Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Uzbek terrorist shines light on Tampa as a Pentagon-enabled center for radicalism - By The Wayne Madsen Report

Uzbek terrorist shines light on Tampa as a Pentagon-enabled center for radicalism - By The Wayne Madsen Report

Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the accused New York bicycle path terrorist who reportedly moved into an apartment in Tampa, Florida a week ago, shines a spotlight on the Florida city that hosts the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOC). Saipov, who was wounded by New York police after plowing his Home Depot rental pickup truck into cyclists along Manhattan's west side Greenway bike and pedestrian path, killing 8 people, claimed to have carried out his attack on behalf of the Islamic State. 

Saipov, a permanent resident of the United States who arrived from Uzbekistan in 2010, lived in Paterson, New Jersey with his wife and two children. Saipov and his wife are both natives of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.

Tampa authorities are reporting that Saipov's Florida address of 5586 Granada Boulevard, Apartment 102, Tampa, Florida 33617 on his Florida driver's license is for an apartment that is currently undergoing the type of refurbishment that is common prior to a new renter moving in. [pictured, right] It is unclear whether Saipov, a commercial truck and Uber driver, was planning to move to Tampa, where he had recently established Florida residency by obtaining a Florida license. Saipov also drove a white Toyota Sienna with Florida license plates. Saipov and his family had lived in Paterson for only a few months.

Saipov previously lived in an apartment in Stow, Ohio area, near Akron, where he owned a company, Bright Auto LLC, which was registered at an address in Cuyahoga Falls. Saipov also previously lived in the Cincinnati area, where he registered a firm called Sayf Motors Inc. 

Over the past few decades, the two military commands, which oversee military operations in the Middle East and Central and South Asia, have drawn to the Tampa Bay area several Muslims from hotbeds of Islamist radicalism. It is not known why Saipov was planning to move to Tampa, however, it is noteworthy that simultaneous to Saipov carrying out his terrorist attack in Manhattan, not far from the World Trade Center, CENTCOM, through an intelligence contractor called COLSA, Inc., advertised two job openings for fluent Uzbek speakers whose jobs would be to monitor social media. The FBI and New York Police Department are currently analyzing Facebook, Twitter, and other social media for any communications involving Saipov and possible radical Islamist colleagues.

The two October 31, 2017 CENTCOM job postings for Uzbek linguists and an addition job posted on October 20, are below:
Cleared Uzbek Social Media Analyst I (Entry Level/CENTCOM)
Tampa, FL
Cleared Uzbek Social Media Analyst II (CENTCOM) at COLSA
Tampa, FL 33621
Posted 11 days ago:
Cleared Uzbek Social Media Analyst III (CENTCOM) at COLSA
Tampa, FL 33621
In an effort to fill a vacuum of qualified linguists in such "critical" languages as Uzbek, CENTCOM and other military commands have lowered vetting requirements for intelligence analysts. In addition, CENTCOM and other military commands have relied on foreign partners to vet military personnel sent to the United States for training in such areas as logistics, ordnance, field artillery, communications, and engineering. Since 2005, 320 foreign military trainees out of 253,977 have gone AWOL while attending classes in the United States. 152 of the AWOL trainees were from Afghanistan. Since 2015, the number of AWOLs of foreign military trainees has increased. The foreign trainees come to the United States on A-2 visas, which are foreign government officials traveling to the United States for official business. Some AWOL foreign military personnel have successfully petitioned the government for permanent residency status, such as that possessed by Saipov. 39 AWOL personnel from Afghanistan were granted legal residency status in the United States. Thirteen Afghan trainees disappeared in the United States altogether.

CENTCOM has not only been a magnet for Middle East and Central and South Asian A-2 visa trainees but also for their families, including extended family members. Noting the problems with the foreign military training programs, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recently said, "If the U.S. government can't keep tabs on foreign military trainees, maybe the training shouldn't take place in the United States." 

Of the AWOL trainees in the United States, Uzbeks account for those who are members of the Uzbekistan armed forces, as well as Uzbek members of the armed forces of Afghanistan. Other AWOL trainees came from Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Bangladesh, and Azerbaijan, all primarily Muslim countries, some of which, like Uzbekistan, have active jihadist movements that have aided the Islamic State in the battlefields of Syria and Iraq.

Uzbekistan was subject to a suspension of most U.S. military training in 2005, owing to that nation's human rights abuses. However, the Pentagon's Expanded International Military Education and Training (E-IMET) program was resumed with Uzbekistan in 2010, the same year Saipov arrived in the United States from the central Asian country.