(NTARC) Debka has posted this announcement on their site:
In a special Internet announcement in Arabic, picked up DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources, Osama bin Laden’s followers announced Monday, Oct. 29, the launching of Electronic Jihad. On Sunday, Nov. 11, al Qaeda’s electronic experts will start attacking Western, Jewish, Israeli, Muslim apostate and Shiite Web sites. On Day One, they will test their skills against 15 targeted sites expand the operation from day to day thereafter until hundreds of thousands of Islamist hackers are in action against untold numbers of anti-Muslim sites.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that, shortly after the first announcement, some of al Qaeda’s own Web sites went blank, apparently crashed by the American intelligence computer experts tracking them.
The next day, Oct. 30, they were up again, claiming their Islamic fire walls were proof against infidel assault.
They also boasted an impenetrable e-mail network for volunteers wishing to join up with the cyber jihad to contact and receive instructions undetected by the security agencies in their respective countries.
Our sources say the instructions come in simple language and are organized in sections according to target. They offer would-be martyrs, who for one reason or another are unable to fight in the field, to fulfill their jihad obligations on the Net. These virtual martyrs are assured of the same thrill and sense of elation as a jihadi on the “battlefield.”
In effect, say DEBKAfile’s counter-terror experts, al Qaeda is retaliating against Western intelligence agencies’ tactics, which detect new terrorist sites and zap them as soon as they appear. Until now, the jihadists kept dodging the assault by throwing up dozens of new sites simultaneously. This kept the trackers busy and ensured that some of the sites survived, while empty pages were promptly replaced. But as al Qaeda’s cyber wizards got better at keeping its presence on the Net for longer periods, so too did Western counter-attackers at knocking them down. Now Bin Laden’s cyber legions are fighting back. The electronic war they have declared could cause considerable trouble on the world’s Internet.
(USA Today) WASHINGTON — The nation’s 17 million small boats are facing increased scrutiny from the Homeland Security Department, which fears they could be used in a nuclear attack or a lethal explosion at a U.S. port.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said this month that he had ordered agency leaders to “raise the protection level with respect to small boats.” Attacks this decade by terrorists ramming bomb-filled speedboats into a U.S. battleship and a French tanker are worrisome, Chertoff said.
The Coast Guard is seeking a new federal requirement that all boat operators carry identification wherever they are on the water so it can build a database of boaters found in restricted areas. The agency also wants to require state boating courses to teach security protocols such as avoiding cruise-ship terminals and military facilities.
Although new mandates would apply to operators of state-registered boats — usually those with an engine — the Homeland Security Department is focused on protecting major ports near large cities.
Boat operators, represented by the Boat Owners Association, support the effort as long as they don’t have to get separate ID cards or install costly tracking devices, association lobbyist Margaret Podlich said.
The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office plans to test next year whether sensors on buoys and boats can detect radiation from a nuclear or radiological bomb on a small vessel. “This represents a serious vulnerability,” Director Vayl Oxford said. “The consequences would be so extreme.”
Next month, the Coast Guard will give Chertoff a plan to better oversee recreational boats and small ferries and fishing boats with “additional surveillance, monitoring and information systems,” said Dana Goward, director of the Coast Guard’s Maritime Domain Awareness program. “We need to know more about who’s out there.”
Only Alabama requires boat operators to carry identification, said Ron Sarver of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. All but three states require boater education, but the requirements often are limited to young people or personal-watercraft operators, Sarver said.
Large boats — generally those longer than 100 feet — must have security plans and transponders that relay their position to Coast Guard stations.
Council on Foreign Relations security expert Stephen Flynn said terrorists are more likely to detonate a bomb in one of the thousands of metal shipping containers unloaded at ports each day.
“The consequence is all boxes would be viewed as a threat and you’d stop the system,” Flynn said.
(NTARC) The Clarion exit of Interstate 80 was shut down for nearly four hours Monday after PennDOT workers discovered what appeared to be a homemade explosive device along the eastbound off-ramp to Route 68 around 11 a.m., state police said.
The device was a liquid filled plastic bottle with batteries attached using duct tape and wires leading between the batteries and the liquid, police said. A state police explosives unit from Harrisburg was flown in to the scene and the Erie Bomb Squad also responded to the scene, police said.
The explosives units worked to detonate the device, but the device failed to detonate and was collected as evidence, police said. Clarion Fire Department and Clarion Hospital Ambulance personnel assisted at the scene as well. The roadway was reopened to traffic at 2:45 p.m., police said.
(AP) PITTSBURGH — Harrisburg explosives experts flew to Clarion and an Erie bomb squad rushed to assist when state police found an apparent explosive device on an Interstate 80 off ramp.
The device was a plastic bottle with liquid inside attached to a battery with wires. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation workers found it early Monday, causing the Monroe exit ramp to close for about four hours.
The device didn’t explode. Police are analyzing it to try to identify who planted it.
MIAMI (AP) – A prosecution expert says seven terror suspects were ready for “violent jihad” before they were arrested in Miami last year.
The men are accused of plotting to destroy Chicago’s Sears Tower and other U.S. landmarks. In testimony today, a Georgetown University professor and terrorism expert said the group’s suspected ringleader had nearly completed the “radicalization process” and moved toward acts of terrorism.
The professor also testified about the oath of allegiance to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden taken by the seven men — which was captured on videotape.
The testimony drew strong objections from defense attorneys, who unsuccessfully sought a mistrial. The defense says the men were merely trying to con an FBI informant out of money by going along with his terrorist talk.
The defendants each face as many as 70 years in prison if convicted of all four charges, including conspiracy to levy war against the United States and conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida.
(Gloucester County Times ) A Monroe Township supermarket worker accused of arming a band of immigrant Muslims intent on attacking Fort Dix will plead guilty today to weapons charges, his attorney said.
Agron Abdullahu of Collings Lakes in Atlantic County will admit to conspiring to help illegal immigrants obtain or possess weapons, federal public defender Richard Coughlin said. The crime carries a maximum term of five years, but his attorneys previously have said the federal guidelines for the crime suggest a sentence of less than two years.
Abdullahu’s decision to plead guilty is not expected to drastically alter the case. Since his arrest with the others in May, prosecutors have emphasized Abdullahu was not accused of participating in the overarching plot to kill U.S. soldiers. And, his attorney said, he is not cooperating with investigators.
A 24-year-old ethnic Albanian who fled Kosovo in 1999, Abdullahu settled with his family in Buena Vista and worked at a local ShopRite. As a legal U.S. resident, he was the only defendant capable of buying guns. Prosecutors say he helped train the others at a firing range in northeast Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2007.
“There’s no acknowledgment of being involved in terrorism,” Coughlin said after a brief conference Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in Camden. “Basically he took them to the Poconos and allowed them to use (his guns).”
Prosecutors and Coughlin had previously refused to comment on reports of a pending plea, wary of any last-minute changes. But Abdullahu was the only defendant not in court for Tuesday’s hearing.
“Now tomorrow, apparently, we’re going to have a plea for Mr. Coughlin’s defendant?” Kugler asked, a question that seemed to surprise Deputy U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick.
“Yes, sir,” the prosecutor replied.
Greg Reinert, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, said the office would have no comment before today’s hearing.
The other defendants Mohamad Shnewer and brothers Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka, all of Cherry Hill, and Serdar Tatar of Philadelphia are scheduled to be tried in January. Prosecutors have called them “radical Islamists” and homegrown terrorists who studied al Qaeda videos and wanted to storm Fort Dix with automatic weapons.
Their arrests ended an FBI investigation that spanned 15 months and included hundreds of hours of secret recordings made by informants who infiltrated the group.
Each of the defendants has been jailed without bail since their arrests. During the hearing Tuesday, several complained to the judge that they had been mistreated and denied routine inmate privileges at the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center.
Kugler agreed to convene a meeting between defense attorneys and the prison officials. But, he cautioned, “All of the defendants need to understand it’s called a jail for a reason. It’s not a motel, it’s a jail.”
(PHX News) Washington – For years the three Saudi men had worked as a loosely organized team, according to US intelligence. They’d funneled thousands of dollars in cash – and non-monetary help such as Al Qaeda training manuals – to Islamist militants in the Philippines.
At one point they’d even paid $18,000 for an operation to blow up the US or Australian embassies in Manila, allege US officials. But Philippine authorities disrupted the plot before it could be realized.
So this fall the US government took action against the trio: Abdul Rahim al-Talhi, Muhammad Abdallah Salih Sughayr, and Fahd Muhammad Abd al-Aziz al-Khashiban. On Oct. 10, the Treasury Department designated them as terrorist financiers – freezing their assets and forbidding American citizens from doing business with them.
(The Brownsville Herald) McALLEN — FBI agents found their man and closed their investigation Tuesday into a series of airport bomb threats.
