Canadian train plot: RCMP asserts an al-Qaeda connection

April 23, 2013

I mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but there’s a bit more information on the terrorists and their connection with al-Qaeda:

Canadian police officials have linked the plotting of two Muslim men to destroy a Toronto passenger train to al Qaeda’s network inside Iran. The two suspects, neither of whom are Canadian citizens, were taken into custody yesterday and are facing terrorism charges. One of the suspects had placed an image of al Qaeda’s banner in a social media site. The image has since been removed.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said yesterday that the two suspects, identified as Chiheb Esseghaier, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, of Toronto, received “support from al Qaeda elements located in Iran,” in the form of “direction and guidance.” The two men’s plot called for the destruction of a train bound from the US to Canada in an effort to sow terror and harm the economies of both countries.

Esseghaier, a doctoral student at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, has a bachelors degree in Industrial Biology and a masters degree in Industrial Biotechnology, according to his Linkedin page. He lists Nanotechnology as one of his “Skills & Expertise.” He attended college in Tunis and is thought to be a Tunisian.

Before the image was taken down sometime last night, Esseghaier’s Linkedin page displayed in image of al Qaeda’s black flag. This flag was first used by al Qaeda in Iraq but has been adopted by other al Qaeda affiliates.

The remainder of the article is a good backgrounder on the Iran-al Qaeda relationship, including at least a couple of “secret agreements” that allow al-Qaeda transit through Iran.

While the above quote doesn’t claim a direct Iranian role in the plot, unlike the statement quoted in the Washington Examiner piece yesterday, I think it’s reasonable to assume the Iranians at some level knew and approved of what the two were planning and the encouragement al-Qaeda gave them.  Al-Qaeda is in the country on their sufferance, and there is no way Tehran is not going to keep tabs on what they’re doing, lest they unexpectedly find themselves the targets of retaliation after, say, another 9/11-style attack. So, while there’s no direct evidence of Iranian foreknowledge, it’s a safe bet they did.

Which should make the next meeting Canada and Iran’s diplomats quite… interesting.

Also, while there’s a coincidence in time, there’s no evidence I’ve seen of a connection between the train plot and the Boston Marathon attacks. What I do think it hints at, however, is just how many jihad plots there are “out there,” waiting to be put into action. Again, if Esseghaier and Jaser were a pair of “lone wolves” encouraged by al-Qaeda, similar to what may be the truth about the Tsarnaevs, how many others are out there?

Comforting thought, no?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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The Boston Bombers’ finances and their bombs

April 23, 2013

Via Money Jihad, here’s what’s publicly known of their resources:

  • U.S. News reports that “The larger Tsarnaev family ended up living on public assistance in Cambridge, Mass,” which in context of the article was probably around 2010.
  • Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge in May 2011 to pursue higher education.
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev was unemployed, but his wife, Katherine Russell, was working long hours as a home health care aide.  During their last conversation, Tamerlan told his uncle that he fixes cars, but he did not say whether he was earning wages.
  • Patimat Suleimanova, the Tsarnaev brothers’ aunt, said that “the brothers had stumbled upon money problems” in 2012, and that their father Anzor Tsarnaev “would send money from here when he could.”
  • Dzhokhar Tsarnaev withdrew $800 from Bank of America an ATM card stolen from the Tsarnaev’s carjacking victim on the night of April 18.

Read the rest at Money Jihad.

This isn’t unbelievable to me: none of their bomb components were all that expensive (that I know of). It’s possible they were living off occasional work, the wife’s income, public assistance, and handouts from relatives, even for Tamerlan’s flight to Russia.

But one thing nagging at me are the bombs themselves. Here’s an explanation of how they work. They’re by no means expensive, so I’m willing to accept that the Tsarnaevs obtained the parts with their own resources, but… First-time bomb-builders making electronic triggers and doing everything right, including safely transporting them? Seems a stretch. It’s almost a given that they practiced making these and tested the devices somewhere.

But where? Was it on private land, concealed from prying eyes? If so, who gave them access? If not, how did no one notice?

It seems to me that, although the surviving brother has asserted they worked alone, they almost had to have help building and testing the devices, themselves.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


One reason I may never visit New York City

April 23, 2013

This is what happens when you live in such a cultural cocoon that there is no one to tell you what a stupid idea your stupid idea is:

File this under “EW!”:

When Jada Shapiro decided to raise her daughter from birth without diapers, for the most part, not everyone was amused. Ms. Shapiro scattered little bowls around the house to catch her daughter’s offerings, and her sister insisted that she use a big, dark marker to mark the bowls so that they could never find their way back to the kitchen.

“My sister wasn’t a huge fan,” she said on Thursday.

But “elimination communication,” as the diaper-free method of child-rearing is called, is finding an audience in the hipper precincts of New York City.

Ms. Shapiro, who is a doula, a birth and child-rearing coach, says it is practically now a job qualification to at least be able to offer diaper-free training as an option to clients. Caribou Baby, an “eco-friendly maternity, baby and lifestyle store” on the border of artsy Greenpoint and Williamsburg, has been drawing capacity crowds to its diaper-free “Meetups,” where parents exchange tips like how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars.

Parents are drawn to the method as a way of preserving the environment from the ravages of disposable diapers, as well as reducing the laundering of cloth diapers and preventing diaper rash. Many of them like the thought that they are rediscovering an ancient practice used in other cultures, though they tend to gloss over the fact that many of those cultures had never heard of Pampers. But mostly, they say, they like feeling more in touch with their babies’ most intimate functions.

“I think for a lot of parents, the motivation is just to be more in tune with what their kids’ needs are,” Adriane Stare, proprietor of Caribou Baby and herself a diaper-free mother, said on Thursday, about a week after holding her most recent meetup. Another meeting was written about on Thursday on the news Web site dnainfo.com; the next is May 14.

This is one of those things that happened before Rome fell, right?

When I think of getting “in tune” with a child’s needs, I think about things like food, shelter, clothing, love, confidence-building, instill good values… Not teaching it the right way to take a whiz between parked cars.

(And what of the poor schmuck who later picks that route to get to his car?)

Nincompoopery like this makes me think of “Green warriors” who want to preserve rural villages from the ravages of technology, so they can continue to live in virtue, close to nature… and then you go ask someone in that same pesthole village if they’d like to have refrigerators, electric lights, air conditioning —and diapers!— and they’ll look at you like you’re nuts for asking and answer “Heck yes! When’s the delivery?”

Sometimes civilization is a good thing.

Even in Manhattan.

via Jonah Goldberg

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)