Saturday, November 23, 2013

The IPT Update

23 November 2013
General security, policy
1.  Kerry to join Iran nuclear talks in bid to bridge gaps; Bipartisan assent to hold off new Iran sanctions
2.  Susan Rice warns China to curb cyber espionage; Inside the ring: U.S. funds China's nuclear security
3.  5 extradited in plot to import North Korean meth to US
4.  'Pleading' distress calls made from US consulate on night of Benghazi attack; New photos surface as questions raised whether State Dep't withheld evidence
5.  Omar Khadr war-crimes appeal in U.S. hits legal snag
6.  Somalia MP from Canada injured in Al-Shabab car bomb returns to Toronto for medical treatment
7.  Militant black nationalist still getting paid by federal agency part of DHS: report

Air, rail, port, health, energy & communication security
8.  LA gets federal funding boost for nuclear radiation protection
9.  Follow up:  TSA agent killed at LAX was shot 12 times, autopsy shows
10. Canadian railways ordered to tell communities about dangerous goods
11. Sea-Tac airport security breach caught on camera
12. New guidelines for building cyber into critical infrastructure

Financing, money laundering, fraud, identity theft, civil litigation
13. DC Circuit denies terror victims access to frozen Iranian funds
14. Faked LinkedIn job offers on the rise
15.  US charges 14 with $8 Million bank fraud scheme

Border security, immigration & customs
16. US may have let 'dozens' of terrorists into country as refugees; FBI video shows Al Qaeda in KY handling heavy weapons; Soldier connects terrorist in Kentucky to slain brothers in arms
17. Human smuggling to Canada from U.S. on the rise: report
18. Border Patrol agents in Rio Grande Valley sector seize nearly $5.2M worth of marijuana
19. Dominican doctor, assistant arrested for conspiring to alter fingerprints of previously-deported aliens
20. Los Angeles man convicted of arranging sham marriages between Nigerians and US citizens; GA man convicted of arranging fraudulent marriages

Other items
21. Iftekhar Murtaza convicted of brutally murdering ex-girlfriend's family members

22. Syria Islamists unite as faction-fighting goes on; Meet the rebel commander in Syria that Assad, Russia and the US all fear; Briton killed fighting in Syria civil war; Young Palestinians join jihadists in Syria
23. Christians fleeing Iraq
24. PA leader: US involved in murder of Arafat
25. Hero doctor who helped find bin Laden charged in Pakistan with murder
26. Paris shooting suspect Abdelhakim Dekhar previously lived in London
27. Witness tells Dahdaleh's UK trial that lawyers "intimidated" him

Comment / analysis
28. Claudia Rosett:  Iran's Chief Negotiator: Surprise, surprise: He has a long record of ¬double-dealing
29. William Dalrymple:  How Is Hamid Karzai Still Standing?
30. Abigail R. Esman:   UK Child Brides Victims of "Cultural Sensitivity"
31. Soeren Kern:  Spain: Islamic Radicals Infiltrate the Military
32. Irfan Al-Alawi:  Radicals' Use of Islamic Charities Continues in South Asia
33. Thomas Joscelyn:  Al Qaeda and the threat in North Africa

The Investigative Project on Terrorism Update is designed for law enforcement, the intelligence community and policy makers for non-profit research and educational use only.   Quoted material is subject to the copyright protections of the original sources, which should be cited for attribution, rather than the Update.



1.  Kerry to join Iran nuclear talks in bid to bridge gaps
Reuters Nov 22, 2013 5:13pm EST By Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi
GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Geneva to join talks on Iran's nuclear program, the State Department said on Friday, as Tehran and six world powers appeared closer to clinching an elusive breakthrough.  Washington's announcement came after diplomats in the Swiss city said a major sticking point in negotiations on an agreement under which Tehran would curb its contested atomic activities may have been overcome.  Kerry would leave for Geneva later on Friday "with the goal of continuing to help narrow the differences and move closer to an agreement," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.  The decision was taken after consulting with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is coordinating talks with Iran on behalf of the six powers, Psaki added in a statement… Israel continued its public campaign of criticizing the offer of sanctions rollbacks for Iran, voicing its conviction that all it would achieve would be more time for Iran to master nuclear technology and amass potential bomb fuel…

