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December 2014

Destroying a $30,000 Islamic State Pickup Truck Can Cost Half a Million Dollars

Destroying a $30,000 Islamic State Pickup Truck Can Cost Half a Million Dollars

On Saturday, Oct. 4, day 58 of the American campaign against the Islamic State, U.S. aircraft carried out nine strikes inside Iraq and Syria, destroying two tanks, three Humvees, one bulldozer, and an unidentified vehicle. The strikes also hit several teams of Islamic State fighters and destroyed six of their firing positions.

At first glance, that might seem like a lot of damage. Leaving aside the significance of killing Islamic State militants and only looking at equipment, the tanks were worth an estimated $4.5 to $6.5 million apiece and eachHumvee cost $150,000 to $250,000, bringing the total value of the equipment destroyed to somewhere between $9.5 and $13.8 million.

But that’s less impressive when one considers that each U.S. “strike” against the self-proclaimed Islamic State can involve several aircraft and munitions and cost up to $500,000, according to Todd Harrison, an expert with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington-based defense think tank.

Harrison said the cheapest possible strike could cost roughly $50,000 — assuming a single plane dropping one of the cheaper types of bombs. But the majority of airstrikes cost much more, involving F-15s, F-16s, F-22s, and other aircraft that cost $9,000 to upwards of $20,000 per hour to operate and explosives that cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Harrison noted that each strike’s price “depends on the distance to the target site, how long it may need to loiter, what type of aircraft is used, and whether it needs aerial refueling (and how many times).”

But using his $500,000 upper estimate, Saturday’s strike missions alone cost as much as $4.5 million. And those figures don’t even include the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flights necessary to scope out targets ahead of strikes, which have helped make even the low-level campaign against the Islamic State hugely expensive. The Pentagon revealedon Monday that it has spent as much as $1.1 billion on military operations against the Islamic State since June.

Even more disheartening, most, if not all, of the equipment being destroyed originally came from the United States — which is why we’re able to estimate its worth. It was given to the Iraqi Army ahead of the U.S. military’s withdrawal in 2011 and captured by the Islamic State when it advanced into Iraq earlier this year. That means Washington is now spending hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury to destroy Humvees, tanks, and other weapons that American taxpayers purchased. The situation has led some observers to joke that the Pentagon should christen the mission “Operation Hey, That’s My Humvee.”

Saturday’s strikes are indicative of a key complexity of the U.S.-led campaign in Iraq and Syria: In throwing its hugely expensive 21st-century weaponry at a band of insurgents, the Pentagon is using planes that can cost nearly $200 million apiece against pickup trucks costing virtually pennies in comparison.

That’s not a new problem for the United States. In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush famously told four senators that he wasn’t “going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt.”

Just one Tomahawk cruise missile costs more than $1 million. The United States launched at least 47 last month, though many of them reportedlytargeted the mysterious Khorasan Group, and not the Islamic State.

Clearly, even though U.S. engagement so far has taken the form of airstrikes rather than “boots on the ground,” the costs haven’t been low. What’s not clear from Pentagon reports is just how those costs measure up against the aggregate value of the fighters, equipment, and infrastructure the Sunni militant group has lost in the strikes.

As to the number of militants killed, the Pentagon has reported only that airstrikes have hit three large units, several small units, and an unspecified number of other fighters.

To be fair to the Pentagon, though, the cost of the equipment destroyed is a hard number to tally. It’s difficult to know exactly when particular pieces of the U.S. hardware now in the hands of ISIS, as the group is also called, were sent to Iraq, and what that value is now after accounting for depreciation. That makes the above price tags for equipment, which use today’s “sticker price” for tanks and Humvees, generous estimates of the vehicles’ actual value when destroyed.

Even so, 62 days after air campaign began, and $1.1 billion dollars later, U.S.-led strikes have destroyed arms and vehicles totaling just $123 million to $173 million, by Foreign Policy‘s estimate. Granted, that estimate doesn’t account for the harder-to-calculate value of other damaged or destroyed ISIS equipment and infrastructure, including portions of valuable oil refineries under Islamic State control. Since expanding airstrikes from Iraq to Syria, the United States and its Arab coalition partners have carried out 16 strikes on ISIS-held oil refineries.

That could represent a significant dent in the Islamic State’s revenues. These Syrian refineries reportedly earn the group $2 million per day. Refineries in Iraq, which so far haven’t been hit by U.S.-led airstrikes, make the group about $1 million per day. On Sept. 25, the Pentagon said it had crippled most of the Syrian refineries. But, as Foreign Policy reported on Tuesday, just how crippled they are remains unclear.

Besides, most airstrikes haven’t targeted refineries. In addition to striking equipment originally from the United States, they’ve hit things like Islamic State improvised explosive device (IED) emplacements, fighting positions, checkpoints, training camps and garrisons, weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, ISIS-held airfields, and various other buildings. The value of many of these targets is relatively insignificant. On Sept. 16, five U.S. airstrikes managed only to destroy one truck, one anti-aircraft artillery piece, two small boats, and one fighting position. With estimates for the cost of five airstrikes going as high as $2.5 million, that means the United States used an awfully expensive hammer to hit a couple of relatively cheap nails.

Another recent Central Command press release, using a different acronym the militant group is known by, touted the destruction of “an ISIL guard shack” among its victories. The weapon that destroyed the guard shack would have cost tens of thousands of dollars, and would have been dropped by an aircraft that, likewise, cost tens of thousands to fly. The shack may not have been very expensive to build, but it certainly was pricey to destroy.


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Actor Stephen Collins admits to sexual abuse of underage girls

Actor Stephen Collins speaks onstage on Aug. 1, 2010 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty)
Actor Stephen Collins speaks onstage on Aug. 1, 2010 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Actor Stephen Collins admits to sexual abuse of underage girls

12/17/14 09:20 AM—UPDATED 12/17/14 10:15 AM

Actor Stephen Collins, who is best known for his role as the wholesome reverend on the former TV show “7th Heaven,” has admitted exclusively to People Magazine that he engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with three young girls during a 20-year span.

Collins, 67, told the publication in a 1,000-word statement that there were three victims, all minor girls, in five separate incidents from 1973 to 1994.

“Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since. I’ve decided to address these issues publicly because two months ago, various news organizations published a recording made by my then-wife, Faye Grant, during a confidential marriage therapy session in January 2012. This session was recorded without the therapist’s or my knowledge or consent,” he reportedly wrote to People. Collins and Grant are in the process of finalizing their divorce.

In the statement, Collins wrote that he twice exposed himself to a pre-teenage girl in 1973, and had another inappropriate encounter with the same individual inside his home, the “Today” show reported on Wednesday.

“When the girl and I were watching TV alone, I moved her hand in such a way that caused her to touch me inappropriately,” Collins wrote, according to the “Today” show report. “It was a completely impulsive act, and it’s haunted me ever since to think of what I put her through.”

Collins also admitted to exposing himself to two teenage girls in 1982 and 1994.

He said he directly apologized to one of the women, 15 years after the incident occurred.

Collins came under fire in October after celebrity gossip website TMZ released the audio recordingthat his wife allegedly secretly taped. It reveals a man identified as Collins confessing during a therapy session to molesting three young girls. The New York Police Department also received the recording. The Los Angeles Police Department previously said officers couldn’t verify the tape, given to them in 2012.

“The publication of the recording has resulted in assumptions and innuendos about what I did that go far beyond what actually occurred. As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth,” Collins added.

On Oct. 9, a victim, who was 13 years old at the time of the incident, reported a child-molestation allegation connected to Collins. Days later, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began investigating the accusation.

Collins added that nothing inappropriate occurred on the set of “7th Heaven.” The TV series premiered in August 1996 and was broadcast originally until May 2007. He was cut from several upcoming planned TV and movie appearances following the recent allegations.

Collins, who remained out of the public eye since the recording surfaced, has not been charged with a crime. The victims have not identified themselves publicly.

His full statement will be available in the most recent edition of People, out Friday.

The news comes amid spiraling allegations that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted multiple women in the past. The comedian has never been charged criminally.

In Pakistan school attack, Taliban terrorists kill 145, mostly children

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — “‘God is great,'” the Taliban militants shouted as they roared through the hallways of a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Then, 14-year-old student Ahmed Faraz recalled, one of them took a harsher tone.

” ‘A lot of the children are under the benches,’ ” a Pakistani Taliban said, according to Ahmed. ” ‘Kill them.’ “

By the time the hours-long siege at Army Public School and Degree College ended early Tuesday evening, at least 145 people — 132 children, 10 school staff members and three soldiers — were dead, military spokesman Gen. Asim Bajwa said. More than 100 were injured, many with gunshot wounds, according to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani.

Photos: Taliban attack Pakistani schoolPhotos: Taliban attack Pakistani school

Map: Peshawar, PakistanMap: Peshawar, Pakistan

Students thought Taliban attack was drill

The death toll does not include the terrorists who attacked the school, bursting into an auditorium where a large number of students were taking an exam and gunning down many of them within minutes, Bajwa said.

“They started shooting indiscriminately,” Bajwa said, “and that’s where maximum damage was caused.”

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurrassani said the militants scaled the school’s walls around 10 a.m. (midnight ET), intent on killing older students there.

The Taliban had “300 to 400 people … under their custody” at one point, said Khurrassani, whose group is called Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. But Bajwa said there was no hostage situation, as the attackers’ focus was shooting to kill rather than taking captives.

They were eventually met by Pakistani troops who pushed through the complex building by building, room by room. By 4 p.m., they’d confined the attackers to four buildings. A few hours later, all the militants — seven of them, according to Bajwa — were dead.

World leaders condemn Pakistan attack

Pakistani authorities spent Tuesday night inside the school in Peshawar, a city about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the country’s capital, Islamabad, looking for survivors, victims and improvised explosive devices planted to worsen the carnage.

As they searched, they discovered that the school’s principal was among the terrorists’ victims.

The attack drew sharp condemnation from top Pakistani officials, who vowed that the country wouldn’t stop its war against the Taliban.

“We are undeterred. … We will not back off,” Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told CNN.

But he said the ambush at the school is another example of how great his nation’s sacrifices have been in fighting that’s raged for more than a decade.

“Even the children are dying on the frontline in the war against terror,” he said. “The smaller the coffin, the heavier it is to carry. … It’s a very, very tragic day.”

What do the Pakistan Taliban want?

Minister: Most of the dead were 12 to 16 years old

On a typical day, the Army Public School and Degree College is home to about 1,100 students and staff, most of them sons and daughters of army personnel from around Peshawar, though others attend as well.

Their nightmare began in late morning, when a car exploded behind the school. Pakistani education minister Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman explained to CNN that the blast was a ruse, meant to divert the attention of the school’s security guards.

It worked.

Gunmen got over the walls and walked through where students in grades 8, 9 and 10 have classes and fired randomly, said Dr. Aamir Bilal of Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, citing students. They came in with enough ammunition and other supplies to last for days and were not expecting to come out alive, according to a Pakistani military official.

Seventh-grader Mohammad Bilal said he was sitting outside his classroom taking a math test when the gunfire erupted. He fell into bushes before running to the school’s gates to safety.

Malala: Taliban school attack ‘senseless’

Pakistan takes on Taliban militants

Pakistan terror attack: What’s next?

Ahmed, the 14-year-old student, remembered being in the school’s auditorium when four or five people burst in through a back door “and started rapidly firing.” After getting shot in his left shoulder, the ninth-grader lay under a bench.

“My shoulder was peeking out of the bench, and somebody was following,” Ahmed recalled. “They went into another room, (and when) I ran to the exit, I fell.”

Bajwa told reporters that Pakistani security forces reached the school 15 minutes after the attack began.

They found, he said, “the children … drenched in blood, with their bodies on top of each other.”

Most of those killed were between the ages of 12 and 16, said Pervez Khattak, chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital. But some adults in the school also were targets, like a 28-year-old office assistant who was shot and then burned alive, police official Faisal Shehzad said.

Obama: Pakistan attack shows Taliban ‘depravity’

Violent past

Pakistan has seen plenty of violence, much of it involving militants based in provinces such as South Waziristan, North Waziristan and the Khyber Agency — all restive regions in northwest Pakistan near Peshawar along its border with Afghanistan.

It is the home base of the TTP, an organization that has sought to force its conservative version of Islam in Pakistan. The group has battled Pakistani troops and, on a number of occasions, attacked civilians as well.

