US Intel Chief: Islamic Terror Threat Biggest in History

ISIS fighters

ISIS fighters

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Feb. 11, 2016:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said February 9 the Sunni terrorist threat “has been on an upward trajectory since the late 1970s and has more groups, members and safe havens that at any other point in history.”

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart also testified and his assessment wasn’t rosier.

More than 36,500 foreign fighters have gone to Syria, including at least 6,000 from Western countries, since 2012, said Stewart. Within the U.S., the FBI arrested some five dozen Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) supporters last year, a 500% increase from 2014.

“ISIL will likely increase the pace and lethality of its transnational attacks as infrastructure and capabilities mature. It will purposely attempt to stroke sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunnis and between the West and Islam to create the chaotic environment in which it thrives,” Stewart said.

Watch the Clarion Project on Newsmax TV’s “Newsmax Prime with J.D. Hayworth” discussing this topic:

The Islamic State will hold onto Mosul in Iraq through at least the end of the year, Stewart believes. It is the centerpiece of the caliphate in Iraq and has enormous ideological value to the group. The reason is that the Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and the Shiite and Sunni elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces (a coalition of militias, many of which are linked to Iran) lack the logistics, morale, qualified soldiers and overall military preparedness.

Stewart said the program to enlist Sunnis in the fight against ISIS—which proved decisive in beating back Al-Qaeda previously—is failing because of concerns about Iranian influence, persecution by Shiite militias and a lack of funding and material. The latter two elements validate Sunni complaints that the U.S. is inadequately supporting them due to the Iraqi central government’s insistence that all U.S. assistance be routed through Baghdad.

Clapper’s statement that Sunni terrorism has been on an “upward trajectory” casts a shadow over the Obama Administration’s  boast that ISIS has lost 40% of its caliphate in Iraq and 20% of it in Syria. It is true ISIS has lost ground and the statistic may be accurate, but Clapper’s statement shows it does not tell the whole story.

The testimonies of Clapper and Stewart explain that ISIS is expanding outside of Iraq and Syria, especially in Libya. The U.S. can and should boast of successes against ISIS, but the statistic doesn’t account for ISIS’ gains globally.

It also doesn’t mean progress against ISIS necessarily translates to overall progress in the war against Islamist terrorism. Clapper said al-Qaeda is poised to strengthen in 2016 because of its affiliates in Yemen and Syria. If ISIS’ holdings in Syria transfer to al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing, Jabhat al-Nusra (or another Islamist extremist group), then there’s no net gain.

Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee the ideological makeup of the Syrian rebels is projected to become even more radical in 2016. The chief reason is the Syrian regime’s advances on the ground with the help of Russia and Iran will cause more rebel groups to coalesce with Sunni extremists.

The two intelligence directors also see Afghanistan as an area with growth potential for al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban and others. Clapper believes ISIS’ branch in Afghanistan known as Khorasan is likely to only be a “low-level threat,” but the intelligence community has consistently underestimated the terrorist group. Stewart worries that al-Qaeda “could establish a significant presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” if pressure on the group decreases.

“[The Islamist insurgency is] steadily chipping away at Afghanistan’s security…we assess that fighting in 2016 will be more intense than in 2015, continuing a decade-long trend of deteriorating security,” Clapper said.

On the topic of Iran, the intelligence chiefs did not predict a change in the Shiite terrorist threat. Stewart warned Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have threatened to attack U.S. personnel there and some Shiite militiamen have attempted to do so. An Iran-backed militia kidnapped three American civilians working as contractors in Baghdad, just last month,.

Stewart absolved Iran of responsibility for the Shiite militias’ violence towards Americans and Coalition forces, saying it is “almost certainly not at the direction of Iran or [militia] group leadership.”

Even if that’s true—a big if—why shouldn’t Iran be blamed? It is supporting extremist militias who have an anti-American agenda and whose members are inclined to do that very thing. Perhaps Iran wants it to happen and knows it doesn’t even need to direct the Shiite extremists to do it. That would achieve plausible deniability while positioning itself as the power broker to whom the U.S. must plead for help.

Stewart also testified Iran is planning to launch a Space-Launch Vehicle equivalent to a nuclear-capable ICBM. He said it could happen this year, adding Iran continues to work on improving ballistic missile accuracy, range and lethality.

Iran was also rated as one of the top three foreign intelligence threats to the U.S. alongside Russia and China. Stewart said “some of these foreign intelligence entities also seek to influence our national policy and decision-making process.”

The most positive parts of their testimonies focused on the U.S.-backed Kurdish fight against ISIS and some encouraging news from Afghanistan.

Clapper said the Afghan National Security Forces will “probably” retain control of the major population centers and their losses will be limited to some rural areas with a small population. Stewart said the Afghan special forces are significantly improving and the Afghans have secured almost all of the provincial capitals and major highways. They have also shown they are capable of launching major counter-attacks like they did in Kunduz after a surprise routing at the hands of the Taliban.

Overall, the assessment was very bleak. Sunni extremists are getting stronger. Shiite extremists are, at best, not weakening and Iran is advancing its ballistic missile program for delivering nuclear weapons.

