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In a story largely ignored by the mainstream media, a south Florida imam has been convicted on multiple terrorism charges for financially supporting an al-Qaeda branch in his native Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

Judicial Watch was on the ground in Miami federal court monitoring the trial, which lasted two months and received only sporadic coverage from local media despite the magnitude of the crimes. The defendant, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, is a Pakistani national with U.S. citizenship who served as the Muslim leader of the Flagler Mosque in Miami.

Last summer the feds charged the imam and several members of his family with providing material support to the Pakistani Taliban, which is associated with Al-Qaeda and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against American interests, including a 2009 suicide bombing at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. Read the indictment.

Khan founded an Islamic school that supports the Taliban’s jihad while living in Pakistan and continued controlling and funding it as an imam in Miami, according to the indictment. He used the school to provide shelter and support for Taliban soldiers and to train children how to kill Americans in Afghanistan, the indictment says. The rest of the family helped create a network that flowed money from the U.S. to Pakistan to purchase guns for the Taliban, according to the feds.

Khan, who is 77, took the stand in his own defense. He appeared quite animated and confident during his four days of testimony, but was visibly dejected after the verdict was read. He faces up to 15 years in prison. The 12 jurors who convicted him deliberated for a week and refused to comment after delivering the verdict.  

“Despite being an Imam, or spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace,” said the area’s top federal prosecutor, Wilfredo Ferrer, in a statement. “Instead, he acted with others to support terrorists to further acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming. But for law enforcement intervention, these defendants would have continued to transfer funds to Pakistan to finance the Pakistani Taliban, including its purchase of guns.”

Not surprisingly, the statement fails to address why the Department of Justice (DOJ) abruptly dropped terrorism charges against Khan’s 39-year-old son (Irfan Khan) last summer nearly a year after arresting him. A DOJ spokeswoman delivered this statement to the local south Florida newspaper covering the story: “We are unable to comment on the internal deliberations that led to our decision. However, the charges against his co-defendants remain in place and trial is pending for those defendants in U.S. custody.” Federal prosecutors have also failed to explain the status of three other defendants in this case, all fugitives believed to be in Pakistan.

The national media lost interest in this story after widespread coverage of how the FBI raided the Khan mosque in a manner that assured cultural sensitivity towards Islam. Federal agents actually waited for prayer service to end before moving in out of respect for Muslims and they took their shoes off prior to entering the mosque as per Islamic tradition. It made for “kindlier, gentler arrests,” under the Obama Administration’s new rules of engagement to assure more sensitivity toward religious practices.

 

Islamic terrorists—including two al Qaeda affiliates indicted last year in Kentucky—have entered the United States legally through a resettlement program that helps tens of thousands of “the world’s most vulnerable refugees” start a new life in America each year.

Known as the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), it’s a joint venture between the State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Homeland Security agency that oversees the nation’s lawful immigration. The two agencies are responsible for deciding which refugees are granted USRAP resettlement consideration. USCIS is hands on and conducts individual, in-person interviews with applicants to determine if they meet the refugee criteria.

Most of the refugee referrals are made by the notoriously corrupt United Nations, which has published an extensive handbook on the subject. In a nutshell here is the criteria; a refugee must have a well-founded fear of persecution based on at least one of the following—religion, political opinion, race or nationality. This means there is a continued need for protection and candidates should be granted permanent residence status with access to rights similar to those enjoyed by nationals, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) guide.

In fiscal year 2011 Uncle Sam generously offered 56,424 persecuted foreigners refuge and in fiscal year 2012 the number increased to 58,236, according Barbara Strack, the Refugee Affairs Division Chief at USCIS. This week Strack testified at a congressional hearing, “Terrorist Exploitation of Refugee Programs,” that addressed the serious security vulnerabilities in her division. She told the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “has been working closely with interagency partners to improve, refine, and streamline the security vetting regime for refugee applicants and for other immigration categories.”

Last May two Iraqi nationals who were given refugee status under USRAP were arrested and federally indicted for plotting to send weapons and money to al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) as well as conspiracy to kill U.S. national abroad. The men, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, lived in Kentucky and have pleaded guilty to the charges, which are outlined in this FBI document. They are scheduled to be sentenced early next year.

At this week’s hearing, the congressman who chairs the counterterrorism and intelligence committee revealed that the Kentucky case is not a fluke and that the “threat posed by refugees with ties to al Qaeda is much broader than was previously believed.” He reiterated the testimony of FBI Director Robert Mueller before a House Intelligence Committee last year, in which the FBI chief admitted ongoing concerns about individuals who may have been resettled here in the United States that have some association with al Qaeda in Iraq.

USRAP, which has helped relocate millions of refugees over the decades, has come under fire in recent years because it’s gotten too big and security measures are lax. A report released last year by a nonprofit that researches immigration matters says this is because the U.S. has lost control of the program, instead surrendering to U.N. policies to determine who’s admitted and because meaningful background checks are difficult to obtain for refugees admitted from countries without reliable government records.

As a result the program is a bloated disaster, admitting nearly three times the number of refugees as the rest of the developed world combined, the probe found. Additionally, the investigation found that “common criminals, war criminals, international fugitives, and terrorists have all used the USRAP and its related asylum provisions for entry into the United States.” Here is another interesting tidbit: “Bribery of U.N. officials is commonly reported among those attempting to secure refugee admission to the United States.”

 

 

 

The Obama Administration has granted officials from a country that appears on the State Department’s list of terrorism-sponsoring nations visas to attend an AIDS conference in Washington D.C. this week.

It’s part of the administration’s effort to combat the deadly, sexually-transmitted disease on a global level and especially in minority communities because they have been hit the hardest. But was it really necessary to include officials from Cuba, a communist nation that is a notorious human and civil rights violator? That’s in addition to a decades-long run on the U.S. government’s list of nation’s that sponsor terrorism.

Ironically, in Cuba the government involuntarily isolates AIDS patients in special sanatorium prisons. In the U.S. that would be considered an unacceptable violation of a person’s civil rights. Cuba’s controversial handling of the disease has gained worldwide attention in a number of media and academic reports. Even the nation’s largest mainstream newspaper, known for publishing favorable articles about the island prison, says Cuba’s success in limiting AIDS stems partly from “harsh early tactics.”

A California congresswoman who pushed for the Cuban visas, Oakland Democrat Barbara Lee, hosted the island’s delegation at a Capitol Hill event related to the International AIDS Conference.  A D.C.-area group that promotes human rights in Cuba disclosed the names of the Communist officials being courted by Lee, who has worked in Congress to lift the Cuban embargo. They include Dr. Lorenzo Jorge Perez Avila, director of the Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute, Luis Estruch Rancaño, Deputy Minister of Public Health and Maria Isela Lantero, Director of Cuba’s AIDS Programs.

The nonprofit, Cuba Democracy Advocates, reminds that in May the Obama Administration granted U.S. visas to Cuban Dictator Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela, and 60 other regime officials to attend a conference in San Francisco. It’s very likely that Lee, who represents the area in the U.S. House, was behind that as well. The executive director of Cuba Democracy Advocates asks: “How would Barbara Lee like it if everyone in her Oakland district suffering from HIV/AIDS was involuntarily imprisoned?”

Lee, a prominent member of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus, is a huge admirer of ailing Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul. During a 2009 trip to the island, Lee praised Fidel and said spending time with him was “quite a moment to behold.” Ironically, during the love fest one of Cuba’s best known political prisoners, a black doctor named Oscar Elias Biscet, was serving more than 20 years in a deplorable prison simply because he stood up for human rights by following the peaceful resistance of Martin Luther King Jr.

Also of interesting note is that the country of about 11 million people has a majority black population yet it is ruled by an overwhelmingly white government that openly discriminates against black and mixed-race Cubans. The regime has publicly announced that it does not believe in civil rights.

In 2003, when three black young men tried to hijack a Havana ferry to the U.S., Castro executed them by firing squad even though no one got hurt in the incident. The idea was to send a message to the island’s black majority so, hours after a swift and secret trial, the men were murdered for what the Cuban government called “very grave acts of terrorism.”

 

 

 

 

A new government study says Muslim terrorists are widely misunderstood and don’t wish to impose Islam around world as is commonly believed in the west, they simply murder innocent people to defend against foreign attacks by enemies of Islam.

 At least that’s what the experts at a public university in Arizona have determined. They offer details and make rather comical recommendations to counter terrorism in a taxpayer-funded study released this week. The highly-regarded academics operate a special center dedicated to studying the role of communication in combating terrorism, promoting national security and successfully engaging in public diplomacy worldwide.

To fulfill this mission, the center gets big bucks from the U.S. government. In fact, earlier this year it got a rather generous $6.1 million grant from the Department of Defense (DOD) for a neurophysiological study involving narrative comprehension and persuasion. The center’s biggest project, however, is a six-year, $4.5 million study on Islamist extremists’ use of narrative to influence contested populations in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, North Africa and Europe.

That brings us back to this week’s rather sympathetic report (How Islamist Extremists Quote the Qur’an) portraying Muslim terrorists as misunderstood by westerners. It spans 14 pages, but here is the gist of it; based on how they quote religious texts (Quran), Islamic extremists are not “an aggressive offensive foe seeking domination and conquest of unbelievers, as is commonly assumed. Instead they deal with themes of victimization, dishonor and retribution.”

