Bearing Witness: Survivor Describes Nigerian Islamist Terror

Finally: U.S. Names Boko Haram as Foreign Terrorist Organization

victims of boko haram1

Why did the U.S. resist designating the group for so long, even though it fits every definition of a foreign terrorist org. and threatens the West?

BY RYAN MAURO:

The U.S. government has finally designated Boko Haram, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. In July, the Clarion Project started a petition to label the group as such. The State Department also designated Ansaru, a Boko Haram offshoot, as foreign terrorists.

“Boko Haram is a Nigeria-based militant group with links to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that is responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years including targeted killings of civilians,” the State Department said, making the announcement.

Notice the timeframe mentioned by the State Department: “Several years.” For “several years” — during both the Bush and Obama Administrations — the U.S. government resisted designating Boko Haram as a terrorist group, even though it fits every definition of one and threatens the West.

Three top Boko Haram officials were blacklisted as terrorists by the U.S. government in June 2012, but the Obama Administration dragged its feet in designating the group entirely. This was due to a complete misreading of Boko Haram’s ideology and an apparently desire to keep the “War on Terror” as narrow as possible.

In May, President Obama gave a speech where he emphasized that “not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al-Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States.

Read more at Clarion Project

Issa: Benghazi attack result of Hillary Clinton’s reckless, ill-advised ‘war on terror’ policies [VIDEO]

13b4e42346e4466e87448caa1d1b378d-e1369771025902By Grae Stafford:

Responsibility for the September 11 Benghazi assault and the deaths of four U.S. citizens — including Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens — lies personally at the feet of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa.

“The investigation really is now not about what we know, but about how we can prevent abuse of security before the fact, how we respond during the fact, and how we hold people accountable after the fact for deliberate misinformation — if you want to be kind — [and] outright lies, if not,” said Issa, who serves as head of the Oversight and Government reform committee.

Clinton recklessly pursued an ill-advised policy of “normalization” meant to make the U.S. look like it was winning the war on terror, dividing the State and Defense Departments. The rift between the two weakened cooperation — the full weight of assets that the U.S. could have deployed to help the Americans stranded in the consulate were not dispatched, since the State department did not want to involve military forces for the sake of appearances, Issa said.

“We know from Hillary Clinton on down there was a policy of normalization to make it appear as though we had won the war on terror,” Issa said. “I was in Libya just the other day, and one thing that I came back with was a strong opinion that that ‘stand down’ had everything to do with the fight between Department of State headed Hillary Clinton and the Defense Department, and that ultimately, State was willing to put their assets in, and did not want any military assets in, because they did not want to escalate what ultimately should have been escalated to a real rescue mission.”

Issa harshly criticized Clinton’s role in the U.S. response to the attack and took a dim view of her congressional testimony.

“Secretary Clinton famously said, ‘What difference does it make?’ It makes a difference whether or not you were leading an organization that cared about the people beforehand, did everything it could during the attack, and whether you told the truth afterwards. [I]n this case, she fails all three tests.”

See Ginni Thomas interview Daryl Issa at Daily Caller

 

Theft of US weapons in Libya involved hundreds of guns, sources say

download (16)By Adam Housley:

EXCLUSIVE: The recent theft of massive amounts of highly sensitive U.S. military equipment from Libya is far worse than previously thought, Fox News has learned, with raiders swiping hundreds of weapons that are now in the hands of militia groups aligned with terror organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The equipment, as Fox News previously reported, was used for training in Libya by U.S. Special Forces. The training team, which was funded by the Pentagon, has since been pulled, partly in response to the overnight raids last August.

According to State Department and military sources, dozens of highly armored vehicles called GMV’s, provided by the United States, are now missing. The vehicles feature GPS navigation as well as various sets of weapon mounts and can be outfitted with smoke-grenade launchers. U.S. Special Forces undergo significant training to operate these vehicles. Fox News is told the vehicles provided to the Libyans are now gone.

091113_hn_housley2_640Along with the GMV’s, hundreds of weapons are now missing, including roughly 100 Glock pistols and more than 100 M4 rifles. More disturbing, according to the sources, is that it seems almost every set of night-vision goggles has also been taken. This is advanced technology that gives very few war fighters an advantage on the battlefield.

