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October 15, 2013 1

California Arrest Underscores Ongoing Concern Over Americans Joining Al Qaeda Abroad

Update — Octo­ber 18, 2013: Arrest in Long Island high­lights con­tin­u­ing lure of ter­ror groups abroad.

An Orange County man was arrested on Fri­day for allegedly pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to Al Qaeda. The arrest under­scores ongo­ing con­cerns over Amer­i­can cit­i­zens join­ing ter­ror­ist groups abroad and Syria in particular.sinh-vinh-ngo-nguyen-hasan-abu-omar-ghannoum

Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen, also known as Hasan Abu Omar Ghan­noum, report­edly trav­eled to Syria in Decem­ber, 2012, and fought against the Assad regime. While the indict­ment against Nguyen does not spe­cially men­tion his travel to Syria, he report­edly left com­ments on what appears to be his Face­book page indi­cat­ing his pres­ence in the coun­try between Decem­ber 2012 and April or May 2013.

“I’m doing well in Syria…having a blast here, and I mean lit­er­ally” read one com­ment. In another, Nguyen appar­ently “con­firmed his first kill” and expressed eager­ness for more. In April, he posted an image of a dead fighter whom he called “A Dear Brother of mine.”

Nguyen, who report­edly returned to the U.S around May 2013, was arrested while attempt­ing to board a bus to Mex­ico. He is charged with attempt­ing “to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port and resources, that is, ser­vices and per­son­nel, namely him­self,” to al Qaeda, as well as mak­ing false state­ments on a pass­port appli­ca­tion. It is not clear why he planned to travel to Mexico.

Since 2007, over 50 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been arrested or charged in con­nec­tion with attempts to join ter­ror­ist groups abroad, includ­ing Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula. An increas­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans have been attracted to the con­flict in Syria and have attempted to join Jab­hat al-Nusrah, an alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Nguyen, a Mus­lim con­vert, is licensed as a secu­rity guard and was train­ing to be a truck dri­ver. His pur­ported Face­book page indi­cates strong inter­est in weapons, includ­ing posts about his favorite weapons and an image of a “com­mando style” rifle that served as his Face­book pro­file pic­ture last winter.

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August 23, 2013 1

Plot To Kidnap, Kill Police Officers Uncovered in Las Vegas

Offi­cers from the Las Vegas Metro Police Depart­ment have arrested David Allan Brutsche, 42, and Devon Camp­bell New­man, 67, for allegedly plot­ting to kid­nap and kill police offi­cers in Las Vegas.david-allan-brutsche-sovereign-citizen

Accord­ing to police, the two sus­pects were adher­ents of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment who sought to abduct a police offi­cer while the offi­cer made a traf­fic stop, then later kill him or her.    The two allegedly video­taped a police traf­fic stop in prepa­ra­tion and mod­i­fied a bed­room in a vacant home to cre­ate a makeshift cell in which a kid­napped offi­cer could be detained.  After “try­ing” the offi­cer in a court of their own mak­ing, they allegedly planned to kill the offi­cer and dis­pose of the body.  Both Brutche and New­man report­edly made state­ments in which they said they would be will­ing to shoot law enforce­ment officers.

How­ever, Brutsche and New­man were unaware that some of the peo­ple whom they thought were accom­plices were actu­ally police offi­cers con­duct­ing an under­cover inves­ti­ga­tion.  Police have charged them with con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der, con­spir­acy to com­mit kid­nap­ping, and attempted first-degree kid­nap­ping with use of a deadly weapon. The sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment is extremely anti-government in nature and adher­ents of the move­ment have been involved in a num­ber of police killings and plots against police and gov­ern­ment offi­cials in recent years.

After her arrest, New­man, who for sev­eral years has been the local pub­lic rela­tions direc­tor for the Church of Sci­en­tol­ogy in Las Vegas, gave jail­house inter­views with local tele­vi­sion reporters in which she denied involve­ment in any plot to kid­nap or kill offi­cers, say­ing she only intended to video them.  The Sci­en­tol­ogy move­ment as a whole does not have any sig­nif­i­cant asso­ci­a­tion with the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen movement.

New­man told reporters that she met Brutsche while he was giv­ing out water bot­tles on the Las Vegas strip in exchange for dona­tions.  Police have, in fact, arrested Brutsche more than once for obstruc­tive use of a pub­lic side­walk and oper­at­ing with­out a busi­ness license.  On a more seri­ous note, Brutsche is a reg­is­tered sex offender with felony con­vic­tions in Cal­i­for­nia for inde­cent expo­sure and las­civ­i­ous acts with a three-year-old child.

In Octo­ber 2012, Brutsche filed a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen “Affi­davit of Sta­tus” with the Clark County Recorder’s Office in which he declared him­self as “one of the peo­ple of these united [sic] States of Amer­ica” and a “liv­ing, breath­ing sen­tient human being on the land” exempt from “any and all iden­ti­fi­ca­tions, treat­ments, and require­ments as any ARTIFICIAL PERSON pur­suant to any process, law, code, reg­u­la­tion, ordi­nance, statute or any color thereof.”  In the doc­u­ment Brutsche also declared that “pub­lic ser­vants” who vio­late their oaths of office “com­mit a Treason.”

Two months later, Brutsche filed a sec­ond doc­u­ment that seemed to antic­i­pate future encoun­ters with law enforce­ment.  The doc­u­ment, titled “Sched­ule of Fees for David Allen Brutsche,” listed fees Brutsche would appar­ently attempt to charge police for any inter­ac­tion with him.  For exam­ple, the fee for “speak­ing to a cop” was “20 min­utes for free” then $200 per hour.  If some­one impounded his vehi­cle, the fee was “$2000 or 1 troy ounce of gold plus cost of recov­ery and any damages.”

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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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