The report continues: “The verses frequently utilized by extremists” address subjects such as “enduring hardships and the importance of fighting against the unjust unbelievers who oppress men, women and children.” This shows close integration with the rhetorical vision of Islamist extremism, according to the brilliant academics that compiled this on the government’s dime.

 Now that we better understand these violent terrorists, researches recommend that the west abandon claims that Islamist extremists seek world domination, focus on counteracting or addressing claims of victimization, emphasize alternative means of deliverance and work to undermine the “champion” image sought by extremists. After all, “studies” have shown that al Qaeda-linked militants are 38 times more likely to kill a Muslim than a member of another group, according to these researchers, who say this is hardly the activity of a “competent champion.”

 It is important to be realistic about Islamists’ arguments when trying to counter their influence attempts, says a professor to co-authored this study. “If we try to portray them as evil conquerors when their audience sees them as protectors and champions, it damages our credibility and makes our communication less effective,” he said. The report’s lead author confirmed that “what extremists are really saying to Muslims is ‘our communities are under siege and God will defend us if we have faith and courage’.”

 

 

After dragging its feet for an entire month, the Obama Administration finally expelled from the country a Venezuelan diplomat who participated in a plot with Middle Eastern terrorists to attack the United States from Mexico.

The alarming scheme was exposed in early December in a documentary broadcast by the world’s largest Spanish news network, Univision. The exposé focused on how Middle Eastern terrorists have infiltrated Latin American countries—especially Mexico—to plan an attack against the United States.

A taped segment includes the Venezuelan consul in Miami Florida, Livia Acosta Noguera, asking a Mexican hacker to give her access codes to nuclear facilities in the United States as part of an Iranian-backed plot to attack the country. At the time Acosta Noguera worked as cultural attaché at the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico.

The consul’s segment was part of never-before-seen footage illustrating how Iran’s growing political, economic and military ties to Latin America threaten U.S. security. The videos were part of a seven-month investigation in which college-aged Mexicans infiltrated diplomatic circles in Mexico to obtain recordings that prove diplomats from Iran, Venezuela and Cuba planned a cybernetic attack against the White House, FBI, Pentagon and U.S. nuclear plants.

The documentary also features secret video taken by extremists linked to Iran and footage from an undercover journalist who infiltrated Venezuelan military camps where terrorists trained. The news network’s investigative team also tracked the expansion of Iranian interests in the hemisphere, including money-laundering and drug-trafficking activities by terrorist groups supported by Iran.

It’s baffling that the Obama Administration allowed Acosta Noguera to keep her diplomatic post in Miami after she was outed on national television for participating in a plot to attack America. A south Florida newspaper reveals that Acosta Noguera and her Miami vice consul, Edgard Gonzalez Belandria, are actually registered with the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (known by its Spanish acronym SEBIN), indicating that they are on the intelligence service’s payroll.

A news service dedicated to covering Latin America got a hold of the State Department’s official eviction notice, which reads: The Department of State informs the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that in accordance with Article 23 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Department declares Ms. Livia Anotnieta Acosta Noguera, Venezuelan Consul General in Miami, Florida to be persona non grata. As such, she should depart the United States within 72 hours upon receipt of this diplomatic note.

A renowned Hezbollah terrorist in U.S. military custody for murdering five American soldiers in Iraq may soon be released by the Obama Administration, evidently to appease Muslims.

The perplexing story was reported recently by a mainstream newspaper that portrays the case as a “dilemma” for the president as American troops prepare to exit Iraq. The Lebanese militant, Ali Mussa Daqduq, has been in U.S. military custody in Iraq since 2007 for his involvement in a carefully orchestrated plot that killed, kidnapped and tortured American military officers.

The incident took place in a city called Karbala, south of Baghdad in early 2007. Around a dozen terrorists dressed in U.S. military uniforms opened fire on Americans after approaching a camp in five sports utility vehicles resembling U.S. transports. One U.S. soldier died at the scene and four others were kidnapped, tortured and executed. Daqduq, a Hezbollah commander, was the mastermind.

But the Obama Administration can’t decide what to do with him. The president doesn’t want to violate Iraq’s sovereignty by removing Daqduq from the country when the U.S. withdraws at the end of the month. If Iraq is gracious enough to grant the U.S. permission to remove the terrorist so that he can be tried, this presents yet another huge dilemma for Obama.

Taking Daqduq to the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Cuba, which houses other high-value terrorists, is out of the question because the facility is an anathema in the Middle East, according to the newspaper that broke the story. Furthermore, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki would not approve the “unacceptable” Guantanamo option.

What to do with this Islamic terrorist who murdered members of our military? Incredibly, releasing him seems to be a very realistic option, according to various news reports. One mainstream outlet says that Daqduq may soon go free,without facing trial. This has outraged some members of Congress who offer the administration a reasonable solution.

