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Could Lashkar-e-Taiba be the New Bully in the Terrorism World?

Like in the world of computers and video games, there’s always something new and improved about to come out. Could that be true in the terrorism world?  Is the India terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the new and improved al Qaeda?

BY JAMES GORDON MEEK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON – U.S. intelligence was caught off-guard by Lashkar-e-Taiba’s “highly sophisticated” Mumbai terror strikes last month, which top spies now consider the debut of a new “brand name” to rival Al Qaeda.
The Islamist group was formed with Pakistani government help decades ago, but U.S. officials admit underestimating Lashkar’s shift from waging a minor conflict in the Kashmir region to threatening Westerners and Jews.
“There is real concern over the fact LeT has raised its profile,” a U.S. counterterror official told the Daily News. “A lot of people are watching closely now to see if they’re plotting new attacks.”
The group is as mainstream in Pakistan as its ally Hamas is in the Palestinian territories.
For Full Story

Terrorist Extradition From Britain Slower than Molasses

There is slow justice and then there is very very slow justice. Here is the latter.

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
SOUTH LITTLETON, England — Soon after al-Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, a U.S. federal judge issued a warrant for Khalid al-Fawwaz, an accused conspirator in the attacks and a confidant of Osama bin Laden.
British police promptly arrested Fawwaz, a Saudi national, at his home in London. Two other al-Qaeda suspects were later detained nearby. British authorities pledged to extradite the men to the United States as swiftly as possible so they could stand trial.
But a decade later, none of the defendants has moved any closer to a U.S. courtroom. One died of cancer in July. The other two, including Fawwaz, remain in prison here as their hearings drag on.
As the long-delayed British extraditions show, it is extraordinarily difficult to bring international terrorism suspects to justice by prosecuting them in U.S. civilian courts. The cases underscore the challenge facing President-elect Barack Obama as he tries to find a way to close the Navy prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and end the military tribunals set up by the Bush administration to handle terrorism cases from abroad.
For Full Story

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Avoids Controversy at College Commencement Speech

Some people were probably expecting a little jab at Gov. Blagojevich during his speech. But U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitgerald didn’t throw any punches.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PEORIA, Ill. – U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s 9-minute commencement address at Bradley University on Saturday may be most notable for what it didn’t mention: There weren’t any juicy new details about the corruption case he’s brought against Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Delivering the midyear commencement address at the central Illinois school, Fitzgerald urged graduates not to turn their backs on the opportunity to work in public service.
“You will not be making a sacrifice. You will be making the smartest decision you ever made,” said Fitzgerald, who was also awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters.
But Fitzgerald made no mention of the charges he brought against the Democratic governor earlier this month, charges that shook the Illinois political establishment and put the state in the national spotlight.
For Full Story

Online Jihadists Have Plan to Invade Facebook

Facebook may be the playground for everyone from entertainers to acne-faced kids. But the Jihadists in the world want to add to the mix.  Could Bin Laden one day ask to be your Facebook friend?

By Noah Shachtman
Wired Blog Network

Online jihadists have already used YouTube, blogs and other social media to spread their propaganda. Now, a group of internet Islamic extremists is putting together a plan for “invading Facebook.”
“We can use Facebook to fight the media,” notes a recent posting on the extremist al-Faloja forum, translated by Jihadica.com. “We can post media on Facebook that shows the Crusader losses.”
“We have already had great success in raiding YouTube,” the poster adds. “American politicians have used Facebook to get votes, like the house slave Obama.”
Groups like al-Qaida were pioneering users of the internet – to train, share ideas and organize. But some observers, like George Washington University professor Marc Lynch, see a reluctance to embrace Web 2.0 tools like Facebook.
“One of the biggest problems for a virtual network like AQ today is that it needs to build connections between its members while protecting itself from its enemies. That’s a filtering problem: How do you get your people in, and keep intelligence agents out?” he asks.
But as Jihadica.com author and West Point Combating Terrorism Center fellow William McCants notes, the proposed Facebook invasion “is not an attempt to replicate [existing] social networks.” Instead, “the members of the campaign want to exploit existing networks of people who are hostile to them and presumably they will adopt new identities once they have posted their material.”
The al-Faloja poster suggests seven “brigades” work together within Facebook. One will distribute videos and writing of so-called “martyrs.” Another will spread military training material. Most of them will work in Arabic, presumably. But one of the units will focus just on spread English-language propaganda through Facebook.
For Full Story

New Sequel To Weekend At Bernie’s: Fed Judge Orders Bernie Madoff Confined to his $7 Million Penthouse

There are worse things than being confined to a $7 million penthouse in New York. Then again, these days there are better people to be than Bernie Madoff.

BY THOMAS ZAMBITO and CORKY SIEMASZKO
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — The most hated con man in New York will be trapped in a gilded cage until he goes to trial.
Fallen financier Bernard Madoff Friday was ordered confined to his $7 million upper East Side penthouse 24 hours a day by a Manhattan federal judge.
Madoff was already wearing an electronic ankle bracelet and required to be home from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz agreed to tighten Madoff’s bail conditions after federal prosecutors – worried about death threats and determined that he stand trial for engineering a $50 billion Ponzi scheme – cited the need to prevent “harm or flight.”
For Full Story

A 2007 Chat With Bernie Madoff

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab1NTIlO-FM

Fed Employee Accuses the Prosecution in Sen. Stevens Case of Misconduct

Sen. Stevens/official photo

Sen. Stevens/official photo

With this latest allegations, coupled with the judge chastising the prosecution on more than one occasion during trial, don’t be surprised to see the U.S. Court of Appeals call for a new trial. Then again, don’t be surprised to see President Bush pardon Stevens in the final days of his administration.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A federal employee with extensive knowledge of the investigation and corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has filed a whistle-blower complaint alleging that the government intentionally withheld evidence and committed other misconduct.
Among the accusations were that the government intentionally “schemed to relocate a witness” and that an employee working on the investigation accepted artwork and employment for a relative from a cooperating source, according to a legal ruling issued late last night by the federal judge who presided over Stevens’s trial.
The allegations echo long-running complaints raised by Stevens’s defense team. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan chastised prosecutors several times for their handling of evidence and witnesses.
For Full Story

Read Court Document

Missouri Man Who Appeared on 60 Minutes is Sentenced to 5 Years For Impersonating a DEA Agent

Bill Jakob’s fun adventure — posing as a DEA agent and busting drug dealers in a small Missouri town — ended very badly for him. Lesson learned: Kids, don’t try this at home.

By Robert Patrick
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
ST. LOUIS — William Anthony Jakob, the man who posed as a federal agent in the tiny town of Gerald, Mo., was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to five years in prison.
The sentence was no surprise — it was part of the plea deal Jakob had with prosecutors.
Jakob, 36, of Washington, Mo., pleaded guilty in September to 23 felony charges. At that time, he admitted in court that he pretended at various times to be a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, a U.S. marshal and an agent for a multijurisdictional task force after arriving in Gerald in March.
Gerald is a town in Franklin County. The case made national news when Jakob granted an interview to “60 Minutes.” In that interview, aired last month, Jakob said he got an adrenalin rush from his drug busts. He said his work gave him a sense of purpose.
Jakob waived a shotgun and a pistol while raiding private homes, handcuffing the occupants and even making arrests, according to court testimony.
For Full Story

Read Indictment

60 Minutes Appearance Several Weeks Before Sentencing

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdL5Jyn3mdA

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Bob Woodward Talks About the FBI Agent Known as “Deep Throat”