attack. Washington backed Sanaa's fight against al Qaeda by training Yemeni forces, sharing information and providing equipment, and recognized al Qaeda in Yemen was a threat to both countries, he said.

"So we are working together. The Yemeni forces always take the lead in operations carried out in Yemen using some of that support that we have provided for them through training and information sharing..." the diplomat said.

Asked directly if the U.S. was involved in the strike, he said: "If you want operation-specific details you need to contact the Yemeni government."

Yemen and U.S. military targeted al Qaeda figures in Yemen, the ancestral home of the network's leader Osama bin Laden, after the September 11, 2001, attacks. A CIA drone fired a missile that killed al Qaeda's leader in Yemen in 2002.

Yemen's foreign minister said earlier this year that Yemen needed logistical support to help fight al Qaeda but would not allow foreign covert operations against the group on its soil.

In Maarib province where Tuesday's airstrike took place, clashes with the mediator's tribe spread from the countryside to Maarib town, where dozens of tribal gunmen opened fire on government buildings. The army was returning fire. At least seven people were injured, a local official said.

Security officials said angry tribes blocked the main road between Sanaa and Maarib, preventing trucks carrying cooking gas and petrol from reaching the capital.

Tuesday's strike had likely intended to hit Ayed al-Shabwani, an al Qaeda leader whose farm in Maarib province was the target of a strike in January, the provincial official said. Shabwani is a relative of the mediator who was killed.

Shipping companies said there was no impact on exports from the attack on the pipeline, which ferries crude to the Ras Isa offshore export terminal. Authorities could not immediately reach the affected area.

Monday, May 24, 2010


*** In this war - it seems all venues are battlespace. I note though this is a common defense in cases like this. Lawmakers need to work this out properly. MS ***


HOUSTON - A Pakistani student accused of conspiring to aid the Taliban and undergoing training to fight U.S. troops never intended to commit "battlefield Jihad" or help a terrorist group, his attorney told jurors Monday.

But a prosecutor said during opening statements in the trial of Adnan Babar Mirza that the student collected money for the Taliban and went through weapons training so he could fight U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Mirza, 33, was one of four men arrested in 2006, accused by authorities of taking part in paramilitary training exercises at camp sites around the Houston area so they could engage in a holy war. He was indicted on nine counts, including conspiracy to help the Taliban and federal charges related to being an illegal immigrant in possession of a firearm.

Prosecutors said Mirza was in the country illegally because he violated his student visa by working.

If convicted, Mirza faces up to 10 years in prison. His trial was to continue through the rest of this week.

Prosecutor Jim McAlister told jurors authorities learned about what Mirza and the other men were doing when one of their friends, James Coates, decided "things were getting out of hand" and became an FBI informant.

"They were training to go overseas and fight in Afghanistan and not for the Americans," McAlister said.

David Adler, Mirza's attorney, denied his client violated his student visa by working and portrayed Mirza as a caring person who collected food for Houston's homeless and promoted Islam and Muslim culture by working with Houston police and through a public access television program.

Adler told jurors Mirza went on camping trips but denied they involved paramilitary training exercises. He accused Coates of being the one who was militant and promoted violence.

An undercover officer taped conversations with Mirza and the other men in which they allegedly talked about ambushing U.S. soldiers and triggering a bomb with a cellphone, according to court documents.

FBI Special Agent John McKinley, the prosecution's first witness, told jurors Mirza can be heard on the taped conversations talking about sending money to support Taliban families. Prosecutors have said Mirza collected about $900 for Taliban fighters and their families.

But Adler said it's not against the law to send money to the families of Taliban fighters and Mirza collected money for hospitals and other groups but not specifically for the Taliban.

He also said Mirza can be heard in these taped conversations expressing anger about injustices Muslims around the world have experienced, but his client was just expressing emotion and didn't intend to act on it.

The three other men who were arrested have pleaded guilty or been convicted.

Kobie Diallo Williams, a U.S. citizen, was sentenced in August to 4 1/2 years in prison for conspiring to join the Taliban and fight against U.S. forces.

