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Shown here is Marine reservist Jason Brezler, left. At right is Sarwar Jan, an Afghan police official whom Brezler warned his fellow Marines about.Courtesy of Brezler family

Catherine Herridge



A good Marine is being put through the wringer -- with his career now hanging in the balance -- for mistakenly sending a threat warning from an unclassified email account, according to supporters.

The 2012 warning from Jason Brezler, a Marine Corps reservist and New York City firefighter, told his fellow Marines that a senior Afghan police official was a security risk, including allegations that he sexually abused minors on U.S. bases in Afghanistan. One of the Afghan official's assistants and purported victims, days later, opened fire and killed three U.S. Marines.

But Brezler's supporters say his career is now in jeopardy because of political correctness and a genuine fear that revealing the facts of his case will expose the underbelly of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.  

"Brezler's immediate chain-of-command here in the U.S. did not recommend punitive action, and the Marine command in Afghanistan called for the relevant document in Brezler's case to be declassified, because there is no information in the document which, if released, would damage national security," Kevin Carroll, whose firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is representing Brezler pro bono, told Fox News.  

Brezler now faces a board of inquiry as early as next month where he could be forced from the Marine Corps -- what amounts to an "other than honorable" separation -- for sending the warning from a Yahoo, rather than a classified, account even though Brezler admitted the error to his own supervisors.

Last summer, Brezler received an urgent request for information from his fellow Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. They wanted background information about a senior Afghan police official, Sarwar Jan, who was routinely allowed on base as part of the U.S. strategy to train local security forces before the 2014 withdrawal.  

Brezler immediately responded with information about Jan's derogatory background, including the allegations of sexual abuse. There is no evidence immediate action was taken, and days later, one of Jan's assistants allegedly opened fire on the Marines.

In September, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., wrote to the Defense Department inspector general that Brezler "suspected Jan had committed sex crimes against juveniles at U.S. Department of Defense facilities in Afghanistan. On August 10, 2012 one of Jan's subordinates and sex-crime victims killed three U.S. Marines, including my constituent Lance Corporal Greg Buckley, Jr."

Buckley, along with Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson and Cpl. Richard Rivera, were all murdered at Forward Operating Base Delhi after the alleged shooter, a teenage boy who worked for Sarwar Jan as an "assistant," opened fire on the men while they worked out at the gym. Another Marine, Staff Sgt. Cody Rhode, was shot five times and survived.

In a July letter to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, King said Jan was believed to be a security risk, and Brezler was only trying to save lives. It is "unfair for Maj. Brezler's good-faith effort to warn his fellow Marines, of what sadly proved to be mortal danger, to derail his reserve career. The Marines and the (New York City) Fire Department need more good men such as Maj. Brezler, not less," King wrote. The congressman, who also sits on the Homeland Security and Intelligence committees, said the report about Brezler's actions from March 12, 2013 "contains several administrative irregularities."

Among Brezler's supporters are Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer and Bing West, former assistant secretary of Defense, who wrote the Board of Inquiry in September, that "Brezler is an unvarnished leader. His unwavering quality comes through to other Marines and to the people and government officials in other lands. As Marines, we exist not to occupy space in cubicles. We're expeditionary. What counts is what we do in the field."

Another supporter, New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, also wrote a letter of support. "I have met thousands of dedicated members, and Jason represents the top tier of our ranks in character, ability, dedication and leadership," he wrote.

Francis Piccoli, a spokesman at the Marine Corps Forces Reserve headquarters in New Orleans, told Fox News: "Due to the impending Board of Inquiry for Maj. Brezler, it is inappropriate for me to address this issue at this time other than stating that pursuant to a NCIS investigation that substantiated the mishandling of classified information, Maj Brezler has been ordered to show cause for retention in the U.S. Marine Corps before a Board of Inquiry."

A critical editorial was published this week by the Marine Corps Times, calling for a serious rethinking of the Brezler case.  

It said: "Brezler's treatment sends the message that in the Marine Corps there's no room for honest mistakes. That's a dangerous precedent to set ... In his quest to recenter the Corps and 'hit the reset button on accountability,' Gen. Jim Amos has said that the new law of the land does not mean 'zero defects.' ... Brezler's case is an opportunity for the Corps to act on Amos' intent -- and do the right thing."


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Heavily armed British cops are now sweeping London searching for suspects involved in Jihad plots.
Heavily armed British cops are now sweeping London searching for suspects involved in Jihad plots..

Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Officers (CTOs) continued on Tuesday to search suspected addresses of terrorists following a pre-planned intelligence operation that began on Sunday evening in Great Britain's city of London, according to officials with the Metropolitan Police Service.

On Sunday, four Muslim men were arrested on suspicion of commission, preparation or instigation of terrorists acts as covered by the United Kingdom's Terrorism Act 2000. Some of the police officers were armed with 12-gauge shotguns that used "Hatton rounds" against the suspected Islamists fleeing in an automobile.

The suspects were all taken to a south London police station and they remain in police custody. Officers from the elite MPS Firearms Unit were involved in the capture of the suspected terrorists.

MPS officials said that the alleged Jihadist plot was "serious" and the terrorists planned to use firearms in their United Kingdom attacks.

But police said the plot was not as extensive as earlier major plots, such as the airline liquid bomb plot or the Birmingham rucksack (backpack) bomb plot, which resulted in the convictions of the Jihadists.

Two suspects, both aged 25, were arrested in an automobile in Whitechapel, in east London, after police officers fired "Hatton rounds" -- ammunition designed to blow out the car's tires and blow open its doors.

According to elite UK forces, these special 12-gauge shotgun rounds are designed for door-breaching operations. The Special Air Service (SAS) special forces units, Britain's version of the Navy SEALs, use Hatton rounds to shoot hinges and locks off of locked doors. The Hatton round is a mixture of compressed gun or zinc powder and wax and is formulated to cause only localized damage without passing through the door and hitting a hostage.

One of the suspects was of Turkish origin and the second was of Algerian origin, police said.

A 28-year-old suspect of Azerbaijani origin was arrested at premises in west London, and the fourth man, a 30-year-old Pakistani, was arrested in southeast London.

Scotland Yard officials would not discuss the actual terrorist plot or the targets selected for the attack or attacks, but they are continuing the counterterrorism operation.

While the British Security Service MI5 states they do not discuss intelligence and security matters with the news media its director general, Andrew Parker, gave a speech last week at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on the continuing threat of terrorism and how the Security Service and its sister agencies are adapting to respond.

Parker highlighted the enduring and diversifying threat from al-Qaeda and its imitators. MI5 noted that:

"... the work of MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the police in countering the threat of terrorism and emphasized the extent to which the [MI5] is accountable. In concluding his speech, he commented on a number of challenges that MI5 will face in the future, including rapid changes in technology and the growth of new electronic means of communications."

"In addition to day-to-day criminal activity, the Metropolitan Police must deal with unique challenges that other cities in the UK do not face to the same degree, including public order events, as well as the threats posed by organized [crime] and terrorists. The reputation of London as a safe city and a stable place to invest and grow depends upon an effective response to the whole host of crime and disorder challenges that we encounter," said London Mayor Boris Johnson

The Examiner
Jim Kouri
October 16, 2013
 
The original FBI Most Wanted Terrorist poster naming Anas al-Libi as an al-Qaeda operative.

An alleged al-Qaeda leader detained for interrogation aboard a U.S. warship is now in New York City and is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Tuesday in federal court for a number of terrorism charges, according to former NYPD official Iris Aquino.

The al-Qaeda suspect, Abu Anas al-Libi, has been under federal indictment in New York for more than ten-years. He's accused of aiding in planning and conducting surveillance for the terrorist bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, during the Clinton Administration.

While he was supposed to be held for interrogation for a longer period of time, according to Fox News Channel, al-Libi suffers from an advanced-stage of Hepatitis "C" that is affecting his liver function.

Al-Libi will be the latest in an increasing long-line of defendants to face civilian trials under President Barack Obama, who refuses to have suspected terrorists detained at the Guantanamo Military Detention Center (Gitmo) and tried within the military justice system.

In his first term, Obama reneged on his original order for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be tried in New York in a federal courtroom. After being slammed by members of the GOP and counterterrorism experts, Obama rescinded his decision and allowed Mohammed to be transferred to Gitmo for a military trial, according to a report by Accuracy in Media.

Al-Libi was a prominent fixture on the FBI's most wanted terrorists lists, but his friends and family claim he was not a member of al-Qaeda, much less a leader of that terrorist group.

U.S. special forces had nabbed al-Libi in a surprise raid in Tripoli, Libya, last week, but he was temporarily held onboard a Navy warship for preliminary questioning before being transferred to the United States for prosecution in the federal criminal justice system, according to an Examiner news story.

Republican lawmakers and numerous counterterrorism experts claim President Barack Obama is allowing national security to take a backseat to the liberal-left, political-correctness orthodoxy by refusing to allow the captured an al-Qaeda leader to be detained at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, U.S. military detention center, according to the Examiner story.

Last week, an Islamist who served 12-years in custody after being arrested by police in Belgium is now in Washington, D.C., to face terrorism charges within the U.S. federal court system, according to a news story appearing in the Examiner.

Nizar Trabelsi of Tunisian, after serving 12-years in prison in Belgium, where he served time for terrorist acts, Trabelsi was extradited and arrived on Thursday to answer to terrorism charges in the United States.

The 43-year-old Trabelsi allegedly received his orders directly from Osama bin Laden, the iconic leader of al-Qaeda, according to the Examiner story.

Also, last week U.S. special forces captured a senior commander with the Pakistani Taliban, Latif Mehsud, in a covert operation, the U.S. Department of State said on Friday.

"I can confirm that U.S. forces did capture a Pakistani Taliban (the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) terrorist leader Latif Mehsud in a military operation," said State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf in a daily briefing. "[But] I don’t have further details to share about the operation for you at this time," she added.

The Examiner
Jim Kouri
October 15, 2013

 

ISTANBUL (VOA) -- Growing numbers of young Turks are crossing into Syria to join jihadist groups fighting the Assad regime raising fears in Turkey of a future national security risk for Ankara.

Last month the U.S. and Turkey agreed to create a $200 million dollar fund to help local organizations develop programs to counter violent extremism among young people in places like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. Now some are warning the threat might be closer to home because of a surge in recruitment of young Turks by al-Qaida affiliates.

Al-Qaida affiliates in Syria such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra are making headway in persuading Turkish Sunnis to cross the border into Syria for jihad, Turkish officials acknowledge.

Turkish officials said that jihadists have recruited several hundred young Turks from the southeast of the country to fight in the civil war raging next door. And independent analysts estimate that as many as 500 Turks have been recruited since al-Nusra was formed in January 2012. The larger Iraqi affiliate ISIS, which became active in Syria earlier this year, is also actively seeking Turkish recruits.

Syrian Kurds say Turkey is responsible

Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim said the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist AKP government are partly responsible for the jihadist success, arguing that Ankara has not done enough to combat jihadists using Turkey as a logistical base and has in effect colluded with them by allowing al-Nusra fighters safe passage. Jihadists and Syrian Kurds have been engaged in heavy fighting in recent weeks in competition for control of Syrian territory.

Muslim is a co-chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the PKK, a separatist Kurdish group in Turkey. He alleged that Turkish authorities are willing to turn a blind-eye to the jihadists in Syria while they fight Kurds, arguing that Ankara hasn't done enough to block Gulf-supplied weapons earmarked for the Western-backed Free Syrian Army from falling into jihadist hands. He also said International aid agencies are being prevented from sending relief supplies across the border to Kurdish villages in northern Syria.

"Not a single assistance convoy crossed to our side in one month. Our people are living under difficult war conditions. We have acute shortages of electricity, water, fuel and medicines. There is an embargo against us," he told Turkey's Taraf newspaper.

In recent weeks, as fighting has intensified between jihadists and Kurds in northern Syria, observers said wounded al-Nusra fighters have been transported by Turkish ambulances to hospitals in Urfa.

But Turkey's Interior Minister Muammer Guler denied there has been any assistance offered to jihadists along the border. According to Guler in an October 4 press release, 129 suspected terrorists have been arrested in the past year. But the interior minister did not offer a breakdown of the allegiances of those detained.

In September, Turkish prosecutors indicted six jihadists -- five of them Turks -- for trying to acquire chemicals with the intent to produce the nerve agent Sarin. The suspects -- all al-Nusra members -- tried to secure two government-regulated military-grade chemical substances, according to the allegations contained in a 132-page federal indictment.

Southeast Turkey emerges as a recruitment magnet

Turkey's Radikal newspaper said a lengthy investigation it carried out suggests 200 young Turks have been recruited alone from Adiyaman, a town in the southeast of the country. A father of twin sons who had been recruited by al-Nusra told the newspaper that the radicalization process had taken about a year and that his sons disappeared on September 2.

After their disappearance, he tracked his sons down to the Syrian city of Aleppo. "I went to Aleppo with a guide and toured six camps in four days. There were young men from Adiyaman, Bitlis and Bingol in the camps. I found both my sons in a camp in Aleppo. When I told the gang leader that I had come to take them back, he replied: the boys are fighting for jihad here. Are you an infidel, since you are trying to stop them from jihad?"

The recruitment process back in Turkey sidetracks local mosques, presumably as a precaution against possible Turkish police surveillance. Likely recruits are encouraged to join small prayer groups where videos are shown of the fighting in Syria. Adiyaman isn't the only town that is seeing high levels of recruitment. A Turkish police source --who asked not to be identified -- said there is jihadist recruitment activity in Urfa and Diyarbakir. Once persuaded to join up Turkish recruits undergo 45 days of basic military training before joining a fighting unit, he said.

Prior to the Syrian civil war, global jihadist groups had only limited success in recruiting in Turkey. In 2007, the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad Union launched a Turkish-language website. Several Turks have been arrested in the past in foiled bomb plots in Europe. And there have been a handful of Turkish suicide bombers, the most notable Cüneyt Çiftçi, who attacked a NATO base in Afghanistan in March 2008, killing several Western soldiers.

But now after nearly three years of civil war in Syria and growing numbers of young radicalized Turks joining the fight fears are growing that radicalization will spread, and that one day young Turkish jihadists may bring the war home with devastating consequences.

Assyrian International News Agency
By: Jamie Dettmer
October 8, 2013

 

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