Denver’s Center of Jewish Fear-Mongering


intelligent life

Apart from the standard dinosaur fare and a few French oils, Denver’s museums tend to reflect their frontier location, with plenty of Native American artwork and old mansions of mining barons. The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (also described as the Centre for Empowered Living and Learning), or CELL, does not fit this model. The aim of this somewhat odd two-year-old $6m project—which sits right next to the Daniel Libeskind-designed Denver Art Museum—is not cultural elucidation or historic preservation. Rather, it is a non-profit institution that is all about terrorism: where it comes from, how it manifests itself and what people can do to reduce its threat. Larry Mizel, a local businessman and regular donor to the Republican party, both founded and funded the museum. It is affiliated with his Mizel Museum, a local museum dedicated to Jewish life and culture.

The CELL’s mission, according to its website is “to provide the knowledge and tools needed to proactively effect change in order to help shape a better, safer world.” But how threatening is Denver? This is the CELL’s main point. Its well-crafted interactive exhibition, “Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: Understanding the Threat of Terrorism“, warns visitors that terrorism affects us all, even those who are far away from centres of power. If this sounds like an expensive, museum-size example of America’s paranoia, that’s because it is.

The museum was built with the expectation that 20,000 people would visit its 6,000 square-foot exhibition each year. But during a recent visit I had the place to myself, amid a high-tech maze of flashing screens and touch-screen displays. The most powerful section, called “Hitting Home”, is a dark room filled with video images that create the feeling of standing in Denver’s city centre. A loud explosion is followed by the sight of whizzing buses and leafy cafes going up in flames, followed by aftermath footage from blast sites in New York, London and elsewhere.

Other displays are about terrorists’ weapons of choice and their use of the media. The last section, called the “Action Center”, shows a local videoabout how to recognise the signs of terrorism (they declare there are eight, such as “surveillance” and “acquiring supplies”) and what to do (ie, call the Colorado Information Analysis Centre). Viewers may notice that the video’s running time is exactly 9 minutes and 11 seconds.

The museum is good at being dark and scary. I walked out into the Colorado sunshine feeling disturbed. Yet Denver’s spreading suburbs seemingly suffer more from a distinctly American banality than ideology-driven angst. Graphic images of a bomb ripping apart downtown Denver seem to fall into the category of fear-mongering. Indeed, the exhibition includes a Rand Corporation expert who notes that the probability of an American of being killed in a terror attack is about one in a million, compared to one-in-7,000 or -8,000 chance of being killed in a car accident.

The CELL is keen to justify its location, offering several links between terrorism and Colorado. In 1984, Alan Berg, a Jewish left-wing talk-radio host in Denver, was gunned down by members of a white supremacist group. In 2009 a man named Najibullah Zazi was arrested in his suburban Denver home in connection with a plot to bomb the New York subway. And in 2010 a Colorado woman named Jamie Paulin-Ramirez (dubbed by the press as “Jihad Jamie”), was detained in connection with a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist. Other events, such as the Oklahoma City bombings and the attacks on London’s transport, are mentioned here.

But more interesting is what the CELL does not include, namely the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, which is certainly the state’s closest experience with indiscriminate and terrorising killing. This more than anything seems to highlight the kind of anxiety the CELL is promoting: a fear of ideological outsiders, rather than a dread of armed Americans.

Ultimately, the CELL offers far more reasons to feel afraid than to feel empowered. The film designed to highlight potential signs of terrorism only confirms just how difficult it is to recognise something suspicious. (How many times can a tourist snap photos of a power plant before the photographer seems odd?) I was hoping for a section on tightening America’s gun laws or ensuring that metropolitan police budgets remain at adequate levels. Not here. Nor is it much fun to get this unnerving “education”. Only roughly 10,000 have seen the exhibition since it opened in 2009, and that’s including the attendance at organised events. This is hardly surprising. In a state as idyllic as Colorado, there are just better places to spend an afternoon.


Obama Signs Continuation of Bill Clinton’s Non-Emergency “National Emergency” On Terrorist Financing

[There is absolutely nothing to this Executive Order which Obama is keeping alive, except that it represents the ongoing executive precedent of never letting an emergency order from one of their predecesors expire.   This Exec. Order continues Executive Order 12947 of January 23, 1995 (posted at the bottom of this report).  This order preceded the precursor of the Patriot Act (written by Joe Biden, the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995), which was written before the Oklahoma City Bombing, even though it was the primary excuse for passing it.  It was Clinton’s order penalizing American citizens or visitors to America for providing support to groups and individuals which were “disruptive” to the “Middle East Peace Process.”  Thanks to Netanyahu, there is NO ongoing “Peace Process” between Israel and the Palestinians.  It has already been Disrupted. 

The original Executive Order named the terrorist organizations considered, at that time, to be inimical to peace in Israel and Palestine.  There is no “Al-Qaeda” on that list, proving my point, that there was no Al-Q until Bush and Cheney invented them.  In other Clinton-era documents “Usama bin Laden” is named (in Clinton’s January 19, 2000 order extending this same Ex. Or.), but never “Al-Qaeda”, at least not before Little Bush started campaigning.  The alignment between Bush and Clinton propaganda began around then, in late 2000.   

According to Wiki,

Executive Order 12947, issued by President Bill Clinton on January 23, 1995, prohibits financial transactions with any SDT ( Specially Designated Terrorist ).”   A Specially Designated Terrorist is any person who is determined by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to be a specially designated terrorist (SDT) under notices or regulations issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  Thousands of individuals and companies are currently designated on the OFAC SDN List.    

[Many of those names of terrorist outfits on the SDN list now fight for American foreign policy in Libya and Syria and throughout the Middle East.  Jabhat al-Nusra and Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) are both on there.  This means that legally, any Qatari or Saudi official who steps foot in this country could be penalized for their support to those groups, under this Executive Order that Obama just extended.  More of his hypocritical double-standards.]

white house

The White House EmblemLetter — Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency declared with respect to foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process is to continue in effect beyond January 23, 2013.

The crisis with respect to grave acts of violence committed by foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process that led to the declaration of a national emergency on January 23, 1995, has not been resolved. Terrorist groups continue to engage in activities that have the purpose or effect of threatening the Middle East peace process and that are hostile to United States interests in the region. Such actions constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process and to maintain in force the economic sanctions against them to respond to this threat.



Federal Register

Vol. 60, No. 16
Wednesday, January 25, 1995
Title 3—
The President
Executive Order 12947

of January 23, 1995
Prohibiting Transactions With Terrorists Who Threaten To
Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the
laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency
Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies
Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United
States Code,
I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, find
that grave acts of violence committed by foreign terrorists that disrupt the
Middle East peace process constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat
to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,
and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
I hereby order:
Section 1. Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(3) and (4) of
IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(3) and (4)) and in regulations, orders, directives,
or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding
any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the
effective date: (a) all property and interests in property of:
(i) the persons listed in the Annex to this order;
(ii) foreign persons designated by the Secretary of State, in coordination
with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General,
because they are found:
(A) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing,
acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of disrupting the
Middle East peace process, or
(B) to assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological
support for, or services in support of, such acts of violence;
(iii) persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in coordination
with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, to
be owned or controlled by, or to act for or on behalf of, any
of the foregoing persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter
come within the United States, or that hereafter come within the
possession or control of United States persons, are blocked;
(b) any transaction or dealing by United States persons or within the
United States in property or interests in property of the persons designated
in or pursuant to this order is prohibited, including the making or receiving
of any contribution of funds, goods, or services to or for the benefit of
such persons;
(c) any transaction by any United States person or within the United
States that evades or avoids, or has the purpose of evading or avoiding,
or attempts to violate, any of the prohibitions set forth in this order, is
Sec. 2. For the purposes of this order: (a) the term ‘‘person’’ means an
individual or entity;
(b) the term ‘‘entity’’ means a partnership, association, corporation, or
other organization, group, or subgroup;
5080 Federal Register / Vol. 60, No. 16 / Wednesday, January 25, 1995 / Presidential Documents
(c) the term ‘‘United States person’’ means any United States citizen,
permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United
States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States;
(d) the term ‘‘foreign person’’ means any citizen or national of a foreign
state (including any such individual who is also a citizen or national of
the United States) or any entity not organized solely under the laws of
the United States or existing solely in the United States, but does not
include a foreign state.
Sec. 3. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type specified
in section 203(b)(2)(A) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)(A)) by United States
persons to persons designated in or pursuant to this order would seriously
impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this
order, and hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of
this order.
Sec. 4. (a) The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary
of State and, as appropriate, the Attorney General, is hereby authorized
to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations,
and to employ all powers granted to me by IEEPA as may be necessary
to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury
may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of
the United States Government. All agencies of the United States Government
are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority
to carry out the provisions of this order.
(b) Any investigation emanating from a possible violation of this order,
or of any license, order, or regulation issued pursuant to this order, shall
first be coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and
any matter involving evidence of a criminal violation shall be referred to
the FBI for further investigation. The FBI shall timely notify the Department
of the Treasury of any action it takes on such referrals.
Sec. 5. Nothing contained in this order shall create any right or benefit,
substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party against the United States,
its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other
Sec. 6. (a) This order is effective at 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time on
January 24, 1995.
(b) This order shall be transmitted to the Congress and published in
the Federal Register.
January 23, 1995.
Billing code 3195–01–P
Federal Register / Vol. 60, No. 16 / Wednesday, January 25, 1995 / Presidential Documents 5081
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
Islamic Gama’at (IG)
Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS)
Kahane Chai
Palestinian Islamic Jihad-Shiqaqi faction (PIJ)
Palestine Liberation Front-Abu Abbas faction (PLF-Abu Abbas)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP–GC)

