Obama’s weakness strengthens Al-Shabaab

James Jay Carafano links America’s new posture of weakness and the probability of an attack from Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab in an op-ed piece today in the Washington Examiner. (That’s a paper well worth reading, by the way.)  He says:

Today, the group aims to be a world-class terrorist outfit, recruiting fighters under the banner of religious holy war. They are more than just a local band of fanatics. They may be plotting the next 9/11.  

When you start to “connect the dots,” (the phrase made famous by the 9/11 Commission), you find there are a lot of dots to connect.
Al-Shabaab is no home-grown terrorist boy’s club. Various news sources report “foreign fighters” have joined their ranks, some in high-level leadership positions. That suggests that group has an international perspective and sees itself as part of the global Islamist campaign.
Furthermore, government intelligence officials find unambiguous links between al Qaeda and Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab seems to see itself as the East African franchise of Osama Bin Laden International. Last month, the group released a video featuring a Somali training camp and members pledging their allegiance to Bin Laden.
As you know if you read RRW regularly,
Most troubling, Al-Shabaab definitely has links to the United States. There is a significant Somali Diaspora here. Most came in the wake of the civil war. Somali communities have sprung up across the country. About 25,000 live in Minnesota, where hundreds of Somali-owned businesses dot the state. 
Al-Shabaab has been recruiting fighters from the U.S. to help wage their holy war. An American Somali recently took part in the suicide bombing of an African Union peacekeeping base in Mogadishu. The question now is whether Al-Shabaab will use its network to launch attacks here. U.S. officials think they might.
And here is the important connection:
Sensing weakness in the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, the Islamist group may believe Bin Laden’s pronouncement that America has become a “paper tiger.” If so, now would be the time for them to strike.
Carafano is too kind. It’s certainly not just weakness in our Afghanistan effort. It’s also President Obama’s continuous groveling before our enemies and our Muslim “friends” like the king of Saudi Arabia. I’ll never forget that picture of Obama bowing to the king as long as I live! At the moment we are indeed a paper tiger, because no matter what our actual military strength, if our government is determined not to stand up for our interests we may as well not have a military. To be  clear, Carafano doesn’t mention Obama; just “the government.”
Carafano goes on to talk about counterterrorism measures:
Stopping any Al-Shabaab operation here will require solid counterterrorism operations and non-stop intelligence sharing. In particular, we are going to need the tools authorized under the Patriot Act which have helped foil at least 26 intended attacks on the U.S. since 9/11.
Some of these authorities, such as “roving wire taps” that let law enforcement agencies track suspected terrorists as they jump from cell phone to cell phone, are now up for renewal in  Congress.
And I’ll point out that if Congress doesn’t renew those measures we’ll be hurt two ways: One by losing the measures as weapons in our fight against terrorism on our land, and two by continuing and amplifying the signal that we’re weak, weak, weak.  Carafano’s conclusion:
Given all the misinformation that’s been spread by opponents of the Patriot Act, let me make one more important point right here. It would be a terrible idea to regard Somali immigrants as terrorist suspects. Profiling any group because of a few bad apples is simply un-American.
Somalis are professionals, teachers, barbers, factory workers, cab drivers, soccer moms, and members of the PTA. Communities should be working with them, building stronger ties, fighting extremist ideas, and helping them share the American dream. That’s counter radicalization, American-style. 
As Ann has shown, the situation is far more complex than that. But I think Carafano knows that. We do know that there are Somalis who are upset and distressed by the radicalization of their young men by imams and others. Just as in Iraq we worked with ordinary people who did not want jihad or civil war, we of course should find and strengthen those Somalis who reject radicalism. And that would be first and foremost the women. I wonder if our government has a clue about that.

Immigration/women’s rights advocate facing jail time in Maine

Update October 15thShe gets 6 months.  In sentencing her the Judge said, “The suggestion of no jail time is simply not an option. Everyone must comply with the law, even if they do good deeds.”  Thanks again to Susan for the tip.

This is an update on a story we first reported, here.   According to this article in the Portland Press Herald, she will be sentenced today.  Hat tip:  Susan.

PORTLAND — Federal prosecutors want the director of a Portland-based nonprofit organization to spend 15 months in prison for forging bank records and lying to her probation officer.

The lawyer for Shalom Odokara has said he will ask the judge for a sentence that doesn’t include prison time.

Odokara, 49, is scheduled to be sentenced this afternoon by Judge D. Brock Hornby in U.S. District Court. She pleaded guilty in June to two counts of making false statements to her probation officer, and has admitted to violating the terms of her probation for an earlier federal conviction.

Odokara is the founder and director of Women in Need Industries, and is well known in Maine as an advocate for women’s rights, immigrants and victims of domestic violence. The seventh annual Festival of Nations, created by Odokara, was held at Deering Oaks in July.

Until her resignation on July 2, Odokara was vice chair of the Portland Planning Board.

Most city officials were surprised by revelations about Odokara’s criminal history and her false statements, which came to light in June.