Syed Maaz Shah, a former Pakistani engineering student at the University of Texas at Dallas, was sentenced in 2007 to 6 1/2 years in prison on federal firearms charges. Shiraz Syed Qazi, also a Pakistani student and Mirza's cousin, received a 10-month prison sentence in 2007 on a firearms charge.


*** SO by this logic, who is responsible for the deaths during the 5 years the Mujahideen were fighting each other before the rise of the Taliban? How many thousands died?

And is it by this same logic that you justify the killing of Muslims - of Afghans - by bombing the market places frequented by women and children? How about attacking Muslims in the Masaajid and pronouncing kufr and nifaaq as if to say you do indeed see into the hearts of people? Is this what Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) did?

In the worst times - when battles raged - did he (Peace Be Upon Him) EVER slay his own people to advance his goals? Even ONCE did he (Peace Be Upon Him) do this? You and the likes of you have to answer for the blood of ALL innocent people - do you really feel that confident as if to say Allah has made you of the Ashra Mubasharah? Then meet your maker willingly and brazenly, Anwar. MS ***


WASHINGTON — In a newly released video, Anwar al-Awlaki, the Muslim cleric believed to be an inspiration for a series of recent terrorism plots, justifies the mass killing of American civilians and taunts the authorities to come find him in Yemen.

Terrorism experts said on Sunday that the full video interview, excerpts of which had previously been released, shows an increasing radicalization by Mr. Awlaki, an American-born imam who this year became the first United States citizen to be placed on a Central Intelligence Agency list of terrorists approved as a target for killing.

In his remarks, Mr. Awlaki praises the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest flight headed to Detroit.

“Those who could have been killed in that plane are a drop in the sea,” Mr. Awlaki said, in a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors statements by jihadists. “And we should treat them the same way they treat us and attack them the same way they attack us.”

Mr. Awlaki has been on record defending attacks on American military targets, both overseas and within the United States. He has praised the Fort Hood, Tex., shootings, carried out in November by an Army psychiatrist with whom Mr. Awlaki had exchanged e-mail messages. But the new video shows that Mr. Awlaki is now urging his supporters not to distinguish between military and civilian targets, citing what he claims are “no less than a million women and children” who had been killed as a result of American military action in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Mr. Awlaki’s sermons have drawn followers in spots around the world. A senior administration official said on Sunday that it had become clear that Mr. Awlaki “is not just someone who seeks to inspire others to undertake murderous acts, but has been and continues to be operational in plans against our interests and against the homeland.”

The interview also shows how tight the collaboration has become between Mr. Awlaki and the Yemen-based group known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, said Richard Wachtel, a spokesman for the Middle East Media Research Institute, which also translated the remarks, which were released by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Qaeda leaders there recently released a statement defending Mr. Awlaki and offering him protection.

In the video, Mr. Awlaki said he had cut off telephone communications to avoid being detected.

“If the Americans want me, let them search for me,” he said. “Allah is the best protector.”

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, made it clear on Sunday that the search for Mr. Awlaki was very much underway. “We are actively trying to find him and many others throughout the world that seek to do our country and to do our interests great harm,” Mr. Gibbs said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation.”

Sunday, May 23, 2010


*** The problem is that Muslims today are being forced to hear, Jihadi, Jihad, Jihad. The Prophet (AlayhiSalaam) said "Islam is built on five... (faith, prayer, fasting, charity and Hajj)". Jihad is not - and has never been - a pillar of Islam.

In the first 10 years of Islam - when hostility was highest and Muslims were killed and tortured for their faith in Allah - NO action was taken. I am not saying that pacifism is what I encourage of the Muslim world, but SURELY, it does not have to be Jihad, Jihad, Jihad, yes?

Even the verse that legitimizes Jihad acknowledges it is a thing disliked. Awlaki defines this in his 'Constants on the Path of Jihad' as indicative of the cowardice of the people (that's why they dislike it) but in reality, it is because of their peaceful and non hostile nature over those 10 years in Mecca - an example shown and corroborated by Allah Himself in the Quran in referring to Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) as a 'Mercy to the Worlds'. ANYONE who does a word search of the Quran should compare how many times the word PATIENCE comes as opposed to ANY kind of action verb: jihad, kill and fight. Do it and you shall see what the Quran says much more of than is claimed.

