Foreign Policy Blogs

Ohio Man Indicted for Conspiring with al Qa'ida; Padilla and Lindh Cases Develop.

christopher-paul.jpgAn Ohio man was charged with conspiracy to commit and material support for terrorist acts associated with al Qa'ida.  Christopher Paul (a/k/a Paul Kenyatta Laws a/ka/ Abdulmalek Kenyatta), 43, from Columbus, was indicted on three counts; conspiracy to "provide material support and resources, in the form of personnel, training and equipment" to terrorist groups, conspiracy to "use a weapon of mass destruction"; and for providing "material support and resources to terrorists in the form of currency, personnel and equipment" for operations against US interests.  According to a press release from the US Department of Justice, Paul traveled to Pakistan and attended al Qa'ida training camps in Afghanistan.  He allegedly joined the group in mid-1991.  Upon returning to Ohio, he is accused of storing a "laser range finder, night vision scope, books and literature on explosives, remove control items, and other survival gear."  In 1999, Paul allegedly traveled to Germany to provide explosives training to operatives targeting US and European interests, including tourist locations and government buildings.

Christopher Paul's case is different from the cases circulating out of the Guantanamo Bay facility as he is a US citizen.  Jose Padilla, another US citizen, was originally held without charge at a military brig.  After pressure mounted against the Bush administration, notably from the review of his habeas claims, he was transferred to a civilian detention facility in Florida and formally charged.  Five years after his detention, a federal court is reviewing potential jurors.  Padilla's lawyers are claiming the "dirty bomber" stigma associated with Padilla will make it difficult to find prospective jurors.  Padilla also claims he was systematically tortured while in military custody and suffers from a lack of mental competency as a result. 

John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban", was captured during the prison uprising in Mazer-e-Shariff, Afghanistan.  The first US combat casualty in Afghanistan occurred in the Mazer-e-Shariff conflict, where CIA officer, John Spann, was killed by the prisoners there.  Following the nine-month sentence given to the Australian, David Hicks, for war crimes, Lindh's family had pleaded for leniency from his 20-year sentence.  Lindh has recently been transferred to the Supermax facility in Colorado.

Information on Hicks and other background have been widely covered on this site.



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors