Documentary: Obama Admin ‘Warned by Everybody’ about Islamic State but ‘Did Almost Nothing’

BY:
October 29, 2014 

On Tuesday evening, PBS’s Frontline aired the new documentary “The Rise of ISIS”, which detailed its investigation into the “miscalculations and mistakes behind the brutal rise of ISIS”.

The documentary included interviews with key Obama administration officials and experts.

Frontline’s Ken Pollak interviewed the Former American Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey who revealed, “The administration not only was warned by everybody back in January, it actually announced that it was going to intensify its support against ISIS with the Iraqi armed forces. And it did almost nothing.”

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The Rise of ISIS – FRONTLINE – PBS (internationalterrorismstudyproject.com)

An Islamic State (ISIS) black flag flies near the Syrian town of Kobani, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border. (Kutluhan Cucel / Getty Images)

On October 28th, 2014 PBS aired “The Rise of ISIS” as the latest installment of their award winning FRONTLINE television program.  Martin Smith reporting, walks us through the how and why of the current state of the Middle East under the influence of ISIS.

Vivid and sometimes violent imagery is the backdrop as several reporters, analysts, and American officials are interviewed, giving the viewer an excellent background of ISIS and how they have quickly risen to power.  They point out that unlike many other terrorist organizations, ISIS does not attack and flee.  They attack, seize assets and hold territory as they please.  FRONTLINE acknowledges ISIS is in part, a byproduct of past United States policies. Notably, only Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor speaks in defense of the current US administration.  Many ousted political figures are also interviewed during this hour long program however ex Iraqi PM Maliki is not among them.  Below is the link for the PBS’s webpage for this program.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/rise-of-isis/

WHY ISIS IS WINNING

iraq-al-qaeda-convoy-AP (1)Breitbart, by KATIE GORKA:

In the past 24 hours, reinforcements have been arriving in the besieged Syrian town of Kobane, where Kurdish troops have slowly been losing their months-long battle with the Islamic State (ISIS).

In a significant change of policy, Turkey last night allowed an estimated 50-150 troops from the Free Syrian Army to cross the Turkish border into Syria. And at dawn today, 80 vehicles arrived in Kobane carrying Iraqi Peshmerga fighters, according to the BBC.

This is good news for Kobane and for the broader fight against ISIS, but it is bad news for the current Western strategy in fighting ISIS.  It is a sign that the strategy is not succeeding. At the heart of the battle for Kobane is the United States’ failure to properly assess this enemy. The Obama administration has narrowly defined the enemy as only the most violent jihadists: first Al Qaeda and now ISIS. It has drawn a distinct line between those who use violence and those who do not. The administration sees this as a contest of force with an enemy that is limited in number.  This inaccurate assessment of the enemy has its roots in left-wing theories about social movements, which I examine in detail in the recent white paper, “The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy.”

In the 1980s, academics began to apply social movement theory to Islamist activism.  The key concept was that violent jihadists are the product of oppression. Quintan Wiktorowicz, one of the principal proponents of this theory, eventually joined Obama’s National Security Staff as Senior Director for Global Engagement. His influence within the White House in shaping American counter-terrorism strategy had three fatal effects: the focus shifted away from ideology and to the belief that the ideology motivating Islamists is irrelevant; it treated Islamists as victims, saying they are forced by circumstances to resort to violence; and it drew a line between violence and nonviolent Islamists, saying that we only have to fight the former, while the latter– for example, the Muslim Brotherhood– can be our allies.

But terrorists are not victims. The ideology is the heart of what draws young men and women to join a murderous fight, and nonviolent Islamists can no more be our allies than can Al Qaeda or ISIS.  Indeed, ISIS and its ilk are built on a foundation laid by such “nonviolent” Islamists as the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are supported by such “allies” as Qatar and Turkey.

The arrival of additional troops and materiel in Kobane is very good news indeed for the people besieged there, but until the United States straightens out its understanding of the enemy and drafts an appropriate response, the larger battle cannot be won.

Katie Gorka is president of the Council on Global Security.  @katharinegorka.

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“The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy” by Katie Gorka has been added to CJR’s list of Key Reports.

Al Qaeda Targets Oil Tankers, Sea Lanes

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Center For Security Policy, By Bill Gertz:

Al Qaeda is urging jihadists to conduct attacks on U.S. and foreign oil tankers and strategic sea lanes in a new global campaign of economic warfare against the United States, according to the terrorist group’s latest English-language magazine.

“Even if a single supertanker (or even an ordinary westbound cargo-vessel) were to be attacked in one of the chokepoints or hijacked and scuttled in one of these narrow sea lanes, the consequences would be phenomenal,” wrote al Qaeda member Hamza Khalid in the recently published, 117-page al Qaeda magazine “Resurgence.”

The magazine is a key recruiting tool and propaganda organ for English speakers from the group once headed by Osama bin Laden, whose death is lamented in one article by current leader Ayman al Zawahiri. The magazine contains articles on al Qaeda’s new drive in Southwest Asia, and recruiting women into its ranks, and makes vague references to al Qaeda’s current feud with the rival Islamic State, that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

The article on economic warfare includes maps showing strategic shipping lanes around the world and key oil chokepoints, like the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, where up to 35 percent of the world’s ship borne oil passes, and Southeast Asia’s Strait of Malacca, the strategic passage for oil from the Middle East to Asia.

“It represents the Achilles heel not just of the energy market, but also of western economies dependent on oil from the Muslim world,” Khalid stated.

“A sustained disruption in this supply system would not only increase insurance costs for international shipping, but also affect the price of oil globally.”

Khalid called for attacks on both U.S. military facilities near oil chokepoints and energy supply lines.

Attacks on oil tankers would cause a spike in oil prices, increases in shipping rates and insurance, and a boost in military spending to assure open sea lanes, he stated.

“Simultaneous attacks on western shipping or western oil tankers (a sea-based version of the cargo plane bomb plot) in more than one chokepoint would bring international shipping to a halt and create a crisis in the energy market.”

Khalid also called for attacks on western oil workers in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, as well as more sophisticated and hard-to-carry-out attacks against U.S. Navy facilities in Diego Garcia, Bahrain, and Djibouti.

“A coordinated effort to disrupt enemy shipping in the future in all of these regions would not only hurt the enemy economically, but also stretch their resources further in this global war,” Khalid stated.

American al Qaeda member Adam Gadahn stated in a second article headlined “besiege them” that “it is time for us to fight fire with fire, and impose our own blockade and embargo on the Jews and crusaders, by hitting them where it hurts and striking the heart and lifeblood of their economy, represented by international trade and finance.”

Gadahn said the global economic system currently is “fragile and vulnerable” as the result of unrest in the Arab and Muslim world and debt and budget crises in Europe and the United States.

Al Qaeda plans to use the current “war of attrition” underway against the United States to force the collapse of the global economic system.

Targets for the economic warfare campaign include cargo ships and merchant vessels in “Islamic waters,” actions aimed at closing off canals and straits, and disrupting shipping routes “wherever and however possible.”

“Any of their ships are legitimate targets, but exports are the key to any economy, including the economies of the West,” Gadahn wrote. “The mujahideen must seek to deprive the enemies of the precious oil and mineral resources they are stealing from us and using to fuel their war machine, by sabotaging crusader-run oil wells and mines in Islamic lands and destroying pipelines before the oil reaches the coast and falls into enemy hands, and by sinking their supertankers and sabotaging their oil rigs in enemy waters, and in the process, ruining their lucrative fishing industries.”

Other economic measures include a boycott of U.S. products and retailers including Walmart, McDonald’s, Proctor and Gamble, Microsoft, Nestle, and Unilever. The use of banks also is to be avoided and al Qaeda is advocating reinstating the use of gold and silver as a medium of exchange.