Look at the example of our much-maligned Prophet (AlayhiSalaam). The people of Taif cast him out, the street thugs throwing rocks at him - we all know the story. He PRAYS for them. The guy who comes into the Masjid and takes a leak in the corner - the Prophet (AlayhiSalaam) LET HIM FINISH before he politely told him why he should not do so. We all know these stories - the body of a MUSHRIK woman was seen among the dead and how upset did that make our Nabi (AlayhiSalaam)? He condemned who would do such a thing.

Anwar Al Awlaki: we will ALL have to answer for ourselves. We all know the hadeeth of the three types to be brought before Allah: The one who claimed he died in Jihad for God's sake, the scholar who claims he too did it for God, and the rich man who says he gave in charity honestly. People SAY they do it for Islam and Allah BUT when they go against the Beloved Example of the Prophet (AlayhiSalaam), things are not so open and shut. We know how that hadeeth ends: all three of them are proven (by God alone) to be liars and are eventually cast into hell.

Seek the way of mercy - do not drag in the Blessed Family of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) who reside in Yemen also.

Or would you slay them too? MS ***


WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says the U.S. is actively hunting American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The radical cleric is calling for the killing of American civilians, in a new video released Sunday by Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot, al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula.

The White House spokesman says President Barack Obama will continue to take action directly against terrorists like al-Awlaki, and keep the U.S. safe from what Gibbs calls "murderous thugs."

Senior administration officials say al-Awlaki is on a list of terrorists U.S. forces are authorized to capture, or kill. His Internet sermons are believed to have helped inspire attacks on the U.S.

Gibbs appeared Sunday on CBS television's "Face the Nation."

Saturday, May 22, 2010


*** I invite Ayaan Hirsi Ali and/or Irshad Manji to a civilized and reasoned debate on the merits of their positions. The story below explains to you why intelligent people should not fall for these imposters. If you want real critique, let it come from within - believe me, we can do a MUCH better job of exposing the wrong as well as championing the right in a way that is truthful and makes sense. MS ***


Late afternoon and the grubby 1950s glass and concrete alleyways of Rotterdam's centre are full of teenagers. Black, white, dreadlocked, shaved, speaking Dutch, Chinese, or a French-Arabic-Dutch mixture, all of them wear jeans, T-shirts, and cheap leather bomber jackets for boys, sequined belts for the girls. One or two wear headscarves with their make-up and bangles. On a bench is a stack of newspapers, the front page recounting the latest twist in the saga of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. 'The rise, the fall and then the rise again,' comments the seller sourly. 'I hope this time she goes for good.'

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia in 1969, raised in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, in Holland since 1992, is to move on, once more a refugee of a sort.

Her spokesman, Ingrid Pouw, yesterday finally put an end to a week of rabid speculation, telling The Observer that the 36-year-old MP will leave her adopted country at the end of August to take up a position at a conservative think-tank in Washington DC. After announcing her retirement from Dutch political life at a press conference last week, Hirsi Ali went straight to a meeting with the US ambassador to arrange for fast-track visas or even US residency documents, Pouw said.

Yesterday the dust was far from settling on the Hirsi Ali affair. A TV programme highlighting lies Hirsi Ali told on her asylum application and the subsequent decision by hardline immigration minister Rita Verdonk to strip her of her Dutch citizenship, has triggered a political crisis in Holland. Elsewhere in Europe, the shockwaves created by the controversy are spreading too, with some claiming that another voice against repression had been silenced by force and others welcoming the end of a campaign seen as provocative and negative.

Once more, Hirsi Ali had succeeded in forcing the most difficult, uncomfortable issues of immigration, integration, religion and culture to the forefront of debate in a fiercely uncompromising way.

Hirsi Ali fled Somalia with her family to Saudi Arabia when her father's political activities brought him into conflict with the Somali government, and then on to Kenya.

In 1992, fleeing an arranged marriage, she arrived in Holland where she worked first as a cleaner and then as a translator at a refugee centre in Rotterdam - an experience that marked her deeply, according to one friend interviewed by The Observer. A victim herself of female circumcision, Hirsi Ali was shocked by the male repression of immigrant women living in one of the most developed and tolerant societies in the world.

