Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Jihadist Planned Mass Destruction in Portland, OR (Updated)

Faces in the crowd at Pioneer Courthouse Square
Because of the cold weather, residents of Portland, Oregon were wearing boots, not Birkenstocks, yesterday evening as they stood in a crowd in Pioneer Courthouse Square to enjoy the city's annual tree-lighting ceremony, when a Somalian immigrant named Mohamed Mohamud dialed his cell phone to detonate a van loaded with a half-dozen 55-gallon drums of explosives. Mohamud had parked the van at the corner of Southwest Yamhill Street and Sixth Avenue.

Luckily for the crowd, the FBI was on top of the situation and had arranged for dummy explosives to be in the van.

As soon as Mohamud attempted to detonate the car bomb, at 5:42 p.m., FBI agents arrested him. As they took him away, kicking and screaming, he shouted the terrorist slogan, "Allahu akbar!" He is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

That sounds like light sentence to me. Look at the faces of the families in the crowd yesterday evening.

mohmad mohamud.jpg
Mohamed Osman Mohamud
Mohamed Mohamud, who is now 19 years old, first came to the FBI's attention last year when he carried on e-mail correspondence with an "unindicted" terrorist in Pakistan about the possibility of his going to Pakistan to practice jihad. Soon, an FBI operative had joined the e-mail discussion and face-to-face meetings in Portland were arranged.

During one of those meetings, Mohamud talked about articles he wrote for the online magazine, Jihad Recollections. He asked for help putting together a dream he had since he was 15 years old: committing a "spectacular," violent "fireworks show" of "personal jihad." The targets Mohamed Mohamud had selected were the families attending the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26, 2010. 

From The Oregonian:
The FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of his plan, noting that there would be many people, including children, at the event, and that Mohamud could abandon his plans at any time with no shame.
"You know there's going to be a lot of children there?" an FBI operative asked Mohamud. "You know there are gonna be a lot of children there?"

Mohamud allegedly responded he was looking for a "huge mass that will ... be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays."

Mohamud dismissed concerns about law enforcement, explaining that, " ... It's in Oregon; and Oregon, like, you know, nobody ever thinks about [it]," according to the affidavit.
. . . FBI operatives quizzed Mohamud about whether he was capable of looking at the bodies of those who would be killed in his planned Portland attack.

"I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured," Mohamud reportedly told the FBI operatives. . . .
Mohamud spent months arranging the logistics of the bombing, which included a "trial run bomb in a secluded area of Oregon earlier in November." From the NY Daily News:
"This threat was very real," said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI's Portland office. "Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale."
Mohamed Mohamud is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. 

Sources:The Oregonian, The First Post, NY Daily News.

Update:  Oh, yes, and then there's this reminder to the people of Portland of their previous efforts to stop terrorism, courtesy Michelle Malkin:
You may recall that loony Portland officials several years ago threatened to pull out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force under the Bush administration and refused to cooperate with federal efforts to conduct voluntary interviews of local Muslims in order to uncover terrorist plots.

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