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July 22, 2013 0

Florida Teen, Shelton Thomas Bell, Latest American To Attempt To Join Al Qaeda

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Shel­ton Thomas bell

The lat­est Amer­i­can cit­i­zen to appar­ently respond to Al Qaeda’s call by attempt­ing to join the ter­ror­ist group is 19-year-old Florid­ian Shel­ton Thomas Bell.

Bell, who accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors attempted to join Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) in Yemen, has been charged with con­spir­ing and attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to terrorists.

Since 2007, at least 52 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been arrested or charged for suc­cess­fully trav­el­ing or attempt­ing to travel abroad to reach Al Qaeda affil­i­ate groups. Many joined or attempted to join Al Shabaab in Soma­lia, while oth­ers have received train­ing in Pak­istan. More recently, some Amer­i­cans have been attracted to Jab­hat al-Nusrah in Syria.

Bell, report­edly a Mus­lim con­vert, “devised a plan to travel to the Ara­bian Penin­sula to join Ansar al Sharia (AAS),” an alias for (AQAP), “and par­tic­i­pate in vio­lent armed con­flict that he termed ‘jihad,’” accord­ing to the fed­eral indictment.

Bell and a juve­nile trav­eled to Jor­dan Sep­tem­ber 2012 and made con­tact with some­one who could facil­i­tate their travel to Yemen and intro­duce them to ter­ror­ists, accord­ing to the indictment.

The indict­ment also alleges that between May 2012 and Sep­tem­ber 2012, Bell and oth­ers engaged in phys­i­cal, firearms, and other train­ing in prepa­ra­tion for what Bell described as “the actions of jihad,” includ­ing “a night-time mis­sion” in which they van­dal­ized reli­gious stat­ues at a Jack­sonville cemetery.

Bell allegedly also made video and audio record­ings for the pur­pose of solic­it­ing and recruit­ing oth­ers to par­tic­i­pate in vio­lent jihad.

Lead­ers of the Islamic Cen­ter of North­east Florida in Jack­sonville report­edly noti­fied law enforce­ment about Bell because they were con­cerned about con­ver­sa­tion he was hav­ing about weapons and jihad at their mosque.

AQAP has been described by the U.S. gov­ern­ment as “the most active and dan­ger­ous” branch of Al Qaeda. The growth of AQAP has led Amer­i­can offi­cials to indi­cate that Yemen could become Al Qaeda’s next oper­a­tional and train­ing hub for the group’s mil­i­tants from around the world.

A key com­po­nent of AQAP’s oper­a­tional strat­egy entails reach­ing out to English-speaking audi­ences with its mes­sages and pro­pa­ganda in order to recruit new mem­bers. This mate­r­ial encour­ages West­ern audi­ences to adopt its ide­ol­ogy and carry out attacks against West­ern inter­ests in the Ara­bian Penin­sula and abroad.

The dri­ving forces behind AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda machine were Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric, and Samir Khan, an Amer­i­can blog­ger and pro­pa­gan­dist, both of whom were killed in a Sep­tem­ber 30, 2011 drone strike.

Bell, who worked as a com­puter repair ven­dor at a flea mar­ket in Jack­sonville, is in jail await­ing trial on unre­lated grand theft charges.

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July 19, 2013 1

Christopher Wade Briggs, Would-be Gunman, Posts Picture Of Self In Front Of White House

Secret Ser­vice agents in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., arrested an armed man in Lafayette Park across from the White House on July 16.  The man, Christo­pher Wade Briggs of San Anto­nio, Texas, report­edly took a loaded hand­gun out of a back­pack.  Briggs also had two addi­tional mag­a­zines of ammu­ni­tion, over 170 more rounds of ammo, and two hunt­ing knives.christopher-briggs

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Brigg told offi­cers “I was only going to fire a cou­ple of shots if no one con­fronted me.”   Offi­cers charged him with car­ry­ing a pis­tol with­out a license, two counts of pos­ses­sion of pro­hib­ited weapons, and other related charges.

Briggs is a com­puter pro­gram­mer who grav­i­tated to right-wing causes and devel­oped an antag­o­nism towards Barack Obama, as expressed in a num­ber of on-line post­ings.  These include a post on one Web site made ear­lier in 2013, in which he claimed to believe, “with all my heart, God has a plan for all the elected or appointed lead­ers, even Obama and Hitler.” 

Briggs oper­ated a Twit­ter feed and, briefly, a small Web site, both dubbed Your Free­dom News.  The Web site gen­er­ally fea­tured arti­cles from a far right-wing posi­tion.  One arti­cle on the Web site (pre­sum­ably by Briggs) claimed that every day the author woke up to see “some gov­ern­ment official…subverting the Con­sti­tu­tion of These United States” and asserted that the POTUS (Pres­i­dent of the United States) “is pur­posely try­ing to destroy this coun­try.”  In another arti­cle posted by Briggs but writ­ten by a rel­a­tive named Wal­ter Briggs with the title “Let the Cais­sons Roll!”, Wal­ter Briggs asserted that Obama wanted to make it a crim­i­nal offense in the United States to be a Christian.

On July 14, Briggs posted a pho­to­graph to his Face­book pro­file of him­self stand­ing next to a life-size replica of Barack Obama (such as one might find at a wax museum), with a fist raised as if to strike the Pres­i­dent.  When his mother expressed sur­prise at the pho­to­graph, Briggs responded, “Can I not take a vaca­tion?”  On Tues­day, July 16, the day Briggs would be arrested, he posted another pho­to­graph of him­self, this time stand­ing with a back­pack in front of the White House.  A Face­book friend asked Brigg if he were allowed there after “that last felony con­vic­tion,” but Briggs did not reply.

At some time before 5:00pm, Briggs made a last post to his Face­book pro­file, addressed to the “news media,” call­ing on them to leave his friends and fam­ily alone.  In an appar­ent ref­er­ence to what was to come, Briggs stated that “[I] do this nei­ther as a left winger or a right winger” and that he just could not live with him­self any more.  He urged peo­ple to “come together as a nation and solve the issues” and “do what is best for this country.”

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July 19, 2013 0

Marking The Anniversary Of Hezbollah’s Bombing In Panama

Today marks the 19th anniver­sary of the deadly ter­ror­ist bomb­ing of a com­muter air­liner fly­ing from Colón to Panama City, which killed all 21 peo­ple onboard, includ­ing 12 Jews.alas-chiricanas-iran-hezbollah-panama

The anniver­sary comes one day after the more well-known ter­ror­ist attack on the AMIA-DAIA build­ing in Buenos Aires, Argen­tine, in which 85 peo­ple were kill and hun­dreds more wounded.

Over the years, both attacks have been tied to the gov­ern­ment of Iran and Hezbol­lah oper­a­tives. The bomb­ing of Alas Chir­i­canas Flight 00901 over Panama is believed by both Pana­man­ian and Amer­i­can author­i­ties to have been car­ried out by a Hezbol­lah sui­cide bomber.

A May 2013 report by Argen­tine Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor Alberto Nis­man accused the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment of mas­ter­mind­ing and spon­sor­ing both the AMIA and Alas Chir­i­canas bomb­ings, and the Lebanon-based Shi­ite ter­ror group Hezbol­lah of car­ry­ing out the attacks.

Iran­ian offi­cials who have been red-listed by Inter­pol for their sus­pected involve­ment in the AMIA case have avoided arrest. In May 2013, ADL reported on two can­di­dates run­ning in Iran’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velay­ati, who have links to the AMIA attack.

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