Exclusive: NY Terror Plot Goes Global

by THE EDITOR July 9, 2010
Bomb plotter
The NY Subway Plot
 
We can no longer pretend that we can live in what the British used to call “splendid isolation” from the rest of the world. The United States has always encouraged migration, expecting migrants to assimilate and become full citizens. Recently, a few migrants have shown that they have never really wanted to assimilate. The New York subway bomb plot has already shown that it involved “international” players who had no respect for the American way of life. Recent arrests connected to this plot have shown that this plot really is “international” in scope.
 
On September 19 last year, Zazi Najibullah was arrested at his family home in Denver Arrested at the same time was his father Mohammed Wali Zazi, and also an imam of Afghan descent: Ahmad Wais Azfali of Flushing, New York. The FBI had been drawn to Najibullah by a computer that had been confiscated in New York. Zazi’s father was charged with lying to federal investigators to protect his son.
 
37-year old Azfali, the imam, had lived in America since he was eight. He had been a police informant for some time before his arrest. He had been apprehended 2009 for telling Zazi Najibullah that anti-terror investigators were interested in him. This week, on Tuesday July 6th, Afzali left the country as part of a plea deal. He flew to Saudi Arabia with his wife.
 
In September 2009, there were several people being investigated in a plot that was already known to go far beyond New York. On February 22 this year, Zazi pleaded guilty to plotting to attack the New York subway in a “martyrdom operation” (suicide bombing). He admitted that he had received training from Al Qaeda in Waziristan, a tribal area in Pakistan, adjacent to the Afghan border. This area has been infested by Uzbek fighters, Al Qaeda members and Taliban since the fall of the Afghan Taliban regime in late 2001. In early 2006, Islamists took control of North and South Waziristan. Now the Pakistan Taliban are based in, and still control much of, Waziristan.
 
Zazi had gone with associates to Pakistan in 2008 with the intention of entering Afghanistan to "fight alongside (the) Taliban against the United States and its allies.” In September 2009, he had driven to New York with bomb-making material and disposed of it when he discovered he was under surveillance.  At the time that he realized he was being investigated, he said, he had been only “days” away from carrying out an attack.
 
Also in court in February were two other young men. 25-year old Adis Medunjanin, of Bosnian origin, denied conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and receiving training from Al Qaeda. 24-year old Zarein Ahmedzay, who is of Afghan origin, denied making false statements to the FBI. A day later Ahmedzay confessed.
 
Zazi agreed to act as an informant – partly on a plea deal that would lessen retribution against his father for lying to the FBI.
 
The British Connection
 
On April 8th 2009, 12 people were arrested in raids in North West England, suspected of plotting to bomb various targets in that region. The men were said to be linked to Al Qaeda and most were either born in, or otherwise linked to, Pakistan. Only one of the men was born in Britain. British investigators had the group under surveillance, and were planning to make a raid on seven addresses. Some of the suspected terror plotters were linked to Liverpool John Moores University. The raids took place in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, at a guest house in Clitheroe, Lancashire, and in Liverpool.
 
The two men arrested in Clitheroe were later released in the same month, with most of the other suspects apart from two – a British-born man and a Pakistani-born individual. At that time, authorities planned to deport them back to Pakistan.
 
On May 18 this year, the alleged “Al Qaeda ringleader” of the group won his fight against deportation to Pakistan. 23-year old Abid Naseer’s lawyer had argued that if he was returned to Pakistan, he could experience torture. 23-year old Ahmad Faraz Khan, another man who was snared in the April 2009 British raids, also won his appeal against deportation. Five more were appealing against deportation, while Abdul Wahab Khan, 27, and Tariq Ur Rehman, 38 had already been deported back to Pakistan. In August 2009, it had been revealed that two other individuals caught in the raid - Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27 – had voluntarily gone back to Pakistan when they found out that they would have to stay in jail while they appealed against deportation.
 
On Wednesday July 7th this week, Abid Naseer was re-arrested, upon a request from the US authorities. He apparently shares the same handler as Zazi Najibullah, a man known only by the name “Ahmad”. He has been indicted for supporting a foreign terrorist organisation and conspiracy to use a destructive device. He appeared in London’s City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, and has been allowed to reappear on July 14, to allow his lawyer to make a bail application. Naseer will need to have an extradition order made against him within 65 days of his appearance before magistrates.
 
The US Department of Justice reported on Wednesday that in the Eastern District of New York charges against five men had been unsealed. The statement includes the following:
 
The charges reveal that the plot against New York’s subway system uncovered in September 2009 involving Colorado resident Najibullah Zazi was directed by senior al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, and was also directly related to a scheme by al-Qaeda plotters in Pakistan to use Western operatives to attack a target in the United Kingdom.
 
The superseding indictment, which was returned and unsealed today in the Eastern District of New York, charges the following defendants each with several terrorism violations: Adnan El Shukrijumah, also known as "Hamad;" Adis Medunjanin, also known as "Mohammad;" Abid Naseer; Tariq Ur Rehman; and a fifth defendant known as "Ahmad," "Sohaib" or "Zahid." Each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
 
According to the indictment, court filings and plea proceedings in the case, the plot involving Zazi was organized by Saleh al-Somali, Rashid Rauf, and El Shukrijumah, who were then-leaders of al-Qaeda’s "external operations" program dedicated to terrorist attacks in the United States and other Western countries.
 
Rachid Rauf was the son of a Birmingham man. He had fled Britain after he had apparently murdered his own uncle, who was stabbed to death in 2002. Rauf had been responsible – it is believed – for planning the transatlantic airline plot that had caused planes in Britain to be closed on August 9, 2006. The plot – called “Operation Overt” due to the name used by police investigators - had involved planning to use liquid explosives smuggled into six US-bound planes, inside containers of drink.
 
Yesterday, three men who had been involved with that transatlantic plot were jailed at Woolwich Crown Court in south London, after a three month trial. They were Ibrahim Savant, 29, Arafat Waheed Khan, 29, and Waheed Zaman, 26. In 2009, the three had been on trial but a jury failed to decide upon their guilt. Abdulla Ahmed Ali, who had led the cell that had intended to blow up the planes in 2006 had been jailed for 40 years in 2009. Also jailed in September 2009 had been Assad Sarwar, who received 36 years, and Tanvir Hussain, who received a sentence of 32 years.
 
Rachid Rauf, who had planned the Operation Overt plot, was apparently killed in Pakistan by a US drone in November 2008, after he had been allowed to escape custody by Pakistan police, but it seems that he was in the same Al Qaeda command structure.
 
Between the fall to winter of 2008, Saleh al-Somali and El Shukrijumah had originally recruited Zazi Najibullah and his two associates to carry out a bomb plot in New York.
 
According to the US DoJ:
 
New York, Denver and Miami FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, as well as the Washington Field Office of the FBI. The North West Counter Terrorism Unit and Greater Manchester Police Department have also provided significant assistance.
 
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida has also provided assistance in the investigation.
 
The European Connection
 
News came on Thursday that there have been three more arrests. One man was detained in Germany, and two men were apprehended in Norway. The men were said to come from various backgrounds – one was a Norwegian citizen who was an ethnic Uighir originally from China, an Uzbek and an Iraqi.
 
Ms Janne Kristiansen, of Norwegian’s security service, made a public announcement of the arrests.
 
According to the BBC:
 
The three, all Norwegian residents, had been under surveillance for a year.
 
US prosecutors say the Norwegian case is linked to foiled bomb plots in New York and the English city of Manchester.
 
"We believe this group has had links to people abroad who can be linked to al-Qaeda, and to people who are involved in investigations in other countries, among others the United States and Britain," Ms Kristiansen said.
 
She said one of the men was a Norwegian citizen, 39, a Muslim Uighur from China, who had lived in Norway since 1999.
 
Another was an Iraqi citizen, 37, who was granted Norwegian residency on humanitarian grounds.
 
The vast scope of this investigation, both in its geography, the varied origins of its apparent participants, and the apparent intentions, are mind-blowing. Al Qaeda and other Islamist groups are truly international.
 
We in the West can no longer pretend that we can live in “splendid isolation”. Islamists and Muslim terrorists operate collectively and cooperatively to plot acts of destruction against our citizens. In order to really be able to thwart future acts of terrorism, we must open our minds, and start to think “internationally”, for that is the perspective of our enemies.
 
We must feel gratitude to American intelligence for the arrests and apparent thwarting of a large network of jihadists. As stated in the New York Times:
 
A United States counterterrorism official in Washington said the suspects arrested on Thursday were “one node” in a larger network connected to last year’s foiled bombing plot against the New York City subways. He declined to elaborate, but said that American intelligence agencies had played a “critical role” in providing information that assisted the Norwegian authorities who made the arrests.
 
We are already in a global war, the war of global jihad. It is a slow war, with comparatively few fatalities, but it is a war of attrition, a war that aims to wear us down and force us to succumb to the demands of Islam. Only a fool would succumb to Islamism without a fight. Political Islam offers nothing to the world – and has nothing positive to offer to our democracies. The collective nations in the West should stop their policies of appeasement toward, and indulgence, of political Islam, and remember what true democracy and liberty is about. We should condemn leaders and administrations who attempt to genuflect to Islamism while neglecting the far more important common democratic principles that are shared amongst Western allies.
 
 

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