Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Prosecutors in Boise terrorism case want 2 witnesses to speak from behind screen to protect identities
Prosecutors want to hide two witnesses behind a screen in an upcoming terrorism trial in Boise and allow them to testify using made-up names, the Idaho Statesman reports today. The two FBI informants or their families could face retaliation from backers of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan if they testified openly, prosecutors say, and revealing their identities also could compromise other cases. Statesman reporter John Sowell’s full report is online here.
Boise resident Fazliddin Kurbanov, 32, is accused of plotting to set off bombs at military bases and public areas where large groups of people could be killed, Sowell writes. An Uzbek refugee who came to the United States in 2009, Kurbanov allegedly detailed his plans during a series of conversations with two FBI informants and in written communications with the website administrator for a terrorist group in Central Asia. His defense attorneys haven’t yet filed responses to the witness-secrecy motion.
Federal prosecutors wrote that if U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge doesn’t agree to allow the two witnesses to testify behind a screen, they’d request that the courtroom be closed to the public while the two men testify, with observers allowed to sit in an adjacent courtroom and listen to an audio-only broadcast.
Sowell writes that several previous cases have found that allowing witnesses to testify behind a screen or under pseudonyms to protect their identities didn’t violate the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” In the Kurbanov case, the prosecution’s request is that the screen be placed to keep the two witnesses from being seen by observers sitting in the public section of the courtroom; jurors, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Kurbanov and the judge still would be able to see the witnesses as they testify.
A Boise man from Uzbekistan has been arrested on terrorism charges; he's been indicted in both Idaho and Utah on federal charges including possessing an unregistered destructive device, providing material support to terrorists, and distributing information relating to weapons of mass destruction. Click below for the full new release from the U.S. Attorney's office. Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, was arrested this morning in Boise and will make his initial appearance in court tomorrow in Boise/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise.
Question: Getting a bit close to home?
A Boise man from Uzbekistan has been arrested on terrorism charges; he's been indicted in both Idaho and Utah on federal charges including possessing an unregistered destructive device, providing material support to terrorists, and distributing information relating to weapons of mass destruction. Click below for the full new release from the U.S. Attorney's office. Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, was arrested this morning in Boise and will make his initial appearance in court tomorrow in Boise; that appearance has now been rescheduled from 9 a.m. to 8:30 before Judge Mikel Williams.
You can read my full story here at spokesman.com. In this AP/Idaho Statesman photo by Joe Jaszewski, federal agents search a Boise bench apartment on Thursday in connection with the case.
Bill Iffrig will run this weekend’s Bloomsday race wearing the same orange singlet he wore during the Boston Marathon last month. The Lake Stevens, Wash., runner was nearly at the finish line when the first of two homemade bombs exploded. The explosions killed three and injured more than 260 people that day. The blast erupted about 20 yards to his left. Iffrig, 78, fell to the ground, his legs turned to noodles by the bomb’s sound and power. That shirt is Iffrig’s orange badge, worn by runners belonging to Club Northwest, one of Western Washington’s best-known running groups. Iffrig said it’s his lucky singlet/Tom Sowa, SR. More here. (Seattle Times photo: Bill Iffrig, who barely escaped injury in the Boston Marathon explosions, looks at his photo on the cover of Sports Illustrated)
Question: Will you participate in the 2013 Bloomsday race?
Do not jump to conclusions. That's the predictable advice that the mainstream news media dispenses after any terrorist attack. Translation: Don't assume that this is yet another in a long line of hateful, cowardly attacks against innocent, unsuspecting civilians committed by Islamic extremists. But, while they were telling us not to rush to politically incorrect judgments, the news media themselves and much of the left had the Boston Marathon bombing solved almost immediately. Within minutes, MSNBC's Chris Matthews pointed his finger at conservatives. So did NBC's Luke Russert. Obama's political adviser, David Axelrod, had it nailed too. CNN's Wolf Blitzer saw things the same way. They all cited the calendar. It was April 15/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: I figured that the terrorists were either neo-Nazi/militia or Islamic extremists, when I first heard about the bombings. Dunno if that's a rush to judgment. Rather, I view it as fingering the usual suspects from both extremes. How about you?
