Terror charges unsealed in Minneapolis against 8 Somalis

Update November 24th:  Not close to the big fish yet, here!

Earlier I reported that the FBI was holding a press conference today about the missing Somali (former refugee) case.*  Thanks to a friend from Tennessee, below is the press release which I am posting in its entirety so we have it handy for future reference.

Terror Charges Unsealed in Minneapolis Against Eight Men, Justice Department Announces

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Justice Department announced that terrorism charges have been unsealed today in the District of Minnesota against eight defendants. According to the charging documents, the offenses include providing financial support to those who traveled to Somalia to fight on behalf of al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization; attending terrorist training camps operated by al-Shabaab; and fighting on behalf of al-Shabaab.

Thus far, 14 defendants have been charged in the District of Minnesota through indictments or criminal complaints that have been unsealed and brought in connection with an ongoing investigation into the recruitment of persons from U.S. communities to train with or fight on behalf of extremist groups in Somalia. Four of these defendants have previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

The charges were announced today by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; B. Todd Jones, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minneapolis; and Ralph S. Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“The recruitment of young people from Minneapolis and other U.S. communities to fight for extremists in Somalia has been the focus of intense investigation for many months,” Assistant Attorney General Kris said. “While the charges unsealed today underscore our progress to date, this investigation is ongoing. Those who sign up to fight or recruit for al-Shabaab’s terror network should be aware that they may well end up as defendants in the United States or casualties of the Somali conflict.”


According to court documents, between September 2007 and October 2009, approximately 20 young men, all but one of Somali descent, left the Minneapolis area and traveled to Somalia, where they trained with al-Shabaab, a designated terrorist organization. Many of them ultimately fought with al-Shabaab against Ethiopian forces, African Union troops, and the internationally-supported Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Court documents also state that the first group of six men traveled to Somalia in December 2007. Prior to their departure, the six men, as well as others in the Minneapolis area, raised money for the trips and held meetings in which they made phone calls to alleged co-conspirators in Somalia.

Upon arriving in Somalia, the men from Minneapolis allegedly stayed at safe-houses in Somalia and attended an al-Shabaab training camp. The al-Shabaab training camp included dozens of other young ethnic Somalis from Somalia, elsewhere in Africa, Europe and the United States. Purportedly, the trainees were trained by, among others, Somali, Arab and Western instructors in the use of small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and military-style tactics. Allegedly, the trainees also were indoctrinated with anti-Ethiopian, anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Western beliefs.

According to court documents, on Oct. 29, 2008, Shirwa Ahmed, one of the men who left Minnesota in December 2007 and attended the al-Shabaab training camp, took part in one of five simultaneous suicide attacks on targets in northern Somalia. The attacks appeared to have been coordinated. Shirwa Mohamud Ahmed, also known as “Shirwa,” drove an explosive-laden Toyota truck into an office of the Puntland Intelligence Service in Bossasso, Puntland. Other targets included a second Puntland Intelligence Service Office in Bossasso, the Presidential Palace, the United Nations Development Program office and the Ethiopian Trade Mission in Hargeisa. Including the suicide bombers, approximately twenty people were killed in the attacks.

Today in Minnesota, U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said of these cases, “The sad reality is that the vibrant Somali community here in Minneapolis has lost many of its sons to fighting in Somalia. These young men have been recruited to fight in a foreign war by individuals and groups using violence against government troops and civilians. Those tempted to fight on behalf of or provide support to any designated terrorist group should know they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Joining U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones was Ralph S. Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who added, “It is through the sustained and dedicated efforts of the Minneapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force and the support of the Somali-American community that today we are able to disclose some of the significant progress we have achieved in this critical investigation. At the same time, I emphasize the sole focus of our efforts in this matter has been the criminal conduct of a small number of mainly Somali-American individuals and not the broader Somali-American community itself, which has consistently expressed deep concern about this pattern of recruitment activity in support of al-Shabaab.”

Charging Documents Unsealed

The Justice Department announced that three charging documents were unsealed this morning in the District of Minnesota:

United States v. Mahamud Said Omar, 09-CR-242

On Aug. 20, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Mahamud Said Omar with terrorism offenses. According to the indictment, from September 2007 through the present, Omar, who is a Somali citizen but was granted permanent U.S. resident status in 1994, conspired with others to provide financial assistance as well as personnel to terrorists and foreign terrorist organizations. On Nov. 8, 2009, law enforcement authorities in the Netherlands arrested Omar according to a provisional arrest warrant. The United States has filed its request for extradition. According to documents unsealed this morning, including affidavits in support of the United States’ request for extradition of Omar from the Netherlands, Omar provided money to young men to travel from Minneapolis to Somalia to train with and fight for al-Shabaab. Omar also allegedly visited an al-Shabaab safe-house and provided hundreds of dollars to fund the purchase of AK-47 rifles for men from Minneapolis.

Omar is in custody in the Netherlands.

United States v. Ahmed Ali Omar, Khalid Mohamud Abshir, Zakaria Maruf, Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan and Mustafa Ali Salat, 09-CR-50

On Aug. 20, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a second superseding indictment charging Ahmed Ali Omar, Khalid Abshir, Zakaria Maruf, Mohamed Hassan and Mustafa Salat with terrorism-related offenses. These men were charged in the summer of 2009 with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and foreign terrorist organizations; conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim and injure people outside the United States; possessing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. The indictments that detail the charges filed against these co-conspirators also were unsealed today.

None of the five defendants is in custody. All five are believed to be outside of the United States.

United States v. Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax
United States v. Abdiweli Yassin Isse

On Oct. 9, 2009, a criminal complaint was filed, charging Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax and Abdiweli Yassin Isse with conspiring to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons outside the United States. The affidavit filed in support of the complaint states that in the fall of 2007, Faarax and others met at a Minneapolis mosque to telephone co-conspirators in Somalia to discuss the need for Minnesota-based co-conspirators to go to Somalia to fight the Ethiopians. The affidavit also alleges that later that fall, Faarax attended a meeting with co-conspirators at a Minneapolis residence, where he encouraged others to travel to Somalia to fight and told them how he had experienced true brotherhood while fighting a “jihad” in Somalia. Subsequently, Faarax was interviewed three times by authorities and each time denied fighting or knowing anyone who had fought in Somalia.

The criminal complaint states that Abdiweli Yassin Isse also encouraged others to travel to Somalia to fight the Ethiopians. He purportedly described at a gathering of co-conspirators his own plans to fight “jihad” against Ethiopians, and he raised money to buy airplane tickets for others to make the trip to Somalia for the same purpose. In raising that money, he allegedly misled community members into thinking they were contributing money to send young men to Saudi Arabia to study the Koran. The complaint that details the charges filed against these co-conspirators also was unsealed today.

Faarax and Isse are not in custody. Both men are believed to be outside of the United States.

Guilty Pleas

The Justice Department also announced that four residents of Minneapolis have entered guilty pleas in connection with this investigation; one resident of Minneapolis awaits trial on charges that he made false statements to the FBI, and one resident of Minneapolis was recently indicted on related charges.

United States v. Kamal Hassan, 09-CR-38

On Feb. 18, 2009, Kamal Said Hassan pleaded guilty to one count of providing material support to terrorists and one count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, respectively. On Aug. 12, 2009, Hassan pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI.

Hassan is in custody awaiting sentencing.

United States v. Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, 09-CR-50
United States v. Salah Osman Ahmed, 09-CR-50

On April 24, 2009, Abdifatah Yusuf Isse entered a guilty plea to one count of providing material support to terrorists. On July 28, 2009, Salah Osman Ahmed entered a guilty plea to one count of providing material support to terrorists.

Isse and Ahmed are in custody awaiting sentencing.

United States v. Adarus Abdulle Ali

On Nov. 2, 2009, Adarus Abdulle Ali pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of perjury for making false statements to a federal grand jury in December of 2008.

Ali has been released pending a sentencing hearing.

Additional Pending Cases

United States v. Abdow Munye Abdow

On Oct. 13, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Abdow Munye Abdow with making false statements to the FBI. The indictment alleges that on Oct. 8, 2009, Abdow lied to FBI agents when he was questioned after returning to Minnesota from a road trip to southern California. Abdow purportedly told the agents only one other person traveled with him when, according to officials, four people accompanied him. In addition, Abdow allegedly told the agents he did not know how the rental car in which he rode had been financed when, according to officials, he had used his own debit card to pay for the car.

Abdow has been released pending trial.

United States v. Omer Abdi Mohamed

On Nov. 19, 2009, Omer Abdi Mohamed was arrested on charges that he conspired to provide material support to terrorists; that he provided material support to terrorists; and that he conspired to kill, kidnap, maim and injure persons outside the United States.

Mohamed has been released pending trial.

To date, the investigation into the recruitment of young men to join al-Shabaab and those supporting that recruiting effort has been conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with the assistance and cooperation of the Dutch KLPD; the Dutch Ministry of Justice; Judith Friedman at the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs; the U.S. Department of State; the embassies at Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sanaa, Yemen; and The Hague in the Netherlands; and the Department of Defense. The case is being prosecuted by W. Anders Folk, Assistant U.S. Attorney and William M. Narus, from the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section, with assistance having been provided by David Bitkower, formerly of the Counterterrorism Section and currently an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

CONTACT: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs,
+1-202-514-2007, TDD: +1-202-514-1888

* If you go back to this original post a year ago note that I got sick of updating back in July, but you can readily find all the updates since then by going to the ‘pingbacks’ in the comment section.

Breaking News: FBI to announce more arrests in Somali missing youth case

Update November 24th:  Not close to the big fish yet, here.  And, who fingered Zakaria Maruf? here.

Update a few hours later:  Entire press release is available, here.

So, what is my reaction?  BIG DEAL!   What took you so long? Check out this story from Fox News this afternoon. Hat tip:  Watchful in Tennessee and Blulitespecial.   There is virtually nothing new in here!

Some of the arrests have already been announced (one last week) and some others are overseas somewhere, ho hum.    And, if this story is accurate there won’t be any connection made to the mosque that most, if not all, attended. 

This is what I think.  The FBI MISSED SPOTTING MAJOR NIDAL HASAN and now this is an effort to make the FBI and by extension the boss–Obama–look like they are on top of potential terror cases.   We started following the story of former Somali refugees* thumbing their noses at American generosity a year ago!  Again, what took the FBI so long?  Doing the happy dance around political correctness I suppose!

Federal authorities are expected to announce charges against eight more people today in a long-running investigation into how perhaps dozens of young men from the Minneapolis area were recruited to join an Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia.

It will be the most significant and public move to date in the case.

Charges against the eight people will be announced at a joint FBI-U.S. Attorney’s Office press conference in Minneapolis on Monday afternoon, a source said. Some, if not all, of the individuals will be charged with providing material support to terrorists, the source said.

Many of those charged have already been arrested, but some individuals are currently overseas, the source said. The source did not elaborate.

Beginning in late 2007 and continuing through last year, more than 20 young Americans of Somali descent were persuaded to train and fight with al-Shabaab, which is fighting to establish a Muslim state in Somalia and recently pledged its allegiance to Usama bin Laden.

U.S. officials worry that if al-Shabaab prevails, Somalia could turn into a haven for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

After families in Minneapolis began to report their sons missing, the FBI launched a wide-ranging investigation.

Check back later for more news, maybe they’ll surprise us!

For new readers who are wondering how the Somali refugees came to be here in the first place:

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.  That specific program has not yet been reopened, but will be soon.  Nevertheless, thousands of Somalis continue to be resettled as I write this.

Who resettles them:  Catholic Charities, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and World Relief (Evangelicals) and others.

San Diego “man” targeted Somalis in what looks like ponzi scheme

Update November 24:  A little more thorough and less politcally correct report here.

Once again I had planned to tackle that boring topic targeted assistance this morning, but as my time at the computer runs out, it’s juicy stories like this one that are much more distracting and appealing.   Tomorrow—targeted assistance for sure! 

This is the title of the article that distracted me from harder work, “SEC says SD County man targeted Somalis with fraud.”   My immediate reaction was what “man,” with the name of Smith or Jones or Madoff, was scamming the poor Somali Muslim refugees?  In typical mainstream media fashion (I call it Major Nidal Hasan syndrome) we learn that the “man” was another Somali (or Arab Muslim) named Mohamud!

This is the whole story that could well have been entitled, “Immigrant Muslim fleeces fellow Muslims.”

SAN DIEGO — The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a San Diego County man with securities fraud, saying he targeted Somali immigrants in San Diego and Seattle.

In a complaint filed Thursday, the SEC says 45-year-old Mohamud A. Ahmed of Spring Valley and his company Shidaal Express sought Somali investors at a San Diego mosque, at a presentation in Seattle and on its Web site.

The complaint says Ahmed raised at least $3 million promising heady guaranteed returns of five percent per month. The complaint says Ahmed initially paid monthly returns but stopped.

A judge has frozen Ahmed’s assets and scheduled a Nov. 30 hearing on the company’s future.

It was not clear whether Ahmed was taken into custody. [My guess is that he has already skipped the country!]

A phone message left with the company was not immediately returned.

Incidentally, I thought we were told that Shariah-compliant financing prohibits paying interest, or does that only apply when Muslims want to buy houses and such?

Iraqis in Nebraska: “there are always bumps”

Here is another of those basic template stories, this time from Nebraska.  (The second Nebraska Iraqi refugee story in two days!)   A nice family is featured.   They can’t go home to Iraq for this reason or that reason.  They couldn’t survive in Jordan and so despite the fact that jobs are scarce and the US government isn’t generous enough,  they’ve come to America and have seen their first snow and know that everything will be great.  Well, truthfully this story has no snow in it, but they often do.