She studied political science at Leiden University and found a position in a leftwing think-tank. With such credentials, as well as her striking looks, she was well placed when the attacks of 11 September 2001 focused global attention on Islamic radicalism. Her self-appointed mission was to make the Dutch and Europeans aware of 'the repressive nature of Islam' and of the dangers of mass immigration, which led to an invitation from the Dutch Liberal party to join them and, very rapidly, to a seat in parliament.

Despite the Liberals' right-wing economics and uncompromising anti-immigration stance, Hirsi Ali pronounced the party her political home.

Yet, though increasingly known in Holland, it was only in 2004 that she became an international figure when film-maker Theo van Gogh was stabbed to death by a radical Islamist after he made a film with Hirsi Ali called Submission, using quotes from the Koran projected over a semi-naked woman to highlight domestic violence in Muslim societies. After the murder, Hirsi Ali went into hiding, surrounded by bodyguards.

But though she continued with her public, parliamentary and international engagements, the stress of constant death-threats and increasing criticism of her trenchant statements, began to tell. When, earlier this year, a court decided that she would have to leave her home in The Hague because she was endangering her neighbours, Hirsi Ali, friends said, started thinking about moving overseas. And then a new documentary was broadcast on Dutch TV. It was made by Gus van Dongen, an experienced TV journalist. He travelled to Somalia and Kenya to interview members of Hirsi Ali's family.

'There was no agenda,' van Dongen said last week. 'She is a politician who had made much of her background, telling one story. We set out to check those facts. That is all.'

The TV programme, broadcast 10 days ago, highlighted the fact that Hirsi Ali had falsified her original asylum application in Holland, saying that she had not come from war-torn Somalia as she claimed, but from Kenya, where she had lived peacefully for 10 years. The fact that she had lied was well-known, retorted Hirsi Ali, making the point that was she was fleeing a forced marriage. Not so, said van Dongen, using testimony from her brother and husband to allege that the marriage was not made under compulsion. Nor van Dongen said, was Hirsi Ali raised in a strict Muslim family.

An old story, said Hirsi Ali.

But not as far as Rita Verdonk, the Dutch 'iron lady' and minister of immigration, was concerned. Though a member of the Liberal party too, she launched an investigation and within days decided that Hirsi Ali should be stripped of her passport. The result was a huge row in parliament, splitting the Liberal party and the rest of the ruling right-wing coalition. This weekend Verdonk has promised to reconsider. But few think she will change her stance.

The affair has attracted international attention - most of it misinformed according to Bas Heijne, a newspaper columnist. 'This is being completely misjudged overseas,' said Heijne. 'It's all about domestic politics. The neo-conservative wave that swept Holland in recent years is running out of steam and turning in on itself. One of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's problems is that she had no real political base, either in immigrant communities or in the native Dutch population.'

But others, in Holland and overseas, see the battle as representative of far deeper issues. Robert Zoellick, number two at the US State Department, welcomed her decision last week - in part a tacit condemnation of 'wishy washy' Europeans who refuse to take a firm stance against radical islam.

Such transatlantic criticism appears increasingly inappropriate. On Thursday last week, the French national assembly passed a hardline package of immigration measures which will have a major impact in coming years. In Holland, stricter laws have resulted in a drop from 43, 500 asylum applications in 2000 to 12,300 last year. 'It's getting much harder for refugees to get into Europe. All the ministers are watching and copying each other,' said Annemiek Bots, of the Dutch Refugee Council.

But the real issue raised by Hirsi Ali is not so much immigration as integration - and free speech. For Gijs van Westelaken, who made Submission with Van Gogh and Ali, the activist has challenged 'the complacency' of a society that would 'do anything' not to address the difficult issue of how to integrate nearly 1.7 million immigrants, one in 10 of the population, of whom around two-thirds are Muslim. 'Theo van Gogh was silenced. Now Hirsi Ali has been silenced too,' he said. Yet there is little chance that she will abandon her campaigning, he said. 'It's a mission, it's what makes her tick.'