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (pictured) was charged by federal prosecutors in his hospital room Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill — a crime that carries a possible death sentence. In a statement Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder detailed the charge against the 19-year-old Tsarnaev. In addition to the weapon of mass destruction charge, Tsarnaev is also charged with one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death, according to the criminal complaint/U.S. News. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Would you have preferred to see prosecution handled by the military?
A man with ties to white supremacists who bragged about wanting to kill President Barack Obama received a 13-year sentence Thursday for a weapons charge, the latest conviction in what his lawyer called “a running battle with the government.”
Wayde L. Kurt, 54, also told associates he was saving money for a “final solution” that would include a bombing to dwarf the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and put him in jeopardy of the death penalty, according to court testimony.
Tom Metzger — a wily, iconic racist ideologue who has for years espoused “lone-wolf” terrorism — could soon find himself facing criminal charges filed by the federal government he’s excoriated for decades. Federal investigators, fresh off a related mail-bombing conviction in Arizona, may be pressing for what could develop into a major Justice Department criminal case against “Terrible Tommy” Metzger, as he likes to call himself. Court records filed in three states show the investigators strongly suspect Metzger provided the Arizona bomber with explosive-making instructions, knowing they would be used in the commission of a crime of violence. At 74, Metzger, who now lives in Warsaw, Ind., has “celebrity status” as the founder of White Aryan Resistance (WAR), court documents say, and is a dean of white supremacists/Bill Morlin, Hate Watch (Southern Poverty Law Center). More here. (Photo courtesy Southern Poverty Law Center)
DFO: Metzger was a close confidante of the late Aryan Nation leader Richard Butler who came to several of the Aryan Nation Congresses above Hayden Lake and attended at least one Coeur d'Alene neo-Nazi parade.
Question: Am I the only one in Hucks Nation who witnessed an Aryan Nations parade in downtown Coeur d'Alene?
Good morning, Netizens…
Ye Gods, President Obama has signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. This is a beastly piece of legislation that would make indefinite military detention of American Citizens okay without trial so long as there is a war on Terror.
He insists he would not use the powers of this law. However, as various civil liberties advocates point out that once the provisions are law, however, they will be available to a President such as Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney or any future more right-wing, conservative president, who could choose to use the powers granted more aggressively. Any hope we, as citizens, may have once had that the Obama administration would roll back the constitutional excesses of George Bush in the war on terror was vacated today.
What a way to start the new year!
If you are an independent thinker, someone who thinks and speaks their mind freely, you could be in dire straits because, depending upon your mindset, you could become considered a terrorist, especially if the political spectrum swings wider to the right, which it may do.
Isn't this a dangerous and silly law?
Dan Roberts, left, and Frank Thomas are shown in this artist rendering as he appear in a federal courtroom in Gainesville, Ga., on Wednesday. The two and two other men are accused of planning a terror attack. (AP/Richard Miller)
By GREG BLUESTEIN and JAY REEVES, Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — On his website, militia leader-turned-blogger Mike Vanderboegh writes about fed-up Americans responding to government violence with guns and grenades. It's an attempt to warn the government that people are armed and angry, he says, just like last year when he urged those upset with President Barack Obama's health care plan to toss bricks at Democratic Party offices.
A few people shattered office windows then, and federal prosecutors now say his online novel about a militia making war against the U.S. government inspired a group of four retirement-age men in Georgia to plot an attack on unnamed government leaders using guns, the highly deadly toxin ricin and explosives.
Vanderboegh said he doesn't know the suspects. He ridiculed the men's plans and chuckled at the notoriety he has gained for his online rants.
"It comes with the territory," he said in an interview from his home in a Birmingham suburb. Vanderboegh hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing.
The four suspected militia members allegedly boasted of a "bucket list" of government officials who needed to be "taken out"; talked about scattering ricin from a plane or a car speeding down a highway past major U.S. cities; and scouted IRS and ATF offices, with one man saying, "We'd have to blow the whole building like Timothy McVeigh," a reference to the man executed for bombing a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Federal investigators said they had them under surveillance for at least seven months, infiltrating their meetings at a Waffle House, homes and other places, before finally arresting them Tuesday, just days after discovering evidence they were trying to extract ricin from castor beans.
The four gray-haired men appeared in federal court in Gainesville, Ga., Wednesday without entering a plea. Frederick Thomas, 73; Dan Roberts, 67; (pictured up top) Ray Adams, 65; and Samuel Crump, 68, (pictured left) were jailed for a bail hearing next week. They apparently had trouble hearing the judge, some of them cupping their ears.
Read the rest of the story by clicking the link below.
A federal building that houses the Seattle Military Processing Center is seen June 23 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE (AP) — The two men charged with planning to attack a Seattle military recruiting station have pleaded not guilty.
An indictment released by the U.S. attorney's office Thursday charges 33-year-old Khalid Abdul-Latif (pictured) of Seattle and 32-year-old Walli Mujahidh of Los Angeles with conspiracy to murder federal agents and officers, as well as conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.
Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh pleaded not guilty to all counts at a Thursday afternoon hearing. Trial was set to begin Sept. 7.
Both men also face additional weapons charges, and Abdul-Latif is accused of soliciting a crime of violence.
According to allegations previously laid out in an FBI complaint, the two were arrested June 22 after they arrived at a warehouse garage to pick up machine guns to use in the attack. Investigators said they learned of the plot when someone Abdul-Latif recruited to obtain weapons turned to Seattle police and then acted as a paid confidential informant.
A Clarkston man who seriously injured himself with a homemade bomb last year has been charged with trying to assist terrorists.
A grand jury indicted Joseph Jefferey Brice, 20, this week on new charges of attempt to provide material support to terrorists, manufacturing an unregistered firearm, distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Brice has been in jail since May 3 on a firearms charge.
Investigators believe he posted comments on YouTube under the name StrengthofAllah and discussed through email plans to rob a bank in Lewiston after planting bombs near a school to distract police.
Federal authorities began probing his activities after he was injured by a homemade bomb on April 18, 2010, and investigators learned he'd posted videos of explosions to YouTube.
In February, Brice wrote on Youtube that he found an "FBI or ATF tracking device on his vehicle" and that the FBI had singled him out in their investigation into the explosive device left along the planned route of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity march in Spokane on Jan. 17. The only suspect in that case, Kevin W. Harpham, was arrested near Addy, Wash., on March 9 and remains in jail.
Good morning, Netizens…
Although this certainly qualifies as breaking news I simply am repeating what I have heard, thus far, on the news wires this morning. At least two mail bombs have exploded in two different embassies in Rome, Italy injuring at least two postal workers at the Swiss and Chilean embassies. A package arrived at the Ukranian Embassy, but at least no reports of any explosions taking place there have been been indicated.
The only reason I mention these events is that this does appear to be an ongoing set of circumstances, and as such, is subject to change at a moments notice.
Good morning, Netizens…
I probably should have stood upright on my soapbox and bellowed about my perceptions of the TSA long before now, but as in nearly all matters before the public’s invariably bloodshot eyes, there are multiple sides to this issue. I do not fly that often, and in any travel plans I have flying by commercial airlines generally rank at the bottom of the selection list, simply because I do not necessarily like flying.
David Horsey’s cartoon about the TSA this morning is just one side of the issue, reflecting only the Fourth Amendment issue without truly considering terrorism.
I firmly believe there are other methods of accomplishing the same goal, to make travel by airplane safe and secure without violating our Constitutional rights to freedom from unwarranted search and seizure by someone groping our crotches. The existing rules as enforced by TSA stand as an affront to our rights, especially when you consider how the Israelis screen passengers. They simply ask questions without groping anyone’s private parts, and they are at least as much risk of terrorist attacks as the United States, no?