Gadahn stated that al Qaeda wants Muslims to break away from the global financial system.

“The path to victory over our enemies and the establishment of our caliphate isn’t confined to armed action alone, but includes all legitimate ways and means which support, strengthen, and advance the military effort and lead to our success in this battle for the future of the Muslim [world],” Gadahn said. “So don’t delay, and play your part in the jihad today, whether your part be military, financial, economic, educational, motivational, or otherwise.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, a former Special Forces commando and undersecretary of defense for intelligence during the George W. Bush administration, said Islamic terrorists are keenly aware of American reliance on Mideast oil.

“They know that our economy is fragile and can be devastated by sudden increases in the global oil prices,” Boykin said in an email. “It is obvious that they will try to attack our weaknesses and oil is clearly one of our major vulnerabilities.”

The article is another indication that Islamists “are indeed an enemy and they have in fact declared war on America,” Boykin said.

Kevin Freeman, an expert on economic warfare, said al Qaeda as early as 2005 outlined a timeline for its war against the West that included fomenting an Arab uprising and then launching an economic warfare campaign.

“It has always been an economic war,” Freeman said. “From the first attacks on the World Trade Center until now, al Qaeda has used an economic warfare playbook modeled on the Chinese doctrine of unrestricted warfare.”

Freeman said the al Qaeda magazine articles bolster the findings of a report to the Pentagon in 2009 on economic warfare outlining terrorists’ use of the tactic of attacking oil targets.

“Our enemies know that stopping the flow of oil, crashing our stock market, or collapsing the dollar are the paths to America’s destruction,” he said.

“The al Qaeda timeline has, since at least 2005, planned a new caliphate and Islamic State aimed against the West and Israel,” he added. “To accomplish this, they knew even back then, required an attack on Western economies.”

Freeman said the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons systems but has ignored repeated credible evidence of economic attacks and threats against our financial infrastructure and power grid.

The al Qaeda threat to oil shipments also underscores the need to end America’s reliance on foreign oil supplies with North American oil production, Freeman said.

“We also have to shore up our financial infrastructure, protect the dollar, and guard our power grid,” said Freeman, author of a book on the subject, Game Plan.

“Individuals must prepare their investment portfolios for resilience in an economic war.”2

“Call it Jihad: ‘Terrorism’ Just Doesn’t Define This Threat”

2423016604CSP, By Clare Lopez, Oct. 28, 2014:

2014’s spate of Islamic terror attacks against Western targets leaves observers grasping for words to describe what’s happening. President Obama doesn’t want to deal with it at all, so after a Muslim convert beheaded a woman in Oklahoma, he thought it appropriate to send the beheader’s mosque (the Islamic Center of Greater Oklahoma City) warm greetings about “shared peace” and “a sense of justice.” (The occasion was the Muslim feast of Eid Ul-Adh, but the timing was awful.) U.S. national security agencies are no help either—under the tutelage of the Muslim Brotherhood, they were purged long ago of any vocabulary useful for dealing with jihad. “Lone wolf” gets a lot of play with the media, but as Michael Ledeen, Andrew McCarthy, and Patrick Poole (here, here, and here) have all pointed out, there’s nothing ‘lone’ about Muslim warriors, self-selected or otherwise, engaging in fard ‘ayn (individual jihad) in obedience to the doctrine of their shared faith.

Nor are these attacks simply “terrorism” in any way that is uniquely descriptive. As Ledeen noted, the Unabomber was a domestic terrorist. The FBI calls the ELF (Earth Liberation Front) terrorist. The Black Liberation Army was accused of murdering more than a dozen police officers in its day. But none of these operates today in obedience to a 1400-year-old ideology that claims a divine commandment to conquer the earth. Nor is any of these other ‘domestic terrorists’ the 21st century embodiment of a force that already has overrun many powerful civilizations, including the Buddhist, Byzantine, Middle East Christian, Hindu, and Persian ones.

It’s time to call this what it is: Jihad.

Jihad is a unique descriptor: it is motivated solely by one ideology—an Islamic one. It encompasses any and all tactics of war, be they the kinetic violence of terrorism, the stealthy influence operations of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian intelligence agencies, or funding, speaking, teaching, and writing. Importantly, the term ‘jihad’ is the one used by its own practitioners—the clerics, scholars, and warriors of Islam. Arguably the most valid qualification of all is that Islamic Law (shariah) defines jihad as “warfare to spread the religion [Islam].” Warfare encompasses many things, though, and not all of them are violent.

Katharine Gorka, President of The Council on Global Security, has an astute new essay entitled “The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy” in which she skewers the Obama administration’s misguided policy it calls “Countering Violent Extremism.” She explains how America’s counter-terrorism ‘experts’ have tried haplessly to apply Social Movement Theory to what actually is a totalitarian ideology cloaked loosely in a handful of religious practices. A decade or more of attempting to apply the language of grievance, poverty, and unemployment laid at the door of Western colonialism or secular modernity has achieved little but the neutering of America’s national security defenses. Yet, even this dead-on analysis doesn’t quite get us where we need to be.

Just as Obama’s bland “violent extremism,” deliberately devoid of meaning identifies neither the enemy nor the ideology that animates him, so in its way, ‘terrorism” likewise falls short. For if “terrorist” can and does mean anyone from a nut job like Ted Kaczynsky to assorted tree huggers, neo-Nazi skinheads, as well as Islamic warriors committing atrocities in the name of Allah, then its scope is just too broad to define precisely the paramount threat to global stability in the 21stcentury: jihad.

The magnitude of the jihad threat demands its own category. Neither Kaczynsky nor animal and environmental activists nor neo-Nazis could threaten the very existence of our Republic. Certain 20th century totalitarian ideologies arguably did, though, and that’s why the U.S. marshaled every resource at its disposal to fight them to defeat. Islamic totalitarianism is such an ideology, albeit one that has survived cyclical periods of defeat and resurgence for many centuries. We constrain ourselves both conceptually and legally, however, when the only way to label an act of violence ‘terrorism’ is when it is carried out against civilians for a political purpose and the perpetrator(s) can be tied to a designated terrorist organization, with no consideration for the ideology that so many of them—and others not on such lists—share.

Islamic terror attacks of recent decades typically involved identifiable Islamic terror groups such as al-Qa’eda, Ansar al-Shariah, HAMAS, Hizballah, and the PLO, but were often funded and supported by jihadist nation states such as Iran, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. As Katharine Gorka described in her white paper, though, the Obama administration’s willfully amorphous term, “violent extremism,” ensured that no enemy threat doctrine called ‘jihad’ that unifies these diverse yet similarly-motivated actors and that actually may threaten the Republic, was ever permitted to be articulated—or confronted.

Now, after the overwhelming post-9/11 Western retaliatory offensives, both al-Qa’eda and more recently, the Islamic State, increasingly have called for acts of ‘individual jihad’ (fard ‘ayn, according to Islamic doctrine). Such attacks by Islamic true believers against armed service members, civilians, and law enforcement officers as well as ordinary citizens duly are proliferating across the West, but the U.S. national security establishment grasps for any term—lone wolf, violent extremist, workplace violence—to avoid saying either ‘terrorism’ or ‘jihadist.’ Granted, as Daniel Pipes noted in his 24 October 2014 essay, “Terrorism Defies Definition,” there are legal consequences under the U.S. Legal Code for “formally certifying an act of violence as terrorist.” But as we see, it’s more than that – and it’s why we need to use “jihad” more often and “terrorism” less.