Bipartisan Assent to Hold Off New Iran Sanctions
By MARK LANDLER and JONATHAN WEISMAN New York Times Nov 20, 2013
WASHINGTON — In a meeting with Senate leaders on Tuesday, President Obama failed to sway critics of his effort to sign an interim nuclear deal with Iran. But in a modest concession, they agreed to hold off on a vote to impose new sanctions on Iran until after talks in Geneva later this week.  After a two-hour session that reflected deep divisions between the White House and Congress, a bipartisan group of the Senate's top foreign policy and national security committees urged Mr. Obama to reject any nuclear deal with Iran that did not include a tangible rollback of its nuclear weapons program. But after the president pleaded with them to hold off on new measures against Iran, several senators signaled that they would not seek to amend a military funding bill now under consideration with any provision including the additional sanctions.  That did not stop another group, led by Senator Mark S. Kirk, Republican of Illinois, from going ahead and proposing stricter sanctions, which would take aim at Iran's remaining oil sales, as an amendment to the military bill.  With the Senate going on Thanksgiving recess on Friday, however, it will be at least two weeks before any measure will come up for a vote. That gives the White House some breathing room to reach a preliminary deal freezing Iran's nuclear activities for six months, in return for modest sanctions relief…

2.  Rice Warns China to Curb Cyber Espionage
Continued theft of online secrets will undermine ties
BY: Bill Gertz Follow @BillGertz November 21, 2013 5:00 am Washington Free Beacon
China's continued cyber espionage against the United States is undermining economic relations, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned Beijing on Wednesday.  Rice said in unusually forceful language China must curtail government-backed cyber spying or risk undermining close trade ties.  "Cyber-enabled economic espionage hurts China as well as the U.S., because American businesses are increasingly concerned about the costs of doing business in China," Rice said during a speech at Georgetown University.  "If meaningful action is not taken now, this behavior will undermine the economic relationship that benefits both our nations."  The Obama administration is under pressure from the private sector to take action against China for a widespread campaign of cyber attacks that have included theft of both government and corporate secrets, including data on the military's most advanced warplane, the new F-35 jet fighter…

Inside the Ring: U.S. funds China's nuclear security
By Bill Gertz The Washington Times Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The Obama administration is funding a joint nuclear security center in Beijing designed to stem nuclear weapons proliferation — despite recent state-run media reports showing Beijing's plans to hit U.S. cities with nuclear missiles that would kill millions of Americans during a conflict.  A White House official said the Beijing center would not be used to help protect Chinese nuclear weapons.  However, critics say the center will indirectly support China's growing nuclear arsenal because the U.S. equipment, training and other security know-how provided to the Chinese will be used at facilities involved in nuclear-weapons production…

Dempsey on Afghanistan
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this week outlined his thinking on plans for U.S. troops in Afghanistan after President Obama's deadline of 2014 to pull them out.  Gen. Dempsey said troops would remain in Afghanistan to help with stability and to assure that foreign aid continues to flow into the impoverished southwest Asian state…

David's Sling hits test missile
The Pentagon and the Israeli Missile Defense Organization conducted a successful intercept test of a new anti-missile system called David's Sling.  The new missile defense, also known as Magic Wand, is a key element that will defend against short-range ballistic missiles — such as those being sought by the Lebanese-based terrorist group Hezbollah…

3.  5 extradited in plot to import North Korean meth to U.S.
By Sari Horwitz, Published: November 20, 2013 Washington Post
Five men have been charged with conspiracy to import 100 kilograms of nearly pure North Korean-produced methamphetamine into the United States, and federal officials said the case illustrates the emergence of North Korea as a player in the global drug trade.  The men were part of a sprawling international drug trafficking ring led by a former American soldier, Joseph Manuel Hunter, who has separately been charged with conspiring to murder a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and with importing cocaine into the United States, federal officials said… The five men — including British, Chinese and Philippine nationals — were arrested in Phuket, Thailand, in September and were extradited to the United States on Tuesday night. They appeared in federal court in New York on Wednesday...