Odokara pleaded guilty in 2006 for her role in a scheme that involved the embezzlement of $108,000 from the World Bank. According to court records in Washington, D.C., Odokara was a consultant to the World Bank when she and a friend carried out the scheme over several months in 2001.

Her previous status as a do-gooder got her some legal breaks in the past, looks like her luck has run out on that score.

Wolff, the government prosecutor, said in court documents that the court went easy on Odokara for the World Bank conviction because of the positive work she has done with Women in Need.

“The defendant made a mockery of the court’s leniency, however, when she committed a new federal offense and violated her probation within weeks of being sentenced,” Wolff wrote. “The defendant’s incarceration will unfortunately halt the work done by her organization in the community. The defendant has only herself to blame for this consequence of her criminal behavior.”

Somali terrorists threaten US interests in South Africa

Update (before even finishing this post!):  US Embassy in Pretoria evacuated today, not sure whether it was a drill or for real, here.

Did you know that we closed our US Embassy and other US facilities in Pretoria last month for a couple of days because of intelligence reports about Somali Al-Shabaab jihadists plotting revenge?   I didn’t know that.  Here is the report from South Africa yesterday.

An expert on Islamic militancy has warned that the South African intelligence services are “woefully, inadequately prepared” for the potential threat of terrorism during the World Cup next year.

Hussein Solomon, head of the International Institute of Islamic Studies in Pretoria, said militants had already established cells in South Africa.

He was commenting today on reports that Somali terrorists linked to al-Qaeda have been planning to attack US interests here.

The Weekend Argus reported that the US government had closed its embassy in Pretoria and all other US government facilities for two days last month because intelligence agencies had intercepted a call from Khayelitsha to the al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab extremist group in Somalia, discussing a plot to blow up American interests.

Experts believe the World Cup scheduled for South Africa in 2010 will be the magnet to bring Americans to South Africa and provide an opportunity for Islamic forces to get Americans.

The sources added that the efforts by local intelligence agencies to trace the Cape Town Somalis was disrupted when police commissioner Bheki Cele went on national television to say that the country’s intelligence structures
were on top of the situation. This prompted the Somalis to go further underground.

Solomon said today that he had been trying to warn authorities for some time about the threat of terrorist action during the World Cup.

Easier to get at Americans in South Africa.

“Everyone outside this country seems to know who is threatening South Africa. We must not think we are protected because we are far away. Often these things have nothing to do with South Africa. They are just an opportunity to attack America.”

Other sources said that Somali terrorists devised the strategy to take on the US in South Africa because it was easier than fighting the superpower in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.

Just a reminder that when the “moderate” President of Somalia, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed,  spoke in the US recently, he warned that the Al Shabaab recruiters who have been in the US for more than a year are still here—presumably still recruiting former refugees.   So, heck, they could get Americans on our own soil.

For new readers, inspite of all this, we are still bringing thousands of Somalis to the US each year:

The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.

Afghans involved in boat explosion incident will get refugee status in Australia

This is an update to a story we told you about here in April.   Afghanis, with the help of people smugglers, were trying to reach Australia.  When the boat was apprehended an explosian occurred killing five.   The others have now been granted refugee status in Australia.

A group of Afghan asylum seekers who survived an explosion that killed five people in the Timor Sea are to be granted refugee status in Australia. The government, however, has signaled it will deport anyone convicted of causing the explosion, which investigators suspect was sabotage.

In April, a boat carrying 47 Afghan asylum seekers was rocked by an explosion that killed five men and injured almost everyone else on board.

The Australian navy, which found the vessel about 600 kilometers off Australia’s northwest coast, was escorting it when the blast occurred.
Earlier this month, police said that passengers had deliberately started a fire after the boat was intercepted. Despite suspicions of sabotage, senior officers ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime.

Two Indonesian crewmen, however, have been accused of people smuggling.

Immigration officials have assessed the asylum applications of the surviving passengers and have granted them refugee status.

Anyone found guilty of causing the explosion could still be deported, but the others will now receive the full benefits of refugee status.

Refugee advocates say the men would have faced human rights abuses had they been forced to return to Afghanistan. However, if any are eventually convicted of causing the explosion Australian officials have indicated they would be deported.

Twenty of the men are being held in immigration detention in Brisbane, while the rest are incarcerated in the western Australian city of Perth. They are expected to be released later this week with residency visas and will be re-settled with help from the federal government.

Critics say that Australia’s lenient policies under the Rudd government will just encourage more illegal attempts to reach Australia.

Conservative politicians in Australia accuse Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of being soft on illegal immigration because he ended mandatory detention for asylum seekers who enter the country illegally. He also changed the rules so that those found to be genuine refugees could receive permanent, instead of temporary, visas.

Several people-smuggling boats have been intercepted this year in Australian waters. Authorities predict that unrest in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will force thousands of people to seek refuge in Western countries, including Australia.

Canberra resettles about 13,000 refugees under official humanitarian programs each year.

The US takes close to 80,000, the lion’s share, of the world’s refugees.