We May Get to See Some of Bin Laden’s Death Photos After All

JOHN HUDSON | JAN 31, 2012

The American public may finally bear witness to some, but probably not all, of the postmortem images of Osama bin Laden taken on the night he was killed in Pakistan. That’s the conclusion of Dan Metcalfe, the former director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Information and Privacy, after reading the government’s response in a lawsuit from activist group Judicial Watch seeking “all photographs and/or video recordings” taken during the raid in Pakistan.

“If you look closely at one small segment of the government’s brief, it in effect concedes that there are reasonably segregable, non-exempt portions of the records that are legally required to be disclosed,” Metcalfe told The Atlantic Wire.

Initially, the Justice Department had argued that all 52 records of bin Laden were exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. However, in their response brief filed on Wednesday, Metcalfe says DOJ raised the possibility that portions of images or video of the Al Qaeda leader could be disclosed without “core” harm to national security.  The passage in question (page 10) raises the possibility that “sensitive information about specific intelligence methods or specific military operations could be redacted from the records.”

Continue Reading:  We May Get to See Some of Bin Laden’s Death Photos After All

‘Revered Elder’: Top Terrorist Captured in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – NATO captured a senior leader of the al-Qaeda- and Taliban-allied Haqqani network active inside Afghanistan, the alliance said Saturday, describing it as a “significant milestone” in disrupting the terror group’s operations.

NATO said Haji Mali Khan was seized Tuesday during an operation in eastern Paktia province’s Jani Khel district, which borders Pakistan. It was the most significant capture of a Haqqani leader in Afghanistan, and could dent the group‘s ability to operate along the porous border with Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.

Continue Reading >>>

US officials: US attack in Yemen kills al-Awlaki

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a devastating double-blow to al-Qaida’s most dangerous franchise, U.S. counterterrorism forces killed two American citizens who played key roles in inspiring attacks against the U.S., U.S. and Yemeni officials said Friday.

U.S-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, who edited the slick Jihadi Internet magazine, were killed in an air strike on their convoy in Yemen by a joint CIA-U.S. military operation, according to counterterrorism officials. Al-Awlaki was targeted in the killing, but Khan apparently was not targeted directly.

After three weeks of tracking the targets, U.S. armed drones and fighter jets shadowed the al-Qaida convoy before armed drones launched their lethal strike early Friday. The strike killed four operatives in all, officials said. All U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.

Al-Awlaki played a “significant operational role” in plotting and inspiring attacks on the United States, U.S. officials said Friday, as they disclosed detailed intelligence to justify the killing of a U.S. citizen. Khan, who was from North Carolina, wasn’t considered operational but had published seven issues of Inspire Magazine, offering advice on how to make bombs and the use of weapons. The magazine was widely read.

Continue Reading >>>

On this day in history…

September 20, 2001, in an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror“.

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

The U.S. Government’s Failed History of Muslim Outreach

By Patrick Poole

When President Obama hosted his annual iftar dinner in August to commemorate Ramadan, the list of invitees published by the White House was curiously missing the names of several attendees — all of whom are top leaders of organizations known to be purveyors of jihadist ideology. But it was not like they had crashed the party. One of the unlisted, Mohamed Magid, head of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Society of North America, was photographed by Reuters sitting at the front table only a few feet from the president as he spoke.

This was just the most recent episode in the federal government’s disastrous attempts at outreach to the Muslim community since the 9/11 attacks. With the release of President Obama’s new strategic plan to combat “violent extremism” by expanding outreach to these same terror-tied groups, the present administration seems intent on compounding the problems wrought by its predecessors.

Misguided outreach activities began long before 9/11, with the best example being the case of Abdurahman Alamoudi.

Alamoudi was the conduit through which much of the U.S. government’s outreach was pursued following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Not only was he asked by the Clinton administration to help train and certify all Muslim military chaplains, his organization being the first to do so, but he also was appointed by the State Department in 1997 as a goodwill ambassador to the Middle East, making six taxpayer-funded trips. It is fair to say that during this period, Alamoudi was the most prominent and politically connected Muslim leader in America.

As we now know, Alamoudi was indicted in October 2003 for moving money on behalf of Libyan intelligence in an assassination plot targeting Saudi Prince (now King) Abdullah. The U.S. government has admitted that at the time he was being courted by Democrats and Republicans alike, he was a major fundraiser for al-Qaeda.

However, it is not as if the U.S. government was unaware of Alamoudi’s attachments. As far back as 1993, an informant told the FBI that Alamoudi was funneling regular payments from Osama bin Laden to Omar Abdel Rahman, the “blind sheikh” who was convicted of authorizing terror attacks against New York landmarks. In March 1996, Alamoudi’s association with Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook was exposed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Two years later, the State Department came under fire by the New York Post for inviting Alamoudi to official events despite his known remarks in support of terrorism and terrorist leaders.

When President Bush took office, Alamoudi was quickly courted by the new administration. In June 2001, the Jerusalem Post reported that Alamoudi was going to be part of a White House meeting with Vice President Cheney despite the fact that Alamoudi was known to have attended a terror confab in Beirut earlier that year featuring representatives from virtually every major Islamic terrorist organization in the world, including al-Qaeda.

Yet just days after the 9/11 attacks, Alamoudi was one of the Muslim leaders asked to appear with President Bush at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. That same week, one of Alamoudi’s close associates, Muzammil Siddiqi, was asked to deliver an Islamic prayer and to represent the entire Muslim-American community at the national prayer service mourning the fallen.

The inclusion of Alamoudi and Siddiqi at the post-9/11 events was highly criticized, especially because Alamoudi had been videotaped in October 2000, as noted by the Los Angeles Times, expressing his support for Hamas and Hezbollah at a rally held just steps from the White House. At that same demonstration, Siddiqi accused the U.S. of responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians and warned that “the wrath of God will come.” One former Secret Service agent told Fox News that “the intelligence community has known for some time the association of Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi and Mr. Alamoudi and their association with terrorist organizations.”

The decision to continue doing business with Alamoudi and others like him was just one of many blunders made by the U.S. government in its eagerness to conduct Muslim outreach in the wake of 9/11.

Most embarrassing of all, one of the first Muslim leaders to whom the government turned after the attacks was none other than Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda cleric who was in direct contact with at least three of the 9/11 hijackers and is currently on the CIA’s kill-or-capture list.

As the cleanup from the terrorist attack on the Pentagon continued, Awlaki was invited by the Pentagon’s Office of Government Counsel to speak at a lunch in the building’s executive offices as part of the government’s new Muslim outreach efforts. But a joint congressional inquiry into 9/11 found that law enforcement had been investigating Awlaki’s contacts with terrorism suspects as far back as 1999. Also, before his appearance at the Pentagon, the New York Times had noted Awlaki’s anti-American rhetoric prior to the attacks.

This dubious approach to outreach continued through the end of Bush’s second term, as seen in the egregious invitation by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to Yasir Qadhi to speak on de-radicalization at a conference in August 2008. At that time too, Qadhi’s extremist views, such as his statements denouncing “the hoax of the Holocaust,” were well known. Furthermore, at a 2006 Muslim outreach event in Houston, Homeland Security official Daniel Sutherland was present, as reported by the Houston Chronicle, when Qadhi openly admitted that he was on the terror watch list.

No one at the NCTC bothered to question Qadhi’s “de-radicalization” credentials. By the time he was invited to speak at the NCTC conference, at least one of Qadhi’s Houston students, Daniel Maldonado, had been captured by Kenyan forces fighting with the Somali al-Shabaab terrorist group. A number of other students from Qadhi’s AlMaghrib Institute program have gone on to careers in terrorism, including Christmas Day underwear bomber Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, who attended a two-week AlMaghrib training session in Houston and two other events in the UK.

If Yasir Qadhi is an expert in de-radicalization, one shudders to think what an expert in radicalization might produce.

Continue Reading >>>

Whereabouts of 3 believed involved in possible 9/11 threat remains unclear

A lieutenant (white shirt) debriefing officers...

Image via Wikipedia

New York (CNN) — Two of the three individuals believed to be involved in a potential 9/11 anniversary plot against New York or Washington are Americans of Arab descent who traveled to the United States last week, according to a U.S. government official.

However, another law enforcement official said there is no evidence so far that any of the three individuals came to the United States or are here now.

“Nothing’s really panned out yet,” the official said.

Still, authorities are operating under the assumption that two of the people have arrived on U.S. soil, and they have been piecing together clues gleaned from flight logs and manifests, among other sources, said the U.S. government official, who declined to be named.

A third person is believed to have been traveling through Europe, though it is not clear whether that person has arrived in the United States, the government official said.

It is still not apparent whether a plot is under way, officials say.

“It’s still ongoing,” New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said about the potential threat. “Nothing significant has changed. The threat has been identified as being credible and specific and uncorroborated.”

American spy networks had intercepted communications of a potential attack from an al Qaeda operative in Pakistan, derived from a source who has provided accurate information in the past, officials say.

No other corroborating evidence of an attack has been uncovered, but it has prompted intelligence officials to sift through communications from other al Qaeda cells.

The information suggests the plan — thought to involve a vehicle-borne explosive device — is meant to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The exact type of strike, however, is largely unclear and the plot still remains unconfirmed.

U.S. officials rarely speak on the record about intelligence intercepts. And in the days following the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, officials indicated al Qaeda had gone to great lengths to avoid having its communications intercepted by the United States.

While the precise nature of communication intercepts is rarely discussed, U.S. officials repeatedly have indicated their comfort with sharing the results of those intercepts.

Authorities also say they have picked up “chatter,” or widely divergent communications, from extremists that suggest the newly tapped al Qaeda head, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is in some way involved in the current plot.

Continue Reading

Flight 93 ‘heroes’ honored with 9/11 memorial

By Robert MacPherson (AFP)

SHANKSVILLE, Pennsylvania — America paid tribute to the “forgotten heroes” of 9/11 on Saturday with the solemn dedication of a national memorial to the 40 passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93.

Polished granite slabs bearing the names of those who struggled with Al-Qaeda terrorists on the fourth airliner hijacked on September 11, 2001 were unveiled in the Pennsylvania countryside where the Boeing 757 crashed.

Then-president George W. Bush, his predecessor Bill Clinton and current Vice President Joe Biden joined families of the victims and hundreds of others — many in patriotic T-shirts or holding US flags — under a slate gray sky.

“One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real — and so is courage,” Bush said, recalling “the first counter-offensive in the war on terror (and) one of the most courageous acts in American history.”

“The temptation of isolation is deadly wrong,” added Bush, clearly directing his remarks to those who favor less US engagement in world affairs.

It was up to the United States, he said, to “lead the cause of freedom… a world of dignity, liberty, and hope would be better and safer of all.”

Bells struck by National Parks Service rangers in stetson hats tolled as the names of the dead were read aloud, and Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan, alone at the piano, performed her mournful “I Will Remember You.”

Later, many families — sometimes with young children — trekked gingerly across the rain-sodden field to lay wreaths and remember loved ones at the very spot — marked by a 17-ton boulder — where Flight 93 slammed into the ground.

Continue Reading

C-SPAN Video – Memorial Service 09/10/2011