“Accused Terrorist Sent to Federal Prison in Kentucky,” from the Associated Press, March 9 (thanks to Kenneth):
INEZ, Ky. (AP) – An Iraqi man sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to terrorism charges has been assigned to a high-security facility in Kentucky.
The federal Bureau of Prisons lists 25-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi as an inmate at the United States Penitentiary-Big Sandy in Inez. The prison is about 140 miles east of Lexington.
A co-defendant, 32-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan, received a 40-year sentence in January. Alwan had not been sent to a prison as of Saturday.
Hammadi and Alwan pleaded guilty in 2011 and 2012 to ship thousands in cash, machine guns, rifles, grenades and shoulder-fired missiles to al-Qaida in Iraq in 2010 and 2011. Prosecutors said the two were working with a confidential informant….
PAKISTAN (POLIO VACCINE)
“Fight against polio: Tribesmen fined by militants for vaccinating their children
By Our Correspondent,” from Asia News, March 9:
Families which vaccinated their children against polio in Bara, Khyber Agency, have reportedly been fined and threatened by militants.
Salman Afridi*, a resident of Bachi Nehar in Sipah, Bara, said around 20 families in Speen Qabar and Bachi Nehar, Sipah vaccinated their children against polio.
After the vaccination team left the area on Thursday evening, militants of banned outfit Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) arrived in four vehicles and surrounded the area, said Salman. They then took parents of the immunised children to a ground and trussed them up, he added.
According to Salman, a local LI commander, identified as Nazar had warned the tribesmen not to vaccinate their children. Approximately 20 people were tied by Nazar, who demanded Rs20,000 be paid for their release.
Shahbaz Khan Afridi* from Speen Qabar, Sipah said those who paid the fine were released with a warning to refrain from further immunisation, which was deemed “a conspiracy against Islam by infidels”.
Shahbaz said he borrowed the amount to pay for his safe release. “I don’t know where the security and political administration officials were when we were tied and beaten up,” he complained….
BRITAIN (ABU QATADA)
The radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada is back in custody after allegedly breaching his bail conditions, days before the government makes a fresh attempt to deport him.
UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials arrested Qatada on Friday after raids by the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism unit. Searches at two houses and a business began on Thursday, while a search of a third property was continuing, Scotland Yard said.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission was due to hold an urgent telephone hearing on Saturday afternoon to determine whether Abu Qatada would be granted bail, a spokesman for the Judicial Office said.
No arrests have been made in connection with the police investigation.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK Border Agency arrested a 52-year-old man from north London for alleged breaches of his bail conditions imposed by the special immigration appeals commission (Siac).” He said the breach would be considered by Siac as soon as possible.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “Searches at a residential address in north-west London, a residential address in west London and a business address in north-west London have been completed. A search at a residential address in north-west London is ongoing.”
The searches were carried out in connection with ongoing inquiries by the counter-terrorism command, he said.
Abu Qatada, who has been convicted of terrorism charges in Jordan, was due to appear at the court of appeal on Monday as part of efforts by the home secretary, Theresa May, to overturn a judge’s decision to allow him to stay in the UK.
Police raids on Abu Qatada’s home began at 6.30am on Thursday, Scotland Yard said, and were followed by his arrest by the UKBA on Friday.
Once described by a Spanish judge as “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe”, Abu Qatada has fought deportation for more than a decade. Siac decided in November that he could not lawfully be deported to Jordan, where he was convicted of terrorism charges in his absence in 1999. Three Siac judges ruled there was a danger that evidence from Abu Qatada’s former co-defendants, Abu Hawsher and Al-Hamasher, said to have been obtained by torture, could be used against him in a retrial in Jordan….
NEW YORK (Sulaiman Abu Ghaith)
“Bin Laden’s Son-in-Law: Pleads Not Guilty in NY,” by Lara Jakes and Tom Hays for the Associated Press, March 8 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the charismatic al-Qaida spokesman, fundraiser and son-in-law to Osama bin Laden, is likely to have a vast trove of knowledge about the terror network’s central command but not much useful information about current threats or plots, intelligence officials and other experts say.
Abu Ghaith pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiring to kill Americans in propaganda videos that warned of further assaults against the United States as devastating as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Believed to be more of a strategic player in bin Laden’s inner circle than an operational plotter, Abu Ghaith would be the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure to stand trial on U.S. soil since 9/11. Intelligence officials say he may be able to shed new light on al-Qaida’s inner workings — concerning al-Qaida’s murky dealings in Iran over the past decade, for example — but probably will have few details about specific or imminent ongoing threats.
He gave U.S. officials a 22-page statement after his Feb. 28 arrest in Jordan, according to prosecutors. They would not describe the statement.
Bearded and balding, Abu Ghaith said little during the 15-minute hearing in U.S. District Court in New York — in lower Manhattan just blocks from Ground Zero — and displayed none of the finger-wagging or strident orations that marked his propaganda in the days and months after 9/11.
Through an interpreter, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan asked whether he understood his rights. Abu Ghaith nodded and said, “Yes.” Asked whether he had money to hire an attorney, he shook his head and said no. He nodded and said yes when asked whether he had signed an affidavit describing his financial situation.
Kaplan promised to set a trial date when the case returns to court on April 8. Bail was not requested, and none was set. Abu Ghaith’s lawyer declined comment after the hearing.
The fact that the defendant is being tried in federal district court is controversial in itself. Republicans are criticizing the Obama administration for bringing Abu Ghaith to New York instead of sending him to the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
President Barack Obama has promised to close Guantanamo, where terror detainees generally have fewer legal rights and due process than they would have in a U.S. federal court. But critics say a suspect like Abu Ghaith should be held at Guantanamo and treated as an enemy combatant rather than a “common criminal” with full rights in an everyday court.
A month after 9/11, Abu Ghaith called on every Muslim to join the fight against the United States, declaring that “jihad is a duty.”
“The Americans must know that the storm of airplanes will not stop, God willing, and there are thousands of young people who are as keen about death as Americans are about life,” he said in the Oct. 9, 2001, speech….
“Nigerian Islamic extremists claim they killed 7 foreign hostages,” from the Associated Press, March 9 (thanks to Twostellas):
JOHANNESBURG — An Islamic extremist group says that it killed seven foreigners kidnapped in northern Nigeria.
The group, Ansaru, said on its website late Friday that it killed the seven Christian foreigners because it said Nigerian and British forces had killed some Muslims while trying to free the hostages.
Nigerian military spokesman Col. Mohammed Yerima told the Associated Press he had no information about any Nigerian/British military operation.
The seven foreign workers — three Lebanese citizens and one each from Britain, Greece, Italy and the Philippines — are all employees of Setraco, a Lebanese construction company, and were kidnapped in mid-February.
Ansaru is a splinter group from Nigeria’s Islamic extremist network, Boko Haram. Boko Haram is currently holding a French family of seven who were captured in neighboring Cameroon in late February.
PAKISTAN (CHRISTIAN HOMES BURNED)
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are routinely used to persecute Christians. The world “human rights” community, however, takes no notice. To do so would be “Islamophobic.” More on this story. “Alleged blasphemy: Mob burns scores of Christian homes in Lahore,” by Rana Tanveer for the Express Tribune, March 9 (thanks to Lookmann):
LAHORE: A highly-charged mob of thousands burnt more than 40 Christian houses in Badami Bagh area of Lahore on Saturday to “take revenge of the blasphemy” allegedly committed by a Christian two days earlier.
Express News had earlier reported that around 100 houses were burnt by the mob.
Eyewitnesses said that the mob broke into the houses, looted them and burnt the remaining belongings on the roads.
SSP Operations Suhail Sukhera and the SHO of Badami Bagh were also reportedly injured when the mob pelted a police party with stones.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Express News that he saw no reason for the mob’s violence especially after the person accused of blasphemy had been arrested on Friday. He added that cases have been registered against those responsible for Saturday’s vandalism and that they will be prosecuted.
Sanaullah added that all those whose property had been damaged will be compensated within five days.
Shahi Imran, who had filed the blasphemy FIR, told The Express Tribune that he was not responsible for the incident and he had left the area when the mob arrived to burn the houses. He maintained that the accused should be taught a lesson but the other Christian families should not be harmed.
SSP Sukhera, when contacted, denied that the houses were set on fire and said that the police personnel was present in the area.
President Asif Ali Zardari took notice of the incident and sought a report from authorities, reported Radio Pakistan.
On Friday, a mob of almost 3,000 people forced the Christian community to flee for their lives, leaving behind their houses and possessions unprotected….
Savan was arrested and shifted to an undisclosed location.