The American Kafir

2012/05/09

Wily bomb maker fast in race with technology; informant ID’d device

Wily bomb maker fast in race with technology; informant ID’d device

By Shaun Waterman

Al-Asiri

Al Qaeda’s top bomb maker in Yemen is so ruthless that he recruited and equipped his own brother for an underwear-bomb suicide attack against a top Saudi royal in 2009.

“Even for al Qaeda, that’s cold,” said author Peter Bergen, who has studied the group since the late 1990s.

Now Ibrahim al-Asiri, 30, is suspected of making a new underwear bomb designed for use against a U.S.-bound airliner in a plot uncovered last month by U.S. and Saudi intelligence and thwarted within the past few days.

The supposed would-be bomber was an informant working for the CIA and Saudi Arabian intelligence, U.S. and Yemeni officials said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. The informant, who delivered the bomb to authorities, is safely out of Yemen.

The revelation, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, shows how the CIA was able to get its hands on a sophisticated underwear bomb well before an attack was set into motion, the AP reported.

Underwear bombs and other explosive devices, such as the converted printer cartridges used in the foiled October 2010 air-cargo bomb plot, are al-Asiri’s trademark, President Obama’s senior counterterrorism adviser said.

Al-Asiri “has demonstrated real proficiency as far as concealment methods as well as the materials that are used in these” bombs, John Brennan said Tuesday in an interview on NBC-TV.

A Saudi national who has served time in the kingdom’s prisons, al-Asiri is the son of a pious retired military man, according to the Saudi Gazette newspaper. The U.S. designated him a terrorist kingpin last year, and he is wanted by the Saudis and by Interpol.

He is believed to be one of the top targets of the recently stepped-up U.S. campaign of lethal drone attacks in Yemen.

The FBI, which is examining the underwear bomb, said it is “very similar” to devices used in plots by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the terrorist network’s affiliate in Yemen, “including against aircraft and for targeted assassinations.”

That clearly is a reference to the August 2009 attempt to kill Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, who was injured slightly when al-Asiri’s brother Abdullah blew himself up at a meeting he had requested to turn himself in to authorities.

Initial reports suggested that the bomber had concealed the bomb in his rectum, but Saudi investigators concluded that the device was an underwear bomb, said Mr. Bergen, who was briefed by Saudi officials at the time.

They discovered that the device, made of a plastic explosive called PETN, used a chemical detonator, had no metallic components and could not be detected by conventional metal-detector screening.

On Christmas Day 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate a similar underwear bomb aboard a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner. The detonator failed, probably because Abdulmutallab had sweated through his underwear and dampened the detonator, officials told The Washington Times last year.

The latest version of the underwear bomb has an improved detonator, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The bomb “was a threat from the standpoint of the design,” Mr. Brennan told ABC News. “And so now we’re trying to make sure that we take the measures that we need to prevent any other … similarly constructed [bomb] from getting through security procedures.”

Abdulmutallab’s underwear bomb was not spotted by metal detectors at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport.

After the failed attack, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sped up its deployment of advanced imaging technology screening devices, which have become notorious as the “naked X-ray” machines.

Analysts generally agree that the imaging machines should be able to spot the new underwear bomb, said Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

But in an interview with CNN, he cautioned that this was just a “preliminary conclusion. … We don’t know all of the facts yet.”

The key to imaging detection of underwear bombs is generally the detonator because it has to emerge from the clothing in which the explosives are concealed, said Erroll G. Southers, a homeland security scholar at the University of Southern California.

The TSA has deployed about 700 imaging machines at more than 180 U.S. airports, according to agency figures. The machines cost between $130,000 and $170,000 each, and the agency has spent nearly $167 million so far to buy, test, deliver and install them.

TSA has faced keen scrutiny of its efforts to roll out the machines and questions about the effectiveness of deploying them in the United States because all previous al Qaeda attacks against U.S. aviation have originated overseas.

“That is a huge gaping hole,” Mr. Southers said.

