Zeke at 10 weeks
In moving text, pictures, and video, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings who received support from the One Fund are saying a heartfelt thank you on the organization’s website to all the people who reached out to help them.
Before a sweeping display of condolences, of children’s heart-shaped notes and handwritten words of grief and comfort, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings look on in grateful wonder.
Scanning the covered walls, they reach for cards that caught their eye and hold them with care. A survivor named Karen shakes her head, struggling to take it all in. Another survivor’s father bows his head before the display and clasps his hands before his face.
The tender scene is captured in one of the videos featured on a new webpage for One Fund Boston, the charity that has raised more than $70 million for victims of last April’s bombings. Titled “One Fund, Many Stories,” the multimedia presentation includes video portraits of survivors and a gallery of handwritten thank you notes from survivors to donors, mixed with a sampling of messages from well-wishers.
Hill Holliday, the Boston advertising agency that created the new page, invited survivors to view a selection of some 50,000 messages the One Fund received. For many survivors, it was the first time they had seen the outpouring of kindness, and they seemed nearly overcome by its scope.
“We’ve learned a lot about how good people are,” said a bombing survivor named Karen, who said in a video that she had received good wishes from people across the country. “The One Fund has been with us every day.”
In July, the fund distributed more than $61 million to survivors, yet donations have continued to come in. The fund now has more than $17 million, and donations are accelerating as this year’s Marathon approaches.
Fund officials expect to make a second round of distributions sometime this summer, and are working with a group of medical advisers to determine the best way to allocate the money. One priority will be helping victims who suffered hearing loss from the attacks, the officials said.
In the videos, pictures, and thank you messages, survivors — most of whom are identified only by their first names — spoke movingly about how much the One Fund had meant to them and how they would be forever grateful for people’s kindness.
“I can’t put into words how much all of the love, kindness, and support has meant to me,” wrote a survivor named Michelle. “Thank you doesn’t seem like enough. I will always be grateful for the kindness that I have been shown.”
Almost three years after his death in a 2011 CIA drone strike in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to inspire violent jihadist extremists in the United States.
CNN) — One year after the Boston Marathon bombings and almost three years after his death in a CIA drone strike in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born American cleric who was an operational leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, continues to be a major influence on violent jihadist extremists in the United States.
Even in death, al-Awlaki is the key cleric in the English-speaking world of radical Islam that militants are turning to for inspiration. His many lectures and interviews are still widely available on the Internet, and they are in colloquial English to boot. Al-Awlaki, for instance, influenced the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Al-Awlaki was born in 1971 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where his father was studying agricultural economics at New Mexico State University as a Fulbright scholar. As an undergrad, al-Awlaki attended Colorado State University, studying engineering. In 1994 while living in Colorado, al-Awlaki married his first wife, a cousin from Yemen. A year later, al-Awlaki moved to San Diego, where he took up a job as a cleric at a local mosque.
By his own account, it was during this period that al-Awlaki began to develop a hatred for the United States, feelings he was quite adept at keeping to himself. This hatred was sparked by the first Gulf War, which followed Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Six months later a massive American army based in Saudi Arabia expelled Hussein’s troops from Kuwait. After Hussein’s armies were ignominiously pushed out of Kuwait, a large-scale U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia continued for many years. For politicized, fundamentalist Muslims such as al-Awlaki, the presence of thousands of “infidel” American troops on the holy land of Saudi Arabia was a deep irritant.
During his years living in San Diego and later in Virginia, al-Awlaki met with three of the 9/11 hijackers in the months before the attacks.
Almost a decade later he also gave the order to Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the “underwear bomber” to take down an American plane with a bomb. AbdulMutallab ignited his bomb on Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009 as it flew over the suburbs of Detroit, but luckily the device failed to detonate properly.
As a result of the operational role al-Awlaki was playing in al Qaeda, President Barack Obama gave the authorization for his death, and on the morning of September 30, 2011, CIA drones locked on to the vehicle he was traveling in Yemen and fired missiles that killed the cleric.
Obama called the death of al-Awlaki a “major blow” to al-Qaeda in Yemen, which had now lost its “leader of external operations.” But it turns out that killing the militant cleric was easier than killing his ideas that linger on in the virtual world.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother who survived a shootout with police shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, had downloaded articles written by al-Awlaki, according to the indictment against him. Tsarnaev also downloaded the first issue of Inspire magazine, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language webzine, which al-Awlaki helped to produce.
Law enforcement officials linked the pipe bombs allegedly used by the Tsarnaev brothers in the Boston Marathon bombings to step-by-step instructions for how to build similar pipe bombs that were printed in that first issue of Inspire.
The Tsarnaev brothers may not be the only individuals in the United States to have been influenced by al-Awlaki. According to a count by the New America Foundation, since 9/11, 52 American citizens or U.S. residents indicted in a jihadist terrorist-related crime or that have been killed have cited al-Awlaki as an influence, possessed his propaganda or were in communication or met with him.
Nor are the Tsarnaevs the only Americans likely to be influenced by Inspire magazine. According to a count by the New America Foundation, at least 16 individuals indicted since the magazine’s first issue in 2010 have possessed or cited Inspire as an influence.
Even today, court documents continue to cite al-Awlaki and Inspire as influencing factors in terrorism cases. Eighteen individuals indicted in the United States since al-Awlaki’s death in 2011 have cited his influence or possessed his propaganda.
In June, for instance, Justin Kaliebe, an 18-year-old New Yorker, pleaded guilty to attempting to travel to Yemen to join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. According to his plea agreement, Kaliebe told an undercover officer, “My standard is Sheik Anwar Al-Awlaki and Sheik Osama (bin Laden), both who bore witness to the truth.”
In November, the government indicted Basit Sheikh, a 29-year-old living in North Carolina, and charged him with attempting to provide material support to al-Nusra Front, a Syrian al Qaeda affiliate. The criminal complaint alleges that Sheikh posted a link on Facebook to a propaganda video narrated by al-Awlaki.
In December, the government filed an indictment against Terry Loewen, a 58-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas, alleging he attempted to explode a car bomb at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The criminal complaint alleges that Loewen told an undercover FBI informant, “Brothers like Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki are a great inspiration to me,” and, “I have read Anwar Al-Awlaki’s 44 ways of Jihad, and like everything l’ve ever read of his, it’s very informative.”
In March, Nicholas Teausant, a 20-year-old from Acampo, California, was arrested and charged with attempting to travel to fight in Syria. The criminal complaint alleges that Teausant’s computer contained copies and excerpts of Inspire.
It is not just the U.S. government that continues to view al-Awlaki as maintaining, even in death, his power to influence. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula continues to publish Inspire. The latest issue appeared in March featuring a purported interview with al-Awlaki made before his death in which he urged attacks on Western civilians. Al Qaeda and individuals motivated by the group’s ideology continue to view al-Awlaki as an important voice so his writings, available on the Internet, will likely continue to crop up in terrorism cases for the foreseeable future.
What can be done to counter this? An implausible approach is a “takedown” effort. Trying to eliminate al-Awlaki’s writings on “holy war” on the Internet just won’t work. Eliminate them on some sites, and they will simply pop up on others.
Another more plausible approach would be for English-speaking Muslim clerics to contest publicly and widely al-Awlaki’s arguments for justified holy wars against non-Muslims. So far such efforts remain limited both in number and reach.
~ 15 April Cometh. Earth Mother’s little Sister shall light the city’s night in remembrance~
In Honor of the 4Fallen ~ In Honor of all those standing Tall for them.
The Race is not over ’til the Barbarians & their Apologists are no more.
The following letter, dated April 7, 2014, was sent to inspectors general representing the U.S. Department of Justice, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Intelligence Community, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Dear Inspectors General,
The FBI appreciates your thorough review of the handling and sharing of information prior to the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Of course, we continue to remember all who were harmed in those terrible events. But whenever a tragedy occurs, we owe it to the victims and the American people to look back and see what lessons we can learn. It’s not just a useful exercise; it’s an essential one.
Here, your review confirmed that when Russian authorities provided limited information to the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother ( emphasis added ~n~) in 2011, the FBI acted appropriately. The FBI’s Boston field office took responsible investigative steps and, as you recognized, generally shared information and followed procedures appropriately. We also concur with your recommendations. In fact, we have already taken steps to ensure that all threat information is proactively and uniformly shared with the state and local partners whose support is so critical to the success of our Joint Terrorism Task Forces.
FBI agents and analysts throughout the world, together with our law enforcement and intelligence partners, work day in and day out to protect the homeland, using all available tools consistent with our Constitution, laws and policies. They have to make critical judgments in real time, almost always with imperfect information, and often in dangerous circumstances. I am proud of the work that the Boston field office did in this case, before the bombings as well as after them, and I am proud of all the people of the FBI who have made the safety of the American people their life’s mission.
James B. Comey
~IGs are men and women of Honor & Truth~
Majestic Azteca dancer.
Majestuoso bailarín Azteca.
Earth As Seen From Apollo 4 in November 1967
~Ah…tis ahmaizing so many wait to catch a glimpse of the Blue Marble from far off space to appreciate and be grateful for her, when all the while she always, in all ways surrounds then gifts all living things with her beauty and bounty~
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are planning legislation to block the Air Force’s plans to retire the A-10.
Come on, everyone! It’s Friday!
Here are some stories from the week:
- How to hike with your dog
- Will this be a banner year for manatees?
- Sriracha hot sauce is officially a public nuisance
Looking to adopt a shelter animal? Here’s your chance! Apply to adopt an ASPCA animal during the first ever National Pet Day Google Hangout. Watch today from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and help save shelter animals!
MNN wishes you a wonderful weekend!
~Friday is Funday~