Sunday, October 30, 2011

Germany Critical Split on Sharia Classes

Critical Split: Sharia breeds anger in Germany - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

Friday, October 28, 2011

US Parents From DC ae accused of killing adopted Ethiopian daughter 'inspired by biblical parenting book' | Mail Online

Parents accused of killing adopted Ethiopian daughter 'were inspired by religious discipline book that encourages children to be biblically punished'

Last updated at 11:49 AM on 27th October 2011
The parents accused of killing their 13-year-old adopted daughter, are being investigated over whether they were inspired by a book that encourages children to be biblically punished.
The Washington couple deny homicide and child abuse charges relating to the death of Ethiopian-born Hana Willaims, who apparently lived in a closet and was denied meals for days at a time.
But investigators are looking into whether the Christian book, titled 'To Train Up a Child' may have been involved in the death of Hana and will be shown in a CNN documentary.
Tragic: Ethiopian adoptee Hana Williams, 13, lived in a closet and was denied meals for days at a time, according to police
Tragic: Ethiopian adoptee Hana Williams, 13, lived in a closet and was denied meals for days at a time, according to police
Gary Tuchman will be reporting on the allegations in the show titled ‘Ungodly Discipline’ on Anderson Cooper’s 360 news show, despite prosecutors insisting that issues of faith were not a factor in the case against the couple.
Hana, who was adopted from Ethiopia by Larry, 47, and Carri Williams, 40, in 2008, died on May 12 after she was found unconscious outside shortly after midnight, in temperatures of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, authorities said.
Although investigators found the Washington state couple adhered to a harsh child-rearing regimen prescribed by a controversial Christian parenting book, the prosecutor said earlier this month that religion was not relevant to the criminal case.
Larry and Carri Williams, of Sedro-Woolley -- a town about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia -- were arrested September 29, more than four months after their daughter, Hana, died of hypothermia in their backyard.
A Skagit County Superior Court judge reduced their bail from $500,000 to $150,000 each on October 6, and barred them from contact with their eight remaining children, who were placed into foster care in July, or with each other.
Innocent: Hana died of hypothermia on May 12. An autopsy found malnutrition and a stomach infection were contributing factors
Innocent: Hana died of hypothermia on May 12. An autopsy found malnutrition and a stomach infection were contributing factors
Scene: Matriarch Carri Williams said the girl had refused to come into the home and was found face down in the backyard with mud in her mouth
Scene: Matriarch Carri Williams said the girl had refused to come into the home and was found face down in the backyard with mud in her mouth
Each is charged with homicide by abuse in connection with their daughter's death, and first-degree assault of a child stemming from mistreatment of her adopted 10-year-old brother from Ethiopia.
If convicted each faces a prison term of between 20 and 29 years, according to state sentencing guidelines.
Investigators say the abuse she endured included beatings, starvation, being forced to sleep outside and use an outdoor toilet, and that she had lost a significant amount of weight since her adoption.
Prosecutors said the 10-year-old brother was similarly mistreated.
The parents kept the family isolated from non-relatives, home-schooled the children and followed strict religious principles described in the Christian parenting book titled "To Train Up a Child," investigators said.
Christian parenting book, titled To Train Up a Child
Christian parenting book, titled To Train Up a Child
According to court documents, their 16-year-old son told investigators that Hana 'was kept in a locked closet and the only light switch was on the outside of the closet.'
He stated that his mother would take her out every other day to walk and exercise.
'They played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked in the closet,' he said.
But Prosecutor Rich Weyrich insisted that issues of faith were not a factor in the case against the couple.
'Religion's not an element we have to probe. We have to prove that the children were assaulted, tortured and died,' he said.
The Skagit Valley Herald reported that Carri Williams called 911 early May 12 and reported Hana was not breathing.
Williams said the girl was being 'rebellious' and that she had seen her daughter falling down and staggering in the backyard, and that the girl had taken all her clothes off. She said Hana had refused to come into the house before she was found face down down in the backyard with mud in her mouth.
She was taken to the hospital, where she died of hypothermia at 1:30am.
However, an autopsy found malnutrition and a stomach infection were contributing factors.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kenya to fight Al-Shabaab

Kenya to fight Al-Shabaab

Published on 16/10/2011

By Steve Mkawale

Kenyan forces are believed to be already engaging with Al-Shabaab elements inside Somalia, signalling a clear determination by the country to defend itself from incessant attacks by insurgents.

On Saturday, the Government — through two ministers —made it clear it was exercising its right to self-defence against continued aggression that risks undermining the country’s economic and security interests.

