Skip to comments.Daily Terrorist Round-up Stories - March 20, 2005 (Madrid bombers caught, Talibanis surrender)
Posted on 03/20/2005 1:38:06 AM PST by Straight Vermonter
Syrian arrested said tied to Madrid blast
The Associated Press
Posted: Friday March 18th, 2005, 8:12 PM
Last Updated: Friday March 18th, 2005, 9:55 PM
MADRID, Spain (AP) - Spanish police on Friday arrested a Syrian who they believe helped recruit radical Islamists to be sent abroad and had ties with suspects charged in last year's train bombings.
Police, who gave the suspect's name as Mohannad Almallah Dabas, was arrested at his home in Madrid. The Interior Ministry said he and his brother used an apartment in Madrid to house recruits or people passing through. They were assisted by Basel Ghalyoun, a Syrian already jailed for his suspected role in the March 11, 2004 bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500, the ministry said.
Almallah Dabas was arrested two weeks after the attack but released after questioning, although officials then gave his first name as Mohammed, the National Court said. The Interior Ministry insisted Friday his first name is Mohannad.
The ministry statement said the apartment was also used for meetings, some of which were attended by a Tunisian named Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, one of seven key suspects in the Madrid bombings who killed themselves in a suicide blast on April 3 as police moved in to arrest them.
The Almallah brothers are linked to Egyptian Rabei Osman Ahmed, who was extradited to Spain from Italy in December and is considered a key figure in the Madrid attacks, according to the statement.
The ministry said Almallah Dabas also had dealings with Syrian-born Spaniard Imad Yarkas, who is in jail and charged with providing financing and logistics for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington.
Twenty-two people, most of them Moroccan, have been jailed in connection with the Madrid bombings. More than 50 other detainees have been released but are still considered suspects.
Responsibility for the attacks was claimed in videos by militants who said they acted on behalf of al-Qaida in revenge for Spain's troop presence in Iraq.
Madrid bomb suspect arrested near London (Mohannad's borther)
The Associated Press
LONDON (AP) - A suspect wanted in Spain for alleged involvement in last year's Madrid train bombings was arrested Saturday near London, a day after his brother was arrested in Spain, police said.
The Metropolitan Police Service said Moutaz Almallah Dabas, 39, a Spanish national, was detained in Slough, just west of London, for alleged terrorist offenses linked to the March 11, 2004, Madrid bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500.
On Friday, Spanish police arrested Mohannad Almallah Dabas, identified as the brother of the man arrested in England, on suspicion of helping recruit radical Islamists to be sent abroad. Police said he had ties with suspects charged in the Madrid bombings. Spain's Interior Ministry said the brothers used an apartment in Madrid to house recruits or people passing through. The ministry said they were assisted by Basel Ghalyoun, a Syrian already jailed for his suspected role in the Madrid bombings.
They also are accused of links to Egyptian Rabei Osman Ahmed, who was extradited to Spain from Italy in December and is considered a key figure in the Madrid attacks, and to Imad Yarkas, a Syrian-born Spaniard who is in jail charged with providing financing and logistics for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
SV-Thanks to NormsRevenge for find these.
All good, but we're never going to get anywhere until we can execute these people.
Green Beret is heard yelling and laughing in the kitchen. Under the sink he'd kicked a thin wall. Behind it was Tamimi
Just wanted to say thanks. I send this every day to my son (USArmy) and my best friend's son (USMarein-Afghanistan). They love it.
March 18, 2005
Terrorism Headlines of the Week
Suspected al-Qaida terrorist detained at Manila airport, reportedly in U.S. custody
A man suspected of al-Qaida links has been detained after arriving at Manila airport from Saudi Arabia and may have been handed over to U.S. officials, Philippine immigration officials said Friday.
The man, identified by the officials as Saudi Arabian national Abdullah Nassar al-Arifi, 34, appears on a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation list of terror suspects, and may have links to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States as well as the 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, the officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
He was detained shortly after arriving on a Philippine Airlines flight from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Wednesday, the officials said.
An immigration official said U.S. federal agents took custody of the suspect, but other officials said he was still being held by the Philippine immigration bureau and that U.S. officials were taking part in an investigation.
No other details were immediately available. The U.S. Embassy did not comment on the case.
Source: Associated Press
Arms smuggling sting shows need for vigilance
NEW YORK A shadowy arms broker starts negotiating with some Russian mafia types to buy antitank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and machine guns. The broker makes it clear: The weapons are for terrorists in the United States, probably connected to Al Qaeda. The arms sellers don't care: Just so long as they get their money.
But the arms broker actually worked for the FBI as a confidential informant. And Monday night, the whole scheme as described by US authorities fell apart for 18 men now accused of trying to smuggle in an arsenal for $2.5 million.
"It reads like a Hollywood script, but the plot is undeniably real," says Andrew Arena, the special agent in charge of the criminal division of the FBI in New York.
According to the indictment handed down Tuesday, men with nicknames such as "Soso," "Jabs," and "Tiko" claimed to have access to weapons in such countries as Armenia and Georgia. Over the course of a year, the men, mostly in the US illegally, began to trust the FBI's informant. Authorities say they delivered eight automatic weapons to storage sheds in Los Angeles, New York, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Also according to the indictment, they intimated that they not only could get more weapons, but also had access to weapons-grade uranium.
Security experts say the bust shows that the nation still has to be vigilant.
"If these people are so inclined, they can get weapons to carry out serious attacks," says John Cohen, senior homeland policy adviser to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. "It's very scary that there continues to be an open market for these types of weapons, and it clearly has to be one of our top priorities to do something about them."
At a press conference announcing the indictments, David Kelley, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the US was working with foreign governments to try to locate the weapons and shut down the ring. "It appears to be some rogue folks in the Eastern European military circles we're dealing with," said Mr. Kelley. "It's hard to say at this point whether it's coming directly out of the military or some sort of black market."
The sting operation began last March when a confidential informant alleged to the FBI that a South African man, Christiaan Dewet Spies, said he had connections to the Russian mafia in New York and Los Angeles. The paid informant told Mr. Spies he was interested in buying 10 to 15 rocket-propelled grenade launchers. According to federal authorities, Spies said he was only interested in selling a full crate of 2,000 RPGs at a time.
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Alleged Taliban gets Guantanamo hearing
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A detainee who allegedly fought for the ousted Taliban regime appeared Wednesday before a U.S. military hearing in Guantanamo Bay to determine whether he still poses a threat or has intelligence value.
The 28-year-old was accused of receiving weapons training in Pakistan and fighting against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, said Navy Lt. Terry Green, a spokesman for the Administrative Review Boards. His name was also found on files seized during raids on suspected al-Qaida safehouses in Pakistan, Green said. Green said the detainee had been in Guantanamo since 2002 but could not say where he was initially captured. His name and nationality were not disclosed.
His case was the 60th to go before the review boards, which are meant to determine whether almost 550 prisoners at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba still pose a threat to the United States and its allies or have intelligence value, Green said. Those who do not could be freed.
Although the panels began in December, the military did not open them to the media or provide details until this week. It was not immediately possible to determine what the prisoner said at his hearing. No transcript of his testimony was released.
The military has freed 146 prisoners outright, including three who were released to Afghanistan, Maldives and Pakistan last week after U.S. military review tribunals determined they were incorrectly held as enemy combatants. Sixty-five others have been transferred to the control of other governments.
Source: Associated Press
Va. Man Accused of Illegal Money Transfers
A Northern Virginia man was charged yesterday with operating an unlicensed business that sent more than $23 million abroad, much of it to Syria, in what federal officials called one of the biggest local cases in a four-year crackdown on underground money-transmitters.
Officials said the case was of particular concern because the U.S. government considers Syria a sponsor of terrorism. However, there was no allegation of terrorism financing, and it was not clear who ultimately received the cash, officials said.
Louay Habbal, 45, was charged in federal court in Alexandria with running an unlicensed money-transmitting business, Mena Exchange, largely out of his home in Vienna. He was arrested Tuesday evening at Dulles International Airport as he arrived from Syria, according to a news release from Paul J. McNulty, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Source: The Washington Post
Exam Sought to Prove Saudis Tortured Va. Man
An attorney for an American student charged in a conspiracy to kill President Bush called yesterday for an independent medical examination, which he contended would show that his client was tortured while in Saudi custody.
The development came as the student, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Alexandria and pleaded not guilty. Normally a routine proceeding, the arraignment set off a round of courtroom fireworks that reflected the combative -- and complicated -- nature of the case.
The government says Abu Ali, 23, of Falls Church, confessed to the assassination plot and admitted that he had discussed with al Qaeda plans to conduct a Sept. 11-style terror attack in the United States. Abu Ali's family and attorneys deny the charges, saying that any confession was obtained through torture during his 20 months in Saudi custody. Prosecutors have said the allegations of torture are "an utter fabrication.''
As yesterday's hearing began, defense lawyer Ashraf Nubani immediately proclaimed his intention to seek a medical and psychological examination of Abu Ali. U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said that required a written motion and said he would be happy to review such a motion. He then tried to proceed with the arraignment.
Nubani persisted, and he and Lee repeatedly cut each other off. "Can you hear me okay? Are you having trouble hearing?'' Lee said at one point. "What I want you to do is conform with the rules of this court.''
Source: The Washington Post
US government targeting global money laundering
The US government is working to ensure that other countries improve their procedures to counter money laundering, a senior Treasury Department official focusing on financing for terrorism said on Thursday. Assistant Treasury Secretary Juan Zarate told an anti-counterfeiting conference that his department "spent a grand majority of time worrying about this issue."
Banks operating in the United States are subject to a variety of directives aimed at detecting suspicious cash flows and cracking down on money laundering and other practices which could be used by terrorist groups to finance their operations. But standards in other jurisdictions can be different. This not only makes it difficult for US institutions to comply with government mandates when operating abroad but opens loopholes for criminals to exploit.
Zarate said proper standards have been put in place by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international body charged with countering money laundering. The problem, he said, is implementation. "Because we have the international standards in place ... the requirement now is to get countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Central Asia on the same page," he said.
Zarate said "one of the primary things" his department does is discuss how to comply with standards set out by the FATF with foreign finance ministries and central banks. Treasury staff members were scheduled to travel to a number of countries in the next couple of weeks to work on these issues, he said.
CIA's Assurances On Transferred Suspects Doubted
The system the CIA relies on to ensure that the suspected terrorists it transfers to other countries will not be tortured has been ineffective and virtually impossible to monitor, according to current and former intelligence officers and lawyers, as well as counterterrorism officials who have participated in or reviewed the practice.
To comply with anti-torture laws that bar sending people to countries where they are likely to be tortured, the CIA's office of general counsel requires a verbal assurance from each nation that detainees will be treated humanely, according to several recently retired CIA officials familiar with such transfers, known as renditions.
But the effectiveness of the assurances and the legality of the rendition practice are increasingly being questioned by rights groups and others, as freed detainees have alleged that they were mistreated by interrogators after the CIA secretly delivered them to countries with well-documented records of abuse. President Bush weighed in on the matter for the first time yesterday, defending renditions as vital to the nation's defense.
In "the post-9/11 world, the United States must make sure we protect our people and our friends from attack," he said at a news conference. "And one way to do so is to arrest people and send them back to their country of origin with the promise that they won't be tortured. That's the promise we receive. This country does not believe in torture. We do believe in protecting ourselves." One CIA officer involved with renditions, however, called the assurances from other countries "a farce."
Source: The Washington Post
Trial in missile smuggling plot delayed again
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ The trial of a British businessman accused of plotting to smuggle a shoulder-fired missile into the United States was suspended Wednesday for a month while he recovers from a string of medical problems.
In an unusual personal appeal, Hemant Lakhani addressed U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden and asked for a three- to four-week break in the trial. The case has been on hold three times since its Jan. 4 start. Hayden consented, and scheduled the trial to resume April 18 with the prosecution's final witnesses.
Proceedings have been suspended since March 1 due to complications Lakhani had from an emergency double-hernia operation in February. The trial was also delayed for three weeks in mid-January after Lakhani, 69, underwent an angioplasty to relieve blockages in his heart arteries.
"I've had three surgeries in the past four weeks," Lakhani told the judge. "I feel it is impossible to continue at this time." Lakhani wore a heavy white bandage on one forearm, the result of an abscess doctors removed last week.
