The Minneapolis Star Tribune has the run down on yesterday’s unveiling of eight indictments in the two year investigation of Somali émigré recruiting for Al Shabaab-the al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia.
Read the Full Justice Department News Release, 'Terror Charges Unsealed in Minneapolis Against Eight men, Justice Department Announces."
Most of those have fled the country. The indictments indicate that these suspects were involved in both financing the recruiting effort and fighting in Somalia. 20 Somali youths from the twin cities area were recruited. Six of them have been killed or murdered in Somalia, including one suicide bomber. Of the total of 14 indictments, only four have been arraigned awaiting sentencing.
The Star Tribune surfaced two possible ringleaders among the eight indicted:
One of the key figures in romanticizing the fight was Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax, known to local Somalis by his former name "Ahmed Mardaadi" or his nickname "Adacki." Faarax was one the eight men indicted Monday and is believed to have fled the country.
According to court documents:
Faarax and others met at a Minneapolis mosque to phone co-conspirators in Somalia in the fall of 2007 and discuss the need for Minnesota-based fighters to go to Somalia.
The records allege that later that fall, Faarax attended a meeting with co-conspirators at a Minneapolis residence, where he encouraged others to join the fight.
He told them that he "experienced true brotherhood" while fighting in Somalia and that travel for jihad was the best thing that they could do.
Faarax also detailed his own combat on the Somali-Kenya border, where he was wounded. He told the group that "jihad would be fun" and not to be afraid. He said they would "get to shoot guns."
According to court records, Faarax was helped in the recruiting by Abdiweli Yassin Isse, who also helped raise money for travel. Isse was among those indicted Monday.
The documents allege that Isse "misled community members into thinking they were contributing money to send young men to Saudi Arabia to study the Qur'an."
This comment from the FBI Special agent in charge of the investigation echoes what we wrote about the home grown terrorist threat from the Somali emigre community in the US in “Foot Soldiers of Islam:”
Ralph Boelter, special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis office, said Monday that investigators all along have been concerned about the prospects of American citizens with U.S. passports receiving terrorist training and returning to this country, possibly to carry out an attack on American soil.
And this is just Minneapolis, we noted a comment from Patrick Poole about how wide spread the threat is in the US:
Thus, as seen in these cases from Minneapolis, Boston, Columbus, and Seattle, fears by authorities of Somali terror spreading to the U.S. through the local Somali community are hardly unfounded. Why Homeland Security and FBI officials have been so slow to respond to this growing threat remains unanswered.
With Black Friday and the anniversary of the horrific Mumbai attacks coming up those concerns are palpable given an attack by a Muslim convert last June at an Arkansas mall that killed one Army Recruiter and injured another. We noted a possible Black Friday scenario that could be devastating:
Such attacks could be perpetrated by homegrown Jihadis like those naturalized American Somali youths, alleged to have ‘disappeared’ to join Al Shabaab militia groups in Somalia. Those returnees could constitute cadres to train fellow American Somali youths. They could orchestrate swarming attacks against public facilities in this country using so-called low tech means: cheap weapons and pickup trucks. These possible swarming attacks could be devastating ‘mini- 9/11events.’ Deadly scenarios might include simultaneous attacks against exposed queues of customers at so-called ‘big box stores’ especially on high sales days like Black Friday, the start of the Christmas holiday retailing season. The casualties from such orchestrated swarming attacks could be devastating and the economic impacts, significant. Currently, we don’t have local counter terrorism forces trained in weapons and tactics to combat Mumbai-type swarming attacks in high risk communities in this country. We need to make that an important counter terrorism priority, including penetration of such local Jihadi networks. This penetration effort would be unlike that of the Fort Dix Six case and the recent NYC Temple bombing plot as it would not entail so-called ‘sting operations’ verging on entrapment.
Then there was the Fort Hood Massacre perpetrated by devout Muslim Jihad Army Major Nidal Hasan who killed 13 and injured 30 soldiers and civilians on November 5th.
Our colleague, Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch is a bit cynical about the timing of these indictments by the FBI and federal prosecutors:
Please read the Star Tribune article and note this near the end of the story. Abdirizak Bihi and I seem to be on the same page about yesterday’s announcement.
Less satisfied was Abdirizak Bihi, uncle of Burhan Hassan, 18, who was killed in June, just one day before his class graduated from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis.
“This isn’t close anywhere to the big fish who were responsible for masterminding the recruitment of our kids,” he said.
“This is nothing, actually. What does this do?” said Nimco Ahmed, a former high school classmate of both Faarax and Shirwa Ahmed.
B. Todd Jones, U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said the investigation is not yet complete. But he hopes the message to those who would leave this country to fight in another is clear.
I hate to sound so cynical, but Mr. Ahmed is right, “What does this do?” In my opinion, it serves only to send a message to a country grieving over the massacre at Ft. Hood that the FBI is on the job after they dropped the ball, surely out of political correctness, in following Major Nidal Hasan’s jihadist trail. Imagine if one of these trained Somali terrorists actually carried out a terrorist attack in the US now! The political repercussions for the Obama Administration would be profound. Frankly it would be the nail in the coffin for Obama’s Presidency.
Given a Justice Department intent on criminalizing terrorism by seeking a civil trial in Manhattan rather than a military tribunal for the 9/11 five led by master plotter Khaled Sheik Mohammed, Corcoran has every right to be cynical about how our government is not protecting us from home grown Jihadi terrorists.