The terrorist who carried out a vehicle ram-and-stab attacked on the Columbus campus of Ohio State University on Monday was an 18-year-old Somali immigrant who was student at the school, according to a report by NBC News, quoting law enforcement officials.
Abdul Razaq Ali Artan was a legal permanent resident from Somalia who came to the United States in 2014 from Pakistan after having left his homeland with his family in 2007.
He carried out the attack — plowing his car into a group of people who had evacuated the Watts Hall building on campus in response to a caller who had reported a “gas leak” — then got out and started slashing at the stunned crowd with a large butcher knife, officials said.
Ten people were injured and sent to the hospital, including one who was at first reported in critical condition but who has since stabilized.
OSU Police Officer Alan Horujko arrived within “a minute” and yelled a warning for the attacker to “Drop the knife and get down!” But when he failed to immediately comply, he waited no longer, took careful aim and fired, Ohio State Police Chief Craig Stone said. It took three bullets to take the terrorist down, according to one student who told CNN the officer who shot Artan “waited ’til everyone was clear, and the stabber clearly wasn’t stopping.”
Law enforcement officials said Artan posted a rant on social media prior to the attack, but officials are being cautious about releasing information on any motive for his attack.
Artan had allegedly mentioned radical Islamist cleric Anwar Awlaki often on his Facebook page. The rant he posted prior to his attack read:
“I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured EVERYWHERE. … I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries…if you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks.”
Artan attended Columbus State Community College from the time he entered the United States in 2014, at age 16, graduating cum laude with an Associates Degree.
According to NBC News, Artan told the Ohio State University campus newspaper, The Lantern that on his first day at the university he was “scared” about praying as a Muslim on campus. “If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen.”
By that time, however, he had already spent two years in the state college/university system in Ohio, and presumably had prayed “in public” on that campus as well.
Israel is to be represented next month at the international qualifier for next year’s World Baseball Classic in Brooklyn, New York, against Brazil, Britain and Pakistan.
A number of players from the Major League will represent the Jewish State, including former All-Star pitcher Jason Marquis, former Mets infielder Ike Davis, and Craig Breslow, a player for the Red Sox in their 2013 World Series title.
If Israel qualifies for the WBC, the roster will likely include the greatest collection of Jewish ballplayers on one team in the history of the game, ever.
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday gave a foreign policy speech in Youngstown, Ohio, outlining his plan to fight terrorism. Addressing the large crowd (as usual), Trump opened, “Today we begin a conversation about how to Make America Safe Again. In the 20th Century, the United States defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. Now, a different threat challenges our world: Radical Islamic Terrorism.”
The candidate cited a very long list of terrorist attacks against individual Western targets (Paris, Brussels, Orlando), as well as a more generalized but no less forceful depiction of attacks on Muslims: “Overseas, ISIS has carried out one unthinkable atrocity after another. … We cannot let this evil continue.”
Trump promised, “We will defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism, just as we have defeated every threat we have faced in every age before.” He then threw a jab at both president Obama and Democratic presidential Candidate Clinton, saying, “Anyone who cannot name our enemy, is not fit to lead this country.”
This led to a Trump analysis of how President Obama and his Secretary of State Clinton are to blame for the current alarming state of events. He blamed them for policies that led to the creation of ISIS, saying, “It all began in 2009 with what has become known as President Obama’s global ‘Apology Tour.’”
Remarkably, Trump omitted eight whole years in which the US was attacked by a different group of Islamic radicals, and the fact that then President GW Bush retaliated by invading a country that had nothing to do with that attack, inflicting chaos on Iraq and taking out the one fierce regional enemy of Iran, Saddam Hussein. According to Trump, none of those eight bloody years of a Bush war had anything to do with the creation of ISIS (which took place in 2004) — it all began with “a series of speeches,” in which “President Obama described America as ‘arrogant,’ ‘dismissive,’ ‘derisive,’ and a ‘colonial power.'”
“Perhaps no speech was more misguided than President Obama’s speech to the Muslim World delivered in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009,” Trump said Monday night. Of course, the Obama Al Azhar University speech did launch a bizarre foreign policy that punished America’s friends and rewarded its enemies. Even if one were not pro-Israel, one would have to wonder what drove that disastrous foreign policy. But the Obama speech did not instigate the catastrophic failure of US policy in the Middle East, it only picked up Obama’s predecessor’s very bad situation and made it worse.
Trump believes that “the failure to establish a new Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq, and the election-driven timetable for withdrawal, surrendered our gains in that country and led directly to the rise of ISIS.” But in eight miserable years, having spent trillions of borrowed dollars our grandchildren and their grandchildren after them will continue to pay for, there were no US gains in Iraq — which is why when Obama honored the Bush agreement with the Iraqi government and withdrew some of the US forces, the whole thing came tumbling down.
Trump blames Hillary Clinton for destabilizing Libya, a claim supported by many, including President Obama and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He also added a jab at the Clintons, saying, “Yet, as she threw the Middle East into violent turmoil, things turned out well for her. The Clintons made almost $60 million in gross income while she was Secretary of State.” It’s factually true, but the implied moral outrage is hard to accept with a straight face, seeing as it came from a man who prided himself on turning homeowners’ misery into a hefty profit for himself during the housing crisis of 2008.
After much more of the candidate’s unique view on US foreign policy and the causes for rise of terrorism, Trump finally cut to the chase.
“If I become President, the era of nation-building will be ended,” he said. “Our new approach, which must be shared by both parties in America, by our allies overseas, and by our friends in the Middle East, must be to halt the spread of Radical Islam. … As President, I will call for an international conference focused on this goal. We will work side-by-side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, and President [Al] Sisi of Egypt, and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.”
Trump added to the list of his envisioned coalition partners the NATO countries, explaining that although he “had previously said that NATO was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism; since my comments they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats.”
He also wants Russia to participate, clearly despite its dubious new alliance with both Iran and Turkey that threatens the very presence of US troops in that part of the region.
On this point, the Trump vision looks an awful lot like the current Administration’s policy on fighting ISIS: “My Administration will aggressively pursue joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS, international cooperation to cutoff their funding, expanded intelligence sharing, and cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and recruiting. We cannot allow the Internet to be used as a recruiting tool, and for other purposes, by our enemy – we must shut down their access to this form of communication, and we must do so immediately.”
So far so good, but then Trump suggested “we must use ideological warfare as well. Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.”
Trump then depicted his opponent as contributing to the repression of Muslim gays and women, promising his “Administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith. Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.”
At which point one must ask if the candidate is relying on expert advise on the Middle East. Because while he is absolutely right in condemning the cruelty and repression that have been the reality in Muslim countries from Pakistan to Morocco, his idea of promoting an American foreign policy of “speaking out against the horrible practice of honor killings” and against the myriad other acts of unimaginable violence against women, his ideas that to defeat Islamic terrorism, the US must “speak out forcefully against a hateful ideology that provides the breeding ground for violence and terrorism to grow” is shockingly sophomoric. Surely Trump knows that these attempts are a recipe for a far worse disaster than the one brought on by the Obama Al Azhar speech.
At this point, Trump turned to an area with which he is more familiar, the need for a new immigration policy. “A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” the candidate declared, adding that “the time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today.”
“In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law,” Trump said, explaining that “those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country. Only those who we expect to flourish in our country – and to embrace a tolerant American society – should be issued visas.”
Easier said than done, of course, because it’s naturally difficult to discern what lurks inside the mind of any person, immigrants included. Trump’s solution is, to “temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.”
“As soon as I take office, I will ask the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to identify a list of regions where adequate screening cannot take place. We will stop processing visas from those areas until such time as it is deemed safe to resume based on new circumstances or new procedures.” It should be interesting to gauge the response of, say, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to the news that no more cash-laden Arab oil sheiks would be allowed to visit Vegas under a Trump Administration.
