The LWOT: Four plead guilty to London Stock Exchange plot
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Four plead guilty to London Stock Exchange plot
Four British jihadists pleaded guilty on February 1 to an al-Qaeda-inspired conspiracy to detonate a bomb in the restrooms of the London Stock Exchange, while another nine men involved in the plot pleaded guilty to lesser charges (NYT, WSJ, BBC, LAT, AP, AFP,Tel). The plots were exposed by undercover anti-terror police before they became operational, though the men were found in possession of an article entitled "How to build a bomb in the kitchen of your mom" from the English-language magazine Inspirepublished by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Telegraph has an interesting profile of the roles played by each of the four main terrorists, Mohammed Chowdhury, Shah Rahman, Abdul Miah and Gurukanth Desai (Tel).
And on February 2, two German Muslim converts, Christian Emde and Robert Baum, pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle into the United Kingdom a large amount of extremist material stored on a hard drive and laptop computer, including the same article found with the aforementioned terrorists, "How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom" (Tel, BBC, Reuters). The men were arrested in July in the English port town of Dover; they will be sentenced on February 6.
German prosecutors said on February 1 that authorities had arrested a man identified only as Carsten S, who is believed to be an accomplice of a neo-Nazi cell revealed in November, the Nationalist Socialist Underground, linked to the murders over the past ten years of nine immigrants and a police officer (Deutsche Welle, AP). Germany’s intelligence service received criticism for failing to uncover the dangerous, right-wing group sooner, and is now coming under fire for allegedly spying on the nation’s leftist politicians (LAT).
Two convicted of al-Qaeda plot in Norway
Two men, Mikael Davud and Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, were found guilty and sentenced to seven and 3.5 years in prison respectively by the Oslo District Court on January 30 for plotting to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, which in 2005 printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad deemed to be offensive by many Muslims (AP). A third defendant, David Jakobsen, helped police during the investigation and was cleared of terrorism charges, but found convicted on one explosives charge.
A court in Istanbul, Turkey on February 2 charged the former head of Turkey’s armed forces, General Ilker Basbug, with leading a terrorist group and plotting a coup to overthrow the government for his alleged involvement with a clandestine ultra-nationalist group supposedly linked to Turkish security forces (NYT).
The Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) announced on February 1 that Romanian police had arrested 20-year-old Razvan Manole Cernaianu for allegedly hacking into the websites of NASA and the Department of Defense among other U.S. government agencies, and posting secret material from the sites on his blog (MSNBC).
Accused terrorist mastermind Henry Okah, who is charged with planning two bombings that killed 12 people during independence day celebrations in Abuja, Nigeria in October 2010, will face a South African court in October of this year, after a judge on January 30 delayed his case by nine months (AFP, AP). Okah is believed by investigators to have planned the attacks from his home in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Former Gitmo detainee reimprisoned
Algerian authorities on January 16 convicted former Guantánamo Bay detainee Abdel Aziz Naji of "belonging to a terrorist group abroad" for allegedly working with Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and sentenced him to three years in prison (AP). A British legal charity, Reprieve, on January 31 denounced the Naji’s conviction and said he’d been involved in humanitarian work in Kashmir, not terrorism.
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials confirmed on January 31 that the United States is considering the transfer of five Afghan Taliban prisoners being held at Guantánamo to Afghan custody in an effort to bring the Taliban into peace negotiations (AP).
CIA officer to leave NYPD
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced on January 27 that a CIA officer who has been working as a special assistant to the NYPD’s intelligence chief will leave the department in April (AP). Just a few months ago, the NYPD wrapped up an investigation into the relationship between the CIA and the NYPD, initiated after the Associated Press revealed that the two entities were working together to spy on Muslim communities in NYC.
Another exclusive report by the AP on February 2 revealed that the NYPD wanted to focus on Shi’a Muslim communities and the mosques their members frequent in order to uncover Iranian terrorists living in the Northeastern United States (AP). A secret NYPD intelligence report created in 2006 entitled "US-Iran Conflict: The Threat to New York City" obtained by the AP also recommends increased surveillance of the city’s Palestinian population "due to presence of Hamas members and sympathizers and the group’s relationship with the Iranian government."
The American Civil Liberties Union on February 1 filed suit against the Justice Department, Defense Department and the CIA for their failure to comply with a request filed in October by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (Post). The request was for the release of the Obama administration’s legal and intelligence documents concerning the three American citizens killed in drone strikes in Yemen last year.
Trials and Tribulations
- Israeli troops on January 31 detained a Palestinian man released in last October’s prisoner swap in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, "on suspicion of activity that endangers the security of the area" (AFP).
- A U.S.-backed airstrike in the Philippines on February 2 reportedly killed three of Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorists, including Jemaah Islamiyah leaders Zulkifli bin Hir (aka Marwan) and Abdullah Ali (aka Muawiyah), and Abu Sayyaf leader Umbra Jumdail (AP).
- Jordan’s military prosecutor on Friday charged ex-parliamentarian Ahmed Oweidi Abbadi with inciting the public against King Abdullah II of Jordan (AP).