Inconsistencies in technology and policy from country to country undermine public confidence, he said, noting reports that the European Union this year will relax the no-liquids rule for air passengers’ hand luggage, which would put the European Union out of step with the U.S. The ban is designed to defeat another kind of nonmetallic explosive.

Investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will report at a congressional hearing Wednesday that TSA deployed the imaging technology at airports without evaluating it properly.

“Additionally, various reports, studies and independent testimony all suggest that TSA is ineffectively deploying security technology and equipment at commercial airports,” reads a staff memo for the hearing.

2010/05/03

New York Remains Prime Target in Terror War

Source: Newsmax

New York Remains Prime Target in Terror War

03 May 2010
By Walid Phares

New York Gov. David Paterson labeled Saturday night’s foiled car bomb attack in Times Square an “act of terror.” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is treating it as “potential act of terror.”

Fair enough. If the three propane tanks; fireworks; two filled 5-gallon gasoline containers; and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire, and other components found in the back of the Nissan Pathfinder had exploded, they would have “caused a significant ball of fire,” in the words of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

New York’s Mayor Bloomberg said the explosion could have caused “huge damage on a block of Broadway theaters and restaurants teeming with tourists.”

In short, if, God forbid, the “act of terror” had been successful, federal and local officials understand clearly that the SUV-bomb was aimed at killing a large group of New Yorkers and visitors, causing severe damage to the area and a shock to the public.

Bravo to the watchful citizen who alerted authorities: He emerges as the hero in this counter- terrorism act. And also a high five to the men and women of New York law enforcement who rushed to secure the area and disable the device. In that sense, it was a success story for New York, one of the cities terrorists target most in the Western world.

Intense investigations and many questions will follow on two tracks: technical inquiries and identity reconstruction. On the one hand, officials will have to figure out how the bomb was assembled and where, and why it didn’t go off.
This line of investigation will tell us more about the capacity of terrorists to copycat this attempt, to move material of the same sort across city limits, or worse, build such a weapon inside Manhattan or any other U.S. city.

There’s no doubt that the findings will be sobering. The capacity of potential terrorists to build urban-laden bombs, move them through cities, and choose their strategic targets easily would mean that such “acts of terror” can be repeated and launched again in the same city or in other locations across the nation. If the perpetrators did it in New York City, they could do it anywhere.

On the other hand, authorities will have to determine the identity of the terrorists. And we’re not just talking about any Social Security or other identification numbers belonging to the terrorist(s) but their affiliation, their motives and their organization.

The public already has received several confusing messages in the past year and a half regarding government’s quick reactions to previous terror attempts. In the most recent cases of the deadly attack at Fort Hood and the unsuccessful Christmas Day “underwear bombing” attempt, administration officials rushed to call these acts “isolated extremists” — only to discover there was more to the attacks in terms of links to a greater circle of terror.

That’s why it is important to be cautious and move from evidence to evidence. “Amateurish” or not, as Bloomberg described the attempted terrorist attack, it was designed to have devastating effects. It was indeed an “act of terror.”

Now comes the next part. We’ll need to know more about the minds behind Saturday night’s fatal plan. Was it designed by a domestic extremist(s) or homegrown jihadist(s), and was it internationally coordinated? These are the questions as we search for answers in the days ahead.

The following day, a one minute (and one second) video was posted on several jihadist websites claiming the Pakistani Taliban’s responsibility for the failed attack, which the video claimed “is revenge for the death” of its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, and the recent slayings of top leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, “who were killed by U.S. and Iraqi troops last month north of Baghdad.”

There is no specific reference to the attack on the tape and it does not mention that it was a car bomb or that it took place in New York City. At first analysis, a jihadi war room online decided to own the attempt and use it as propaganda. Go convince the hundreds of thousands of indoctrinated militants around the world that it isn’t a victory by the Taliban international.

That’s what counts in this war of ideas. The Taliban and other al-Qaida propagandists threatened months ago that the American homeland will be targeted. Now someone parked a car bomb in the heart of Manhattan.

Found on time or not, disabled or not, the “story” is that some jihadist was able to build a weapon and acquire a target on the busiest square and most famous in the world. The investigation won’t matter much for people who have been made to believe that it was the CIA that was behind 9/11.

U.S. authorities will go by the book to investigate thoroughly every lead possible, but the propaganda machine of the jihadists already is investing in the event: one short video to be seen by millions of people and scores of debates and incitements on the region’s airwaves. We in the United States will be subscribing to the legal codes of criminal procedures, and they out there are applying the code of psychological intoxication.

But if we discover that it was indeed an act of jihadism, Taliban or not, homegrown or hybrid, this would mean significantly: The days of the strategically designed “amateurish Terror” are just ahead of us. For in al-Qaida’s manual of tactics, if you can’t administer a perfect strike, let the “brothers” strike with whatever they have.

In any of these scenarios, domestic extremist or its alternative, we are talking about another “terror act” taking place on U.S. soil; it’s about the 15th since the beginning of 2009. By empirical methods, multiple terror acts are a “terror war” waged against this country —and New York City is its prime target.

Dr. Walid Phares is a terrorism expert who teaches global strategies in Washington D.C.

TTP Declarations: Targeting

Source: MEMRI

TTP Declarations: Targeting American Cities

On May 2, 2010, the new YouTube page Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, “TehreekeTaliban’s Channel,” which was launched on the same date, posted three videos.

Military, government, and media personnel may request a copy of the videos by sending an email with “Taliban Pakistan Videos, Hakimullah Mehsud” in the subject line to media@memri.org

TTP Leader Hakimullah Mehsud Declares:  ‘From Now On, the Main Targets of Our Fidaeen [Suicide Bombers] Are American Cities’

The first, which the YouTube page titled “Hakeemullah Mehsud is Alive and Healthy and Delivering news about Attacks on USA,” is 2:17 long, and shows a still satellite image of North America with a still image of Hakimullah Mehsud. Speaking in Urdu, he states that the date is April 19, 2010 and threatens bombings in U.S. “states & cities”; as he speaks, explosions are shown taking place across the map. (To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2463.htm. NOTE: You must be a member of the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) to view these clips.)

The second video, which the YouTube page also titled “Hakeemullah Mehsud is Alive and Healthy and Delivering news about Attacks on USA,” is 8:42 minutes long, and shows Hakimullah Mehsud sitting surrounded by masked, armed men. Speaking in the Pashtu language, he states that the date is April 19, 2010, and discusses attacks on the U.S.[1] (To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2462.htm)

In the third video, which is 1:06 minutes long, Qari Hussain Mehsud, a key leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and a close lieutenant of Hakimullah Mehsud, claims responsibility for the May 1, 2010 failed car bomb plot in the Times Square, against a backdrop of still images. (To read the full report on MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, visit http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=4129¶m=GJN.)

Commander of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid on Beitullah Mehsud:  “I Myself Heard Him Say: ‘I Want to Shatter the Americans’ Pride and Arrogance and Strike Them On Their Own Soil'”

The Taliban leaders’ declarations come against the backdrop of an early October 2009 video which revealed that the Taliban leaders had begun formulating intentions to target the U.S. sometime last year. In an eight-minute video posted on jihadist websites on October 1, 2009, Al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid revealed that Beitullah Mehsud, Hakimullah Mehsud’s predecessor, had wanted to launch attacks inside the U.S.[2]

In his eulogy for Beitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack on August 5, 2009, Abu Al-Yazid observed:”The Emir Beitullah was a student of shari’a studies, one of those who began their lives in shari’a studies, and he made great progress in this. But when the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan arose and was in need of people to support it, back it, and stand against the enemies lying in wait for it in northern Afghanistan, he joined the ranks of the Emirate’s mujahideen early on, under the command of the Commander of the Faithful Mullah Muhammad Omar, may Allah protect him.

“The Emir Beitullah was a man of great aspirations and far-reaching ambitions. He undertook to educate and prepare his tribesmen to fight the enemies of Allah in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He even aspired to send his mujahideen soldiers to fight against the infidels on their own soil. I myself heard him say: ‘I want to shatter the Americans’ pride and arrogance and strike them on their own soil.'”

The following are the three transcripts as they appeared in the original videos posted on YouTube, with the original spellings, punctuation, and emphases.

“Hakeemullah Mehsud is Alive and Healthy and Delivering News about Attacks On USA” (Urdu)

“A message to Muslim Ummah & A WARNING TO USA & NATO ALLIES from Hakeem-ullah Mehsoon, Ameer Tehreek Taliban PAKISTAN

“Step back OR Get ready to be Destroyed”

[Background: Still satellite image of North America, with still image of Hakimullah Mehsud superimposed.]

Voice of Hakimullah Mehsud: “Today, dated 19th April 2010, through media I want to convey an important message to the Muslim Ummah. The Evil Groups of Kuffar around the world, conspired to sadden the Muslim Ummah with false rumors about my martyrdom.

“Today I want to give a very good news to the Muslim Ummah.

“America which is the Biggest EVIL of this world, it has savagely massacred millions of innocent Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistani Tribal areas. And has martyred respected Arab mujahedeen brothers, who announced the implementation of Islamic system. For this the Satanic America martyred them, and rejoiced on it as their victory.

“Alhamdulillah, today I want to assure Ummat-e-Muslimah [i.e. Islamic Ummah] that our Moral is at its peak, we haven’t felt weak for a micro-second. From now on, THE MAIN TARGETS of our FIDAEEN are AMERICAN CITIES. [Explosions start taking place on the map]

“This good news will be heard within some days or weeks. Today on-wards, the direction of our JEHAD is AMERICAN States & Cities. InshalALLAH We are successful in this mission and objective.

“I request the Muslim Ummah to pray for success of the Mujahideen worldwide.

“AMERICA / NATO YOU WILL PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES”

“Hakeemullah Mehsud is Alive and Healthy and delivering News about Attacks On USA” (Pashtu)

Hakimullah Mehsud: “My respected Brother of the Muslim Ummah May Peace & Blessings of Allah be on to you. The non-believers (kuffar) have always been doing propaganda that Hakeemullah Mehsood has been martyred. Sometimes they say in a Drone attack, mostly giving references of Shaktui or Orukzai [i.e. the tribal district of Orakzai Agency] and sometimes they say we martyred him on his way to Multan [a town in Punjab province]. This is an open LIE & propaganda made by Kuffar and its funded Media. Alhamdulillah, on the… [19th] day of April 2010, I give good news to the Muslim Ummah about being alive and healthy.[3]

“And I want to make one more thing very clear that America is the worst Fanatic Terrorist & Extremist country in the whole world. Its hands are filled with the blood of millions of Muslim children, women, young & old of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and various other Muslim countries.

“And now this arrogant terrorist has started showing bad intentions towards the Mujahideen of Yemen, Now America wants to enter into Yemen for its evil objectives.

“I want to give a clear message to the Muslim Ummah to WAKE UP from the slumber of ignorance and cowardness. America and its Allies are facing the worst defeat ever in the history. American and Nato forces are facing a destructive defeat in Afghanistan and want to run away from Afghanistan under the camouflage of PEACE DEALS. Very soon the Muslim Ummah will hear victorious & joyous news of US troops leaving Afghanistan back to its terrorist state after a humiliating end. Along with its front-line Ally Pakistani Murtad Army facing the same humiliating fate in the tribal areas. InshaALLAH. With the help of ALLAH (SWT) we are steadfast and successful in our mission.

“I want to especially convey my message to the Mujhaideen of Yemen, Aljazzair [i.e. Algeria] Saudi Arab (Hijaz-e-Muqaddas) and Palestine to be steadfast on their Jehad and don’t loose their stance even for a micro second. I request you all to be steadfast & firm in your Jehad.

“The time is very near when our Fidaeen [i.e. suicide bombers] will attack the American states in their major cities. And inshaALLAH we will succeed in our attacks. Our fidaeen have penetrated the terrorist America, we will give extremely painful blows to the fanatic America. I request you all to be steadfast & firm in your Jehad.

“America, the criminal state has martyred many of our great Muslim Leaders i.e., Baitullah Mehsud Shaheed RA and many respected brothers from Al-Qaida who were price of Arab and they only came to us for shelter. They came to us with the invitation towards ISLAMIC/Shariah System and for this the US and their Extremist Allies have martyred them. We can never forget our honorable martyred brothers, our faith and dignity doesn’t allow us to forget about these Great Martyrs in the path of ALLAH (swt). InshaALLAH we will take revenge of our brothers in the most ruthless way.

“Not to forget about the respected and innocent sister from Pakistan Dr. Afia Siddiqui[4] who has been stripped naked in order to make Fun of the dignity and respect of the Muslim Ummah. Our hearts are in severe pain seeing our sister in such un-human and disrespectful condition. The flames in our hearts will only be lightened when our Fidaaeen will deliver precise and destructive attacks on the terrorist America bringing it down to its knees. inshaAllah.

“inshaALLAH very soon in some days or a month’s time, the Muslim ummah will see the fruits of most successful attacks of our fidaeen in USA. Please don’t worry for the pain and suffering that in your heart. America the extremist has Lost terribly.

“And I want to Warn its Allies to have some mercy on themselves, stop assisting America and If you don’t stop your KUFR/Disbelief being a frontline ally in their war against Islam, you will face even worst humiliation, destruction and defeat than America itself. I want to again WARN the evil Allies to have mercy on themselves and reject the friendship of USA, openly oppose the satanic American policies. Otherwise your end will be much Harsh than Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“inshaALLAH in some days or a month, time will prove the success of our Fidaee attacks bringing Joy & bliss to the hearts of Muslim Ummah. Al Quran: “And the hearts of the momineen will receive bliss” O’ the Youth, Ulema & Scholars and pious people of the Ummah remember us in your prayers to ALLAH (SWT).”

“Qari Hussain Mehsud from Tehreek-e-Taliban accepts the responsibility of Attack on Times Square” (Pashtu)

“Allah [swt] is with the Steadfast & Patient ones. We will break the jaws of Satan’s USA. InshaAllah”

Voiceover: “We Tehreek-e-Taliban with all the Pride and Bravery, TAKE full responsibility for the Attack on Times Square (NY) USA.

“We also congratulate the MUSLIM UMMAH with all the pleasure and happiness.

“This attack is a revenge for the great & value-able martyred leaders of Mujahideen i.e, Baitullah Mehsud Shaheed RA[5], The Arab Mujahideen’s leaders especially Abu Umer al Baghdadi shaheed’s companions in Iraq.

“This is also a revenge for the Global American interference & terrorism in Muslim Countries, especially in Pakistan for Lal Masjid operation,[6]

“The recent rain of Drone attacks in the tribal areas and the abduction, torture and humiliation of our most respected & innocent sister Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

“We Furiously Warn, the member countries of NATO, their Governments and common Public to oppose the evil U.S. policies and sincerely apologize for the massacres in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan & Pakistani tribal areas otherwise be prepared for the worst ever destruction and devastation in their regions. InshaALLAH”

Endnotes:

[1] Speaking in Pashtu language, Hakimullah Mehsud notes its date of recording as April 19, 2010 (and not as April 4, 2010 as the sub-title in English says).

[2] See MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, “Al-Qaeda Commander Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid: Beitullah Mehsud Wanted to Attack Inside the U.S.; He May Be Dead, but ‘Thousands of His Tribesmen Are All Beitullahs, and Allah Willing They Will Take Revenge on the Criminal Americans,'” October 1, 2009, http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=1999¶m=GJN

[3] Although the YouTube subtitle in English notes the date as 4th April, 2010, the actual date spoken in Pashtu by Hakimullah Mehsud is April 19, 2010.

[4] Pakistani scientist convicted in a Manhattan court in February 2010 of trying to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

[5] Hakimullah Mehsud’s predecessor, killed in a U.S. drone attack on August 5, 2009.

[6] The 2007 Pakistan military operation at Islamabad’s Red Mosque against radical clerics and their armed students.