I do not trust the TSA any further than I trust most other government agencies simply because of the risk(s) of abuse of power. I only have their word that no one is surreptitiously making copies of the scanner pictures for amusement and/or profit. I have only their word that all TSA employees have been vetted properly, that none of them are sexual deviants. That is simply not god enough for me.
Then there are the terrorists themselves. They spend ungodly numbers of hours scheming on ways to kill people all in the name of their God. Of them all I will say is their deity must be some kind of chicken hawk if all they live for is killing Americans by blowing up planes, constantly cruising the ether looking for a weakness.
There are some who will insist that the scanners prevent terrorism. I believe there are other better less-intrusive ways of accomplishing that goal. Of course, your results may differ, and that may depend upon whether you have been groped by a TSA agent.That, too, seems to be another form of terrorism according to some.
Good morning, Netizens…
A. Joseph Stack III put his name in history books yesterday. He began his day by setting fire to his house in Austin, Texas while his wife and family were inside. He capped his morning off by flying his single-engine Piper PA-28 aircraft into the side of the building in Austin, Texas in the AP picture above, where the Internal Revenue Service had a portion of their headquarters. Having already posted a verbose screed about his failed relationship with the IRS on a website (which unfortunately has been taken down) a number of failed businesses, several tax audits and numerous other complaints, Stack felt he had enough, and simply put, took matters into his own hands.
At least two people, including Stack, are dead.
“Nothing changes unless there is a body count,” Stack wrote.
Nobody, it seems, have warm fuzzy feelings in their hearts for the IRS. Several of the mainstream news media have already made the statement that this was not an incident of terrorism, that Stack was a sadly despondent man, perhaps seriously depressed over his battles with the IRS. Pardon me, but I know a few people who have battled with the IRS and lost, but none of them ever flew planes into the IRS office to express their outrage.
If Stack had been from the Middle East and undertaken the same goals, we would call him a terrorist beyond a doubt. How much difference is there between Islamic terrorists blowing up American assets in the United States and Stack?
Violence against groups of innocent persons, even people as wretched, deplorably unethical and self-serving as the IRS, is terrorism in my book.
What about yours?
Good morning, Netizens…
This caricature of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, right, charged with attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner, at his hearing in Detroit federal court on Friday Jan. 8, 2010
I was reading a class outline taught this week by retired detective Ron Wright and he poses a question which I feel is still unanswered, despite all the news media attention given Umar Abdulmutallab’s first appearance in court. When do the Constitutional rights we accord to our citizens end?
According to Ron_the_cop Wright, Abdulmutallab is an illegal enemy combatant and should not get Constitutional rights afforded to all US citizens. Abdulmutallab is a terrorist combatant, which seems on the face of it to be a perfectly-valid argument. He is not a citizen of the United States, although there is the question whether or not possessing a valid US Visa conveys any citizenship rights upon him.
If I am interpreting Ron’s argument correctly, there is nothing in our Constitution which should give Abdulmutallab, as a terrorist, the same rights as a citizen. Do you believe that to be true? It seems like a good question to be asking before someone else boards a plane with explosives in their BVD’s.
Good morning, Netizens…
Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano admitted she lied on Sunday’s news talk shows this morning, and I, for one, want to know why she is still in charge of Homeland Security. She admitted this morning that the Homeland Security system failed. Failed? It allowed a person on the watch list aboard a plane destined to the United States with a detectable explosive device, PETN, hidden on his person, and yesterday she stated the system worked?
Forty bazillion Americans stand patiently in line every day waiting to pass through Homeland Security’s security screening at airports around the globe, trusting that they are safe from terrorist threats because they get screened. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is now charged with attempting to blow up a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit. Fortunately, instead of the device hidden in his shorts exploding, he set fire to his pants and, in think-speak, “burned his groin”.
My only comment about Abdulmutallab is, “Ooh, I’ll bet that smarts! Now you’re going to prison.”
My only comment about Napolitano is, “Are you still here?”