Here Are al-Qaeda’s Guidelines for Which ‘Blasphemers’ to Assassinate

aqiswarningPJ Media, By Bridget Johnson On May 28, 2015:

Two weeks after the latest murder of a blogger for professing disbelief in the Islamic prophet or simply promoting a secular society, al-Qaeda’s new chapter in southeast Asia has issued an update about who will be targeted next.

The bloggers hacked to death in brazen, public attacks thus far have all been in Bangladesh — one of the three victims in less than three months was an American citizen — but the English-language posting of the terrorists’ target list suggests that forthcoming attacks may not be limited in scope.

Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh considers itself a “brother” of al-Qaeda, as Ayman al-Zawahiri has united South Asia jihadist groups under al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. The chapter was announced last September after what al-Zawahiri said was two years of set-up work with regional Islamist leaders, with a consultative council already operating for a year before the official announcement.

Their newest warning posted online vows to target:

  • “Those who are insulting our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Allah (S) and our religion Islam. We have no problem with the atheists bloggers, atheism or with other religions or belief but we will not tolerate insulting out Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We are targeting those who are insulting our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the name of atheism.”
  • “People who are not allowing to follow the rulings of shariah. He/She might be a teacher of a University, College or School. He/She might be a leader of a certain area or locality or a political party. He/She might be a Judge, Advocate, Engineer or Doctor etc.”
  • “Those who are presenting Islam wrongly in His/Her writings or talks and trying to keep Muslims far from the real teaching of Islam which is one of the main agendas of crusaders in the Muslim nations all over the world. He/She might be a well known writer. He/She might be a poet or free thinker or so called intellectuals. He/She might be an editor of a newspaper of magazine. He/She might be a actor, journalist, producer, director or actor etc.”
  • “Those who are opposing, lowing and presenting wrongly the rulings of shariah by his/her talks or writings using media or any other means of publications.”
  • “Those who are trying to destroy Muslim social values by introducing and spreading the nudity and zina [sex outside of marriage] among the Muslim youths.”
  • “Those who are tying to remove the shariah rulings from the existing Islamic systems, values, cultures and economics.”
  • “Those who are trying to stop the establishment of Islamic rulings (Shariah).”

The al-Qaeda chapter claims it won’t target any people just for not being Muslim, but declared open season on “those who are trying to insult our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Allah (S) and our religion by any means such as writings, talks or physical works.”

Ananta Bijoy Das, a science writer whose numerous books included one on evolution, was hacked to death by four men wielding machetes and cleavers May 12 as he went to work in the city of Sylhet.

AQIS issued a statement afterward announcing they were “delighted” to be responsible for “one Islamophobic atheist blogger sent to hell.” They accused Das of “taunts” to Islam.

Das knew his life was in danger, and tried to get a visa to go to Sweden for a press-freedom event. Swedish officials denied the request last month, afraid that the writer wouldn’t return to Bangladesh.

In February, Bangladeshi-American secularist blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death on a Dhaka street. “The target was an American citizen.. 2 in 1. #America recently martyred 2 of our brothers in #Khurasan & #Shaam. #Revenge+#Punishment,” Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh tweeted afterward.

Roy was a dual U.S.-Bangladesh citizen who lived in Georgia and was in Bangladesh for a month. His wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, was with him at the time of the attack and was severely wounded, with one of her fingers severed by the pair of machete-wielding attackers.

His blog in the 90 percent Muslim country, mukto-mona.com, translates to “free thinking” and featured atheist, humanist and nationalist writers. He was also an author whose books included The Philosophy of Disbelief and The Virus of Faith — further stoking outrage of Islamists.

Das contributed to mukto-mona.com.

After Roy’s murder, secular blogger Washiqur Rahman wasn’t going to take it from the Islamists. He posted a Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoon and used the hashtag #IamAvijit. Rahman was hacked to death at the end of March.

Two suspects out of three attackers were seized at the scene of the crime: students at an Islamic school who said they were acting on orders to kill Rahman.

Al-Qaeda issued a video at the beginning of this month saying AQIS was behind those assassinations and more, including the February 2013 murder of secularist Bangladeshi blogger Rajib Haider.

“Praise be to Allah, these assassinations are part of a series of operations initiated by the different branches of al-Qaeda on the orders of our respected leader Sheikh Ayman al Zawahiri (may Allah protect him),” AQIS leader Asim Umar said. “It is equally part of our commitment to fulfill the oath of Sheikh Osama [bin Laden] (may Allah have mercy on him).”

The assassination campaign, Umar stressed, is teaching “a lesson to blasphemers in France, Denmark, Pakistan and now in Bangladesh.”

Though not specifically mentioned by the al-Qaeda directive, the message was released two days before Friday’s “Draw Muhammad” event outside of a Phoenix mosque.

Foreign Terrorist Fighters Pose Domestic Risk, Finance Jihad

ftfCSP, by Olivia McCoy, May 27, 2015:

Relatives of a Foreign Terrorist Fighter (FTF) reportedly transferred up to $15.47 million USD to finance the Islamic State. Australian national, Khaled Sharrouf traveled to Syria to fight on behalf of the Islamic State. According to a report by the United Nations Security Council, the sister and brother-in-law of Khaled Sharrouf owned a money transfer business. This business was used to send money to countries surrounding Syria. The report is unclear which countries were sent the money and whose money was being transferred.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, says that there will be a no tolerance policy for jihadists trying to return to Australia or individuals financing the Islamic State.

However, this isn’t the first case of the Islamic State being financed by private donors. The Islamic State generates a portion of its funding from private donors in the Gulf. These private donors, stemming from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, have provided funds to pay for the salaries of over 100,000 Islamic State jihadists.

The UN estimates that there are over 25,000 FTFs that have joined al-Qaeda-linked terror organizations, principally the Islamic State. Roughly 22,00 of those FTF’s are operating out of Syria or Iraq. FTFs themselves can be a source of financing for terror groups. Often times FTFs travel to Syria on behalf of Islamic State, bringing all of their money with them and donating it to the Caliphate upon arrival.

According to the UN Report, dated May 19th, 2015, in the past three years the numbers of FTFs have drastically risen. Since the middle of 2014 to March of 2015 there was a 71 percent increase in foreign fighters. This year alone, there have been 40 individuals in the U.S. involved in international related-terror cases.

In March of 2015, Keonna Thomas of Philadelphia was arrested because of plans to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State and provide financial and material aid. She had been in contact with an Islamic State fighter in Syria who recruited her. The FBI arrested her just days before she was scheduled to depart.

FTFs are a major threat because in addition to helping further the terror group’s agenda abroad they also pose a risk domestically. Prior to departing for the Middle East to join the Islamic State, individuals are often in contact with representatives or handlers that they would meet prior to joining. This is hazardous because the handlers may instead tell FTFs to stay in their domestic countries and provide instructions on waging jihad domestically. The leader of the Islamic State himself called for domestic action in a speech released on May 14th:

“And we call upon every Muslim in every place to perform hijrah to the Islamic State or fight in his land wherever that may be.”

Countries with direct flights to locations such as Turkey should strengthen security checks against individuals coming through customs, as should countries that serve as  transit points, such as Spain and Morocco. Stopping FTFs is important because it not only prevents the Islamic State’s force from growing but also cuts off a key source of funding.

Also see:

MICHAEL YOUSSEF TALKS STRAIGHT ON ISLAM

Supplicating_Pilgrim_at_Masjid_Al_Haram._Mecca_Saudi_ArabiaPhilos Project, by Andrew Harrod, May 27, 2015:

Arab-American pastor Michael Youssef writes that “militant Islamists demand conformity to an ancient and merciless code of laws” that stems from the “original and authentic Islam of the seventh century.” Youssef’s compelling new book Jesus, Jihad, and Peace: What Bible Prophecy Says about World Events Today expounds on that claim, offering a fascinating analysis from an Egyptian native about Islam’s essential character and its relationship to the free world.

Not everyone will agree with Youssef’s analysis. Those who see militant Islam as a perversion of the faith will be troubled by Youssef’s claim that Islamic Republic of Iran’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini “was not expressing a distorted view of Islam.” Youssef cites global supremacy as a “basic Islamic doctrine,” and sees Khomeini’s statements as perfectly aligned with Koranic teachings. According to Youssef, “Genuine biblical Christianity does not impose itself, but Islam, by contrast, is a religion of law, submission and punishment with a history … of massacres, enslavement, torture and brutality far exceeding the crimes of the Crusaders.”

Some apologists claim that Islam is a religion of peace, suggesting that the word “Islam” comes from the Arabic salaam. But Youssef contends that “anyone with even the most elementary knowledge of the Arabic language knows that Islam comes from aslama, or ‘total submission.’”  Efforts to rebrand jihad as warm and fuzzy (like a recent attempt by the Council on American-Islamic Relations) “appear more intended to confuse than educate.” The idea of jihad as an inner struggle is actually “relatively uncommon” among Muslims, Youssef says.

What many do not know – although this idea is well understood by those who take the Koran seriously – is that Islam’s central religious text leaves no room for moderation. While God blesses Jews and Christians (and Sabeans) in Koran 2:62, Youssef points out that “Muslim scholars generally interpret this verse as a blessing on the Christians and Jews who lived before Muhammad and his complete revelation.” Muslim orthodoxy additionally maintains that “any nonliteral interpretation of the Koran is a compromise with Western godlessness.”

Youssef correlates Islam’s harshness with that faith’s “unknowable deity,” or Allah in Arabic. In Islam, God is an “entirely separate form of being – remote, aloof and distant,” while the “Christian assertion that we are created in God’s image is blasphemy.” The Muslim view of Allah is intertwined with the Arab view of leadership in which rulers must be absolute monarchs or dictators. Youssef points out that because Muslims see Allah as an unyielding and vengeful god, “they tend to interact with others in a judgmental, unforgiving way.”

Youssef sees Islam as a threat to both Muslims and non-Muslims. “Almost since its inception, Islam has been at war with itself,” Youssef wrote, adding that Shiites and Sunnis “have battled and killed one another in order to prove themselves to be the purest, most zealous, most dogmatic Muslims of all.” Meanwhile, the existence of Israel on land that Muslims believe once belonged to the House of Islam strikes at the heart of Islamic ideology. “Muslims will not rest until the Jews either accept the Islamic religion or leave Palestine.”

Youssef speaks about a “growing trend in Muslim countries … toward Islamic fundamentalist ideology, regardless of which branch of Islam is advocated.” Under Egyptian dictators Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak since 1973, for example, Islamic governments became more radical in an attempt to appease the extremists. Yet jihadists still assassinated Sadat in 1981 and a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated uprising deposed Mubarak in 2011. “Appeasing extremists never earns their gratitude — only their contempt,” Youssef remarks.

Outside of Muslim-majority societies, “‘Islamophobia’ is merely a label that radical Muslims use to silence and intimidate … a form of jihad.” With such tactics, “universities are becoming willing accomplices in squelching free speech, oppressing women and girls in the Islamic world and advancing … a ‘stealth jihad’ agenda for America.” “Islamically correct” views also dominate media organizations like the New York Times. “America, following in the footsteps of Europe, has made a seemingly suicidal decision not to defend its culture from being infiltrated and undermined by Islamists,” he says.

“Islamic extremists see Christianity as the most potent ideological threat they face — far more potent than other religions, communism or atheism,” Youssef writes, adding that Christianity blocks the advancement of Islam on virtually all geographic, historical and ideological fronts. Radical Muslims view Christians and other non-Muslims as infidels who are faithless and treacherous.

But Youssef is careful to note that most Muslims are not radical. In 2013, in Youssef’s native Egypt, “Muslims threw off the yoke of political Islamism and provided a historic proof that there are truly moderate Muslims and that extremists are probably no more than 20 percent or so of the Muslim world.” But a May 2014 Pew poll showing 13 percent support for Al-Qaeda across 11 Muslim countries approximated 208 million Muslims, a not-so-small number that Youssef says worried him. He also wonders why Muslim moderates who “interpret the Koran according to their own conscience often do not speak out against the excesses of the fundamentalists who do not hesitate to respond with force and cruelty.”

Notwithstanding Islam’s “false worldview,” Youssef says that he has “genuine affectation and appreciation for Muslim people,” among which he has “many dear friends and acquaintances.” “My heart aches for the Muslim,” he writes, adding that the “Christian concept of salvation for sinners is completely unknown in Islam.” On this earth, Muslims can never know if they have done enough to earn Allah’s favor. “Islam is surrender without any guarantee of peace.”

Ultimately Youssef recognizes that this struggle is not just a material one — it’s ideological. “No matter how many terrorists you kill, there are always more lining up to take their place in the name of entrenched Islamic doctrines,” he concludes, emphasizing the need for a war of ideas. “Though the War on Terror is critically important in restraining the jihadist onslaught, war alone is not the answer. We must also fight for the hearts and minds of those who would do us harm.”

While D.C. Downplays Risk, U.S. Sees Shocking Rise in Terror Arrests This Year

102b-300x180PJ Media, by Patrick Poole On May 27, 2015:

The arrest of two southern California men last week who were planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State brings the number of U.S.-based individuals involved in international terror-related cases this year to 40.

This number highlights the metastasizing Islamic terror threat in the American homeland. At the current pace, by the end of June — halfway through 2015 — the number of cases will exceed the number from the past two years combined.

The Islamic State, as well as al-Qaeda affiliates and other Islamic terror groups, have repeatedly called for supporters to conduct attacks inside the American homeland:

Recent evidence gives cause for concern. As I noted here at PJ Media, FBI Director Comey downplayed the number of Americans who had traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS and other terror groups before the midterm elections. He stated on 60 Minutes that “roughly a dozen” were fighting in Syria. But in February, senior officials corrected that number. They admitted that 180 had traveled to Syria. They also admitted that 40 had returned to the U.S. and posed a potential threat. FBI Director Comey then said they were investigating ISIS suspects in all 50 states.

Underscoring the failure to alert the public regarding the threat, concerned citizens have not been able to find a list of the 40 individuals arrested this year. Until now, a public list simply didn’t exist.

Here they are: the 40 U.S.-based individuals charged in Islamic terror-related cases in 2015.

(This list will undoubtedly grow. I will update with new information as it becomes available.)

May 22: Muhanad Badawi, 24, and Nader Elhuzayel, 24, both of Anaheim, California, were arrested on Thursday for planning to travel to join ISIS. Elhuzayel was arrested at Los Angeles International airport trying to board a flight that included a stopover in Istanbul, presumably where he would have left the flight and tried to cross the Turkey/Syria border. Both were active on social media praising ISIS. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

May 14: Bilal Abood, 37, of Mesquite, Texas, an Iraqi-born naturalized U.S. citizen who migrated to the United States in 2009, was arrested for lying to the FBI about his travel to Syria, where he planned to fight against the Assad regime. In March 2013 he was prevented from boarding a flight at Dallas Fort Worth International airport and was questioned by the FBI. The following month he transited to Mexico and flew to Turkey, returning in September 2013, when he was questioned again by the FBI. A July 2014 search of his computer found a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

May 3: Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Soofi, 37, both of Phoenix, Arizona, were killed in a gunfight with law enforcement outside a Garland, Texas community center where a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest was being held. As I noted here at PJ Media, Simpson had been communicating with known ISIS operatives on Twitter, and had been known to the FBI since 2006 due to his association with convicted terror operative Hassan Abu Jihaad. Soofi grew up in Pakistan and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. The pair attended a Phoenix mosque with previous terror connections. (PJ Media live blog.)

April 23: Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, 24, of San Diego, California, was arrested on charges of lying to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Customs and Border Protection, and the FBI about his travels to Syria. As I reported here at PJ Media, Kodaimati was caught in a series of lies related to his work on behalf of a sharia court operated by Jabhat al-Nusra — al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria and a U.S. designated terrorist organization — and also about his role in mediating between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS in northern Syria. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 19: Six men from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota were arrested in Minneapolis and San Diego for conspiracy and material support for terrorism for their plans to travel to join ISIS. Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 21, Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 19, Abdurahman Yasin Daud, 21, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19, Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19, and Guled Ali Omar, 20, had been planning to travel to Syria for more than 10 months, and continued their plan even after several of their associates had been arrested. On May 19, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment with additional charges, including a previously arrested associate. It also stated that one of the men, Abdirahman Yasin Daud, had threatened to kill FBI agents if they tried to stop him. As I reported here at PJ Media, the federal judge in the case has said that he is considering releasing some or all of the men to a halfway house to participate in a local “deradicalization” program. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 24: Related to the previous case, an associate of the defendants, Mahamed Abukar Said, 19, was arrested for threatening to kill the U.S. attorney general, warning of a “massacre” if the Feds didn’t release his friends, and intimidating an informant in the case on Twitter.

April 10: John T. Booker (aka Muhammad Abdullah Hassan), 20, of Topeka, Kansas was arrested in a plot to detonate a car bomb targeting soldiers at the U.S. Army base at Fort Riley. As I reported here at PJ Media, in April 2014 the FBI publicly dismissed Booker as a terror threat after Fox News published an alert by military authorities warning that Booker intended to conduct an attack on U.S. military personnel. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 10: Related to the Booker case, Alexander E. Blair, 28, also of Topeka, Kansas, was charged with failing to report a felony for not informing authorities of Booker’s plans when he had advance knowledge of the plot. The FBI alleged that Blair, who shared Booker’s Islamic extremist views, had loaned Booker money to rent a storage unit to store bomb components. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 9: Joshua Van Haften, 34, of Madison, Wisconsin, was charged with trying to provide material support to ISIS by traveling to Syria to join the terror group. He was arrested by Turkish immigration officials in October, and arrested upon his return at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 7: Dilkhayot Kasimov, 26, of Brooklyn, New York, was charged for assisting others in traveling overseas to join the Islamic State. (DOJ press release.Complaint.)

April 4: Miguel Moran Diaz (aka Azizi al-Hariri), 46, of Miami, Florida was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the federal complaint, Diaz was an ISIS supporter who described himself as a “lone wolf” who intended to kill people and engrave the bullet shell casings so that law enforcement would “know there was a sniper in town.” (Complaint.)

April 3: Keonna Thomas (aka Fatayat Al Khilafah), 30, of Philadephia, Pennsylvania was arrested for planning to travel to Syria and martyr herself for ISIS. Thomas had applied for a passport and purchased an electronic visa for Turkey. Prosecutors claimed that she had been voicing support for ISIS on social media since at least August 2013. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 2: Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 29, originally from Texas, was returned from Pakistan and charged with recruiting others to kill U.S. military personnel. Leaving for Pakistan from Canada in 2007 and serving in a senior position within al-Qaeda, the Obama administration had discussed using a drone to kill Al-Farekh. (DOJ press release. Complaint.)

April 2: Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, both of Queens, New York, were arrested for plotting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction, and even discussed targeting a police funeral. When they were arrested, authorities found bomb-building materials including propane gas tanks, soldering tools, pipes, a pressure cooker, and fertilizer. The pair had previously been roommates, and Siddiqui had been in regular contact with al-Qaeda officials in Yemen, most notably with U.S. al-Qaeda propagandist Samir Khan. In 2009, one of her poems was published in al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

March 26: Hasan Rasheed Edmonds, 22, of Aurora, Illinois — a U.S. Army National Guard specialist –was arrested at Chicago’s Midway airport on a trip with the eventual destination of Syria to join ISIS. Also arrested was his cousin, Jonas “Yunus” Edmonds, 29, also of Aurora, Illinois, who was charged with planning a terror attack on an Illinois National Guard facility with AK-47s and grenades. He intended to use Hasan’s uniform to enter the facility after his departure. (DOJ press release. Complaint.)