4.  'Pleading' distress calls made from US consulate on night of Benghazi attack
By Catherine Herridge Published November 20, 2013
State Department employees at the Benghazi compound knew they were in a death trap and made a series of radio distress calls to the CIA annex during the terror assault last year, according to congressional sources familiar with recent testimony on the attack from five CIA personnel.  Sources told Fox News that the radio calls, which were described in closed testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, were characterized as almost frantic, with State Department employees who knew they could not defend themselves "pleading" for their lives. When the CIA team arrived from the annex about a mile away, they found the State Department employees without guns that could adequately protect them; one of the agents was found hiding in the consulate, apparently in a closet. The testimony lends more weight to repeated claims, in the wake of the attack, that the consulate was not adequately protected despite being located in a volatile and violent area prone to attack…

New Benghazi photos surface as questions raised whether State withheld evidence
By Christine Dolan - Washington Times Communities Nov 20, 2013  
The State Department has belatedly released dozens of photos of the aftermath of last year's terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi after The Washington Times inquired about the authenticity of photographs it received from a Welsh security contractor assigned to the doomed American outpost in eastern Libya.  Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, had requested all photos and videos of the besieged diplomatic mission under the Freedom of Information Act in December and February, and the State Department released only seven photographs in June.  But this week, after weeks of inquiries by The Times about photos it received, the State Department released a trove of photographs showing buildings and vehicles ablaze during the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Other photos show ransacked offices, burned-out cars and Arabic graffiti scrawled on walls…

5.  Omar Khadr war-crimes appeal in U.S. hits 'troubling' legal snag
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner's U.S. lawyer, Sam Morison, calls Court of Military Commission Review's directive to both sides "terribly unfair to Khadr."
By: Colin Perkel The Canadian Press, Published on Fri Nov 22 2013
An American military court has thrown a wrench into an attempt by former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr to appeal his war-crimes convictions, The Canadian Press has learned.  In an order his lawyer called unprecedented, the Court of Military Commission Review has told both sides to file arguments only on whether the court has the authority to hear the appeal… Normally, appeal courts hear arguments on all the issues at play, including the merits of the case, allowing everything to be decided together.  The military court's new tack, however, could see the case drag on interminably if it decides it has no authority to hear the appeal regardless of its merits…

6.  Somalia MP from Canada injured in Al-Shabab car bomb returns to Toronto for medical treatment
Stewart Bell | 19/11/2013 | Last Updated: 19/11/2013 6:10 PM ET National Post
TORONTO — A Somali-Canadian who returned to his homeland last year to serve as a member of Parliament has arrived back in Toronto for medical treatment after being injured in a suicide bombing.  Sooyaan Abdi Warsame, 42, was among more than a dozen people injured when an Al-Shabab car bomb exploded outside the Hotel Maka in Mogadishu on the evening of Nov. 8. Six died in the attack… Hundreds of Somalis from Canada and other countries have been returning to Mogadishu to revive the former Italian colony, but Al-Shabab has continued to lash out with attacks in Somalia as well as in neighbouring Kenya.  In September, four Al-Shabab gunmen massacred 67 people at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. Two Canadians were among the dead, including Annemarie Desloges, a Canada Border Services Agency officer posted at the Canadian high commission.  On Tuesday, a car bombed exploded outside the Beledweyne police headquarters in south-central Somalia, killing at least 19 people. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted African Union troops…

7.  Militant black nationalist still gets paid by feds: report
By David Sherfinski-The Washington Times Thursday, November 21, 2013
A black nationalist who has called for the mass killing of white people is reportedly still on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) payroll.  Ayo Kimathi works as a procurement officer for ICE and was placed on administrative leave three months ago; he has called for "ethnic cleansing" of "black-skinned Uncle Tom race traitors" and said that in order for black people to survive in the 21st century, "we are going to have to kill a lot of whites — more than our Christian hearts can possibly count."  A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman confirmed to that DHS has not fired Mr. Kimathi. He was placed on administrative leave four months ago when it was discovered that he ran a website calling for the mass murder of white people.  He has been a DHS employee since 2009 and reportedly received a salary of $115,731 last year.


IPT NOTE: For more items, see DHS Daily Open Source Infrastructure Reports ; DHS Blog;   TSA Releases ; TSA Blog

8.  LA gets federal funding boost for nuclear radiation protection
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 KABC
PORT OF LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The federal government is pledging millions of dollars to protect you from a potential nuclear attack. Mayor Eric Garcetti calls the technology a "detection halo" for the region.  Los Angeles County stretches from the ocean past the mountains to the desert. More than 10 million people live within its 4,000 square miles. And that, security officials say, makes this area a big target for terrorists.  "A 100-percent safety is an illusion, that is a fairy tale," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "All we can do is get better and better at how we protect this region."  That protection is now getting a boost from the federal government.  L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an $11.4-million federal grant that will help guard against nuclear threats here…

9.  TSA agent killed at LAX was shot 12 times, autopsy shows
By Richard Winton and Kate Mather November 22, 2013, 2:25 p.m. Los Angeles Times
The Transportation Security Administration agent who was killed at Los Angeles International Airport was shot 12 times, including at least one round that grazed his heart, according to an autopsy released Friday.  Gerardo I. Hernandez, a 39-year-old father of two, died within two to five minutes of being shot, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said earlier this week. He was shot in his arm, torso, waist, hip, back, buttock and groin, the 22-page autopsy report said.  The report described extensive injuries as bullets damaged many of his internal organs, including his heart, lungs and bladder. He suffered 16 wounds to his intestines.  Medical examiners recovered 40 bullet fragments, which were given to the FBI as evidence, the report said… Hernandez became the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty when a gunman opened fire at the airport the morning of Nov. 1. Three others were wounded before the suspect — identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23 — was shot in a gun battle with airport police and taken into custody…

10.  Railways ordered to tell communities about dangerous goods
Federal directive comes more than five months after Lac Mégantic disaster.
By: The Canadian Press Published on Wed Nov 20 2013
OTTAWA—The federal government is forcing rail companies to tell municipalities when they transport dangerous goods through their communities.  Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has issued what's called a protective direction, in the hope it will mean better communication with rail companies and improved safety for municipalities.  The directive comes months after the deadly July 6 derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic, which killed dozens of people and decimated the centre of the picturesque Quebec town.  The order is effective immediately, and will require that Canadian Class 1 railway companies that transport dangerous goods provide municipalities with detailed dangerous goods information every three months.  Any other company or person that transports dangerous goods will also have to inform municipalities what was transported through the community, but on an annual basis…

11.  Sea-Tac airport security breach caught on camera
A West Seattle man was caught on camera breaching security at Sea-Tac Airport Nov. 8. He is now facing charges.
By Alison Grande Posted: 12:42 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22, 2013
SEATTLE — A West Seattle man has been charged with assault and malicious mischief for a security breach at Sea-Tac Airport earlier this month; the entire event was caught on security cameras.  The incident happened Nov. 8. KIRO 7 requested the surveillance video and received it Thursday.  The video shows a man in a gray sweatshirt jump over the security barrier and run right past TSA screeners.
It happened so fast that it took TSA agents by surprise.  Investigators say the man in the video is 28-year-old Ryan VanHoutte of West Seattle. According to police, VanHoutte made it all the way to the D Concourse, out emergency exit doors and down a jet way where he broke a window and then boarded a plane.  The empty American Airlines plane was getting ready to board for a flight to Miami. When police caught up with him, he had his seatbelt on in first class. Investigators say VanHoutte fought with police, but they eventually got him handcuffed. A passenger took a picture of him being carried off the plane...

12.  New guidelines for building cyber into critical infrastructure
By Amber Corrin Nov 20, 2013
Two government agencies and a public/private partnership issued recommendations -- and some new requirements -- for building cybersecurity into the systems, controls and platforms that underpin critical infrastructure.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is also developing an overarching federal cybersecurity framework, convened workshops earlier this year with the nonprofit Cyber Security Research Alliance to create a road map for designing built-in critical infrastructure security. The group -- a mix of representatives from government, industry and academia -- released a comprehensive report Nov. 20 that highlights ways to secure vulnerable public-facing IT systems.  The joint NIST/CSRA report comes on the heels of a Nov. 18 memo from the Office of Management and Budget that provides a framework for federal agencies to use to manage risk and continuously monitor critical IT networks and systems…


13.  D.C. Circuit Denies Terror Victims Access to Frozen Funds
November 19, 2013 Zoe Tillman The BLT, the blog of Legal Times
IPT NOTE:  The opinion is posted at  
Hundreds of thousands of dollars tied to Iranian financial institutions and frozen by U.S. banks remain off-limits to terrorism victims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled today. The problem, the court said, was the lack of proof the Iranian government owned the bank accounts at issue.  Families of victims of the 1996 bombings at the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Saudi Arabia sued the Iranian government in 2000, accusing Iran of supporting the terrorist group behind the attack. The families won a default judgment—Iran never participated in the case—and a judge awarded approximately $591 million in damages.  The plaintiffs began what U.S. District Senior Judge Royce Lamberth once described as the "often-frustrating and always-arduous" task of finding Iranian assets to satisfy judgments...

