Category Archives: united states

Homegrown New York Terror Plot Stopped, Four Arrested

A homegrown terror plot was stopped Wednesday night in New York City. The apprehended men were reportedly planning to blow up two Bronx synagogues and shoot down a military plane.
After a year-long investigation, four upstate Newburgh, New York men were arrested in the Bronx at 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

The group was planning to blow up two Riverdale synagogues and then down a military plane with a rocket launcher. They were arrested as they planted fake bombs in front of one the Riverdale synagogues.

A friend of the suspects alerted the feds. He then worked with the FBI and the NYPD helping the police for months.

The suspects had what they believed was a Stinger missile in their car. The suspects were arrested after buying the missile from FBI agents posing as militants, who sold them what they thought was C-4 and the Stinger missile.

Police arrested ringleader James Cromitie of Newburgh and David Williams, Onta Williams and Leguerre Payen. The latter three converted to the Islamic faith while in prison.

Adjix quotes New York Mayor Bloomberg:

“I want to congratulate the men and women of the NYPD, the New York State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force who tonight foiled a terrorist plot that targeted Riverdale Temple and Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx for bombing. The same plot also targeted U.S. military aircraft in Newburgh for Stinger Missile attacks. While the bombs these terrorists attempted to plant tonight were – unbeknownst to them – fake, this latest attempt to attack our freedoms shows that the homeland security threats against New York City are sadly all too real and underscores why we must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorism.”

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They Are United In Death, The Five From Camp Liberty

Six men’s names will forever be connected by the stresses of the Iraq War, five will be remembered by their loved ones as the other waits his fate in military custody.
On Monday John Russell allegedly walked into a stress clinic with his gun and opened fire. In the wake five bodies littered the ground. Two of the dead had devoted their time in the service to helping those suffering from stress and three had been fighting their own demons within the clinics walls.

Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle was a Sanford Central High School graduate in North Carolina. His career in the Navy was devoted to treating those who dealt with the stress caused by the frequent deployments to the battle fields. He fought hard to take away the stigma that clouded the troops from seeking help.

AP reports:

“He regarded it as very important work,” said Bob Goodale, a friend of Springle’s and director of behavioral mental health for the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Citizen-Soldier Support Program. “We all who work in this know that it is difficult. This is an example of how difficult.”

Lubbock Online reports:

“Major Houseal was a beloved, kind and generous physician and soldier, who volunteered for additional duty in Iraq to care for our servicemen and women,” said William Biggs, an Amarillo endocrinologist who works in the same group as Houseal’s wife. “To honor the memory of Major Houseal, we have established an education fund for the benefit of his six children.”

Dr. Matthew Houseal, a psychiatrist and major in the Army Reserve was at the clinic because he felt it was the place he needed to be at. He had enlisted as an Army reservist after becoming alarmed at the rising suicide rate in the armed forces. The father of seven had worked as a psychiatrist for Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation in Amarillo.

Armarillo.com reports:

“He was dedicated to his patients. He was a family man, very thorough diagnostician,” said Bud Schertler, executive director of Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation. “We couldn’t ask for a better psychiatrist.”

Army Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25, of Paterson, N.J. was Eugenia Gardos’ youngest child. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was gunned down at Camp Liberty.

The young man who joined the service after finishing high school had come to the US from Peru as a child. His family remembers how he used to hand out candy to the kids in Iraq just as he did as a young man at home.

Military City reports:

About 10:30 p.m. May 11, Army officials showed up at the door of the place Christian shared with his wife a few blocks away.

“We were all here at home,” Carlos Bueno said. “I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard screaming downstairs. I ran downstairs and everyone had thrown themselves to the floor, thrashing around, screaming.”

“We want people to know we’re proud of our son’s Army, but if my son had died in war we would be able to handle that,” he said. “But not to die in this manner.”

He leaves behind his family and a young wife.

Spc. Jacob D. Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo. was a quiet student who loved graphic novels and science fiction. He followed his older sister into the Army after graduating high school last year. Barton was known for sticking up for the kids who were being picked on in school.

The Army told his family that Barton died a hero, using his body as a shield to protect another man while trying to convince the gunman into putting down his weapon.

Pfc. Michael E. Yates Jr., 19 leaves behind an infant son. He followed his stepfather and stepbrothers into the Army. At the age of 17 he completed his GED and signed up for service. He had told his mother about meeting Russell, saying that the man had issues.

Yates was at Camp Liberty to deal with the stresses of the battle field knowing that he needed help to get through the hard times.

He had been home just last month to celebrate his son’s first birthday.

Alexis Mister, 18, of Seaford, Del., and the mother of Michael Yates’ son Kamren, said he was an extremely caring father. “He was always was concerned with Kamren so much,” she said. “He loved him.”

Mister said Yates came home in April for the boy’s first birthday party and doted on his son by buying him a four-wheeler. “It’s absolutely devastating,” Mister said, choking up during a telephone interview discussing Yates’ death. “My son doesn’t have a father anymore.”

Regardless of where a soldier dies he is a hero. He or she has offered up their life for the service of others.
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Winnipeg researcher charged with smuggling Ebola material into US

A Canadian scientist has been arrested on charges of trying to smuggle 22 vials of genetic material from the Ebola virus into the United States. The vials were stolen from the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Konan Michel Yao,42, was on route to his new job with the National Institutes of Health at the Biodefense Research Laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland, when the border patrol stopped him. It is alleged that he was carrying the vials wrapped in aluminum foil, stuffed inside a glove and then packaged in a plastic bag inside his car’s trunk when he was taken into custody.

Yao reportedly admitted he stole the vials on Jan. 24, his last day of work at the Winnipeg-based lab. Testing of the vials showed that they were not hazardous.

At no time were the citizens of Canada at risk from the stolen vials Dr. Frank Plummer, the scientific director general of the lab, said. The vials contained “basic biological materials including the Ebola gene for vaccine development,” reports indicate.

The Winnipeg lab deals with infectious diseases and was in the news after Swine Flu samples from the Mexican outbreak were sent there for the first identifications.

According to authorities, Yao was never in contact with Level 3 and Level 4 pathogens. He had access to a Level 2 lab which carries samples that are often available at hospitals and universities.

Yao worked at the lab in a fellowship position. He was taking the vials, according to reports, in order to have a head start at his new position at the Bethesda lab. He reportedly said he didn’t want to start over with his research.

Officials did not notice the samples were missing for several months because regular inventories of non-infectious materials are not routine.

The National Terror Alert reports:

“This turned out not to be a terrorism-related case,” he said by telephone from North Dakota. “It appears to be exactly as he Yao said. However, he still faces possible charges for smuggling the vials into the United States.”

Yao remains in U.S. custody. He has waived his right to bail and preliminary hearings. He could face a possible grand jury indictment for smuggling.

A Public Health Agency of Canada spokeswoman is quoted by National Terror Alert:

“was working on vaccines for the Ebola virus and HIV, among other things. But he only had access to harmless and non-infectious materials, similar to what you’d find in a hospital or university lab. He did not have access to dangerous materials.”

The Globe and Mail reports that Yao would have likely been given access to the vials had he requested it prior to taking them:

“One of the ironies here is that if this individual had, through appropriate channels, made a request for these materials, it’s quite likely he would have got access to them,” Dr. Plummer said.

Yao was born in the Ivory Coast. He studied at Laval University in Quebec.


Slamming To The Word White House Style

For the first time ever slam poetry was in the House. The White House, that is. On Tuesday night the First Family hosted the poetry event for 100 people.

Last year Obama promised while on the campaign trail that he would bring poets and musicians into the White House to “open up the White House and remind people this it is the people’s house.”

He has already made good that promise with concerts by Fergie, Stevie Wonder, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Earth Wind & Fire since taking office. Tuesday night though was the first Poetry Slam, a form of poetry that takes the word and brings it out with energy as the verses are performed.

Tonight’s event features James Earl Jones; poet Mayda Del Valle, novelist Michael Chabon, jazz musicians ELEW and Esperanza Spalding and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, not the average mix for the urban poetry form.

NBC New York reports:

“It’s an incredible honor any time to receive an invitation from the White House and President Obama,” said Arizona Rep. Krysten Sinema, who is among the 100 people invited to attend the event. “But to see our nation’s talent and be a part of history at the first-ever White House Poetry Slam is amazing. I’m very excited to be a part of this moment.”


Shooting at Camp Liberty in Baghdad

A U.S. statement has been issued about a shooting that occurred at about 2 p.m. at an American camp in Baghdad. The shooting took place at Camp Liberty. Five coalition soldiers were killed.
Five coalition soldiers have been killed in a suicide/murder at U.S. Camp Liberty in Baghdad. Nationalities of the slain soldiers have yet to be revealed.

This is a breaking news story.
AFP reports:

“Five coalition forces members were killed in a shooting at Camp Liberty in Baghdad today at approximately 2 pm (1100 GMT),” the statement said.

MSNBC reports that a U.S. service member opened fire on his fellow soldiers. Four were killed in the attack and several more were injured. The soldier is now in custody.

Details will be added as they come in.

update 1:While initial reports indicated that the shooter had committed suicide it is now unclear how and if he was wounded.

update 2:The New York Times reports:

Reuters quoted Marine Lt. Tom Garnett, a military spokesman, as saying “the shooter is a U.S. soldier and he is in custody.”

The attack according to CNN took place at a clinic that deals with soldiers suffering from war stress.

update: All of those who were killed are US personnel but it is yet to be confirmed that they were all military service members.


FEMA evicting Katrina trailer dwellers at end of May

t doesn’t matter though that FEMA programs meant to house those in the trailers have failed to do what they have been funded to do. May 31 is the last day the trailers will be allowed for the still homeless Katrina victims. They may not have a place to go but FEMA isn’t interested, at the end of May families must leave the trailers that the agency rented out to victims of Katrina. Letters have been sent and received by the residents saying to vacate their trailer on May 30 or face legal action.

The New York Times reports:

“All I can say is that this is a temporary program, it was always intended as a temporary program, and at a certain point all temporary programs must end,” said Brent Colburn, the agency’s director of external affairs. He said there would be no extensions.