Prosecutors charge Lakhani was an aspiring arms dealer when he was introduced to a government informant posing as a representative of a Somali terrorist group in 2001. He is accused of agreeing to procure a Russian-made Igla missile for the group and prosecutors say he was plotting to smuggle at least 50 more missiles into the United States.
Lakhani's lawyer Henry Klingeman maintains his client is the victim of government entrapment.
Lakhani had been hospitalized for the past two weeks due to severe anemia and internal bleeding resulting from the hernia operation. U.S. marshals took him back to the Passaic County Jail after court Wednesday, where he has been incarcerated since his August 2003 arrest. He is now housed in a medical unit.
Source: Associated Press
Terror Case Defendant to Plead to Fraud
DETROIT - An immigrant who was once tried on terrorism charges in a case marred by prosecutorial misconduct plans to plead guilty next week to unrelated insurance fraud charges and be deported, his lawyer said. Ahmed Hannan, 36, of Detroit is tired of fighting the legal system, defense lawyer James Thomas said Thursday.
"After coming to court for five bond hearings and not being able to obtain a bond and after having been assaulted by another inmate at Wayne County Jail and losing his front teeth he decided that continuing the legal battle wasn't worth it anymore and he wants to go home," Thomas told the Detroit Free Press.
Thomas said Hannan will admit to his role in the fraud case, and is expected to be sentenced to time already spent in custody and be deported promptly to his homeland of Morocco. Thomas said the plea is set to be entered Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen. He will not be required to testify against his co-defendant, Karim Koubriti, 26, also of Morocco.
Hannan, Koubriti and two other immigrants were accused of being part of a "sleeper" cell and charged with conspiracy to provide material support or resources to terrorists. The charges stemmed from a raid on a Detroit apartment six days after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Koubriti and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi were convicted in 2003 of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Hannan was acquitted of that charge but was convicted, along with Koubriti and Elmardoudi, of document fraud. The fourth man was acquitted.
Their trial was the first in the United States for an alleged terror cell detected following the attacks.
Source: Associated Press
Court Upholds Mosque Leader's Conviction
CLEVELAND - An appeals court upheld the conviction of the leader of Ohio's largest mosque, bringing federal prosecutors a step closer to beginning deportation proceedings. Imam Fawaz Damra, 43, of Strongsville in suburban Cleveland, was convicted in June of concealing ties to three groups that the U.S. government classifies as terrorist organizations when he applied for U.S. citizenship in 1994.
Damra's attorneys said their client did not belong to the Islamic Jihad and that the prosecutors' use of "affiliation" was unclear. But a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously ruled to deny Damra's appeal. In an opinion released Tuesday, the judges said it's clear that Damra engaged in fund-raising activity for a terrorist organization.
U.S. District Judge James Gwin sentenced the Palestinian-born cleric to two months in prison and four months in home detention in September. He also stripped Damra's citizenship but informed prosecutors they could not begin deportation proceedings until after the appellate ruling.
U.S. Attorney Gregory White said his office will wait for formal word from the appellate court before moving to have Damra removed from the country.
David Leopold, Damra's attorney, said Thursday it was premature to talk about deporting Damra because he still has appeals that are available. Haider Alawan, a supporter of Damra, said the imam will be at the Islamic Center of Cleveland until he leaves the country.
"I'm disappointed for him and his family," Alawan said. "He loves this country, and his family does, too."
Source: Associated Press
Terrorists train for seaborne attacks
MANILA, Philippines -- Two of the most dangerous al-Qaida-linked groups in Southeast Asia are working together to train militants in scuba diving for seaborne terror attacks, according to the interrogation of a recently captured guerrilla. The ominous development is outlined in a Philippine military report obtained Thursday by The Associated Press that also notes increasing collaboration among the Muslim militants in other areas, including financing and explosives, as extremists plot new ways to strike.
In the past year, the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah has given Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines at least $18,500 for explosives training alone, the report said.
The report comes a month after the U.S. Coast Guard announced it is seeking to better protect the nation's ports from terrorist attacks by scuba divers by developing a sonar system that can distinguish human swimmers from dolphins. Concerns about terrorist strikes by scuba divers were raised three years ago after the FBI announced it was investigating whether al-Qaida operatives took scuba training to help blow up ships at anchor, power plants, bridges, depots or other waterfront targets. Authorities fear scuba divers could target ships with more accuracy than a small explosive-laden boat like the one used in the USS Cole blast that killed 17 sailors in 2000 in Yemen.
According to the Philippine report, an Abu Sayyaf suspect in a deadly bus bombing in Manila on Feb. 14 - Gamal Baharan - described how he and other seasoned guerrillas took scuba diving lessons as part of a plot for an attack at sea.
Abu Sayyaf leaders Khaddafy Janjalani and Abu Sulaiman initiated the training, Baharan said, adding that Janjalani claimed to speak directly with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden via satellite phone. Authorities couldn't verify any such conversations and said Janjalani may have been boasting, according to Philippine military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Source: Associated Press
2ndDutchman in Court for Iraq Chemical Arms Case
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) - A Dutch businessman accused of selling Saddam Hussein ingredients for chemical weapons used against Iraqi Kurds appeared in court on Friday to face charges of complicity in war crimes and genocide. Dutch prosecutors say Frans van Anraat, 62, supplied thousands of tons of agents for poison gas that the former Iraqi government used in the 1980-1988 Iran war and against its own Kurdish civilians, including a 1988 attack on the town of Halabja.
Prosecutor Fred Teeven told a pre-trial hearing at the high-security court in Rotterdam that the defendant continued to supply chemical agents even after news of the Halabja attack, which killed an estimated 5,000 people 17 years ago this week.
"The damage and grief caused will not be rapidly, if ever, forgotten," Teeven said. "The fact that victims from 17 years ago are present here today and that this case has aroused emotions, especially within the Kurdish community, is a fact that will have escaped nobody."
Saddam and his feared cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali," face trial for war crimes, including the Halabja attack, at a special tribunal in Iraq.
U.N. weapons inspectors have called Van Anraat one of the most important middlemen who supplied Iraq with chemical agents. The first Dutchman to be tried on genocide- and war crimes-related charges, Van Anraat faces up to life in prison if convicted. The trial proper is likely to begin later this year.
Defense lawyers said the prosecution of their client was wrong as other Dutch businesses, which also supplied chemical materials at the time, have not faced charges. Van Anraat, who sat silently in court, received assurances from Dutch authorities that he would not face prosecution before an investigation was launched in 2003, the defense said.
Musharraf Says Forces Nearly Nabbed Bin Laden
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 15 -- Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that the Pakistani army might have come close to capturing Osama bin Laden near the Afghan border in the late spring or early summer of last year. "There was a time when the dragnet had closed and we thought we knew roughly the area where he possibly could be," Musharraf told the BBC. "That was, I think, some time back maybe about eight to 10 months back." But bin Laden, the fugitive leader of the al Qaeda network, eluded security forces, and the trail has since gone cold, Musharraf said. "This is such a game, this intelligence," he said. "They can move, and then you lose contact."
In the past, Pakistani officials have consistently denied having specific knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts, although he and his top deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, have long been thought to be hiding in the semiautonomous tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Three Pakistani security officials said in interviews Tuesday night that they were perplexed by Musharraf's comments and were not aware of any instance in which Pakistani forces had come close to capturing bin Laden.
But in an interview late last year, Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, the commander of the Pakistani army's 11th Corps, said that when he took up his command last March he had been open to the idea that bin Laden might still be hiding in the tribal area of South Waziristan.
Source: The Washington Post
Bomb found in Manila high-rise building
MANILA (AFP) - Police on Thursday removed a partly-assembled bomb from an upper floor of a high-rise building in the Philippine capital, an official said. Metropolitan Manila police chief Avelino Razon could not say whether the discovery of the device in the Ortigas business district was tied to a bombing threat by the militant Abu Sayyaf group.
A police ordnance team retrieved a shoebox from a 15th floor toilet that contained "a crystalline substance, a watch and some wires. There were no blasting caps or timing device," he said. "The IED (improvised explosive device) was not rigged to explode," he said over local radio. "Maybe it was just put there to frighten us."
