Saturday, 29 September 2012

Somali Terror Suspect: Let Me Out of Jail; I See Dead People

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A Somali terror suspect who, authorities allege, is brave enough to recruit and help finance terrorists for missions abroad, is scared of ghosts.

That at least, is what a court heard in the African’s attempt to get out of jail.

The trial for Mahmoud Said Omar begins next week, but early this week he asked a judge to let him out of jail to seek a spiritual healer to  stop “seizures” and rid him of the jailhouse specters haunting him day and night.

The judge refused his request.

"I See Dead People"

Omar told Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis that his sixth sense was detecting spirits and ghosts in the Anoka County jail, in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

According to the newspaper, Davis asked, “Are you seeing ghosts?

“Yes,” he responded. “I don’t sleep. I don’t play. I don’t go to society. Even when I go to your court I still feel pain sometimes. I want you to give me 90 days to get well inside my brother's house. I’m not going nowhere,” Omar said.

Omar actually expected the judge to let him go and live with his brothers, who would know some “healer” to dispatch the frightening bogeymen and send them back to the netherworld.

The Star-Tribune continued, 

Davis asked whether he knew the names of the healers.

“Omar said no, but his brothers would know some. Two of his brothers listened quietly in the gallery.

Davis asked what the healers might do to help him.

“They speak to the devil and they read the Qur’an,” Omar said.

Omar then reprised an act of a year ago, appearing to nearly collapse in court. The Star-Tribune continued,

Omar then asked if he could sit.

When he got to his chair, he slumped forward and placed his head in his hands. Davis asked whether he could understand him. When Omar didn't respond right away, Davis called a brief recess.

Recess ended, the judge noted that the Somali last treated his illnesses with alcohol and pills, and denied the request, the newspaper reported.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, in August of last year the terror suspect collapsed in court during a hearing about whether he could be released. “Mahamud Said Omar was standing beside his attorney and an interpreter when he lost consciousness and fell to the floor in federal judge Michael Davis’ Minneapolis courtroom,” the National Public Radio affiliate reported. Omar’s large family was “shaken at the sight of the incident.”

Omar’s attorney said his client suffered similar episodes when he was imprisoned in the Netherlands, and actually expected a judge to release him while he awaited trial.

The Charges

On August 15 of last year, according to the FBI,

[Omar] was indicted in federal court in the District of Minnesota with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and foreign terrorist organizations as well as conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, and injure persons abroad. …

The 2009 indictment states that from September of 2007 through August of 2009, Omar, a Somali citizen who is a lawful permanent resident of the United States, conspired with others to provide financial assistance as well as personnel to al Shabaab. Court documents allege that Omar gave money to young men so they could travel from Minneapolis to Somalia to train with and fight for al Shabaab. Omar also allegedly visited an al Shabaab safe house in Marka, south of Mogadishu, where he provided the Minneapolis men with hundreds of dollars for the purchase of AK-47 assault rifles to use in their efforts.

Al Shabaab is a Somali terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda, the terror group that send 19 Muslims to hit the World Trade Center, Pentagon and U.S. Capitol on September 2011, killing nearly 3,000 innocent Americans. Brave passengers commandeered the jet destined  for Washington, D.C. and forced it down in Pennsylvania. 

According to the FBI,

[The] case arose out of "Operation Rhino," an investigation that focused on the disappearance of young ethnic Somali men who lived in the Minneapolis area and were ultimately found to have been recruited to fight with al Shabaab back in Somalia.

The earliest groups of identified "travelers" departed the United States in October and December 2007, while others left in February 2008, August 2008, November 2008, and October 2009. Upon arriving in Somalia, the men resided in al Shabaab safe houses in southern Somalia until constructing an al Shabaab training camp, where they were trained by senior members of al Shabaab along with a senior member of al Qaeda.

Omar denies everything. The Star-Tribune recorded his words to the judge when he claimed to see spectral visitors in jail: “All these things they accuse me, I not committed. I never planned this things against the United States government.”

The Danger of al Shabaab

Just before the federal government extradited Omar back to the United States, the House Committee on Homeland Security published a report detailing the threat of al Shabaab and its “recruitment and radicalization with the Muslim American Community.” The organization’s official name is al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, and it is “Al Qaeda’s major ally in East Africa,” the committee said.

“The key finding is that there is a looming danger of American Shabaab fighters returning to the U.S. to strike or helping Al Qaeda and its affiliates attack the homeland,” the committee found.

The committee also concluded that

Shabaab has an active recruitment and radicalization network inside the U.S. targeting Muslim-Americans in Somali communities. It also ensnared a few non-Somali Muslim-American converts, such as a top Shabaab commander.

The report said that at least “40 or more Americans” have joined the mass-murdering group, and at least 15 have been killed fighting with al Shabaab.

The committee concluded that “Shabaab has the intent and capability to conduct attacks or aid core Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] in Yemen with striking U.S. interests and the U.S. homeland.”

The United States, the committee noted, is the “primary exporter of Western fighters” to the group, which uses Americans and Europeans for propaganda, recruiting tapes, and suicide bombings.

The committee found that Somali al Shabaab recruits are a major threat to the United States. “There is  considerable travel by Somali-Americans between enclaves of immigrants in Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Columbus and Lewiston, Maine and their East Africa homeland,” the committee reported, adding,

Shabaab recruiters operating in those cities’ Muslim-American communities are targeting susceptible individuals for radicalization and recruitment, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials.... It is extremely difficult for the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, CIA and Department of Defense to track suspicious activities in Somalia — which has not had a sovereign government in two decades and lacks immigration controls — by a minority of Somali travelers from the U.S. who link up with Shabaab for terror training or combat. As was proven in terror plots hatched by Al Qaeda operative Najibullah Zazi, Pakistani Taliban operative Faisal Shahzad and  accused AQAP operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, terrorists have slipped through the net of U.S. intelligence in the past two years.

The Key American Recruit

As for non-Somali Americans, a top threat “is one of Shabaab’s rising combat commanders,” Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki. He was brought up a Southern Baptist in Daphne, Alabama but converted to Islam.

The committee reported that he “has become a star of Shabaab propaganda videos” and “swore blood revenge against his own homeland for the May 1 killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. Special Operations Forces.”

“May Allah accept our dear beloved Sheikh and cause our swords to become instruments of his avenging,” Hammami said in a communiqué Shabaab released on May 11.

Hammami poses a direct threat to the U.S. homeland.

Hammami’s father was a Syrian Muslim; his mother was an American Christian. Twice reported killed, he resurfaced most recently in March to say his life was in danger because of a dispute over Sharia law.

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