“Belmokhtar Indictment Unsealed by U.S. Prosecutor”

July 22, 2013

The Wall Street Journal on July 21, 2013 released the following:

By Margaret Coker

“U.S. prosecutors have unsealed an indictment charging Mokhtar Belmokhtar with masterminding the deadly terrorist attack earlier this year at a southern Algerian gas plant that killed dozens of workers, including three Americans.

Mr. Belmokhtar, an Algerian national who leads an al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist militia in anti-Western attacks across North Africa, is described in the indictment which was announced Friday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara as a “fanatical jihadist” who “unleashed a reign of terror … in furtherance of his self-proclaimed goal of waging bloody jihad against the West.”

Mr. Belmokhtar, who was not known to be present during the gas plant attack, is currently at large. The U.S. government has put a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture or death.

The legal charges, described in an eight-count complaint, are related to this year’s attack on the gas plant operated by British Petroleum, Norway’s Statoil, Japan’s JGC Corp. and Algeria’s Sonatrach, as well as other terrorist attacks allegedly committed by al Qaeda-linked organizations and Mr. Belmokhtar over several years. The charges include conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda, kidnapping of internationally protected persons and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

U.S. authorities have been pursuing charges against Mr. Belmokhtar primarly because of the loss of American lives in the Jan. 16 incident whereby a militia under Mr. Belmokhtar’s control invaded the Tiguentourine gas plant in southern Algeria. After a four-day siege, the Algerian military sent anti-terrorist troops to free the hostages, sparking heated battles with Mr. Belmokhtar’s men. A total of 37 hostages were killed, including three U.S. citizens.

On the day after the siege ended, Mr. Belmokhtar appeared in an online video claiming responsibility for the attack on behalf of al-Qaeda.

U.S. officials said that this claim was confirmed by three of the hostage-takers involved in the siege who were arrested and detained by Algerian authorities and later separately interviewed by U.S. law enforcement officers. The hostage-takers each acknowledged their membership in an al Qaeda group, of which Mr. Belmokhtar was the “emir,” and further stated that they had received military training in another country prior to traveling to Algeria to conduct the attack in the name of al Qaeda, according to a press release issued by the FBI on Friday.

“Belmokhtar brought terror and blood to these innocent people and now we intend to bring Belmokhtar to justice,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Mr. Belmokhtar was designated as a foreign terrorist by the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2003 for his participation in al Qaeda-linked organizations across North Africa, but until the January attack he was not known to have killed any Americans. According to the indictment, Mr. Belmokhtar orchestrated terror attacks including the kidnapping of U.N. diplomats and other Western hostages.”

Mr. Belmokhtar is also on Interpol’s Red Notice List here.

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


US prosecutor: 18-year-old arrested for attempting to set off car bomb outside Chicago bar

September 15, 2012

The Washington Post on September 15, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

CHICAGO — Undercover FBI agents arrested an 18-year-old American man who tried to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside a downtown Chicago bar, federal prosecutors said Saturday.

Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, was arrested Friday night in an undercover operation in which agents pretending to be terrorists provided him with a phony car bomb.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, which announced the arrest Saturday, said the device was harmless and the public was never at risk.

Daoud is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.

Someone who answered a call to Daoud’s home in Hillside on Saturday who said her name was Hiba and that she was Daoud’s sister declined to discuss Daoud, the family or the arrest.

“We don’t even know anything. We don’t know that much. We know as little as you do,” she said. “They’re just accusations.”

“We’d like to be left alone,” she said.

The FBI began monitoring Daoud after he posted material online about violent jihad and the killing of Americans, federal prosecutors said.

In May, two undercover FBI agents contacted Daoud in response to the postings and exchanged several electronic messages with him in which he expressed an interest in engaging in violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to an affidavit by an FBI special agent.

Prosecutors say that after being introduced to an undercover FBI agent who claimed to be a terrorist living in New York, Daoud set about identifying 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and tourist attractions in Chicago.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, Daoud met in the suburb of Villa Park with the undercover agent who claimed to be from New York, and the two drove to downtown Chicago, where the restaurants and bars were packed with workers ringing in the weekend on a pleasantly warm evening. According to the affidavit, they entered a parking lot where a Jeep Cherokee containing the phony bomb was parked.

Daoud drove the vehicle and parked in front of a bar that was among the pre-selected targets, then walked a block away and attempted to detonate the device by pressing a triggering mechanism in the presence of the agent, according to the affidavit. He was then arrested.

The court documents do not identify the bar.

Prosecutors said Daoud was offered several chances to change his mind and walk away from the plot.

The affidavit said the Daoud was active in jihadist Internet forums and was accessing articles written by Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric who became a key figure in the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year.

In his communications with one of the FBI agents about possible targets, Daoud allegedly said he wanted to carry out an attack that would kill a large number of people.

“I wanted something that’s … massive; I want something that’s gonna make it in the news,” he wrote, according to the affidavit. “I want to get to like, for me I want to get the most evil place, but I want to get a more populated place.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


2 arrested in alleged plot to kill ambassador

October 11, 2011

The Associated Press (AP) on October 11, 2011 released the following:

“NEW YORK (AP) — Two people have been accused of conspiracy to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

A federal criminal complaint in New York says the two also are charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

It says the ambassador was in the United States when the death plot was supposed to occur.

The suspects are identified as Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri.

According to a criminal complaint, Arbabsiar is a naturalized U.S. citizen who holds both a U.S. and an Iranian passport.”

Attached is Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri Amended Complaint.

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Accused Underpants Bomber Wasn’t Read Rights, FBI Agent Says

September 15, 2011

The San Francisco Chronicle on September 14, 2011 released the following:

“Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) — The man accused of the Christmas 2009 attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane with explosives hidden in his underpants wasn’t told he had a right to remain silent when interviewed by U.S. investigators, an FBI agent testified.

“We had to find out who he was in contact with,” Timothy Waters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation testified at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds in Detroit today. “We felt there were other planes in the air with suicide bombers.”

The defendant, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is representing himself, has said agents improperly questioned him in a hospital while he was under the influence of the painkiller fentanyl. Abdulmutallab, who was hospitalized with burns following the incident, also said the U.S. failed to read him his rights.

Abdulmutallab has asked the court to throw out statements he made to U.S. agents after being taken into custody. The U.S. has said that Abdulmutallab wasn’t impaired by drugs and that concerns for public safety required agents to question him immediately, before advising him of his rights.

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying 279 passengers and 11 crew members, originated in Amsterdam and was approaching Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009, when Abdulmutallab tried to detonate the explosives, according to prosecutors. He set fire to his clothes and a wall before passengers subdued him, prosecutors said.

Abdulmutallab, a 24-year-old native of Nigeria, faces eight criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, attempted murder and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He has pleaded not guilty and faces a possible life sentence if convicted. His trial is set for Oct. 4.

Edmunds didn’t decide today whether the statements will be admitted. The hearing will continue tomorrow.

Jury selection for the trial began today with Edmunds giving about 250 prospective jurors a questionnaire.

Osama bin Laden “is alive,” Abdulmutallab said when he entered the courtroom, as prospective jurors watched on a monitor. He leaned back in his chair and put his right foot on the table in front of him, removing it after getting a glare from the lawyer assisting him.

The defendant, who was dressed in a white T-shirt and black pants, complained about being forced to wear prison clothing. He later put on an unbuttoned shirt over the T-shirt.

‘Al-Qaeda’

Abdulmutallab told U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers immediately following the airplane incident that “he had detonated an explosive device hidden in his underwear, and that he had been acting on behalf of al-Qaeda,” prosecutors said in court papers Aug. 26.

Abdulmutallab was sent to a hospital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was treated for burns and given fentanyl, the U.S. said. FBI agents were assured by medical staff that the amount of the painkiller he received “would not render him incommunicative or unable to understand them,” the U.S. said.

“Once it became clear to the agents that what was under way was in fact an act of terrorism that could have been a part of a coordinated, multipronged attack similar to 9/11, it was lawful and appropriate for the agents to ask questions intended to respond to the imminent threat to public safety posed by the defendant and any possible confederates or co-conspirators,” prosecutors said in the Aug. 26 filing.

Not Overmedicated

The defendant wasn’t overmedicated and was able to respond to agents’ questions, a nurse testified at today’s hearing.

“He didn’t appear to be high on fentanyl,” Julia Longenecker, a treating nurse at the hospital, testified. When asked whether the fentanyl affected the defendant, she replied: “No, I don’t think so.”

Abdulmutallab’s statements to the U.S. should be rejected because the U.S. used coercive means to obtain them, Anthony Chambers, the defendant’s standby counsel, said in court filings. Abdulmutallab fired his court-appointed attorneys last year and is representing himself. He’s being aided by Chambers, who has filed pretrial motions on the defendant’s behalf.

Hospital staff advised federal agents that Abdulmutallab “could not be legally interviewed for four to six hours after administering the fentanyl,” Chambers argued in court papers. “Abdulmutallab was heavily sedated and semiconscious when he was interviewed by the federal agents and made the statements.”

‘Coercive Activity’

The agents’ interviews while Abdulmutallab was on medication constituted “coercive activity,” Chambers said in a filing dated Sept. 1. “Abdulmutallab lacked the cognitive ability to terminate the questioning and to know when to refuse to answer the question.”

Edmunds today denied a separate motion by the defendant asking to change the location of the trial. Abdulmutallab said extensive media coverage had created an “environment of hostility” toward him.

“The publicity in this case has been largely impartial reporting on the public court proceedings and motions,” Edmunds wrote. Because the jury questionnaire and scheduled questioning of prospective jurors “will fully expose any prejudice from pretrial publicity, a change of venue is not warranted at this time,” she said.

The case is U.S. v. Abdulmutallab, 10-cr-20005, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).

–Editors: Michael Hytha, Andrew Dunn”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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