Two American Heroes Honored in the “The 11th Order: Six Seconds to Live”

Two Marine Heroes

LCpl. Jordan Haerter and CPL. Jonathan Yale

Dan Daly, Smedley Butler, John Basilone, Chesty Puller, Brad Kasal are just a few legendary Marines. While there are numerous other noted Marines, there are two devil dogs who should be mentioned with these legends for their heroic dedication to duty. Unfortunately, most Americans will never know or appreciate the extraordinary heroism of two Marines in Ramadi on April 22, 2008. Their journey to immortality began with the Marine Corps tradition of standing on the yellow footprints at MCRD Parris Island. A Marine Drill Instructor would have told them how “Tens of thousands of Marines began outstanding service to our country on the very footprints where you are standing. You will carry on their proud tradition.” Jonathan Yale and Jordan Haerter would carry on those proud traditions.

Jonathan Yale from Burkeville, Virginia would enlist in the Marine Corps on July 24, 2006 and attend Boot Camp at Parris Island. He would earn his Eagle, Globe and Anchor as a member of Second Battalion and graduate on October 20, 2006. He would deploy to Anbar Province where he would participate in over 150 mounted and dismounted patrols.

Jordan Haerter grew up in Sag Harbor, New York and enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Pierson High School. He would graduate from Boot Camp at Paris Island on December 1, 2006. He would deploy with his unit to Ramadi, Iraq in March 2008.

On the morning of April 22, 2008, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter were standing guard duty at Post Echo, the entry point to Joint Security Station Nasser in Ramadi. Two Marines from different parts of America doing their duty, guarding the outpost housing 50 Marines and 100 Iraqi Police Officers. A suicide bomber in a water tanker truck came from the farm road and accelerated seeking to crash into the Joint Security Station. A terrorist with 2,000 pounds of explosives speeding towards the Marines and their Iraqi Police allies.

As General John Kelly said, “with steel in their backs” the two Marines instinctively raised their weapons and engaged the threat. In six seconds, the two Marines never flinched, moved to cover or sought to save themselves. LCpl. Haerter raised his M4 and with precision fired into the cab of the truck. Cpl. Yale engaged the threat with an M249 SAW. An Iraqi Police officer stated “I was able to see a Mercedes water tanker the color was light blue, and the water tank itself was white. It was entering at a high rate of speed, and as it was entering the Marine guards at the gate started firing at its direction.”
While some Iraqi police officers fired on the threat, others sought cover and moved past the Marines firing seeking safety.

The suicide bomber failed to breach the compound. The truck bomb came to a complete stop just in front of Post Echo and then detonated. An Iraqi police officer in his statement about the two Marines said, Sir, in the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.” An Iraqi police officer stated that “if the Marines had not stood their ground to their death the truck would have wiped out the JSS and everyone in it.”

President Reagan once said, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem.” Corporal Yale and Lance Corporal Haerter made a difference through their courageous acts of heroism. Their decisions and actions all within six seconds saved 150 individuals. The yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island got much larger for the thousands of future Marines being told” Get off the bus and on the yellow footprints.” Marine Drill Instructors should now bark out to new recruits “get on the footprints where once stood Cpl. Yale and LCpl. Haerter-two American heroes.” For these two American heroes in six seconds have upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and our nation.

Director Joshua DeFour has made a short realistic film about these two Marines. The premiere of “The 11th Order: Six Seconds to Live” takes places tomorrow May 19th at Hogg Memorial Auditorium, Austin, Texas. One can also reserve a copy of this film at http://www.filmmakerscollab.org/films/the-11th-order

If you can’t get to the premiere, order a copy of this short film and spread the word about two America heroes – Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter.

Jonathan Yale, Jordan Haerter, Dan Daly, Smedley Butler, John Basilone, Chesty Puller, Brad Kasal and numerous others. Our nation is forever in their debt.

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Increased Terrorist Threat in Burkina Faso

Within the last five weeks, three churches have been attacked by terrorists in Burkina Faso. On Sunday, a group of about 20 terrorists arrived on motorcycles and encircled St Isidore Catholic Church in Dablo. Once again, the Christian community was targeted by terrorists. The terrorists had come to kill Father Simeon Yampa, who was in charge of “Interreligious Dialogue” for the Diocese. When Father Yampe attempted to flee he was gunned down. The terrorist placed all the men on the ground and then ordered all the females and children to leave. The terrorists then selected five men and executed them before burning the church down. The terrorists burned a number of other buildings including a health clinic before fleeing back across the border to Mali.

On April 28, 2019, a dozen gunmen on motorcycles attacked the Assemblies of God Protestant Church in Sirgadji. The gunmen demanded the Pastor and others convert to Islam. When they didn’t convert, the terrorists killed Pastor Pierre Ovedraogo his son, his son-in-law and three others. The Pastor has served his church community for almost 40 years. The terrorist then burned the pulpit before fleeing towards Mali.

On April 26, 2019, terrorists killed six individuals including 5 teachers in the town of Maytagou. A dozen armed terrorists on motorcycles shot four of the teachers in the school yard. A fifth teacher died of wounds later. A sixth teacher was spared to tell what had happened. These actions are designed to spread terror and fear much like how the Taliban in Afghanistan are against education.

On April 5, 2019, terrorists entered the Catholic Church in Dori during the Stations of the Cross and separated the men from the women and children. The terrorists killed four individuals and ransacked the church before fleeing.

On March 17, 2019, Father Joel Yougbare, a Parish priest in Djibo was returning to his residence after Sunday mass when he was kidnapped. There have been no demands or claims of responsibility for the kidnapping.

On May 1, 2019, two French music teachers were kidnapped while they were on safari in the Pendjari National Park in northern Benin. Their guide was shot and killed during the kidnapping. The terrorists began moving the two French citizens north through Burkina Faso towards Mali. This kidnapping highlights the significance of following government “Travel Warnings.” The remote area where the two French citizens were kidnapped was a “Red Zone” in France’s Travel Warning due to the significant danger of being there.

Last week French Commandos executed a hostage rescue mission and liberated the two French music teachers before terrorists could move them across the border into Mali. French forces freed a total of four hostages held by the terrorists. An American and South Korean female were also rescued as well as the two French citizens. The American and South Korean citizens had already been held for 28 days by their captives. Two French Special Forces members, Cedric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello were killed during the hostage rescue mission. On Tuesday, the French government will honor these two heroes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and comrades.

Travel Advisories and Warnings

So often individuals pay little attention to “Travel Advisories and Warnings.” Common sense is often uncommon in high threat areas by individuals who think these warnings don’t apply to them. Individuals end up creating work for intelligence, law enforcement and military personnel when they travel to these high threat areas.  Having spoken to numerous organizations, groups and individuals, I am often amazed at how naïve and how little thought goes into international travel to high threat places with some people. Remember your poor planning and travel to high threat areas can get someone else killed. Over the last few years numerous governments have issued travel advisories and warnings dealing with Burkina Faso.

The French government’s Travel Advisory from February 2019 stated: “Terrorism has become an increasingly severe security threat in Burkina Faso since 2015. Educational institutions, local government officials, and security forces are specifically targeted. Initially concentrated in the Sahel region, attacks have spread to other regions, including eastern Burkina Faso (Est region) which is also known for high crime rates. Attacks are usually attributed to Ansarul Islam and other groups affiliated with Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On January 1, 2019, the government declared a state of emergency for the country’s border regions, to be in effect for six months.”

On April 9, 2019, the U.S. State Department issued a Travel Advisory that suggested that travelers “reconsider travel to Burkina Faso due to terrorism and kidnapping.”  Terrorists will continue to conduct attacks and kidnappings in Burkina Faso.

The  British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to: “all areas of the country north of the town of Boulsa, within 40km of the western border with Mali, Sahel and Est regions (including the W and Arly National Parks and their contiguous reserves and hunting areas), and Koulpélogo province in Centre-Est region. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Burkina Faso, including the capital Ouagadougou.”

Robert Pelton has a great line in his book “The World’s Most Dangerous Places.” Pelton, who has traveled to many high threat areas reminds us all to “remember, the most dangerous thing in the world is still ignorance.”

Terrorists in Burkina Faso over the last three years have targeted Christians, churches, police, military, government facilities, tourists, hotels, restaurants, and soft targets. They have kidnapped individuals and moved them north to Mali to make rescue harder. Dr. Ken Elliott who ran a medical clinic for 40 years in Djibo was kidnapped in 2016 and remains a hostage. No one is immune to the terrorist threat in Burkina Faso. Terrorists don’t care if you are a doctor or a minister with 40 years of experience in the country. This is more than a regional problem with Al-Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates causing chaos and terror.

 

               Terrorism Research Center- “A Virginia Company With a Global Purpose”http://www.mirrorimagetraining.com

 

Law Enforcement and Technology

LE and Technology 2019 NCR

Technology is changing law enforcement every day. Just turn on the news and one hears about the lengthy battle to finally gain access to information on a cell phone. From database and social media tools, smart phones, body-worn cameras, HD CCTV, devices for covert operations, to numerous other technologies that are still on the drawing board-the tools of a beat cop are changing every day. Over two days individuals will explore some of the technologies, policies, legal issues, and grant options. Individuals will travel locally to a number of organizations and observe how they are using innovative technology.

Terrorism Strikes Another House of Worship

16th Street Baptist Church, (Birmingham, AL) AME Church, (Charleston, SC), Wisconsin Sikh Temple, St. Georges and St. Mark’s Churches in Egypt, Santa Maria Church in Surabaya, Pentecost Central Church, Indonesian Christian Church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Philippines, Al-Askari Mosque, (Samarra, Iraq), St. Michael’s Church, (Indiana), Mount Zion AME Church, Christ Church, (Lahore, Pakistan), All Saints Church, (Peshawar, Pakistan), Hebrew Benevolent Temple, (Atlanta, GA), Macedonia Baptist Church, Temple Beth El, (Syracuse, NY), Iman Ali Mosque, St. Etienne Church, (Normandy, France), Tree of Life Synagogue, (Pittsburg, PA), Chakwal Mosque, East Texas Churches, Methodist Church, (Quetta, Pakistan), Church of Christ, (Gwoza, Nigeria),  Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, (Alindao, CAR), Coptic Church of the Virginia Mary, (Mostord, Egypt), St. Ignatius Church, (Ayar-Mbalom, Nigeria), Marmina Coptic Church, (Cairo, Egypt), Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque, Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, (Quetta, Pakistan) Al-Abbas Mosque, Quebec City Mosque, St. Paul’s ACK Church, (Ukunda, Kenya), Al Noor Mosque and Lindwood Mosque (Christchurch, New Zealand) and others. . .

It doesn’t matter what religion one practices or what House of Worship one enters to pray to God. Everyone should be able to pray and worship without violence. But that has not been the case, and the horrific killings in New Zealand are just the most recent example of a terrorist attack on Houses of Worship. The world which we live in seems to be facing more senseless violence. The evil individual who conducted the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand sought to not only kill individuals while they worshipped but also wanted to reach out using Facebook and a GoPro video camera to publish his horrific deeds. This is not the first time a terrorist sought to publish propaganda.

Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Al-Quso was supposed to videotape Al Qaeda’s attack on the USS Cole. But he overslept and the filming of the attack on the USS Cole never happened. Abu Musab al Zarqawi had the beheading of Nick Berg videotaped. Mohamed Merah used a GoPro to capture his violent attacks in Lyon, France in 2012. Amedy Coulibaly took hostages in the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket. He then used a GoPro to capture video and upload the materials to a laptop and send out as propaganda.

The terrorist in the Christchurch mosques attacks published a manifesto to 70 people prior to beginning his horrific killing sprees. To further spread his propaganda, he painted in white names of individual terrorists, historical dates, symbols of nationalist, Neo-Nazi and anti-migration and events associated with his ideological way of thinking. Once again, we see a terrorist using social media to spread his hate-filled message. This individual sought to exploit differences on firearms, migration, social, ethnic and racial divides across the globe.

On September 18, 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King spoke at the funeral for three of the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. Rev. King stated that “in spite of the darkness of this hour we must not become bitter.” That is what this terrorist and others filled with hatred would want. King further stated that “Life is hard, at times as hard as crucible steel. But today you do not walk alone.” Over 800 ministers of all faiths and over 4,000 people attended the funeral of these three little girls. An attack on one House of Worship is an attack on all. And the families of those who were killed in New Zealand and those injured should know that they do not walk alone.

Not Surprising We are “Woefully Vulnerable”

Today on a Sunday morning news show two guests talked about some of the greatest threats and vulnerabilities faced by our country. Senator Ron Johnson, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Larry Ellison, the Co-Founder of Oracle both spoke of the threats our country is facing. Senator Johnson spoke about the two greatest threats to our country being homegrown violent extremists and cybersecurity. Not surprising that Senator Johnson stated that regarding cybersecurity “we are incredibly vulnerable.” He further stated that China has been stealing billions of dollars of industrial and military secrets which will impact our military advantage if allowed to continue.

Larry Ellison regarding the cyber threat spoke about criminals stealing credit cards and state actors who want to gain intelligence. A Chinese national was arrested after he used computer malware to gain access to 21.5 million records. Ellison stated that this hack by China got resumes of government employees. Then this state actor analyzed all the information and determined that these are all the people who work for the US government. Then the state actor asked, “How come some people who work in the Embassy in our capital city aren’t in the list of government employees? Maybe they all work for the CIA?” Ellison stated that the Federal government using its “own internal cyber defenses only detects about 2 ½ percent of incidents.” Ellison gave two other examples involving vulnerabilities to include the hacking of Healthcare.gov and the issue of Kaspersky Labs. The US government banned the use of a Russian software security company in government computers due to Russian espionage. Larry Ellison spoke that for years the government didn’t tell anyone of this threat. And this let Kaspersky Labs become an enormous company putting software in people’s computers.

Senator Johnson summed it up stating we are “woefully vulnerable.” In the US we tend to be reactive rather than proactive and there are too many examples of this. What we need is better partnerships and information sharing regarding current and potential threats and vulnerabilities. Without industry, government and citizens working together and closing vulnerabilities we are at risk of losing any competitive advantage we hold in the world. There are numerous state actors to include Russia, and China seeking to gain an advantage by stealing our industrial, economic and military secrets. Nor can we forget criminal actors seeking economic gain by hacking our citizens.

Remembering the Beirut Peacekeepers Thirty-five Years Later

beirut memorial

                                    “So few know or remember what we did in Beirut.”

                                                                                            -Sgt. Joe Chowske-                                                                                                                                   24th Marine Amphibious Unit

Thirty-five years ago at approximately 0622 on Sunday, 23 Oct. 1983, a terrorist bomb

destroyed the Battalion Landing Team (BLT) headquarters building in the Marine

Amphibious Unit compound at Beirut International Airport. The catastrophic attack

took the lives of 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers and wounded more than 100 others.

The bombing was carried out by one lone terrorist driving a yellow Mercedes Benz

stake-bed truck that accelerated through the public parking lot south of the BLT

headquarters building, where it exploded. The truck drove over the barbed wire

obstacle, passed between two Marine guard posts without being engaged by fire,

entered an open gate, passed around one sewer pipe barrier and between two

others flattened the Sergeant of the Guard’s sandbagged booth at the building’s

entrance penetrated the lobby of the building and detonated while the majority

of the occupants slept. The force of the explosion [12,000 pounds] ripped the building

from its foundation. The building then imploded upon itself. Almost all the occupants

were crushed or trapped inside the wreckage.

Hezbollah and the Iranians were perfecting a new tactic, one which would cause

such destruction and hurting numerous countries as other terrorist groups sought

to copy and modify this new way to attack a stronger enemy. On Sunday, October 23,

1983, at 0230 a.m. President Reagan was awakened with the horrific news that a

suicide bomber had driven a truck bomb into the building housing the Marines in

Beirut.

Later that same day President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive

109 which outlined how the US would respond to the Lebanon Crisis. In the

document, President Reagan directed that the US Ambassador in Beirut should

schedule a meeting with President Gemayel and the Lebanese government and

that Ambassador Robert Dillion should “formally request that the government

of Lebanon sever all diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran that

was behind this attack using its proxy Hezbollah.

Thirty-five years later the world is still dealing with the Hezbollah/Iranian tactic of

truck bombings.  As Thomas Friedman, the author of “From Beirut to Jerusalem

stated:

So it was with the Marines in Beirut-good, milk-faced boys who stepped into the            middle of a passion-filled conflict, of whose history they were totally innocent and       whose venom they could not even imagine.”

Take Sgt. Joe Chowske’s words to heart today and remember those Peacekeepers.

Rember those young Marines and what they sacrificed for peace and their country

thirty-five years ago in  Beirut.

 

                                                                             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts of Great Bravery Honored in Sir Robert Peel’s London

The George MedalCeramic KnifeCeramic Knife

The Queen of England awarded the George Medal to three individuals who confronted armed terrorists to protect others in London. Charles Guenigault and Wayne Marques, both police officers and Ignacio Echeverria, a civilian were awarded the George Medal. The George Medal was created to reward civilians for acts of bravery by King George VI in 1940 during the Blitz of London.

On June 3, 2017, three terrorists targeted pedestrians on the London Bridge ramming them with a rented Renault van. After driving off the bridge the terrorists crashed into a metal railing next to the Barrowboy and Banker pub. The three terrorists armed with ceramic knives and wearing fake suicide explosive belts passed Southwark Cathedral then moved into the Borough Market area stabbing people. Police Officer Charles Guenigault was off-duty and out with friends. Armed only with courage he charged in and tackled the terrorists. He was stabbed numerous times in the abdomen, back, head and leg. British Transport Officer Wayne Marques was armed only with a baton and yet took on all three terrorists. Marques was stabbed in the head, hand and leg. Both of the police officers were severely wounded. One of the terrorists then began to attack a woman.

Ignacio Echeverria was on his bicycle that evening pedaling with friends towards the White Chapel area when he observed the attacks. Echeverria stopped and took his skateboard from his back and struck the terrorist with the skateboard surprising him. This gave several people time to flee. Two of the other terrorists then stabbed Ignacio Echeverria, a Spanish citizen who worked in London for HSBC. They then moved on to attack others before being killed outside the Wheatsheaf pub when armed police arrived.

Ignacio Echeverria didn’t have to come to the woman’s assistance, but he did. He didn’t have a baton, a pistol or other weapon so he used his skateboard. Echeverria wasn’t trained to handle terrorists attacking people.  How many people would intervene with what appeared to be terrorists with suicide bomber belts and knives attacking people? Yet several unarmed police officers and a civilian did just that. Ignacio Echeverria ended up losing his life when the two other terrorists stabbed him. Echeverria’s parents accepted the George Medal for their son from the Queen.

After this terrorist attack occurred, and the three terrorists were identified one name was readily known even to me. In 2016, Khuram Butt had appeared in a documentary entitled “The Jihadis Next Door.” As part of Abu Haleema’s extremist group that Director Jamie Roberts followed around London filming it should have been apparent to anyone that watched Roberts’ documentary that this group of individuals needed to be under extended close surveillance. But the reality is that surveillance resources can’t stay on a target forever. After a period when the targets don’t engage in overt acts of crime or terrorism are often pulled off a target in lieu of higher priorities. At one point in the documentary the “Jihadis Next Door” were in Regent’s Park in London praying with the Black flag of ISIS. Abu Haleema, a radical cleric, and Butt were associated with Anjem Choudary. One year later Khuram was seeking to rent a larger truck to be able to kill more people but his payment was declined so Butt was forced to rent the smaller van. Besides Khuram Butt, the other two London Bridge terrorists were Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba.

In 1829, Sir Robert Peel created the London Metropolitan Police. Peel would have been proud of his modern-day London Police Officers and a member of the London community. Peel said that “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”  Peel’s words ring true even today. The acts of bravery by these three courageous men and others that day bring out the best of what Peel thought of citizens and police in London.

Decision Making for Law Enforcement in Low Light Conditions Training

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NVCJA and the TRC Presents

Decision Making for Law Enforcement in Low Light Conditions

October 18-19, 2018 Time 2 pm – 10:30 pm, Northern Virginia

Participants will need their vest, duty gear and flashlight

“To see a suspect without being seen is a great tactical advantage.”

Most law enforcement training takes place during daylight hours. Very little law enforcement training is conducted at night or during low light conditions. Participants will explore a number of decision-making scenarios in low light and darkness conditions. Officers will examine the tactical use of light, proper deployment of a handheld flashlight, moving in low light conditions, moving from light to darkness, traffic stops at night, burglary calls, ambushes, communications and other tactical scenarios and challenges anyone who has worked evenings and midnights faces.

Register with Kevin Fox at kfox@nvcja.org For more information on course content contact Walter Purdy at Purdy@terrorism3.com

Challenges that Remain After 9/11

WTC Memorial

September 11th is a day of courage and selfless bravery in the face of adversity. So many people showed an audacity and boldness that sunny day seventeen years ago.  From police and firefighters who ran into the World Trade Center Towers, to those who carried injured individuals out of the Pentagon there were hundreds of examples of courage. The best of America rises during adversity.

In the skies over Pennsylvania, America’s response to terrorism was about to begin. A group of passengers aboard a hijacked aircraft knowing what their fate might be courageously attacked Al-Qaeda terrorists seeking to regain control of Flight 93. Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, Jeremy Glick, and other passengers bravely came together knowing that the terrorists were seeking to crash their flight into another American target. “Are you Ready? Okay. Let’s Roll” are the words Todd Beamer used as Americans began fighting back on September 11th. We owe them and all those who lost their lives on September 11th a greater duty. America came together in the days after September 11th but there is still so much more that needs to be accomplished. We, as Americans need to come together as those aboard Flight 93 did and rally to finish what those Al-Qaeda terrorists started. If we don’t our children’s children will be hampered by terrorism forever. Here are a few challenges that remain outstanding:

1. Capture or Kill Ayman al-Zawahiri– Today there is still a $25 million dollar reward on the current leader of Al-Qaeda. Zawahiri is just as responsible as Bin Laden for Al-Qaeda’s attacks on America. The US should give Pakistan an ultimatum-Either your government captures Al Qaeda’s leader or prepare for another Abbottabad Operation. Zawahiri is hiding in Pakistan just like Bin Laden was.

2. Capture or Kill Saif al-Adel-This Egyptian is one of a handful of Al-Qaeda’s remaining old leaders and is more effective and dangerous than Zawahiri. After Tora Bora, Saif al-Adel took members of Bin Laden’s family and numerous terrorists to Iran where they were all given sanctuary. Adel was a “guest of the Iranians” under “house arrest” until he was released totally by the Iranians.

3. Capture or Kill Hamza Bin Laden-The heir apparent to Ayman al-Zawahiri who will one day step into the shoes of his father. Zawahiri is grooming him for the future. Not long ago he put out a statement calling for attacks on the west.

4. Try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed-Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in 2003. We are still awaiting his trial and justice. KSM wired money for Ramzi Yousef’s first WTC attack and was part of the Bojinka Plot. He was the
mastermind of the 9-11 attacks which killed 2983 people 17 years ago. KSM sent Richard Reid, the Shoe bomber to blow up a plane flying from Paris to Miami. KSM beheaded Daniel Pearl and videotaped the horrific act among other terror plots.

5. Try the following terrorists still awaiting Justice at Guantanamo:

Abd al Hadi al Iraqi
Abd al Aziz Ali
Abd al Rahim al Nashiri
Mustafa Ahmed al Hawsawi
Ramzi Bin al Shibh
Walid Bin Attash
Muhammad Rahim al-Afghani
Haroon al-Afghani
Abdelrazak Ali Abdelrahman
Riduan Isamuddin Hambali
Abdul Malik
Abu Faraj al Libi
Ismael Ali Farag al Bakush
Mohd Farik Bin Amin Zubair
Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep Lillie
Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani
Saifullah Paracha
Abdul Rabbani Abd al Rahim Abu Rahman
Abu Zubaydah
Mohammed al Qahtani
Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi
Gouled Hassan Dourad
Abdu Ali al Haji Sharqawi
Abdul al Salam al Hilal
Hassan Mohammed Ali Bin Attash
Sanad Yislam al Kazimi
Omar Mohammed Ali al Rammah
Said Salih Said Nashir
Zuhail Abdo Anam Said al Sharabi
Khaled Qasim
Moath Hamza Ahmed al Alwi
Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman

6.Need to take better Care of those first responders who worked the WTC, the Pentagon and Shanksville sites after the September 11th attacks. Seems every month there are individuals who because they breathed in asbestos, chemicals, pulverized steel, debris, are becoming sick with various 9/11 related cancers, diseases, respiratory problems not to mention the post-traumatic stress associated with working on the scenes. I think of individual heroes like Fire Fighter Ray Pfeifer, Arlington County Police Corporal Harvey Snook, and FBI Agent Melissa Morrow who all passed due to working a 9/11 terrorist scene. There is a long-term impact from this terrorist attack from seventeen years ago. They are all missed but not forgotten.

We must never forget those who lost their lives 17 years ago. But we must also remember that every day there are people who are fighting for their lives due to the long-term medical implications associated with those attack. We owe it to them to teach the next generation that with freedom comes responsibilities and that we still have challenges to overcome. We owe the next generation of Americans a world that we grew up in-one without fear of terrorism. The best of America will rise with courage and bravery despite these challenges. America came together after September 11th but there is still so much more that needs to be accomplished.

A Thorn in Their Throats No More-AQAP Master Bomb Maker Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri Reported Killed in a Drone Strike

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) chief bomb maker was killed in a drone strike in late 2017 in Marib. If this is true, the world’s aviation sector is a little safer today than it was before, as Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri was always seeking innovative ways to target aviation. Attached is an article I wrote in 2013 on this terrorist entitled, A Thorn in Their Throats-Ibrahim Hassan al-Siri Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Bomb Maker in Yemen.

                           

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was born from the fruits of a poisonous merger between Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  In 2009, when AQAP announced this merger, Al-Qaeda’s Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri issued an audio statement in which he hoped this merger would be more than a “thorn in the throats of the Crusaders and their agents like the house of Saud and Ali Abdullah Saleh.” Since that time Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, AQAP’s master bomb maker has been a sharp thorn and has put the world on notice with his innovative bomb-making skills.

Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on April 18, 1982. Ibrahim grew up in a traditional middle-class Saudi family with four brothers and three sisters in the shadow of the El Hadji Mosque in the al-Jazirah District of Riyadh.  His father, Hassan Al-Asiri served and retired as an officer in the Saudi military.  Ibrahim attended King Saud University for two years where he studied chemistry. With the death of Ibrahim’s older brother Ali in a car accident, Ibrahim and his brother Abdullah became more devout.