Hurriyat in tight-spot for meeting Saeed and Salahuddin

[SEE:  Lashkar e-Taiba Leader Hopes To Revive Jihad In Kashmir After US Leaves Afghanistan]

Hurriyat in tight-spot for meeting Saeed and Salahuddin


Hizbul Mujahideen Supremo, Syed Salahuddin (left) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa Chief, Hafiz Saeed (right). – File photo

Hizbul Mujahideen Supremo, Syed Salahuddin (left) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa Chief, Hafiz Saeed (right). – File photo

The moderate faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference [APHC] led by the Kashmir Valley’s head priest, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, is under the scanner for ‘meeting’ Hafiz Saeed — India’s wanted man for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and Syed Salahuddin — the supreme commander of the United Jihad Council [UJC], an alliance of various militant outfits operating from Pakistan-administered Kashmir [PaK]. Sections of the Indian media termed Hurriyat’s recent visit to Pakistan as “terror conclave on Indian passport”.

Prior to their trip to Pakistan, the Hurriyat leaders claimed “they will talk business” but many perceived their visit as “remote controlled” in the first place. Now the Indian media is astounded after reports emerged that a Hurriyat delegation also met the alleged “26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahuddin, on Pakistan soil”.

India is firm that Saeed is the “Mumbai attacks mastermind”, but Pakistan maintains there is “lack of evidence” to “prove his guilt” in the court of law.

Even the supporters of the larger autonomy to the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir like Dr. Kamal A. Mitra Chenoy, well-known expert in International Affairs, felt “outraged” by the reported meeting of Hurriyat leaders with Saeed and Salahuddin.

Prof. Chenoy — Chair, Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, School of International Studies, Jawahar Lal University, New Delhi – opined that it is a case of “bad judgment” on the part of the Hurriyat to meet “terrorists”. “Not only is Hafiz Saeed wanted by India in connection with the Mumbai terror attacks, he is also an international terrorist wanted by the Americans. I’m a supporter of the larger autonomy to Kashmir, but I will be outraged to hear that the Hurriyat leaders from Kashmir have met Saeed in Pakistan,” Prof. Chenoy told on phone from the Indian capital, New Delhi.

“If indeed they [Hurriyat leaders] have met the Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT] chief in Pakistan, they would be losing friends. They have been going to Pakistan on a regular basis. I don’t think that is an issue. But what benefit would they get by meeting an international terrorist?” he remarked.

A delegation led by Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq last month visited Pakistan and reportedly met Jamaat-ud-Dawa Chief, Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen Supremo, Syed Salahuddin, there. It could well be the case that the Hurriyat wanted to build a broader consensus on the issue of Kashmir, keeping in view the importance of all the major stakeholders of peace vis-à-vis Kashmir.

