Dominican charged in New York terrorist plot
NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday an "al Qaeda sympathizer" who plotted to bomb police and post offices in New York City as well as U.S. troops returning home has been arrested on numerous terrorism-related charges.

Bloomberg announced at a news conference the Saturday arrest of 27-year-old Jose Pimentel of Manhattan, a U.S. citizen originally from the Dominican Republic.

The mayor said Pimentel was "plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal facilities as well as targeted members of our armed services returning from abroad." But authorities have no evidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else, the mayor said.

"He appears to be a total lone wolf," Bloomberg said.

Pimentel was motivated by his resentement of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, fueled by al Qaeda propaganda, the mayor said. "He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad." However, Bloomberg said Pimentel represents the type of threat FBI Director Robert Mueller has warned about as U.S. forces erode the ability of terrorists to carry out large scale attacks.

Pimentel is accused of having an explosive substance Saturday when he was arrested that he planned to use against others and property to terrorize the public. The charges accuse him of conspiracy going back at least a year, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act.

At Pimentel's arraignment later, his lawyer Joseph Zablocki said his behavior leading up to the arrest was not that of a conspirator trying to conceal some violent scheme. Zablocki said Pimentel was public about his activities and was not trying to hide anything.

"I don't believe that this case is nearly as strong as the people believe," Zablocki said. "He (Pimentel) has this very public online profile ... This is not the way you go about committing a terrorist attack."

Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, was denied bail and remained in police custody. The bearded, bespectacled man wore a black T-shirt and black drawstring pants and smiled at times during the proceeding.

A criminal complaint was filed by the Manhattan District Attorney, which stated that Pimental had a web site whose article is titled "Why Osama bin Laden is the leader of the Believers," which said: "People have to understand that America and its allies are legitimate targets in warfare. This includes, facilities such as army bases, police stations, political facilities, embassies, CIA and FBI buildings, private and public airports, and all kinds of buildings where money is being made to help fund the war."

Read the criminal complaint

The complaint reveals the Pimentel made numerous incriminating statements to a confidential informant during a 12-month investigation. On Sept. 7, Pimentel allegedly told the informant he was interested building small bombs targeting government or police buildings and banks. Three weeks later, he allegedly gave the informant a flash drives containing two bomb-making manuals.



Jose Pimental's Arrest For NYC Terror Plot Puts Washington Heights Neighborhood Under Microscope

Jose Pimentel, the American citizen of Dominican origin who was arrested under the suspicion of plotting to commit a terrorist attack in New York, was taken into custody in Washington Heights, the neighborhood where he lived, according to authorities.

The demographics of Washington Heights, a populous district of northern Manhattan, are Latino almost in their entirety. According to a study by the Latino Data Project at the City University of New York (CUNY), in 2008, 71 percent of the barrio's population was Dominican, while Mexicans accounted for almost 10 percent, and Puerto Ricans and Ecuadorians about 8 percent each.

In Washington Heights on Monday, the city's top Dominican elected officials held a news conference to praise the police work and urge the community to remain vigilant.

"Let's continue working together with the police department to prevent future attacks and to bring back the calm and pride of the Dominican community," city councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said.

On the teemting streets of Washington Heights, three mothers -- Maria Perez, Basilea Rincon y Carmen Mena -- talked about Pimentel's arrests.

Maria Perez said, “Young people are being lost. They're not concerned with doing what they have to do to earn a living. Instead, they go around inventing and letting strange ideas influence them."

The night before, those who shared their opinions with The Huffington Post expressed a mix of concern and rage that yet another terrorist was captured in the city. Some neighbors refused to comment; others simply said they were unaware of Pimentel's capture.

"Mayor Bloomberg said that the suspect is Dominican. Now all eyes are on us," said Alberto Ventura to The Huffington Post on Amsterdam Avenue and 147th Street on Sunday night.

"Dominican or not, the good thing is they caught him on time. Who knows the tragedy that he could have caused?" said Altagracia González, owner of a beauty parlor in the area.

"Around here, nobody has ever heard of this Mr. Pimentel. As Dominicans, we don't involve ourselves with terrorist attacks. So they must do a very thorough investigation," said Antonio Acosta, interviewed at the intersection of 147th Street and Broadway.

"The guy must be crazy. I do not see any another explanation. It's very worrisome that there are people like this living among us" said a local resident who identified herself only as Celia.

Since Sunday night, the neighborhood was under media siege as reporters were scrambling to discover any information about Pimentel.

According to authorities, Pimentel had converted to Islam and adopted the name of Muhammad Yusuf. He is believed to be a sympathizer of the terrorist group Al Qaeda.

The New York Police Department's Intelligence Division and Counter-Terrorism Bureau determined that Pimentel had managed to make at least three rudimentary bombs with materials he bought at Home Depot and at 99 Cents stores. He also edited and maintained the website, where he detailed his ideology and plans.

Pimentel appeared last night in Manhattan Criminal Court, where he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. Pimentel was represented by Joseph Zablocky.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D) and State Senator Adriano Espaillat (D), both of Dominican descent and representatives of the northern district of Manhattan where Washington Heights is located, called a press conference on Monday afternoon to discuss the arrest and its impact on the neighborhood.

In a statement issued Sunday night, Rodriguez and Espaillat praised the work of the NYPD and its "success in preventing a terrorist attack." They also called on the community to cooperate with authorities and offer any information that could prevent any further attempts to attack the city.

"There are many Latin Americans who feel resentment towards the past relations between the United States and Latin America or third-world countries in general," Dominican journalist and analyst Julio Cesar Malone told The Huffington Post. "Dominicans, for example, were invaded twice in the past century by American troops."

"Organizations like Al Qaeda could appeal to some people who have these resentments," Malone added, suggesting this might have been the case with Pimentel. "They have arrested Puerto Ricans (Jose Padilla), Jamaicans (in John F. Kennedy airport), Haitians (in Florida) and now Dominicans, participating in attacks against this country."



Spanish version of this article:


Washington Heights en la mira por arresto de supuesto terrorista dominicano

La captura de José Pimentel, el estadounidense de origen dominicano, arrestado bajo cargos de planificar atentados terroristas en la ciudad de Nueva York, se propagó de inmediato en el barrio de Washington Heights, donde según las autoridades, residía el sospechoso.

El arresto fue revelado anoche por el Alcalde de Nueva York Michael Bloomberg quien ofreció una rueda de prensa en la que estuvo flanqueado por el Comisionado de Policía Raymond Kelly y el Fiscal de Manhattan Cyrus Vance.

Fuentes de la policía indicaron que Pimentel, arrestado el sábado, residía en algún punto de la calle 147 de Washington Heights, el populoso barrio del norte de Manhattan, donde la predominan los latinos y en particular los dominicanos.

"Vi al Alcalde Bloomberg diciendo que el sospechoso es dominicano. Ahora resulta que estamos en la mira de todo el mundo" dijo visiblemente molesto Alberto Ventura, abordado por AOL Latino a la altura de la avenida Ámsterdam y la calle 147.

"Si es dominicano o de donde sea, lo bueno es que lo agarraron a tiempo. Quien sabe la tragedia que pudo haber causado", dijo Altagracia González, propietaria de un salón de belleza, en el mismo sector.

"Por aquí nadie ha escuchado hablar de ese tal Pimentel. Los dominicanos no nos metemos en esas vainas del terrorismo. Deben investigar bien", dijo de su parte Antonio Acosta, otro dominicano consultado en la intercepción de la 147 y avenida Broadway.

"El tipo tiene que estar trastornado. No veo otra explicación, es preocupante que haya gente así viviendo entre nosotros" dijo una dominicana que sólo se quiso identificarse como Celia.

En general entre los que aceptaron opinar hubo una mezcla de preocupación y rabia al conocer que nuevamente en la ciudad de Nueva York se capturó a un terrorista. Algunos latinos desestimaron comentar y otros dijeron simplemente desconocer de la captura del dominicano José Pimentel.

El vecindario estaba anoche bajo el asedio de la prensa, que con todos los recursos imaginables, buscaba información sobre José Pimentel, según las autoridades, un seguidor del grupo terrorista Al Qaeda, convertido al islamismo y había adoptado el nombre de Muhammad Yusuf.

De acuerdo a las autoridades José Pimentel de 27 años había logrado montar varias bombas siguiendo las instrucciones de la página de internet relacionada con la red terrorista Al Qaeda.

La división de inteligencia de lucha antiterrorista de la policía de Nueva York determinó que Pimentel había logrado fabricar al menos tres bombas rudimentarias en los que utilizó materiales que compró en Home Depot y en tiendas de 99 centavos.

Según el comisionado de policía de Nueva York, Pimentel estaba siendo investigado desde hace dos años, una vez que se detectó su conversión al islamismo y su aproximación a sitios identificados con la Jihad islámica.

Pimentel compareció anoche en la Corte Criminal de Manhattan donde fue instruido de cargos de posesión criminal de un arma en primer grado, y conspiración para cometer un acto de terrorismo. Pimentel fue representado por el abogado Joseph Zablocky.

Entre tanto el concejal Ydanis Rodríguez y el senador estatal, ambos de ascendencia dominicana y representantes del norte de Manhattan donde está Washington Heights, convocaron para hoy a la 1:00 p.m. a una rueda de prensa frente al cuartel policial número 34 localizado en el 2295 de Broadway.

Ydanis Rodríguez y Adriano Espaillat en un comunicado difundido anoche elogiaron el trabajo de la policía de Nueva York que logró desbaratar el complot terrorista en la que se determinó la participación de un residente local.

"Como neoyorquinos, debemos tratar las denuncias de terrorismo con la mayor seriedad. Felicito a la policía de Nueva York por su trabajo en esta investigación, además de reconocer que el Sr. Pimentel tiene derecho a la representación y la presunción de inocencia. Si alguien tiene alguna información en este caso, les animo a que presente de inmediato ", dijo el concejal Ydanis Rodríguez.

También hicieron un llamado a la cooperación continua de la comunidad, para que ofrezca información inmediata que pueda prevenir cualquier intento de ataque.

"La cuestión central aquí es que hay muchos latinoamericanos que sienten rencores por las relaciones pasadas de Estados Unidos con Latinoamérica en particular y el tercer mundo en general", dijo el periodista y analista dominicano Julio Cesar Malone.

Según Malone, "los dominicanos, por ejemplo, fueron invadidos dos veces por tropas estadounidenses durante el siglo pasado. Creo que somos la única nación del continente con ese record".

"Organizaciones como Al Qaeda tienen simpatías entre quienes guardan aquellos rencores", aseguró Malone apuntando que ese puede ser el caso de José Pimentel.

"Hasta ahora han arrestado a puertorriqueños (José Padilla), jamaiquinos (en el aeropuerto Kennedy), haitianos (en Florida) y ahora dominicanos participando en atentados contra este país", resumió Malone y agregó, "los rencores están ahí y las frustraciones también".

"Todo esto tiene que ver, aunque no se quiera admitir, con la indignación acumulada contra la política exterior estadounidense. Con la crisis interna, quienes llegaron con esos rencores y están golpeados por la crisis, son excelentes candidatos a meterse en este tipo de problemas", concluyó Malone.

Go back | Date: 22 Nov 2011
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