Thursday, 29 September 2011

Al Qaeda Sympathizer Planned Attack on U.S. Capitol

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FBI agents have collared another Muslim jihadist bent on mass murder and mayhem. The accused, arrested yesterday in Framingham, Massachusetts, is 26-year-old Rezwan Ferdaus, an American citizen who graduated from Northeastern University with a physics degree. His goal, he told undercover agents whom he thought were on his side, was to kill as many “kafirs” (unbelievers) as possible by flying remote-controlled airplanes into the U.S. Capitol, then commencing a shooting spree with automatic weapons.

It was all part of Ferdaus’ Jihad against the country in which he was born but to which he did not owe allegiance by the lights of his fanatical Islamic belief.

The Plot

According to the affidavit for his arrest, he planned to “commit violent ‘jihad’ against the United States, which he considers an enemy of Allah.” The affadavit continued,

With the goal of terrorizing the United States, decapitating its "military center," and killing as many “kafirs,” i.e., an Arabic term meaning non-believers, as possible, FERDAUS extensively planned and attempted to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol Building using large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives. Remote controlled aircraft are capable of carrying a variety of payloads (including a lethal payload of explosives), can use a wide range of take-off and landing environments, and fly different flight patterns than commercial airlines, thus reducing detection.

FERDAUS has designed, built, and supplied more than 7 mobile phones, each of which FERDAUS had modified to act as an electrical switch for an improvised explosive device ("IED"), 3 to FBI undercover employees, who FERDAUS believed were members of, and recruiters for, al Qaeda, to purportedly be used to kill American soldiers stationed overseas.

Ferdaus even planned to use downsized versions of U.S. fighter aircraft for the aerial attack. As the FBI noted in a footnote about the remote-controlled aircraft, “FERDAUS selected two models for his attack plans, the F-4 Phantom and F-86 Sabre.”

These remote controlled airplanes are a smaller scale version of U.S. military fighter jets, ranging from 60 to 80 inches in length and having a wingspan range of 44 inches to 63 inches. For instance, the F-4 Phantom FERDAUS chose to use in his attack on the Capitol Building was 1/10th the size of the actual F-4 Phantom II U.S. fighter jet.

The details may sound unbelievable, but Ferdaus is a committed Muslim fanatic who knew exactly what he wanted to do.

The operation lasted from January until September 28, when the FBI arrested him. At first, Ferdaus planned to use the remote-controlled aircraft to attack the Pentagon, But in April, the affidavit says, “FERDAUS expanded his plan to include an attack of the U.S. Capitol Building.”

In May and June 2011, FERDAUS delivered two thumb drives to the UCEs [undercover employees], which contained detailed attack plans with step-by-step instructions as to how FERDAUS planned to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol Building using three remote controlled aircraft and 6 people, including himself whom he described as an "amir," i.e., an Arabic term meaning leader. In May 2011, FERDAUS traveled to Washington, D.C., conducted surveillance and took photographs of his targets (Pentagon and Capitol Building), and identified and photographed sites at the East Potomac Park from which to launch his airplanes filled with explosives. Between May 2011 and September 2011, FERDAUS researched, ordered, and acquired (with the financial assistance of the UCEs) necessary components for his attack plans, including one remote controlled aircraft (F-86 Sabre), 25 pounds of C-4 explosives, 6 fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifles (machine guns), and grenades.' For the purpose of ordering the F-86 Sabre, FERDAUS created a false identity, "Dave Winfield." He opened a PayPal account under this false identity and even created a cover story explaining why he was seeking to buy this plane. FERDAUS told representatives of a Florida distributor that he was purchasing the plane for his son. (FERDAUS is unmarried and has no children.)

The goal of Ferdaus: absolute terror. According to the affidavit, “During numerous recorded meetings with the [undercover employees], FERDAUS revealed his motivation in committing these attacks,” explaining his murderous ideology to the conspirators he mistakenly thought were on his side. He told them “that he realized more than a year ago from viewing jihadi websites and videos ‘how evil’ America is and that jihad is the solution.”

As a result, he decided to, in his own words, "terrorize" the United States by attacking Washington, D.C. FERDAUS indicated that by so doing, he wanted to "decapitate" the U.S. government's "military center" and to "severely disrupt ... the head and heart of the snake." FERDAUS further envisioned causing a large "psychological" impact by killing Americans, including women and children, whom he referred to as "enemies of Allah." FERDAUS also expressed excitement at the prospect of gunning down politicians at the Capitol Building. Most recently, FERDAUS confided that he has no interest in "making money;" his only desire is, in his own words, to "change the world" using the skills Allah has given him to strike the "infidels" by carrying out his planned attacks and building bomb components to kill the "kafir armies." FERDAUS' desire to attack the United States is so strong that he confided to the UCEs: "I just can't stop; there is no other choice for me."

When undercover agents told him that some of his explosive devices had killed American GIS fighting in Iraq, he was gratified at helping the cause. Said Ferdaus, “this is exactly what I wanted and I feel so blessed.”

I feel that I'm seeing the fruits of my labor... I want to work with you guys and I want to hit the snake on the tail and I want to choke it right in the head ... The world will never be the same.

The charade ended on Thursday when undercover operatives delivered the weaspons Ferdaus thought would advance the cause of Jihad and Islam. “As instructed, on September 28, 2011,” the FBI reported in its affidavit, “the UCEs obtained the explosives and firearms (25 pounds of C-4 explosives, 3 grenades, and 6 fully automatic AK-47 assault rifles) that FERDAUS had requested for his attack plan.”

Before delivering them to FERDAUS ... the UCEs allowed FERDAUS to inspect them. After inspecting the components, FERDAUS brought them to his storage unit. After FERDAUS took possession of the explosives and firearms and locked them in his storage unit, FERDAUS was arrested.

FBI: No Stereotyping Allowed

Early newspaper accounts did not mention the words Islam or Muslim, although the Washington Post, without calling Ferdaus a Muslim directly, quoted several people, permitting them to fret that the FBI is targeting Muslims.

As well, the U.S. Attorney handling the case, Carmen Ortiz, was quick to note that Islam and the culture it has created are unrelated to the crimes of Ferdaus.

Said Ortiz:

I want the public to understand that Mr. Ferdaus’ conduct, as alleged in the complaint, is not reflective of a particular culture, community, or religion.

In addition to protecting our citizens from the threats and violence alleged today, we also have an obligation to protect members of every community, race, and religion against violence and other unlawful conduct.

Ortiz did not offer any instances of Jews, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, or Catholics the FBI had recently arrested in connection with suicide bombings in sidewalk cafes, mass murder at military bases, or plans to fly RC aircraft into the U.S. Capitol.

Cryptically noting that no one wants to recognize the elephant in the room, Robert Spencer, the editor of Jihad Watch, sarcastically noted:

What is it that "radicalizes" a "26-year-old Massachusetts man" like Rezwan Ferdaus?

Reading about the exploits of Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty? A rough game of touch football with Jack, Bobby and Ted? And what, oh what, could be the inciting literature to which this poor fellow was exposed? Common Sense? Democracy In America? The mind boggles.

Ferdaus was a “U.S-born citizen of South Asian background,: the Washington Post reported, with the Boston Globe and New York Times early and quickly identifying him as an “Ashland” and “Massachusetts” man, much as they might identify Paul Revere and Sam Adams as “Massachusetts men.”

Interestingly, CBS News identified Ferdaus as a “Mass. musician,” prompting Spencer to ask, “What "radicalized this guy, one too many drummer jokes?”

There is one musician joke that does apply here: What do you say to a (jihadist) drummer in a suit? "Will the defendant please rise?" 

Photo: A police car sits in the driveway of the home of  accused terror suspect Rezwan Ferdaus in Ashland, Mass., Sept. 28, 2011: AP Images

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