Kenya invoked this right – provided for under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter – in the face of flagrant violation of its territorial integrity and national economy by Al-Shabaab terror group.

Kenya military personnel during a border patrol. Kenya should be more aggressive in securing borders to tame Al shabaab attacks. Picture: File/Standard

The formal announcement signals the country’s determination to pursue legitimate Al-Shabaab targets and groups anywhere, including inside Somalia, which has not had a functioning Government since dictator Siad Barre was deposed in 1991 – with the intention to respond and prevent future attacks.

At a press conference in Nairobi, Defence Minister Yusuf Haji and his Internal Security counterpart George Saitoti also announced the immediate closure of the border with the anarchic country, and the Government’s intention to screen all refugees in the country to weed out sleeper elements and sympathisers.

It listed seven major incidents of "provocations" by Al-Shabaab, including the brazen attacks on Dadajabula Police Post in 2009, raid on Liboi General Service Unit Camp last year, and the laying of mines and improvised explosive devices against Kenya police and military in Mandera last July.

Others are the numerous kidnappings and hijackings within Kenya’s borders, including two Catholic nuns in Elwak in 2009, two military soldiers last July, and the recent seizure of British, French and Spanish nationals in Lamu and Dadaab.

Last month, there were several Al-Shabaab attacks along the Kenya-Somalia border, besides the continued recruitment of Kenyan youth to the terror group’s ranks.

The UN Charter Article 51 that Kenya invoked yesterday allows a country to defend itself from external aggression, as well as to prevent attacks.

The international law is the same one that the United States resorted to in the killing of al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden. The US responded firmly against Afghanistan after it established that the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, attacks were all members of the al Qaeda terrorist organisation, known to operate in Afghanistan.

Israel also cited the international law governing self-defence to justify its attack on Gaza in 2009.

Kenya’s new Constitution, which Saitoti and Haji referred to yesterday, states that the Defence Forces are responsible for the defence and protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic.

The two ministers said Kenya would use the military and other security forces to deal with "provocations" by Al-Shabaab, and other militants.

They said the Government believed the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab movement and its affiliates were behind the incidents on Kenyan soil, including the kidnapping of two Medecins Sans Frontiers aid workers from Dadaab on Thursday.

Hot pursuit

"We are now going to pursue the enemy, who are the Al-Shabaab, to wherever they would be, even in their country," said a tough-talking Saitoti.

Military and police officers are pursuing the gunmen holding the Spanish aid workers.

Al-Shabaab controls large swathes of southern and central Somalia, including areas close to the border with Kenya.

The Kenya Army in recent months has been involved in fending off Al-Shabaab at the border with clashes in Elwak and Dhobley.

Yesterday, Haji said: "We are going to hunt them down in Somalia. Our country is under attack and the measures we have decided to take are aimed at protecting and preserving the integrity of the country, national economy, and security."

The latest abduction of Westerners on Kenyan soil by attackers linked to Al-Shabaab is the third in a month.

Aid workers have been targets of abductions by Somalia gunmen for ransom payouts, but attacks in Kenya have been relatively rare.

Drone attacks

The launch of US drone attacks in June and aggressive military assaults by African Union Mission in Somalia troops drove the Al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu. This is thought to have prompted the rebels to resort to desperate measures, including suicide bombings in the war-scarred Somalia capital and lately clashes with Kenyan forces at border.

Haji confirmed that the military pursuing the kidnappers had come across the Spanish aid workers’ vehicle abandoned between Dadaab and the Somalia frontier.

"This means the gunmen and their victims are now on foot. The military will catch up with them," he said. But Haji cautioned aid workers against venturing outside of the camp without police security.

"They have been reluctant to enhance security in the camp, and when they go out they do not seek security saying they are restricted from carrying security personnel in their vehicles," said the minister.

Saitoti said the Government would carry out further screening of refugees at the Dadaab camp.

"We will embark on thorough screening of those in the camps to weed out Al-Shabaab sympathisers," he said.

Kenyan authorities have on several occasions expressed fears that Islamist extremists would infiltrate the world’s largest refugee camp, as the border is about 100km away.

He appealed to the international community to work on securing Somalia so that the refugees could be assisted to return home.

The Government statement comes at a time the United Nations has temporarily suspended all non-lifesaving aid operations in Dadaab.

Hundreds of aid workers have reportedly been confined to their offices, forcing the cancellation of services like education, counselling, and the relocation of families.

