A Tale of Two Terror Attacks and The New York Times

by Noah Beck
Special to IPT News
June 23, 2017

Last month’s suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester wasn’t the first time an Islamist terrorist targeted young people out for a night of fun. In 2001, a Hamas-affiliated terrorist blew himself up outside the Dolphinarium, a Tel Aviv nightclub, killing 21 Israelis, including 16 teenagers.

But news coverage of the two massacres was strikingly different, as the Manchester attack generated exponentially more attention. The New York Times, for example, offered a handful of small accounts about the Tel Aviv attack. But the Manchester bombing generated dozens of wire service and Times staff updates along with analysis stories and an editorial lamenting the horror of targeting children.

There are reasons why attacks in Europe are covered more exhaustively than those targeting Israelis. But as a result, Americans may not fully appreciate the depth of Palestinian violence because the near-daily examples of it are all but ignored.

The stark reporting contrast between the Manchester and Dolphinarium attacks reveals a change in how terrorism has been covered during the intervening 16 years. The Dolphinarium attack took place about three months before the September 11th attacks that dramatically increased media attention to terrorism.

A significant reporting gap continued after 9/11, however. Two 2002 shooting attacks within 12 days of each other prompted vastly different coverage by the New York Times. The July 4 shooting attack at Los Angeles International Airport, which claimed two lives, produced at least 13 articles. By contrast, nine people were murdered in a July 16 shooting and bombing attack against an Israeli bus going to the settlement of Immanuel. The Times devoted only one article to this slaughter.

The Times commits minimal attention to attacks on Israelis today. Last Friday’s fatal stabbing attack in Jerusalem received a scant 431-word article containing no images or references to “terror,” “terrorist,” or “terrorism.”

Worse, the newspaper ran a 243-word Associated Press article about the attack with a headline emphasizing the terrorists’ deaths, rather than their victim: “Palestinian Attackers Killed After Killing Israeli Officer.”

By contrast, the Times provided much more sympathetic coverage to an April terrorist attack in Paris that similarly claimed a police officer’s life. At 1,037 words, the article was almost three times as long, contained six photos of the attack scene, and referred six times to “terrorism” and thrice to “terrorist attack.”

An attack’s location plays a significant role in determining the extent of news coverage. Commentator Joe Concha calls this the “there versus here” phenomenon.

For example, the Times published eight articles about last November’s car ramming and stabbing attack at Ohio State University that killed no one, but injured 11 people. That included a profile of the suspected terrorist behind it. Deadlier attacks overseas generally receive far less coverage.

However, that “there versus here” explanation falters when comparing vehicular attacks in Israel with similar attacks in other non-US countries since Ohio State.

The March truck attack in Westminster that killed five people generated 20 articles. December’s Berlin Christmas market truck attack that killed 12 generated at least 50 articles.

By contrast, January’s truck attack in Jerusalem that killed four people generated just three articles and a mention in a daily news digest.

One reason European attacks receive more attention is that they raise new concerns about safety throughout the West, as the Islamic State pursues a campaign to hit soft targets wherever it can.

Another explanation may be that so many terrorist attacks in Israel have occurred over the last few decades that the Times has grown desensitized to them, no longer considering them as newsworthy.

Egyptian Copts, who have also suffered from Islamist terror for decades, may fall into the same unfortunate category. The attack last month in Minya, in which gunmen opened fire on Christian pilgrims, massacring 29, generated only four Times articles.

When the news media under-report terrorist attacks in places where they occur routinely, they do an injustice to victims in need of sympathy, while helping terrorists to defer the day that international leaders unite against them.

CAMERA, a nonprofit media watchdog, has compiled an extensive record of chronic anti-Israel coverage and commentary by the Times, and has launched billboard campaigns to expose the bias.

While some might point to the newspaper’s April decision to hire pro-Israel columnist Bret Stephens as a sign of growing balance on the issue, subsequent coverage led veteran Times critic Ira Stoll to argue that the move just gave the paper cover to intensify its anti-Israel slant. Stoll lists five Times op-eds, each of which “taken alone, would be totally outrageous and indefensible. The onslaught of all five of them, in six weeks, constitutes an outbreak of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hostility at the Times.”

The Dolphinarium attack, one of Israel’s deadliest suicide bombings, marked its 16th anniversary on June 1. While it’s too late for the Times to give due coverage to the 16 teens and five adults who were slaughtered, the paper conceded the parallels between their fate and that of the Manchester victims, by running this op-ed by a survivor of the Dolphinarium massacre expressing empathy for those affected by the Ariana Grande attack.