March 18: Tairod Pugh, 47, of Neptune, New Jersey, was charged with material support for a terrorist organization following his attempt to travel to Syria to join ISIS. In January, he flew to Turkey from Egypt, but was sent back by Turkish authorities. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Pugh had expressed on his Facebook page and elsewhere his dislike for America and his allegiance to the jihadi cause. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 27: An unnamed 17-year-old from Woodbridge, Virginia was arrested and charged with assisting others trying to join ISIS. As the suspect is a juvenile, the indictment is sealed. However, federal prosecutors have said they intend to charge him as an adult. The teen reportedly wrote for several websites, and published articles in defense of slavery in Islam.

February 24: Three men living in Brooklyn, New York, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, and Abror Habibov, 30, were arrested forplanning to travel to Syria to join ISIS. Juraboev and Habibov are from Uzbekistan, and Saidakhmetov is from Kazakhistan. Two other individuals – one in Brooklyn, the other in Norfolk, Virginia – were arrested on immigration charges related to the case. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 11: An unnamed 16-year-old inspired by ISIS was arrested in York, South Carolina on gun charges. Prosecutors claimed that the teen conspired withanother unnamed North Carolina resident to rob a Raleigh gun store, and then use the weapons to shoot up a U.S. military base. In April, he was sentenced toserve five years in juvenile prison until he is 21. Because of the suspect’s age and the lack of a state terrorism statute, he could only be charged with weapons-related offenses. His accomplice in North Carolina has not been named or apparently charged. Local officials claimed they kept the case quiet for “public safety” concerns.

February 6: Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40, his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35, and Armin Harcevic, 37, all of St. Louis, Missouri, Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, N.Y.,Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34, of Schiller Park, Ill., and Jasminka Ramic, 42, of Rockford, Illinois — all Bosnian immigrants — were indicted following a two-year investigation for funneling money, guns, and military hardware to ISIS operatives in Syria. Their support included aiding Abdullah Ramo Pazara, also of St. Louis, who traveled to Syria in 2013 just months after becoming a U.S. citizen, and became a top deputy to ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani and was reportedly killed last year. Rosic was arrested on his way to Syria. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 5: Hamza Ahmed, 19, of Minneapolis, Minnesota was charged with lying to the FBI after being stopped from boarding a flight in New York intending to travel to Syria to join ISIS. Ahmed was part of a group of four men who traveled by bus to New York in November. He denied knowing the men he traveled with in an interview with FBI agents. Ahmed had been active on Twitter supporting ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, which kept him in jail following his arrest. Earlier this month, he was charged in a superseding indictment in the case of six other Minneapolis men who were planning to join ISIS. He and another suspect are charged with fraud forusing federal student loans to finance their trip. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 2: Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 26, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested on state terror charges for traveling to Syria and fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. In April, Mohamud was indicted on federal charges for plotting terror attacks in the U.S. targeting military and police officials. His brother was reported killed fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra in June 2014. Mohamud reportedly had been conducting weapons training with others after his return from Syria at a local Ohio gun range. As I noted here at PJ Media, he applied for his passport to travel to Syria just a week after becoming a U.S. citizen and days after being caught lying to the FBI. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

January 14: Christopher Lee Cornell (aka  Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah), 20, of Green Township, Ohio, was arrested leaving a Cincinnati-area gun store, where he had purchased two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition. Federal prosecutors allege that Cornell planned to set off pipe bombs around the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and then to shoot fleeing government workers. During a jailhouse interview with a local TV station, Cornell said that he would have also attacked the Israeli embassy and put a gun to President Obama’s head. Earlier this month he was also charged with material support for ISIS. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

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As the Heritage Foundation notes, since 9/11 there have been 68 Islamic domestic terror plots; 57 involved homegrown operatives.

The attempted terror attack this month in Garland, Texas was only averted due to luck and the work of local law enforcement authorities who took the potential threat seriously.

With the number of homegrown Islamic terror operatives increasing rapidly and the calls by Islamic terror groups overseas for attacks on the American homeland coming more regularly, it seems to be only a matter of time before we see another successful attack on American soil in the manner of the Boston bombing, the Fort Hood massacre, and the Little Rock Army recruiting center killing. Or perhaps a larger scale attack, as in Mumbai in November 2008.

When that future attack happens, it will come at a time when the credibility of our counter-terrorism and national security apparatus in speaking honestly about the nature and scope of the threat is at its lowest.

If the jihadist terror attacks in the West over the past year are any indicator, the next domestic terror attack will most likely be by what I have termed a “known wolf” – someone who is already known to law enforcement authorities.

It’s only a question of who, where, and when, and of how many Americans will die.

And this just yesterday:

Trove of Bin Laden documents released

binladen-562x281Fox News, May 20, 2015:

U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday released a trove of documents recovered during the 2011 raid on Usama bin Laden’s compound — offering a rare window into the operations of Al Qaeda and bin Laden’s involvement in leading the network from his Pakistan hideaway.

The documents include dozens of letters, some from  bin Laden himself, as well as accounting information and even what appears to be an application form for prospective Al Qaeda members. That form, which asks a series of detailed questions, includes the line: “Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?”

CLICK TO READ THE DOCUMENTS

The correspondence itself shows bin Laden continued to be engaged from his hideout and sought to direct operations. Shortly before he was killed in the May 2011 raid, a letter shows him celebrating the Arab Spring revolutions which had toppled Tunisia’s leader at that point and were mounting in several other countries.

“These are gigantic events that will eventually engulf most of the Muslim world, will free the Muslim land from American hegemony, and is troubling America whose Secretary of State declared that they are worried about the armed Muslims controlling the Muslim region,” bin Laden wrote, according to a translated version.

Bin Laden, writing to a follower identified as Atiyah, called for more Al Qaeda involvement in these countries once their leaders were deposed. He described the events as “critical to our nation,” advising against being “fully occupied with the Afghanistan front.” Bin Laden wrote, “we should give our main attention to the Muslim nation’s revolution …” He called for supporting the rebellions and pursuing an “education stage” whenever rulers were deposed, by “mobilizing” writers and technicians to guide those nations.

Another message, undated and unsigned, speaks to similar themes.

The letter lashes out against Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president who would soon be toppled. “The regime destroys the souls of the people from the palace,” it says. “Just as an unarmed man is killed by gunfire. [Mubarak] does as he wishes with the blood of the Muslims.” The letter details Al Qaeda’s plans, including a call to immediate action and an ominous warning that “disagreeing is bad for all.”

The letter says Ayman al-Zawahiri, now believed to be running Al Qaeda, is the appropriate person “from our ranks” to intervene because he is a “man of Egypt.”

The correspondence also includes letters among the bin Laden family members. One 2010 letter offers a glimpse into the Al Qaeda leader’s surveillance worries. In it, he urges his wife to “leave everything behind, including clothes, books, everything that she had in Iran” before arriving, warning about eavesdropping and the possibility that the Iranians would “implant a chip in some of the belongings that you might have brought along with you.”

Other documents show the day-to-day operations in Al Qaeda. One identified as “Instructions to Applicants” appears to be a form for Al Qaeda prospects. It asks for basic biographical information, as well as for information about “hobbies,” whether they know experts in chemistry, where they’ve traveled, and even “do you wish to execute a suicide operation?” This is followed by the question about whom to contact in case the applicant becomes a “martyr.”

Yet another document, a message in response to one of then-President George W. Bush’s State of the Union addresses, warned that the “motives that led to 9/11 are still there.” The message, presumably from bin Laden, said the 9/11 hijackers “are not exceptional freaks of history, but are the vanguards of a nation that rose up for Jihad, and there are millions of their brothers eager to seek the same path.”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the document release, titled “Bin Laden’s Bookshelf,” follows a “rigorous interagency review.”

The office said the intelligence community “will be reviewing hundreds more documents in the near future for possible declassification and release.”

The documents, recovered from the compound four years ago, are being released now because legislation mandated their declassification.

Also see:

U.S. aided arms flow from Benghazi to Syria

A Syrian Kurdish fighter in Kobani, Syria, in January Associated Press

A Syrian Kurdish fighter in Kobani, Syria, in January Associated Press

WorldMag.com, By J.C. DERRICK, May 18, 2015:

WASHINGTON—Documents released today confirm the Obama administration knew weapons were flowing out of Benghazi, Libya, to Syrian rebels in 2012 even though the rebels had well-publicized ties to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.

Previous reports, including one by WORLD in 2013, have linked U.S. involvement in Libya to arms flowing into Syria, but the new documents provide the first verification that contradicts administration officials and congressional Democrats who maintained there was no evidence to support it. The documents provide further confirmation that the CIA and the State Department—under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—received immediate intelligence that the attack was committed by al-Qaeda- and Muslim Brotherhood-linked brigades, even as Clinton and other officials claimed it was the result of rioting against a Muslim-bashing video.

“Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya, to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria,” says an October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document released with heavy redactions. It notes the activity took place weeks before terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, killing four Americans in September: “The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were [500] sniper rifles, [100] RPGs, and [400] 125 mm and 155 mm howitzers missiles.”

Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C., watchdog group, obtained the cache of more than 100 documents after filing a lawsuit in federal court. The judge who ordered the release, Ketanji Brown Jackson, is a 2013 appointee of President Barack Obama.

“These documents are jaw-dropping,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said. “No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them.”

Administration officials—including the CIA’s former acting director in sworn congressional testimony last year—have argued that initial intelligence showed no evidence of a pre-planned attack at Benghazi. But new documents undercut that assertion. A DIA memo dated September 12, 2012, says the attack was planned at least 10 days in advance to “kill as many Americans as possible” in revenge for a U.S. air strike that killed a militant leader in Pakistan and to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

That document, also heavily redacted, was circulated to top administration officials, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, four days before U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went on several national television shows claiming the attack was the result of a spontaneous protest.

Clare Lopez, a member of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi—a group of former intelligence officers, military personnel, and national security experts—told me it comes as no surprise that Benghazi was a retaliatory attack since al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video had called on the “sons of Libya” to avenge his deputy’s death. Lopez said the Judicial Watch release is “very significant,” because it “begins to peel back a little more of the layers of the onion about what was going on in Benghazi, and why that mission [facility] was there.”

Lopez, a former CIA officer who is now a vice president at the Center for Security Policy, said the commission has confirmed it was not the CIA but the State Department that managed the gun-running operation. According to Lopez, the department put up between $125,000 to $175,000 for each surface-to-air missile it funneled out of Libya to the Syrian battlefield.

The new revelations raise the stakes in the ongoing Benghazi investigation, which threatens to extend deep into the 2016 presidential campaign season. Republican members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, created a year ago following another Judicial Watch release, say the administration is stalling in its production of documents. Democrats have accused Republicans of moving at a “glacial pace” to unnecessarily drag out the probe.

Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 race, has agreed to testify before the panel, but the Republicans who control the committee say they won’t call her until they receive all relevant documents.

Monday’s disclosure includes startling detail showing that U.S. intelligence agencies know about militant activities down to the measurements of a room where al-Qaeda collects documents in Libya. The militants responsible for the Benghazi attacks controlled large caches of weapons “disguised by feeding troughs for livestock” and trained “almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”

A DIA report from August 2012 detailed the “dire consequences” of unfolding events in the Middle East, and predicted the rise of ISIS and a possible caliphate 17 months before Obama called the group a “JV team.
“This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters,” the document reads. “ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

J.C. is a reporter in WORLD’s Washington Bureau. He spent 10 years covering sports, higher education, and politics for the Longview News-Journal and other newspapers in Texas before joining WORLD in 2012. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.

Also see:

General Mattis Critical Of Obama Administration’s Treatment Of US Allies

8bd3121c-ddf3-433f-acc9-58cadfb7d8cenews.ap.org_r620x349Daily Caller, by Kerry Picket, May 14, 2015:

WASHINGTON — Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis told attendees at The Heritage Foundation Wednesday he is concerned the United States is not firmly standing by her global allies.

Mattis replaced General David Petraeus as commander of U.S. Central Command in August 2010 and retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after 41 years of military service.

Gen. Mattis recalled a meeting he had with the King Abdullah II of Jordan, when the French and British were planning to leave Afghanistan and Mattis confirmed their departure to the king.

“I said, ‘Yeah, that’s right your majesty.’ And he said, ‘Well, let me make sure you understand that our Jordanian troops will be there with you until the last American soldier comes home.’”

Mattis paused for a moment and explained, “You cannot buy allies like that. The way you get allies like that is if you want a friend when you’re in trouble, you need to be a friend when they’re in trouble, and we are not sending that message.”

He went further saying, “I was getting asked the same question in Cairo and Riad as I was being asked in Tel Aviv, and that’s darn near impossible to align them. How much have we aligned them? I had a foreign minister of an Arab country make a point to me when I started wearing this, instead of a uniform.”

“He said, ‘We, today, have more in common with Israel’s foreign policy than we have with America’s.’ That is not a good situation for stability and anyone who wants peace and prosperity and [to] turn over a better world to our children, that is not something we can be proud of,” the retired general noted.

Mattis believes the way the United States is handling global affairs is “not the way the greatest generation dealt with the world around them, and it’s one that we’re going to have to learn to adapt to, or we’re going to end up in a situation where we’re ashamed of what we’re turning over.”

“But leaving allies adrift and having to accommodate less pleasing allies, this is not something that is in America’s best interest,” he said.

When asked by The Daily Caller about his thoughts on the Obama administration’s handling of the Islamic State, he responded, “The president came out and said we didn’t have a strategy on this. I would only endorse what he said. Honesty is honesty. I think the president’s recognized the failing there, and I think if we do not do something to humiliate them and cause havoc, their recruiting and their fundraising will continue apace, so you’ve got to hit them with a shockwave.”

Mattis added, “That’s not just military, and it’s not just covert. It’s a whole lot of things. But again, it goes back to — you’ve got to ask the strategic questions. Is political Islam in our best interests? Let me define it. It’s political Islam as practiced by the mullahs in Tehran for the past 30 years. That’s on the Shia side. It’s political Islam as practiced by the Muslim Brothers, the brothers in Cairo for a year. And if it’s not in our best interest, what are we going to do to come up with that coherent strategy?”

***

Gen. Mattis speaks at about 13 min. into the video. Well worth your time to listen:

Rising Concerns over Muslim Refugee Resettlement in US: 1330amWEBY Interview with Ann Corcoran

Refugee_Hijra_WidgetNER, by Jerry Gordon, May 11, 2015:

Ann Corcoran’s brief video on Muslim Refugee Resettlement in the US has gone viral since being put up on YouTube on April 20, 2015 by the Center for Security Policy.  It has had over 200,735 hits to date climbing every day.  Clearly, Corcoran’s message has resonated among concerned Americans.   Watch it on YouTube:

The CSP YouTube video is a complement to her recently published book on the problems confronting America over the threat of mass Muslim migration that has transformed Europe and now troubles grass roots America,Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra to America” .

Corcoran and her team chronicle news and developments about this issue on the blog where she is editor,Refugee Resettlement Watch.     You may have read our interview with Erick Stakelbeck, ISIS Threat to America  in the current edition of the NER where he drew attention to the Somali refugee communities in the American heartland sending jihadi terrorists in Somali and Syria.  He spoke of young Somali émigré men who have joined up with, first Al Shabaab in Somalia, and now increasingly, join the Islamic State to fight for the self-declared Caliphate in Syria and Iraq.   We have drawn attention to the problems of Somali refugee resettlement in NER articles and Iconoclast posts over the past eight years.  They have  covered  severe cultural and integration problems in the American heartland  in places like Shelbyville, Tennessee, Emporia, Kansas, Greeley , ColoradoMinneapolis, Minnesota,  Columbus, Ohio, and Lewiston, Maine.

The Somali émigré jihadis aren’t the only terrorists among admitted refugees. Think of the brothers Tsarneav who perpetrated the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. See our NER article, “Refugee Jihad Terror in Boston.”   An ABC investigation reported  that dozens of terrorists have been admitted fraudulently under the US Refugee Admission Program.

One example was two Iraqi refugees, al Qaeda operatives,   arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2011 convicted in 2013. They were charged with sending weapons and cash to Al Qaeda.  They lied on their Federal Refugee Admission forms about their prior terrorist involvements in Iraq. One had constructed IEDs, involved in killing four members of a Pennsylvania National guard unit in 2006 in Iraq.  A check of fingerprints on the shards of the IED caught the perpetrator.  Watch this 2013 ABC Report.   Recently, one of those convicted, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi , filed a motion seeking to overturn his conviction because his counsel said he wouldn’t get life.  That episode briefly raised the criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

In excess of 250,000 Somali and Iraqis have been admitted to the US as refugees.  An estimated one million have immigrated to the US from Muslim lands. Through births and admittance of relatives under the problematic P-3 Family Reunification Visa program the impact could mean millions of additional Muslim émigrés in the US.  Virtually all of the Somali and Iraqi refugees were Muslim.  Endangered Christians and other minority religion accounted for less than 8 percent of Syrian Refugees admitted under the State Department administered   US Refugee Admissions Program .   Eleven Christian, Jewish and special interest NGOs or voluntary agencies (VOLAGS) are paid by the billion dollar State Department refugee program to process and place refugees in American communities.  VOLAGS like Catholic Charities, Lutheran World Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the International Rescue Committee.  The total annual federal and state program costs of refugee resettlement are estimated to range in excess of $12 to $20 billion annually.

The UNHigh Commissioner for Refugees  establishes priorities for US Admissions under the Refugee Act of 1980. An Act co-sponsored by the late Edward Kennedy and then Senator, now Vice President in the Obama Administration, Joe Biden. The US may be poised to accept another wave of over 75,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.   Doubtless they and growing number of  Muslim refugees from  elsewhere in the Middle East,  Africa and South Asia  will be “seeded”  in American cities  under the Fostering  Community Engagement  and Welcoming  Communities Project  of  the Office of Refugee  Resettlement with the Soros-backed  NGO , “Welcoming America “.

But now there is pushback by American cities, as witnessed by concerns expressed in letters to Secretary of State Kerry by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Judiciary Sub Committee on Immigration and Border Security.  Both The House Subcommittee and the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) hold annual hearings over refugee allotments.  Gowdy’s   letter of April 13, 2015 was prompted by constituent complaints in Spartanburg, South Carolina of the establishment of a VOLAG office to processing Muslim refugees.  He wrote Secretary Kerry seeking answers as to why the office was being established and had not been reviewed with state and local agencies.  He ended his letter:

I request that any plans to resettle refugees in the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area be placed on hold until my constituents and I receive your substantive responses to the questions and information requested in this letter. Additionally, before moving forward, both the Spartanburg community and I should have time to substantively review the information and be comfortable with the information provided.

As previously stated, I am troubled by the lack of notice and coordination with my office and the Spartanburg community, particularly local officials, regarding the plans to resettle refugees in the area. In that vein, I request at least one month’s notice prior to the arrival of the first refugee[s] in the Spartanburg area.

To find out more about what could become an important issue for evaluation of 2016 Presidential candidates, be sure to listen to an interview with Ann Corcoran of RRW by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates on 1330amWEBY “Your Turn.” The program will air at 5:30PM CDT (6:30PM EDT), Tuesday, May 12th.  You may Listen Live here. The recorded program will be archived and posted following the broadcast.  A transcript of the interview may appear in the June edition of the NER.

Also see:

AL QAEDA’S BASE AT MIT

Screencap/Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Screencap/Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Breitbart, by ILYA FEOKTISTOV & CHARLES JACOBS, May 11, 2015:

At the end of April, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled a permanent memorial to MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. Officer Collier was gunned down by the Boston Marathon bombers, Chechen refugees Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, three days after they blew up the Marathon.

It is painful to learn that in the late 1990s, there were students at MIT who helped recruit for the Chechen jihad and raised funds for Al Qaeda-affiliated groups operating in the Tsarnaevs’ homeland. It is even more painful that the man who led this fundraising effort was still on MIT’s staff when Officer Collier was gunned down.

Suheil Laher had been MIT’s Muslim chaplain for almost 20 years. Today he continues to preach at the Islamic Society of Boston, the extremist mosque founded by MIT students near campus, where the Tsarnaevs worshipped during their radicalization.

Americans for Peace and Tolerance have just released a mini-documentary, “Al Qaeda’s Base at MIT,” showing how MIT Muslim chaplain Suheil Laher used his leadership of the MIT Muslim Students Association as a vehicle for raising money for Al Qaeda causes around the world. We especially focus on the Al Qaeda affiliate in Chechnya, which Laher and his associates lionized, even as MIT trusted him to be its Muslim students’ spiritual guide.

Suheil Laher came to MIT as a student in 1990 and by 1998, he became the MIT Muslim chaplain. By the year 2000, he also became president of a Muslim charity based in Boston called Care International, which was founded by Osama Bin Laden’s mentor Abdullah Azzam and was originally called “Al Kifah Refugee Center.” Care International was, in essence, a fundraising vehicle for mujahideen. After the leader of Al Kifah in Brooklyn, “the Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rehman, was convicted for his role in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Boston’s Care International took over as Al Qaeda’s main base in the United States. Laher, then, was quite an important figure in Al Qaeda’s leadership here. His perch at MIT meant that he had easy access to the best American Muslim minds – and their world-class technical skills.

As a religious scholar and an engineer, Laher was both the spiritual and technological leader of Care International. He pioneered the Jihadist use of the new Internet medium to fundraise and recruit for Al Qaeda causes online. Laher’s personal website prominently featured Abdullah Azzam’s notorious call to Jihad, a tract called “Join the Caravan:”

Beloved brother! Draw your sword, climb onto the back of your horse, and wipe the blemish off your ummah. If you do not take the responsibility, who then will?

That same Jihadist tract was found on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s computer.

Laher’s website contained a large collection of his writings and of sermons he gave in the Boston area. These sermons are replete with calls for Jihad, such as this passage:

When the Muslim lands are being attacked, and the Muslims are being raped and killed, the only solution prescribed by Allah is jihad. Jihad is for all times. […] Jihad does not stop. Those of us who have not yet managed to go and physically help our brothers and sisters should support […] our mujahidin brethren with prayer, with money, with clothes, by taking care of their families, and at some point in person. Otherwise, we must face the wrath of Allah.

One of the MIT students who answered Laher’s call to join the Jihad in person was a bright young biologist named Aafia Siddiqui. She started out as a passionate and prolificfundraiser for Care International, but by the time she was arrested by the FBI in Afghanistan in 2008, she was known as “Lady Al Qaeda” and had become the most wanted woman in the world. She is now serving an 86-year prison sentence for attempting to kill the FBI agents arresting her. Her belongings upon arrest included two pounds of cyanide and plans for mass casualty attacks on New York using chemical and biological weapons, as well as literature about the Ebola virus.

While Laher’s sermons preached the general Islamic obligation to do Jihad, Care International’s website along with its newsletterAl Hussam” (“The Sword”) promoted what Laher and his fellow Care leaders saw as the concrete performance of that responsibility. In the late 1990s, Care International focused its fundraising activity on the Russian breakaway republic of Chechnya. Specifically, Care International backed the Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists under the leadership of Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev.

Basayev can arguably be described as one of the cruelest Islamic terrorists in modern Jihadist history. Our documentary recounts one of his cruelest acts: the Beslan School Massacre. On September 1, 2004, during a ceremony marking the first day of school, Basayev’s men surrounded the school in the town of Beslan in southern Russia and took over 1,100 people hostage, nearly eight hundred of them children. They murdered several people on the spot in front of the children and herded everyone into a sweltering gymnasium, where the hostages were kept without food or water for three days as bombs were hung up from the rafters and basketball hoops above them. On the third day, the terrorists started setting off the bombs and Russian security forces stormed the school as shell-shocked children ran the other way and were shot in the back by the terrorists. Three hundred and eighty five people were murdered, among them one hundred and eighty six children. Subsequently, Shamil Basayev bragged about his “success” at Beslan and the fact that the attack only cost him 8,000 Euros to launch. He was killed by Russian security forces in 2006.

Care International raised huge amounts of money for jihad around Boston, $1.7 million according to Federal authorities. A large portion of this money came through checks that were specifically earmarked for “Chechen Muslim fighters.” Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Care International hosted dispatches and communiques from Basayev and his forces in the field. A Care International “Al Hussam” newsletter praised a previous Basayev hostage operation against a Russian hospital’s maternity ward:

Minute by minute the whole world watched with agony, as some of the Mujahideen (not exceeding 80), under the leadership of Mujahid Shamil Basyev took 1500 Russians […] We cannot depend on anybody’s help; we have to fight evil with evil. The operation of the Mujahid Shamil Basayev is perfect proof.

How could MIT’s Muslim chaplain have led a group that applauded and funded such a savage?

In 2003, the FBI began investigating Care International for terrorism financing. At the same time, Basayev and his organization were designated as foreign terrorists. The flow of money from Boston to Chechnya stopped. After the Beslan Massacre, Basayev complained that the lack of funding prevented him from seizing more schools in Moscow and Leningrad. Because Basayev was not officially considered a terrorist before 2003, there was little the FBI could do to prosecute Laher and his fellow activists. Three Care leaders, including the group’s treasurer, received minor sentences for tax evasion. After being questioned by the FBI, Laher walked free and continued to influence students at MIT for more than another decade. His successor as MIT’s Muslim Chaplain, Hoda Elsharkawy, is herself closely linked through her husband to Laher and to Islamic extremism in Boston, which will be the focus of our future reporting.

While Laher officially stepped down from his post as MIT chaplain in 2014, he continues to preach at mosques in the Boston area, including the Tsarnaev’s own mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston – giving a sermon there as recently as May 1, 2015. The ISB was founded by MIT students who purchased a building just down the street from campus and Laher regularly preached there. Beyond this, there is no evidence to indicate that Laher influenced the Tsarnaevs directly. Nevertheless, the legacy of radicalism at the Tsarnaevs’ mosque is very much tied to MIT and the Jihadist ideology that Laher preached as its Muslim Chaplain.

We hope that our documentary will serve as a warning to moderate Muslim parents of students at MIT and other Boston universities, as well as the moderate Muslims who attend ISB and other mosques throughout the Hub. Jihadists like Laher prey on Muslim youths, and even prestigious and seemingly immune institutions like MIT cannot guarantee a safe space from their influence.

Ilya Feoktistov is research director and Charles Jacobs is president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance.

Texas Attack Is Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism, Suspect ID’d as Elton Simpson of Phoenix

Simpson was arrested in 2010 on terror-related charges, but given probation. No time served.

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole. May 4, 2015:

BE SURE TO SEE UPDATES BELOW

The name of one of the suspects in last night’s shootout outside a Dallas-area free speech event has been released.

ABC News 13 in Phoenix has ID’d Elton Simpson as the individual who posted a message with #texasattack to his Twitter account just before the shooting.

twitter.com_2015-05-03_23-53-45a

They report:

A controversial cartoon contest in north Texas yesterday depicting the prophet Mohammed ended in deadly gunfire.

ABC News can confirm that one of the suspects is Elton Simpson, an Arizona man who was previously the subject of a terror investigation. He’s from Phoenix and television stations in Phoenix are reporting the second shooter was Simpson’s roommate. We’re still waiting on his name.

The FBI believes Simpson sent out a tweet using the hashtag #texasattack about a half hour before shooting.

ABC News adds that police have been executing search warrants at Simpson’s home in Phoenix overnight.

It appears that this attack is yet another case of what I have termed “known wolf” syndrome, when the suspect is already known to law enforcement and intelligence. Virtually every terror attack in the West over the past year has been by one of these “known wolf” suspects.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

Simpson was well known to the FBI, ABC News reported. Five years ago he was convicted for lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Africa, “but a judge ruled the government did not adequately prove he was going to join a terror group there.”

Simpson was apparently known to the FBI since 2006:

ha tweet

UCLA Law professor Eugene Volokh actually wrote about Simpson’s case back in 2011. Quoting from the judicial opinion:

On January 13, 2010, a grand jury indicted Defendant Elton Simpson for knowingly and willfully making a materially false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). The indictment also charged that the statement involved international and domestic terrorism. The indictment specified that on or about January 7, 2010, the Defendant falsely stated to special agents of the FBI that he had not discussed traveling to Somalia, when in fact he had discussed with others traveling to Somalia for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad. The Government is charging Mr. Simpson with making a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1001. The Government is also charging that the false statement involves international or domestic terrorism as defined under section 2331, so that he is eligible for a sentence enhancement pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §1001. […]

… The problem … is that the Government has not established with the requisite level of proof, that the Defendant’s potential travel to Somalia (and his false statement about his discussions regarding his travels) was sufficiently “related” to international terrorism. Rather, the Government missed several steps to meeting its burden for establishing this charge. As a result, the Court cannot find the Defendant eligible for the sentence enhancement.

According to ABC News, Simpson was convicted of lying to the FBI, but was placed on probation and never went to prison.

I’ve been chronicling these recent “Known Wolf” terrorism cases here at PJ Media:

Oct. 24, 2014: ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Known Wolf’: The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Jan. 7, 2015: Paris Terror Attack Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 3, 2015: French Police Terror Attacker Yesterday Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen Killer Was yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Feb. 26, 2015: Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Apr. 22, 2015: Botched Attack on Paris Churches Another Case of “Known Wolf” Terrorism

This was also the subject of a Capitol Hill briefing I gave back in late January sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET):

The suspect had tweeted that he had been arrested in 2010. His Twitter account has been deactivated, but I’m trying to find the screenshot of the tweet I made last night. I’ll post here when I find it.

From a U.S.-based jihadist supporter:

jihadi tweets

UPDATE: ABC has posted a picture of Simpson

Here is the court decision in that prior 2010 case:

UPDATE #2: Dallas Morning News adds more detail, including his known association with Al-Qaeda traitor Hassan Abu Jihad:

Simpson told agents in 2010 that he planned to study Islam at a madrassa in South Africa, records show. He said he would be gone for five years and didn’t have “firm plans” for what he would do after his studies.

But in a 2007 recorded conversation, Simpson spoke about fighting non believers for Allah. He also spoke about Afghanistan and Iraq and “Jewish oppression of Muslims.” And he criticized those who “don’t believe that they should be over there fighting.”

The FBI also got him on tape in 2009 speaking to someone about his plans.

“It’s time to go to Somalia, brother,” he said. “We know plenty of brothers from Somalia…I’m telling you, man. We gonna make it to the battlefield, akee, it’s time to roll.”

Simpson said non believers, known as “kuffar,” are “fighting against us because they don’t want us to establish sharia,” records show.

And he told an associate that he could sell his car to finance a trip overseas to fight.

“That’s a plane ticket right there. Bye-bye America,” Simpson said.

Simpson in 2009 also told someone he sent a link to someone else about “how they gonna use the car with bombs on it.” He said he was going to school at the time but that it was “just a front.” […]

When FBI agents visited Simpson in 2010, he asked them about an acquaintance, Hassan Abu Jihad, who was appealing his 2008 federal conviction in Connecticut for providing material support to terrorists.

Abu Jihad also was found guilty of “communicating national security information to persons not entitled to receive it,” records show. He was sentenced in 2009 to 10 years in federal prison. Simpson told agents he was concerned about Abu Jihad’s future.

Simpson said he knew Abu Jihad when the man lived in Phoenix previously. Abu Jihad was arrested in Phoenix in 2007.

************

Police searching car, apartment after shooting outside Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas (foxnews.com)

Police in Texas were still checking a car for possible explosives early Monday and authorities reportedly were searching the Phoenix home of the two suspects who were killed in an attack on an art exhibit that inflamed radical Muslims.

The City of Garland, Texas said in a statement posted on its Facebook page that the men drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center on Sunday night and began shooting at a security officer. Garland Police Department officers returned fire, killing both gunmen, the statement said.

The statement did not say whether the shooting was related to the event, a contest hosted by the New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that would award $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

One of the suspects was known to U.S. intelligence and had been part of a recent terror investigation for allegedly trying to travel to Africa, home of the Al Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab, sources told Fox News.

Officials have been at the Phoenix apartment complex – some 1,100 miles from the Garland, Texas, crime scene — since late Sunday night and are reviewing computer records from materials found at the residence. Police tape continues to surround the area, KSAZ reports.

Authorities also are investigating Twitter messages from overseas posted prior to the event calling for violence. The tweets were posted by a 25-year-old American jihadi with al-Shabaab, investigators told Fox News.
FBI spokesman Perryn Collier on Monday confirmed that the Phoenix residence is being searched for indications of what prompted the shooting.

The FBI said the men involved in the shooting were roommates, according to 12 News.

Authorities said they were worried that the suspects’ car in Garland could contain an incendiary device. Several nearby businesses were evacuated as a precaution and a bomb squad was on the scene early Monday. Police had cordoned off a large area and at least three helicopters circled overhead.

The Garland Independent School District, which owns and operates the Culwell Center, identified the wounded security officer as Bruce Joiner. The district said in a statement that Joiner — who was shot in the ankle — was treated and released from a local hospital.

The FBI said the men involved in the shooting were roommates, according to 12 News.

Authorities said they were worried that the suspects’ car in Garland could contain an incendiary device. Several nearby businesses were evacuated as a precaution and a bomb squad was on the scene early Monday. Police had cordoned off a large area and at least three helicopters circled overhead.

The Garland Independent School District, which owns and operates the Culwell Center, identified the wounded security officer as Bruce Joiner. The district said in a statement that Joiner — who was shot in the ankle — was treated and released from a local hospital.

Roby said he then heard two single shots.

Geller told the AP before Sunday’s event that she planned the contest to make a stand for free speech in response to outcries and violence over drawings of Muhammad. Though it remained unclear several hours after the shooting whether it was related to event, she said Sunday night that the shooting showed how “needed our event really was.”

In January, 12 people were killed by gunmen in an attack against the Paris office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had lampooned Islam and other religions and used depictions of Muhammad. Another deadly shooting occurred the following month at a free speech event in Copenhagen featuring an artist who had caricatured the prophet.

Geller’s group is known for mounting a campaign against the building of an Islamic center blocks from the World Trade Center site and for buying advertising space in cities across the U.S. criticizing Islam.

When a Chicago-based nonprofit held a January fundraiser in Garland designed to help Muslims combat negative depictions of their faith, Geller spearheaded about 1,000 picketers at the event. One chanted: “Go back to your own countries! We don’t want you here!” Others held signs with messages such as, “Insult those who behead others,” an apparent reference to recent beheadings by the militant group Islamic State.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Canada Frees Gitmo Terrorist Who Killed US Army Sgt.

KahderCreeping Sharia, May 2, 2015:

via Gitmo Terrorist Who Killed Army Sgt., Lived at Bin Laden Compound Freed in Canada – Judicial Watch

An Al Qaeda terrorist guilty of murdering a U.S. Army sergeant and “transferred” from Guantanamo to Canada by the Obama administration has been released from an Alberta prison while he appeals his conviction for war crimes.

His name is Omar Ahmed Khader and he’s a member of Canada’s “first family of terror,” according to an international news report that confirms Khader’s father was an associate of Osama Bin Laden who moved his family to Pakistan to support the Afghan mujahideen in its war against the Soviet Union. In 2010 Khader was convicted of five war crimes, including throwing a grenade that killed Army Sergeant Christopher Speer in Afghanistan during a 2002 combat operation.

Khader spent around a decade at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in 2010 cut a deal to serve the majority of his sentence in Canada. Under the terms, he admitted being an “alien unprivileged enemy belligerent” and throwing the grenade that killed Sergeant Speer. In 2012 Khader was taken to Canada, where he evidently began working on an appeal. This month a Canadian judge ordered the release of the jihadist while he appeals his U.S. convictions. Canadian government officials argue that the judge has no jurisdiction to hear the unprecedented bail application from an offender convicted abroad and returned to Canada, according to anational news story.

The bottom line is that this terrorist, like so many others who have returned to jihadist causes after leaving Gitmo, never should have been released. To meet his longtime goal of closing Gitmo President Obama has tried clearing out the military compound that still houses the world’s most dangerous terrorists, including 9/11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi as well as USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. In December Judicial Watch reported that the U.S. government put an Al Qaeda operative that had been freed from Gitmo on a global terrorist list and offered a $5 million reward for information on his whereabouts.

Hundreds of Gitmo terrorists who have been discharged over the years—under a program that started with President George W. Bush—have reengaged in terrorism. In fact, Judicial Watch has been reporting this for years based on U.S. intelligence sources. Back in 2010 JW wrote about a report that the Director of National Intelligence gave Congress documenting that 150 former Gitmo detainees were confirmed or suspected of “reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer.” At least 83 remained at large, according to the document.

Now we must worry that yet another radical extremist who hates America is on the loose, in a friendly neighboring country where cross border travel is quite easy. Khader was encouraged by his father, a senior Al Qaeda leader in Canada, to travel to Khowst Afghanistan to translate for Al Qaeda personnel and participate in jihad against the United States, according to a Department of Defense (DOD) file kept by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo. “Detainee received training and instruction on how to build and plant Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and how to plant land mines,” the DOD file says. It also reveals that Khader “admitted to taking part in several mining and combat operations” and that he was present during a 2002 raid on a suspected Al Qaeda compound by U.S. Special Forces. “Detainee was wounded and captured after killing the USSF soldier,” the DOD writes.

Khader has direct family affiliations with senior Al Qaeda members, the Pentagon file states, and his entire family lived at one of Osama bin Laden’s compounds in Jalalabad Afghanistan. The U.S. government considered him to be a detainee of “high intelligence value” who provided important information on the Derunta, Al-Farouq and Khalden training camps as well as key Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. The U.S. let Khader go even though it had labeled him a “high risk” enemy combatant “likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interest or its allies.”


More on Khadr and his jihadist family:

Facts about Omar Khadr that the mainstream media won’t to tell you

More: Media whitewashing of Canadian jihadist Omar Khadr (video).

Video “Eliminating the Apostates”- Islamic State beheads, shoots 15 Yemeni soldiers

Islamic-State-Yemen-execution-soldiers-e1430448078191LWJ, by BILL ROGGIO, May 1, 2015:

The Islamic State in Yemen claimed credit for the brutal execution of 15 Yemeni soldiers who were captured in the city of Azzan in Shabwa province earlier this month. The treatment of the captured soldiers by the Islamic State presents a stark contrast to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) handling of captured Yemeni soldiers.

The Islamic State’s “Media Office for Shabwa Province” released a short, two minute 19 second video called “Eliminating the Apostates” on Twitter today. The video was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

In the video, the Islamic State displays 15 Yemeni soldiers. Local media reports indicated that tribal militias overran a military camp operated by the Yemeni Army’s 2nd Mountain Brigade in the city of Azzan in Shabwa province on April 12. Islamic State fighters from “Wilayat Ataq,” or Ataq province (Ataq is a city in Shabwa province), are reported to have executed the Yemeni soldiers days later, on April 14.

The 14 Yemeni soldiers are shown kneeling on the ground. Several of the captives are heard moaning and crying as armed Islamic State fighters stand behind them. Several of the soldiers identify themselves and their unit.

The video then briefly shows an Islamic State fighter sharpening a knife, then four of the captives are beheaded. The heads of the four soldiers are displayed on the ground. The Islamic State fighters then shoot 10 other soldiers, who are blindfolded and kneeling with their hands behind their backs, in the head. Finally, another soldier from the “Second Naval Brigade” is identified before he is shot in the head multiple times.

The graphic execution of the Yemeni soldiers draws a contrast in methodology between the Islamic State and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the dominant jihadist group in Yemen. The Islamic State has been challenging al Qaeda for control of the global jihad.

The Islamic State in Yemen, like other Islamic State branches in the Middle East and Africa, has been indiscriminate in its application of violence. In its first major attack in Yemen, the group killed more than 100 people in suicide attacks that targeted Houthi mosques in the capital of Sana’a. The Houthis, a Shiite group that is backed by Iran, have taken over most of northern and eastern Yemen, and have encroached on areas in the south. The Islamic State has accused AQAP of being soft on the Houthis, and has sought to cleave off the more hardline elements of AQAP’s rank and file.

AQAP was quick to distance itself from the Sana’a mosque attacks, saying that it was “committed to the guidelines” issued by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, who prohibited “targeting mosques, markets, and public places out of concern for the lives of innocent Muslims, and to prioritize the paramount interests.” [See LWJ report, Analysis: Why AQAP quickly denied any connection to mosque attacks.]

Unlike the Islamic State, AQAP has sought to convert captured Yemeni soldiers to its cause, and has also used the soldiers as part of its propaganda effort against the Yemeni state and the US. In a video released in October 2013, AQAP questioned Yemeni soldiers who were captured during a raid on a base in Shabwa province. In a back and forth with a Yemeni Army captain, the AQAP interviewer said that the Yemeni military and the US “are in the same trench.”

“The [American] spying drones are in the sky and you are on the ground,” the jihadist said to a group of Yemeni soldiers.

“What is the difference between you and the Americans? Haven’t you thought about this issue? Haven’t you considered yourselves and the Americans in one front? When Americans bombard our brothers with unmanned drones, who collect their bodies? It’s you the soldiers. You take their bodies. You and the Americans are in one front,” the AQAP leader continued.

But the AQAP leader then said that the soldiers are not the target of AQAP’s wrath, and appealed to the soldiers to quit fighting alongside the Americans and join AQAP’s cause.

AQAP’s strategy of limiting its attacks to military and government targets has built support amongst some Yemeni tribes. The Islamic State’s execution of the Yemeni soldiers is unlikely to build similar support. According to Yemeni media reports, the tribes in Azzam that participated in the raid that resulted in the capture of the Yemeni troops have disassociated with the jihadist group after the execution of the soldiers.

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Here is the video: (h/t Pamela Geller)

Terrorism in Africa: The Imminent Threat to the United States

Ansar al Sharia recruits receive training at a camp near Benghazi.

Ansar al Sharia recruits receive training at a camp near Benghazi.

Long War Journal, April 29, 2015:

Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on the threat posed by jihadist groups in Africa. 

In preparing today’s testimony, I reviewed the history of al Qaeda’s plotting against the West. A number of facts demonstrate that al Qaeda’s presence in Africa has been tied to these efforts. For instance, declassified documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound show that he ordered al Qaeda’s branches in Africa to select candidates capable of striking inside the U.S. Bin Laden also ordered al Qaeda’s African branches to coordinate their work with his “external operations” team, which was responsible for plotting attacks against Western interests. Some of al Qaeda’s most senior leaders, including those who have overseen al Qaeda’s planned attacks in the West, have come from Africa. Senior al Qaeda leaders embedded in Shabaab have also trained operatives to attack in Europe. I discuss this evidence in detail in the final section of my written testimony.

Complex tribal, ethnic, and religious dynamics mean that any summary of the situation in Africa will be necessarily incomplete.  However, I will attempt to distill some themes that are important for understanding the rising jihadist threat in the continent. While there are important differences between ISIS and al Qaeda, and the two are at odds with one another in a variety of ways, they are both inherently anti-American and anti-Western. Thus, they constitute a threat to our interests everywhere their jihadists fight.

Since the beginning of the year, the ISIS branch in Libya has repeatedly attacked foreign interests. The group has bombed and/or assaulted with small arms the Algerian, Moroccan, Iranian, South Korean and Spanish embassies in Tripoli. Fortunately, these attacks have caused only a few casualties, as foreign governments pulled most of their diplomatic personnel out of Libya months ago. But these incidents show the organization’s followers are deeply hostile to any foreign presence.

Other ISIS attacks on foreigners in Libya have been more lethal and at least two Americans have been killed by ISIS’ so-called “provinces.” In January, the group’s fighters launched a complex assault on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli. Ten people, including David Berry, a former U.S. Marine serving as a security contractor, were killed. In August 2014, jihadists from the ISIS province in the Sinai killed William Henderson, an American petroleum worker.

Some of ISIS’ most gruesome acts in North Africa have come with pointed threats against the West. In February, the jihadists beheaded 21 Egyptian Copts. The propaganda video showing the murders was entitled, “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” ISIS explicitly threatened Italy in the video and also made it clear that they would target Christians simply for adhering to a different faith. Earlier this month, ISIS’ branch followed up by killing a large group of Ethiopian Christians.

In March, ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis. More than 20 people were killed in the assault, which targeted foreign tourists. Citizens of Britain, France, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, and Spain were among the victims. Although ISIS was quick to lay claim to the museum slayings, the reality is more complicated. The Tunisian government has blamed the Uqba ibn Nafi Brigade, which is part of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an official branch of al Qaeda. Based on publicly-available information, it appears that the attackers may have joined ISIS, but the operation itself was planned by the AQIM brigade’s leadership.

Al Qaeda’s international network continues to launch high-profile attacks across the continent. Some of these operations directly target foreigners. Earlier this month, Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in Somalia, killed more than 140 people at the Garissa University College in Kenya. The gunmen reportedly separated out non-Muslims for killing, letting many Muslims go. This shows that the organization, like other parts of al Qaeda, is very concerned about the impact of its violence in the Muslim-majority world. In this respect and others, the Garissa attack was similar to Shabaab’s siege of the Westgate shopping mall in September 2013. More than 60 people were killed, with Shabaab’s gunmen singling out non-Muslims. Shabaab’s attacks in Kenya and other neighboring countries are part of what the UN has identified as the group’s “regional” strategy. Shabaab has undoubtedly suffered setbacks since the height of its power in East Africa, but it still operates a prolific insurgency inside Somalia, while also seeking to expand its capabilities in the surrounding countries. In fact, America’s counterterrorism efforts in East Africa seem to be principally aimed at the part of Shabaab tasked with exporting terrorism throughout the region.

As we’ve seen over the past several years, al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Africa will attack American and Western interests when the opportunity presents itself.  The September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Mission and Annex in Benghazi and the raid on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis three days later were carried out by al Qaeda-linked groups. The Ansar al Sharia organizations in Libya and Tunisia, both of which are tied to AQIM, were involved in these assaults on America’s diplomatic presence in North Africa. In early 2013, terrorists commanded by Mokhtar Belmokhtar killed dozens of foreign workers during the siege of the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria. Belmokhtar, who is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri, claimed responsibility for operation on behalf of al Qaeda.

There is no doubt, therefore, that both ISIS and al Qaeda pose a threat to Western interests in Africa. Below, I explore current trends within both organizations, highlighting some ways these international networks may threaten Americans both home and abroad. But first, I briefly look at the different strategies ISIS and al Qaeda are employing to build up their networks.

Read more

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Subcommittee Hearing: Terrorism in Africa: The Imminent Threat to the United States

Witnesses

Dr. J. Peter Pham
Director
Africa Center
Atlantic Council
Witness Statement [PDF]
Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF]

Mr. Thomas Joscelyn
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Witness Statement [PDF]
Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF]

Dr. Daniel Byman
Research Director
Center for Middle East Policy
Center for Security Studies
Brookings Institution
Witness Statement [PDF]
Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF]

Retired generals: Be afraid of ISIS

screen shot from "Blindsided: Did ISIS catch the U.S. by surprise?"

screen shot from “Blindsided: Did ISIS catch the U.S. by surprise?”

CNN, By Michael Flynn, James Livingston and Michael Smith. April 27, 2015:

Be afraid — be very afraid. This is the warning the world deserves to hear. Because the leader of the free world refuses to look with clear eyes at the chief security challenges of the 21st century: the fruits of radical Islam.

The results of the Obama White House’s innovative efforts to make the world a better place can be accounted for in the ever-growing numbers of victims of radical Islam in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Not to mention here in the United States, Canada and Europe. Is it not a tragic irony that the Arab Spring-era policies of a Nobel Peace Prize recipient accommodated the transition of Syria into the world’s newest jihad theater while leaving Libya a failed state and Yemen a failing state?

The Syrian jihad gave rise to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which now uses Syria as a rear operating base to support its jihad in Iraq, which could soon spill over into Jordan. Plus, Libya is now being used as a rear operating base by ISIS and other global jihadist elements striving to redraw the map of the Middle East, even as they plan attacks in Europe and North America.

Given the frightfully slow pace America’s commander-in-chief is currently allowing our military and intelligence community to take action against both ISIS and its progenitor, al Qaeda, the picture of what’s in store is clear: The body count will continue to grow in the places where these groups can generate buy-in for their agendas. And neither the United States nor our Western allies are immune to this cancer.

Academics who must say something new or different to garner interest in their work may describe the agendas of ISIS and al Qaeda as distinctly different. But the fact is they are not — their agendas, which constitute the foremost threats to the global security environment today, are manifestations of radical Islam.

Of course, it’s hardly a surprise President Barack Obama refuses to acknowledge all this in plain terms — the president and his national security advisers have too often proven naïve, with a dangerous habit of viewing the world not as it is, but as they hope it could be.

There is no shortage of examples that highlight the absence of sound foresight on the parts of the world’s most powerful politician and his national security team.

Just take the National Strategy for Counterterrorism published by the White House in 2011. That document contained the assertion that, “Since the beginning of 2011, the transformative change sweeping North Africa and the Middle East — along with the death of Osama bin Laden — has further changed the nature of the terrorist threat, par-ticularly as the relevance of al Qaeda and its ideology has been further diminished.”

Yet, fast forward to January 2014 and America’s top intelligence official, director of National Intelligence James Clapper, advised Congress that al Qaeda was no less capable of threatening the United States and our allies than a decade earlier.

Soon after Clapper acknowledged al Qaeda was not a band on the run, as President Obama had described the terrorist enterprise, a report by terrorism expert Seth Jones of the RAND Corporation highlighted yet another inconvenient truth for the White House: As restraints on freedom of expression of radical religious views vanished in places like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt during the Arab Spring, those states became fertile recruitment grounds for terrorist groups — including al Qaeda and groups aligned with it.

According to data compiled by Jones, from 2010 through 2013, the number of Salafi jihadist groups increased by 58%. These groups are fueled by Salafiyya Jihadiyya, an ideology that not only informs the agenda of al Qaeda, but is the source code for the agenda of the al Qaeda offshoot ISIS.

Bin Laden’s death ‘didn’t lift shadow’

Most recently, absent from the  produced by the Obama White House in February 2015 is any real meaningful discussion concerning threats posed by al Qaeda. Yes, Osama bin Laden was killed on President Obama’s watch. But contrary to what the White House seemed to think in 2011, bin Laden’s death has not lifted the shadow he casts over America’s, or our allies’ security.

Indeed, within days of our new National Security Strategy’s publication date, in the seventh issue of ISIS’s English-language magazine Dabiq, the group’s leaders described their jihad as a continuation of the jihad charted by bin Laden, while accusing his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, of steering al Qaeda off the path of its former leader.

Meanwhile, Yemen — home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the al Qaeda branch thatclaimed credit for the January 2015 attack in Paris at the office of Charlie Hebdo — has also become a failed state. AQAP is helmed by the second-highest-ranking official in al Qaeda writ large, and the Obama administration views it as the most dangerous component of al Qaeda’s global network.

So it is interesting that, in the months before the Yemeni government was overthrown by Iran-backed rebels, President Obama described the U.S.-Yemen counterterrorism partnership as a shining example of success in the fight against al Qaeda — interesting because the President did not do more to help that “partner” government remain in power. Once again, the president and his advisers appear to have either ignored or failed to recognize the trajectory of events in the Middle East.

What were they thinking? And how do they plan to combat AQAP now?

Despite what the White House wants the world to believe, a sober look at the security environment reveals the following key realities:

ISIS controls a large amount of territory in the Middle East, and the group is rapidly growing its ranks in places such as Libya and Afghanistan, while at the same time inspiring and plotting attacks in the West.

And, although ISIS is trying to “out al Qaeda” al Qaeda, resorting to attention winning stunts to boost its profile on television sets around the world, al Qaeda itself is no less of a threat to the United States and our allies today than it was in January 2014.

At the same time, the routine failures of President Obama and his advisers to understand the security environment, and to appropriately tailor America’s national security posture in a manner demanded by it, foretells more disasters lie ahead.

Will Obama make the difficult decisions?

Not only Americans, but also our allies should be very, very afraid. Indeed, President Obama’s refusal to simply call a problem like radical Islam by its name strongly suggests he is unwilling to make the difficult decisions that must be made today if we are to stand a chance of defeating radical Islamist groups.

History has shown the dangers that millions can be placed in if our leaders don’t face down a looming threat by calling it what it is and putting our full weight behind efforts to vanquish it.

President Obama has the resources at his disposal to do just that. But if he wants to help define a future for the Middle East and North Africa in which fewer threats emanate from those regions, he must spend more time listening to talented professionals in our military and intelligence community versus the idealists and yes-men surrounding him at the White House. There is too much at stake in the near term to continue down the path of experimentation with Pollyannaish theories about how to attain this future that have actually rendered us less safe.

Indeed, President Obama should also pay closer attention to what representatives from Arab states are saying behind closed doors. Most of their bosses would love to be the claimants to the prize of defeating ISIS and al Qaeda.

However, all of them recognize that, unless we all want things to get a whole lot worse before they might get any better, the United States will have to deploy considerably more of our “kinetic” resources to put those victories in sight.

This does not mean a ground forces-intensive response is required from us at this time. But if the President thinks it prudent to wait on our Arab partners to do most of the heavy lifting, he could be guaranteeing this will be the case in the not-too-distant future.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Medal of Honor recipient and retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC, and congressional counterterrorism adviser Michael S. Smith II are co-founders of the strategic advisory firm Kronos Advisory. The views expressed are solely the authors’ own. Watch ‘Blindsided: How ISIS shook the world’, a GPS special airing Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.

Published on Apr 25, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn on the situation in the Middle East. General Flynn on the situation in Yemen, Iran nuclear talks and battle against ISIS

Why Adam Gadahn’s Killing Matters To Al-Qaeda

Adam Gadahn Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Adam Gadahn Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

MEMRI, by Steven Stalinsky, April 24, 2015:

On April 23, 2015 the White House announced that Adam Gadahn, the first American to be charged with treason since World War II and the man known as Al-Qaeda’s American spokesman, had been killed inadvertently in a U.S. drone attack in January in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. It seems inconceivable that 35 years ago in California, a little-known Jewish psychedelic musician, himself the son of a prominent Zionist doctor, and his wife brought into the world a son, Adam Pearlman, who would become one of America’s most notorious traitors in the war on terror.

In 2004, at age 26, Gadahn made it to the FBI’s most wanted list. He trained in Afghanistan terrorist camps, and was asked by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammad to join a plot for a suicide attack outside Baltimore. A sealed indictment dated September 8, 2006 accused Gadahn, aka Al-Qaeda operative “Azzam the American,” of helping the terror organization with communications and propaganda, serving as its English translator, and providing it with information about American culture and vulnerabilities. The following month, the U.S. government formally announced treason charges against him.

Adam Pearlman’s parents converted to Christianity and took the last name Gadahn. Adam’s first contact with Islam came when his father sold meat he had slaughtered to Muslim halal markets. As a pimply, head-banging 17-year-old, Adam embraced Islam at an Orange County mosque. Until the summer of 2006, the University of Southern California’s (USC) Muslim Student Association’s online compendium of Muslim texts included an essay by “Adam Pearlman” titled “Becoming Muslim,” which stated: “Having been around Muslims in my formative years, I knew well that they were not the bloodthirsty, barbaric terrorists that the news media and the televangelists paint them to be.”

His first Al-Qaeda video appearance was in October 2004; a masked Gadahn declared, “Allah willing, the streets of America will run red with blood.” In his next video, which aired on Al-Jazeera on September 12, 2005, he explained, again masked, that Al-Qaeda’s numerous post-9/11 audio and video recordings communiqués had been “released to explain and propound the nature and goals of the worldwide jihad against America and the Crusaders and convey our legitimate demands.”

Both Gadahn’s knowledge of American culture and his media skills played a significant role in the development of As-Sahab, the Al-Qaeda media company; he was one of its key officials. He also laid the groundwork for other homegrown terrorists and for the use of the Internet for cyber jihad. High-ranking members of the Al-Qaeda leadership – even leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri – told Americans to listen to his words.

In his next video appearance, on July 8, 2006, Gadahn, unmasked for the first time, warned, alongside footage of 7/7 London suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer and of Al-Zawahiri: “When we bomb their cities and civilians… no sane Muslim should shed tears for them.” In a subsequent video, released January 6, 2008, Gadahn renounced his U.S. citizenship as he ripped up his passport.

From 2004 onward, Gadahn starred in nearly two dozen Al-Qaeda videos, producing, narrating, and providing graphics for many more. In most of his appearances, he was seated at a desk, usually with a computer and a rifle; in 12 years, he appeared outdoors only once. Most of his early videos were in English, but over time he began speaking in Arabic.

While some government and counterterrorism analysts have debated Gadahn’s importance, the fact is that he was a trailblazer in inspiring and helping to recruit American youth to join Al-Qaeda. No other Westerner, let alone American, was ever as close to the leadership of Al-Qaeda, including its late leader Osama bin Laden, current leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and even 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad.

Gadahn’s importance within Al-Qaeda was confirmed by the May 2012 release of the Abbottabad documents found in the May 2011 raid on bin Laden’s compound; the documents revealed that he had been one of the few people in contact with bin Laden and had actively advised him before his death. One, a 21-page letter, was filled with both media advice and general advice about the future of Al-Qaeda and the direction it should take with respect to its affiliates and their actions.

Not only did Gadahn help Al-Qaeda reach a wider audience, but his appeal to prospective recruits resonated with those seeking a direction and attracted to radical Islam. His personal story showed that anyone in the West, even the grandson of a Jewish Zionist doctor, could become a global jihad leader. In particular, he was influential among the American converts with little Arabic who comprise some of the increasing number of Westerners joining and pledging loyalty to Al-Qaeda and, now, to ISIS; Gadahn recordings have been found on the computers of many Westerners arrested on terrorism charges.

Beginning in 2010, Gadahn, now under the alias of Abu Suhail, regularly provided articles and interviews to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP’s) English-language magazine for jihadis in the West, Inspire, reaching an entire new generation of recruits.

Gadahn last surfaced in October 2014, in the inaugural issue of Resurgence magazine – the Al-Qaeda media company As-Sahab’s English-language mouthpiece for the recently formed Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). In the cover story, “Besiege Them!” he called for the establishment of the Caliphate and focused on economic tactics for combatting the West, concluding with a call to Muslims worldwide to wage jihad and warning the West that Al-Qaeda’s war on it has only begun.

The killing of Adam Gadahn is a significant blow to Al-Qaeda. This is because he was a big part of Al-Qaeda’s media outreach efforts, in particular outreach to potential Western recruits. Following the emergence of ISIS and its proficiency at producing English-language content, including online magazines and videos, and at distributing them via social networks – efforts which far surpassed Al-Qaeda’s – Gadahn’s death will increase the already significant gap in the rivalry between the two organizations. However, like Osama bin Laden and Yemeni-American sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki, his legacy will live on, on YouTube and other platforms and outlets where his videos are viewed every day by the increasing numbers of Westerners turning to jihad.

Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). He is the author of the upcoming book release: American Traitor – Inside the Mind of Adam Gadahn – Al-Qaeda’s U.S. Born Leader.

Also see: