Update: Guilty on all counts.
Count 1 – Conspiracy to Murder, Kidnap, and Maim Persons in a Foreign Country as part of a conspiracy to advance violent jihad
Count 2 – Conspiracy to Provide Material Support for Terrorists
Count 3 – Material Support for Terrorists
Counts 4 and 5 are against Hassoun for unlawful possession of a weapon and making a false statement
Counts 6 through 10 are against Hassoun for multiple charges of perjury
Count 11 is against Hassoun for obstruction
2:30pm Eastern. We’ll see if any of the jurors are willing to talk, but it seems clear to me that the judge’s decision to allow FBI wiretap evidence was critical–as well as the decision to bar the defense team’s “defensive jihad” propaganda.
AllahPundit’s not optimistic about a conviction.
Miami Herald: “The federal government has tried other ”material support” terrorism cases since 9/11 — with mixed results. But none featured a defendant quite like Padilla. The 36-year-old U.S. citizen was held as an ”enemy combatant” in a Naval brig for more than three years before the Bush administration dropped that status to avoid a confrontation before the Supreme Court over his detention. Before his transfer to Miami federal court early last year, Bush officials had accused him of being an al Qaeda recruit who plotted to carry out a radiological ‘dirty-bomb’ attack on U.S. soil. But he was never formally charged. The Miami indictment includes the allegation of being an al Qaeda soldier — but not the government’s ”dirty bomber” accusation. Still, the uproar over Padilla’s military detention could seep into jury deliberations, despite efforts by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke before the trial to weed out potential jurors who knew of Padilla’s history as an enemy combatant.”
While we wait, here’s a flashback from last January, when I published Padilla’s al Qaeda form. Here’s the first page in Arabic and English:
May 1988: Padilla turns 18, released from juvenile detention in Chicago on probation until age 21.
October 1991: Padilla arrested in South Florida on gun and traffic charges. He serves 10 months in prison.
Early 1993: Padilla, while employed at Taco Bell in Davie, FL, inquires about converting to Islam.
1994: Padilla begins using the name Ibrahim.
1998: Padilla leaves U.S. to study Arabic abroad.
1999: Padilla travels to Afghanistan.
2001: Padilla meets with Abu Zubaydah. Padilla and an unnamed associate receive explosives training in Pakistan.
Early 2002: Padilla meets with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and is ordered to return to the U.S. for reasons still unclear.
May 2002: Padilla arrested on a material witness warrant related to September 11, at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
June 2002:Padilla designated “enemy combatant” by the president and moved to military custody in South Carolina.
If you haven’t clicked over to the NYPD’s new report, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,” now’s a good time to do it. Many of the findings align perfectly with the Padilla case. I’m reprinting several key passages here, but make sure to read the whole thing.
NY Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s preface:
While terrorism has been with us for centuries, the destructive power and global reach of modern terrorism is unprecedented. The entire world witnessed the attacks of September 11, 2001, but most of the attacks and attempted attacks since then have shown 9/11 to be an anomaly rather than the standard pattern for terrorism in the homeland.If the post-September 11th world has taught us anything, it is that the tools for conducting serious terrorist attacks are becoming easier to acquire. Therefore intention becomes an increasingly important factor in the formation of terrorist cells. This study is an attempt to look at how that intention forms, hardens and leads to an attack or attempted attack using real world case studies.While the threat from overseas remains, many of the terrorist attacks or thwarted plots against cities in Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States have been conceptualized and planned by local residents/citizens who sought to attack their country of residence. The majority of these individuals began as “unremarkable” – they had “unremarkable” jobs, had lived “unremarkable” lives and had little, if any criminal history. The recently thwarted plot by homegrown jihadists, in May 2007, against Fort Dix in New Jersey, only underscores the seriousness of this emerging threat. Understanding this trend and the radicalization process in the West that drives “unremarkable” people to become terrorists is vital for developing effective counterstrategies.This realization has special importance for the NYPD and the City of New York. As one of the country’s iconic symbols and the target of numerous terrorist plots since the 1990’s, New York City continues to be the one of the top targets of terrorists worldwide. Consequently, the NYPD places a priority on understanding what drives and defines the radicalization process.The aim of this report is to assist policymakers and law enforcement officials, both in Washington and throughout the country, by providing a thorough understanding of thekind of threat we face domestically. It also seeks to contribute to the debate among intelligence and law enforcement agencies on how best to counter this emerging threatby better understanding what constitutes the radicalization process.
• Al-Qaeda has provided the inspiration for homegrown radicalization and terrorism; direct command and control by al-Qaeda has been the exception, rather than the rule among the case studies reviewed in this study.
• The four stages of the radicalization process, each with its distinct set of indicators and signatures, are clearly evident in each of the nearly one dozen terrorist-related case studies reviewed in this report.
o In spite of the differences in both circumstances and environment in each of the cases, there is a remarkable consistency in the behaviors and trajectory of each of the plots across all the stages.
o This consistency provides a tool for predictability.
• The transnational phenomenon of radicalization in the West is largely a function of the people and the environment in which they live. Much different from the
Israeli-Palestinian equation, the transformation of a Western-based individual to a terrorist is not triggered by oppression, suffering, revenge, or desperation.
• Rather, it is a phenomenon that occurs because the individual is looking for an identity and a cause and unfortunately, often finds them in the extremist Islam.
• There is no useful profile to assist law enforcement or intelligence to predict who will follow this trajectory of radicalization. Rather, the individuals who take this course begin as “unremarkable” from various walks of life.
• Europe’s failure to integrate the 2nd and 3rd generation of its immigrants into society, both economically and socially, has left many young Muslims torn between the secular West and their religious heritage. This inner conflict makes them especially vulnerable to extremism—the radical views, philosophy, and rhetoric that is highly advertised and becoming more and more fashionable among young Muslims in the West.
• Muslims in the U.S. are more resistant, but not immune to the radical message.
o Despite the economic opportunities in the United States, the powerful gravitational pull of individuals’ religious roots and identity sometimes supersedes the assimilating nature of American society which includes pursuit of a professional career, financial stability and material comforts.
• The jihadist ideology combines the extreme and minority interpretation [jihadi-Salafi] of Islam with an activist-like commitment or responsibility to solve global political grievances through violence. Ultimately, the jihadist envisions a world in which jihadi-Salafi Islam is dominant and is the basis of government.
o This ideology is proliferating in Western democracies at a logarithmic rate.
The Internet, certain Salafi-based NGO’s (non-governmental organizations), extremist sermons /study groups, Salafi literature, jihadi videotapes, extremist – sponsored trips to radical madrassas and militant training camps abroad have served as “extremist incubators” for young, susceptible Muslims — especially ones living in diaspora communities in the
• The Internet is a driver and enabler for the process of radicalization
o In the Self-Identification phase, the Internet provides the wandering mind of the conflicted young Muslim or potential convert with direct access to
unfiltered radical and extremist ideology.
o It also serves as an anonymous virtual meeting place—a place where virtual groups of like-minded and conflicted individuals can meet, form virtual relationships and discuss and share the jihadi-Salafi message they have encountered.
o During the Indoctrination phase, when individuals adopt this virulent ideology, they begin interpreting the world from this newly-formed context. Cloaked with a veil of objectivity, the Internet allows the aspiring jihadist to view the world and global conflicts through this extremist lens, further reinforcing the objectives and political arguments of the jihadi-Salafi
o In the Jihadization phase, when an individual commits to jihad, the Internet serves as an enabler—providing broad access to an array of information on targets, their vulnerabilities and the design of weapons.
• Individuals generally appear to begin the radicalization process on their own. Invariably, as they progress through the stages of radicalization they seek likeminded individuals. This leads to the creation of groups or clusters. These clusters appear almost essential to progressing to the Jihadization stage—the critical stage that leads to a terrorist act.
o “Group think” is one of the most powerful catalysts for leading a group to actually committing a terrorist act. It acts as a force-multiplier for radical thought while creating a competitive environment amongst the group members for being the most radical.
• Although there are many groups or clusters of individuals that are on the path of radicalization, each group needs certain archetypes to evolve from just being a “bunch of guys” to an operational terrorist cell. All eleven case studies had:
o A “spiritual sanctioner” who provides the justification for jihad—a justification that is especially essential for the suicide terrorist. In some cases the sanctioner was the nucleus around which the cluster formed.
o An “operational leader” who is essential as the group decides to conduct a terrorist act–organizing, controlling and keeping the group focused and its motivation high.
• The full radicalization of a Western individual, or groups of individuals, does not always result in the committing of a terrorist act in the West. Many fully radicalized individuals have first looked to conduct jihad by becoming mujahedeen and fighting in conflicts overseas.
o The image of the heroic, holy warrior or “mujahedeen” has been widely marketed on the Internet as well as in jihadi tapes and videos. This image continues to resonate among young, especially Muslim, men 15-35 years old—men who are most vulnerable to visions of honor, bravery and sacrifice for what is perceived as a noble cause.
o Among those individuals who travel abroad in search of jihad, some end up as mujahedeen and fight in foreign lands; some are re-directed to commit acts in the West, often in their country of origin, while others give up and return home because they can’t endure the training or have a change of heart.
o For those groups of homegrown radicalized individuals who do not seek jihad abroad, the dedication and commitment of their leader to jihad is often
the main factor in determining whether the group will commit a terrorist act or not.
• Although the 9/11 attack, with its overseas origins, is more of an exception in terms of how terrorist plots have been launched since the destruction of the Twin Towers, it has probably been the most important factor in proliferating the process of radicalization, especially in the West. More importantly, 9/11 established the current trend of committing an act in the name of global jihad as a natural culmination of full radicalization and the ultimate responsibility for the fully radicalized jihadist.
o Prior to 9/11, the entire radicalization process moved at a much slower rate. There was no direct link to jihad, other than to become a mujahedeen. Aspiring jihadists would travel to Afghanistan without any idea that they could become actual terrorists. Now, there is no longer any illusion as to what the adoption of jihadi-Salafi ideology means.
o The radicalization process is accelerating in terms of how long it takes and the individuals are continuing to get younger. Moreover, with the higher risks associated with heading down this pathway, individuals will seek to conceal their actions earlier, making intelligence and law enforcement’s job even more difficult.
• It is useful to think of the radicalization process in terms of a funnel. Entering the process does not mean one will progress through all four stages and become a terrorist. However, it also does not mean that if one doesn’t become a terrorist, he or she is no longer a threat. Individuals who have been radicalized but are not jihadists may serve as mentors and agents of influence to those who might become the terrorists of tomorrow.
• The subtle and non-criminal nature of the behaviors involved in the process of radicalization makes it difficult to identify or even monitor from a law enforcement standpoint. Taken in isolation, individual behaviors can be seen as innocuous; however, when seen as part of the continuum of the radicalization process, their significance becomes more important. Considering the sequencing of these behaviors and the need to identify those entering this process at the earliest possible stage makes intelligence the critical tool in helping to thwart an attack or even prevent the planning of future plots.
The role of prisons as jihad-brewing cesspools:
Prison—A Radicalizing CauldronPrisons can play a critical role in both triggering and reinforcing the radicalization process. The prison’s isolated environment, ability to create a “captive audience” atmosphere, its absence of day-to-day distractions, and its large population of disaffected young men, makes it an excellent breeding ground for radicalization.Two of the Madrid bombers–Moroccan Jamal Ahmidan and Algerian Alleka Lamari—were either radicalized or more deeply indoctrinated in prison.• Ahmidan, a non-observant Muslim incarcerated for petty crimes, was indoctrinated into radical Islam while in a Moroccan jail over the course of about2 ½ years. Ahmidan was fascinated by some of the inmates who were veterans of the Afghan jihad. As these jihadists used the prisons–a haven of disaffectedmen who are ripe for radicalization– for attracting future recruits, Ahmidan also became fascinated with their radical views.• Ahmidan was released in 2003—a man now wholly transformed into a Salafi, ideologically and politically. Upon his return to Spain, Ahmidan not only prayedthe required five times a day, but spoke incessantly about jihad and his desire to fight the Americans in Iraq. Although Ahmidan stopped drinking and using drugsfollowing his transformation, he continued to sell drugs to non Muslims.• Allekema Lamari, who had been arrested in 1997 for belonging to an Algerian extremist group, had already been radicalized. However, according to open source, his five year stint in prison nurtured his extremist views and actually intensified his radical mindset. During his incarceration, Lamari joined an Algerian Islamist prison group.
The radicalization process:
The NYPD report’s bottom-line conclusion:
“The challenge to intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the West in general, and the United States in particular, is how to identify, preempt and thus prevent homegrown
terrorist attacks given the non-criminal element of its indicators, the high growth rate of the process that underpins it and the increasing numbers of its citizens that are exposed