However, when the Times published its May 23 editorial on the Manchester attack, it failed to mention the Dolphinarium attack, and thereby omitted the suicide bombing most similar to the Manchester attack in its targeting of children. The editorial duly notes how terrorists have shattered innocent lives, listing attacks in three European cities, but somehow forgets that Islamists have taken far more lives of Israelis “simply out enjoying themselves” than of all Islamist terror victims in Europe combined.

At least 1,600 Israelis have been killed in terrorist attacks since the 1993 Oslo accords that were intended to foster Israeli-Palestinian peace. How many more Israeli casualties are needed before the New York Times starts to cover them as they would European victims?

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

***

World Shrugs as Hizballah Prepares Massive Civilian Deaths

by Noah Beck
Special to IPT News
March 21, 2017

Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Israel that his Iran-backed terror group could attack targets producing mass Israeli casualties, including a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa, and a nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Also last month, Tower Magazine reported that, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Iran provided Hizballah with a vast supply of “game-changing,” state-of-the art weapons, despite Israel’s occasional airstrikes against weapons convoys.

In a future conflict, Hizballah has the capacity to fire 1,500 rockets into Israel each day, overwhelming Israel’s missile defense systems. Should such a scenario materialize, Israel will be forced to respond with unprecedented firepower to defend its own civilians.

Hizballah’s advanced weapons and the systems needed to launch them reportedly are embedded across a staggering 10,000 locations in the heart of more than 200 civilian towns and villages. The Israeli military has openly warned about this Hizballah war crime and the grave threats it poses to both sides, but that alarm generated almost no attention from the global media, the United Nations, or other international institutions.

Like the terror group Hamas, Hizballah knows that civilian deaths at the hands of Israel are a strategic asset, because they produce diplomatic pressure to limit Israel’s military response. Hizballah reportedly went so far as offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes.

But if the global media, the UN, human rights organizations, and other international institutions predictably pounce on Israel after it causes civilian casualties, why are they doing nothing to prevent them? Hizballah’s very presence in southern Lebanon is a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which called for the area to be a zone “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons” other than the Lebanese military and the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The resolution also required Hizballah to be disarmed, but the terror group today has an arsenal that rivals that of most armies. Hizballah possesses an estimated 140,000 missiles and rockets, and reportedly now can manufacture advanced weapons in underground factories that are impervious to aerial attack.

“Israel must stress again and again, before it happens, that these villages [storing Hizballah weapons] have become military posts, and are therefore legitimate targets,” said Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

Meir Litvak, director of Tel Aviv University’s Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, agrees, adding that global attention would “expose Hizballah’s hypocrisy in its cynical use of civilians as… human shields.”

Even a concerted campaign to showcase Hizballah’s war preparation is unlikely to change things, said Eyal Zisser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Hizballah exploits the fact that “the international community is too busy and…weak to do something about it,” Zisser said. All of “these talks and reports have no meaning. See what is happening in Syria.”

Israel has targeted Hizballah-bound weapons caches in Syria twice during the past week. Syria responded last Friday by firing a missile carrying 200 kilograms of explosives, which Israel successfully intercepted.

If Hizballah provokes a war, Israel can legitimately attack civilian areas storing Hizballah arms if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) first attempts to warn the targeted civilians to leave those areas, Litvak said. But “it will certainly be very difficult and will look bad on TV.”

While Sunni Arab states are generally united against the Shiite Iranian-Hizballah axis, Litvak, Zisser, and Schweitzer all agreed that Israel could hope for no more than silent support from them when the missiles fly.

Indeed, the “Sunni Arab street” is likely to be inflamed by the images of civilian death and destruction caused by Israel that international media will inevitably broadcast, further limiting support for Israel from Iran’s Sunni state foes.

Rather perversely, the Lebanese government has embraced the very terrorist organization that could cause hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilian deaths by converting residential areas into war zones. “As long as Israel occupies land and covets the natural resources of Lebanon, and as long as the Lebanese military lacks the power to stand up to Israel, [Hizballah’s] arms are essential, in that they complement the actions of the army and do not contradict them,” President Michel Aoun told Egyptian television last month. Hizballah, he said, “has a complementary role to the Lebanese army.”

Aoun’s declaration means that Lebanon “takes full responsibility for all of Hizballah’s actions, including against Israel, and for their consequences to Lebanon and its entire population, even though the Lebanese government has little ability to actually control the organization’s decisions or policy,” said INSS Senior Research Fellow Assaf Orion.

MK Naftali Bennett, a veteran of Israel’s 2006 war with Hizballah, believes that Lebanon’s official acceptance of Hizballah and its policy of embedding military assets inside residential areas removes any constraints on Israeli targeting of civilian areas. “The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out,” he said. “That’s what we should already be saying to them and the world now.”

