Minnesota

Minnesota men go to trial (10)

Featured image Conspirator turned FBI informant Abdirahman Bashir continued his testimony this morning. Bashir sought to join ISIS in Syria during 2013 along with the defendants. Just before lunch he testified that the FBI told him they would help him get his job back at the airport if he cooperated. What??? Bashir would therefore have been employed at the airport while he was seeking to join ISIS. Assistant Untied States Attorney just »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (9)

Featured image A minor witness testifying briefly yesterday made for a highly symbolic moment during the trial of the “Minnesota men” charged with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. In mid-afternoon The prosecution called Bashi Ibrahim to the stand. Ibrhaim required a Somali translator for his testimony. Though he arrived in Minnesota with the first wave of Somali immigrants almost 25 years ago, in 1992, he was unable to understand the »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (8)

Featured image When the first group of “Minnesota men” were charged with conspiring to join ISIS in April 2015, it made headlines in page-one stories all over the country. Scott Shaen reported in the New York Times, for example, “6 Minnesotans held in plot to join ISIS.” In the Wall Street Journal Andrew Grossman shared a byline with two other reporters announcing “U.S. charges six Minnesota men with trying to join ISIS.” »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (7)

Featured image Abdullahi Yusuf (pictured in the thumbnail on the home page) was the first three key prosecution witnesses to testify at trial. Yusuf has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material assistance to ISIS by joining the group in Syria. Three of his alleged co-conspirators and “former friends,” as he called them, are the defendants on trial. Yusuf’s cross examination extended through mid-afternoon yesterday. Representing Abdirahman Daud, defense attorney Bruce Nestor »

It’s the Islam, stupid

Featured image The professional journalists covering the trial of the “Minnesota men” before Judge Michael Davis include the Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor. I rely on his work, as well as that of MPR’s Mukhtar Ibrahim and Laura Yuen, even when I am sitting next to him in court. Montemayor is a good and indefatigable reporter. If you want to know what’s going on during the day at trial, follow him on Twitter. »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (6)

Featured image On Friday one of the prosecution’s three key witnesses took the stand at the trial of the three “Minnesota men” contesting the charges that they conspired to provide material support to ISIS. Abdullahi Yusuf is one of six “Minnesota men” who have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy (I’m using his mug shot for the thumbnail on the home page). Testifying under a cooperation agreement with the government, Yusuf provided a »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (5)

Featured image Charles Lister remained on the witness stand for the entire day yesterday. He will retake the stand this morning. Lister is an expert on the Syrian civil war and the groups fighting it out. His most recent book is in fact The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency. The government has called Lister to provide the background on ISIS in Syria, the intended destination »

(DHS) Magical Mystery Tour: Too much of nothing

Featured image In “Prosecutors say member of alleged ISIL recruit’s defense team preached jihad,” Star Tribune reporter Stephen Montemayor noted in passing that local imams and Muslim “community leaders” had received a “behind-the-scenes security tour” in February at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Montemayor mentioned the tour when he noted that Hassan Mohamud — “Sheikh Hassan” — had been “uninvited” from the tour. What??? What tour? That’s where Montemayor left matters, so »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (4)

Featured image Things got interesting in court on Wednesday. Having seated the jurors at the end of the day on Tuesday, Judge Davis began the trial by reading the indictment and charging the jury on protocol. He then invited the parties to make their opening statements. Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Winter gave the opening statement on behalf of the government, previewing the evidence that the prosecutors will introduce to support their »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (3)

Featured image After two days of voir dire involving a panel of 100 prospective jurors, we have a jury in the case of the three Somali Minnesotans charged with seeking to support ISIS and related offenses. The jury pool for federal court in Minneapolis draws on citizens in the southern part of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities but extending well beyond them to counties outstate. The prospective jurors called for this case »

“Minnesota men” go to trial (2)

Featured image The case against the three “Minnesota men” who have not pleaded guilty to terrorism charges related to efforts to join ISIS proceeded as scheduled yesterday before Judge Michael Davis in federal district court in Minneapolis. A large crowd of Somali supporters of the defendants filled the courtroom The morning was consumed with preliminary motions including one involving the possible withdrawal of attorney Murad Mohammad. Mohammad represents Mohamed Farah. Farah claims »

“Minnesota men” go to trial

Featured image Over the past year the government has charged ten “Minnesota men” (i.e., Somali Minnesotans) with seeking to join ISIS. One of the ten is believed to have made it to Syria and is unavailable for trial. Six of the ten have pleaded guilty. This past October a grand jury added a charge of conspiracy to commit murder overseas to the original charge of lending material support to a foreign terrorist »

A big week for “Glencoe man”

Featured image The Star Tribune headline refers to Abdul Raheem Habil Ali-Skelton (no relation to Red) as “Glencoe man.” (Glencoe is a small town about 50 miles west of Minneapolis.) Ali-Skelton seems to have something in common with the “Minnesota men” charged with supporting ISIS. Indeed, Ali-Skelton pleaded guilty this past Wednesday of lying to the FBI about his contacts with ISIS. Prosecutors said he had exchanged more than 75 messages with »

“Minnesota men” ready for trial

Featured image Ten Somali Minnesotans (a/k/a “Minnesota men,” as they are called in the headlines) were charged with seeking to join ISIS in April 2015. The case is of national interest and obvious importance. In the Weekly Standard articles “The threat from ‘Minnesota men'” and “Judging the ‘Minnesota men'” I tried to persuade readers that attention must be paid. The cases open a window onto the evolving security threat facing the United »

Nothing was delivered

Featured image The New York Times reports that “Minnesota TSA manager says he was told to target Somali Americans.” Let me say at the outset I find the story incomprehensible. The TSA manager referred to in the headline was allegedly asked to do something that he declined to do. Nothing happened. To borrow the title of the Bob Dylan song, nothing was delivered. The term “profiling” is thrown around without definition. The »

Liberal Policies Destroy Small Business

Featured image In my new capacity as President of Minnesota’s think tank, I am paying close attention to the state’s economy. Historically strong and diverse, our economy has been badly weakened by decades of mostly-left-wing governance. Small business has been especially hurt, which is one reason why in 2014, families with household incomes of nearly a billion dollars on net left Minnesota for lower-tax states. An outfit called Thumbtack conducted a nationwide »

Counter this

Featured image Yesterday the Star Tribune devoted a long editorial to the threat of terrorism emanating from Minnesota’s Somali Muslim community, only not in those words. Running under the headline “Countering extremism in Minnesota: A beautiful goal, barely begun,” the editorial adopts the Obama approved indirection and approach. The editorial pursues the line that I criticized in the Star Tribune column “Islam and Minnesota: It’s time for some straight talk for a »