Thursday, July 28, 2011

Developing: AWOL Soldier Arrested Near Fort Hood; Weapons, Explosives and Jihadi Materials Recovered

The initial reports are sketchy, but police acting on a tip were called to a motel near Fort Hood, Texas about an individual acting suspiciously. Killeen Texas police arrested an individual, and determined that he had an outstanding warrant on child porn charges. A further check revealed that he was AWOL and was considered armed and dangerous.

The reports claim that weapons were recovered, and conflicting reports indicated that explosives were recovered as well.

Fox News is reporting that at least one soldier was arrested, and that two others are of interest. The Vancouver Sun reports three soldiers are under arrest, but that's based largely on the Fox News reports.

The Navy Times reports confirms that explosives and a large cache of ammunition were recovered:
An AWOL soldier from Fort Campbell, Ky., was arrested near Fort Hood, Texas, apparently averting another attack on the post, according to an internal Army message.

According a worldwide Army alert, Killeen police arrested a private first class who was in possession of a bomb, gun and a “large quantity” of ammunition — as well as an Army uniform. His full name was not released.
The person who called in the suspicious activity is a hero in my book; he or she averted what could have been yet another mass casualty attack at Fort Hood.

CBS News:
Police in Central Texas have caught an AWOL Muslim soldier from Fort Campbell, Ky., at a motel in the city near Fort Hood after he asked how to build explosives at a gun store.

A law enforcement official told CBS News that Pfc. Naser Abdo's questions about explosives and how to build them made the gun store employee suspicious. When police questioned Abdo at his motel, he made references to a plan to kill or injure people, the official said.

Two people associated with Abdo have been questioned but not arrested, the official said.

Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith says Abdo was held Thursday, a day after his arrest.

Abdo failed to report for duty following the July Fourth holiday. He had won conscientious objector status but faced court-martial for allegedly having child pornography on his military computer.
CNN is reporting that law enforcement also recovered jihadi materials and, according to two law enforcement officials, Abdo said he wanted to attack soldiers at Fort Hood.

Abdo is something of a known quantity as his story was covered by media outlets when he sought to leave the military as a conscientious objector. His dismissal from the Army was put on hold once the child porn charges were levied.
Abdo sought conscientious objector status last year after he argued that his Muslim beliefs prohibited military service. The Army approved his application May 13 — then, two days later, it charged him with possession of child pornography, which put his discharge on hold.

Shortly before his Article 32 hearing this month, Abdo told NBC station WSMV-TV of Nashville, Tenn.: "I did not put child pornography on the government computer," saying the timing of the charges "sounds pretty fishy."

A spokesman for the military said the charges were "completely unrelated" to Abdo's conscientious objector application.

Abdo's campaign to leave the Army got considerable coverage beginning in August, when he gave several televised interviews.

"As my time came near to deployment, I started asking the question more seriously whether God would accept what I was doing and whether I was really meant to go to war, as opposed to the peace that Islam preaches," he said in an August interview with Headline News. He made similar comments in interviews with al-Jazeera.
So, he goes from being a conscientious objector to plotting a possible attack on soldiers at Fort Hood.

Formal charges are likely to be handed down shortly.

Abdo wasn't planning on attacking Fort Hood directly; instead he was going to plant bombs in nearby restaurants that are popular with base personnel.
He was in the process of building two bombs and hoped to detonate both at the target location before using a pistol to shoot survivors, the documents say.

The soldier had gone AWOL over the July 4 weekend from Fort Campbell's 101st Airborne Division in Kentucky over 800 miles away, according to a senior military officer.

When he was arrested, Abdo was in possession of large quantities of ammunition, weapons and what appeared to be the makings of a bomb, according to early accounts from law enforcement. He had also apparently purchased an Army uniform with Fort Hood patches from a local surplus store.

Abdo told ABC News in 2010 he was Muslim and should not have to participate in what he called an "unjust war" in the Middle East.
In other words, he was going to murder soldiers, their families, and unrelated individuals - to protest what he was calling an unjust war in the Middle East.

When Abdo sought conscientious objector status, he became a cause celebre among the anti-war groups, including Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Now that he's apparently gone terrorist, these groups are doing their best to distance themselves from Abdo - along with a dose of revisionist history too:
In the wake of Abdo's arrest, Courage to Resist removed a page on their website that detailed Abdo's plight, but it was preserved through Google cache. Reached by Raw Story, Jeff Paterson, the group's project director, acknowledged that they had tried to cover up their involvement with the soldier and said they would be issuing a statement in the coming hours.

He added that his impression of Abdo was a young man with "mental health issues" who was "very difficult to work with."

"I worked with him last August, in order to help formulate his application as a conscientious objector, then we helped formulate his legal appeals for the objector process," Paterson said. "Then he got hit with pornography charges on his laptop, at which point we told him that we would help him through the resolution of his objection issues, but he would have to find himself legal defense separate for these criminal matters."


IVAW, similarly, admitted to Raw Story that they also worked with Abdo, but a spokesperson who asked not to be named said they absolutely condemn his alleged actions.

"We have worked with him in the past, but he was not ever a member of this organization," the spokesperson said. "We have had three interactions with him in the past: We supported his application as a conscientious objector; we publicized a statement by him condemning Islamophobia; and finally, he lended his support to our 'Operation Recovery' campaign last Veteran's Day. Besides that, we do not have a concrete link with him.

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