In a future war, Hizballah is certain to try bombarding Israeli civilian communities with missile barrages. Israel, in response, will have to target missile launchers and weapons caches surrounded by Lebanese civilians.

But it need not be so. Global attention by journalists and diplomats on Hizballah’s abuses could lead to international pressure that ultimately reduces or even prevents civilian deaths.

Those truly concerned about civilians do not have a difficult case to make. Hizballah has shown a callous disregard for innocent life in Syria.

It helped the Syrian regime violently suppress largely peaceful protests that preceded the Syrian civil war in 2011. Last April, Hizballah and Syrian army troops reportedly killed civilians attempting to flee the Sunni-populated town of Madaya, near the Lebanese border. In 2008, its fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods and killed innocent civilians after the Lebanese government moved to shut down Hizballah’s telecommunication network.

Hizballah terrorism has claimed civilian lives for decades, including a 1994 suicide bombing at Argentina’s main Jewish center that killed 85 people. As the IDF notes, “Since 1982, hundreds of innocent civilians have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured thanks to Hizballah.”

If world powers and the international media genuinely care about avoiding civilian casualties, they should be loudly condemning Hizballah’s ongoing efforts – in flagrant violation of a UN resolution – to cause massive civilian death and destruction in Lebanon’s next war with Israel.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

Also see:

‘Explanatory Memorandum’ Detractors Ignore Evidence About MB in America

mb2by John Rossomando
IPT News
March 1, 2017

Some supposedly very smart, well-informed people are making ignorant and misleading claims in the debate over designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

The Trump administration is considering designating the nearly 90-year-old Brotherhood, which seeks a global Islamic state governed by religious law known as shariah.

Reasonable people can debate the merits. But a recent Washington Post column by Arjun Singh Sethi, an adjunct Georgetown University law professor, illustrates the way false information is being pushed by some opponents.

Designation would be “exploited and manipulated for political gain” and used to target otherwise innocent Muslim American groups, Sethi argues. It would be all the more outrageous because, “The Brotherhood doesn’t have a known presence in the U.S., most Muslim Americans know very little about it and no organization active in the U.S. has been shown to have any connection to it.”

This is entirely wrong, and there are Muslim Brotherhood documents in the public domain to prove it.

Sethi takes aim at one of those documents, a 1991 “Explanatory Memorandum” which calls for a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” whereby Brotherhood members in America work toward “destroying the Western civilization from within.” The memorandum also suggests that Islam represents a “civilization alternative.”

“This memorandum, of which there is only one known copy, has been widely discredited and called a fantasy,” Sethi writes.

That one copy, however, was seized by FBI agents from the home of Ismail Elbarasse, whom prosecutors describe as the “archivist” for the Muslim Brotherhood in America. If it was a fantasy, it was deemed sufficiently exciting to preserve. In addition, its author played a prominent role in the Brotherhood’s U.S. network.

Sethi mentions none of these facts. Neither do the Southern Poverty Law Center or the left-leaning commentary website Alternet, which cited Sethi’s column to dismiss those who point to Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the United States as “conspiracy theorists.”

Sethi further claims there is no evidence to show that “three of the largest Muslim organizations in the country — the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA], the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR] and the North American Islamic Trust [NAIT] — are affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood” except for the explanatory memo.

This statement also is objectively, demonstrably false.

The explanatory memo, like most of the information known about a Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States, became public during the 2007 and 2008 Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) Hamas-financing trials held in Dallas. FBI agents seized a trove of internal documents – meeting minutes, reports and proposals – written by Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States. In addition, electronic surveillance picked up hundreds of conversations among Brotherhood conspirators.

Their task at the time was to run a series of political groups with the aim of benefiting Hamas – the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch – politically and financially. They united under the umbrella of the “Palestine Committee.”

In court papers, federal prosecutors noted that the Holy Land trial included “numerous exhibits … establishing both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case.”

NAIT, a subsidiary of ISNA, served as a banking outlet for HLF’s fundraising.

“HLF raised money and supported HAMAS through a bank account it held with ISNA at NAIT…,” prosecutors wrote in 2008, citing financial records admitted into evidence. “ISNA checks deposited into the ISNA/NAIT account for the HLF were often made payable to ‘the Palestinian Mujahadeen,’ the original name for the HAMAS military wing.”

CAIR, meanwhile, is listed among the Palestine Committee’s own entities. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad is included on a committee roster and participated in at least one significant Palestine Committee meeting.

Other groups attracted law enforcement scrutiny due to their Muslim Brotherhood ties. The International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), for example, emerged from a 1977 meeting of Muslim Brotherhood luminaries from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, according to Growth of Islamic Thought in North America: Focus on Ism’ail Raji al Faruqi, written by Muhammad Shafiq, IIIT chair of Interfaith Studies at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y.

