Boston Bombing May Have Been Prevented if Waltham Murders Had Been Recognized as Jihadist Ritual Killing

On September 11, 2011, three lifelong friends—Brendan Mess, age 25, Erik Weissman, 31, and Raphael Teken, 37—were brutally murdered in Mess’s apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts. The graphic crime scene was discovered in the early afternoon of September 12, 2011, by Mess’s girlfriend, who ran screaming from the apartment. The victims had been dragged to three different rooms and killed there. Their bodies had multiple stab wounds; their throats were slit from ear to ear with such force that they were nearly decapitated, and their mutilated corpses were covered with drugs and money. In addition to the seven pounds of marijuana found on their bodies, $5,000 in cash was left at the scene. Two of the three victims were Jewish, and several sources have identified all three victims as such.[1]

Problems in the FBI: Denying Islam’s Role in Terror

by Teri Blumenfeld
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2013, pp. 13-18 (view PDF)

More than a decade after the deadliest attack on U.S. soil, the U.S. administration seems no closer to identifying let alone repelling Islamist terrorists in the homeland. The 9/11 committee used the term “failure of imagination” to explain why the U.S. government was unable to prevent the catastrophic events of that day.[1] But although the enemy was identified at that time, the Federal government and one of its most important branches, the FBI, have adopted a policy of scrubbing Islamism from public consciousness[2]though since bin Laden’s 2011 demise, “at least nine publicly known Islamist-inspired terror plots against the United States have been foiled, bringing the total number of foiled plots as of April 2012, to 50.”[3]

In November 2009, U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan (right) gunned down thirteen of his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood, Texas. Despite clear links establishing his connection to radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (left), the subsequent Webster report spoke only vaguely about generic "violent radicalization" while president Obama referred to the jihadist massacre as "workplace violence."

In November 2009, U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan (right) gunned down thirteen of his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood, Texas. Despite clear links establishing his connection to radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (left), the subsequent Webster report spoke only vaguely about generic “violent radicalization” while president Obama referred to the jihadist massacre as “workplace violence.”

The Obama administration’s response to the 2009 Fort Hood terror attack by U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan offers a vivid illustration of this practice. In August 2012, an independent commission charged with reviewing the FBI’s failure to prevent the attack issued its report, recommending eighteen changes in policies and operations. However, the commission, headed by Judge William H. Webster, upheld the government’s policy of excluding Islamism from the findings, concluding that despite the intelligence failure, FBI personnel had faithfully followed protocols and procedure, and there occurred “no misconduct that would warrant administrative or disciplinary action.”[4]

There appeared to be little appetite for finding the attack’s root causes and its failed detection. Nor was corrective action an apparent priority. Instead, the directive focused on exploring “whether there are other policy or procedural steps the FBI should consider … while still respecting privacy and civil-liberty interests” and “whether any administrative action should be taken against any employee.”[5]

Faulty Protocols

The report scrupulously covers the operational missteps and errors in the FBI’s handling of the Hasan attack, detailing the substandard hardware, antiquated search tools, and inferior communications databases. Failure was exacerbated by lack of procedural clarity between the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Department of Defense, all of which dropped leads and omitted information. It is a frightening read, detailing a course of events within the intelligence communities that should never have occurred post-9/11.

The Webster report ought to have detailed what procedures resulted in Hasan not being flagged as a danger. Instead, it proposed general policy guidelines, some rather obvious and some further expanding chain of command. Of the eighteen recommendations, seven reference policy, five recommend technology and software improvements, and four recommend increasing compliance with the numerous bureaus protecting privacy and civil liberties. Only one proposal suggests operational changes, advising the training of Terrorism Task Force officers on FBI databases. The final recommendation concludes that no administrative or disciplinary action be taken.

Meanwhile, an earlier congressional investigation led by senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, concludedthat the FBI “collectively had sufficient information necessary to have detected Hasan’s radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed both to understand and to act on it.”[6] Yet the Webster commission barely mentions Islam in the body of the report.

The underlying justification for omitting this factor is encountered in Part 1, Factual Findings: “The FBI’s report on terrorist acts in the U.S. … identified 318 events … and only 7% of those events were attributed to Islamic extremists.”[7] Statistics such as these are easily manipulated at the D.C.-based Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS) site by selecting specific criteria. Moreover, the Webster report undermines this fact when it lists the successes of the FBI’s terrorism task forces: Of the sixteen examples of major terrorist plots foiled, all were planned by Muslims.[8]

One might also look to the selection of the committee members assigned to investigate an Islamist-inspired terror attack on the U.S. military for further explanation of the omission. None of the investigators and attorneys chosen were experts in Islamist extremism: Douglas Winter is an IT specialist; Adrian Steele, an antitrust and regulatory law expert; Russel Bruemmer, a financial institutions professional; Kenneth Wainstein, an expert in corporate internal investigations and civil and criminal enforcement; and William Baker is a criminal and counterterrorism specialist, and was the only member with a modicum of expertise in Islamism. The commission also consulted with “public interest groups that promote and protect civil liberties and privacy interests.” In fact, the only exhibit appended to the report was a lengthy treatise from the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that has distinguished itself by frequently contesting counterterrorism measures proposed by the government since 9/11 as an infringement on civil rights.

Thus the word “Islamic” is mentioned a mere thirty times in the 173-page report. Most instances have no significance, including eight referring to proper names while seven refer to “radical Islamic cleric” Anwar al-Awlaki, Hasan’s jihadist mentor. Almost half the mentions, ironically, come from Hasan’s own e-mail correspondence. The Webster report wascriticized by senators Lieberman and Collins who worried the “report fails to address the specific cause for the Fort Hood attack, which is violent Islamist extremism.”[9]

The sad truth is that the bulk of the blame for this sorry state must be assigned to guidelines that handicapped agents in identifying Islamist threats. The report holds no agent accountable for failing to follow FBI protocols since the chain of command and protocol is dictated to the FBI by the appointed attorney general. Implementing the Webster commission’s recommendations cannot prevent a similar, future attack while there is a concerted effort coming from the Attorney General’s office—and ultimately the White House—to obfuscate the main motivation, Islamism.

Read more at Middle East Forum

Jihad or Criminality?

images 5by Daniel Pipes:

A recent spate of killings in the United States of non-Muslims by Muslims has gone unnoticed by the major media. Here are four cases I know of:

Feb. 5Yusuf Ibrahim, 27, Egyptian born and living in Jersey City, stands accused of shooting, then cutting off the heads and hands of two Copts, Hanny F. Tawadros and Amgad A. Konds, and burying them in Buena Vista Township, New Jersey. He is charged with two counts of murder and with desecrating human remains. He is also wanted for a Sep. 20, 2012, armed robbery in Jersey City in which a victim was shot in the foot.

Feb. 18Ali Syed, 20, of Ladera Ranch, Calif., went on a shooting rampage in Southern California, killing Courtney Aoki, Mel Edwards, and Jeremy Lewis, then committed suicide. The Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman, Jim Amormino, said Syed, described as an unemployed part-time student at Saddleback College who lived with his parents and a loner who “spent a lot of time alone in his room playing video games,” left “no evidence, no note, nothing that would explain this very bizarre, violent behavior.”

Feb. 21Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, 26, killed three people on the Las Vegas Strip and fled, is called armed and dangerous. He apparently got into an argument with, Ken Cherry, shot Cherry as Cherry was driving, which led to a collision that killed a taxi driver and his passenger. Harris has a long criminal record that includes kidnapping, sexual assault, and robbery.

Additionally, although the murder took place on July 31, 2012, only at his court hearing on Feb. 21 did public attention focus on Ali Salim, 44, a medical doctor born in Pakistan and living in New Albany, Ohio, who is accused of raping and killing nine months’ pregnant Deanna Ballman, 23,  by injecting her with a lethal dose of heroin. He is charged with two counts of murder (Ballman and her unborn baby) as well as rape, felonious assault, corrupting another with drugs, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Comments: Because the media, law enforcement, and elected officials are so reluctant to give out information about the attackers’ religion, much less their motives, it’s basically impossible to tell from the outside if they represent a wave of jihadi attacks by Islamists or are just a bunch of criminals who happen to be Muslim, or a bit of both. The most the media will concede is in the Ibrahim case, that “Privately some wonder if it had something to do with the victims’ [Christian] religion.” When will journalists, police, and politicians end their efforts to hide key information that the public needs and deserves? (February 24, 2013)

Updates: This blog prompted readers to send other recent cases of Muslim-on-non-Muslim violence:

Sep. 8, 2011: As Justin Hall, 32, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, was about to board a Greyhound bus in Springfield, Mo., Mohamed H. Dawod, 25, of Glendale, Ariz., shot him in the back. Dawod tried to fire more shots but his pistol, a .22-cal. semi-automatic, jammed, at which point other passengers subdued him. The attack appeared to be unprovoked. Police are seeking a motive. They charged Dawod with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting.

Feb. 27: A Pakistani immigrant, Kashif Bashir (not for sure a Muslim), 27, shot an Alexandria, Virginia police officer, Peter Laboy, in the head during a routine traffic stop for a minor infraction. Laboy barely survived.