June 24, 2010

"Leader of al Qaeda in the UK" Sentenced to 5 Years -- Rusty Testified at Trial **Sticky**

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Ishaq-Kanmi-umar-rabie.jpgYou'll note the quotation marks in the headline about the convicted online terror supporter Ishaq Kanmi. When I first started following the antics of "Umar Rabie al-Khalifah, the Leader of al Qaeda in Britain" I strongly suspected he was no such thing. But the fact that he was lying about being a leader of al Qaeda never suggested to me that he wasn't dangerous.

After all, this was a guy who was trolling the internet for volunteer suicide bombers to kill civilians. His worst offense was that he encouraged others to do what he himself, sadly, may never have gotten around to doing: becoming a martyr.

Kanmi and I are old acquaintances from our days on the Infovlad forum. Me as an administrator and Kanmi, using several aliases, as a cheerleader for al Qaeda. We even exchanged an email or two.

Hence, my involvement in the case was as a witness. I haven't spoken much publicly about this case because of my involvement, but it was not, as some have presumed, as an "expert witness". I had first hand knowledge of Kanmi's internet based crimes, and so that is what I testified to in court. Nothing else.

In fact, it was me that first notified the authorities about Kanmi's claims of being connected to al Qaeda and making the original death threats after tracing him to a public computer in Blackburn. Later, when Kanmi's threats were posted on an even bigger and more well connected jihad forum, the authorities took notice of him on their own.


Announcement banner posted by Kanmi of the creation of al Qaeda in Britain

At some point this led to them filming Kanmi using a computer at a public library downloading jihadi material -- a criminal offense in the UK. But it wasn't until Kanmi was about to leave the country that the police arrested him and his co-conspirators. In between his first threat and his arrest, Kanmi hooked up with a few other radicals in his area. They called themselves "The Blackburn Resistance" and even filmed themselves playing at being mujahideen [Video below].

I can't say whether the group would have ever done anything violent. They certainly came off as at least potentially dangerous in the video and online.

I first turned over evidence I had about Kanmi to the authorites in 2008. A big thanks goes out to a collaborator who helped me assemble the evidence. I'm not sure if he wishes to be publicly named at this point, but without his help there was no way I could have gathered this information. Thank you. You know who you are.

I then testified at Kanmi's trial last year. Because of the many death threats I've had over the years, I was allowed to testify under my pen name "Rusty Shackelford".

Here's how one newspaper put it last summer:

AN AMERICAN website moderator alerted police to a terror plot due to a message posted on the internet by a Blackburn man, a court heard.

The moderator of the Infovlad forum website told Preston Crown Court he contacted the Metropolitan Police when a user named Sheikh posted that he would carry out a suicide mission in London.

The user’s IP address was traced to 23-year-old Ishaq Kanmi, of Cromwell Street, Audley, Black-burn, the court heard....

The moderator, who was giving evidence under the pseudonym of Rusty Shackleford after an order was granted to protect his identity, said: “Another moderator deleted the post, but I saved it and gave it to the police.

"I called someone at the Metropolitan Police and emailed to someone working in the counter-terrorism unit.”

He added that, after reading a BBC report that a Britain had announced he was the UK al Qaida leader, he emailed the former Infovlad user to ask if he was the same person.

The moderator told the court: “He replied ‘yes’ and there would be an announcement. It got my attention.”

Beyond the professionalism and the courtesies showed to me by Manchester's finest, I'm not sure what else to say about the trial except that some of the defense lawyers questions were ... bizarre. Including one "A Few Good Men" moment where I was accused, in a rather accusatory and loud voice, of being a liar.

There were also some odd insinuations that I was a pawn in a vast conspiracy to entrap Kanmi. Weird.

And for you King of the Hill fans who understand about the name Rusty Shackleford, I was actually asked at one point if, well, here's one press report of the exchange:

Cross-examining the moderator, defence solicitor David Gottlieb pointed out that the pseudonym was the name used by character David Gribble in television show King of the Hill when ordering a pizza.

Mr Gottlieb said: “Gribble is a heavy smoking gun fanatic who believes any conspiracy theory available.

“Would that describe you in real life?”

The moderator replied: “No it would not.”

Yes, that actually happened!

Mostly I just testified about my email exchanges between myself and Kanmi. Kanmi had admitted to me in the emails that he was indeed the same person that had made the online threats using the "Umar Rabie" moniker. He even repeated the threat.

I also testified about certain personal information I had about Kanmi's online activities because of my status as an administrator on the now defunct Infovlad forum.

Kanmi was an active member of the forum for some time before he made the threats, and had developed some standing with some of the other hardcore jihad followers. Many of those members now run two other jihad forums: The Anti-Imperialist Muslim Forum was created by Infovlad members who I had either kicked out or who didn't like my involvement as an administrator; and the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum, which is staffed by a who's who of former Infovlad members.

Best part? All the robes and wigs.

Also, calling the judge "Your Lordship". Caveat: the judge, knowing I was from the US, told me that it was okay just to call him sir. But, come on, why would I ever pass up the opportunity at calling someone "me Lord"?

In the end, Kanmi pleaded guilty. I can only hope the evidence I provided made his lawyers think a second time about the original not-guilty plea. But, to be honest, I've no idea. Perhaps my testimony and the evidence I turned over didn't do a thing. I'm not sure what Kanmi could say after he was filmed logging in to a jihadi forum as Umar Rabie.

Today he was sentenced to five years:

A man who posed as the British leader of al-Qaida in calling for the assassination of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was jailed for five years today....

He composed the internet messages on a public computer at the Central Library in Blackburn, Lancashire, where a surveillance operation was set up to catch him in the act. Officers stood behind Kanmi and captured him on camera openly downloading jihadi material. On one occasion he watched a video of guns being fired into the air....

"This defendant between May 2007 and until his arrest in August 2008 effectively devoted his time and energy for hours and days on end to further his aims. We will never know what, if any, success he had," he said.

On Kanmi's plea for martyrdom, the judge added: "We will never know whether out there some young man has turned to thoughts of violence in the cause. If there was not such a person it was not for want of trying on the defendant's part."...

Krenar Lusha, 30, was caught downloading a video on how to blow people up when police burst into his home in Derby. Officers also discovered 72 litres of petrol in the cellar of his terrace house and computer documents such as The Bomb Book and videos including Mobile Detonators.

Following a trial at Manchester crown court, Iqbal, a former classmate of Kanmi, was sentenced in March to two years in jail for dissemination of terrorist material and one year for preparing for acts of terrorism, to run concurrently.

He received sentences of five years' imprisonment for all his offences, apart from one count of dissemination in which he was given a four-year jail term. All sentences are to run concurrently.

I am a bit surprised by the five year sentence. It seems kind of lite.

One of his co-conspirators in the "Blackburn Resistance", Krenar Lusha, was given 7 years -- even though Kanmi was clearly the ringleader. But the lighter sentence probably reflects the holding off of several charges in return for a guilty plea -- the British equivalent to a plea bargain.

In any event, the case is now closed so I can move on to bigger and better things. I'm proud that I was able to be of a little service in first tipping off and then helping in the prosecution of this terrorist supporting scumbag. And that his surveillance also led the authorities to at least two others who had aspirations of doing harm to the innocents of the UK.

We once had an entire "Umar Rabie" archive here at the Jawa Report. But once it became clear that I was going to be involved in the prosecution's case against Kanmi, we made the decision to delete the archive. I'm going to restore the archive and I'll put links below the "Blackburn Resistance" video below to any of our previous stories that I can find.

Previous Posts on Umar Rabie:
Another Online "Pal" of Rusty's Found Guilty on Terror Charges
'Al Qaeda in Britain' Leader was Imam in Finland? 3 Appear in Court
Three Charged in 'al Qaeda in Britain' Plot; Umar Rabie ID'd
Fourth Arrested in Umar Rabie "al Qaeda in UK" Plot
Man Identified in "al Qaeda in Britain" Cell
Notorious al Qaeda Sympathizer was Security Guard
Emir of al Qaeda in Britain Arrested
Al-Qaeda to Britain..Leave Iraq and Afghanistan
Good News: "al Qaeda in Britain" Announced

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:51 PM | Comments |

May 12, 2010

Another Online "Pal" of Rusty's Found Guilty on Terror Charges

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Banner announcing al Qaeda in Britain

And thus ends the saga of "Shiekh Umar Rabie, Emir of al Qaeda in the UK". I haven't commented publicly on this for some time because I was involved in the case. I testified at Ishaq Kanmi's terrorism trial last year and was asked not to comment publicly, but now that he's plead guilty that commitment has passed.

I don't think I'm giving away too much when I say that long before UK authorities had "The Blackburn Resistance " under surveillance, they were on our radar screens.

Why? Because a year before the "Emir of al Qaeda in the UK" threatened to kill Britain's Prime Minister on what was then the most credible and connected jihad forum, he had made a similar threat on another forum. The earlier threat, though, was not only against British politicos, but against any one who had voted for Tony Blair or Gordon Brown.

He also sent the call out for suicide bombers. Funny that no one volunteered.

And so "Umar Rabie" was on our radar screen. Eventually four members of the "Blackburn Islamic Resistance Movement" were arrested, three of whom have been convicted on terrorism related charges.

Of the MSM articles I've seen on the case, this one from This is Lancashire seems to have the most complete coverage. Here's some of it:

Kanmi was travelling to Helsinki when he was arrested in January 2008.

He was with Abbas Iqbal, 24, one of two brothers who filmed al Qaeda-style propaganda and dubbed themselves 'The Black-burn Resistance'.

Iqbal, of Percival Street, Black-burn, was sentenced to three years in jail at Manchester Crown Court two months ago.

Another terrorist linked to Kanmi was Albanian Krenar Lusha, 30, who was convicted by a jury at Preston Crown Court in December last year of five counts of possessing terror-related articles, and jailed for seven years.

Kanmi, still posing as Umar Rabie, had been in phone and internet contact with Lusha who was caught downloading a video on how to blow people up when police burst into his home in Derby.

Officers also discovered 71.8 litres of petrol in the cellar of Lusha's terrace house and computer documents such as 'The Bomb Book' and videos including 'Mobile Detonators'.

Lusha, it may be recalled, was in the UK illegally. Despite being an illegal immigrant, he was able to secure a home mortgage. The home was then used to store materials which would be needed to make a bomb.

And my little connection to this whole sordid affair?

AN AMERICAN website moderator alerted police to a terror plot due to a message posted on the internet by a Blackburn man, a court heard.

The moderator of the Infovlad forum website told Preston Crown Court he contacted the Metropolitan Police when a user named Sheikh posted that he would carry out a suicide mission in London.

The user’s IP address was traced to 23-year-old Ishaq Kanmi, of Cromwell Street, Audley, Black-burn, the court heard....

The moderator, who was giving evidence under the pseudonym of Rusty Shackleford after an order was granted to protect his identity, said: “Another moderator deleted the post, but I saved it and gave it to the police.

"I called someone at the Metropolitan Police and emailed to someone working in the counter-terrorism unit.”

He added that, after reading a BBC report that a Britain had announced he was the UK al Qaida leader, he emailed the former Infovlad user to ask if he was the same person.

The moderator told the court: “He replied ‘yes’ and there would be an announcement. It got my attention.”

Read the rest here, but make sure to keep liquids away from the computer as the article goes on to describe the hilarious cross examination questions.

Whether or not Kanmi really would have activated his cell and attempted to kill people is unknowable. The real problem with online jihadis like Kanmi is that although they may be too cowardly to "martyr" themselves, they may incite and inspire others to murder. And that is a problem.

Anyway, my involvement in the case was rather minor. The real thanks should go to the good people at Manchester's North West Counter Terrorism Unit for all their hard work. You know who you are. Good work people!

Kanmi is scheduled to be sentenced at a later time. One wonders how he is enjoying Belmarish prison so far?

Related:

Umar Rabie archive
Good News: "al Qaeda in Britain" Announced
Al-Qaeda to Britain..Leave Iraq and Afghanistan
Emir of al Qaeda in Britain Arrested
Man Identified in "al Qaeda in Britain" Cell
Fourth Arrested in Umar Rabie "al Qaeda in UK" Plot
Dear Z-Man, Infidels are Mean. Can I Kill Them? Umar Rabie Asks Ayman al-Zawahiri for Advice
Three Charged in 'al Qaeda in Britain' Plot; Umar Rabie ID'd
'Al Qaeda in Britain' Leader was Imam in Finland? 3 Appear in Court
Bombmaking Material Found in Home of 'al Qaeda in Britain' Suspect

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:15 PM | Comments |

August 26, 2008

Man Identified in "al Qaeda in Britain" Cell

One of the four men detained by Lancashire police over terroristic threats on Gordon Brown's life in the name of 'al Qaeda in Britain' has been identified.

His name is Ishaq Kanmi, a 22 year old teacher from Blackburn.

The Telegraph reports.:

The mother of one of the arrested trio insists that her son is innocent.

Mariam Kanmi, 50, said her son, Ishaq, 22, a teacher, was arrested as he prepared to fly out to Helsinki, where he was due to spend the month of Ramadan at a conference.

"My son is an innocent boy and we are a well-respected family here," said Mrs Kanmi. "He is not involved in terrorism.

"He hasn't incited anyone to kill Mr Brown. He hasn't plotted with terrorists. We haven't even got a TV here or the internet.

"He was going to Finland for Holy month. There was going to be a grand opening but he has missed that. He's been going there for six years. He always teaches abroad".

She added: "It's wrong that he's being held. Why are they taking this long?"

Ah, yes, the traditional Ramadan Hajj to ...... Helsinki?

You notice that she says he doesn't have the internet at home. Maybe not, but I'd guess that he had internet access at work. Which also happens to be a school.

Which I'm guessing also had publicly accessible computers. Where any one--say, one of his friends from mosque--might go and surf jihadi websites. Or email people. All on the taxpayers dime........

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:15 PM | Comments |

Fourth Arrested in Umar Rabie "al Qaeda in UK" Plot

UPDATE: One man identified as Ishaq Kanmi, a 22 year old teacher from Blackburn.

islamic_book_center_map.jpg

A fourth man arrested in connection online threats made by "Sheikh Umar Rabie al-Khalaila" the emir of "al Qaeda in Britain". This particular Umar Rabie associate is described by several British papers as a 25 year old "white convert" to Islam living in Blackburn.

A source with connections to the Manchester area tells me that the fourth man was seen protesting last night outside the home of "Umar Rabie" and his brother, both of whom are in police custody but have not been charged. He tells me that a local paper took pictures of the man and they may be published either tonight or tomorrow.

A police van was also seen parked in front of an Islamic bookshop in the Whalley Range neighborhood near where the man was arrested. That bookshop is most likely the Islamic Book Centre, on Whalley Range in Blackburn. The shop's website does not seem to promote extremist literature.

Another source says that police were seen investigating a small apartment in the back of a halal meat shop in the same neighborhood.

In addition to threatening a terrorist attacks against the British government in January, Umar Rabie has claimed to have personally met Osama bin Laden. A claim not unlike his claim to be the leader of al Qaeda in England---that is: probably not believable.

Nevertheless the arrest of a fourth 20-something year old man indicates that Umar Rabie, his brother, and their other associates were at least talking about how to commit acts of terror ---even if plans to carry them out were in their early stages or were mere bluster.

The problem, of course, is that you cannot know who is full of bluster and who will actually follow through on promises to kill the infidel until its too late. This is especially dangerous in an era where al Qaeda increasingly encourages its fans to carry out individual acts of jihad. They've essentially green lighted entrepreneurial supports to commit acts of terror in their name without any further guidance or support from central command.

Further, two of the suspects--Umar Rabie and an unnamed associate--were nabbed as they were leaving the country for Finland. Which means the plot may have included other extremists that the group met online. Scandinavia has a large Muslim immigrant population, including many Kurds with sympathies toward an Iraqi terror group called Ansar al-Islam. Several years ago a group calling themselves al Qaeda in Scandinavia made several poorly made videos warning of terror attacks.

Prior to the online threats against the UK government in the name of al Qaeda, Umar Rabie and his associates from the Blackburn area publicly asked for British Muslims willing to carry out suicide attacks to contact them.

Expect updates......

UPDATE: Two of the suspects are said to have lived on Percival Street where their family has lived for some time. Most likely we have found the home of the Umar Rabie brothers. Percival Street is only two blocks long.


View Larger Map

A neighbor says the pair attended an Islamic school. Unsurprisingly, he also describes them as "normal everyday lads".

Previous Posts on Umar Rabie:
Man Identified in "al Qaeda in Britain" Cell
Notorious al Qaeda Sympathizer was Security Guard
Emir of al Qaeda in Britain Arrested
Al-Qaeda to Britain..Leave Iraq and Afghanistan
Good News: "al Qaeda in Britain" Announced

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:34 AM | Comments |

August 24, 2008

Notorious al Qaeda Sympathizer was Security Guard

It turns out Umar Rabie, the self-proclaimed leader of al Qaeda in Britain, really did have a brother who, as some of you know, used the incredibly cryptic online nom de plum "umar rabies bro". Genius.

As we noted a couple of days ago, Umar Rabie and two others were arrested last week on terrorism related charges. Umar Rabie, on behalf of al Qaeda in England, had made threats against Gordon Brown at a famous online forum. I also predicted at the time that one of the three would turn out to be "Umar Rabie's Brother".

I was right. Umar Rabie's brother was arrested along with one other.

There is no God but Allah and Rusty is his Prophet.

I, along with pretty much every one else who knew the pair from their online antics on lesser known forums, never took them very seriously. But maybe I should have?

Three suspected terrorists have been arrested over internet threats to kill the Prime Minister.

Two men were arrested at Manchester airport last week as they prepared to leave the country and a third, the brother of one of the other men, was detained in Accrington, Lancashire where he worked as a security guard.

So, the question is what was Umar Rabie's bro, who publicly claimed he was a member of al Qaeda, guarding?

This is a guy who recently publicly wrote:

Make Duaa for me that Allah gives me Martyrdom in his path.
And who upon hearing about the death of al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al-Libi wrote:
we will take revenge O' crusaders... soon....
This guy. Was guarding someone or something. Scary, no?

And FYI, just in case any one is interested, Umar Rabie (not the "bro", the Umar Rabie) also has publicly claimed that he has met with Osama bin Laden:

i say this because when i met sheikh usama in 1999 he told me about zawahiri, and he praised sheikh ayman so much that i start thinking that az zawahiri is obl's leader.

sheikh ayman az zawahiri is a hero,

whenever he sends an audio/video then he incites all sunni muslims to defend their religion...

allahu akbar

UPDATE: Our Zionist cabal insider notes in the comments that Umar Rabie would have been somewhere around 13 back in 1999, so maybe he's not to be taken at his word. This wouldn't be the first time Umar Rabie or his bro stretched the truth. Duly noted.

Then again, with some people, jihad runs in the family.

Not that I take anything these guys said at face value. I don't.

In fact, for many reasons the Umar Rabie trio reminds me of the Boy Who Cried Wolf story. What most people get out of that story is that you shouldn't lie. These three had the art of lying down to a science.

But another thing to get out of that story is that sometimes there really is a wolf.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:43 PM | Comments |

August 22, 2008

Emir of al Qaeda in Britain Arrested

umar_rabie_banner.gif

It turns out that al Qaeda's "emir" in Britain, "Sheikh Umar Rabie al-Khalaila", is a guy in his early 20s from the Manchester area. You may remember him from the threat he made against Gordon Brown back in January on al-Ekhlaas and other forums.

A punk kid wannabe who was more talk than actual threat? Maybe. At least that's how he started out. But kids grow up. And even if he had no direct connection to al Qaeda (nobody really took him serious when he made the threat), it looks like the Brits nabbed him with two of his buddies (one of them, no doubt, his "brother" who was always bragging about him on a certain forum) as they were leaving the country.

As we've learned over and over again, it's not that difficult to go from wannabe to terrorist. And given his connection to at least two others, that makes it a cell. A cell of jihad supporters who spent their days fantasizing about killing the infidel online.

Three wannabes together are a lot more dangerous than an individual. It's a simple law of probability: one of them might actual do something bad someday: or worse, the three motivate one another to do collectively what they lacked the courage to do individually.

On a personal note to Umar Rabie, here's a bit of advice.

Anyway, on to the facts as we know them. TimesOnline:

Three men arrested under terrorism legislation are being questioned over internet threats to kill Gordon Brown and the former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

One of the men being questioned by police in Manchester is suspected of posting a death threat on a recognised jihadi website and styling himself Sheikh Umar Rabie al-Khalaila, leader of al-Qaeda in Britain.....

The three detainees are aged 21, 22 and 23 and all come from Blackburn, Lancashire, where extensive searches have been carried out.

One man was detained in the Accrington area and the other two were arrested at at Manchester airport before they could board a flight to the Finnish capital, Helsinki.

Note to friends of Umar Rabie and his "brother" below:

UPDATE: The three were arrested on August 14, 8 days ago. Which may mean something .....

Since it's open source, let me just add this teaser: in addition to a lot bluster about "Umar Rabie's" ties to al Qaeda in Iraq, the group also made terroristic threats online prior to the threats they made against Gordon Brown.

Specifically, they put out a call for suicide attack volunteers to attack British civilians.

Yes, really.

I also opened a category archive on Umar Rabie. Expect updates on this.

Friends of Umar Rabie from that other website should feel free to drop a comment or an e-mail. I'm sure all of you are as delighted as I am. And, since I know what's on your mind, the answer is: no.

Previous:
Good News: "al Qaeda in Britain" Announced
Al-Qaeda to Britain..Leave Iraq and Afghanistan

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:10 PM | Comments |