Top Sory Box

February 2014


Steve McQueen in Montana
The Famous Actor and His Beautiful Wife Loved Livingston
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Jeanette Rankin and Belle Winestine
In honor of the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in Montana
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McQueen, the Back Story
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An Apache Outbreak,War on the Border
Chiricahua Apaches Defy and Fight U.S. and Mexican Soldiers
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Food Police a Real Possibility?
For Some, It’s an Idea Whose Time Has Come
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The Real Wolf Does Not Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Authors Say It Is Pro-Wolfers Who Propagate Myths

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Letters to the Editor
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Who Stole the Explosives?
And How Did the Forest Service Let It Happen?



Ever hear of an Uzbeki man named Fazliddin Kurbanov? Of course you haven’t, but the United States government has heard of him, because they charged him with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, to a foreign terrorist  organization (designated as such by the Department of Homeland Security), possession of an explosive device, and intending to use a weapon of mass destruction. Kurbanov also faces federal charges for allegedly teaching people how to make bombs intended to target places of public use, public transportation, and infrastructure. He was arrested last month after grand juries handed down indictments.

Where was Kurbanov based while allegedly plotting to blow up innocent people—Yemen, Pakistan?

—Try Boise, Idaho.

That’s right, Kurbanov, a native of Uzbekistan, does not reside far from southwest Montana, and Red Lodge, where explosives were recently stolen from the U.S. Forest Service. Even before becoming a resident of the County Jail in Boise, where on May 17 he plead not guilty to terror charges, Kurbanov was a Boise resident, and traveled region-ally in furtherance of his alleged line of work, bomb making, including to Utah, where he was charged with teaching his craft, and where a second grand jury handed down more indictments.

The organization to which Kurbanov is accused of providing “material support” is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, identified by Homeland Security as an al-Qaeda and Taliban ally and designated a terrorist organization in 2005. The movement wants to create an Islamic state across Central Asia.

Also last month, on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombing, we learned 559 pounds of explosives were stolen in April from a U.S. Forest Service facility 2 miles south of Red Lodge, Montana. The Forest Service is not sure when the explo-sives were stolen (between April 11 and April 30) because they failed to guard the facility—and the Carbon County Sheriff and ATF have identified no suspects or persons of interest related to the crime.

Neither USFS, ATF, or Carbon County has much to say about the investigation (this publication contacted all three) except that the investigation is ongoing and they are pursuing leads after ATF offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

The U.S. Forest Service (under Obama appointee Tom Tidwell) and ATF said, though, that while in the dark as to the culprits, they have no reason to believe the theft of the explosives was terror related. It is fair to say, however, that neither do they have indications that the theft was not terror related, since they admittedly have no idea who stole the explosives. Yet somehow you and I perhaps do, after a Google search.

In other words, federal authorities want to put the best face on an extremely bad event for which they are accountable. Politically, it can’t be terror related. How, after all, with the obvious domestic threat, could thinking adults allow thieves to enter a federal facility and steal a quarter ton of explosives?

Kurbanov had been neutralized as a threat, the FBI says (probably surveilled in a sting). He himself presumably could not have been involved in the Red Lodge caper—but what about those like him in his greater circle, even in Boise, not unlike the Chechens who perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombing and who share geographical and ideolog-ical motives identical to Kurbanov’s (dreams of an Islamist Central Asia, while plotting terror in the U.S.)?

Surely, the FBI is investigating, though it is a mystery as to why, while surveilling a regional bomb making instructor, they did not require USFS to secure their explo-sives at Red Lodge and elsewhere.  
The Forest Service quickly went into damage control in Red Lodge, saying the explosives could not be easily detonated and that only skilled professionals could do so, assurances that, while informative, do not take into account the potential detonation abilities of the end users, or why anybody would steal explo-sives if they were so useless.

Robbing a federal bunker and hauling off 559 pounds of materials would require a team, planning, knowledge, and serious motivation. Suggestions have been floated in the media that individuals staged the heist, planning to sell the materials to commercial interests, and while that is possible, it does not account for the Forest Service having so stupidly let it happen.

Questions the Forest Service and higher ups do not want to answer (they’re not yet being pressed by the national media) are these:

—In this age of domestic terror, how did you allow 500 pounds of explosives to be stolen? Why were they not guarded in a manner commen-surate with the danger they pose?

—Given the terror related investigation and grand juries assembled to indict a man who taught bomb making, and who lived in Idaho, a day’s drive from Red Lodge (through Bozeman and Livingston, if not Yellowstone), why were there not extra precautions taken to secure the explosives?

—Is not the fact that the explosives were stolen evidence of high level incompetence, and that those in charge should resign or be fired?

For more on this, see article, this issue: 500 lbs of USFS Explosives Stolen near Red Lodge.











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