“Finally, we will need to restore common sense to our security procedures,” Trump declared, listing several notorious murders committed by Muslims on US soil, noting that in each case there had been warning signs that were overlooked by the authorities.
“These warning signs were ignored because political correctness has replaced common sense in our society,” Trump stated flatly, adding, “That is why one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam. … The goal of the commission will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”
“This commission will be used to develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners,” Trump said, essentially suggesting legitimizing the police profiling that has been so vilified in the media and by many politicians. He also promised to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open (although Obama has just released fifteen of its inmates). He wants additional staff to Intelligence agencies and will keep drone strikes against terrorist leaders as part of his options. He also wants military trials for foreign enemy combatants.
In conclusion, there was absolutely no new policy idea in the Trump speech on foreign policy Monday night, but there was an implied, if mostly unspoken promise, to encourage all levels of law enforcement to be less restrained in pursuing their targets. In fact, across the board, what Trump was offering Monday night were not so much new ideas as the promise of taking existing ideas to a new level of dedication in their execution. It could mean a wider loss of individual civil rights, and serious economic hardship for US industries that cater to any aspect of immigration, and it could also end up with the alienation of both European and Mid-Eastern countries who would not take kindly to Trump’s promised level of fierceness, and would retaliate.
It should be noted in that context, that after having spoken bluntly about extreme security measures that could harm specific ethnic and religious groups, Trump attempted to soften his own tone with a final paragraph that promised: “As your President … I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and oppression in all its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people. — Only this way, will we make America Great Again and Safe Again – For Everyone.”
Like him or hate him, Donald Trump remains the champion of cognitive dissonance.
Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRMEP), has filed a lawsuit against the entire US government, including President Obama, Secretary Kerry, CIA Director Brennan and Defense Secretary Carter, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for the $234 billion the US has given Israel in military foreign aid since 1976 — in violation of US law that prohibits aiding countries with nuclear capability who are non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Smith insists that his lawsuit is not about foreign policy (which the court would have dismissed outright), but “about the rule of law, presidential power, the structural limits of the US Constitution, and the right of the public to understand the functions of government and informed petition of the government for redress.”
“In a crisis or time of increased tension, Israel can threaten to use its arsenal as a lever to coerce the transfer of US military supplies and other support rather than pursue peaceful alternatives,” Smith argues, adding that “the international community views the US as hypocritical when it cites the NPT in reference to Iran or North Korea.”
Actually, we’ve seen up close how the international community views this “hypocrisy” just a year ago. As soon as it became clear in the summer of 2015 that Iran was going to be allowed to develop its nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states went on a mad dash to acquire their own nukes. Why hadn’t they done the same in all the decades since Israel had allegedly first acquired its own nuclear device? Because they couldn’t imagine a situation whereby Israel would use it against them.
The lawsuit cites the fact that the White House and Israeli government are currently negotiating a new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to serve as the basis for a FY2019-2028 foreign aid package of 4 to 5 billion dollars annually (actually, that’s the Israeli request, so far the most the White House has mentioned is $3.5 billion). In addition, the suit claims, “Congress will soon pass and the President will sign into law the final installment of the current FY2009-2018 foreign aid package. The US Treasury will provide an interest-bearing cash advance in October 2017 that Israel can use to fund its own military-industrial programs and purchase US arms.” That, too is more what Israel has been hoping for and less what the Administration is willing to give. At the moment, the US wants the entire military aid package to be used in American factories.
Smith claims the US aid deal with Israel is in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments to the Foreign Aid Act of 1961.
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was modified by the Symington Amendment (Section 669 of the FAA) in 1976, which banned US economic and military assistance, and export credits to countries that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA regulations and inspections.
The Glenn Amendment was later adopted in 1977, and provided the same sanctions against countries that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology or explode or transfer a nuclear device.
Noam Chomsky, a vociferous anti-Israel critic, has blamed successive US presidents of violating the law by granting an exception for Israel. The fact is that US presidents have granted similar benefits to India and Pakistan as well.
Smith’s suit says “Defendants have collectively engaged in a violation of administrative procedure … while prohibiting the release of official government information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program, particularly ongoing illicit transfers of nuclear weapons material and technology from the US to Israel.”
The suit claims that “these violations manifest in gagging and prosecuting federal officials and contractors who publicly acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons program, imposing punitive economic costs on public interest researchers who attempt to educate the public about the functions of government, refusing to make bona fide responses to journalists and consistently failing to act on credible information available in the government and public domain. These acts serve a policy that has many names all referring to the same subterfuge, ‘nuclear opacity,’ ‘nuclear ambiguity,’ and ‘strategic ambiguity.’”
The Institute for Research: Middle East Policy is an enormous archive of newspaper articles, books, audio, video, lawsuits, and surveys, dedicated to Israel, or, rather, the vilification of the Jewish State. Despite the institute’s name’s reference to being about Middle East policy, it’s all Israel, mostly about the secrets and clandestine policies of Israel. But it’s doubtful the current lawsuit, almost two years in the system by now, will go anywhere in federal court. In the end, the president is permitted to do whatever he or she wants in foreign policy, using good advice and their own intellectual faculties.
Let’s all vote for a president who is endowed with both.
The Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization claimed responsibility late Monday for a deadly suicide bombing at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, another indication of the group’s growing worldwide metastases as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes double down on its forces in Syria and Iraq.
At least 69 people died in the attack, most of them lawyers, which took place shortly after the body of Bilal Kasi, provincial president of the Balochistan Bar Association, was brought to the medical center after a shooting earlier in the day.
The bombing was carried out when the lawyers gathered to protest his murder, Ehsanullah Ehsan a spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban terror group, told NBC News. The group is a break-off group from the Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility for both attacks.
The group also claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a children’s park in Lahore this past March.
The White House immediately issued a statement condemning the attack. “The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s horrific suicide attack in Quetta, Pakistan. That this attack occurred at a hospital and appeared to target a gathering of lawyers mourning the death of a respected colleague makes it all the more heinous.
“Our hearts go out to the families and other loved ones of the more than 60 killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to the dozens more injured. The United States is committed to our continuing counterterrorism partnership with Pakistan, and we remain resolute in joining with the people of Pakistan in confronting terrorism in Pakistan and across the region.”
Newly-declassified documents released Tuesday from the home and headquarters of Osama Bin Laden have revealed the innermost thoughts of the Al Qaeda mastermind in the final years of his life prior to his assassination in May 2011.
A total of thousands of pages in 113 documents were seized in the raid that killed Bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan.
The latest release came at the behest of Congress, which in May 2014 directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to review the material seized by the Navy SEALs and to release as much to the public as possible.
The first release, in May 2015, included nearly 80 documents, books, news media clippings and other materials.
In the most recent batch, Bin Laden left what appears to be a hand-written will that left most of his $29 million to be used “on jihad.” In the document he wrote, “I hope for my brothers, sisters and maternal aunts to obey my will and to spend all the money that I have left in Sudan on jihad, for the sake of Allah.” There was no explanation of where the money came from. He also said he had received $12 million from one of his brothers. The newest documents include one outlining the structure of a “chief of staff committee,” which it explains is “the group of officers and personnel qualified to work with a military commander.”
Another is apparently a “Course of Islamic Study for Soldiers and Members,” that includes a list of subjects and skills to be taught (No. 1: reading and writing), a lengthy reading list that is to be taught in three sections (mostly books about Islam), and a list of lectures to be given throughout the course (subjects range from history of jihad in the Horn of Africa to “a brief word on raising children”).
He was afraid of being tracked via the teeth of one of his wives. Bin Laden wrote a letter to her expressing concern that a small chip might have been implanted in a tooth or under her skin during a visit to the dentist.
“The size of the chip is about the length of a grain of wheat and the width of a fine piece of vermicelli,” he wrote, signing the letter with his nom de guerre Abu Abdallah. He wrote the Iranian dentist could have used an enlarged syringe to implant the tracking device.
