Clare Lopez: Thank you. Thank you very much. We would like to thank Steven Blainey, Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Chairman Darrell Craft, and the Committee on Public Safety and National Security for the opportunity to testify here today. We consider this to be a particularly auspicious time as Canada has recently shown itself an international leader in the effort to combat the global jihad movement. By way of introduction the Center for Security Policy is an American national security think-thank in Washington D.C. that was founded in 1988 by former Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney in the year since then we have focused on the greatest security threat to America and our allies. My name is Clare Lopez, the center’s Vice President for Research and Analysis. I previously served as a CIA Operations Officer and later served in a variety of contract positions within the U.S. defense sector. I have also served as an instructor of military intelligence and special forces on terrorism related issues and I am honored to mention my affiliation with the Board of Advisors for the Toronto based McKensey Institute. My colleague is Kyle Shideler, he’s the Director of our Threat Information Office, where he specializes in monitoring Sunni jihadist movements; most especially the Muslim Brotherhood. He has briefed Congressional staff and Federal law enforcement officials on the history, ideology, and operations of the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly their role in supporting terrorism activity. Recent devastating attacks by individual jihadist on Canadian soil demonstrate the critical need for better understanding of, and appropriate tools to deal with the global jihad threat. Specifically understanding that terrorism does not begin with the violent act itself, but rather with financing, indoctrination, and propaganda, and stopping these elements are key to stopping the attacks themselves. In particular we applaud the decision to list as a terrorist entity the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy. An organization that was according to available reports engaged in financing the terrorist organization Hamas.
We are hopeful that the Canadian law enforcement and security services will be able to use information gleaned through this investigation and subsequent investigations to further hamper terrorist efforts. It was also a Hamas terror financing case that provided U.S. law enforcement with information regarding the depth of the threat posed to North America . In that case the Holy Land Foundation trial, U.S. Federal law enforcement uncovered voluminous documents representing the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America. Thanks in part to the evidence provided in these documents the Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding front was shut down, and prosecutors secured multiple convictions on terrorism financing charges. These documents come together to tell the story of a multi-decade long effort by the Muslim Brotherhood in North America to establish itself, create front-groups, seize control of mosques and Islamic centers, indoctrinate young people through youth organizations and Islamic schools, mislead the mass media, conduct intelligence operations against law enforcement and security services, and influence politicians. This carefully organized campaign of subversive activity forms the basis for what was called a Grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western Civilization from within, in the Brotherhood’s explanatory memorandum uncovered during the Holy Land Foundation case.
There has been a tendency to divorce the physical manifestations of individual acts of Islamic terrorism, such as the recent attacks here in Canada, from the extensive support infrastructure provided by this Global Jihad Movement. But the reality is that men and women do not seek to travel to fight in Syria or Iraq, or engage in attacks domestically, without first having been indoctrinated obligation to wage jihad. Such individuals have been instructed to put loyalty to a global Islamic ummah above loyalty to one’s own country. They are educated to believe that Muslims have a right to impose Sharia, a foreign source of law upon one’s fellow citizens. All of these elements of indoctrination must occur before an individual would ever express interest in al-Qaeda or Islamic State propaganda. Providing the government an enhanced ability to target or take down propaganda that promotes a doctrinal command to wage jihad against unbelievers or the call to use force to overthrow the government and impose Sharia in our judgment would be beneficial. As it would help to disrupt indoctrination before individuals reach a stage at which they are considering attacks against a specific target. Laying this ideological ground is exactly the mission and the role of the Muslim Brotherhood. Which has undertaken the mission to support movements that engage in jihad across the Muslim world, according the Muslim Brotherhood documents seized by U.S. law enforcement in 2001. Given this obligation to support it is not surprise that terrorist recruits repeatedly have been traced back to an Islamic center, school or mosque, established or controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood; as was the case in our own Boston Marathon bombing back in April, 2013. Subsequently organizations with ties to the Brotherhood have repeatedly sought to undermine and impose counter-terrorism strategies that rely on aggressive police intelligence work to disrupt plots and arrests those responsible, the kind of strategy currently under discussion here in Canada.
We have considered how these policies under discussion would help Canada to address the common threat. It is necessary to address the whole-host of activities which undermined the security of Canada, to include interfering with the ability of the government to conduct intelligence, defense, public safety or other activities or attempting to unduly change or influence the government by unlawful means or to engage in covert foreign influenced activities. Likewise address the full scope of jihadist operations including indoctrination, propaganda, and subversive activities. It seems to us that threats such as these emerging in the pre-attack phase of the jihadist campaign are exactly the modus operandi of the Muslim Brotherhood. As it seeks to undermined constitutionally established Western governments including that of Canada to the benefit of global jihad movement. We asses that legislation that would permit Canadian intelligence services to engage in actions to disrupt terror plots and threats to Canada would likely be effective at helping to thwart Islamic terror attacks in the pre-violent stage. Such a policy provided do-over site creates a necessary capability to intervene and undermine indoctrination and recruiting networks which lead individuals to become jihadists, and either travel abroad, join jihadist groups, or conduct attacks at home, even without a definite connection to any terrorist group. While we understand that there is a debate over how such capabilities could be overseen the use of an intermediary review committee rather than direct parliamentary oversight has advantages when it is often the legislators themselves who are at risk of being targeted by these influence activities.
There has already been controversy in the United States over an appointee to the U.S. Congressional House Select-Committee on Intelligence having received campaign funds from and having numerous associations with the Muslim Brotherhood linked organizations in our country. Muslim Brotherhood organizations also have been aggressive in utilizing the media to target legislators engaged in oversight hearings as well as threatening to fundraise for their political opponents if they dare to examine issues related to jihadist indoctrination in serious detail. In our opinion any oversight committee dealing with these issues risks being an immediate target for similar efforts, creating a buffer of intelligence professionals between ceases and the members of parliament maybe useful therefore to preserve and protect important information insolate MP’s from aggressive influence operations to undermine their support to Canadian counter-terrorism efforts, while also ensuring respect for civil rights generating appropriate oversight that has a detailed understanding of the law enforcement and intelligence techniques involved. Certainly it is to be expected that the parliament would be vigilant in examining the reports generated by the minister and it would take full advantage of opportunities to examine and discuss the reported data. In dealing the threat posed by jihadist fighters living amidst our own communities efforts have focused primarily on either methods to keep them from traveling abroad or revocation of passports to keep individuals from returning.
The Center for Security Policy generally has been supportive of such measures, as currently are under discussion in the U.S. Congress and that would take passports away from those who would travel, or seek to travel abroad to fight for terrorists forces. Likewise changes and extensions to the current peace bond provisions here would appear to us to help address substantial difficulty faced by counter-terrorism agencies which is that in numerous recent cases we have seen the terrorist who perpetrated attacks on the U.S., Britain, France, and Australia have been what terrorism experts in the U.S. have begun to describe as known-wolfs. That is, rather than being undetected and operating without connection to other jihadists groups, a genuine lone-wolf, what we are seeing instead is that most individuals identified as lone-wolfs in fact have had ties or at least a known proclivity to support jihadist ideology groups or terrorists networks and frequently were already under some level of surveillance. It is not a lack of awareness but rather an inability to take preventive action or disrupt the plot, that all to often has resulted in these individuals successfully carrying out an act of Islamic terrorism. In conclusion, the Center of Security Policy believes Canada is in a position to put into practice a forward-thinking approach that gives police officers and intelligence operatives the tools they need to not only surveil and detect terror threats, but to disrupt and dismantle the jihadist networks which seek to use terrorism as only one method of among others to undermine and weaken the security of Canada. Thank you very much.
- Bill C-51 Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 (openparliament.ca)
- C-51: An Analysis Without the Hype or Hysteria (macdonaldlaurier.ca)
Jewish groups testify in support of Bill C-51 (cjnews.com)
Bill C-51 Hearings: Little Mosque On The Prairie Creator Worried By Bill (huffingtonpost.ca)