“High-profile detainee” and alleged al-Qaeda operative Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was arraigned Wednesday before a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba. The U.S. government has charged al-Nashiri with war crimes related to his alleged role in the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, an attack that killed 17 sailors. The defendant is additionally charged with the bombing of a French merchant vessel in 2002, and a planned attack on the American naval warship the USS The Sullivans, also in 2000.
Guarded by an escort of American servicemen, al-Nashiri entered the courtroom dressed in his white prison jumpsuit. He was clean-shaven and wearing his hair very short.
Sitting at a table flanked by his cohort of defense attorneys, al-Nashiri appeared confident, smiling occasionally and at one point waving to the media and other observers sitting behind a glass barrier.
The arraignment of al-Nashiri is historic in that it is the first of such tribunals to be held since the system was created during the George W. Bush administration in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The proceeding is especially noteworthy in that not only is it the first military tribunal of a Guantanamo prisoner, but, if convicted, al-Nashiri faces the death penalty.
On Wednesday, prosecutors for the United States government argued that regardless of whether the man accused of bombing the USS Cole is acquitted of those charges by a military tribunal, the feds have the authority to imprison him at the Guantanamo Bay facility until the “War on Terror” is over. While refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden on October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists claiming to be members of al-Qaeda. As a result of the bombing, 17 American sailors were killed and 39 others were wounded.
Saudi-born Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is alleged to have been the mastermind of that deadly attack, as well as that carried out on the the French civilian oil tanker MV Limburg, and the attempted attack on the USS The Sullivans earlier in 2000.
In November 2002, al-Nashiri was captured in the United Arab Emirates by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division. After being held and interrogated at one of the CIA’s infamous rendition facilities (where he was waterboarded and questioned at gunpoint and threatened with a power drill), al-Nashiri was transferred to the Guantanamo Bay prison, where he remains to this day.
Documents obtained as result of a Freedom of Information Act request made by the American Civil Liberties Union indicate that while in the custody of the CIA (which reportedly included time in a “black site” prison north of Warsaw, Poland), al-Nashiri was subject to inhuman torture tactics that led him to sign a confession admitting to having participated in the planning of the attack on the USS Cole.
The Department of Homeland Security has announced it will be bringing it’s "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign to hotel rooms across the nation. Guests checking in at reputable hotels like the Marriott and Hilton will be greeted by a message featuring Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano immediately upon turning on their televisions.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign was launched in July 2010, as a “simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper state and local law enforcement authorities.” It was launched in conjunction with the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI) which is touted by the DHS as “an administration-wide effort to develop, evaluate, and implement common processes and policies for gathering, documenting, processing, analyzing, and sharing information about terrorism-related suspicious activities.”
It was first utilized by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), but will be reportedly expanding. UPI explains, “The Department of Homeland Security is turning to television and public service announcements to urge U.S. hotel guests to fight terrorism.” The same PSAs that will be aired in hotel rooms are already playing at hundreds of Wal-Marts across the country. They will now be expanded to 5,400 hotels that are serviced by television provider LodgeNet.
A string of attacks launched in Nigeria on Friday left dozens dead, according to international news reports. The attacks are believed to have been carried out by Islamists. The bombers and gunmen reportedly targeted churches and government facilities in the northeastern region of the country.
Shortly after the November 4 murder spree, a spokesman for the Nigerian Jihadist group known as Boko Haram operating primarily out of the Islamic north of Nigeria claimed responsibility. The anti-Western terror organization seeks to extend Sharia law to the largely Christian southern half of the nation while consolidating Muslim rule in northern states.
Death-toll estimates cited in media accounts vary widely. But according to a rescue official cited in multiple reports, over 150 people were killed. Hundreds more were wounded and remain hospitalized.
Among the targets in Yobe state were the Anti-Terrorism Squad office, churches, various federal buildings, several police stations, a bank, an Islamic theological college, and more. The apparently coordinated attacks hit at least two cities in Yobe: the state capital Damaturu and Potiskum.
Colombian government officials claim that the leader of that nation’s most prominent rebel group was killed Friday in an operation carried out by the Colombian military.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón said FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army) leader Alfonso Cano was killed in a raid on a town in the Cauca department of Colombia, having been chased months ago out of a FARC stronghold in the mountains in the southwest area of the country.
Pinzón declared that Cano had been pursued relentlessly by armed forces in the southwestern Colombian state and was killed just hours after several of his lieutenants were killed in a bombing raid in Suarez, a rural town in Cauca.
The Colombian army may have been aided in its efforts to locate Cano (real name: Guillermo Saenz) by locals motivated to cooperate with the government by the offer of a reward of $3.7 million for information that led to his capture.
Cano, for decades the ideological polestar of the leftist movement, was known to be an intellectual and a hardliner with his eyes firmly fixed on a final triumph over the forces of the government of Colombia. He took command of FARC in March 2008 upon the death of Manuel Marulanda Velez (A.K.A. “Tiro Fijo”).
On Wednesday, November 2, Viktor Bout, the former Soviet military intelligence officer and international arms dealer on trial for attempting to sell weapons to communist FARC terrorists, was found guilty in the Federal District Court in lower Manhattan.
The verdict and possible life sentence, expected to be announced in February 2012, brings an end to the three-week-long trial that may perhaps go down as the of the most important case in years, highlighting the link between Moscow and international terrorism under the covert guise of spreading communism.
“Viktor Bout is key in all this,” says "Jimmy from Brooklyn," frequent radio caller in the New York area and renowned expert on communism and the USSR. “Bout connects Russia to Marxist and Muslim terrorism,” Jimmy said.
“How does a Soviet military officer go from being a military intelligence officer to becoming in charge of an international air freight company selling arms over night, unless he was working for the Russian government?” Jimmy asked rhetorically when interviewed by The New American magazine.
You might assume that unconstitutionally searching Tennessee’s trucks while recruiting their drivers to snitch on us would keep the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) too busy for further evil. You would be wrong.
Just as groping aviation’s passengers doesn’t content this vile agency, neither do its VIPR attacks on our highways. And so it also licenses truckers despite the fact that each state already does.
Of course, the word “license” means “to allow” — and what Our Rulers permit, they can also prohibit. That’s why 44-year-old Abdirazaq JeerJeer, “a Somali refugee who … has been a [US] citizen since 2000” sat sidelined for months instead of driving tankers, a tough and often dangerous job of enormous skill that supported Mr. JeerJeer, his wife and their seven-month-old son, Adam.
Our Rulers filed no charges against this breadwinner; they did not try nor convict him of any crime. They simply revoked his TWIC — Transportation Worker Identification Credential — and put this hard-working father out of business.
The totalitarian TSA administers TWIC, thanks to those cowardly curs in Congress and their Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002. Quick: how many shipyards and docks have alleged terrorists in trucks blown up? Yep, you’re scratching your head because there are none, unless we count Timothy McVeigh and Ramzi Yousef — and their targets weren’t “maritime.” We face no crisis of exploding infrastructure, no rash of “transportation workers” trying to bomb us.
As brutal revenge attacks against loyalist towns and bickering between various armed factions pick up steam in Libya, the al Qaeda flag was photographed flying above the courthouse in the rebellion’s home town of Benghazi. The White House, which unconstitutionally committed American forces in the conflict, said it was not surprised by recent developments.
"There is no God but Allah," read the black flag with a full moon fluttering atop the key government building, which served as the rebel regime’s headquarters throughout much of the eight-month civil war. The first media outlet to publicize the banner also noted that Islamists could be seen throughout the city flying the al Qaeda flag and shouting Muslim slogans.
When a photographer with Vice.com approached the courthouse to take pictures of the flag, a guard came out and warned him to stop. “Whomever speaks ill of this flag, we will cut off his tongue,” the camouflaged security officer said. “I recommend that you don't publish these. You will bring trouble to yourself.”
The Libyan revolutionary also insisted the flag on the courthouse was dark black, while al Qaeda’s flag was charcoal black. Locals urged the photographer to leave too, saying Islamist fighters could be watching him.
The constitutional arguments against the Central Intelligence Agency’s assassinations of Anwar al-Awlaki and, two weeks later, his 16-year-old son have been widely discussed. Less well known, however, is the case against CIA assassinations to be made on the basis of the law of war.
Into the breach has stepped Howard University law professor Morris Davis, who in a recent column presented a well-researched case that the CIA’s drone assassination program is illegal under the law of war and that, as a result, CIA personnel participating in drone strikes could be prosecuted for murder.
Davis knows his subject well. He was a U.S. Air Force judge advocate for 25 years and served as chief prosecutor of the Guantanamo Bay military commissions from 2005 to 2007, resigning from that post in disgust at the use of torture to extract evidence from prisoners and the interference in the proceedings from the Pentagon. He is now executive director and counsel of the Crimes of War Education Project. In other words, Davis’ opinion on the matter of war crimes should not be taken lightly.
Central to Davis’ argument is the indisputable fact that the CIA is not an arm of the military but “a civilian agency made up of civilian employees and civilian contractors.” For those still not convinced, columnist Nat Hentoff reminds us that “when Gen. David Petraeus (who had led U.S. forces in Afghanistan) became the present head of the CIA, he removed his military uniform.”