And, as is the usual pattern for these stories, one reads through many column inches before getting to some of the problems.  But, before I get to the bumps, check this out!  We’ve written about this before but it’s been a long while since I’ve seen it in print anywhere.

Divvying up refugees!

Ten non-profit government contractors are making the decision every week in Washington about what city these refugees will be sent to! 

Think about it, these agencies which have no elected officials overseeing them in any way (State Department officials involved are career bureaucrats) are determining the character and economic future for your neighborhood, your town, your city and your state.  Additionally, since they are paid to resettle refugees, each must surely be first and foremost defending its own turf and offices throughout the US.

Once a week in Washington, 10 resettlement agencies under contract with the government, most of them church-affiliated nonprofit groups, meet to divvy up the refugees deemed eligible for entry because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” at home.

It’s a process that Jeff Vandenberg, of Omaha-based Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, likens to the NFL draft [clever, huh?]. Priority is given to reunifying families — the reason behind many of the arrivals in Nebraska and Iowa — and to placing the newcomers where they’ll find relatives or countrymen nearby, as was the case for al-Kadhim and his family.

The “bumps” for Iraqi refugees are that they expected to enter a life where they would work in the field in which they were trained and have nice housing.  For most, it’s not happening.  And, as we have reported previously, some have returned to the Middle East and the culture they are comfortable with.  Despite the problems and lack of jobs, the Obama Administration is promising that we will resettle another 17,000 plus Iraqis this fiscal year.

Since the 2000 Census, Iraqi natives have pushed their numbers to perhaps 1,100 in Nebraska and 165 in Iowa, estimated David Drozd, a demographer at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Problems with the newly arrived Iraqis here have been few, although “there are always bumps,” said Vandenberg. The federal goal — even in the midst of the “Great Recession” — is for resettled refugees to be economically self-sufficient within six months, the point at which their eligibility for government cash assistance generally expires, he said.

After two recent studies criticizing how Iraqi refugees have fared nationwide, the Obama administration vowed to review the resettlement process, a system essentially devised in 1980 to welcome Vietnamese and Cambodians displaced by war. The studies, by Georgetown University Law School and the International Rescue Committee, found that government resettlement funds were too quickly exhausted and job prospects too often scant, among other problems.

“I’m ashamed. I feel like I’m selling a lie,” Greg Wangerin of Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries told the Chicago Tribune recently in an article that chronicled poverty and homelessness among the refugees in Chicago,* home to the second-largest Iraqi community in the United States, after Detroit.

Yes, Mr. Wangerin, you are.

* For  more on the Chicago mess go here.

Japan surrenders, refugees coming, UN overjoyed

Japan, a First World country that has sought to maintain its unique cultural character by resisting becoming a refugee resettlement country, seems to have surrendered under pressure from the One-worlders to open its borders.   Although Japan has been enormously generous to refugees around the globe, apparently that is not enough for the UN., which gleefully now has its big foot in the door.

Here is the whole sad story from Japan Today:

Visiting U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said Friday he hopes Japan will successfully resettle 90 refugees from Myanmar and other countries through its planned pilot program and become a ‘‘resettlement country.’’ While the number of the refugees Japan is set to accept is small, Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, said the significance is not in the figures.

‘‘For us, the numbers do not matter. What matters is the symbolic nature of this initiative,’’ he said at a press conference in Tokyo, adding that Japan will be the first Asian country to become a refugee resettlement country and the program’s success could make resettlement an effective solution to the refugee issues. Starting from fiscal 2010, Japan is set to annually accept 30 refugees who have fled the suppression of human rights by Myanmar’s military government and currently live in border camps in Thailand under the resettlement program.   [By the way, what other Asian country with any money does Guterres have in mind as a refugee resettlement country, China?]

Guterres also said he has discussed issues surrounding Japan’s asylum system with Japanese officials during his two-day visit since Thursday, and that he was ‘‘extremely encouraged’’ by their attitude and the progress made so far.

The UNHCR is now working with the Japanese government to review and revise the Japanese asylum system, mainly over refugee status determination, possible alternatives to the detention of asylum seekers and assistance as well as protections to be extended, Guterres said.

Critics have said the system is too slow in determining refugee status and keeps hundreds of asylum seekers detained.

On that last point, see my post last month about those Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers in Japan.

We should have made a separate category for Japan because we have followed this controversy for some time, but if you would like to learn more, just type ‘Japan’ in our search function box and you will get lots more posts on the lead-up to surrender.