Aid agency, Medecins Sans Frontiers, says it is also pulling its entire foreign staff from the world’s largest refugee camp.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Revelations from the underwear bomber trial – CNN Security Clearance - Blogs

Revelations from the underwear bomber trial
October 14th, 2011
08:13 AM ET

Revelations from the underwear bomber trial

By Paul Cruickshank, CNN Terrorism Analyst

The trial of "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab was cut dramatically short Wednesday when the Nigerian pleaded guilty to all the counts against him.

While the prosecution's opening statement contained significant new detail about the Christmas Day 2009 plot to blow up an airliner approaching Detroit - mainly from AbdulMutallab's initial 45-50 minute, tell-all interview with FBI agents at the hospital where he was treated after the attack - the short duration of the trial also left many questions unanswered, most notably the role played in the plot by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni militant cleric killed in a drone strike last month.

After his death, senior Obama administration officials emphasized al-Awlaki's operational role within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, labeling him the head of the group's external operations and stating he played a lead role in planning and directing the "underwear bomber" plot.

U.S officials had already warned about his growing role in terrorist planning earlier in the year. "Let me underscore, Awlaki is no mere messenger but someone integrally involved in lethal terrorist activities," State Department counterterrorism coordinator Dan Benjamin warned in April.

AQAP's opportunism

At trial, it was revealed that AbdulMutallab only connected with al Qaeda operatives in and around August 2009 after he traveled to Yemen from the United Arab Emirates. In his initial interview with the FBI, he stated that the reason for going to Yemen was to become involved in violent jihad against the United States.

Little was revealed in court about how the son of a Nigerian multimillionaire, educated at elite schools and a top London University, was radicalized. After pleading guilty Wednesday, AbdulMutallab stated, "I was greatly inspired to participate in jihad by the lectures of the great and rightly guided mujahideen who is alive, Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki."

While trying to make contact with AQAP, he told the FBI he was introduced in a mosque to an operative named Abu Tarak, who became his principal handler.

According to AbdulMutallab, the two frequently discussed ways to attack the United States. In late November Abu Tarak enlisted AbdulMutallab in AQAP's plan to attack an American airliner. The speed of his recruitment illustrated AQAP's opportunism. As noted by the prosecution, AbdulMutallab was the perfect recruit - a westernized English speaker with a visa to the United States. The plot progressed with astonishing speed after he agreed to participate.

Hands-on master bomb maker

After agreeing to the operation, AbdulMuttallab told the FBI he met with the Saudi bomb maker responsible for building the underwear device, who instructed him how to detonate it. Although the name of the bomb maker was not named in court, U.S. authorities believe he isIbrahim al-Asiri, a 29-year-old Saudi, who has developed a genius for bomb design but remains a shadowy figure. Before moving to Yemen four years ago, al-Asiri was part of an al Qaeda-affiliated cell in Saudi Arabia targeting oil facilities, according to U.S. authorities.

As well as constructing the underwear device, U.S. authorities believe al Asiri built the "printer-bomb" devices al Qaeda attempted to explode aboard cargo jets over the Eastern Seaboard of the United States in October 2010. Both devices contained a main charge of PETN, a white powdery explosive which conventional "single beam" X-Ray machines are rarely able to detect. In 2009, al-Asiri fitted out his own brother - Abdullah al-Asiri - with a PETN-based underwear bomb to kill Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a top Saudi security official. The device killed his brother instantly, but failed to kill its target. U.S. and Yemeni officials believe al-Asiri is still at large in Yemen. There is arguably no al Qaeda figure anywhere in the world who currently poses more of a threat to the United States.

At trial, it was revealed the bomb maker's fingerprints were found on tape used to hold together the underwear device. "When the FBI took that tape off, they found fingerprints on the inside, on the sticky part in a place where only the person who made the bomb could have done it," the prosecution stated.

Three weeks wearing explosive underwear

The Nigerian also received training in how to detonate the device from his handler Abu Tarak, who told him that the device would make the plane crash, killing everybody on board. AbdulMutallab was delivered the device by Abu Tarak on December 6 or 7, 2009, with instructions that he target a U.S. passenger jet over U.S. soil. After recording a martyrdom video, AbdulMutallab flew from Yemen to Djibouti, then to Ethiopia and Ghana and then on to Nigeria before booking a ticket to the United States from Amsterdam. The final leg was Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit. According to the prosecution, the roundabout journey was designed to cover the defendant's tracks because of AQAP's increasing presence in Yemen. The only reason he made a brief transit through Nigeria was because Ghana at the time prevented non-citizens from taking such intercontinental flights. AbdulMutallab revealed to the FBI in his initial interview that he wore the underwear device on every leg of his almost three-week journey, and he forbade maids from cleaning his hotel rooms out of fear his device would be discovered.

