Will Las Cruces Native Become Bin Laden's Successor?

Anwar al-Awalaki
Who will take over the leadership role in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden? Many terrorism experts believe it could be a Las Cruces native. According to Wikipedia, Anwar al-Awlaki was born April 22, 1971 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Yemen. Of Yemeni descent al-Awalaki is an Islamic lecturer, spiritual leader, and former imam. It is widely believed by the U.S. intelligence community that he has inspired if not commanded many Islamic terrorists against the West. According to U.S. officials, he is a senior talent recruiter and motivator, who has also become “operational” as a planner and trainer, "for al-Qaeda and all of its franchises." The U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence warned that al-Awlaki "is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide". With a blog, a Facebook page, and many YouTube videos, he has been described as the "bin Laden of the Internet." Just yesterday there were unconfirmed reports that U.S. drone's fire missed al-Awalki in Yemen.
Al-Awlaki's sermons were attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers. He reportedly met privately with two of them in San Diego. Investigators suspect al-Awlaki may have known about the 9/11 attacks in advance. In 2009, he was promoted to the rank of "regional commander" within al-Qaeda, according to U.S. officials. His sermons were also attended by accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. U.S. intelligence intercepted at least 18 emails between Hasan and al-Awlaki in the months prior to the Fort Hood shooting, including one in which Hasan wrote: "I can't wait to join you in the afterlife."
Nidal Malik Hasan
After the shooting, al-Awlaki praised Hasan's actions. In addition, "Christmas Day bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab said al-Awlaki was one of his al-Qaeda trainers, who met with him and was involved in planning or preparing his attack, and provided religious justification for it, according to U.S. officials. In March 2010, al-Awlaki said in a videotape that jihad against America was binding upon every able Muslim.


Sanchez: Jobs and Lizards

We received a letter from Lt. Governor John Sanchez not long after his appearance on News New Mexico this week. We share it below: Jobs and Lizards by John Sanchez

John Sanchez
Jobs and the economy are the top priorities for New Mexicans. Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that the Fish and Wildlife Service will not take these priorities into consideration when deciding whether or not the Sagebrush Sand Dune Lizard is added to the Endangered Species List. New Mexico’s oil and gas industry is at stake. Tens of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly related to energy, as well as millions of barrels of oil and tens of millions of cubic feet of natural gas that our country vitally needs are produced right here in New Mexico. Our country needs this energy now more than ever, as we watch gasoline prices top $4.00 per gallon.
Making these decisions without counting the cost of lost jobs and revenues is not only wrong, but in the middle of a recession it is absolutely unconscionable.
This is exactly what happened to the logging industry in northern New Mexico and our state is still suffering the effects of jobs lost to extraordinary federal regulation meant to protect the Spotted Owl. Job loss, overgrowth and out of control fires are the result. If you visit towns like Mora and Chama you will find once thriving communities now struggling, with families and businesses leaving because opportunity has dried up. We don’t want the same fate to come to Hobbs, Roswell and Artesia in southern New Mexico.
I support reasonable efforts to protect the lizard from harm, such as a voluntary agreement with the private sector, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies to craft agreements of conservancy that will also protect vital jobs that come from farming and ranching as well as the extractive industries in New Mexico. Federal and state governments must not overreach when the private sector can find solutions to protect and promote our social, environmental and economic concerns. I oppose policies that come into being without counting the cost to New Mexico jobs. Because of this, I do not support efforts to place the lizard on the federal endangered species list.


State Investment Council Sues

Gary Bland
Capitol Report New Mexico - It’s been a Black Friday for Gary Bland, Marc and Anthony Correra and perhaps more former officials and friends of Bill Richardson’s administration. After more than a year of speculation, New Mexico’s State Investment Council (SIC) filed lawsuits in both federal and state district courts, charging that more than 15 people as well as an equity firm took part in kickbacks and ”pay to play” schemes between 2003 and 2009. The suits filed Friday (May 6) are looking for monetary damages and recovery of what SIC officials labeled as “ill-gotten gains” acquired “at the expense” of the SIC’s permanent funds, which currently exceed $15 billion in assets.
The SIC’s current investment officer, Steve Moise, said in a statement the council is looking to get back “millions of dollars improperly taken from the citizens of New Mexico … Quite simply, this is the right thing to do.” Gov. Susana Martinez also issued a statement, demanding all investment managers who entered into deals with the SIC using what’s called “third-party placement agents” should contact the state Attorney General’s Office and reveal the details of their arrangements “before the Attorney General knocks on their doors.” Read full story here: News New Mexico


Sunland Oaks Winner Scores Huge in Kentucky

Plum Pretty Winning the Sunland Oaks
Sunland Park Oaks winner Plum Pretty won the prestigous Grade I Kentucky Oaks yesterday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the most coveted race in the nation for three year old fillies. The victory continues to build the credibility and credentials to top notch racehorses that train in Dona Ana County at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
Plum Pretty's Trainer Bob Baffert
Bloodhorse - John Fort’s Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty fought off a late charge by St. John's River to win the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) by a neck. Zazu rallied for third in the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. The Oaks crowd was reported by Churchill Downs to be 110,122, the third largest in Oaks history behind last year’s 116,046 and a crowd of 111,243 that was on hand in 2005. The blossoming daughter of Medaglia d'Oro earned her first graded stakes win at 6-1 odds and covered the trip in the $1 million race in 1:49.50 with Martin Garcia in the irons for trainer Bob Baffert. Breaking well from the post 12 slot, Plum Pretty sat just off the early pace that was set by Summer Soiree. Summer Soiree was the leader the first time by the wire and hit the opening quarter mile in :23.65. She was followed by Plum Pretty, Daisy Devine, and Lilacs and Lace. Joyful Victory, the 2-1 favorite in the 13-horse field, broke from the rail and settled into a mid-pack position. Read full story here: News New Mexico