Archive for May, 2013

Argentine Prosecutor Accuses Iran of Establishing Terror Network in Latin America

On May 29, Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who investigated the 1994 AMIA bombing, issued a 500-page indictment that accused Iran of establishing terror networks throughout Latin America since the 1980s. The Iranian regime infiltrated “several South American countries by building local clandestine intelligence stations designed to sponsor, foster and execute terrorist attacks, within the principles to export the Islamic revolution,” a two-page summary of the report obtained by The Long War Journal stated.

In a 31-page summary report obtained by The Long War Journal, Nisman said that Iran’s “clandestine intelligence stations and operative agents … are used to execute terrorist attacks when the Iranian regime decides so, both directly or through its proxy, the terrorist organization Hezbollah.” Nisman also warned that Iran could seek to use sleeper cells. While presenting the indictment on May 29, Nisman reportedly said that members of the sleeper cells “[s]ometimes … die having never received the order to attack.”

Iran has set up intelligence bases in a number of South American countries, according to Nisman, including, but not limited to: Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname. Nisman, the summary stated, plans to send his indictment “to the pertinent judicial authorities” in the various countries. A copy of the indictment is also being sent to US authorities.

Boston Bombing Investigation Exposed Successes, Failures of Surveillance Tech

Despite multiple photos and surveillance video images of two suspects involved in the Boston Marathon bombings last month, as well as state-of-the-art facial-recognition software and two government databases, investigators were unable to identify the two suspected perpetrators, even after releasing several of the images to the public.

It was only after one suspect was shot in a showdown with police and was fingerprinted on his way to the hospital that authorities finally had a name to go with a face — Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a Chechen youth who was already on two U.S. terrorist watch lists after Russian authorities warned the U.S. that he had become “radicalized.”

The watch lists were supposed to alert authorities if Tsarnaev attempted to travel overseas, but they failed as well, even after he returned last year from a six-month trip to Russia. The databases contained a misspelling of the suspect’s name — “Tsarnayev” instead of Tsarnaev — and two incorrect dates of birth.

The facial-recognition system failed because none of the images captured of the suspects at the bombing site were full-frontal shots that the system’s algorithms could recognize.

These are two of the technology failures discussed in a new documentary about the bombing manhunt produced by NOVA and airing on PBS stations tonight.

Rise of Al-Qaida Sahara Terrorist

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — After years of trying to discipline him, the leaders of al-Qaida’s North African branch sent one final letter to their most difficult employee. In page after scathing page, they described how he didn’t answer his phone when they called, failed to turn in his expense reports, ignored meetings and refused time and again to carry out orders.

Most of all, they claimed he had failed to carry out a single spectacular operation, despite the resources at his disposal.

The employee, international terrorist Moktar Belmoktar, responded the way talented employees with bruised egos have in corporations the world over: He quit and formed his own competing group. And within months, he carried out two lethal operations that killed 101 people in all: one of the largest hostage-takings in history at a BP-operated gas plant in Algeria in January, and simultaneous bombings at a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger just last week.

The al-Qaida letter, found by The Associated Press inside a building formerly occupied by their fighters in Mali, is an intimate window into the ascent of an extremely ambitious terrorist leader, who split off from regional command because he wanted to be directly in touch with al-Qaida central. It’s a glimpse into both the inner workings of a highly structured terrorist organization that requires its commanders to file monthly expense reports, and the internal dissent that led to his rise. And it foreshadows a terrorism landscape where charismatic jihadists can carry out attacks directly in al-Qaida’s name, regardless of whether they are under its command.