The federal government’s secretly administered no-fly list took another ding Sunday, when Indonesia’s top general was blocked from boarding his flight to the United States on the invitation of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. for an anti-terrorism conference.
“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford invited Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo to attend a Chiefs of Defense Conference on Countering Violent Extremism being held Oct. 23 through Oct. 24 in Washington,” said a statement released by the U.S. embassy in Jakarta.
“General Gatot was unable to travel as planned,” the statement said. “The Embassy was in touch with the General’s staff about this matter throughout the weekend, working to facilitate his travel. U.S. Ambassador Joseph Donovan has apologized to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi for any inconvenience to General Gatot.”
“We’ve asked for clarification to the US, to the Department of State as well as the embassy in Jakarta and until now we’re still waiting for that clarification,” Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi told Reuters.
The ministry’s spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir earlier said Indonesia’s embassy in Washington was to send a diplomatic note to the US secretary of state demanding an explanation for the incident.
The ministry will also summon the US deputy ambassador in Jakarta on Monday to seek explanation, Nasir said, adding that the ambassador is presently not in Indonesia.
The American embassy in Jakarta also pledged to help the general rebook his flight.
“The U.S. Embassy was, and remains, prepared to facilitate the General’s travel to the United States. We remain committed to our Strategic Partnership with Indonesia as a way to deliver security and prosperity to both our nations and peoples,” the statement said.
In February 2016, Indonesia’s top general held extensive talks with Dunford at the Pentagon–talks that were punctuated by an elaborate military parade and review hosted by Duford for his Indonesia counterpart.
Gatot is a major figure in Indonesia, which maintains the veneer of a democracy, but also gives its military tremendous influence in the political, social and economic spheres.
In addition to the diplomatic embarrassment, Gatot’s appearance on the no-fly list is a reminder of the mysterious database that Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) wanted to make a part of his program to restrict gun rights.
There is no public access to the no-fly list and no process to learn is you are on the list nor a process to appeal your inclusion on the list.
The no-fly list is maintained by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center and is supplemented by the Secondary Security Screening Selection program, which tagged passengers for further scrutiny when “SSSS” is printed on their boarding pass.
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New York Man Pleads Guilty To Supporting and Trying To Join ISIS
A New York has pleaded guilty in Federal Court to helping ISIS, according to the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Parveg Ahmed, a Muslim man, plead guilty before Judge Ann Donnelly on June 20 to one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS.
“I tried to travel to a land controlled by an organization which the US government has deemed a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” Ahmed told the court. “I knew it was deemed a Foreign Terrorist Organization. That’s my crime, traveling there.”
In June 2017, Ahmed traveled to Saudi Arabia to celebrate Ramadan, where he then tried to travel to Syria with the intent of joining ISIS. On his way to Syria, Ahmed was detained in the Middle East and was then deported back to the United States two months later. Despite knowing that Ahmed had plans to join ISIS, he was allowed to board a plane back to John F. Kennedy Airport, where he was arrested when he landed in August.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force obtained a search warrant for Ahmed’s personal computer on July 17, 2017. After obtaining a warrant, agents found ISIS propaganda and terrorist recordings of Anwar al-Awalaki, the leader of Al Qaeda on his laptop.
One of Anwar al-Awalaki’s recordings that was found on Ahmed’s laptop was from a sermon in which the terror leader said, “Jihad must continue and fighting must go on until the Final Hour comes. Fighting is only increasing as prescribed by Allah — now it is time to carry the battle to further lands outside of Arab countries.”
According to terror task force agents, Ahmed was also researching ways to erase data on his laptop the day he left for Saudi Arabia. His computer also contained manuals about Jihad, how to join ISIS, and lectures that justified violence and terror against non-believers of Islam in Western countries.
Ahmed will be sentenced in December and is facing up to 20 years in prison.
On Halloween of 2017, an ISIS terrorist who was driving for Uber mowed down a group of pedestrians in a bike lane in Manhattan, New York, killing eight people in an attack he said he carried out for the Islamic State.
In April of 2018, ISIS‘s propaganda wing, the Wafa Media Foundation, released a propaganda poster in which they threatened to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge subway station in New York City.
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