Thursday, May 27, 2010
HOUSTON -- A Somali diplomat said Thursday he’s concerned a member of a terrorist group from his country may be trying to get to Texas through Mexico but fears oppressed Somalis in Latin America trying to gain asylum in the U.S. will get caught up in a terror alert issued by American authorities.
U.S. Homeland Security has asked law enforcement in Houston to be on the lookout for a suspected member of the al-Shabaab group, an al-Qaida ally based in Somalia.
Omar Jamal, first secretary of the Somali mission at the United Nations, said his nation "is in a constant battle with al-Shabaab" and urged American authorities "to be careful who is bad and good in this new alarm."
The impoverished Horn of Africa nation is caught up in an Islamic insurgency and has not had a functioning government since 1991. It also is home to pirates who have been seizing vessels for ransom in the Indian Ocean.
Jamal said his UN mission for months has been fielding inquiries from Somalis who believe missing loved ones throughout Central and South America are trying to flee to the United States.
"We don’t want them to get caught in the middle of this war on terror," he said.
He encouraged law enforcement authorities to pursue leads "if they have a lead."
"But they also need to be very careful and vigilant of those who are really innocent," he said.
Harris County Sheriff’s Department officials have confirmed the terror alert but refused to discuss specifics. A Houston Police Department spokesman said the department doesn’t publicly discuss such matters. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they don’t discuss specific intelligence matters.
Jamal said he learned of the alert earlier this week.
"They’re trying to be extra cautious, but we didn’t think it was that much of a situation," he said. "We’ve been working with them on this issue for a very long time.
"It’s not the first time."
Raqiya Abdalla of the Fairfax, Va.-based Somali Family Care Network said her advocacy group has no official estimate of the number of Somalis in the U.S., but said a fair estimate would be 200,000.
The alert issued last week came after federal prosecutors added new charges earlier this month against a 24-year-old Somali man, Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane, who had been picked up in Brownsville in 2008.
He pleaded not guilty May 14 in federal court in San Antonio to three counts of immigration fraud.
Without elaborating, authorities in Harris County, which includes Houston, have confirmed a connection between Dhakane’s case and the Homeland Security alert.
Dhakane is accused of making false statements under oath in support of his application for asylum.
According to his indictment, Dhakane failed to disclose that he was a member or associate of the al-Barakat financial transfer network and Al-Ittihad al-Islami, or the Islamic Union, which wants to impose Islamic law in Somalia. Both are on the Treasury Department’s list of global terrorist groups with links to al-Qaida, according to the indictment.
The indictment also alleges that Dhakane lied about his movements before entering the United States in March 2008. It says he "participated in and later ran a large-scale smuggling enterprise out of Brazil" that smuggled hundreds of people, mostly East Africans, into the United States. Among those smuggled, according to the indictment, were several Somalis affiliated with Al-Ittihad al-Islami.
The indictment also alleges he lied when he told officials that a young girl was his wife, when she actually "was a smuggling client" of his whom he had never married and had "repeatedly raped and impregnated prior to coming to the United States." He threatened to have the girl murdered if U.S. officials learned of the rapes or that he was not her husband, according to the indictment
Posted by Steve Douglass at 1:27 PM
Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea reacted to a South Korean anti-submarine exercise early Thursday by saying it would meet "confrontation with confrontation" and war with "all-out war," according to North Korean state-run media.
"Now that the puppet group challenged the DPRK [North Korea] formally and blatantly, the DPRK will react to confrontation with confrontation, and to a war with an all-out war," according the KCNA news agency.
The news agency referred to South Korean leaders as a "group of traitors" and said they would experience "unheard of disastrous consequences" if they misunderstand North Korea's will.
The response comes amid high tensions on the Korean peninsula, after Seoul blamed Pyongyang for the sinking in March of a South Korean warship. An official South Korean report has accused the communist North of firing a torpedo at the ship, killing 46 sailors.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, visiting Seoul on Wednesday, called the sinking "an unacceptable provocation by North Korea" and said the international community should respond.
Video: Clinton: Ship attack 'unacceptable'
Also Thursday, the general staff of North Korea's military -- the Korean People's Army, or KPA -- said it was enacting new measures to deal with any "all-out confrontation."
The steps would "retract all measures for providing military guarantees for the North-South cooperation and exchange, and the promise of a physical strike.
"The KPA will make a prompt physical strike at the intrusion into the extension of the Military Demarcation Line under our side's control in the West Sea of Korea," the army said, according to the KCNA news agency.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 9:37 AM
On October 6, 2006 North Korea successfully tested their first nuclear weapon.
At first, the realization that North Korea had the bomb sent waves of panic through the halls of power in Washington, but the threat was largely dismissed because even if they had the bomb, the U.S. military assured the world that North Korea really didn’t have any way of delivering them.
The Pentagon acknowledged North Korea had developed missiles that could carry a nuke as far as Alaska, but they were not considered to be much of a threat because war planners had deployed a new system of anti-missile missiles capable of destroying anything North Korea launched.
It was for that reason why developing a stealth aircraft of their own, became such a high priority for Kim Joon Il.
Fortunately, acquiring stealth technology was even a more daunting technological challenge then building a nuclear bomb.
If North Korea could not, on their own, develop a successful stealth program, they would be forced to do the next best thing, try and steal it from the West.
With their own stealth bomber the threat they posed to the West would become magnified times ten.
BUY IT TODAY!
Posted by Steve Douglass at 8:04 AM