LAPD probing Manson family link to 12 unsolved homicides
The Los Angeles Police Department disclosed Thursday that it has open investigations on a dozen unsolved homicides that occurred near places where the Manson family operated during its slew of murders four decades ago.
The Police Department made the revelation amid a legal battle to obtain hours of audio tapes recorded in 1969 between Charles Manson follower Charles “Tex” Watson and his attorney. The LAPD has said detectives believe tapes could shed more light on the activities of Manson's group.
Watson has been fighting to limit the LAPD's access to the tapes. This month, a federal judge in Texas granted an emergency order preventing the police from executing a search warrant at an office where the tapes are kept.
LAPD officials did not disclose details of the cases and said the department is examining the murders because they occurred near known Manson hangouts around the city.
“These cases have circumstances that are similar to some of the Manson killings,” Cmdr. Andy Smith said. “We are hoping that these Tex Watson tapes can provide us further clues on these cases... We are doing this for the families of these victims.”
Manson and his followers were convicted of killing eight people in a notorious plot to incite a race war that he believed was prophesied in the Beatles song “Helter Skelter.”
Sharon Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was 8½ months pregnant when she was killed at the couple's hilltop home in Benedict Canyon on Aug. 9, 1969. Polanski was out of the country working on a film. Besides Tate, four others were stabbed and shot to death: Jay Sebring, 35; Voytek Frykowski, 32; coffee heiress Abigail Folger, 25; and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Tate's caretaker. The word “pig” was written on the front door in blood.
The next night, Manson rode with his cohorts to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, then left three of them to commit the murders. “Death to pigs” was written on a wall, and “Healter Skelter,” which was misspelled, was written on the refrigerator door.
They also killed Gary Hinman, 34, a musician, and Donald “Shorty” Shea, a stuntman and a ranch hand at the Chatsworth ranch where Manson and his followers lived.
Some authors and former prosecutors who studied the case have long suspected that the Manson family was responsible for more killings.
This spring, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Texas granted the LAPD's request to review eight cassette tapes containing hours of conversations between Watson and his late attorney. But Watson's attorney appealed, and the case was stalled.
The LAPD tried to obtain the tapes using a search warrant.
But on Oct. 9, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell issued an order forbidding the LAPD and Texas authorities from taking the tapes until the Bankruptcy Court resolves Watson's appeal.
“This court understands and respects the desire of the LAPD to seek access to the 42-year old tapes, Schell wrote. “However, the LAPD has provided no explanation as to why this court should shortcut the usual procedure for determining a bankruptcy appeal of a previous ruling in Bankruptcy Court.”
Smith said the Police Department is frustrated with the delays. “The civil courts here are blocking a criminal investigation,” he said. “We don't even have a date for when this will be resolved.”
Watson is serving a life sentence for his role in killings.
Another day, another fiend planning to kill us, but Raymond Kelly and the NYPD and the FBI snuff out another threat
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis used Missouri college as a cover then headed to downtown Manhattan hoping to become a big shot by setting off the same kind of bomb used in the 1993 WTC attack. Thanks to never-resting security pros, he may spend the rest of his life in prison
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
So this time it was a Bangladeshi who wanted to use a thousand-pound bomb on the Manhattan Federal Reserve building on Liberty St. and kill more innocent people in New York City.
This time it was Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis walking around lower Manhattan, drawing a crude map and deciding whether he wanted to put his bomb at the Stock Exchange or at the Federal Reserve. He was an enemy foot soldier in the war that does not end, no timetable for troops to be withdrawn because they never will be.
“He sees too many cops at the Stock Exchange, too much of a uniformed presence, and moves on,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Thursday afternoon.
This is the war being fought every day by the FBI and by the NYPD, everyone involved knowing that there is always somebody new coming along with the most murderous intentions any city in this country has ever encountered. And the heroes of the city, as great as we have ever had, are the undercover agents and the police officers who continue to stop them, catch them and put them away forever.
“It is why we're looking at people all the time,” Kelly said. “It's why there are investigations constantly going forward, whether one of these plots pans out or not. We are fighting this war every day. This is the place they want to come. That is their operating premise, and we haven't been proven wrong about that.”
Nafis finally ends up in a guest room at the Millenium Hilton Hotel on Wednesday morning. Nafis, who built what he thought was a bomb in a Nassau County warehouse rented by the FBI, wanted to spark jihad using a cell phone as a detonator. He puts on dark glasses, disguises his voice and decides to make a video of himself, because he believes he is about to be a hero to his cause. He thinks he can be so much more than a foot soldier when he blows up the Federal Reserve.
Originally Nafis thinks about blowing himself up at the same time. Only now, slight change of plans, he's decided to go back to Bangladesh, to the family that sent him to college in the United States because he told them he wanted a better life here. But he really came with dirty little ideas crawling around in his head like snakes — fantasies about bombs and murder and Al Qaeda.
The feds and the cops bust him at the Millenium. Eventually Nafis may go away for the rest of his life. Then he could draw maps of his prison cell the way he drew one of Liberty St., telling himself he was just unlucky to have thrown in with undercover agents treating him like he was dumber than rocks from the start.
Ray Kelly said, “We need this kind of teamwork (FBI and NYPD) because this threat is not diminishing, not for a long time to come. There are young people willing to risk everything to kill people here. This time it was a bizarre, twisted belief about hurting the U.S. financially in a very significant way.”
Kelly points out what the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, points out this week, that now we are talking about 15 plots like this against the city since Sept. 11, 2001. They keep coming, they get stopped, the war goes on.
One such as Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis comes here and uses college for cover, stops briefly at Southeast Missouri State University, ends up in New York, walking around the part of the city hit the way it was 11 years ago, wanting to get a building of his own, with the same kind of bomb used in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
There was a morning a year ago, a sun-splashed September morning in the runup to the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. when Ray Kelly stood across from the Millenium. You would say that Kelly and the NYPD and the FBI were on high alert that week, but then they always are, as they prove again with Nafis.
Kelly pointed to the Millenium.
“Look at all those windows,” he said. “All those rooms to worry about.”
This time the end of the story played out in one of those rooms, the end of Nafis' great plan to be famous forever, making the kind of video that so many mass murderers want to make before they start shooting innocents; or the ones who want to blow up a part of New York by punching out a number on a cell phone, thinking this was as trivial as sending a text message, just from hell.
Heroes of the city stopped him. No timetable for the end of this war, no timetable for withdrawal. A war that will last forever.
Undercover Muslim Agents: Mission Accomplished
Like its policies or not, the FBI's infiltration nabbed a terrorist, and thwarted an attack.
by Michael Daly
The next time you hear somebody criticize law enforcement for fielding undercovers in the Muslim community, take a walk past the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Then consider what very well might have happened if there had been no undercover to snare the 21-year-old man now accused of attempting to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb on the crowded street you are strolling.
Quazi Mohammad Rezawanul Ashan Nafis almost certainly would have kept searching for someone to join him in the jihad that prosecutors say was his primary purpose for coming to America from his native Bangladesh on a student visa in January.
He is said to call America “dar al-harb,” or “land of war,” and he could very well have ended up loading a truck not with the inert stuff supplied by the undercover FBI agent, but with explosives as real as his declared intent.
“What I really mean, is that I don't want something that's like, small. I just want something big,” he was recorded saying, according to the criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court. “Something very big. Very very very very big, that will shake the whole country…make one step ahead for the Muslims…make us one step closer to run the whole world.“
Those words became even scarier with the suggestion from a longtime undercover handler that they reflect a revived intensity among Islamic militants bent on terrorist violence.
“There's a resurgence, a big resurgence,” says the handler, who is privy to reports form a number of active undercovers. “It's the same as it was just before 9/11.”
The handler, who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, feels certain that the undercover agent in the Nafis case prevented an attack.
“One way or another, this kid would have made a bomb and he would have detonated it,” the handler said. “If that's not a wakeup call, I don't know what is.”
Not even Nafis's family seems to have suspected that he was bent on jihad. He—like such violent extremists as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Mohamed Atta—is not a product of poverty made stone-hearted by deprivation and oppression. His father is a banker, who insisted to reporters after the arrest, “My son can't do it.” The father described Nafis as “very gentle and devoted to his studies.”
“I spent all my savings to send him to America,” the father, Quazi Mohammad Ahsanullah, was quoted saying.
After enrolling for the spring semester at Southeast Missouri State University, Nafis became vice president of the school's Muslim student organization, but seems to have kept any jihadi thoughts largely to himself. One fellow student remembers that Nafis joined in such charitable endeavors as supplying book bags to needy children.
Yet, where some young men might haunt sex sites online, Nafis was viewing cyber-porn of a different kind: Al Qaeda's digital magazine Inspire as well as videos that Imam Anwar al-Awlaki made before being killed by a drone strike in Yemen last year.
Nafis left SMSU at the end of the term and apparently made initial contact online with someone he imagined to be a jihadi—but is in fact an FBI informant. Nafis is said to have called this person on July 5, complaining that Muslims in America were “Talafai,” not true members of the faith. Nafis spoke admiringly of “Sheikh O,” apparently meaning Osama Bin Laden. Nafis also talked of engaging in “J,” meaning jihad.
The informant put Nafis in contact with a supposed Al Qaeda operative, who was actually an undercover FBI agent attached to the Joint Terrorist Task Force run in conjunction with the NYPD. Nafis had by then moved to New York; he met the undercover in Central Park on July 24. This was when Nafis was recorded speaking of doing something ”very very very very big.”
“I want to do something that brothers coming after us can be inspired by us,” he went on to say, according to the complaint.
On August 5, Nafis allegedly told the undercover that he had decided to bomb the New York Stock Exchange. FBI agents are said to have observed him surveilling his alleged target on August 9. He met with the undercover at a Queens hotel two days later and showed him a map of the area around the exchange, allegedly saying that he intended to mount a suicide attack.
“We will not stop until we obtain victory or martyrdom,” Nafis was recorded saying.
“We are going to need a lot of TNT of dynamite,” Nafis said, according to the complaint.
During a Sept. 20 meeting, Nafis allegedly told the undercover that the Stock Exchange was too difficult a target. Nafis is said to have decided he would attack the Federal Reserve Bank instead.
“Nafis told the UC [undercover] … that he understood that the attack he was planning would result in a large number of civilian casualties, including of women and children, but still wanted to proceed,” the complaint notes.
The complaint says that Nafis voiced the hope that the attack would disrupt the presidential election.
“You know what, this election might even stop,” he was recorded saying, according to the complaint.
The closest the undercover came to steering the plot seems to have been when Nafis said he wanted to return briefly to Bangladesh to get his affairs in order before conducting the suicide attack. The undercover apparently convinced him to stay and instead detonate the bomb remotely.
“Nafis was excited by the new plan,” the complaint says. “Because, he indicated, it would allow him to conduct additional terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.”
On Oct. 13, Nafis and the undercover are said to have driven to the Federal Reserve to “scout” the target. Nafis allegedly read aloud from an article he had written with the hope it would be published posthumously by Al Qaeda's online magazine.
“I decided to attack the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which is by far the largest (by assets), most active (by volume), and most influential of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks. New York Federal Reserve Bank implements monetary policy, supervises, and regulates financial institutions and helps maintain the nation's payment systems.”
Nafis allegedly had what he termed “plan B.”
“Which involved changing the attack into a suicide bombing operation in the event that Nafis believed the attack was about to be thwarted by police,” the complaint notes.
Early on the morning of Oct. 17, Nafis and the undercover allegedly filled trash bins with 1,000 pounds of fertilizer, supposedly the same explosive used to the bomb the World Trade Center back in 1993. Nafis is said to have loaded the emptied fertilizer bags along with the bins into a van.
“Nafis told the UC … that he was collecting the extra bags because he believed that there might be residual explosive materials in the bags that would contribute to the strength of the anticipated detonation and kill more people,” the complaint states.
The supposed explosives had been furnished by the undercover, but Nafis provided the cell phone that was connected to the detonator before the two drove into Manhattan, the complaint says. Nafis was allegedly recorded talking about the influence al-Alawaki's videos had on him.
Just as his mentor would have wanted, Nafis and the undercover parked the van outside the target at an hour when the streets were filling with innocent civilians on their way to work. The two proceeded to a room at the Millennium Hotel across from Ground Zero. Nafis is said to have donned sunglasses and disguised his face and voice while making a videotaped statement.
“We will not stop until we obtain victory or martyrdom,” Nafis was recorded saying, according to the complaint.
The banker's son who came to America on his father's savings is alleged to have then repeatedly called the cell phone attached to the detonator. The result would have been as horrific as he seems to have intended if he had he managed to team up with an actual jihadi rather than an undercover.
Nafis was thwarted because the FBI and the NYPD continue to employ undercovers, despite all the heat they take from parts of the Muslim community and well-meaning civil libertarians, along with some members of Congress who seem to forget we are still very much at war, whether we like it or not.
Nobody has more cause than peace-minded Muslims to be thankful that an undercover enabled the FBI and the NYPD to once again prevent an attack on New York, by one count for the 15th time since 9/11.
Meanwhile, the undercovers are still out there, in the city that remains a bullseye.
Atascadero Launches New Community Policing Program
by Liberty Zabala
ATASCADERO, Calif. -- With continued cuts to law enforcement, central coast cities are finding new ways to address long-term problems in the community.
Atascadero is the latest city to roll out a community policing program that assigns officers to a certain section of the city.
With 26 officers on call for a city with the population of 27,000, it can be difficult for Atascadero police to get to everything.
"We cover 24/7 so there is a likelihood when someone calls in for something and its at a different time of day or a different day of the week, they may get a different officer," Sergeant Keith Falerios of the Atascadero Police Department.
The department is launching a new program that assigns officers to certain areas of the city so the next time you call 9-11 for the same problem you wont keep getting different officers.
"It's going to give the citizens who live in that area a single point of contact within the police department," Sergeant Gregg Meyer of the Atascadero Police Department.
The Atascadero Police divides the city in 5 areas: A, B, C, D, E. Areas A and B are West of Highway 101 and are residential areas, where as areas C and D, east of Highway 101 have more schools and businesses.
Area E is where most of the action happens with more businesses in the area and more traffic. More officers will be assigned to Area E.
"It's like having a friend at the department," says Falerios.
"Everyone wants a friend at the department well now every service district will have a friend at the department that they can go directly to."
Santa Maria Police just launched their own version of community policing, breaking up the city into 3 designated zones
"What we're trying to do. We're trying to have accountability," says Corporal Eligio Lara of the Santa Maria Police Department.
Each sergeant assigned to an area in Atascadero will serve that district for one year.
You can log onto the Atascadero Police Department's website to contact the officer assigned to your service area.