There has been no shortage of media coverage of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Yemen-based al-Qaeda associate who is purportedly the preacher that inspired Nidal Hasan to kill a dozen of his fellow soldiers at a Fort Hood processing center and convinced Umar Abdulmutallab to strap explosives to himself and try to blow up a crowded plane over Detroit on Christmas Day. If al-Awlaki’s message is that mesmerizing and his methods so pervasive, then it stands to reason that there are other, equally devout disciples eager to obey their master’s voice and carry out the deadly dictates of his twisted dogma.
It sounds like a dark story from the days of ancient pagan rituals: A person tears open a woman’s womb while she’s still alive and takes her baby from it. I wrote about such a crime in August of last year, but, tragically, it was no isolated event. And now a different case of this kind is coming to trial, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Yemeni intelligence officials asserted Friday that their investigation revealed that Umar Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of attempted to bomb Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day in Detroit, met in Yemen with known al-Qaeda operatives, probably including American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
In order to determine his competency to stand trial, Major Nidal Hasan is to undergo a mental evaluation by a team of three military medical professionals. The panel is composed of doctors chosen from the Army, Air Force, and Navy medical corps, and it will begin its evaluation of the case by reviewing the voluminous material contained in Hasan’s file.
Wearing the typical garb of a federal prisoner, Umar Abdulmutallab entered the courtroom wearing khaki trousers, a plain white t-shirt, and shackles on his ankles. The defendant was flanked by his attorney, a federal public defender, Miriam Siefer. Abdulmutallab was arraigned Friday in a Detroit federal court and the 23-year-old Nigerian stood before a magistrate, and Siefer plead not guilty all charges on behalf of her client.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the "oft-cited credo that more guns equal more crime is being tested by facts on the ground this year: Even as gun ownership has surged in the US in the past year, violent crime, including murder and robbery, has dropped steeply." FBI statistics for the past several years had shown crime rates holding steady but for 2009, violent crimes dropped "dramatically." Contrast these figures with the fact that gun sales are up 12 percent since the election of Barack Obama.
A three man panel of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, by a two to one split vote, has determined that Washington state law, which prohibits convicted felons from voting, violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
President Obama said on January 5, following a meeting with members of his national security team, that U.S. intelligence had gathered enough information to uncover the plot to bomb a Northwest Airlines plane enroute to Detroit, but "failed" to piece it all together before the plane departed.
Since the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, a number of American Muslims have grown increasingly radical in their adherence to a violent strain of Islam and have tried with varying degrees of success to prove the sincerity of their devotion by killing American soldiers and civilians.
The new millimeter-wave body scanners soon to be deployed in airports throughout the United States would not have detected the explosive device smuggled aboard Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day by Umar Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man reportedly trained by a Yemen-based al-Qaeda terrorist cell to destroy the plane over Detroit.