Authorities arrested Juan Rodrigo Rodriguez, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen who lives in Reynosa, in connection with four bomb threats made at McAllen-Miller International Airport between Aug. 22 and Sept. 10. Rodriguez cooperated with investigators and even came to McAllen to surrender, said John Johnson, the top-ranking agent for the FBI in McAllen.
But at least one question remains.
“I have no idea why this individual would engage in this act,” Johnson said at a conference announcing the arrest.
Authorities say Rodriguez sent the threats to the airport’s Web site from a laptop computer at his parent’s home in Reynosa. His messages claimed he had planted explosives in incoming planes, the air traffic control tower and a car in the parking lot.
His messages described where he had purportedly put the explosives. Once, he told police to bring $20,000 to a hotel room at the Holiday Inn in McAllen, but FBI surveillance showed he never attempted to pick up the money, Johnson said. He also made no hateful comments or mentions of terrorism. And he lacked materials to actually build a bomb, authorities said.
Rodriguez is now in the custody of the U.S. Marshals, and likely will be arraigned on one count of intent to extort by transmitting a threat against someone else’s property via interstate or foreign commerce. The charge is a first-degree felony. Johnson said he expected Rodriguez to face only the one count, because the teen was cooperating with authorities.
FBI agents worked with McAllen police investigators and the Tamaulipas State Judicial Police in Mexico to solve the case.
McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez said authorities pursued the case aggressively because of the nature of the threats and their similarity to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“Given this current environment that we live in, this is a very serious crime,” Rodriguez said.
The threats caused considerable inconvenience to air travelers.
On Aug. 22, two electronic messages told of explosives, one set in the terminal and another on an inbound flight. Officials evacuated the airport and all planes, displacing more than 300 people. The next threat came on Sept. 7, stating that a black BMW in the parking lot carried a bomb.
“There actually was a BMW in the parking lot and we almost blew the BMW up,” Johnson said. “It belonged to an innocent doctor.”
On Sept. 10, the final threat came via the Web, stating that the control tower had a load of explosives and that an inbound plane from Houston would soon explode.
Officials said they hoped the teen’s arrest and prosecution would dissuade others from sending similar threats.
(North Jersey Media Group )An SUV slows to a stop along the roadside, the lights of police cruisers flashing on the occupants’ faces.
“Driver and passenger: Exit the vehicle slowly!” shouts a state trooper flanked by local police officers, their guns drawn.
Within minutes, the motorists are in handcuffs, and a crew of specially trained officers is scouring the vehicle. Meanwhile, beeper-like gadgets they wear on their hips emit piercing wails.
As a way of preventing a nuclear or “dirty bomb” attack on lower Manhattan, federal authorities are outfitting North Jersey police departments and others in the tri-state region with radiation-detection equipment, enlisting them as sentries in safeguarding the nation’s largest city.
“This is terror preparedness truly reaching down to the local police officer,” said Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, who co-hosted the unveiling Friday at the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel of a federal Department of Homeland Security pilot program. “And that’s the way it should be.”
Police in the area have been meeting over the past year as part of the “Securing the Cities” project, which will arm them with training and radiation detectors to help sniff out weapons that might be smuggled in through the suburbs.
More than 100 highly sensitive radiation detectors have been distributed to state police. Nearly as many will go to officers in Bergen and six other counties collected into a federal Urban Areas Security Initiative region.
Once DHS’ $80 million initiative is up and running, nearly 200 police departments within a 45-mile radius of Manhattan will have a variety of detection tools, including radiation-detecting “portals” through which commuter traffic will pass.
Such gateways – similar to ones being used at New Jersey seaports to scan ship containers – will be set up at highway tollbooths and weigh stations leading to New York City.
“We’ve brought together quite a capability in a short period of time that’ll be a model for the rest of the country,” said Jonathan A. Duecker, assistant commissioner of counterterrorism for the New York Police Department.
The best locations for the fixed portals are still being decided, federal and state officials said Friday. In Bergen County alone, authorities have identified at least 26 “hot spots” along the county infrastructure that could best snag a radiological device.
Until the portals are installed, police will make do with equipment distributed by the DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.
During a demonstration Friday morning, a row of about two dozen cops standing along the roadside pulled RadEye Personal Radiation Detectors from their uniform belts. As a black SUV with a trace amount of radiological material drove by at around 30 mph, each beeper went off, one at a time.
About 120 new RadEyes, developed by Massachusetts-based Thermo Scientific, are now in the hands of state troopers, said Major John Hunt, who oversees the agency’s special operations unit.
Friday’s unveiling was as much a demonstration of cutting-edge equipment as a show of force to potential terrorists, authorities said.
“We’re letting them know that law enforcement is ready, and that the bad guys should know better,” Molinelli said.
“Securing the Cities” program in New Jersey:
COST: Roughly $80 million
PARTICIPANTS: Police agencies from Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Hudson, Essex, Middlesex and Union counties
EQUIPMENT: More than 1,200 personal radiation-detection devices are being distributed to local and state police
TRAINING: Authorities from the federal Domestic Nuclear Detection Office are teaching locals how to use the equipment
Features of the RadEye Personal Radiation Detector:
WEIGHT: 160 grams
SIZE: Think a deck of playing cards
HIGHLIGHTS: 5,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than typical electronic radiation detectors; can find trace amounts of radiological material in a moving vehicle from a separate moving police car.
(AFP) Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of accelerating attempts to deploy anti-missile defences in central Europe, despite Moscow’s request for a freeze on the project.
Washington’s negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic over installing the defences “have not only not been suspended, but additional measures are being taken to speed them up,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin. “There is the impression that the United States is trying to make the realisation of its plans irreversible,” Kamynin said in a statement.
Kamynin also reiterated Moscow’s dismissal of US accusations that Iran presents a military threat. Russia does not support “a holy alliance against this country,” he said.
The ministry spokesman accused Washington of failing to make good on a promise to put US proposals for resolving the dispute into concrete terms, while also failing to take seriously Russia’s own proposals.
“Unfortunately the American side prefers not to pay attention that Russia’s offer is an alternative — not a support” for US plans, he said.
Washington and Moscow are at loggerheads over US plans for deploying 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.
The United States says the shield would guard against potential threats from Iran.
Russia sees the US missile defense plans as a military encroachment in its former sphere of influence that could be turned against Russia’s own nuclear deterrence.
The United States, which is still negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic for access to their territory, insists that the planned missile defences are no match for Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
CAN mailing opens new round in effort to down signs; “Over the past two decades, a terrorist group known as Jamaat ul-Fuqra, or ‘Community of the Impoverished,’ has been linked to multiple murders, bombings and various other felonies throughout the United States and Canada.” – U.S. Department of Justice report
(Christian Action Network) Christian Action Network President Martin Mawyer announced today a new round has opened in a long-standing effort to have signs honoring a big name among international terrorists taken down in Charlotte County, Virginia.
The focus again is on Sheikh Gilani Lane; this time Mawyer furnished every household, business, church, civic group and government official of the county with information of several law enforcement and U.S. State Department findings.
The road sign is erected at the entrance of an Islamic community in Red House called “Muslims of America,” it honors their leader, Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, last known to reside in Pakistan.
“We are distributing 7,000 brochures through the mail this week,” Mawyer said. “It is a disgrace and dishonor for residents of Virginia to have a road sign, that also appears on the official maps of our great state, honoring a known terrorist; this road sign must be removed.”
The brochure cites an official law enforcement report outlining how as Muslims of America leader, “Gilani is now known as an international terrorist,” quoting the report titled “Jamaat ul-Fuqra: Gilani Followers Conducting Paramilitary Training in U.S.”
Mawyer said the sign is not just a symbol, it is a very real indicator – or sign if you will – of the local government’s dangerous lack of understanding about the threat facing Charlotte County residents and neighbors of surrounding localities.
Mawyer said in response to CAN News questions about opening up the issue again at this time, is it intended to influence Tuesday elections. “We have no interest or activity with any campaigns,” he said.
“This does coincide with a time of higher awareness among Charlotte County residents, and all of us, about the issues that impact our communities – election time is always relevant that way.”
He also said the information out this week is just the beginning, there’s more to come. “We have a smoking gun on this guy,” Mawyer said. “We’re just planning the most appropriate time to release that.
“This is just the beginning of round two, or I should say it’s more like round six or seven by now,” he added. “We’re giving out some basic background to the people of Charlotte County, then we’ll decide on when the other shoe should drop.”
Mawyer said the brochure is designed to educate county residents about Gilani and Muslims of America, adding Homeland Security Department information from as recent as 2005, reports:
“Other predicted possible sponsors of attacks include Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a Pakistani-based group that has been linked to Muslims of America,” quoting Homeland Security.
Mawyer’s lobbying effort is reaching a one-year mark since last November when he steered Christian Action Network’s focus to include trying to convince Charlotte County supervisors to recognize the terrorism link and have the sign removed.
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