To properly identify individual jihad attacks is to acknowledge that there is an established ideology behind them that derives its inspiration from Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture. To acknowledge that would mean the threat actually is existential, at a minimum in its objective: universal conquest and enforcement of shariah. Until and unless the entire American citizenry, federal bureaucracy, Intelligence Community, law enforcement, and the U.S. military understand that failing to acknowledge, confront, and defeat the forces of Islamic jihad and shariah indeed do endanger the very existence of our Republic as we know it, and mobilize to meet this challenge, the inexorable advance of shariah will continue. As Pipes notes with some understatement, the current “lack of clarity presents a significant public policy challenge.

The term “terrorism” will continue to provide useful applications in security categories and lists. But it is much too inclusive and yet restrictive to offer a precise definition of the Islamic threat. The forces of Islamic jihad and shariah are mounting a whole of civilization assault against liberal, modern, representative, secular civil society. Nation states, sub-national terror organizations, transnational alliances, academics and scholars, media conglomerates, networks of mosques and Islamic Centers, so-called ‘charitable foundations’ and their donors, battlefield fighters, and too many individual Muslims are united in a jihad that is not only violent but insidious, inexorable, and sophisticated. Unless we learn to resist in the same way—a whole of civilization way—that list of subjugated civilizations may yet include one more: ours.

Al Qaeda’s 6-Year Descent Into Obscurity – Tom Wyld

Editor’s Note –  About the author: A former Navy Commander, Tom Wyld has served since 2008 as director of intelligence for a private security firm specializing in Naval Special Warfare training and operational support.  He continues to provide intelligence and investigative support to former SEALs.  Prior assignments include Communications Coordinator, Swift Boat Veterans & POWs for Truth; lobbyist for State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations (e.g., ABATEs); and Chief of Staff and PR Director for the Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying and political arm of the NRA.

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“Al-Qaedism” is the threat, “Lone Wolf” the deadly misnomer, but the beginnings of a solution may emerge in next week’s mid-term elections.   

by Tom Wyld – SUA Contributor

After the horrific murders this month of two Canadian soldiers and the hatchet attack on New York City police officers, the press, public and far too many officials were quick to describe them as “lone wolf” attacks.  The term is more than a myth.  It is a dangerous misnomer – made deadly by diverting our attention from Al-Qaeda-inspired cells – be they cyber or in person.  When you come across the phrase, be skeptical.  And give it time.  Ultimately, a “cell” or “network” will emerge.  Plus, the beginnings of a solution November 4th.

Owing to its prevailing political ideology, Washington’s political leadership failed to heed Al Qaeda’s deliberate, methodical transformation that began in theory in 2004 and translated into action beginning in 2009.  Today’s rise in attacks by terrorists who only appear to be acting alone is the legacy of that diabolical make-over and Washington’s willful decisions.  The Ground Truth?  The bad guys have changed, and the good guys are still playing catch-up, thanks to an administration and its landlocked supporters in Congress who consistently refuse to put to sea.

France’s “Lone Wolf” Was Not Alone. Mohammed Merah took such delight in killing Jewish children, he strapped a stolen camera to his chest to capture his unspeakable slaughter of Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his children: Aryeh (6), Gavriel (3), and Myriam Monsonego (above). Merah attacked the rabbi and his children on the grounds of the Ozar Ha’Torah Jewish school in Toulouse where Rabbi Sandler served as principal. Merah grabbed the horrified Myriam, 8, by the hair and dragged her across the schoolyard. Then, holding her still, he shot her in the head. (Family photo.)

France’s “Lone Wolf” Was Not Alone. Mohammed Merah took such delight in killing Jewish children, he strapped a stolen camera to his chest to capture his unspeakable slaughter of Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his children: Aryeh (6), Gavriel (3), and Myriam Monsonego (above). Merah attacked the rabbi and his children on the grounds of the Ozar Ha’Torah Jewish school in Toulouse where Rabbi Sandler served as principal. Merah grabbed the horrified Myriam, 8, by the hair and dragged her across the schoolyard. Then, holding her still, he shot her in the head. (Family photo.)

 

Since 2009, there has been a profound, sweeping change in Al Qaeda and the global jihad movement generally.  That metamorphosis is in perfect pitch with a phenomenon I dubbed years ago as the “Terrorists’Coda – strike, melt away, adapt, accommodate, strike again.”[1]  More than a startling conversion, Al Qaeda has been in a six-year descent into obscurity that has been conveniently ignored – never by the Intelligence Community or in-the-know Members of Congress – but consistently by the Obama Administration and its cheerleaders in Congress.

It is time for a change. That change could begin with the mid-term elections.

Very Much a Rabid Wolf. Yet Wolves Hunt in Packs. He was dismissed as a lone wolf. That is until French prosecutor said that Mohammed Merah, the terrorist of Toulouse and Montauban, was trained by AL QAEDA in Pakistan’s tribal belt. He and his brother consulted with “retired” Jihadi cell leader Olivier Corel, the so-called “White Emir” of France. When asked about the terrorist, Corel denied he knew anything about Jihadis, Salafis or Al Qaeda. Mais bien sûr! And if the Merah brothers visited him, how would Corel know? He meets so many people, with so many names…

Very Much a Rabid Wolf. Yet Wolves Hunt in Packs. He was dismissed as a lone wolf. That is until French prosecutor said that Mohammed Merah, the terrorist of Toulouse and Montauban, was trained by AL QAEDA in Pakistan’s tribal belt. He and his brother consulted with “retired” Jihadi cell leader Olivier Corel, the so-called “White Emir” of France. When asked about the terrorist, Corel denied he knew anything about Jihadis, Salafis or Al Qaeda. Mais bien sûr! And if the Merah brothers visited him, how would Corel know? He meets so many people, with so many names…

The legacy of the brutal march to obscurity struck Canada and the U.S. this month.  The brutality was shocking, but it should have come as no surprise.  Initially dismissed as a “lone wolf,” we now learn that Ottawa terrorist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau met with Hasibullah Yusuzfal, a fugitive wanted for violating Canada’s anti-terror laws.   The duo spent hours listening to hate-riddled audio tapes by radical clerics (obtained by hand, not online). We believe Yusuzfal fled Canada en route to Syria to fight for Ad-Dawlah Al-Islamiyya(“Islamic State” or IS), now the world’s leading factory floor for mass-produced terrorists.

We were assured early on that he acted alone, but New York hatchet-wielding attacker Zale Thompson had ties to a radical cleric who advocated violent jihad, and his browsing history shows frequent visits to militant sites – a virtual terror “cell,” if you will.

And before slamming into two uniformed Canadian soldiers, killing one, car-as-weapon terrorist Martin Couture Rouleau was “clearly linked to terrorist ideology,” authorities later said, adding that his passport had been pulled because he too was suspected of heading to Syria to join IS.

These recent horrors, all dismissed initially as “lone wolf” attacks, brought to mind another misuse of the misnomer.  For that lesson, nous allons à la France.

YOU MUST read more at Stand Up America

Team of Bumblers? Are Susan Rice and Chuck Hagel equal to today’s new national-security challenges?

141026_hirsh_hagel_rice_apBy Michael Hirsh:

When President Obama, after months of equivocation over how to respond to the takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria by radical militants, announced in September that the United States would “lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” the White House swung quickly into action, sending proposed legislation to train and equip Syrian rebels to Capitol Hill that same day.

Unfortunately, the White House failed to consult with the Pentagon—which would be doing most of the rolling back—on the timing or details of the announcement.

According to multiple sources, behind the scenes a few things went badly awry in the launch of Obama’s new policy. First, the Pentagon was surprised by the president’s timing, according to a senior defense official. “We didn’t know it was going to be in the speech,” he said, referring to Obama’s Sept. 10 address to the nation. Second, the White House neglected to give Pentagon lawyers a chance to revise and approve the proposed legislative language before it went to the Hill, which is considered standard practice. Staffers working for Rep. Buck McKeon, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said they were appalled by what they saw: language so sloppy that it failed to mention adequate protections against so-called “green-on-blue” attacks by trainees on American troops, and effectively left the Defense Department liable for funding the mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—even though the president was telling members of Congress he didn’t need money for this new mission, since the Saudis were putting it up. “What came over would have not have been a mission the DoD could have executed,” says a senior Republican committee staffer.

The Armed Services Committee later went directly to the Pentagon and worked out new language, the White House approved it, and Obama signed the legislation as part of a new Continuing Resolution on Sept. 19. But that was hardly the first instance in recent months when the White House failed to consult with the Pentagon. The office of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was taken by surprise as well last July, when national security adviser Susan Rice sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner requesting a withdrawal of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed in 2002 to enable U.S. military action in Iraq. This letter came after Mosul, a key northern Iraqi city, had already fallen to ISIL and the scale of the threat was becoming clear. The letter was never acted on, and in fact the AUMF that Rice wanted withdrawn is now part of the very authority the administration says it is operating under, along with the 2001 AUMF against al Qaeda. The Pentagon was not given a heads-up about that letter either, according to multiple sources. “We didn’t know it was going over there, and there were significant concerns about it,” said the senior defense official. “We had these authorities to go into Iraq under the 2002 AUMF, which is what she wanted repealed. We believed the authorities were still needed.”
National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the Pentagon was informed of the new plan against ISIL before it went to Congress, and that in fact Hagel and Dempsey were with the president the morning of the speech. Although he indicated it was not clear exactly what details of the new strategy were shared with the Pentagon and when, Ventrell said that coordination between the NSC and other agencies is ongoing and extensive, that Rice regularly hosts lunches with Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry. They “have a good, solid working relationship,” Ventrell said.

But it’s clear the finger-pointing between the White House and Pentagon reflects no mere technicality. Both examples cited to me by well-placed sources close to the Defense Department offer new evidence of a criticism that has dogged this administration for most of its six and a half years: that Barack Obama’s White House is so insular and tightly controlled it often avoids “outside” consultation—including with its own cabinet secretaries and agencies. That’s especially true when the issue is one of this president’s least favorite things: opening up new hostilities in foreign lands. To his critics—and I spoke with several for this article inside Obama’s administration as well as recent veterans of it—it’s all a reflection of the slapdash way a president so vested in “ending wars” has embraced his new one.

Indeed, the Syrian-rebel incident recalled a more famous instance of White House surprise tactics a year earlier, when after a stroll on the White House lawn with chief of staff Denis McDonough, Obama embarrassed Kerry by abruptly deciding to ask for congressional approval for bombing the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad—only hours after Kerry had publicly declared that Assad was facing imminent action. (Ironically, after Congress quickly balked at approval, humiliating Obama, it was Kerry who rescued the president by securing an agreement with Russian help to force Assad to dismantle the chemical weapons that had prompted the threatened U.S. strike in the first place.)

In their recent memoirs, former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta also have described the White House-centric foreign policy of the Obama administration—in Panetta’s case, a White House that he said was so “eager to rid itself of Iraq” it rejected Pentagon advice about the need for residual troops in Iraq after 2011, opening the way for ISIL. Gates was even more pointed, writing that “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials—including the president and vice president—became a big problem for me.”

Read more at Politico

The Lone-Wolf Canard

20141025_axNYcterroristZaleThompsonNo one self-radicalizes. Terrorists are radicalized by a scripturally based doctrine.

By Andrew C. McCarthy:

In Modern Times, his sweeping history of the 20th century, Paul Johnson recounts how Einstein’s theory of relativity, a strictly scientific principle, was contorted into relativism, a loopy social phenomenon, through a permanent campaign of serpentine rhetoric. It is, as Roger Kimball explains in The Fortunes of Permanence, a classic example of how a sensible concept or term of art that helps us grasp some narrow aspect of reality can end up distorting reality when ripped from its moorings and broadly applied.

Another good example is “lone wolf.”

Since Thursday afternoon, newscasters have incessantly told us that the late and unlamented Zale Thompson was a “lone wolf.” Thompson was the 32-year-old Muslim from Queens who attacked four New York City police officers with a hatchet on Thursday, breaking one’s arm and critically wounding another with a gash to the head.

Reading off the familiar script, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton insisted that “nothing we know at this time would indicate” a connection to terrorism. This, despite Thompson’s Facebook page on which he portrayed himself as a mujahed warrior superimposed on Koranic verses and called for “guerilla warfare” against the United States. Evidently, it is just one of those “violent extremism” coincidences that this “lone wolf” strike – translation: non-terrorist strike – occurred soon after the Islamic State urged Muslims in the West to “attack the soldiers of the tyrants and their police force.”

In addition to Americans, Europeans, and Australians, the Islamic State lists the “infidels” of Canada among its enemy “tyrants.” Thompson’s “lone wolf” jihad followed hard upon two separate “lone wolf” attacks in Canada this week. First, Martin Couture-Rouleau plowed a car into two soldiers, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Then, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo to death at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before spraying bullets inside Parliament (but fortunately killing no one else). Each “lone wolf” was killed in the aftermath, and each was reportedly a “recent convert to Islam.”

These latest atrocities follow last month’s decapitation of a woman at an Oklahoma food-distribution center by Alton Nolen, another “recent convert to Islam” whose Facebook page was a shrine to Osama bin Laden and the Islamic State. At the time, Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro noted that the Oklahoma attack was the latest of seven in the last few years by Muslim men acting alone. The count rises to eight if one accepts the Obama administration’s “workplace violence” rendition of the Fort Hood massacre, to wit: jihadist Nidal Hassan was a “lone wolf” – and therefore somehow not a terrorist – despite both his motive to prevent the U.S. soldiers he killed from fighting Taliban terrorists and his string of pre-massacre consultations with al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki (the imam who had ministered to the wolf-pack known as the 9/11 suicide-hijackers). At any rate, there are now so many “lone” jihadists we should probably start saying “clone wolf” instead.

So rote have the airbrushed news accounts of these incidents become that we could recite them in our sleep – which is exactly the condition those who write them hope to leave us in. We are to believe it is beside the point that the assailants happen to be Muslims. Sure, some may have been “inspired” by the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, but journalists, taking their cues from government officials, stress that the murderers lack “operational” ties to any recognized terrorist organization. So, presto, each is sloughed off as a “lone wolf.”

That once useful term of art is now used to convey two carefully crafted, politically correct narratives. For government officials and investigators, the “lone wolf” label has come to mean the atrocity in question cannot be categorized as “terrorism,” no matter how many “Allahu Akbars!” are shouted as bullets fly, bombs blast, or heads roll. For the commentariat, “lone wolf” signifies that the Muslim in question – whether a lifer or a “recent convert” – has “self-radicalized,” spontaneously becoming a wanton, irrational killer.

These two story lines transparently suggest that the government has quelled al-Qaeda and that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Though President Obama frequently makes both claims, they are delusional.

“Lone wolf” is actually a surveillance-law concept that signifies the antithesis of the government’s newfangled “no terrorism here” usage. Moreover, the term is utterly useless to our understanding of how, and by what, Muslims are “radicalized.”

The “lone wolf” concept goes back to the alarm that gripped the nation right after nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks. That alarm was heightened by the discovery that incompetent surveillance practices prevented the government from interrupting the plot. So after 9/11, national-security surveillance law was overhauled.

Unlike ordinary criminal investigations, which focus on penal law offenses, national-security investigations target agents of “foreign powers.” Legally, an international terrorist organization qualifies as a foreign power. So if investigators can show a person is tied to an outfit like al-Qaeda, they can get court permission to eavesdrop on him.

As a practical matter, though, many terrorism investigations do not unfold that way. Sometimes, investigators develop evidence that someone is preparing to conduct terrorist activity (e.g., he buys explosive components, he cases a bridge) before they can figure out whether he is connected to a known terrorist organization. Since involvement by a foreign power was the necessary predicate for national-security surveillance, the government’s inability to establish al-Qaeda’s role in the plot would result in the denial of authority to eavesdrop on the apparent terrorist – even though he might be on the verge of striking.

To prevent such a critical intelligence gap, Congress enacted “lone wolf” surveillance authority as part of the PATRIOT Act (see here, pp. 5-6). Significantly, the statute makes precisely the opposite assumption that government officials now make when they label someone a “lone wolf.” The law says that if a person is engaged in what appears to be terrorist activity, the involvement of a foreign terrorist organization should be presumed and need not be established. So as conceived and codified, the lone-wolf designation means the government should regard a suspect as a terrorist, not strain against all evidence and logic to regard him as a non-terrorist.

Under the federal statutory definition, “international terrorism” happens when a person engages in activity intended to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.” If a person’s actions fit this definition, that is terrorism. That he may not have sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda or the Islamic State is immaterial . . . and the fact that he is a Muslim is not a reason to look the other way.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Al Hayat Media Center Continues to Saturate North America with its Social Media Outreach for Jihadists

logo_colored_s2ISIS Study Group:

The Al Hayat Media Center is a formidable social media juggernaut that the United States, its European allies as well as its Gulf State allies in the Middle East have had a hard time combating. One of the central figures in the Al Hayat Media Center is Ahmad Abousamra and he may even be the director of operations for Al Hayat Media Center (HMC).

HMC has been able to saturate numerous cities with its social media messaging through Twitter, Youtube, Diaspora, and just about any other social media outlet you can think of. Al Hayat has a full time staff that develops and tests its messaging and they test it on westerners from within their ranks as well as “sample” groups online. The messages work to play on the religious beliefs of the Islamic faithful, but it particularly pushes that message towards the newly converted.

If you look at many of the recent attacks including the OKC perpetrator of the beheading, Ali Mohammad Brown who killed 4 people, and numerous others that have been arrested have been those that converted to Islam recently. When we are talking about recently it is generally within the past 18 months. The incubation period for radicalization varies with some becoming radicalized within a few months and others taking longer. These times can be shorter or longer.

The outreach also targets those that have been practicing Islam longer, but are still trying to “find” their way in the religion. These are the individuals that HMC targets to come to Syria and Iraq to fight in the jihad there. HMC probes and discovers the depth of commitment an individual might have through their savvy use of messaging. They make the person feel a sense of belonging that they have not found where they currently live.

The thing to keep in mind is that HMC doesn’t have to directly target an individual for radicalization. The process is often self-starting through the individual reading or listening to the promulgated media of the Islamic State. The more the individual reads the deeply religious content the more they start feeling a sense of pride in it and that is what they want in life. They start feeling the need to learn more about the Islamic religion if they are new converts or even those that have been practicing longer. Then the outreach starts, usually initiated by the individual looking to “talk” to those individuals involved with the Islamic State.

HMC has a team of individuals that help develop these contacts. The contact is subtle at first focusing on the individual’s life and spirituality. As the recruit is developed the HMC handler begins probing the individual for commitment level and what sort of role they could potentially play. If the individual is a recent convert the Islamic State may start developing the individual for placement as they look at the individual’s access to potential targets or for recruitment to come to Syria and Iraq.

The Islamic State is also working feverishly to develop individuals in countries that are allied with the United States. The purpose for this is target the population or government of these countries in order to erode popular support for taking action against the Islamic State by making them a target of radicalized citizens at home.

Targeting American allies is not a new strategy but is a campaign of intimidation of the citizens of close allies of the United States. The Islamic State is not the first to do such a thing. The Taliban during their resurgence that started in 2005 began targeting the Canadians specifically to try to disrupt support for their efforts in Afghanistan. The idea behind the Taliban attempts to erode allied support was to inflict more casualties rather than through a social media campaign. They would however post about the attacks on the Canadians, just not nearly as sophisticated as Al Hayat Media Center.

HMC pretty much announces areas that will be attacked prior to the attacks actually taking place while not giving any sort of specifics because they are relying on the self-radicalized to conduct attacks on their behalf. Chances are if they are increasing their “chatter” in or about an area they have reasonable confidence in the radicalized individual to conduct an attack. They had increased their media saturation about Ottawa in the weeks leading up to the individual conducting the attack on the Canadian Parliament.

Self-radicalized Ali Mohammad Brown had killed three individuals in the Seattle, Washington area and then killed Brendan Tevlin in New Jersey. His rationale was because of the US actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Mr. Brown was a recent convert that was self-radicalized.

Types and levels of radicalization:

Self-radicalized: This is an individual that becomes radicalized through no contact with the Islamic State or other terrorist organization. These individuals simply read the vast amounts of literature that is found all over the internet. They as previously stated are often people that are interested in the Islamic religion or are newly converted. This is a process that can develop slowly or rapidly depending on the individual. Often the individual is a social outcast from the “normal” society of the US or Canada. This is not always the case, but these individuals are more easily susceptible. These individuals are the most difficult to track or acquire anything on them because they may not have direct contact with any known individual through social media connected to the Islamic State.

The seeker: This is an individual that has recently converted to Islam and has been following ISIS mujatweets, videos and other social outreach. This is an individual that is looking to become more involved on behalf of the Islamic State. Eric Harroun is an example of a seeker. He had converted to Islam and sought out the Islamic State and left to Syria to fight on their behalf and was arrested upon return to the US. These individuals pose great danger as they may have become fully radicalized. They are actively involving themselves with the Islamic State through social media.

The combination radicalization: This is a combination of the first two where an individual has recently converted and starts out reading information about the Islamic State. After a certain period of time they are start talking to Islamic State individuals on twitter or FB. The radicalization process may be slower or accelerated depending on the individual’s own will and values. This may also be an individual that can convinced to conduct a homeland attack.

Any of these radicalized individuals could perpetrate an attack on the US or Canadian homeland. The one common factor in them is that they are often recent converts. The US State Department has launched its #Thinkagainturnaway campaign which has not been a very successful endeavor. In fact, it has been poorly thought out and even more poorly executed.

The fault with the State Department campaign is that it tries to play on the human side of right and wrong with its messaging. This is ineffective messaging when trying to counter a religious based message that is influenced by the politics of the Islamic State. Successfully countering the messaging requires knowledge of basic tenants of Islam and the parts of the Quran that focus on the peaceful aspects and also historical references to merciful Islamic leaders. The focus of the messaging has to be religious based to negate the effects of the Islamic State’s religious based messaging. There are a multitude of other things that could be done to counter that messaging through historical reference as well as modern day.

Read more

Also see:

Ex-CIA Case Officer: ‘The West Is Under Attack’ From Islamic State-Inspired Radicals

The Blaze, by Tom Orr, Oct. 24, 2014:

The United States and Canada have suffered three attacks with apparent ties to terrorism in the span of a week, and a retired CIA case officer told TheBlaze he expects more will follow.

“I think the West is under attack,” said Brian Fairchild, who spent 20 years in the CIA’s clandestine service and has testified before Congress as a terrorism expert.

“I think that they’re responses to the ISIS and Al Qaeda requests for folks to go out and strike Americans any time, anywhere, any place that they can. That’s what this is turning out to be,” Fairchild said, speaking during an interview for an upcoming episode of TheBlaze TV’s For the Record.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security sent a memo on Oct. 11, warning that Islamic State sympathizers could carry out attacks on police and government personnel.

Canadian police officers stand guard in downtown Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014. (Mike Carroccetto/Getty Images)

Canadian police officers stand guard in downtown Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014. (Mike Carroccetto/Getty Images)

On Monday, 25-year-old Martin Couture Rouleau slammed his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, before he was fatally shot by police. Investigators said they were “concerned that he had become radicalized” before the attack.

Two days later, police said 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed a soldier guarding Canada’s national war memorial in Ottawa before storming into the Parliament building, where he was ultimately shot dead.

Then on Thursday, a man attacked a group of New York Police officers with a hatchet, seriously wounding one. New York City police Commissioner William Bratton on Friday called it a “terrorist attack” by a homegrown radical.

Fairchild said the Islamic State has visions of an even bigger wave of terror.

“What they would love is for there to be 50, 100, 1,000 attacks like that. Whether their followers will rise up and do that for them, we don’t know,” he said.

Fairchild said there is a real cause for concern: Groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have had only limited success pushing American extremists to pull off “lone wolf” attacks, but the rapid expansion of the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may have created enough momentum to finally push some of those radical individuals into action.

“When Baghdadi and ISIS says, ‘Hey guys, go out and find soldiers, intelligence, and police officers and kill them, don’t ask for anybody’s approval, just go out and do it,’ that seems to have had more resonance among these guys than all of the requests from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ‘Inspire’ magazine before that,” Fairchild said. ”That’s what the game-changer is.”

 

U.S. leadership has pledged to stop the Islamic State’s advance, and has repeatedly sought to distance it and other radical groups from the Islamic faith.

“Radicalization is something politicians pay lip service to but they’ve never done anything about it,” Fairchild said. “In fact, our senior politicians say Islam has nothing to do with this. And that’s absolutely incorrect.”

Fairchild says that refusal to acknowledge the link to Islam leaves America unable to effectively deal with the threat.

“You have to understand, ‘who is the enemy?’ You can’t defeat the enemy until you understand the enemy. In understanding the enemy, you have to look at it from his point of view. Not what you want him to be. Not what makes you feel good, but what is he?”

Fairchild continued, “From an intelligence analytical point of view, these folks believe they’re fighting for a righteous cause. They’re fighting for their God. They’re fighting according to what God has told them to do in the Koran.”

The Homegrown Jihadist Threat Grows

A screen grab taken Sept. 20 from an ISIS-affiliated Twitter account purporting to show senior commander Abu Wahib in southern Iraq sharing a flower with a child. ASSOCIATED PRESS

A screen grab taken Sept. 20 from an ISIS-affiliated Twitter account purporting to show senior commander Abu Wahib in southern Iraq sharing a flower with a child. ASSOCIATED PRESS

By JOSEPH LIEBERMAN And CHRISTIAN BECKNER:

Three teenage girls from Colorado were on their way to join Islamic State, also known as ISIS, last week when they were caught by police in Frankfurt. Reports now suggest that the young women may have been victims of an “online predator” who lured them to travel to Turkey to link up with the jihadist forces in Syria and Iraq. ISIS has certainly proved skillful at using the Internet to spread its message of hatred and violence around the world, particularly through social-media sites like Twitter and the group’s online English-language magazine, Dabiq.

More Americans may be motivated to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS or other terrorist groups. The online radicalization efforts could also encourage “lone wolves” to undertake acts of terrorism within the U.S., similar to the two deadly terrorist attacks in Canada this week, both apparently motivated by ISIS’s online communications.

Islamic State “operates the most sophisticated propaganda machine” of any terrorist group today, as former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen noted in a speech at the Brookings Institution in September. Mr. Olsen warned of the possibility of an ISIS sympathizer “perhaps motivated by online propaganda,” who could “conduct a limited, self-directed attack here at home, with no warning.”

Al Qaeda’s online efforts have evoked similar fears over the past decade, and played a role in inspiring a number of terrorist attacks, including the Islamist terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, where 13 people were killed; the unsuccessful car bombing in Times Square in 2010; and the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, which killed four people.

Despite all this, the U.S. government still has no strategy to counter ISIS’s and al Qaeda’s violent online propaganda when it is directed at Americans. Several government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, have outreach programs to discuss this threat in meetings with community leaders in major cities. The FBI sometimes intervenes to dissuade individuals from engaging in extremist activity online by warning about the risks of illegal activity such as material support to a foreign terrorist organization. But such efforts have been sporadic and are carried out ad hoc, without a comprehensive strategy for countering the online radicalization of U.S. citizens.

Read more at WSJ

‘Lone Wolf,’ or ‘Known Wolf’? The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

F5FA38EDDCFE45EABC4F263FECE614E5By Patrick Poole:

Katie Gorka of the Council on Global Security has released an important report [1], “The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” and events of this week show that it couldn’t be more timely. The separate terror attacks in Canada and a long string of terror attacks here in the U.S. show that the counter-terrorism policies of Western governments are fundamentally broken, and are directly responsible for getting their citizens killed. Even as I write this there are breaking reports of yet another attack [2].

The primary targets of Gorka’s new report are the various fictitious narratives and bogus social science models that drive Western counter-terrorism efforts. Chief among these is the “countering violent extremism (CVE)” narrative that has been the centerpiece for U.S. intelligence and law enforcement.

CVE has been a colossal disaster because it has no roots in reality. It was always intended as a convenient fiction for politicians, bureaucrats, media and academics to avoid talking about [3] the problem of the ideology that supports Islamic terrorism.

There has never once been a recorded case of anyone on the planet swearing their allegiance to the ideology of “violent extremism” and their willingness to kill others and die in the cause of “violent extremism.” It is a null set. There is nothing to counter, which is the whole point. And yet there are academics and institutions who are the beneficiaries of mountains of taxpayer cash to pursue the elusive CVE unicorn.

CVE has been used to smuggle all kinds of crackpot theories into not just our counter-terrorism policy, but also our foreign policy.

One crackpot theory has been that there are good Islamists that we can use against the bad Islamists. This was the keystone of the Obama administration’s Arab Spring policies. And this theory put into practice in Egypt, Libya, Syria and other places has left the Middle East in even worse shape than Obama found it.

As Gorka observes, the administration’s head cheerleader [4] for this “good Islamist/bad Islamist” approach has been Quintan Wiktorowicz, who served as senior director of the National Security Council under Obama. But the disaster of the Arab Spring has prompted Wiktorowicz and his CVE pals to double-down on this approach. Now we have entirely new categories of actors, such as “vetted moderates,” and even “good bad Islamists,” who presumably are any jihadists not currently wearing a suicide belt.

This rampant idiocy has become so bad that we have the supposed best and brightest in the Washington, D.C. foreign policy elite now calling for engagement with “moderate al-Qaeda” (no, I’m not kidding [5]).

Another theory championed by the CVE crowd is the “lone wolf” syndrome, reportedly where unknown individuals unconnected to any other actor strike without warning. But numerous examples show that terrorist actors are almost always part of a network who were involved in recruiting and tasking terrorist activity. As Max Abrahms at Northeastern University has observed [6]:

Since the advent of international terrorism in 1970, none of the 40 most lethal terrorist attacks has been committed by a person unaffiliated with some terrorist group, according to publicly available data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, which is funded by the Department of Homeland Security and stored at the University of Maryland. In fact, lone wolves have carried out just two of the 1,900 most deadly terrorist incidents over the last four decades.

So why “lone wolf”? Simply, it was a mechanism promulgated by the CVE industry, with willing cooperation from law enforcement and intelligence officials, to exonerate themselves when a terrorist attack happened. At its core is terror agnosticism: “There is possibly no way to predict who will turn to terrorism, so therefore we can’t be held responsible when it happens. Oh, and give us more money so we can better improve how we won’t be able to predict terror attacks.”

The two terror attacks in Canada this week, which are already being described by CVE industry practitioners as “lone wolf” attacks, were by individuals already known to Canadian counter-terrorism officials. Reportedly both Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau [7] and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau [8] had their passports taken away by Canadian authorities because they were considered “high risk” to travel overseas to join the Islamic State. We also have reports that Zehaf-Bibeau had contacts with known jihadist sympathizers [9] and at least one individual who had fought in Syria.

Looking at the long string of domestic terror incidents here in the U.S. shows that the so-called “lone wolves,” in virtually every case, were in fact “known wolves.”

In fairness, this “known wolf” phenomenon goes back more than 20 years.

The cell responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was well known to law enforcement. An FBI informant, Emad Salem, was operating inside their cell and had been repeatedly warning the FBI about the group’s intentions. As far back as 1989, the FBI had been watching [10] these cell members conduct weapons training.

When one of the cell members, El Sayyid Nosair, killed Rabbi Meir Kahane in a New York City hotel in November 1990, law enforcement recovered hordes of information about the cell’s activities and intentions — but, as has been pointed out, it was never translated. My friend and colleague Andy McCarthy, who prosecuted some of the cell members after the 1993 WTC bombing, wrote a whole book about the affair, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad [11].

Read more at PJ Media

The Poison Tree

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

Arab protesters wave Islamic flags in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel / AP

By Matthew Continetti:

Last month, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu made a connection between the Islamic State and Hamas. These terrorist entities, Netanyahu said, have a lot in common. Separated by geography, they nonetheless share ideology and tactics and goals: Islamism, terrorism, the destruction of Israel, and the establishment of a global caliphate.

And yet, Netanyahu observed, the very nations now campaigning against the Islamic State treated Hamas like a legitimate combatant during last summer’s Israel-Gaza war. “They evidently don’t understand,” he said, “that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree.”

The State Department dismissed Netanyahu’s metaphor. “Obviously, we’ve designated both as terrorist organizations,” said spokesman Jen Psaki. “But ISIL poses a different threat to Western interests and to the United States.”

Psaki was wrong, of course. She’s always wrong. And, after the events of the last 48 hours, there ought not to be any doubt as to just how wrong she was. As news broke that a convert to Islam had murdered a soldier and stormed the Canadian parliament, one read of another attack in Jerusalem, where a Palestinian terrorist ran his car over passengers disembarking from light rail, injuring seven, and killing 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, who held a U.S. passport.

Islamic State, al Qaeda, Hamas—these awful people are literally baby killers. And yet they produce a remarkable amount of dissension, confusion, willful ignorance, and moral equivalence on the part of the men and women who conduct U.S. foreign policy. “ISIL is not ‘Islamic,’” President Obama said of the terrorist army imposing sharia law across Syria and Iraq. “Obviously, we’re shaken by it,” President Obama said of the attack in Canada. “We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident,” the State Department said of the murder of a Jewish child.

“Not Islamic,” despite the fact that the Caliphate grounds its barbarous activities in Islamic law. “Shaken,” not stirred to action. “All sides,” not the side that targets civilians again and again and again. The evasions continue. They create space for the poison tree to grow.

The persistent denial of the ideological unity of Islamic terrorism—the studied avoidance of politically incorrect facts that has characterized our response to the Ft. Hood shooting, the Benghazi attack, the Boston Marathon bombing, the march of the caliphate across Syria and Iraq, and the crimes of Hamas—is not random. Behind it is a set of ideas with a long history, and with great purchase among the holders of graduate degrees who staff the Department of Justice, the National Security Council, Foggy Bottom, and the diplomatic corps. These ideas are why, in the words of John McCain, the terrorists “are winning, and we’re not.”

A report by Katherine Gorka of the Council on Global Security, “The Bad Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” analyzes the soil from which the poison tree draws strength. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, Gorka writes, U.S. policymakers have faced a dilemma: “how to talk about Islam in a way that is instructive in dealing with Muslims who are enemies but not destructive to those who are friends.” For decades, the preferred solution has been to declare America’s friendship with Islam, and to distinguish between jihadists and everyday Muslims.

One of Gorka’s earliest examples of this policy comes from former Assistant Secretary of State Edward Djerejian, who said in 1992, “The U.S. government does not view Islam as the next ‘ism’ confronting the West or threatening world peace.” Similar assurances were uttered by officials in the Clinton administration, by Clinton himself, and by President George W. Bush. The policy was meant to delegitimize terrorism by denying the terrorists’ claim that they are acting according to religious precepts. “Policymakers believed that by tempering their language with regard to Islam, they might forestall further radicalization of moderate Muslims and indeed even potentially win moderates into the American circle of friendship.”

George W. Bush, Gorka notes, combined his rhetorical appeals to moderate Muslims with denunciations of the immorality of terrorism and illiberalism. And yet, for the government at large, downplaying the religious and ideological component to terrorist activities became an end in itself.

The Global War on Terror was renamed the “global struggle against violent extremism.” In 2008 the Department of Homeland Security published a lexicon of terrorism that said, “Our terminology must be properly calibrated to diminish the recruitment efforts of extremists who argue that the West is at war with Islam.” State Department guidelines issued in 2008 said, “Never use the terms jihadist or mujahedeen to describe a terrorist.”

Then came Obama. As a candidate, he stressed his experiences in Indonesia and Pakistan. He told Nick Kristof of the New York Times that the call of the muezzin is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” In one of his first major addresses as president, he traveled to Cairo to inaugurate a new beginning with the Muslim world. His counterterrorism adviser, now director of the CIA, called jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” and referred to Jerusalem as “Al Quds.”

The change in the manner in which the government treated Islamism was profound. “Whereas the 9/11 Commission report, published under the presidency of George W. Bush in July 2004 as a bipartisan product, had used the word Islam 322 times, Muslim 145 times, jihad 126 times, and jihadist 32 times,” Gorka writes, “the National Intelligence Strategy of the United States, issued by the Obama administration in August 2009, used the term Islam 0 times, Muslim 0 times, jihad 0 times.” The omission is stunning.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

Emerson on Fox News America’s Newsroom – Open Societies and Stopping Terrorism

 

Bill Hemmer: Police in Canada now say the gunman in the attack acted alone. Serious questions that remain about whether or not this was yet another instance of a so-called lone wolf attack. Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, with me now. Steve, how are you? And good morning to you. You have some sources up on Ottawa. What are you picking up now that we have not yet learned?

Steve Emerson: Canada is no different than the United States. For the last few years, last decade or so, they have experienced at least a dozen major aborted plots to attack major targets [in Canada] including government facilities as well as [other] facilities in [Canada and] the United States. All of them have been stopped with the assistance of either Canadian intelligence or US intelligence. The sound bite you played by Walid Phares was right on, was spot on. The issue is if the government can get inside our minds then they could stop acts of terrorism. But the issue is the point of activization. You can be radical but not cross the line; you are believing in a radical theology. Once you cross that line into carrying out a criminal predicate, then it’s illegal, then the government has the right to stop you. So taking away your passport isn’t going to stop you from carrying out an act of violence.

Hemmer: Yeah you’re precisely right about that. Just so our viewers know, this man’s passport was confiscated. So too are the passports of 90 other suspected Islamic radicals that the Canadians are watching right now. You mentioned Walid Phares. To our viewers who did not hear that, here’s what he said on the record last night.

Clip of Walid Phares: The pool of individuals who are like Rouleau and Bibeau, both in the United States and in Canada, is pretty big. How are we going to be able to determine which one is going to act is the real problem of counterintelligence services.

Hemmer: How we are able to determine which one will act is the real problem of counterintelligence. How do you address that Steve?

Emerson: That is the quintessential problem because when the government becomes too intrusive, when it starts listening to conversations, taking down your phone numbers, looking at the books that you read at the library, the public gets outraged, that’s invading your privacy. Yet those are all indicators, potential indicators of whether you are potentially going to carry out an act of terrorism or whether you’re interested in carrying out an act of terrorism. And yet the problem is that if you are not interested and yet the government does intrude on your privacy, everyone yells, well this is an invasion of your civil liberties. In a free society there’s always going to be this tension here. After 9/11 there was no controversy at all about passing the Patriot Act. I think it passed 99-1. Today if you had a vote in the Congress about the Patriot Act, I’m not so sure it would pass. Maybe it would pass today, but maybe it wouldn’t have passed last week.

Hemmer: It just has a way of rubbing off and the intensity we give the topic rubs off after time. We were speaking last hour with a great guest who was telling us that you need to raise the terror alert just to make sure the thing still work. They did this in Canada, I don’t know if that is something you would support here. Is that even necessary in our country?

Emerson: Well you remember we went through the color alerts. The issue of the alerts is a psychological thing; the purpose is to raise the public awareness. But the reality is, Bill, that the public awareness is raised really only through one thing – through fear. And that fear is engendered ironically through the success of attacks like the ones that were carried out in Canada over the last three days. When the FBI is successful in stopping attacks, the public doesn’t realize the magnitude of damage and death that could occur. So they’re almost victims of their own success. That’s the real irony in stopping attacks.

Hemmer: Steve, it is good to get your analysis here. Thanks for coming back with us today. Steve Emerson out of Washington, DC.

****

See videos with transcripts of all of Steve Emerson’s appearances here.

Cruz: Time to Drop the ‘Illusion’ That Latest Terror Attacks Are ‘Random Acts’

Ted Cruz / AP

Ted Cruz / AP

By Adam Kredo:

Recent terror attacks in Jerusalem and Canada are not isolated events, and American policy leaders must drop “the illusion that these are random acts of senseless violence unrelated to our national security,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said.

Whether the Islamic State or Hamas is behind the attacks, the extremist ideologyremains the same–and it poses a direct threat to democratic values across the globe, Cruz said in pointed comments to those who might claim the attacks were unrelated.

Following the Hamas terror attack Wednesday in Jerusalem–which injured several American citizens, including a child–both Hamas and the more moderate Fatah ruling party praised the terrorist responsible for the attack.

The same day, IS supporters worldwide took to Twitter to celebrate the fatal shooting of a Canadian soldier by a radicalized man that attacked the country’s Parliament building.

“We have to get away from the illusion that these are random acts of senseless violence unrelated to our national security,” Cruz said.

Cruz said the attacks are both strains of the same extremist virus.

“Deliberations over our foreign policy have gained a new clarity in recent days,” Cruz said. “Yesterday, an innocent, beautiful baby in Jerusalem was murdered by Hamas.”

“Terrorist organizations Hamas and Fatah both celebrated the destruction of this precious life just months after they relished in the slayings of Jewish teens,” Cruz said. “They did not care that the baby was American or one of the teens was a dual Israeli-American citizen. Their campaign of death is indiscriminate.”

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

“Who have Eyes and See Not”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau storming Parliament

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau storming Parliament

CSP, by Kyle Shideler:

October 22nd’s terror attack by Michael (aka Abdullah) Zehaf-Bibeau brings into focus an important question for Western counterterrorism efforts, as reports are now indicating that Zehaf-Bibeau, reportedly a Muslim convert, or having recently become religious, had been under Canadian law enforcement scrutiny prior to the attack, over fears that he may head abroad to join the Islamic State. This exact same set of circumstances also existed for Martin Couture Rouleau, who killed one Canadian soldier, and wounded another, in a hit and run terror attack on October 21st.

Nor are the Canadians the only ones who have had all the proper intelligence on suspects, and literally surveilled them all the up until the moment they began their deadly assault. A look at the past several years brings to mind multiple examples. The FBI was made aware of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev , and even interviewed him, well before he engaged in his jihad. British MI-5 had likewise been made aware of Michael Adebolajo, when he was arrested by Kenyan authorities allegedly for trying to join the jihad in Somalia. Adebolajo (together with a partner) would go on to engage in the beheading of British Army drummer Lee Rigby, in an attack very nearly copied by Rouleau.

Mohamed Merah, the French Muslim terrorist who attacked a Jewish school killing a Rabbi and three children as well as three French paratroopers in ambush attacks, was known to French intelligence and under surveillance for years. The Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hassan gave a briefing to his fellow Walter Reed psychiatrists about why sharia law obligated Muslims to engage in jihad against non-Muslims. Hassan’s email exchanges with Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki were read by the FBI in 2008 before the attack.  The Underwear bomber, and the Glasgow Airport bomber were also known to law enforcement and intelligence, and yet in both cases only quick acting members of the public prevented tragedy.

The point of mentioning these cases (and there are others) is not to blame law enforcement or intelligence agencies for failure, but rather to highlight a key problem. Despite the ability to detect, surveil and identify jihadists, which has been largely successful, the ability to actually prevent their attacks remains woefully inadequate. And even less is being done about the networks which indoctrinated these men, most of whom were recent converts, or men from largely secular families who had recently been re-introduced to their faith with a renewed zeal. Instead the relevant agencies watched, and listened… and then when the attacks occur, they were left to clean up the mess.

For starters, discussions of ideology, indoctrination, and recruitment have been forbidden, or at a minimum are utterly inadequate. While the RCMP wisely decided to reject an “anti-terror” handbook, which was put together in cooperation with Islamic groups in Canada, and which would have called for an end to the use of terms like “jihad” or “Islamist”, it shows that the same pressures exist in Canada as have been present in the United States. Ironically the U.S. State Department praised the same book rejected by Canadian law enforcement.

More efforts also need to be placed on disrupting the indoctrination and recruiting process, which requires understanding realistically where that indoctrination occurs. As noted by former Iraqi MP Ayad Jamal Al-Din (Transcript courtesy of Andy McCarthy):

As I have said, ISIS is a phenomenon with extensions all over the world, not just in Muslim countries. Even here in the U.S., there are many ISIS mosques.  There are thousands of mosques that are preparing people to join ISIS. Imagine: young people from Florida join the ranks of ISIS to fight, and so do young people from Britain, Australia, Russia, China, and elsewhere. How could a young university student leave Florida to fight for ISIS if not for a mosque that incited him to do so? I am not talking about a handful of mosques or about just a few people. No, we are talking about thousands of such mosques, or even more, in all countries of the world, from South America to North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. These mosques are calling, day in and day out, for the revival of the caliphate. There are school curricula that glorify the caliphate…

MP Al-Din said in that short segment on an Arabic television channel what most law enforcement officials and intelligence officers would be terrified to say, and are prohibitedfrom investigating.

Another tool law enforcement has traditionally used to preempt terrorists with great effect has been the use informants and sting operations. By luring would-be terrorists into conducting their jihad harmlessly with fake explosives or the like, law enforcement can pounce without waiting for death and mayhem. But as has been repeatedly documentedelsewhere, in the United States at least, that tool is under severe pressure. Sting operations are targeted for elimination by the Muslim Brotherhood, and their various allies through false claims of entrapment. While outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent guideline changes on profiling did not terminate the use of informants, it opened the door for continued efforts by MB groups to pursue their elimination.

The ability to gather intelligence, to surveil and identify potential threats is meaningless if there exists no way to take action before those threats become realized. This in turn plays a part in the public’s increased discomfort with surveillance, which does not seem to be accomplishing the one goal for which it was instituted, protecting the public. Quality intelligence work, and dramatic surveillance capabilities suggest that future Zehaf-Bibeaus, Rouleaus, Hassans, Abebolajos, and Tsarnaevs are unlikely to go “undetected.” However, thanks to the inability to get quality training on ideology, the impermissibility of addressing mosques as targets of investigations, and soon, the inability to utilize informants or sting operations, they are also unlikely to be stopped.