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Tag: Christmas day

Underwear Bomber Avoids More Restrictive Supermax Prison in Colo.

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The young man who will be forever known as the “Underwear Bomber” caught a little bit of break.

The Detroit News reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who admitted trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day of 2009, was transferred Tuesday to a federal prison complex in Florence, Colo.  There he’ll be housed in a maximum-security facility, but not the Supermax prison reserved for the worst of the worst, which has far more restrictions when it comes to visits and contact with the outside world.

The Supermax prison, aka the “Alcatraz of the Rockies”, houses such notables as Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma bomber Terry Nichols and some al Qaeda terrorists.

“I’m glad he’s not in Supermax,” Abdulmutallab legal adviser Anthony Chambers told the News. “Not being in Supermax will have its benefits.”

 

Breaking News: Underwear Bomber Sentenced to Life

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– In a federal courtroom in downtown Detroit, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man better known as the “Underwear Bomber”, was sentenced Thursday afternoon to life in prison for trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day in 2009.

Rail thin and clad in a white t-shirt and beige khakis, he looked more like an innocent high school kid than a 25-year-old from a privileged background in Nigeria.

But during the sentencing hearing, when given an opportunity to talk,  he spoke more like a hardcore terrorist and true believer in the fight against the west, offering no remorse and shouting out repeatedly, “God is Great.”

He made disparaging remarks about Jews and America and the FBI and the federal prosecutors and he praised the concept of killing in the name of God and Islam.

“The defendant has never expressed doubt or regret or remorse about his mission,” U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds said. “To the contrary, he sees that mission as divinely inspired and a continuing mission.” She hit him with four life sentences.

The sentencing included statements from passengers aboard the plane who were traumatized by the experience.

An emotional Flight attendant Lamare Mason talked about how the Underwear Bomber had turned his dream job into a nightmare.  Consequently, he said his job is more like a punishment.

“It’s not a joy,” he said.

Passenger Kurt Haskell, an attorney, stepped up to the podium, asked Mason to stand, and then praised him for putting out the fire. Mason stood in the back of the courtroom fighting back tears.

Haskell then went on to accuse the government of having a hand in the matter.

He said the FBI didn’t seem concerned there might be others on board who were involved.

And he said back in Amsterdam, Abdulmutallab boarded the plane without a passport with the assistance of someone at the airport.

“Regardless of how media and government try to shape this case, I am convinced that Umar was given an intentionally defective bomb by a U.S. agent… to stage a false terrorist attack to be used to implement various government policies. It really saddens me that the government won’t admit its role in the event. Because of this case, I will never trust anything the government says, ever.”

U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, who praised the judge for the sentence and feds who worked on the case, responded to Haskell’s remarks outside the courthouse and told reporters  that Haskell’s  theory “is not consistent with our facts.”

Andrew Arena, head of the Detroit FBI, said in a statement: “Those individuals who experienced Christmas Day 2009 first hand should be rest assured that justice has been done.”

And Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. issued a statement after sentencing, saying:

“As this investigation and prosecution have shown, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a remorseless terrorist who believes it is his duty to kill Americans. For attempting to take the lives of 289 innocent people, he has been appropriately sentenced to serve every day of the rest of his life in prison.

“Today’s sentence once again underscores the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in both incapacitating terrorists and gathering valuable intelligence from them.”

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Witness in “Underwear Bomber” Trial Says He Heard Someone Yell: “Hey Dude, Your Pants Are on Fire!”

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — If it hadn’t have been so potentially deadly and scary, Nigerian terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s Christmas day Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009 might have made a good Saturday Night Live skit.

Witness Michael Zantow, who was flying to Wisconsin to visit his ailing mom from his job in the Middle East as a U.S. Air Force contractor, testified Tuesday in U.S. District Court in downtown Detroit that he was sitting one row behind Abdulmutallab  (aka The Underwear Bomber) when the action started, The Detroit News reported.

Zantow testified that he noticed Abdulmutallab cover himself with a blanket minutes before hearing a loud pop, the News reported.

Zantow said seconds passed before a man sitting next to Abdulmutallab yelled: “Hey dude, your pants are on fire!”

He also testified, according to the News: “His underwear resembled something I hadn’t seen before. It was bulky, it reminded me of my son’s Pull-Ups. I assumed it was adult Pampers.”

The bomb never detonated and Abdulmutallab was arrested and quickly dubbed the “Underwear Bomber.”

Earlier in trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel told jurors in opening statements that Addulmutallab thought by trying to blow up the plane “he would end up in heaven because he would be a martyr.”

“He wanted jihad, and he sought it out and he found it,” Tukel told jurors.

Abdulmutallab, who is representing himself, but has an attorney assisting in his defense, was originally expected to give an opening statement. Then he handed the job off to his attorney Anthony Chambers, who decided to forgo any opening statement, the News reported.

Abdulmutallab appeared to figure he had nothing to lose by going to trial since the feds had offered him no deal considering they figured they had a smoking gun — or in his case, smoking underwear.

The trial is expected to last about a month.

To read more click here.

 

Underwear Bomber Wants Change of Venue

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The man known as the “underwear bomber” isn’t going down without a fight — despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

The Detroit News reports that  Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is asking a federal judge to change his trial to another state, saying he can’t get a fair trial in Michigan because the media coverage created an “inflamed commuity atmosphere.”

Attorney Anthony Chambers, who is assisting Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab  with his defense, also asked a judge on Friday to suppress statements made Abdulmutallab when he was in the hospital on painkillers, the Detroit News reported. Trial is set for Oct. 4.

Abdulmutallab, 24, is accused of trying to detonate a bomb in his underwear during a Christmas day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009.

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Why the Underwear Bomber Picked Detroit

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Why Detroit?

The Associated Press reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, dubbed the “underwear bomber”, thought about blowing up a plane above Houston or Chicago on Christmas day in 2009, but the ticket to Detroit was cheaper.

The AP reported that he considered Houston, where he had gone to school. Instead, he chose a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Northwest Airlines. The bomb never detonated, and he now faces trial in Detroit.

Detroiters, who are often sensitive about the city’s image, won’t be flattered by this latest revelation.

Underwear Bomber Due in Court; His Attys Try to Get Plea Deal

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The infamous underwear bomber who tried blowing up a plane arriving in Detroit on Christmas day last year is due in court Monday, the Associated Press reported.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria is expected to appear before U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in downtown Detroit, AP reported. She’s expected to set a trial date.

AP reported that defense lawyers filed a court papers last week saying they had talked to prosecutors on “multiple occasions” about a possible plea agreement. The U.S. attorney’s office has declined to comment, AP reported.

“Making a plea deal would send the wrong message. … They have enough evidence to put Mr. Abdulmutallab in prison for life,” Shama Chopra, who was on the plane, and husband Ray Chopra of Montreal said in an e-mail, according to AP.

To read more click here.

Number of Nightmare Stories on “No Fly List” Likely to Rise

The U.S. is expanding the “no fly list” in response to the attempted bombing on Christmas Day to improve security. The downside is there’s likely to be a growing number of nightmare stories like the one Rahinah Ibrahim experienced. Unfortunately, there’s too many already.

noflylist

By Mike McIntire
New York Times

Rahinah Ibrahim, a Stanford University doctoral student, arrived at San Francisco International Airport with her 14-year-old daughter for a 9 a.m. flight home to Malaysia. She asked for a wheelchair, having recently had a hysterectomy.

Instead, when a ticket agent found her name on the no-fly list, Ms. Ibrahim was handcuffed, searched and jailed amid a flurry of phone calls involving the local police, the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security. Two hours after her flight left, Ms. Ibrahim was released without explanation. She flew to Malaysia the next day.

But when she tried to return to the United States, she discovered that her visa had been revoked. And when she complained that she did not belong on a terrorist watch list, the government’s response came a year later in a form letter saying only that her case had been reviewed and that any changes warranted had been made.

Every year, thousands of people find themselves caught up in the government’s terrorist screening process. Some are legitimate targets of concern, others are victims of errors in judgment or simple mistaken identity.

Either way, their numbers are likely to rise as the Obama administration recalibrates the standards for identifying potential terrorists, in response to intelligence failures that let a would-be bomber fly to Detroit from Amsterdam last Christmas.

To Read full story click here.

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U.S. Changing Screening Policies of Passengers Aboard Inbound Intl. Flights

Airport crowdBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — In a world of Jihad Janes and underwear bombers, where it’s becoming more difficult to figure out who the enemy might be, the Obama administration is taking a different tact when screening passengers from inbound U.S. International flights.

The Washington Post reports the U.S. is “abandoning its policy of using nationality alone to determine which U.S.-bound international air travelers should be subject to additional screening and will instead select passengers based on possible matches to intelligence information, including physical descriptions or a particular travel pattern.”

The paper noted that after the Nigerian man tried to blow up his underwear on a Christmas day flight from Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight, the U.S. determined that passengers “from or traveling through 14 specified countries would be subjected to secondary searches.”

The new system will stop passengers who match up to “certain pieces of known intelligence”, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

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