The kid must not read the news. Mohamed Osman Mohamud’s foiled plot and subsequent arrest were in many ways an exact replica of those of Hosam Smadi, the failed Dallas jihadi, and Talib Islam, who tried to bomb an Illinois federal building just before Smadi’s arrest. And tellingly, his rhetoric was also familiar, as he said he was looking for a “huge mass [i.e., crowd] that will … be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays,” just as Smadi proclaimed “We shall attack them in their very homes.”
One thing we’re waiting for: the mainstream media’s account of how Mohamud got “radicalized.” How was Islam misunderstood this time? That is, if Islam is mentioned at all except to 1.) recite the standard boilerplate that Islam is a religion of peace and denounces “terrorism” (wink), and 2.) broadcast the also-standard material playing up the risk of anti-Muslim “backlash” wherein criticism of Islam is cast as dangerous. Let the verbal game of Twister begin.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, attempted to detonate what he believed was an explosives-laden van at an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. However, undercover FBI agents had been monitoring his plans and had ensured that the “bomb” was a dud.
Mohamud, a naturalised US citizen of Somali descent, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Portland police around 5:40 pm Friday (0040 GMT Saturday). Detectives swooped on him just after he dialled a cell phone number that he thought would set off the bomb. As they closed in, Mohamud tried to kick at them and yelled “Allahu Akbar!” – Arabic for “God is great!”
Prosecution documents lodged in a US court claimed that since the summer of 2009, Mohamud had been in email contact with a suspected terrorist in Pakistan’s lawless northwest frontier province, currently a haven for al Qaeda cells. After discussing the possibility of Mohamud traveling to Pakistan to engage in jihad, or holy war, the accomplice allegedly gave Mohamud contact details of a terrorist cell overseas with whom a terror plot would be hatched.
It’s not that northwestern Pakistan is “lawless.” Rather, the past few years in the area have seen the ever-increasing encroachment of Sharia, imposed by jihadists advancing on a government in Islamabad that was unwilling to assert sovereignty over its own territory.
Repeated attempts by Mohamud to contact his would-be partners failed, and then last June, an FBI undercover agent contacted Mohamud via email pretending to be an associate of his Pakistani contact.
At a meeting in Portland a month later, Mohamud told the FBI operative that he had written articles that were published in “Jihad Recollections,” an online magazine that advocated violence against non-Muslims.
He later told the agents that he had wanted to conduct a holy war against “infidels” since the age of 15, and that he had identified the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square as a good target.
There would be massive casualties and panic at the site, the symbolic significance of attacking an event related to a non-Muslim religious holiday, and economic impact well beyond Portland — on “Black Friday” weekend, of course (and one just knows the jihadist propaganda puns that would follow from that).
Earlier this month, Mohamud and the agents traveled to the Oregon backcountry and detonated a bomb as a trial run. On the drive back, the undercover officials asked Mohamud if he was capable of looking at the bodies of those killed, according to the federal documents.
“Mohamud responded: ‘I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured.”‘
On Friday, an undercover agent and Mohamud drove to downtown Portland in a white van that carried six 55-gallon drums with detonation cords and plastic caps, but all of them were inert.
They got out of the van and walked to meet another undercover agent, who drove to Union Station, the Portland train station, where Mohamud was given a cell phone that he thought would blow up the van.
They had enough details to look after, but this would have made a nice ringtone for the occasion.
FBI operatives apparently cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of this plan, noting that there would be many children at the event. But Mohamud responded that he was looking for a “huge mass that will … be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays,” the court documents said….