Most of the bomb worked

The trial revealed new details about the design of the device, which was made with no metal parts in order to evade airport metal detectors. A specially sewn pouch in his underwear contained the main PETN explosive charge which was connected to a TATP detonator - the same primary explosive Najibullah Zazi planned to use in a plot to blow up subway cars in New York in September 2009 and shoe bomber Richard Reid attempted to detonate on a transatlantic flight heading to Los Angeles in December 2001, according to authorities. The main explosive charge in Reid's device also was PETN.

The initiation for the device was a syringe connected to his underwear filled with two easily obtainable chemicals - potassium permanganate and ethylene glycol (a chemical found in antifreeze) which catch fire when mixed. As the plane made its final approach to Detroit, AbdulMutallab returned from the washroom in which he had prepared himself for death, put a blanket over himself, lowered his underwear, and plunged the syringe, mixing the two chemicals and setting them afire. The loud pop passengers heard was likely the flame melting and bursting the syringe, a Western explosives expert told CNN. According to the prosecution, this flame in turn successfully detonated the TATP, but the PETN main charge was not detonated. Instead, some of the PETN started burning, creating a fireball on AbdulMutallab's lap. "While that fireball was on him, the defendant sat there. He didn't move. He was expressionless. He was completely blank," the prosecution stated.

Those on-board the plane may have been very lucky. PETN can be easily detonated by relatively small amounts of primary explosives such as TATP, according to the Western explosive expert, made aware of details on the bomb design revealed Tuesday in court. The expert told CNN that one of the likeliest explanations for the failure of the underwear device to fully detonate was the wear and tear on the device during AbdulMutallab's transit through Africa. "The fact he was wearing it so long could have interfered with its proper functioning, either by desensitizing the main charge or disrupting the mechanics of the bomb," the expert told CNN.

Device more powerful than first reported

Counterterrorism sources initially stated that the assumption was the underwear device may have contained around 80 grams of PETN. At trial it was revealed that about 76 grams of PETN did not burn and was recovered by authorities from the floor of the plane near his seat. And the prosecution revealed that FBI bomb experts were later able to extrapolate from the size of the pouch in AbdulMutallab's underwear that the device carried 200 grams of PETN.

The prosecution, while making clear that the device would likely have endangered the safety of the aircraft, did not state whether this quantity would have been enough to bring down an aircraft if detonated at a window seat above the wing - the position of AbdulMutallab's 19A seat on the Airbus A330. British authorities have stated that the 400 grams of PETN hidden inside a printer cartridge in the air cargo bombing attempt last October had the potential to bring down a plane.

Ability to communicate with handlers

The trial revealed that the FBI found a slip of paper in AbdulMutallab's shoes on which was written an encryption code. According to the prosecution, this was a password for encryption software used by al Qaeda given to him so that he could communicate online with his handlers before boarding Flight 253. Such encrypted communications have in particular been associated with al-Awlaki. His group's increasing ingenuity in masking its communications was revealed in the UK trial of Rajib Karim, a British-Bangladeshi operative who was convicted of terrorism offenses in February 2011.The London court heard how in early 2010 Karim communicated in coded phrases from the United Kingdom with al-Awlaki in Yemen through deeply-encrypted word documents that were stealthily digitally compressed and then uploaded to pages of web hosting sites familiar to only the parties in question. The communications were relayed through Karim's brother in Yemen.

Troublingly, for Western counterterrorism officials, the documents were encrypted using software easily downloaded from the Internet. The messages appear not to have been intercepted by Western intelligence agencies. Even after finding the communications on Karim's website, it took British investigators a significant time to decipher the communications, only succeeding after they found the cipher codes and passwords in a file on his computer, illustrating how difficult it would be to track such messages in real-time. In late 2010 AQAP provided instructions in how to encrypt online communications in the second edition of its English language magazine Inspire.

What the trial did not reveal

No light was shed on al-Awlaki's operational role within AQAP in AbdulMutallab's trial, even though the Nigerian national began cooperating with investigators in January 2010, senior Obama administration officials told CNN. It's not clear how long that cooperation lasted.

By contrast, the Karim trial revealed al-Awlaki to be playing an increasingly operational role within al Qaeda.

"The question is, with the people you have, is it possible to get a package or a person with a package on board a flight heading to the US?" al-Awlaki wrote in one of the communications to Karim just weeks after the failed underwear bombing attempt.

"Our highest priority is the United States. Anything there, even on a smaller scale compared to what we may do in the United Kingdom, would be our choice," he also told Karim.