terrorism

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state Senate Judiciary committee will consider a bill tomorrow that would make it easier for criminals to have part of their records expunged.

House Bill 4186 would allow people convicted of a single felony or a couple of misdemeanors to apply to have them removed from their record.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week’s attack on the Canadian Parliament building raises questions about security at all government buildings.

On Wednesday, a lone gunman shot and killed a soldier standing guard at the national war memorial in Ottawa. The gunman was later shot and killed inside the parliament building.  

President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with bicameral leadership of Congress regarding foreign policy in the Oval Office, Sept. 9, 2014.
Peter Souza / White House

President Obama will speak to the nation tonight at 9 p.m. from the White House. He's expected to lay out details of his plan to address the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Tune in to Michigan Radio for NPR's live coverage of the speech.

The president is expected to start speaking at 9:01:30 p.m. and the White House says the president's remarks will run approximately 15 minutes or less. 

More from NPR:

NPR News will provide live anchored special coverage hosted by Robert Siegel that will include the president's speech and analysis.  Robert will be joined in studio by Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman; White House correspondent Scott Horsley; Congressional reporter Juana Summers; and Middle East correspondent Deb Amos will join our coverage from the region.

In advance of the president's speech, NPR's Greg Myre addresses five questions "likely to determine the success or failure of any military mission." 

And the Washington Post tells us why Obama prefers giving these speeches from the East Room in the White House. 

A Muslim civil rights group is suing the federal government on behalf of five Michigan plaintiffs who are challenging their placement on the government’s “terror watchlist.”

U.S. Army/Department of Defense

A Michigan congressman is highly critical of the deal the Obama administration struck to win the release of America’s only prisoner-of-war in the Afghan war.

The Taliban released Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after holding him for five years because the U.S. agreed to release five senior Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay.

olympic.org/photos/sochi-2014

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is joining other members of Congress who are expressing concern about security at the Winter Olympic games next month in Russia.

There are concerns that the games face an unprecedented terrorist threat level.

Stabenow says Russian authorities have not shared enough of their security plans for the games.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Members of Congress, including one from Michigan, say they have serious concerns about Americans' safety at next month's Olympics in Russia, and they want Moscow to cooperate more on security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised his country will do all it can to ensure a safe Olympics.

The State Department has advised Americans planning to go that they should keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care.

Mlive.com

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan man claims he tipped federal investigators to the location of Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan years before his killing and is seeking the $25 million reward.

A letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press from a Chicago-based law firm representing Grand Rapids resident Tom Lee says the 63-year-old gem merchant reported the location of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in 2003.

DETROIT (AP) - Charges have been dismissed against a Saudi man arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after a pressure cooker was found in his bag.

Hussain Al Khawahir was arrested May 11th and charged with giving false statements to federal agents and possessing an altered passport. Authorities said he lied about why he was traveling with the pressure cooker.

The U.S. Attorney's Office told the Detroit Free Press in a statement Friday that Hussain Al Khawahir "will go immediately into the custody of U.S. Customs and Border protection for removal" from the U.S.

On today's program, we explore the idea of secret work groups crafting public policy in Lansing, and how transparent Michigan's government should be.

And we look at whether expanding the lottery to the internet is a good idea.

We'll also hear how new technology being developed here in Michigan might be able to help authorities identify potential threats in airports or in large crowds.

user g7ahn / Flickr

In the aftermath of school shootings, theater shootings, and bombings, the question of security screening has become real and important.

How do we balance privacy concerns and rights with the need to screen for potential threats?

A University of Michigan professor is working on that challenge: building a better security detector.

Dr Kamal Sarabondi is a professor of electrical engineering, and he's the director of the Radiation Laboratory at the University of Michigan.

He's gotten funding from the U.S. Department of Defense and is developing a long-range radar technology as a means to detect a concealed object. He explains what it is and how it differs from what we have today.

Listen to the full interview above.

TimeFramePhoto.com

The two thousand runners expected to take part in this Sunday’s Lansing marathon can expect to see tight security along the 26-mile course.

The added security is in response to Monday’s deadly bombing at the finish of the Boston Marathon.

Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski says people attending the Lansing marathon will be protected.

“We’ll certainly have additional patrols….we’ll have extra officers working the event. We’ll take precautionary measures…such as bomb sweeps and those types of things we do for these events,” says Szymanski.

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stuart Phillips / Official U.S. Navy Imagery

Congressman Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) and the American Civil Liberties Union are teaming up to talk about national security.

Amash is more libertarian than many Republicans. While he and the ACLU don’t see eye to eye on everything, ACLU of Michigan Deputy Director Mary Bejian called Amash “one of the ACLU’s strongest allies in congress on these important national security issues.”

Fasten your seat belts. We are in for another three and a half months in which President Obama and his surrogates will try to make us believe that Mitt Romney’s main goal is destroy the middle class and outsource every last American job to China.

Meanwhile, the Romney forces will try to make us think that President Obama is totally incompetent and single-handedly responsible for the long recession.

Hyperbole and exaggeration have been how campaigns have been conducted since George Washington’s time. But what has been taboo is reckless, vicious and false character assassination. We did have one very infamous practitioner of that kind of politics - Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, whose name we now use to define them. Back in the early 1950s, McCarthy destroyed lives, careers and reputations by recklessly accusing people of being Communists without the faintest shred of evidence.

Much of the nation was in a grip of terror. Eventually, McCarthy was stripped of his powers and soon drank himself to death. Ever since, there’s been agreement that there was such a thing as too far.

Until now, that is. A form of new McCarthyism has been growing across this nation and this state ever since President Obama was elected. My theory is that this was inspired by racism. There are millions who just can’t stomach that we have a black president.

Update 3:45 p.m.

DETROIT (AP) - A Nigerian who tried to blow up an international flight near Detroit on behalf of al-Qaida has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The mandatory punishment Thursday for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was never in doubt after he pleaded guilty in October. The 25-year-old says the bomb in his underwear was a "blessed weapon" to avenge poorly treated Muslims worldwide.

The bomb didn't fully detonate aboard an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight but caused a brief fire that burned Abdulmutallab.

He admitted afterward that the attack was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born cleric and leading al-Qaida figure killed by a U.S. drone strike last fall.

Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds announced the sentence in a crowded courtroom that included some passengers from Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

2:22 p.m.

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit federal judge is refusing to set aside a federal law that requires a mandatory life sentence for a Nigerian who pleaded guilty to trying to blow up an international flight bound for Detroit on Christmas 2009.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds made her decision as the sentencing hearing began Thursday for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He tried to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 with a bomb in his underwear. It failed and he was badly burned.

Abdulmutallab's attorney claims a life sentence when there was no death or serious injury to passengers is unconstitutional.

Separately, the judge says she'll allow the government to show an FBI video demonstrating the power of the explosive chemical possessed by Abdulmutallab.

Convicted terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, wrote to U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds asking for a new legal advisor from the court.

According to Doug Guthrie of the Detroit News, Abdulmutallab is asking for a Muslim lawyer "to help him understand legal issues surrounding his Jan. 19 sentencing."

The News reports Abdulmutallab gave the judge a name - Elsayed Mostafa - an attorney Abdulmutallab had met earlier from the Federal Defender Office in the Eastern District of Michigan.

From the Detroit News:

"I find there is more understanding when the person is of the same religion," Abdulmutallab wrote.

Mostafa said Monday he was unaware of the letter or the personal request. Abdulmutallab had rejected lawyers from the Defender's office before Anthony Chambers was appointed.

"Yes, I have met him before, and if the judge asks me to I'll meet with him again before I commit myself to the case," Mostafa said.

Abdulmutallab said his appointed lawyer and staff "treat me with contempt" - a charge the lawyers deny. He's scheduled to be sentenced on January 19.

More than 150 Michigan Army National Guard members are preparing to head to Fort Bliss, Texas, for additional training before leaving for a one-year deployment to Kuwait.   

The 1462nd Transportation Company will be sent off by family and friends Saturday at Parker Middle School in Howell. The soldiers will serve in Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.   

More than 1,150 Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are deployed across the globe in support of the war on terrorism, nearly five percent of the entire state force.   

More than 95 percent remain in Michigan to respond to a state emergency, including a terrorist event.

A high-profile federal terrorism trial starts in Detroit tomorrow. A jury will decide whether a 24-year-old Nigerian man tried to detonate a bomb on a Detroit-bound flight two years ago.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will not deliver the opening statement. He’s decided to leave that to the stand-by counsel appointed to him by the court.

That same attorney has handled most of the court proceedings so far. Anthony Chambers questioned all but one juror for the defense during jury selection.

DETROIT (AP) - A Michigan attorney who claims the government had a role in the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound plane could be called as a witness for the defense.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab may call Kurt Haskell, who was a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas 2009. Haskell's name was disclosed in court Thursday by
Anthony Chambers, an attorney who is assisting Abdulmutallab.

Haskell believes the bomb in Abdulmutallab's underwear was fake. He claims the young Nigerian was escorted onto the plane without a passport and has a strong entrapment defense. Haskell is an attorney in Taylor, a Detroit suburb.

Opening statements in the trial are scheduled for next Tuesday. Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to destroy the plane on behalf of al-Qaida.

U.S. Marshals

Update 3:02 pm:

The demographics are now in on the jury. With the last-minute change that took the Nigerian woman out of the mix, it looks like this:

The 12-member jury:

  • Three white men
  • Six white women
  • Two black women
  • One Indian woman

The alternates:

The death of a prominent Al Qaida leader is not expected to have a big effect on jury selection in the case of an alleged terrorist in Detroit next week.   

A U.S. drone attack today in Yemen killed US-born radical Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who allegedly inspired ‘underwear bomber’  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.    He’s accused of trying to blowup a Detroit-bound airplane on Christmas day, 2009, with a bomb hidden in his underwear. 

An Ohio woman said Tuesday that she endured nearly four hours in police custody that included being forced off an airplane in handcuffs, strip-searched and interrogated at Detroit's airport on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks _ all, she believes, because of her Middle Eastern appearance.

A U.S. District Court judge says the Nigerian-born man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner nearly two years ago can represent himself at trial.

So-called “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been acting as his own lawyer in pre-trial hearings. But he also has court-appointed standby counsel.

(courtesy of Michigan State University)

Most people in the Middle East don’t seem to be angry that U-S forces killed Osama bin Laden.  Salah Hassan coordinates the Islam, Muslims and Journalism Education program  at Michigan State University. He’s watching Mid East media coverage following the death of the Al-Qaeda leader.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Brighton congressman Mike Rogers says the death of Osama bin Laden this week shows the growth of the nation’s intelligence agencies since September 11th.

Rogers chairs the U.S. House Intelligence Committee which oversees the  nation’s spy agencies.  

"I think this clearly demonstrates the new intelligence community, after 9/11, and their ability to find and reach out…anywhere in the world and take care of people who threaten the United States."

Rogers says the operation that ended with the death of bin Laden was one that few other nation’s could accomplish.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Counter-terrorism expert Jonathan White heads GVSU’s Homeland Defense Initiative. White consults for local, state and federal groups involved in counter-terrorism efforts.

White says bin Laden’s death will inspire those planning terrorist attacks, but he says they’d still be planning those attacks if bin Laden was alive.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A group of Detroit area imams say they are glad U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden over the weekend. The imams representing different groups within southeast Michigan’s Muslim community say Osama bin Laden’s death was justified.       

Dawud Walid is with the Council on American Islamic Relations. He says bin Laden was a criminal for his acts of terrorism. Some have  questioned whether bin Laden's burial at sea may have disrespected Islamic tradition. Dawud Walid disagrees.

“Osama bin Laden did the ultimate disrespect  when he attacked churches and mosques…and when he killed thousands of Americans at the  World Trade Center.  That’s the ultimate disrespect.  Not whether he was buried on  the water or under the earth.”

The imams agree that the U.S. government should release as much information as possible about the hunt and death of Osama bin Laden. Not toconvince them. But to keep Osama bin Laden's followers from refusing to believe he’s dead.

They are concerned that Osama bin Laden could otherwise become something of an "Elvis Presley"-like figure among his followers.

White House

Late last night, President Obama announced to the nation that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a small team of American forces at a mansion in Pakistan.

Obama called Bin Laden "a terrorist who was responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children."

Update 7:14 a.m.

The Detroit Free Press reports on the celebrations from the Muslim and Arab-American community in metro Detroit upon hearing the news of Osama bin Laden's death:

"The world is definitely a better place without the patron of all terrorists," said Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, the largest mosque in a city that has the highest concentration of Arab-Americans in the U.S. Qazwini called bin Laden "the world's most infamous thug."

"It is so comforting to see justice being served while the families of the thousands of his victims rejoice," he said.

Ibrahim Aljahim, 29, of Detroit, said of bin Laden: "He never represented Muslims or anyone else."

..."As gratifying as it is to see this, we should continue to be on alert," said Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "Executing the symbol of bin Laden does not execute the ideology (of extremism). It's a vital mistake to focus on the person and ignore the ideology."

12:09 am

NPR reports:

Osama bin Laden, who created the al-Qaida terrorist network that killed 3,000 people in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, is dead.

He was killed, President Obama announced to the nation late Sunday night, in Pakistan by U.S. forces. During a firefight with bin Laden's guards, which the president said happened earlier in the day, no American personnel were injured.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Congresswoman Candice Miller is chairing a hearing this week  on the need for greater coordination of law enforcement resources on America’s borders.   Miller says Mexico’s expanding drug war poses a growing threat to border states.

Osama bin Laden, who created the al-Qaida terrorist network that killed 3,000 people in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, is dead.

President Obama is about to announce that news to the nation, NPR and other news outlets have been told by U.S. officials.

With the al-Qaida leader's death, a new and dramatic moment has occurred in a long struggle that has seen the U.S. go to war first in Afghanistan — where al-Qaida was based — and then in Iraq.

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