SHAFAQNA - The FBI has detained a martial arts instructor in the US state of Mississippi after searching his home in connection with the poisoned letters sent to American officials, including President Barack Obama.
Everett Dutschke, 41, was reportedly arrested on Saturday morning at his home in Tupelo which is the seventh largest city in the state.
Following the arrest, the city's police chief, Tony Carleton, said the FBI had detained Dutschke without incident.
Last week, letters allegedly containing ricin were sent to Obama, Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Mississippi Judge Sadie Holland.
The FBI arrested another Mississippi man identified as Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, at his home in Corinth last week, and charged him with threatening the life of the president.
However, Curtis was released on bail on April 22, with his lawyer, Christi McCoy, claiming that the FBI had captured the wrong man.
"We have maintained from the beginning…that Kevin Curtis is absolutely 100 percent innocent," McCoy stated, adding, "The case has not been dismissed, but obviously we feel better about it than we did this time yesterday."
According to Curtis, he and Dutschke were acquainted and had discussed possibly publishing a book together.
SHAFAQNA-- US security officials have been questioned by Congress over whether they mishandled information about the Boston bomb suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating whether the FBI failed to act on Russian concerns that Tsarnaev was becoming radicalised.
Tsarnaev was questioned in 2011 amid claims he had adopted radical Islam.
At a closed hearing, senators said steps could be taken to improve information sharing between agencies.
Tsarnaev was killed in a manhunt after the attacks on 15 April. His brother Dzhokhar, was wounded but survived, and has been charged over the bombings.
The Beth Israel Deaconess hospital in Massachusetts said at noon on Tuesday that the surviving brother's condition had improved from "serious" to "fair", according to the US Attorney's Office in Boston.
The Tsarnaev brothers had origins in the troubled, predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya in southern Russia. They had been living in the US for about a decade at the time of the attack.
Members of Congress want to know why no further action was taken after Tamerlan Tsarnaev was investigated in 2011 at the request of the Russian government.
In 2012 he travelled to Russia, and spent six months in Dagestan, another mainly Muslim Russian republic bordering Chechnya. During the visit, he also reportedly spent two days in Chechnya itself.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had questioned why the FBI was unable to identify him as a threat based on his alleged links to radical websites.
He called for better co-operation with Russia and the amendment of privacy laws to allow closer scrutiny of suspects' internet activity.
Speaking after the Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, Republican Senator Susan Collins said there appeared to be "serious problems with sharing information, including critical investigative information ... not only among agencies but also within the same agency in one case", the Associated Press reports.
The vice-chairman of the committee, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, said he could not see "anybody yet that dropped the ball", but that he was still seeking information on whether information was properly shared.
"If it wasn't, we've got to fix this," AP quoted him as saying.
The FBI has defended itself, saying in a statement on Friday that it had run checks on the suspect but found no evidence of terrorist activity.
It said a request to Russia for further information to justify more rigorous checks went unanswered, and an interview by agents with Tsarnaev and his family also revealed nothing suspicious.
In a separate hearing on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the FBI had been aware of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's trip to Russia, contradicting Senator Graham's allegation that the trip had been overlooked because his name had been misspelled in travel documents.
The twin bombs which exploded near the finishing line of the marathon killed three people and injured more than 200, many of them seriously.
On Tuesday, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced that a compensation fund for victims of the attack had received $20m (£13.2m) in the week since it was launched, with donations streaming in from Boston and across the world.
On Monday, a 10-page criminal complaint was filed against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during a court hearing around his hospital bed.
Federal prosecutors have charged him with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. He could be sentenced to death if convicted on either count.
According to a transcript of the hearing, he managed to speak once despite a gunshot wound to his throat sustained during his capture.
Mr Tsarnaev said the word "no" when asked if he could afford a lawyer. Otherwise he nodded in response to Judge Marianne Bowler's questions from his bed at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The next hearing in his case has been scheduled for the end of May.
The complaint seeks to locate both suspects at the scene of the bombing and then pieces together the operation to intercept them three days later, as they allegedly drove a hijacked car near the city, hours after images of their faces were broadcast by the media.
No mention is made of their possible reasons for attacking the marathon.
Anonymous officials have told US media that 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said he and his brother had planned the attack themselves without help from foreign militants.
The officials say his written answers from his hospital bed to investigators' questions lead them to believe that the pair were motivated by jihadist ideology and that they devised the bombings using the internet.
However, the sources also said the interviews were preliminary and they must verify the defendant's responses.
Lawyers for Katherine Russell, the widow of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, said that their client was doing everything she could to assist authorities.
She is "trying to come to terms with these events", her lawyers said in a statement on Tuesday, without saying whether she had been questioned by investigators.
"The report of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all."
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The father of the Boston bombing suspects has accused the FBI of “setting up” his sons.
“They just wanted to set up Tamerlan, and Dzhokhar just turned out to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Anzor Tsarnaev told the Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda daily on Monday.
“Tamerlan was driving him to school when they started shooting at them,” he said. “This is a set-up, a political order, a Hollywood show.”
In an earlier interview with the U.S. media, Anzor described Dzhokhar as a “true angel.”
Dzhokhar was captured late Friday after a police hunt following last week’s Boston Marathon bombings, which left three people dead and 180 injured.
His brother Tamerlan was shot by police.
Their plans for the future had included returning to work in Russia, their father said, adding that he hopes to travel to the United States, where Dzhokhar is in hospital with serious injuries.
“I only know what they are showing on television. We plan to go and see him in America if Allah permits,” Anzor said.
His two sons “were studying and working” in the United States, he added.
Anzor denied that Tamerlan held radical Islamist views.
“Tamerlan did get religious after getting married. He went to the mosque every Friday. He prayed five times a day. He was a righteous Muslim, and could not have done what he is accused of.”
Dzhokhar “was an A-grade student at Cambridge. He worked as a lifesaver at a pool. He had big plans: to become a doctor, to open a business, to come over here,” Anzor said.
“He said: ‘Dad, don’t worry. I’ll finish studying and come over, I’ll help you’.”
Tamerlan’s wife Katherine Russell has remained silent, staying with her three-year-old daughter Zahara at her parents’ house in Rhode Island.
In 2009, Tamerlan was arrested for assaulting Russell.
Her school friends have reportedly said she was “brain-washed by her extremist husband.”
Authorities now want to speak with Russell. Her lawyer says she had not suspected her husband of anything, and she had learned while watching TV that he was a suspect in the bombings.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –The hospitalized Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction – and the White House said he will be tried in a civilian court.
“He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
“Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions. And it is important to remember that since 9/11 we have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists.”
Tsarnaev, 19, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Chechen origin, made his initial court appearance at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition.
He was advised of his rights and charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. and one count of malicious destruction of property with an explosive device.
He was assigned three federal public defenders. The charges could carry the death penalty.
The suspect agreed to "voluntary detention," but declined to answer questions about bail, according to a court record. A probable cause hearing was set for May 30.
"Today's charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston and for our country," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
"We will hold those who are responsible for these heinous acts accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
A criminal complaint laid out some of the evidence against Tsarnaev, who was arrested Friday after a daylong manhunt, and his brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a firefight with police.
A black jacket and white hat, matching the ones worn by "Suspect No. 2" in surveillance video, were found in the younger brother's dorm room, along with green strands of fuse like those used in the marathon explosives that killed three and wounded more than 170.
The video also captured the suspect making a cellphone call seconds before the first bomb exploded on the east end of Boylston St. during last Monday's race, and his utter calm in the face of spreading panic, the complaint said. The footage showed him hurrying away from his knapsack just 10 seconds before a blast erupted where he left it.
Tsarnaev was brought to the hospital with gunshot wounds to the head, neck, leg and hand. He had been communicating with investigators in writing because he couldn't speak, federal officials told NBC News. It's unclear what he told them.
The FBI has not revealed a motive for the attack last Monday that killed three people -- one of whom, Krystle Campbell, was laid to rest in Medford on Monday. Investigators are still probing whether the brothers received assistance from others, officials said.
The feds have asked to speak with Tamerlan's wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, who converted to Islam after she met her future husband at a nightclub. She dropped out of college, got married and had a baby three years ago.
Her lawyer, Amato DeLuca, told The Associated Press he was trying to work out the details of an interview.
His client, he said, worked up to 80 hours a week as a home health aide while Tamerlan watched their daughter. He said she didn't have any suspicions he might be plotting something.
He said she last saw her husband at home on Thursday morning, hours before he and his younger brother allegedly executed a campus police officer, pulled off the carjacking, and led police on a wild bomb-tossing chase that ended in a 200-bullet gun battle.
The carjacking victim told police his abductor asked if he'd heard of the marathon bombing and then said "I did that."
The man, who has asked that his identity not be revealed, told NBC News that he managed to escape and called his captors “brutal and cautious.”
Boston's top police official said Monday that while there are many unanswered questions, the city can rest easy.
"We're satisfied the two main actors, the people that were committing the damage out there, have been either captured or killed," Police Commissioner Ed Davis said on TODAY.
"There is still an open question as to exactly what happened in this investigation," he said. "We can't say with 100 percent certainty...anything, actually, at this point."
Among the mysteries Tsarnaev could solve is what his brother did when he traveled to Russia last year and who he met.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on “Meet the Press” that trip could be when Tamerlan "got that final radicalization to push him to commit acts of violence and where he may have received training."
Authorities are also trying to figure out where the suspects got their bomb-making supplies and guns. Cambridge Police said neither one had the necessary permits to carry firearms.
Immigration officials have arrested two of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's friends on immigration violations, days after they were detained and questioned by police in New Bedford, Mass. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Law enforcement officials in the US say they have recovered forensic evidence that suggests the two explosive devices which ripped through participants of the Boston Marathon on Monday may have been inside heavy black nylon bags.
Investigators who found pieces of black nylon at the scene suspect the bombs used in the attack were in dark-coloured bags that would have been heavy to carry.
Speaking at a joint law enforcement news conference on Tuesday, Richard DesLauriers, the FBI special agent in charge of the case, said that investigators had received "voluminous tips" and were interviewing witnesses and were analysing the crime scene.
DesLauriers pledged "we will go to the ends of the Earth" to find whoever carried out the deadly attack on one of the city's most famous civic holidays, Patriots Day.
Authorities served a warrant on a suburban Boston home and appealed for any images or audio of the blasts.
Earlier, Barack Obama, the US president, confirmed the FBI is investigating the Boston bombings as an "act of terror".
Obama said that investigators had yet to find a culprit for the two bombings that killed three people and injured 176.
The president called the bombing "a heinous and cowardly act" used to target innocent civilians.
Amid heightened security across the country, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said a letter containing ricin or another poision had been sent to the office of Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
The explosions at the marathon took place about 10 seconds and about 90 metres apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet.
The explosives were made of pressure cookers packed with gunpowder and shrapnel, law enforcement sources said.
The sources said the explosives were in six-litre pressure cookers and placed in black duffel bags that were placed on the ground.
The bags contained shards of metal, nails and ball bearings.
Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher said such a bomb was set to explode by using a mobile phone and had been used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The police were saying that there were traces of pressure cooker found at the site," he said.
"The suggestion is that the pressure cooker was put in a backpack and placed on the ground, and that is why we've got so many lower body injuries."
Our correspondent said that would explain why there was a small blast which caused a great deal of damage to the people nearby, as the shrapnel spread over a wide area.
Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts, said that no unexploded bombs were found at the marathon. He said the only explosives were the ones that went off on Monday.
Massachusetts state police confirmed that a search warrant related to the investigation into the explosions was served Monday on night in Revere, but provided no further details.
Some investigators were seen leaving the Revere house early on Tuesday carrying brown paper bags, plastic trash bags and a duffel bag.
Dr Stephen Epstein of the emergency medicine department at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, said he saw an X-ray of one victim's leg that had "what appears to be small, uniform, round objects throughout it - similar in the appearance to BBs", referring to ball bearings.
Police said three people were killed. Eight-year-old Martin Richard was among the dead. The boy's mother, Denise, and six-year-old sister, Jane, were badly injured in the blasts.
Police on Tuesday identified a 29-year-old restaurant manager as the second of three people killed in the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Krystle Campbell had gone with her best friend to take a picture of the friend's boyfriend crossing the finish line on Monday afternoon.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said 17 people were in a critical condition. At least eight children were being treated at hospitals.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Al Jazeera
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The FBI has been able to interview a man being held in Libya in connection with the investigation into the September attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, a U.S. official confirmed to CNN Friday.
The official said it was "advantageous" that the individual -- named by sources as Faraj al-Shibli (also spelled Chalabi) -- was in Libyan custody, but it was still not clear what, if any, role he may have played in the assault. He said there is not enough evidence to make an arrest at this point, but the investigation is continuing
A Libyan source also confirmed that al-Shibli is in custody and that the FBI interviewed him recently in the presence of Libyan authorities.
He said the Libyan government allowed one or more members of the U.S. law enforcement agency to question the man -- something that is not necessarily done when a person is detained in a foreign country -- around the time on Wednesday when its prime minister, Ali Zeidan, met with U.S. President Barack Obama. The U.S. official agreed the timing of the visit had helped.
Another source who has been briefed on al-Shibli's arrest by Western intelligence officials said he was detained this week and had recently returned from a trip to Pakistan.
Phone call links Benghazi attack to al Qaeda commander
It's unclear whether his detention is likely to lead to charges in connection with the assault on the compound, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Thursday that "we think there are more than a dozen people involved in this."
"The idea that potentially we have somebody ... it's obviously positive news," Chaffetz told CNN. "... This is the most positive development I've seen in the past six months."
Al-Shibli is the only known suspect in custody in connection with the attack in Benghazi. A 26-year-old Tunisian, Ali Ani al Harzi, was held in Tunis for several weeks in connection with the assault on the compound after being extradited from Turkey. But he was released by a Tunisian judge in January on grounds on insufficient evidence.
And in December, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the investigation said authorities were examining whether the alleged leader of a post-revolution terrorist network in Egypt had played a role in the September 11 attack. Mohammed Jamal Abu Ahmed was released from jail after the downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and is believed to be the driving force behind a new militant group, according to two U.S. officials.
He is currently reported to be in prison in Egypt after being arrested in December, when police raided an apartment allegedly being used by a jihadist group active in Cairo. An associate of Abu Ahmed's subsequently said that he had not been in Benghazi or anywhere in Libya on the day of the attack on the compound.
Pentagon releases official timeline of Benghazi attack
Al-Shibli comes from a town called Sidi Armouma al-Marj, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Benghazi. He was a member of the Libyan Islamist Fighting Group, a militant organization that tried to overthrow the Gadhafi regime in the mid-1990s.
In 2004, the Libyan government reported al-Shibli to the United Nations as on its "wanted" list and issued an Interpol "Red Notice" seeking his arrest.
It was the second warrant issued by the Gadhafi regime for al-Shibli's arrest. In 1998, he was named with two other Libyans as allegedly involved in the murder of a German counterintelligence official, Silvan Becker, and his wife, Vera, who were killed in the Libyan town of Sirte in 1994. The Libyan authorities also issued an arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden in connection with the crime.
Investigators have learned that he has had contact with the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Qaeda members in Pakistan, sources said.
However, some analysts have cast doubt on the Gadhafi regime's assertion that Libyan Islamist Fighting Group members carried out the attack on the German couple.
Jihadist groups are strong to this day between Benghazi and the town of Derna to the east, an area that includes al-Marj. Several groups are thought to have camps in the Green Mountains between al-Marj and towns along the coast.
U.S. investigators have identified at least 15 individuals whom "we're taking a serious look at," a U.S. law enforcement official said in January, indicating that some of them were identified on video of the assault. Ultimately, the official said at the time, "we will get indictments, but it's not possible to put a timetable on it."-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay inmates have claimed “all but a few men” are on a hunger strike over their Qurans being taken away. The condition of the strikers "appears to be rapidly deteriorating and reaching a potentially critical level," they said.
Most of 130 people housed in Camp 6 of Guantanamo Bay may be involved in the strike.
"My client and other men have reported that most of the detainees in Camp 6 are on strike, except for a small few who are elderly or sick," Pardiss Kebriaei, a New York lawyer representing Yemeni detainee Ghaleb Al-Bihanim, told AFP. Men have reported coughed up blood, lost consciousness and were forced to move to other wings of the facility for observation.
The first reports of the widespread hunger strike in Guantanamo emerged in early March.
The protest was allegedly sparked by interference with the inmates' personal belongings.
“Since approximately February 6, 2013, camp authorities have been confiscating detainees’ personal items, including blankets, sheets, towels, mats, razors, toothbrushes, books, family photos, religious CDs, and letters, including legal mail; and restricting their exercise, seemingly without provocation or cause,” the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said in a March letter to the US Military.
They added that men's Qurans were confiscated in a “desecrating” manner, and that prayer time was not respected. Most, if not all, of the Guantanamo detainees come from the Middle East, and are devout Muslims.
Prison officials have acknowledged that the hunger strike is taking place. However, they deny that it is a large-scale event: Nine detainees are refusing food, five of whom are being fed through tubes inserted into their stomachs, according to Robert Durand, director of public affairs for the Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
Durand also said that the claims of desecration of the Quran were unfounded.
"To be clear: there have been no incidents of desecration of the Quran by guards or translators, and nothing unusual happened during a routine search for contraband," he told AFP.
Guantanamo Bay is a US Military prison facility opened on the wake of 9/11, as part of the George W. Bush administration’s 'War on Terror.' The prison currently holds 166 people, many of whom have spent over a decade there without official charges brought against them. Washington has alleged the inmates are terrorists who plotted or acted against the American people. Guantanamo Bay became a source of heated public debate after it was revealed that US forces had tortured detainees.
Barack Obama promised to close the facility at the beginning of his first term as president, but the facility remains open.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Hackers have published what are alleged to be the personal financial records for several politicians and celebrities, including US Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and musicians Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
Gossip website TMZ reported on Monday that hackers have leaked sensitive information pertaining to a list of prominent Americans, including celebrities Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Mel Gibson and Ashton Kutcher, as well as public figures Joe Biden, Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, but elected to not share the information with their audience.
“A website -- we're not disclosing the name -- has posted social security numbers, mortgage amounts, credit card info, car loans, banking and other info of major celebs,” the website wrote.
RT has learned that the website is Exposed.Su.
The documents, contained on a page titled ‘The Secret Files,’ were made known to RT on Monday afternoon. The page contains simply a link to the figures allegedly hacked, an image of a girl holding her forefinger up to her mouth and a quote from the television program Dexter: "If you believe that God makes miracles, you have to wonder if Satan has a few up his sleeve.”
Among the specific details included in the data dump are the Social Security numbers and alleged home addresses and contact information for most of the figures profiled, as well as credit reports and other financial figures for a select bunch.
For former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, hackers have released only her Social Security Number and places of residence. For other targets, though, the information leaked allows for much more of a glimpse into their finances.
According to the documents hosted on Exposed.Su, Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher was spending $981 each month for a car he leased from Chase Auto Finance in 2004. Rapper Jay-Z, real name Sean Carter, has been reported to a collections agency on at least one occasion. As of this month, he also has a HSBC bank account with a balance of $816,882 — and a credit line of over five-and-a-half million. The page for his wife, performer Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, includes the singer’s SSN, a list of homes and a handful of phone numbers, as well as bank transaction information.
RT called one of those numbers listed as Beyoncé to confirm authenticity, but was transferred to two separate operators that claimed that they’ve been receiving a number of calls. That number was discovered as registered to Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, "a leading full-service business management firm for entertainers, executives and select high net worth individuals."-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Google has revealed receiving up to 999 national security letters a year asking for the private user data of thousands of people. The company said the FBI is authorized to make such requests without warrants or disclosure to users.
Internet giant Google has included stats on user data requests from FBI in its recent Transparency Report, saying it has received between zero and 999 letters a year since 2009 that have asked for private information of 1,000 – 2,999 users. The company explained its use of ranges instead of exact figures due to concerns of the FBI and the US Department of Justice that “releasing exact numbers might reveal information about investigations.”
National security letters (NSLs) compel Google to expose “name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records” of specified users. NSLs are said to be used only for conducting national security investigations by the US government.
Google’s FAQ assures the FBI is still not permitted to obtain user email content, search queries, YouTube videos or IP addresses. Representatives from Google have previously dismissed allegations of disclosing such data, publicly as well as in court.
The FBI is “not required to get court approval to issue an NSL,” the FAQ adds. In order to have the needed data granted, it is sufficient for the agency to enclose a document proving relevance to an “authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” The FBI also has the power to prohibit disclosure of the fact that an NSL was received in the first place.
Google has become the first company to ever release data on the volume of NSL requests. All internet companies and ISPs, as well as credit companies and financial institutions, can receive NSLs from the federal government.
The lack of court oversight makes extensive abuse and misuse of these highly secretive requests possible, Wired stated on Tuesday, telling of known cases of such abuse. The US Justice Department revealed in 2007 that the FBI agents could “illegally look” at customer records of certain companies with no paperwork involved at all.
According the DOJ report with the latest available figures, the total number of NSLs issued by the FBI in 2011 is just over 16,500.
The NSL stats are not included in Google’s biannual Transparency Report, which showed 42,327 requests for personal data were submitted to the company by national governments and law enforcement agencies in 2012 alone. The US government topped the list, having made 16,407 such requests last year.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –The grandson of the late African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X has been arrested by FBI agents on his way to Iran.