David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

Teen Arrested in Failed Portland Car Bomb Plot

Mohamed Osman Mohamud

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Saturday, November 27, 2010

Federal prosecutors tell NBC News that a Somali-born teen has been arrested for plotting a car bomb attack at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland Friday.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested after trying to detonate the dud bomb given to him by undercover agents as part of an anti-terror sting.

Court documents show Mohamud was arrested after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would detonate the explosives at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square as thousands were in attendence for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Witnesses tell NBC News Mohamud yelled, “Allahu Akhbar” and tried to kick agents as the arrested him.  He’s charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

If convicted, he could face up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.


November 27, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UPDATE: Official Says South Korea Attack One Step Closer to Brink of War

By: David Shepherd & News Sources [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photo: MSNBC

UPDATE: South Korea’s President, Lee Myung-bak, says “enormous retaliation should be made to the extent that [North Korea] cannot make provocations again,” after Tuesday’s military attack on the South. He said that an “indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated.”

Myung-bak called an emergency security meeting shortly after the initial shelling that killed 2 South Korean soldiers and wounded others and the death toll may climb, according to NBC News.

The White House said Tuesday, President Barrack Obama was awakened in the early morning hours and given an emergency briefing on the situation. A spokesman for the President says Mr. Obama plans to speak with the South Korean President.

The White House is strongly condemning the attack saying the United States will honor its alliance obligations to the South.

Peter Beck, a research fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations told NBC News, “[the attack] brings us one step closer to the brink of

South Korean TV showing images of homes burning in the wake of the most aggressive military action against the South since the Korean War ended in the 1950's

 war because I don’t think the North would seek war by intention, but war by accident, something spiraling out of control has always been my fear.”

ORIGIONAL STORY: The South Korean island was attacked Tuesday by North Korean artillery shells in one of the most aggressive attacks on the country since the Korean War, NBC News is reporting. The North’s military attack killed 2 South Korean soldiers, wounded 15 others, and set up to 70 houses ablaze, according to South Korean TV YTN.

The news agency is reporting at least 200 shells hit the island of Yeonpyeong. Most of the shells landed on a South Korean military base there. Now, both countries are ready for whatever may come next, vowing to continue to fight if the other doesn’t back down. In Seoul, the South Korean government called the action an “indisputable armed provocation against the Republic of Korea.  Making matters worse, it even indiscriminately fired against civilians. Such actions will never be tolerated.”

The statement says the country “immediately and strongly responded to the provocation in accordance with the rules of engagement”and vowed to “retaliate against any additional acts of provocation in a resolute manner.”

North Korea also issued a statement saying the attacks were in response to an incident that stemmed from South Korean military drills, calling them “war maneuvers for a war of aggression.”

AP / Tentions mounting in South Korea after the attack from the North, which claims to have a strong and growing nuclear weapons program.

In Washington, there are fears of escalation with a U.S. Defense official telling CNN that the “hope is that this is just one isolated incident, not an escalation into a different military posture.”

For decades, North Korea has been a concern on the global front for their nuclear program. North Korea possesses nuclear weapons that may be able to reach as far as the United States. Many fear escalation could bring the two nations closer to the brink of nuclear war.

November 23, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Times Square Bombing Suspect Pleads Guilty

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com]Monday, June 21, 2010

Faisal Shahzad - MSNBC Photo

The Times Square car bomb suspect, Faisal Shahzad, pleaded guilty on the 10 terrorism and weapons charges handed down by a federal grand jury.

The Pakistan-born U.S. citizen appeared defiant in court Monday as he entered his plea, warning “we will be attacking the U.S.” unless the military “leaves Muslim lands alone,” according to court documents.

Shahzad was born in Pakistan and moved to the United States when he was 18.  The married father of two, trained in the United States as a financial analyst, was indicted for receiving explosives training in Pakistan during a five-week trip to Warziristan. 

Court document show Shahzad received $5,000 in cash in late February from an accused Pakistani co-conspirator.  That same man allegedly ordered $7,000 more be paid to Shahzad on April 10th

Shahzad is scheduled to be sentenced October 5.  Many of his charges each carry life sentences.

Judge Challenges Shahzad In Court

Shahzad gave a detailed account of what happened the night he tried to detonate an SUV full of explosives in Times Square May 1st.  He

Yahoo! News Photo

 said he chose a warm Saturday night because there would be more people he could kill.

Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum questioned the would-be car bomber after he called the bombing attempt retaliation against the U.S. and other countries that “attacked the Muslim lands.”

Cedarbaum interrupted, “But not the people who were walking in Times Square that night. Did you look around to see who they were?”

Shahzad replied, “Well, the people select the government,” Shahzad said. “We consider them all the same.”

The judge also tried to determine if Shahzad constructed the bomb himself.

He calmly replied, “One has to understand where I’m coming from.”  He continued, “I consider myself a Muslim soldier,” telling the judge he built the bomb “all by myself.”

He continued to explain that he waited up to five minutes after he lit the fuse waiting for the bomb to go off.

“I was waiting to hear a sound but I didn’t hear a sound,” Shahzad told the court.  “So I walked to Grand Central and went home,” he said.

Yahoo! News Photo

Shahzad’s defiant tone didn’t end there.  He went on to say: “I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people. And, on behalf of that, I’m avenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their own people, but they don’t care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.”

Guilty Plea Meant To Send Message Of Terror

During a court hearing that was far routine, Shahzad says he wanted “to plead guilty and 100 times more,” warning “we will be attacking U.S.” if President Obama doesn’t pull the military out of Afghanistan and Iraq.



June 22, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment