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December 12, 2009
Home GrownBy Greyhawk
From Bill Roggio's story on the air strike reportedly targeting Al Qaeda external operations chief Saleh al Somali:
"At least two Americans have carried out suicide attacks in Somalia this year. Both attacks were high-profile: one killed three Somali ministers, and another killed the deputy commander of the African Union forces serving in the country.
"'This is why we have been freaking out,' the official said. 'The number of Americans being recruited here in the US is deeply disturbing. That they are leaving the US to train in Somalia and fight for Shabaab is worrisome. Some of us have feared al Somali would take advantage of these recruits to hit the US mainland.'"
Government officials aren't the only ones reportedly "freaking out" over young Americans going abroad for Jihad, and Somalia isn't their only destination - as demonstrated in the aftermath of this week's news of the arrest of five Americans in Pakistan:
"Those are our children," Essam Tellawi, the imam, said in an emotional sermon to about 30 worshipers after noontime prayers at the ICNA Center -- which is affiliated with the Islamic Circle of North America. "I could never describe the difficulties and hardships that our five families have been afflicted with."
More on The Islamic Circle of North America here. The New York Times reports the five "may end up being at least the fourth case prosecuted this year in which Muslim Americans traveled to Pakistan" to join extremist groups there.
Emotional pleas from their imam aside, at least one of the families isn't experiencing hardships and difficulties at long distance. From the Times report: "The police [in Pakistan] said Khalid Farooq, the father of Umer, one of the young men, had been arrested and was also being questioned Friday on the grounds that he knew the young men were wanted by the F.B.I. but had not reported their whereabouts. Mr. Farooq and his wife, who run a computer business in northern Virginia, were in Sargodha when the young men turned up there after landing in Karachi on Nov. 20, police said."
The Washington Post reports the men were "found in the home of an activist linked to a radical group that has been banned by the Pakistani government."
In something of a computer-related coincidence, the men "bonded together in the jihadi cause, watching jihadist video clips on YouTube that showed attacks by the Taliban on allied forces in Afghanistan".
(See Jawa report on "Saifullah" here.) Also speaking out at the Alexandria, Va. ICNA Center press conference (video here) was Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, who declared the arrests a "wake up call" for the Muslim community to rise up against the threat posed to youth by the internet:
If his "injustices" they see unfolding quote sounds familiar, it could be due to the similar explanation Abdulhakim Muhammad gave for killing a US Army Private in Little Rock last June. "I do feel I'm not guilty," Muhammad told The Associated Press in a collect call from the Pulaski County jail. "I don't think it was murder, because murder is when a person kills another person without justified reason." He called it "a act, for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on U.S. military." More specifically,
..."he wanted revenge for claims that American military personnel had desecrated copies of the Quran" (thanks, Newsweek) and raped and killed Muslims. (Edited to simply "anger over what soldiers had done to Muslims" in most national coverage.)The FBI claimed they had been tracking Muhammad (a US citizen, born "Carlos Bledsoe") since he had "traveled to Yemen"
An FBI joint terrorism task force based in the southern U.S. reportedly had been tracking Muhammad after he traveled to Yemen and was arrested and jailed there for using a Somali passport, an official told The Associated Press. The probe had been in its early stages and based on Muhammad's trip to Yemen, ABC News reported.
While his pilgrimage may seem similar to theirs, Newsweek reports a possible stronger connection between the Americans held in Pakistan and another killer of soldiers. According to their report, at least one of the families worshiped at a location other than the ICNA Center: "the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque, located in a Virginia suburb of Washington; the mosque was also once attended by Maj. Nidal Hasan, the accused Fort Hood shooter."
Anwar al-Awlaki (left, top) and Nidal Malik Hasan (bottom, right)
Following the Ft Hood shootings, the Washington Post reported
A: Dar Al Hijrah Mosque B: Muslim American Society (two locations in vicinity) C: ICNA Center
Not long after, Andy McCarthy wrote at the National Review:
Original Jawa report story here. More on the Islamic Society of North America here. (Not to be confused with the previously mentioned ICNA.) And more on Louay Safi here. That last link is to The Investigative Project on Terrorism, the group cited in the earlier Newsweek report on the five suspects in Pakistan.
The project says that one of the men, Ramy Zamzam, is a dental student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The project also identifies Zamzam as the president of the D.C. council of the Muslim Students Association (MSA).
More on the Muslim Students Association here.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 12, 2009 7:30 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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