14.  Faked LinkedIn job offers on the rise
CYBERTRUTH Byron Acohido, USA TODAY 3:57 p.m. EST November 21, 2013
Social networks interconnect people with common interests in near real time on a global scale. That's the power of social media. And it's also a beacon to cyberscammers.   Fraudulent job offers from alluring recruiters are spreading at a faster pace on LinkedIn, according to Bitdefender.  Security researchers from the Romanian anti-malware vendor recently helped expose a LinkedIn profile put up by an attractive, bogus recruiter, "Annabella Erica." Scammers had injected her profile into Global Jobs Network, an authentic LinkeIn group, comprised of 167,000 users.  Ms. Erica, it turns out, existed to help the scammers gather e-mail addresses and passwords useful in a wide array of identity theft capers...

15.  Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 14 Defendants In Connection With $8 Million Bank Fraud Scheme
Six Additional Defendants Have Pled Guilty in Connection With the Scheme
Thursday, November 21, 2013 US Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's ("ICE") Homeland Security Investigations ("HSI"), today announced charges against 14 defendants for engaging in a bank fraud scheme involving deposits of thousands of counterfeit checks and withdrawals of at least $8 million in fraudulent proceeds. Seven defendants were arrested this morning and are expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox this afternoon. Two additional defendants were arrested – one in Buffalo, New York, and one in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Defendants HAMID KHAN, AKTHER RAHMAN, ABDUR RAZZAK, KHAIRUL ISLAM and MD REZA are still at large… The following allegations are based on the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:…


16.  Exclusive: US May Have Let 'Dozens' of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees
QUANTICO, Virginia - Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.  The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky -- who later admitted in court that they'd attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq -- prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists' fingerprints… 

Exclusive: FBI Video Shows Al Qaeda in Kentucky Handling Heavy Weapons
By James Gordon Meek Nov 20, 2013 11:35am ABC News
An al Qaeda-linked terrorist, who was resettled in the U.S. as an Iraq War refugee after allegedly killing American soldiers, was caught on camera in Kentucky handling heavy weapons that the FBI said he believed would be sent to insurgents back in Iraq.  The 2010 video, obtained exclusively by ABC News, was part of a broader ABC News investigation into the flawed refugee vetting program, which officials said may have let "dozens" of terrorists into the country.  In the video, Waad Ramadan Alwan is seen expertly field stripping what the FBI identified as a Russian PKM machine gun. Other still images provided by the FBI from hours-worth of surveillance footage show Alwan and an accomplice, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, handling a Stinger missile launcher and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher…

Soldier Connects Terrorist in Kentucky to Slain Brothers in Arms

17.  Human smuggling to Canada from U.S. on the rise: report
In 2011, Canadian officials nabbed nearly 60 per cent more refugees than the year before
Smugglers were caught trying to slip dramatically more people into Canada in 2011 over the previous year at largely unguarded points along the border with the United States, says a newly declassified report.   Authorities apprehended 487 people as smugglers attempted to sneak them into Canada at remote locales, up from 308 in 2010, says the binational report on border security.  At the same time, the number of people nabbed while being spirited into the United States from Canada fell slightly during the same period, to 360 from 376.  The figures on smuggling between official ports of entry appear in the 2012 Integrated Border Enforcement Team threat assessment report, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Sun Logo Sheet highly visible asset valued by the consistent and familiar. ..

18.  Border Patrol Agents Seize Nearly $5.2 million Worth of Marijuana
US Customs and Border Protection Press Release (Friday, November 15, 2013)
Edinburg, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector seized nearly $5.2 million worth of marijuana throughout the past week.  =Agents made the largest seizure near Rio Grande City on Wednesday when personnel aboard a helicopter spotted a van driving away from the Rio Grande. Agents on the ground intercepted the vehicle and confiscated nearly 1,200 pounds of marijuana.  Another large bust was made near La Casita on Thursday. Agents working near the river saw several people loading bundles of marijuana into a Ford Expedition. As the agents approached, the smugglers fled into the brush — abandoning nearly 1,000 pounds of marijuana.  Several additional seizures brought the total amount of marijuana seized from Sunday through Thursday to nearly 6,500 pounds..

19.  Dominican doctor, assistant arrested for conspiring to alter fingerprints of previously-deported aliens
Pair found with surgical equipment, pain meds
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Press Release, NOVEMBER 18, 2013
BOSTON — A doctor from the Dominican Republic and his assistant were arrested Nov. 16 for conspiring to harbor illegal aliens by altering their fingerprints through a surgical procedure. The arrests follow an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston.  HSI special agents arrested Danilo Montero-Ramirez, 61, and Teresa Araujo-Martinez, 40, Saturday morning in Peabody without incident.  Earlier this month, HSI special agents became aware that Montero Ramirez, a licensed medical doctor in the Dominican Republic, was coming in the United States to meet with previously-deported aliens and perform surgery on their hands to alter their fingerprints. Convicted criminals alter their fingerprints to help conceal their true identities from law enforcement and to dissociate themselves from their prior criminal history…

20.  Man convicted of arranging sham marriages between Nigerians and U.S. citizens
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Press Release NOVEMBER 20, 2013
LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles man faces up to 30 years in prison following his conviction Wednesday on six felony criminal counts for illegally arranging sham marriages that allowed Nigerian nationals to fraudulently obtain legal permanent residency in the United States.  Alake "Terry" Ilegbameh, 46, a resident of the Baldwin Hills district of Los Angeles, was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to violate immigration laws, the result of a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The verdict follows a six-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald…

Georgia man convicted of arranging fraudulent marriages
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Press Release NOVEMBER 19, 2013
ATLANTA – A Lithia Springs man was found guilty Friday of deceiving immigration officials by helping aliens enter into fraudulent marriages with U.S. citizens, obtaining his own citizenship in violation of the law and conspiracy to commit visa fraud and alien harboring.  Rex Anyanwu, 51, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) following an extensive investigation into his marriage fraud conspiracy. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's (USCIS) Fraud Detection National Security Unit and U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service also assisted in the case.  "For at least 11 years, the defendant ran a fraudulent marriage factory," said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates…


21.  Iftekhar Murtaza Convicted Of Murdering Ex-Girlfriend's Family Members
By AMY TAXIN 11/22/13 05:44 PM ET EST  Associated Press
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man was convicted Friday of the murders of the father and sister of his ex-girlfriend, and the attempted murder of her mother, in what prosecutors say was an ill-conceived attempt to reunite the couple.  A jury on Friday found Iftekhar Murtaza, 29, guilty of two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of conspiracy. The jury found that there were special circumstances of kidnapping during murder and multiple murders.  Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty… Authorities say Murtaza killed the relatives of Shayona Dhanak, who was a college freshman in 2007, after she blamed the couple's breakup on her Hindu family's opposition to her dating a Muslim.  The family's home was torched and Dhanak's mother left for dead. The bodies of Dhanak's father and sister were found in a park the next day.  Two of Murtaza's friends were convicted in the killings, and one of them was sentenced to life in prison…


22.  Syria Islamists unite as faction-fighting goes on
Reuters Nov 22, 2013 12:32pm EST By Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Erika Solomon
AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamist fighters in Syria have joined forces to form what may be the biggest rebel army in the country, further undermining Western-backed military commanders and potentially challenging al Qaeda.  The announcement on Friday of a common leadership for the Islamic Front, an amalgam of six major Islamist groups which had earlier declared an intention to merge, coincided with accounts of a battle on the Turkish border between rival Islamists that ended with al Qaeda allies taking control of the town of Atma.  Factional fighting and fragmentation among those seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad have hampered the revolt and the latest effort to unite has yet to show that it can result in effective coordination among groups which between them control large parts of Syria and some tens of thousands of fighters…

Meet the Rebel Commander in Syria That Assad, Russia and the U.S. All Fear
Tarkhan Batirashvili, Ethnic Chechen, Leads Group Deeply at Odds with Western-Backed Rebels in Syria
By ALAN CULLISON Nov. 19, 2013 11:34 p.m. ET Wall Street Journal [subscription]
For months, Syrian government forces hunkered down at a remote air base north of Aleppo, deftly fending off rebel assaults—until one morning a war machine rumbled out of the countryside, announcing that the Chechens had arrived.  The vehicle was notable for its primal scariness: Rebels had welded dozens of oil-drilling pipes to the sides of the armored personnel carrier, and packed it with four tons of high explosives, according to videos released online by the rebels.  It was piloted by a suicide driver, who detonated the vehicle at the base, sending a ground-shaking black cloud into the sky in an attack that analysts said finally cleared the way for rebels to storm the airfield.  The final capture of the airport in August immediately boosted the prestige of its unruly mastermind Tarkhan Batirashvili, according to analysts—an ethnic Chechen whose warring skills, learned in the U.S.-funded Georgian army, are now being put to use by a group deeply at odds with more mainstream Western-backed rebels.  The jihadi commander has recently emerged from obscurity to be the northern commander in Syria of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), an al Qaeda-connected coalition whose thousands of Arab and foreign fighters have overrun key Syrian military bases, staged public executions and muscled aside American-backed moderate rebel groups trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad…

Briton killed fighting in Syria civil war
Mohammed el-Araj, from west London, is only second Briton confirmed to have been killed fighting in conflict
Shiv Malik and Haroon Siddique, Wednesday 20 November 2013 11.09 EST
A British Muslim has been killed fighting against Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria, his family in London have said.  Mohammed el-Araj, who was in his early twenties, is only the second Briton to have been named and confirmed as dead while fighting in the raging civil war.  Araj, who spent 18 months in prison for violently protesting outside the Israeli embassy in London in 2009, was killed in Syria in mid-August.  The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), a thinktank that has been tracking hundreds of foreign fighters going into Syria, said that news of his death had been associated with propaganda from two major al-Qaida-linked groups.  Araj from Labroke Grove, west London, was born on a British Airways flight and grew up in the UK, his family told the Guardian...

Young Palestinian Refugees Join Jihadists Fighting in Syria
In Lebanese Camps, Disaffected Hope War Against Assad Regime Will Give Them a Sense of Purpose
By MARIA ABI-HABIB Wall Street Journal Nov. 20, 2013 7:23 p.m. ET [subscription]
AIN EL-HILWEH REFUGEE CAMP—Inside Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, disaffected and unemployed youth are increasingly joining radical Islamist groups fighting in Syria, saying it gives their lives a sense of purpose.  The growing hold of the jihadists is evident on the street at the camp's entrance, lined with flags of al Qaeda-linked groups that operate in Lebanon or Syria. Homes on Tawareq Street are pockmarked by bullets and rocket-propelled grenades—scars of recent fighting between Islamist militants and the Lebanese army.  The camp's ties to jihadist groups fighting in Syria came into sharp relief on Tuesday. The head of the group that claimed responsibility for the bombing that killed 25 people outside Iran's Embassy in Beirut lived in the camp for a time and the brigade operated openly there. The group linked the bombing to the conflict in Syria…

23.  Christians Fleeing Iraq
by IPT News  •  Nov 21, 2013 at 11:32 am
Iraq's Christian population has diminished rapidly since the fall of Saddam Hussein, shrinking from more than 1 million in 2003 to about 400,000 today, an Agence France Presse report says. A major reason for the mass exodus has been violence against Christians. More than 60 churches have been attacked. In 2010, al-Qaida massacred 44 worshippers and two priests, leading to a spike in the flow of Christians out of Iraq. Although Christians have not been specifically targeted in the last few years, the ongoing violence still impels many to emigrate.  Louis Sako, patriarch of the Iraq-based Chaldean Church, recently urged Christians to stay in the country, and has gone so far as to criticize Western countries for issuing priority visa to members of the community. The Patriarch is in Rome to meet Pope Francis along with other leaders of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. Sako told Vatican Radio that Iraqi authorities will issue exit visas as part of "a whole strategy to help Christians leave Iraq."  "The Middle East, he said, "is going to empty of Christians."…

Flight of Iraq Christians Resumes Amid Surge in Unrest
20 NOVEMBER 2013 - 05H49 Agence France Presse By Prashant Rao
 (AFP) -- Awshalim Benjamin is desperate to leave Iraq, where a sack of faded photographs is all that remains of the happy life he and his ancient, dwindling Christian community once knew.  The 74-year-old waits by the phone for the call that will tell him he can finally depart Baghdad to join his family in the United States -- and leave behind a 2,000-year-old community that has shrunk by more than half since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.  The patriarch of the Iraq-based Chaldean church, due to join other Middle Eastern Christian leaders at a meeting with Pope Francis this week, has urged Christians to stay and spoken out against Western countries offering visas to the rapidly shrinking minority.  But many still say they have no choice, as their tenuous optimism after a brief improvement in security starting in 2008 has been dashed by a surge in bloodshed this year…

24.  PA leader: US involved in murder of Arafat
Rajoub: "That fool known as [George] Bush... gave [Israeli PM] Sharon the green light to liquidate Yasser Arafat."

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin November 20, 2013
Last week, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash said Jews had killed Yasser Arafat by poison, just as the Jews of the town of Khaibar had killed Islam's Prophet Muhammad.   Now, senior PA and Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub has added that the US was involved in killing Arafat…


25.  Hero doctor who helped find bin Laden charged with murder
By Associated Press November 22, 2013 | 9:42am
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden has been charged with murder in a case related to a teenage boy who died after the doctor performed surgery on him for appendicitis in 2006, his lawyer said Friday.  The new case raises further doubt about whether Shakil Afridi, who is being held in prison pending retrial on a separate charge, will ever be freed as U.S. officials have demanded. The case has caused friction between Pakistan and the U.S., complicating a relationship that Washington views as vital for fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida, as well as negotiating an end to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.  The murder charge stems from a complaint filed by the deceased teenage boy's mother, Nasib Gula, who said Afridi was not authorized to operate on her son because he was a physician, not a surgeon, said the doctor's lawyer, Samiullah Afridi. The boy died from complications following the surgery, which took place in Pakistan's remote Khyber tribal area, the lawyer said…


26.  Paris shooting suspect Abdelhakim Dekhar previously lived in London
Suspect has been named as Abdelhakim Dekhar
JOHN LICHFIELD Thursday 21 November 2013 The Independent (UK)
PARIS:  The man suspected of Monday's gun attack on a French newspaper had lived until recently in London, it emerged on Thursday.  Abdelhakim Dekhar, 52, was was arrested on Wednesday night as he lay semi-conscious in a car in an underground car-park near Paris after taking an overdose. Authorities said that his DNA matches traces left by the gunman who grievously wounded a young photographer in the lobby of Liberation on Monday morning.  Mr Dekhar was jailed in 1998 for acting as an accessory to a young far Left or anarchist couple, dubbed the "French Bonnie and Clyde".  The couple killed three policemen and a taxi-driver during a failed robbery and car chase in October 1994.  Since he left prison in 1999, Mr Dekhar is believed to have spent many years abroad, including several periods in London. He was arrested on Wednesday evening after a tip-off from a friend who recognised him in security camera footage released by the authorities…

Abdelhakim Dekhar arrêté et identifié comme le tireur présumé de Paris
Par Christophe CornevinMis à jour le 21/11/2013 à 11:02 Publié le 20/11/2013 à 20:38
Le Figaro

27.  Witness tells UK trial that lawyers "intimidated" him
BY ESTELLE SHIRBON Reuters LONDON Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:31am EST
Nov 21 (Reuters) - The chairman of Bahraini aluminium smelter Alba told a London court on Thursday that lawyers from a top British firm had sought to intimidate him before he gave evidence in a major criminal corruption trial.  Mahmood Al-Kooheji was appearing as a witness at the trial of Victor Dahdaleh, a British-Canadian businessman accused of paying over $65 million in bribes to former Alba managers in return for a cut of contracts with suppliers worth over $3 billion.  Dahdaleh, 70, has pleaded not guilty to eight charges brought by Britain's Serious Fraud Office related to events between 1998 and 2006.  The sums involved make it one of the biggest bribery trials seen in Britain for years, and it has a particular sensitivity because of alleged corruption by senior figures in Bahrain at a time of political unrest there…


28.  Iran's Chief Negotiator
Surprise, surprise: He has a long record of double-dealing.
Claudia Rosett The Weekly Standard December 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12
Claudia Rosett is journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and heads its investigative reporting project.

29.  How Is Hamid Karzai Still Standing?
By Willaim Dalrymple New York Times Magazine November 24, 2013
William Dalrymple is the author, most recently, of "Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42."

30.  Guest Column: UK Child Brides Victims of "Cultural Sensitivity"
by Abigail R. Esman Special to IPT News November 21, 2013

31.  Spain: Islamic Radicals Infiltrate the Military
by Soeren Kern Gatestone Institute November 22, 2013 at 5:00 am
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook. Follow him on Twitter.

32.  Radicals' Use of Islamic Charities Continues in South Asia
by Irfan Al-Alawi Gatestone Institute November 22, 2013 at 4:00 am

33.  Al Qaeda and the threat in North Africa
By Thomas Joscelyn  Long War Journal November 21, 2013
Editor's note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn's testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on al Qaeda's network in Africa and the threat it poses to the US. If you wish to view the testimony with footnotes included, download the PDF by clicking
IPT NOTE:  The full list of hearing witnesses with links to their prepared statements posted at

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