“Several leaders of Hurriyat are married to Pakistani women. They have their family connections with Pakistan. That again is not an issue. Some people in Kashmir were sympathetic towards Hurriyat’s visit, hoping for something positive. But it seems that the Hurriyat has been badly advised by their friends in America and the United Kingdom. Their reported meeting with Saeed has not served any purpose,” Prof. Chenoy added.

India’s weekly magazine Tehelka quoted one of the Hurriyat delegates as “confirming” this controversial meeting. “Both Saeed and Salahuddin told us [Hurriyat delegation] that militancy in Kashmir would escalate after the US-led international troops depart from Afghanistan in 2014,” Tehelka reported while quoting an unnamed Hurriyat delegate.

According to Tehelka, the Hurriyat delegation also met Pakistan Army Chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who reportedly ruled out his country’s support for armed uprising in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir in future. The magazine also said that the meeting with the Pakistan Army Chief in Islamabad was well-publicised, but interactions with Saeed in Lahore and Salahuddin in Islamabad were kept private.

The Hurriyat Conference, meanwhile, is mysteriously tight-lipped on this issue. The APHC leaders are neither divulging details of their ‘meeting’ with two militia commanders nor denying meeting them. Their silence is only contributing to the ambiguity surrounding the ‘meeting’.

“Whoever we meet, we speak our mind right unto his heart, why should people make noises for just nothing…How does it matter who we meet? Who we meet is not important, what you talk about there is important,” Prof. A G Bhat, a senior Hurriyat leader, was quoted by India Today having said so.

Pakistan had invited Hurriyat’s top brass to visit the country last month. The Hurriyat delegation that visited Pakistan from December 16-28, 2012, included its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat, Bilal Ghani Lone, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Musadiq Adil and Agha Syed Al-Hassan.

The APHC is an amalgam of various political, social and trade organisations based in the summer capital Srinagar favouring a ‘palatable’ resolution to the Kashmir dispute. Earlier, Hurriyat’s visit to Pakistan drew flak from various quarters. Many well-meaning political pundits dismissed their exercise as “futile”. Now the alliance finds itself in a tight-spot for a different reason.

There is an outrage in the Indian press with regards to the Hurriyat’s controversial decision to ‘meet’ Saeed and Salahuddin.

This media hype and rage startled some analysts like Dr. Sheikh Showkat Hussain, who teaches international law at the Central University of Kashmir. “There is nothing new in such meetings. Hurriyat leaders have been meeting them in the past, too. Even the photographs of such meetings would appear in the press. It is a non-issue. It seems that the charged Indian media is now trying to deflect the attention of the masses from domestic discontent and shameful cases like the Delhi gang rape. Indian media is deviating attention from the real issues,” Dr. Showkat told from his home in the Kashmir Valley.

On the contrary, some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP], the principal opposition in India, are demanding action against the Hurriyat leaders for meeting militant commanders. The BJP has accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance [UPA] federal government for “encouraging Hurriyat leaders to hobnob with anti-India elements abroad by allowing them to visit Pakistan.” The Hindu nationalist party leaders have held Congress responsible for encouraging “Hurriyat’s anti-India tirade, not only on Indian soil but also in Pakistan”.

But Dr. Showkat terms such a statement from the BJP as “sheer hypocrisy”. “These are clear double-standards from the BJP. People do remember very well how the then Indian External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh [senior leader of the BJP], had accompanied three top guerrilla commanders — Moulana Masood Azhar, Sheikh Omar and Mushtaq Zargar — for their release in exchange for hijacked passengers of an Indian Airlines flight in 1999,” he said. The episode is remembered as the Kandahar hijacking.

Meanwhile, Congress party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit has also lambasted the Hurriyat delegation for ‘meeting’ the two radical S’s: Saeed and Salahuddin, in Lahore and Islamabad. “People going to Pakistan is not a problem with us but if the groups from here [India] go and breach trust and meet the agencies of people in Pakistan who are particularly anti-Indian, that needs to be stopped,” Dikshit told reporters.

Irrespective of the media excitement and mystery surrounding the controversial meeting with Saeed and Salahuddin, the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq should actually clear the air for the sake of its own credibility amongst the people in Kashmir, India and Pakistan. Hurriyat’s silence could add to the confusion, invite volley of questions from various quarters, and possibly allow some to cast doubts over the amalgam’s standing too.

