Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nigerian News Update: Arrest Provides US Rationale for Further Attacks on Yemen; Abuja May Be Targeted for Regime-Change Engineered From Washington

Statements From US Officials Indicate That More Military Strikes Against Yemen Will Take Place--Nigeria Under Threat for Regime-Change Engineered by Imperialism

PANW Editor's Note: It appears from statements being made by Obama administration officials and intelligence sources from the United States, that further military attacks against Yemen are being planned. Yemen has been bombed several times in recent weeks and other reports indicate that the US is behind these actions where dozens of people have been reportedly killed.

This poor country is now being described as dangerous in the same way that Afghanistan was given such a label in 2001. The notion of a "failed state", which was also used against Afghanistan to justify an ongoing US invasion and occupaiton, is also being utilized in regard to Yemen.

A constant flow of US intelligence operatives and pro-military commentators are being put forward in the corporate media to condition the American people for more aggressive military actions against the Middle-Eastern nation of Yemen. This is being done in a way to deflect public attention away from the horrendous crimes that have been committed against the people of the United States and the world.

Over the last eight years hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Palestine, Pakistan and other countries targeted in the US war on terrorism. The US has the highest defense budget in its history which exceeds the combined military expenditures of all other nations in the world combined.

However, what the corporate media commentators and pundits do not ask is how can someone from Nigeria, who has a history of being the leader of an Islamic student organization in Britain, board an aircraft in the Netherlands with no passport and travel to the city of Detroit.? Could this young Nigerian have been manipulated by the Central Intelligence Agency in an effort to provide a justification for further military action in the Middle-East and West Africa?

His father, Alhaji Abdul Mutallab, reportedly notified the American embassy in Nigeria about his son's activities. The CIA was reportedly in on these attempts to notify US authorities about his son's activity. Yet nothing was done by the US authorities until Farouk Umar Abdul Mutallab was arrested in Detroit. How could such a situation develop and the corporate media not scrutinize the Department of Homeland Security which receives billions of dollars in tax money every year from American workers?

This is not the first time that US intelligence has utilized "false flag operations" where supposed enemies are actually working on behalf of the state or being controlled and manipulated by the imperialists. Nonetheless, the corporate media talking heads will not raise these serious questions to the Obama administration and its intelligence operatives.

Consequently, the economic crisis inflicted upon the people of the US and the world has not been discussed in lieu of the latest terrorist threat. Millions more will lose their jobs, homes, health care and education over the next year while the American people are being told that the source of the problem is in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria. That these sources of instability and terrorism requires greater military expenditures and the consequent injuries, deaths and destabilization of many more individuals and societies.

Reports in the Nigerian press reveal the nervousness of this West African state in dealing with the US government. Due to the economic crisis in the oil industry and the role of China, the Nigerian people are under serious threat of an attempted plot aimed at regime-change engineered by the US. The crisis of US capitalism and imperialism will require greater military involvement in oil-rich regions of the world. Nigeria and the Arabian Peninsula are principal areas of attention for US foreign policy in the present period.

Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

No Al-Qaeda in Nigeria – Islamic scholars

Latest news
Written by Abbas Jimoh
Nigerian Daily Trust
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 23:03

Some Islamic scholars in Nigeria yesterday dismissed allegations that Al Qaeda exists in Nigeria following the alleged attempt by 23 year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to bomb a United States passenger plane on Christmas day.

The scholars, who spoke to Daily Trust in separate interviews, said Nigerians are not terrorists, even as they urged the relevant security agencies to investigate the matter dispassionately.

Malam Abdulfattah Adeyemi, an Abuja-based Islamic Scholar, said, “I want to say confidently that there is no connection between the accused and any religious group in Nigeria. We are a nation that is focused. We are at the phase of rebranding and trying to move the nation forward.”

On Farouk Umaru Mutallab’s involvement, Adeyemi said: “We cannot say for sure what is responsible for the problem, but I will suggest that the matter should be thoroughly investigated and people should avoid passing comments that will bring disgrace to the nation and should equally refrained from wrongfully pointing accusing fingers to anyone when investigations have not been carried out or concluded.’’

Dr Taofik Abdulazeez, the Imam of University of Abuja said Nigerians should take the news with extreme caution and asked the authorities not to rush into actions without sufficient information.

He said, “There may be a connection between extreme economic prosperity of some people and extreme poverty of some and certain tendency such as violence and other tendencies such as this may not be located among the poor. The care for our children and concern for them should be viewed with extreme caution and extreme care and monitoring so as to be able to stem certain tendencies that may have dear consequences to the lives and well- being of our families and the security of the nation.”

Other Islamic groups including Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, (NSCIA), Association of Muslims in Nigeria (AMIN), and Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) among others have equally condemned the act and called for full investigation.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Security Adviser queries DG, NIA over Mutallab

Inquest reveals involvement of sons of two former justices

From Martins Oloja, Abuja Bureau Chief
Nigerian Guardian

NIGERIA's intelligence/ Security machinery has kicked into overdrive in its bid to find what went wrong on its part, who knew what and when about the deeds or moves of Farouk Abdulmuttallab, now facing charges of attempted terror attack in the United States of America (U.S.A).

Piqued by the negative impact of the global discussion of the involvement of the Nigerian in the Christmas day's botched attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound plane that took off from Amsterdam, Holland and with the looming spectre of being tagged a haven of terrorists, Nigeria's presidency has launched a comprehensive probe of the tragic incident. The claims and counter- claims on who knew what, when and where, about Farouk Mutallab's suspected attempt are of course of special interest.

The probe, which promises to be far-reaching, began in earnest on Monday morning when the National Security Adviser Abdul Sarki Mukhtar, a retired Major-General, personally issued and signed a strongly-worded query to the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ambassador E.O. Oladeji.

In the query entitled: "Alleged Involvement of Umar Farouk Mutallab in an Attempt to Bomb a U.S. Airliner" and dated December 28, the National Security Adviser indicated that the National Intelligence Agency had prior knowledge of a report said to have been deposited with it on the suspect. The words of the query:

"From all indications, it seemed that your Agency had prior knowledge of a report, said to have been made by Alhaji Umar Mutallab about the tendencies of his son, Umar Farouk, towards radicalisation, which was manifested in the incident leading to his arrest in the U.S."

The query goes further, "It is really unfortunate and sad that knowledge of such an important intelligence issue could not be brought to the attention of this office, or the weekly Intelligence Community Committee Meeting (ICCM). It was this failure that led to the unfortunate incident we are grappling with now".

"The report if circulated within the ICC would have alerted the Security Agencies at our Travel Control Points (TCPs) to take appropriate required action, that would have led to his arrest, before boarding the KLM flight from Nigeria, thereby pre-empting the sad incident", it added.

The NSA notes that "Failure to do so has not only led to this rather unfortunate international embarrassment to the Nigerian nation, but also depicted our country as a haven for terrorists. You are therefore to explain what led to this failure of intelligence, and the persons therein involved. Your explanation, should reach me on or before Tuesday December 29, 2009..."

According to sources close to the NIA, the National Security Adviser's letter has caused some "consternation" within the Agency coming on the heels of a recent crisis that led to the dramatic removal of the former DG NIA, Ambassador Imohe.

The Guardian gathered last night that even as the NIA chief executive faces the challenge of answering the query from the NSA, the presidency has been told that contrary to earlier reports that the lead and indeed activities of Umar Farouk (Jnr) were reported to Nigeria's security agencies, "the father only reported it to a former National Security official who served under President Obasanjo, who in turn reportedly informed one of the directors at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). The director obviously did nothing about the lead until the current incident happened."

The report of how Mutallab (snr) reported his son is said to have also raised curiosity of the Intelligence and Security Community. One puzzle operatives are hoping to unravel is "what the former Managing Director of UBA knew and what compelled him to head for the American Embassy instead of, for instance, the British High Commission which had in May this year rejected his son's re-entry visa shortly after he completed his degree programme in a London university".

Besides, the Intelligence and Joint Security Services are said to be interested in questioning the eminent Mutallab, a former federal commissioner (minister) under General Obasanjo as military head of state (1976-1979) on "why he did not report the suspicious deeds of his son to the offices of current National Security Adviser or even the Directors-General of the State Services Department or the National Intelligence Agency".

In the same vein, the presidency, still smarting from the embarrassment occasioned by the absence of the president for more than a month now, is now running with bursting adrenaline to get to the root of this crisis. As a result, so many questions are being asked: What are some of the relationships the older Mutallab has in the world of business, government and even religion? Being married to an Arab Yemeni himself, what could the older Mutallab know or say of his son's Yemeni connections? Yemen is now widely known as the base of radical islamic fundamentalists where attacks had previously been planned on American targets.

Could the attempted attack by Mutallab have been a culmination of an intricate web of local and transnational intrigues that may have implications for domestic and foreign policy direction of the current administration?"

Just as answers were being sought to these and other questions, last night, it was revealed by diplomatic sources that Umar Farouk may not have been alone in his suspected enterprise. Indeed, two sons of two former justices of Nigeria have also been fingered and are already under the scrutiny of security men.

British investigators are said to have also revealed that a Pakistani citizen who collaborated with a Yemeni citizen actually trained the three Nigerian suspects inside the United Kingdom.

In the meantime, The Guardian also confirmed yesterday from diplomatic sources that some U.S. security and intelligence chiefs visited the State Security Service Headquarters on Monday where they met with a Director of Operations of the Service.

It was understood that they actually discussed and harmonised positions on how to deal with what is now known as "the Mutallab Challenge".

Meanwhile, the Department of State Security Services (SSS) which called off a planned briefing two days ago is said to have clarified its own stance to the presidency especially on how the suspect pased through the airport. The SSS was said to have clarified its role this way: "The role of the Service at the airports is to maintain Watch-list Action and not to search intending travellers. Watch-list Action is a request from various agencies for the Service to take specific actions on suspected persons who contravened one law or another affecting the requesting agency".

"In this case, (Umar Farouk's), no Watch-list Action was demanded on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from any agency within or outside the country. Watch-list Action can be mounted to check those travelling with stolen passports. Accordingly, the Service may conduct Service may conduct searches on air travellers if such persons are on Watch-list".

It clarified further, "Meanwhile, it is on record that airlines employ private security companies, which carry out all forms of checks and searches even at the final point of boarding".

It concluded on a plea note: "In the light of the current development, the Service wishes to reiterate that security is a collective responsibility. Therefore, all citizens are urged to be more sensitive to their environment and collaborate with relevant agencies to timely identify such tendencies and other issues that impact on our collective security".

It has been disclosed, by a law enforcement official that part of an explosive device that failed to take down a plane last week was sewn into AbdulMutallab's underwear.

According to foreign media, Abdulmutallab, 23, the privately-educated son of one of Nigeria's most prominent bankers, managed to smuggle his bomb aboard the aircraft by strapping a condom filled with the high explosive PETN to the inside of his leg and then attempting to detonate it using a syringe filled with a liquid chemical. The PETN powder caught fire but did not explode.

Investigators are worried that AQAP has developed what is effectively an "undetectable bomb" involving PETN that can only be found by using expensive and intrusive full body scanners at airports, with huge implications for airport security.

A preliminary FBI analysis found that the device AbdulMutallab was said to have carried aboard the flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan, contained pentaerythritol tetranitrate, an explosive also known as PETN. The amount of explosive was sufficient to blow a hole in the aircraft, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN on Sunday.

U.S. investigators have not determined whether the al Qaeda claim of responsibility was true, but one U.S. counterterrorism official told CNN on Monday that the group might have some involvement.

CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said that if al Qaeda operatives in Yemen were behind the Christmas plot, that would represent a significant advance for the group.

"Most of the attacks we have seen in the past have been in Yemen or Saudi Arabia, and the (al Qaeda) affiliate there has not been able to do out-of-the-area operation," Bergen said.

A federal security bulletin obtained by CNN said AbdulMutallab claimed the explosive device used Friday "was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used."

Meanwhile, a very influential U.S. Congressman representing New York is advocating that Mutallab be tried under martial law over his attempt on Christmas day to blow up a U.S. airliner.

Congressman, Peter King, a Republican legislator who is also the ranking Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee said yesterday that Umar Farouk should face a military court instead of civil courts.

King spoke as Nigerian diplomats completed a "consular visit" to the Nigerian terror suspect on Monday in Milan, Michigan, where he is being held in a federal detention centre.

Nigeria's Acting Ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Baba Gana Wakili, confirmed that Nigerian Embassy officials completed their first meeting with Umar Farouk.

However, the Acting Ambassador declined to talk about the legal options of the suspect, except to say the embassy and the Nigerian government "are cooperating with the U.S. investigating authorities at a government to government level, we are in constant touch with the State Department."

Under the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush, the chances of a military trial would have been more likely, but the Obama White House has clearly shifted towards open civil trials, where defendants are allowed the basic rights, unlike a military court where the proceedings are secret and the defendant is deemed a combatant.

According to diplomats, the consular visit is to ensure that the Nigerian suspect is being held under the right conditions and that his rights under the Geneva Convention are not violated.

"There was no suggestion he was about to carry out a terrorist act," the official said.

The official said the father, Umaru AbdulMutallab, came to the embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, on November 19 over the safety of his son.

"He was concerned about his son's safety and whereabouts and wondered if the U.S. government could help," the official said.

The next day, November 20, the U.S. embassy in Abuja sent what is called a "Visas Viper cable" to the State Department detailing the father's concerns, according to an official account by State Department spokesman Ian Kelley.

The information was passed on to the National Counter-Terrorism Center in Washington, which ruled that the information in the cable was "insufficient for this interagency review process to make a determination that this individual's visa should be revoked."

The secretary of state can unilaterally revoke a visa but usually does that for foreign policy and diplomatic, not national security reasons, Kelley said. "This has to be done in consultation with other agencies," Kelley said.

The Christmas Day airline terror alert has brought focus on PETN, a substance till now largely unknown to the public.

The white powder is said to be central to the alleged plot by Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to bring down a passenger aircraft, carrying 300 passengers, as it prepared to land in Detroit. But just what is PETN?

What does PETN look like?

Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, PETN is a fine white powder that resembles sugar or salt. It does not compress down very well.

Although it is an explosive, it needs to be hammered it or ignited to it go off. And since it is not volatile, it is perfect for a terrorist on a long haul flight.

UK explosives expert, Sidney Alford, explained to CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson: "It wouldn't go off accidentally. If I was carrying a pocketful of just neat powder in my pocket, it blowing up would be the last of my worries."

Sources familiar with the investigation tell CNN that the working assumption is that AbdulMutallab may have had some 80 grammes of PETN. Alford said that this would be enough to blow a hole in an aircraft.

Alford conducted a controlled explosion of a sample of PETN for CNN. Video

Six grams of PETN - less than a tenth of what AbdulMutallab is alleged to have had in his possession - punched a large circular dent into a metal plate twice the thickness of an aircraft fuselage.

Canada is immediately limiting carry-on items for flights to the United States in the aftermath of a failed terror attack on a Northwest Airlines flight.

"Effective immediately, U.S.-bound passengers are not allowed to bring carry-on bags into the cabin of the aircraft, with some exceptions," said a statement from Transport Canada.

According to the agency, carry-ons will be limited to medication or medical devices, small purses, cameras, coats, infant-care items, laptop computers, containers carrying life-sustaining or special-needs items, musical instruments, or diplomatic or consular bags. Crutches, canes and walkers also are permitted.

"These measures are expected to be in place at least for several days," Transport Canada said.

Published 12/30/2009 4:20:00 AM

There are more youths like me, AbdulMutallab warns FBI

Nnaemeka Meribe, with agency report
Nigerian Punch

FAILED Nigerian suicide bomber, Mr. Umar AbdulMutallab, has warned that other young men are being trained by Al Qaeda to bring down United States’ airlines.

Meanwhile, photographs of the would-be suicide bombers had been revealed just as Internet postings allegedly by Abdulmutallab emerged.

A ‘Farouk 1986’ posted hundreds of messages on the Islamic Forum Website from around 2005 and on Facebook.

It also emerged on Monday night that the failed bomber was president of a notoriously extreme student Islamic Society while studying in Britain.

Abdulmutallab had on Christmas Day smuggled a packet of explosives on board the Amsterdam-Detroit plane by sewing it to the crotch of his underpants.

As the trans-atlantic flight neared its close, he attempted to detonate the bomb by injecting the packet with a chemical-filled syringe.

But it failed to work properly, setting on fire and leaving the 23-year-old with severe burns to his groin after passengers and police brought him under control.

The University College London engineering graduate had told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he was tutored in terrorism while living for a month with a senior Al Qaeda commander in Yemen.

According to Mail Online, the young Nigerian was said to have warned that other young men were being trained in Yemen to bring down US airlines, boasting, “There are plenty more like me.”

Al-Qaeda admitted on Monday night that it was behind the Abdulmutallab’s suicide bombing attempt.

Abdulmutallab, who is believed to have been radicalised during his time at University College London, swapped western clothing for a skull cap and Islamic robes during his final year of an engineering degree in 2007/2008.

Mail Online reported that UCL Provost Malcolm Grant confirmed that Abdulmutallab was president of the university’s Islamic Student Society for the 2006/2007 session and had graduated in mechanical engineering.

He said on Monday, “The account I have had from his tutors is that he was a well-mannered student, quietly spoken, polite and able, and gave no indication at all of what his inclinations might be.

“We are very shocked by what has happened and we will be reflecting on it very carefully as further details emerge and reviewing all aspects of it, but - as presently advised - there was nothing about his conduct which gave his tutors any cause for concern.

“We admit our students wholly on merit. We make no reference to their political, racial, religious background or beliefs. That is fundamental to what we do. So, we can’t vet students in any effective way at that point.”

A source at UCL said, “When he started you wouldn’t even have known that he was a Muslim, but then, in the third year, he started wearing the white flowing Islamic robes and skull cap. We were all very shocked when we saw that he was involved in trying to blow up a plane - it seemed completely out of character.”

Meanwhile, Internet postings allegedly from Abdulmutallab have emerged, according to The Sun of United Kingdom.

US federal intelligence officials on Monday night started reviewing the Internet postings believed to have been written by Abdulmutallab, according to The Sun, quoting the Washington Post.

The newspaper, which has reviewed the postings, reported that ‘Farouk 1986’ (a combination of his middle name and his birth year) searched for friends online through Facebook and in Islamic chat rooms.

In one such postings, he wrote, “My name is Umar but you can call me Farouk.”

A posting from January 2005, when he was attending boarding school, read, “I have no one to speak to. No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems.”

US plane bomb attempt

‘Farouk Abdulmutallab does not represent North’

From ANDY ASEMOTA, Katsina
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A chieftain of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Buhari Network for Change Chairman in Katsina State, Dr. Abdul’aziz Labo Muhuta, has scoffed at the fears that Al Qeda group may have infiltrated the North because the son of a Northern billionaire, Umar Abdul Mutallab’s attempted terrorist attack on a US airliner on Christmas Day.

Muhuta, ANPP standard bearer in 2007 federal constituency of Malumfashi/Kafur in Katsian State for the House of Representatives, said to even imagine that the 23-year-old boy, who had virtually all his education in Europe and overseas had influence from his hometown, Funtua, or his respected banker father is “unthinkable.”

Farouk is said to be working on orders from Al Qeda to blow up the airliner carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew from Amsterdam to Detroit in the US.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun in Katsina, Dr. Muhuta, born in Malumfashi, about 50 km from Funtua, said, “this is somebody that hardly even goes to Funtua. I don’t think the Funtua youth have anything to do with his activities, not at all.”

On allegations that the boy’s wealthy father could have been sponsoring him on terrorism, he retorted: “His father reported this (Farouk’s activities) to the US authorities several weeks before this attack.

“From there, you will come to the conclusion that this is a sole decision of his to be involved with alleged terrorists or so to say.”

Dr. Muhuta, who is the Consultant Neurologist, decried the unfortunate incident as a great shock not only to Northern establishment, but the whole nation.


Unthinkable behaviour

This is a privileged boy. He has grown up all his life in a privileged atmosphere. He has had his education in Europe , you understand.

Even if he had been recruited by Al Qeda as alleged, I am sure they did not recruit him here in Nigeria . I am sure they recruited him in London , as it is believed. From there, he went to Yemen for further training on whatever.

To even think that he has a base here or he would have influence from his home town, Funtua, is unthinkable.

Attitude of Funtua youth

Funtua youth are rebellious politically because they are known. You know how elections are in this country, that zone is well educated politically. So, they know how to fight for their rights, protect their votes and make sure that the person they want is the one who is being announced as the winner (at the poll) like Kano people.

But, I don’t think they are religious fanatics or radicals. Politically, yes, but I think it is a mistake to even associate Funtua youth with this boy, not even his immediate family.

Muttallab family

I know the Muttalab family. I know Alhaji Muttalab personally. He is a very educated man. Man of foresight. I am sure that this thing that he did had saved his family name, his own name and his reputation.

And it has saved him the intrigues or intimidation of the western powers. I am sure, with his money, they would have thought that he is the one sponsoring this boy to do all these terrorist activities.

I am sure that, by now, they would have sent the Marines to his Kaduna residence, may be he would have been in the US prison by now. So, what he did was a foresight on his part, you understand. This goes to exonerate him or to indicate his innocence, that he is not associated with his own child’s activities.

Advice to Northern youth

I will advise them to strictly adhere to their education, to pursue their education seriously and forget anything up to the extreme of this radicalism or so to say terrorist activity.

We have not been recognized with it and I assure you that this is one thing that is unfortunate, very, very unfortunate not only to Northern establishment but to the whole nation in general. Many Nigerians are shocked with this.

Al Qeda has not infiltrated the North

The western powers have been trying to link Nigeria , Northern Nigeria , especially with the terrorist activities of Al Qeda. If you remember a few years ago after the 9/11 incident, but they have not been able to establish any link. The concern is because of the alleged comment by the Al Qeda leader, Osama bin Laden, in one of his statements.

They said they wanted to concentrate on Nigeria to find out whether there were any Al Qeda links.

Advice to western powers

This is strictly an unfortunate incident and an individual incident by a very, very may be a deluded youth, who has been privileged all his life. May be he is bored or may be you could say he is a spoilt brat or something, but I assure them this is something that they should not consider as something somebody has done in Northern Nigeria or the whole of Nigeria.


I am working at Abubakar Imam Neurological Centre, Kano . I am also the Chairman of Buhari Network for Change in Katsina State . I was born in Malumfashi, just 50 kilometres away from Funtua.
I contested for the House of Representatives seat, Malumfashi / Kafur constituency in Katsina State in 2007.

Nigerian bomb suspect was in Yemen

National News Dec 30, 2009
By Lawani Mikairu, with agency report
Nigerian Vanguard

Yemeni authority said, yesterday, that the Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a US-bound passenger jet was living there until a few weeks ago, while President Obama of United States of America has ordered full investigation into the incident.

Also yesterday, the first photos emerged of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab explosive-laden underpants.

Abdulmutallab, who allegedly tried to use a syringe to set off a high explosive called pentaery-thritol tetranitrate, PETN, sewn into his underwear, has reportedly confessed to being trained for his mission by an Al-Qaeda bomb maker in Yemen.

A Yemeni foreign ministry spokesman said, “he stayed in Yemen between the beginning of August and the beginning of December, after having received a visa to study Arabic at an institute in Sanaa where he had previously studied.”

Yemen gave him a visa after security officials were “reassured that he had been granted visas by friendly countries, and still held a valid visa to the US, where he had visited before,” the spokesman said.

US media, meanwhile, published government photographs showing the suspect’s singed underwear, a syringe and a plastic container believed to have stored the explosive PETN. The explosive device ignited but failed to detonate.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, an affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s terror network led by Yemeni and Saudi radicals, claimed on Monday that it was behind the plot and threatened new attacks against the West.

Al-Qaeda’s “Nigerian brother”

An Internet statement, which was accompanied by a picture of suspected would-be bomber Abdulmutallab, boasted of the coup delivered by the “Nigerian brother” against Western airport security.

He “was able to breach all the modern and sophisticated technologies and checkpoints at the airports around the world,” US monitoring group IntelCenter said, quoting from its translation of the statement.

According to The New York Times, Abdulmutallab told FBI agents that he was connected to the Al-Qaeda affiliate by a radical Yemeni cleric whom he contacted online.

Meanwhile, students at the Institute of Languages in the capital Sanaa’s old city told AFP that Abdulmutallab studied at the school and lived in student housing. He was in Yemen between August and early December they said.

“He was normal and mixed with women and dealt with all people normally,” an American student said, asking not to be identified.

Abdulmutallab also spent several months at the University of Wollongong’s Dubai branch in 2009, Vice-Chancellor Gerard Sutton told ABC radio Tuesday. Sutton described Abdulmutallab as a “normal student”. Officials at the university’s Dubai campus refused to discuss Abdulmutallab yesterday.

The Yemeni spokesman said that security agencies are investigating “the parties with whom the accused Nigerian was in contact during his time in Yemen.” He said the results will be “sent to US agencies investigating the attempted attack, within the framework of US-Yemeni cooperation on security and fighting terrorism.”

The spokesman condemned the attack, and said his country, “which has suffered much from terrorism,” remains “an active partner in the international community in the war against terrorism.”

Obama orders full investigation

As US leaders spoke of Yemen as a new frontline in the war, President Barack Obama who is on vacation in Hawaii vowed to hunt down extremists wherever they plot against the United States.

Obama pledged to “disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us — whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia or anywhere they are plotting attacks against the US homeland. A full investigation has been launched into this attempted act of terrorism and we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable,” Obama said on Monday in Hawaii.

Yemen’s confirmation that Abdulmutallab was in the country as recently as early December came as US investigators try to determine if he was working alone or really was instructed by Al-Qaeda as the terror network claims.

A controversy is also raging in the United States over a no-fly list system that allowed Abdulmutallab to fly to Detroit on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 with 290 people on board, and with a valid US visa despite the fact he was on a broad terrorist watch-list.

No comments: