While the mainstream media enter the feeding frenzy stage pursuing the story of President Bush’s National Guard service in Alabama thirty years ago, the war against America proceeds apace. Yesterday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an important story by Pam Louwagie on the charges brought against Minneapolis resident Mohammad (of course) Warsame in federal court: “Student suspect in terror trial found bin Laden ‘inspirational,’ authorities say.” The story should be read in conjunction with yesterday’s Washington Times story by Jerry Seper on al Qaeda’s attempt to activate sleeper cells in the United States.
The federal prosecutor handling the Warsame case is Michael Ward of the United States Attorney’s office in Minneapolis. I spoke with Mike at a panel on the PATRIOT Act on which he and I were the two representatives of the position that the act is not part of John Ashcroft’s war against liberty in America. Mike is a civil servant and spoke in a highly professional manner about the modest but important increments of investigative power the act accords prosecutors in terrorism cases. I talked about how left-wing advocacy groups like the ACLU have propagandistically fomented fear of the act based on the relentless repetition of knowing falsehoods.
Here’s the Strib story:
After joining the front lines for the Taliban, terrorism suspect Mohammed A. Warsame was ready to live in Afghanistan with his wife and daughter, court documents released Monday say. When Al-Qaida sent him home to North America, he sent money abroad to people he met at Al-Qaida training camps, authorities say he has admitted.
The documents reveal significant details of the government’s case against the Canadian citizen who was secretly arrested as a material witness in early December in Minneapolis. Warsame, who was a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College when he was arrested, told FBI agents that he was lured by the “utopian” Muslim society in Afghanistan and then trained at two Al-Qaida camps.
At the second camp, he met Osama bin Laden, whom he found “inspirational,” authorities say he told them. When he returned to North America, he wired money to a bank account in Pakistan for Al-Qaida associates, authorities say. Warsame, 30, who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was charged last month with conspiracy to provide material support to Al-Qaida. He pleaded not guilty Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis before Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel, who ordered him held without bail. Warsame’s wife, Fartun Farah, who didn’t speak after Monday’s hearing, has said before that her husband is a responsible man. “He is not a terrorist,” she said.
According to an FBI agent’s affidavit: Warsame said that he “became interested in the ‘utopian’ Muslim society that had been created in Afghanistan” and decided to quit his job in Canada to go there in March 2000. He traveled to Pakistan and illegally crossed the border into Afghanistan with other young Muslim men on their way to training camps.
Once inside Afghanistan, he ended up at two camps, where he trained on weapons and martial arts. He also taught others English. He spent several months at the first camp and about two months at the second. At the second camp, where training was more demanding, he saw Osama bin Laden several times, attended his lectures and sat next to him at a meal. He knew bin Laden was sought in connection with terrorist attacks but found the Al-Qaida leader “very inspirational.”
He allegedly “experienced combat” twice with the Taliban on the front lines. After the training, Warsame stayed at a guest house near Kandahar and continued teaching English to Al-Qaida members and served as a guard. When Warsame decided in 2001 that he wanted to stay in Afghanistan and have his wife and child join him there, he went to a senior Al-Qaida official in Kandahar for money. Instead of bringing his family to Afghanistan, he was told, Al-Qaida would pay for Warsame to go back home. He got a plane ticket and $1,700 and went back to Toronto in April 2001.
He became a legal resident of the United States and moved to Minneapolis to be with his wife and daughter in April 2002. Once back in North America, Warsame kept in covert contact with people he had met at the camps and wired money to Pakistan for them, the documents say. It isn’t clear from the documents when the money was wired.
Warsame said he didn’t go to Afghanistan to go to the training camps, according to the documents. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Ward argued that Warsame knew what he was getting into because he decided to go after the 1998 truck bombing attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa. Ward argued that Warsame was willing to flee his family for Afghanistan several years ago, so he shouldn’t be trusted to stay in the country now and should remain in custody.
Federal Public Defender Dan Scott argued that Warsame should be released to home detention because he has no criminal history, was cooperating with the government and has ties to the community. Warsame has not shown himself to be an active member of Al-Qaida, Scott argued. Scott told the judge that he worries about Warsame’s mental health while he’s incarcerated during what he expects to be a lengthy case. Warsame has been in solitary confinement and forbidden from making phone calls or observing media, Scott said. “A regular human being kept in solitary confinement . . . will go slowly crazy,” Scott said. “Month after month after month of that will be a problem.”
Warsame is being held under special administrative measures imposed by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft that limit his contact with the outside world. Ward said that Warsame will be allowed to meet with his wife if she agrees to certain terms and that he can receive books and religious materials. “All the [special administrative measures document] does is prevent persons in contact with the inmate from relaying messages to third parties,” Ward said.
What can we learn from this story? Warsame’s Somali nationality is of interest in the Twin Cities, home to the largest Somali community in the United States. The local Somali advocacy group acted as a spokesman for Warsame from the first moment of his detention, but has been silent lately. Why? We await the advent of a Somali spokesman who advocates loyalty to the United States and expresses concerns for its safety.
The role of Islam in inspiring war on the United States regardless of the nationality of its adherents should be noted, as well as the difficulties created by the ease of immigration to the United States. The Star Tribune story is also illustrative of the importance al Qaeda has placed on seeding its loyalists within the United States for future action. America’s Islamofascist enemy has a long time horizon, far longer than that of the media bigfeet currently braying at Bush as part of their service to the Kerry campaign. My proposal for a slogan for the Bush 2004 campaign is: It’s the jihad, stupid!
The Star Tribune story ends with discussion of Warsame’s detention in solitary confinement under special administrative measures adopted by the Attorney General. What would such a story be without a mention of Ashcroft in this context? As can be inferred from the story itself, however, the conditions of Warsame’s detention derive from the kind of commonsense defensive concerns that it would be scandalous to disregard.