In Rotterdam the jury is still out on Hirsi Ali. The port city is one of Holland's most cosmopolitan with more than 30 per cent of electors of foreign origin. Recent elections saw a 25 per cent cut in seats on the city council for the right-wing party linked to the Liberals. In the Rotterdam Immigrants' Association offices, Mohammed Bibi, the director, praised the fact that Hirsi Ali had 'started a discussion'. 'But she did it in a very rude way and she related everything - violence, female circumcision, repression - to religion where actually it is cultural,' he said.

Burak, 25, a taxi driver from Turkey, said the only good Hirsi Ali had done was to stimulate debate. 'Islam is a religion of peace ... People are terrorists not because of their religion but because of their hate,' he said. Burak was unsure, however, if he would stay in the Netherlands. 'It is OK in Holland but is getting bad to be a Muslim now.'

In her own words ...

On immigration: 'I am not against migration. It is pragmatic to restrict migration, while encouraging integration and fighting discrimination.'

On religion: 'I do not believe in God, angels and the hereafter.'

On 9/11: Referring to hijacker Mohammed Atta's letter to his accomplices telling them to pray for martyrdom, she said: 'If I were a male under the same circumstances, I could have been there. It was exactly what I used to believe.'

On Islam: 'When a Life of Brian comes out with Muhammad in the lead role, directed by an Arab equivalent of van Gogh, it will be a huge step.'

On the lessons she learned from an Iranian-trained Shia fundamentalist: 'I had never seen an Israeli, but we hated them because it was "Muslim" to hate them.'

On herself: 'I have no real social life. It's like having a body with no bottom [a Somali expression]... who on earth can I saddle with a relationship? It's not off limits, and technically it can all happen. But is it, as we say in Dutch, verstandig? Sensible? It doesn't seem sensible now.'


*** No matter how much good this guy does, them racist barking dogs will be at it all night long. What do you think galvanized this so-called Tea Party movement? The fact that a Black man, with Muslim roots, got into the 'White' House. How can I say such a thing? Take a look at the rise of anti-immigrant and anti-govt. rhetoric - it was not even this bad under Bush! God save America, I mean it. (Amen). MS ***


President Obama outlined a new national security strategy rooted in diplomatic engagement and international alliances on Saturday as he repudiated his predecessor’s emphasis on unilateral American power and the right to wage pre-emptive war.

Eight years after President George W. Bush came to the United States Military Academy here to set a new course for American security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Obama used the same setting to offer a revised doctrine, one that vowed no retreat against enemies while seeking “national renewal and global leadership.”

“Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system,” the president told graduating cadets. “But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation. We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice, so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities, and face consequences when they don’t.”

Mr. Obama said the United States “will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well” while also trying to “build new partnerships and shape stronger international standards and institutions.” He added: “This engagement is not an end in itself. The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times.”

The president’s address was intended not just for the 1,000 young men and women in gray and white uniforms in Michie Stadium who could soon face combat in Afghanistan or Iraq as second lieutenants in the Army, but also for an international audience that in some quarters grew alienated from the United States during the Bush era.

The contrasts between Mr. Bush’s address here in 2002 and Mr. Obama’s in 2010 underscored all the ways a wartime America has changed and all the ways it has not. This was the ninth class to graduate from West Point since hijacked passenger jets destroyed the World Trade Center and smashed into the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania countryside. Most of those graduating on Saturday were 12 at the time.

When Mr. Bush addressed their predecessors, he had succeeded in toppling the Taliban government in Afghanistan and victory of sorts appeared at hand, even as he was turning his attention to a new front in Iraq. Forecasting a new generation of threats, Mr. Bush vowed not to stand by as they gathered. “If we wait for threats to fully materialize,” he said then, “we will have waited too long.”

As Mr. Obama took the stage on a mild, overcast day, the American war in Iraq was finally beginning to wind down as combat forces prepare to withdraw by August, but Afghanistan has flared out of control and tens of thousands of reinforcements are flowing there. Terrorists have made a fresh effort to strike on American soil as a new president tries to reformulate the nation’s approach to countering them.

“This war has changed over the last nine years, but it’s no less important than it was in those days after 9/11,” Mr. Obama said. Recalling his announcement here six months ago to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, he forecast difficult days ahead, but said, “I have no doubt that together with our Afghan and international partners, we will succeed in Afghanistan.”

Mr. Obama all but declared victory in Iraq, crediting the military but not Mr. Bush, who sent more troops in 2007. “A lesser Army might have seen its spirit broken,” Mr. Obama said. “But the American military is more resilient than that. Our troops adapted, they persisted, they partnered with coalition and Iraqi counterparts, and through their competence and creativity and courage, we are poised to end our combat mission in Iraq this summer.”

Mr. Obama attributed the failures of an effort to blow up a passenger jet approaching Detroit in December and of a car intended to explode in Times Square this month to the intense pursuit of radical groups abroad. “These failed attacks show that pressure on networks like Al Qaeda is forcing them to rely on terrorists with less time and space to train,” he said.

And he defended efforts to revise counterterrorism policies that have generated sharp criticism that he is weakening America’s defenses. “We should not discard our freedoms because extremists try to exploit them,” he said. “We cannot succumb to division because others try to drive us apart.”


*** Ah yes, the rise of the (mostly white & Christian) American Jihadi. They're called 'anti govt. militia's' or the Patriot Movement and they are the direct result of the bigoted and profoundly ignorant rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh & O'reilly primarily. All hail Queen Palin (we're against govt. but we want to be voted in so we can run that same govt. - make sense to you?)

Haters and warmongers - quite similar in many respects to the (mostly brown & Muslim) jihadi's. Extremism is extremism no matter who does it and extremist rhetoric DOES lead to terrorism. These ideologues are fermenting civil war in the United States of America - God help you in these times (Amen) MS ***


An anti-government Ohio man who had several run-ins with police around the U.S. was identified Friday as one of two people who allegedly gunned down two officers during a traffic stop in Arkansas.

Arkansas State Police on Friday identified the pair -- killed during an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers -- as Jerry R. Kane Jr., 45, of Forest, Ohio, and his son, Joseph T. Kane, believed to be 16.

About 90 minutes before the shootout Thursday with police, Sgt. Brandon Paudert, 39, and Officer Bill Evans, 38, were killed with AK-47 assault rifles after stopping a minivan on Interstate 40 in West Memphis, Ark., authorities said.

Jerry Kane, who used the Internet to question federal and local governments' authority over him, made money holding debt-elimination seminars around the country. He had a long history with police and recently complained about being busted at a ''Nazi checkpoint'' near Carrizozo, N.M., where court records show he spent three days in jail before posting a $1,500 bond on charges of driving without a license and concealing his identity.

Clark County, Ohio, Sheriff Gene Kelly told The Associated Press on Friday that he had issued a warning to officers on July 21, 2004, about Kane, saying he might be dangerous to law enforcement. Kelly said he based his conclusion on a conversation he had with Kane over a sentence Kane received for some traffic violations.

Kelly said Kane had complained in July 2004 about being sentenced to six days of community service for driving with an expired license plate and no seat belt, saying the judge had tried to ''enslave'' him. Kelly said Kane added that he was a ''free man'' and asked for $100,000 per day in gold or silver.

''After listening to this man for almost 30 minutes, I feel that he is expecting and prepared for confrontations with any law enforcement officer that may come in contact with him,'' Kelly wrote in his warning to officers.

Kelly told the AP on Friday that he wrote the warning because he was ''very concerned about a potential confrontation and about his resentment of authority.''

On an Internet radio show -- hosted on a website that lets amateurs create their own shows and live discussions -- Kane expressed outrage about his New Mexico arrest.

''I ran into a Nazi checkpoint in the middle of New Mexico where they were demanding papers or jail,'' he said. ''That was the option. Either produce your papers or go to jail. So I entered into commerce with them under threat, duress and coercion, and spent 47 hours in there.''

Kane said he planned to file a counterclaim alleging kidnapping and extortion against those involved in his arrest and detention. Kane also said he had an officer sign a document that said the officer must pay for using Kane's name.

''I am now putting together an invoice for him for approximately $80,000 in gold for the eight times he used my name,'' Kane said on the radio show. ''I already have done a background check on him. I found out where he lives, his address, his wife's name.''

Mark Potok, who directs hate-group research at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Kane had not been in the group's database before Thursday. But he said that was not surprising, given the ''explosive growth'' in the anti-government movement in recent years. With 363 new groups in 2009, there are now 512, Potok said.