“It’s not just equipment … it’s the capability. You are giving these very dangerous groups the capability that only a few nations are capable of,” one source said. “Already assassinations are picking up in Tripoli and there are major worries that the militias are using this stolen equipment to their advantage. All these militias are tied into terrorist organizations and are tied to (salafists).”

The “salafists” are a jihadist movement among Salafi Muslims. This growing movement in Libya directly endangers the U.S.-supported government, and sources worry that this sensitive equipment is now going to be used by these groups in an attempt to overthrow the government and install a more hardline Muslim leadership.

Some diplomats, who asked to remain anonymous, say they are seeing the kinds of conditions that opened the door to the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack now appearing in Tripoli and across the rest of Libya.  They worry that American convoys and western convoys will be attacked using these stolen weapons and vehicles.

Read more at Fox News

 

Hearing: Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability?

 

Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy

Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy

House Committee on Foreign Affairs:

(begins at 12:40)

Opening Statements

Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman
[full text of opening statement]

 

Witnesses

The Honorable Patrick F. Kennedy
Under Secretary for Management
U.S. Department of State
[full text of statement]

 

Upcoming hearings:

Kennedy: Libya Is Not Allowing U.S. Law Enforcement to Enter Country and Arrest People

BY: 
September 18, 2013 2:11 pm

 

 

Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy said the government of Libya is not allowing U.S. law enforcement into the country to arrest individuals connected with the Benghazi attack because the Libyan government “is not in control to that degree” Wednesday in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

Kennedy explained ever since the events of September 11, 2012 the country has taken a “serious turn for the worse.”

Journalists, according to Kennedy, still have access to the country but the Libyan government’s authority is so diminished it is incapable of allowing the United States in to arrest people:

REP. TED POE: But at the end of the day, here we are. Nobody has been taken out. Nobody is in custody. Nobody is in jail. Either on the side of the State Department, nobody is in jail, accountable for the murder. So whether it’s the people who were responsible for the killing or the people who may have made mistakes about the administration of this, nobody’s in custody.

[...]

REP. LOIS FRANKEL: Mr. Kennedy, Ambassador, thank you for your service. And, please, if you want to answer.

MR. PATRICK KENNEDY: I just — in response to the last question, Congressman, I believe that individuals of the State Department were held responsible. Being a deputy assistant secretary of state or an assistant secretary of state is not — is not, I humbly submit, sir, being a junior employee. Those are senior positions in the State Department. And for — one of those individuals resigned as the assistant secretary, and then all of them be relieved of their responsibilities is a serious act of accountability to be relieved at that level. And secondly, Benghazi has taken, even since the events of 9/11, has taken a serious turn for the worse. Yes, they will let journalists in, but they are not letting U.S. law enforcement in to arrest people there because the government of Libya is not — is not in control to that degree.

Also see:

Report: Yes, Hillary’s Benghazi ‘Investigation’ Was a Whitewash

2013-08-16T090313Z_1_CBRE97F0P5M00_RTROPTP_3_USA-LIBYA-CLINTONBy Guy Benson:

You can file these developments in the “we sort of already knew this” category, but the additional confirmation is welcome.  Remember, the administration-backed probe into the Benghazi massacre led to (since rescinded) sanctions against four mid-level scapegoats — one of whom clearly deserved some blame — while letting higher-level officials off the hook.  Indeed, the “Accountability” Review Board declined to even interview the Secretary of State.  Yet the White House insisted that its report was comprehensive and closed the door on the matter.  In advance of Thursday’s fresh round of hearings, these details indict ARB’s process and conclusions, as well as State’s response:

The State Department’s investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was not independent and failed to hold senior State Department officials accountable for the failures that led to the death of four Americans, according to a new investigative report compiled by the House Oversight Committee.  The Administrative Review Board, chosen by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unfairly placed the blame for the terrorist attack on four mid-level officials while ignoring the role of very senior officials in Clinton’s State Department for decisions about security in Benghazi, according to the new report led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Also, the structure of the ARB and the culture in Clinton’s State Department raised questions about the independence and integrity of the review, according to Issa’s committee.

The Oversight Committee report includes specific names:

Although former Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, the head of the ARB, said that responsibility should be placed at the assistant secretary level, top officials including Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Beth Jones were never disciplined. The new report by Issa’s committee questions why Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy, who admitted to having a role in overseeing the decision to reject requests for more security in Benghazi before the attack, was never blamed or disciplined by the ARB. Moreover, Kennedy played a key role in selecting the members of the ARB and the staff that helped the ARB do its works, Issa’s report revealed.  Several officials told Issa’s committee that Kennedy was deeply involved in security decisions and would have been directly involved in the decision not to approve requests for more security in Benghazi before the attacks. “The ultimate decision maker is Under Secretary Kennedy,” testified Eric Boswell, the Assistant Secretary of Diplomatic Security, who was punished by the ARB…The report also questions Clinton’s personal awareness and role in the mistakes that contributed to the attacks.

Beth Jones is the woman who turned her wrath against whistleblower Gregory Hicks after he began questioning the administration’s counter-factual Benghazi talking points.  As for Clinton, we know that Amb. Chris Stevens was operating out of the egregiously under-protected diplomatic mission in Benghazi at her behest, and that her signature appeared on the memo that ordered security reductions — despite pleas for beefed up measures.

Read more at Town Hall

 

 

Upcoming Benghazi hearings:

Plans to try Benghazi attackers in US courts blocks case, congressman says

download (38)By Catherine Herridge:

Plans by the administration to use U.S. criminal courts to prosecute those responsible for last year’s terror attack in Benghazi have thrown up yet another roadblock to investigating the case, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told Fox News Friday.

“This whole plan has been, all along, to bring them to a criminal court in the United States. I’m not sure that’s in our national security best interest,” Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan said in an exclusive interview. “I don’t know how anyone could come to the conclusion that it hasn’t slowed it down.”

“Certainly I’m frustrated, I think the committee’s frustrated, and by the way, I think the people who do this for a living are really frustrated,” Rogers said.

Based on intelligence reporting, the delay has allowed the Benghazi suspects to remain free and engaged within their terrorist organizations.

As for possibly targeting them with drone strikes, counter terrorism analysts say the administration’s prosecution strategy has effectively pushed that option aside.

“U.S. intelligence officials, and our war fighters in the Defense Department, are hamstrung by a law enforcement model,” said Thomas Joscelyn of the Center for Defense of Demcracies.

“There are a lot of guys who are known terrorists, who are known suspects in the Benghazi attack, who could be taken off the battlefield today.”

The military detention center at Guantanamo Bay is also off the table for holding and questioning the Benghazi suspects

“Our position on GTMO is certainly clear, that we are not sending anyone to GTMO, that in fact, we are working to reduce the population at GTMO, ultimately with the goal of closing it.” Marie Harf. State Department spokeswoman, said Friday.

Another problem is that while a criminal case requires physical evidence, by the time the FBI reached the consulate where four Americans died on Sep. 11, 2012, the crime scene was contaminated.

Read more at Fox News

 

 

#Benghazi: One Year Later

20130912_BenghaziOneYearLaterrememberlargeby ROGER ARONOFF:

Twelve years ago the bloodiest terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil occurred. But, last year, the American people received another mournful September 11th tragedy.

One year ago today, the victims of the Benghazi, Libya attacks-Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods-lost their lives at the Special Mission Compound and CIA Annex in Benghazi. Others were seriously injured. Since then, no one has been held accountable for the inadequate security at the Mission, which ignored the so-called Inman standards, or for the failure to fully anticipate the attacks given Libya’s deteriorating security environment. This in spite of numerous requests for increased security, which were ignored by top officials in Washington, D.C. Danger pay was increased for those in Benghazi, but the security was not upgraded. “The takeaway from that, for me and my staff, it was abundantly clear, we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident,” said Eric Nordstrom, former Regional Security Officer in Tripoli, at a November 2012 hearing. “And the question that we would ask is, again, how thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?”

Last month, the American people were treated to the news that Secretary of State John Kerry had cleared the State Department officials that former Secretary of State Clinton had placed on administrative leave for their failure to take appropriate action in the lead-up to the Benghazi attack. In December, 2012, The Accountability Review Board “found that certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns…given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection.” “However, the Board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.” It was this lack of “breached” duty that compelled Secretary Kerry to end the administrative leave for these officials and return them to State, albeit into different positions.

Who, then, will be held accountable for the Administration’s failures in Benghazi?

It seems that this Administration isn’t even interested in holding those who actually perpetrated the attacks accountable. “Two weeks after the Obama administration announced charges against suspects in the Benghazi attack, a large portion of the U.S. team that hunted the suspects and trained Libyans to help capture or kill them is leaving Libya permanently,” reported Fox News last month.