In 2003, Ibrahim was arrested while trying to enter Iraq to join Abu Musab al Zarqawi. He was held in a Saudi prison for nine months and then released to his family’s custody. Nine months isn’t much time for a terrorist who wanted to wage jihad against Americans in Iraq. Rather than punish, the Saudi emphasis was focused on getting jihadists to repent, rehabilitate, and reintegrate into Saudi society. Al-Asiri would later take full advantage of the Saudi’s softer approach to rehabilitation. Armed with this knowledge he would use this Saudi policy to target the official in charge of Counterterrorism and Rehabilitation programs in the Kingdom. After prison, Ibrahim operated under the kunya-Abu Salah, when he became part of an al-Qaeda affiliated cell in Saudi Arabia. Al-Asiri participated in the bombing of oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. With his safe house compromised after a raid, Ibrahim and his younger brother fled south seeking refuge in Yemen. There he met with Nasir al-Wahayshi, who had recently escaped from the Sanaa Political Security Prison. Al-Wahayshi along with 22 other Al Qaeda prisoners to include Hizam Saleh Ali Majali, Qasim al-Raymi, and Muhammad al-Umda tunneled out.  Al-Wahayshi had been Osama bin Laden’s private secretary in Afghanistan for four years.  He escaped from Tora Bora in December 2001 but was arrested en route to Iran.  Ibrahim Al-Asiri has become the primary bomb maker for AQAP and perhaps one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist. While some have described Al-Asiri as an evil genius, he is only one of about a dozen AQAP leaders that combined make AQAP very dangerous. What Al-Asiri has done is to expand the boundaries of bomb-making by combining his technical skills with imagination, sophistication, and deception.

Ibrahim al-Asiri came to light when his brother Abdullah carried his handiwork, a creative PETN bomb that would be concealed in his groin area in an attempt to assassinate a member of the Saudi royal family. While some have suggested that Abdullah concealed the bomb in his rectum that was not the case. Internal cavity devices have not been perfected as of yet but this is a concern for the future. Rather this was one of the first prototypes of his groin/underwear bomb. Since the target was a member of the Saudi royal family the attempted assassination plot needed to use a Saudi suicide bomber. The target for this attack would be Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, who headed up all Counterterrorism efforts and Rehabilitation programs for terrorists in the Kingdom.  For such an important target, Ibrahim al-Asiri would build a different type of bomb for the suicide bomber. He would use his knowledge of Arab customs and cultural taboos against the security designed to protect a member of the royal family in Saudi Arabia. The bomb would have no metal and would be hidden in the groin area of the suicide bomber. He knew there was a high level of success since the security would rely on metal detectors and would not closely check a repentant terrorist surrendering to the Crown Prince.  Ibrahim al-Asiri is dangerous because he adapts his bombs to defeat the security.  While it is important to understand Ibrahim al-Siri’s background, it is more important to understand the evolution of the bombs and the operational methodology he utilizes. Ibrahim al-Asiri not only built a bomb to thwart security but utilized his brother, Abdullah as the suicide bomber. Abdullah would be able to entice the Saudis to allow him to get close enough to the Crown Prince,  dangling hope that he might be able to convince his brother, the number one wanted terrorist in Saudi Arabia to surrender.

On August 27, 2009, Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, used deception and feigned his surrender as a repentant terrorist to Prince Nayef. A number of al-Qaeda terrorists had personally surrendered to Prince Nayef and had entered the Kingdom’s rehabilitation programs. Prince Nayef had sent an aircraft to Yemen to bring Abdullah al-Siri back to Saudi Arabia. The Prince was hoping that Abdullah’s surrender might lead to his brother’s surrender. Two top terrorists on Saudi Arabia’s Most Wanted List surrendering and entering the Kingdom’s rehabilitation program would silence the program’s critics.  After flying to Jeddah, the suicide bomber passed through metal detectors and was admitted to the Prince’s Palace. Prince Nayef was only slightly injured when the bomb detonated. Even though this attack was a failure it signaled the advent of a different type of bomb and how a terrorist group might use it to attack a protected target.

For years Palestinian terrorists have sent suicide bombers wearing underwear /groin concealed bombs to attack targets. The bulk of underwear and groin bombs carried by suicide bombers have been devices with metal components and shrapnel. But Ibrahim al-Siri has been designing his bombs to avoid detection. His devices had to be able to pass through airport-style metal detectors and visual security to reach the target undetected.

On December 25, 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to destroy Northwest Airlines flight 253 flying from Amsterdam to Detroit with 289 passengers aboard. The bomb Ibrahim al-Siri built for Abdulmutallab used Pentaerythritol (PETN) and Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) and was concealed in his underwear. Abdulmutallab was able to detonate the device and required medical attention when the aircraft land. AQAP’s master bomb maker was able to build a device that was able to defeat airport type security. What one can be sure of is that al-Asiri will seek to make corrections so that this type of device will detonate instead of causing a fire.

Finding the Achilles heel of aviation security is something Ibrahim al-Siri seems to have exploited. Al-Asiri concealed his next two bombs in laser printers. On October 29, 2010, two of his devices were found after Saudi intelligence passed along critical intelligence. AQAP had shipped the laser printer bombs using FedEx and UPS addressed to targets in the United States. The two laser printers containing the bombs had cleared airport cargo screening at several airports. Ibrahim al-Asiri was able to take advantage of lax cargo screening. Even canine dogs and x-rays didn’t find the device in London. In November 2010, AQAP issued their Inspire magazine which outlined the details of this plot titled Operation Hemorrhage. While the articles in Inspire are mainly propaganda in nature they do highlight the research that was done in preparation for this attack. The article further states that the reason FedEx and UPS were chosen was to inflict the “maximum losses to the American economy.”

Ibrahim al-Asiri was able to conceal the bombs circuits into the printer cartridge circuits and to conceal the PETN within the toner. According to the article, this operation took three months to plan and execute and cost only $4200. While AQAP clearly wanted to down these two aircraft, even its failures show an evolution in the targeting and bomb-making skills within AQAP.  In April 2012, AQAP readied another explosive device to attack an aircraft on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. Thankfully, this plot was thwarted by a Saudi informant. The informant was able to bring the device out and the FBI has been able to exploit al-Asiri’s latest bomb. The unique bomb had no metal and a more improved trigger to ensure that the device would detonate, unlike his last underwear bomb.

Ibrahim al-Asiri continues to be a thorn that poses a great danger each day he is not captured or killed. Al-Asiri has taught a number of junior bomb makers who can continue these types of attacks or even design more sophisticated bombs. By passing on his bomb-making tradecraft, Al-Asiri’s handiwork will continue in the event he is captured or killed. While AQAP has shown a propensity to attack aviation and assassinate targets with suicide bombers, they can expand their attacks into other areas and other types of targets.  AQAP continues to expand their targeting within the region but has always focused on targeting the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

With the recent death of Sheikh Saeed al-Shehri (Abu Sufyan al-Azdi), the deputy commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Ayman al-Zawahiri’s statements calling for AQAP to attack America, we can be certain that Ibrahim al-Asiri’s bomb-making services will be used by AQAP to press home major attacks.  Individuals in this region must be on guard for an attack against their interests. Due to the types of attacks AQAP has undertaken in the past, it would not surprise anyone to see another attack on aviation aimed at the United States or even Saudi Arabia.

While travel restrictions might make it harder for terrorists to locate American targets within the country it does not solve the problem. Closing facilities buys time and reduces the footprint at a potential target but it too does not solve the problem. Rather it gives terrorists a short-term propaganda victory. Terrorists can just wait until the restrictions are lifted to conduct their operations.  One of the brightest members of the Foreign Service was Ambassador Edmund Hull. Ambassador Hull served as the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen from 2001-2004.  Ambassador Hull always believed that one needed to seize the initiative and that an Embassy was not a bunker. From a secure Embassy, U.S. Diplomats could engage the people in Yemen and enhance the region’s security and economic development.

While the recent closure of U.S. Embassies and Consulates buys time to check and improve security, it also signals a weakness of the United States. Even when the US moves all non-essential personnel from an Embassy there are always U.S. citizens who must make a decision to depart or stay. Missionaries, NGOs, relief organizations are often caught between departing and reducing services and aid to the people they assist or potentially becoming a target.  As long as AQAP has terrorists and bomb makers such as Ibrahim al-Asiri, vigilance, awareness and a multi-pronged counterterrorism approach are needed until the threat has been removed.

The Terrorism Research Center (TRC) is an independent institute dedicated to the research of terrorism, conducts cutting-edge training and provides analysis and consulting services. Best known for conducting its Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism, a total immersion counterterrorism training program.  The TRC is “A Virginia Company With A Global Purpose.”  For more information go to http://www.mirrorimagetraining.com