Justice for Benghazi in a DC Courtroom

Benghazi

Last week a jury of twelve men and women heard the closing arguments in the first major terrorist trial in the United States since 2015. This week that same jury starts deliberations as to the guilt or innocence of an international terrorist. Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the leader of the terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi is being tried for his role in the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facility on September 11, 2012 and the attack on the CIA Annex on September 12th.  Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty were killed during these attacks. Two other Americans, David Ubben and Mark Geist were severely wounded.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah’s trial began in the US District Court in Washington, DC on October 2, 2017. This trial shows that justice for an international terrorist is capable of being rendered in our courts. But this is nothing new. Terrorist have been tried in US courts to include Ramzi Yousef (first World Trade Center Bombing), Omar Abdel-Rahman (Blind Sheikh), Zacarias Moussaoui, Richard Reid (Shoe Bomber), Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (US Embassy Bombings), Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (Al-Qaeda Spokesman), and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (Underwear Bomber).

Presidential powers during war are entitled to a heavy measure of deference. Initially after the September 11th attacks the focus was to obtain intelligence on the second wave and additional plots by Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda had declared war on the United States. Thus, that is why terrorists were sent to Guantanamo Bay. However, with the passing of time the ability and need to obtain actionable intelligence had passed with the terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay. Ahmed Abu Khatallah was captured and interrogated as he was transported across the Atlantic Ocean by USS New York Navy ship. After being interrogated by intelligence officers, a “clean” FBI team came and “interviewed” him after advising him of his Miranda rights.  The statements given to FBI Agents aboard the USS New York were admitted into evidence by a Federal judge. This is the model for the future.

On June 6, 1945, Justice Jackson issued a written report to President Truman.  In the report Justice Jackson stated he had selected staff, worked out a plan for preparation, briefings and the Nuremberg trials. Justice Jackson also instructed those engaged in the collection and processing of evidence, visited the European theater to expedite examination of captured documents and the interrogations of witnesses and prisoners.

On October 7, 1946, Justice Jackson reported that the International Military Tribunal sitting in Nuremberg, Germany found 19 of the 22 defendants guilty and acquitted 3 individuals.  Justice Jackson mentioned the “magnitude of the task” that was under taken. I seriously doubt, William Gladstone, the English barrister and former Prime Minister said that “Justice delayed is Justice denied.  President Truman after World War II appointed one of the most able minds in the American legal system to secure justice.  Former President Obama stated in his first State of the Union that “there is no force in the world more powerful than the example of America.”  Since he came into office, too much time had been spent on the politics of closing Guantanamo Bay rather than how Justice might be that American example for the world.  Let’s not delay Justice any longer. We owe this to all those who have lost loved ones.

While President Trump campaigned on sending more terrorists to Guantanamo Bay both Ahmed Abu Khatallah and Mustafa al-Imam have been brought to the United States and brought before a Federal Court. The wheels of justice have been in motion ever since they have been brought before the District Court.  On Monday November 20, 2017, District Court Judge Christopher Cooper will have the jury in Ahmed Abu Khatallah’s case deliberating and he will then have a status hearing to proceed with Mustafa al-Imam’s trial.

The Military Tribunal System in Guantanamo Bay has been a failure since it has not delivered justice. President Trump should with all haste turn over the Guantanamo prisoners for trial in our Federal Courts. President Truman was blessed to have such an able Supreme Court Justice handle the Nuremberg Trials. But the politics today would probably never allow a sitting Supreme Court Justice to do what Justice Jackson did back then. Congress has shown no political courage to draft legislation that passes Constitutional muster and too often members of Congress have just used this issue for their own or their party’s own gains in the media and with voters.

