Thursday, June 22, 2006


Miami and Chicago attacks thwarted

***UPDATE****View Indictment here***

I'm reviewing it, comments to come.


"MIAMI - Federal law-enforcement sources tell NBC News that the FBI has arrested seven men in Miami as part of an ongoing terrorism operation.

The men — part of a radical Black Muslim group — were planning terror acts in Miami and Chicago, the officials say. The planned targets were the Sears Tower in Chicago and a federal building in Miami.

An FBI informant infiltrated the group, the sources say, neutralizing the threat. They say it's not clear how much damage the group would have done on its own. They were making plans to purchase bomb-making materials, the officials add.

Indictments against the men will be unsealed Friday for charges including an attempt to "maliciously damage or destroy" property "by means of an explosive," a source added. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is scheduled to hold a news conference Friday to discuss the raid. A simultaneous news conference will be held in Miami.

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta said in a statement that more details about the ongoing operation would be released Friday.

Local media reported that agents were raiding a warehouse in Miami's Liberty City section.

"There is no imminent threat to Miami or any other area because of these operations," said Richard Kolko, spokesman for FBI headquarters in Washington. He declined further comment.

‘Blocking the streets’

Cedric Thomas, an owner of Thomas Produce Market, told The Miami Herald the area around his store was teeming with federal agents.

"There is a ton of guys in uniforms moving around, blocking the streets," Thomas said.

Several terrorism investigations have had south Florida links. Several of the Sept. 11 hijackers lived and trained in the area, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, and several plots by Cuban-Americans against Fidel Castro's government have been based in Miami.

Jose Padilla, a former resident once accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive bomb in the U.S., is charged in Miami with being part of a North American terror cell."

Being "in the area", I'm dialing around to get some info. Feds swarmed notrorious Liberty City, around 62nd Street. More to come.

More from CBS-4:

"(CBS4 News) MIAMI After an operation that started about four months ago, the FBI has arrested several suspects of domestic terrorism in a Miami low-income housing project.

The arrests took place Thursday afternoon at the Scott Housing Projects in the area of NW 68th street and 15th Avenue. Miami Police officers were seen in the area securing a perimeter for the FBI to carry out their arrests.

Sources tell CBS4 News it is unclear whether weapons or bomb-making materials were found, but those detained are suspected of being involved in planning terrorist activity.

Neighbors say suspicious activity had been observed at the home recently.

NOTE: This is a report from 7:17pm, and the FEDS are standing by their statement "radical ties".

UPDATE: There will be a news conference tomorrow, but a "sketch" at this point has these subject as "gang members", who felt they were being recruited. At this point there is no report of "means" found, but that is speculative as much of what is coming out is "leaks".

UPDATE II: More information. Via Fox "Seven people were arrested on terrorism conspiracy charges Thursday in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack Chicago's Sears Tower and other buildings in the United States, a federal law enforcement official said.

Officials told FOXNews the seven men were in the very early stages of planning an attack for what the planners thought was Al Qaeda, but the people they were working with were actually Department of Justice officials.

The target was supposedly the Sears Tower in Chicago, but officials said the suspects were also considering attacking FBI facilities and government buildings in Miami.

Officials told FOXNews that the suspects were plotting to wage jihad in conjunction with Al Qaeda and were having elaborate discussions, and that the suspects believed if they knocked down the Sears Tower, that they could effectively cripple the U.S. government.

The officials stressed that there was no imminent danger, telling FOXNews "we were with them the whole time."

UPDATE: News conference highlights via Fox:

"The men — five of whom are American citizens — along with others yet unknown, set out to "combine, conspire, confederate, and agree to provide material support and resources" to Al Qaeda "by agreeing to provide personnel, including themselves, to work under Al Qaeda's direction and control, knowing that Al Qaeda has engaged or engages in terrorist activity," the indictment reads.

Click here to read the indictment. (pdf)

During meetings with who they believed were Al Qaeda representatives but in fact were Justice Department officials, the men asked for items such as uniforms, machine guns, radio gear and thousands of dollars in cash.

"We want to kill all the devils we can," they said, according to the indictment handed up Thursday. The seven suspects were expected to appear in court later Friday.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said during a news conference Friday that terror threats now may come from smaller, more loosely defined cells not directly affiliated by Al Qaeda "but who are inspired by a violent jihadist message."

These "homegrown terrorists" may be just as dangerous as Al Qaeda itself, he added, and they live in the areas they intend to attack; cities like Madrid, London and Toronto — all which have either been attacked or nearly attacked.

"They were persons who, for whatever reasons, came to view their home country as the enemy. It's a problem we face here in the Untied States, as well," Gonzales said.

The defendants are identified as: Narseal Batiste, also known as "Brother Naz" and "Prince Manna;" Rotschild Augustine, or "Brother Rot"; Patrick Abraham, or "Brother Pat"; Stanley Grant Phanor, or "Brother Sunni"; Naudimar Herrera or "Brother Naudy"; Lyglenson Lemorin, also known as "Brother Levi" or Brother Levi-El"; and Rotschild Augustine, or "Brother Rot."

According to the indictment, Batiste, beginning in November 2005, recruited and trained the others "for a mission to wage war against the United States government," including a plot to destroy the Sears Tower.

To obtain money and support for their mission, the conspirators sought help from Al Qaeda, pledged an oath to the terrorist organization and supported an Al Qaeda plot to destroy FBI buildings, the four-count indictment charged. That included taking photographs of the FBI building in North Miami Beach, Fla., as well as video and photographs of other federal buildings in Miami-Dade County.

Batiste met several times in December 2005 with a person purporting to be an Al Qaeda member and asked for boots, uniforms, machine guns, radios, vehicles and $50,000 in cash to help him build an "'Islamic Army' to wage jihad'," the indictment said. It said that Batiste said he would use his "soldiers" to destroy the Sears Tower.

In February 2006, it said, Batiste told the "Al Qaeda representative" that he and his five soldiers wanted to attend Al Qaeda training and planned a "full ground war" against the United States in order to "kill all the devils we can." His mission would "be just as good or greater than 9/11," the indictment accused Batiste of boasting.

The seven defendants were charged with conspiring to "maliciously damage and destroy by means of an explosive" the FBI building in North Miami Beach and the Sears Tower in Chicago.

They were are also charged with conspiring "to levy war against the government of the United States, and to oppose by force the authority thereof."

Good police work on the part of our men and women. This is a MAJOR bust and more subjects will be brought in in the coming days.

More at hotair, Stop the ACLU, and Blogs of War with more updates.

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