The writer is a professional journalist with international experience. He has worked as the Editor at Deutsche Welle in Bonn, Germany. Previously, he has also contributed features to the BBC website. Send your feedback at:

Obama Putting Doctors At Front of Anti-Gun Drive

[This White House move opens the door to mandating modern trigger locks and safes for gun storage, as well as requiring health care workers to grill their patients for compliance with gun safety requirements.  Doctors are also required to make personal judgments on the “mental fitness” of individuals to possess and properly handle firearms.  The excerpts in red below are the specific references to doctors and guns.] 

[Obama also names a semiautomatic high-powered rifle as the murder weapon in Newtown, even though video evidence shows that the Newtown shooter left his rifle in the trunk of the car.]


15.  Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies

16.  Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17.  Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
But we need to make sure our laws are effective at identifying the dangerous or untrustworthy individuals that should not have access to guns.
make sure health care providers know they can report credible threats of violence and talk to their patients about gun safety, and promote responsible gun ownership.
The shooters in Aurora and Newtown used the type of semiautomatic rifles that were the target of the assault weapons ban that was in place from 1994 to 2004.

Does White House plan enlist doctors in gun control fight?


A few lines in President Obama’s sprawling gun control plan are stirring accusations from conservatives that the administration is trying to enlist doctors in a national campaign against owning firearms.

The easy-to-miss language was part of Obama’s package of executive actions and legislative proposals that includes a new assault-weapons ban and universal background checks. The provision on doctors, though, has begun to generate just as much controversy.

“The idea that your doctor would ask you if you have firearms in your house as part of an examination of your health is repugnant,” National Rifle Association President David Keene told Fox News on Thursday, accusing the administration of trying to “demonize firearms” by implying that owning them is a “health problem.”

One of the 23 executive actions Obama approved Wednesday was to “clarify” that the federal health care overhaul “does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about gun in their homes.”

An overview of the plan said “we should never ask doctors and other health care providers to turn a blind eye to the risks posed by guns in the wrong hands.”

Coupled with the language on asking patients about guns was a decision to “clarify” that no federal law prevents doctors from warning law enforcement about “direct and credible threats of violence.”

The latter provision is actually in line with the policy of most states. All but a few allow mental health professionals to report information about patients they believe may become violent. Of them, most have laws requiring that information to be disclosed — New York was one of the latest to update its law to mandate that doctors report when patients might pose a danger.

Conservative columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, who is a psychiatrist, said this language from Obama “doesn’t change anything at all” — he tried to assuage any concern about the provision.

But the line that appeared to encourage doctors to ask about guns in the home is what drew the ire of pro-gun rights lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They voiced concern that this could lead to doctors asking inappropriate and probing questions of their patients.

“President Obama has no business interjecting himself in the doctor-patient relationship by pressuring medical professionals to ask their patients what kind of guns they own in their homes. President Obama’s latest executive orders give new meaning to the term ‘house call,'” Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said in a statement.

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., himself a physician, accused Obama of “pushing the government further into the exam room.”

“He’s trying to press doctors into government service by pushing them to ask patients, even child patients, if there are guns in their home. After more than thirty years of operating a family practice, I can tell you it should not be the business of a family physician to take inventory of the guns in a patient’s home,” he said, noting that there are already laws ensuring that doctors warn authorities about criminal activity.

Still, despite Republicans’ objections, the American Psychiatric Association has actually pushed for such a clarification from the administration.

“We are glad that the president has clarified that doctors are not prohibited from asking their patients about guns in their homes,” the group said.

The administration argues that doctors “need to be able to ask about firearms” and how those firearms are stored, “especially if their patients show signs of certain mental illnesses” – or if there’s a young child or mentally ill family member at home.

Even Fleming acknowledged it’s important “that people who are a known danger to others do not have access to guns.” He just doesn’t think it’s a doctor’s role.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act did include language meant to protect Second Amendment rights. Though it does not prohibit doctors from asking about firearms, the law states that the government cannot require that information to be disclosed either.

Further, the law said gun ownership cannot be used to determine insurance premium rates.

