Pulitzer Prize Winner David K. Shipler Hawks the “Protocols of the Elders of the Anti-Islam Movement” in The New Yorker

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, May 13, 2015:

A document entered into court evidence by Justice Department prosecutors in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history, and later cited affirmatively by the federal judge in the case and cleared by the federal appeals court, would seem an unlikely target for a former journalist to try to spin a conspiratorial tale around, namely slandering others of hawking a racist/’Islamphobic’ “Protocols of the Elders of Islam.”

And yet that is what David K. Shipler, a former New York Times reporter and winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, is now trying to do.

512R2aJ0iLLClearly upset that so-called “Islamophobes” have been successful using the document – again, discovered by the FBI, submitted into the evidence by federal prosecutors and approved as genuine by the federal court – to expose the Muslim Brotherhood roots of some of America’s largest Islamic organizations, Shipler wields his “Islamophobia” harpoon like Ahab at his “anti-Islam industry” Moby Dick.

He makes his dubious case in a new book out this week, entitled “Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword” (Alfred A. Knopf), which includes an entire chapter on the subject, and summarizes it in an article published on Tuesday in The New Yorker, “Pamela Geller and the Anti-Islam Movement.” The book received a very lukewarm review in the New York Times this past Sunday.

In the New Yorker article, Shipler claims:

Virtually all the alarm over the coming Islamic takeover and the spread of Sharia law can be traced back to an old document of questionable authority and relevance, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” Dated May 22, 1991, it was found in 2004 by the F.B.I., buried in one of a large number of boxes uncovered during a search of a house in northern Virginia. (I reported on the discovery and the use of the document for my book “Freedom of Speech: Mightier than the Sword.”) It is cited on numerous Web sites, and in articles, videos, and training materials, which quote one another in circular arguments. Its illusion of importance was enhanced by federal prosecutors, who included it in a trove of documents introduced into evidence in the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charitable organization ultimately convicted of sending money to Hamas.

The memo, however, is far from probative. It was never subjected to an adversarial test of its authenticity or significance. Examined closely, it does not stand up as an authoritative prescription for action. Rather, it appears to have been written as a plea to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership for action, by an author we know little about, Mohamed Akram. He is listed elsewhere as a secretary in the Brotherhood, but he writes in the tone of an underling. Islam watchers do not quote his appeal that the recipients “not rush to throw these papers away due to your many occupations and worries. All that I’m asking of you is to read them and to comment on them.” These lines reveal the memo as a mere proposal, now twenty-four years old. No other copies have come to light.

Two features of the memo are highlighted by the Islam watchers: first, its assertion that “the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within,” and, second, “a list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” [emphasis added]

What’s remarkable about Shipler’s treatment of the Explanatory Memorandum in his article and in his book is how much he is willing to quickly dismiss facts that completely undo his case, and pays no attention to the glaring contradictions he ends up wrapping himself trying to debunk the document. At major points he contradicts himself. He breezes over the mountain of evidence that he has to overcome, but that means he can’t plead ignorance of it. One is only left with the conclusion that he’s being intentionally mendacious.

I beg the reader’s indulgence, for I will quote lengthy passages and on occasions paste screenshots from the court documents themselves so you know I’m not engaged in anything dodgy. Tellingly, most of these quotes never appear in Shipler’s book, and if so, only selectively edited form.

So let’s start with the evidence.

The document he is trying to cast doubts on is known generally as the “Explanatory Memorandum,” but it’s actual title is, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group in North America.” The document is dated May 22, 1991 and was entered into evidence as “Elbarasse Search – 3″ by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial in 2008.

Helpfully, the federal court overseeing the case in an unusual move posted the trial evidence on their own website. The Explanatory Memorandum and the FBI translation of the document can be found here.

At this point, we can turn to what the Justice Department said in federal court about the Explanatory Memorandum. In one court filing, available on the ACLU’s website, federal prosecutors state (p. 12):

The evidence introduced at trial, for example, established that ISNA and NAIT were among those organizations created by the U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood.8 Govt. Exh. 3-64 (seized from the home of HAMAS leader Ismail Elbarasse); Govt. Exh. 3-3 (Muslim Brotherhood document noting that ISNA was founded by the US-Muslim Brotherhood) ; Govt. Exh. 3-85 (1991 memorandum authored by U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member Mohamed Akram Adlouni, recognizing ISNA and NAIT as Muslim Brotherhood organizations.) Government’s Exhibit 3-85, entitled An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group, described the Brotherhood’s strategic goal as a kind of “grand Jihad”:

The Ikhwan must understand that their role in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western Civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious…. [emphasis added]

So the Justice Department states that:

1) Two Islamic organizations – the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) – were created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (based on other trial evidence as well as the Explanatory Memorandum);

2) The Explanatory Memorandum was authored by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member Mohamed Akram Adlouni;

3) That the memo describes the Brotherhood’s strategic goal as “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western Civilization from within.”

Now please note that these claims were not made by “Pamela Geller and the Anti-Islam Movement” but the Justice Department in a federal court filing. He can tilt at all of the “anti-Islam” windmills he wants, but fundamentally he still has to explain away the court evidence.

And as stated earlier, much to the consternation of Shipler, the federal court agreed in a published opinion with the Justice Department’s analysis of the document when Judge Jorge Solis ruled on motions from three separate organizations named as unindicted co-conspirators in the trial – ISNA, NAIT, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – asking to be removed from the Justice Department’s co-conspirator list. The judge’s ruling against removing the groups from the unindicted co-conspirator list was unsealed in 2010.

In that ruling, Judge Solis states (p. 15):

Government Exhibit 3-85 is titled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” authored by Mohamed Akram of the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood and dated May 22, 1991. (Gov’t Ex. 3-85 (Elbarasse 3) at 21.) The “Explanatory Memorandum” includes a section titled “Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America,” which states that the work of the Ikhwan in the United States is “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” (Id.)Also contained in that document is a list of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “organizations and the organizations of our friends,” which includes ISNA, NAIT, the Occupied Land Fund (“OLF”) (HLF’s former name), and the United Association for Studies and Research (“UASR”). (Id. at 32.)

So Judge Solis found that:

1) The Explanatory Memorandum was authored by Mohamed Akram of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council;

2) That the document describes the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western Civilization from within”;

3) That the document lists the Muslim Brotherhood’s “organizations and the organizations of our friends,” including ISNA and NAIT.

At this point Shipler laughably believes he has room to maneuver. In the New Yorker article and in his book, he makes three general claims:

1) That the judge blindly accepted the Justice Department’s argument about the origins and importance of the memo and never allowed adversarial challenges to its provenance;

2) That the Explanatory Memorandum was admitted as hearsay, meaning that the groups named in the memo were never allowed to challenge in court;

3) That the judge failed to distinguish between the memo’s list of “our organizations” and “the organizations of our friends.”

Let’s take these in order.

1) Judge Solis accepted the Justice Department’s description of the Explanatory Memorandum unquestioningly and never allowed adversarial challenges.

In discussing the order by Judge Solis in response to the motions of the three Islamic organizations, Shipler states in his book (p. 190):

CAIR and two other groups moved to have themselves removed from the list of unindicted co-conspirators, but the effort backfired and gave Islam watchers more ammunition. Not only was their motion denied by Judge Jorge Solis, who presided over the retrial, conviction, and sentencing of the five Holy Land Foundation defendants (the first trial had ended in a hung jury). He also accepted the government’s assertions by citing the seized Elbarasse documents, including the Explanatory Memorandum, without testing their accuracy in an adversarial proceeding. He did not distinguish between the memo’s list of “our organizations” and “the organizations of our friends.” He ruled, “The Government had produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA [Islamic Society of North America], and NAIT [North American Islamic Trust] with HLF [Holy Land Foundation], the Islamic Association of Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.” [emphasis added]

Remarkably, Shipler contradicts himself just a few pages later, quoting a defense attorney for the Holy Land Foundation defendants who said that the Elbarasse documents had, in fact, been challenged by the defense team (p. 198):

The defense team lodged vigorous objections to the introduction of this and the other documents from the Elbarasse search, and two attorneys on the defense team, Nancy Hollander and Marlo Cadeddu, scoffed at Guandolo’s statement. “There was no such stipulation by the defense,” said Cadeddu. “Nor would we ever have stipulated to any such thing. Any claims to the contrary are simply untrue.” Indeed, after the five Holy Land officials and fund-raisers were convicted, their lawyers argued specifically, in an unsuccessful appeal to the Fifth Circuit, that the trial judge had erred in admitting the documents, which the attorneys branded hearsay, irrelevant to the charge that the defendants had funneled money to Hamas. [emphasis added]

At this point, observant readers are no doubt confused. By Shipler’s own admission, the Elbarasse documents, including the Explanatory Memorandum, were subject to challenges on both the trial court and appellate levels. Both sides briefed the court, and judge and the appeals court panel ruled on the merits of their arguments. These are what as generally known as “adversarial proceedings,” much as Shipler claims never occurred. It’s not clear exactly then what Shipler was expecting. An entirely separate trial over the Explanatory Memorandum? With his own damning acknowledgement of these defense team challenges, we can only conclude that he’s being duplicitous, or really, really thick.

But that’s not all. During the trial one of the investigators in the Holy Land case, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns, twice mentioned the Explanatory Memorandum (trial transcript 09/28/2008 at p. 21, 10/07/2008 at p. 71).

Read more at PJ Media

Also see:

Minneapolis Terror ‘Deradicalization’ Program Fails After Just Months, ‘Test Case’ Back in Jail

Abdullahi Yusuf

Abdullahi Yusuf

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, May 12, 2015:

A terror deradicalization program — established in the “Ground Zero” of terror recruitment, Minnesota’s Twin Cities — has already failed after just a few months.

The program was established after a federal court released 19-year-old terror suspect Abdullahi Yusuf to a halfway house earlier this year. Federal prosecutors opposed Yusuf’s release, but were overruled by the federal judge in the case, Michael J. Davis, the Chief Judge of the District of Minnesota. Today, Yusuf again sits in jail, having violated the terms of his release.

Remarkably, Judge Davis said today in a separate case of six men charged with trying to join the Islamic State that he would be willing to consider “less restrictive options” than detaining the men – just a day after Yusuf’s re-arrest.

Last May, Yusuf was arrested at the Minneapolis airport while on his way to Syria by way of Turkey to join the Islamic State. One of his accomplices, Abdi Nur, did make it to Syria, and he now serves as an effective recruiter for the terror group.

Just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on the program with an article titled “A Test Case for ‘Deradicalization’“:

The path of reform for Abdullahi Yusuf, a U.S. teenager who tried to become a radical Islamic soldier, passes through writings of Martin Luther King Jr., readings of the U.S. Constitution and discussions about life and literature with a fellow Somali-American named Ahmed Amin.

Mr. Yusuf’s attempt to travel to the Middle East last year helped lead authorities to six Minnesota men who were charged last month in connection with a plan to join Islamic State abroad. The 19-year-old has become a test case for whether Americans lured by Islamic extremism can be deradicalized.

A Minnesota judge earlier this year sent Mr. Yusuf to a halfway house, where he adheres to a tailor-made curriculum aimed at reintegrating him into American society and his immigrant community here. If the program succeeds, Mr. Yusuf’s sentence could be reduced — and the approach to his deradicalization replicated, experts say.

Counterterrorism experts believe it is the first such effort in the U.S. to try to turn a young person connected to a terror prosecution away from an extremist Islamist ideology since the advent of groups like al-Shabaab and Islamic State, or ISIS.

Apparently, reading Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Wright’s Native Son, and articles about the experience of Native Americans didn’t sway Yusuf to keep compliant with the program. The Star-Tribune reports today:

Abdullahi Yusuf, a Somali-American who pleaded guilty to conspiring to support terrorists in the Middle East, has been taken into custody for allegedly violating conditions while living in a St. Paul halfway house, according to court documents filed Monday.

Yusef, a student at Inver Grove Community College, drew national attention after a federal judge decided to place him in a halfway house and provide counseling for him rather than hold him in custody while awaiting sentencing.

Yusuf’s alleged violations were not detailed in court records.

Despite the violations not being detailed, the video report on Abdullahi’s re-arrest aired on the local CBS affiliate notes Abdullahi’s violations occurred on the same day last month that six other Twin Cities men were arrested for attempting to join the Islamic State.

One additional interesting tidbit is that according to the New York Times, federal prosecutors opposed Yusuf’s release:

Mr. Yusuf, Mr. Nur’s co-defendant, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support for terrorism and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years. But in an experiment being watched nationally, Judge Michael J. Davis of Federal District Court agreed to a presentence plan to divert Mr. Yusuf to a halfway house with the support of Heartland Democracy, an education nonprofit in Minneapolis. He worked at Best Buy and attended community college until late November, when he was jailed for a time in connection with his attempt to travel to Syria. His supporters are now working with the court to get him back in classes and eventually back in a job.

The idea, said Mary McKinley, executive director of Heartland Democracy, is to gradually reintegrate Mr. Yusuf into the community, and possibly give him a role in countering the radicalization of young people.

“Ideally, Abdullahi will be able to tell his story in a way that is useful to young people who are frustrated and disengaged,” Ms. McKinley said. His lawyer, Jean M. Brandl, said her client was not prepared to speak publicly.

Federal prosecutors opposed giving Mr. Yusuf a break, noting that he had lied to F.B.I. agents at the airport. But Judge Davis, who knows the Somali community well enough to ask about clans and sub-clans, went along with the plan, intended to reduce the chasm between Somalis and law enforcement officials. Parents and friends concerned about a young person drawn to the Islamic State are more likely to call the police, advocates say, if they believe there is an alternative to a long prison sentence.

The Associated Press reports today that during a hearing for the other six men arrested in April accused of trying to join the Islamic State Judge Davis said he is willing to consider “less restrictive options” than holding the men until trial:

Five Minnesota men accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group were ordered Tuesday to remain in custody pending trial, but Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said he’s open to exploring less restrictive options.

The five men are all charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; four are charged with attempting to provide such support. Their attorneys had appealed orders that the men be held while their cases proceed, arguing their clients weren’t dangerous or a flight risk.

In separate hearings for each man Tuesday, Davis said no set of conditions could reasonably ensure the community’s safety or guarantee that each man would not flee. But he told attorneys to come up with plans that could support their release.

“I’m not rushing into this,” Davis said. “It’s a slow process. But I’m taking a look at each of these defendants individually.”

As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

ISIS Twitter Users Threaten Impending Terror Attack on London Using #LondonAttack

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, May 11, 2015:

Within the past hour, several tweets featuring the #LondonAttack hashtag have shown up on Twitter, including one warning Muslims to leave the area of Covent Gardens:

nick the hammer tweet

After that account was suspended, the user apparently began tweeting under a new account:

belt

tweet 45

last tweet

last tweep

Read more

***

jester

UK has it’s hands full and they’re making some bold counterterrorism moves:

CIA-Backed, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrians … Now Openly Working with Al-Qaeda

640x392_25455_221535 (1)PJ Media, By Patrick Poole, On May 8, 2015:

As I have reported extensively here at PJ Media over the past year, a growing mountain of evidence confirms that the “vetted moderate” Sunni groups that the U.S. has backed in Syria — backing which includes CIA-provided heavy weaponry – have always been working with the very same jihadist groups that the Obama administration and the Washington, D.C. foreign policy “smart set” have consistently claimed they would counter.

Now, a new report establishes that even more CIA-backed “vetted moderate” groups are collaborating with groups designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations. Specifically, they are collaborating with al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, though at times they have also operated jointly with the Islamic State.

Reuters reported last Thursday that two Free Syrian Army (FSA) units — Division 13 and Fursan al-Haq — are fighting side-by-side with the Nusra Front in northern Syria:

Hardline Islamists fighting side-by-side with groups backed by the United States have made gains in northern Syria in recent weeks while showing rare unity, which some fear may be short-lived.

An Islamist alliance calling itself Army of Fatah, a reference to the conquests that spread Islam across the Middle East from the seventh century, has seized northwestern towns including the provincial capital Idlib from government forces.

The alliance, which includes al-Qaeda’s wing in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, and another hardline militant group, the Ahrar al-Sham movement, is edging closer to the coastal province of Latakia, President Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold.

Fighting alongside them, although excluded from a joint command center, are groups which reject the jihadists’ anti-Western aims and say they receive covert support from the CIA. Two of these are called Division 13 and Fursan al-Haq.

While the Islamist groups appear to be stronger than their Western-backed allies, it is a rare example of cooperation, just weeks after Nusra Front fighters crushed a previous U.S. backed rebel force in a blow to Washington’s Syria strategy.

Remarkably, Reuters (as well as many other establishment media outlets) continues to present this level of cooperation between U.S.-backed groups in Syria and terrorist organizations as “rare.”

This is categorically false.

In an effort to preserve that narrative, Reuters added this howler:

Abu Hamoud, a commander from Division 13, said his group coordinated with Nusra Front, which the United States considers a terrorist organization, but this does not mean it is aligned to it.

As if “coordinating” with al-Qaeda is functionally different from “aligning” with al-Qaeda.

In service of this narrative, establishment media have attempted to create distinctions between Nusra and other U.S.-backed groups. Reports have noted that the Nusra Front had recently taken out two of the major Syrian rebel groups, Harakat al-Hazm (in March) and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (in November), and that both had been trained and received heavy weapons from the United States. However, both groups had been openly cooperating with Nusra before their demise.

Both Hazm and SRF had their “vetted moderate” credentials provided by the D.C. foreign policy establishment, which deemed Hazm as “rebels worth supporting” and SRF as “the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies.”

Last year, just as SRF was in line to receive CIA-provided anti-tank missiles, SRF commander Jamal Maroof told Western media that he had no intention of fighting al-Qaeda.

A few weeks later, the Wall Street Journal reported that SRF had been fighting alongside the Nusra Front in the Golan Heights of southern Syria. In September, Agence France Presse reported that SRF had struck a truce with the Islamic State, thus ending any notion that they ever had a chance “against Syria’s Islamist armies.”

When Liz Sly of the Washington Post interviewed the commander of Hazm in April 2014 just as they were beginning to receive heavy weapons shipments from the U.S., the commander gave a double-sided response about Nusra:

LS: You have already participated in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. What are your relations with Jabhat al-Nusra?

AA: Jabhat al-Nusra is a military formation, a fighting battalion that exists on the ground like any other. We have no strong or meaningful relationship with them. They fight on their fronts, and we fight on ours.

LS: What do you think of them?

AA: They hold responsibility for bringing ISIS fighters to Syria from across the world. This was a mistake committed against the Syrian people. I think of them as a group of people fighting to topple the regime, but if they change their ideology to resemble that of ISIS or bring death and destruction upon the Syrian people, then we won’t allow it.

In September, an article in the LA Times reporting from the frontlines in Syria recorded an exchange with two Hazm fighters armed and trained by the U.S. The fighters admitted that they liked Nusra and fought in coordination with them.

Just a few weeks later, as U.S. warplanes began to target the Islamic State in northern SyriaHazm issued an official statement condemning the strikes as “an attack on the revolution” Of the U.S., they demanded “unconditional arming” of the Syrian rebels.

Both groups also released contradictory statements to Western media, attempting to conceal their duplicity and to keep the U.S. weapons spigot open.

When the SRF got caught fighting alongside the Nusra Front, Syrian opposition officials rushed to deny the report. They were in Washington, D.C. at that exact time, lobbying for more weapons:

The president of Syria’s main political opposition group, Ahmed Jarba, is in Washington this week and slated to meet President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. He has been trying to assure the administration that the FSA is best placed to fight al-Qaeda rebels on the ground in Syria.

While word of the cooperation between the FSA and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front came from within the Western-backed group, a member of Mr. Jarba’s delegation in Washington denied it. The conflicting claims were an embarrassing sign of disarray within the group just as it was trying to lobby Washington.

Again, when multiple media reports emerged about SRF’s truce with the Islamic State, the group rushed out a statement – in English, for Western audiences — denying the deal.

Hazm played this game as well. Last July, they signed a statement with eight other groups rejecting “all forms of cooperation and coordination” with the Nusra Front. At the same time, they were cooperating and coordinating with Nusra in Aleppo:

In July, eight West-backed rebel brigades — all recipients of military aid — released a statement of “rejection of all forms of cooperation and coordination” with Al Nusra Front. Harakat Hazm was one of the signatories, even as it fought on the same front lines with the group in Aleppo, battling both Islamic State militants in the north and government forces seeking to retake the city.

In fact, they had signed a statement of alliance with Nusra to prevent the Assad regime from pushing into Aleppo, a copy of which I published here at PJ Media.

The statement rejecting the Nusra Front was for Western consumption. The statement of alliance with Nusra was the reality. The media, the Obama administration, and their supporters in Congress pushing to provide more weapons to the “rebels” ignored the statement of alliance.

The media’s underreporting of the coordination between the “vetted moderates” and designated terrorist groups is one of the biggest scandals of the coverage of the Syrian war. But while they have buried the lede, that’s not to say it hasn’t gone unreported, making the continuation of the narrative all the more inexcusable. Here’s a sample over the past year:

May 7: Wall Street Journal reports SRF joins with Al-Qaeda to help take hilltops in Golan Heights

July 9: Al Jazeera quotes ISIS leader saying that they purchase U.S. weapons from and maintain good relations with the FSA

Aug 3: New York Times cites FSA commander saying joint FSA, Nusra Front, and ISIS force attack a border post with Lebanon

Aug 18: Islamic State commander openly brags about defections by U.S.-trained and armed FSA fighters

Aug 28: Washington Post says Nusra Front aided by Western-backed rebels capture UN Quneitra border crossing with Israel, abducting 43 Fijian peacekeepers

Sept 7: LA Times notes Hazm fighting alongside Al-Qaeda in Aleppo, quoting fighters admitting the relationship

Sept 8: Daily Star (Lebanon) quotes FSA brigade commander saying his forces were working with Islamic State and Nusra Front near Syria/Lebanon border

Sept 13: The Hill reports that SRF had declared a truce with the Islamic State

Sept 24: LA Times notes Hazm condemnation of U.S. airstrikes targeting ISIS in northern Syria

Nov 1: Reuters says that SRF elements defected to the Nusra Front

Nov 3: International Business Times observes that U.S.-backed rebel groups pledge allegiance, surrender weapons to Nusra Front

Nov 23: The Guardian states that FSA units develop alliances with, even defect to, the Islamic State while condemning U.S. airstrikes

Nov. 28: Associated Press reports close collaboration of U.S.-backed rebels and Al-Qaeda in southern Syria

Dec 24: German journalist who embedded with Islamic State tells France 24 that ISIS is obtaining weapons from Western governments purchased from FSA

Dec 28: New York Times admits that FSA is under effective control of Nusra Front

Feb 18: McClatchy reports that former Obama frontman for Syria, Robert Ford, no longer trusts Syrian rebel groups because they collaborate with jihadist groups

Apr 30: Reuters notes U.S.-armed FSA units in northern Syria allied with Nusra Front

Despite these reports appearing in their own publications, virtually all of these same outlets otherwise continue to characterize — as Reuters did just a few days ago — the collaboration between U.S.-backed groups and terrorist organizations as a “rare” event. Certainly, none of them have made this coordination a recurring theme in their reporting, at best sprinkling these facts in other stories.

Below are my prior articles debunking the “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel narrative:

July 7: U.S. ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State

Sept 3: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept 9: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept 10: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept 13: Yet Another U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace with ISIS

Sept 24: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov 2: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov 3: How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov 24: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec 2: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec 14: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec 28: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective al-Qaeda Control

March 3: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

April 16: U.S. Analyst Admits ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working with Al-Qaeda All Along

As our own government has backed these groups with American weaponry, it is imperative that the “vetted moderate” narrative be held to account. Hundreds of thousands are dead and millions are displaced in Syria. The terror groups that our leaders said we would confront have instead metastasized, partially due to our “inside-the-Beltway” incompetence.

Phoenix Mosque Attended by Garland ‘Draw Muhammad’ Jihadists Previously Spawned Two Other Terrorists

vlcsnap-2015-05-07-15h59m57s170

Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were preceded by Hassan Abu-Jihaad and Derrick Shareef, all of whom attended the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, May 8, 2015:

Yesterday here at PJ Media I reported on conflicting stories offered by the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP) regarding former mosque attendees Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, who were killed this past Sunday in a gunfight outside a Dallas-area center where a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest was being held.

I noted the attempts by the mosque president, Usama Shami, to downplay the ties of the two would-be terrorists. This included Shami’s claim to the press that neither was a regular member, when in fact Elton “Ibrahim” Simpson had been featured in a mosque fundraising video posted on ICCP’s Youtube channel in 2012 identifying him as a member:

But it merits noting that Simpson and Soofi were not the only two terrorists spawned from ICCP.

In fact, two other previous ICCP mosque attendees – Hassan Abu-Jihaad and Derrick Shareef – are currently in federal prison on terrorism-related charges.

There are remarkable parallels with Simpson and Soofi, including the that Abu-Jihaad and Shareef were also roommates. So too, is that Usama Shami is attempting to downplay their association with ICCP, telling the Arizona Republic he never saw the pair despite court records in both their cases stating they had attended the mosque.

Abu-Jihaad is currently serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for passing classified information to a UK-based Al-Qaeda webmaster.

According to the Justice Department:

In 2001, Abu-Jihaad was serving as a U.S. Navy signalman aboard the U.S.S. Benfold and had access to the future movements of his group of ships, led by the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Constellation. Six months after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and before leaving home port in San Diego for a deployment in the Persian Gulf, Abu-Jihaad transmitted then-classified information about his battle group’s itinerary, listing dates for anticipated port calls in Hawaii and Australia, and for the battle group’s transit through the Strait of Hormuz. Abu-Jihaad’s disclosure discussed the battle group’s perceived vulnerability to terrorist attack.

The leak did not come to light until well after Abu-Jihaad left the Navy, when an investigation into Azzam Publications led to the search of a London apartment associated with one of the website’s organizers, and authorities found a floppy disk containing the U.S. Navy information. Subsequent investigation uncovered several email exchanges from late 2000 to late 2001 between members of Azzam Publications and Abu-Jihaad, including discussions regarding videos Abu-Jihaad ordered from Azzam Publications that promoted violent jihad and extolled the virtues of martyrdom; a donation of money Abu-Jihaad made to Azzam Publications; and whether it was “safe” to send materials to Abu-Jihaad at his military address onboard the U.S.S. Benfold.

The FBI established a direct tie between Abu-Jihaad and Simpson according to court documents in the latter’s 2010 trial, as Simpson was first questioned by the FBI in 2006 when authorities believed he might be part of a terror cell:

In 2006, agents opened a criminal investigation of him based on his ties with an individual “whom the FBI believed was attempting to set up a terrorist cell in Arizona,” according to court documents.

Agents say Simpson knew Hassan Abu-Jihaad, an enlistee in the U.S. Navy later convicted of leaking classified information about upcoming movements of his battle group to an alleged terror cell in London. Simpson told agents he knew Abu-Jihaad, who was arrested in Phoenix in 2007, but did not tell them anything else about him.

Undoubtedly what launched that 2006 investigation was the activity of Abu-Jihaad’s former roommate, Derrick Shareef.

Shareef was arrested in 2006 for his role in a plot to set off hand grenades at a Rockford, Illinois shopping mall during the holiday season. He later plead guilty on a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

During his trial, the FBI provided video tapes of Shareef threatening Americans:

“You are the enemies of Islam, for the sake of Allah we are coming for you,” Shareef says in a tape that looks like it could have been shot somewhere in the Middle East. In fact, the camera was 90 miles from Chicago in a Rockford home where the 22-year-old and a friend each made several videos declaring their desire for destruction.

“We will target you in your homes. We will target you in your businesses. We will target you in your synagogues and your churches. We do not fear you Kafirs. I swear by Allah I am ready to give my life right now for the cause,” the tape says.

The mosque also came under scrutiny in Marcch 2008 when a large group of men from ICCP began firing semi-automatic weapons in an open area frequented by runners and bikers near a residential area, as the Arizona Republic reported at the time:

Shortly before noon on a sunny Sunday in March, two Toyota SUVs rolled to a stop along a dirt road in north Phoenix.

About 20 young Muslim males climbed out, armed with assault rifles, a shotgun, a sniper rifle and handguns. The location near Happy Valley Road and 51st Avenue is a desert recreation site for off-road motorists, hikers and bikers, dozens of whom were enjoying the spring-like weather.

For more than an hour, the shooters blasted away at a granite rock and empty cans in front of a hill.

Officials estimate the fusillade totaled 500 to 1,000 rounds. Some shooters left before police arrived and detained 10 adults and five boys, including an 11-year-old.

The young men and boys told officers the weapons belonged to their parents. They said they were not aware it was illegal to use firearms in the residential area.

Six were arrested and charged with felony weapons violations in Maricopa County Superior Court. Among them were the 20- and 21-year-old sons of two imams at Phoenix-area mosques, as well as the 20-year-old son of Abdallah.

Needless to say, the usual suspects claimed the men were being targeted because of their Islamic faith, rather than their firing rifles in a prohibited area that endangered others.

ICCP officials would most likely claim that the case of the “Draw Muhammad” terrorists coming out of their mosque as had a traitor betraying classified military secrets to Al-Qaeda and a man planning a terror attack on a shopping mall during the holidays is a matter of bad luck.

But one of the main tools used by terror recruiters is the Islamic grievance narrative that Muslims are under attack from the West.

In fact, ICCP regularly hosts speakers pushing that Islamic grievance narrative, such as the February 2013 appearance of Lauren Booth:

As I reported here at PJ Media in 2012, Booth had been interviewed in a California mosque spouting Jew hatred, making anti-American statements, and calling President Obama a murderer:

Interestingly, the man interviewing Booth in that video, my friend Tom Trento of the United West, was broadcasting live inside the “Draw Muhammad” event on Sunday when it came under attack by Simpson and Soofi and continued giving live video updates as the situation unfolded.

So while ICCP officials may call the four terrorists that have come from their mosque a tragic coincidence, others may call it a pattern. Or as my law enforcement colleagues would describe it, an “investigative clue.”

The Watchman Show: World on Fire

jihad 2Terrorism experts Erick Stakelbeck, Patrick Poole and Ryan Mauro to discuss Iran, ISIS, Yemen and Syria–and why it matters for Americans.

EXCLUSIVE: FBI, DHS Assessed Terror Attack Threat to Texas ‘Draw Muhammad’ Contest as ‘UNLIKELY’

h0ixM.AuSt.91PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, May 5, 2015:

The Feds, influenced by false narratives about the causes of terror, failed yet again. Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Public Safety took the threats seriously and saved lives.

As online chatter about a Muhammad cartoon contest began to escalate last week, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Joint Intelligence Bulletin last Thursday. The bulletin acknowledged the potential threat, but downplayed the possibility of any violence targeting the event.

The bulletin concluded that while the event could inspire violence abroad by contributing to terrorist messaging, it was “unlikely” that such violence would happen in the United States.

A copy of the FBI/DHS bulletin is provided exclusively by PJ Media below.

On Sunday night, two men – Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, roommates from Phoenix — did in fact show up at the event location in Garland, Texas, armed with semi-automatic weapons and body armor. Both were quickly killed in an exchange of gunfire before there was any direct threat to anyone inside the facility. One police officer was shot in the ankle — he was treated at the hospital and later released.

According to sources involved in the investigation into the terror attack and law enforcement preparations leading up to last Sunday’s event, there was virtually no online chatter about the cartoon contest until early last week.

The chatter began when news broke that two Muslim congressmen, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, had appealed to Secretary of State John Kerry to deny entry into the U.S. for Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

Wilders was scheduled to be the featured speaker at Sunday’s cartoon contest.

One law enforcement source who was monitoring potential threats to the event told PJ Media the following:

[Ellison and Carson] clearly set things off. Nothing was being said until that news story came out, and then the usual suspects began to talk about it. By the time the weekend rolled around, there were clear and identifiable incitements calling for an attack on the event.

During this crescendo of online chatter, an FBI/DHS bulletin titled “‘Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest’ in Texas on 3 May Likely to Prompt Violent Extremist Reaction Abroad; Violence Less Likely at Home” was sent out to law enforcement agencies four days before the event was held.

The bulletin initially acknowledges a potential threat existed following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January and the attack on an event where a Muhammad cartoonist appeared in Copenhagen in February:

On 3 May 2015 the “American Freedom Defense Initiative USPER” (AFDI) is sponsoring in Garland, Texas a “Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest,” for the stated purpose of “defend[ing] free speech and not give[ing] in to violent intimidation.” The FBI and DHS assess this motivation refers to deadly violent extremist attacks over recent months on institutions or events perceived as defaming the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Although there is no specific, credible intelligence concerning threats to the event thus far, we assess that this event carries the risk of being targeted by violent extremists because past events involving the alleged defamation of Islam and the prophet, Muhammad, have resulted in threats or overt acts of violence overseas, to include threats against both artists and publishers.

But by the end of the FBI/DHS analysis, they conclude that since such attacks had not happened here yet, they were unlikely to now:

Although past events involving the alleged defamation of Islam and the prophet, Muhammad, have resulted in threats or overt acts of violence overseas, we have not yet seen such violence in the United States. The most frequent reaction among US-based homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) is discussion and verbal disapproval via online communication platforms, including websites with violent extremist content and social media sites.† We assess it is unlikely that any one event perceived to defame Islam would alone mobilize HVEs to violence; however, such events are incorporated into violent extremist messaging and narratives involving Western persecution of Muslims, which we do assess overall to contribute to radicalization to violence.‡ US-based HVEs remain largely unconnected to each other, and their behaviors are often highly individualized, impeding our ability to predict their reactions with a great deal of confidence. We also judge US-based HVEs and violent extremists in other Western nations who are skilled in information technology have the capability to carry out a cyber-intrusion attack against organizations or individuals perceived to be defaming Islam.

On Sunday night, that analysis proved to be wrong.

The bulletin concluded with a list of suspicious activities, which they warn could still be “constitutionally protected.”

A source I spoke to last night suggested that the conventional wisdom of federal law enforcement and homeland security agencies on the nature of the domestic terror threat is reminiscent of a pre-9/11 mentality:

These agencies are stuck in a belief that domestic terrorism is something that happens “over there” and that will never come here. They get reinforced by our media and academics who tell them that jihadist terror in Europe is something that only happens because of alienation and poverty — not realizing how dramatically things have changed over the past few years. Where we used to see individuals and small groups traveling overseas to fight with terrorists, virtually every Western country, including the U.S., now have hundreds who have joined the jihad in Syria and Iraq.

This bulletin they put out last week is an example of how analysis and threat assessment gets done. Rather than looking at what happened in Paris and Copenhagen and determining that the threat was escalating, they rely on preformed biases to spin the facts to fit their narrative to conclude there was no threat. My concern is that they are now going to look at what happened [Sunday night] and determine that it was a random one-off event rather than a warning sign of what’s quickly headed our way.

According to those close to the investigation, the real heroes who quickly eliminated the threat on Sunday were the Texas Department of Public Safety, who took the online threats seriously. The threats included inciting tweets from known foreign Islamic State operatives overseas (namely, IS cybercaliphate chief Junaid Hussain), leading them to deploy a “massive” presence at the cartoon contest event.

The response from the FBI and DHS following yet another intelligence failure remains to be seen.

FBI/DHS JIB & Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Texas on 3 May;

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.

Muslim Congressmen Exhibit Outrageous Hypocrisy in Trying To Ban Dutch Politician Geert Wilders from U.S.

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, May 1, 2015:

It was reported earlier this week that the two Muslim members of Congress, Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN), had sent a letter to the State Department last week requesting that they deny a visa to Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was coming to Washington D.C. for a Capitol Hill event sponsored by Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA).

Unsuccessful in their attempts to have Wilders banned from the U.S. Ellison, Carson and their associates from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) tried to disrupt a press conference on free speech with Wilders, Gohmert and King in front of the U.S. Capitol yesterday, with Ellison promoting their actions on Twitter:
ellisonKeith Ellison tweet

Leave aside for the moment the spurious legal reasoning they employed to try to deny Wilders a visa, aptly refuted by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, and that their attempts to tie Wilders to Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik had been thoroughly debunked by none other than Breivik himself.

What makes the pair’s anti-free speech behavior so outrageously hypocritical is that they both have stood silent as the Obama administration has allowed a long line of extremists, and even members of terrorist organizations, to enter the U.S.

Even worse, the two Muslim congressmen have regularly promoted and associated with organizations that have been designated as terrorist organizations, and individuals and groups that have been tagged in federal court by the Justice Department.

For instance, in May 2012 a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (still a designated terrorist organization), Hani Nour Eldin, was allowed to enter the U.S. and even escorted into the White House for a private meeting with Obama’s national security staff, Ellison and Carson didn’t apparently utter a single word in protest.

Nor did they express even the slightest bit of concern when members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were given VIP treatment typically reserved for visiting dignitaries at JFK airport.

When Sudanese genocide henchman Nafie Ali Nafie (aka “Nafie the Butcher) was given a visa by the State Department in 2013, the Muslim congressmen again were found mute.

And nothing was said when Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano testified before Congress in July 2012 that she would allow more members of terrorist organizations into the U.S.

Their voice has also been absent following the news last year that the Clinton State Department maintained a terrorist “hands-off” list for entry into the U.S., revealed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), or as Homeland Security continued to stonewall congressional requests for information on such terrorist “hands-off” lists.

So Ellison and Carson have deemed Geert Wilders, who has been subject to repeated threats from Islamic terror organizations and has had to live with 24/7 security for more than a decade, a greater threat than members of terrorist groups, genocidal henchmen, and Islamic extremists.

That glaring silence might be telling of where their sympathies really lie, if it weren’t for their open and unashamed support of terrorist fronts and cheerleaders.

As I reported here at PJ Media late last December, Carson was scheduled to appear at the 2014 Muslim American Society (MAS)-Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) annual conference on a Ferguson panel with Mazen Mokhtar, an individual that federal agents had testified in federal court had operated an Al-Qaeda website to raise money for the Taliban.

Carson’s appearance at the MAS-ICNA event was not only promoted on the conference website, but also in the conference program:

Carson-Moktar750

A few days later, Carson was quickly trying to walk back his appearance at the conference, claiming he didn’t speak on the panel with Mokhtar. And yet, Carson never addressed the fact that he was speaking at Mohktar’s conference (Mokhtar is currently executive directtor of the primary conference sponsor, MAS).

But both Ellison and Carson appeared just a few months before with Al-Qaeda webmaster Mokhtar at a June 2014 event announcing the formation of a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood political front, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO). Mokhtar is second from the left:

ICNA-1024x683

In this picture published by The Muslim Link newspaper, Mokhtar can be seen immediately over the right shoulder of Ellison as he speaks at the USCMO rollout:

Ellison-Moktar

So attempts by either Ellison or Carson to walk back their association to Mazen Mokhtar are laughingly bogus.

But there’s good reason why the pair want to keep their distance from Mohktar and his MAS organization. In November 2014, one month before Carson appeared at the MAS-ICNA conference, the United Arab Emirates designated MAS as a terrorist organization. In 2008, Ellison took a 16-day Hajj trip to Saudi Arabia financed by MAS, and lied about the source of the funding.

Even more troubling for Ellison and Carson, UAE also designated CAIR a terrorist organization. Both congressmen have regularly appeared at the group’s events across the country and spoken in support of their efforts. In 2012, I documented Ellison’s extensive ties to CAIR here at PJ Media as he was publicly attacking then-Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

It’s not just the UAE terror designation of CAIR that is problematic for the pair. In 2008, FBI agent Lara Burns testified in federal court that CAIR was a front for the terrorist group HAMAS in the Holy Land Foundation case.

During that trial, the Justice Department submitted a brief to the court stating that CAIR was part of an international Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to provide “media, money and men” to Hamas (p. 13).

DOJ-CAIR-USMB-HL2

The federal judge hearing the case agreed, stating in an opinion that there was “ample evidence” that CAIR and other US Muslim organizations worked to support Hamas.

So before Keith Ellison and Andre Carson start attacking other members of Congress about their support for Geert Wilders, perhaps they should answer some questions about their ties to Mazen Mokhtar and their continued public support to MAS and CAIR despite their designation as terrorist groups by UAE, and tagged as terrorist fronts in federal court by the FBI and the Justice Department.

***

Also see:

Wilders and Sharia Versus Freedom of Speech on Capitol Hill

Carson_Ellison-e1400763054875By Andrew Bostom, April 28,2015:

“Crude, risible pretenses about their ostensible support for the “bedrock principle” of free speech—a uniquely Western ideal—notwithstanding, the effort by Congressmen Ellison and Carson is designed to enforce antithetical Sharia-based restrictions on rational criticism of Islamic dogma, and the obvious effects of that dogmatism.”

**

Representatives Keith Ellison and Andre Carson doth takiya too much. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, the good Congressmen seek to ban Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders entry to the U.S. Mr. Wilders is slated to appear for a series of American events, beginning Wednesday, April 29, 2015, on Capitol Hill.

But what motivates these Muslim Congressmen to go to such a length? I maintain the answer can be found in two recent investigative reports which elucidated the Muslim Brotherhood connections of Reps. Ellison and Carson.

Pace Mr. Ellison’s clumsy denial, Patrick Poole revealed the Congressman’s

extensive contacts with both the Muslim American Society and the Council on American-Islamic Relations – both identified by the U.S. government as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.

An extensive dossier compiled about Rep. Carson’s involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood, concluded:

Rep. André Carson’s numerous and longstanding ties to Muslim Brotherhood organizations, including organizations known to support or fund terrorism, extend well-beyond a single event or two, which might be explained by a lack of knowledge or a failure to conduct due diligence. Rep. Carson has received funds from, attended fundraising events for, and publicly promoted the agenda of these groups on a deliberate, continuous, and unapologetic basis for many years.

The Ellison/Carson fulmination to Secretaries Kerry and Johnson—a farrago of mischaracterizations, and calumnies—is especially, if predictably, odious, given their own continued ties to various Sharia supremacist Muslim Brotherhood front groups. Moreover, the willful distortions in the Ellison/Carson fulmination are easily exposed, and debunked, as demonstrated below.

  • Ellison/Carson fulmination #1: Wilders alleged “participation in inciting anti-Muslim aggression and violence.” Zero evidence is presented in support of this calumny which further ignores all the hard, countervailing data Wilders has cited, such as those indicating that 73% of Turkish and Moroccan Muslims in the Netherlands view jihadists in Syria as “heroes.”Consistent with Wilder’s rational concerns, 82% of the Dutch believe that jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq increase the risk of an attack in the Netherlands, 76% favor stripping such jihadists of their Dutch nationality, 67% want to introduce border controls to prevent these jihadists from returning, and 75% want additional manpower for the AIVD (the Dutch national security and intelligence service). In addition a majority of the Dutch population, 55% , favors stopping immigration from Islamic countries, 63% want no new mosques constructed, 72% favor a constitutional ban on Sharia (Islamic) law in the Netherlands, 64% believe that the arrival of immigrants from Islamic countries has not been beneficial to the Netherlands, and 73% saw a relationship between Islam and the acts of jihad terror in Boston, London and Paris (during 2013).
  • Ellison/Carson fulmination #2: “Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist responsible for the murder of 77 people in Oslo was inspired by Mr. Wilders hateful message.” But this claim is opposite to reality. Breivik has publicly acknowledged (in a letter) that he deliberately mischaracterized himself as a counter-jihadist, and a Zionist, in order to fool the media into attacking such people (i.e., those with Wilders’ actual affinities!), and conceal his true fidelity to “nordicists” and “ethnocentric nationalists” i.e.. neo-Nazis.
  • Ellison/Carson fulmination #3: “He justifies his desire to ban the Quran and Islam from the Netherlands with depraved comments like ‘Islam is not a religion it is an ideology, the ideology of a retarded culture.’” While calling the Koran hate speech with specific reference to the Dutch Penal Code, Wilders was simply asking for consistent application of Dutch law. And, like Winston Churchill (who wrote that Mein Kampf was “…the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message”), Wilders compared the Koran to Mein Kamp, and called it hate speech according to the Dutch Penal Code. However, Wilders has not insisted on “banning” Islam from the Netherlands. That is false. He agrees with the 55% of Dutch who want a moratorium on further Muslim immigration, the 63% that wish for no new mosques to be constructed, and the 72% favoring a constitutional ban on the application of the Sharia in the Netherlands. Global trends demonstrating that Islam is a religio-political ideology, not merely a religion, underlie the 72% support for banning the Sharia in the Netherlands. Pew data reveal 77% of Muslims from the world’s five largest Sunni Muslim populations (i.e., from Indonesia, Bengladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, and the Muslim majority of Nigeria) desire that the Sharia be the “Law of the land,” despite its liberty-abrogating denial of freedom of conscience and speech, sanctioning lethal, and/or barbaric and dehumanizing punishments for the “crimes” of apostasy, adultery, alcohol consumption, and theft, and imposition of legal inequalities upon all non-Muslims, and even Muslim women.
  • Ellison/Carson fulmination #4: “In 2010 and 2011 Wilders was formally charged with inciting hatred and discrimination by the Dutch government.” None of the details surrounding Wilders contrived “prosecution,” or even the fact of his ultimate acquittal were provided! During a dinner in May 2010, Tom Schalken, one of the judges who gave the order to the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) to prosecute Wilders, attempted to persuade Islamologist Professor Hans Jansen, an expert witness for Wilders’ defense, that the Dutch MP was guilty. Jansen insisted,…over and over [Schalken] steered the conversation towards the Wilders trial… to convince me of the correctness of his [Schalken’s] decision to drag Wilders to court.” Accordingly, a special chamber of the Amsterdam district court ruled that the ongoing case against Wilders had to be be restarted with a different panel of judges. But even after these events, another “objective” jurist—the President of the Netherlands Supreme Court himself—made plain his own hideous bias proclaiming that Wilders defense of freedom of speech, let alone fair legal proceedings, somehow undermined Dutch “jurisprudence.” Despite the Kafkaesque twists and turns of the proceedings, Wilders was ultimately acquitted, as he pointed out in a June 24, 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “after a legal ordeal that lasted almost two years.” Bat Ye’or, appropriately emphasizing Wilder’s personal heroism, characterized his acquittal as a “Copernican revolution,” achieved by a solitary “unarmed man, constantly threatened by death and whose only defense was his courageous and unbending commitment to say the truth.” Wilders subsequently provided this more guarded, sobering overall assessment: The court acquitted me because I had criticized Islam, not Muslims, and because, as an elected politician participating in a public debate, I was entitled to greater freedom of speech than everyday citizens.”

Muslim Congressmen Ellison and Carson embody worrying trends within the general U.S. Muslim population vis-à-vis Constitutionally-protected free speech.Polling data collected by Wenzel Strategies during October 22 to 26, 2012, from 600 U.S. Muslims (i.e., a sample characterized by high socio-economic status), indicated widespread support among American votaries of Islam for Sharia-based rejection of freedom expression, as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. When asked, “Do you believe that criticism of Islam or Muhammad should be permitted under the Constitution’s First Amendment?,” 58% replied “no,” while only 42% affirmed this most basic manifestation of freedom of speech, i.e., to criticize religious, or any other dogma. Indeed, oblivious to US constitutional law, as opposed to Islam’s Sharia, a largely concordant 45% of respondents agreed “…that those who criticize or parody Islam in the U.S. should face criminal charges,” while 38% did not, and 17% were “unsure.” Fully 12% of this Muslim sample even admitted they believed in application of the draconian, Sharia-based punishment for the non-existent crime of “blasphemy” in the US code, answering affirmatively, “…that Americans who criticize or parody Islam should be put to death.” Also, consistent with such findings 43% of these U.S. Muslims rejected the right of members of other faiths to proselytize to adherents of Islam, disagreeing, “…that U.S. citizens have a right to evangelize Muslims to consider other faiths.” Additional confirmatory data revealed that nearly two-fifths (39%) agreed “…that Shariah law should be considered when adjudicating cases that involve Muslims,” while nearly one-third (32%) of this American Muslim sample believed “…Shariah law should be the supreme law of the land in the US.”

Crude, risible pretenses about their ostensible support for the “bedrock principle” of free speech—a uniquely Western ideal—notwithstanding, the effort by Congressmen Ellison and Carson is designed to enforce antithetical Sharia-based restrictions on rational criticism of Islamic dogma, and the obvious effects of that dogmatism.

San Diego Man Arrested for Working for Al-Qaeda Sharia Court in Syria, Fighting with Terror Group

PJ Media, by Patridk Poole, April 23, 2015:

Yesterday the FBI in San Diego arrested Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, a naturalized U.S. citizen since September 2008, for making false statements to U.S. Embassy officials, Customs and Border Protection and the FBI related to his time in Syria and Turkey over the past two years. Kodaimati left the U.S. in late December 2012 and returned on March 23.

According to the FBI affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed today in the case against Kodaimati, the 24-year-old man 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 his role mediating between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

Ultimately, Kodaimati was tripped up by his posts to Facebook.

According to the FBI, he stated in a September 2013 private message on Facebook that he worked for the sharia court in Hanano near Aleppo. He would post media statements from the Nusra-operated sharia court to social media.

The FBI complaint also alleges that Kodaimati was a close associate with a senior ISIS operative in the area, with whom he mediated on behalf of others in the area to resolve conflicts between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. He also posted pictures to his Facebook account (now removed) of him with another known ISIS operative.

In his Facebook communications, he also recounted how he, his father and his brother fought with Jabhat al-Nusra against the Assad regime for four months.

He was initially questioned at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on March 10 and 11. He was later questioned about his activities in Syria by Customs and Border Patrol upon his reentry to the U.S. at the airport in Charlotte, NC, on March 23, and later by the FBI in Charlotte on March 25. After being questioned at his home in San Diego yesterday, he was taken into custody.

Here’s the FBI complaint:

Kodaimati Criminal Complaint by Stewart Bell

Foiled Attack On Paris Churches Another Case of “Known Wolf” Terrorism

An alleged Islamist was arrested as officials said the attack was 'imminent'

An alleged Islamist was arrested as officials said the attack was ‘imminent’

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, April 22, 2015:

France nearly averted a major terror attack in Paris over the weekend after the suspect inadvertently shot himself in the leg and police discovered plans in his car to attack churchgoers leaving church on Sunday, news reports this morning indicate.

However, the unnamed suspect was already known to French intelligence agencies and had previously been subject to police surveillance, making this yet another case of what I have termed “known wolf” terrorism.
The New York Times reports:

A 24-year-old computer science student suspected of planning an imminent attack on at least one church and of involvement in the murder of a woman was taken into custody in Paris over the weekend, the French authorities said on Wednesday.

The student was arrested on Sunday, and the police found heavy weapons, handguns, ammunition and bulletproof vests in his home and car, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Mr. Cazeneuve did not identify the student, nor the church or churches that he was believed to be targeting.

“Detailed documents were also found, establishing without any doubt that the individual was planning an imminent attack, most likely against one or two churches,” Mr. Cazeneuve said. “That attack was avoided on Sunday morning.”

But The Guardian adds based on a Le Monde article that the subject was already on the French intelligence radar:

Le Monde said the man had settled in France in 2009. Cazeneuve said he had been under surveillance since 2014 when he made it known he wished to go to Syria to join jihadis there. He disappeared in February this year and was found to have spent a week in Turkey. He was arrested, briefly held, and given a warning on his return, but his profile was not thought to justify further action beyond circulating a security warning.

“Our country, like other European countries, is facing a terrorist threat that is unusual in its nature and size. Our vigilance and our determination are absolute and constant,” the minister added.

But events just in the past month have repeatedly shown that their vigilance is far from “absolute and constant.”

As I reported here at PJ Media back in January, the Kouachi brothers who massacred 11 people and wounded another 11 in an attack on the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper were already known to French authorities.

Cherif Kouachi had been arrested and sentenced to prison back in 2005 for his role in helping send fighters to Iraq to attack coalition soldiers. At the time of the attack, he was on both the US and UK terror watch lists. It was later reported that Said Kouachi had been subject to surveillance orders since 2011 after he had returned from terror training in Yemen, but that the surveillance on Said had been stopped in June 2014 – just six months before the attack – because he had deemed no longer dangerous by security services, and the surveillance had been stopped at the end of 2013 on Cherif because authorities believed he had disengaged from “violent extremism.”

Then again, as I reported here in February, a man who stabbed three French police officers standing guard outside a synagogue in Nice had just been deported from Turkey back to France a week before the attack because he was believed to be en route to join ISIS in Syria.

French authorities are not alone in these “known wolf” failures. When I first identified the “known wolf terrorism” phenomenon back in October, it was after two separate terror attacks in Canada in less than a week by two individuals already known to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and both had their passports revoked for fear they would leave the country for Syria to join terror groups there.

I noted too at the time that virtually all of the American Islamic terror cases since 9/11 involved “known wolf” attackers.

Here’s my reporting on “known wolf terrorism” syndrome:

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

In January, I gave briefing on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) on the “Known Wolf” terrorism:

And in February I conducted an interview with my friend and colleague Erick Stakelbeck on the phenomenon:

Even the New York Times picked up the term in March, if only to try to explain away the failures of law enforcement. The term was also used when London Mayor Boris Johnson slammed the UK Home Secretary for dropping surveillance orders on Mohammed Emwazi, who has been featured in ISIS videos beheading Western prisoners.

Even well-paid US terrorism consultants are trying to cash in by suddenly discovering the “known wolf” terrorism problem:

The Soufan Group, a New York think tank, said a better term for “lone wolves” would be “known wolves”, given how many are already known to Western intelligence agencies before they strike.

“These individuals, acting alone or in small groups … have been on the radar of various agencies and organisations, highlighting the difficulty of effectively monitoring and managing people at the nexus of criminality and terrorism,” it said in a report this week.

For the Soufan Group, the most serious threat came from people with known associations with radicals and a string of past offenses.

What makes these many instances of “known wolf” terrorism so tragic is that it is never a case of the subject falling off the radar of authorities, or escaping surveillance. In each and every case, they have been deliberately removed from the radar after clearly mistakenly being removed from law enforcement radar, or more amazingly, authorities have aware[ness] of the threat and did nothing out of indifference or incompetence.

As the case in Paris on Sunday shows, we can expect the “known wolf” terror problem by Western intelligence and law enforcement authorities to continue.

Ohio Terror Suspect Was Caught Lying to FBI Two Days After Becoming Naturalized U.S. Citizen

Image: Abdirahman Sheik MohamudThe FBI allowed Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud to obtain a passport, travel to Syria to fight with al-Qaeda, and return to conduct terror attacks.

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, April 21, 2015:

An Ohio man indicted by a federal grand jury on terrorism support charges last week,  was questioned by the FBI two days after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

During that questioning, he was caught lying about his identity.

Several days later, Mohamud applied for a U.S. passport and was allowed to travel to Syria. There, he fought and trained with Jabhat al-Nusra — an official al-Qaeda affiliate — and then was allowed to return to the U.S. where he planned to launch terror attacks inside the U.S.

These remarkable revelations of FBI failure emerged from documents unsealed by the federal court and from last week’s indictment.

According to the indictment (p.2), Mohamud became a naturalized U.S. citizen on February 18 last year, and applied for a U.S. passport a week later:

On or about February 18, 2014, MOHAMUD became a naturalized U.S. citizen. On or about February 25, 2014, MOHAMUD submitted his U.S. passport application.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, the FBI interviewed Mohamud on Feb. 20th — two days after his naturalization ceremony — during which FBI agents caught him lying about his identity:

The FBI first spoke to Mr. Mohamud more than a year ago, but that intervention didn’t appear to prevent the native of Somalia from traveling overseas. During the Feb. 20, 2014, interview, federal agents said Mr. Mohamud tried to lie about his identity. He first told investigators he was his older brother, Abdifatah Aden, who had already left the U.S. in 2013 and was believed to be fighting in Syria on behalf of Nusra Front and raising money for the cause, according to court documents.

“When challenged about his truthfulness, he admitted his true identity,” Mr. Flowers of the FBI wrote in a court affidavit. It wasn’t clear from court documents how agents reacted to Mr. Mohamud’s reversal.

And yet, Mohamud was allowed to obtain a U.S. passport and travel to Turkey six weeks later, where he joined up with terror operatives after crossing the border into Syria.

After Mohamud returned to the U.S. last June, the newly unsealed court documents claim that he then began weapons training with others in the Columbus area. The Wall Street Journal article continues:

Three months after he returned from training with violent extremists in Syria, a 23-year-old Ohio man hosted a shooting group at a local gun range, federal authorities allege in newly unsealed court papers.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud rented a shooting lane in the Columbus area last September, court papers say. When a range officer offered to instruct him and his two associates how to use their borrowed pistol, Mr. Mohamud allegedly declined, implying he could teach the others.

“Organizing weapons training is consistent with individuals who previously obtained training from … training camps to, upon return to their homeland, seek to recruit a group of young male adults in order to lead them to be like-minded jihadist believers prepared to fight,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stephen Flowers wrote in court documents.

For eight months until his arrest in late February this year, Mohamud was allowed to roam freely within the U.S. and train others in handling firearms.

Here is a timeline of events:

Feb. 18, 2014: Mohamud becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Feb. 20, 2014: The FBI interviews Mohamud, during which time he is caught lying about his identity. The same day he communicates with his brother already in Syria about his travel plans to join him.

Feb. 25, 2014: Mohamud applies for a U.S. passport.

April 8, 2014: He purchases a one-way airline ticket with a stopover in Istanbul, Turkey.

April 18, 2014: He departs the U.S. and arrives in Turkey the following day.

June 3, 2014: His older brother, Aden, is reported killed fighting in Syria.

June 8, 2014: He returns to the U.S.

Approx. Sept 2014: He trains others in handling weapons at a Columbus firing range.

Feb. 25, 2015: Mohamud is arrested on state terrorism support charges.

April 16, 2015: He is indicted by a federal grand jury.

Even with an FBI informant among Mohamud’s associates, it would be hard to paint this as the Bureau’s finest hour. As I noted here at PJ Media last week, the FBI has been less than forthcoming to the public about the scope of the threat of U.S. persons who have traveled to fight in Syria and the number of those who have returned.

As additional details become available, it may become even more clear how the FBI botched the handling of this potential threat.

***

Terrorism expert Patrick Poole discusses the latest on threats from ISIS and other extremist groups operating in the American heartland.

 

Minnesota Martyrs

 

Also see:

Did FBI Director Mislead on Americans Joining ISIS Before Mid-Term Elections?

60comey100514In October, he claimed “about a dozen” U.S. fighters were in Syria. Now we’re told 180 — with 40 already having returned.

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, April 17, 2015:

For more than a year, U.S. officials have been warning of the potential terror blowback from Americans who have fought in Syria. Senior counter-terrorism officials have repeatedly claimed that more than 100 individuals have traveled from the U.S. to fight with terror groups in Syria and Iraq.

However, FBI Director James Comey began to walk those claims back in late September and early October — just weeks before the November mid-term elections.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, he claimed that “roughly a dozen” U.S. persons were fighting with extremist groups in Syria.

That was a marked change from his own comments in May, when his own figures were considerably higher:

Comey declined to give a precise figure for Americans believed to be involved in the Syrian struggle but said the numbers are “getting worse.”

“I said dozens last time,” said Comey, referring to an interview with reporters four months ago. “It’s still dozens, just a couple more dozen.”

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official estimated this year that 60 to 70 Americans have traveled to fight in Syria. Comey said that Americans in Syria are actively recruiting other Americans to join the fight.

Several dozen in May 2014 is still considerably more than “roughly a dozen” just a few months later.

An Associated Press article allowed Comey to explain his walk-back on his own numbers:

“When I use a number of more than 100, that means people who have gone and come back, people who have attempted to go and we locked them up, people who have gone and stayed,” Comey said during an interview with reporters at FBI headquarters. “The figure that I’ve been operating with is, ballparkish, a dozen still there fighting with terrorist groups.”

The AP reporters deemed the 100-plus Americans fighting in Syria claim that had been repeated by a number of U.S. senior officials — including Comey himself — as having reached “urban legend status”.

But once America was past the mid-term elections, the stated numbers provided by senior officials quickly soared.

In early March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed that 180 U.S. persons had traveled to Syria. More remarkably, he claimed that 40 such individuals had already returned to the United States.

According to Reuters, Clapper also said that he was not aware of any plots that anyone who had returned from Syria had been involved in. However, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud had already been arrested on state terror charges at the request of the FBI a week before Clapper made his comments.

Just yesterday, a federal grand jury indicted Mohamud on charges of traveling to fight with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. Having received training, he returned to the U.S. with the mission of conducting terrorist attacks here at home. This is the first known case of a fighter returning from Syria with terrorist intent.

According to the indictment, Mohamud became a naturalized U.S. citizen in February 2014. A week later, he applied for his U.S. passport to travel to fight in Syria.

(This case is of particular interest to me not only because Mohamud lived just a few miles from my home in Columbus, Ohio — I have been warning of terrorist recruitment in Central Ohio for more than a decade — but also because Mohamud roamed freely around our city for eight months before he was arrested, during which time he could have committed any number of terrorist acts.)

Was the Director of National Intelligence not informed of this terror plot, or was he keeping critical information away from the American public?

Additionally, why was this rapidly escalating terror threat apparently never mentioned during President Obama’s three-day White House “radicalization summit” just days before Clapper’s Council on Foreign Relations speech? There, all the talk was about “right-wing terrorism,” based on a Homeland Security report that is still kept under wraps.

Earlier this month, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson appeared on 60 Minutes. He restated the claim that 180 U.S. persons have traveled to Syria and 40 have returned:

Lesley Stahl: As I understand it, of the 180 Americans who have gone overseas to fight in Iraq and Syria, 40 have come back. I assume you’re keeping close tabs on those 40?

Jeh Johnson: We have in fact kept close tabs on those who we believe have left and those who’ve come back. A number have been arrested or investigated and we have systems in place to track these individuals. But you can’t know everything.

Amazingly, Stahl never asked Johnson about the discrepancy between those numbers and the “roughly a dozen” claim made by FBI Director Comey – on her own program – just six months before.

Was the FBI director deliberately misleading the public about the nature of the threat just four weeks before the mid-term elections?

Our national security leaders have been less than forthcoming about the nature of the threat from returnees who have fought with terrorist groups overseas, and this dishonesty is occurring while these terrorist groups are publicly threatening attacks on the American homeland.

The Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud indictment yesterday, which says he made statements indicating his intention to attack police and soldiers here at home, makes clear that this is not an imaginary threat. But as we saw in both the Fort Hood massacre and the Boston bombing, playing politics with national security will cost American lives, and our leaders are still playing games.

US Analyst Admits: “Moderate” Syrian Rebels Have Been Working With Al-Qaeda All Along

syrian-rebels-terrorists-400x294PJ Media, By Patrick Poole On April 16, 2015:

One of the most closely guarded secrets in Washington DC about US involvement in the Syrian war is that he “moderate” rebels that the Obama administration (and many Republicans) backed were closely aligned with Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, and at times with the Islamic State.

For regular PJ Media readers this will come as no surprise as I’ve repeatedly documented the ties between the State Department’s “vetted moderate” rebel groups and designated terrorist groups based on snippets of reporting that challenged the administration’s official narrative.

But with the “moderate” rebels on their heels and in retreat from internecine pressure from Jabhat al-Nusra, Brookings Institute-Doha Syria analyst Charles Lister, who has probably had as much direct contact with “rebel” leaders as any other US analyst, has finally admitted to the long-time cooperation between “moderates” and “extremists”.

In an article published last month on the Brookings website, Lister states:

This latter alliance with Jabhat al-Nusra has been a consistent facet of insurgent dynamics in Syria, but not only in terms of conservative Salafist groups like Ahrar al-Sham. In fact, while rarely acknowledged explicitly in public, the vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al-Qaeda since mid-2012 – and to great effect on the battlefield. But while this pragmatic management of relationships may have secured opposition military victories against the regime, it has also come at an extraordinary cost. The assimilation of Al-Qaeda into the broader insurgency has discouraged the U.S. and its European allies from more definitively backing the ‘moderate’ opposition. That, by extension, has encouraged the intractability of the conflict we see today and the rise of jihadist factions like Jabhat al-Nusra, IS, and many others.

A year-and-a-half ago, uttering this outside of the polite company of the DC foreign policy “smart set”, where the official narrative of administration and the McCain/Graham “war at any cost” wing of the GOP was that the vast majority of rebels were moderate as expressed in John Kerry’s testimony before McCain’s committee in September 2013, would have gotten you branded a heretic. Such deep and complex truths were unworthy of the unwashed American masses at a time when many in DC were openly calling for more heavy weapons to be sent to the “vetted moderate” rebels.

But with the sudden surge of ISIS last June and the announcement of the re-establishment of the Islamic State the narrative was getting harder to publicly maintain even as the Obama administration did in fact begin sending heavy weaponry to the “vetted moderate” rebels.

The DC “smart set” and the establishment media then began to drop hints that the “vetted moderate” rebels were not so moderate after all, but certainly nothing so candid to give the whole game away. Hence why Lister notes that the rebel cooperation with Jabhat al-Nusra going back to mid-2012 (Nusra announced its formation in January 2012) was “rarely acknowledged explicitly in public”.

Now with things going very badly in Syria and Iraq the “smart set” is divided between walking back their support for the rebels or doubling-down by saying the US needs to begin backing “moderate Al-Qaeda”.

The media too has been more forthcoming about our “vetted moderate” allies since American reporters began losing their heads under Islamic State knives.

In late October, American journalist Theo Padnos, who was captured by the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and then given over to Jabhat al-Nusra told the story of his two-year captivity in the New York Times Magazine. At one point Padnos says he escaped from his Al-Qaeda captors and found himself back in the hands of the FSA, who then again promptly turned him back over to the terror group.

Padnos also relates this exchange with some US-trained FSA fighters that exposes the glaring weaknesses of the CIA’s vetting system:

I returned to the F.S.A. troops. One told me that his unit had recently traveled to Jordan to receive training from American forces in fighting groups like the Nusra Front.

“Really?” I said. “The Americans? I hope it was good training.”

“Certainly, very,” he replied.

The fighters stared at me. I stared at them.

After a few moments, I asked, “About this business of fighting Jebhat al Nusra?”

“Oh, that,” one said. “We lied to the Americans about that.”

The treatment of Padnos by the FSA is important to recall in light of the revelations yesterday and today that that a NBC News crew taken captive in Syria in December 2012, and who later repeatedly claimed they had been held by an Assad regime militia, now admit following a New York Times investigation that they were in fact held by a FSA criminal network. Even more, there’s evidence that NBC News executives knew from the time of the crew’s capture that they were held by US allies, but allowed the blame to fall on Assad since that didn’t conflict with the Obama administration’s position at the time.

An example of this new-found openness on the part of the establishment media was an Associated Press report in late November that noted the close cooperation of US-backed rebels with Al-Qaeda in southern Syria:

The gains are a contrast to northern Syria, where U.S.-backed rebels are collapsing in the face of an assault by Islamic militants. Notably, in the south, the rebels are working together with fighters from al Qaeda’s Syria branch, whose battle-hardened militants have helped them gain the momentum against government forces. The cooperation points to the difficulty in American efforts to build up “moderate” factions while isolating extremists.

Over the past year I’ve reported here at PJ Media on the slow cracks emerging in the official “vetted moderate rebel” narrative:

July 7: US ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State

Sept 3: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept 9: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept 10: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept 24: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov 2: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov 3:  How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov 24: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec 2: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with Al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec 14: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec 28: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective Al-Qaeda Control

March 3: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

So it’s refreshing to see the DC “smart set” and the establishment media finally fessing up to what has been going on in Syria, but “rarely acknowledged explicitly in public,” but the damage done by the Obama administration’s policy (backed up by the McCain/Graham GOP chorus) and the hundreds of thousands dead is irreversible.

Who in DC or the media will be held to account for this failure?