Suspect Held Over Plot to Attack Pentagon, Capitol
A Massachusetts man, Rezwan Ferdaus, is being held in connection with a plot to strike the Pentagon and the Capitol with three GPS-guided, small aircraft filled with explosives.
According to the Washington Post, “When he was arrested in Framingham, Mass., Ferdaus had already acquired one remote-controlled aircraft, a small-scale model of the F-86 Sabre, a Cold War-era U.S. fighter jet, the FBI affidavit said. He was also planning to expand his attack to include an immediate follow-on assault at both sites with two three-man teams wielding automatic weapons, the FBI said.”
Ferdaus, a 26-year-old graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, had reportedly been swayed by extremist Web sites and began planning the attacks early last year. He was arrested after sharing details of the plot with undercover FBI agents whom he believed were connected with al-Qaida.
According to law enforcement officials, his weapons were sophisticated enough that they could have been used to successfully carry out the attacks.
Photo by Flickr user Minifrieze.
Pastor Set to Be Executed in Iran
Days after the highly publicized release of two American hikers during the U.N. General Assembly, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani could be executed anytime in Iran for refusing to recant and his beliefs. Nadarkhani has refused to convert to Islam and was sentenced to death last November after being tried for apostasy.
“Once again, the Iranian regime has demonstrated that it practices hypocritical barbarian practices,” said Leonard Leo, chairman oft the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Members of the media have not been allowed to witness the trial proceedings. The execution would need to be approved by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Assad Supporters Throw Eggs, Tomatoes at U.S. Ambassador
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford was hit by tomatoes and eggs by an angry crowd, estimated at 100 people, during a meeting with an opposition leader, Hassan Abdul Azim, in Damascus Thursday. Ford was trapped in the building for two hours, with security forces on the perimeter.
The government of President Bashar al-Assad has accused Ford and other State Department officials of encouraging the protest movement and meeting with opposition figures. During the last six months, the Syrian government has come under increasing international scrutiny for a violent military crackdown on demonstrators in which, according to United Nations estimates, as many as 2,700 people have been killed.
Strauss-Kahn Meets with Accuser
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, met Thursday with a writer who has accused him of attempted rape as police worked to verify their statements in connection with the case. Strauss-Kahn stepped down as head of the IMF to address allegations of assault by a New York City maid in May; he was later released due to prosecutors’ concerns over her credibility.
Tristane Banon said in July that Strauss-Kahn had attacked her during a 2003 interview, and prosecutors are trying to decide whether to proceed with the case. Strauss-Kahn has called her story “imaginary and slanderous.”
Strauss-Kahn’s highly publicized arrest and the media maelstrom in the United States was a point of controversy in France, where many felt he was maligned before a formal trial could take place. Strauss-Kahn had been seen as a possible presidential contender to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy.