Long Island: Muslim Sentenced To 25 Years For Plotting To Help Al Qaeda

An update we missed last April. Source: Marcos Alonso Zea Sentenced To 25 Years For Plotting To Help Al Qaeda « CBS New York

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Long Island man who was thwarted in his attempt to fly to Yemen to join a Middle Eastern terrorist group and then admitted continuing to plot with others to assist them was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.

Marcos Alonso Zea, 26, of Brentwood, pleaded guilty in September to attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as Ansar al-Sharia, and obstruction of justice.

Federal prosecutors said Zea flew to London on his way to Yemen in January 2012. He was rejected by customs officials in London and returned to the United States. Once home, prosecutors say, Zea continued participating in the conspiracy. He was arrested in October 2013.

U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Feuerstein rejected an appeal for lenience from Zea’s attorney, Marc Bogotin, who argued that despite the guilty plea, his client had not actually committed any violent acts that would require him to receive the maximum penalty. Had he gone to trial, Zea could have faced up to life in prison. Bogotin suggested that Zea be sentenced to about 10 years in prison.

Feuerstein appeared dubious at that contention, noting that Zea admitted wanting to assist the terror group.

“Why, if not to support them?” she asked. “Then why was he going there?”

Bogotin countered that there “was no evidence that he intended to fight.”

Zea declined to comment when given an opportunity by the judge to make a statement.

Later, the judge told him his sentence should serve as deterrent. “I think there has to be a message to others that this is conduct that is absolutely unacceptable,” she said.

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement that Zea “presents a chilling reminder of the danger presented to the United States by homegrown terrorists. Born, raised, and schooled in the United States, the defendant nevertheless betrayed his country by attempting to join al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, assisting a co-conspirator’s attempt to join that terrorist group, and, after learning he was under investigation, attempting to destroy evidence of his guilt.”

Prosecutors said Zea, who converted to Islam several years before his arrest, gave money to and instructed co-conspirator Justin Kaliebe, also of Brentwood, on how to evade electronic surveillance by law enforcement as he discussed Kaliebe’s plans to wage jihad.

Zea, who worked as a clerk at a home improvement store, was inspired by terrorist propaganda, according to the FBI.

Among Islamic extremist materials found on Zea’s computer were issues of an al Qaeda publication that promotes violent jihad, authorities said. The publication contained articles such as “Which is Better: Martyrdom or Victory?” “Why did I choose al Qaida?” and “What to Expect in Jihad?”

Zea had tried to destroy his computer harddrive, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

Investigators said they also found a video produced by al Qaeda depicting detonation of an explosive device on a vehicle carrying Western military personnel.

Zea also admitted giving money to and instructing Kaliebe on how to elude law enforcement surveillance.

Kaliebe, 20, pleaded guilty in a secret federal court proceeding in 2013 to attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. He faces a sentencing hearing next month. His attorney has said Kaliebe was diagnosed with a form of autism as a child and did not understand the gravity of what he was doing.

Both men appear to have been swept up in the New York Police Department’s ongoing investigation into the activities of Muslims throughout the region.

About nine relatives and friends of Zea’s sat stoically in the courtroom during the sentencing and declined to speak with reporters after the proceeding. They waved and blew kisses as he left the courtroom.


It seems the converts get more time than the natural born Muslims. As noted in our post on Zea’s co-conspirator:  New York: Another Muslim Pleads Guilty al Qaeda Support Case

According to court filings, on January 18, 2013, Kaliebe reaffirmed his commitment to jihad, telling an NYPD Intelligence Division undercover officer in a recorded conversation that he understood “there’s a way out, but for me, the only way out is [martyrdom].” Additionally, Kaliebe paid homage to several terrorist leaders, telling the undercover law enforcement officer:

“[My] standard is Abu Dujana. [M]y standard is Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi. My standard is Sheik Anwar Al-Awlaki and Sheik Osama, both who bore witness to the truth for their blood.”

Finally, Kaliebe stated, “Oh Allah, please allow me, please allow me and my brother…to fight jihad in your cause, oh, Allah. Oh, Allah, please give us one of the two victories, victory on the ground or victory through [martyrdom.]”

Obama Releases Two al-Qaeda Bomb Experts from Gitmo to Senegal

via Obama Administration Pushed Release Of ‘High Risk’ Bomb Makers From Guantanamo

The Department of Defense released two al-Qaida bomb experts Monday from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The two Libyan terrorists will go to the custody of the sub-Saharan African country of Senegal.

Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby and Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar both had extensive terrorist histories and close ties to top ranking al-Qaida leaders like Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Both hailed from Libya and belonged to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaida affiliate.

Ghereby is thought to have fought with bin Laden when U.S.-led coalition forces attacked bin Laden’s compound in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in December 2001. Bin Laden supposedly narrowly escaped capture during the firefight. Ghereby is believed to also have expertise in bomb making and was deemed “high risk” by a Department of Defense (DoD) report when he was captured. Ghereby apparently was not very good at his job, having lost an eye and some fingers during his time as an al-Qaida explosives trainer.

While Ghereby was deemed dangerous to U.S. security, Umar’s security threat is an order of magnitude greater. Not only did he pose a high security risk when caught, analysts at the DoD warned in a review that he would likely seek to continue terrorist activities if released.

“If released without rehabilitation, close supervision, and means to successfully reintegrate into his society as a law abiding citizen, it is assessed detainee [Umar] would immediately seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities,” said the 2008 threat assessment.

Umar was a “long time” close associate of bin Laden, knew al-Zawahiri personally and held a leadership position in LIFG. He is also reported to have known Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the infamous leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, and was responsible for deaths of dozens, if not hundreds, of U.S. military personnel in Iraq during the occupation. According to DoD reports, Umar was also an “explosives and weapons trainer at LIFG and al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.”

The Guantanamo Review Task Force, set up by the Obama administration to review detainees, reiterated the security threat posed by Umar in 2010. Inexplicably, five years later a separate periodic review board found that detaining Umar was “no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

The review board’s report said that Umar exhibited apparent good behavior, which included “compliance with camp rules,” mediating disputes between guards and prisoners and his supposed “intent to move forward in a positive manner.” Apparently this was enough to approve the release of a career terrorist who spent decades dedicated to violent jihad.

The case of Umar is not the first time a detainee who was deemed high risk to U.S. security has been released by the Obama administration. According to the Long War Journal, a website which tracks terrorist activity, Umar is the fifth detainee listed as high-risk released from Guantanamo since September 2015. A sixth detainee who was recommended for prosecution by the Guantanamo task force was also released due to the recommendation of the periodic review board.

With the two Libyan terrorists being transferred to Senegal, significant questions remain as to how long they will be detained by the Senegalese government and what kind of security measures will be taken to ensure they do not pose a threat to the U.S. in the future, concerns for which Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook outright refused to provide details.


Meanwhile, via Ayotte Places Hold on DoD Counsel Nominee over Guantanamo Report

Senate Armed Services member Kelly Ayotte has placed a hold on the Defense Department general counsel nominee until the administration shares certain information about the danger of releasing Guantanamo detainees.

“Despite the fact that more than 30 percent of former Guantanamo detainees are known or suspected to have re-engaged in terrorism, and despite recent confirmation that some have even killed Americans, the administration announced the release of two more Gitmo detainees today,” Ayotte said in a statement. “This administration’s continued failure to provide critical information to the American people about terrorist detainees is not only unacceptable — it violates the law.”

Obama Gitmo Releasee Promptly Becomes al Qaeda’s New ‘Front Man’

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Ibrahim al Qosi, a senior AQAP leader and spokesman, freed by Barrack Obama

Source: Obama Admin Freed al Qaeda’s New ‘Front Man’ From Gitmo

The Obama administration is coming under pressure to explain why it cleared for release a former Guantanamo Bay prison camp inmate who has become a senior Al Qaeda operative since being released from American custody.

Ibrahim al Qosi, a former Gitmo inmate who the Obama administration released to Sudan in 2012 after clearing him as a low-level risk, has recently reemerged as a top leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to congressional leaders.

The Obama administration has released as many as 37 inmates from Guantanamo since 2015 as it pursues an effort to shut the prison down; as many as 17 detainees were freed in January alone. Fewer than 100 inmates remain imprisoned at the facility.

Al Qosi’s appearance in a new series of al Qaeda propaganda videos has prompted backlash on Capitol Hill from lawmakers who accuse the administration of not properly vetting inmates as it rushes to shutter Gitmo.

“The transfer of terror detainee Ibrahim al Qosi from Gitmo to the Sudanese government has resulted in a new frontman for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and reminds us that no facility in the world can detain terrorists as securely as Guantanamo,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) told the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday.

The administration needs to explain why they would transfer al Qosi and two other known terrorists to Sudan, a state sponsor of terror,” Kirk said.

Senior Pentagon officials have admitted to Congress that at least 30 percent of the detainees freed from Gitmo have rejoined terrorist groups.

It is illegal for the Obama administration to transfer any Gitmo detainees into the United States, according to measures included by Kirk and other lawmakers in the 2016 omnibus spending bill. The administration also is barred from constructing any facility on U.S. soil meant to house these inmates.


More:  Ex-Guantanamo detainee prominently featured in al Qaeda propaganda

Ex-Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim al Qosi has become a prominent fixture in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) propaganda since early December, when he first revealed that he is a senior leader in the group. Qosi most recently delivered a two-part critique of the Saudi monarchy, entitled “A Message to Our People in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques.”

Qosi begins his nearly 50-minute lecture, which was posted online on Feb. 6, by denouncing the Saudi government’s execution of more than 40 “mujahideen” in January. The men were killed, he says, because they declared jihad against the “Crusaders” and opposed American interests around the globe.

Qosi then discusses al Qaeda’s jihad against the Saudi regime, saying Osama bin Laden was motivated by America’s supposed “occupation” of Arabia’s two holiest sanctuaries.

Qosi was transferred from Guantanamo to his home country of Sudan in July 2012. His first public appearance as an al Qaeda leader came in a video, “Guardians of Sharia,” which was released online by AQAP in early December.

In addition to praising the AQIM-Al Murabitoon joint venture, Qosi reaffirmed AQAP’s pledge of allegiance (bayat) to Taliban emir Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour and swore to Zawahiri (whom he referred to as “our sheikh”) that AQAP would continue to wage jihad on all fronts.

Qosi also eulogized Abu al Hasan al Bulaydi, a senior AQIM sharia official, in a video released in late December. He lamented Bulaydi’s death as a “great tragedy” and threatened the West.

As The Long War Journal has previously reported, al Qaeda has relocated part of its global management team from South Asia to Yemen. Therefore, some jihadists have been both AQAP leaders and managers in al Qaeda’s global network. It is possible that Qosi, who served directly under Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, is serving in that capacity today.

Muslim terror attacks kill more than 150, wound nearly 400 in just last two days

Yet according to Muslims, Obama and the media in the U.S., Islamophobia is the problem. via Tunisia terror attack: What we know about the victims – CNN.com.

(CNN)At least a dozen tourists on two cruises that visited the Tunisian capital, Tunis, are among more than 20 people who were gunned down this week at the country’s Bardo National Museum, officials said.

Details of the victims in Wednesday’s attack have been slow to emerge. Some of the bodies remained unidentified at a morgue, a forensic official said Friday.

Here’s what is known so far:

Read it all but here is the short of it:

British, French, Russian, Italian, Belgian, Spanish, Colombian, Japanese, Polish and Tunisian’s were among the victims.

And in Yemen: Bombs kill 137 at mosques

(CNN) The Sunni terror group ISIS purportedly claimed it committed Friday’s bombings that killed scores of people at two mosques frequented by Shiite rebels in Yemen’s capital — an attack that would mark ISIS’s first large-scale attack in the Arabian Peninsula country.

At least 137 people were killed and 357 wounded when suicide bombers, pretending to be disabled and hiding explosives under casts, attacked the mosques in Sanaa, according to Yemen’s state-run Saba news agency.

 

New York: bin Laden aide guilty in US embassy bombings that killed 224, incl 12 Americans

via Bin Laden aide found guilty in ’98 US embassy bombings | New York Post.

A one-time al Qaeda chieftain and aide of Osama bin Laden was found guilty Thursday of conspiring to kill Americans in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa.

Khaled al-Fawwaz was convicted on four counts of conspiracy by an anonymous Manhattan federal court jury for his role in the attacks that killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

He led an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in the early 1990s and later served as bin Laden’s spokesman in London.

Wearing a white cloak and skullcap, al-Fawwaz was expressionless as the forewoman announced the verdict.

Before being led out of the courtroom, he smiled at his lawyer.

Judge Lewis Kaplan praised the jury following the verdict.

“All persons of this country owe you a debt of gratitude,” he said, calling the case “hard fought” and adding, “There is no doubt the defendant has received a fair trial.”

In a statement following the verdict, US Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As a unanimous jury has found, for nearly a decade, Khaled al-Fawwaz played a critical role for al Qaeda in its murderous conspiracy against America.”

Al-Fawwaz’s lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said outside the courtroom that she was “disappointed.”

“Trying a pre-9/11 terrorism case in a post-9/11 era within blocks from the World Trade Center ensured that Mr. al-Fawwaz could never receive a truly fair trial by a truly impartial jury.”

Al-Fawwaz “operated at the very heart of this conspiracy,” Assistant US Attorney Sean Buckley said in his closing argument.

The trial also showcased al Qaeda in its infancy, when its members numbered in the hundreds and it plotted terrorist attacks that eventually drew the attention of criminal investigators a world away.

Witnesses included an American former al Qaeda member who said bin Laden asked him in 1995 to kill Egypt’s president by ramming the president’s plane with bin Laden’s in midair. The New York Police Department’s counterterrorism and intelligence chief, John Miller, testified about meeting al-Fawwaz in London in 1998, when Miller was a TV news correspondent.

An al Qaeda roster of original members lists bin Laden first and al-Fawwaz ninth, and 18 copies of bin Laden’s 1996 declaration of war — signed by bin Laden — were found in al-Fawwaz’s London apartment, prosecutors said. US special forces found the roster in an al Qaeda leader’s home after the Sept. 11 attacks, the government said.

Al-Fawwaz made sure bin Laden’s declaration of war reached the world by communicating with the media and helping translate bin Laden’s words for multiple audiences, prosecutors said.

“Murderous words lead to murderous action,” Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Lewin told jurors.

Al-Fawwaz did not testify. Arrested in London in 1998, he was extradited from Great Britain in 2012.

New York juries have convicted five other people in the embassy attacks. Al-Fawwaz had been scheduled to stand trial with a co-defendant, Abu Anas al-Libi, but he died last month after a long illness.


He’ll get to preach jihad at U.S. taxpayer expense to a new generation of Muslim terrorists who will be set free on American streets.

 

DOJ grants al Qaeda terrorist early release from US federal prison, sends to Qatar

Eric Holder never met a terrorist he didn’t like. via Al Qaeda operative freed from US federal prison early for ‘time served’ | Fox News.

Ali Saleh Kahlah al Marri — an admitted Al Qaeda operative in the United States — was released last week from a federal prison prior to completing his 15-year sentence because of “time served,” the Justice Department told Fox News on Tuesday.

Al Marri had been in U.S. custody since 2001, after reportedly being picked up on a routine traffic stop just weeks after the 9-11 terror attacks. During a routine check, police discovered federal authorities already had him on their radar.

He was arrested and charged with providing “material support or resources” to 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other Al Qaeda operatives.

The 49-year-old al Marri, a Qatar native, at the time of his arrest was a U.S. resident attending graduate school.

He was declared an enemy combatant in 2003 and sent to a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C.

In 2008, U.S. courts ruled that al Marri, as a U.S. resident, was entitled to a federal hearing. He accepted a plea deal in 2009 that included the 15-year sentence, reportedly at a federal prison in Illinois.

Al Marri was freed on Friday, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

His departure follows a series of releases of detainees from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as President Obama tries to close the facility, opened in the wake of the 9-11 attacks.

The recent Guantanamo releases have drawn sharp reaction from critics who say the president is now freeing the last and most dangerous detainees, who pose a high risk of re-establishing terror group connections.

Al Marri reportedly has returned to Qatar as part of a repatriation agreement.

The country last year accepted five Guantanamo Bay detainees, released in exchange for the Taliban’s release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

As part of the deal, the Qatar government imposed a one-year travel ban on the detainees and pledged they would pose no further threat to the U.S.

According to the terms of al Marri’s 2009 deal, he admitted to conspiring to “provide material support or resources” to Mohammed and other al Qaeda operatives.

“The defendant will plead guilty because he is in fact guilty,” federal prosecutors said in the court documents.

 

Pelosi’s Muslim Selection for Intel Comm. Chaired Ferguson Panel with al Qaeda Webmaster, Taliban Fundraiser

ICNA-Carson-CAIR-Brotherhood

An update on this post. via Patrick Poole Muslim Congressman’s Ferguson Panel at Chicago Islamic Convention Features Al-Qaeda Webmaster, Taliban Fundraiser | PJ Tatler.

Congressman Andre Carson found himself in strange company Saturday evening when he was scheduled to be featured on a panel with a known Al-Qaeda webmaster and Taliban fundraiser, Mazen Mokhtar, during the just-concluded 2014 Muslim American Society/Islamic Circle of North America (MAS/ICNA) 2014 convention held in Chicago.

The panel was titled “Ferguson is our issue: We Can’t Breath.”

One attendee tweeted that the joint Carson/Mokhtar panel was the “most important session” of the convention:

https://twitter.com/nytojannah/status/549008937169997824 (now removed)

 Mokhtar is presumably well-known to Carson, one of two sitting Muslim members of Congress, since Mokhtar is well-known to the FBI.

In 2004, Mokhtar was named in a federal affidavit in the case of a UK-based Al-Qaeda website that raised money for the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

According to the Washington Post:

Meanwhile, a New Jersey man is under investigation for having helped a British computer specialist, also arrested in London this week, allegedly solicit funds for a terrorist group by creating and operating an exact replica of the British man’s Web site.

Mazen Mokhtar, an Egyptian-born imam and political activist, operated a Web site identified in an affidavit unsealed Friday by the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut. The Web site solicited funds for the Taliban and Chechen mujaheddin, according to the affidavit. It is an exact replica of Web sites operated by Babar Ahmad, who was arrested in England on a U.S. extradition warrant this week.

The affidavit said the New Jersey home of the mirror Web site operator, identified on a Web site as Mokhtar, was searched in the recent past and that copies of Azzam Publications sites, operated by Ahmad, were found on Mokhtar’s computer’s hard drive and files.

Officials at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, which is leading the investigation, declined yesterday to comment on Mokhtar or the New Jersey investigation.

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