Members of so-called patriot groups don't recognize the authority of the U.S. government and consider themselves sovereign citizens.

JJ MacNab, a Maryland-based insurance analyst who has testified before Congress on tax and financial scams, said she had been tracking Kane for about two years and that his business centered on debt-avoidance scams.

Potok said such scams are common in the sovereign citizen movement.

''He basically promised them they would never have to repay their mortgage or credit card debt,'' MacNab said.

Kane's website showed he held one of his seminars in Las Vegas 15-16 and that he was due to appear in Safety Harbor, Fla., May 28-29. His website Friday asked that donations be sent to an address in Clearwater, Fla., to help his family.

At that Florida address, a woman, speaking through the front door, told an AP reporter to leave the property when he knocked and identified himself. Two bicycles were in front of the unkempt, single-story home and exercise equipment was on the porch. A sign on the front door read: ''No visitors. This means you. Thank you for understanding.''

A woman who answered the door at the home of Kane's mother, Patricia Holt of Marysville, Ohio, also told an AP reporter to leave and said she had no comment. She did not identify herself.

Friday, May 21, 2010


*** Something is just not working: first it was brown bearded types - so they lost their beards. Then it was just the brown types - so they got white guys (some with beards some without). Then it was women - white women. Now do you still think grandma cannot be the next terrorist? Think again. They will adapt and devise new tactics, new strategies. COUNTER tactics, folks, COUNTER strategies. MS ***


In the years following the September 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials were focused primarily on tracking down terrorists abroad. But in recent years their targets have been increasingly closer to home. At least 25 American citizens—both born and naturalized—have been charged with serious federal terrorism violations since the beginning of 2009, according to information compiled by federal authorities.

The list of 25 U.S. citizens who have been charged with such offenses in the last 18 months was compiled and provided to NEWSWEEK by a U.S. law-enforcement official, who requested not to be identified because it is not an official government publication and is not meant to be exhaustive. "These cases clearly suggest that an increasing number of U.S. citizens, both native-born Americans and naturalized citizens, appear to be getting involved in the terrorist cause. It's not an encouraging trend," said a Justice Department official who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information.

The official who provided the recent information said he did not have such statistics broken down by citizenship for terrorism prosecutions during the George W. Bush administration, and a search of government and academic sources did not turn up comparable figures. By one comparison, in the 18 months before Barack Obama took office, the Department of Justice prosecuted 35 terrorism cases against all suspects—both American citizens and foreign nationals—according to DOJ information released to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University (PDF).

Earlier this year the Justice Department published a comprehensive listing (PDF) of more than 400 federal-court convictions on terror charges since September 11, 2001, but it did not provide the citizenship of the defendants. Over the years the Justice Department has also issued periodic summaries of terror prosecutions, such as this one and this one, which do mention earlier, well-known cases involving U.S. citizens, including those of "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, the "Lackawanna Six" (a group of men from the Buffalo, N.Y., area who were arrested in 2002 for training at a Qaeda camp in Afghanistan before 9/11), and a Virginia imam convicted in 2005 for encouraging others to go to Pakistan for jihadist training. But at the time these cases surfaced, they appeared relatively isolated and not part of the kind of extended pattern that the latest statistics appear to show.

Counterterrorism experts from the Bush era say that the new cases represent an increased involvement by Americans in militant jihadism that began before Obama took office but has accelerated since then. The experts attribute the alarming trend both to increasing alienation among young American Muslims and to more effective enforcement and intelligence collection activities by the FBI and other U.S. government agencies.

To be sure, there are many different kinds of people, motivations, and actions represented on this list, and not every example can be attributed solely to radicalization of American Muslims. Also, the criminal cases are all at various stages, with some having pleaded not guilty. Marc Sageman, an independent terrorism expert who worked for the CIA during the 1980s, notes that some of the recent cases on the list—such as the Newburgh, N.Y., plot and the case of the man who wanted to bomb an Illinois courthouse—are less significant than others because they were the products of FBI "sting" operations and thus constitute what Sageman considers to be "entrapment," meaning a heavy government role in luring the suspects into what they thought was jihad. Also, said Sageman, a North Carolina case whose defendants are included on the list mainly involved plans to get involved in jihadist fighting overseas, not inside the U.S.

Still, the increase is troubling. The official who provided the list of 25 charged Americans emphasized that it was not necessarily comprehensive and features mainly high-profile cases involving serious charges. The list includes:

*Faisal Shahzad, the accused perpetrator of the recent failed Times Square car bombing.

*David Headley, a Chicago man who pleaded guilty to charges that included helping a Pakistan-based terror group gather intelligence for November 2008 terror attacks against commercial targets in Mumbai.

*Two American women, known as "Jihad Jane" and "Jihad Jamie," who are facing charges in Philadelphia for their roles in an alleged Internet-based conspiracy to attack a Swedish artist who drew a cartoon lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

Also on the list are Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin, naturalized Americans born in Afghanistan and Bosnia, respectively, who allegedly conspired with Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-born permanent resident of the U.S. in a plot to bomb the New York City subway system last September. Zazi, the alleged mastermind, is not listed as one of the 25 American citizens arrested for terrorism in the last 18 months. (Zazi and Ahmedzay have pleaded guilty in the subway bombing plot; charges against Medunjanin are still pending).

The 25 U.S. citizens on the list may be only a cross-section of a larger problem, however, officials say. The "Northern Virginia Five," a group of Americans who are currently being detained by authorities in Pakistan, are not on the list, nor is Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychologist accused—in the U.S. military-justice system—of killing 13 fellow soldiers in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, last November.

The official who provided the list noted that it does not include any of the estimated 20 Americans or U.S. residents who are alleged or reported to have traveled to Somalia to join Al Qaeda affiliates or other jihadist factions operating there. Also not on the list are a number of Americans who are believed to have gone to Yemen in recent years for suspected jihadist training. Most estimates by law-enforcement and intelligence officials put the number of Americans who may now be undergoing such training in Yemen at about a dozen, though this report (PDF) issued in January by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee suggested that "36 American ex-convicts arrived in Yemen in the past year, ostensibly to study Arabic"—a figure that other U.S. officials suggest is an overestimate.

Frances Fragos Townsend, White House counterterrorism adviser in the George W. Bush administration, says her recollection is that the involvement of American citizens or residents in terror plots actually began to grow while she still worked in government, with cases like that of the mainly Balkan expatriates (some of whom were illegal aliens) from Philadelphia's New Jersey suburbs who plotted to shoot up soldiers at the Fort Dix Army training base, and a 2007 domestically hatched plot (with alleged connections to Trinidad and possibly Iran) to blow up fuel lines leading to New York’s JFK airport. She says the raw statistics charting American citizens' involvement in serious terror plots is not just a "sudden spike" but rather a trend that has been tilting "precipitously up" for the last few years.

Sageman says there is still evidence of what he describes as a "very serious uptick" in American citizens' interest and involvement in jihadist activities in recent years. He attributes this alarming trend to three factors. First, he says, now that memories of 9/11 have faded, American Muslims are feeling more alarmed by growing manifestations of Islamophobia among non–Muslim Americans, and this is frightening and alienating Muslim-American youth. Second, Sageman agrees that a very important factor in drawing Americans into jihad is the increasing availability of radical Islamic messages in English on the Internet, particularly from Anwar al-Awlaki, a fiery imam associated with Hasan and Christmas Day "underpants bomber" Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and Abdullah al-Faisal, a deeply anti-Western and anti-Semitic Jamaican-born imam who was imprisoned for a time in Britain on charges of incitement to murder. Before 2005, Sageman says, the main jihadist messages were available on the Web only in Arabic, but since that time, English-language militant Web sites, carrying messages from religiously credentialed figures like Awlaki, have proliferated.

Finally, Sageman says, some disillusioned young people have found themselves turning to violence when other, less violent forms of countercultural protest have proved ineffective. But as their estrangement from organized protest movements becomes deeper, Sageman says, such angry young people tend to withdraw into themselves or into very small groups, and pursue simple plots, rather than complex schemes like the 9/11 attacks. Eventually, Sageman hopes, unless the U.S. creates new grievances in the Muslim world through unwise foreign-policy moves, this proliferating but fragmented domestic jihadist trend might well burn itself out.