Peshawar, an ancient city of more than 3 million people tucked right up against the Khyber Pass, has often found itself in the center of it all. Militants repeatedly targeted the city in response to Pakistani military offensives, like a 2009 truck bombing of a popular marketplace frequented by women and children that killed more than 100 people.

And the Taliban hasn’t hesitated to go after schoolchildren. Their most notable target is Malala Yousafzai, who was singled out and shot on October 9, 2012 as she rode to school in a van with other girls. The teenage girl survived and, last week, became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote education and girls’ rights in Pakistan and beyond.

Yousafzai was “heartbroken by this (latest) senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar,” saying Tuesday that “innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this.”

“I call upon the international community, leaders in Pakistan, all political parties — everyone — (to) stand up together and fight against terrorism,” the 16-year-old added in another statement. “And we should make sure that every child gets a safe and quality education.”

Growing up scared in Peshawar

Taliban: Revenge for killing of tribesmen

Still, even by Pakistan and the Taliban’s gruesome standards, Tuesday’s attack may be the most abominable yet.

This is the deadliest incident inside Pakistan since October 2007, when about 139 Pakistanis died and more than 250 others were wounded in an attack near a procession for exiled former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, according to the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database.

Even the Taliban in Afghanistan, with which the TTP is closely affiliated, criticized the “deliberate killing of innocent people, women and children (as being) against Islamic principles” and expressed condolences to the attack’s victims, according to spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.

It comes after peace talks between the Pakistan Taliban and Pakistan’s government as recently as last spring. The government released 19 Taliban noncombatants in a goodwill gesture, in fact.

But talks broke down under a wave of attacks by the Taliban and mounting political pressure to bring the violence under control.

Inside militants’ secret tunnels in Pakistan

In September 2013, choir members and children attending Sunday school were among 81 people killed in a suicide bombing at the Protestant All Saints Church of Pakistan. A splinter group of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility, blaming the U.S. program of drone strikes in tribal areas of the country.

And for the past few months, the Pakistani military has been conducting a ground offensive to clear out militants, spurring violence that’s displaced tens of thousands of people and sparked deadly retaliations.

Khurrassani, the Pakistan Taliban spokesman, told CNN that the latest attack was revenge for the killing of hundreds of innocent tribesmen during repeated army operations in provinces including South Waziristan, North Waziristan and the Khyber Agency.

The TTP spokesman challenged that ordinary citizens were targeted, saying that five army vehicles are routinely stationed at the school.

“We are facing such heavy nights in routine,” Khurrassani said, rationalizing the siege shortly before it ended. “Today, you must face the heavy night.”

CNN’s Sophia Saifi reported from Islamabad, along with journalists Saleem Mehsud, Zahir Shah and Adeel Raja. CNN’s Greg Botelho wrote this story from Atlanta. CNN’s Paul Armstrong, Tim Lister, Jim Sciutto, Jason Hanna, Christiane Amanpour, Mick Krever, Hala Gorani, Samira Said and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years

Alan and Judy Gross walk through a parking garage after arriving for a news conference at a law firm in Washington December 17, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) – The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy.

After 18 months of secret talks, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in a phone call on Tuesday on a breakthrough prisoner exchange, the opening of embassies in each other’s countries, and an easing of some restrictions on commerce.

The two leaders made the announcement in simultaneous televised speeches. The Vatican and Canada facilitated the deal.

Obama’s call for an end to the economic embargo drew resistance from Republicans who will control both houses of Congress from January and who oppose normal relations with the communist-run island.

Obama said he was ending what he called a rigid and outdated policy of isolating Cuba that had failed to achieve change on the island.

His administration’s policy shift includes an opening to more commerce in some areas, allowing use of U.S. credit and debit cards, increasing the amount of money that can be sent to Cubans and allowing export of telecommunications devices and services.


Travel restrictions that make it hard for most Americans to visit will be eased, but the door will not yet be open for broad U.S. tourism on the Caribbean island.

His announcement also will not end the U.S. trade embargo that has been in force for more than 50 years. That is codified in legislation and needs congressional approval. Obama said he would seek that approval but will likely face a struggle.

Obama said the opening was made possible by Havana’s release of American Alan Gross, 65, who had been imprisoned in Cubafor five years. Gross’ case had been a major obstacle to improving relations.

Cuba is also releasing an intelligence agent who spied for the United States and was held for nearly 20 years, and the United States in return freed three Cuban intelligence agents held in the United States.

Cuba and the United States have been ideological foes since soon after the 1959 revolution that brought Raul Castro’s older brother, Fidel Castro, to power. Washington broke diplomatic relations with Havana in 1961 as Cuba steered a leftist course that turned it into a close ally of the former Soviet Union on the island, which lies just 90 miles (140 km) south of Florida.

The hostilities were punctuated by crises over spies, refugees and the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. After the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Washington was increasingly alone in its efforts to squeeze Cuba. Raul Castro, who took over from Fidel Castro when his brother retired in 2008, has maintained a one-party political system.


Obama said Cuba still needed to enact economic reforms and uphold human rights among other changes, but he said it was time for a new approach.

Americans are largely open to establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of more than 31,000 adults conducted between July and October. Around one-fifth of those surveyed said they opposed such a move, while 43 percent said the United States should restore relations with Cubaand around 37 percent said they were unsure.

Critics said Cuba should not be rewarded, having yet to change, and the path to completely normal ties is strewn with obstacles, in particular lifting the embargo that the White House said Obama would like to see dismantled by the time he leaves office in 2017.

Although a growing number of U.S. lawmakers favor more normal ties, those lawmakers are still mostly Democrats, and after big midterm election gains in November, Republicans will control both houses of Congress in the new year.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban American Republican, will be incoming chair of a key Senate Foreign Relations panel and said he was committed to doing all he could to “unravel” the plan. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both set to hold senior foreign policy positions, said the policy shift reflected “America and the values it stands for in retreat and decline.”

Whatever the criticism at home, Obama’s move was made with the political liberty of a president who, midway through his second term, no longer faces an electorate.


News of the changes rippled fast through the 1.5 million-strong Cuban American community in the United States, hailed by some who are keen to see closer ties with the island and condemned by others.

Older Cubans who left the island soon after the revolution have remained opposed to ties with either Castro brother in power. Younger Cubans, who left more recently or were born in the United States, have shown more interest in warmer relations.

“It’s amazing,” said Hugo Cancio, who arrived in Miami in the 1980 Mariel boatlift and runs a magazine with offices in Miami and Havana. “This is a new beginning, a dream come true for the 11.2 million Cubans in Cuba, and I think it will provoke a change of mentality here too in this community.”

In Havana, stunned Cubans celebrated the news, although some were skeptical that the long years of animosity really would end. In one student demonstration on a busy Havana street corner, about 100 people shut off traffic while motorists honked their horns. Neighbors peered out from their balconies, joining in the cheers.

“I have waited for this day since I can remember,” said taxi driver Jorge Reymond, wiping away tears.


Obama said the Gross case had stalled his ambitions to try to reset relations with Havana, calling it a “major obstacle.” Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, played an active role in pressing for his release from Cuba, where a sizable part of the population is Roman Catholic.

Cuba arrested Gross on Dec. 3, 2009, and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for importing banned technology and trying to establish clandestine Internet service for Cuban Jews. Gross had been working as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Gross’s lawyer and family have described him as mentally vanquished, gaunt, hobbling and missing five teeth. Speaking to reporters after arriving in the United States, Gross thanked Obama for all he had done to secure his release and said he did not blame the Cuban people for his ordeal.

His case raised alarm about USAID’s practice of hiring private citizens to carry out secretive assignments in hostile places. Cuba considers USAID another instrument of continual U.S. harassment dating back to 1959.

The three Cuban intelligence agents, jailed since 1998, are Gerardo Hernandez, 49, Antonio Guerrero, 56, and Ramon Labañino, 51. Two others had been released before on completing their sentences – Rene Gonzalez, 58, and Fernando Gonzalez, 51. The three arrived in Cubaon Wednesday, Castro said.

Despite their decades of animosity, the two countries have long been engaged on a host of issues such as immigration, drug interdiction and oil-spill mitigation.

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Patricia Zengerle, Roberta Rampton and Richard Cowan; Writing by Frances Kerry; Editing by Howard Goller)


SAFER SCHOOLS FOR AMERICA (SSFA) are Exhibiting at CSBA AEC SHOW at the MOSCONE CENTER TODAY and tomorrow (Dec 14th- 15th) in Booth # 1430. The Moscone Center is located at 747 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 and the SSFA Exhibit is part of the California School Board Associations Convention and Trade Show.

Safer Schools For America will exhibit the manufactured ballistic school protection systems that they have to offer. These school safety experts are truly on the forefront of school safety and may one day be responsible for the life saving technology placed in all U.S. public schools that protect your children and mine.

The owners Ron, Sage and Bobby will be on hand to demonstrate the products and explain to the public just how effective these products are in school safety.

image_2 image_3 image (2) IMG_20141214_083842



The owners of Safer Schools for America have spent 40 successful years providing hardware and ballistic protection to correctional facilities, courthouses, Security-oriented OEM customers and other government institutions. Throughout our years in business, we gained extensive experience and insight into what it takes to facilitate security against a high threat violent penetration of a building.

Having supplied product to major distributors such as Grainger, Fastenal, McMasterCar and Amazon for decades, the team has gained the knowledge and expertise to properly process thousands of orders per week and most importantly manufacture product to the highest quality and production levels. This experience has become very important since we are now focused on providing Ballistic Resistant Products for school safety.

OEM for ballistic school safety products.
OEM for ballistic school safety products.

Tragically school violence continues, since Sandy Hook we have had 75 school shootings, TOO Many Fatalities and TOO many Injured (reported by June 14, 2014). Professional threat assessment specialists have confirmed that the use of a physical barrier in the form of a bullet resistant classroom door and the remote lock-down system would be an extremely effective first line defensive measure against such an intruder.

SAFER SCHOOLS FOR AMERICA  has met with many school district officials and has recently partnered with the Friends of Safe Schools USA, a NON PROFIT organization that consists of, and partners with Police Officers of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Miami Dade School District and law enforcement across the nation. They endorse our tested and certified system and believe that every school should have this product NOW. Our system was independently tested and endorsed by RyPul Threat Assessments; a Global Protection Agency.  

School Districts would purchase our system today if funds were available. There are over 98,000 schools in the United States that will need to be equipped with Bullet Resistant Door Shields and remote locks.

Convicted Terrorist Requests Transfer To Guantánamo

Friday, December 12, 2014
Zacarias Moussaoui (AP photo)

The man known as the “20th hijacker” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks wants to join other conspirators and detainees at Guantánamo Bay. The reason, he claims, is to escape the threats and assaults he is subjected to by inmates and guards at the “Supermax” prison in Colorado, where he is serving a life sentence.

Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted in 2005 of being part of the plot that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon. He pled guilty to charges that he trained and prepared to hijack a commercial airliner and fly it into the White House.

Moussaoui has spent the past nine years at the federal super-maximum prison in Florence, Colorado. There, he claims he has been subjected to assaults and harassment by guards and even other inmates, including Ramzi Yousef, who organized the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

He also claims those inside the prison want to murder him and that he has tried committing suicide, but failed. “So no suicide, Victory by Allah,” Moussaoui wrote.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International accused the federal government of “callous and dehumanizing” practices at the Supermax prison, in which prisoners are subjected to round-the-clock isolation for years at a time.

In addition to his request for a transfer to Guantánamo, Moussaoui wrote in letters (pdf) filed with a federal court in South Florida that he has “inside knowledge about al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 plot,” and wants to testify in lawsuits filed by terrorism victims, according to the Associated Press.

In addition to referring to himself as the “so-call 20th hijacker” [sic], Moussaoui says he is a “Slave to Allah.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff

To Learn More:

’20th Hijacker’ Zacarias Moussaoui Seeks Transfer To Guantánamo (by Curt Anderson, Associated Press)

20th Hijacker’ Seeks Transfer to Guantanamo (by Dan McCue, Courthouse News Service)

Zacarias Moussaoui v. Federal Bureau of Prisons (U.S. District Court, Southern Florida) (pdf)

Amnesty International Criticizes Conditions at U.S. Supermax Prison that Houses Terrorists (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

RyPul Threat Assessments on School Security and Personal Safety

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