Abu Sayyaf threatened to mount retaliatory bombings in Manila and other cities after police crushed a prison uprising allegedly led by its detained leaders on Tuesday. The two-day prison crisis left 24 prisoners, three guards and a policeman dead. Razon did not identify the building where the explosive device was found. He said police are quizzing the building guards to determine how the material passed through security.
Source: Agence France Presse
Afghan Roadside Blast Wounds at Least 25
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A roadside bombing killed at least five people and wounded 32 in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Thursday, while U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made her first visit to the country, far north of the blast site, officials said. Police blamed Taliban-led rebels for the attack, which hit a passing taxi carrying women and children, a roadside restaurant and other bystanders.
Rice was in the capital, Kabul, about 280 miles to the north.
Dr. Azizullah Jan at Kandahar's Mirwais hospital said four men and one child were killed and that 32 others were wounded. Nineteen of the injured were sent in serious condition to the U.S. base at Kandahar for treatment. The attack breaks a relative lull in violence in Afghanistan and could shake U.S. military confidence that the resistance of Taliban militants is fading.
The explosion came as Rice made her first visit to Afghanistan during a six-country tour of Asia and held talks with President Hamid Karzai. Their discussions were expected to focus on the war against terrorism and fighting the booming Afghan narcotics trade.
The United States has about 17,000 forces hunting al-Qaida and Taliban rebels in southern and eastern Afghanistan. Kandahar was the main stronghold of the hardline Taliban regime before it was ousted in a U.S.-led offensive in late 2001.
American and Romanian forces cordoned off the area around the blast in a busy commercial district crowded with shops and restaurants. The shoes and turbans of the wounded were scattered on the bloodstained street, along with the wreckage of the taxi, a three-wheeled tuk-tuk and two motorbikes. Naimat Khan, who had been sitting inside a nearby restaurant, said he helped wounded people into passing vehicles to go to hospital.
Source: Associated Press
"Jihad" Jack Thomas wins bail fight
Australian terrorist suspect "Jihad" Jack Thomas fended off a Crown move to revoke his bail and send him back to solitary confinement to await trial. The 31-year-old father of two, was entitled to stay free, with strict bail conditions remaining in force, a Victorian Supreme Court judge ruled.
Joseph Terrence Thomas's so-called freedom, is subject to an order that he report to his local police station twice a day. Justice Bernard Teague's ruling, prompted Thomas to break down and embrace his parents in relief. "It's beyond words, honestly, I can't describe the relief," Thomas said outside court.
He faces a committal hearing later this month.
Justice Teague, in handing down his decision said he could find no error in the magistrate's court ruling which granted bail. The judge dismissed an appeal against the decision, brought by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Thomas succeeded in his third bail application before chief magistrate Ian Gray a month ago.
The former taxi driver and Muslim convert was released after Mr Gray said he took into account his fragile mental state and the conditions under which he was held at Victoria's Barwon prison. At the hearing barrister Richard Maidment, QC, appearing for the DPP, submitted that a report on Thomas's state of health had been taken at face value and had not been tested under cross examination or supported by evidence. Mr Gray had said that Thomas should be released because of exceptional circumstances concerning his mental state and the conditions of his detention at Barwon where he was held in 21-hours-a-day solitary confinement.
Mr Gray also said there was no reason to believe that Thomas had been in contact with terrorist organisations since he returned to Australia in June 2003.
Source: Australian Associated Press
Web to have 'terror watch' team
Five European governments are setting up a hi-tech team to monitor how terrorists and criminals use the net. The group will make recommendations on shutting down websites that break terrorism laws. The plans for the initiative came out of a meeting of the G5 interior ministers in Spain that discussed ways to tackle these threats. The five countries also agreed to make it easier to swap data about terror suspects and thefts of explosives.
The interior ministers of Spain, Britain, France, Germany and Italy - the G5 - met in Granada this week for an anti-terrorism summit.
To combat terrorism the ministers agreed to make it easier for police forces in their respective states to share data about suspects connected to international terror groups. Information shared could also involve intelligence about money laundering, the forgery of identity papers, stolen cars, DNA data, missing persons and unidentified corpses.
Six Guilty of Targeting U.S. Embassy in Paris
PARIS, March 15 -- A French court on Tuesday convicted six French Algerian men of plotting a suicide bombing against the U.S. Embassy in Paris in the weeks before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
Djamel Beghal, 39, whom prosecutors called the ringleader, received the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and an accomplice, Kamel Daoudi, 30, an engineering and computer specialist who was considered the communications operative, got nine years. The four others received terms ranging from one to six years.
Once in France, Beghal retracted the confession, saying it was obtained after "methodical torture."
Source: The Washington Post
Control orders `are working well`
The Government's controversial control orders for terror suspects have worked well in their first few days, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said. The complex restrictions on each suspect's personal freedom were imposed at the weekend following a marathon 30-hour session of both Houses of Parliament.
Mr Clarke admitted there had been teething troubles in the first 24 hours but said he was confident the orders were now working properly. "The control orders we have approved are for those who were in Belmarsh Prison and they have worked well in that regard," said Mr Clarke." "There were some teething problems on the first day which I think have been sorted out. They were minor issues but nevertheless they were issues." "We will see how it evolves in the future as the police and security services come up with any suggestions in that area."
The Home Secretary was speaking on a visit to Beckenham in Kent to visit a community service workshop. Asked if further control orders were likely to be imposed, Mr Clarke said: "Recommendations may be made and if they are made I will make a report to Parliament in the way set out in the legislation."
Source: Press Association
Canadian judge acquits two Sikhs in 1985 Air India disaster
VANCOUVER, Canada (AFP) - A Canadian judge acquitted two Sikh men accused of murdering 329 people in an Air India jet bombing off the coast of Ireland in 1985.
In a stunning verdict which reduced some relatives of victims in the court to tears, Justice Ian Bruce Josephson threw out eight counts of murder and conspiracy against Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik.
The judgements came after a 20-year investigation, and a 19-month trial into the world's worst airborne terror strike prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. "The Crown has not proven its case against him beyond a reasonable doubt," said Josephson, as he acquitted Malik, a prominent member of western Canada's Sikh community.
As he delivered his judgement against Bagri, Josephson said : "the evidence has fallen remarkably short ... I find the Crown has not proved his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
Malik and Bagri, orthodox Sikhs who immigrated to Canada from Punjab, were accused of conspiring to plant suitcase bombs on two aircraft. Prosecutors claimed the Sikh group built suitcase bombs on Vancouver Island, bought airplane tickets, then planted the explosives on two flights from Vancouver that connected with Air India planes.
One bomb exploded in the hold of Air India Flight 182 over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985. All 329 people aboard the Jumbo Jet died.
Source: Agence France Presse
Two Pakistani doctors file appeal against conviction for treating militants
Two Pakistani physicians who were sentenced to seven years in jail for giving money and medical treatment to militants have filed appeals of their convictions, their lawyer said Friday. The brothers, Akmal and Arshad Waheed, were arrested last year in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, on suspicion of links with Islamic militants and helping set up an extremist group called Jundallah, suspected in a series of terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
On Monday, a court found them guilty of "harboring terrorists of Jundallah, providing them medical treatment stealthily, providing them financial assistance and sending them for terrorism training to Wana." Wana is the main town in South Waziristan, a tribal region near the Afghan border where officials have said hundreds of Arab, Central Asian and Afghan militants _ allegedly linked with al-Qaida _ are hiding.
The court also fined each doctor 50,000 rupees (US$800; Â600).
On Friday, the men's lawyer, Ghulam Qadir Jatoi, said he has filed appeals on their behalf in the Sindh High Court. "I am hopeful for their acquittal," he told reporters.
The doctors, whose trial was held in a jail for security reasons, have said they have done nothing wrong by providing medical treatment to war-wounded people from Afghanistan.
Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, and Pakistani security forces have arrested more than 700 al-Qaida- linked militants after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
Source: Associated Press
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Yes, it's odd. Good catch.
Please add me to your list...great information, well done!
If you haven't heard about this check it out.
Thanks. Will read and get back....
We can always hope he doesn't have a microwave, or he'll get indigestion ;0)
LOL! Former Dodger LOL!
I think you are correct.
I'm glad the mystery is solved.
The stuff I read up above had all sorts of bad guys that were exterminated.
this is my most looked forward to thread every day ,
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