A naturalized American who was a sniper for the Islamic State group has been charged in New York with material support for a terror group after being captured in Syria and repatriated to the United States, the Justice Department announced Friday.
Kazakhstan-born Ruslan Maratovich Asainov fought for the Islamic State in Syria for five years before he was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces and handed over to US custody, the department said.
Asainov, 43, was brought back to the United States on Thursday and was to be arraigned Friday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn.
He fought for IS in Syria from 2013 to 2018 as a sniper and a weapons trainer for other combatants.
Over time, he rose up through the ranks of the organization, and was named an “emir,” or chief, in charge of weapons training.
He stayed in contact with some people in the United States, sending messages and photographs of himself from the battlefield.
“We are the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed,” one of his messages from 2015 said, according to court documents.
Asainov also tried to recruit another individual in the United States to join the group, who, he did not know, was an informant for the New York Police Department.
“The United States is committed to holding accountable those who have left this country in order to fight for ISIS,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement.
“We hope countries around the world, including our European allies and partners, will likewise repatriate and prosecute their own citizens for traveling to support ISIS,” he said.
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With the publication of its 1619 Project, a sweeping review of the role slavery played in the formation of the United States’ politics, economy, and society, the New York Time Magazine has struck a powerful chord and triggered a fierce debate. Many conservative and right-wing figures, in particular, have been aggrieved by the project’s apparent aim: a deconstruction and revaluation of American founding myths.
In particular, writer Nikole Hannah-Jones provoked controversy when she asserted:
She noted that “10 of this nation’s first 12 presidents were enslavers,” undermining claims that the country was founded as a democracy. She also pointed out that the founders were themselves actively conflicted about the contradiction of slavery persisting in a country supposedly founded on freedom. Thomas Jefferson, she said, even included a passage in a draft of the Declaration of Independence that tried to claim that the institution “wasn’t the colonists’ fault,” instead placing the blame on King George.
At least 30 people have been arrested on suspicion of mass shooting plots since El Paso and Dayton: report
On Thursday, CNN's Rosa Flores reported that more than 30 people have been arrested on suspicion of planning mass shootings since the massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. The suspects are all over the country, and range from high school students to white nationalists.
"A 37-year-old California man arrested today after allegedly planning to shoot employees and guests at a Marriott hotel where he worked," said Flores. "A 15-year-old arrested in Florida accused of threatening to commit mass murder at his high school ... And a self-described white nationalist pleading not guilty to charges of online harassment and aggravated menacing after allegedly threatening to carry out a shooting at a Youngstown, Ohio Jewish community center."
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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Trump biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning financial journalist David Cay Johnston told anchor Kate Bolduan that President Donald Trump's self-congratulatory rant was indicative of mental illness.
"David, you've studied Trump for years. You've also called him a 'world-class narcissist,'" said Bolduan. "How does that play into everything that we're hearing from the president today, from 'I'm the chosen one' to 'I'm the second coming of God' to declaring the Danish leader can't talk like that against the president of the United States?"
"Kate, Donald really does believe that he is superior to the rest of us," said Johnston. "He has himself talked about how the Trumps believe they are genetically superior to the rest of us. Notice how he calls everybody who in any way doesn't bow down to him an idiot, a fool, they don't know what they're doing."