5 Points About New National Security Adviser Gen. McMaster

U.S. President Trump with NCA-appointee General H.R. McMaster (left) and US Ambassador to Israel-appointee David Friedman (R) (Photo: © NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Trump with NCA-appointee General H.R. McMaster (left) and US Ambassador to Israel-appointee David Friedman (R) (Photo: © NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Feb. 21, 2017:

President Trump has chosen General H.R. McMaster as the national security adviser and there’s plenty to be happy about. Below are five points to consider with his choice.

1. General McMaster is known for winning the most difficult of battles. As explained in this lengthy New Yorker article from 2006, he performed an amazing turnaround in the city of Tal Afar in Iraq. I remember when he arrived in 2005 and shocked observers by needing only about six months to change the situation by building strong relationships with Iraqis on the ground to kick the jihadists out and to quickly build up the local police force.

His warrior side will come in handy as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan bluntly refers to the situation as a “stalemate” requiring several thousand more troops for progress to happen.

2.He will never forget how Iran killed our servicemen and women in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  McMaster blasted the media for repeatedly referring to “alleged” Iranian support for militias and targets, saying it was “damn obvious to anybody who wants to look into it” that Iran’s proxy warfare against our troops was confirmed. He will never forget or forgive the Iranian regime for harming his brothers and sisters in the U.S. military.

3. He criticizes the ““almost narcissistic” U.S. expectations in Iraq and Afghanistan that don’t take into account the limitations of our abilities to shape those situations. Authorities on counter-insurgency like McMaster, Mattis and Petraeus are often criticized of pursing idealistic nation-building, but McMaster’s words reflect a realism about what can and cannot be achieved.

4. He wrote an acclaimed book about the Vietnam War, Deriliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. The title alone shows he is cynical towards the senior political class. If you are skeptical about President Trump, you can rest assured that McMaster will not be a puppet.

5. Jihad Watch just broke the story that McMaster said the “Islamic State is not Islamic” in a 2014 lecture. Comments like that by the Obama Administration were rightly criticized and so must his.

However, we should be fair to McMaster. Did he say it because he doesn’t believe we should focus on the radical Islamic ideology or, more optimistically, he does understand the ideology and was using the line to try to undermine ISIS’ legitimacy?

The record of McMaster points towards the former, as does the records of those he will be serving with. Defense Secretary General Mattis, for example, explicitly identifies political Islam as the enemy ideology that a strategy must be crafted around.

***

Jim Hanson defends H. R. McMaster’s counter-insurgency strategy (COIN) which is based on taking into account the political sensitivities on the ground in order to recruit Muslim allies:

 

A White House Initiative to Defeat Radical Islam

trump5MEF, by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 20, 2017

Originally published under the title “Defeating Radical Islam: How a New White House Initiative Can Get the Job Done.”

Who is the enemy? It’s been over 15 years since 9/11 and still this fundamental question rattles around. Prominent answers have included evil doers, violent extremists, terrorists, Muslims, and Islamists.

As an example of how not to answer this question, the Obama administration convened a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group in 2010 and included participants who turned up such gems as: “Jihad as holy war is a European invention,” the caliphate‘s return is “inevitable,” Sharia (Islamic law) is “misunderstood,” and “Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms … because terrorism is not Islamic by definition.”

The result? The group produced propaganda helpful to the (unnamed) enemy.

In contrast, then-candidate Donald Trump gave a robust speech in August 2016 on how he, as president, would “Make America Safe Again.” In it, he pledged, “One of my first acts as president will be to establish a commission on radical Islam.” Note: he said radical Islam, not some euphemism like violent extremism.

The goal of that commission, he said, “will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”

How not to do it: The White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, starring Barack Obama.

How not to do it: The White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, starring Barack Obama.

The commission “will include reformist voices in the Muslim community” with the goal to “develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners.”

On Feb. 2, Reuters reported that, consistent with the August statement, the Trump administration “wants to revamp and rename” Obama’s old CVE effort to focus solely on Islamism. Symbolic of this change, the name Countering Violent Extremism will be changed to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” (or a near equivalent).

To make the most of this historic opportunity, the Middle East Forum has crafted a comprehensive plan for a White House Commission on Radical Islam for the administration to use. Here’s a summary of how we see the commission working and having an impact:

Structure. To be successful, all its members must be selected by the president. Too many commissions have included contrasting ideologies and agendas, grinding out sausage-like self-conflicting reports that displease the administration and end up discarded. Also, learning from the struggles of the Tower Commission, which lacked sufficient powers, and the precedent of the Three Mile Island Commission, which actually had them, the commission needs the power to subpoena documents, compel testimony, and grant immunity.

Personnel. The commission should include a mix of experts on political violence and radical Islam, as well as elected officials, representatives of law enforcement, the military, the intelligence and diplomatic communities, technology specialists, Muslim reformers (as the president insisted), and victims of radical Islam. It should also include liaisons to those who ultimately will implement the commission’s recommendations: secretaries of the departments of state, defense, and homeland security, the attorney general, and the CIA director.

Mandate. The commission should expand on Trump’s commitment to explain the core convictions of Islamists (i.e., the full and severe application of Sharia), to expose their networks, and to develop new protocols for law enforcement. In addition, it should examine where Islamists get their resources and how these can be cut off; figure out how to deny them use of the Internet; offer changes to immigration practices; and assess how political correctness impedes an honest appraisal of radical Islam.

Implementation. For the commission’s work to be relevant, it must coordinate with federal agencies to gather data and craft recommendations, draft executive orders and legislation, provide supporting documents, prepare requests for proposals, outline memos to state and local governments, recommend personnel, and work out budgets.

Finally, the commission should be prepared that its reports may be used as evidence in criminal proceedings, such as was the case several times in the past (e.g., the Warren, Rogers, and Tower commissions).

The overall goal of the White House Commission on Radical Islam should be to bring the American people together around a common understanding of the enemy’s nature, how that enemy can be defeated, and specifics to accomplish this objective.

Perhaps this will start the long-delayed process of winning a war that has already gone on far too long. The United States has all the economic and military advantages; it lacks only a policy and a strategy, which the new administration, relying on a first-rate commission, can finally supply.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. Christopher C. Hull (IssueManagement.net, @ChristopherHull) is president of Issue Management, Inc.

White House Aide Criticizes Obama’s Counter-Terrorism Policy for Failing to Mention Islam

A propaganda photo depicting ISIS fighters near Nineveh, Iraq / AP

A propaganda photo depicting ISIS fighters near Nineveh, Iraq / AP

‘Our labels must reflect reality, otherwise we will misdiagnose’

Washington Free Beacon, by Natalie Johnson, February 14, 2017:

President Donald Trump’s deputy assistant condemned the Obama administration Monday for refusing to mention religion in its counterterrorism strategy, particularly when dealing with the Islamic State.

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism specialist who now serves as a senior White House aide, said the Untied States has had “serious problems” over the past eight years identifying the nature of an enemy engaged in a religiously inspired war.

“The Obama administration in 2011 prohibited discussion of religion, expressly Islam, in all counter-terror training for federal agents and military,” Gorka said during an event at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

“That’s like saying in 1944 you can’t say the word Nazi because you’ll offend a German. It’s absurd, it’s in fact asinine. You have to be able to talk about the enemy and the words that they use. When they say they’re a jihadist, you can’t say, ‘Well they’re just misguided nihilists.’ No, they think they are holy warriors,” he continued. “Our labels must reflect reality, otherwise we will misdiagnose.”

Gorka said it is imperative for U.S. officials to understand that 80 percent of the fight against ISIS and jihad-inspired terrorist groups will be fought in the domain of information and media operations rather than in military operations.

A report published last year by IntelCenter, a counter-terrorism research firm, found that between June and July 2016 there were significant terrorist attacks every 84 hours directed or inspired by ISIS outside the war zones in Iraq and Syria. Gorka said the findings underscore America’s overemphasis on a “whack-a-mole” strategy that targets individual terrorists while ignoring the root of the problem: ideology.

“For them, it’s not just a caliphate of the ground, it’s a caliphate of the mind,” Gorka said.

“We’re not going to capture all the jihadists, we’re not going to kill all of them … they’re going to move. They may go North, they may go West, they may come across the Atlantic,” he continued. “We must understand, ISIS’s battlefront begins when you leave your house in the morning. There is no battlefront like World War I or World War II, there are no trenches.”

Gorka said the United States during the Obama and Bush administrations focused too heavily on physical battlefield actions, like death tolls, as the metric of success in the war on terrorism. Meanwhile, the information war fell behind, he said.

Bill Gertz, senior editor at the Washington Free Beacon and author of the newly released book iWar, called for the Trump administration to reestablish a U.S. information agency that can both “promote American ideals” and counteract “lies and deception.”

Obama signed a defense bill in December requiring the State Department to engage in countermeasures, including counter-disinformation, to combat the spread of adversarial ideologies, but Gertz said the bill did not go far enough.

“We need to retool for the information age,” Gertz said at the Heritage Foundation. “We really are deficient in this area of promoting the American ideal and we’re facing competing narratives.”

Unlike al Qaeda, ISIS has been able to adapt and redefine its mission, even as it continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria. The group has had particular success spreading disinformation and propaganda, Gorka said. He suggested the Trump administration combat the terrorist group’s efforts by establishing an information operation that is driven directly by the White House.

“We will have won when the black flag of jihad, when the black flag of ISIS, is as repugnant across the world as the white peaked hood of the Ku Klux Klan and the black, white, and red swastika of Hitler’s Third Reich,” Gorka said.

Gorka: Left Cares About Alinsky Tactics and Political ‘Triangulation’ More Than Safety of Americans

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, February 13, 2017:

Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka, formerly National Security editor for Breitbart News, addressed the controversy over National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s pre-inauguration phone calls to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Monday’s Breitbart News Daily.

“I can’t comment on what was said, or what wasn’t said, on those telephone calls even though the good general himself says that he can’t remember all the details,” Gorka said. “All I can tell you is my personal experience. I spent several months working very closely with General Flynn and the transition team, in his National Security Council transition team. He’s a man you would trust with your life. He’s a great patriot, man of honor, worn the cloth of the Republic.

“The bottom line is, he shook things up in the DIA, and there are a lot of people who want to take revenge on him. Names I’m not going to list across the airwaves right now, but people who do a little bit of research can work out. The Establishment doesn’t like General Flynn, and for me, that’s a good thing,” he told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.

Marlow proposed that Flynn was but the latest target of the Left’s “pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” strategy, as defined by Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals.

“You’re absolutely correct,” Gorka said. “Whether it’s Steve Bannon, whether it’s Stephen Miller, whether it was Monica Crowley, or whether it’s General Flynn now. Important point for the listeners, and this is what has to be grasped: it’s never about the issues. It’s not about Russia, it’s not about the safety of Americans, it’s not about preventing attacks like Paris or Nice happening in America. It’s the triangulation. We have to isolate and take down the individuals, separate them from their community, pillory them, and then just make their position untenable. It’s classic Alinsky, and I’m sorry, they’re just picking on the wrong guy, because this guy is as hard as nails.”

[CJR: I feel very bad about Monica Crowley. She deserves her reputation back. Read this – Rising to Monica Crowley’s defense ]

Turning to President Donald Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Gorka said “the message that has to be taken home by everybody – our allies, our partners, and our competitors and our potential enemies – is that our relationship with Japan is back on track.

“Do you remember the ‘Asia pivot’ that wasn’t a pivot, that ended in China intimidating all her neighbors, building fake atolls with military installations on top of them? That age is over. Whether it’s sending a message to put Iran on notice, or whether it’s rekindling one of our closest ties in the region with Japan, this is a new age for America in foreign policy.”

Gorka said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the White House would cover the “obvious issues,” such as “what can we do, as the outside potential interlocutor, to bring stability, to bring some kind of lasting peace to the region?”

“As part of that, it’s going to have to be a discussion of settlements, what is the status of settlements,” he said. “On top of that, one of the things that we are very keen on is to represent an understanding to the world that Israel isn’t alone. It’s not the threat to Israel from local terrorists. It’s the same thing as Orlando, as the attacks in New York, in Boston. There is this, what I like to call the global jihadi movement, and Israel is as much on the frontline – if not more – than any other country. So we want to bring that international recognition that Israel isn’t just our strongest partner in the region, it’s also really on the frontline of the war against the global jihadists.”

Gorka said the White House was not so much “shifting policy” with its latest statements on Israeli settlements, but offering a “nuanced explication of what our policy is.”

“I’m not part of that team, but I’ve spoken to the people that are working that issue, and it’s a fine line,” he said. “What we have suggested is that when it comes to the settlements, you can build on what you’ve already got. So if you’ve got a building, and you want to go up another story, it’s fine. But going to new territories is not going to help anybody. So we’d like to see a little bit of a snapshot in time. Let’s not have any more territory taken as part of the settlements, so that we can get down to some serious negotiations right now.

“That’s a nuanced policy statement from the team, but I think it bears recognition as acting in good faith, so we can bring the partners to the table.”

Another imminent presidential meeting will involve Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, described by Marlow as “pretty much the anti-Trump” for being “a young man who is very photogenic,” raised in an atmosphere of deep left-wing politics for his entire life.

Gorka thought the two leaders might find common ground by acknowledging “there are issues that have to be dealt with in every country,” including “the tension with regard to the terrorist threat internally.”

“We may be from different political communities, but the bottom line, it’s our northerly neighbor. They share a lot of the same issues that we share, especially when it comes to national security,” he observed. “President Trump is the master of the deal, and he can negotiate with people who even have different political opinions. So let’s see what the day brings, but I think it will be a substantive meeting for both parties.”

Gorka said President Trump will soon decide how to proceed on his immigration executive order, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a judicial restraining order against it. He praised the analysis Breitbart News has offered on the decision.

“Let’s not talk about the fact that the Ninth Circuit Court has been reversed 82 times. That’s their batting average. What Breitbart has very, very rightly revealed is that of the seven nations on the list that came from the Obama administration, 72 nationals of those nations have been convicted of jihadi terrorist activity in America since September the 11th,” he said.

“This narrative, this politicized narrative that it’s Islamophobic, and it has nothing to do with terrorism, and nobody from those countries has ever committed terrorist acts in America is so totally and utterly fallacious that we need to reset the standard of the discussion. It’s about national security. Seventy-two people – think about that. That’s more than five times the number of hijackers that did September the 11th. So we are going to maintain our commitment to that executive order and those seven countries being on a temporary halt.”

Same interview:

Gorka: Radical Islam Has Grown ‘Much, Much Stronger’ Since 9/11

On Monday’s Breitbart News Daily, SiriusXM host Alex Marlow asked for Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s assessment of radical Islam and its position in the world today, compared to its influence on the morning of September 11, 2001. “Is radical Islam stronger now as a movement, or has it been weakened since 9/11?” he asked.

“Superb question,” Gorka replied. “And the answer is unequivocally, without a doubt, much much stronger.”

“Just think about one metric. Let’s look at ISIS. ISIS, the Islamic State, has achieved that which no other jihadi group has been able to do in 90 years since the dissolution of the Caliphate by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924. He fired the caliph, he dissolved the Caliphate, when he created the secular republic of Turkey. For 90 years, the bad guys – al-Qaeda included – have tried to re-establish a theocratic Caliphate. ISIS didn’t talk about it. They did it,” he noted.

“They did it in 2014 from the pulpit of the Grand Mosque in Mosul,” he continued. “According to our own counterterrorism center – this is open source – ISIS has 18 operational affiliates around the world. Compare that to just three years ago, when they had seven. They are getting stronger.”

“This is why it’s very important to understand, we’re not at war with Islam, but there is a war inside Islam, for which version is going to win. And right now, it’s the wrong version,” he warned. “It’s the seventh-century atavistic bloodcurdling version that is represented by the Islamic State. The version that is portrayed by Jordan, by Egypt, by the Emiratis, that needs our support because we cannot see the Islamic State expand any more. That is why the president used the phrase, ‘We are going to eradicate the Islamic State.’”

Gorka said there were two important conclusions to draw from the foreign policy speech President Trump gave in Youngstown, Ohio, during the campaign, principles that continue to shape his policy outlook since the election.

“Number one, it’s very clear, he’s given the generals 30 days to come up with a war plan to defeat the Islamic State, as the epitome of the threat right now – destroy it in theater with our allies, with our partners,” he said. “But that’s the smaller part. We’re the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. We can do that relatively easily.”

“Long-term victory, if you read General Flynn’s book, you’ll see this explicitly laid out,” he continued, referring to The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is now national security adviser to President Trump’s. “Long-term victory comes when people don’t want to become jihadis anymore.”

He said this would require a longer and more difficult second-stage strategy to “delegitimize the narrative of jihad.”

“Just as Ronald Reagan undermined the narrative of the communists, we have to help our allies, the Sunnis of the region, make the totalitarian ideology of the jihadists look hollow and crumble in upon itself,” Gorka urged. “The larger part of our task is to have a very, very full-throated counter-propaganda campaign, which means the Islam of our allies against the Islam of groups like the Islamic State.”

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War and was national security editor for Breitbart News before joining the Trump administration.

Islamic Terror and the U.S. Temporary Stay on Immigration

Gatestone Institute, by Uzay Bulut, February 13, 2017:

  • It is short-sighted and reckless to blame President Trump for trying to protect his country and keep his country safe — as any good leader is supposed to do. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.
  • To many people, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. That way, critics of the president can also pose as “heroes” while ignoring the real threats to all of humanity.
  • Critics of Muslim extremists get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose the grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others.
  • Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices “courageous”? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not.
  • On the contrary, the temporary ban aims to protect genuine refugees such as Bennetta Bet-Badal, who was murdered in San Bernardino. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.

In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack. The perpetrators were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Among the victims of the terror attack was Bennetta Bet-Badal, an Assyrian Christian woman born in Iran in 1969. She fled to the U.S. at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian revolution.

“This attack,” stated the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE), “showcases how Assyrians fled tyranny, oppression, and persecution for freedom and liberty, only to live in a country that is also beginning to be subject to an ever-increasing threat by the same forms of oppressors.”

“NEC-SE would like to take this opportunity to once again urge action to directly arming the Assyrians and Yezidis and other minorities in their indigenous homeland, so that they can defend themselves against terrorism and oppression. This tragedy is evidence that the only way to effectively counter terrorism is not solely here in the US, but abroad and at its root.”

Members of the Islamic State (ISIS) have declared several times that they target “kafirs” (infidels) in the West.

In 2014, Syrian-born Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State, declared that supporters of the Islamic State from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states, including the US, France and UK:

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be.

“Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”

It is this barbarity that the new U.S. administration is trying to stop.

FBI Director James Comey also warned in July of last year that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the U.S. to carry out attacks on a wider scale, as Islamic State is defeated in Syria. “At some point there’s going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before. We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris,” said Comey, adding that future attacks will be on “an order of magnitude greater.”

How many ISIS operatives are there in the U.S.? Are ISIS sleeper cells likely in American cities? The people who are trying to create hysteria over the new steps taken by the Trump Administration should focus on investigating these issues more broadly, but they do not. To them, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. This way, they can also pose as “heroes” while ignoring the real threat to all of humanity.

It is not only Islamic terrorists that pose a threat. It is also the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the font of all the modern extremist Muslim ideologies.

The crimes committed by radical Muslims are beyond horrific, but it is getting harder to expose and criticize them. Many critics of Islam in Western countries — including those of Muslim origin — have received countless death deaths and have been exposed to various forms of intimidation.

Some were murdered, such as the Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh. His “crime” was to produce the short film Submission (2004) about the treatment of women under Islam. He was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim.

In 2004, Moroccan-Dutch terrorist Mohammed Bouyeri (left), shot the filmmaker Theo van Gogh (right) to death, then stabbed him and slit his throat.

Some have had to go into hiding. American cartoonist Molly Norris, who promoted an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”, had to go into hiding in 2010 after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists. She also changed her name and stopped producing work for the Seattle Weekly, the New York Times reported.

Who are these people hiding from? From the most radical and devoted followers of the “religion of peace”.

Why should people living in free Western countries be forced to live in fear because they rightfully criticize a destructive and murderous ideology?

They get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others.

Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices “courageous”? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not. It does require tremendous courage to criticize these acts committed in the name of a religion. For everybody knows that the critics of Islam are risking their lives and security.

In the meantime, “an Islamic State follower posted a message on the Telegram app that said President Trump was wasting his time by blocking refugees from Syria,” reported the journalist Rowan Scarborough.

“‘Trump is preventing the entrance of the citizens of [seven] countries to protect America from terrorism,’ said the message captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute. “Your decision will not do anything to prevent the attacks; They will come from inside America, from Americans born in America, whose fathers were born in America and whose grandparents were born in America.”

President Trump’s executive order is not a ban on Muslims. Individuals of all religious backgrounds of these seven countries have been affected. Nor is it a ban on refugees. On the contrary, the ban aims to protect genuine refugees such as Bennetta Bet-Badal, who was murdered in San Bernardino.

It is short-sighted and reckless to blame President Trump for trying to protect his country and keep it safe — as any good leader is supposed to do. It would be much wiser to direct our anger where it belongs — at Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.

Uzay Bulut, a journalist born and raised a Muslim in Turkey, is currently based in Washington D.C.

Four Muslim Groups Reject US Counter-Terror Funding

Four Minnesota youth from the Somali community who were convicted of terrorism-related offenses.

Four Minnesota youth from the Somali community who were convicted of terrorism-related offenses.

For these groups, their image is a higher priority than actually fighting radical Islam and helping their communities.

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, February 13, 2017:

In a revealing trend, four nonprofits groups involved with the Muslim-American community have rejected federal funding for countering violent extremism. For these groups, their image — as well as making a political point – is a higher priority than fighting radical Islam and helping their communities.

The four Muslim groups had been privileged to receive Homeland Security grants to support their efforts to “counter violent extremism,” a generic and politically-correct term that the Obama Administration used to avoid verbiage related to Islam.

Now, these groups are willing to sacrifice that funding and cut their programs just to stick it to President Trump. Their form of protest is not to use their voices, but to try to show how bad President Trump is by increasing the suffering and danger for their constituents and country more broadly.

An organization for Somali youth in Minnesota named Ka Joog is rejecting $500,000 that was supposed to promote education, prevent radicalization, drug use and other harmful activities. Whether you agree with the premise that radicalization is caused by those problems or not, the fact is that Ka Joog chose to deny help to Somali youth in need.

Apparently unaware of how ridiculous his sentence sounded, executive director Mohamed Farah said the decision was made because President Trump is “promoting a cancerous ideology.” Yes, he actually said he’d decline an opportunity to fight the cancerous ideology of radical Islam because he is offended by the so-called “cancerous ideology” of President Trump.

One local Somali activist with a record of standing against radical Islam, Omar Jamal, said he disagrees with President Trump but “the community desperately needs the money” and it’s better to work with the government as best you can, regardless of politics.

A group in Michigan, Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities, won’t take $500,000 because it believes President Trump’s counter-extremism programs involve spying on Muslims. The group provided no evidence that accepting the money would actually require them to do that.

The organization’s programs involve public health, human services, youth development and education. They will suffer because of a hypothetical requirement that hasn’t happened yet or even been proposed by the Trump Administration.

The third group to join in, Unity Productions Foundation of Virginia, was offered $400,000 to develop films featuring Islamic scholars condemning terrorism and Muslim-Americans contributing to society.

Muslim-American leadership regularly complains that Islamic condemnations of terrorism do not get adequate attention and the public doesn’t seeing how Muslim-Americans are a positive part of the country.

This group was given a whopping $400,000 to do just that—but instead, it is responding to President Trump’s alleged anti-Muslim sentiment by rejecting money from his administration to combat anti-Muslim sentiment.

That makes absolutely no sense.

The Bayan Claremont Islamic school in California is the latest to join the trend, turning down $800,000 that was to be given to “improve interreligious cooperation, civic engagement and social justice.” About $250,000 of that would have been transferred to a dozen other nonprofits doing work for the Muslim-American community.

The school’s faculty includes some controversial Islamic leaders accused of spreading radicalism and ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The staff includes Imam Suhaib Webb, Omid Safi and Ihsan Bagby.

Its president, Jihad Turk, said it was partially a response to reported plans by the Trump Administration to rename the Countering Violent Extremism programs to a title identifying radical Islam as the focus.

Keep in mind, Trump’s controversial plans—the travel pause (derided as a “Muslim ban”) designed to identify threats of radical Islam—don’t alter these services. These policies do not stop these groups from combating extremism on their own or from providing charity to those in need. You don’t have to agree with your president to help others and work to protect your country to the best of your ability.

By this logic, schools that dislike Education Secretary Betsy DeVos should punish their students by turning away federal funding.

Another element is at play here: Pressure from Islamists and their allies.

Fox News reports that two of the nonprofits “said they were rejecting grants they had already been awarded under the program because of concerns that it could damage their credibility or come with uncomfortable strings attached.”

Such attacks can make the Trump Administration lose Muslim partners, enabling Islamists to rally the community together like a single political party under their helm. An added bonus is that any danger and controversy that arises from the severed relationships can be blamed on Trump’s policies that these Muslim groups sabotaged.

The good news is that there are plenty of non-profits, including Muslim ones with an unequivocal stand against Islamism that deserve the grant money. These organizations generally lack financial support from which to build a network, provide services, etc.

If certain Muslim nonprofits choose to put politics and ego above fighting extremism, then there are plenty of other options for these grants.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.

How America must fight the jihadists in the cyberspace

world-map-networkConservative Review, by Benjamin Weingarten, February 10, 2017:

As the Trump administration reorients America’s national security and foreign policy towards the global jihadist threat, it is imperative that it take the fight to the enemy in every dimension: Land, air, sea, space, economic/financial and cyber.

In the last area, President Trump is reportedly pursuing an executive order to review our nation’s cybersecurity measures.

A disturbing investigative report published by the Associated Press (AP) on the Pentagon’s “WebOps” program suggests that our offensive cyber programs are in need of review as well.

The purported purpose of the Obama administration-initiated WebOps program was to stop prospective jihadis from joining the Islamic State through online counterpropaganda.

In practice, the program looks like a boondoggle.

According to the AP’s investigation, WebOps is plagued by among other things:

  • Gross incompetence in the form of operators engaging with would-be jihadis who have limited fluency in Arabic language, relevant cultural and historical knowledge, or expertise in jihadist groups, let alone Islamic theology;
  • Inability and unwillingness to honestly measure success as operators are scored based upon whether the subjects with whom they engage subsequently reflect “militant views or a more tolerant outlook,” which is of course inherently subjective.  Scoring teams were reportedly encouraged “to indicate progress against radicalism in their scoring reports even if they were not making any”;
  • “Grade inflation” as operators are in-part judged on the number of engagements they have with potential jihadis — figures that are manipulated by blasting out automated tweets to mass numbers of individuals; and
  • Minimal oversight as the firm hired to provide the operators was also scoring their work.

The AP asserts that there is a new $500 million contract for a five-year counterpropaganda program to be run in parallel with WebOps that has drawn allegations of potential corruption with respect to favoritism/conflicts of interest in the bidding process.

Reportedly, the contractor who runs the WebOps operation may be subcontracted on this parallel project, thereby keeping WebOps running for up to five more years.

The Washington Post describes another cyberwarfare counterpropaganda effort that appears more effective on its face.

The program, interestingly run by former Navy SEAL Michael Lumpkin —  who was previously tabbed by then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to facilitate the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl —  targets Facebook ads towards those identified as potential recruits to Islamic State. Such messages are delivered in Arabic and supposedly better tailored towards the would-be jihadis.

The ads “offer a harrowing view of life inside the self-proclaimed caliphate, sometimes with photos or cartoons and often in the words of refugees and defectors who warn others to stay away.”

The program seeks to more accurately measure effectiveness than WebOps apparently:

Each day, the team monitors the responses to different variations of the ads in real time, measuring how often each is viewed and for how long. Lumpkin discovered quickly that the appeal of different messages varied from one region to another. In locales with strong tribal traditions, appeals to family and duty seem to resonate. In others, it’s the testimony of defectors, supplied mostly by partner agencies. Their disillusionment reveals “the true nature of ISIL,” including harsh conditions that the group’s propaganda videos never talk about, Lumpkin said.

Of course, as Lumpkin acknowledges, as with the WebOps program, success is difficult to measure. Islamic State recruitment rates are falling, but Lumpkin cannot prove a link between his program and the reality on the ground.

An all-of-the-above counterjihadist effort makes eminent sense.

But programs such as these beg certain questions:

  • Are these programs based on a clear understanding of the enemy?
  • Are the people carrying out the programs competent?
  • Can we define success?
  • Is there any empirical evidence that suggest such programs have been successful in countering jihadism historically?
  • Do these programs represent the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars?

During the Cold War, we fought an ideological enemy in the Communists to great effect in part through propaganda delivered via radio, literature, and other means, challenging their totalitarian ideology, while illustrating that it was a failure and highlighting the blessings of freedom.

We conducted this ideological battle on the enemy’s own terms.

In the case of the jihadists, the enemy’s ideology is not based on a view of economics or history, but rather on faith.

Seeking to dissuade an enemy because of the horrific things Islamic State may do surely appeals to Westerners, but does it to the people Islamic State is seeking to recruit? In the Middle East, there is almost unanimous support according to Pew polls for making Sharia the law of the land. The Islamic State has built a caliphate ostensibly based on pure Sharia. Do we believe that Western messaging efforts are going to be able to compete with the Koran and hadith?

Generally speaking, as during the Cold War, information warfare is about demoralizing the enemy. Lauding liberty, and showing thriving Western life demoralized Communists. Jihadists alternatively view our infidel society as a decadent and corrupt affront to Islam.

One prospective way to demoralize them however is to show that we are stronger than them, and can dominate them wherever they seek to confront us. The strong horse is historically most respected in Islam-based nations.

Another initiative we can undertake —  in the private sector rather than through government —  is to lift up the voices of brave apostates and genuine anti-Sharia reformers. They will have more credibility than any Westerner seeking to dissuade Sharia supremacism, although we cannot know how effective such efforts will be. Apostasy is punishable by death, and challenging core religious tenets is likely to be met with substantial resistance.

Taxpayer dollars in the cyberspace might be far more effectively spent spreading disinformation meant to confuse the enemy on social media, infiltrating their information networks to obtain intelligence and thwart nefarious activities, and hacking and causing irreparable damage to their systems.

As the Middle East Media Research Institute writes:

The…Trump administration will have to deal with jihadis’ increased use of encrypted apps, Snapchat, and whatever social media emerge next. Many of his cabinet picks were asked about encryption during their confirmation hearings. If it does not move swiftly, the progress made over the past year on this issue may be lost; jihadis have shown great persistence in continually identifying and exploiting the weaknesses of these platforms, as well as constantly moving to new technologies and staying two steps ahead of Western security agencies.

Today’s generation of Internet-savvy millennial jihadis has infested U.S.-based social media platforms, relying on apps purchased from Google and Apple stores. They use them not only to disseminate their messages but also to recruit skilled individuals to hack websites, spread viruses, and carry out other cybercrimes.

…Right now, every single jihadi organization has an online presence, and every one of them is likewise investing tremendous resources in its cyber activity. These cyber-jihadis, led by ISIS, are swelling in number in the U.S., the West, and worldwide, and they are becoming more sophisticated by the day.

We must compete in cyberwarfare with the jihadis, but doing so requires knowing ourselves and knowing our enemy.

All efforts to do so must be oriented to the jihadist threat.

Programs in which success is not only highly uncertain but likely unquantifiable deserve the utmost scrutiny.

Precious resources —  whether in terms of dollars, people or technology —  ought to be invested wisely.

The American citizens deserve nothing less when it comes to ensuring their safety and security.

Ben Weingarten is Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and publication services firm. A graduate of Columbia University, he regularly contributes to publications such as City Journal, The Federalist, Newsmax and PJ Media on national security/defense, economics and politics. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. 

New Report: The Purge of US Counterterrorism Training by the Obama Administration

purged-rpt

February 7, 2017, New Unconstrained Analytics Report:

On June 28, 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts held a hearing chaired by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) investigating a series of policies established by the Obama Administration during 2011-2012 that effectively neutered FBI counterterrorism training and blinded our nation’s national security, defense and intelligence agencies to the threat from Islamic terrorism.

In what some experts have termed a hostile “political warfare campaign” driven by an alliance between the administration, Islamic organizations and cooperating media figures, analysts and subject matter experts were blacklisted, and books and training materials were purged from official counterterrorism training programs government-wide.

This “purge” has contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including the April 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, and more recently the June 2016 massacre at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by Omar Mateen, who had been the target of previous FBI investigations in 2013 and 2014.

Patrick Poole of Unconstrained Analytics has written a new report detailing how this counterterrorism training purge happened, the players involved, the surprising but overlooked findings by a GAO report, and the consequences of having our law enforcement/military/intelligence professionals intentionally denied important training on the threat doctrine of the enemy, As a result, they have been blinded, losing any ability to identify, and then defeat, the enemy.

REPORT – Purged: A Detailed Look at ‘The Purge’ of US Counterterrorism Training by the Obama Administration (pdf)

Gorka: Trump ‘Incredibly Pragmatic’ About Relations with Russia, Iran

AP

AP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Feb. 7, 2017:

White House Deputy Assistant Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War and former national security editor for Breitbart News, defended President Trump’s criticism that the media do not cover terrorism adequately.

On Breitbart News Daily, Gorka said the issue is not “how much coverage” terrorism gets, but rather, “the nature of the coverage and how much of it is spin.”

LISTEN:

“Do you recall, after the Orlando attack – 49 Americans massacred in the Pulse nightclub – the mainstream media, for almost two weeks, what was their spin on that attack? Not terrorism. Omar Mateen was clearly a repressed homosexual who was involved in some kind of act of revenge against his Latin lover,” he recalled. “For almost two weeks, that was the message, until the FBI said this is utterly fallacious, not true. But it got to a point where even the transcripts of his calls to the 911 dispatcher were doctored by the administration.”

“There was this kind of complicit relationship between the former administration and the media, downplaying how bad the terrorist threat is. And then when something occurs, just simply misrepresenting it. So that’s what we have a problem with in the White House,” he said.

SiriusXM host Alex Marlow argued that the president’s critique made it sound as if terrorism was not covered at all, prompting the media to respond by listing the stories they wrote about terror attacks throughout the years – a different dispute than Dr. Gorka’s point about misattribution and downplaying of motives in the coverage.

“I’m working on my own list that I’m going to run through the White House of all the attempted attacks,” said Gorka, pointing to another area where he felt media coverage has been insufficient. “We have dozens and dozens of attacks that really are jihadi-motivated, but don’t get reported as such, or are very simply, very rapidly dropped.”

“Let’s just talk about a couple of figures,” he suggested. “Breitbart listeners are, of course, different, but how many general members of the U.S. population know that we have arrested or killed 125 ISIS terrorists in America since the Caliphate was declared? One hundred and twenty-five. And how many people know that in the recent IED attack in New York and New Jersey, when that individual deployed a pressure cooker bomb and some pipe bombs, that only two exploded, but in one weekend, he’d actually deployed almost a dozen devices? A dozen devices in 48 hours – that’s like Beirut in the 1980s.”

“It’s quality of the reporting. It’s the spin and trying to explain it away that is the real issue,” he emphasized.

Marlow asked for Gorka’s take on President Trump’s exchange with host Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, in which O’Reilly referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer,” and Trump replied, “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

“If you want to know what the White House policy is with regards to Russia or the Kremlin, you can do no better than to listen to the president himself,” said Gorka. “I don’t know if you recall, a few weeks ago, he held a press conference in Trump Tower, and during the Q&A, he was asked explicitly this question about what are our relationships going to be like with Vladimir Putin. And he was very honest. It wasn’t some half-sentence ‘gotcha’ moment on a television interview. He said, ‘Look, there are problems with Russia, I would like to be able to work with Vladimir Putin. I’m not sure if I can, and if I can’t, so be it.’”

“The real answer is, we have a Commander-in-Chief who is incredibly pragmatic. You don’t get to be as successful a businessman as he is without being eminently pragmatic. And his attitude to how we’re going to get along with Russia is, ‘Look, we’d like to, but if we can’t, that’s also a reality.’ We’ve been very clear about that from the beginning,” he said.

Marlow asked if it was fair to say the Trump administration is backtracking on its support for Israel’s construction of settlements.

“There’s a nuanced approach to this, and sometimes I think that gets missed,” Gorka responded. “The policy right now of the White House is, we want to have a little snapshot in time. If there is building to be done, it shouldn’t be on new territories. You can do building to go upwards or to add to something that’s already there, but any new settlements in new territories would be counterproductive to any kind of settlement between the parties.”

“We are very, very vested in bringing some kind of resolution to these issues. We have somebody that’s named as a negotiator who’s going to work on them. But right now, we don’t want to see any new territories with new buildings because otherwise, that’s going to make any kind of long-term resolution very difficult,” he said.

When Marlow asked if there has been any movement on relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Gorka replied, “Just wait and see.” He agreed with Marlow and with others, such as frequent Breitbart News Daily guest John Bolton, that moving the embassy is a “simple” process to execute physically, and “the president is committed to that decision,” so “you can take that one to the bank.”

Marlow pointed to news about a surge in anti-Christian attacks in France and asked if the White House was following the “drastically under-reported story” of anti-Christian bigotry around the world.

“Absolutely,” Gorka said. “It goes back to the original story we were discussing. It’s the misrepresentation – one of the most powerful things, one of the greatest powers the media has is not to write stories, but to not write stories about things that are happening.”

“In addition to the spinning or misrepresentation of terrorist attacks, there’s this giant story for the last 15 years. It’s not just about bombs going off in Boston. It’s not just about murder in Orlando. It’s about genocide. It’s about the systematic extermination of religious minorities – not just the Yazidis running up Mount Sinjar; it is the Christians,” he said.

“If you look at what ISIS did after they took over Mosul, they marked every house in that city where a Christian lived with a sign for ‘follower of Nazareth.’ And they gave those Christians a very simple option: convert to Islam, or be killed, or be punished as an infidel, and pay a special infidel tax. That’s systematic genocide,” he contended.

“As you see in Europe and elsewhere, it’s not just in the Middle East. The murder of a priest saying Mass, a Catholic priest, in France – this is what the media should be talking about if they wish to give a truly honest depiction of how serious the global jihadi threat is, Alex,” he said.

Gorka said it was “great news” that Iran has taken to insulting the new U.S. President as a “newcomer” to geopolitics and rattling its ballistic-missile saber.

“They realize that it’s not just about being a newcomer. It’s about the new sheriff in town,” he said. “This is not business as usual. We are not going to underpin and support a theocratic dictatorship – that is the Iranian Republic. The Obama administration’s policy of making the mullahs in Tehran stronger and stronger, in some kind of regional balancing act, those days are over. So for all the bluster, I think the underlying message is, hopefully, they understand it’s not business as usual with regards to Washington.”

Marlow relayed a question from fellow Breitbart News Daily host and Breitbart London editor Raheem Kassam about U.K. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow effectively banning President Trump from addressing both houses of Parliament during an upcoming state visit.

Gorka expressed “disappointment,” speaking as a proud American who grew up in the United Kingdom.

“I can’t recall a Speaker making such an incredibly partisan comment about a duly, democratically elected chief executive, of one of the most important – if not the most important – allies to the United Kingdom,” he said.

He recalled British Prime Minister Theresa May having an “amazing” visit with President Trump recently and said he expected “things to be executed as planned” when Trump makes his visit to London.

Turning to the legal battle over President Trump’s executive order for an immigration pause from seven nations with severe security problems, Gorka insisted the order is “completely constitutional,” adding that the president is completely in his powers to do so, but we are doing this as a preventative measure.”

“Good counter-terrorism is done before an attack, to prevent an attack,” he explained. “The whole logic of this EO, this executive order, is the following: we are going to destroy ISIS. The president has made that commitment to eradicate the Islamic State. But as we ramp up in the near future our approach to ISIS, what’s going to happen? We are going to see an increase in the movement of jihadis further west, further north, into Europe and across the ocean into America.”

“We don’t want to see them use the immigration streams to insert their people into America so they can do things like the Berlin attack, like the Nice attack, like the Paris attacks. This is purely and solely about national security and protecting the citizens of this great nation,” Gorka declared.

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Sebastian Gorka: Trump Order About Safety, Not Religion

Also see:

ISIS Alleges Someone Is Publishing Fake Islamic State Magazines

12Heavy, February 4, 2017:

Islamic State terrorist channels are warning ISIS sympathizers that someone is publishing a fake, 6th edition of their Rumiyah online magazine and warning them to be careful where they download the PDF from.

The above screenshot alleges the perpetrators of the fake publication to be “the kuffar,” a broad, pejorative Islamic term meaning “disbeliever.”

It is unclear who created and distributed the alleged fake publication. However, chatter on ISIS channels indicates suspicion towards intelligence agencies like the CIA or the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).

The latest edition of the magazine was issue #5. It was released in early January and praises the terroristic possibilities of arson. It also specifically points out a target in the United States, First Baptist Dallas. First Baptist Dallas is a church in Texas that ISIS states is “a popular Crusader gathering place waiting to be burned down.”

In a November 2016 edition release of their magazine, ISIS stated that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade would be “an excellent target” for a lone wolf terrorist attack. It suggested that driving a car into a crowd would be the easiest way to carry out an attack. Soon after, 18-year-old Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove a car into a crowd of students at Ohio State University.

Somalia was recently listed as one of the countries involved in President Donald Trump’s executive order, titled “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States.” The order bans nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entry into the United States for the next 90 days and coincides with a pause in the the admission of all refugees to the U.S. for the next four months.

Read more

Dems: Trump shouldn’t fight “Islamic extremism” only, that will offend Muslims

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, February 4, 2017:

“Such a move is wrongheaded insofar as persons who commit acts of violent extremism are inspired by diverse political, religious and philosophical beliefs, and are not limited to any single population or region.”

In reality, there have been over 30,000 murderous jihad terror attacks worldwide since 9/11. What other political, religious and philosophical beliefs have been responsible for any comparable number? A widely publicized study purporting to show that “right-wing extremists” have killed more people in the U.S. than Islamic jihadis, and thus pose a greater threat, has been debunked on many grounds.

“Changing the name to ‘Countering Islamic Extremism’ or ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism’ would have damaging effects to our national security by feeding into the propaganda created by terrorist groups and child domestic and international diplomatic relations. Additionally, it could further alienate and create distrust with the Muslim-American communities when the program depends on close cooperation with law enforcement.”

Islamic jihadis routinely cite the texts and teachings of Islam to justify their actions and make recruits among peaceful Muslims. The idea that Muslims who reject jihad terror will be enraged if the U.S. government takes note of this is absurd. If they reject jihad terror, they won’t embrace it because officials are saying things they don’t like; in fact, if they really reject it, they should welcome and cooperate with efforts to identify its causes and eradicate them. These Congressmen are recommending that we curtail our speech to avoid criticizing Islam, which is a Sharia blasphemy provision that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been trying to foist upon the U.S. by means of “hate speech” laws for years. That the statements of Thompson, Engel and Conyers are simply today’s conventional wisdom is one indication of how successful these efforts have been.

john-conyers

“Dems: Trump ‘wrongheaded’ on Islamic extremism,” by Mark Hensch, The Hill, February 3, 2017:

A trio of House Democrats say President Trump is making a mistake pushing for counter-extremism efforts to focus only on radical Islam.

The Trump administration is reportedly pushing to reshape a government program aimed at combating extremist ideologies to focus solely on the Islamic variety.

“Such a move is wrongheaded insofar as persons who commit acts of violent extremism are inspired by diverse political, religious and philosophical beliefs, and are not limited to any single population or region,” the three lawmakers wrote in a Friday letter to Acting Attorney General Dana Boente.

“Changing the name to ‘Countering Islamic Extremism’ or ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism’ would have damaging effects to our national security by feeding into the propaganda created by terrorist groups and child domestic and international diplomatic relations,” they added.“Additionally, it could further alienate and create distrust with the Muslim-American communities when the program depends on close cooperation with law enforcement.”

Friday’s letter was signed Democratic Reps. Bennie Thompson (Md.), Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and John Conyers (Mich.)….

So Much for the ‘Lone Wolf’ Theory of Islamic Terrorism

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PJ MEDIA, BY MICHAEL WALSH FEBRUARY 4, 2017:

Rukmini Callimachi, probably the best reporter on terrorism active today, lays it all out here:

Not ‘Lone Wolves’ After All: How ISIS Is Guiding Terror Plots From Afar

When the Islamic State identified a promising young recruit willing to carry out an attack in one of India’s major tech hubs, the group made sure to arrange everything down to the bullets he needed to kill victims. For 17 months, terrorist operatives guided the recruit, a young engineer named Mohammed Ibrahim Yazdani, through every step of what they planned to be the Islamic State’s first strike on Indian soil…

As officials around the world have faced a confusing barrage of attacks dedicated to the Islamic State, cases like Mr. Yazdani’s offer troubling examples of what counterterrorism experts are calling enabled or remote-controlled attacks: violence conceived and guided by operatives in areas controlled by the Islamic State whose only connection to the would-be attacker is the internet.

In the most basic enabled attacks, Islamic State handlers acted as confidants and coaches, coaxing recruits to embrace violence. In the Hyderabad plot, among the most involved found so far, the terrorist group reached deep into a country with strict gun laws in order to arrange for pistols and ammunition to be left in a bag swinging from the branches of a tree.

For the most part, the operatives who are conceiving and guiding such attacks are doing so from behind a wall of anonymity. When the Hyderabad plotters were arrested last summer, they could not so much as confirm the nationalities of their interlocutors in the Islamic State, let alone describe what they looked like. Because the recruits are instructed to use encrypted messaging applications, the guiding role played by the terrorist group often remains obscured.

As a result, remotely guided plots in Europe, Asia and the United States in recent years, including the attack on a community center in Garland, Tex., were initially labeled the work of “lone wolves,” with no operational ties to the Islamic State, and only later was direct communication with the group discovered.

Exactly right. The New York Times is to be congratulated on Ms. Callimachi’s work and other news media should take notice. From the start of the Muslim/Arab war on the West on 9/11, it’s been clear to anyone with an ounce of sense that most of the “lone wolves” are in fact anything but. Just as in prisons, where Muslim inmates whisper sweet nothings into fellow criminals’ ears about the wonders of jihad and “martyrdom,” so do they prey, like child molesters, on vulnerable young people on the Internet. Islam gives them a historically sanctioned excuse for their basest impulses, channeling what would be ordinary criminal behavior into something with a patina of “religion.”

While the trail of many of these plots led back to planners living in Syria, the very nature of the group’s method of remote plotting means there is little dependence on its maintaining a safe haven there or in Iraq. And visa restrictions and airport security mean little to attackers who strike where they live and no longer have to travel abroad for training.

“They are virtual coaches who are providing guidance and encouragement throughout the process — from radicalization to recruitment into a specific plot,” said Nathaniel Barr, a terrorism analyst at Valens Global, who along with Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington wrote one of the first articles discussing the virtual plotters.

“If you look at the communications between the attackers and the virtual plotters, you will see that there is a direct line of communication to the point where they are egging them on minutes, even seconds, before the individual carries out an attack.”

Well, that’s just great. As the abortive attack on the Louvre — one of the glories of French civilization — shows, once the barbarians are inside the gates, they’re just a cell phone away from self-detonating. If we’re ever to get serious about “homeland security,” we’re going to have to address very unpolitically-correct notions of citizenship, visas, and green cards, as well as how far civil-rights protections extend to enemies within and even “faith” itself. It’s going to make a lot of folks uncomfortable. But discomfort is better than death.

Trump Seeks to End Obama’s ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Scam

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PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, February 5, 2017:

Among the litany of Obama administration disasters, the rapid collapse of his “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) agenda is among the most consequential.

But groups in line to receive federal CVE grants announced just days before the end of the Obama era are now whining as the Trump administration seeks to put an end to the CVE scam.

Driven directly from the White House, the Obama administration’s CVE agenda was a replacement following a purge of counter-terrorism training across the federal government during 2011-2012 in response to a targeted series of reports by far-Left bloggers and reporters claiming widespread bias and “Islamophobia.”

Many of those claims were later debunked, but with the damage done the administration’s purge pressed ahead as it implemented CVE at the demand of Islamic groups, some of whom were directly involved in the formation of the administration’s CVE policies.

But as it became apparent that terror recruitment was escalating rapidly at nearly the same time that CVE was being imposed on agencies and departments across the board, the inability of CVE to actually countering any “extremists” was exposed. The same Islamic groups that urged the imposition of CVE then turned against the efforts when they realized that CVE was still primarily directed at the growing threat of Islamic recruitment, and not towards stigmatizing the administration’s perceived domestic political enemies.

Read more

Also see:

Flynn’s plan to beat radical Islam starts with schools and social media

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn AP

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn AP

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, February 4, 2017:

President Trump’s national security adviser wants to fight not just Islamic terrorists but the “radical ideology of Islam,” and he plans to do it from the grass roots up, starting with our children at schools while also using social media.

Dealing with the global Islamist threat on a tactical level through drone strikes and arrests hasn’t worked, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn argues, according to his largely overlooked 2016 book, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.” He wants to combat it more broadly, using informational warfare, among other things, on a scale not seen since World War II.

But first, he writes, the government has to overcome the political taboo of tying Islamic violence to the religion of Islam, including its sacred texts, which he says the enemy is using as a manual of warfare.

Last week, Trump asked Flynn to work with the Pentagon and other security agencies to draft a comprehensive plan to not only defeat ISIS on the battlefield but “delegitimize its radical Islamist ideology,” and have it on his desk by the end of this month.

Advance details of the plan can be gleaned from Flynn’s book. In it, the 33-year Army veteran proposes discrediting the “evil (religious) doctrines” motivating jihadists — namely the Islamic rewards for martyrdom (or suicidal terrorism) and the totalitarian tenets of Sharia law — using psy-ops and counter-propaganda, not just through federal government channels but also through “our schools, media and social networks.”

“If we can’t tackle enemy doctrines that call for our domination or extinction,” Flynn writes, “we aren’t going to destroy their jihadis.”

He says in the book that the government may have to draft digital media giants to help “wage ideological warfare” against radical Islam: “We can’t possibly have an effective campaign against Radical Islamic ideology without the cooperation of the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter.”

He also wants to use radio and TV to conduct psychological warfare.

“It’s long past time for us to denounce the many evils of Radical Islam,” he writes, while highlighting the many defeats of ISIS and al Qaeda to show potential recruits that “the Almighty has changed sides in the holy war.”

Fired by former President Barack Obama from the Defense Intelligence Agency for taking such stands, Flynn vows to reverse the longstanding government practice of whitewashing the violent nature of the enemy’s faith through pleasant platitudes like, “The terrorists are hijacking a religion of peace” and other apologia. He calls such policies “Islamophilia,” and complains they border on appeasement.

“I firmly believe that Radical Islam is a tribal cult, and must be crushed,” he writes.

In his book, Flynn says the Islamist enemy studies our culture “very carefully” and excels at “identifying our weaknesses,” while we, on the other hand, have done very little to exploit weak points in their ideology. We suffer pangs of guilt just “calling them by name and identifying them as fanatical killers acting on behalf of a failed civilization.”

That “failed civilization,” he notes, is Islam, and he says the government must publicly point out its failures, from depressed economies to high illiteracy rates to oppression of women, while supporting “a complete reformation of the Islamic religion” throughout the Muslim world.

He suggests working closely with the president of Egypt, who has called for a renewal of Islam. He also praises reforms pushed by Singapore to convince Muslims that there’s no requirement to follow Sharia in a secular state and that Allah hasn’t blessed jihad against the West. He also cites the half dozen countries that have banned Islamic headscarves around the world.

“We’ve got to get inside the minds of the jihadis” and understand the doctrinal justification for “the cult of killing, the worship of death” and why they, literally, “eagerly drink the blood of their dying enemies,” Flynn writes. What in their scripture brainwashes them into thinking, “We love death more than you love life?” Once that doctrine is exposed, it can be undermined to the point where it loses its potency.

In his 2016 book, Flynn writes ““I firmly believe that Radical Islam is a tribal cult, and must be crushed.”Getty Images

In his 2016 book, Flynn writes ““I firmly believe that Radical Islam is a tribal cult, and must be crushed.”Getty Images

“People need to recognize the strategic power of words and pictures,” Flynn writes. “Ideas, and the words that express them, are very much a part of war, but we have deliberately deprived ourselves of using them.”

He proposes using a modern psy-ops unit to wage psychological warfare against radical Islam — not just abroad but at home, in the American Muslim community.

“The war against Radical Islamists must begin at home,” he writes. “Muslims want to apply Sharia law by using our own legal system to strengthen what many believe to be a violent religious law that has no place in the United States,” he writes, adding the government must stop implying Islamic and Western civilizations “are morally equivalent.”

“Let us accept what we were founded upon: a Judeo-Christian ideology built on a moral set of rules and laws,” he writes. “Let us not fear, but instead fight those who want to impose Sharia law and their Radical Islamist views.”

The West overcame the fascist ideology of the Nazis and Imperial Japanese with ruthlessly effective counter-propaganda. Likewise, defeating the jihadists will require discrediting the Islamofascist ideology that catalyzes them.

“There has to be an entirely new strategy,” Flynn insists, “because nothing we are doing seems to be a winning strategy” after 15 years of war.

“We can’t win this war by treating Radical Islamic terrorists as a handful of crazies and dealing with them as a policing issue,” he writes. “The political and theological underpinnings of their immoral actions have to be demolished.”

Sperry is editor of CounterJihad.com and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Report: Trump to Concentrate Counter-Extremism Program Exclusively on Islam

 (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

(AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Washington Free Beacon, by Natalie Jonson, February  2, 2017:

The Trump administration will redesign a U.S. counterterrorism program created to combat radical ideologies so that it exclusively focuses on Islamist extremism, according to officials familiar with the change.

The administration’s plan will streamline the “Countering Violent Extremism” program that currently targets groups such as white supremacists who have carried out bombings and shootings in the U.S., Reuters reported Thursday.

The program will be renamed “Countering Islamic Extremism” to reflect the shift.

The program deploys educational programs and counter-messaging campaigns on social media platforms such as Facebook in an attempt to discourage potential lone wolf attackers.

The restructure echoes President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric and criticism against the Obama administration for refusing to identify the fight against the Islamic State as a fight against “radical Islamic extremism.”

Proponents of the program as is fear the shakeup will alienate Muslims who are distrustful of the Trump administration. The director of policy for the Muslim Public Affairs Council told Reuters the program’s rebranding is of particular concern because she says it casts Muslims “under a net of suspicion.”

Trump last week issued an executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days over fears of terrorism. The president also suspended the nation’s refugee program for 120 days.

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I have extensive archives here at CJR on the history of the CVE debacle. And over at Jihad Watch today Robert Spencer explains what happened to him that led to the purge of counter terrorism training and subsequently the CVE program.