David Headley Spills His Guts To Keep His Head–Co-Conspirator Rana Gets the Shaft

Ottawa Citizen
By Michael Tarm, The Associated Press

Canadian businessman gets 14 years for supporting terrorists in Mumbai attack

FILE – In this June 7, 2011 file courtroom sketch, Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana is shown in federal court in Chicago. Rana is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, Jan 17, 2013, in Chicago for backing terrorism in Denmark and supporting a Pakistani terrorist group that staged deadly attacks on Mumbai, India, in 2008. (AP Photo/Tom Gianni, File)

CHICAGO – A Canadian businessman was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead.

The judge sentenced Tahawwur Rana in U.S. District Court in Chicago to the prison term followed by five years of supervised release.

The Pakistani-born Canadian declined to address the judge prior to sentencing. Rana, 52, faced a maximum 30 years in prison.

Jurors in 2011 convicted Rana of providing support for the Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and for supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. The cartoons angered many Muslims because pictures of the prophet are prohibited in Islam.

But jurors cleared Rana of the third and most serious charge of involvement in the three-day rampage in Mumbai, India’s largest city, which has often been called India’s 9-11.

The government’s star witness at Rana’s trial was admitted terrorist David Coleman Headley, who had pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks. The American-Pakistani testified against his school friend Rana to avoid the death penalty and extradition. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Chicago next week.

Headley spent five days on the witness stand — taking up more than half the trial — detailing how he allegedly worked for both the Pakistani intelligence agency known as the ISI and Lashkar.

Prosecutors also presented Rana’s videotaped arrest statement to the FBI, during which he said he knew Headley had trained with Lashkar. They also played a September 2009 recorded phone conversation between the men.

Rana — who owned an immigration consulting firm in Toronto and a home in Ottawa — was accused of allowing Headley to open a branch of his Chicago-based immigration law business in Mumbai as a cover story and travel as a representative of the company in Denmark. In court, a travel agent showed how Rana booked travel for Headley.

At the trial defence attorneys chipped away at Headley’s credibility, portraying him as a manipulator and habitual liar. Jurors’ decision not to convict Rana on all counts could suggest they weren’t fully convinced by Headley.

Rana’s trial in 2011 came just weeks after Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden hiding in Pakistan. Some observers had expected testimony could reveal details about alleged links between ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba. In the end, though, much that came out in testimony had been heard before through indictments and a report released by India’s government.

The Pakistani government has maintained it did not know about bin Laden or help plan the Mumbai attacks.

SOCOM Ramping-Up To Sell Their “Special” Services To New Mexican Administration

U.S. growing training operations for Mexican forces

U.S. officials say the Pentagon is stepping up aid for Mexico’s bloody drug war with a new U.S.-based special operations headquarters to teach Mexican security forces how to hunt drug cartels the same way special operations teams hunt al-Qaida. This Dec. 3, 2008 file photo shows Mexican Army soldiers holding two suspects, arrested during an operation against drug smuggling and kidnapping gangs, after being presented to the press in Tijuana, Mexico. (Guillermo Arias | AP file photo)
By Kimberly Dozier
The Associated Press


The Pentagon is stepping up aid for Mexico’s bloody drug war with a new U.S.-based special operations headquarters to teach Mexican security forces how to hunt drug cartels the same way special operations teams hunt al-Qaida, according to documents and interviews with multiple U.S. officials.

Such assistance could help newly elected Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto establish a military force to focus on drug criminal networks that have terrorized Mexico’s northern states and threatened the Southwest border. Mexican officials say warring drug gangs have killed at least 70,000 people between 2006 and 2012.

Based at the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado, Special Operations Command-North will build on a commando program that has brought Mexican military, intelligence and law enforcement officials to study U.S. counterterrorist operations from the U.S. to the war zones, to show them how special operations troops built an interagency network to target al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden and his followers.

The special operations team within Northcom will be turned into a new headquarters, led by a general instead of a lieutenant colonel, and established in a Dec. 31 memo signed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. That move gives the group more autonomy and the number of people could eventually triple from 30 to 150, meaning the headquarters could expand its training missions with the Mexicans, even though no new money is being assigned to the mission.

The special operations program has already helped Mexican officials set up their own intelligence center in Mexico City to target criminal networks, patterned after similar centers in war zones built to target al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Iraq, two current U.S. officials said.

Mexican and U.S. military officials played down the change, and it’s unclear whether the Mexican government will agree to boost its training.

“We are merely placing a component commander in charge of things we are already doing,” said Northcom spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis in a written statement.

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Department emailed a statement saying it had been briefed on the changes, and had no further comment

The creation of the new command marks another expansion of Adm. Bill McRaven’s special operations empire, as he seeks to migrate special operators from their decade of service in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to new missions, even as the rest of the military fights post-war contraction and multi-billion-dollar budget cuts.

The new headquarters will also coordinate special operations troops when needed for domestic roles like rescuing survivors after a natural disaster, or helping the U.S. Coast Guard strike ships carrying suspect cargo just outside U.S. territorial waters, according to multiple current and former U.S. officials briefed on the mission. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the Pentagon has not formally announced the new headquarters.

The initial document petitioning Panetta for the command stresses the command’s role in military-to-military cooperation with Mexico. The document was signed in September 2012 by McRaven and Northcom commander Gen. Charles Jacoby.

Northcom’s current special operations training missions are an outgrowth of the Merida Initiative that was formalized in 2008, to provide extensive military assistance to Mexico. The extra special operations staff, including both troops and civilians, will help coordinate more missions as Mexico requests them, current and former officials said.

Pena Nieto is likely to welcome the continued training to help him build and coordinate the forces he needs to reduce drug violence, according to Rand Corp.’s Dr. Agnes Gereben Schaefer.

“He has talked about setting up a paramilitary force…made up of former military and police forces, which he has described as more surgical,” than the current campaign by Mexican army and police, Schaefer said. He would dispatch the force into towns that have been overrun by drug violence, where police don’t have the numbers to fight it, she said.

Mexican military, intelligence and law enforcement chiefs have already toured the Joint Special Operations Command headquarters at Fort Bragg in North Carolina to see how U.S. officers coordinate efforts by special operations aircraft, naval vessels and air- and sea-based raiders, according to one current military official.

A small group of top Mexican military and intelligence officials also visited the command’s targeting center at the Balad air base in Iraq before the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011, a former U.S. official said.

U.S. officials stress that sharing this expertise does not mean U.S. special operations teams will be conducting raids against targets in Mexico, nor will they be entering the country with their own weapons. Mexico forbids U.S. military or law enforcement officers from carrying guns inside their borders, with few exceptions, though American commandos have conducted training missions in the past, two current and one former U.S. military official said. They were speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive missions.

At least 190 people were killed and injured in a series of bomb attacks in Kirkuk

Dozens Killed in Kirkuk Bomb Attacks

rudaw kurd logo
Security officers inspect the site of one of Wednesday’s bomb attacks in Kirkuk. Photo: Rudaw.


SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – At least 190 people were killed and injured in a series of bomb attacks in Kirkuk on Wednesday, health officials told Rudaw.

One of the attacks targeted the office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region.

“A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives outside the KDP headquarters,” police Brigadier Sarhat Qadir told Reuters news agency. “It’s a crowded area, dozens were killed and wounded”.

The blasts destroyed many cars and parts of a nearby local market.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) spokesperson Safin Dizayi said that victims of the bomb attacks have been taken to Kirkuk’s hospitals.

Dizayi also maintained that following the explosions the Kurdish government in Erbil held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the situation in Kirkuk.

In a separate attack in Tuz Khuramtu, five people were killed and more than 36 were wounded when a car bomb struck the headquarters of the Kurdish security forces.

Hundreds of people have been killed in some of the deadliest attacks in Kirkuk since 2003. So far no one has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s deadly attacks in Kirkuk and other parts of the country.

The attacks come amidst widespread demonstrations in Iraq’s Sunni provinces against the government of Prime Minister Nuri Maliki, and a military standoff between Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi troops south of Kirkuk.

The multiethnic and oil-rich city of Kirkuk, 295 kilometers north of Baghdad, is at the heart of the country’s disputed territories.

Also on Tuesday, prominent Sunni MP from the Iraqiya bloc, Eifan Saadoun was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Falluja, just a day after Finance Minister Rafei el-Essawi survived a similar attempt on his life as he traveled to the city.

Last month, Iraqi security forces raided the offices of el-Easswi in Baghdad and detained dozens of his bodyguards triggering angry protests by Iraq’s Sunni tribes.