A summary of two intelligence chiefs’ statements could be written like this: The trend is in the enemy’s favor.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking 

***

Also see:

The National Security Election

elenatsec

audio gorka

The Gorka Briefing, by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Feb. 9, 2016:

The way presidential candidates will be judged is how seriously they take the threat of events such as the jihadist attack in San Bernardino and the Global Jihad as a whole. I discuss this and other national security matters on the Bill Martinez Live radio show.

Twitter Puts Anti-American, Anti-Israel Group in Charge of Censorship

twitter-censorFrontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Feb. 9, 2016:

Twitter has unveiled its creepily Orwellian “Trust and Safety Council” under the creepily Orwellian slogan, “When it comes to safety, everyone plays a role”. These groups will be helping set censorship policy for the site.

The Trust and Safety Council incorporates a laundry list of organizations, most obsessed with identity politics, bullying of hate speech, some of them more problematic than others. So while the Dangerous Speech Project suggests that countering speech is better than censorship, Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council also includes Feminist Frequency.

Stuart K. Hayashi had discussed the problems with Feminist Frequency earlier this year. Jonathan McIntosh, the man behind Feminist Frequency, is a radical leftist who has smeared American soldiers and attacked Israel and complained about people celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden. He attacked Charlie Hebdo after the massacre, ranting, “It’s telling that so many white folks are quick to jump to the defense of racist speech but can’t be bothered to fight institutional racism.”

Aside from McIntosh’s politics, it’s very problematic that a man who hates free speech this much will be helping set censorship policy for Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council.

Anita Sarkeesian, the front woman for Feminist Frequency, helped promote a UN Broadband Council report which quoted Lyndon LaRouche and was described by The Telegraph as a blueprint for internet censorship.

“Among other censorious suggestions, it openly urges governments to use their legislative powers and license only those Internet providers that “supervise content and its dissemination.”

This is a serious problem, especially since Twitter is putting political extremists with pro-censorship views in charge of censorship. And McIntosh has his own history of hateful views.

Twitter has forgotten that it owes its success to being an open platform. Turning it into a heavily censored forum moderated by radical leftists will alienate most of its global audience and kill its future.

***

Intelligence Director: Al-Qaeda ‘Positioned to Make Gains in 2016’

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper looks at his notes during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about worldwide threats on Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper looks at his notes during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about worldwide threats on Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, FEBRUARY 9, 2016

The director of national intelligence warned Congress this morning that “unpredictable instabilities have become the new normal, and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.”

In a briefing of worldwide threats referred to as his “litany of doom,” James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “violent extremists” are “operationally active in about 40 countries.”

“Seven countries are experiencing a collapse of central government authority, 14 others face regime-threatening or violent instability or both. Another 59 countries face a significant risk of instability through 2016,” he said.

Russia and China “continue to have the most sophisticated cyber programs” and China continues cyber espionage against the United States.

“Whether China’s commitment of last September moderates its economic espionage” — a vow touted by President Obama — “remains to be seen,” Clapper noted. “Iran and North Korea continue to conduct cyber espionage as they enhance their attack capabilities.”

ISIS, he said, “displays unprecedented online proficiency”and “at least 38,200 foreign fighters, including at least 6,900 from western countries, have traveled to Syria from at least 120 countries since the beginning of the conflict in 2012.”

From 2014 to 2015, the number of ISIS supporters arrested by the FBI increased fivefold.

And despite repeated administration insistence that the “core” of al-Qaeda has been decimated, Clapper said they’ve bounced back just fine, with a network of affiliates “proven resilient despite counterterrorism pressure.”

“Al-Qaeda’s affiliates are positioned to make gains in 2016,” the director said, citing al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the al-Nusra front in Syria as “the two most capable al-Qaeda branches.”

Iran, Clapper noted, “continues to be the foremost state sponsor of terrorism and exert its influence and regional crisis in the Mid East.”

“Through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, its terrorist partner, Lebanese, Hezbollah and proxy groups,” he said. “Iran and Hezbollah remain a continuing terrorist threat to U.S. interest and partners worldwide.”

On the nuclear deal, “Iran probably views the JCPOA as a means to remove sanctions, while preserving nuclear capabilities. Iran’s perception of how the JCPOA helps it to achieve its overall strategic goals will dictate the level of adherence to the agreement over time.”

North Korea “continues to produce fissile material and develop a submarine launched ballistic missile” and is “also committed to developing a long-range nuclear armed missile that’s capable of posing a direct threat to the United States, although the system has not been flight tested,” Clapper continued.

Russia, meanwhile, “continues to have the largest and most capable foreign nuclear-armed ballistic missile force” and China “continues to modernize its nuclear missile force and is striving for a secure, second-strike capability.” Russia and China are also the greatest threats to the U.S. in terms of foreign intelligence, he said.

And despite the Obama administration lauding its deal with the Assad regime after it crossed the “red line” of using chemical weapons as a triumph of democracy that depleted the dictator’s stockpile, “chemical weapons continue to pose a threat to Syria and Iraq.”

“Damascus has used chemicals against the opposition on multiple occasions since Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Clapper said. “ISIL has also used toxic chemicals in Iraq and Syria, including the blister agent sulfur mustard, the first time an extremist group has produced and used a chemical warfare agent in an attack since Aum Shinrikyo used sarin in Japan in 1995.”

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart warned that ISIS “will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.”

In Russia, Stewart noted, “military activity has continued at a historical high.”

“Moscow continues to pursue aggressive foreign and defense policies, including conducting operations in Syria, sustaining involvement in Ukraine and expanding military capabilities in the Arctic. Last year, the Russian military continued its robust exercise schedule and aggressively and occasionally provocative out of area deployments,” he said. “We anticipate similar high levels of military activity in 2016.”

Russian and Chinese cyberattacks “target DOD personnel, networks, supply chain, research and development, and critical structural information in cyber domain.”

Stewart said during questioning from the committee that he does not see Mosul being recaptured from ISIS this year.

“I’m less optimistic in the near-term about Mosul. I think there’s lots of work to be done yet out in the western part. I don’t believe that Ramadi is completely secure, so they have to secure Ramadi. They have to secure the Hit-Haditha corridor in order to have some opportunity to fully encircle and bring all the forces against Mosul,” the DIA director said.

“Mosul will be a complex operation, and so I’m not as optimistic. As you say, it’s a large city. I’m not as optimistic that we’ll be able to turn that in the near-term, in my view, certainly not this year. We may be able to begin the campaign, do some isolation operations around Mosul. But securing or taking Mosul is an extensive operation and not something I see in the next year or so.”

Also see:

Dr. Sebastian Gorka HASC Testimony on Emerging Threats

UNREAL: U.S. ISIS recruits claim they have “immunity”; just wait until you see why…

New-ISIS-recruits-300x180By Allen West, Feb. 6, 2016:

One of the problems with the current battlefield on which we find ourselves engaged is that we’re treating it with police action rather than combat operations. The battle against Islamist terrorists is not a law enforcement endeavor. Combat troops on this battlefield don’t have the time to read anyone their Miranda rights or collect evidence. Furthermore, our rules of engagement (ROE) are giving away the initiative to the enemy. Consider the recent testimony of the Afghanistan operational theater commander, General Campbell, before the House Armed Services Committee. When asked by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), a Navy fighter pilot, if he’s authorized to attack the Taliban simply for being the Taliban, Gen. Campbell responded, no. That means, the enemy who seeks to kill our men and women deployed in Afghanistan cannot be attacked — our troops have to sit back and wait to be engaged.

 And folks, if you’ve ever been in a firefight, that ain’t right. Just wanna remind you about what retired Marine 1st Sgt. Jim Reifinger says, “if you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it’s because your tactics suck.” And thanks to this current administration, our tactics REALLY suck.

However, it’s not just in Afghanistan where we find the theater of the absurd, it’s also right here in America — in Minnesota.

As reported by the Star Tribune:

Five Twin Cities men accused of plotting to go to fight alongside ISIL in Syria are asking a federal judge to drop murder conspiracy charges on grounds that they have “combatant immunity” under both common and international law. 

They say combatants are immune from criminal prosecutions for acts of war, including murder, against military targets. 

The five — Hamza Ahmed, brothers Adnan and Mohamed Farah, Abdirahman Daud and Guled Omar — are scheduled to appear in federal court in Minneapolis next week for a hearing on that and other motions in the case, which is set to go to trial May 9. 

The men were charged last year with conspiring to leave the United States to fight with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  [Folks, note that only liberal progressives who refuse to acknowledge Israel’s existence refer to ISIS as ISIL.] In October, the government filed a new indictment that added a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, which attorneys for the men say should not apply. 

“ISIL has engaged in atrocious acts,” attorneys for the five said in one motion. “But however one might describe it as an entity, it has an organized professional army engaged in traditional military warfare — an army with which the defendants are alleged to have intended to join in ‘combat.’”

Federal prosecutors who brought the case argued in a court filing last month that the men were “grossly mistaken” in claiming ISIL fighters are combatants as part of a regularly constituted military force.

OK, let me explain what the defense lawyers for these wannabe barbarians are trying to do. They’re seeking to classify ISIS as a legitimate entity — a state — with a military force. Basically, these very slick chucklehead lawyers want to rewrite the Law of Warfare. They’re seeking to legitimize Islamic terrorists — these non-state, non-uniform belligerents. What they’ll seek next week is for these five men to be classified as “legitimate” combatants, rather than unlawful enemy combatants.

Let me explain the danger. But first let me remind you these Islamic jihadists reside in the congressional district represented by one Keith Ellison. A study of Rep. Ellison’s background should cause y’all much concern. Then again, Ellison was right there this past Wednesday with another Islamist sympathizer and enabler, Barack Obama, in Baltimore, at the very questionable Islamic Center of Baltimore mosque.

Now, here’s the danger: if these men are allowed to be classified as a legitimate combatants, then will we be able to deter any future ISIS recruits from leaving this country? If these lawyers are successful, the argument becomes one of ISIS not being a terrorist organization, but the legitimate and “organized professional army” of a state that’s conducting “traditional military warfare.”

Something tells me that if we follow the money, perhaps we’ll find out who’s funding this legal team — wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). You know, that unindicted co-conspirator in the largest Islamic terrorist funding case in U.S. history, the Holy Land Foundation trial.

Herein lies the problem in treating this as a law enforcement act; this is why we need a declaration of war against Islamic terrorism, not just ISIS or al-Qaida. Under that scenario, if you’re an American citizen seeking to join this terrorist group — not an organized professional army — your rights as a U.S. citizen would be revoked. You’re joining forces with the enemy, an unlawful enemy; you’re not a legitimate combatant and therefore not recognized by the Geneva Convention.

If we head down the path the lawyers in this case are pushing, then Hezbollah, Hamas, the Quds Force, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa and Al Quds Martyrs Brigade, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, al-Qaida, the Taliban, Jemaat al-Islamiyah and all the others must be recognized as organized professional armies. This is a very dangerous slippery slope, combined with our releasing the enemy back to the enemy — as Obama continues to do in releasing enemy combatants from Guantanamo Bay.

Prosecutors also wrote that the current fighting in Syria has been determined a noninternational armed conflict — a battle between a nation-state and an insurgent group or between two rebel groups within the borders of a single country — which would invalidate any claims of combatant immunity. And even if the fighting in Syria were considered an international armed conflict, they said, the men can’t be considered combatants anyway. 

“They are, if they must be categorized within the international law of armed conflict, best categorized as aspiring war criminals,” the prosecution said.

Let us never forget, in the history of warfare, armed conflict, there’s a reason why those captured on the battlefield not in uniform were tried and summarily executed. It was to protect civilian populations from being caught in the crossfire of battle. And if you’ve seen the recent drone pictures of Homs Syria, you know what happens. And then these uninformed combatants flee and come to other nations, where the enemy can infiltrate because they don’t declare themselves by wearing uniforms and openly carrying their arms.

The 21st century battlefield will require leaders who won’t succumb to insidious, and deadly, games of political correctness. Here we are with unconscionable rules of engagement on the battlefield, and these lawyers are about to provide legitimizing status to barbaric war criminals. Funny, I don’t recall Rep. Ellison or President Obama addressing this last Wednesday. So, if this categorization were to be accepted in the court next week, then ask yourself, were Syed Farouk and Tashfeen Malik legitimate combatants, soldiers, who conducted a military operation in San Bernadino?

No, they were just savage butchers, unlawful enemy combatants who attacked innocent civilians. If we don’t get serious and let this enemy know we’re dead set on killing them and crushing their theocratic-political totalitarianism, we will not win. Remember Hillary Clinton said we should “empathize” with our enemy. And Bernie Sanders, heck, he’ll be too busy redistributing the wealth and resources of America. Neither of them could be trusted to protect our republic and its citizens. And based on the actions and rhetoric of folks like Obama and Rep. Ellison, we don’t have anyone safeguarding us now.

DHS Ordered Employee to Scrub Records of Muslims with Terror Ties

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PJ MEDIA, BY DEBRA HEINE, FEBRUARY 8, 2016

Back in December, Philip Haney, a former DHS investigator and now whistle blower, publicly stated what many of us have suspected for years: “the Obama administration is more concerned with the rights of non-citizens in known Islamist groups, than with the safety and security of the American people.”

During an appearance on Fox News, he also alleged that an investigation his team was working on could have stopped the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

In an explosive article in The Hill on Friday, Haney now claims that DHS ordered him to actually scrub records of Muslims with terror ties.

It begins with a recounting of the 2009 Christmas bombing terror plot to slaughter 290 innocent travelers on a flight from the Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan. Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (aka the Underwear Bomber) failed to detonate Northwest Airlines Flight 253 because the explosives in his underwear malfunctioned, and passengers were able to subdue him until he was arrested.

Following the attempted attack, President Obama threw the intelligence community under the bus for its failure to “connect the dots.” He said, “this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.***

Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.”  Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.

A few weeks later, in my office at the Port of Atlanta, the television hummed with the inevitable Congressional hearings that follow any terrorist attack. While members of Congress grilled Obama administration officials, demanding why their subordinates were still failing to understand the intelligence they had gathered, I was being forced to delete and scrub the records. And I was well aware that, as a result, it was going to be vastly more difficult to “connect the dots” in the future—especially before an attack occurs.

Haney concludes that “it is very plausible that one or more of the subsequent terror attacks on the homeland could have been prevented if more subject matter experts in the Department of Homeland Security had been allowed to do our jobs back in late 2009.”

Sharia as the Jihad’s Point of Coordination

arabwaveFrontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Feb. 4, 2016:

Stephen Coughlin has a really important paper out and you should read it all, but I just want to highlight one area.

The three entities (the ummah, dawah and jihadi) do not have to act along formal chains of command to interoperate successfully. This is because they each execute according to their own functional orientation to Islam that reconciles through a common understanding of Islamic law.

And further

To appreciate the strategy, it should be visualized along the lines of the starfish rather than the spider: Cut an appendage from a starfish, and the severed part can grow into a fully functional starfish. Cut off a spider’s head, and all appendages become useless. In terms of command relationships, we in the West tend to think like spiders. While the Soviet Union was a spider; the Islamic Movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and ISIS are starfish.

These are very important points that need to be understood to grasp the larger scope of the struggle. Finally…

To say the threat arises out of Islam is to say that it emanates from shariah. Hence, the arrow in the diagram reflects the recognition that the three lines of operation emanate from Islam through a common understanding of shariah. For this reason, shariah also provides a common reference point based on Islamic legal concepts recognized as settled. This doctrinal framework is commonly understood and easily communicated in the Islamic world. For this observation to be valid, one does not have to prove that the underlying Islamic law reflects “true Islam,” or even that most Muslims agree with it.

As I’ve said, read the whole thing, but this needs to be kept in mind, particularly when arguing with the “ISIS is not real Islam” or “Hamas is not real Islam” school of deniers.

Report: 81 Muslim-Americans Associated with Terror in 2015, Highest Total Since 9/11

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Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 2, 2016:

Muslim-American terror in 2015 reached its highest point since the September 11, 2001 attacks against America, the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS) said in a report released Tuesday, documenting that 81 Muslim-Americans were associated with terror plots in the past year.

The report also documented that 41 additional Muslim-Americans over the past three years have traveled to Syria in order to join Islamic militants.

Since 9/11, 344 Muslim Americans have been involved in “violent extremism,” the terror research document said. “Half of these individuals plotted against targets overseas; 10 percent involved unknown targets; and 40 percent plotted against targets in the United States,” the report adds.

The Triangle Center’s research said of Americans who joined the jihad abroad:

According to court records, media reports, and social media postings, 41 Muslim-Americans have joined the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” in Syria, Iraq, or Libya, or the Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria, since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.

Twenty of these Americans have died, while 16 (11 men and five women) appear to be living in territory controlled by these groups. Five were arrested after their return to the United States; of these, one (Abdirahman S. Mohamud) was accused of planning an attack in the United States.

Duke University professor David Schanzer, who directs the terrorism research institute, said the U.S. government “estimates that 250 Americans have traveled to fight in Syria.”

Another one of the professors involved in the study, however, appeared to dismiss the troubling results of his own study, instead highlighting mass shootings as a more serious problem.

“Fortunately, the appeal of revolutionary violence remains very limited among Muslim-Americans,” said Charles Kurzman, a UNC professor and author of the report. “Muslim-American extremists have caused 69 deaths over 14 years, while 134 people were killed in mass shootings in the United States in 2015 alone.”

The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security is a collaborative research center run by experts and scholars from Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and RTI International.

Read the full report here

Listen to great interview of Ryan Mauro on Voices of Global Freedom Radio

audio ryan mauro

Voices of Global Freedom, Jan. 29, 2016:

Today Roy Backpack Baron and Yoda have another interview with Professor Ryan Mauro is the National Security Analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the threat of Islamic extremism and provides a platform for voices of moderation and tolerance within the Muslim community. Clarion Project films have been seen by over 50 million people. Learn more at

www.clarionproject.org

Don’t miss this high energy, entertaining, informative show covering current threats to our liberty and how to survive and thrive in these dangerous troubled times.

Reviving American Power After Obama

Flickr/White House

Flickr/White House

National Interest, by Kim R. Holmes, February 2, 2016: (h/t Fortuna’s Corner)

For the last seven years we have witnessed an unprecedented experiment based on a fundamental question: What would the world look like if the United States pulled back from its traditional leadership role? That was after all, the key thrust of President Barack Obama’s new foreign policy. He promised to embark on a radically new way of dealing with the world—one where we would “engage” our enemies rather than confront them.

The verdict is in.

The world is a far more dangerous place today than when Obama took office. Global terrorism is rising dramatically. The Middle East is a cauldron of war and instability. Instead of “ending,” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan persist—and in the case of Iraq, under far worse conditions than Obama inherited in 2009. We face a terrorist threat arguably as bad, if not worse, than Al Qaeda was at its height: ISIS is more vicious, controls territory and even has a government, which, as far as safe havens for terrorists go, poses a more dangerous threat than in 2008. Russia and China are more powerful and threatening than they were in 2008. Our friends and allies are confused and afraid. And our enemies are significantly emboldened.

The new order Obama wants to establish is, unfortunately, one in which the United States cannot possibly win. It is hopelessly stacked against us: an asymmetrical strategic environment in which our adversaries can make huge gains at our expense—and at relatively low cost to themselves. Examples include not only the Iranian nuclear deal, where Tehran reaps a huge financial windfall but is left free—in ten or fifteen years (if not earlier)—to pursue nuclear weapons. They also include as Exhibit A Obama’s Russia “reset” policy, which paved the way for the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of eastern Ukraine with Russian surrogate forces.

Obama’s foreign policy has been a historic failure. But frankly, recognizing this fact does not automatically tell us how to correct it. We can’t just go back and recreate the world as it was before Obama sought to transform it. Too much water has passed under the bridge, and it will be much more difficult to get America back on track than many realize. We are in a very deep hole, and it will require brutal honesty to dig our way out of it.

We must do nothing less than completely overhaul Obama’s way of approaching the world. Every flawed assumption must be challenged. He claims adversaries will be more cooperative if we “engage” them. We must insist the opposite is true—that they stand down or back away only when they are confronted. He argues that our costs (both in terms of money and influence) go down when we appease our enemies. We must counter with the opposite; that they go up astronomically, as witnessed not only by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine but even by Iran’s bellicosity in the wake of the nuclear deal. He contends we will be more respected if we display a more open hand toward our adversaries. Polls of world opinion, not to mention the disrespect many world leaders (like Vladimir Putin) show toward Obama personally, prove otherwise. He promises a cheap and easy peace if we simply pull back and let others take the lead. We must show that the opposite is true—that peace is hard and expensive to achieve, and others, including our allies, follow only when we lead them.

The world Obama has left us is filled with new forces intent not only on threatening our security but disrupting the international order we helped create. Russia, Iran, ISIS and even China are trying to replace the old order with a new instability—perhaps even chaos—in which they win and we lose. For them, it truly is a zero-sum game. Yes, Russia and China partially benefit from the order they deride (especially China economically); but they do so mainly on their own terms, not ours or even those of the rest of the international community.

It’s in that dynamic that the asymmetry resides. It’s asymmetric because our adversaries and rivals pick and choose their fights at pressure points convenient to them, while we pretend that any attempt on our part to counter them only leads to more disorder. This is utterly false; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. Our refusal to stand up to adversaries signals a lack of commitment to that order, and to the security of our allies and friends who depend on us. Obama’s famous caution is not perceived by much of the world as a cool weighing of options (as his defenders imagine), but as indecision and even indifference. When he saves all his vigor and passion for issues like climate change, and neglects our defenses and makes deals with adversaries like Iran, he’s broadcasting his priorities loud and clear: America is getting out of the superpower business, and it’s time for the world to get used to our shrinking strategic presence.

There is only one way to reverse this dynamic: disrupt the disrupters—that is, those who wish to disrupt America’s leadership in the world. We should be thinking of ways to invert the cost ratios that now favor revisionist powers and forces like Russia, China, Iran and ISIS over us. In other words, we need to raise their costs for opposing us, while reducing the costs we incur from not opposing them. It may cost us more in the short run to challenge them, but in the long run we save because deterrence works better than appeasement. If we don’t do this, the price of peace will only go up. We will face a cascade of escalating challenges unleashed by the perception that we are an easy mark, and that it pays to challenge the United States of America.

It is true that we can never be as cynical as Russia or China in manipulating conflicts. Our values and international commitments will force us into the frustrating position of not being able always to meet them tit-for-tat. But there is no reason why we can’t make it more costly for them when they blatantly threaten us or our allies. That was the way Ronald Reagan confronted the Soviet Union, and it worked quite well.

We need to do more of some things but less of others. We must focus on what really counts, and stop chasing windmills like pretending climate change is the world’s biggest threat. We need to stand up a viable and friendly Syrian force to combat both ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, not waste our time on fruitless diplomatic initiatives at the United Nations that serve no purpose other than to offer cover for Russia’s backing of Assad. We need to spend a lot more money on national defense and stop pretending as if advanced technology or mere “smart” diplomacy can make up for military weakness.

Above all, we must choose confrontation (mostly diplomatic, but in the case of ISIS, military) wisely but deliberately. We must be very careful about picking our fights—but when we do, we must win them. In choosing confrontation, we should think not only about the specific tactical problems involved, but whether they serve some larger strategic purpose. Think of them as inflection points that can bend a strategic curve in our favor. We must always keep the overall curve in mind, and how all the points fit together.

There are four such inflection points. First and foremost is the destruction of ISIS’s capability to make war, inflict terror and control territory. That is what defeating ISIS means. Its total defeat is necessary, not only to protect the homeland from terrorist attacks but to reverse the trajectory toward more war and chaos in the Middle East. This goal can be achieved only by interjecting a substantial increase of U.S. combat forces into the fight against ISIS.

Second is to arrange for the defeat of Putin’s adventure in Ukraine. So much is riding on whether he succeeds or not. If he pulls it off, he will likely move onto other low-hanging fruit, possibly in the Baltics. But if he fails, it will prove his gambit to change the international order in Europe has miscarried and show the Russian people that adventurism doesn’t pay. Under those circumstances, Putin could end up facing the same misfortune as Soviet leaders did after the failure of the Afghanistan invasion in 1979.

How to do this? By dramatically increasing lethal assistance to Ukraine. A year ago, such a move looked risky because Putin was on a roll and in a strong position at home. Now he faces not only a potential quagmire in Ukraine, but increasing criticism for poorly handling the economic crisis. Politically, Putin is weaker, which means he no longer enjoys the easy escalation dominance he once did.

Third, we must reverse Obama’s strategic tilting in favor of Iran. It is upending a region already roiled by bitter sectarian and state power rivalries. If not reversed, it will lead to more war and bloodshed and possibly a nuclear arms race. This will require the next president to reverse the Iran nuclear deal as soon as possible. America’s allies, who salivate over renewed commercial ties with Iran, will have to be told they must choose between Iran and the United States. If given no other choice, they will choose us.

Fourth, we need to make clear to Beijing that China’s territorial expansionism will not be accepted as part of rules for a “new type of major power relations,” which is Chinese code for accepting a more dominant role for China in East Asia. This will entail a more forceful policy against China and substantial new naval deployments in East Asia—much more than those that accompanied Obama’s paltry “rebalancing” or “pivot” to Asia. It will also necessitate stronger support for friends and allies in the region in resisting China’s maritime territorial claims.

Some conflicts are simply intractable. That’s true not only for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also for the ongoing nuclear drama with North Korea. These and other conflicts cannot be ignored, and they do need to be managed. But we should not expect that any new U.S. diplomatic initiative would make any significant difference. In fact, trying to do so could backfire, giving the Palestinians and the North Koreans new openings to exploit the differences of opinion we have with our friends and allies. Nevertheless, we should be moving briskly to build a missile defense system to deal with the North Korean threat. In addition, we should not rule out military preemption as an option if the North Koreans posture their nuclear weapons in a threatening manner.

Taking these actions could dramatically alter the diplomatic terrain left by Barack Obama. They would show a new style of U.S. leadership. They would reveal a new strategic focus on the most important issues facing us and our friends. They would show our friends that we are reliable and our foes that we should not be crossed.

Most importantly, they would demonstrate that the Obama experiment tried is over, and that the United States is back in the superpower business. The trajectory of American decline that once looked inevitable will have been reversed. America’s traditional leadership role, so derided and neglected by Obama, will be back. Only then can we begin the long and arduous process of restoring some sense of order and stability to a world unsettled by some of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in U.S. history.

Kim R. Holmes, a former Assistant Secretary of State, is a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation. His latest book, “The Closing of the Liberal Mind” (Encounter Books), will be published in April.

Top U.S. General: ‘I Do Not Have Authority’ to Offensively Attack Taliban

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, Feb. 2, 2016:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. military, since President Obama declared that American troops had ceased their combat mission at the end of 2014, has only been able to attack the Taliban from a defensive position, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan told lawmakers.

“I have the authority to protect our coalition members against any insurgency — Haqqani [Network], Taliban, al Qaeda — if they’re posing as a threat to our coalition forces,”testified the commander, Gen. John Campbell, before the House Armed Services Committee.

The general’s comments came in response to Rep. Jim Bridenstine asking if he had the authority to attack the Taliban, which has stepped up attacks since the end of 2014 and has been linked to the deteriorating security conditions in the Afghanistan.

“If the Taliban are attacking coalition forces, then I have everything I need to do that,” responded Gen. Campbell, who is expected to retire soon. “To attack the Taliban just because they’re Taliban, I do not have that authority.”

“It is astonishing that we have an authority to go after the Taliban and the president is preventing us from doing that,” proclaimed Bridenstine.

The Oklahoma Republican argued that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) 2001, passed by Congress and signed into law by the U.S. president at the time, grants the top commander the authority to use the necessary force against the Taliban.

Rep. Bridenstine questioned, “Yet, the president, it seems, is saying you can’t attack the Taliban even though they were responsible for September 11?”

“What I think is we adjusted our mission in 2015,” explained Campbell. “We went away from combat operations and we worked with the Afghans to build their capabilities to go after the Taliban.”

President Obama declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in December 2014, marking the beginning of the train, assist, and advise (TAA) role for the American troops on January 1, 2015.

While testifying, Gen. Campbell noted that with only 9,800 U.S. service members in Afghanistan, carrying out the TAA mission is difficult.

“Again if the Taliban are attacking or pose a threat to coalition forces, I have everything I need to provide that force protection,” reiterated Campbell. “To go after the Taliban because they’re Taliban, I don’t do that sir.”

At least 21 American service members have been killed and another 79 wounded since President Obama adjusted the mission so that U.S. troops are unable to attack the Taliban from an offensive position. The majority of the total 2,227 American military deaths and 20,109 injuries since the war began in October 2001 have taken place under President Obama’s watch.

Rep. Bridenstine quoted the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) 2001.

“That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons,” states the AUMF.

The Taliban has been accused of providing safe haven to al Qaeda members involved in orchestrating the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. homeland, including the late jihadist leader Osama bin Laden.

President Obama is currently expected to reduce the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to 5,500 troops by the time he left office in 2017.

“We’ll have a very limited ability to do TAA with 5,500,” said Gen. Campbell, who signaled that the U.S. military will stay in Afghanistan for years beyond 2017.

Obama has nominated Army Lt. Gen. John Nicholson, Jr., to replace the outgoing commander.

President Obama has been hesitant to call the Taliban a terrorist group.

US airstrikes destroy ISIS’ ‘Voice of the Caliphate’ radio station in Afghanistan

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Fox News, February 02, 2016:

U.S. airstrikes have destroyed an Islamic State-operated radio station in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

“Voice of the Caliphate” radio was destroyed by two U.S. airstrikes, according to a U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media on the subject.

Army Col. Mike Lawhorn, spokesman for the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan, said U.S. forces conducted two “counter-terrorism airstrikes” late Monday in Achin district, in the eastern Nangarhar province, without elaborating.

An ISIS affiliate has emerged in Afghanistan over the past year, with a military presence in districts near the border with Pakistan. The radio station was broadcasting illegally across Nangarhar, calling on fighters to join the group and threatening journalists in the provincial capital, Jalalabad.

Afghan officials had said they believed the broadcasts were coming from mobile facilities that could be moved easily back and forth across the mountainous border.

The spokesman for the Nangarhar governor, Attaullah Khogyani, said the strikes had also killed 21 ISIS supporters, including five who were working for the radio station.

The station was set up in late 2015, following months of fierce fighting between ISIS group militants and the Taliban, who also maintain a significant presence in the region. Although ISIS and the Taliban both want to impose a harsh version of Islamic rule, they are bitterly divided over leadership and strategy, with the Taliban narrowly focused on Afghanistan and ISIS bent on establishing a worldwide caliphate.

Radio is a powerful medium in Afghanistan, where most people do not have televisions and only 10 percent of the population has access to the Internet. Nearly everyone has access to radio, with around 175 stations operating across the country.

The U.S. State Department recently added the ISIS Afghan affiliate to its list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Elsewhere in the country, three Afghan army officers died when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb late Monday in the Gereshk district of southern Helmand province, according to the district’s administration chief, Mohammad Sharif. He said the dead included Gen. Atta Mir, a brigade commander in Gereshk.

In the northern city of Kunduz, a secretary for the provincial governor’s office was shot dead near his home on Monday evening, the governor’s spokesman, Abdul Wasi Basel, said.

He said that no one had claimed responsibility for the killing of Mohammad Zarif.

The Taliban seized Kunduz for three days last year, and only fully withdrew after a two-week counteroffensive that devastated much of the city.

Also see:

ISIS vs SAS: Elite Brit troops TRICK jihadis into desert death trap with DUMMIES

SAS soldiers (like the ones pictured) have been using sly tactics against ISIS

SAS soldiers (like the ones pictured) have been using sly tactics against ISIS

Express, By KIERAN CORCORAN,  Feb 1, 2016

British soldiers deployed to fight the terror group, also known as Daesh, have been using fake soldiers to lure the fighters out into the open.

The troopers set up convincing-looking dolls designed to look like Kurdish fighters from a distance.

But when the jihadi horde descends, coalition troops can open fire – or call in targeted air strikes.

The British Army has not deployed en-masse to Iraq or Syria – but elite SAS troops are known to be conducting operations behind enemy lines.

The tactic was used as recently as last week in Dayr az Zawr in Syria, according to a report in the Daily Star Sunday.

The sneaky move involves dressing the soldiers up in uniform, posing them convincingly and arming them with real weapons.

ISIS scouts and local contacts take the bait and inform their allies, who then move in for the kill.

In one single incident where 12 jihadis took the bait, and were gunned down by SAS snipers.

Another time so many ISIS fighters arrived that the SAS decided not to engage directly – and called in an airstrike instead.

It allows the British forces to strike at their leisure, and keeps the carnage away from civilians.

Previously troops have struggled to pin down ISIS troops, who have a habit of fleeing in tunnels and sewer pipes.

Elsewhere ISIS jihadis have been left terrified as a mystery sniper has been single-handedly waging war on the militants in Libya.

The evil terrorists fear a sniper is picking off fighters in the group’s de facto North African capital of Sirte after three ISIS commanders were reportedly shot dead from long range in recent weeks.

The sharpshooter is said to have perfected his skills during the 2011 uprising against dictator Colonel Gaddafi.

20 Threats a Day Leading Up to Super Bowl Sunday

(Photo © Jeffrey Beall / flickr)

(Photo © Jeffrey Beall / flickr)

San Jose Police Dept. will investigate up to 20 threats a day in the week leading up to the 2016 Super Bowl, to be held in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, home to the San Francisco 49ers.

Depending on the threat, security officials will decide whether to send in a SWAT team bomb sniffing K-9’s, or one of the many security apparatus in place.

Here are some of the ways the security at Super Bowl 50 is panning out:

  • 90 Canine Teams of bomb-sniffing dogs will be employed. The dogs have also K-9 Corps training for the Superbowlbeen familiarized with sounds and vibrations of three different military helicopters that might need to be used to evaculate players in case of an incident.
  • 80 FBI bomb technicians with a mobile command vehicle operating remote-controlled robots that can analyze threats.  Bay Area bomb squads on stand-by.
  • Sniffer Box – a high tech sensing device that can detect a biological attack.
  • No Fly Zones over the stadium, F-15 on standby to escort a plane out (182 Cessnas were used to simulate a trespassing in weeks of training).
  • 24-hour/7-day ops – Security starts today, one week before the Super Bowl when the teams arrive. Every event leading up to the big game will be monitored. Sweeps for explosives will be made before each event.
  • Elite Merge Team from San Jose Police Department has trained for a month with rifles and Bearcat Rescue vehicle.
  • FBI operating from an operations center An air team member training for Superbowl 50at a secret location. They will be joined by dozens of local, state and federal agencies including the FAA, which will watch for rogue drones operating in closed air spaces.
  • To get into the stadium, all spectators will have to pass through airport-style metal detectors and will not be allowed to bring bags larger than 18 (inches) by 18, alcohol, coolers, pets, drones, bikes, skateboards, hoverboards.