The detention hearings for all seven defendants accused of conspiring to advance "violent jihad" abroad have been delayed, following defense motions, until 9:30 a.m. on August 4, at the Terry Sanford Federal Building at 310 New Bern Ave in Raleigh.
The defendants will appear before United States Magistrate Judge William Webb, who will rule then whether the defendants will remain in custody, or can be released on bond.
According to a defense motion filed by Robert McAfee, the defense attorney has reason to believe that his client, Hysen Sherifi, is being held at the Wake County Detention Center.
Attorneys for two of the defendants were not assigned until earlier today; the other five defendants received attorneys yesterday. Initially, detention hearings were set for Thursday, but defense attorneys asked for more time so that they could meet their clients and review the charges. Arraignment hearings are scheduled for October 5.
—By Jane Snyder
Sara Coleman probably arose this morning a bit nervous. She was, after all, about to introduce the President of the United States to an estimated 2,000 people at today’s town hall meeting at Raleigh’s Broughton High School.
But surely she didn’t expect to become this week’s “Joe the Plumber.”
Coleman, owner of The Cupcake Shoppe, a stylish bakery on Glenwood Avenue that just yesterday celebrated its second year in business, gave a brief address from the perspective of a small-business owner who supports the administration’s efforts to reform healthcare in America.
Then she had the honor of introducing President Obama, and sat just behind him in full view of the television cameras.
When the president took the podium, he thanked Sara and informed the crowd that Sara had just given him a Cupcake Shoppe T-shirt.
“But no cupcakes!,” he deadpanned.
Though he is trying to improve the country’s health care system, he thinks cupcakes are a pretty healthy food, the president said, smiling.
He continued to invoke Sara’s name throughout his remarks, personalizing her plight as a small business owner, much as the third McCain-Obama debate did for the man who came to be known as Joe the Plumber.
Coleman’s business has expanded to include one full-time baker/ cake decorator and four employees who work up front, says Liza Zaytoun, who was manning the cupcake counter this afternoon. Zaytoun says that prior to baking, Coleman worked in pharmaceuticals, which one supposes would give Coleman extra perspective on health care.
Today’s special cupcake over at the Cupcake Shoppe is a pineapple cake with cherry buttercream. Pineapple for Hawaii, perhaps? Cherry for Washington?
All in all, it must have been a pretty sweet day for Sara the Baker.
Attorneys representing five of the seven North Carolina men on trial for terrorism charges have requested that their detention hearings be delayed until next week. Two other attorneys have just been assigned their cases today, and have not yet filed motions for continuance.
The detention hearings, currently scheduled for Thursday at the federal courthouse in Raleigh at 1 p.m. for all but one of the defendants (Anes Subasic is scheduled to make his first appearance, with a Yugoslavian interpreter, today.), will determine whether the defendants will remain in custody of if they can post bond for release.
Meanwhile, The News & Observer is reporting, based on AP wire reports, that an eighth defendant, whom the newspaper names as Jude Mohammad, is "likely in Pakistan."
However, Amy Thoreson, media representative for the FBI, was quick to note that the eighth defendant's name has "not been confirmed by anyone," and would not confirm if the defendant is in Pakistan.
“We are still actively seeking that person, but they are not in the U.S," she told the Indy.
All but one of the seven North Carolina-based men charged with a conspiracy to "advance violent jihad"--or, holy war--that would include murder and kidnapping, are set to appear in a federal courthouse in Raleigh on Thursday. Anes Subasic, who is charged with two counts of conspiracy, will appear on Friday make his first appearance Wednesday because he has requested a Yugoslavian interpreter, according to the case docket.
Six of the seven men are U.S. citizens; Hysen Sherifi, a Kosovo native, is a legal permanent resident of the U.S., according to the indictment (PDF, 316 KB).
The seven defendants have all been ordered federal public defenders, though only three attorneys have been assigned thus far. Daniel Patrick Boyd, who faces all seven counts in the indictment--including unlawful possession and sale of firearms, making false statements, and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons in a foreign country--has been appointed two federal public defenders. Sherifi, who faces three counts, will be represented by a private attorney from New Bern, N.C. None of the defense attorneys were immediately available for comment. Attorneys for Boyd and Sherifi have filed discovery motions, requesting all evidence the government has gathered on their respective clients, including any recorded material.
The indictment alleges at least two "coded conversations" between Boyd and Subasic in which they indirectly refer to their desire to commit, and help others commit, "violent jihad" abroad, though offers no direct quotations other than "We can do something," "I'm gonna go, we can go together," and "I can find a few brothers."
After Boyd taught him how to use an AK-47 in his living room, Sherifi flew to his native Kosovo to "engage in violent jihad," the indictment alleges. Afterward, Sherifi allegedly had a conversation with an unnamed source revealing that "Allah has opened a way for me."
"The recipient of the statement believed this to be a reference to engaging in violent jihad," the indictment states, without revealing the source, the nature of the statement, or where it took place.
The indictment also refers to an e-mail message Boyd allegedly sent to Sherifi containing an attachment with "literature extolling the virtues of dying shahid," or, a martyr.
These charges form part of a larger conspiracy, including weapons purchases, "military tactics" training in Caswell County, N.C., fundraising, and various trips abroad to countries including Kosovo, Jordan, Pakistan and Israel, the indictment alleges.
The Mountain Xpress, up Buncombe County way, has the news on the much-maligned, but newly elected anyway, N.C. Republican vice chairman. "Dr." Timothy Johnson, as he likes to be known, resigned as Buncombe GOP leader and is moving to Durham where his wife's been offered an unspecific professional opportunity, the Xpress reports.
The Triangle will thus have both of the state GOP's top eminences in residence with Johnson in Durham and Chairman Tom Fetzer in Raleigh. All you local GOP'ers should be in for some real leadership now.
Leaders of the Islamic community in Raleigh today pleaded for calm in the case of the seven Wake and Johnston County suspects charged with plotting "holy war" in the Middle East. At a press conference, Khalilah Sabra, executive director of the local chapter of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation (MAS-Freedom), said her organization condemns all forms of terrorism and has confidence in the judicial system to find out the facts. At the same time, she emphasized, the suspects are innocent until proven guilty -- as a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office also said -- and while justice should be swift, fair and impartial, she warned against "a rush to judgment" by the public or the media.
Sabra was joined by Jihad Shawaa, who said his first name does not mean what most Americans think it means: Violent or holy war. Jihad means struggle, Shawwa said, "and it's a beautiful name, it has a beautiful meaning." The two said the kind of struggle defined by the word jihad can mean the internal struggle to live a just life. MAS-Freedom, Sabra said, teaches Muslim children that there's nothing in Islam, or jihad, that dictates a life of violence, and that they can be "good Muslims and good Americans at the same time."
Sabra said she knows Daniel Boyd, his two sons and two of the others charged. She said that nothing about the younger suspects struck her as out of the ordinary. Asked about the elder Boyd's political views, she didn't answer directly. She noted that when traveled to Afghanistan in 1989 to work with the mujahadeen rebels, as stated in the indictment, it was at a time when the United States was backing the mujahadeen in their struggle against Russian occupation.
If then or later Boyd developed "specific points of view" about America's invasion of Afghanistan, American treatment of the detainees at Guantanemo Bay, or the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Sabra said, those viewpoints may not have differed very much from what many others think -- and even if they did, it's not evidence that Boyd or anyone else was plotting violent acts.
There are some awfully strange looking dogs out at the Hank Anderson III Community Park in Carrboro these days. Well, they're not actually dogs. More like goats really, and they're spending today and Wednesday at the dog park chowing down on poison ivy. Why? It's quite simple really.
The Carrboro Parks and Recreation Department received complaints that the overgrown woody vine adorning the fence line was being transported from dog fur to owner skin. Rather than subjecting residents to rashes, Carrboro officials found their solution in goats, which love the taste of some good poison ivy for breakfast lunch and dinner.
"They have a handful of things (sweet gum, honeysuckle and wild grape) but in the top 10, poison ivy is definitely up there," said Alix Bowman, owner of the Bull City-based Goat Patrol. "Typically an adult goat can eat 5 to 8 pounds a day. My goats, roughly depending on how high the plants are, can clear 1,000 square feet a day."
Bowman and her 16-member goat gang, including, of course, Buster, Magnus, Genghis, Nimoy and Mr. Pickles, are tasked with beating back the plants to a manageable level before chemicals come in to finish the job at the park, located off of N.C. Highway 54.
It's a win-win. The goats meet Carrboro's goal of using the least toxic method possible (no gas needed here), and they take away the hazard of exposing humans to the poisonous plants.
Most of the terrorism suspects apprehended by the FBI have lived in Wake County, according to public records databases. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh could not comment or corroborate this information.
A naturalized citizen, Anes Subasic, 33, lived on Adefield Lane in Holly Springs. Since 1998, Subasic also has lived in Cary, Apex and Chapel Hill.
Subasic filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year. His criminal record in North Carolina shows only minor traffic violations.
Hysen Sherifi, 24, a native of Kosovo and permanent U.S. resident, lived on Foxwood Drive in Raleigh. According to the database, his criminal charges included several counts of misdemeanor assault on a female, plus communicating threats, simple assault and speeding.
Daniel Boyd, 39, lived in Willow Spring in Johnston County, as did his sons, Zakariya Boyd, 20, and Dylan Boyd, 22. Daniel Boyd previously lived in Raleigh on Tryon Road.
In 1999, Daniel Boyd, according to public records databases, plead guilty to the offense of intoxicated and disruptive and resisting a police officer. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to passing a worthless check, a misdemeanor. He also declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1999.
In 2007, Zakariya Boyd was charged with misdemeanor possession of pyrotechnics; in 2006, charged with misdemeanor resisting a public officer. Over the past three years, he’s also been charged with several minor traffic violations.
Dylan Boyd only has one minor traffic violation listed in the North Carolina court system.
Ziyad Yaghi, 21, lived on Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh.
Mohammad Hassan, 22, lived on Charles Court in Cary.
The database did not turn up any criminal charges against Yaghi or Hassan in North Carolina.
The Muslim American Society-Freedom Center will read a statement from the family of Daniel Boyd today at noon at 901 Jones Franklin Road, Raleigh. The center issued this statement today:
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts. At the same time, this case is in its infancy and has yet to be tried in a court of law. We ask that media respect this fact and remember the ‘A man is innocent until proven guilty.’
As previously stated, the Muslim American Society-Freedom cannot comment on criminal cases under investigation and we will not speculate about the validity of the arrest. We can however say that this case should be litigated in the federal court, not the court of public opinion, and that this litigation is not related to the Muslim community as an entity. There is a system of justice in place in this country and we are relying on this system to initiate due process fairly and objectively. We ask Americans not to come to any conclusions about Islam or the Muslim community as result of the charges filed against the defendants. Nothing conclusive has been proven in a court of law and guilt has yet to be ascertained.
The FBI has issued a press release stating a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of North Carolina returned a sealed seven-count indictment (PDF, 316 KB) charging seven North Carolinians with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons abroad.
Here's the list:
Update (7/28/09): The indictment has been unsealed, and included in the post above. H/t N&O.
2008 Green Party presidential nominee, and former U.S. Representative (D-GA), Cynthia McKinney was scheduled to deliver a keynote speech to the roughly 100 Green Party members who attended last week’s convention in Durham. Due to health issues, she instead spoke to the group about her recent brush with the Israeli Navy, and her involvement with the “Free Gaza” movement, via online video.
Audience members lined up to ask McKinney questions, but because of a communications mishap, McKinney only referred to Gaza-related questions from the video stream’s live chat. One question involved Hurricane Katrina, though she responded by talking about Palestine. In fact, other than a brief reference to her 2008 run (disparaging those who didn’t understand it), and general praise for the Green Party candidates who spoke at a live-streamed news conference Friday, McKinney made almost no mention of her party's gathering in Durham.
Last month, McKinney and 20 others were seized by the Israeli Navy after attempting to sail through a blockade to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Consulate has said McKinney's group could have delivered humanitarian supplies by land, and accused the group of making a "reckless political stunt."
McKinney was scheduled to be deported immediately, but refused to sign deportation papers and spent a week in jail, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I spent seven days in prison because I wanted the children in Gaza to have crayons,” McKinney said in her video address.