During a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, one senator insisted Daqduq should go to Guantanamo to be tried before a military commission. Releasing him to the Iraqis would be like letting him go and trying him in a U.S. civilian court would be disastrous, the lawmaker pointed out. The administration already tested that brilliant idea when it proposed trying 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan.

The Guantanamo option is clearly the most sensible. Last month Judicial Watch was approved by the Department of Defense (DOD) to observe the arraignment of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the al-Qaeda terrorist charged with orchestrating the 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole. JW witnessed a deep commitment to justice by military lawyers as well as al-Nashiri’s topnotch capital defense attorney. Read JW’s Guantanamo coverage here.

Middle Eastern terrorists have infiltrated Latin American countries—especially Mexico—to plan an attack against the United States, according to an alarming exposé broadcast this week by the world’s largest Spanish news network.

The Univision documentary, “La Amenaza Irani,” (Iranian Threat), uses undercover, never-before-seen video footage to illustrate how Iran’s growing political, economic and military ties to Latin America threaten U.S. security. The videos were part of a seven-month investigation in which college-aged Mexicans infiltrated diplomatic circles in Mexico to obtain recordings that prove diplomats from Iran, Venezuela and Cuba planned a cybernetic attack against the White House, FBI, Pentagon and U.S. nuclear plants.

The documentary also features secret video taken by extremists linked to Iran and footage from an undercover journalist who infiltrated Venezuelan military camps where terrorists trained. The news network’s investigative team also tracked the expansion of Iranian interests in the hemisphere, including money-laundering and drug-trafficking activities by terrorist groups supported by Iran.

A segment is dedicated to the connection between Mexican drug cartels and the foiled plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. a few months ago. One of the Iranians charged had been ordered by that country’s Special Forces to travel to Mexico to recruit members of the notorious drug cartel “Los Zetas” to carry out the plot. The massive scheme against U.S. government information and computer systems had been in the works years earlier, the documentary reveals.

The ties between Middle Eastern terrorists and Latin America are nothing new, though specific plots against the U.S. from the region have likely not been exposed in this manner. Since 1982 Cuba has appeared on the State Department’s list of countries that have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism, which means restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales and other financial restrictions.

Earlier this year the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which examines issues for federal lawmakers, published areport on Latin American terrorist concerns to the United States. It points out that, while Latin America has not been the focal point of the U.S. war on terrorism, the region has struggled with domestic terrorism for decades and international terrorist groups have used it as a battle ground to advance their causes.

The report specifically mentions Iran’s increasing activities in Latin America in its attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions as well as its ties to the radical Lebanon-based Islamic group Hezbollah. In fact, the CRS report quotes a separate State Department antiterrorism document that says the U.S. remains concerned that sympathizers of Hezbollah and the Sunni Muslim Palestinian group Hamas are raising money among the sizable Middle Eastern communities in the tri-border area of Argentina.

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Washington, DC — October 13, 2011
Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has uncovered an intelligence document detailing the September 2004 attack by Chechen Islamic militants on a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia, in which 380 of the 1,100 hostages (children, parents, teachers, and visitors) held captive for three days were murdered. The document was obtained from the State Department by Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on August 26, 2005.
The document, jointly released by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is dated October 12, 2004, and analyzes the Beslan terrorist attack with a view toward gleaning lessons for potential attacks on schools in the United States. While the ultimate conclusion of the report is that such attacks pose no immediate threat to the U.S., the bulletin details “several items that law enforcement, school administration and security personnel may consider when developing school security and emergency response plans.”According to the Department of Justice Program Office, the Obama administration blocked out these recommendations, citing a “deliberative process exemption,” which Judicial Watch is appealing.Operational details discussed in the bulletin regarding the raid on the Beslan school include transportation, techniques for overcoming security, prepositioning of weapons and explosives, terrorist surveillance and planning, controlling hostages by separating children from parents and teachers, and terrorist efforts to thwart Russian government counterterrorism techniques and teams. The bulletin highlights Russian failures at the scene include failing to implement a comprehensive response plan and failing to establish an effective cordon around the school during the incident. The bulletin closes with the observation that “Emergency medical treatment for children is significantly different from adults and should be factored into any plan or exercise.”Previously, Judicial Watch uncovered a Defense Intelligence Agency document detailing al-Qaida’s 1998 activities in Chechnya, which included a “direct route to Chechnya from Pakistan and Afghanistan through Turkey and Azerbaijan.”“The alleged purpose of the intelligence briefing was to glean information to help protect school children from a potential terrorist attack. What sense does it make for the Obama administration to keep secret the bulletin’s important recommendations for schools and emergency responders? The Chechen terrorists behind Beslan have been tied to al-Qaida. Importantly, these terrorists groups in Chechnya first used many of the terrorists techniques that became widely adopted elsewhere, such as IED’s and the use of women suicide bombers,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

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