“Special operators in the region tell Fox News that while Benghazi targets have been identified for months, officials in Washington could ‘never pull the trigger,’” the news outlet reported. “In fact, one source insists that much of the information on Benghazi suspects had been passed along to the White House after being vetted by the Department of Defense and the State Department-and at least one recommendation for direct action on a Benghazi suspect was given to President Obama as recently as Aug. 7.” Pentagon officials dispute these claims, saying that the group in question was not specifically tasked with finding Libyan suspects responsible for the Benghazi attack.

Read more: Family Security 

 

Major Escalation of the US Role in Syria with CIA Delivery of Weapons to Rebels

FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, rebels from al-Qaida affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra sit on a truck full of ammunition at Taftanaz air base, that was captured by the rebels, in Idlib province, northern Syria. Credit: AP

FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, rebels from al-Qaida affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra sit on a truck full of ammunition at Taftanaz air base, that was captured by the rebels, in Idlib province, northern Syria. Credit: AP

By :

Rebel forces in Syria are now officially receiving CIA-delivered weapons from the United States government, the Washington Post reports, citing U.S. officials and Syrian figures.

Following months of delay, the lethal aid promised to the Syrian rebels by President Barack Obama began trickling into the war-torn country over the past two weeks. The opposition forces have also reportedly received vehicles and other gear from the State Department, marking a “major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war,” the Washington Post observes.

The Associated Press adds that delivery of bigger weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades has also been arranged through a third party country.

According to the Post’s sources, arms shipments of light weapons and other munitions are being delivered to the rebels as well as nonlethal gear like sophisticated communications equipment, advanced combat medical kits and vehicles — all funded by the U.S. taxpayer.

“U.S. officials hope that, taken together, the weapons and gear will boost the profile and prowess of rebel fighters in a conflict that started about 2 1/2 years ago,” the report adds.

The revelation comes as some in the United States have wondered if the 9/11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year was tied to possible weapons running to Syria. It also comes on the heels of one Benghazi whistleblower’s attorney saying 400 surface-to-air-missiles were stolen from the country and “it is clear that the [CIA] annex [also attacked] was somehow involved in the process of the distribution of those missiles.”

Read more at The Blaze

State Dept. Spokeswoman Psaki Denounces ‘Enemies of Islam’

Islam's Bitch 4 blogPJ Media, By Patrick Poole:

A series of horrific car bombings in Baghdad yesterday have reportedly left more than 80 dead and many more injured. The attacks appeared to target festivities marking the end of Ramadan in Shi’ite neighborhoods, which prompted comment from State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said in an official statement:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the cowardly attacks today in Baghdad. These attacks were aimed at families celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community. (HT: Alim Haider)

As horrific as these bombings are, obviously fueled by sectarian differences, it’s troubling to see that the Obama administration has now put the U.S. government in the business of denouncing “enemies of Islam.”

The first reason this development is troubling is the blinding hypocrisy and deliberate selectivity of it all.

As Elizabeth Harrington at CNS News reported last year, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson testified to Congress last year that the violence by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram targeting Christians wasn’t religiously motivated — one day after Boko Haram bombed a church service on Easter Sunday.

Mind you, this is the administration that branded the MuslimBrotherhood a “largely secular” organization. It has taken every effort to purge government national-security documents of any reference tying terrorism to Islam while Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Securityproscribed training by anyone declaring themselves “Muslim reformers” (while at the same time government contractors tie pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and Tea Party views to “violent extremism”).

Any government employees that observe that Islamic terrorists themselves wrap themselves in the mantle of doctrinal Islam will quickly find themselves without a job. And when members of Congress have confronted senior administration officials as to whether elements of radical Islam have declared war on the U.S., those officials have angrily protested that Congress merely asking such questions puts them in league with al-Qaeda.

Then there’s the constitutional problem. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment requires the U.S. government to remain agnostic on these sorts of questions. It’s doubtful that Jen Psaki is going to be denouncing respective sides in Northern Ireland as “enemies of Christ,” especially when State can’t bring itself to even admit that attacks on Christians by Islamic groups are religiously motivated.

The administration has some serious problems in this regard. If the NYPD showing the documentary The Third Jihad to police officers is a grave constitutional crime, then so too should be the Department of Justice Civil Right Division screening Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think for their employees on government time (not to mention the chutzpah of anyone claiming to know “what a billion Muslims really think”).

In fact, there only seems to be one religion that gets this preferential treatment. DOJ is not meeting with Jewish groups to discuss using discrimination laws to criminalize defamation of Judaism. Government prosecutors aren’t imprisoning filmmakers for unflattering portrayals of the Buddha. And Hillary Clinton didn’t travel overseas and promise to use the full might of the U.S. government to use “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” on critics of Christianity.

If Barack Obama and members of his administration want to grind the Islamic grievance machine on their own time and as private citizens, they are perfectly entitled to do so. But when he goes before the United Nations as president of the United States and declares that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” he has crossed a line expressly prohibited to him by the very Constitution he swore to uphold.

Where is the outrage from the Left or the ACLU? Where are members of Congress on this? For many Americans, our ancestors left their homelands to escape governments getting involved in sectarian feuds. The First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses ensured that despite the natural temptations to do so, the U.S. government wouldn’t go down that road. But now that it is, it’s past time for Americans to take notice and take action.

Patrick Poole is a national security and terrorism correspondent for PJMedia. Follow him on Twitter.

Obama opens the gates to Syrians

 

Yippee! We are coming to America! Thank you President Obama!

Yippee! We are coming to America!
Thank you President Obama!

Refugee Resettlement Watch, by Ann Corcoran:

Here they come—the first 2,000 Syrian refugees (some of the most difficult refugees in the world!) will be processed into the US in the coming months.

We will be waiting to see if the US Catholic Bishops, Church World Service and the Lutherans demand that only the beleaguered Christians be allowed to enter.   (But, we won’t be holding our breath!)

From Foreign Policy (hat tip: a friend from Tennessee):

With conditions continuing to deteriorate in Syria, the Obama administration is making a major policy shift by agreeing for the first time to allow thousands of new Syrian refugees into the United States,The Cable has learned.

The numbers are relatively small: just 2,000 refugees, compared to an estimated two million peoplewho have fled Syria during the civil war. But it’s a significant increase from the 90 or so Syrian refugees who have been permanently admitted to the U.S. in the last two years. And it’s not entirely uncontroversial. The refugees, mostly women and children, will be screened for terrorist ties — a process that could take a year or more to complete.

Unlike previous efforts by the Department of Homeland Security to give temporary protected status to Syrians already in the United States, the State Department effort will bring in Syrians from overseas for permanent resettlement in America.

“Referrals will come within the next four months. We will need to interview people and perform security and medical checks,” Kelly Clements, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, tells The Cable.

[.....]

By Clements’ own admission, given application processing times, “We’re not likely to see Syrian refugees into those numbers before well into 2014.”

Ah, the truth!

Despite their vulnerable condition, even the youngest of children will be thoroughly vetted to ensure they do not pose a national security threat. It’s not that they’re worried about infants enlisting in al Qaeda. The worry is that terrorist relatives can more easily enter the United States, once they have relatives in America. “Refugees are subject to an intensive security screening process involving federal intelligence, law enforcement, defense, and homeland security agencies,” a State Department official said. “The U.S. government makes every possible effort to uphold and enhance the security screening aspects of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Refugees are among the most carefully screened of individuals traveling to the United States.”  [One day I'll make a list of all the refugee terrorists and criminals that got through the screening!---ed]

Wow!  I didn’t know that Germany sends them back!

Other major resettlement countries, such as Germany, have pledged to bring in up to 13,000 refugees since the fighting began. However, unlike in the U.S., refugees to Germany are required to return after the fighting subsides. “We’re very proud of the fact that the U.S. judges applicants on need and seek out the most needy cases,” Erol Kekic, director of immigration at the Church World Service, tells The Cable.

If you are concerned about the Obama Syrian resettlement plan be sure to let your Senators and Member of Congress know of your concerns!

It’s yet to be seen if Congress will push back against the Obama administration’s acceptance of the Syrian refugees.(Ordinarily, the U.S. only admits refugees after a conflict has gone on for five years or longer.) Though the State Department’s refugee admission program is authorized by a presidential determination, it does involve consultation with Congress.  [Consultation is a joke!  Congress let's them do whatever they want!----ed]

For more, our complete Syrian refugee archive is here.

The photo is from this story.  They really aren’t saying yippee, but they could be!

Also see: UNHCR Guterres looking to resettle tens of thousands of Syrians ….

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

via Creeping Sharia:

Taxpayer burdens.

It’s yet to be seen if Congress will push back against the Obama administration’s acceptance of the Syrian refugees. (Ordinarily, the U.S. only admits refugees after a conflict has gone on for five years or longer.) Though the State Department’s refugee admission program is authorized by a presidential determination, it does involve consultation with Congress.

Of course, admitting 2,000 Syrians won’t even begin to ease the suffering of Syria’s refugees…

In fact, the notion that U.S. refugee resettlement impacts the global problem at all is preposterous. Watch:

At a minimum any importation should be offset by deporting 2x the number of illegal immigrants and visa scofflaws from Muslim countries.

Terror Alert Sign of Resurgent Al Qaeda

By Christopher Holton:

The terror alerts issued by the US State Department, Interpol and the foreign offices of Great Britain, France and Germany should worry Westerners very much.

US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen

US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen

If there is indeed specific information about a credible threat that closed down US embassies in 22 nations, grounded 6 international airline flights (so far) and resulted in the most serious global travel advisory put out by the US State Department in several years (covering an entire month) then it is an indication that Al Qaeda is not only NOT “on the run,” but is evidently more prolific than ever in terms of its reach.

Under such circumstances, it’s not a question of “if” Western targets will be struck again, but “when.”

We have been lied to about the magnitude and scope of the Jihadist terrorist threat. That is the unmistakable conclusion.

Some cynics and skeptics seem to think that the whole issue has been contrived by the Obama administration for political purposes, but this makes no sense at all.

Obama has repeatedly declared victory over Al Qaeda. He essentially declared that the killing of Osama Bin Laden placed the terrorist organization on the ropes and all but announced an end to the war on terror, complete with a re-orientation of the US military toward a significantly smaller force primarily focused on the Asia-Pacific region.

Moreover, his policy of drone strikes was supposed to have decimated Al Qaeda’s leadership structure.

Apparently none of what Obama told us was correct.

So for Obama now to use that same terrorist threat to improve his political fortunes makes no sense at all.

Think about it: So when Obama repeatedly says Al Qaeda is on the run and for all practical purposes defeated—-it’s regarded as propaganda for the masses. And then when the State Dept issues a global travel advisory and closes 22 embassies because of a threat from Al Qaeda, that’s also propaganda for those same masses?

It doesn’t add up.  I think Obama lied about Al Qaeda in the first place. It was in his best interests to remove a major national security threat from the public sphere and, with the aid of a compliant media, he successfully did so. But it was never anything more than words on paper and talk in pretty speeches.

Al Qaeda isn’t on the run. They aren’t defeated. And this terror alert, unfortunately, isn’t phony.

The alert coincides with the end of Ramadan, a holy month in Islam in which America has often restrained itself in fighting Islamic enemies, but during which Jihadists have actually escalated their attacks. The closure of the embassies comes on the Ramadan “Night of Power.” Without getting into obnoxious detail about Islamic doctrine, all you really need to know about the “Night of Power” is that it was the day on which the USS Cole was attacked in Aden harbor in Yemen in 2000. And this is the same week during which the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in east Africa were bombed back in 1998.

9541a9cb61

So, when intelligence emerges suggesting that US targets will come under attack at this time, it is something to take seriously, especially given the fact that Al Qaeda leader Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri released a statement in the past week instructing Al Qaeda’s followers to attack US targets now.

Read more at Terror Trends Bulletin

Security Closures of US Embassies Across Middle East Coincide With Ramadan ‘Night of Power’

download (24)(CNSNews.com) – Many U.S. embassies across the Middle East will be closed on Sunday – usually a working day in the Arab world – in what the State Department says is a precautionary measure based on “security considerations.”

The State Department has not released a list of the missions ordered to close, but a review of official websites shows that they include the embassies in most Arab capitals from Cairo to Baghdad, as well as those in Israel, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Exceptions are the embassies in Beirut and Islamabad, but neither is usually open on a Sunday anyway.

“The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps,” says a notice posted on many of the affected embassies’ websites.

“It is possible we may have additional days of closings as well, depending on our analysis,” it adds. As of early Friday all specified closures were for Sunday only except for the embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, which will be closed on Sunday and Monday.

“The Department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to balance our continued operations with security and safety,” the notice says. “However, beyond this announcement we do not discuss specific threat information, security considerations or measures, or other steps we may be taking.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said she would not “go into any more detail about specific threat information,” or any particular significance attached to the August 4 date.

August 4 this year marks the 27th night of Ramadan, which according to most but not all Muslim scholars is Laylat al-Qadr (“night of power” or “night of destiny”), when Muslims believe the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Mohammed in the 7th century.

Laylatul-Qadr

The Qur’an describes the night as “better than a thousand months,” and many devout Muslims stay up through the night.

In its entry for August 4, the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center’s 2013 calendar notes: “Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power; the night of revelation of Qur’an to Mohammed, begins this evening.)”

The 2013 NTCT calendar does not offer any further detail about the night, but in earlier editions up until 2010 (archived copy) it commented, “Islamic extremists might consider Laylat al-Qadr (“Night of Power”) especially auspicious for a terrorist attack. Islamic tradition holds that on this night rewards for deeds pleasing to Allah are magnified a thousandfold; extremists, in particular, believe that the gates of heaven are opened then for those who wage ‘jihad’ in defense of Islam to enter paradise.”

Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, dates of holidays change each year. Major Islamist terror attacks that have taken place around Laylat-al-Qadr in the years since 9/11 include: an attack on the Indian parliament, 13 killed (Dec. 2011); suicide bombings at the British consulate-general in Istanbul, 30 killed (Nov. 2003); a suicide car bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq, five killed (Nov. 2003); bombings in New Delhi, 62 killed (Oct. 2005); and a Boko Haram suicide bombing at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, 25 killed (Aug. 2011).

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Cyber Jihadists, State Department Now In Full-Blown Twitter War

 fsgfdsdf118900428FP, By Will McCants:

Since 2011, the State Department has sponsored a Digital Outreach Team tasked with countering al Qaeda propaganda on the Internet. In its brief existence, it’s difficult to quantify the team’s progress (and easy to laugh at its failures), but there’s one thing it is doing successfully: Making the right enemies.

The Digital Outreach Team (DOT) is part of the larger Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, an interagency center housed at the State Department with a presidential mandate to subvert al Qaeda’s online outreach efforts (full disclosure: I helped set up the DOT’s current operations while at the State Department). The Center and the DOT venture on Twitter is relatively new and until now elicited little more than scorn from jihadi tweeters. But this month, it started to make some serious waves.

On July 17, a prominent jihadi on Twitter, Mu`awiya al-Qahtani (M_Al_Saqr), established a new Twitter account @Al_Bttaar whose mission is a mirror image of the Digital Outreach Team’s. Whereas the DOT aims to counter jihadi propaganda and discredit its promulgators using social media, @Al_Bttaar aims to spread that propaganda and silence its detractors. Now, there is reason to believe the @Al_Bttaar initiative is a direct response to the DOT’s activities: not only is it patterned after the DOT, its opening salvo was directed against one of the DOT’s tweeters, Tariq Ramzi (@dsdotar).

The DOT first provoked complaints from jihadis after crashing mainstream forums and casting their form of radical Islam in a negative light.  The day after @Al_Bttaar’s inaugural tweets, the group organized its first Twitter “raid,” an effort to take down the State Department’s account. Themethod was pretty simple: Just click the “report” button multiple times until a Twitter administrator removes the account.

Five minutes after passing out the instructions, the administrator posted the address of @dsdotar. Although there was spotty information during the attack on how it was going, @Al_Bttaarannounced the following day that it had failed. The administrator attributed the failure to the lack of participation — only 150 people reported the enemy account, short of the goal of 400 — and to the fact that people had followed the account before reporting it. (In a moment of internal bickering: one of the group’s followers noted that it was the administrator’s themselves who had recommended following the account.)

@Al_Bttaar has since moved on to conduct several attacks against other Twitter users, all of whom are Arabs who have displeased them in one way or the other.Few of them have been successful but that has not dampened the group’s enthusiasm or that of its now 1,570 followers. In one of its latest tweets, it promises even more action in the days to come.

So far, @Al_Bttaar’s efforts on Twitter are pretty small scale, which could also be said of the DOT’s activities. Part of the reason is resources: there are not many jihadis or counter-jihadis. But another reason is that both sides realize that this influence game is not about swaying large numbers of people but rather persuading just a few to join or turn away. Seen in this light, @Al_Bttaar’s antics probably have less to do with actually silencing its enemies than it does with attracting enthusiastic new followers who like its aggressive approach.

Will McCants is an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses and a former State Department senior advisor for countering violent extremism.