The LWOT: Denver man charged with material support
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Denver man charged with material support
The FBI on January 21 arrested an Uzbek refugee, Jamshid Muhtorov, who appeared in court on January 23 charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists for allegedly planning to travel to Pakistan to fight alongside the extremist Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) (CNN, AP, Reuters). Muhtorov was arrested at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport before he could board a plane to Istanbul, Turkey, but he is from Aurora, Colorado, the same Denver suburb that admitted New York City bomb-plotter Najibullah Zazi hailed from.
Members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force raided a home in an Orlando suburb on January 19 as part of an ongoing investigation (Orlando Sentinel). Neighbors claim the family living at the searched house is connected to an anti-government movement called the Sovereign Citizens.
The Department of Justice on January 23 accused a former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, with disclosing classified information to two reporters, including the identity of a CIA analyst involved in the 2002 hunt for — and harsh interrogation of — suspected al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah (NYT, AP, LAT, WSJ, CNN). Kiriakou is charged with violating the Espionage Act and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, as well as lying to CIA and FBI officials
Real IRA suspect convicted
Brian Shivers, a suspected member of the dissident Northern Irish group, the Real IRA, was convicted on January 20 of murdering two British soldiers in Antrim, Northern Ireland in March 2009, while his co-accused Colin Duffy was acquitted and later claimed his DNA had been planted in the getaway car used after the attack (Guardian, AFP, Tel,Deutsche Welle, CNN, AFP, BBC, Independent).
On January 23 a jury was chosen in the trial of nine men accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy in London and the London Stock Exchange, though authorities have declined to say whether the plots were linked to any foreign terrorist organization (AP). The suspects, all of whom have pleaded not guilty, were arrested in December 2010 in one of Britain’s largest counterterrorism raids.
Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit officers broke up a meeting at a Cardiff community center on January 19 following a tip from a member of the local Muslim community that the participants were linked to the banned Muslims Against Crusaders group (BBC, BBC). One man was charged under the Public Order Act, but none were accused of involvement with terrorism.
Indian police announced on January 23 that they had arrested two suspects in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, 22-year-old Naqi Ahmed Sheikh and 23-year-old Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaq Sheikh, in connection with the three bomb blasts that ripped through Mumbai in July 2011, killing 27 people (AFP, BBC, WSJ, AP, CNN, NYT). The young men are believed to have taken orders from the alleged mastermind, Yasin Bhatkal, who is still at large and has been linked to the extremist Indian Mujahideen.
Finally, a Nigerian military task force on January 24 arrested 158 suspected members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility for a series of bombs and shootings in Kano, Nigeria that killed over 200 people (CNN). Police in Kano said they had foiled new attacks on January 23 after finding ten cars packed with explosives as well as hundreds of other homemade explosive devices (AFP). However, residents of Kano say Nigerian security forces on January 24 also killed a man and his pregnant wife, who were not believed by neighbors to have links to Boko Haram (AP).
U.N. rights chief "disturbed" by U.S. failures
On January 23, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called the arbitrary and indefinite detention of individuals at Guantánamo Bay a "clear breach of international law" (AP). She added that she is "disturbed at the failure to ensure accountability for serious human rights violations, including torture."
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is reportedly planning to release the legal justification behind its decision to order a drone strike that killed an American citizen, radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (Newsweek). The Obama administration is also reportedly considering the repatriation of most of the non-Afghan detainees being held at the United States’ largest prison in Afghanistan near Bagram Air Base (Post).
Trials and Tribulations
- An Ethiopian high court on January 19 convicted three journalists and a politician of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, provoking an outcry from human rights groups who believe the country’s anti-terrorism laws are being abused for political means (AP).
- The Palestinian Authority on January 20 condemned Israel’s January 19 arrest of Hamas politician and speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz Dweik, who the Israeli military said is ""suspected of being involved in the activities of a terrorist group" (AFP, BBC, CNN).
- U.S. Republican Senator Rand Paul, son of presidential hopeful Ron Paul, was briefly detained on January 23 at an airport in Nashville, Tennessee after setting off the alarm at the security checkpoint and refusing a pat-down (Reuters, AP,LAT, AFP).