In another letter apparently not written by Bin Laden, the author relates the story of a visit by a Qatari diplomat who came to speak with Al Qaeda members in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He brought with him some gifts, including GPS devices and a “huge” watch. Three days later he left, saying he was a diabetic and needed to return for medication. An Al Qaeda member identified as Abu Umamah immediately took the watch and “smashed it with a hammer” because they were afraid it might contain a tracking device, or something worse.
One document describes a major media campaign Bin Laden was planning with his aides to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on America at the World Trade Center and in Washington DC.
He also reflected on the problems of the U.S. military in Afghanistan. He wrote in a letter, “Here we are in the tenth year of the war and America and its allies are still chasing a mirage, lost at sea without a beach.”
Bin Laden observed that the U.S. had believed the war would be easily won, with the army accomplishing its objectives “in a few days or a few weeks.” But the U.S. was unprepared financially and the war lacked popular support, he wrote. “America appears to be hanging on by a thin thread.. We need to be patient a bit longer. With patience, there is victory!”
The FBI might have missed some giant-sized red flags on terror in 2012. That was the first time that San Bernardino slaughterer Syed Rizwan Farook teamed up with someone to plan a terrorist attack on a specific target. But nobody ever knew, because the two partners abandoned the plot.
Late Tuesday, Attorney-General Loretta Lynch announced information-sharing pacts with nearly 50 countries around the globe late Tuesday in another effort to poke a finger in the dike and at least slow the flood of terror attacks. In some quarters, however, analysts are wondering if that response by the Obama administration is not a case of “too little, too late.”
About the same time, new information emerged that Farook had teamed up with a male partner in 2012. Although the identity of the second individual was not released, news analysts across America were asking: How did these two slip under the radar?
The pair “got spooked” after a rash of terror-related arrests in their area and so did not carry out the planned attack. Two officials told CNN, however, that they had already settled on a specific target, according to the report.
He and his wife, Fasheen Malik, were photographed upon their arrival at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in July 2014, both appearing as fundamentalist Muslims.
Apparently it is unclear about where Malik lived prior to her immigration to the United States, but there seems to be no disagreement about the fact that she arrived on the strength of a fiancee visa.
A prior report by CNN clearly stated that Malik lived with her family in Saudi Arabia prior her trip to the United States, but now all mention of any connection with that nation has now been completely eliminated from the account. Instead, CNN reports that Malik lived in “the home owned by her father” in Multan, about 220 miles southwest of Lahore, Pakistan, until spring 2014, “around the time she got married and moved to the United States on a fiance visa.”
Except that doesn’t quite work out. Malik and her husband did not arrive in the United States until July 27, 2014. We don’t really find out when in “spring 2014” she left Pakistan nor where she went until arriving in the U.S. in late July.
How odd that all mention of Saudi Arabia somehow has mysteriously disappeared from the text. So have a few other salient facts.
Malik reportedly failed to appear for the personal interview at the U.S. Consulate required in order to obtain that visa, and the necessary documents that should have been filed were allegedly missing as well. Those facts, too, are no longer mentioned in current reporting on this very important issue.
Instead, the network has begun to focus its coverage on government efforts to “tighten the visa waiver program” and “tighten visa entry requirements.”
Neither measure, however, remedy a no-show for a personal interview, missing documents and what might have been a greased palm or an “understanding” staff member — or both — at a U.S. Consulate, albeit unknown to his or her superiors.
And there is more.
Just days before the massacre in San Bernardino, $28,500 was deposited into Farook’s bank account, a loan he received in November, according to numerous law enforcement officials. About half of that money went to Farook’s mother, with whom the couple’s baby was left on their final day alive, when they attacked and killed his co-workers at a holiday office party. The other half was spent on household items.
None appears to have been provided by any outside entity, according to one of the law enforcement officials who spoke to CNN. But one expert said the loan indicated preparation for an attack.