No terrorists have attacked an American city because Zacarias Moussaoui, Ramzi Yousef, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith are serving out their sentences in prison. The Super Max Prisons in the United States can securely hold the Guantanamo Prisoners and would do so much cheaper.  The Rule of Law and Justice deems that those terrorist in Guantanamo Bay be tried for their crimes. And we must also seek to capture Sufian bin Qumu, and bring him to answer for his role in the Benghazi attacks. Qumu, a former detainee held in Guantanamo Bay was released to Libya in 2007. The Libyan Government released him from prison in 2008. Until then justice will remain fleeting.  And let us all take notice how the District Court in Washington, D.C. has gone about its business of being that stellar example of Justice and the Rule of Law.

 

 

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Abbottabad Documents Confirm Iran’s Sanctuary for Al-Qaeda

OBL

Last week the CIA released a treasure trove of documents from Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad residence.  One of those documents had a number of insights from an Al-Qaeda brother alerting Osama Bin Laden to what was occurring with the brothers who had traveled to Iran to escape the Americans invasion of Afghanistan.  The author of this document highlights what was occurring with Iran. None of the observations are a surprise but shows how Al-Qaeda and Iran operated during this period. The statements and the actions of Iran are also important for Americans to understand as we deal with Iran in the future. The below in italics are just a sample taken from the document.

 Anyone who wants to hit America, Iran is ready to support him and help him with money

. . . . but they are afraid of any evidence in the hands of America.

Al-Qaeda after the US military invasion of Afghanistan sought to exploit Sun Tzu’s old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Al-Qaeda sent Mahfouz Ould al-Walid (Abu Hafs the Mauritanian) to Iran to reach out to IRGC and Al-Quds Forces to see if Al-Qaeda could move fighters and their families to Iran. This was not the first time that Abu Hafs had been to Iran. In 1995,  Abu Hafs had accompanied Saif al-Adel to Tehran on another matter.

Three months later we came to the orders of the brothers to go to Iran, and there was a lot of brothers.

Some of them with official visas where they took the visa from the Iranian consulate in Karachi.

Some of them without an original visa, then all after that or most of them entered by a different route legal, i.e. smuggling and cross-border infiltration, which is not difficult but is easy.

 But the purpose of the visa is to be in the passport etc. visa even if he wants to travel from Iran to another country, then he can do so easily, which many have done.

The mandate of Abu Hafs was that he would have the understanding with the Iranians to allow for our brothers to cross and stay in the country.

As Sun Tzu stated “All warfare is based on deception. Deceiving the Americans and the world would be important for both the Iranians and Al-Qaeda. The Iranians are Shia and Al-Qaeda’s fighters are all Sunni. One might think that these two opposites would never work together but when it has been convenient they have worked together. What was important to the Iranians was that they would be able to deny that they were offering a safe haven to their American enemy- Al- Qaeda. Abu Hafs would be the Al Qaeda representative in Iran with the understanding with the Iranians.

And they began to speak with Abu Hafs as the official of all the brothers, and included

conditions that the phone should not be used. . . . .

. . .  .do not do any activity or movements and gatherings that attract the principals.

All of these were security conditions

The Iranians were worried that Al-Qaeda brothers talking on phones and gathering would attract the attention of the Americans. But others felt safe in Iran and thought that there was no way the US could reach inside of the Islamic Republic of Iran. After all, Iran had been fighting a proxy war against America ever since 1979. The Al-Qaeda brothers felt safe in Iran.

But what happened was that our brothers did not abide by the agreements and Abu Hafs was not able to control them, they were of different nationalities, forms and types of humans.

Including the aggrieved and the anarchists and so on, did not adhere to the condition not to use phones, especially mobile phones. And on the terms of movement and gatherings.

And said the Iranians that the Americans have recorded a lot of your contacts.

… and the brothers came to us and protested to us, and that we harbor the terrorists and so on and your news

 . . . this is a danger to us, and we imposed on you our terms from the beginning.

Sun Tzu wrote that foreknowledge was “the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move.” Yet, Al-Qaeda’s brothers had disavowed the agreement and worse had shown contempt for America’s technical capabilities. This could cause the Iranians a bigger problem and they didn’t want to tempt fate after seeing how quickly American has taken over Afghanistan and removed Mullah Omar’s Taliban government. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Whether Iran offered safe haven or house arrests for Al-Qaeda members, fighters and their families-there is no difference. Iran did provide safe havens for members of AL-Qaeda including individuals like Saif-al-Adel and members of Osama bin Laden’s family. Both Iran and Al-Qaeda see America as the great Satan and an enemy. America must never forget this and that often our enemies will work together because their true aims intersect. If the Iranians are willing to provide sanctuary to a terrorist group like Al-Qaeda right after September 11th what else might they undertake? The importance of this can’t be stated any clearer.

 

 

 

Terror in Mogadishu: Al-Shabaab Out For Death and Blood

Mog1  Mog 2

In 2016, Al-Shabaab was named the deadliest terrorist group in Africa having killed more than 4, 000 people that year. This year seems no different in Somalia. Recently the U.S. State Department in an updated warning on Somalia stated that “There is a particular terrorist threat in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports and seaports, government buildings, hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas.

Al-Shabaab continues to attack hotels, government leaders, and anywhere large crowds might assemble. On Saturday, October 28, 2017, five Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked the Nasahablod hotel in the Hamarweyne District of Mogadishu. A suicide bomber in a truck pulled up to the front gate of the hotel and pretended his vehicle was broken down. When the suicide bomber detonated the other attackers stormed the hotel wearing National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) uniforms shooting all they came in contact with. One terrorist detonated a suicide bomber vest as the other terrorists threw grenades and made their way inside the hotel which they held until the next morning. The terrorist killed 27 and injured over 30 individuals.

This is not the first time this hotel has been attacked.  In June, four gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed the hotel once again taking hostages and throwing hand grenades. A suicide bomber detonated his vest at the entry gate.  The terrorists killed 14 and wounded 11 during this attack. Two weeks before this attack Al-Shabaab terrorists stormed the Ambassador Hotel killing 15 including two members of the Parliament. Today in Mogadishu a ban was announced on tankers and overloaded trucks in the city. But this won’t stop Al-Shabaab attacks. Yesterday in Rasadaay, Al-Shabaab fighters forced the African Union Forces (AMISOM) to withdraw.

The number and magnitude of these attacks in Mogadishu threaten the Somalia government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi. Colonialism, civil war, corruption, Islamic ideology and terrorism have robbed the Somalia people of peace and prosperity over the last 30 years. On Monday the Trump administration said it would contribute an initial $60 million to help five nations (Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) in Africa’s Sahel region as it builds and trains a cross-border counterterrorism force. While the Sahel region is critical to defeating terrorists in the crossroads of Africa we can’t forget about the regional threat posed by the Al-Shabaab. The United States needs to double its efforts and take the leadership in getting regional partners to redouble their efforts to finally end the threat to the region posed by al-Shabaab terrorists. Six months ago, America lost a warrior sent into this dangerous land. Senior Chief Petty Officer Kyle Milliken, a dedicated son, husband, father and Navy SEAL was killed during an operation west of Mogadishu. As a Somali proverb states “When a snake is in the house, one need not discuss the matter at length.” The Al-Shabaab snake needs to be eliminated. Otherwise this area will continue to be a problem for the region.

Dynamics of Mirror Image: Counter-Terrorism Training

First, a special thanks to all those who participated in the Terrorism Research Center’s Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism conducted last week in Maysville, North Carolina. (To see some photos and learn more click on this link  TRC’s Mirror Image Thanks to the Participants of the October MI 2017 ).

Capture1

The participants in the Mirror Image training program conducted casing and surveillance of two different targets, planned operations, conducted exercises, emplaced an IED, among other operations and learned how to take apart and assembly an AK-47 as well as tackle the spider’s web. The participants in this Mirror Image made their cells some of the most dynamic. While the Spider Web record remains in place with members of NSWG1 a cell this week closed the time and really threatened the record. Well done by all who participated.  Click on the above link to learn more about our total immersion Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism training. The next program will take place November  13-17th and will have a number of special guest speakers. Register now to reserve you spot.

Mastermind of Benghazi Terror Attacks First to Face Justice

Benghazi

Overshadowed last week by the shooting incident in Las Vegas, a jury heard testimony amidst tight security in a courtroom of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse located in Washington, D.C.  Ahmad Salim Farat Abu Khatallah, the mastermind of the attacks on the American Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya sat and listened to testimony about his role in these attacks of September 11-12, 2012. Until his capture,  Khatallah had been hiding in plain sight in Libya, giving interviews and drinking strawberry frappes until justice caught up with him.

His Benghazi attacks led to the deaths of four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, Communications Expert Sean Smith and two former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.  Less anyone forget, there were other American heroes who fought to protect themselves and other Americans in Benghazi.  Not everyone has the courage these individuals displayed and their deeds in Benghazi are legendary.  Last week, one of the most poignant moments of testimony was when Diplomatic Security Special Agent Scott Wickland testified his last words to Ambassador Hill were “When I die, you need to pick up my gun and keep fighting.”

The attack on the temporary Mission complex were coordinated by Khatallah. Weapons, logistics, intelligence as well as personnel to carryout the attacks were required. Ambassador Hill was the first diplomat to be killed on the job since 1979. After attacking and setting fire to the Mission Complex the attackers turned their attention to the Annex. After obtaining a map from the Mission Complex of the Annex with geographic coordinates Khatallah used this intelligence to have his followers deliver a precision mortar attack on the Annex killing former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

Khatallah though he was untouchable in Libya until a small element of the elite U.S. Delta Force seized Al-Qaeda terrorist Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Raqai. Better known by his kunya Abu Anas al-Libi like so many terrorists thought that justice would never come. Al-Libi, was seized on October 5, 2013, in his vehicle in front of his residence after returning from morning prayer in Tripoli. Al-Libi was bundled away in a white van before being moved to a US warship off the coast of Libya. Al-Libi was involved in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. Al-Libi was taken from Tripoli to the USS San Antonio where he was interrogated for intelligence before being brought to the US for trial. The seizure and interrogation of Abu Anas al-Libi provided intelligence which if he was targeted and killed would perish with him. Al-Libi died of complication from a liver transplant before his trial. Al-Libi was taken without firing a shot in an operation that was as spectacular as any Tom Clancy or John Le Carre novel. After Al-Libi was seized Khatallah became more careful. But that did not mean justice wouldn’t come for him.

On June 15, 2014, Delta Force operatives were able to use deception to seize Khatallah. He was cuffed, gagged, hooded, and moved by small boats to the USS New York off the Libyan coast. The USS New York was made with recycled steel from the World Trade Center and should serve as a reminder that the United States has a long memory when it comes to terrorist attacks. Khatallah was taken to his cell onboard the warship and then interrogated by intelligence officials. After the intelligence question of this terrorist, there was a brief pause of two days before he was questioned by FBI Agents. The FBI Agents advised Khatallah of his Miranda rights before questioning him. Khatallah’s defense team sought to have all his statements suppressed but the Judge found that his statements had been given to the FBI Agents voluntarily. Khatallah’s own words during his interview with FBI Agents say it all, “I didn’t do all this by myself. Others were involved and helped me.”

This next week we can expect to hear more about the horrific act of terrorism directed by Khatallah in a courtroom where justice will prevail. But Khatallah is just one suspect involved, even if he was the mastermind of the attacks that night in Benghazi. The CCTV photos captured on the evening of the attack clearly show 19 others who are still wanted for their roles in this terror attack. As one can see in the stills, the vast majority are clearly carrying weapons and justice still awaits them.

Benghazi 2

Patience is a trait I have never mastered. While we still wait for justice for those Al-Qaeda terrorists held in Guantanamo, maybe the trial of one terrorist from Libya will give others the fortitude to move just a tad faster. The words of a brilliant poet during the times of Caesar Augustus, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, better known as Horace gives some comfort. Horace stated “Justice, though moving with tardy pace, has seldom failed to overtake the wicked in their flight.”

Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism-Counter-terrorism Program

Mirror October

The Terrorism Research Center’s Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism program is a five day classroom and field training program designed to simulate terrorist recruitment, training, techniques and operational tactics. Participants will receive  insight into the mindset and operational methodology of terrorists. This training is a total immersion, hands-on experience designed to provide education about the Salafi ideology  that motivate them and the cultural dimensions that influence their decision making. This training is designed for military, law enforcement, intelligence and approved security personnel. Register to reserve your spot in this unique of one a kind training. Click on the link below for more information.

TRC’s Mirror Image Oct Nov Jan Feb 2017 2018

Terrorism Research Center Conducts Another Persian/Hezbollah Mirror Image Counter-terrorism Training Program

Persian Mirror Image

 

The Terrorism Research Center wants to thank all those who participated in our most recent Persian Mirror Image: Understanding the Islamic Republic, Revolution, Sacrifice and their Proxies. This immersion training program was conducted on September 25-29, 2017, and consisted of 56 hours of training. Persian and Lebanese foods were enjoyed by all.  A special thanks to Gary, Lee, Lee, Molly and everyone who had a hand in this unique training program. For more information regarding the upcoming Mirror Image Counter-terrorism training programs contact Purdy@terrorism3.com.

Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism

October 16-20, 2017

November 13-17, 2017

January 8-12, 2018

February 26- March 3, 2018

All Course Attendees must be approved by the Terrorism Research Center to verify credentials and qualifications to attend. Course attendees must be U.S. Citizens in the military, intelligence or law enforcement community and be approved to attend. As with all our Mirror Image programs this is a total immersion course with long days and hardships.  Read Ahead and Packing list will be sent to the registered Participant’s email address along with course location after registration

 

Mirror Image : Training to Combat Terrorism-September 25-29th

Join the Terrorism Research Center for a special Persian/Hezbollah Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism in Maysville, North Carolina.

Capture1

The Terrorism Research Center’s Mirror Image training program is a five day classroom and field training program designed to simulate terrorist  recruitment,  training, techniques and operational  tactics. Participants will receive insight into the mindset and operational methodology of terrorists through total immersion, hands-on experience, and education about ideologies that motivate them and the cultural dimensions that influence their decision making.

During the training program participants are divided into IRGC/Hezbollah cells and replicate the various operational roles within a cell. Cells are briefed on targets and develop execution plans. Cells will operate in hardship conditions and will eat, sleep and train as a tight knit network. Each day, the participants will be taught a comprehensive program by a host of international terrorism experts then conduct operations. TRC has trained thousands of law enforcement, military and intelligence officers in this one of a kind program.  Click on the below link for more information.

TRC’s Mirror Image Sept 25 29 2017TRC’s Mirror Image Sept 25 29 2017

Casing, Surveillance and Targeting: Through the Eyes of a Terrorist

Casing Surveillance and Targeting

The Terrorism Research Center will be conducting our Casing, Surveillance and Targeting: Through the Eyes of a Terrorist in the National Capital Region on August 23-25, 2017. For more information about this course contact us at (703)-801-2297 or at Purdy@terrorism3.com

All participants must be approved to attend and need to be law enforcement, military, intelligence and approved security officers.

 

Another Terrorist Ambush in France

Paris to Calais Map

The sentinels of Paris has no idea that a terrorist lay in wait ready to spring his ambush. Clearly he had done his homework, casing the target and noting their movements. Now he waited for the perscribed time when the unsuspecting soldiers would depart the barracks to begin their patrol to keep Paris safe.

Yesterday, on August 9, 2017, a group of six French soldiers departing their barracks at Place de Verdun in the suburb of Levallois-Perret in Paris were ambushed. A terrorist launched his weapon accelerating the BMW he was driving and rammed into the unsuspected soldiers. The soldiers were from the 35th Infantry Regiment who were part of Operation Sentinel, set up to protect critical sites around Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

After striking and injuring the soldiers, Hamou Benlatreche, an Algerian national sought to escape capture. But he didn’t go to ground or hideout in a safehouse.  Where might he be seeking refugge? Where was he heading? It is too soon to know for certain but it appears he was attempting to flee not only Paris but France. A police trainee in his vehicle saw a black BMW with extensive damage to the windshield, hood and front end speeding north on the A15 highway. The police trainee took  down the license plate and mentioned it when he went into the police station. Soon the damaged vehicle was spotted on the A16 highway heading north. French police were able to stop the vehicle and ended up shooting Hamou Benlatreche five times before he was captured.

One can only surmise that Benlatreche was attempting to reach Calais where he could have boarded a ferry to Dover. The 21 mile journey across the English Channel would put him out of France. This seems to be the only reason one would take have taken the A16 highway heading north.

While many of the more recent attacks in Paris have targeted soldiers and police officers they have been guarding critical and tourist sites. We have seen terrorists attack locations like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and even on the Champs Elysees. By attacking soldiers, police and tourist sites this impacts tourism which has a cascading impact on the French economy. In 2016,  1.5 million less tourists visited Paris than in 2015 taking a huge bite out of the economy.

On August 5, 2017, a 19 year old French citizen who was recently released from a psychiatric hospital brandished a knife at police officers while trying to enter the secure zone of the Eiffel Tower. Tha man was inspired by the Islamic State and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).

On June 6, 2017, Ikken Farid attacked a Paris police officer with a hammer in the square of Notre Dame Cathedral.  Another police officer shot Farid who was transported to a hospital. During the attack Farid shouted, “This is for Syria.” The gothic cathedral on the River Seine attracts over 13 million visitors each year.

On April 21, 2017, Abu Yuffel al-Belgiki opened fire on police officers in their vehicle on the Champs Elysees Aveune. Abu Yuffel killed Officer Xavier Jugele and injured two other police officers. The terrorist got out of his vehicle on the Champs Elysees and opened fire on police with an automatic weapon. Abu Yuffel  then attempted to flee on foot but was killed. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Officer Jugele had been one of the first responders at the Bataclan terrorist attack in November 2015.

Terrorist have been relentless in attacking targets in France. On July 14,  2016,  Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian, rented a truck which he drove into the crowds on the Promenades des Anglais in Nice as people celebrated Bastille Day. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel plowed into people after a firework show and killed 86 and injuring over 300 people.

In the Islamic State’s 3rd issue of Rumiyah, there is an article entitled “Just Terror Tactics” that gives advice for individuals in selecting the “ideal vehicle” to use in a terrorist ramming attack. The article mentioned this tactic was “superbly demonstrated in the attack launched by the brother Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel who, while traveling at the speed of approximately 90 kilometers per hour, plowed his 19-ton load-bearing truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. . . .”

On January 7, 2016, a man wearing fake explosives attacked police officers at a Paris Police Station with a meat cleaver shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Police officers killed the suspect.

While we think often of just the terrorists who have conducted these attacks in France, there are those who have inspired, directed, manipulated, motivated, financed provided aid, assistance and logitcal support. Without these others these attacks would not be able to be executed. Hamou Benlatreche may have run over six French soldiers in Paris but others have played a role in this attack and governments must work to remove not only the support network, the inspirational network, and the ideological network that all play a role in these types of attacks. If we don’t then we will continue to have individuals carrying out attacks in the city of lights.