A 1988 FBI report, obtained by the Investigative Project through a Freedom of Information Act request, identifies ISNA, NAIT and IIIT officials as “members and leaders of the Ikhwan [Brotherhood].”

The FBI document summarizes an interview with an unnamed source who notes that “all Muslim organizations founded under the direction of the IIIT leadership have been organized … in ‘the Ikhwan model,'” with the aim of recruiting support for an Islamic revolution in the U.S.

“… [H]istoricaIIy members of the MSA and subsequently NAIT, ISNA and the IIIT have been IKHWAN members,” the FBI document says.

In sum, FBI investigations and internal Muslim Brotherhood documents establish that, despite Sethi’s assertion to the contrary, there is ample evidence linking ISNA, NAIT and CAIR to the Muslim Brotherhood.

His dismissal of the explanatory memo is similarly misguided.

Its author, Mohamed Akram, played a prominent role on the Palestine Committee, identified in an internal 1991 document as the Central Committee secretary. He sat on the group’s “Central Committee” with Hamas political leader Mousa abu Marzook.

Akram’s name also appears immediately following Marzook’s name on the Palestine Committee’s internal telephone. In 1990, Akram reported on projects for the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s board of directors known as the Majlis al-Shura. The Shura councils in various countries all “report directly to the IMB [international Muslim Brotherhood]’s leadership,” a 2010 Department of Justice affidavit filed in a deportation case said.

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood maintains supporters in the United States. The IPT documented the connections between old Palestine Committee entities and the anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestine.

And members of Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ) and Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR) openly display their Brotherhood loyalties on Facebook. EAFJ founding board member Hani Elkadi posted a cartoon of a man holding a sign with the Brotherhood logo and the words which translate to, “I am [Muslim] Brotherhood and I’m not threatened.”

Memo’s Ambitions Weren’t New

Sethi is not the first to try to discredit the explanatory memo., The Bridge Initiative, an arm of Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, argued a year ago that the document was merely “one man’s utopian vision.”

“If it occupied a central place in a Muslim movement to take over America, one would think his supporters would have taken up his idea and spread it in popular and academic circles. But that’s not so,” the Bridge Initiative Team wrote.

It’s a sweeping assertion. And it’s not true. The Brotherhood has a multi-generational plan for establishing a global Islamic state. Its U.S.-based followers have repeatedly detailed their ideas for making it so.

The 1988 FBI FOIA document describes a “six phase … plan to institute Islamic Revolution in the United States” to be executed in part by the IIIT.

The scheme was rooted in a 1983 book called “The Muslim Brotherhood.” Like the “Explanatory Memorandum,” the book emphasizes institution building and Muslim evangelization (dawah) as a prelude for jihad.

“We want to make the whole world bow before the word of Allah, author Saeed Hawwa wrote. “The command of Allah is: ‘And fight with them till no mischief remains, and the religion is all for Allah.'”

Coincidentally, Akram mentions “six elements” of a general strategic plan adopted by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura council in 1987 in the “Explanatory Memorandum.” The memorandum likewise aimed to unify and direct Muslim efforts to present Islam as a “civilization alternative.”

IIIT publications still denigrate Western civilization in the name of Islam.

The “problems and challenges faced by Western civilization in the contemporary era no longer find solutions on the social and economic levels of Western civilization,” Adel Husein wrote in a 2013 IIIT paper. He suggests that Islam offers the solution: “Great revolutions are usually fueled by a solid doctrine, and Islam, in particular, embodies such a doctrine.”

Officials with other American Islamist groups advocate ideas similar to Akram’s.

Shamim Siddiqi, a past dawah director for the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) similarly offered Islam as the solution. (Siddiqi remains recommended reading for ICNA members.)

In his 1989 book, The Methodology of Dawah, Siddiqi argues that Islam should be made “dominant in the USA” through the work of Muslim organizations. Muslims should help Americans view Islam as “an alternate way of life” for the problems of the day, Siddiqi wrote in his 1996 book, The Revival. Evangelizing the American intelligentsia will result in a “demand for an Islamic society and state,” he wrote.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s ultimate goal is a global Islamic State, one that includes the United States. FBI agents have interviewed people with direct knowledge of those efforts and seized internal documents of a network engaged in the slow work of realizing that dream.

Those who dismiss the explanatory memorandum as one man’s fantasy either never bothered to look for corroborating evidence, or they know better and hope to fool the American people.

Also see:

Before and After Obama: 10 Signs of a Diminished America

TIM SLOAN, Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images

TIM SLOAN, Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John  Hayward, January 18, 2017:

The media acted as if Donald Trump’s campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” was an incomprehensible emotional outburst from people who didn’t realize, or wouldn’t accept, just how great Barack Obama was. President Obama has spent his final months in office giving juvenile speeches full of excuses for why nothing bad since 2009 was his fault, while everything good was his personal handiwork. Why, if you just ignore all the terrorist attacks that happened on American soil over the past eight years, you can believe his carefully-phrased assertion that there haven’t been any terrorist attacks!

In truth, everyone paying attention could see the signs of a diminished America, and they knew exactly what Trump was talking about. A new Gallup poll finds that American believe the country slid backwards in 14 out of 19 policy domains, with the worst deterioration in the national debt, crime, income inequality, and race relations.

The four areas of improvement Gallup found were in the situation for gays and lesbians (Obama’s only truly high mark), energy (which got better despite his policy preferences, thanks to the private sector), climate change (whose partisans scream that it’s getting worse!) and the economy. “Health care” was a complete wash, which is awful, given the amount of money Obama spent on it.

The new administration has its work cut out for it to repair the damage caused by eight years of Obama’s policies in the following ten key areas.

1. Terrorism: Let’s start with terrorism, since Obama has made such a fetish of implying it’s not worse, even though his heavily-lawyered denials merely claim that a highly specific and unusually organized sort of attack hasn’t been taking place. In essence, Obama wants congratulations because the Islamic State hasn’t marched an army across the Rio Grande and sacked San Antonio, or sent a squad of terrorists to take out a shopping mall with signed, dated, notarized orders from Raqqa in their pockets.

Obama’s factoid about zero “foreign-directed terror attacks” is based on the highly contentious notion that soldiers of Allah (even the one who had “Soldier of Allah” printed on his business card, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan) aren’t truly operatives of ISIS or al-Qaeda because they weren’t in constant two-way communication with the terrorist high command. (In Hassan’s case, even that weak excuse falls apart, because he was in touch with jihadi guru Anwar al-Awlaki.)

In truth, the number and frequency of deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. soil grew substantially worse under Obama. The raw number of fatalities under his predecessor, of course, is distorted by the horrific carnage of 9/11.

No one knew what a “lone wolf” terrorist was until Obama came along. The departing President seems to think “lone wolves” are less of a problem than big-ticket, carefully-planned professional atrocities like 9/11… but that’s the exact opposite of what his own intelligence community says. They’re warning that isolated extremists using the Internet to connect with global terrorist ideologies are difficult to spot in advance, and our resources are stretched to the breaking point keeping tabs on them.

The situation worldwide is even worse, with the number of annual terrorist deaths increasing over 400 percent since Obama took office. ISIS happened on Obama’s watch, while al-Qaeda and the Taliban are resurgent. The hellish mess he made of Syria will threaten the security of Western nations for years to come.

2. Cybersecurity: It should be clear by now that information security was, at most, a political annoyance to Barack Obama. His primary concern was controlling the public-relations fallout — keeping cybersecurity disasters off the media radar, because they made his administration look bad. Who can forget how the administration lied about the extent of the Office of Personnel Management data breach, leaving millions of victims vulnerable, while it scrambled to contain the P.R. damage? And remember, the intruders had been creeping around that gigantic, vital government database for a year.

The one-two sucker punch of Obama going nuclear over the menace of Russian hacking and WikiLeaks to delegitimize the 2016 election, and then springing alpha WikiLeaker Chelsea Manning from jail three decades early, should cement his careless and destructive infosec legacy forever — as if supporting his former Secretary of State’s presidential run after she trashed security protocols with reckless abandon wasn’t bad enough.

Obama apologists will say the Internet has become a bigger part of our lives over the past eight years, so it’s natural there would be more information-security controversies.The problem with that excuse is that the big cybersecurity disaster headlines were so often traced directly to administration policies — the OPM hack, the Clinton email scandal, the NSA/Edward Snowden controversy, software vulnerabilities kept secret by the government so it could exploit them, and others. The risky handover of Internet domain control to international control was Obama’s brainstorm.

Not every infosec threat since 2009 is his fault, but the gap between the rhetoric in his speeches and the way he coped with actual cyber disasters is. So is the way online adversaries have been emboldened by his failure to take action against them. We can’t even turn on our smartphones without worrying about Chinese spyware.

“On Obama’s watch, the State Department was hacked, the White House was hacked, the Department of Energy was hacked, and the National Nuclear Security Administration was hacked. A Government Accountability Office report found that cyberattacks against government agencies climbed 35% between 2010 and 2013,” noted Investor’s Business Daily in a November 2016 review of how cybersecurity grew worse under Obama.

IBD went on to quote an Inspector General report that OPM’s cybersecurity situation actually got worse after the attack, in keeping with the Obama tradition of talking big and doing little. His most comprehensive cybersecurity plan was rolled out in April of his last year in office, in an obvious example of passing the buck to his successor.

Read more

New Middle East Forum Manual Spotlights Islamist Apologists

useful-infidelsIPT News
December 28, 2016

American Islamists often depend on prominent non-Muslims to disseminate their propaganda. In a new report, the Middle East Forum’s (MEF) Islamist Watch profiles 15 prominent examples of people who help promote pro-Islamist views.

Those included continue to propagate the notion that Islamism – a radical political ideology devoted to spreading Islam worldwide – does not play any role in violence perpetrated by Muslim terrorists. Examples of “useful infidels,” as MEF calls them, include President Obama’s CIA director John Brennan, academic John Esposito, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Secretary of State John Kerry.

The MEF report seems to be a direct response to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)’s absurd attempt to denigrate people who focus on Islamist violence and Islamist political activity as bigots. That report was called, “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”

MEF dubbed its response, “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Useful Infidels.”

The SPLC report included MEF founder Daniel Pipes and Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson. It also included Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz – a former member of the radical Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir – and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an advocate for women’s rights and against female genital mutilation.

An example of Nawaz’s alleged anti-Muslim extremism? He republished a cartoon of Islam’s prophet Muhammad and said he was not offended by such images.

Many of the people profiled in the MEF report try to deny any connection between Islamist terrorist groups and the faith in whose name they fight. This requires overlooking the Quranic justification and Islamic imagery that terrorists offer for their violence.

Many of the non-Muslim figures listed in MEF’s report cooperate with prominent Islamist groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has roots in a U.S-based Hamas-support network created by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Journalists should understand that relying on Islamists like those in CAIR risks “assisting with the ‘normalizing’ or ‘mainstreaming’ of Islamist supremacist ideology, a belief system just as dangerous and opposed to American ideals as white nationalism,” the MEF report said. It also cautions against getting too caught up in impressive-looking resumes, noting that “academia includes some of the most egregious useful infidels.”

It encourages people to seek out “moderate Muslims and reformers [who] are counting on the media to not blindly accept the Islamist narrative but to question Islamists’ self-appointed role as the voice of an imaginary unified Muslim community.”

For example, Georgetown University’s John Esposito has advocated for Islamism as “the best pathway for the Muslim world to enter modernity,” the report said, also noting his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami Al-Arian.

CIA Director John Brennan is criticized for helping facilitate the removal of any references to Islamism in FBI training materials. To accomplish the purge, Brennan actively collaborated with known U.S. Muslim Brotherhood fronts including ISNA and MPAC, among others. Many of Brennan’s related speeches often sought to divorce Islam from terrorism.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2009, Brennan rejected the term “jihadists:” Jihad is “a legitimate term … meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal…”

While the term ‘jihad’ may have multiple meanings, terrorists call themselves jihadists while waging violent campaigns in an effort to establish Islamist rule worldwide. Pretending that Islam has nothing to do with jihadist violence promotes a culture of political correctness that inhibits law enforcement from tackling the threat from radical Islamism.

Secretary of State John Kerry also plays into this narrative, trying to disassociate any role for radical ideology in fueling Islamist violence. At a press conference earlier this year, Kerry said: “Daesh [ISIS] is in fact nothing more than a mixture of killers, of kidnappers, of criminals, of thugs, of adventurers, of smugglers and thieves… And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”

Pretending that Islam or Islamism has no role in fueling most global terrorism today obscures the ideological confrontations required to counter the appeal of Islamist terrorist groups. This confrontation should be led by more moderate Muslims who unfortunately are sidelined by too many politicians and journalists in favor of radical Islamist organizations.

Having prominent U.S. politicians and other non-Muslim officials publicly engaging in Islamic theological debates regarding who is a true Muslim and who is an “apostate” is counterproductive and resembles a strategy that terrorist groups utilize to label infidels. Moderate Muslims correctly feel that radical Islamists and terrorist organizations are exploiting their religion to achieve their supremacist objectives. Yet moderate voices are continuously silenced by the likes of the people featured in the MEF report.

Click here to read the full MEF report.

CAIR Whips Pre-Election Hysteria and Fear Against FBI

shiblyIPT News
November 7, 2016

Federal law enforcement officials reported concern Friday over vague threats of an al-Qaida terrorist attack that could come today in an attempt to disrupt Tuesday’s U.S. elections. Three states – New York, Virginia, and Texas – were identified as potential targets.

So it makes sense that FBI agents in eight states reportedly wore out some shoe leather during the weekend, knocking on doors of people with family connections to Afghanistan or Pakistan – both operating bases for al-Qaida. One of those questioned reportedly is a youth group leader. Others were doctors.

No one was arrested.

To the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), this is an “outrageous and … borderline unconstitutional” “sweep” of American Muslim leaders.

The Dallas Morning News, Washington Post and Time magazine all published stories on the FBI action, offering little in the way of push-back to CAIR’s narrative.

The FBI is “harassing” Muslims in Oklahoma, CAIR’s state director Adam Soltani wrote on Facebook, Time reported.

CAIR-Florida director Hasan Shibly heard from six people contacted by the FBI, the Post story said. CAIR’s Texas office heard from 17 people. The stories lamenting this alleged FBI outrage, therefore, offered two dozen examples nationally.

CAIR officials sounded the alarm on social media, urging Muslims not to say anything to the FBI without a lawyer present. The organization offered to provide counsel to those who needed it. CAIR’s campaign then attracted the media coverage.

Calling it a “sweep,” as Shibly did, usually connotes mass arrests, not knocks on people’s doors. The Post at least placed the word in quotes.

This raises a question: What is the FBI supposed to do when it learns terror plots may be in the works? The news stories don’t say. They do quote CAIR officials expressing their outrage.

“The FBI actions … to conduct a sweep of American Muslim leaders the weekend before the election is completely outrageous and … borderline unconstitutional,” Shibly told the Post. “That’s the equivalent of the FBI visiting churchgoing Christians because someone overseas was threatening to blow up an abortion clinic. It’s that preposterous and outrageous.”

No, it’s not at all like that. There is no foreign terrorist network advocating American abortion foes to attack clinics. ISIS and al-Qaida have spent years advocating random, homegrown terror attacks in online videos, social media and in glossy publications.

It’s a disturbingly effective message, proven successful by the number of people who have tried to leave the country to join ISIS, or who have been arrested trying to do so, or who have plotted to carry out attacks.

Horrible attacks in just the past year show that individual actors responding to the call to jihad can create huge casualty counts. Omar Mateen killed 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, pausing in his slaughter to call 911 and pledge allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people at an office Christmas party in San Bernardino last December.

And in September, 29 people were injured when a homemade bomb went off in a Manhattan dumpster. A second bomb was found nearby. Investigators later found five additional unexploded bombs in a trash can in Elizabeth, N.J. near a transit station.

CAIR officials insist they are not trying to hinder the FBI. They say they merely are ensuring people know about, and use, their constitutional right to have counsel present for any questioning. But CAIR’s long record of sowing fear against the FBI casts doubt on that assertion.

482Its “Know Your Rights” lectures have long included claims of tales of FBI agents breaking the law and willing to do anything in order to snare innocent Muslims. FBI agents are depicted as sinister forces lurking outside Muslim homes in images carrying the message “Build a Wall of Resistance: Don’t Talk to the FBI.”

Indictments of terror suspects involving informants and undercover agents are always dismissed by the group as entrapment, though no jury or court has agreed. A December promotional page touting an “entrapment workshop” depicting the FBI as a spider out to snare the Muslim community in its web remains active on CAIR’s Philadelphia office website.

1323

Last year, when authorities in Boston overheard a terror suspect they had been monitoring say he was going to go out and start stabbing police officers, CAIR spent days casting Usaama Rahim’s subsequent death as unjust despite video showing Rahim lunged at officers ordering him to drop a military grade knife.

No one would have learned that fact from reading any of the stories parroting CAIR’s outrage, unless he or she conducted independent web searches. Likewise, readers would not know that the FBI broke off outreach communication with CAIR in 2008, after an investigation placed the organization and its founders in the middle of a Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas support network in America.

“[U]ntil we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” an FBI official explained in 2009. The policy remains in effect 7½ years later.

Once upon a time, the Morning News had CAIR’s number, investigating and exposing radical Islamist activity supporting Hamas in north Texas during the 1990s. The Posthas never devoted a story to the evidence that led to the policy.

The FBI declined to comment, the two newspapers reported. But missing from the stories were perspectives from retired law enforcement officials, at the very least, and an explanation about how the Bureau works in situations like this. This context would have been a service to readers, offering balance to CAIR’s talking points.

People in eight states are being targeted for questioning, the Post reported. “Several of the states — including Florida and Pennsylvania — are viewed as crucial swing states heading into the presidential election Tuesday,” the story said, underscoring Shibly’s claim that this is some kind of pre-election intimidation campaign.

But other states, especially Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, are not considered competitive Tuesday. No CAIR official presented anything to support the organization’s allegation that voter intimidation is in play. Yet, the Post and a story on Fusion.net included it.

Fusion’s story argued that the FBI is somehow ignoring threats of violence from white nationalists and militias, a claim belied by recent arrests.

If the FBI started arresting Muslim Americans without cause, CAIR’s campaign of fear and hysteria might make sense. But pursuing information about a possible terrorist attack, in swing states and decidedly red states, is not sinister.

It’s their responsibility.

No Sacred Cows? The Washington Post Continues Carrying CAIR’s Water

cair23by Steven Emerson
IPT News
July 5, 2016

Let’s say the Church of Scientology launched a program it said was aimed at creating healthy work environments and bridging family divides, even those involving church critics.

What would the news stories read like? After all, there are ever-expanding accounts of former Scientologists who say they were physically abused, or who werecut off from loved ones deemed hostile to the church.

Virtually any news story about the new program would cover this context in detail. It’s reasonable to expect major news outlets would devote entire stories comparing the new claims to the church’s history. It would be inconceivable to omit that background even if the new program proved to be a smashing success.

This is what makes the Washington Post‘s coverage of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) so confounding. The newspaper, which rarely hesitates to investigate the backgrounds of politicians, companies and more, has never seen fit to delve into CAIR’s checkered history.

Independence Day brought yet another story casting CAIR as a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism and Islamist extremism. CAIR’s Florida chapter, the headline says, “is doing what the government has so far failed to do.” It tells the story of “intervention teams” on alert in South Florida to help cases of radicalized Muslims who might be thinking of committing violence. Some of the seven individuals identified so far have been referred to law enforcement, the story says.

There’s no way to know if that assertion is true. It is a claim taken at face value.

There’s also no way – short of doing their own independent searches – for readers to know that CAIR itself has direct, court-acknowledged connections to a terrorist group. They don’t know because the Post didn’t mention it in this, or any other story, since the information came to light in 2007.

From its first days, CAIR was a cog in a Hamas-support network called the Palestine Committee, records show. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood created the committee to help Hamas “with what it needs of media, money, men and all of that.”

1675At least three original CAIR officials, Nihad Awad, Omar Ahmad and Nabil Sadoun, are on the Palestine Committee’s telephone list. Mousa Abu Marzook, a longtime Hamas political leader, is the first name listed. Ahmad, who sometimes was identified as “Omar Yehya,” also is listed on the Palestine Committee’s executive board.

Eyewitnesses told federal investigators that Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood connections shared by CAIR founders were widely known when the organization was founded.

Bylaws establish that the Muslim Brotherhood executive office created the Palestine Committee “to serve the Palestinian cause on the U.S. front.” A 1991 document repeatedly refers to the Brotherhood’s role directing Palestine Committee activities. Among the instructions that year: “Collecting of donations for the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] from the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] and others.”

Another report from around that time explicitly states that the committee sees its charge as “defending the Islamic cause in Palestine and support for the emerging movement, the Hamas Movement.”

This is the mission into which CAIR was born.

Omar Ahmad, a co-founder and longtime CAIR national chairman, was described as “a leader within the Palestine Committee” in testimony by FBI Special Agent Lara Burns.

Nihad Awad, the only executive director in CAIR’s history, joined Palestine Committee colleagues during a weekend-long emergency meeting in 1993 to discuss ways to “derail” the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords. The deal was hailed as a potential peace breakthrough and created an autonomous Palestinian Authority.

That was unacceptable to the Palestine Committee because it sidelined the Islamists in Hamas, and because it included Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s existence. Concerned that the American public would see them as terror supporters, the group’s officials instructed members never to mention Hamas by name, instead choosing to reverse the spelling and talk about “Samah.” Awad, in this FBI transcript, did just that.

The group also discussed creating “a new organization for activism” which might be better received publicly because “we are marked.”

CAIR was created the following summer, where it promptly appeared on the Palestine Committee’s next meeting agenda.

The exhibits described above have never been reported in the Post.

When the Post has written about CAIR’s background, it has been at the most superficial of levels: CAIR minimizes its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Texas Hamas-financing trial in which these documents became public record; a “fact-check” which concludes that the unindicted co-conspirator label “is one of those true facts that ultimately gives a false impression.”

Would the Scientologists receive similar kid-glove treatment? Would a candidate for office?

This is not a case of differing perspectives. The documents were seized from the participants and reflect real-time Palestine Committee activities.

While CAIR was never charged, prosecutors made it clear in court filings that they had evidence showing CAIR was part “of the conspiracy” and acted “in furtherance of the conspiracy.”

“CAIR has been identified by the Government at trial as a participant in an ongoing and ultimately unlawful conspiracy to support a designated terrorist organization, a conspiracy from which CAIR never withdrew,” they wrote.

The Post is led by Marty Baron, a man who has demonstrated the tenacity to take on religious organizations as mighty as the Catholic Church when they might be engaged in improper activity. So far, however, that same gritty determination has not been focused on the Islamists who run CAIR, despite their profile and their organization’s checkered history.

That is a shame.

Also see: