Ex-Mayo Clinic employee charged with attempting to provide ISIS support
A former medical coordinator for Mayo Clinic was arrested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday while trying to get to Syria to fight “on the front line” of ISIS.
The FBI arrested 28-year-old Muhammad Masood after he checked in for his flight to Los Angeles. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota has charged Masood with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, including wanting to serve as a fighter and combat medic and talking of his desire to enact a lone wolf-style attack. Masood made his first appearance in court Thursday.
Masood is a licensed medical doctor in Pakistan working in the United States on an H-1B Visa for the past two years in the Mayo Clinic Department of Cardiovascular Diseases. In a statement Thursday, Mayo Clinic communications manager Ginger Plumbo said that Masood was not a Mayo Clinic employee at the time of his arrest. It is unclear when his employment ended.
From January to March, Masood made several statements pledging his allegiance to ISIS and its leader, according to charges.
“i want to fight on the front line as well as help the wounded brothers,” he said over an encrypted social media app to confidential informant sources, according to charges. “as i doctor i want to help mujahedeen [sic] on the ground,” he wrote. According to charges, “mujahedeen” refers to those engaged in jihad.
On Feb. 19, Masood traveled to Bloomington to meet with a confidential informant he believed would help him join ISIS. They met in the parking lot of a shopping mall and drove to a nearby hotel. They patched in another informant via video conference, who Masood believed to be an overseas commander vetting him.
Left out of the Star Tribune story is this line from an AP story:
He explained that he wanted to make the trip because he “hates smiling at the passing kuffar just to not make them suspicios.” The affidavit said kuffar is an Arabic term meaning nonbeliever or non-Muslim.
Brentwood woman sentenced to 13 years in prison for aiding ISIS
A Brentwood woman was sentenced Friday to 13 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a charge of providing more than $150,000 in financial support to the ISIS terrorist organization.
Zoobia Shahnaz, 29, was in addition sentenced to 10 years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert in Central Islip.
Shahnaz, a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan and a lab technician at a Manhattan hospital, obtained more than $85,000 of the money through a number of fraud schemes and passed the funds on to ISIS in a further complex manner, according to officials.
She was arrested in July 2017 at Kennedy Airport while attempting to board a flight to Turkey, where she intended to illegally enter Syria to join ISIS, officials have said.
Eastern District federal prosecutor Artie McConnell argued for a stiff sentence saying ISIS could have used that money to create massive destruction and death, noting that terrorist attacks around the world have been perpetrated with devices whose ingredients cost as little as $600.
Defense attorney Steven Zissou said before and after the sentencing that his client’s “only goal was to help the suffering of Syrian refugees,” after she had witnessed the carnage in Syria at refugee camps where she had volunteered.
Zissou said the average sentence of someone in his client’s position had been 11 years, with as little 4 years.
Seybert said she was leery of imposing a low sentence, saying that Shahnaz was a highly intelligent person who implemented a complex scheme. The judge noted the defendant came from a loving family and could have worked for much more peaceable organizations.
“Today, the defendant learned the consequences of seeking to join ISIS and funneling thousands of dollars into the terrorist organization’s coffers,” stated Eastern District U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “There is no higher priority of the Department of Justice and this Office than protecting our country from those who support violent, hate-filled terrorist organizations.”
Editor: Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Sorry, I haven’t written much at ‘Frauds and Crooks’lately but things are hopping on the refugee front and I’ll have to keep my focus there (at Refugee Resettlement Watch) in the coming weeks.
The President’s September Executive Orderwhich would give state and local governments some say in whether refugees will be placed in certain locations has energized the refugee industry and all across the country they are mobilizing to pressure governors and local governments to tell the President that they want MORE refugees. Six governors have so far said—send them to my state! There appears to be a late December deadline for all to weigh in, but guidance has not been published as far as I can tell.
The day before Thanksgiving, I published alist of 88 mayorswho said they wanted more refugees and that post went viral.
Here is the news I had planned for today.
I’m reminded once again that a gullible young woman got involved with a (likely charming) Moroccan national and produced 4 children with him while helping him help ISIS.
He is dead, she was returned from Syria to face justice in the US, has lost her children to Indiana social services and now faces prison time.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 2020.
Time is short (must get back to RRW), so I’m posting only the Justice Department press statement from earlier this week, if you want to learn more about her, search her name and you will see several news accounts giving more details about how she became a traitor to America.
Former Indiana Resident Pleads Guilty to Concealing Terrorism Financing
Samantha Marie Elhassani, aka Samantha Sally, 34, formerly of Elkhart, Indiana, pleaded guilty yesterday to a one-count Information charging her with concealment of terrorism financing in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339C.
“Elhassani admitted that she traveled overseas and pre-positioned over $30,000 in cash and gold, knowing that the funds would be used by her husband and brother-in-law to join and support ISIS in Syria,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
“The National Security Division is committed to identifying and holding accountable those who support foreign terrorist organizations. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this result.”
“Samantha Elhassani pled guilty to providing financial support to individuals who desired to support ISIS, a terrorist organization that has committed acts of violence against Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II for the Northern District of Indiana. “She traveled with her husband and brother-in-law to Syria, both of whom became ISIS fighters, putting the lives of her children at risk. Yesterday’s guilty plea to federal terrorism charges reflects the seriousness of her criminal conduct. My office is committed to prosecuting those who provide support to terrorist organizations. ”
“The charges that the defendant in this case has plead guilty to are a reminder the FBI will never relent in ensuring that Americans who abandon their country to further the heinous goals of a designated terrorist organization like ISIS see justice for their betrayal”said Assistant Director Mike McGarrity. “I am proud of the work of the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office on this case and grateful for the assistance of our many international and interagency partners.”
“Ms Elhassani knowingly engaged in the concealment of resources which were intended to support future ISIS fighters whose intent is to harm her fellow Americans and others, and her plea should serve as a strong reminder that these actions have serious consequences and will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall, FBI Indianapolis. “The defendant also exposed her young, impressionable children to an environment of hatred and violence with no regard to the harm she was causing them.”
In November 2014, Elhassani was informed by her husband that he and his brother wanted to travel to Syria to join ISIS, which she knew was a terrorist organization that engaged in terrorist activities. Between November 2014 and April 1015, Elhassani helped the two men join ISIS by making multiple trips to Hong Kong and transporting more than $30,000 in cash and gold from the United States and depositing it in a safe deposit box in Hong Kong. Elhassani melted down the gold to look like jewelry and did not disclose the cash and gold on customs declaration forms. At the time Elhassani transported the money and gold, she knew that her husband and brother-in-law had expressed an interest in joining ISIS and that they intended to use these resources to support ISIS.
In July of 2018, Elhassani was transferred from the custody of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to U.S. law enforcement custody.
I would like to know how she hooked up in the first place with a Moroccan national who was apparently living in Indiana. How was he here? Legally? Illegally? If anyone sees any news about that, send it my way.
And, again, come on over to RRW and see what you should be doing now to counter the refugee industry’s big push to get governors and mayors to go on record in support of more refugees! (The governors who have already agreed are listed in the right hand sidebar—2 are Republicans!)
This news from Fox Newsyesterday reminded me of a reader atRefugee Resettlement Watch who sent me information and stories to post for probably a year or so.
She (I think the tipster was a she!) told me how important fire is as a weapon of jihad as she often found stories about mysterious fires, not just forest fires, that she identified as linked to an Islamic imperative—to wage jihad.
I haven’t heard from her for about five years, but her admonitions about fire jihad stuck with me.
ISIS encouraging followers to set wildfires in forests, fields of US, Europe
The Islamic State terror group may have recently lost its leader, but a media outlet affiliated with the group is urging followers to continue to literally set ablaze new paths of terror and destruction.
At least four propaganda posters have appeared in recent months from the pro-ISIS media outlet Quraysh Media that have encouraged followers to “ignite fires” of their own, literally setting wildfires in the U.S. and Europe as a means of “waging jihad,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.
MEMRI, which tracks communications of radical groups, said the first poster in the series was published in April.
“Oh monotheists [followers of ISIS], ignite fires in the forests and fields, and we are addressing especially those who live in Europe and America, for they are painful to them,” the poster read, according to MEMRI.
“Ignite fires in the forests of America, France, Britain and Germany, for they are painful to them,” the text reads, according to MEMRI.
John Binder writing at Breitbart spotted the news last week, see here.
Also, visit my previous post on Ruslan Maratovich Asainov here.
Alleged ISIS Sniper Indicted, Came to U.S. on ‘Visa Lottery’ from Kazakhstan
An alleged sniper for the Islamic State (ISIS) has been indicted, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday, years after he was able to obtain American citizenship by arriving in the United States on the “Diversity Visa Lottery.”
Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, 43-years-old, was indicted in federal court on five counts of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS; providing personnel, training, expert advice, assistance, and weapons to ISIS and ISIS fighters; as well as receiving military training from ISIS fighters.
Asainov, according to federal prosecutors, traveled to Istanbul, Turkey in December 2013 with the intention of going on to Syria to fight for ISIS. After arriving in Syria, Asainov is accused of joining ISIS by becoming a sniper for the terrorist organization.
While sniping for ISIS, Asainov moved up the ranks within the terrorist organization and was put in charge of training newcomer ISIS fighters. Asainov is also accused of trying to recruit other terrorist sympathizers living in the U.S. to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS.
Asainov’s traveling to Syria to allegedly snipe for ISIS came 14 years after he was first allowed to legally immigrate to the U.S. through the Diversity Visa Lottery program — which randomly gives out about 55,000 visas every year to foreign nationals from a multitude of countries, including those with known terrorist problems such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and Uzbekistan.
Since 2005, Breitbart News reported, more than half a million foreign nationals have come to the U.S. by randomly winning the Visa Lottery, bringing with them a chain migration of five million foreign nationals since 1994, according to researchers at the Center for Immigration Studies.
See all of my previous posts on the (insane!) Diversity Visa Lotteryhere at ‘Frauds and Crooks‘ and here at a special categoryfor the lottery at Refugee Resettlement Watch.