Seven terrorist gang leaders arrested in Sears Tower plot
MIAMI (AP) - Inside a city warehouse, authorities believe, a group was hatching the early stages of a widespread terror plot - one that targeted Chicago's Sears Tower, an FBI office in Miami and other U.S. buildings.I think what they really mean is that the men were wearing kaffiyehs, which is an Islamic form of headwear worn by male Muslims.
On Thursday, authorities swarmed the warehouse in Miami's Liberty City area, removed a metal door with a blowtorch and arrested seven people, a federal law enforcement official said. Authorities in Washington and Miami were expected to release more details in separate news conferences Friday morning.
Neighbors who lived nearby said young men, who appeared to be in their teens and 20s, slept in the warehouse, running what looked like a militaristic group. They appeared brainwashed, some said.
"They would come out late at night and exercise," said Tashawn Rose, 29. "It seemed like a military boot camp that they were working on there. They would come out and stand guard."
The law enforcement official told The Associated Press the seven were mainly Americans with no apparent ties to al-Qaida or other foreign terrorist organizations. He spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the news conferences.
"There is no imminent threat to Miami or any other area because of these operations," said Richard Kolko, spokesman for FBI headquarters in Washington. He declined further comment.
Residents living near the warehouse said the men taken into custody described themselves as Muslims and had tried to recruit young people to join their group. Rose said they tried to recruit her younger brother and nephew for a karate class.
She said she talked to one of the men about a month ago. "They seemed brainwashed," she said. "They said they had given their lives to Allah."
Residents said FBI agents spent several hours in the neighborhood showing photos of the suspects and seeking information. They said the men had lived in the area for about a year.
Benjamin Williams, 17, said the group sometimes had young children with them. At times, he added, the men "would cover their faces. Sometimes they would wear things on their heads, like turbans."
There's something fishy about the following though:
A man who called himself Brother Corey and claimed to be a member of the group told CNN late Thursday that the individuals worship at the building and call themselves the "Seas of David."Were they trying to smear the Christian and Jewish communities as well? It almost sounds that way from the above.
He dismissed any suggestion that the men were contemplating violence. "We are peaceful," he said. He added that the group studies the Bible and has "soldiers" in Chicago but is not a terrorist organization.
Xavier Smith, who attends the nearby United Christian Outreach, said the men would often come by the church and ask for water.
"They were very private," said Smith, 33.
FBI Director Robert Mueller, questioned about the case on CNN's "Larry King Live," said he couldn't offer many details because "it's an ongoing operation."It sounds like they're still trying to avoid the hard questions, and that's a real shame.
"We are conducting a number of arrests and searches" in Miami, Mueller said, which were expected to be wrapped up Friday morning.
Managers of the Sears Tower, the nation's tallest building, said in a statement they speak regularly with the FBI and local law enforcement about terror threats and that Thursday "was no exception."
Security at the 110-floor Sears Tower, a Chicago landmark, was ramped up after the Sept. 11 attacks, and the 103rd-floor skydeck was closed for about a month and a half.
"Law enforcement continues to tell us that they have never found evidence of a credible terrorism threat against Sears Tower that has gone beyond criminal discussions," the statement said.
The warehouse owner declined comment. "I heard the news just like you guys," George F. Mobassaleh told the AP. "I can't talk to you."
There's another something odd about the last part though:
Several terrorism investigations have had south Florida links. Several of the Sept. 11 hijackers lived and trained in the area, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, and several plots by Cuban-Americans against Fidel Castro's government have been based in Miami.Is the AP trying to draw a moral equation between the terrorists and any Cubans who were opposed to Castro? There's another unsurprising mistake being made by one of the crummiest news agencies around.
Jose Padilla, a former resident once accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive bomb in the U.S., is charged in Miami with being part of a support cell for Islamic extremists. Padilla's trial is set for this fall.
FOX News spoke about how this was coming just shortly after the arrest of several homegrown jihadists in Canada. This shows that even in the US, there most certainly can be and are some homegrown ones as well.
Also available at Gribbit's Word, TMH's Bacon Bits. Others on the subject include Michelle Malkin, Debbie Schlussel, The Florida Masochist, Hot Air, Wizbang, California Conservative, Macmind, Blogs of War, Amboy Times, A Blog for All, Confederate Yankee, Stuck On Stupid, PartisanTimes, Small Town Veteran, Narcissistic Views on News/Politics, Sierra Faith, Babalu Blog, Rhymes With Right, Ninth State, Speed of Thought, Outside the Beltway, Hyscience, HangRightPolitics, Stop the ACLU, Noublesse Oblige, Interested Participant.