More that 4,000 Louisiana homeowners have only gotten money to rebuild their homes in the last six months. They are the lucky ones, many more haven’t any funding to help them rebuild their damaged homes. There hasn’t been time nor the money for those victims to have their former homes ready by the deadline that will take away their temporary housing at the end of May.

The promised 500 Katrina Cottages have yet to make it onto streets. Meant to replace the FEMA trailers they each cost $25,000 to build. Despite a $74.5 million grant to get the homes finished in time for those living in the trailers no one will be moving from their trailer to a cottage.

NOLA.com reports:

In their responses to the audit, the LRA and Cypress offered similar explanations: It’s not our fault, and we’re making progress.

Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, called that “typical finger-pointing that accomplishes nothing.”

“It’s taken a long time, and we’re just not getting anything done,” Abramson said. “It’s the typical government bureaucracy at its slowest.”

At this point the homes should be finished by September 17, 2009 according to FEMA. Of course LRA Executive Director Paul Rainwater has backed away from 500 to 300 units as a more realistic goal.

Construction has only begun on two sites: one in Baton Rouge and another at Jackson Barracks in New Orleans. The Jackson Barracks units will house state Military Department employees.

NOLA reports:

Rainwater said Monday, “We are making progress in the program, with infrastructure under construction at Jackson Barracks, slabs poured and framing under way at sites in Baton Rouge and environmental reviews well under way in other locations.”

The Katrina Cottages are part of the Road Home program for single-family homeowners.

It’s not just those in the trailers that will be out on the curb at the end of May, those being housed in hotels are also about to lose their funding.

Most of those still in the trailers and hotels aren’t able to just run out and get a good paying job to help keep a roof over their heads after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina. Those still in the trailers are mainly the elderly, disabled or both, including double amputees, diabetes patients, the mentally ill, people prone to seizures and others dependent on oxygen tanks.

The New York Times highlighted the plight of Phillipp Seelig, 70. He is a retired handyman who expects to be living on an empty lot when FEMA hauls away the trailer he’s been residing in at the end of May.
He didn’t release the needed grant to elevate his home to the required height until December. His duplex should be ready to live in around July.

“They had helped me out up until this point, and I couldn’t believe that they suddenly decided, no, we’re not going to let you finish the house, we’re just going to take the trailer, and you can sit here on an empty lot,” said Philipp Seelig.

The government’s stance is that they have bent over backwards to help people get housing and that they just haven’t taken it.

Those interviewed by the New York Times have a different story. Take the case of Troy Porter, 47, who has been in a hotel since last June. He suffers from depression.

“The only time I’ve seen FEMA workers was in the last couple of weeks, where they come and give you the paper saying this month is your last month,” Mr. Porter said. “They handed you the paper, and they turned around and walked off.”

Last year a program to unveil a more intensive caseworker system for those in temporary housing by the Louisiana Recovery Authority never made it past the paper. Now that authority is asking homeless service groups to help those who will be homeless at the end of the month.

FEMA is saying that it has offered to sell the trailers to residents for as little as $300. That is the opposite of what those in the trailer say is happening. They are asking to buy their trailer and being told they can’t do that.

Jane Batty, Mr. Seelig’s longtime tenant, who has her own trailer next to his, was not surprised. “There is only one way to categorize this kind of behavior: it’s crazy making,” she said. “They’ve always had a different answer or had a different ploy to get us out of trailers that we had already agreed to buy.”


Canadian Prime Minister Makes Surprise Afghanistan Trip

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made a surprise trip to Kandahar Airfield on Thursday. While visiting the troops he warned that the increase of NATO troops in the area will lead to more violence.
This was Harper’s third visit to Kandahar.

The increase of 17,000 soldiers from the United States will allow Canada to be more effective Harper said while touring the military post.

CP 24 reports:

“The addition of American troops will allow us to do everything we’re doing now but on a much bigger scale and able to multi-task more effectively,” he said.

Harper used the time to emphasis the key development projects that are being undertaken by Canadian soldiers.

CBC reports:

Harper said that when the Canadian mission began in 2002, the Taliban had been running Afghanistan as though it were a medieval country.

“Those dark desperate days have ended. You have brought hope to those who have none,” Harper said at an appearance at Kandahar Airfield.

Harper visited the Dahla dam project that Canada has committed $50 million to help rebuilt along with the roads and waterways that are connected to it. The residents of the area rely on the dam for irrigation.

The Vancouver Sun reports:

Achievements “have not come without a cost,” Harper acknowledged in his address to soldiers. “Canada has paid dearly for this mission with our most precious asset, our brave sons and daughters . . . As prime minister, the phone calls that I make to the families of the fallen are the most difficult part of my job.”

Harper announced that Canada will also be sending $2 million in aid for UNICEF to use for education for the estimated 18,000 children in Kandahar.

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk and Ron Hoffmann, Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan joined Harper on Thursday.

“Canada was spread thin in the past,” Hoffmann told reporters as the prime minister handed out coffee to soldiers nearby.

“There has not been sufficient forces on the ground to do this job,” Natynczyk later added.

“We’ve been trying to do this job with about 40,000 troops. That is totally insufficient.”